A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“Are you married?” he asked from the bed. I was standing against the wall by the window.

“Not yet.”

“Are you in love?”


“With that English girl?”


“Poor baby. Is she good to you?”

“Of course.”

“I mean is she good to you practically speaking?”

“Shut up.”

“I will. You will see I am a man of extreme delicacy. Does she–?”

“Rinin,” I said. “Please shut up. If you want to be my friend, shut up.”

“I don’t want to be your friend, baby. I am your friend.”

“Then shut up.”

“All right.”

I went over to the bed and sat down beside Rinaldi. He was holding his glass and looking at the floor.

“You see how it is, Rinin?”

“Oh, yes. All my life I encounter sacred subjects. But very few with you. I suppose you must have them too.” He looked at the floor.

“You haven’t any?”

“Not any?”


“I can say this about your mother and that about your sister?”

“And that about your sister,” Rinaldi said swiftly. We both laughed.

“The old superman,” I said.

“I am jealous maybe,” Rinaldi said.

“No, you’re not.”

“I don’t mean like that. I mean something else. Have you any married friends?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I haven’t,” Rinaldi said. “Not if they love each other.”

“Why not?”

“They don’t like me.”

“Why not?”

“I am the snake. I am the snake of reason.”

“You’re getting it mixed. The apple was reason.”

“No, it was the snake.”

He was more cheerful.

“You are better when you don’t think so deeply,” I said.

“I love you, baby,” he said. “You puncture me when I become a great Italian thinker. But I know many things I can’t say. I know more than you.”

“Yes. You do.”

“But you will have a better time. Even with remorse you will have a better time.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Oh, yes. That is true. Already I am only happy when I am working.” He looked at the floor again.

“You’ll get over that.”

“No. I only like two other things; one is bad for my work and the other is over in half an hour or fifteen minutes. Sometimes less.”

“Sometimes a good deal less.”

“Perhaps I have improved, baby. You do not know. But there are only the two things and my work.”

“You’ll get other things.”

“No. We never get anything. We are born with all we have and we never learn. We never get anything new. We all start complete. You should be glad not to be a Latin.”

“There’s no such thing as a Latin. That is ‘Latin’ thinking. You are so proud of your defects.” Rinaldi looked up and laughed.

“We’ll stop, baby. I am tired from thinking so much.” He had looked tired when he came in. “It’s nearly time to eat. I’m glad you’re back. You are my best friend and my war brother.”

“When do the war brothers eat?” I asked.

“Right away. We’ll drink once more for your liver’s sake.”

“Like Saint Paul.”

“You are inaccurate. That was wine and the stomach. Take a little wine for your stomach’s sake.”

“Whatever you have in the bottle,” I said. “For any sake you mention.”

“To your girl,” Rinaldi said. He held out his glass.

“All right.”

“I’ll never say a dirty thing about her.”

“Don’t strain yourself.”

He drank off the cognac. “I am pure,” he said. “I am like you, baby. I will get an English girl too. As a matter of fact I knew your girl first but she was a little tall for me. A tall girl for a sister,” he quoted.

“You have a lovely pure mind,” I said.

“Haven’t I? That’s why they call me Rinaldo Purissimo.”

“Rinaldo Sporchissimo.”

“Come on, baby, we’ll go down to eat while my mind is still pure.”

I washed, combed my hair and we went down the stairs. Rinaldi was a little drunk. In the room where we ate, the meal was not quite ready.

“I’ll go get the bottle,” Rinaldi said. He went off up the stairs. I sat at the table and he came back with the bottle and poured us each a half tumbler of cognac.

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