DescriptionErnest Hemingway Autograph Letter Signed "EH." Two pages, 7.75"n x 10.25", in pencil, n. p., October 3, 1954, to Kit Figgis, wife of Larry Figgis, regarding two successive plane crashes that almost claimed the life of the author and his wife, Mary, in January of the same year. The pair was scheduled to photograph Murchison Falls [Africa] from the air, the plane they were on hit a utility pole and crashed, injuring Hemingway's head and breaking two of Mary's ribs. The very next day, they boarded another plane bound for Entebbe, where they were to receive medical care, but on takeoff, the plane exploded, further injuring the two. Hemingway spent the next few weeks recovering and reading his obituaries. Larry and Kit Figgis were British expatriates living in Africa. Kit was a typist who assisted the Hemingway after the accidents.
He writes of the ordeal, in part: "Miss Mary is ok but nerves a little spotty...we get 20,000. So you and Larry get 1,000...Roy gets the same, wish I could have gotten more...As soon as hear money separated, will send check. They say will publish April 6 whole week Miss Mary and me on cover. Please: Get all Ndege Prang [Ndege is Swahili for airplane and to prang is British slang meaning to crash an airplane] pictures from Roy FAST and send to Alfred Rice [Hemingway's lawyer]...DO THIS FAST. I wish I was better, daughter, to make good jokes and send proper messages to Hones Larry. But you understand and so does he."
"The funniest thing I remember was that Miss Mary believed that the deck was a café and...if you lived on the deck you died on the deck. She thought I was the conservative type. She still does not believe that pranging Ndeges is dangerous. Just like she believes Mr. Simba simply collapses anyway you shoot at him (actually he does not)."
He then expresses his gratitude and affection toward her: "Kit please take care. If I should go...remember what a lovely thing you did to dress up in such a lovely way that night when I was beat to the wide and needed some morale. I will never forget that...I do not know what to say that is AKK-cemptable [sic]. Perhaps (in our circles [where the compliments are miniscule]) I might say it straight that I admire you greatly and love repeat love you in the highest traditions of the service in which we serve and hope that you will always be a good and faithful wife to your husband Figgis...(may I add: a fine man)."
Twenty-five days after writing this letter, Hemingway would win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Minor staining along the top edge of the verso; light toning along the edges. Folds are weakened and separating along the right edge, but not affecting the text.
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