His 1922 story "Up in Michigan" is about an impossible subject for the times, what we now call "date rape" or "acquaintance rape." In early drafts, Hemingway gave the characters the names of actual people in Michigan. Gertrude Stein told Hemingway it was a very good story but "inaccrochable [unpublishable]. That means that it is like a picture that a painter paints and then he cannot hang it." (52) Perhaps she was right; the subject was so controversial that Hemingway's first major publisher, Boni and Liveright, refused to include it in In Our Time. Not until 1938 did Scribner's include it in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories.
As we try to sort out the strands of Hemingway's life, can we trust his judgment to be true to the actual happenings? Of course not, as we cannot trust our own. In 1925 Hemingway and Hadley met Pauline Pfeiffer, a stylish, wealthy young woman from St. Louis who worked for the Paris edition of Vogue. Pauline and Hadley became friends; Pauline traveled with the Hemingways; Pauline and Hemingway fell in love and became lovers. In the published version of A Moveable Feast, Hemingway described the triangle: "We had already been infiltrated by another rich [Pauline] using the oldest trick there is. It is that an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman who is married, goes to live with the husband and wife and then unknowingly, innocently and unrelentingly sets out to marry the husband. When the husband is a writer and doing difficult work so that he is occupied much of the time and is not a good companion or partner to his wife for a big part of the day, the arrangement has advantages until you know how it works out. The husband has two attractive girls around when he has finished work. One is new and strange and if he has bad luck he gets to love them both." (53)
In an unpublished version, Hemingway blamed Pauline less and himself more: "For the girl to deceive her friend was a terrible thing but it was my fault and blindness that this did not repel me. Having become involved in it and being in love I accepted all the blame for it to myself and live with the remorse." (54)
Hadley divorced Hemingway in January 1927, and in May Hemingway and Pauline married. For his marriage to Pauline, the reference in Hemingway's usual "things to do" list in his date book includes: "go to confession, get confession billet, buy ring, get 2 witnesses, male and female." (55) (Congregational Hemingway had become a Catholic to marry Pauline.)
After traveling in Europe, Pauline and Hemingway returned to the United States. They discovered Key West, Florida, where they would eventually settle and which is now part of Hemingway lore--their house with all its cats, Sloppy Joe's Bar. Then, Key West was a quiet town with a great climate and great fishing.