Roscoe believed that "live wires" should keep young, but carrying it out on such a scale was—was—was inefficient. No one disliked the little boy whose fresh, cheerful face was crossed with just a hint of sadness, but to Roscoe Button his presence was a source of torment. America had joined the Allied cause during the preceding month, and Benjamin wanted to enlist, but, alas, sixteen was the minimum age, and he did not look that old. "They look sort of funny to me," he complained, "I don't want to be made a monkey of—". "All right, Mr. Button," she agreed in a hushed voice. "Are you my father?" The basin clattered to the floor and rolled in the direction of the stairs. To his relief she complained to his parents, and he was removed from the school. He had heard his classmates speak of St. Midas's, the famous preparatory school, at which so many of them had prepared for college, and he determined after his graduation to enter himself at St. Midas's, where the sheltered life among boys his own size would be more congenial to him. Mr. Button banged the outer door savagely.... "Good–morning," Mr. Button said nervously, to the clerk in the Chesapeake Dry Goods Company. "Do you think it's anything to boast about? There can be no doubt, though, that the rattle bored him, and that he found other and more soothing amusements when he was left alone. Download F Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button for your kindle, tablet, IPAD, PC or mobile. "I like men of your age," Hildegarde told him. he retorted angrily. "Yes, we can't have him here. The process was continuing. It seemed to him that his father, in refusing to look sixty, had not behaved like a "red–blooded he–man"—this was Roscoe's favourite expression—but in a curious and perverse manner. I asked for something to eat"—here his voice rose to a shrill note of protest—"and they brought me a bottle of milk! "Here!" The sensation created in Baltimore was, at first, prodigious. "My name's Button and I live on Mt. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald A readable copy. Twenty–five is too wordly–wise; thirty is apt to be pale from overwork; forty is the age of long stories that take a whole cigar to tell; sixty is—oh, sixty is too near seventy; but fifty is the mellow age. The effect was not good. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. A few people who were unfailingly polite racked their brains for compliments to give to the parents—and finally hit upon the ingenious device of declaring that the baby resembled his grandfather, a fact which, due to the standard state of decay common to all men of seventy, could not be denied. ", "Wrap it up," insisted his customer nervously. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. "I am eighteen," he repeated. You—you behave yourself!". Two days later, however, his son Roscoe materialised from Baltimore, hot and cross from a hasty trip, and escorted the weeping general, sans uniform, back to his home. Hildegarde was now residing in Italy, so Benjamin went to live with his son, Roscoe. The first edition of the novel was published in May 27th 1922, and was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He had suddenly lost all desire to go into the Maryland Private Hospital for Ladies and Gentlemen—it was with the greatest difficulty that, a moment later, he forced himself to mount the steps and enter the front door. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions series) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Was his skin healthier and firmer, with even a touch of ruddy winter colour? He would steal down the back stairs and return to the nursery with a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica, over which he would pore through an afternoon, while his cotton cows and his Noah's ark were left neglected on the floor. "Say," he remarked, "where you goin' with the general's duds, sonny?". cried Doctor Keene in a perfect passion of irritation," I'll ask you to go and see for yourself. He stood close to the wall, silent, inscrutable, watching with murderous eyes the young bloods of Baltimore as they eddied around Hildegarde Moncrief, passionate admiration in their faces. Benjamin, no longer persona grata with the débutantes and younger college set, found himself left much done, except for the companionship of three or four fifteen–year–old boys in the neighbourhood. His nurse, Nana, in her starched gingham dress, became the centre of his tiny world. The old man untied the package and viewed the contents with a quizzical eye. I don't want to see you or any of your relatives ever again! demanded Mr. Button, as he came up in a gasping rush. "Well," said the old man, "this baby's not going to wear anything in about two minutes. ", "I'm right glad of it," whined the old man. What the mishap would have cost the Buttons and their kinsfolk socially cannot be determined, for the outbreak of the Civil War drew the city's attention to other things. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories [Fitzgerald, F. Scott] on Amazon.com. With his business influence he obtained a commission as captain, and proved so adaptable to the work that he was made a major, and finally a lieutenant–colonel just in time to participate in the celebrated charge up San Juan Hill. He blamed the store, of course—–in such cases it is the thing to blame the store. Benjamin hesitated. he quavered. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories (Penguin Classics) "Winter Dreams," written three years before The Great Gatsby, shares the concept of commitment to an idealized dream. The nurse regained control of herself, and threw Mr. Button a look of hearty contempt. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. "Because if you are," went on the old man querulously, "I wish you'd get me out of this place—or, at least, get them to put a comfortable rocker in here,". On the September morning consecrated to the enormous event he arose nervously at six o'clock dressed himself, adjusted an impeccable stock, and hurried forth through the streets of Baltimore to the hospital, to determine whether the darkness of the night had borne in new life upon its bosom. The colonel read it, his eyes popping from their sockets. It was first love. The colonel came up, drew rein, and looked coolly down at him with a twinkle in his eyes. he called. The Roger Buttons held an enviable position, both social and financial, in ante–bellum Baltimore. Good–bye!". "Young boys are so idiotic. Through the noons and nights he breathed and over him there were soft mumblings and murmurings that he scarcely heard, and faintly differentiated smells, and light and darkness. Will Lillibridge "Triplets? As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home. The registrar pointed sternly to the door. Clank! "I want to see my——". It began a methodical decent as if sharing in the general terror which this gentleman provoked. Once he was bad and had to stand in the corner—then he cried—but for the most part there were gay hours in the cheerful room, with the sunlight coming in the windows and Miss Bailey's kind hand resting for a moment now and then in his tousled hair. "I can't stand this!". "Babies always wear those," said the nurse primly. You could wear it yourself! ... "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," reflects his preoccupation with life's fleeting nature. said Doctor Keene sharply, He appeared somewhat irritated. Suffice to record that they were years of normal ungrowth. "Get out of college and get out of town. "Well——" He hesitated. He was very happy. They would sit for hours, these two, so far apart in age and experience, and, like old cronies, discuss with tireless monotony the slow events of the day. the elder Button was saying. His destiny seemed to him awful, incredible. "That's what I want.". He seized his cap, and ten minutes later he had entered a large tailoring establishment on Charles Street, and asked in his uncertain treble to be measured for a uniform. Blind with enchantment, he felt that life was just beginning. Benjamin smiled wearily. The past—the wild charge at the head of his men up San Juan Hill; the first years of his marriage when he worked late into the summer dusk down in the busy city for young Hildegarde whom he loved; the days before that when he sat smoking far into the night in the gloomy old Button house on Monroe Street with his grandfather–all these had faded like unsubstantial dreams from his mind as though they had never been. people would remark. He would show them! "Here's your clothes," he snapped out. "You'll regret this!" He was taken from the kindergarten. The colonel turned and began walking his horse in the direction of headquarters. retorted Mr. Button fiercely. Lit2Go Edition. She went out socially with him, but without enthusiasm, devoured already by that eternal inertia which comes to live with each of us one day and stays with us to the end. How is she" A boy? The old man looked placidly from one to the other for a moment, and then suddenly spoke in a cracked and ancient voice. One more would ruin me—ruin anybody. Download The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button free in PDF & EPUB format. This pleased Benjamin—he soon forgot the insidious fear which had come over him on his return from the Spanish–American War, and grew to take a naive pleasure in his appearance. "Oh, I'm not so sure of that," he said. You'll find the youths' department in the next aisle. So many of the stories about her fiancé were false that Hildegarde refused stubbornly to believe even the true one. When, six months later, the engagement of Miss Hildegarde Moncrief to Mr. Benjamin Button was made known (I say "made known," for General Moncrief declared he would rather fall upon his sword than announce it), the excitement in Baltimore society reached a feverish pitch. This book has 34 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1922. Benjamin was a baby, and a baby he should remain. "That's my age," asserted Benjamin, flushing slightly. Benjamin's growing unhappiness at home was compensated for by his many new interests. "Where in God's name did you come from? Who are you?" She was to go driving with him on the following Sunday, and then they would discuss all these questions further. His clothes did not conceal this, nor did the clipping and dyeing of his eyebrows disguise the fact that the eyes under—were faded and watery and tired. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. "I've always said," went on Hildegarde, "that I'd rather marry a man of fifty and be taken care of than marry a man of thirty and take care of him.". When he had first come home from Harvard, Roscoe had approached him with the proposition that he should wear eye–glasses and imitation whiskers glued to his cheeks, and it had seemed for a moment that the farce of his early years was to be repeated. She sniffed. He wept and Roscoe had reluctantly relented. First published in Collier's Magazine on May 27, 1922 with the cover and illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg.It was subsequently anthologized in Fitzgerald's book Tales of the Jazz Age, which is occasionally published as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories Introduction by Patrick O'Donnell Suggestions for Further Reading A Note on the Text Acknowledgments. Reared in the old tradition, she curtsied low before Benjamin. Even old General Moncrief became reconciled to his son–in–law when Benjamin gave him the money to bring out his History of the Civil War in twenty volumes, which had been refused by nine prominent publishers. During the attendant festivities, however, no one thought it "the thing" to mention, that the little grubby boy, apparently about ten years of age who played around the house with lead soldiers and a miniature circus, was the new baby's own grandfather. demanded the clerk curiously. He remembered his experience at Yale, so he decided against it. ", Mr. Button turned miserably away. You think you don't want to be like any one else. They entered. He did not remember clearly whether the milk was warm or cool at his last feeding or how the days passed—there was only his crib and Nana's familiar presence. he demanded. And then he remembered nothing. "I got it from the Government, as you'll soon find out!" It began to be a pleasure to rise in the morning, to walk with an active step along the busy, sunny street, to work untiringly with his shipments of hammers and his cargoes of nails. I'm expecting your son here any minute. Fourteen is the age for putting on long trousers—and you are only twelve. F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Tales of the Jazz Age, Lit2Go Edition, (1922), accessed December 09, 2020, https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/224/tales-of-the-jazz-age/5770/the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/. This, of course, called for a severe spanking, but Mr. Button found that he could not bring himself to administer it. He hoped it would be a boy so that he could be sent to Yale College in Connecticut, at which institution Mr. Button himself had been known for four years by the somewhat obvious nickname of "Cuff.". He was to make a better attempt to play with boys of his own age. "Well," gasped Mr. Button, "which is mine?". "Want to play soldier, sonny?" He and his son were, in fact, often mistaken for each other. "I'm Mr. Button," he managed to articulate. It isn't funny any longer. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who ages in reverse: He is born a feeble 70-year-old and becomes younger as the years progress. The word had gone around that a lunatic had passed the entrance examinations for Yale and attempted to palm himself off as a youth of eighteen. Even after the new addition to the Button family had had his hair cut short and then dyed to a sparse unnatural black, had had his face shaved so dose that it glistened, and had been attired in small–boy clothes made to order by a flabbergasted tailor, it was impossible for Button to ignore the fact that his son was a excuse for a first family baby. But his success was largely due to the fact that in the football game with Yale he played so brilliantly, with so much dash and with such a cold, remorseless anger that he scored seven touchdowns and fourteen field goals for Harvard, and caused one entire eleven of Yale men to be carried singly from the field, unconscious. In the early days of their marriage Benjamin had worshipped her. This collection of children's literature is a part of the Educational Technology Clearinghouse and is funded by various grants. There was no doubt of it—he looked now like a man of thirty. The days flowed on in monotonous content. At the end of a long hall they reached a room from which proceeded a variety of howls—indeed, a room which, in later parlance, would have been known as the "crying–room." "What are you going to call me, dad?" "Love," replied Benjamin absent–mindedly. He went back a third year to the kindergarten, but he was too little now to understand what the bright shining strips of paper were for. Download the eBook The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories in PDF or EPUB format and read it directly on your mobile phone, computer or any device. ", The old man turned wearily to the nurse. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. There were only the white, safe walls of his crib and Nana and a man who came to see him sometimes, and a great big orange ball that Nana pointed at just before his twilight bed hour and called "sun." Benjamin started; an almost chemical change seemed to dissolve and recompose the very elements of his body. Up in his room he saw his reflection in the familiar mirror—he went closer and examined his own face with anxiety, comparing it after a moment with a photograph of himself in uniform taken just before the war. "You come along with me," said the colonel with a peculiar look. "Why, as a matter of fact, my name's Button——" began Benjamin, but Mr. Hart cut him off. I want to have a cane.". "Get some one to handle my luggage!" Benjamin jumped to his feet fairly quivering with enthusiasm. The girl was slender and frail, with hair that was ashen under the moon and honey–coloured under the sputtering gas–lamps of the porch. Whether this anachronism had any bearing upon the astonishing history I am about to set down will never be known. He became known as something of a prodigy—a senior who was surely no more than sixteen—and he was often shocked at the worldliness of some of his classmates. On bright days they walked in the park; Nana would point at a great gray monster and say "elephant," and Benjamin would say it after her, and when he was being undressed for bed that night he would say it over and over aloud to her: "Elyphant, elyphant, elyphant." There was nothing for Benjamin to do but follow with as much dignity as possible—meanwhile promising himself a stern revenge. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. burst out Mr. Button frantically. Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with consequences. ", "You can too. There was no mistake—he was gazing at a man of threescore and ten—a baby of threescore and ten, a baby whose feet hung over the sides of the crib in which it was reposing. Indeed, to think about the matter for as much as a half an hour drove him to the edge of insanity. "He seems to grow younger every year," they would remark. At least it is, but it's for fancy dress. https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/224/tales-of-the-jazz-age/5770/the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/, Florida Center for Instructional Technology. To add to the breach, he found, as the new century gathered headway, that his thirst for gaiety grew stronger. "Doctor Keene!" "We'll go up to headquarters and talk this over. The basin reached the first floor. He thanked her and walked away—staggered away. "What was it? It was typical of his growing enthusiasm for pleasure that he was the first man in the city of Baltimore to own and run an automobile. You can also read the full text online using our. In 1920 Roscoe Button's first child was born. He did not make the mistake of announcing that he would never see fifty again, nor did he mention the fact that his son had been graduated from the same institution ten years before. Right upstairs. The remaining brush of scraggly hair, the watery eyes, the ancient teeth, seemed oddly out of tone with the gaiety of the costume. Going home in the phaeton just before the crack of dawn, when the first bees were humming and the fading moon glimmered in the cool dew, Benjamin knew vaguely that his father was discussing wholesale hardware. There was only one fly in the delicious ointment—he hated to appear in public with his wife. "Is this some ghastly hospital joke? 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