A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“Ciaou, Fred,” said Ettore. “That’s pretty fine you’re going to get the silver medal.”

“I don’t know I’ll get it.”

“You’ll get it all right, Fred. I heard you were going to get it all right.”

“Well, so long,” I said. “Keep out of trouble, Ettore.”

“Don’t worry about me. I don’t drink and I don’t run around. I’m no boozer and whorehound. I know what’s good for me.”

“So long,” I said. “I’m glad you’re going to be promoted captain.”

“I don’t have to wait to be promoted. I’m going to be a captain for merit of war. You know. Three stars with the crossed swords and crown above. That’s me.”

“Good luck.”

“Good luck. When you going back to the front?”

“Pretty soon.”

“Well, I’ll see you around.”

“So long.”

“So long. Don’t take any bad nickels.”

I walked on down a back Street that led to a cross-cut to the hospital. Ettore was twenty-three. He had been brought up by an uncle in San Francisco and was visiting his father and mother in Torino when war was declared. He had a sister, who had been sent to America with him at the same time to live with the uncle, who would graduate from normal school this year. He was a legitimate hero who bored every one he met. Catherine could not stand him.

“We have heroes too,” she said. “But usually, darling, they’re much quieter.”

“I don’t mind him.”

“I wouldn’t mind him if he wasn’t so conceited and didn’t bore me, and bore me, and bore me.”

“He bores me.”

“You’re sweet to say so, darling. But you don’t need to. You can picture him at the front and you know he’s useful but he’s so much the type of boy I don’t care for.”

“I know.”

“You’re awfully sweet to know, and I try and like him but he’s a dreadful, dreadful boy really.”

“He said this afternoon he was going to be a captain.”

“I’m glad,” said Catherine. “That should please him.”

“Wouldn’t you like me to have some more exalted rank?”

“No, darling. I only want you to have enough rank so that we’re admitted to the better restaurants.”

“That’s just the rank I have.”

“You have a splendid rank. I don’t want you to have any more rank. It might go to your head. Oh, darling, I’m awfully glad you’re not conceited. I’d have married you even if you were conceited but it’s very restful to have a husband who’s not conceited.”

We were talking softly out on the balcony. The moon was supposed to rise but there was a mist over the town and it did not come up and in a little while it started to drizzle and we came in. Outside the mist turned to rain and in a little while it was raining hard and we heard it drumming on the roof. I got up and stood at the door to see if it was raining in but it wasn’t, so I left the door open.

“Who else did you see?” Catherine asked.

“Mr. and Mrs. Meyers.”

“They’re a strange lot.”

“He’s supposed to have been in the penitentiary at home. They let him out to die.”

“And he lived happily in Milan forever after.”

“I don’t know how happily.”

“Happily enough after jail I should think.”

“She’s bringing some things here.”

“She brings splendid things. Were you her dear boy?”

“One of them.”

“You are all her dear boys,” Catherine said. “She prefers the dear boys. Listen to it rain.”

“It’s raining hard.”

“And you’ll always love me, won’t you?”


“And the rain won’t make any difference?”


“That’s good. Because I’m afraid of the rain.”

“Why?” I was sleepy. Outside the rain was falling steadily.

“I don’t know, darling. I’ve always been afraid of the rain.”

“I like it.”

“I like to walk in it. But it’s very hard on loving.”

“I’ll love you always.”

“I’ll love you in the rain and in the snow and in the hail and– what else is there?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m sleepy.”

“Go to sleep, darling, and I’ll love you no matter how it is.”

“You’re not really afraid of the rain are you?”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest