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Shine Forbes shows Palin Hemingway's moves in the ring.

Shine Forbes

One day, some time in the 1930s, Shine was acting as a second to a young boxer who was taking quite a pasting. Shine threw in the towel. The referee refused to accept it. He did it again and once more the referee kicked it away. Furious at his refusal to stop the fight, Shine climbed into the ring and swung a punch at the referee. Only after the fight was Shine told that the referee he had assaulted was the famous writer Ernest Hemingway. He was made to go round to the house and apologize straightaway.

Shine knocked on the door of the grand house at 907 Whitehead with deep misgivings, but Hemingway, far from being angry, asked him and his friends in for some sparring practice and told them to come round any time.

Hemingway rented himself out as a sparring partner while living in Paris to make extra money in his early days as a writer.

And they did. One Christmas, Shine recalls, they were walking up Whitehead, short of cash, when they saw a light in the Hemingways' house and knocked on the door. Hemingway was holding a party and the boys earned $200 sparring by the pool as an entertainment for his guests.

Shine Forbes spars and reminisces with Palin in front of his Key West home.

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Photo credits: © Basil Pao, 1999., Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection/John F. Kennedy Library. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999 Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Store.