A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“I do, but I thought maybe you were restless.”

“No. Sometimes I wonder about the front and about people I know but I don’t worry. I don’t think about anything much.”

“Who do you wonder about?”

“About Rinaldi and the priest and lots of people I know. But I don’t think about them much. I don’t want to think about the war. I’m through with it.”

“What are you thinking about now?”


“Yes you were. Tell me.”

“I was wondering whether Rinaldi had the syphilis.”

“Was that all?”


“Has he the syphilis?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m glad you haven’t. Did you ever have anything like that?”

“I had gonorrhea.”

“I don’t want to hear about it. Was it very painful, darling?”


“I wish I’d had it.”

“No you don’t.”

“I do. I wish I’d had it to be like you. I wish I’d stayed with all your girls so I could make fun of them to you.”

“That’s a pretty picture.”

“It’s not a pretty picture you having gonorrhea.”

“I know it. Look at it snow now.”

“I’d rather look at you. Darling, why don’t you let your hair grow?”

“How grow?”

“Just grow a little longer.”

“It’s long enough now.”

“No, let it grow a little longer and I could cut mine and we’d be just alike only one of us blonde and one of us dark.”

“I wouldn’t let you cut yours.”

“It would be fun. I’m tired of it. It’s an awful nuisance in the bed at night.”

“I like it.”

“Wouldn’t you like it short?”

“I might. I like it the way it is.”

“It might be nice short. Then we’d both be alike. Oh, darling, I want you so much I want to be you too.”

“You are. We’re the same one.”

“I know it. At night we are.”

“The nights are grand.”

“I want us to be all mixed up. I don’t want you to go away. I just said that. You go if you want to. But hurry right back. Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you.”

“I won’t ever go away,” I said. “I’m no good when you’re not there. I haven’t any life at all any more.”

“I want you to have a life. I want you to have a fine life. But we’ll have it together, won’t we?”

“And now do you want me to stop growing my beard or let it go on?”

“Go on. Grow it. It will be exciting. Maybe it will be done for New Year’s.”

“Now do you want to play chess?”

“I’d rather play with you.”

“No. Let’s play chess.”

“And afterward we’ll play?”


“All right.”

I got out the chess-board and arranged the pieces. It was still snowing hard outside.

One time in the night I woke up and knew that Catherine was awake too. The moon was shining in the window and made shadows on the bed from the bars on the window-panes.

“Are you awake, sweetheart?”

“Yes. Can’t you sleep?”

“I just woke up thinking about how I was nearly crazy when I first met you. Do you remember?”

“You were just a little crazy.”

“I’m never that way any more. I’m grand now. You say grand so sweetly. Say grand.”


“Oh, you’re sweet. And I’m not crazy now. I’m just very, very, very happy.”

“Go on to sleep,” I said.

“All right. Let’s go to sleep at exactly the same moment.”

“All right.”

But we did not. I was awake for quite a long time thinking about things and watching Catherine sleeping, the moonlight on her face. Then I went to sleep, too.


By the middle of January I had a beard and the winter had settled into bright cold days and hard cold nights. We could walk on the roads again. The snow was packed hard and smooth by the hay-sleds and wood-sledges and the logs that were hauled down the mountain. The snow lay over all the country, down almost to Montreux. The mountains on the other side of the lake were all white and the plain of the Rhone Valley was covered. We took long walks on the other side of the mountain to the Bains de l’Alliaz. Catherine wore hobnailed boots and a cape and carried a stick with a sharp steel point. She did not look big with the cape and we would not walk too fast but stopped and sat on logs by the roadside to rest when she was tired.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest