Summary and Analysis Chapters 4 and 5
Hemingway describes walking on the quais along the Seine River in Paris. The buildings are a mixture of the beautiful and the utilitarian. Most interesting to Hemingway is the Tour D’Argent restaurant, not so much for its food but for its bookstall. There are rooms for rent above the restaurant and people regularly leave behind books, which the proprietress then sells. Hemingway occasionally finds a good book there and tries to convince the proprietress to save the books in English for him, but she refuses due mostly to his irregular visits. She is afraid to be left holding worthless books because she has serious doubts about the quality of books written in English. To her, a book is valuable if it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye—a good cover, pleasant pictures and illustrations, a solid binding. The contents of the book are not what gives it value, she believes.
Hemingway enjoys watching the fishermen along the Seine who sell their catches to nearby restaurants. Though it is believed that the fishermen along the Seine are crazy and never catch anything, Hemingway enjoys taking a day off to watch. He himself does not fish because at that time he had no fishing tackle. Plus, he was afraid he would become too involved in fishing and then never get any work done. He never feels lonely along the Seine and enjoys seeing the approach of spring in all the trees. Occasionally spring seems to come early, but then retreats. Hemingway speaks of the fear of its never returning, but always it does.
Paris has a touch of the countryside, as Hemingway describes it, with a goatherd roaming the streets in the early morning hours selling goat milk. Hemingway hears the woman who lives in the floor above go down to buy some. With that, Hemingway decides to go for a racing paper. He and Hadley debate whether or not they have enough money to go to the races (they decide that, despite all that they cannot afford, they do...
(The entire section is 777 words.)