A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“How much will you give me to go in that direction, Tenente?” Bonello asked.

“They’re better off in a bunch of people than alone if they catch them,” I said.

“Give me two hundred lire and I’ll walk straight back toward Austria,” Bonello said.

“They’d take it away from you,” Piani said.

“Maybe the war will be over,” Aymo said. We were going up the road as fast as we could. The sun was trying to come through. Beside the road were mulberry trees. Through the trees I could see our two big moving-vans of cars stuck in the field. Piani looked back too.

“They’ll have to build a road to get them out,” he said.

“I wish to Christ we had bicycles,” Bonello said.

“Do they ride bicycles in America?” Aymo asked.

“They used to.”

“Here it is a great thing,” Aymo said. “A bicycle is a splendid thing.”

“I wish to Christ we had bicycles,” Bonello said. “I’m no walker.”

“Is that firing?” I asked. I thought I could hear firing a long way away.

“I don’t know,” Aymo said. He listened.

“I think so,” I said.

“The first thing we will see will be the cavalry,” Piani said.

“I don’t think they’ve got any cavalry.”

“I hope to Christ not,” Bonello said. “I don’t want to be stuck on a lance by any–cavalry.”

“You certainly shot that sergeant, Tenente,” Piani said. We were walking fast.

“I killed him,” Bonello said. “I never killed anybody in this war, and all my life I’ve wanted to kill a sergeant.”

“You killed him on the sit all right,” Piani said. “He wasn’t flying very fast when you killed him.”

“Never mind. That’s one thing I can always remember. I killed that–of a sergeant.”

“What will you say in confession?” Aymo asked.

“I’ll say, ‘Bless me, father, I killed a sergeant.” They all laughed.

“He’s an anarchist,” Piani said. “He doesn’t go to church.”

“Piani’s an anarchist too,” Bonello said.

“Are you really anarchists?” I asked.

“No, Tenente. We’re socialists. We come from Imola.”

“Haven’t you ever been there?”


“By Christ it’s a fine place, Tenente. You come there after the war and we’ll show you something.”

“Are you all socialists?”


“Is it a fine town?”

“Wonderful. You never saw a town like that.”

“How did you get to be socialists?”

“We’re all socialists. Everybody is a socialist. We’ve always been socialists.”

“You come, Tenente. We’ll make you a socialist too.”

Ahead the road turned off to the left and there was a little hill and, beyond a stone wall, an apple orchard. As the road went uphill they ceased talking. We walked along together all going fast against time.


Later we were on a road that led to a river. There was a long line of abandoned trucks and carts on the road leading up to the bridge. No one was in sight. The river was high and the bridge had been blown up in the centre; the stone arch was fallen into the river and the brown water was going over it. We went on up the bank looking for a place to cross. Up ahead I knew there was a railway bridge and I thought we might be able to get across there. The path was wet and muddy. We did not see any troops; only abandoned trucks and stores. Along the river bank there was nothing and no one but the wet brush and muddy ground. We went up to the bank and finally we saw the railway bridge.

“What a beautiful bridge,” Aymo said. It was a long plain iron bridge across what was usually a dry river-bed.

“We’d better hurry and get across before they blow it up,” I said.

“There’s nobody to blow it up,” Piani said. “They’re all gone.”

“It’s probably mined,” Bonello said. “You cross first, Tenente.”

“Listen to the anarchist,” Aymo said. “Make him go first.”

“I’ll go,” I said. “It won’t be mined to blow up with one man.”

“You see,” Piani said. “That is brains. Why haven’t you brains, anarchist?”

“If I had brains I wouldn’t be here,” Bonello said.

“That’s pretty good, Tenente,” Aymo said.

“That’s pretty good,” I said. We were close to the bridge now. The sky had clouded over again and it was raining a little. The bridge looked long and solid. We climbed up the embankment.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest