"My very, very dear Marie." Fitzgerald had grown up with Marie "Midge" Hersey in St. Paul and it was with her, in 1911, that he "experienced his first faint sex attraction" (Mizener). She became the model for Imogene Bissel in "The Scandal Detectives," the autobiographical short story about Basil Duke Lee's first crush. While home for the 1914 Christmas vacation during his sophomore year, Fitzgerald met Ginevra King, Marie Hersey's Westover School classmate who was visiting during the holidays. Miss King was to become Fitzgerald's most important romantic attachment while he was at Princeton and the inspiration for many of his fictional heroines. Fitzgerald's clever 18-line letter / poem, written when back at college after the Christmas break, appears to be an abject apology, quite possibly in response to Marie's annoyance at Scott's behaviour in shifting his affections to one of her best friends:
"My very, very dear Marie: | I got your little note. | For reasons very queer, Marie, | You're mad at me I fear, Marie, | You made it very clear, Marie | You cared not what you wrote | ... So write me what you will, Marie, | Altho' I will it not. | My love you can not kill, Marie, | And tho' you treat me ill, Marie, | Believe me I am still, Marie, | Your fond admirer | Scott."
The friendship of Marie and Scott lasted throughout their lives. During his dark "crack-up" period in 1936, Fitzgerald wrote to her: "I think of you as about my oldest real friend, certainly my first love" (Letters, ed. Turnbull, 545). Fitzgerald had thought enough of this poem to make a copy for himself and preserve it in one of his scrapbooks, now at Princeton (The Romantic Egoists, ed. Bruccoli, illus. on p, 25).
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