In honor of the book Hemingway On Hunting, recently re-published and reviewed here soon, below are brief samples and vignettes by the author and famed sportsman. Patrick, his son, has re-edited the original book and leant it a lengthy introduction.
To F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hendaye, France, September 13, 1929:
“Everybody loses all the bloom; we’re not peaches. But that doesn’t mean you get rotten. A gun is better worn and with bloom off. So is a saddle. People too, by God.”
To Janet Flanner, Key West, Florida, April 8, 1933:
“I like to shoot a rifle and I like to kill and Africa is where you do that.”
Hemingway On Hunting, page 4:
“In shooting quail you must never get between them and their habitual cover, once the dogs have found them, or when they flush they will come pouring at you, some rising steep, some skimming by your ears, whirring into a size you have never seen them in the air as they pass, the only way being to turn and take them over your shoulder as they go, before they set their wings and angle down into the thicket.”
Hemingway On Hunting, page 79:
“There was a log house, chinked white with mortar, on a hill above the lake. Behind the house were fields and behind the fields was the timber. A road went up the hills along the edge of the timber and along the road he picked blackberries. Then that log house was burned down and all the guns that had been on deer-foot racks above the open fireplace were burned and afterwards their barrels, with the lead melted in the magazines, and the stocks burned away, lay out on the heap of ashes that were used to make lye for the big iron soap kettles, and you asked Grandfather if you could have them to play with, and he said no. You see, they were his guns still and he never bought any others. Nor did he hunt any more.
The house was rebuilt in the same place out of lumber now and painted white and from its porch you saw the poplars and the lake beyond; but there were never anymore guns. The barrels of the guns that had hung on the deer feet on the wall of the log house lay out there on the heap of ashes and no one ever touched them.”