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A young Ernest Hemingway first met Guy Hickok in the early 1920s when they were both acting as foreign correspondents for North American newspapers in Paris. Hemingway, working for the Toronto Star, began what would become an enduring friendship with the good natured Hickok, who was on assignment for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Hickok even provided the inspiration for Hemingway's short story "Che Ti Dice La Patria?" (collected in Men Without Women, 1927). This correspondence is congenial, unrestrained and mildly profane.
"I am a son of a bitch if I have become respectable..." Hemingway in the midst of writing Death in the Afternoon
A remarkable unpublished letter with two original sketches written aboard the S.S. Valendom, 7 May 1931, "The reason I didn't write you about the book is because it is hard enough to write it without writing about it. But listen if you will come down to Madrid you can read it typed in as far as it is to date besides which we could see who can drink and who not and see the bullfights." He also rankles at what must have been an earlier comment of Guy's "I am a son of a bitch if I have become respectable and no later than last winter I was forced to sleep all night on the front porch -not being a good size for Pauline to carry upstairs...." The relating of a drunken stumble into a holy water fount and Spanish villagers spying the "3/4 empty " bottle in the front seat of his convertible provides further evidence.
Hemingway apologizes for his lack of communication, impeded by being seriously injured in a Montana wreck: "I couldn't write then because my arm was still paralyzed. Have only been able to write since 3 weeks. It will be absolutely all right if keep after it. Anyway can shoot, fish and write with it now, but can't sock anybody." Hemingway also provides an ink sketch of his range of motion in the arm and another drawing of his new home in Key West that points out his favorite features, like a "flat roof, see all over town and sea."
The remaining letters were to bring Hickok up to date on various happenings both familial and professional. In the fall of 1930, Hemingway writes of the birth of his son Gregory: "Pauline left last night for Paris. We are going to play the overture in Kansas City, leaving around last of September." A few years later he was more focused on his finances and his career, writing in June of 1935 about the potential serialization of one of his works in Scribner's magazine "I was always suspicious of that syndicate job."
There are frequent references to loans between the two men (Guy more often being the recipient of funds) but Hemingway thanks him for sending $100 when the author was down to $25 in the bank. All apparently unpublished.
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