A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

Finally a new doctor came in with two nurses and they lifted Catherine onto a wheeled stretcher and we started down the hall. The stretcher went rapidly dOwn the hall and into the elevator where every one had to crowd against the wall to make room; then up, then an open door and out of the elevator and down the hall on rubber wheels to the operating room. I did not recognize the doctor with his cap and mask on. There was another doctor and more nurses.

“They’ve got to give me something,” Catherine said. “They’ve got to give me something. Oh please, doctor, give me enough to do some good!”

One of the doctors put a mask over her face and I looked through the door and saw the bright small amphitheatre of the operating room.

“You can go in the other door and sit up there,” a nurse said to me. There were benches behind a rail that looked down on the white table and the lights. I looked at Catherine. The mask was over her face and she was quiet now. They wheeled the stretcher forward. I turned away and walked down the hall. Two nurses were hurrying toward the entrance to the gallery.

“It’s a Caesarean,” one said. “They’re going to do a Caesarean.”

The other one laughed, “We’re just in time. Aren’t we lucky?” They went in the door that led to the gallery.

Another nurse came along. She was hurrying too.

“You go right in there. Go right in,” she said.

“I’m staying outside.”

She hurried in. I walked up and down the hall. I was afraid to go in. I looked out the window. It was dark but in the light from the window I could see it was raining. I went into a room at the far end of the hall and looked at the labels on bottles in a glass case. Then I came out and stood in the empty hall and watched the door of the operating room.

A doctor came out followed by a nurse. He held something in his two hands that looked like a freshly skinned rabbit and hurried across the corridor with it and in through another door. I went down to the door he had gone into and found them in the room doing things to a new-born child. The doctor held him up for me to see. He held him by the heels and slapped him.

“Is he all right?”

“He’s magnificent. He’ll weigh five kilos.”

I had no feeling for him. He did not seem to have anything to do with me. I felt no feeling of fatherhood.

“Aren’t you proud of your son?” the nurse asked. They were washing him and wrapping him in something. I saw the little dark face and dark hand, but I did not see him move or hear him cry. The doctor was doing something to him again. He looked upset.

“No,” I said. “He nearly killed his mother.”

“It isn’t the little darling’s fault. Didn’t you want a boy?”

“No,” I said. The doctor was busy with him. He held him up by the feet and slapped him. I did not wait to see it. I went out in the hail. I could go in now and see. I went in the door and a little way down the gallery. The nurses who were sitting at the rail motioned for me to come down where they were. I shook my head. I could see enough where I was.

I thought Catherine was dead. She looked dead. Her face was gray, the part of it that I could see. Down below, under the light, the doctor was sewing up the great long, forcep-spread, thickedged, wound. Another doctor in a mask gave the anaesthetic. Two nurses in masks handed things. It looked like a drawing of the Inquisition. I knew as I watched I could have watched it all, but I was glad I hadn’t. I do not think I could have watched them cut, but I watched the wound closed into a high welted ridge with quick skilful-looking stitches like a cobbler’s, and was glad. When the wound was closed I went out into the hall and walked up and down again. After a while the doctor came out.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118

Categories: Hemingway, Ernest