A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

I said good-by at the hospital at about five o’clock and went out. The porter had my baggage in his lodge and I told him I would be at the station a little before midnight. His wife called me “Signorino” and cried. She wiped her eyes and shook hands and then cried again. I patted her on the back and she cried once more. She had done my mending and was a very short dumpy, happy-faced woman with white hair. When she cried her whole face went to pieces. I went down to the corner where there was a wine shop and waited inside looking out the window. It was dark outside and cold and misty. I paid for my coffee and grappa and I watched the people going by in the light from the window. I saw Catherine and knocked on the window. She looked, saw me and smiled, and I went out to meet her. She was wearing a dark blue cape and a soft felt hat. We walked along together, along the sidewalk past the wine shops, then across the market square and up the street and through the archway to the cathedral square. There were streetcar tracks and beyond them was the cathedral. It was white and wet in the mist. We crossed the tram tracks. On our left were the shops, their windows lighted, and the entrance to the galleria. There was a fog in the square and when we came close to the front of the cathedral it was very big and the stone was wet.

“Would you like to go in?”

“No,” Catherine said. We walked along. There was a soldier standing with his girl in the shadow of one of the stone buttresses ahead of us and we passed them. They were standing tight up against the stone and he had put his cape around her.

“They’re like us,” I said.

“Nobody is like us,” Catherine said. She did not mean it happily.

“I wish they had some place to go.”

“It mightn’t do them any good.”

“I don’t know. Everybody ought to have some place to go.”

“They have the cathedral,” Catherine said. We were past it now. We crossed the far end of the square and looked back at the cathedral. It was fine in the mist. We were standing in front of the leather goods shop. There were riding boots, a rucksack and ski boots in the window. Each article was set apart as an exhibit; the rucksack in the centre, the riding boots on one side and the ski boots on the other. The leather was dark and oiled smooth as a used saddle. The electric light made high lights on the dull oiled leather.

“We’ll ski some time.”

“In two months there will be ski-ing at Mflrren,” Catherine said.

“Let’s go there.”

“All right,” she said. We went on past other windows and turned down a side street.

“I’ve never been this way.”

“This is the way I go to the hospital,” I said. It was a narrow street and we kept on the right-hand side. There were many people passing in the fog. There were shops and all the windows were lighted. We looked in a window at a pile of cheeses. I stopped in front of an armorer’s shop.

“Come in a minute. I have to buy a gun.”

“What sort of gun?”

“A pistol.” We went in and I unbuttoned my belt and laid it with the emply holster on the counter. Two women were behind the counter. The women brought out several pistols.

“It must fit this,” I said, opening the holster. It was a gray leather holster and I had bought it second-hand to wear in the town.

“Have they good pistols?” Catherine asked.

“They’re all about the same. Can I try this one?” I asked the woman.

“I have no place now to shoot,” she said. “But it is very good. You will not make a mistake with it.”

I snapped it and pulled back the action. The spring was rather strong but it worked smoothly. I sighted it and snapped it again.

“It is used,” the woman said. “It belonged to an officer who was an excellent shot.”

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