I opened Benjamin Constant’s Adolphe and Nick Carraway began telling the story:
I was twenty-two and had just finished my studies at the University of Göttingen. My father, a minister under the Elector of –, proposed sending me on a tour of the most interesting countries, after which I was to be appointed to the staff of his department and trained to succeed him eventually. Although I had led a very dissipated life, I had, by dint of harsh study, won distinctions beyond those of my fellow-students which had given my father hopes that were probably very exaggerated.
These hopes had made him very indulgent towards my many peccadilloes. He had never let me suffer the consequences of my foolish conduct, but had always honoured my requests for money and sometimes anticipated them.
Unfortunately his treatment of me was noble and generous rather than affectionate […]