Book 1, Chapter 2 Summary
In November of that year, Anthony begins to receive invitations from dozens of debutantes who are coming out into society. One day, as he is out walking, he runs into Dick Caramel, who coerces him into going with him to some undetermined destination. Dick explains the work he has accomplished on his novel. He suggests that they go uptown to visit his cousin from Kansas City, Gloria Gilbert. He describes her as attractive and popular at all the college parties, though not especially intelligent. Dick feels that Anthony and Maury think him intellectually inferior to them, but Anthony points out that, to Dick, intelligence does not matter.
At the Gilberts’ home, Dick’s aunt misunderstands and calls Anthony “Mr. Pats.” Gloria is out dancing, which worries her father, who is involved with the film industry. The young men wait for Gloria but leave when she does not appear.
Maury Noble has only recently returned from three years in Europe. He is now in search of some amusement. Anthony goes to visit Maury, who is home after having missed the train to Philadelphia to see his mother. Anthony talks about his current romance with a girl named Geraldine, the epitome of a flapper. Geraldine does not understand much of what Anthony says; his comments are over her head intellectually. This fascinates Anthony. Maury describes to him his own encounter with Gloria Gilbert. She had talked quietly about her own legs.
In the morning (with a raging hangover), Anthony arranges for Bounds to come in the afternoon to serve a tea for Dick and Gloria. When they arrive, Anthony is overcome by Gloria’s beauty and personality. They talk of names, those of the past and those that will be popular and common in the future. Gloria is a modern girl and thus does not appreciate the reformers, such as Anthony’s grandfather. On another day, Anthony and Gloria meet for tea and then go dancing. They talk about Dick’s book, which has an uncomplimentary view of women, stating that a woman’s biography begins with her first kiss and ends when her child is laid in her arms. Gloria confesses that she does not want the responsibility of marriage and motherhood.
After that afternoon, Anthony and Gloria begin to go on a series of dates. One evening, Gloria is restless and wants to go someplace, but she has seen all the shows in town. Finally they decide to go down Broadway to find a cabaret. As they watch the people in the club, Gloria states that she is like them. She feels that she has at last found her people.