A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

The priest shook his head. The orderly took away the stew dish.

“What are you eating meat for?” Rinaldi turned to the priest. “Don’t you know it’s Friday?”

“It’s Thursday,” the priest said.

“It’s a lie. It’s Friday. You’re eating the body of our Lord. It’s God-meat. I know. It’s dead Austrian. That’s what you’re eating.”

“The white meat is from officers,” I said, completing the old joke.

Rinaldi laughed. He filled his glass.

“Don’t mind me,” he said. “I’m just a little crazy.”

“You ought to have a leave,” the priest said.

The major shook his head at him.

Rinaldi looked at the priest.

“You think I ought to have a leave?”

The major shook his head at the priest. Rinaldi was looking at the priest.

“Just as you like,” the priest said. “Not if you don’t want.”

“To hell with you,” Rinaldi said. “They try to get rid of me. Every night they try to get rid of me. I fight them off. What if I have it. Everybody has it. The whole world’s got it. First,” he went on, assuming the manner of a lecturer, “it’s a little pimple. Then we notice a rash between the shoulders. Then we notice nothing at all. We put our faith in mercury.”

“Or salvarsan,” the major interrupted quietly.

“A mercurial product,” Rinaldi said. He acted very elated now. “I know something worth two of that. Good old priest,” he said. “You’ll never get it. Baby will get it. It’s an industrial accident. It’s a simple industrial accident.”

The orderly brought in the sweet and coffee. The dessert was a sort of black bread pudding with hard sauce. The lamp was smoking; the black smoke going close up inside the chimney.

“Bring two candles and take away the lamp,” the major said. The orderly brought two lighted candles each in a saucer, and took out the lamp blowing it out. Rinaldi was quiet now. He seemed all right. We talked and after the coffee we all went out into the hall.

“You want to talk to the priest. I have to go in the town,” Rinaldi said. “Good-night, priest.”

“Good-night, Rinaldo,” the priest said.

“I’ll see you, Fredi,” Rinaldi said.

“Yes,” I said. “Come in early.” He made a face and went out the door. The major was standing with us. “He’s very tired and overworked,” he said. “He thinks too he has syphilis. I don’t believe it but he may have. He is treating himself for it. Good-night. You will leave before daylight, Enrico?”


“Good-by then,” he said. “Good luck. Peduzzi will wake you and go with you.”

“Good-by, Signor Maggiore.”

“Good-by. They talk about an Austrian offensive but I don’t believe it. I hope not. But anyway it won’t be here. Gino will tell you everything. The telephone works well now.”

“I’ll call regularly.”

“Please do. Good-night. Don’t let Rinaldi drink so much brandy.”

“I’ll try not to.”

“Good-night, priest.”

“Good-night, Signor Maggiore.”

He went off into his office.


I went to the door and looked out. It had stopped raining but there was a mist.

“Should we go upstairs?” I asked the priest.

“I can only stay a little while.”

“Come on up.”

We climbed the stairs and went into my room. I lay down on Rinaldi’s bed. The priest sat on my cot that the orderly had set up. It was dark in the room.

“Well,” he said, “how are you really?”

“I’m all right. I’m tired to-night.”

“I’m tired too, but from no cause.”

“What about the war?”

“I think it will be over soon. I don’t know why, but I feel it.”

“How do you feel it?”

“You know how your major is? Gentle? Many people are like that now.”

“I feel that way myself,” I said.

“It has been a terrible summer,” said the priest. He was surer of himself now than when I had gone away. “You cannot believe how it has been. Except that you have been there and you know how it can be. Many people have realized the war this summer. Officers whom I thought could never realize it realize it now.”

“What will happen?” Istroked the blanket with my hand.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest