A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

The nurse opened the door and motioned with her finger for me to come. I followed her into the room. Catherine did not look up when I came in. I went over to the side of the bed. The doctor was standing by the bed on the opposite side. Catherine looked at me and smiled. I bent down over the bed and started to cry.

“Poor darling,” Catherine said very softly. She looked gray.

“You’re all right, Cat,” I said. “You’re going to be all right.”

“I’m going to die,” she said; then waited and said, “I hate it.”

I took her hand.

“Don’t touch me,” she said. I let go of her hand. She smiled. “Poor darling. You touch me all you want.”

“You’ll be all right, Cat. I know you’ll be all right.”

“I meant to write you a letter to have if anything happened, but I didn’t do it.”

“Do you want me to get a priest or any one to come and see you?”

“Just you,” she said. Then a little later, “I’m not afraid. I just hate it.”

“You must not talk so much,” the doctor said.

“All right,” Catherine said.

“Do you want me to do anything, Cat? Can I get you anything?”

Catherine smiled, “No.” Then a little later, “You won’t do our things with another girl, or say the same things, will you?”


“I want you to have girls, though.”

“I don’t want them.”

“You are talking too much,” the doctor said. “Mr. Henry must go out. He can come back again later. You are not going to die. You must not be silly.”

“All right,” Catherine said. “I’ll come and stay with you nights,” she said. It was very hard for her to talk.

“Please go out of the room,” the doctor said. “You cannot talk.” Catherine winked at me, her face gray. “I’ll be right outside,” I said.

“Don’t worry, darling,” Catherine said. “I’m not a bit afraid. It’s just a dirty trick.”

“You dear, brave sweet.”

I waited outside in the hall. I waited a long time. The nurse came to the door and came over to me. “I’m afraid Mrs. Henry is very ill,” she said. “I’m afraid for her.”

“Is she dead?”

“No, but she is unconscious.”

It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They couldn’t stop it. I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die.

Outside the room, in the hall, I spoke to the doctor, “Is there anything I can do to-night?”

“No. There is nothing to do. Can I take you to your hotel?”

“No, thank you. I am going to stay here a while.”

“I know there is nothing to say. I cannot tell you–”

“No,” I said. “There’s nothing to say.”

“Good-night,” he said. “I cannot take you to your hotel?”

“No, thank you.”

“It was the only thing to do,” he said. “The operation proved–”

“I do not want to talk about it,” I said.

“I would like to take you to your hotel.”

“No, thank you.”

He went down the hall. I went to the door of the room.

“You can’t come in now,” one of the nurses said.

“Yes I can,” I said.

“You can’t come in yet.”

“You get out,” I said. “The other one too.”

But after I had got them out and shut the door and turned off the light it wasn’t any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.



ERNEST HEMINGWAY was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1899, and began his writing career for _The Kansas City Star_ in 1917. During the First World War he volunteered as an ambulance driver on the Italian front but was invalided home, having been seriously wounded while serving with the infantry. In 1921 Hemingway settled in Paris, where he became part of the expatriate circle of Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Ford Madox Ford. His first book, _Three Stories and Ten Poems_, was published in Paris in 1923 and was followed by the short story selection _In Our Time_, which marked his American debut in 1925. With the appearance of _The Sun Also Rises_ in 1926, Hemingway became not only the voice of the “lost generation” but the preeminent writer of his time. This was followed by _Men Without Women_ in 1927, when Hemingway returned to the United States, and his novel of the Italian front, _A Farewell to Arms_ (1929). In the 1930s, Hemingway settled in Key West, and later in Cuba, but he traveled widely–to Spain, Italy, and Africa–and wrote about his experiences in _Death in the Afternoon_ (1932), his classic treatise on bullfighting, and _Green Hills of Africa_ (1935), an account of big-game hunting in Africa. Later he reported on the Spanish Civil War, which became the background for his brilliant war novel, _For Whom the Bell Tolls_ (1939), hunted U-boats in the Caribbean, and covered the European front during the Second World War. Hemingway’s most popular work, _The Old Man and the Sea_, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, and in 1954 Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his powerful, style-forming mastery of the art of narration.” One of the most important influences on the development of the short story and novel in American fiction, Hemingway has seized the imagination of the American public like no other twentieth-century author. He died, by suicide, in Ketchum, Idaho, in 1961. His other works include _The Torrents of Spring_ (1926), _Winner Take Nothing_ (1933), _To Have and Have Not_ (1937), _The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories_ (1938), _Across the River and into the Trees_ (1950), and posthumously, _A Moveable Feast_ (1964), _Islands in the Stream_ (1970), _The Dangerous Summer_ (1985), and _The Garden of Eden_ (1986).

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