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To Have And Have Not
by Ernest Hemingway
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First things first: readers coming to To Have and Have Not after seeing the Bogart/Bacall film should be forewarned that about the only thing the two have in common is the title. The movie concerns a brave fishing-boat captain in World War II-era Martinique who aids the French Resistance, battles the Nazis, and gets the girl in the end. The novel concerns a broke fishing-boat captain who agrees to carry contraband between Cuba and Florida in order to feed his wife and daughters. Of the two, the novel is by far the darker, more complex work.
The first time we meet Harry Morgan, he is sitting in a Havana bar watching a gun battle raging out in the street. After seeing a Cuban get his head blown off with a Luger, Morgan reacts with typical Hemingway understatement: "I took a quick one out of the first bottle I saw open and I couldn't tell you yet what it was. The whole thing made me feel pretty bad." Still feeling bad, Harry heads out in his boat on a charter fishing expedition for which he is later stiffed by the client. With not even enough money to fill his gas tanks, he is forced to agree to smuggle some illegal Chinese for the mysterious Mr. Sing. From there it's just a small step to carrying liquor--a disastrous run that ends when Harry loses an arm and his boat. Once Harry gets mixed up in the brewing Cuban revolution, however, even those losses seem small compared to what's at stake now: his very life.
Hemingway tells most of this story in the third person, but, significantly, he brackets the whole with a section at the beginning told from Harry's perspective and a short, heart-wrenching chapter at the end narrated by his wife, Marie. In between there is adventure, danger, betrayal, and death, but this novel begins and ends with the tough and tender portrait of a man who plays the cards that are dealt him with courage and dignity, long after hope is gone. --Alix Wilber
In this harshly realistic, yet oddly tender and wise novel, Hemingway perceptively delineates the personal struggles of both the "haves" and the "have nots" and creates one of the most subtle and moving portraits of a love affair in his oeuvre. In turn funny and tragic, lively and poetic, remarkable in its emotional impact, To Have and Have Not takes literary high adventure to a new level. As the Times Literary Supplement observed, "Hemingway's gift for dialogue, for effective understatement, and for communicating such emotions the tough allow themselves, has never been more conspicuous."
You know how it is there early in the morning in Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by with ice for the bars? Well, we came across the square from the dock to the Pearl of San Francisco Café to get coffee and there was only one beggar awake in the square and he was getting a drink out of the fountain. But when we got inside the café and sat down, there were the three of them waiting for us.
We sat down and one of them came over.
"Well," he said.
"I can't do it," I told him. "I'd like to do it as a favor. But I told you last night I couldn't."
"You can name your own price."
"It isn't that. I can't do it. That's all."
The two others had come over and they stood there looking sad. They were nice-looking fellows all right and I would have liked to have done them the favor.
"A thousand apiece," said the one who spoke good English.
"Don't make me feel bad," I told him. "I tell you true I can't do it."
"Afterwards, when things are changed, it would mean a good deal to you."
"I know it. I'm all for you. But I can't do it."
"I make my living with the boat. If I lose her I lose my living."
"With the money you buy another boat."
"Not in jail."
They must have thought I just needed to be argued into it because the one kept on.
"You would have three thousand dollars and it could mean a great deal to you later. All this will not last, you know."
"Listen," I said. "I don't care who is president here. But I don't carry anything to the states that can talk."
"You mean we would talk?" one of them who hadn't spoke said. He was angry.
"I said anything that can talk."
"Do you think we are lenguas largas?"
"Do you know what a lengua larga is?"
"Yes. One with a long tongue."
"Do you know what we do with them?"
"Don't be tough with me," I said. "You propositioned me. I didn't offer you anything."
"Shut up, Pancho," the one who had done the talking before said to the angry one.
"He said we would talk," Pancho said.
"Listen," I said. "I told you I didn't carry anything that can talk. Sacked liquor can't talk. Demijohns can't talk. There's other things that can't talk. Men can talk."
"Can Chinamen talk?" Pancho said, pretty nasty.
"They can talk but I can't understand them," I told him.
"So you won't?"
"It's just like I told you last night. I can't."
"But you won't talk?" Pancho said.
The one thing that he hadn't understood right had made him nasty. I guess it was disappointment, too. I didn't even answer him.
"You're not a lengua larga, are you?" he asked, still nasty.
"I don't think so."
"What's that? A threat?"
"Listen," I told him. "Don't be so tough so early in the morning. I'm sure you've cut plenty people's throats. I haven't even had my coffee yet."
"So you're sure I've cut people's throats?"
"No," I said. "And I don't give a damn. Can't you do business without getting angry?"
"I am angry now," he said. "I would like to kill you."
"Oh, hell," I told him. "Don't talk so much."
"Come on, Pancho," the first one said. Then, to me, "I am very sorry. I wish you would take us."
"I'm sorry, too. But I can't."
The three of them started for the door, and I watched them go. They were good-looking young fellows, wore good clothes; none of them wore hats, and they looked like they had plenty of money. They talked plenty of money, anyway, and they spoke the kind of English Cubans with money speak.
Two of them looked like brothers and the other one, Pancho, was a little taller but the same sort of looking kid. You know, slim, good clothes, and shiny hair. I didn't figure he was as mean as he talked. I figured he was plenty nervous.
As they turned out of the door to the right, I saw a closed car come across the square toward them. The first thing a pane of glass went and the bullet smashed into the row of bottles on the showcase wall to the right. I heard the gun going and, bop, bop, bop, there were bottles smashing all along the wall.
I jumped behind the bar on the left side and could see looking over the edge. The car was stopped and there were two fellows crouched down by it. One had a Thompson gun and the other had a sawed-off automatic shotgun. The one with the Thompson gun was a nigger. The other had a chauffeur's white duster on.
One of the boys was spread out on the sidewalk, face down, just outside the big window that was smashed. The other two were behind one of the Tropical beer ice wagons that was stopped in front of the Cunard bar next door. One of the ice-wagon horses was down in the harness, kicking, and the other was plunging his head off.
One of the boys shot from the rear corner of the wagon and it ricocheted off the sidewalk. The nigger with the Tommy gun got his face almost into the street and gave the back of the wagon a burst from underneath and sure enough one came down, falling toward the sidewalk with his head above the curb. He flopped there, putting his hands over his head, and the chauffeur shot at him with the shotgun while the nigger put in a fresh pan; but it was a long shot. You could see the buckshot marks all over the sidewalk like silver splatters.
The other fellow pulled the one who was hit back by the legs to behind the wagon, and I saw the nigger getting his face down on the paving to give them another burst. Then I saw old Pancho come around the corner of the wagon and step into the lee of the horse that was still up. He stepped clear of the horse, his face white as a dirty sheet, and got the chauffeur with the big Luger he had; holding it in both hands to keep it steady. He shot twice over the nigger's head, coming on, and once low.
He hit a tire on the car because I saw dust blowing in a spurt on the street as the air came out, and at ten feet the nigger shot him in the belly with the Tommy gun, with what must have been the last shot in it because I saw him throw it down, and old Pancho sat down hard and went over forwards. He was trying to come up, still holding onto the Luger, only he couldn't get his head up, when the nigger took the shotgun that was lying against the wheel of the car by the chauffeur and blew the side of his head off. Some nigger.
I took a quick one out of the first bottle I saw open and I couldn't tell you yet what it was. The whole thing made me feel pretty bad. I slipped along behind the bar and out through the kitchen in back and all the way out. I went clean around the outside of the square and never even looked over toward the crowd there was coming fast in front of the café and went in through the gate and out onto the dock and got on board.
The fellow who had her chartered was on board waiting. I told him what had happened.
"Where's Eddy?" this fellow Johnson that had us chartered asked me.
"I never saw him after the shooting started."
"Do you suppose he was hit?"
"Hell, no. I tell you the only shots that came in the café were into the showcase. That was when the car was coming behind them. That was when they shot the first fellow right in front of the window. They came at an angle like this -- "
"You seem awfully sure about it," he said.
"I was watching," I told him.
Then, as I looked up, I saw Eddy coming along the dock looking taller and sloppier than ever. He walked with his joints all slung wrong.
"There he is."
Eddy looked pretty bad. He never looked too good early in the morning; but he looked pretty bad now.
"Where were you?" I asked him.
"On the floor."
"Did you see it?" Johnson asked him.
"Don't talk about it, Mr. Johnson," Eddy said to him. "It makes me sick to even think about it."
"You better have a drink," Johnson told him. Then he said to me, "Well, are we going out?"
"That's up to you."
"What sort of a day will it be?"
"Just about like yesterday. Maybe better."
"Let's get out, then."
"All right, as soon as the bait comes."
We'd had this bird out three weeks fishing the stream and I hadn't seen any of his money yet except one hundred dollars he gave me to pay the consul, and clear, and get some grub, and put gas in her before we came across. I was furnishing all the tackle and he had her chartered at thirty-five dollars a day. He slept at a hotel and came aboard every morning. Eddy got me the charter so I had to carry him. I was giving him four dollars a day.
"I've got to put gas in her," I told Johnson.
"I'll need some money for that."
"It's twenty-eight cents a gallon. I ought to put in forty gallons anyway. That's eleven-twenty."
He got out fifteen dollars.
"Do you want to put the rest on the beer and the ice?" I asked him.
"That's fine," he said. "Just put it down against what I owe you."
I was thinking three weeks was a long time to let him go, but if he was good for it what difference was there? He should have paid every week anyway. But I've let them run a month and got the money. It was my fault but I was glad to see it run at first. It was only the last few days he made me nervous but I didn't want to say anything for fear of getting him plugged at me. If he was good for it, the longer he went the better.
"Have a bottle of beer?" he asked me, opening the box.
Just then this nigger we had getting bait comes down the dock and I told Eddy to get ready to cast her off.
The nigger came on board with the bait and we cast off and started out of the harbor, the nigger fixing on a couple of mackerel; passing the hook through their mouth, out the gills, slitting the side and then putting the hook through the other side and out, tying the mouth shut on the wire leader and tying the hook good so it couldn't slip and so the bait would troll smooth without spinning.
He's a real black nigger, smart and gloomy, with blue voodoo beads around his neck under his shirt, and an old straw hat. What he liked to do on board was sleep and read the papers. But he put on a nice bait and he was fast.
"Can't you put on a bait like that, captain?" Johnson asked me.
"Why do you carry a nigger to do it?"
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