Well, now we’re going closer. As I already declared, this man was a Naturalist (whether anyone agrees with me or not). He collected stones, plants and yes, animals, just like I do. Although at that time, taking photos was somewhat more difficult – not impossible, but let’s say less fashionable and more expensive than going on holiday and actually collecting them.
To be clear, I don’t condone hunting. Not in the least. But in Hemingway’s time, there was little else you could do to bring home a memory and be able to see the beauty of nature every day. And I do think that that was his goal – he was into the hunting part, sure, but he also loved nature and all its animals. He probably looked at his trophies like I scroll through my photos and sigh ah, such a beautiful animal that was in exactly the same way. Maybe while leafing through his magazines and drinking … not tea. No. Something stronger. A gin and tonic. It’s warm, but all his windows are open. The slightest of breezes slips through his laurel clock vines and makes them swing. Not even realising it’s flown inside a house, a carpenter bee lazily buzzes from one window to the other. Hemingway’s eyes lift slowly over the photo in the magazine of a far off country (I must go there, he thinks) and follow the bee as it flies in front of him and then out. His gaze stops on the leopard head mounted to the right of the bookshelves.
Ah, such a beautiful animal that was,
he thinks. Then he turns the page just as his cat jumps up on the sofa beside him, making Negrita stir in her sleep at his feet. The cat cuddles, seeking affection close to his thigh and distractedly he strokes her velvety back. She purrs softly and he languidly finishes his magazine. And his gin and tonic.