islamabad – pakistan
a good cafe on the place st-michel
miss stein instructs
'une generation perdue"
shakespeare and company
people of the seine
a false spring
the end of an avocation
hunger was good discipline
ford madox ford and the devil's disciple
birth of a new school
with pascin at the dome
ezra pound and his bel esprit
a strange enough ending
the man who was marked for death
evan shipman at the lilas
an agent of evil
hawks do not share
a matter of measurements
there is never any end to paris
if you are lucky enough to have lived in paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for paris is a moveable feast. —ernest hemingway to a friend, 1950
for reasons sufficient to the writer, many places, people, observations and impressions have been left out of this book. some were secrets and some were known by everyone and everyone has written about them and will doubtless write more. there is no mention of the stade anastasie where the boxers served as waiters at the tables set out under the trees and the ring was in the garden. nor of training with larry gains, nor the great twenty-round fights at the cirque d'hiver. nor of such good friends as charlie sweeny, bill bird and mike strater, nor of andre masson and miro. there is no mention of our voyages to the black forest or of our one-day explorations of the forests that we loved around paris. it would be fine if all these were in this book but we will have to do without them for now.
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.
san francisco de paula, cuba 1960
a good café on the place st-michel
then there was the bad weather. it would come in one day when the fall was over. we would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the place contrescarpe. the leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the cafe des amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside. it was a sad, evilly run cafe where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and i kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the sour smell of drunkenness. the men and women who frequented the amateurs stayed drunk all of the time, or all of the time they could afford it, mostly on wine which they bought by the half-litre or litre. many strangely named aperitifs were advertised, but few people could afford them except as a foundation to build their wine drunks on. the women drunkards were called poivrottes, which meant female rummies. the cafe des amateurs was the cesspool of the rue mouffetard, that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the place contrescarpe. the squat toilets of the old apartment houses, one by the side of the stairs on each floor with the two cleated cement shoe-shaped elevations on each side of the aperture so a locataire would not slip, emptied into cesspools which were emptied by pumping into horsedrawn tank wagons at night. in the summer time, with all windows open, we would hear the pumping and the odour was very strong. the tank wagons were painted brown and saffron colour and in the moonlight when they worked the rue cardinal lemoine their wheeled, horse-drawn cylinders looked like braque paintings. no one emptied the cafe des amateurs though, and its yellowed poster stating the terms and penalties of the law against public drunkenness was as flyblown and...