Hemingway states that “Ezra Pound was the most generous writer I have ever known” but also “the most disinterested.” Pound is always doing favors for others and he worries about people constantly, including T.S. Eliot who Ezra fears does not have enough time to devote to writing due to his day job at a bank. Ezra founds “something called Bel Esprit” with Natalie Clifford Barney, a wealthy American who hosts salons for women at her home. Hemingway notes that it is common practice for rich French and American women to host salons in their homes and that he tries to avoid them. The Bel Esprit is a project of raising money in order to help Eliot stop working at the bank and devote himself to writing full-time. Hemingway approves and campaigns “energetically,” enthused by the thought of getting Eliot out of the bank. The campaign ends after the publication of The Waste Land, which is so successful that Ezra feels he doesn’t need to worry anymore. Hemingway takes some of the money he put into Bel Esprit and loses it at the races. However, it is alright in the end because he uses the rest of the money to go to Spain.
Like many chapters of “A Moveable Feast,” the story about the Bel Esprit reveals both the best and worst sides of Hemingway’s personality. His best side is that which aligns with Ezra; through his friendship Ezra, Hemingway is encouraged to be generous, selfless, and caring towards others. However, as often happens in Hemingway’s life, this generosity is only extended to other male writers. Hemingway’s disdain for Natalie Clifford Barney and the salons run by French and American women once again highlights his irrational contempt for women, even those who make significant contributions to the world of arts and letters.