Here are some excerpts from The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume I, 1907-1922, edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon (Cambridge University Press).
To the Hemingway family, October 18, 1918:
... there are no heroes in this war. We all offer our bodies and only a few are chosen, but it shouldnt reflect any special credit on those that are chosen. They are just the lucky ones. I am very proud and happy that mine was chosen, but it shouldn't give me any extra credit. Think of the thousands of other boys that offered. All the heroes are dead. And the real heroes are the parents. ... They suffer a thousand times more.
To his friend William D. Horne Jr., March 30, 1919, on the end of his relationship with Agnes von Kurowsky, the Red Cross nurse who helped inspire A Farewell to Arms:
... But Bill I don't want a wonderful career and everything. ... All I wanted was Ag and happiness. And now the bottom has dropped out of the whole world and I'm writing this with a dry mouth and a lump in the throat and Bill I wish you were here to talk to.
To Hadley Richardson, who was to become his first wife, December 23, 1920:
... Saw tragedy tonight. I was in a drug shop opposite the Marigold Gardens and a girl was telephoning in a booth. She was kidding some one over the wire, lips smiling. And talking cheerily away and all the time dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief—Poor kid it was terrible bad whatever it was. ...
'Course I love you—I love you all the time—when I wake up in the morning and have to splash around and shave—I look at your picture and think about you—and that's a pretty deadly part of a day as you know and a good test of loving any one.
To his mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, February 14 and 15, 1922:
We know a good batch of people now in Paris and if we allowed it would have all our time taken up socially; but I am working very hard and we keep plenty of time to ourselves. It is fun living in this oldest quarter of Paris and we have a wonderful time. Paris is so very beautiful that it satisfies something in you that is always hungry in America.
... Gertrude Stein who wrote Three Lives and a number of other good things was here to dinner last night and stayed til mid-night. She is about 55 I guess and very large and nice. She is very keen about my poetry— My Corona typewriter is being repaired. The femme de menage knocked [it] off my writing table while she was cleaning and I dont get it until tomorrow.
To Sherwood Anderson, March 9, 1922, on James Joyce's Ulysses and going out in Paris:
... Joyce has a most god-damn wonderful book. It'll probably reach you in time. Meantime the report is that he and all his family are starving but you can find the whole celtic crew of them every night in Michaud's where Binney [a nickname for Hadley] and I can only afford to go about once a week.