Books: Mary's Museship

HOW IT WAS by MARY WELSH HEMINGWAY 537 pages. Knopf. $1 2.50.

The earthly Muses of literary men tend to follow a certain succession. The first wife gets to bear the babies. The next wife or two come in on the money and the fame. The poor last wife is left to serve as practical nurse to the Great Man's aches and pains and, as widow, play keeper to his flame.

Mary Welsh Hemingway, the fourth and last wife of Ernest Hemingway, was 36 and already twice married when she bumped into Papa, then...