“Sure,” I said.

He went over to his suitcase and got out the cards and the cribbage board. We played cribbage and he won three dollars off me. John knocked at the door and came in.

“Want to play some cribbage, John?” Jack asked him.

John put his kelly down on the table. It was all wet. His coat was wet too.

“Is it raining?” Jack asks.

“It’s pouring,” John says. “The taxi I had got tied up in the traffic and I got out and walked.”

“Come on, play some cribbage,” Jack says.

“You ought to go and eat.”

“No,” says Jack. “I don’t want to eat yet.”

So they played cribbage for about half an hour and Jack won a dollar and a half off him.

“Well, I suppose we got to go eat,” Jack says. He went to the window and looked out.

“Is it still raining?”


“Let’s eat in the hotel,” John says.

“All right,” Jack says, “I’ll play you once more to see who pays for the meal.”

After a little while Jack gets up and says, “You buy the meal, John,” and we went downstairs and ate in the big dining-room.

After we ate we went upstairs and Jack played cribbage with John again and won two dollars and a half off him. Jack was feeling pretty good. John had a bag with him with all his stuff in it. Jack took off his shirt and collar and put on a jersey and a sweater, so he wouldn’t catch cold when he came out, and put his ring clothes and bathrobe in a bag.

“You all ready?” John asks him. “I’ll call up and have them get a taxi.

Pretty soon the telephone rang and they said the taxi was waiting.

We rode down in the elevator and went out through the lobby, and got in a taxi and rode around to the Garden. It was raining hard but there was a lot of people outside on the streets. The Garden was sold out. As we came in on our way to the dressing-room I saw how full it was. It looked like half a mile down to the ring. It was all dark. Just the lights over the ring.

“It’s a good thing, with this rain, they didn’t try to pull this fight in the ball park,” John said.

“They got a good crowd,” Jack says.

“This is a fight that would draw a lot more than the Garden could hold.”

“You can’t tell about the weather,” Jack says.

John came to the door of the dressing-room and poked his head in. Jack was sitting there with his bathrobe on, he had his arms folded and was looking at the floor. John had a couple of handlers with him. They looked over his shoulder. Jack looked up.

“Is he in?” he asked.

“He’s just gone down,” John said.

We started down. Walcott was just getting into the ring. The crowd gave him a big hand. He climbed through between the ropes and put his two fists together and smiled, and shook them at the crowd, first at one side of the ring, then at the other, and then sat down. Jack got a good hand coming down through the crowd. Jack is Irish and the Irish always get a pretty good hand. An Irishman don’t draw in New York like a Jew or an Italian but they always get a good hand. Jack climbed up and bent down to go through the ropes and Walcott came over from his corner and pushed the rope down for Jack to go through. The crowd thought that was wonderful. Walcott put his hand on Jack’s shoulder and they stood there just for a second.

“So you’re going to be one of these popular champions,” Jack says to him. “Take your goddam hand off my shoulder.”

“Be yourself,” Walcott says.

This is all great for the crowd. How gentlemanly the boys are before the fight! How they wish each other luck!

Solly Freedman came over to our corner while Jack is bandaging his hands and John is over in Walcott’s corner. Jack put his thumb through the slit in the bandage and then wrapped his hand nice and smooth. I taped it around the wrist and twice across the knuckles.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest