Summary (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Hemingway’s most episodic novel, To Have and Have Not is arguably his one book in which the sum of the parts does not equal the individual fragments. It certainly is his one novel that does not maintain artistic unity. Although filled with vivid writing and peopled with memorable characters, the book is weak as a novel. In fact, Hemingway was on record as saying that it was conceived as separate short stories although eventually published as a novel.
The first chapters of the novel focus on Harry Morgan’s efforts to support himself and his family. His tools for accomplishing this are his fishing boat, his wits, and his strength. He must depend on the rich, whom he often despises, to charter his boat, and then he must deal with their erratic, often destructive natures. He is not an immoral man, but he is willing to make compromises to achieve his principal goal: clothing and feeding his wife and three daughters. This leads him to progress from fishing trips for rich “sportsmen” to smuggling liquor, ferrying illegal immigrants, and, finally, providing a getaway for gangsters. He is one of the “have nots” and sympathizes with the other “have nots,” but he lives off the “haves.” This means that he must be willing, when necessary, to sacrifice other “have nots” such as the Chinese immigrants, whom he is paid to double-cross.
The episodic chapters reveal Harry Morgan driven closer and closer to the edge, forced to...
(The entire section is 686 words.)
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Chapter 1 Summary
In 1930s Havana, three Cubans approach Harry Morgan and Eddy with the proposition of smuggling some revolutionaries into the United States. Morgan refuses, stating that he will not smuggle anything than can talk. The Cubans, particularly one named Pancho, take offense because they think he believes they will talk. They leave with veiled threats.
As the Cubans exit, gunfire erupts from a car across the square. Morgan jumps behind the bar and watches the gun fight. Morgan takes a drink from a bottle then leaves out the back, avoiding the gathering crowd. He goes down to the dock and boards a boat. He finds Johnson (who has chartered Morgan’s boat for a fishing expedition) on board. Johnson asks where Eddy is. Morgan did not see him after the shooting started but does not think he was hit. Soon Eddy reaches the boat; he has not been shot but he does not look good and does not want to talk about what happened.
Johnson wants to go out fishing even though he has not caught anything significant in three weeks. Morgan is resigned because at least Johnson pays. A Black man who had been getting bait for the boat comes and also boards, and the men cast off. The Black man baits the hooks, and Johnson is impressed with his skill. In the open sea, flying fish present a good sign, so Morgan tells Johnson to put out his bait as the boat sails along. Morgan warns Johnson to keep the rod in the socket on the fishing chair in case of a big strike.
Morgan assures Johnson that it is a good day to get a fish. Johnson is skeptical and says boat captains such as Morgan always have an excuse for not catching fish. Morgan replies that there is usually a good reason for not catching fish. As Morgan gets Johnson a beer, he sees a huge marlin come up. Morgan directs Johnson as he tries to get the fish to take the bait. When the fish is hooked, it heads off toward shore. Johnson keeps insisting that the fish is gone, but Morgan urges him to keep reeling it in. At last the line goes slack and the marlin is indeed gone. Johnson had locked the reel and the line broke.
Eddy, having slept through it all, comes up on deck. Morgan suggests he get a beer in order to wake up. Eddy drinks one and then heads back to take a nap. As they head back to shore, Johnson accidentally hooks another marlin that almost drags him over the side of the boat. He is not sitting harnessed in the chair and the butt end of the rod slams him in the stomach;...
(The entire section is 570 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
Harry Morgan returns to the café where he had previously been approached about smuggling people. Frankie arrives with another man, Mr. Sing. Mr. Sing wishes to charter Morgan’s boat, but he does not necessarily need Morgan because he has his own captain and crew. Morgan insists that he goes where his boat goes. At this point, Mr. Sing asks Frankie to leave them so they can speak privately.
Mr. Sing wants Morgan to carry a load of Chinese emigrants to the Tortugas, where a schooner will pick them up. He leaves it up to Morgan exactly where he will take the Chinese. Morgan wants one hundred dollars a head, but Mr. Sing finds this excessive. Morgan points out that he could go to prison for ten years if caught. If caught, Mr. Sing would accuse Morgan of having betrayed him and then ship out the emigrants again later.
Morgan agrees to do the job for two hundred dollars up front and the remaining thousand when the Chinese load onto the boat. Morgan says they will leave in the morning. They agree on the place and the signal. Morgan will not take anyone on board until he receives the rest of the money, but Mr. Sing says he will pay one half when they load and the rest when he is finished. Morgan agrees, though he insists that no guns or other weapons are to be brought on board.
After Mr. Sing leaves, Morgan asks Frankie how he got to know the man. Franks says simply that Mr. Sing has a big business shipping Chinamen for the past two years. He took over the business from another man who had been killed. Frankie is pleased that Morgan is doing business with Mr. Sing.
In the morning, Morgan clears the way for departure. He worries about this business; he has not slept all night. When Eddy meets him at the dock, Morgan tells him to leave because he is poison to him. Eddy is slow to get off the boat, so Morgan hits him in the face. Eddy gets up and climbs out onto the dock. Eddy is hurt by Morgan’s desertion of him, and Morgan continues to be hardhearted, even though he feels bad about treating him this way. He gives Eddy five dollars. Eddy still does not know why Morgan is treating him in such a manner.
Morgan gets his departure papers from the broker and then meets Frankie, who hands him a picture: it shows the Black man who had baited for him, with his throat slit, and with a message of warning. The Cubans thought Morgan had told the police he was to meet them the morning that Pancho and the...
(The entire section is 472 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
Harry Morgan heads his boat down the channel to the open sea; he passes a British freighter loaded with sugar. Out in the harbor he lays the course for Key West, his home and declared destination. Havana disappears slowly behind him. When all other boats and the coastline have been left behind, he cuts the motor and lets the boat drift. He looks around but sees nothing but some distant boats and the dome of the Capitol in Havana. He realizes again how much open water there is between Cuba and the Florida Keys.
Morgan goes down into the cockpit and discovers Eddy, who had crawled aboard and gone to sleep. He has two quarts of rum with him, which he bought right before he came on the boat. He had awakened when Morgan first started out but went back to sleep. When Morgan stopped the boat, Eddy woke up. Morgan is furious. He contemplates making Eddy jump overboard and tells him so. Eddy assures him that he is a good man and will keep his mouth shut, though Morgan doubts he will be able to once he gets some liquor in him. He takes the rum away from him.
Morgan feels sorry for Eddy but is still angry. Eddy asks what the matter with the engine is, but Morgan assures him there is nothing wrong. Morgan tells Eddy he is in serious trouble. When Eddy asks what kind of trouble, Morgan says that he is not sure yet but just that he’s in trouble. They sit awhile, and Morgan does not feel like talking anymore. He goes below to check on the guns in the cabin. He hangs them up in their cases beside the fishing rods. He loads the Winchester, then he cleans and fills up the Smith and Wesson thirty-eight special and places it in his belt.
Eddy again asks him what the matter is. Morgan says, “Nothing.” Eddy asks why he needs all the guns, and Morgan tells him he always carries them on board to shoot at birds that bother the bait or to shoot sharks. Eddy continues to badger him, but Morgan does not give him any information. He realizes after all that he is going to need Eddy’s help. He tells him they have a job to do, and he will give him more information when it is time. He knows Eddy will start worrying if he knows too much and would then not be any use. Eddy assures him of his willingness to help. He then asks for a drink because he is getting “the shakes.” Morgan gives him one, and the two men sit and wait for darkness.
(The entire section is 449 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
Harry Morgan sits in the boat with Eddy as the darkness envelops them. Only the lights from the Morro lighthouse and the lights of Havana are glowing. The boat drifts, but Morgan keeps track of where they are. Eddy is worried and cannot eat. Morgan tells him to go ahead and have a drink; he can see Eddy is getting the shakes. Morgan will administer the alcohol at intervals as if it is medication because Eddy has no courage if he does not have alcohol in him.
Morgan explains to Eddy that they are going to Bacuranao to pick up twelve Chinese people. Eddy takes the wheel for a while. Later he asks Morgan for another drink, but Morgan refuses. He wants Eddy brave but not useless. Eddy insists that he is a good man, but Morgan tells him he is a “rummy” (alcoholic). He tells Eddy that one of the Chinese will give him money. When Eddy sees this happening, he is to take the boat out to sea and not pay attention to what Morgan does next. If any of the Chinese makes a move against the two of them, Eddy is to shoot him. Eddy says he had better have another drink if he is to do this, so Morgan gives him three more.
As Morgan moves the boat close in to the coast, he sees a boat coming toward them. Mr. Sing and six other Chinese are on board. Mr. Sing hands Morgan the roll of money; Morgan examines it closely. Eddy begins to tremble, so Morgan tells him to have another drink. The Chinese board the boat and Eddy shows them forward. Mr. Sing says he will return soon with the others. Morgan and Eddy drink until Mr. Sing returns with the others. Six more Chinese climb on board. Eddy shows them forward to the cabin and locks them in with the others.
Morgan demands the rest of the money from Mr. Sing. As Mr. Sing hands him the money, Morgan grabs his wrist with one hand and his throat with the other. Eddy moves the boat forward. Morgan twists Mr. Sing’s arm behind him and feels it snap. Mr. Sing manages to bite Morgan’s shoulder. Morgan grabs Mr. Sing’s throat with both hands and breaks his neck. Morgan lays him out on the deck and picks up the money. He takes the wheel and tells Eddy to find some iron to use for anchoring, but Eddy is afraid of going near Mr. Sing’s body. Morgan finds the iron and ties it onto Mr. Sing’s ankles and slides him over the side.
Morgan brings the boat close to the Cuban shore. He orders the twelve Chinese out of the cabin and into the water to make their way to the beach as...
(The entire section is 486 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Harry Morgan opens up his shirt and looks at the spot where Mr. Sing bit him. He puts iodine on the wound and wonders if a Chinaman’s bite is poisonous. He decides that a man like Mr. Sing probably brushes his teeth several times a day. He also decides that Mr. Sing was not much of a businessman.
Everything is simple, reflects Morgan, except for Eddy. Because he is a rummy, he is liable to talk when he is drunk. He thinks Eddy would be better off dead than the way he is—drunk or needing a drink all the time. When he discovered him on board, he had thought he would have to kill him, but everything has worked out so nicely. In addition, Eddy was not on the crew list, so Morgan would have to pay a fine for bringing him in to Key West.
Morgan enjoys the night and pilots the boat across the open sea, occasionally taking a drink from the bottle of rum. At daylight, Eddy wakes up feeling terrible. Morgan hands the wheel over to Eddy, then he goes back to the stern and gives it an extra scrub just in case there is some blood left over from Mr. Sing’s bloody nose. He examines the cabin and finds no evidence that the Chinese had been there. He examines the ship’s papers and discovers that Eddy is listed as a crew member after all. Eddy explains that he met the broker when he was leaving and told him he was going with Morgan. Morgan is amazed that God must look after rummies. He makes coffee and then takes the wheel from Eddy.
About nine o’clock they see the Sand Key light ahead. Morgan tells Eddy they will be landing in a couple of hours. He says he will pay Eddy the same four dollars a day that Johnson paid him. When Eddy asks Morgan how much he got out of Mr. Sing the night before, Morgan tells him six hundred dollars, though he is not sure Eddy believes this lie. Eddy asks if he gets a share of it, but Morgan tells him that he gets the four dollars. He threatens to kill him if he ever talks, but Eddy assures him that he is no “squealer.” Morgan, however, points out that he is a rummy. Eddy insists that he is a good man. With contempt, Morgan tells him that they cannot make rum fast enough to keep him a good man. He does not worry about him, though, because he knows no one would ever believe Eddy.
That night Morgan is back at home with his family. Eddy visits him again. He has picked up another rummy. He tells Marie, his wife, to tell Eddy to get out before he runs him out. Morgan remarks that...
(The entire section is 500 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
Harry Morgan is smuggling liquor to the Florida Keys. He is accompanied by Wesley, who is referred to as the “nigger.” They encountered a storm in the night, so they are unsure of their location when day breaks. When they see a tanker coming down the Gulf of Mexico waters, they at first think it is a cluster of buildings on land.
Morgan tells Wesley that he should have more confidence in Morgan’s steering, but Wesley has lost his confidence since Morgan shot him in the leg. Wesley complains of the pain, but Morgan dismisses this and tells him to keep it clean and wrapped up, and it will heal by itself. Morgan then turns his attention to piloting the boat toward Woman Key, where they will hide out during the daylight hours. Wesley continues to grumble about the pain in his leg. He lies on sacks of liquor, which are piled everywhere. The bottles are broken, and liquor has run all over.
Wesley, still in intense pain, is growing angry with Morgan both for shooting him and for ignoring his pain. Morgan promises to fix him up, but Wesley wants nothing to do with him. Morgan actually likes Wesley, but there is nothing to do for him when he is in a state except to hit him, and Morgan does not want to hit him. Wesley asks why they did not stop when the shooting started; he says a man’s life is worth more than liquor. Morgan reminds Wesley that they will go to prison if they are caught. Wesley says he does not mind jail but he does mind being shot. Morgan is tired of hearing Wesley talk and asks him who is shot worse, him or Morgan. (Morgan had been shot in the arm.) Wesley admits that Morgan is shot worse, but he has never been shot before.
The boat draws close to Woman Key, and Morgan pilots it inside the shoals and into the channel. Wesley continues to ramble, asking why they are smuggling liquor now that Prohibition is over. They come to an acceptable spot and with difficulty slide the anchor over the side. Morgan goes down to the cockpit to examine the mess of blood and broken liquor bottles. He tries to dump the liquor over the side. Morgan becomes dizzy from loss of blood and pain from his bullet wound. He lies down and listens to the wind. He thinks the strength of the breeze will keep anyone from coming to look for them. Wesley continues to complain about his pain and threatens to kill Morgan, who continues to slide bottles over the boat’s side.
(The entire section is 445 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Dumping liquor bottles over the side of the boat, Harry Morgan hears the sound of a motor. He looks up and sees a boat coming down the channel. He warns Wesley, who still refuses to help. Morgan drops the full sack of bottles into the water. He reaches for the sack on which Wesley is resting and dumps that too. Wesley sits up and notices that the approaching boat is piloted by Captain Willie, a charter boat captain, with a party of fishermen. Captain Willie greets Morgan and passes by but intends to turn around and return. Morgan covers up Wesley. He tells Wesley that Captain Willie will tell the people in town where they are, but the fishermen do not care about them. Feeling shaky, Morgan sits down in a chair, holding his injured arm. He can feel the broken ends of the bones in his upper arm grating as he shakes.
The boat returns and Captain Willie sees the broken windshield of Morgan’s boat; he can guess where Morgan has been. He tells his fishermen clients that Morgan does a little of everything. He had called him “Harry,” which was noticed by one of the fishermen. Captain Willie denies it, trying to protect Morgan. The fishermen notice that Morgan is wounded and points this out to Captain Willie. The Captain still denies knowledge of Morgan, though his clients tell him to write down the registration numbers. One of the fishermen wants to go over and help Morgan, but Captain Willie says it is none of their business. Another man identifies the fisherman as Frederick Harrison, who is a big man in the government and is likely to be governor-general soon. Harrison realizes that Morgan is a bootleg runner and commands the captain to take them over to the boat. Captain Willie replies that Morgan is a family man with a wife and children to feed.
The Captain finally submits and pilots his boat close to Morgan’s. The fishermen are getting excited about this adventure. Frederick Harrison is proud of himself for “capturing” a bootlegger single-handed and without any weapons. His colleagues are also impressed. The captain tells Morgan and Wesley to keep their heads down and warns them that there is a government agent on the boat. He tells Morgan to get back to town while he keeps Harrison and his party out fishing until dark. Harrison tells Captain Willie to take the boat back to Key West, but the Captain tells him that he was chartered for an entire day, so he will stay out an entire day.
(The entire section is 433 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Harry Morgan throws the last sack of liquor over the side of the boat and tells Wesley to get him the fish knife. Wesley tells him that the knife is gone. Morgan starts the engines. He had installed a second engine when the Depression weakened the charter boat business and he had turned to running bootleg liquor. He chops the anchor rope, dropping the anchor down onto the sacks of liquor below. He resigns himself to the possibility, if not probability, of his losing the boat to the federal agents. His primary concern at the moment is to get to a doctor who will tend to his arm. He does not want to lose both the boat and his arm.
Morgan pilots the boat out of the channel and into the sea. Moving past the mangroves on the shore, he moves out with the tide. He sees Captain Willie’s boat almost two miles away, headed for Boca Grande. Morgan surmises that the tide is high enough that maneuvering through the lakes will be easy for Captain Willie. Morgan revs the engines and speeds out past the tree-filled shores. He hopes the federal agents will not take his boat. He also hopes the doctor will be able to fix his arm. He reflects that he had no way of knowing that he and Wesley would be shot at in Mariel, after they had spent six months going back and forth there. He decides that this is typical of the Cubans. Somebody did not bribe the right person, so Morgan and Wesley ended up getting shot.
He looks back at Wesley, who is lying down, covered by a blanket. Morgan asks him how he is feeling. Wesley replies that he could not feel any worse. Harry points out that he will feel worse when the doctor probes his wound to get the bullet out. Wesley claims that Morgan is not human, that he does not have any human feelings.
Morgan thinks about Captain Willie. He was wise to come in closer to the boat rather than wait. Morgan blames himself; he thinks his dizziness and sickness caused him to lose his judgment. Ahead he can see the white of La Concha hotel and the rest of the town. He sees the car ferries lying at the dock. He plans to go around the docks and up to the Garrison Bight. He thinks of the time Willie is giving Harrison and the others. As bad as he feels at the moment, Morgan is sure he is doing the right thing by coming in to get checked out by a doctor. From the cockpit, Wesley apologizes for not being able to help dump the liquor. Morgan brushes it off. In the meantime, he hopes the doctor will be able to save...
(The entire section is 470 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Albert (Al) and Harry Morgan are sitting in Freddie’s café when a lawyer comes in looking for “Juan.” Harry is sure the lawyer is there on some other business, but the lawyer says he has a job for Juan. The lawyer looks at Morgan’s amputated arm and asks about it. Morgan says he did not like the look of it, so he cut it off. When the lawyer asks too many questions, Morgan tells him to go bother someone else. The lawyer wants to talk to him privately, so they go back to the booths. They return, having arranged to meet later.
Morgan asks Al what he is doing. All tells him he is on relief, digging the sewer and taking up the old streetcar rails. Morgan asks him if he wants to go on a “trip” with him. They leave the café and go out to Morgan’s car and drive off. Morgan explains that some strangers want to charter his boat. Al points out that Morgan’s boat is tied up by customs, but Morgan says customers do not know that. The trip is to take someone over to Cuba to do some “business.” Al is reluctant, especially because Morgan has not said how much money is involved. Morgan says Al is working for only seven and a half dollars a week. He cannot go on relieve because he cannot use a shovel with only one arm, and his children have to eat. In addition, he tells Al that the government is intending to drive the “Conchs” (natives of Key West) out so they can turn it into a tourist spot.
As they drive along, Al considers the proposition. He always liked Morgan, but he has changed since losing his arm. Al agrees to work with him, but he resents how Morgan talks down to him all the time. They stop at a house and enter. Freda Richards is cooking a meal for her husband, Bee-lips. They find Bee-lips, the lawyer, and four Cubans sitting around a table. The Cubans want Morgan to take them to Cuba. Morgan agrees to do so for a fee of three hundred dollars. The Cubans feel it is too much. After some argument, Morgan agrees to take them to Cuba for two hundred dollars with a guarantee of a thousand dollars should anything happen to the boat. The Cubans agree, and the arrangement is made to leave the next evening. Morgan takes Al back home, where Al’s wife berates him for staying out drinking.
(The entire section is 425 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Harry reflects that this trip is not something he should choose to do, but he feels that he has no choice. If he does not take this job, he is unsure what will come next and if there will even be any more chances. His family must eat, so he must do this job. He thinks he should probably not take Albert. Albert is not that intelligent, but he is honest and valuable in a boat, and he does not scare easily. Harry, however, is still not sure that he should take him. He cannot take anyone else—not Eddy or Wesley. He has to have someone on whom he can depend.
Harry vows that, if they make it through, he will give Albert a share. However, he cannot tell him beforehand or he will not go into it, and Harry must have someone. With his amputated arm, Harry cannot make the trip alone, as advisable as that is. It is better if Albert knows as little about the situation as possible.
Harry's only concern is that Bee-lips, the lawyer, knows so much. He doubts that the lawyer knows everything about the situation, and Harry thinks the Cubans are counting on that. He is sure Bee-lips does not know what the Cubans intend to do to him. He figures that they will have to do it right before the deal closes, or else the coast guard will come down from Miami. It is dark now at six o’clock, and the coast guard cannot fly down in less than an hour.
If Harry intends to go through with this job of carrying the Cuban revolutionaries to Cuba, he must do something about the boat. It will not be difficult to get to the boat in customs, but if he takes it out that night they might discover it is gone soon enough that they will come looking for it. Harry is relieved that this night is the only time he has to take it out. If he takes it out with the tide, he can hide it and check to see what sort of repairs or fuel it needs. Once he has the boat hidden, Albert will bring the Cubans out in a speed boat. He thinks Bee-lips should be the one to hire the speed boat for transport. Harry wonders if the Cubans are really sailors who might hijack his boat and dispose of him and Albert. He prepares for the night knowing he has a lot of work ahead of him.
(The entire section is 423 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
At nine thirty, Bee-lips arrives at Freddy’s café. He has obviously been drinking a lot: alcohol always makes him cocky, and he came in extremely cocky. He confronts Harry Morgan, continually calling him “big shot,” which Harry resents. Bee-lips wants to talk to Harry back at his office. There is no one there because there has been a law passed that prevents young women from going out after six o’clock. Freddy asks him how long that law will last. Bee-lips suggests that Freddy retain his legal services to do something about it, but Freddy declines.
Back at the office, Bee-lips tells Harry that the Cubans want to charter the boat for the night in two days. Harry asks what the Cubans intend to do. Bee-lips points out that Harry should know because he speaks Spanish and understood them when they told their plans. Harry wants to make sure Bee-lips did not tell them that because this secret would be to his advantage. Bee-lips says he is doing this business simply because he needs money to get out of Key West. He asks Harry if he knows that the Cubans have been financing their revolution with kidnapping and other crimes. It is all for a good cause, says Bee-lips. He accuses Harry of cowardice, but Harry says that he has to keep the appearance of being “clean” because he intends to keep on living there. Bee-lips, however, is trying to get out.
Bee-lips asks when Harry intends to get the boat out. Harry replies that he will do it that night and that Bee-lips will help him. When Bee-lips asks where he will put the boat, Harry simply says that he will put it where he always puts it.
Getting the boat is as simple as Harry thought it would be. The watchman has already made his rounds, so Bee-lips and Harry can come in the bay in a skiff, cut the boat loose when the tide is ebbing, and the boat will float out to sea by itself. Harry checks the gas and the motors. Reconnecting the distributor is the only repair he has to make, and all is ready. He fills it up with gas and intends to bring extra just in case. He will put the boat at the Porter Dock, and Bee-lips will bring the Cubans out in a speed boat. Bee-lips will meet him and pick him up to take him back to the boat. The plans are all made to commence in two hours. Harry wonders how much money Bee-lips thinks he is going to get out of this.
(The entire section is 436 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
Harry returns home at night. He does not turn out the light but simply undresses (except for his undershirt) and goes to bed. His wife tries to question him, but Harry is short on conversation. He tells her that he is going to make a trip, possibly with Albert. She is concerned that he retrieved his boat illegally and worries that he will go to jail, but Harry insists that no one knows he has it.
Harry suggests that they make love. He asks his wife if his amputated arm bothers her, but she insists that it is he that she likes. He feels self-conscious about it and refers to it as a “flipper on a loggerhead.” As they make love, she asks him if he ever made love to a “nigger wench.” He says that he has, but it was “like a nurse shark.” He assures her that she is the best woman he has ever made love to, but she does not believe him. She wishes that he did not have to go back out on the boat. He tells her that he must leave before daylight. She tells him that, when he returns, they will take a trip to Miami and stay in a hotel like they used to. She asks why they cannot go to New Orleans. He says that maybe they will, but he needs to get some sleep now.
As Harry sleeps, his wife looks at him and thinks she is lucky to have him. He has had so many girls, but they do not know what she has for a husband. She thinks that it was a good thing Harry lost an arm. If he had lost a leg, it might have made a difference in her feelings. She thinks she could make love to him all the time if she could never sleep.
Two hours before daylight, Harry is getting gas for the boat from the storage units in the garage. Harry has a prosthetic hook attached to his right arm and uses it to load the boat. His wife brings him some coffee and offers to come with him to help him handle the jugs he is smuggling. He agrees, and they drive out through the country road. She asks Harry what he is worried about, but he is not sure; he is worried in a general way. His wife says she is thinking of letting her hair grow out; Harry approves. She is thinking of dying it a lighter shade on the suggestions of her daughters. He does not like that she is so easily influenced by them. She suggests again that they go to New Orleans when he returns, but he says that it will have to be Miami, leaving the girls behind.
(The entire section is 464 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
At ten o’clock that morning, two customs men approach Harry at Freddy’s place. They ask him about his boat. He claims that he does not know anything about it. They ask him of his whereabouts the previous night, to which he replies that he was at Freddy’s until it closed and then at home. The customs men tell him not to become upset (“plugged”). Harry says that he is not upset, though he would rather have his boat in the custody of customs where he has a chance of getting it back than have it stolen.
Hayzooz (a Cuban taxi driver) enters the café and is greeted by Big Roger. He tells about his newborn baby, whom Roger says is not his. Hayzooz says that he “bought the cow” so the “calf” belongs to him. He leaves, and soon Bee-lips the lawyer comes in to tell Harry that customs just went out to take Harry’s boat. Someone saw it hidden in the mangroves and reported it. Harry says nothing but is clearly in a killing mood. He simply says that customs ought to take better care of his boat if they are going to confiscate it. Soon they go in the back, and Harry tells Bee-lips that he is poison and everything he touches is poison. This was the last chance Harry had to make honest money. Bee-lips objects to being the butt of Harry’s anger. He says he told Harry about the boat as soon as he could. He also says that the Cuban revolutionaries now want to go late that afternoon because they are nervous about something, Bee-lips does not know what. Harry vows he will get a boat to carry them out. Bee-lips offers to help Harry despite being called poison. Harry tells him to be at Freddy’s at twelve o’clock with the money for the boat.
As Harry and Bee-lips leave Freddy’s place, Albert approaches them. Harry tells him that he cannot use him now. Albert promises to “go cheap,” but Harry says he has no need for him because he plans to go by himself. Albert begs, but Harry insists that he cannot use him. Harry buys a pack of cigarettes and asks Freddy about the shape of his boat. He asks Freddy if he could charter it. Freddy agrees only on the condition that the value of the boat is put up front: it is worth twelve hundred dollars. Harry offers to put up his house for security, but Freddy wants cash. Harry agrees and asks Freddy to tell Bee-lips to wait for him when he arrives.
(The entire section is 441 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
When Harry returns to his house, his wife (Marie) and his daughters are having lunch. The oldest girl greets him and says that she heard someone stole his boat. He says “they” found it, telling his wife “they” refers to Customs. His younger daughter asks if it is not better that the boat was found, but Harry simply tells her not to talk while she is eating. He demands his dinner be brought to him and tells his daughters to eat up and leave because he needs to talk to their mother in private. They ask for money to go to the movie, but he suggests that they go swimming because that is free. The girls object that it is too cold to go swimming and want to go to the movie instead. He relents. When they leave, he asks his wife to cut up his steak for him. She cuts it for him as if for a small boy; with his amputated arm, he cannot do it for himself. He apologizes for being such a nuisance. He thinks his daughters are “not much” and expresses a continuing surprise that they had no boys.
Harry says that he is not much of a man but he is going on a “hell of a trip.” He tells Marie how his boat was spotted from a truck. He swears, and Marie tells him not to talk that way in the house. He points out that she talks worse than that in bed sometimes, but she says that is different. Marie can tell that Harry feels bad, but he claims that he is just thinking. She expresses confidence in him, and he says that confidence is the only thing he has. She asks if he wants to talk about it, but he does not. He asks her to bring him his Thompson gun and shells. She begs him not to take the gun, but he insists that it is necessary. He says that he is going on a “bad” trip. Marie despairs that it is necessary for Harry to do things like this to earn a living.
As Marie fetches the gun, Harry looks at the furnishings around the house. He thinks that he has no chance to enjoy his home. He is back to worse than when he started due to the Depression. He again regrets that he does not have any sons. Marie brings him the gun and he bids her good-bye. She begs him to take care of himself. She watches him as he leaves the house. Every time she sees his face she wants to cry.
(The entire section is 437 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
As Harry enters Freddy’s place, he sees three tourists (Mr. and Mrs. Laughton and Professor MacWalsey) at the bar, joking back and forth. Harry interrupts and asks to speak with Freddy privately. The woman tourist looks at him appreciatively then tells her husband that she wants to buy him. Harry tells her to shut up and calls her a whore. Freddy takes him in the back where Bee-lips is waiting. He tells Harry he cannot call a decent woman a whore, but Harry is offended by her condescension.
Harry asks Bee-lips if he has the money. He hands over $1,020. Harry tells him it should be $1,200, but Bee-lips says he subtracted his commission. He begs Freddy to take the money, but Freddy is hesitant at being short-changed. Finally he agrees to take a chance. Harry promises he will take care of Freddy’s boat as if it were his own, but Freddy points out that Harry lost his own boat. Bee-lips tells Harry that he will be at the dock at four o’clock. Harry reasons out loud that the customs officials will have to let him out of the harbor with Freddy’s boat. He decides against Bee-lips’s advice to tell Freddy what he plans to do with the boat.
Back at the bar, the tourists confront Harry for insulting Mrs. Laughton. After some argument, the tourists turn their attention elsewhere, but the woman is still obsessed with Harry’s “beauty.” Albert comes in looking for Harry, who has gone down to the dock. Freddy listens to the tourists, all the while worrying about his boat. He wonders about the tourists but appreciates that at least they are buying expensive drinks. Laughton sees a man and a girl enter, whom he greets as Richard Gordon and Helen. They ask about Professor MacWalsey, who had also been in the bar. He is on a sabbatical, and both women state that they like him. They speak of going to a party at the Bradleys’ the following day. Mrs. Laughton chides her husband for talking like a professor, and he tells her not to strut her illiteracy. Helen asks if writers go to bed with a “social phenomenon” for experience to use in their writing. Gordon says a writer must have a variety of experiences, even if they do not fit in with “bourgeois standards.” Helen asks what a writer’s wife is to do then. Mrs. Laughton mentions Harry, with whom she still is fascinated. Helen all of a sudden looks as if she is going to cry and says she is going home. Freddy hopes she will not cry in his café.
(The entire section is 443 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
Harry arrives at the dock and sees no one around. He takes the gun case from under the seat and climbs aboard; he puts the case out of sight. He starts both engines and notices that the port engine is not running as well as the starboard one. He decides he needs to replace the plugs. He goes below and assembles the gun, then he rigs a sling to hold it where it can be easily reached with no more than two movements. He practices retrieving the gun several times. He decides that if he is taken down, at least he will take a few with him.
Harry looks out on the bay, where the bright afternoon promises smooth sailing. There is some activity but nothing suspicious. He is looking forward to a calm night, which will mean that it is an ideal night to cross over to the mainland. He looks up and sees that Albert has sneaked onto the dock. Albert again begs Harry to take him with him on the trip. He says that the decision has been made to give the laborers only three days on relief, which will not be enough for him to live on. Reluctantly, Harry agrees. Albert is grateful. He states that he was afraid to go home to his wife, who would most likely have given him grief as if it was his decision to cut back on the work for relief laborers. Harry suggests that he smack her, but Albert tells Harry to smack her and see what happens.
Harry tells Albert to take his car and get some engine plugs as well as some other supplies. He should also stop at the gas station and place an order for 150 gallons of gas to be placed on Harry’s credit. When he returns, he should change the plugs on the engine. Harry tells Albert that they are taking a party out fishing the next day. Albert asks too many questions, which Harry answers relatively patiently. Albert asks Harry how much he will be working for, and Harry tells him that his wages will be five dollars a day. Albert agrees without questioning.
As Albert leaves, Harry looks up at the town. He sees the bank building but cannot see the side entrance. He looks at his watch and sees that it is only a little after two o’clock. He is fatalistic; he thinks that the plan will either come off or it will not. He decides he will go back up to see Freddy and then come back and wait. He takes the long way around so he will not pass the bank.
(The entire section is 444 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
At Freddy’s, Harry cannot bring himself to tell about his plans. He decides that Freddy would not stand for his boat being used for the illegal purpose of transporting revolutionaries to Cuba. Perhaps in the old days before the Depression he would have, but not now. It is not until he thinks about telling Freddy of his trip to Cuba that he realizes how bad this plan is. He explores the possibility of staying at Freddy’s and not going to the boat when the Cubans arrive. The only problem will be that his gun is on board, but there is no way the gun can be linked to him because he bought it in Cuba. He thinks, however, of his wife and children, how they may go hungry if he does not finish this job. Not only is there a Depression and jobs are in short supply, but jobs are even more rare for a one-armed man.
As he asks Freddy to give him a drink, Harry thinks about selling the house and renting a place to live until he gets some kind of work. He could go to the bank and tell them about it, but he knows all he would get is a thank you. To his mind, he has no other choice but to complete the job. He had wanted to tell Freddy so there would be someone else who knew what he was doing, but he knows Freddy would take back the offer of his boat. Freddy’s financial position is secure with his café, so he would not be sympathetic to Harry’s plight. He must take the trip alone with Albert, who is in an even more precarious position than Harry is.
Harry asks Freddy for a couple of quarts of rum. He tells Freddy that he is taking some Cubans over to Cuba, perhaps that night. They may want to go fishing that afternoon. The tall tourist and his wife enter; the woman immediately flirts with Harry. He takes only a look at her and tells Freddy that he will be back. He is going down to the boat in case the Cuban party wants to go fishing. The tourist’s wife begs him not to go. Harry tells her that she is comical and leaves.
Down the street, Richard Gordon is going to the Bradleys’ home, hoping that Mrs. Bradley will be alone. Most likely, she will even be expecting him because she “collects” writers as well as their books. Mrs. Gordon is on her way home from the beach, not having run into John MacWalsey as she had hoped. Perhaps, she thinks, he will come by the house.
(The entire section is 449 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
As Harry and Albert wait in the boat, they see four Cuban men come running out of the bank with pistols drawn. Albert realizes that they are robbing the bank and heading for their boat. They jump on the boat and force Harry to leave at gunpoint. Albert tells Harry not to start the boat for robbers, but the biggest Cuban fires at Albert, hitting him several times in the chest. The boat moves out of the harbor. As the men lie down flat on the deck, Harry runs the boat out the channel to open water. There are no boats starting after them at first, but soon two fishing boats head toward them. Soon shots are fired from the chasing boats, but no bullets even come close to hitting Harry’s boat.
When Harry asks how much money the Cubans managed to rob from the bank, Roberto (one of the larger ones) says he does not know, but it does not matter because it is not for themselves but for the revolution. When Harry turns the wheel over to one of the Cuban boys while he fixes drinks, he notices that the boy cannot keep the boat in a set course, which will be an advantage to him, Harry thinks. Harry suggests putting Alberto’s body overboard. Harry kicks the machine gun into the water also, and the sound is covered by the splash of Albert’s body hitting the water. When Roberto sees that the gun is gone, he accuses Harry, but Harry pleads ignorance. Roberto promises to kill him once they reach Cuba. Harry surreptitiously checks his own gun, but the time is not right to make his move.
As Harry pilots the boat in the clear night, he thinks of how mean Roberto is, but the boy Emilio is nice. Emilio talks with him a little bit and tells him that Bee-lips was killed in the robbery. Emilio explains that the revolutionaries want to clean American imperialism off of Cuba, giving every Cuban a chance to start fresh. He speaks of the untrustworthiness of the people because of the government’s control. Emilio feels bad about the methods being used, but there is no other choice. Roberto comes up on deck; he is drunk.
Harry hands the wheel once again to Emilio, saying that he needs to check on the motors. Nervously he gets his gun. He fires, killing all of the Cubans, or so he thinks. One of the men is still alive and shoots him in the stomach. He has hit one of the gas lines, so he must shut off the engines. Harry shoots the last man, then he lies on the deck, thinking about Marie and what she will do. He tries to lie still as the...
(The entire section is 471 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
The next morning, Richard Gordon is on his way to Freddy’s bar to learn more about the bank robbery the day before. As he rides his bike, he passes a big woman wearing a man’s hat over her bleached blond hair. She is obviously crying. With contempt, Gordon thinks of her as a “big ox” and wonders what someone like that thinks about. He tries to imagine what she would be like in bed, or who she runs around with in town, and what her husband thinks about her now that she has gotten to such a large size. He thinks she is an appalling woman, built like a battleship.
When he reaches his home, he leaves his bicycle on the front porch. He opens the front door and notices how the termites have tunneled through it. He goes down the hallway as his wife calls out to him from the kitchen, wondering what he found out about the robbery. Gordon tells her not to talk to him. He is going to write while he still has the story in his head. She complacently tells him that she will leave him alone.
Gordon sits down at his table in the front room. He has been writing a novel about a strike in a textile factor, and what he has seen will fit in well with the plot line he has written so far. He intends to insert the big woman with the tear-reddened eyes in the chapter he is working on that day. In the book, her husband comes home and hates her. He hates her for the way in which she has grown coarse and heavy. He is repelled by her bleached her, her over-sized breasts, and her lack of sympathy for his work as a labor organizer. He mentally compares her to the young, firm-breasted, full-lipped Jewish girl who had spoken at the labor meeting that evening. Gordon realizes how good his writing is, how completely he has captured the inner life of the overgrown woman on the street. He can imagine her early indifference to her husband’s physical touch as a paradox to her desire for children and security. She has no sympathy for whatever goals her husband has set for himself. She has no interest in sex with her husband; she merely submits to an act she finds repugnant.
Unbeknownst to Gordon, the woman he had seen was Harry Morgan’s wife, Marie, on her way home from the sheriff’s office.
(The entire section is 419 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Freddy’s boat, called the Queen Conch, is painted white, with the forward deck, top of the house, and cockpit painted green. Her name and port city (Key West) are painted in black across the stern. She has no mast, and one of the glass windshields is broken. There are a number of bullet holes in her hull. From the lower holes, something dark is dripping. She is drifting along about ten miles outside of the tanker lanes amid patches of Sargasso weed. There is no sign of life on her, but the body of a man shows above the gunwale on a bench. The body is bloated, leaning over with one hand in the water. Small fish swim around every time there is a drop from the boat. The fish follow the boat as it is carried along by the Gulf Stream; they have found a fairly constant supply of food.
Inside the cockpit are three men. One is dead and is lying on his back below the steering wheel. Another one, also dead, is on the starboard side. There is a third man, still alive but out of his mind, lying on his side with his head on his arm. The bilge of the boat is full of gasoline and makes a sloshing sound as it rolls with the motion of the waves. Harry Morgan, the man who is still alive, believes the sloshing sound is made by his stomach, which seems to him as big as a lake that sloshes on both shores at the same time. He moves to lie on his back, drawing his knees up and putting his head back. His stomach seems cold, and there is an inexplicable taste of gasoline in his mouth, though he knows that he has not been sucking up gasoline through a hose. Every time he breathes, Harry feels his stomach grow colder and somehow firmer. It continues to slosh like a lake that seems far away. The cold begins to move all the way through him. He had thought that if he could pull himself up his body would warm itself. Although he tried, he continues to be cold. He lies still, trying not to die even though he can no longer think.
Freddy’s boat has been drifting since ten o’clock the night before, and it is now the afternoon of the next day. There is nothing in sight that Harry can see but seaweed and a few Portuguese men-of-war, until he sights the distant smoke from a tanker.
(The entire section is 424 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
Richard Gordon comes home from the Bradleys’ and finds his wife, Helen, sitting on the couch in the dark with John MacWalsey. She accuses Richard of having lipstick on his shirt and reeking of Mrs. Bradley’s cologne. Richard asks his wife if she kissed MacWalsey, and she says she did not. He then asks if he kissed her, to which she replies that he did and she liked it. Richard calls his wife a bitch, and she tells him that she will leave him if he calls her that, so he calls her a bitch again and again. She announces that their marriage is over, that she has tried to be a good wife but he is too conceited and selfish. He provokes her with the fact that she could not have any children. She claims that she was furious at MacWalsey for kissing her.
Richard asks her what she plans to do. She says she does not know, but she may marry MacWalsey. When she tells Richard that MacWalsey asked her to marry him, he reminds her that she is married to him. She points that they were never married in a church. They had married for love, but it proved to be worthless. Richard continues to call her names. She taunts him for his lack of success as a writer, saying he has poured himself into politics that he changes on a whim. When Helen says that she wants to start over, he mocks her, asking if she really wants to start over with a drunk. Helen says that he drinks, but so did her father. He takes care of her and considers her feelings, unlike Richard. Richard asks Helen if she loves him anymore, and she replies that she hates the word. Richard slaps her across the face, and Helen begins to cry in rage.
Richard thinks back to his visit with Helene Bradley that afternoon. They were making love on the sofa when a bearded man came to the doorway. Helene begged him not to stop and not to mind the bearded man. She explained that it was only Tommy, her husband, who knows all about her infidelities and does not mind. When he tried to leave, Helene slapped him across the face and told him to leave.
Helen Gordon says she is sorry it happened, but their marriage is truly over. Richard agrees and apologizes for slapping her. Helen says that it was just as good a way to say good-bye as any. She offers to be the one to leave, and Richard tells her to wait until morning.
(The entire section is 435 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Richard Gordon shuns his bicycle and decides to walk down to the Lilac Time, a local gambling hall and bar. The bartender notices that Richard does not look well and offers to give him some absinthe, a strong alcoholic drink. Not even three glasses make him feel any better. He then asks for whiskey, though the bartender warns him about drinking anything else after absinthe. As Richard looks at himself in the bar mirror, he decides that drinking will not do anything to help the situation. A young man named Herbert Spellman approaches him, the two having met previously in Brooklyn. Spellman expresses his appreciation of Richard’s work and offers to buy him a drink. Despite reminders from Spellman, Richard cannot remember him or the party at which they met. Eventually someone comes to retrieve Spellman.
The sheriff enters the bar and tells Richard that Harry Morgan’s boat has been caught, with all but one aboard dead. He does not know who the living man is. Richard promises to meet the sheriff later to examine the boat but soon joins him in his car. They pass Freddy’s place, which is riotous with veterans from the Keys. The sheriff stops to break up a fight. Richard goes into Freddy’s and is accosted by a couple of the veterans. They talk about their mistreatment at the hands of the American government, driving them down to the Keys and out of trouble. Richard, as a writer of social conflict, is intrigued by this instance of social unrest and asks several questions about their intentions. In between fights breaking out, Richard talks with a man who has read a couple of his books but thought they were worthless. Richard figures this is typical of the day he is having and continues talking to the veterans.
Down at the other end of the bar Richard sees MacWalsey looking straight at him. Richard feels sick to his stomach as the realization hits him that this is the man his wife is leaving him for. The veterans offer to beat him up, but Richard asks them to leave MacWalsey alone. He eventually moves down next to MacWalsey, and the two men start a conversation, Richard doing so reluctantly. Richard tells MacWalsey about the two men offering to beat him up, wishing that he had let them. MacWalsey says that he does not think it would make any difference. He tells Richard that his first wife died in the influenza epidemic following the First World War, but he wants to marry again because he thinks he is now better at it....
(The entire section is 549 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
The Coast Guard cutter tows Freddy’s boat, the Queen Conch, through the reef and Keys. The Conch is carrying the wounded Harry Morgan and the four dead Cubans. The captain notes how easily the boat tows, despite the rolling of the waves in the light breeze. He asks his mate if he could make out anything that Morgan was saying, but the mate says that Morgan must be crazy because he is not making any sense. The captain assumes that Morgan will die because the stomach wound Morgan received is usually fatal. He wonders if it was Morgan who killed the four Cubans. The mate had asked Morgan that question but could not get an intelligible answer. The captain and mate decide to go have another talk with Morgan, who is lying in the captain’s cabin on the bunk. His eyes are closed, but they open as soon as the Coast Guard captain touches him on the shoulder.
Harry does not respond to the captain’s inquiry as to how he is feeling, nor to an offer to get him something to make him feel better. The captain moistens Morgan’s lips with a wet towel. Finally, Morgan speaks, saying, “A man.” The captain encourages him to continue talking. Morgan rambles something about a man not having any way out. The mate asks him who killed the Cubans, but Morgan has no reply. Soon he begins mumbling that life is like trying to pass cars at the top of a hill. He speaks of a man alone not having anything or any chance. Not much of what he says is understandable by the captain and the mate. Morgan lies there silently with his eyes wide open, completely spent by the effort to get even so unintelligible an answer out.
The captain and the mate leave, and Morgan watches them go. In the wheelhouse, watching the darkness of night come, the mate says that it gives you the “willies” listening to someone out of his mind like that. The captain expresses pity, stating that they will be docking soon after midnight, provided they do not have to slow down as they tow the boat through the channel. The mate asks the captain if he thinks that Morgan will live. The captain does not believe he will, but one never can tell.
(The entire section is 392 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
At a converted military pier in Key West, a watchman blocks entrance to a group of yachtsmen trying to get to their boat. Moving past the watchman, Henry Carpenter and Wallace Johnston reach their luxurious yacht and settle down for a drink. They wonder what was the matter with the watchman at the gate, and they speak of Tom Bradley, whom Wallace cannot bear. Wallace also cannot stand Mrs. Bradley. Carpenter objects, saying that he likes Helene because she enjoys a good time. They wonder over the fact that the Bradleys do not have any children, speculating that Tom Bradley is impotent. Wallace says that the Bradleys epitomize everything he hates in either gender. Carpenter says that he is in a bad mood, mainly because he lost three hundred dollars at the gambling hall. He sees it as symbolic of his life—having lost the jackpot. He says that he should go to bed because he is on the verge of becoming objectionable and rude.
Wallace Johnston, the owner of the boat, is a composer. He is also independently wealthy and unmarried. Henry Carpenter, his guest, has a trust fund that is rapidly losing value because of his bank's bad investments. Formerly, Carpenter was known to be invariably good company, but his recent financial reversals have changed that. Wallace Johnston is Carpenter’s last hope, delaying a likely suicide by some fair amount of time. The narrative points out that Carpenter’s monthly allowance from his trust fund is one hundred and seventy dollars more than Albert Tracy had to support his entire family.
Aboard another yacht, a grain broker is reading, but cannot keep his mind on his book. He usually does not bring a woman to his room; he instead prefers going to hers when necessary. He has just done so and is now ready to settle down for the night. His wife divorced him ten years before, following twenty years of marriage. He had married her for her money, so he does not really miss her. Their two sons are fools, he judges, just like their mother. He cannot sleep now because of remorse for his unpaid tax situation. The people he has ruined along the way do not bother him at all.
On the next yacht over, a “pleasant, dull, and upright family” sleeps. They are happy and honorable, treating others fairly. Jon Jacobson, the father, has made his millions in an honorable way, so all aboard sleep soundly. In the next yacht are Estonians who are part of a larger group sailing around the world, writing...
(The entire section is 514 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Harry Morgan is unconscious when the Coast Guard cutter reaches the pier. He is carried by stretcher to the ambulance. The Guardsmen report that he has either been delirious or unconscious most of the time, and so has given no information about what occurred. The sheriff asks for a floodlight to be brought down to Freddy’s boat so an investigation can be made immediately. The sheriff asks the Guardsmen where they found the money and the men. The captain states that they had closed the sacks once they had seen the money. They moved two of the dead bodies to prevent them from rolling overboard, and they also moved Morgan to a bunk. The captain warns the sheriff not to light a match, because the area is soaked in gasoline.
The sheriff decides to seal the bags of money for the bank examiner to investigate. He observes the bloating bodies and the empty gun casings. He asks about Albert Tracy, but the Coast Guard does not know his location. They examine the bodies more closely, inspecting their wounds. The sheriff identifies the murderer of Robert Simmons (“Bee-lips”) during the robbery.
As they discuss the situation, Albert’s wife arrives, screaming, accompanied by two other women. A crowd has also slipped through the open gate. The sheriff, angry, orders the bodies to be covered. The women ask where Albert is, but the sheriff explains that he is not on board. Mrs. Tracy continues to scream. Two Cubans also arrive and shove their way forward, pushing Mrs. Tracy into the water. The two Coast Guard men dive into the water to rescue her. She has lost her false teeth, but still continues to scream for Albert. The crowd is disappointed it could see only Mrs. Tracy being pushed into the water and the covered-up bodies.
At the hospital, Marie Morgan and her daughters wait for news of Harry. The girls discuss their father’s wound. The doctor arrives with the news that Harry has gone into surgery. Marie asks to see him, but he is still in the operating room. She decides to take the girls home and then return. She does not tell the girls that their father is likely dead. As they leave, Marie sees a man walking unsteadily ahead of them, probably drunk. It is Richard Gordon heading for home. When Marie returns to the hospital, she learns that Harry did not survive surgery. The doctor assures Marie that Harry did not suffer. When Marie goes in to see him, she cries and tells the doctor to look at Harry’s face.
(The entire section is 434 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
Marie Morgan sits at the dining-room table, trying to come to grips with the loss of her husband. She thinks that she must take it just one day at a time, though the nights will be torture. It would be different, she believes, if she truly cared about her daughters, but she does not. She must get started on something, or she will become dead inside. It is a week since Harry’s death. She tries not thinking about him, fearing that if she does, she will not remember what he looked like. She had panicked when she looked at him in death and could not remember how he looked alive. Although it would have been better if he had left some money, she knows it would make no difference as to how she felt.
The first thing she knows she must do is sell the house. She stops and thinks about the Cubans who murdered her husband. All she has left inside is hate for them. She regrets not having gone to Harry’s funeral, but she could not bring herself to go. She thinks how lucky she was to have had Harry as a husband. As for Harry’s luck, it began to go bad when he was in Cuba. It kept getting worse until a Cuban killed him. She considers Cubans bad luck. She thinks also that there are too many black people in Cuba. She remembers a time when a black Cuban insulted her, and Harry smacked him and threw his hat in front of a taxi. She remembers how she laughed. It was the first time she had dyed her hair blonde. The beauticians had not wanted to dye her hair because it was so dark, but Marie kept urging them to make it even lighter. She had been very pleased with the job, thinking her hair turned out looking like gold. She had walked down to the café where Harry was waiting, excited to see how he would react. He had stared at her and told her that she was beautiful. He immediately wanted to go to a hotel.
Marie realizes that she is no longer young and beautiful, but she must start on something. Harry had always been good to her, always provided for her. She thinks about trying to sleep alone. She must try to feel dead inside in order to make everything easier. She looks out the window at the beautiful day and sees a large white yacht coming into the harbor, with a tanker not too far behind.
(The entire section is 428 words.)