A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“That’s all I want to know.” He patted me on the shoulder. “Leave the dressings off.”

“Will you have a drink, Dr. Valentini?”

“A drink? Certainly. I will have ten drinks. Where are they?”

“In the armoire. Miss Barkley will get the bottle.”

“Cheery oh. Cheery oh to you, Miss. What a lovely girl. I will bring you better cognac than that.” He wiped his mustache.

“When do you think it can be operated on?”

“To-morrow morning. Not before. Your stomach must be emptied. You must be washed out. I will see the old lady downstairs and leave instructions. Good-by. I see you to-morrow. I’ll bring you better cognac than that. You are very comfortable here. Good-by. Until to-morrow. Get a good sleep. I’ll see you early.” He waved from the doorway, his mustaches went straight up, his brown face was smiling. There was a star in a box on his sleeve because he was a major.


That night a bat flew into the room through the open door that led onto the balcony and through which we watched the night over the roofs of the town. It was dark in our room except for the small light of the night over the town and the bat was not frightened but hunted in the room as though he had been outside. We lay and watched him and I do not think he saw us because we lay so still. After he went out we saw a searchlight come on and watched the beam move across the sky and then go off and it was dark again. A breeze came in the night and we heard the men of the anti-aircraft gun on the next roof talking. It was cool and they were putting on their capes. I worried in the night about some one coming up but Catherine said they were all asleep. Once in the night we went to sleep and when I woke she was not there but I heard her coming along the hall and the door opened and she came back to the bed and said it was all right she had been downstairs and they were all asleep. She had been outside Miss Van Campen’s door and heard her breathing in her sleep. She brought crackers and we ate them and drank some vermouth. We were very hungry but she said that would all have to be gotten out of me in the morning. I went to sleep again in the morning when it was light and when I was awake I found she was gone again. She came in looking fresh and lovely and sat on the bed and the sun rose while I had the thermometer in my mouth and we smelled the dew on the roofs and then the coffee of the men at the gun on the next roof.

“I wish we could go for a walk,” Catherine said. “I’d wheel you if we had a chair.”

“How would I get into the chair?”

“We’d do it.”

“We could go out to the park and have breakfast outdoors.” I looked out the open doorway.

“What we’ll really do,” she said, “is get you ready for your friend Dr. Valentini.”

“I thought he was grand.”

“I didn’t like him as much as you did. But I imagine he’s very good.”

“Come back to bed, Catherine. Please,” I said.

“I can’t. Didn’t we have a lovely night?”

“And can you be on night duty to-night?”

“I probably will. But you won’t want me.”

“Yes, I will.”

“No, you won’t. You’ve never been operated on. You don’t know how you’ll be.”

“I’ll be all right.”

“You’ll be sick and I won’t be anything to you.”

“Come back then now.”

“No,” she said. “I have to do the chart, darling, and fix you up.”

“You don’t really love me or you’d come back again.”

“You’re such a silly boy.” She kissed me. “That’s all right for the chart. Your temperature’s always normal. You’ve such a lovely temperature.”

“You’ve got a lovely everything.”

“Oh no. You have the lovely temperature. I’m awfully proud of your temperature.”

“Maybe all our children will have fine temperatures.”

“Our children will probably have beastly temperatures.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest