He goes on to share his health news, "... have gotten blood pressure down to 130 over 60" before remarking on "work work work and fucking work to death" regarding "A book of 4 parts" [Old Man and the Sea]. " The first part is already re-wriiten through 76,496 words. I have to cut and re-write 15,000 more. The second is 35,000 and I maybe can cut it to 25,000. The third is 44,000 and is almost perfect and cannot be cut or re-written at all. The last is 20,000 and is all finished and is the best I ever wrote."
The recent death of Dietrich's mother prompts Hemingway to remark on his complex relationship to his, " My mother died so I know how you feel except you had a better mother than I had. All the money I gave her for a trust fund (that I made from Farewell to Arms) when my father shot himself went to Pauline (someone I was married to) by some technicality."
After much family news on his sons, Hemingway returns to the letter, again addressing to "Dearest Marlene" and directly addressing what likely prompted Marlene's latest letter to begin with: "...I feel truly badly for you to be alone now because we both have been in love enough to know what it is: better than heaven and worse than hell..."
A remarkable and scarce letter. While a group of correspondence between Hemingway and Dietrich exists in an institutional collection, only a single letter has appeared at auction (2 pp. Inviting her to dine with at the Sherry-Netherland and read Across the River and into the Trees. - Sotheby's New York, Jun 17, 2011, lot 30, $19,000).
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