ALS signed “Ernest,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 5.5 x 7.5, Norddeutscher Lloyd letterhead, April 21, no year but circa late 1920s. Letter to Charles and Lorine Thompson in Key West. In part: “Outside the English Channel is acting like no-man’s land—Bumby and Pat are fine but Pauline’s still sick—The grippe is better though—We land at Boulogne tonight and if we have luck will get the 9 o’clock train to Paris—Spain was fine—The weather was warm and we had a fine afternoon in Vigo. The next morning we were at Coruna and then all the next day along the coast of Spain—Snow still on the tops of the mountains—went ashore at Gijon at night and wandered around the town—then pulled out across the Bay of Biscay and this morning in the English Channel with a northern blowing and a gray mist…Someone has written in pencil on the inside of our wardrobe—The Germans is a wonderful people but this boat is terrible!…Thanks so much for sending the guns—the Tuna have left Vigo they pulled out in January and won’t be back until August—They migrate like Kingfish—How big are your Tarpan now?—Does Waldo still hold the record? You’d need all your thin blood for how cold it is outside now. They took the temperature of the water just now—it was 7.5—in the gulf it was 20 centigrade—It takes a better man than Pappa to figure those into Fahrenheit—but 20 is HOT and 7.5 is DAMN COLD.” Uniform toning and light show-through from writing to opposing sides, otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in his own hand and incorporating his full signature, “Ernest Hemingway” into the return address on the flap.
Hemingway met Charles and Lorine Thompson shortly after moving to Key West in April of 1928. It was Charles who introduced Hemingway to the exciting world of big game sport fishing, and they soon formed an enduring friendship. Known in Key West as ‘The Mob,’ the group of Hemingway’s fishing pals also included his childhood friend Bill Smith, fellow writer John Dos Passos, boat captains Eddie and Burge Saunders, and painters Mike Strater and Waldo Peirce—almost certainly the “Waldo” mentioned in this letter. Writing on one of his favorite countries—his great novels The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls are both set in Spain—and on one of his favorite pastimes, this scarce handwritten letter boasts ideal content on these forces of great influence in Hemingway’s life and work. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.