A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“Of course some of the bonds were not accounted for but the priest had all of the three per cent bonds and several local obligations, I forget exactly what they were. So I went to the jail, now this is the point of the story, and I stood outside his cell and I said as though I were going to confession, ‘Bless me, father, for you have sinned.”

There was great laughter from everybody.

“And what did he say?” asked the priest. Rocca ignored this and went on to explain the joke to me. “You see the point, don’t you?” It seemed it was a very funny joke if you understood it properly. They poured me more wine and I told the story about the English private soldier who was placed under the shower bath. Then the major told the story of the eleven Czecho-slovaks and the Hungarian corporal. After some more wine I told the story of the jockey who found the penny. The major said there was an Italian story something like that about the duchess who could not sleep at night. At this point the priest left and I told the story about the travelling salesman who arrived at five o’clock in the morning at Marseilles when the mistral was blowing. The major said he had heard a report that I could drink. I denied this. He said it was true and by the corpse of Bacchus we would test whether it was true or not. Not Bacchus, I said. Not Baëchus. Yes, Bacchus, he said. I should drink cup for cup and glass for glass with Bassi, Fillipo Vincenza. Bassi said no that was no test because he had already drunk twice as much as I. I said that was a foul lie and, Bacchus or no Bacchus, Fillipo Vincenza Bassi or Bassi Fillippo Vicenza had never touched a drop all evening and what was his name anyway? He said was my name Frederico Enrico or Enrico Federico? I said let the best man win, Bacchus barred, and the major started us with red wine in mugs. Half-way through the wine I did not want any more. I remembered where I was going.

“Bassi wins,” I said. “He’s a better man than I am. I have to go.”

“He does really,” said Rinaldi. “He has a rendezvous. I know all about it.”

“I have to go.”

“Another night,” said Bassi. “Another night when you feel stronger.” He slapped me on the shoulder. There were lighted candles on the table. All the officers were very happy. “Good-night, gentlemen,” I said.

Rinaldi went out with me. We stood outside the door on the patch and he said, “You better not go up there drunk.”

“I’m not drunk, Rinin. Really.”

“You’d better chew some coffee.”


“I’ll get some, baby. You walk up and down.” He came back with a handful of roasted coffee beans. “Chew those, baby, and God be with you.”

“Bacchus,” I said.

“I’ll walk down with you.”

“I’m perfectly all right.”

We walked along together through the town and I chewed the coffee. At the gate of the driveway that led up to the British villa, Rinaldi said good-night.

“Good-night,” I said. “Why don’t you come in?”

He shook his head. “No,” he said. “I like the simpler pleasures.”

“Thank you for the coffee beans.”

“Nothing, baby. Nothing.”

J started down the driveway. The outlines of the cypresses that lined it were sharp and clear. I looked back and saw Rinaldi standing watching me and waved to him.

I sat in the reception hail of the villa, waiting for Catherine Barkley to come down. Some one was coming down the hallway. I stood up, but it was not Catherine. It was Miss Ferguson.

“Hello,” she said. “Catherine asked me to tell you she was sorry she couldn’t see you this evening.”

“I’m so sorry. I hope she’s not ill.”

“She’s not awfully well.”

“Will you tell her how sorry I am?”

“Yes, I will.”

“Do you think it would be any good to try and see her tomorrow?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Thank you very much,” I said. “Good-night.”

I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow.

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