A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“There are three others,” I said. “One is dead.”

“It’s Manera. We went for a stretcher but there wasn’t any. How are you, Tenente?”

“Where is Gordini and Gavuzzi?”

“Gordini’s at the post getting bandaged. Gavuzzi has your legs. Hold on to my neck, Tenente. Are you badly hit?”

“In the leg. How is Gordini?”

“He’s all right. It was a big trench mortar shell.”

“Passini’s dead.”

“Yes. He’s dead.”

A shell fell close and they both dropped to the ground and dropped me. “I’m sorry, Tenente,” said Manera. “Hang onto my neck.”

“If you drop me again.”

“It was because we were scared.”

“Are you unwounded?”

“We are both wounded a little.”

“Can Gordini drive?”

“I don’t think so.”

They dropped me once more before we reached the post.

“You sons of bitches,” I said.

“I am sorry, Tenente,” Manera said. “We won’t drop you again.”

Outside the post a great many of us lay on the ground in the dark. They carried wounded in and brought them out. I could see the light come out from the dressing station when the curtain opened and they brought some one in or out. The dead were off to one side. The doctors were working with their sleeves up to their shoulders and were red as butchers. There were not enough stretchers. Some of the wounded were noisy but most were quiet. The wind blew the leaves in the bower over the door of the dressing station and the night was getting cold. Stretcher-bearers came in all the time, put their stretchers down, unloaded them and went away. As soon as I got to the dressing station Manera brought a medical sergeant out and he put bandages on both my legs. He said there was so much dirt blown into the wound that there had not been much hemorrhage. They would take me as soon as possible. He went back inside. Gordini could not drive, Manera said. His shoulder was smashed and his head was hurt. He had not felt bad but now the shoulder had stiffened. He was sitting up beside one of the brick walls. Manera and Gavuzzi each went off with a load of wounded. They could drive all right. The British had come with three ambulances and they had two men on each ambulance. One of their drivers came over to me, brought by Gordini who looked very white and sick. The Britisher leaned over.

“Are you hit badly?” he asked. He was a tall man and wore steel-rimmed spectacles.

“In the legs.”

“It’s not serious I hope. Will you have a cigarette?”


“They tell me you’ve lost two drivers.”

“Yes. One killed and the fellow that brought you.”

“What rotten luck. Would you like us to take the cars?”

“That’s what I wanted to ask you.”

“We’d take quite good care of them and return them to the villa. 206 aren’t you?”


“It’s a charming place. I’ve seen you about. They tell me you’re an American.”


“I’m English.”


“Yes, English. Did you think I was Italian? There were some Italians with one of our units.”

“It would be fine if you would take the cars,” I said.

“We’ll be most careful of them,” he straightened up. “This chap of yours was very anxious for me to see you.” He patted Gordini on the shoulder. Gordini winced and smiled. The Englishman broke into voluble and perfect Italian. “Now everything is arranged. I’ve seen your Tenente. We will take over the two cars. You won’t worry now.” He broke off, “I must do something about getting you out of here. I’ll see the medical wallahs. We’ll take you back with us.”

He walked across to the dressing station, stepping carefully among the wounded. I saw the blanket open, the light came out and he went in.

“He will look after you, Tenente,” Gordini said.

“How are you, Franco?”

“I am all right.” He sat down beside me. In a moment the blanket in front of the dressing station opened and two stretcherbearers came out followed by the tall Englishman. He brought them over to me.

“Here is the American Tenente,” he said in Italian.

“I’d rather wait,” I said. “There are much worse wounded than me. I’m all right.”

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