Saturday, October 03, 2015

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway #QotD

2015.09.28-DSC03463"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway

There were a few Tommies that showed minute and white against the yellow and, far off, he saw a herd of zebra, white against the green of the bush. This was a pleasant camp under big trees against a hill, with good water, and close by, a nearly dry water hole where sand grouse flighted in the mornings.

* * * * *

“I don’t like to leave anything,” the man said. “I don’t like to leave things behind.”

* * * * *

But, in yourself, you said that you would write about these people; about the very rich; that you were really not of them but a spy in their country; that you would leave it and write of it and for once it would be written by some one who knew what he was writing of.

* * * * *

But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all.

* * * * *

Africa was where he had been happiest in the good time of his life, so he had come out here to start again. They had made this safari with the minimum of comfort. There was no hardship; but there was no luxury and he had thought that he could get back into training that way.

* * * * *

She shot very well this good, this rich bitch, this kindly caretaker and destroyer of his talent.

* * * * *

Nonsense. He had destroyed his talent himself. Why should he blame this woman because she kept him well? He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayals of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook. What was this? A catalogue of old books? What was his talent anyway? It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded on it. It was never what he had done, but always what he could do.

* * * * *

We must all be cut out for what we do, he thought. However you make your living is where your talent lies. He had sold vitality, in one form or another, all his life and when your affections are not too involved you give much better value for the money.

* * * * *

The rich were dull and they drank too much, or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious.

* * * * *

He remembered poor Julian and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, “The very rich are different from you and me.” And how some one had said to Julian, Yes, they have more money. But that was not humorous to Julian. He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren’t it wrecked him just as much as any other thing that wrecked him.

* * * * *

2015.09.27-DSC03214 Compie turned his head and grinned and pointed and there, ahead, all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that there was where he was going.

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