A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

“The best way is to have it over your leg,” I said. “Then you feel it and don’t lose your teeth.”

I put my hand in the water. It was very cold. We were almost opposite the hotel now.

“I have to go in,” the barman said, “to be there for eleven o’clock. L’heure du cocktail.”

“All right.”

I pulled in the line and wrapped it on a stick notched at each end. The barman put the boat in a little slip in the stone wall and locked it with a chain and padlock.

“Any time you want it,” he said, “I’ll give you the key.”


We went up to the hotel and into the bar. I did not want another drink so early in the morning so I went up to our room. The maid had just finished doing the room and Catherine was not back yet. I lay down on the bed and tried to keep from thinking.

When Catherine came back it was all right again. Ferguson was downstairs, she said. She was coming to lunch.

“I knew you wouldn’t mind,” Catherine said.

“No,” I said.

“What’s the matter, darling?”

“I don’t know.”

“I know. You haven’t anything to do. All you have is me and I go away.”

“That’s true.”

“I’m sorry, darling. I know it must be a dreadful feeling to have nothing at all suddenly.”

“My life used to be full of everything,” I said. “Now if you aren’t with me I haven’t a thing in the world.”

“But I’ll be with you. I was only gone for two hours. Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“I went fishing with the barman.”

“Wasn’t it fun?”


“Don’t think about me when I’m not here.”

“That’s the way I worked it at the front. But there was something to do then.”

“Othello with his occupation gone,” she teased.

“Othello was a nigger,” I said. “Besides, I’m not jealous. I’m just so in love with you that there isn’t anything else.”

“Will you be a good boy and be nice to Ferguson?”

“I’m always nice to Ferguson unless she curses me.”

“Be nice to her. Think how much we have and she hasn’t anything.”

“I don’t think she wants what we have.”

“You don’t know much, darling, for such a wise boy.”

“I’ll be nice to her.”

“I know you will. You’re so sweet.”

“She won’t stay afterward, will she?”

“No. I’ll get rid of her.”

“And then we’ll come up here.”

“Of course. What do you think I want to do?”

We went downstairs to have lunch with Ferguson. She was very impressed by the hotel and the splendor of the dining-room. We had a good lunch with a couple of bottles of white capri. Count Greffi came into the dining-room and bowed to us. His niece, who looked a little like my grandmother, was with him. I told Catherine and Ferguson about him and Ferguson was very impressed. The hotel was very big and grand and empty but the food was good, the wine was very pleasant and finally the wine made us all feel very well. Catherine had no need to feel any better. She was very happy. Ferguson became quite cheerful. I felt very well myself. After lunch Ferguson went back to her hotel. She was going to lie down for a while after lunch she said.

Along late in the afternoon some one knocked on our door.

“Who is it?”

“The Count Greffi wishes to know if you will play billiards with him.”

I looked at my watch; I had taken it off and it was under the pillow.

“Do you have to go, darling?” Catherine whispered.

“I think I’d better.” The watch was a quarter-past four o’clock. Out loud I said, “Tell the Count Greffi I will be in the billiard-room at five o’clock.”

At a quarter to five I kissed Catherine good-by and went into the bathroom to dress. Knotting my tie and looking in the glass I looked strange to myself in the civilian clothes. I must remember to buy some more shirts and socks.

“Will you be away a long time?” Catherine asked. She looked lovely in the bed. “Would you hand me the brush?”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest