In his Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway writes at length about his relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald. He tells of their first meeting in the spring of 1925, at the Dingo Bar, where Hemingway was “sitting with some completely worthless characters,” namely Duff Twysden and Pat Guthrie, on whom Brett Ashley and Mike Campbell in The Sun Also Rises were based. Behind the bar was legendary barman Jimmie Charters. And if this didn’t already sound like a who’s who of 1920s expat Paris, in walked F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway knew of F. Scott; he was already a successful writer, and The Great Gatsby had just been released.
As it happened, F. Scott overindulged at that first meeting and passed out. Hemingway came to learn that this was simply a “thing” for both F. Scott and Zelda. “Becoming unconscious when they drank had always been their great defense,” Hemingway noted. It wouldn’t take much drinking for them to “go to sleep like children…and when they woke they will be fresh and happy, not having taken enough alcohol to damage their bodies before it made them unconscious.”
They met again a few days later at the Closerie des Lilas. Here, F. Scott asked Ernest a favor. F. Scott and Zelda’s Renault motor car had been left “in Lyon because of bad weather,” and would Hem be good enough to help F. Scott retrieve it? They could ride down together on the train, get the car, and then drive it back to Paris. Hemingway thought it a fine idea, as it would give him a chance to spend time with a more accomplished writer.