A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“You’re a lovely girl.”

“I don’t know how a room like this would be for waking up in the morning. But it’s really a splendid room.” I poured another glass of St. Estephe.

“I wish we could do something really sinful,” Catherine said. “Everything we do seems so innocent and simple. I can’t believe we do anything wrong.”

“You’re a grand girl.”

“I only feel hungry. I get terribly hungry.”

“You’re a fine simple girl,” I said.

“I am a simple girl. No one ever understood it except you.”

“Once when I first met you I spent an afternoon thinking how we would go to the Hotel Cavour together and how it would be.”

“That was awfully cheeky of you. This isn’t the Cavour is it?”

“No. They wouldn’t have taken us in there.”

“They’ll take us in some time. But that’s how we differ, darling. I never thought about anything.”

“Didn’t you ever at all?”

“A little,” she said.

“Oh you’re a lovely girl.”

I poured another glass of wine.

“I’m a very simple girl,” Catherine said.

“I didn’t think so at first. I thought you were a crazy girl.”

“I was a little crazy. But I wasn’t crazy in any complicated manner. I didn’t confuse you did I, darling?”

“Wine is a grand thing,” I said. “It makes you forget all the bad.”

“It’s lovely,” said Catherine. “But it’s given my father gout very badly.”

“Have you a father?”

“Yes,” said Catherine. “He has gout. You won’t ever have to meet him. Haven’t you a father?”

“No,” I said. “A step-father.”

“Will I like him?”

“You won’t have to meet him.”

“We have such a fine time,” Catherine said. “I don’t take any interest in anything else any more. I’m so very happy married to you.”

The waiter came and took away the things. After a while we were very still and we could hear the rain. Down below on the street a motor car honked.

“‘But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near,’ ” I said.

“I know that poem,” Catherine said. “It’s by Marvell. But it’s about a girl who wouldn’t live with a man.”

My head felt very clear and cold and I wanted to talk facts.

“Where will you have the baby?”

“I don’t know. The best place I can find.”

“How will you arrange it?”

“The best way I can. Don’t worry, darling. We may have several babies before the war is over.”

“It’s nearly time to go.”

“I know. You can make it time if you want.”


“Then don’t worry, darling. You were fine until now and now you’re worrying.”

“I won’t. How often will you write?”

“Every day. Do they read your letters?”

“They can’t read English enough to hurt any.”

“I’ll make them very confusing,” Catherine said.

“But not too confusing.”

“I’ll just make them a little confusing.”

“I’m afraid we have to start to go.”

“All right, darling.”

“I hate to leave our fine house.”

“So do I.”

“But we have to go.”

“All right. But we’re never settled in our home very long.”

“We will be.”

“I’ll have a fine home for you when you come back.”

“Maybe I’ll be back right away.”

“Perhaps you’ll be hurt just a little in the foot.”

“Or the lobe of the ear.”

“No I want your ears the way they are.”

“And not my feet?”

“Your feet have been hit already.”

“We have to go, darling. Really.”

“All right. You go first.”


We walked down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. The carpet on the stairs was worn. I had paid for the dinner when it came up and the waiter, who had brought it, was sitting on a chair near the door. He jumped up and bowed and I went with him into the side room and paid the bill for the room. The manager had remembered me as a friend and refused payment in advance but when he retired he had remembered to have the waiter stationed at the door so that I should not get out without paying. I suppose that had happened; even with his friends. One had so many friends in a war.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest