A Dramatic Documentary by Steve Newman.
To give an idea of the style of my 'dramatic documentary' let me quote from Hemingway's preface to his posthumously published memoir, A Moveable Feast...
" If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact."
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Ernest Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald meet and Go On A Trip, Paris 1925
Hemingway and Fitzgerald
Hemingway's memoir, A Moveable Feast, he describes the first
time he met F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Dingo Bar on the rue Delambre
where, as Hemingway describes it, "...a very strange thing
Hemingway was sitting and drinking with some "completely
worthless characters," Fitzgerald came in with a tall young man
who turned out to be the famous baseball pitcher, Dunc Chaplin.
Hemingway was no baseball devotee and had never heard of Chaplin, but
recognised Fitzgerald, and took this chance to introduce himself,
which went something
Fitzgerald, forgive me, but my name is Ernest Hemingway, I am a
me Scott. May I call you Ernest?"
Well, Ernest, this is my friend Dunc Chaplin, who plays baseball and
went to Princeton like me."
Please to meet you..."
Dunc, call me Dunc."
ordered a bottle of champagne.
celebrate my two new friends, one of whom plays baseball better than
I ever did, and I never did, and one who writes better than me, and
that takes some doing."
then went on to explain how he'd come across Hemingway's work in the
newspapers, and a couple of small magazines, and how he genuinely
thought Ernest was the new voice of the 20th century, and had said so
to his editor at Scribner's, Max Perkins, and that
Hemingway's work would outlast his own scribbles.
Fitzgerald's discourse Hemingway observed the famous novelist,
describing how he was a man who looked like a boy with a "...face
between handsome and pretty, and with fair wavy hair, a high
forehead, excited and friendly eyes and a delicate long-lipped Irish
mouth that, on a girl, would have been the mouth of a beauty."
disliked the way Fitzgerald repeatedly kept praising his
[Hemingway's] work, as there was a system in those days that said,
"...praise to the face was an open disgrace." And
although this may sound strange to us in the 21st century, in those
years after the First World War was all too understandable: no one
wanted to be picked out for praise above anyone else. If, in the
fullness of time, your talents grew, and you were seen to be better
than the rest, so be it. But no praise until such times. In a way
this was the rule of the trenches, of warfare, of camaraderie, and
Hemingway realised Fitzgerald had not seen war, therefore could not
know. He was a child in comparison to many, in comparison to himself,
even though he was three years older than Hemingway.
although Hemingway would never say it, he thought Scott Fitzgerald
one of the greatest writers on earth.
recalled that Fitzgerald was lightly built, but not in good physical
shape, with a puffy face, although his expensive Brooks Brothers
clothes fitted him well, and the white button down collar shirt and a
Guards neck-tie looked very smart. In fact Fitzgerald created a style
that would last until the 1960s.
about that Guards neck-tie?
you entitled to wear that tie, Scott? There's an Englishman over
there, an old soldier, who may very well be offended, if he were
took off the neck-tie and threw it into the street, and then
explained that he didn't want to offend anyone - sober or drunk -
over a neck-tie, and anyway he'd bought the thing for half a dollar
in a flea market in Rome in 1919.
alone knows what happened to the owner?"
of them drank their champagne for a while, and no one spoke, which
suited Chaplin because he didn't have a lot to say, not even about
baseball, which he found irritating beyond belief, but was prepared
to put up with it as the money was so good.
you have sex with your wife before you were married, Ernest?"
do you mean, you don't know? Of course you know."
was getting drunk, awfully drunk, and on just three glasses of
champagne. Hemingway realised Scott could not take his drink, that
drink made him ill and turned him into a small, well dressed monster.
don't remember, really Scott. And is it important?"
course it's important."
you say so."
be honest I don't remember if Zelda and I made love before we married
either. I wanted to, but I don't remember. What about you, Dunc?"
could answer Scott Fitzgerald fell off his bar stool.
on, Dunc, we better get him home."
Okay? He looks as if he might be dying?"
drink takes him that way."
drunk who can't take his drink. I saw his face change, the skin
tightening so you could almost see his skull breaking through. Come
on let's get him into a taxi."
did, and three days later, when Hemingway met Fitzgerald again at the
Negre de Toulouse restaurant (now the Restaurant Padova) he reminded him of what had happened at
Don't be stupid, Ernest, nothing happened. I was just tired and went
home. Sick of those damned English you were with too. Damned snobs."
I wasn't with any English, they were on another table. You were with
Dunc Chaplin. Remember?"
Chaplin, the baseball player?"
heard of him. Now, what shall we have to drink before we order?”
Hemingway describes it in A Moveable Feast " ... he asked
me why I liked this café and I told him about it in the old days and
he began to try to like it too and we sat there, me liking it and he
trying to like it, and he asked questions and told me about writers
and publishers and agents and critics and George Horace Lorimer, and
the gossip and economics of being a successful writer, and he was
cynical and funny and very jolly and charming and endearing, even if
you were careful about anyone becoming endearing. He spoke
slightingly but without bitterness of everything he had written, and
I knew his new book must be very good for him to speak, without
bitterness, of the faults of the past books..."
lunch, Fitzgerald told Hemingway how he and Zelda had recently
attempted to motor down to the South of France, but had had to
abandon their small Renault car in Lyon due to the bad weather and
would Hemingway travel with him down to Lyon by train and drive the
car back to Paris with him.
the lunch was going so well, with Fitzgerald not at all badly
affected by the two large whiskies he'd drunk, and because it was
such beautiful spring weather, with the countryside at its best,
Hemingway readily agreed and arranged to meet Fitzgerald the
following morning at the Gare de Lyon to catch the express south.
It had been
a wonderful lunch, with Hemingway's memory of their first meeting at
The Dingo Bar little more than a bad dream.
was at the station very early, waiting outside the main entrance for
Scott, who had agreed to bring the tickets. But with each passing
minute Hemingway became increasingly concerned, and with just five
minutes to go before the train pulled out he bought a second-class
ticket and boarded.
Hemingway mentions in A Moveable Feast he had, in those days,
a very quick temper and would probably have belted Fitzgerald in the
mouth had he turned-up at that moment.
Hemingway's notorious temper soon calmed as he watched the beautiful
countryside and ate a splendid lunch - and drank a bottle of St-
Émilion - in the dining car.
Hemingway arrived in Lyon he wired the Fitzgerald apartment in Paris
explaining which hotel he, Hemingway, was staying in, and pondered on
two facts: one, that he'd never known of a grown man missing a train
before, and two, that he was probably going to learn a great deal
about F. Scott Fitzgerald on this trip, assuming the novelist ever
evening Hemingway received a wire saying that Fitzgerald had
certainly left Paris for Lyon, but no one, including Zelda (who was
in bed with a headache) knew which hotel he was heading for.
Hemingway checked, but no one had seen Fitzgerald arrive in Lyon.
contacted all the good and expensive hotels (Fitzgerald would not
stay in a bad or cheap hotel) but to no avail. There was nothing for
it but to find a cheap restaurant before retiring for a good night's
the restaurant came a bar, where Hemingway drank an apéritif, read
the papers, and met an old man who ate fire and bent coins with his
toothless gums for a living. The two eventually ate in a cheap
Algerian restaurant where the old man told Hemingway many stories of
his life as a fire-eater, bemoaning the fact that young fire-eaters
were ruining his business with trickery and that he would probably
have to give up fire-eating pretty soon. He didn't know how he might
make a living if he did. Hemingway paid for the meal and wished the
old man well and hoped they might meet again.
then made his way back to the three star hotel he could not really
afford, began to read from A Sportsman's Sketches by Turgenev
- a book he'd borrowed from Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co -
before falling asleep half way through chapter two.
following morning Scott Fitzgerald was waiting for Hemingway in the
had refused to come up to Hemingway's hotel room while the latter was
shaving preferring to meet him in reception. Perhaps Fitzgerald felt
guilty about missing the train to Lyon and wanted to meet somewhere
where Hemingway couldn't easily vent his fury over what Hemingway no
doubt saw as very sloppy manners. So F. Scott Fitzgerald settled down
with a newspaper as Ernest Hemingway took a very leisurely shave,
making Fitzgerald wait.
Hemingway at last shook Fitzgerald's hand in the hotel's reception
the author of TheGreat Gatsby said how sorry he was
over the mix-up, and that had he known which hotel Hemingway was
staying in everything would have been simple. Hemingway explained
that he'd phoned the Fitzgerald's apartment in Paris leaving a
message saying which hotel he was staying in, but Fitzgerald insisted
he never received that message, and that Zelda had been dreadfully
unwell anyway and if a message had been left she had probably
said that that was all right, that it really didn't matter and that
he'd enjoyed his first stay for a couple of years in a smart hotel,
and that he'd been able to catch-up on some Turgenev, so everything
was fine and not to worry, and that maybe they should find a small
café where they could have a good breakfast before locating the car
and making their way back to Paris.
thought breakfast was a fine idea but insisted they have it in the
said it would be cheaper and quicker in a good café. But Fitzgerald
was insistent, and as Hemingway describes in A Moveable Feast:
was a big American breakfast with ham and eggs and it was very good.
But by the time we had ordered it, waited for it, eaten it, and
waited to pay for it, close to an hour had been lost."
And it was
while Fitzgerald was paying the bill that he thought it would be a
good idea if the hotel made them up a picnic lunch. Hemingway tried
to argue Fitzgerald out of the idea, saying they could get food on
the way, and a good bottle of Mâcon from Mâcon, or they might stop
at any number of restaurants on the way back to Paris. But Fitzgerald
reminded Hemingway that the latter had recently told him that Lyon
chicken was the best in the world. So Hemingway gave in and the hotel
made them up a superb lunch that took another hour and cost five
times what it would have cost to buy food and wine on the way.
hours had already been wasted Hemingway suggested they have a drink
in the hotel's bar. Fitzgerald said he was not a morning drinker
(although Hemingway could smell booze on his breath) and asked if
Hemingway was. Hemingway told him it depended on how he felt and that
if he felt he needed a drink he'd have one, no matter what the time
of day. Did Fitzgerald want a drink in the hotel's bar or not?
Fitzgerald said yes, a good drink would set them up for the journey,
so they had whiskies and Perrier water in the bar.
and Fitzgerald then argued over who should pay Hemingway's hotel
bill, with Fitzgerald insisting he pay. But in the end Hemingway paid
for his room and the breakfasts and the drinks in the bar. He knew
his credit was good with Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Co, and
that he didn't want to be beholden to Fitzgerald, not now, not ever.
Hemingway in Shakespeare & Co 1920s
a great deal of searching Fitzgerald and Hemingway found the garage
where Fitzgerald had left the car.
was amazed to find the car's roof was missing, and writes in A
Moveable Feast that:
top had been damaged in unloading the car in Marseilles, or it had
been damaged in Marseilles in some manner and Zelda had ordered it
cut away and refused to have it replaced. His wife hated car tops,
Scott told me, and without the top they had driven as far as Lyon
where they were halted by the rain. The car was in fair shape
otherwise and Scott paid the bill after disputing several charges for
washing, greasing, and for adding two litres of oil. The garage man
explained to me that the car needed new piston rings and had
evidently been run without sufficient oil and water. He showed me how
it had heated up and burned the paint off the motor. He said if I
could persuade Monsieur to have a ring job done in Paris, the car,
which was a good little car, would be able to give the service it was
owner then tried to persuade Fitzgerald to have a new roof put on,
pointing out that neither of them had waterproofs and that it looked
like it might rain. Hemingway suggested to Fitzgerald that it might
be a good idea to at least buy waterproofs, but to no avail.
Fitzgerald was now keen to get back to Paris.
intrepid duo squeezed themselves into the tiny Renault, and after
about an hour they were stopped by torrential rain forcing them into
the nearest café. In all, that first afternoon, they were stopped
ten times by rain, and as Hemingway points out in his memoir if they
had had waterproofs they could have motored on pleasantly, instead of
parking under trees every few miles.
spell under a roadside tree the two writers ate the lunch the hotel
in Lyon had prepared for them, which included:
excellent truffled roast chicken, delicious bread and white Mâcon
wine and Scott was very happy when we drank the white Mâconnais at
each of our stops."
In the town
of Mâcon Hemingway bought four more bottles of wine which they drank
as they needed, and Hemingway was delighted to see how much
Fitzgerald was excited by drinking from the bottle, as "...a
girl might be excited by going swimming for the first time without a
the end of the afternoon Fitzgerald had begun to worry about his
health (he was a dreadful hypochondriac), telling Hemingway two
gruesome stories about friends of his who had died of congestion of
the lungs recently through getting wet.
then broke out between the two of them when Hemingway said that his
friends had probably suffered from pneumonia. Fitzgerald then told
Hemingway that he, Hemingway, new nothing about medicine even if his
father had been a doctor, and that congestion of the lungs was a
malady indigenous to Europe, and that Hemingway's father, and
therefore Hemingway, only knew about American diseases. Hemingway
reminded Fitzgerald that his father had studied medicine in Europe as
well as America. But Fitzgerald was having none of it, explaining
that congestion of the lungs was recently new to Europe and
consequently Hemingway's father could not have studied the disease
when he was in Europe back in the 19th century. Hemingway then went
on to explain that doctors from around the world exchanged knowledge,
which meant that most doctors were familiar with most diseases and
that Fitzgerald should stop talking and worrying and drink some more
wine which would make him feel better.
And it did
for a while until Fitzgerald asked Hemingway to head for the nearest
big town because he felt a fever and delirium coming on, which were
the classic signs of European congestion of lungs, and that they must
long before we reach a town?" asked Fitzgerald.
About twenty-five minutes."
was losing his patience.
began to rain heavily and Hemingway pulled the car into a small
roadside café where the two men talked about death - and drank far
too much wine - with Fitzgerald becoming more and more depressed,
especially when Hemingway - in an attempt to put things in
perspective - told Fitzgerald about the death and destruction he'd
seen in Italy during the Great War, and during the Greco-Turkish war,
which Hemingway had covered as a correspondent. It didn't help.
they reached the town of Châlon-sur-Saôn (some 50 kilometres north
of Lyon), booked into a small hotel where Fitzgerald went straight to
bed complaining of a high temperature.
(always the practical one) sent their clothes to be dried, ordered
two whiskey and hot lemonades, took Fitzgerald's pulse and
temperature - which were normal - and ordered a meal for himself.
then asked the Oak Parker to promise him that he would look after
Zelda and their daughter Scotty when he, Fitzgerald, died in the
night. Hemingway told him to drink his whiskey and hot lemonade and
to stop being ridiculous because he wasn't going to die that night,
and that he didn't have a temperature and therefore wasn't going to
get congestion of the lungs, European or any other sort of
argument arose with Hemingway wishing he wasn't wasting so much time
with this lunatic writer and that he'd never agreed to go to Lyon in
the first place.
Fitzgerald began to calm down, and Hemingway knew he couldn't stay
angry with Fitzgerald for long.
also knew that Fitzgerald knew that drunks, in those days, often died
of pneumonia, and that Fitzgerald knew he was a drunk - even if it
only took a couple of drinks. Hemingway knew it was the fear of that
which had brought on the stupidity and the arguments.
on that night F. Scott Fitzgerald insisted that Ernest Hemingway take
his temperature. Hemingway assured him that his temperature was
fine to the touch.
the touch, what good is that?"
your pulse is normal."
want you to get a thermometer and take my temperature properly."
tried to argue Fitzgerald out of the idea, but Fitzgerald used
emotional blackmail by telling Hemingway he couldn't possibly be his
friend if he wouldn't find a thermometer and take his temperature.
in A Moveable Feast, writes:
rang for the waiter. He didn't come and I rang again and then went
down [in his pajamas] to the hallway to look for him. Scott was
lying with his eyes closed, breathing slowly and carefully and, with
his waxy colour and his perfect features, he looked like a little
dead crusader. I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was
the literary life that I was leading, and already I missed not
working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of
every day that is wasted in your life. I was very tired of Scott and
of this silly comedy, but I found the waiter and gave him money to
buy a thermometer and a tube of aspirin, and ordered two [more]
citron pressés and two [more] double whiskies. I tried to order a
bottle of whisky but they would only sell it by the drink."
Hemingway returned to the room he explained to Fitzgerald that he'd
sent out for a thermometer. He then felt Fitzgerald's forehead, which
was cold, but not as cold as the tomb, as Hemingway describes it.
Fitzgerald then argued that sending out for a thermometer was not the
same as bringing one.
describes how you could not be angry with Fitzgerald as you could not
be angry with someone who was crazy. But Hemingway was becoming more
and more angry with himself for having become involved in the whole
waited for the waiter both men fell into silence with Hemingway
finishing of the Mâcon they'd bought earlier, and reading the
newspapers, especially the crime stories which (as Hemingway
explains in A Moveable Feast) in France read like serials, but
explains that you will have needed to have read the first instalment
to know what is going on because, unlike in US papers, they didn't
give summaries. He then goes on to write that the only place to
read such serials is at a café table in Paris, and not sitting on
the bed of a small hotel fifty kilometres north of Lyon with the rain
still lashing down outside as you waited for a waiter to bring a
thermometer for a hypochondriac novelist.
waiter arrived with the drinks he explained that the pharmacy was
closed so he could not purchase a thermometer. Fitzgerald then asked
Hemingway if he had explained to the waiter the urgency of the
situation and had he tipped the waiter enough because waiters,
especially French waiters, only worked for tips, and big tips because
they were all rotten.
said he had and knew that Fitzgerald had no understanding of waiters,
or anyone else who had to work for a living, and wanted to tell him
about how a waiter at the Closerie des Lilas had to cut his moustache
off when that restaurant opened an American Bar, and that he would
have been sacked had he not done so; and how the waiters had become
firm friends of Hemingway, and his friend Evan Shipman, and how those
waiters had loaned Hemingway money in the early days, money they
could not afford to lend, and that you didn't abuse waiters, or taxi
drivers as Fitzgerald did. Hemingway realised that Fitzgerald was a
dreadful snob and a pain in the arse, which is where he wanted to
stick the thermometer if he could get one.
Hemingway read his newspaper Fitzgerald turned on him, as Hemingway
recalled in AMoveable Feast:
You're a cold one, aren't you?"
do you mean, Scott?"
can sit there and read that dirty French rag of a paper and it
doesn't mean a thing to you that I am dying."
you want me to call a doctor?"
I don't want a dirty French provincial doctor."
do you want?"
want my temperature taken. Then I want my clothes dried and for us to
get on an express train for Paris and to go to the American hospital
clothes won't be dry yet, and there aren't any express trains..."
there was a knock on the door. The waiter had returned with a
thermometer - a large bath thermometer with a wooden back and, as
Hemingway describes it, "...enough metal to sink it in the
shook the thermometer down "professionally". Fitzgerald
then asked where that kind of thermometer went. Hemingway hesitated
and then said that it went under the arm and put it under his own
arm. Fitzgerald told him to remove it as it might affect his own
reading. Hemingway then shook it down again and put it under
Fitzgerald's arm where he left it for four minutes.
Aren't you supposed to leave for just one minute?"
replied Hemingway, explaining that it was a big thermometer and that
you had to multiply by four, hoping Fitzgerald would believe him.
So what's the reading?"
Thirty-seven and six-tenths."
insisted Hemingway try it on himself, which he did with the same
asked Hemingway how he felt. Fine, said Hemingway. Well, we can be
happy it cleared up so quickly, replied Fitzgerald, reminding
Hemingway that he'd always had excellent recuperative powers.
insisted on phoning Zelda.
Fitzgerald brightened and told Hemingway how he'd met Zelda and that
this was their first night of separation since they had married,
which Hemingway did not believe.
clothes were dry and pressed they both went down for dinner with
Fitzgerald talking all the while about his novels and where the plots
had come from, and he kept on talking the following day as they drove
to Paris in beautiful sunshine.
finally reached Paris Fitzgerald gave Hemingway the manuscript of his
new book to read, which Hemingway loved and knew that no matter how
badly Scott behaved, which was really a sickness, that Hemingway must
always try and be a good friend.
Some months after their eventful –
and very wet - car journey from Lyon back to Paris in 1925, F. Scott
Fitzgerald invited Ernest Hemingway to lunch at Michaud's restaurant,
which is still situated on the corner of rue Jacob and the rue des
Saints-Pères, and is still very
much the haunt of writers – James Joyce dined there often in the
1920s - or those who want to be writers, and others who think they're
had told Hemingway that he had “something very important” to ask
his fellow novelist and that Hemingway must be totally honest with
According to Hemingway's memoir, A
Moveable Feast, Fitzgerald:
“ ...drank wine at the lunch but it
did not affect him and he had not prepared for the lunch by drinking
before it. We talked about our work and about people and he asked me
about people we had not seen lately. I knew that he was writing
something good and that he was having great trouble with it for many
At the end of the lunch Fitzgerald
reminded Hemingway that he once told him he'd never slept with anyone
but Zelda. Hemingway couldn't remember. At the Dingo Bar? Fitzgerald
prompted. Can't say I can remember, Scott.
Anyway, Fitzgerald went on, Zelda says
I'm no longer any good in bed, was never much good if I wanted to
know the truth, and it's all to do with size, with measurements.
Zelda says I'm too small, down there. Hemingway reminded Fitzgerald
that Zelda was crazy and didn't really know what she was saying most
of the time, and that women usually said such things when they wanted
to control their men, make them impotent and no good to any other
Fitzgerald then asked Hemingway if he'd
take a look at his, you know, and give him his honest opinion as to
Hemingway took Fitzgerald into “The
Office” ( the lavatory) of the Mirchaud and took a good look at
Fitzgerald's you know.
Over a drink a few minutes later
Hemingway told Fitzgerald that his you know was fine, and that it
wasn't the size in repose that mattered but the size when aroused.
"Are you sure, Ernest, you're not just saying that?"
" No, Scott, you're
fine. Come on let's get over to the Louvre and take a look at the
statues there and you'll see what I mean."
" You see I have this young
woman whose interested in me," said Fitzgerald, "and if my measurements
are no good I shall feel, well you know?"
" Do whatever the young woman
wants, Scott, you'll be fine, you'll see."
So they went to the Louvre and
Fitzgerald seemed convinced.
and Hadley had come to Paris in 1922 so they could live more cheaply
on Hadley's $8,000 inheritance, and hopefully give Ernest a chance to
develop his writing skills and become the great novelist he knew he
could, and more importantly, should be. He introduced
himself, with the help of Anderson's letter, to Gertrude Stein who
lectured him (while her lover and secretary, Alice B. Toklas, fed
Hadley tea and cakes in a separate room) on what it was to be a
writer, on what it was to be a painter, to be a musician, to be a dancer,
to be, to be.
all repetition, Hemingway, all repetition, remember that.” And
Hemingway did remember, and knew, when he looked at Stein's
impressive collection of Cezannes, and Monets, and Picassos, that he
wanted to write the way they had painted and were painting: with a
clarity, and a vision, and with all the colours and the smells and
the tastes, and, and, well everything.
In 1920 Ernest
Hemingway lived his bachelor life at 1230 North State Street, Chicago, until he
was offered an apartment 100 East Chicago Street. Many of the
apartments were occupied by writers, including Hadley Richardson's friend, Kate
Smith, who later married John Dos Passos. Another of the
apartments was occupied by the painter, Kenley Smith, and it was when Kate
Smith invited Hemingway to a party in Kenley's apartment, that he spotted
Hadley Richardson - a young woman he'd seen playing the piano at a recital some
years before. The couple hit it
off immediately, and both of them soon realised they had met the person they
wanted to marry. Maybe both saw in
the other the renegade in themselves and a kindred spirit. They both had a love
of literature, art, and music, and were looking for a secure place to deposit
their emotions. But they were also bursting with sexual desires and
frustrations. Hadley was eight
years older than Hemingway and a woman who, at first sight, was of …