A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

Sometimes Catherine and I went for rides out in the country in a carriage. It was nice to ride when the days were pleasant and we found two good places where we could ride out to eat. Catherine could not walk very far now and I loved to ride out along the country roads with her. When there was a good day we had a splendid time and we never had a bad time. We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us both a feeling as though something were hurrying us and we could not lose any time together.


One morning I awoke about three o’clock hearing Catherine stirring in the bed.

“Are you all right, Cat?”

“I’ve been having some pains, darling.”


“No, not very.”

“If you have them at all regularly we’ll go to the hospital.”

I was very sleepy and went back to sleep. A little while later I woke again.

“Maybe you’d better call up the doctor,” Catherine said. “I think maybe this is it.”

I went to the phone and called the doctor. “How often are the pains coming?” he asked.

“How often are they coming, Cat?”

“I should think every quarter of an hour.”

“You should go to the hospital, then,” the doctor said. “I will dress and go there right away myself.”

I hung up and called the garage near the station to send up a taxi. No one answered the phone for a long time. Then I finally got a man who promised to send up a taxi at once. Catherine was dressing. Her bag was all packed with the things she would need at the hospital and the baby things. Outside in the hall I rang for the elevator. There was no answer. I went downstairs. There was no one downstairs except the night-watchman. I brought the elevator up myself, put Catherine’s bag in it, she stepped in and we went down. The night-watchman opened the door for us and we sat outside on the stone slabs beside the stairs down to the driveway and waited for the taxi. The night was clear and the stars were out. Catherine was very excited.

“I’m so glad it’s started,” she said. “Now in a little while it will be all over.”

“You’re a good brave girl.”

“I’m not afraid. I wish the taxi would come, though.”

We heard it coming up the street and saw its headlights. It turned into the driveway and I helped Catherine in and the driver put the bag up in front.

“Drive to the hospital,” I said.

We went out of the driveway and started up the hill.

At the hospital we went in and I carried the bag. There was a woman at the desk who wrote down Catherine’s name, age, address, relatives and religion, in a book. She said she had no religion and the woman drew a line in the space after that word. She gave her name as Catherine Henry.

“I will take you up to your room,” she said. We went up in an elevator. The woman stopped it and we stepped out and followed her down a hall. Catherine held tight to my arm.

“This is the room,” the woman said. “Will you please undress and get into bed? Here is a night-gown for you to wear.”

“I have a night-gown,” Catherine said.

“It is better for you to wear this night-gown,” the woman said.

I went outside and sat on a chair in the hallway.

“You can come in now,” the woman said from the doorway. Catherine was lying in the narrow bed wearing a plain, square-cut night-gown that looked as though it were made of rough sheeting. She smiled at me.

“I’m having fine pains now,” she said. The woman was holding her wrist and timing the pains with a watch.

“That was a big one,” Catherine said. I saw it on her face.

“Where’s the doctor?” I asked the woman.

“He’s lying down sleeping. He will be here when he is needed.”

“I must do something for Madame, now,” the nurse said. “Would you please step out again?”

I went out into the hall. It was a bare hall with two windows and closed doors all down the corridor. It smelled of hospital. I sat on the chair and looked at the floor and prayed for Catherine.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest