Book 1, Chapter 3 Summary
Dick Caramel intends to be a writer, but not long after graduation he fulfills a yearning to serve in the poverty-stricken areas of the city. He eventually moves back uptown and starts to write his first novel, The Demon Lover. As the book nears completion, it begins to make demands on him, and he pours out his problems to anyone who will listen, especially his aunt, Mrs. Gilbert. She explains to Dick her position as a “Bilphist,” one who studies all religions. The talk turns to Anthony’s attraction to Gloria. Mrs. Gilbert admits that she would like to see Gloria settle down from her wild ways, and she recounts Gloria’s history with innumerable men. Dick is also concerned about her, noting that her current friends are not of the same quality as her old ones.
Gloria returns with two of her friends, whom she introduces to Dick. The girls are flappers, the jazz girls of the decade. Their slang and flirtatiousness are foreign to Mrs. Gilbert. Gloria suddenly announces that she intends to give a dinner party. It is arranged to take place within the week. On that note, Dick departs.
On Monday, Anthony takes Geraldine Burke to dinner; he has seen her frequently over the past several months. Geraldine is worried that Anthony is drinking too much, but he denies this. She asks him if he has any ambition; Anthony states that he doubts he will live that long. She discovers that he is related to Adam Patch, whom she believes has done a lot of good. Anthony dismisses this. She asks if everyone wants to marry him because his grandfather is rich, but Anthony says that he does not intend to marry. He tells her the story of Chevalier O’Keefe, who was ruined because he became overconfident.
Gloria has her dinner party at the Biltmore Hotel. Bloeckman, one of her guests, praises Anthony’s grandfather to him, but Anthony is noncommittal. Bloeckman does not connect with the others because he thinks they are frivolous. After the champagne, everyone begins to loosen up. As Anthony dances with Gloria, she says she wants to pop out for some gumdrops to keep her from biting her nails. They decide to catch a taxi and ride around for a bit. They kiss, and then Gloria wants to return to the dinner party immediately.
Anthony decides that he cares for no other girl as he does for Gloria Gilbert. He tries to call her, but she is out. He suspects this is deliberate to keep him guessing. He waits all day for her to return his call. When at last she does, she cannot...
(The entire section is 685 words.)