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Chapter 9

       The Ledoux-Kid Francis fight was the night of the 20th of June. It was a good fight. The morning after the fight I had a letter from Robert Cohn, written from Hendaye. He was having a very quiet time, he said, bathing, playing some golf and much bridge. Hendaye had a splendid beach, but he was anxious to start on the fishing-trip. When would I be down? If I would buy him a double-tapered line he would pay me when I came down.

       That same morning I wrote Cohn from the office that Bill and I would leave Paris on the 25th unless I wired him otherwise, and would meet him at Bayonne, where we could get a bus over the mountains to Pamplona. The same evening about seven o'clock I stopped in at the Select to see Michael and Brett. They were not there, and I went over to the Dingo. They were inside sitting at the bar.

       "Hello, darling." Brett put out her hand.

       "Hello, Jake," Mike said. "I understand I was tight last night."

       "Weren't you, though," Brett said. "Disgraceful business."

       "Look," said Mike, "when do you go down to Spain? Would you mind if we came down with you?"

       "It would be grand."

       "You wouldn't mind, really? I've been at Pamplona, you know. Brett's mad to go. You're sure we wouldn't just be a bloody nuisance?"

       "Don't talk like a fool."

       "I'm a little tight, you know. I wouldn't ask you like this if I weren't. You're sure you don't mind?"

       "Oh, shut up, Michael," Brett said. "How can the man say he'd mind now? I'll ask him later."

       "But you don't mind, do you?"

       "Don't ask that again unless you want to make me sore. Bill and I go down on the morning of the 25th."

       "By the way, where is Bill?" Brett asked.

       "He's out at Chantilly dining with some people."

       "He's a good chap."

       "Splendid chap," said Mike. "He is, you know."

       "You don't remember him," Brett said.

       "I do. Remember him perfectly. Look, Jake, we'll come down the night of the 25th. Brett can't get up in the morning."

       "Indeed not!"

       "If our money comes and you're sure you don't mind."

       "It will come, all right. I'll see to that."

       "Tell me what tackle to send for."

       "Get two or three rods with reels, and lines, and some flies."

       "I won't fish," Brett put in.

       "Get two rods, then, and Bill won't have to buy one."

       "Right," said Mike. "I'll send a wire to the keeper."

       "Won't it be splendid," Brett said. "Spain! We _will_ have fun."

       "The 25th. When is that?"


       "We _will_ have to get ready."

       "I say," said Mike, "I'm going to the barber's."

       "I must bathe," said Brett. "Walk up to the hotel with me, Jake. Be a good chap."

       "We _have_ got the loveliest hotel," Mike said. "I think it's a brothel!"

       "We left our bags here at the Dingo when we got in, and they asked us at this hotel if we wanted a room for the afternoon only. Seemed frightfully pleased we were going to stay all night."

       "_I_ believe it's a brothel," Mike said. "And _I_ should know."

       "Oh, shut it and go and get your hair cut."

       Mike went out. Brett and I sat on at the bar.

       "Have another?"


       "I needed that," Brett said.

       We walked up the Rue Delambre.

       "I haven't seen you since I've been back," Brett said.


       "How _are_ you, Jake?"


       Brett looked at me. "I say," she said, "is Robert Cohn going on this trip?"

       "Yes. Why?"

       "Don't you think it will be a bit rough on him?"

       "Why should it?"

       "Who did you think I went down to San Sebastian with?"

       "Congratulations," I said.

       We walked along.

       "What did you say that for?"

       "I don't know. What would you like me to say?"

       We walked along and turned a corner.

       "He behaved rather well, too. He gets a little dull."

       "Does he?"

       "I rather thought it would be good for him."

       "You might take up social service."

       "Don't be nasty."

       "I won't."

       "Didn't you really know?"

       "No," I said. "I guess I didn't think about it."

       "Do you think it will be too rough on him?"

       "That's up to him," I said. "Tell him you're coming. He can always not come."

       "I'll write him and give him a chance to pull out of it."

       I did not see Brett again until the night of the 24th of June.

       "Did you hear from Cohn?"

       "Rather. He's keen about it."

       "My God!"

       "I thought it was rather odd myself."

       "Says he can't wait to see me."

       "Does he think you're coming alone?"

       "No. I told him we were all coming down together. Michael and all."

       "He's wonderful."

       "Isn't he?"

       They expected their money the next day. We arranged to meet at Pamplona. They would go directly to San Sebastian and take the train from there. We would all meet at the Montoya in Pamplona. If they did not turn up on Monday at the latest we would go on ahead up to Burguete in the mountains, to start fishing. There was a bus to Burguete. I wrote out an itinerary so they could follow us.

       Bill and I took the morning train from the Gare d'Orsay. It was a lovely day, not too hot, and the country was beautiful from the start. We went back into the diner and had breakfast. Leaving the dining-car I asked the conductor for tickets for the first service.

       "Nothing until the fifth."

       "What's this?"

       There were never more than two servings of lunch on that train, and always plenty of places for both of them.

       "They're all reserved," the dining-car conductor said. "There will be a fifth service at three-thirty."

       "This is serious," I said to Bill.

       "Give him ten francs."

       "Here," I said. "We want to eat in the first service."

       The conductor put the ten francs in his pocket.

       "Thank you," he said. "I would advise you gentlemen to get some sandwiches. All the places for the first four services were reserved at the office of the company."

       "You'll go a long way, brother," Bill said to him in English. "I suppose if I'd given you five francs you would have advised us to jump off the train."


       "Go to hell!" said Bill. "Get the sandwiches made and a bottle of wine. You tell him, Jake."

       "And send it up to the next car." I de............

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