SAVE ME THE WALTZ PDF
He used to say, without humor, “I will build me some ramparts surrounded by wild beasts and barbed wire on the top of a crag and escape this hoodlum.”. “Give me that bottle.” As he fended her off, she slid against the door. To save the noise of a crash in the hall, she precipitated her body heavily into the jamb. Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald - Save Me the Waltz is the first and only novel by the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. During the years when Fitzgerald was.
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One of the great literary curios of the 20th century, Save Me the Waltz is the first and only novel by the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. During the years when her. Southern belle Alabama Beggs is married to the successful, but philandering, artist David Knight. Desperate for David's attention and for success in her own right. Save Me the Waltz is the only novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Published in , it is a . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Everything else seemed to. It was lonesome at home without Joan. But I will all come to pieces long before then. Privy to the small vanities of his family, these things so absent in himself amused him in his children. I am not! Her eyes trailed in embarrassment over the vacant lot next door that lay like a primrose dump through the windows.
Save Me the Waltz
The vermilion hibiscus curved five brazen shields against the sun; the altheas drooped in faded purple canopies against the barn, the South phrased itself in engraved invitation—to a party without an address. Miss Millie hooked up the back. It was too hot to stay inside.
One side of her hair was flattened by the sweat on her neck before she had finished the other. Millie brought her a cold lemonade.
The powder dried in rings around her nose. They went down to the porch. Alabama seated herself in the swing.
It had become almost a musical instrument to her; by jiggling the chains she could make it play a lively tune or somnolently protest the passage of a boring date. Spasmodic unobtrusive cries broke the stillness of the summer night.
From far off down the street the cry of a paper boy floated nearer on the heat. The cries swelled from one direction to another, rose and fell like answering chants in a cathedral. The automobile loaded with boys drew up at the kerb. A long, shrill whistle sounded from the dark; none of the boys got out of the car.
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He seemed very fine and serious under the hall light—as serious as the war they might have. Alabama was ashamed for her friends as she compared them with her father. One of the boys got out and opened the door; she and her father could call it a compromise.
Excitement stretched her heart and lifted her feet so high that she floated over the steps to the waiting automobile. All night long Alabama thought about the war. Things would disintegrate to new excitements. She, told herself, would move brightly along high places and stop to trespass and admire, and if the fine was a heavy one—well, there was no good in saving up beforehand to pay it. Full of these presumptuous resolves, she promised herself that if, in the future, her soul should come starving and crying for bread it should eat the stone she might have to offer without complaint or remorse.
Relentlessly she convinced herself that the only thing of any significance was to take what she wanted when she could. She did her best. She leaned back in the swing visualizing herself in her present position. I wonder if his ears would meet over his nose. His face was long, culminating in a point of lugubrious sentimentality at the self-conscious end of his nose.
He pulled himself intermittently to pieces, showered himself in fragments above her head. He was obviously at an emotional tension. Alabama slipped on the night latch and turned off the light. She waited in the absolute darkness until her eyes could distinguish the mass of the staircase. Judge Austin Beggs sat over the silver things about the table, finely controlled, coordinated, poised in his cerebral life like a wonderful athlete in the motionless moments between the launchings of his resources.
Oh, Daddy! The bareness of the dry Bermuda grass about the pecan trees crawled imperceptibly with tawny caterpillars. The matlike vines dried in the autumn heat and hung like empty locust shells from the burned thickets about the pillars of the house.
The sun sagged yellow over the grass plots and bruised itself on the clotted cotton-fields. The fertile countryside that grew things in other seasons spread flat from the roads and lay prone in ribbed fans of broken discouragement.
Birds sang dissonantly. Not a mule in the fields nor a human being on the sandy roads could have borne the heat between the concave clay banks and the mediant cypress swamps that divided the camp from the town—privates died of sunstroke. The evening sun buttoned the pink folds of the sky and followed a busload of officers into town, young lieutenants, old lieutenants, free from camp for the evening to seek what explanation of the world war this little Alabama town had to offer.
Alabama knew them all with varying degrees of sentimentality. Captain Farreleigh? The car deposited them in the breathless square, the centre of the town. In the vast space enclosed by the low buildings the vehicle seemed as miniscular as a coach in the palace yard of an old print.
The old rattle-trap disgorged its cargo of clicking masculinity and vibrant official restraint into the lap of this invertebrate world. Alabama took the paper he gave her and held it to the light falling through the slats of the shutters like a staff of music. Did you leave the last verse in the taxi or were you keeping the car in case I should shoot?
Nobody will notice that we are together—it takes so many soldiers to make a good war. She felt sorry for Felix; she was touched that he did not want to compromise her. In a wave of friendship and tenderness. He was a tavern sort of man buckled into his uniform, strapped with the swagger of beef-eating England, buffeted by his incorruptible, insensitive, roistering gallantry. A southern moon is a sodden moon, and sultry.
When it swamps the fields and the rustling sandy roads and the sticky honeysuckle hedges in its sweet stagnation, your fight to hold on to reality is like a protestation against a first waft of ether. He closed his arms about the dry slender body. She smelled of Cherokee roses and harbours at twilight.
Anyway, we must hold on to ourselves and not care. Her high cheekbones carved the moonlight like a scythe in a ripe wheat field. It was hard for a man in the army to censure Alabama. Captain Farreleigh went through the convulsive movements of a drowning man. He grabbed his nose and sank to the floor of the car.
She laughed. They both laughed. It was very sad.
Save Me the Waltz (1932) by Zelda Fitzgerald
The war brought men to the town like swarms of benevolent locusts eating away the blight of unmarried women that had overrun the South since its economic decline. Girls swung from one to another of the many men in the intimate flush of a modern Virginia reel. By autumn she had a glove-box full.
So many dances and rides and so many golden bars and silver bars and bombs and castles and flags and even a serpent to represent them all in her cushioned box. Every night she wore a new one.
Alabama quarrelled with Judge Beggs about her collection of bric-a-brac and Millie laughed and told her daughter to keep all those pins; that they were pretty.
It turned as cold as it ever gets in that country. That is to say, the holiness of creation misted the lonesome green things outside; the moon glowed and sputtered nebulous as pearls in the making; the night picked itself a white rose. In spite of the haze and the clouds in the air, Alabama waited for her date outside, pendulously tilting the old swing from the past to the future, from dreams to surmises and back again.
He had not bought himself a substitute because he liked imagining the one he had lost in the battle of Alabama to be irreplaceable. There seemed to be some heavenly support beneath his shoulder blades that lifted his feet from the ground in ecstatic suspension, as if he secretly enjoyed the ability to fly but was walking as a compromise to convention.
Green gold under the moon, his hair lay in Cellinian frescos and fashionable porticoes over his dented brow. Two hollows over his eyes like the ends of mysterious bolts of fantasy held those expanses of electric blue to the inspiration of his face.
The pressure of masculine beauty equilibrated for twenty-two years had made his movements conscious and economized as the steps of a savage transporting a heavy load of rocks on his head. Why outdoors? It was chilly in the mist to be swinging outside.
They stood on the frosted porch in the sea of mist quite far away from each other, yet Alabama could have sworn she was touching him, so magnetic were their two pairs of eyes. The clubhouse sprouted inquisitively under the oaks like a squat clump of bulbs piercing the leaves in spring. The car drew up the gravel drive, poking its nose in a round bed of cannas. The sagging wire about the tennis court, the peeling drab-green paint of the summer house on the first tee, the trickling hydrant, the veranda thick in dust all flavoured of the pleasant atmosphere of a natural growth.
It is too bad that a bottle of corn liquor exploded in one of the lockers just after the war and burned the place to the ground. So much of the theoretical youth—not just transitory early years, but of the projections and escapes of inadequate people in dramatic times—had wedged itself beneath the low-hung rafters, that the fire destroying this shrine of wartime nostalgias may have been a case of combustion from emotional saturation.
No officer could have visited it three times without falling in love, engaging himself to marry and to populate the countryside with little country clubs exactly like it.
David had told her about how famous he was going to be many times before. Dancing with David, he smelled like new goods. Being close to him with her face in the space between his ear and his stiff army collar was like being initiated into the subterranean reserves of a fine fabric store exuding the delicacy of cambrics and linen and luxury bound in bales.
She was jealous of his pale aloofness. When she saw him leave the dance floor with other girls, the resentment she felt was not against any blending of his personality with theirs, but against his leading others than herself into those cooler detached regions which he inhabited alone.
He took her home and they sat together before the grate fire in a still suspension of externals. The flames glittered in his teeth and lit his face with transcendental qualities. His features danced before her eyes with the steady elusiveness of a celluloid target on a shooting-gallery spray. She searched her relations with her father for advice about being clever; there, she found nothing relative to human charm. Being in love, none of her personal aphorisms were of the slightest help.
Alabama had grown tall and thin in the last few years; her head was blonder for its extra distance from the earth.
She wondered if David knew how conceited she was. He verified himself in the mirror—pale hair like eighteenth-century moonlight and eyes like grottoes, the blue grotto, the green grotto, stalactites and malachites hanging about the dark pupil—as if he had taken an inventory of himself before leaving and was pleased to find himself complete.
The back of his head was firm and mossy and the curve of his cheek a sunny spreading meadow. His hands across her shoulders fit like the warm hollows in a pillow. So much she loved the man, so close and closer she felt herself that he became distorted in her vision, like pressing her nose upon a mirror and gazing into her own eyes. She felt the lines of his neck and his chipped profile like segments of the wind blowing about her consciousness.
She felt the essence of herself pulled finer and smaller like those streams of spun glass that pull and stretch till there remains but a glimmering illusion.
Neither falling nor breaking, the stream spins finer. She felt herself very small and ecstatic. Alabama was in love. She crawled into the friendly cave of his ear. The area inside was grey and ghostly classic as she stared about the deep trenches of the cerebellum. There was not a growth nor a flowery substance to break those smooth convolutions, just the puffy rise of sleek grey matter. The lumpy mounds rose wet above her head and she set out following the creases.
Before long she was lost. Like a mystic maze the folds and ridges rose in desolation; there was nothing to indicate one way from another. She stumbled on and finally reached the medulla oblongata. Vast tortuous indentations led her round and round. Hysterically, she began to run.
David, distracted by a tickling sensation at the head of his spine, lifted his lips from hers. It will be enough. Well, anyway, they were engaged. He had to have Alabama, anyway, and money—well once he had dreamed of a troop of Confederate soldiers who wrapped their bleeding feet in Rebel banknotes to keep them off the snow. David, in his dream, had been there when they found that they did not feel sorry about using up the worthless money after they had lost the war.
Spring came and shattered its opalescent orioles in wreaths of daffodils. David and Alabama kicked over the oak leaves from the stumpy roots in the woods and picked white violets. They went on Sundays to the vaudeville and sat in the back of the theatre so they could hold hands unobserved. Alabama dressed in pink and pale linen and she and David sat together under the paddles of ceiling fans whipping the summer to consequence.
Outside the wide doors of the country club they pressed their bodies against the cosmos, the gibberish of jazz, the black heat from the greens in the hollow like people making an imprint for a cast of humanity. They swam in the moonlight that varnished the land like a honey-coating and David swore and cursed the collars of his uniforms and rode all night to the rifle range rather than give up his hours after supper with Alabama.
A Brief Summary and Review
They broke the beat of the universe to measures of their own conception and mesmerized themselves with its precious thumping. The air turned opaque over the singed grass slopes, and the sand in the bunkers flew up dry as gunpowder under a niblick.
Tangles of goldenrod shredded the sun; the splendid summer lay ground into powder over the hard clay roads. Moving day came and the first day of school spiced the mornings—and one summer ended with another fall. When David left for the port of embarkation, he wrote Alabama letters about New York.
Maybe, after all, she would go to New York and marry. Humanity clings to the streets like flies upon a treacle stream. Fitzgerald sits, writing, in a hospital, surrounded by nurses and doctors and other patients, and she feels abandoned.
She feels alone. But F. Save Me The Waltz may not be a very successful novel, but read as a fictionalised memoir about a destructive relationship, it is powerful and engaging stuff. There are lines of beauty, moments of joy, rivers of pain.
But the vast majority of them exist when the reader engages with the second level of this novel. This is about Zelda Fitzgerald, a real life literary heroine, by her own narrative and merit. With polish and with practice, she could have written a beautiful novel, she probably could have been a successful ballerina. It is her tragedy — doubled up by the fact that she was unable to understand its effects on the people around her — that is central here.
Rereading this blog before posting made me cry.The bar smelled of olive brine and dead ashes. She decided the part was better on the other side of her head. She strove to sustain the pleasurable emotion. Puffs of white smoke aspired against the station skylight. Zelda Fitzgerald can write unforgettably, with skill and brilliance, about the people and places she truly loved. It was too hot to stay inside.
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