Later, after Zelda has a nervous breakdown, Scott and Hemingway have lunch at Michaud’s. Scott tells Hemingway that he has an important question to ask, and that Hemingway must answer truthfully. At the restaurant, Scott drinks wine, but doesn’t seem to be affected by it. The two men discuss writing and people; only at dessert does Scott finally confess that Zelda is the only person he’s ever slept with. He goes on to tell Hemingway that Zelda told him he “could never make any woman happy” and that it was “a matter of measurements.” Hemingway then takes Scott to the bathroom, before concluding that there is nothing wrong with Scott’s size. He suggests that Scott go to the Louvre to compare himself to the statues and see that he is perfectly normal. He urges that Scott “forget what Zelda said,” adding, “Zelda is crazy” and “she wants to destroy you.” Hemingway suggests they go and look at pictures together, but Scott says he has plans to meet people at the Ritz bar.
Like most of the scenes featuring Scott, this passage is both comedic and tragic. Zelda’s belittling behavior is cruel, and the effect it has on Scott is clearly painful. On the other hand, the fact that Hemingway takes Scott into the bathroom to assess the size of his penis is highly amusing. This interaction recalls the earlier scene in which Scott is convinced that he is dying and Hemingway takes his temperature with a broken thermometer before reassuring him that he is fine. Scott and Hemingway exemplify two very different kinds of masculinity—where Hemingway is more of an old-fashioned, tough “man’s man,” Scott represents a more modern, effeminate, and anxious mode of being.
Many years later, the Ritz’s barman, Georges asks Hemingway about “this Monsieur Fitzgerald” everyone talks about. Hemingway explains that he “was an American writer of the early twenties” who “wrote two very good books.” Georges says it is strange that he doesn’t remember Fitzgerald, and Hemingway replies that “all those people are dead.” Georges notes that Fitzgerald was a “chasseur” (soldier). Hemingway tells Georges that he plans to write about Fitzgerald as he remembers him in a book about Paris.
In earlier editions of “A Moveable Feast,” this passage is where the book ends. This scene creates the impression of Hemingway as the sole survivor of a world that has all but totally disappeared. This disappearance is further emphasized by the fact that Georges cannot remember Scott. Hemingway feels a sense of responsibility to preserve the memory of the Paris he knew that others have forgotten.