Chapter 12 Summary
Yogi Johnson and the two Indians walk down the hill to the town. The Indians invite Yogi into the pool hall to shoot a game of pool, but Yogi explains that his arm was injured in the war, so now he cannot play. They suggest that he play Kelly, who had both arms and legs shot off at Ypres. Yogi thinks this sounds more agreeable. He meets Kelly, who has two artificial arms. At the end of an hour and a half of playing, Yogi owes Kelly money. Kelly invites Yogi to go with them for a drink. They lead him to a speak-easy (this is during the time of Prohibition), which is up in the loft of a stable. Several Indians are in the bar, and Yogi recognizes some of them. He learns that the Indians are segregated into two groups: town Indians and woods Indians. The two with whom he came are woods Indians, unlike the others there, who are town Indians. Red Dog, the man with whom Yogi works at the pump factory, introduces him to the others and tells implausible histories for each one. Yogi believes each story. Bruce, the Black bartender, laughs loudly at Yogi’s gullibility.
Red Dog takes Yogi on a tour of the club. The committee room is decorated with pictures of several famous celebrities; all of the pictures are “autographed.” In the locker room is a small pool. Yogi is impressed, and Red Dog offers to put him up for memberships. He asks what tribe Yogi belongs to, and Yogi explains that his ancestors came from Sweden. Red Dog is surprised but says he thought he looked “a little on the white side.” He is glad that this was discovered in time because a white man trying to join the club would have caused a scandal. He pulls a gun on Yogi and orders him to quietly leave and never come back. As he leaves, Bruce the bartender laughs at him; he recognized him as a Swede from the beginning. The two woods Indians are thrown out with him. The little Indian is crying, having lost one of his artificial arms. Yogi tries to comfort them, saying they will be able to get a job in the pump factory. The big Indian is not interested, stating that they are going to join the Salvation Army. Above, they can still hear Bruce laughing.
In an Author’s Note, Hemingway relates to the reader that he wrote this chapter in two hours and then went out to lunch with John Dos Passos. In a postscript, he adds that when H. G. Wells was shown this chapter, Wells was concerned that the reader would think the chapter is too autobiographical. Hemingway did not agree.