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  • Clarke Wallace

TO QUOTE A GREAT AUTHOR

I’m indebted to cousin Belinda Beaton for the email she sent me this morning. Belinda is one of those truly all-knowing persons, in a good way, who I often rub shoulders with.


At various times she emails many of us personally; sometimes en masse. Where she found a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald I have no idea. But that’s her. Always attentive in so many ways.


It was sent to someone named Rosemary when the Fitzgeralds lived in the south of France, Cap d'Antibes, and were quarantined there during the Spanish influenza. Imagine quarantined. 1920. I’m quoting parts of the letter.


“The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even in the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked him if he had washed his hands.”


“He is much the denier that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.”


“The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe and Lord if we need it, brandy."


“I weep for the damned eventualities this future brings.”


Author’s comment: It seems the letter might be bogus. Rosemary is a character in his novel, TENDER IS THE NIGHT. Whether it was his writing or not, it’s an uplifting read giving a genuine feel of the French Riviera where the Fitzgeralds lived for a time.


Doesn't Fitzgerald's predicament sound familiar? Hmm.

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