Tarquin Of Cheapside by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Author: Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Published: Nassau Literary Magazine (April 1917)
Genre: Short Story
“Tarquin of Cheapside” is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and was first published in Nassau Literary Magazine in April 1917. “Tarquin of Cheapside” was later published in The Smart Set in February 1921 and in the short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age in 1922.
1. Tarquin of Cheapside Synopsis
“Tarquin of Cheapside” is told in narrative style, beginning with the reader and an invisible narrator in the home of Wessel Caster when a frantic pounding at the door interrupts him. At the door stands a man, referred to as “Soft shoes” by the narrator, who is exhausted and frightened and desperately needs a place to hide. Join Wessel and the invisible narrator as they discover the truth of Soft shoes’ plight.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “Tarquin of Cheapside” during his college days at Princeton University. His dream at the time was to become a renowned poet, and this story is a testament to his skill and artistry. Through eloquent and descriptive prose, Fitzgerald paints a vivid picture of the characters and setting of the story, creating an intriguing and captivating tale. Although the ending remains somewhat ambiguous, the beauty of Fitzgerald’s writing is sure to keep readers engaged until the very last page.
2. Story Summary
In Part I of the story, Soft Shoes is chased through the streets of London by Flowing Boots. Soft Shoes is a single person, while Flowing Boots is more than one person.
Part 2 opens with Wessel quietly reading “The Faerie Queene” when he is suddenly disturbed by frantic pounding at his front door. When Wessel opens the door, he finds an exhausted and frightened man who introduces himself as “Soft Shoes.” Soft Shoes quickly explains that he is running for his life and needs a hiding place. Although Wessel has his concerns, he decides to help Soft Shoes to hide and awaits the pursuers. All the while, he wonders what has caused this man to flee. Flowing Boots barges into Wessel’s apartment, but Soft Shoes is nowhere to be found. Flowing Boots is after Soft Shoes for something that has to do with the sister of one of Flowing Boots. Soft Shoes spends the night at Wessel’s, where he writes a poem about his adventure.
In Part 3, Wessel finds Soft Shoes’ poem and begins reading it aloud as the story comes to a close. The poem’s opening lines reveal Soft Shoes’ identity and that he is well-known.