A neighbor saw the flash and heard the shot go off; but when everything stayed quiet afterwards, he didn’t think anything more of it.
In the morning, around 6, the bellboy knocks on the door; it’s unlocked, he walks in. He finds Werther on the floor, the guns and blood. He shouts, he shakes him; no answer, just the death rattle. The concierge calls 911 and then Albert’s house. Lotte hears the phone ring, her whole body starts to shake. She wakes up her husband, they get up, the concierge tells them the news, bawling and stuttering, Lotte collapses in front of Albert, unconscious.
When the ambulance arrived for him, they found him on the floor, past saving, his pulse was beating, his limbs were all paralyzed. He’d shot himself above the right eye, the skull was blasted open. They hooked him up to oxygen, he was still breathing.
From the blood on the armrest of the chair, it was clear he did it sitting in front of his desk, then sank down and convulsively twisted around on the chair. He was lying helpless with his back against the window, fully dressed, with his shoes on, in a blue jacket and yellow jeans.
The hotel, the neighborhood, the whole town was turned upside-down. Albert came in. They’d laid Werther on the bed, with his head bandaged, his face already like a corpse’s, he wasn’t moving a muscle. His lungs were still rattling violently, weakly now, then stronger; he was close to the end.
He’d only drunk a single glass of the wine. The Great Gatsby was open on his desk.
I’m going to pass over Albert’s devastation and Lotte’s grief.
The old D.A. came running in when he heard the news, he kissed the dying man, crying hot tears. His oldest sons followed him on foot soon after, they collapsed beside the bed with frenzied, painful screams until he was gone and people tore the boys away. Around 12 noon, he died. The presence of the D.A. and his assistants prevented a scene. At night, around 11, he had him buried at the spot he’d chosen. The old man followed the corpse along with his sons, Albert just couldn’t. Lotte had been rushed to the hospital. Farmhands carried him. No priest went with him.