尼克在“中西部”长大，生长于一个富有的家庭，据说是贵族后裔，“something of a clan”。他祖父的哥哥在南北战争中派了一个替补来替他打仗后，开始经营五金生意。尼克和他父亲一样上过耶鲁大学，然后参加了第一次世界大战，这与盖茨比的经历有相似的地方，为后文尼克和盖茨比的谈话做了铺垫。
My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this MiddleWestern city for three generations.The Carraways are something of a clan,and wehave a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, butthe actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, [一八五一年]sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.
prominent：重要的；杰出的；著名的。well-to-do:有钱的 ; 富有的 ; 富裕的。descended from：起源于。Dukes of Buccleuch：巴克卢公爵是苏格兰的贵族头衔。substitute：代用品;代替者;代替物;替补(运动员)。
I never saw this great-uncle, but I’m supposed to look like him—with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in father’s office I graduated from New Haven in 1915,just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participatedin that delayed Teutonic migration knownas the Great War.[尼克参加了第一次世界大战，尼克把这个戏谑的称为“条顿民族大迁徙”的延续]I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm centre of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so I decided to go East and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it couldsupport one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if theywere choosing a prep school for me, and finally said, “Why—ye—es,” with very grave, hesitant faces.[prep school：预科学校(美国为准备升入大学者开设的私立学校)] Father agreed to finance me for a year, and after various delays I came East, permanently, Ithought, in the spring of twenty-two.【一九二二年 】。
hard-boiled：不动感情的;不流露情感的。New Haven：耶鲁大学所在地。counter-raid：反击。restless：焦躁不安的;不耐烦的;不满的。ragged edge of the universe：宇宙的荒凉的边缘。bond business:债券生意。
The practical thing was to find rooms in the city, but it was a warm season, and I had just left acountry of wide lawns and friendly trees,so when a young man at the office suggested that we take a house together in a commuting town, it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather-beaten cardboard bungalow at eighty a month月租八十美元, but at the last minute the firm ordered him to Washington, and I went out to the country alone. I had a dog—at least I had him for a few days until he ranaway—and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove.
a weather-beaten cardboard bungalow：风雨剥蚀的木板平房。bungalow：平房;(某些亚洲国家的)平房，独座房屋。
an old Dodge and a Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove：
It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, morerecently arrived than I, stopped me on the road.
“How do you get to WestEgg village?” he asked helplessly.
I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler：引路人、探路者、原住户。
the freedom of the neighborhood：被授予“城市自由”是一项传统的荣誉，这通常是由市长授予某个做过特殊贡献的人。实际上，这并不意味着什么，因为不是天生的“社区自由”，而是被赋予了“社区自由”。
There was so much to read,for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit andinvestment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, [mint:铸币厂]promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. [米达斯（Midas) 一译迈达斯，是希腊神话中的佛律癸亚国王，贪恋财富，求神赐给他点物成金的法术，狄俄尼索斯神满足了他的愿望。最后连他的爱女和食物也都因被他手指点到而变成金子。他无法生活，又向神祈祷，一切才恢复原状。J.P.摩根(1837年4月17日-1913年3月31日):美国银行家、艺术收藏家。盖乌斯·梅塞纳斯:罗马帝国皇帝奥古斯都的谋臣，著名的外交家，同时还是诗人艺术家的保护人。诗人维吉尔和贺拉斯都曾蒙他提携。他的名字在西方被认为是文学艺术赞助者的代名词。]
And I had the highintention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college—one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the “Yale News.”—and now I was going to bringback all such things into my life and become again that most limited of allspecialists, the “well-rounded man.”This isn’t just an epigram—life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, afterall.[ epigram: 诙谐短诗; 警句]
so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air：有很多营养要从清新空气中汲取。a series of very solemn and obvious editorials：一系列一本正经而又平淡无奇的社论。limited of all specialists：事事都略知一二的"通才"。