A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“I’m late, darling,” she said. “There was a lot to do. How are you?”

I told her about my papers and the leave.

“That’s lovely,” she said. “Where do you want to go?”

“Nowhere. I want to stay here.”

“That’s silly. You pick a place to go and I’ll come too.”

“How will you work it?”

“I don’t know. But I will.”

“You’re pretty wonderful.”

“No I’m not. But life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.”

“How do you mean?”

“Nothing. I was only thinking how small obstacles seemed that once were so big.”

“I should think it might be hard to manage.”

“No it won’t, darling. If necessary I’ll simply leave. But it won’t come to that.”

“Where should we go?”

“I don’t care. Anywhere you want. Anywhere we don’t know people.”

“Don’t you care where we go?”

“No. I’ll like any place.”

She seemed upset and taut.

“What’s the matter, Catherine?”

“Nothing. Nothing’s the matter.”

“Yes there is.”

“No nothing. Really nothing.”

“I know there is. Tell me, darling. You can tell me.”

“It’s nothing.”

“Tell me.”

“I don’t want to. I’m afraid I’ll make you unhappy or worry you.”

“No it won’t.”

“You’re sure? It doesn’t worry me but I’m afraid to worry you.”

“It won’t if it doesn’t worry you.”

“I don’t want to tell.”

“Tell it.”

“Do I have to?”


“I’m going to have a baby, darling. It’s almost three months along. You’re not worried, are you? Please please don’t. You mustn’t worry.”

“All right.”

“Is it all right?”

“Of course.”

“I did everything. I took everything but it didn’t make any difference.”

“I’m not worried.”

“I couldn’t help it, darling, and I haven’t worried about it. You mustn’t worry or feel badly.”

“I only worry about you.”

“That’s it. That’s what you mustn’t do. People have babies all the time. Everybody has babies. It’s a natural thing.”

“You’re pretty wonderful.”

“No I’m not. But you mustn’t mind, darling. I’ll try and not make trouble for you. I know I’ve made trouble now. But haven’t I been a good girl until now? You never knew it, did you?”


“It will all be like that. You simply mustn’t worry. I can see you’re worrying. Stop it. Stop it right away. Wouldn’t you like a drink, darling? I know a drink always makes you feel cheerful.”

“No. I feel cheerful. And you’re pretty wonderful.”

“No I’m not. But I’ll fix everything to be together if you pick out a place for us to go. It ought to be lovely in October. We’ll have a lovely time, darling, and I’ll write you every day while you’re at the front.”

“Where will you be?”

“I don’t know yet. But somewhere splendid. I’ll look after all that.”

We were quiet awhile and did not talk. Catherine was sitting on the bed and I was looking at her but we did not touch each other. We were apart as when some one comes into a room and people are self-conscious. She put out her hand and took mine.

“You aren’t angry are you, darling?”


“And you don’t feel trapped?”

“Maybe a little. But not by you.”

“I didn’t mean by me. You mustn’t be stupid. I meant trapped at all.”

“You always feel trapped biologically.”

She went away a long way without stirring or removing her hand.

“‘Always’ isn’t a pretty word.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. But you see I’ve never had a baby and I’ve never even loved any one. And I’ve tried to be the way you wanted and then you talk about ‘always.”

“I could cut off my tongue,” I offered.

“Oh, darling!” she came back from wherever she had been. “You mustn’t mind me.” We were both together again and the self-consciousness was gone. “We really are the same one and we mustn’t misunderstand on purpose.”

“We won’t.”

“But people do. They love each other and they misunderstand on purpose and they fight and then suddenly they aren’t the same one.”

“We won’t fight.”

“We mustn’t. Because there’s only us two and in the world there’s all the rest of them. If anything comes between us we’re gone and then they have us.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest