HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. Typed letter signed (''Ernest'' in ink) to Edna Gellhorn (''Dear Mother''), Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, 1 November 1945. 4 pages, 4to, single-spaced, on four Finca Vigia letterheads (a bit thinner onion-skin paper than his usual stationery), with numerous holograph corrections and revisions in ink by Hemingway (some 65 words in his hand), slight fold creases.
HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. Typed letter signed ("Ernest" in ink) to Edna Gellhorn ("Dear Mother"), Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, 1 November 1945. 4 pages, 4to, single-spaced, on four Finca Vigia letterheads (a bit thinner onion-skin paper than his usual stationery), with numerous holograph corrections and revisions in ink by Hemingway (some 65 words in his hand), slight fold creases.
DIVORCE -- CUBAN STYLE
Hemingway begins this long letter -- primarily concerned with his divorce from Martha Gellhorn -- giving news of Mary Welsh (who would be his fourth wife), of his sons, of fixing up Finca Vigia, and of his own work: "...With the children gone and Mary with her family in Chicago set out to really get in shape to train to write the best I can. Cut out all drinking after dinner nor until work done the next day. No drink in fornoon [sic] even if work finished. Same schedule I was on for the other book [For Whom the Bell Tolls] when you were down only more rigid. Run and swim every day and got down to 202...and all October have written steadily and about as good (as well) as I can (I hope). Takes a while to know but have been going good for me. Mary has been helping me wonderfully and the weather is cool and as invigorating as Indian Summer...."
The second through fourth pages of the letter are nearly entirely devoted to a detailed account of the problems involved in the complicated Cuban divorce proceedings: "...I had insisted in all our conferences [with the Cuban lawyer] that I wanted to protect every interest of Martha and that altho she had authorized me to divorce her for desertion I wanted a grounds which would be the most acceptable to her and to you. I love you and respect you very much, Mother, and it is not any particular fun to have to divorce Marty when the ordinary and normal thing, when she wanted her marriage terminated for whatever reason, would have been for her to divorce me. There is no sense to go into old things and all I want to ever be with Martha is friendly, sound and helpful but I never left Martha for anyone nor any thing. For whatever good reasons she may have had she told me in the hospital in London [Hemingway had been in a car crash in London in late May 1944] the first day I saw her when she landed exactly what her program was and there is no use repeating it...
"It is I who have to make the allegation that Martha willingly separated herself from me and that is, of course, true. But I would much rather have had Martha charge I separated myself from her if that was her wish. None of this makes me very happy any more than it does you. I tried to work out a divorce for incompatability, by mutual consent, or by simple separation. But none of those grounds, according to the digest of Missouri and Illinois divorce laws I was given are legal in those states [Cuban divorce laws relate to the states in which the participants were born]. I was divorced by Pauline [his second wife] for desertion and it was certainly as valid a separation and not a desertion as Martha's and mine has been...I lay awake most of all last night trying to think what was the best thing to do and how to explain things clearly to you. I did not enter into marriage with Martha lightly. I had no idea it would ever terminate and I am sure that for her to have wished it to terminate I must have grave responsabilities [sic]. I think writers are awfully difficult bastards to live with and much more difficult when you stay away from them. But am trying to learn how to be good and make people happy instead of miserable and weed out my worst traits and still write well giveing [sic] it full and complete importance...
"...am trying to cover Martha's interests as though I were representing her not me. She wants the divorce and quickly and still it has to be legal or it is worthless. Am shipping her things...And her stuff should get there by the time her flat is ready...Am paying all the legal fees...This business very bad for book writing and knock it higher than a kite but just figure took today off to write to you and will not worry and write good tomorrow. To please you, to please me and to please whatever there is instead of God...Am so sorry this is such a long letter. If it hadn't been for yesterday's law session, it could have been half as long and four times as jolly. Anyhow it has all the dope as good as I can give it..." Hemingway's divorce became final on 21 December 1945; his marriage to Mary Welsh took place the following 14 March in Havana.