Chapter 13: Breakthrough

The prosecutor continued. “Meanwhile, you were making your mark. You had arrived in Europe unknown and unpublished, and in a little more than two years, you had become known to important authors and publishers. Your short stories were published in the transatlantic review, an anthology of the best short stories of 1923 was dedicated to you, and by 1924 you had published first Three Stories and Ten Poems, then your little book of word sketches, in our time, which brought you to the attention of critic Edmund Wilson, then Scott Fitzgerald, and then Maxwell Perkins. Please tell the court how this all came about.”

“It came about because I worked like hell.”

“But tell us about these relationships.”

“Scott came across a copy of in our time, and he got religion on Ernest Hemingway as the man of the future. In those days, Scott could tell literature from froth. So he shows in our time to Max, and starts riding him: Contact Hemingway. Get Hemingway now, before he gets famous. He had this idea that Scribner’s ought to corral all the rising stars of our generation. Bear in mind, he and I hadn’t met yet. So Max sends me a letter asking to see any book-length manuscript I might have.”

“And what happened?”

“A comedy of errors, is what happened. Max sends the letter to Paris, but Hadley and I were in Austria, because we could live there cheaper. A few days after Max writes the letter I never get, Boni and Liveright send me a cable from New York, saying they want to publish In Our Time, using the word sketches Bill had published as frames for short stories. Naturally I cabled back, `Delighted accept.’ If I had known how much trouble this was going to cause, I’d have waited. Or if I’d seen Max’s letter. Or if I had been in Paris where communications would have been easier, instead of stuck way the hell up the mountains in the Eastern Kingdom.”

“However, you accepted.”

“Mr. Prosecutor, I didn’t dare not accept. How did I know if I was ever going to get another chance? By March, 1925, I had been trying to make a start as a writer for six years. When you’re 25, six years is your whole adult life.” Glumly: “And then I get back to Paris and I get Max’s second letter.”

“It didn’t occur to you to send Boni and Liveright another cable, you’d changed your mind?”

“I’d already said yes. How could I go back on my word? Besides—“


An angry shrug of the shoulders, like the Frenchman he was for a while. “From them I had the offer of a contract. From Scribner’s, I had an expression of interest. There’s a difference.”

“So you swallowed your reservations and signed their contract. Why wasn’t this a happy ending?”

“Well, it would have been, if they had really published it! First, they wouldn’t accept `Up in Michigan,’ for fear of censorship, and I had to write `The Battler’ to replace it. Having to cut one story and substitute another played hell with the book’s logic and rhythm. And then they butchered the beginning of `Mr. and Mrs. Elliot,’ because they were afraid to print a story that said a married couple were trying to make a baby! For God’s sake, a married couple trying to make a baby, and it’s obscene? That showed me they were timid, and they weren’t going to take any chances for me. And then after that, they printed only 1300 copies, which it took them two years to sell!”

“Is that the publisher’s fault, Mr. Hemingway? Don’t sales depend on what the public wants?”

“You know what sales depend on, besides quality? Publicity. That means reviews, and it means advertising. If the publisher doesn’t advertise, he’s telling the trade he doesn’t really believe in the book. Reviewers maybe hesitate to give it good ink – they always try to be on the right bandwagon – and then maybe the booksellers hesitate to buy it. If it isn’t in the bookstores, and it isn’t reviewed, how’s the public going to know it even exists? And if they don’t know, where’s the demand going to come from? Bone and Liveright didn’t do anything for my book. They put it into print, and then they let it die.”

“Plus they published Sherwood Anderson.”

Long hesitation. “Well, yeah.”

“Your honor, the prosecution recalls Sherwood Anderson to the stand.”


And there he was again, this time looking a few years older, a little sadder. The toll the years took, apparently.

“Mr. Anderson, would you tell the court how the defendant repaid your literary advice, and the advice that got him to Paris, and the introductions that opened the right doors for him?”

Flatly: “He satirized the only bestseller I ever had. They say he did it in order to break his contract with Boni and Liveright, but I think probably also because people were saying his short stories had been influenced by mine, and Ernest couldn’t stand that.”

“And do you think the defendant’s work had been influenced by yours?”

An impatient gesture. “Of course his work was influenced by mine. Every author’s work is going to be influenced by everything he pays attention to. But if you’re meaning to ask, did his work imitate mine, the answer ought to be obvious. He didn’t imitate mine any more than he imitated Turgenev. He tried it on, and he learned from it, and he made it his own. That’s what writers do.”

“Thank you. Mr. Anderson. No further questions.”

“Defense? Cross examination? No? Carry on, Mr. Prosecutor.”

“I’d like to continue with Mr. Hemingway, your honor.”


“You want to grill me on Anderson, I suppose.”

“Since you bring it up. That satire you wrote: Did you read it to others, and did they express opinions about it?”

He sighed again. “Hadley thought it would be a terrible thing to do to Anderson, and anyway it wasn’t particularly funny. Pauline thought it was a scream and by all means I should publish it.”

“And did you write it specifically in order to get out of your contract with Boni and Liveright?”

“Well – I did and I didn’t. I figured, if they accepted it, maybe I could get them to pay enough for it that they would have to get behind it more, not just let it die the way they did In Our Time. I figured to get more attention out of them than I had had so far.”

“You were counting on Scribner’s picking up the book if Boni and Liveright passed on it.”

“I was hoping for Scribner’s, sure. But Harcourt had expressed an interest, and so had Knopf. It wasn’t like I didn’t have options.”

“Mr. Hemingway, did it bother you at all that in order to break that contract, you wrote a brutal satire of Mr. Anderson’s book, the only best-seller he ever wrote?”

A long, long silence, that seemed even longer than however long it was.

“Yeah, I suppose so. I tried not to know it, though.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hemingway, that was an honest answer.”

“Yeah. Wonderful.”

“So you sent the manuscript to Boni and Liveright, and they turned it down.”

“Huh. I kind of figured you’d want to rub my nose in it, about Anderson.”

“Once you become aware of those feelings, we need not discuss them. In any event, they did turn it down.”

“They sent me a cable December 30th saying they were turning it down but they still wanted the novel. I told them to give the manuscript to Don Stewart to hold for me, and I told Stewart to give it to Perkins to look at. And then I decided I’d better go to New York, see what I could do in person.”

“And so you travelled alone, leaving your wife in Austria?”

“Had to. Two tickets to America would have cost too much, and we had sub-let our Paris apartment.”

“All right. And did your journey to New York include a stop in Paris?”

“It did, and yes, Pauline was there. She was busy all day reporting on fashion shows for Vogue, but we made the most of the little time we had.”

“She wasn’t reporting at night, I take it.”

“Your honor—“

“Withdrawn. In any case, Mr. Hemingway, from Paris you made your way to New York in February, and there your professional life changed irrevocably.”

“I’ll say it did. I showed Horace Liveright that by the terms of our contract we were finished, and he was very decent about it. Of course, there’s not much point in a publishing house trying to keep an author who doesn’t want to be with them, but still, he didn’t put any obstacles in my way. In just a few days, I accomplished what I needed to do. I was free of Boni and Liveright, I met Max Perkins, I got a two-book contract with Scribner’s, I had their advance in my pocket, and I had approved Scribner’s mock-up of The Torrents of Spring. Then it was just a matter of getting The Sun Also Rises right, and by March I finisher revising it and submitted it to Max.”

The Sun Also Rises, that made your name a household word: A photograph of the rottenness of postwar society?”

“It was a snapshot of a dark hour in time, not a prediction of a permanent eclipse of the sun. The sun sets, yes, but it also rises! Somehow people didn’t seem to get that. The war had exposed a lot of rotten foundations, and naturally it affected most the people with the shallowest roots, like the Americans and Europeans I described.”

“So, these people that you describe. What ails them? The war?”

“They’re living useless lives, and they feel it even when they don’t know it. Other than Jake and Bill, nobody works. Mike had been a soldier, but now there was no war. Cohn had written a novel, but he wasn’t forced to make a living, and he didn’t have enough self-discipline to make himself work. Brett’s life had no anchor. Maybe if there hadn’t have been a war, Jake wouldn’t have been wounded, but maybe the others wouldn’t have been what they became.”

“Bearing in mind that this trial is always about you as an individual, rather than you as an author, how does all this reflect on you and the life you were leading?”

“Well you know, the whole basis of my life was work. I worked all the time, unless I was giving myself time off. I had Jake say that you had to pay for everything in life, and you paid in different ways. As long as I could work, I could enjoy life as it came to me.”

“Plus, the things you did provided raw material.”

“Well, yes, but don’t carry that too far. I ate breakfast for its own sake, not because someday I might need to describe somebody enjoying breakfast.”

“Let’s talk about Robert Cohn. What was so bad about Robert Cohn?”

He considered how to explain it. “Cohn didn’t follow a man’s code. He was devastated to find that his time with Brent Ashley hadn’t meant anything to her, but he didn’t keep a stiff upper lip. Instead, he remained around the others, and they despised him for letting him see his suffering. He wasn’t a coward, because he could defend himself physically, but he wasn’t acting like a man. He knew he was acting badly, but he couldn’t help himself.”

“But surely Brett Ashley was as bad, with her lack of self-control, and her habitual using of the men who were infatuated with her, and her incessant drinking.”

“But she was a woman, and women weren’t expected to act like a man. And you aren’t giving her much of a break. She cares about somebody she can’t have, which is maybe as close as she ever gets to love. Sure she drinks. What else does she have? Without lust and drink, what’s in it for her? Sightseeing? Using her 35 words to become a writer?”

“All right, she’s unhappy, but she doesn’t go off by herself to be unhappy any more than Robert Cohn does, and nobody blames her for it.”

“Don’t they? Ask the toreros who watch her take up with Romero. Ask Montoya. Among the Spanish, real values prevailed – at least, until a certain point in the festival! That’s another contrast, you see, the healthy responses of the Spanish as opposed to the diseased responses of the others.”

“And Jake cuts himself off from them by pimping her to Romero.”

“Yes he does. It’s an irretrievable step, that it costs him something infinitely precious to him. And that’s the novel, you see. Jake lost, Cohn lost, and Brett lost. Mike didn’t lose because he didn’t have much farther to fall. Bill didn’t lose because he wasn’t all that involved. But they’re all are sort of unsound.”

“Cross-examination? No? Your honor, the prosecution recalls Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway to the stand.”


“Mrs. Hemingway, it is public knowledge that you and the defendant saw each other in the days before he left for New York City, and again after he returned, before he continued on to Austria to rejoin his wife and child.”

“Which gave me the last bit of guilt I needed, Pauline. I’ve always wondered if you had that in mind.”

“You need not answer that, Mrs. Hemingway. This proceeding centers on the defendant. The prosecution would like to discuss the period between the time that you and he fell in love and the time his wife initiated divorce proceedings.”

“That’s painful to remember, for I did like Hadley too, very much. Until I became fixated on Ernest, I looked on her as a sister. If Ernest hadn’t come between us, we would have been friends for life, maybe. She had a sweet disposition, a wicked sense of humor, and she could be a lot of fun.”

“If I hadn’t come between you? If it hadn’t been for me, you never even would have met her.”

“Your honor?”

“Yes, I agree. Please, Mr. Hemingway, allow the questioning to proceed. Before this trial is over, you will have had all the time you require to say anything and everything you wish.”

“All right, your honor. Just so it’s understood that I’m not necessarily agreeing with what she says.”

“I think we have assimilated that fact. Proceed, counselor.”

“Mrs. Hemingway, after Mrs. Mowrer – Mrs. Hemingway, then – returned from Austria, you and your sister invited her to join you on a motoring trip to the south of France. Why did you do that?”

“As I said, Ginny and I liked her. We thought it would be fun.”

“You thought it would be fun to go on a trip with the wife of a man you had secretly slept with, a man you wanted for yourself. Was that really your expectation, that the trip would be fun? Did you have no other motivation, perhaps beneath the level of consciousness?”

“If you can’t figure it out, I’ll be glad to help.”

Angrily: “Always the innocent party!” To the defense attorney: “All right, yes. The deception, the stealth, it was all getting to be too much and I wanted to end the strain of it. But I don’t know what I was thinking. Clear thinking wasn’t very easy at the time. I tried to keep things on the same basis they’d always been, but I couldn’t. I started snapping at her, and she got her feelings hurt. Finally she asked Ginny if there was something going on between Ernest and me, and Ginny told her she thought he and I were very fond of each other. Hadley was no dope, and I suppose she spent the rest of the trip readjusting. She certainly didn’t have much more to say.”

“And after Hadley Hemingway presented you and the defendant with an ultimatum, you returned to your family’s home in Arkansas. Why?”

“I wanted to convince my mother that I wasn’t making a hideous mistake. She thought it was terrible that I was breaking up a marriage –and she didn’t want me involved in a mixed marriage. She thought Ernest was a Protestant, you see.”

“We need to discuss this, the defendant’s religious faith as you experienced it. If he considered himself a Catholic before it came time to marry you, none of his friends knew it. Many people who knew your husband regarded his religious conversion as a gesture of convenience, an easy way to accommodate your family. In light of your years of experience as his wife and as his ex-wife, how would you judge the sincerity and depth of his religious convictions?”

Reflecting: “I think Ernest was a Catholic soul born into a Protestant family. I often saw him moved by a Catholic ceremony, or a Catholic cathedral, or Catholic art, and I never saw him moved by Protestant ceremonies, or churches, or art. If you look at the countries he loved, other than the United States, they were all Catholic countries: Italy, France, Austria, Spain, Cuba. All his ancestors were English, but England didn’t seem to move him, nor Canada. Culturally, he was always Catholic. During the time he and I were married, he went to Mass, he made his Easter duty, he kept the external forms.”

“But afterwards, apparently he didn’t.”

“Emotionally, culturally, spiritually, Ernest was always a Catholic. That doesn’t mean he followed the rules.”

“Defense? No? Thank you, Mrs. Hemingway. The prosecution recalls the defendant.”


“You lost Hadley just about the same time that you were accepted by Scribner’s. The conjunction of the two must have been particularly bitter.”

He said nothing, then felt the words well up within him. “Yes, and I could feel the flagstones breaking under my feet. In Oak Park, when I grew up, people did not get divorced. They might spend their lives in unhappy marriages, even desperately unhappy marriages, but divorce was beyond the pale.”

“But you were in active rebellion against Oak Park’s ways. Was your divorce perhaps a liberation from your own expectations?”

“Maybe it was. Besides Hadley, I was divorcing the romantic image of myself making my way alongside my one true love. No wonder I felt like I was being torn to pieces.”

“I was thinking more of your announcement that you were going to become a Catholic, or rather, already considered yourself a Catholic.”

“It’s true, if Pauline had been one more Protestant, she wouldn’t have represented such a break away from my story about myself, and toward what I really was inside.”

“That’s what we would like you to discuss. Can you tell the court the difference between Catholicism and the Protestant world you had been born into and raised up in?”

“I’m not much good on rheological definitions.”

“This court doesn’t care about definitions. We want to know what drew you to Catholicism.”

A pause. “I was a Catholic emotionally somehow, and that was very real. It isn’t exactly belief, and it isn’t the ritual, although I did like ritual. The fact is, I was exposed to a simple Catholic country at my most impressionable age, and it took, I don’t know why. When it came to theory, to dogma, I was always a very dumb Catholic, as I said. It’s connected with so many things, but I can’t seem to sort them out. It isn’t much clearer to me here than it was in life. It helped me express things I already felt. Or maybe I should say, it helped me feel things I couldn’t feel otherwise.”

He made a gesture, a sort of brushing-back-the-shrubbery gesture, clearing space to think. “It wasn’t the rules, and it wasn’t like I thought the church was God’s perfect instrument on earth. Any institution is going to have internal politics, and if you’ve got politics, you’ve got corruption. And you could see that the upper clergy nearly all came out of the nobility, which meant that you had two churches, really. When I saw what the church was in Spain, I saw why so many people hated it, but the church was also more than that, and I could see it, even if I couldn’t say it.”

“Mr. Hemingway, when you married Pauline Pfeiffer in a Catholic ceremony that implied that your first marriage was invalid, and your son illegitimate, did you really consider yourself a Catholic?”

“Or was I lying about it, you mean? I said I was a Catholic, and I meant it.”

“You told people that in Italy, in 1918, a priest had come among the wounded and dying men, baptizing them, and from that moment you considered yourself a Catholic. But did you ever mention it? In 1918 or 1919?”

“Not directly, I suppose.”

“You suppose. You returned to live in the States for nearly three years. Did you ever mention it to your parents, or your sisters, or Hadley Richardson?”

“There wasn’t any reason to, Mr. Prosecutor.”

“Not even to your fiancée? You didn’t think of this as something she should know? And you were okay with being married in a Protestant church?”

He gave the question some honest thought, then shook his head. “I don’t know if I can explain it to you. I suppose I considered myself a Catholic privately, and it didn’t affect the rest of my life. And when I took up with Pauline, it was just more public.”

“Mr. Hemingway, consider if your draw toward Catholicism has a connection to your fear of death, and your attraction to death.”

He weighed the idea. “Well, I suppose that’s part of it, sure. There’s something in the Catholic way of seeing things that never takes its eyes off the fact that you’re going to die and then what. And yet, Protestants take death seriously. They are certainly aware that there’s going to be a day of reckoning. So, I don’t know.”

“Could your near-death experience in 1918 have something to do with it?”

He considered. “I don’t know. I mean, it showed me that we are souls in bodies, and the people who thought we were nothing more than meat were wrong. And I know I said I considered myself a Catholic from the moment the priest baptized the row of wounded men that included me, but that was just me simplifying things after the fact. Somehow, I felt closer to the Italians than to the people I had grown up among. What I felt in Italy in those few months was very different from the sense of hollowness I experienced in in Protestant America.”

“So might you say your becoming Catholic was your way of reaching out for wholeness?”

He felt for it. “Yes. I think that’s a pretty good way to put it.”

“What about the question of guilt, Mr. Hemingway? What about the sense of sin that often crippled your ability to accept responsibility? What about the overwhelming, suffocating sense of guilt and unworthiness that had you in a continual state of tension, fighting it all the way. Your guilt over the war between your parents, and your father’s distance, and the things that happened with your friends, your father’s suicide, and your relations with various women, and your children’s problems and failures. Did the church help you to bear all that?”

He was surprised that his attorney hadn’t interrupted, but instead said to him, quietly, “Think about what he’s saying, Mr. Hemingway. Find a true response. It isn’t any harder than writing one true sentence.”

So, he thought about it, or rather he sat receptively, waiting for the answer to well up within him.

“I don’t know. Pauline always thought I should take more advantage of confession, but you’d have to be a different kind of Catholic than I was to get much good from it. You’d have to be able to admit to things that I just couldn’t. I can feel a lot of things, all connected, and I don’t know how they all sort out: my near-death experience and my fear of death and yet the lure of death. My connection to something beyond this world, even though I was so alive, that came out in stories. Even my superstitious nature is part of it. I don’t mean the church is a superstition, but somehow Catholicism and superstition and intuition are tied together, somehow.” Another pause. “You know, I felt like something was hollow within me, and I didn’t know how to get at it and fix it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hemingway. Your honor, the prosecution recalls Mrs. Mowrer.”


Chapter 12: Changing Wives

Pauline looked a trim and elegant 30, as she had been in Paris, when he first saw her.

“Mrs. Hemingway, please tell the court how you met the defendant.”

“In 1925 I was working for Vogue magazine, in the Paris office, and one day my sister Jinny and I were visiting Kitty Cannell when Harold Loeb brought Ernest and Hadley home for a drink. Harold had been living with Kitty for several years. He was all excited because he and Ernest were both going to be published by Boni and Liveright, in the same publishing season.”

“And were you and the defendant immediately interested in each other?”

“Not at all. But I did like Hadley. In fact, that’s mainly why Jinny and I paid them a visit, so I could talk to Hadley. When we did, there was Ernest, unshaven, lazing around in the bedroom. I never dreamed I would eventually marry such an uncouth-looking man. But as time went on, I began to see more attractive sides of his character.”

“You came to Paris looking for a husband, and you began to see that I was going to be a big success, and you decided to cut yourself in on it.”

“That is most unfair, and so typical of you to put it all on me! Ask Hadley if it was all my fault that you and I fell in love!”

“Please continue, Mrs. Hemingway.”

“As you can see, Ernest can’t ever bear to be in the wrong. As soon as he knew that he had hurt Hadley, and that he was nonetheless glad to be out of a marriage to a woman who was getting to be middle-aged while he was still young, the burden of guilt became intolerable, so it had to be someone else’s fault.”

“And was I wrong, in this particular instance?”

“You were wrong to put it all on me! Certainly I had my share of the blame. I had the larger share, probably – and I paid for it. But you weren’t an innocent victim, and your need to see it that way caused us a lot of trouble.”

“Mrs. Hemingway, was the defendant abusive to you?”

“Yes, he was.”


“Not at the beginning, but yes, frequently.”

“How would you characterize the defendant’s reaction to you? We are attempting to get an accurate picture of his relationships.”

“I think that during our entire relationship, Ernest had two emotional streams flowing inside him, and sometimes he would be carried away by one and sometimes by the other. He did love me, I know that, and he did show it, in many ways. He did see my good qualities, and he valued them and profited from them. But I think another major current was a sort of a suppressed rage, and the longer we went on, the harder a job it was for him to suppress it.”

“And why would that be, do you suppose?”

And suddenly that old rage was flowing and overflowing within him. His whole life!

“Your honor, I take it that the situation is enabling the defendant to recreate the emotional condition he experienced so often in life. May I pursue the subject with him directly, leaving Mrs. Hemingway on the stand, so to speak?”

“Any objection? Very well, you may proceed.”

“Mr. Hemingway, please describe for the court what you experienced just now. As a writer, you must know that the way to get a better handle on a thing is to express it as exactly as you can.”

A pause. “I was beside myself, watching as the feelings took over. I had no control over them at all.”

“Familiar state of affairs, Mr. Hemingway?”


“And can you see how it is different here?”

“I didn’t really lose control, I don’t know why.”

“The `why’ is because when you were in the body, your brain could only hold so much in consciousness at any given time. Here, that limitation doesn’t apply. Here, there’s always room for more awareness. You understand, these are crude analogies.”

The prosecutor shifted gears. “All right, so you have observed what used to happen. The rage overflowed and, had you been in the body, would have led to consequences of some kind. We recognize that you were obliged to fight to control this rage in many areas of your life, but in the case of Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, what was the rage all about?”

He was surrounded by the rage, and the reasons for the rage, and the results of the rage – but it was curious: He was not in a body, yet his reactions registered as if he were, yet it felt like he had taken a deep breath and he moved from agitation to calmness. Mental habits, presumably, since it couldn’t have anything to do with adrenaline levels. “Okay,” he said. “Everybody here knows all this, but you want me to say it. Okay.”

He looked over at Pauline.

“Our little affair broke my life in two, Pauline. Smashed it. There I was, I wasn’t even thirty, and it was gone.”

“Oh, come on, Ernest. You stayed married to me twice as long as you did to Hadley, and we had two children, not just one. You did some of your best work while you were married to me. Broke your life!”

He shook his head stubbornly. “No. You did. We did, I suppose, but it was you set it in motion.”

“Mr. Hemingway, perhaps you would explain to the court just what you mean.”

“The thing with Agnes hurt, but at least she broke with me. It wasn’t my fault. Finding Hadley was the true happy ending. We were damn happy together. And then came the snake in the garden.”

“Still none of it your responsibility, Ernest. You were just the innocent victim of feminine wiles.”

“Dammit, Pauline, you know what you were doing, and you knew why. You set out to detach me from Hadley, and you succeeded, and then I’d lost my wife, and my son, and my whole life model. I never set out to be a divorced man, let alone a remarried one.”

“But you didn’t mind having sex with another woman.”

He groaned. “No, I didn’t. Of course I didn’t. But that was just me wanting to have my cake and eat it too.”

“You didn’t think life would present a bill.”

“The thinking part of me did, but I wasn’t listening. But you knew, damn you, and you wanted it to happen!”

“Mr. Hemingway, if I understand you, you had an image of what your life was going to be, and suddenly that image was shattered, and you couldn’t go back.”

Quietly, almost mumbling: “That’s right.”

“Your honor, I should like to recall Mrs. Mowrer as well for a moment.” When Hadley appeared, he said, “Mrs. Mowrer, you are aware of the defendant’s testimony. Do you think his break with you did shatter his image of what his life was going to be?”

“I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, but yes, maybe so. I remember him in the streets of Paris, just after we broke apart, wheeling a handcart, carrying some of our household goods to me, crying as he walked along, pushing the cart. I thought then it was remorse and regret and maybe self-pity. But I can see it was what he just said, he was losing an image of himself”

“When I married you, I never intended to be the man who betrayed you and lost you. You know I was always sorry.”

“I did know, Tatie. I do know. But I don’t think I ever realized the bitterness it brought to your life.”

“As Pauline said, life presented the bill.”

The prosecutor said, “Thank you, Mrs. Mowrer,” and she was gone again. “So, Mr. Hemingway, would it be fair to say that when life presented the bill, you blamed Pauline Pfeiffer for running it up?”

His mind was too clear to allow him his former habits. “Yeah, I did. I blamed myself for being stupid, but I blamed her for wanting it to happen. And that way of seeing it wasn’t wrong! She did want it to happen. I was stupid. Our affair did break something that couldn’t ever be fixed up again.”

“Hence the rage.”

“Hence the rage. That wasn’t the only thing I felt, but sure, it was always there somewhere.”

To Pauline: “Mrs. Hemingway? Does this ring true to you?”

“I understand that reaction, but I don’t agree with it. I do think it explains a lot. But that is just the way Ernest dealt with guilt: `This happened, then I naturally responded, so it isn’t really my fault.’”

“Mr. Hemingway? Your judgment now?”

“About what? About lusting after Pauline and falling in love with her and realizing that I had bitched the cleanest, straightest, most dependable part of my life?”

“Your judgment about your part in it. Not Pauline’s part, not Hadley’s. Yours.”

He sighed. “This sure is fun. You know what my judgment is. Hadley was looking a little matronly, and was maybe going to have a hard time keeping up with me in physical activity. I had a sort of half-idea that maybe I had married someone too old for me, but then on the other hand we were so well suited to each other, I didn’t want to lose her. I wanted Hadley and Bumby and the life we were living, and then I started to want Pauline, too, on the side, and I didn’t let myself think about what that was going to do to my life. I was greedy, and I was stupid, and I paid for it. Paid for the rest of my life, because I cut myself off from the path I probably should have stayed on.”

“And – to bring this back to our starting place, you took it out on your second wife?”

Another sigh. “I suppose you could put it like that.”

“Cross examination?”

“No questions, your honor.”

A movement of the prosecutor’s hand, or so it seemed, and Pauline was gone, in the way that cleaner, simpler life he had expected to lead was gone.


Chapter 11: Friendship

There was Loeb, looking as he had looked in the 1920s when they were still friends, playing tennis, traveling. Loeb had worked hard to get him published by Boni and Liveright.

“Mr. Loeb, would you sketch your background for the court?”

Didactically, unconsciously looking down his nose a little, the way he did in Paris: “I was born in 1891, so I was eight years older than Ernest. My father was an investment banker, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb and Co. My mother was a Guggenheim, so you might say that I had all the advantages – other than being Jewish, perhaps. After I graduated from Princeton, I worked on a ranch, then on a railroad, and then finally as a purchaser for a smelting and refining company. When the war came, I enlisted, but the army put me in a desk job in New York because of my eyesight. So, although I got into the army and Ernest didn’t, he got overseas and saw action and I didn’t. Ironic.”

“And after you were discharged, Mr. Loeb?”

“For a while I was co-owner of a bookstore in New York, and then in 1921 I went to live in Rome, and founded Broom to be an international literary and art magazine. After a while, I resigned to do my own writing. I moved to Paris. I met Hemingway in 1924, at Ford’s, at a tea party, of all things.”

“And after you met, you saw a good deal of each other? You played tennis, you went to the fights, you and your lover shared meals with Hadley and him?”

“That’s right.” Peering shortsightedly at the prosecutor, though surely that was only habit: “I wasn’t one of those phonies who spent their time in Paris cafes talking about what they were going to do. I worked, even though I had money and didn’t need to, and Ernest knew it and respected it.”

“After your own novel Doodab was accepted for publication by the New York firm of Boni and Liveright, you pushed them to accept Hemingway’s manuscript of In Our Time.”

“Yes, that’s right. I thought it would be fun for us to have the same publisher and maybe come out in the same season’s list. As they did.” He shrugged. “I didn’t take into account Ernest’s incredibly competitive nature.”

“In October 1924, you took the defendant to meet Boni and Liveright’s European scout, Leon Fleischman. Please tell the court what happened”

Loeb looked uncomfortable. “Fleishman acted like a fool. Here is Ernest, your typical young artist scraping by on very little money. And here is Fleishman, with his expensive clothes, in his expensive suite, laying out drinks and expensive snacks, offering to recommend his manuscript to Boni and Liveright without even looking at it!”

“That was bad? Why wasn’t it good? Why didn’t the defendant see that as a breakthrough?”

“Because even as a breakthrough, it was an insult. It as much as said that Fleishman could get him published sight unseen, merely because he knew him. That may have been true or it may not, but Ernest already suspected that in publishing it wasn’t what you wrote but who you knew, and here was Fleishman confirming it. Patronizing him.”

“How did he respond?”

“He controlled himself until we were out the door. But once we were on the street, he blew up, the way he would. He called Fleishman a goddamned kike.”

“Was he too angry to think about the fact that you were Jewish?”

“You have to understand, when Ernest got in a rage, he didn’t think about anything. He couldn’t think. Whenever the fit was on him, the people around him held their breath, waiting for it to pass, because he was liable to do anything and say anything, no matter how sorry he might be later. And I knew he wasn’t aiming it at me. Kitty thought it proved that he was anti-Semitic. I said that the only thing it proved was that he was mad at Fleishman for patronizing him, which I understood.”

“And it didn’t occur to you that perhaps it was anti-Semitism, Mr. Cohn?”

A tired smile. “Mr. Prosecutor, I had gone to Princeton: I knew all about anti-Semitism. If I was going to refuse to be friends with anybody with that anti-Semitic streak in them, I would have had to limit my friendships to Jews. I didn’t want to set up my own ghetto, I wanted to live in the world.”

“So, even though the defendant called people kikes, you considered him to be a friend?”

“He was a friend.”

“Then how do you explain what happened at Pamplona? And, even more to the point, how do you explain how you became Robert Cohn in The Sun Also Rises?”

Loeb shrugged. “Duff Twysden. Everybody knows the story.”

“We would like to hear the story as you experienced it.”

“Well, in the summer of 1925, Ernest started talking up a trip to Pamplona for the festival of San Fermin. That was something he liked doing, you know, organizing, pulling together a large group of friends, making good times happen. He and I were pretty good friends by that time. We had taken a couple of trips together, and they’d worked out. So this time it was going to be him and Hadley and me, and his friends Bill Smith and Don Stewart. And he invited Duff.”

“Brett Ashley, in his novel.”

“You have to remember, we were so young! I was only a couple of years past thirty, and Ernest was still in his early twenties. I didn’t realize it, but Ernest was lusting after Duff, maybe more than he realized. He knew she was going to be there with Pat Guthrie, sleeping with him. What he didn’t know is that she and I had just had a few secret days and nights together in a town on the French seacoast.” He sighed. “And what I didn’t know was that it hadn’t meant anything to her. Before we left for Pamplona, she sent me a letter warning me that she was coming with Pat, but I thought I could handle it, and maybe I could have managed it, if she hadn’t acted so different.”


“You would have thought she barely remembered who I was.”

“Surely she was in a difficult position.”

“Yes, with Pat there. I recognized that. But she didn’t have to be so –. Well anyway, I always thought Ernest was happily married. And, in fact, he was. But Duff had something tremendously attractive about her, something intoxicating. It wasn’t anything conscious; she just breathed it. I can’t explain it. And the week turned into a nightmare. I’m sure you know about Pamplona during San Fermin. If you don’t, just read The Sun Also Rises. Everybody else did! A solid week of eating and drinking and watching the bullfights and partying and more drinking, and maybe two hours of sleep at a time. The longer it went, the crazier it got. And the crazier it got, the crazier we got.

“The others seemed to be wild about bullfighting, and I wasn’t. I respected the courage of the toreros, and some of the passes, where you couldn’t understand how the bull had missed goring the bullfighter, were unbearably moving and beautiful. Heart-stopping, even. But I didn’t like seeing the horses gored, and for that matter, I didn’t like seeing the bulls killed. That set me apart from them, a little. And then there was the non-stop drinking. I had a reasonable capacity, but I couldn’t keep up, and in their eyes it made me less of a man. And of course the hardest thing was watching Duff flirting with Pat Guthrie, and with Ernest and even with Don and Bill, though that was innocent enough. And all this time she was ignoring me. And Guthrie kept riding me, and then it seemed like all the men were riding me, and Ernest more than any of them. And then Guthrie and Ernest started saying, `Why don’t you go away?’ Maybe I should have. But when I asked Duff if she wanted me to go, she said no, and I hated to leave her with Guthrie. And, after all, it was my vacation too. I had paid my share of the expenses. And I kept thinking, these are my friends. Ernest and Hadley, anyway. This is going to change.”

“And did it?”

A sigh. “Not really.”

“And then he wrote a novel casting you as the villain of the piece.”

“I don’t actually think that Robert Cohn comes across as the villain, you know.”

“In any case, is it your opinion that the defendant secretly hated you, as Jake Barnes said he came to hate Robert Cohn?”

Loeb shook his head. “I would have known. Anybody would have known. Ernest was a good hater, but he was not a good dissimulator. When he hated somebody, everybody around him knew it, whether they wanted to or not.”

“Then how do you account for the unfavorable, unmistakable, portrait?”

“Oh, I think Ernest was mad because he couldn’t have Duff, and he was mad at Hadley for being there so he couldn’t have Duff, and probably he was mad at himself for wanting Duff in the first place, and he was furious with me for having had Duff.”

“But he was not furious with Pat Guthrie. Because Guthrie was not Jewish?”

“Because Guthrie didn’t count. He wasn’t a writer, he wasn’t anything. He was a drunk, and a bad-check artist, not worth Ernest’s powder and shell. Guthrie was sleeping with Duff, well, that wasn’t news; they were supposed to be getting married, sooner or later. The fact that I had gotten her, though – well, Ernest never liked coming in second. That was too much for him, I think.”

“And do you think this explains the anti-Semitism of the books’ narrator, and that of the other characters?”

It was as if Loeb waved a hand in dismissal. “Oh well, that’s just the Jews serving their historical function. Not so much God’s chosen people as humanity’s chosen scapegoats. You will notice that the anti-Semitism didn’t hurt the book’s sales.”

“Mr. Loeb, I recognize that the subject may be painful, but this is important to our inquiry. Would you tell the court how that novel impacted your life?”

Robert Cohn all his life.

Loeb looked at him. “That’s right, Ernest. Robert Cohn all my life.”

“Are you of the opinion that the defendant intended this?”

“I am certain that he did not. No writer expects his first novel to be both a best-seller and a classic, with characters destined to live forever.”

“So that outcome was just a matter of luck?”

“Yes. For me, bad luck.” A flash of humor. “If I had to be skewered, I would have preferred it be in a novel that sold 100 copies and then was forgotten.”

“Mr. Loeb, did the defendant ever try to patch things up between you?”

“Once Ernest wrote you out of his life, he never let you back in. After Ernest left Paris in 1927, I never saw him again.”

Thank you, Mr. Loeb.” Turning to the defense attorney. “Cross-examine?”

“Mr. Loeb, I want to return to Pamplona. You said that the defendant never ceased razzing you. Did matters not come to a head at one point?”

“I think I know what you’re referring to, yes. Ernest pushed me too far, finally, and I challenged him to a fistfight, and we walked outside.”

“And what happened then?”

“I put my glasses in my coat, and I was looking around for a clean place to put my coat while we fought, but there wasn’t one. So Ernest offered to hold my coat, and we both started laughing, and we agreed we didn’t really want to fight, and we went back inside and forgot about it. That’s just the way he was, so mercurial. He’d blow up in an instant and sometimes cool down just as fast. Other times, he’d simmer for days. There was never any way of knowing.”

“Perhaps he had remembered that you were a trained boxer?”

“Really, I don’t think it crossed his mind.”

“So you don’t think it was his way of climbing back from a limb he had climbed too far out on.”

“No, it was just Ernest’s good angel coming back on the job, cleaning up after his bad angel. You saw it all the time, like the note of apology he left me when he and Hadley were leaving town.”

“Can you remember what the note said?”

“Of course. I still have it. I have saved it all my life.” It was as if the piece of paper materialized in his hand. Loeb read it as he had read things in life, with his head tilted a little upward, his eyes directed down, as if he were wearing bifocals. `Dear Harold, I was terribly tight and nasty to you last night and I don’t want you to go away with that nasty insulting business as the last thing of the fiestas. I wish I could wipe out all the meanness and I suppose I can’t but this is to let you know that I’m thoroughly ashamed of the way I acted and the stinking, unjust uncalled-for things I said. So long and good luck to you and I hope we’ll see you soon and well. Yours, Ernest.’”

Yes, he remembered writing that, and he remembered meaning it.

“Did you think the note was sincere?”

“Oh, I never had any doubt about it. That was Ernest, always breaking the china and then having to try to patch things up. Ernest wasn’t really one person at all, but at least two. One part of him still considered me a friend, and another part had turned on me. That apology was written by the part that still thought of me as a friend.”

“Thank you, Mr. Loeb, no further questions.”

“Just one question on redirect, your honor, if you please. Mr. Loeb, if your theory is correct, what happened to the defendant’s good angel afterward? Did the defendant never again remember that you were friends, in all the weeks he spent writing The Sun Also Rises and revising it? Did he never happen to remember, even while reading page proofs?”

“I don’t know. I think that once we were no longer in the same place, the part of himself that liked me went away. He re-wrote his memories.”

“Thank you, Mr. Loeb. Your honor, the prosecution calls Gerald Murphy.”


Gerald was looking as he looked in the twenties.

“Mr. Murphy, in 1921 you and your wife took your three young children to Europe, intending to raise them in France rather than America. Why was that?”

“Our families had disapproved of Sara and me marrying, and we wanted to get away from them. Also, I didn’t want to live my father’s life. I wanted art, not business all the time. We thought that maybe in Europe we could find a fuller life, a less restricted life. American life was all about making money, and getting ahead. Sara and I already had money; we already were ahead. We wanted to learn how to enjoy life, and we thought, who knows the art of living graciously better than the French?”

There he was, leaning forward, trying earnestly to explain. How familiar it was! Somehow the years had taken away how Gerald had really been. He’d rewritten him, somehow.

Looking over at him, Murphy nodded. “Yes, Ernest, you did. I was never the effete playboy you made me out to be, after the fact. And I was always your friend.”

“And so, Mr. Murphy, you moved to Paris, like so many postwar Americans.”

“Yes. This was before the bohemians and would-be artists found it.”

“Mr. Murphy, would you describe your life in France in the twenties for the court?”

His face reflecting a happy time, Murphy said: “First we made ourselves at home with the life of Paris, then we discovered the south of France in the summertime. We liked it well enough that we bought a place on the water at Cap d’Antibes. We called it Villa America.”

“In fact, you are credited with being the man who changed the Riviera from a fashionable winter destination to a summer playground as well. And you made Villa America into a meeting-place for your artistic friends.”

“Painters, writers, others, sure. Ernest, of course, and Scott Fitzgerald, but Picasso and Jean Cocteau and John dos Passos, Archie MacLeish, Dorothy Parker – a lot of them, and not just the ones who were famous. Creative people. This was what we had come to Europe to find. We loved it. We loved them.”

Yes, so much generosity, so thoughtfully concealed, so diffidently provided, as though it was more a pleasure for them to give than it was for the recipient to receive. The time they invited Hadley and Bumby to stay with them, for instance, when he was beginning to break up with her. He’d come to take all that goodwill for granted.

“So the young Murphys were similar to the young Hemingways, in certain respects.”

“In many respects. But of course, there was one difference. Scott and Ernest and the others had to earn their money, and I didn’t.”

“Was that an important difference?”

“I never quite understood why, but yes, it was.”

“That’s because you didn’t have the experience of being on the receiving end, Gerald.”

He looked at him. “Poor relation, you mean? Always the guest and never the host?”

“Yeah. That’s it.”

“How about being on the receiving end of so much instruction? There’s such a thing as being a poor relation that way, too. How many things did you ever let me teach you? And how different was my life from what you were doing, living on Hadley’s trust fund until you could make it on your own?”

That was true, and it hadn’t struck him before, oddly enough. Another readjustment.

“Mr. Murphy, over the years, you often hosted the defendant on the Riviera. When he and Hadley broke up, you let him live in your studio, silently deposited money in his bank account, and in general provided emotional support. Were you surprised, then, to see how unfavorably he characterized you, later in his life?”

A pause. “I was hurt, I admit. But, surprised? Well, Ernest had established a track record by that time.”

He winced, hearing that.

“By this you mean that his friends knew that he could turn on them at any time?”

Murphy frowned, thinking. “You want the whole truth, I gather, not any one truth. With Ernest, you’re going to keep coming back to `yes, but.’ Yes, he could turn on you, but if he didn’t, he could be the best friend you ever had.”

“Would it be fair to say, `he would be your friend as long as he felt he might need you someday?`”

“No it would not. Ask Ezra Pound. Ask Sylvia Beach. Ask all the unknown people he helped anonymously, just because he wanted to help them.”

“All right, Mr. Murphy, but you were as much a friend to the defendant as Ezra Pound was. So was Scott Fitzgerald. John dos Passos. So were a long list of others that he turned on. How do you account for the difference in how he treated different people?”

Hesitation. “I can’t account for it. It would be mere speculation.”

“Speculate for the court, then, if you please.”

“No. I’d rather not.”

“Mr. Murphy, you have stated that you were hurt by the defendant’s rejection after so much generosity and goodwill on your part, yet I have the impression that your own sense of affection toward him remains unimpaired. Why is that?”

“I can’t say. Emotions have their own rules and reasons, I suppose.”

“And you decline to speculate.”

“I decline to speculate, yes.”

“One last thing, then. When you first knew the defendant, he was relatively poor. After he married Pauline Pfeiffer, he began living on a different scale. And of course, after For Whom the Bell Tolls, he was rich and he lived rich. Looking at his lifetime, how would you say that his attitude toward money changed?”

Murphy shrugged. “It didn’t change, as far as I know. Ernest didn’t care about money, as long as he had enough to be able to buy what he wanted.”

The prosecutor seemed to smile. “Couldn’t that be said of anybody?”

“Oh no, not at all. Some people, it’s never enough, either because they’re still climbing, or because they’re terrified that the money will run out some day. Not Ernest, and not Hadley either. It was essentially the same attitude that Sara and I had, except that our income was ample and assured, and theirs wasn’t. But Ernest wasn’t like Scott, running himself deep into debt. He’d borrow when he needed to, like for that Miro painting, but what he borrowed, he repaid, because he never let himself get beyond his depth.”


“Mr. Murphy, did you find that Ernest’s attitude toward people changed as he got older?”

“I no longer knew him as he got older, unfortunately.”

“No further questions, your honor.”


“The prosecution calls Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway.”


Chapter 10: The Literary Game

Now Hadley looked as she looked when they had returned to Europe in 1924, a bit plump, a bit matronly. It was only after he and she separated that she slimmed down, bought new and fashionable clothes.

“Mrs. Mowrer, you and the defendant returned to Paris from Canada in January, 1924, and you took up residence in a cold-water flat across from the sawmill. Given that it was your money you and the defendant were living on, did you ever wish for more of a say in how it was to be spent?”

She considered the question. “It’s the same criticism I heard at the time. Why does Hadley let him make all the financial decisions? Whatever he wants, he buys. Why shouldn’t she? For some reason, I have never been able to get my point of view across. Ernest and I were a team! We went back to Europe with about a thousand dollars to our name, and my trust fund income. We were really staking everything so that he could become a writer. Everything else was secondary.”

“And you didn’t mind the consequent hardships?”

“Hardship is a relative word, Mr. Prosecutor. We economized on the things we didn’t care about and splurged on the things we did care about. Ernest always had a writing room he could go to; I always had access to a piano. And to help me take care of Bumby, we had Marie Cocotte – Marie Rohrbach – who loved him as we did. When we had money, we ate and drank and lived well, and we took long trips or lived in other countries where living was cheaper. When we didn’t, we waited for better times. Remember, in 1924, I was only 32 and Ernest was only 24. Our life wasn’t hardship, it was youthful adventure.”

“Mrs. Mowrer, as we understand it, during your visit to Pamplona in 1924, the defendant raised a scene, repeatedly, in front of your friends, worrying that you might be pregnant again. Was it not at about this time that you discovered that his mood swings had a rhythm of their own, and were not necessarily precipitated by external events?”

She did not react. (And he had seen that combination of expressions before. Apprehension, distress, helplessness….)

“Mrs. Mowrer?”

“You try,” she said. “You think, of course he’s depressed, it would depress anyone – whatever the particular `it’ was. Or you think, he’s so much fun, he bubbles over, aren’t we lucky. But after you’ve taken the ride twice, you can’t help see things, no matter how much you don’t want to. But even then, look what you’re dealing with. This is not an ordinary man, you can’t expect an ordinary life with him. In fact, that was one of the attractions, wasn’t it, that he wasn’t ordinary, that your life wouldn’t be ordinary? He lives so much in his head, making up stories, or finding them, and then doing the work of setting them out in the most effective way. If his highs are higher than other people’s and his lows are lower, maybe that’s just the price of genius. But then you remember his tales of his father, how his father started getting strange, and kept getting stranger, up and down, up and down, and you think, is that what we’re in for?”

Gently, the prosecutor said, “So what did you do?”

“We didn’t do anything, Mr. Prosecutor. We lived our lives and hoped for the best. I tried to give him what he needed, and still be his companion, and take care of Bumby, but as we learned, these things have their own schedule. Good news in the middle of a down cycle might alleviate things a little bit, and bad news in the middle of an up cycle, he’d try to see the bright side. But the cycles had a life of their own, and you could see it if you were willing to.”

“And he was unwilling to see a mental health professional.”

“No. And he and I went our separate ways while he was still in his twenties, so I was spared the worst of it, but he was not.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Mowrer, no further questions. Cross-examination? No? The prosecution recalls the defendant.”


“Mr. Hemingway, practically as soon as you returned to Europe, you wound up as sub-editor of Ford Madox Ford’s newly established transatlantic review. Didn’t Ford hire you on Pound’s recommendation?”

“Yes, it was the kind of thing Ezra did for people all the time, and in this case he knew I had what the transatlantic review needed. Putting out a periodical means handling a million details. Ezra knew I had I edited the Cooperative Commonwealth magazine in Chicago. Plus, every magazine has to find new writers, and Ezra knew I had a good eye for quality writing, because he’d seen what I had learned in the past couple of years. Not so easy to find someone who can do that and is willing to do it without pay.”

“If this was an unpaid position, what was in it for you?”

“Ezra knew how to play the literary game, so he knew that I would make contacts that would be worth their weight in gold. It isn’t enough to be a good writer. You need to get to know the editors of the literary magazines, and the important book reviewers, and other authors who might understand and sympathize with what you’re doing. If your stuff’s no good, publicity isn’t going to help. But if it is good, but people never hear of you, how are you ever going to sell books?”

“Very well, Mr. Hemingway, unless the defense attorney has questions, you may step down. Your honor, the prosecution calls Ford Madox Ford.”


So there was Ford again, after so much time. No sense of vanity, apparently, or else so much vanity that he was impervious to appearance even when appearance was entirely under his control. He still looked like an upended hogshead attached to a walrus mustache.

“Mr. Ford, you were the author of dozens of novels, you wrote poetry and literary criticism, you co-authored three novels with Joseph Conrad, and you assisted scores of young authors, some of whom went on to fame.” That was true: He had lavished care and assistance on young writers, perhaps as much as Ezra had done.

“Yes, and I am remembered only for one novel, The Good Soldier.” Although he had kept the same appearance, he no longer gasped and whispered. Didn’t see any reason to hold on to that, apparently.

“Tell us a bit about the transatlantic review.”

“In 1908 I had founded The English Review, which, I believe I may say without exaggeration, was an important journal. I first published Wyndham Lewis, and Norman Douglas, and D.H. Lawrence, and oh, a long list: Hardy, Conrad, Galsworthy, H.G. Wells, Henry James, W.B. Yeats. In 1924 I decided to do it again, from Paris. And there I met the most important artists working – Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Jean Rhys – and published them all.”

“As well as the work of the defendant.”

“Certainly. Early work, of course, but I saw from the first moment that he was a major talent, bound to succeed, important to the causes we espoused. As an artist, Hemingway was superb.”

“The defendant assisted you in editing the review. Was it a productive working relationship?”

Ford paused, perhaps choosing among possible reactions. “Hemingway as sub-editor of the transatlantic review was a great help in finding contributors and doing various chores, and serving as editor when I had to be absent. But I must say that working with him was an intensely charged experience. Hemingway as editor exhibited character traits that were occasionally – unpleasant.”


“He thought nothing of picking public quarrels for the least of reasons, and he seemed to have no awareness of the effect his blows might have. There was in him a streak almost of savagery, or sadism. A public and gratuitous attack on Tom Eliot, for instance, made in my absence, with no reason for it but jealousy. He could become as spiteful and malicious as any woman.” Ford’s face radiated intensity. “And there was no need! If one is given Hemingway’s talent and his opportunities, what reason does one have to give in to impulses of jealousy? And yet he did, repeatedly.”

“Mr. Ford, the defendant admits that he benefited by being associated with the transatlantic review. Can you tell the court, briefly, how the defendant later repaid you?”

Sadly: “He did what so many others did. He rewrote our history. He ridiculed me whenever he thought it would make a good story.”

He winced, not the first time.

“Thank you, Mr. Ford. No further questions.”

“The defense waives cross-examination, your honor.”

“The prosecution recalls the defendant to the stand.”


“Mr. Hemingway, you are on record as saying that you sat down one day and made a decision, `cold as a snake,’ to become a writer of fiction rather than continuing to be a journalist. Why?”

“Because I wanted to tell the truth about life, and it seemed to me I could either continue to report on events as they played out, or I could use fiction to wake people up to the way things were in the new postwar world.”

“All right, a deliberate decision. Tell the court how you went about becoming a writer of fiction.”

“In those days, your market was the magazines. They brought in the money that kept you going, and they kept your name in front of the public. The things I wrote that weren’t suited for the magazine that paid, I gave away to small literary magazines. No money, but it kept my name out there.”

“So when you returned to Paris in 1924, you began working with Mr. Ford in February you, and in April he published `Indian Camp,’ one of your first stories, and he published a review of your little book of sketches, in our time, that Bill Bird printed.”

“If you are implying favoritism, you picked poor examples. `Indian Camp’ is a classic, as you have to know. And after all, review were what the review was all about.”

“No one is implying favoritism. Would you describe for the court your literary production in the spring of 1924? Now that you were no longer in Canada, how was your writing coming along?”

“Came along great. I wrote eight good stories in our first three months, enough that I could put together my first book of short stories. And the stories kept coming, ten new stories in five months, and good ones. I split “Big Two-hearted River” into two parts, and then I had the book In Our Time, or I thought I did. But Boni and Liveright said I would have to replace `Up in Michigan,’ which they said was obscene, the gutless bastards.”

“Were you, in fact, willing to risk suppression of your first substantial book?”

Grudgingly: “I could see their point. But they were timid. They weren’t willing to take even a little chance. All they cared about was the business end. I had the same struggle with Scribner’s, later, but Scribner’s worked with me, and over the years, little by little, we did make progress.”

“In any case, the fact that you had to find a substitute for `Up in Michigan’ turned out to be a good thing for you, did it not?”

“You mean because I wrote `The Battler’? I guess you could call that a silver lining.”

“Meanwhile, you were responsible for the transatlantic review printing lengthy excerpts from Gertrude Stein’s then unpublished manuscript `The Making of Americans’. You praised her work highly, and shared in the labor of retyping the excerpts. In light of what the two of you would say about each other a few years later, it seems a little bit strange.”

He shrugged. “She changed. When I first knew her, her judgment was unerring. The same critical eye that collected geniuses in painting could see instantly what you were doing wrong, and why.”

“Like Pound.”

“Like Pound when he was right, but Ezra’s judgment was never a hundred percent. Ezra would be exactly on the mark one moment and way off the next. Gertrude, when I first knew her, never missed.”

“Can you give the court a sense of what she taught you?”

Carefully: “You can’t say she taught me, exactly. But when I read Three Lives, I could see how some of the things she did worked. I had fooled with the same things, but I didn’t have the theory behind them, and I didn’t have the example of how powerfully they could be used. Once I saw it in her work, I knew what to work toward.”

“Are you admitting to imitating Gertrude Stein?”

“You know, this trial would go smoother if you were a writer, so you’d know what you were talking about. I didn’t imitate her, any more than I imitated Ezra, or Tolstoy, or Conrad. I learned from her, the way I learned from them, and then I put the power of what I learned behind my own thoughts.”

“But –“

“Can you invent the conscious use of repetition? Can you invent the careful use of participles? Can you patent the idea of using the sounds of words, as well as the meaning? That’s what you’re suggesting, when you say I imitated her. Do you understand? Learning from somebody isn’t the same thing as imitating them. In fact, if you have to imitate them, you haven’t really learned it. Once you learn something, it’s yours, and you use it the same way you use anything else you know.”

“Very well. Defense?”

“Mr. Hemingway, the fall of 1924 was the turning-point in your career, was it not?”

“In retrospect, yes, I suppose so. But I remember it as the beginning of a long dry spell. Between November and July, I was able to write only one story, `The Battler,’ That’s a long time to go without producing anything.”

“But then after the week at Pamplona you began to write The Sun Also Rises. And in October Edmund Wilson reviewed Three Stories And Ten Poems and in our time and called your work `strikingly original.’”

“Praise from Edmund Wilson was starting out at the top. It was the first time anybody in America took official notice of anything I had been doing, and now here was Edmund Wilson praising my work. He got what I was doing, you see, the way he usually got what people were doing. So to have him say that my work had more artistic dignity than anything else that had been written by an American since the war meant something. I still hadn’t sold anything to American magazines. His praise couldn’t have come at a better time. I never forgot it.”

“So, a turning point.”

“All right. But I still had to figure out how to make my career go.”

“The prosecution mentioned your classic short story `Indian Camp.’ Would you please give the court your own understanding of the story?”

The prosecutor said, “Relevance, your honor?”

“Your honor, I suggest that the defendant’s explanation of this story will say more about the one thing he cared most about in life – his ambition to be the greatest writer he could be – than anecdotes about his behavior among others.”

“I’m willing to be instructed. You may answer the question, Mr. Hemingway.”

“I always said if a story had to be explained, either it wasn’t written right or you weren’t reading it right.”

“Yes, but in this case we are delving into the inner Hemingway by way of his literary production.”

“I see.” He thought a long moment. “The point of the story was to make the reader feel what it was like to be young Nick, to feel it as clearly and definitely as if it had happened to him. When you read my stories, remember that every element is in it for a reason, to lead you to an emotion.”

“And in this instance?”

“Nick was only a boy, and he didn’t really understand what he was seeing. He recorded, he remembered, he observed, but he didn’t really understand. The point of the story was to make the reader feel that state of observing and not understanding. Nick knew, but that didn’t mean the knowing was right. Nick went through a charged experience, one he would remember, but the clearest thing in the story is that looking, he saw not. Seeing, he understood not. It’s all right there in the final line, `Nick felt quite sure that he would never die.’

“And all the rest of it –?”

“I didn’t write stories that could be summarized in a word. Another strand to the story was good intentions going astray. The doctor saved the baby and the mother but never thought of the father. George had sympathy but never realized who needed it, and wasn’t able to do anything except help in the operation. The doctor had intended to begin Nick’s education, but he got more than he had bargained for. He was sorry he had gotten Nick involved, but he wasn’t sorry for his lack of sympathy for the mother, not his own unawareness of the effect of someone’s pain on someone else. He didn’t realize that the Indian, who couldn’t get away because of his foot, would be affected by his wife’s screams. The doctor was not a cruel man, but he had turned off his emotional response to do the job he was there to do. But the reason for the story is right there in the final line: `In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, Nick felt quite sure that he would never die.’ He would never die, would never get involved in messy situations, would never be callous or unimaginative, would never cause pain.”

“Thank you,” said the defense attorney. “Let’s look at one more product of your early years, `The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.’ People assumed that this was a sideways swipe at your parents, perhaps your father in particular. Was it?”

Slowly: “If you’re a writer, you take what you know and you try to render it so that it’s truer than the real thing. So you have to intensify and magnify and simplify and clarify, without distorting the subject. The real thing has to be changed, if it is going to have the effect on you that the original emotion had on the author. So how do you do that? You invent. But you invent from who you are and what you know. The plot is one thing. The story is a different thing.

“Either you start by knowing what effect you’re going to try to achieve, or you start with the material and see what kind of effect suggests itself, but either way you go from material to effect by way of invention, and the invention is bounded by what is possible. I could tell a dozen stories from my parents’ lives, and each story might express one aspect of something I’d seen or could imagine. To get to the emotional effect I wanted, starting from that same material, I might have to change the `facts’ a dozen times, to let something happen that would do what I needed. To write truly, I had to take what I knew and put it in such a structure, with such words, that made you see it too.”

“No further questions, your honor.”

Your honor, the prosecution calls Harold Loeb.”


Chapter 9: O Canada

“Mr. Hemingway, in the latter half of 1923 you and your wife left Paris, planning to spend a year in Canada. Why was that?”

“We wanted Hadley to have better childbirth facilities than she would get in France.”

“Mr. Hemingway, I know that is the story you are accustomed to telling yourself, but I ask you now to go beyond automatic responses and remember. When, and why, did you begin to plan to return to North America?”

The impulse was to lash out and say, “I just told you.” Instead, he suspended thought and waited for memories to well up. “Huh! I guess we actually started thinking about it in our first few months in Paris. We thought, we’ll give this another year, and then go to Toronto if I can get on salary there, and save our money and then come back to Paris and be able to work full-time at becoming a writer, instead of always having to interrupt my work to dig up some feature story, or cover some conference.”

“So really it didn’t have anything to do with Hadley becoming pregnant.”

“No, I guess it didn’t.”

“So in August, 1923, you and Hadley moved to Canada and you went to work as a salaried news reporter for the daily Star instead of feature writer for the weekly. How did that work out?”

“You know how it worked out! Everybody does. Instead of John Bone, I had that goddamned Hindmarsh on my ass, making my life hell from the first day.”

“Harry Hindmarsh being the editor of the daily.”

“Editor and son-in-law of the owner and son of a bitch. Ran the place like a feudal estate, with him the baron and the rest of us the peasants. And he had it in for me. He’d give me three or four chicken-shit assignments in t he same day, running me here, there, and everywhere.”

“Your honor, perhaps we could ask Mr. Hindmarsh to take the stand.”

“You may proceed.”

“Will I get to tell the bastard what I think of him?”

“I think he knows, Mr. Hemingway.”


Hindmarsh was sworn in, looking much as he had in 1923.

“Mr. Hindmarsh, in your own summing-up process, your interaction with the defendant will have had its part, even if a somewhat peripheral part. You recall reliving those scenes?”

“Yes I do, how they looked to me at the time and how they looked to the others involved. Not the most comfortable experience, I must say. I didn’t then realize how I appeared to my employees, so I can now understand, a little better, their reactions. But I still say I was not wrong. I was building up a great newspaper in the only way I knew how, and it was a great responsibility. Their livelihood depended upon my succeeding, and I did succeed.”

“Would you tell the court how your relationship to the defendant appeared to you?”

“Hemingway was one of John Bone’s protégés, and before he even set foot in the place, I figured he would have to be taken down a peg. Bone was a good man, and he got good work out of his people, but in my view he gave them too much independence, and the natural result was that his horses rode in all directions. That’s all well and good for a weekly paper; he could juggle the output of his various prima donnas and come up with a viable result. You couldn’t run a daily newspaper that way. A daily requires juggling of a very different sort. You can’t be juggling egos when you are juggling events to be covered. Egos come a long way second.”

“Yours certainly didn’t!”

“Mr. Hindmarsh, the defendant alleges that your treatment of him was harsh, vindictive, and unfair. How would you respond to those charges?”

“I would say that is exactly the view you would expect from someone so self-centered, self-righteous and prone to self-pity. I treated Hemingway the way I treated all my employees. The fact that he didn’t like it doesn’t make my treatment of him unfair. He came into the Star newsroom thinking, perhaps, that because John Bone had been printing his stories from Europe for a year and a half, he had earned special consideration. Well, he hadn’t. Not as far as I was concerned. I saw a man whose newsroom experience consisted of a few months as a cub reporter, and the fact that he left after six months made me question his stability. The only way I knew to determine if he could be a team player was to see if he would work in harness. Events demonstrated that he would not. In Kansas City he lasted six months. In Toronto, he lasted four.”

The prosecutor turned to the defense attorney. “Your witness.”

The defense attorney said, “Mr. Hindmarsh, if you had been the manager of the New York Yankees and you had had Babe Ruth on your roster, would you have treated him as just another member of the team, or would you have given him special consideration?”

“I was not the manager of the New York Yankees. I was the man responsible for producing a great newspaper on a daily basis. And if it was Babe Ruth’s first month on the roster, and the previous month he had been playing in the minor-leagues – why should he expect special consideration? Special consideration should be earned, not bestowed.”

“Says the owner’s son-in-law.”

“Mr. Hindmarsh, in Europe, the defendant had covered various economic conferences as news stories. He was accepted by experienced and well-known journalists in the foreign-correspondent community. Shouldn’t that have lifted him, in your eyes, beyond cub-reporter status?”

“It seems that my point has eluded you as it eluded Hemingway. We knew he could write. We would not have brought him on to the staff if that had been in doubt. The question to be determined was not whether he knew how to write, but whether he could play on a team. In my own past-life review I concluded again, as I had concluded in life, that the best interests of the Star and the best interests of Ernest Hemingway did not lie in the same direction, and it was better for both that they parted when and as they did. Nothing in the record persuades me that it would have gotten better over time.”

“And did you consider that you made me miss the birth of my son by sending me to New York to cover Lloyd George’s visit, and then chewed me out for going to the hospital instead of to the newspaper, when I heard of his birth on my way back?”

“Yes, Mr. Hemingway, I considered that. I do regret that you missed the birth of your son, although I believe he arrived several days earlier than expected. But if you had ever run a newspaper, you would have understood that the needs of the organization have to come before the convenience of any one individual.”

“I suppose I should thank you for one thing: You saved me from wasting a year in Canada. Gertrude was right, another year of journalism would have ruined me as a writer.”

“You are welcome. You will notice that the Star did manage to survive and prosper even without you.”

“No further questions for Mr. Hindmarsh, your honor. May I suggest, if the prosecution doesn’t object, that finish with Canada, by hearing from Morley Callaghan? Mr. Callaghan would be a defense witness, of course.”

“The prosecution has no objection, your honor.”

“Very well.”


Hadn’t seen Morley since the summer of 1929, because of that literary squabble over the boxing match. But that hadn’t been Morley’s fault, and he had thought of him fondly over the years. He’d been a serious writer, a good thinker, a good friend. Looked like he’d picked up quite a bit of weight since then, though!

The defense attorney was smiling, and so was Callaghan. Eavesdropping, so to speak, while Callaghan was getting sworn in.

“Mr. Callaghan, the world knows you as one of Canada’s distinguished authors. But I’d like you to go back to your youth and tell the court what you were doing when you met the defendant.”

“In 1923, I was a 20 year old college boy. I had talked my way onto the staff of the Star as a summer replacement.” Still that distinctive voice, that clear Canadian pronunciation.

“Were you hoping to make journalism a career?”

Callaghan laughed, a well-remembered laugh, long forgotten till now. “No, I assumed I would have to make my living as an attorney. I went after the newspaper job because I was a pitcher on a local baseball team, and two weeks of shifting timber at a local lumberyard had taken the speed off my fastball.”

“Mr. Callaghan, did you find Mr. Hindmarsh harsh and tyrannical, as the defendant did?”

A hesitation, as he weighed his contradictory feelings. “He certainly could be. He was a ruthless, hard-driving newsmen of the old school.”

“Who happened to marry the owner’s daughter.”

“Well, yes, he did, Ernest, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have ability. And he could be kind, too, particularly to people who were down on their luck. He would help them.”

“I never noticed that!”

“I saw him a lot more than you did, and a lot longer. I never hated him the way you did.”

“Mr. Callaghan, you became friends with the defendant. Tell the court how that came about.”

“I had heard of Ernest as our European correspondent, and I couldn’t understand why they had him doing trivial assignments, running him ragged, when he had been was obviously able to do better things. The only thing I knew of him was that my friend Jimmy Cowan, who was one of the deskmen – one of the editors – called him a good newspaperman. Jimmy lent me a copy of Three Stories and Ten Poems to read overnight, and I knew right away, here is a great writer. Nobody in the newsroom agreed with me, but I knew. And this wasn’t loyalty to a friend, you understand. I hadn’t even spoken to him at that point. I think he was there a month before we said our first words to each other.”

“So when did you meet?”

“It was in the early fall. I was back in school, coming into the office three times a week for assignments and writing them up in the Star’s library, and one Wednesday I looked up and he was sitting across the table, and we started to talk.”

“Did you initiate the conversation, Mr. Callaghan?”

“Oh no, I wouldn’t have done that. I was just a college kid. I didn’t know why he wanted to talk to me at all. Still don’t, for that matter.”

“Did he complain about his situation at the Star?”

“He did talk about his disappointment with the way things had worked out. He said he couldn’t write in Toronto, and he could not wait to return to Paris. And of course, from there we got to talking about writing, had I read this, had I read that, and what did I think of this and that. And then he wanted to know if I wrote any fiction, and I said I did, a bit. He wanted to see something I had written, and I said I would bring it to him on Friday. But on Friday I was out of the office, on assignment, so I didn’t see him again until the following Monday.”

“And when he saw you, what did he say to you?”

A reminiscent, rueful smile. “He said why hadn’t I brought the story to read, and he said he just wanted to see if I was another goddamned phony. I said I was retyping it, and I’d bring it next time I was in, and he said, `We’ll see.’ It was extraordinary, really. He had me feeling guilty, for nothing at all.”

“And did you, in fact, bring the defendant a story to read?”

“I did. And he had brought the page proofs for in our time, and said I could read them while he read my story.”

“And what did you think of what you were reading?”

“It could not have been clearer to me, he was a great writer, with a great career in prospect.”

“And what did he say about your story?”

Looking over at him now: “He said, and I’ll never forget it, `You’re a real writer. You write big-time stuff. All you have to do is keep on writing.’ And he said it with such authority, I knew he was right. It was the kind of affirmation everybody needs. He was only there a few more weeks, but every so often I’d come across him in the library and we would talk writers and books. He was so serious about his art, so dedicated. He told me once, a real artist had to feel the same way about his work that a priest did, and I knew he meant it. I could feel it. He gave me a copy of Three Stories and Ten Poems and inscribed it to me `with best luck and predictions,’ and he told me to send stuff as I wrote it. Then he was off to Paris, out of my life until the summer of 1929 when my wife and I went to Paris.”

“Thank you, Mr. Callaghan. I have no further questions at the moment, your honor.”

“Cross-examination? No? That will be all, Mr. Callaghan. Prosecution?”

“No questions, your honor. We come back to Paris, this time, 1924. The prosecution recalls Mrs. Mowrer.”


Chapter 8: Contacts

There was Gertrude, doing what she did best: looking formidable. Strong, heavy, massive. Earth-woman. A face like an Italian peasant, Hadley and he had agreed. She was looking as she looked in 1922, at age 48. Like everyone else so far, she was choosing to appear as she was at the time being discussed. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Well, Gertrude  Stein, 1922 version, knew the truth when she saw it. But later –

“Miss Stein, perhaps we should begin out of sequence. You will have heard the defendant’s thought, just now. Do you know what he meant by it?”

“Hemingway always has strong opinions. He believes that at some time after he first knew me, my judgment became unreliable.”

“I said, after you went through menopause, you went screwy.”

“Miss Stein, the 15 years since you made your transition have given you ample time and opportunity to obtain a more balanced, objective view of your life. From your present perspective, was he correct? Did your judgment in fact become skewed after a certain point?”

He leaned over to the defense attorney. “I thought that in the afterlife there is no time. So what difference would 15 years make?”

The defense attorney looked at the judge, who nodded permission. “If you will forget the term `afterlife’ and think in terms of physical and non-physical, some things will be clearer to you. We are alive here as we were in the 3D, but in different circumstances. There, we could move in space. Here, we can move in time. Time does not cease to exist because we can move through it, any more than Paris ceased to exist when you moved to Key West.”

“So Gertrude has had 15 years to think things over?”

“Yes, and she has been able to see her life from many people’s points of view, including yours. Every time your life and hers touched, she can see, now, what was going through your mind and how things appeared to you in addition to how it appeared to her.”

He absorbed the idea. “So you can get everybody’s point of view. Pretty good conditions for a writer, if you had some way to write it.”

“No reason to assume you won’t be able to write here, Mr. Hemingway.

“Does that mean there’s a typewriter in my future?”

“That will depend on the trial, I think. We’re ready, your honor.”

“You may continue, Mr. Prosecutor.”

“Miss Stein? Was the defendant correct that your judgment become skewed?”

“Perhaps it was more a case of Hemingway disapproving of the conclusions my judgment led me to. Hemingway in the 1930s was not the Hemingway who presented himself at my door in 1922.”

“Tell us a bit about Gertrude Stein in 1922, if you would. Who was she, and why was she important?”

“I was 25 years older than Hemingway. My family was wealthy, and we lived for awhile in Europe, then in California. I was a student of psychologist William James at Radcliffe College, and subsequently, I attended Johns Hopkins Medical School for two years. In 1903, I moved to Paris and lived with my brother Leo, who was an art critic, at 27 Rue de Fleurus.”

“You and he assembled quite a famous private art gallery. An art critic said that you collected geniuses rather than masterpieces.”

“Yes. He meant we saw genius sooner than others did. Beginning in 1904, we began to purchase the works of artists whose work we thought important. We bought Gauguin, and Renoir, and Delacroix. We bought Daumier and Toulouse-Lautrec. Most importantly, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. Soon it came about that many people asked to see our collection, and we did not wish to have to be continually showing our paintings, or refusing to show them, whenever someone came to the door. And so we began our Saturday evening salons, which continued for many years.”

“But it was not for your art collection that the defendant came to 27 Rue de Fleurus, was it?”

“Perhaps he came because Sherwood Anderson said he must come.”

“Yes, but I meant, he came not because of your reputation as a distinguished art collector, but your reputation as a writer.”

“I understood what you meant. What I meant is that perhaps Hemingway had no clear idea what I was doing or why I was the literary world’s entrée into the twentieth century.”

Well, that sounded like the Gertrude he had known.

She smiled. “Perhaps he still does not, even yet.”

“Could you briefly give the court an idea of what it was you were doing with your writing?”

She spread her hands. “I cannot pretend to give the court an education. I wrote as Cezanne painted. Every day, I sat writing under Cézanne’s `Portrait of Madame Cézanne,’ and that portrait helped me to find my style. I looked at that painting, everything structured so carefully, everything related to everything else, everything equally important, not one thing central and another peripheral, and I understood it, and I thought about it, and I gradually came to write in the way he was painting, everything related to everything else.”

The prosecutor paused, as if to absorb this information. “Then, perhaps, a word or two about how you came to begin to write?”

“I began writing at age 30, when I came to Paris in 1904, but little of what I wrote was published before the war. A book on wine. Tender Buttons. Also Three Lives, which received critical acclaim, and which Hemingway made sure to read before sending me Anderson’s letter of introduction.”

“Miss Stein, did you and the defendant get along well when you first knew each other?”

“Hemingway and Hadley asked Alice and me to be godmothers to their child. You don’t ask that of someone if you are not on good terms with them. We were all fond of each other, in those early days.”

He said: “Alice, too?”

“Hemingway, you know Alice was very protective of me. She did not see you as favorably as I initially did.”

“She didn’t see anyone favorably. She was like the NKVD agents I knew later in Spain, always listening, always suspicious, always calculating.”

“NKVD agents aside, Miss Stein, you and the defendant saw a great deal of each other in 1922 and 1923?”

“He traveled, we traveled. But when we both happened to be in the city at the same time, yes.”

“You critiqued his writing?”

“I told him that some of his poems, I liked. His stories showed promise. The novel he was writing, I told him to begin again and concentrate better.”

“Was he receptive to your advice?”

“Of course he was. He was extremely intelligent, and in those days he could still listen. He had read Three Lives, and he began to understand what I was doing. He learned from me the power of repetition, and the power to be found in the careful employment of participles, and the possibilities inherent in the sounds of words, as well as their sense.”

He felt the defense attorney’s hand on his arm, so made no response.

“Would you say the defendant acknowledged your role in his growth as author?”

“Until he succeeded. Then he decided that he had never learned anything important from anyone.”

The defense attorney’s hand was still on his arm.

“Thank you, Miss Stein. No further questions at this time.”


“Miss Stein, in your 1933 book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, you say that you still have a sort spot in your heart for Mr. Hemingway. Can you tell us why that is?”

“Some feelings seem to be beyond our control. Hemingway as a very young man inspired affection in his friends, and perhaps later experience did not lead one to erase the earlier, more attractive memories.”

“So then, would you consider the defendant to have been a good friend?”

“In his early days in Paris, yes.”

“No further questions  at this time.”

“Thank you, Miss Stein. You may step down for the moment. The prosecution recalls Hadley Hemingway Mowrer to the stand.”


“Mrs. Mowrer, soon after your arrival in Paris, you and the defendant became friends with the poet Ezra Pound and his wife Dorothy, is that correct?

“It would be truer to say that Ernest and Ezra became friends. Dorothy and I were friends-by-husband, if I may coin a phrase. She was a dear, pretty Englishwoman, but there was not that spark between us that there was between Ezra and Ernest.” She smiled. “As a matter of fact, there was not that spark between Ernest and Ezra either, not that first time. Ernest was quite put off by Ezra’s wild hair, and his untrimmed goatee, and his open collar, at a time when Midwestern gentlemen always wore ties! Also, Ezra liked to pontificate, and I could see Ernest having to try to be patient.”

“Yet they became friends.”

“You had to give Ezra a little time, but he grew on you. What you noticed at first were the eccentricities and the mannerisms and the vehemence – almost the violence — of his opinions. But with time you learned of his innumerable silent kindnesses to people, his diligent efforts on behalf of artists who didn’t necessarily repay him even with gratitude. And you learned how much scholarship he had made his own, and how deeply he had thought about some things, and how incessantly and well he labored. Ernest learned a lot from him.”

“Also he was willing to box with me. He wasn’t any good at it, but he was willing to look like a fool, trying. He wasn’t setting himself up on a pedestal. I admired that.”

“Mrs. Mowrer, why did Mr. Pound’s success not arouse the defendant’s competitiveness?”

Thoughtfully: “It did, but in a constructive way. Ernest enjoyed him, and they both had the same feeling for writing, and Ernest valued Ezra’s ideas highly. I suppose it was a mentoring relationship.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Mowrer. Unless the counsel for the defense has any questions, you may step down for the moment.”

“No questions, your honor.”

“The prosecution calls Ezra Pound.”


Ezra was living in Italy now, a free man after his long confinement at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. He was an old man – he had to be 75 or so – but he came to the witness stand appearing as he had in 1922, with his hawk’s eyes that missed nothing, and his moustache and goatee, looking every inch the poet he was.

“Mr. Pound, in 1922, at the time you met the defendant, what was your position?”

“Missionary, when the opportunity arose.”

He broke out laughing. That was Ezra.

The prosecutor, however, was not smiling. “Your literary position, if you don’t mind.”

Pound was watching the prosecutor in his old lazy, ironic way. “You mean, I suppose, what did other people think of me and how was I scratching for a living. I was a scout for a couple of avant-garde magazines. I had published a few books of poetry. I had written and published some essays, too many essays. And I had built the bookshelves for Sylvia’s bookstore.”

“Your literary reputation was firmly fixed by 1922, was it not? You got T.S. Eliot’s `Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ published. You got Joyce’s Ulysses serialized. You were a friend of the Irish poet W.B. Yeats and yourself had been a columnist for several literary magazines. You were one of the founders of the Imagist movement. You were the author of the influential book Cathay, and you were the man who edited T.S. Eliot’s `Waste Land’ with what Eliot called `critical genius.’ You were friends with the artists of the Dada and Surrealist schools as well? You coined the term `vorticism’ to describe imagism in the pictorial arts.”

“Guilty on all counts.”

“In 1922 you and the defendant became friends, and remained friends. Is that correct?”

“I’ve heard as much. I suspect it’s true.” Pound made one of his lightning switches to full seriousness. “Hemingway and Archie MacLeish. When you need your friends and they don’t need you and they come through for you anyway, you don’t forget that.” Pound flicked a glance at his old friend, just one, fast, fleeting, catch-it-or-miss-it glance as always. He was happy to have Ezra’s gratitude, but it embarrassed him.

“To remain in 1922, Mr. Pound – how did the defendant appear to you?”

A grin. “A big lovable kid. A tough teddy bear. A volcano, ready to blow.” He stopped. “No, that’s after the fact. At the time, what I saw was this pair of eyes that saw and a pair of ears that listened, and I inferred a mind that wasn’t missing anything going on around him.”

“You found an acolyte.”

An explosive laugh. “Hemingway? Not hardly!”

“Did he not pay careful attention to your opinions, and did he not adopt them in short order?”

“He listened to my literary opinions, and he tried them on, and took what he agreed with. I probably shortened his path, by making some things clear to him that he might not have seen right away. But he wasn’t the man to go anywhere against his judgment. He was always going to go his own way.”

“And did he share your political opinions?”

He sighed. “Look, you know and I know and the whole world knows that I went off the rails in politics. He tried to tell me, over the years, but I wasn’t buying. We just had to agree to disagree. Hell, we did that all the time. Our friendship was never based on politics. He was serious about writing and so was I, and that’s what we had in common and that’s all we needed to have in common.”

“Mr. Pound, this being true, do you think the defendant’s career would have been the same if you and he had not become friends?”

“Of course not. Everybody we pay attention to changes our life. Besides, I’m the man who suggested him to Ford for the transatlantic review.”

“Thank you, Mr. Pound.”


“No questions, your honor.”

“Your honor, the question of how the defendant’s literary contacts led to publication takes us beyond the year 1922, but before we enter into that discussion, we need to explore an incident that happened that December. The prosecution recalls Mrs. Mowrer to the stand.”

Well, he knew what that was about!


“Mrs. Mowrer, we have to touch upon a painful subject.”

“The loss of the manuscripts, I know. That was the worst day of my life, worse even than years later when I found out that Ernest was involved with Pauline.”

“Please tell the court what happened.”

“Ernest was covering the Lausanne Peace Conference for the Star. He had showed one of his best early stories, `My Old Man,’ to Lincoln Steffens, and Steffens had liked it so much that he sent it to a big magazine. So when Ernest wired me to join him in Switzerland, I decided to bring all the work he had done so far, in case he wanted to show Steffens some more. I put them in a valise.” If she had been in the physical world, she might have swallowed. “And somebody stole the valise.”

“Stole it, with all his work to date.”

“All his work, and all the carbon copies of his work! I put it in the railroad car and I only left it for a moment to buy something to eat and drink on the journey, and when I returned to the car it was gone!”

“What did you do?”

“What could I do? I asked the porters, I searched high and low, I gave them our address and asked them to notify us if it was found – but it was gone, and I knew it, and I still had the journey to make, and at the end of it I would have to tell Ernest that in a moment of carelessness I had lost everything he had done all year.” A pause. “That wasn’t a journey I should care to make again.”

“And how did he react when he heard the news?”

“At first he was so concerned because I couldn’t stop crying, and couldn’t tell him what I had done, he just wanted to comfort me and tell me it couldn’t possibly be as bad as all that. And then when I told him, he couldn’t believe it. Surely I hadn’t brought the carbons and the manuscripts, he said, there would be no reason to. And when I told him yes I had, that I thought if he made corrections he might want to make them on the carbons too, or maybe Steffens would want another story to send off, and this way he would still have the carbons to read if he needed to remember something – he got angry and he refused to believe that I’d really done it. He got somebody to cover for him on the conference and took the train to Paris, hoping to find something I’d overlooked, and he did find one thing, but only one. I suppose it was fortunate that when he finally had to admit that all his work was gone, I wasn’t there.”

“Do you mean he might have become violent?”

“Not physically, no. But when Ernest lost his temper he was never responsible for anything he said, and he could say things that stayed with you.”

“And so, when he returned?”

“When he returned, well, he was awfully shaken, the way you would be if your house burned down, and you were thinking of the things you had lost. And he was angry at me for losing them, and trying hard not to keep reproaching me for it, and being reminded every time he saw me. And he took on a sort of grim determination that he was not going to be kept away from his destiny, even by having a valise stolen from a careless wife.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Mowrer. The prosecution recalls the defendant to the stand.”

He turned to the defense attorney. “Don’t we want to cross-examine?”

“No need. Go ahead.”


“Mr. Hemingway, you’ve heard Mrs. Mowrer’s testimony. Would you say her description of your reaction was accurate?”

“As far as she could know it, yes.”

“Was there more, then, that she could not know?”

“Not so much at the time as a few months later. She had lost my manuscripts, well, that was terrible but I knew she hadn’t meant to, and maybe it was the kind of thing that could have happened to anyone. But then just a few months later, she got pregnant, and I was afraid it would be the end of my writing career before it even began. I started to think maybe she couldn’t be trusted to be careful enough. Maybe, for all I know, she didn’t care enough.”

“Did you really think that?”

“I tried not to think it, but it kept sneaking through. And that doesn’t mean that was the end of the good times between us, because it wasn’t. But of course it changed things. I mean, you don’t let a valise out of your sight when it’s filled with things that literally cannot be replaced – not if you care enough about them.”

“But in the event you did replace them.”

“No, Mr. Prosecutor, I did not, and no one can. They’re gone. The work that went into them wasn’t wasted, exactly, because everything that followed built on what I had learned in that first year. But that’s like saying that four out of your five children survived, so the lost child doesn’t matter. It does matter. It can’t be replaced, ever, no matter how many more children you produce.”

“Did it change things between you?”

“I tried not to let it, but it did, sure, it was too important. You have to understand, I was fighting for my life. To become a writer, I was going to have to concentrate and work hard, and I could do that. I needed some luck, and it looked like I was having that, if only in the literary connections I had made so quickly and easily. If I had to scrape by until something hit, I was fine with that. But to lose a year’s work, just when I might need to have things to show to a potential publisher! It was almost unbearable. It really did look like the gods had it in for me. And then, a little later, to realize that I was going to have to be a father, too, with all the financial complications that would bring? It was overwhelming. I tried not to blame Hadley, but it was hard not to.”

“You did not think of having a job and supporting a family as normal life?”

“That’s exactly what I did think, that’s why I was so upset. I didn’t want a normal life. I wanted to be a writer, I knew I only had so much time to break into the racket.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hemingway. Unless the defense has questions, you may step down. No? Your honor, the prosecution calls Robert McAlmon.”


McAlmon had died a few years before, pretty much forgotten. He was choosing to appear as he had been in the twenties, when he was Contact Editions.

“Mr. McAlmon, in 1923, you were 28 years old, living in Paris, married to Annie Ellerman. Before you moved to Europe, you had worked with a young William Carlos Williams on the first four issues of the Contact Review, which helped establish your reputation as a publisher. Then in 1923, you moved to Europe and founded the Contact Publishing Company. Could we say you specialized in publishing avant-garde writers?”

“That depends upon what you mean by avant-garde. It is not enough to do something different merely for the sake of doing something different. You have to be moving in a certain direction, for a certain reason. And that means you have to be working from some theory. I thought this thing that people called literary tradition was hanging in the air without roots, divorced from the reality of the lives people led. I wanted to showcase writers who were working out of their own experience, out of a definite time and place.”

“And is this why, in Paris, you became friends with Irish writer James Joyce?”

Ulysses was firmly placed in contemporary Ireland, and only an Irishman could have written it. I liked that. In fact, I myself typed up the manuscript and edited it. I couldn’t undertake to publish it, though. The legal difficulties were too great.”

“Contact Editions, in its few years of existence, published several authors who went on to become famous.”

“Oh yes. Williams, of course, and Bryher – that was my wife’s nom de plume – and Gertrude Stein. Also Three Stories & Ten Poems, a first book by a man named Ernest Hemingway, which, as everybody knows, became the heart of In Our Time.”

“Yes, and naturally the court is most interested in your relationship with the defendant. Would you explain, please, how you came to be the first man to publish a book by Ernest Hemingway.”

“I suppose you could say it was because Ezra Pound took a trip to the Vatican Library. I had gone down to Rapallo in 1922 to see Pound, but he wasn’t there. Instead, I met this young couple who had also come to visit Pound. Hemingway showed me the two stories he had left after Hadley lost the others, and I told him we could make a little book out of those stories and whatever poetry he cared to add. We shook hands on it, and that’s all the contract we ever had. He added another story, and I got it into print the following summer, the summer of 1923.”

“And before the book came out, you and he went to Spain.”

“That’s right, in June. Hadley was in her fifth month of pregnancy, so she stayed in Paris, but he and I traveled to Madrid together, and Bill Bird met us there, and that trip is when Hemingway discovered the San Fermin festival at Pamplona, and bullfighting in general.”

“The trip did not go altogether smoothly, did it?”

“You had to know how Hemingway was in those days. He was this very sensitive little kid, pretending to be a tough guy, and trying to become a tough guy. And he was so competitive! I thought I was competitive, but I never in the rest of my life met anybody as competitive as he was. He had to be the best. He had to be the expert, the guy who could give you the inside dope. So when he was on your turf, a newcomer somewhere where you already had footing, he had to find some way to put you on the defensive about something else. He needled me all through the trip.”

“Good natured needling? Back and forth?”

“Bill Bird was the most easy-going guy you would want to meet, and he told Hemingway it was too much.”

“But still you published his book.”

“I had said I would, and it was the kind of thing I wanted to publish.”

“No further questions, your honor.”

“Your honor, the prosecution calls Harold Loeb.”

“If your honor please, Mr. Loeb’s testimony will carry us into 1924 and 1925, and perhaps it would be as well to finish discussing the events of 1923.”

“I have no objection, your honor. Perhaps we might put the defendant on the stand, and proceed from there?”

“That’s acceptable to the defense, your honor.”

“Proceed, then.”


Chapter 7: Paris

“Mrs. Mowrer, you arrived in Paris just before Christmas, 1921, and you went immediately to an inexpensive hotel Sherwood Anderson had mentioned. Is that right?”

“Yes. Mr. Anderson was a very kind man, very thoughtful. Then in a few days we found an apartment we could afford, a tiny fourth-floor walk-up on the left bank.”

“Now, Mrs. Mowrer, we know that you had seen Europe with your family, years before, and that you had spent years studying French. Nonetheless, when you found yourself actually there, did you find the reality of the situation a bit overwhelming?”

She stopped for thought, casting her mind back 40 years. She laughed. “That dinner at the restaurant on Christmas night, I suppose.”

“Tell the court about it.”

“It was our first Christmas married, and our first Christmas in Paris, and we thought we would splurge a little bit on a big dinner, but when it came time to pay the bill, we didn’t have enough money! So Ernest had to run back to our apartment to get some more, of course leaving me at the table so it wouldn’t look as if we were trying to skip out on the bill. And there I was, sitting at the table waiting for him to come back, and I thought, my God, he can’t speak French, what if he can’t find the apartment, what if he gets hit by a car, how will I even know, what will we do?” She laughed again. “That would count as overwhelming, I suppose.”

“He didn’t have a word of the language. Is that correct?”

“It was, but not for very long. Ernest picked up the language like a sponge absorbing water. We weren’t in the country a week before he was using street argot that I certainly never came across in my schoolbooks. And I shouldn’t have worried about his not finding our apartment. He had a fabulous sense of direction.  He never got lost in the same place twice. Once a place got located in his mind, it stayed there. I think he could have come back 20 years later and still remember every turning.”

“Was this not a lonely life for you? As we understand it, at the morning meal the defendant wouldn’t speak to you nor let you speak to him, and then would go away for half the day, or perhaps the whole day, to work in a rented room elsewhere. Not much of a life for you, perhaps.”

She laughed. “Compared to what, Mr. Prosecutor? Compared to sitting alone in St. Louis? We were in Paris for him to work, and to teach himself to write. If he needed to be alone with his thoughts in the morning, beginning his work in silent concentration, that was all right with me. And, you know, we were living cheaply, but we rented a piano for me, even though our little two-room flat was much too small for it, so I still had my music. And in maintaining a household, even for two people,  various chores bring one into contact with others. I wasn’t living as a prisoner.” Her face brightened. “And in the evenings, and on the days when Ernest wasn’t working, or when he finished early, we ranged all over the city. And because of the currency situation, we traveled in Germany and Austria and Switzerland and lived even more cheaply than if we had remained in Paris. It was a wonderful time.”

“I see. And when the newspaper began to send him to conferences. Did he suggest that you accompany him?”

“There would be no reason to. We wouldn’t be together anyway, he would be working, and the Star wouldn’t have reimbursed him for my share of the expenses, so it would be just so much lost income.”

“And did you assume that he would be working day and night, Mrs. Mowrer?”

“As opposed to drinking with the other newsmen, you mean? These certainly are the most extraordinary accusations.”

“We’re just attempting to establish the internal facts of your marriage.”

“So I see. Well, no, I was not under the illusion that newsmen spent their spare time in libraries or art museums or church services. I take it that you think I ought to have objected? Well, I didn’t. We didn’t have the term `male bonding,’ in those days, but we knew full well that shared meals build friendships. That’s how Ernest became a member of the club, one might say, all that evening time with his fellow newsmen.”

“Mrs. Mowrer, to this point, you have painted something of an ideal portrait of you and the defendant as young-marrieds. Would you please tell the court what happened in September, 1922, when the weekly Star directed the defendant to proceed to Constantinople to cover the war between Greece and Turkey.”

In the body, perhaps she would have been biting her lower lip. “We quarreled. Obviously we had had disagreements before, in a year of marriage, but this was the first time we found no room for compromise. Ernest was determined to go to Turkey to observe the war, and I was equally determined that he not go. I was afraid that he would get hurt or killed over somebody else’s troubles, just as in 1918. Millions had died of influenza after the war, and millions more would die of typhus and cholera. Perhaps he had used up his luck. And if he were to be incapacitated, or killed, or permanently maimed, where would I be?”

Sure enough, the memories were there, vivid as yesterday. “Hadley, don’t forget `You are being irresponsible.’ Don’t forget `You aren’t really needed, because any number of news reporters can do the job.’”

The prosecutor turned to him. “If I may say so, Mr. Hemingway. this version of your early marriage is somewhat more credible than the one you just finished writing.”

“Your honor!”


“I apologize, your honor. Mrs. Mowrer, was your husband’s physical welfare your only concern?”

“No, there was more to it than that. I had understood that Ernest intended to become a writer, a serious writer. Was he now going to become an ambulance-chaser, heading out to any war he could find?”

“Oh, yes, I remember that one, too! `Is this what I have to look forward to? Are you going to run off to see every war that comes along?’”

“So you put your foot down, and so did he. Tell the court, how did the quarrel resolve itself?”

“It did not resolve itself. When I realized that he was intent on going regardless of my wishes, I refused to speak to him for the three days before he left. Nevertheless, he went.”

“And Mr. Hemingway, you could see that this projected journey of yours was making your wife unhappy. Why did you insist on undertaking it?”

“Well, the Star wanted me to write it up, and they were my only source of income. They were happy with my work, they were printing pretty much everything I sent them. I was John Bone’s fair-haired boy, and I didn’t want to jeopardize that. Plus, it wasn’t going to be that dangerous! I knew I wasn’t going to get hurt, and I knew that Hadley couldn’t judge the situation. Her fears were just fears, weren’t rational.”

“Ernest, I don’t think my fears were so irrational. You did have a pretty miserable time of it, and when you finally returned I had to nurse you back to health.”

“Things happen. But suppose you’d been afraid that I would get run over in the streets of Paris. That happens, too, but you can’t let yourself be afraid of going down the street just to be safe. And anyway, Mr. Prosecutor, you can’t let your wife decide what’s too dangerous and what isn’t. Women want security and men want danger, and they have to find a way to live with the difference. And the way isn’t surrender.”

An indefinable look of satisfaction overcame the prosecutor’s usual careful reserve. “Ah, now we’re getting to it, perhaps. Mr. Hemingway, is it not true that that you entered your marriage determined not to be dominated?”

“You bet. I had watched my mother emasculate my father, and I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.”

“And this was the first time your wife tried to put her foot down.”

“Yeah, I see your point, her trying to tell me I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give in on that. I wasn’t going to let Hadley become Grace Hemingway to my Ed Hemingway! It wouldn’t have been good for either of us if I had let myself replay my father’s life.”

“You couldn’t afford to have her be older and providing money and determining what you would or wouldn’t do professionally.”

“I wasn’t going to be one of these guys who wound up like pet poodles. And anyway, I was still only 23. I was always raring to go, in those days. The Star was going to pay my expenses to go to Turkey! I wasn’t going to pass that up.”

Hadley said: “So you went off on your own, and a drunken cabbie broke the typewriter I gave you, so that you had to get it fixed on the other end of the trip, and you were cold and wet and miserable, and you came home with not only malaria but lice.”

“It was still a successful trip. I learned as much about war there as I ever did in Italy, and the pictures I brought back in my head were central to In Our Time. If I had listened to your fears, I wouldn’t have had any of that.”

“Thank you, both of you. I think this little discussion helps the court to understand the marriage better. Cross-examine?”

“Just one question, I think. Mrs. Mowrer, taking all in all, how would you characterize your marriage during your stay in Paris in 1922 and ’23?”

“We were young and hopeful and happy with each other. We were never as poor as Ernest likes to remember us, and we weren’t quite as unfailingly happy together, either. That’s just life as opposed to memories.”

“Mr. Hemingway, would you agree that your late-life memoir about those years was – unreliable?”

“Life is always more complicated and contradictory than we remember.”

“And even more so when you write those memories out?”

He laughed, a big laugh, reminding himself of how he had been in his prime. “You can’t trust anything a writer tells you. Even if it’s absolutely true, it may have nothing to do with anything that really happened.”

“Thank you. No further questions.”

“Very well, Mr. Prosecutor, your next witness.”

“The prosecution calls Lincoln Steffens.”


Steff. How many years had it been since Steff died? A great newsman, that’s for sure.

“Thank you, Ernest.”

Still on the air, broadcasting everything. Hard to remember.

“Mr. Steffens, when you and the defendant met at the Economic Conference in Genoa, in April, 1922, you were already famous for your years of investigative reporting, is that not so?”

“Yes, that’s right. I was one of the muck-rakers Teddy Roosevelt decried.”

“In 1922, the defendant’s experience, aside from feature articles, was six months as a cub reporter. Did you not consider him to be over his head, covering an economic conference?”

Steff shrugged, that Frenchman-like shrug of his. “Hem was starting from scratch, in a way, yes. But he was so bright and energetic, and he absorbed everything he saw. For two weeks he ate with us and drank with us and listened and learned. In no time, he was part of our crowd.”

“Mr. Steffens, you say `our crowd.’ Besides yourself, who would that comprise?”

“Americans, mostly. Bill Bird, Guy Hickock, Paul Mowrer, George Seldes, Max Eastman, Sam Spewack. George Slocombe from the London Daily Herald, a couple of other Englishmen. We would go our separate ways and then we would be drawn back together for this conference or that conference, as the statesmen tried to reassemble Europe.”

“And the defendant was accepted as if he were a colleague.”

“He was a colleague. By the time he’d been to a couple of conferences, he knew as much as any of us. And you should bear in mind, he wasn’t being paid to compete with the news services on hard news. Hemingway’s job was to provide interesting feature stories, the personal touch.”

“So Mr. Hemingway was accepted as a journalist. And as a writer?”

“He was in a class by himself. He didn’t just talk about writing, he worked at it, every chance he got. I never knew a newsman who didn’t hope to someday write a novel, but anybody could see that Hemingway was going to do it.”

“In other words, you recognized his talent.”

“Maybe then I would have said talent, but now I would say genius. Hemingway used to say that anybody could write if they put enough into it. It will nearly kill you, he used to say, but you can do it. But in his case, it was more than talent. Accomplishing anything requires work, no question. But genius is a gift from the gods, and either you have been given that gift or you haven’t. He had it. Hemingway was going to succeed, and there was no question about it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Steffens. No further questions.”

“Your honor, the prosecution calls Gertrude Stein.”

“Your honor, I suggest that if it will not derange the prosecution, it might be as well to receive testimony from Sylvia Beach before hearing Miss Stein.”

“The suggestion is agreeable to the prosecution, your honor.”

“Very well, The defense may present its witness.”

“I don’t get it. How can you just interrupt the prosecution by throwing in a defense witness?”

The defense attorney glanced at the judge, who nodded permission. “The prosecutor and I are expected to present the positive and negative elements of your life as fully as possible. We are not trying to build to an emotional climax. In fact, the judge would not allow it. So we often mix prosecution and defense presentations.”

“Huh. Strange.”

“Procedures here are adapted to conditions. You’ll get used to it.”


Sylvia appeared in the witness stand, not as she must be in 1961, but as she was when he knew her first, in the 1920s. He had written of her, and not too long ago, that her brown eyes were as alive as a small animal, and as gay as a young girl. He could feel himself grinning again. He couldn’t help it.

“Miss Beach, would you tell the court a little about yourself? You were an American by birth.”

“Yes. But I lived my life in Paris, like so many Americans. And to my surprise, I became the founder and sole proprietor of Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookstore on the left bank.”

“Did Shakespeare and Company not became one of the great meeting-places for American expatriates in Paris in the 1920s?”

“Yes, and in that way I had many friends. It was a lending library, and a reading room, and it became a sort of post office, and sometimes an on-going tea party, and sometimes we sold books. Hemingway bought many books, which I appreciated. He always said he was my best customer, and he was, too.”

“Miss Beach, please tell the court how you came to meet the defendant.”

“Well, you know, I didn’t come to meet him at all! He came to meet me! A few days after Christmas, in 1921, this tall handsome boy appeared and told me that Sherwood Anderson had told him to meet me. Mr. Anderson had come to Paris that springtime, and one day he was walking down the street and he saw his book, Winesburg, Ohio, displayed in a store window, mine. So, he had come in, and introduced himself, and signed copies of his book, and we had had some tea together, and we had become friends, and it seems he went home and recommended me to Hemingway.”

“And a few months later, there was the defendant at your door.”

“Yes, and as it happened, there were no other customers, and so we had a chance to chat. I was the first friend he and Hadley made in Paris, I believe.”

“Do you remember that, when I first introduced myself?”

She turned her sparkling eyes to him. “Could I forget? And you telling me about being wounded in the war, and taking off your shoe and rolling up your trouser leg to show me those terrible scars!” She laughed. “And then telling me all those tall tales about running away from home as a boy, and being a prize-fighter, and fighting with the Italian troops, and being in the hospital for two years, and so many other stories! And I didn’t learn the truth until I innocently repeated them in my little book Shakespeare and Company.” She smiled, with all the affection of a maiden aunt. “You were always a scamp, I think. Part scamp, part saint.”

“Well, maybe we can skip the sainthood part, Sylvia.”

“Yes, that’s you, Mr. Tough Guy. Joyce saw through that, you know.”

The defense attorney said: “Miss Beach, I take it you mean James Joyce, the Irish author.”

“Yes. They became great friends and drinking companions, you know, but that was not for a while. I protected Joyce from people until I was sure of them.”

“And what was your relationships to Joyce?”

“I said to him that I would publish Ulysses. Nobody else dared do it, because if you publish a book that a court deems obscene, the entire edition can be confiscated, and you as publisher are liable to be prosecuted and sent to prison. But I was not a business enterprise with assets to be seized and employees to be threatened. And, as I was in Paris and I intended to remain in Paris, I could trust in French common sense. No Frenchman would initiate such a prosecution. So, I considered myself safe from legal consequences. My problem was to raise enough money by subscription to pay the printing costs. Also to get Joyce to finish revising his manuscript! Eventually I was able to do both.”

“And is it true, as you said in your book, that Ernest Hemingway was responsible for smuggling the book into the United States for you?”

“Yes it is true, only of course we were careful to keep the fact secret. Once Ulysses was finally published, I was responsible for getting the books to the many Americans who had paid in advance while they were in Paris. But how was I to do this? I could not merely put the books in the international mail, because any copy of Ulysses would be confiscated at customs. Hemingway got a friend of his to smuggle them into the United States one by one as he went by ferryboat from Windsor, Ontario to Detroit. Once they were in the United States, they could be mailed to the subscribers, though at a slight risk. Hemingway arranged it as a favor to me and to his friend Joyce.”

“Very well. Would you tell the court, please, your impression of the defendant as he was in the early 1920s.”

“He was a delight, always. He and Hadley both. They would come to see me, and to browse among the books and magazines, and to borrow and to buy and always to share whatever gossip we had about the people we knew. Hemingway loved gossip. And later, after they had that lovely little boy, I remember how he would come in with little Bumby on his shoulders, and Hemingway would read and Bumby would sit just as quiet as a church mouse, and then the two of them would go off to have brioche together, just like a Frenchman and a little Frenchman.”

“Thank you, Miss Beach. That gets us a little ahead of the story. No further questions at this time.”

“Prosecution? Cross examine?”

“Thank you, your honor. I do have a few questions.”


“Miss Beach, it is on the record that you and the defendant became friends and never lost that friendship. How do you account for that?”

“How does anyone account for friendships? You meet, and you say, `This is someone I love.’ It is not something that can be explained. It happens.”

“Would you tell the court your sexual preference? I assure you, it is relevant.”

“But you know the answer. I have lived very happily with my amie, Adrienne Monnier, all my adult life.”

“Miss Monnier owned the bookstore across the street from Shakespeare & Co.”

“Yes, that is correct. A. Monnier’s.”

“And you lived with her, above her shop. Did the defendant know of your sexual preference?”

“In Paris in the 1920s people did not need to pretend to be what they were not.”

“And your sexual preference did not come between the defendant and you?”

Perplexity: “Why should it?”

“Were his opinions on the subject of sexual preference not as strong as they have been reported to have been?”

“I think people do not understand this aspect of Hemingway very well.”

“We would be glad if you would enlighten us on the subject.”

He could see her organizing what she wanted to say.

“When I first met Hemingway, in December 1921, he was very much Mr. Midwest America.” She saw his reaction, and smiled at it. “Oh, he didn’t think so. He thought of himself, already, as a man of the world. He thought, I have been a news reporter, I have lived in Canada, I have been wounded in the war, I have seen bits of France and Italy – but perhaps he didn’t reflect that these were only brief experiences. He wanted to be a hard-bitten sophisticate, but he was still a product of his upbringing. After all, he was only 22 years old! So, he came to Paris with the opinions and the assumptions about life and conduct that he had absorbed growing up. If he had been English, he would have said `some things just weren’t done,’ you know?”

“Mrs. Mowrer said much the same thing about him.”

“With Hemingway you always have to keep in mind that he always started with strong opinions, and yet he always was open to learning new things.” She laughed. “Which would then form the basis for new strong opinions! So, when he came to Paris he thought he knew what normal was and what abnormal was, but it did not take him long to learn that what is normal to one is abnormal to another, and there is no way to say one is right and another is wrong. Instead we learn to say, `that is right for me,’ or `that is wrong for me.’ And there is one thing more you must keep in mind. Hemingway could be quite intolerant in the abstract, but he found it harder to be intolerant one person at a time.”

“You mean, if you did something he disapproved of, but he liked you, he would overlook it.”

A vigorous shaking of her head, no, no, no. (And how well he remembered it!) “No, I mean that Hemingway was always correcting his abstract ideas with specific experiences. I think Hemingway was concerned not with sexual orientation, but with behavior. I think if he approved of someone’s behavior, nothing else mattered, and if he did not approve, then he might seize upon anything else about the person and criticize that fiercely. If you were homosexual and yet he found your actions acceptable, your sexual orientation did not become an issue. Like that bullfighter later, Sidney Franklin. But if you were homosexual and you did something he disapproved of, he might attack not just whatever it was you did, but how you experienced the sex drive. That didn’t mean he was opposed to homosexuals, it just meant that he was lashing out.” A sympathetic glance for him. “And, as much as we loved him, he could lash out.”

“Yes, thank you.”

“But I also want to say, there could be another reason. Some homosexuals made a cause out of their sexual orientation. They adapted certain conventions, and made their own language, and acted in ways that became stereotyped. It was a delicate topic, and not many writers would touch it, but Hemingway did. You can see it in The Sun Also Rises. I never took that as an attack upon homosexuals or lesbians, and neither did Adrienne, and I think neither did Gertrude Stein. If it was an attack, it was an attack upon certain public postures.”

“Thank you, Miss Beach. No further questions, your honor.”

“Defense Attorney? Redirect? No? Very well. Next witness?”

“The prosecution calls Gertrude Stein.”