A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway

It was a nice-looking little town. There were many fishing boats along the quay and nets were spread on racks. There was a fine November rain falling but it looked cheerful and clean even with the rain.

“Should we land then and have breakfast?”

“All right.”

I pulled hard on the left oar and came in close, then straightened out when we were close to the quay and brought the boat alongside. I pulled in the oars, took hold of an iron ring, stepped up on the wet stone and was in Switzerland. I tied the boat and held my hand down to Catherine.

“Come on up, Cat. It’s a grand feeling.”

“What about the bags?”

“Leave them in the boat.”

Catherine stepped up and we were in Switzerland together.

“What a lovely country,” she said.

“Isn’t it grand?”

“Let’s go and have breakfast!”

“Isn’t it a grand country? I love the way it feels under my shoes.”

“I’m so stiff I can’t feel it very well. But it feels like a splendid country. Darling, do you realize we’re here and out of that bloody place?”

“I do. I really do. I’ve never realized anything before.”

“Look at the houses. Isn’t this a fine square? There’s a place we can get breakfast.”

“Isn’t the rain fine? They never had rain like this in Italy. It’s cheerful rain.”

“And we’re here, darling! Do you realize we’re here?”

We went inside the café and sat down at a clean wooden table. We were cockeyed excited. A splendid clean-looking woman with an apron came and asked us what we wanted.

“Rolls and jam and coffee,” Catherine said.

“I’m sorry, we haven’t any rolls in war-time.”

“Bread then.”

“I can make you some toast.”

“All right.”

“I want some eggs fried too.”

“How many eggs for the gentleman?”


“Take four, darling.”

“Four eggs.”

The woman went away. I kissed Catherine and held her hand very tight. We looked at each other and at the café.

“Darling, darling, isn’t it lovely?”

“It’s grand,” I said.

“I don’t mind there not being rolls,” Catherine said. “I thought about them all night. But I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it at all.”

“I suppose pretty soon they will arrest us.”

“Never mind, darling. We’ll have breakfast first. You won’t mind being arrested after breakfast. And then there’s nothing they can do to us. We’re British and American citizens in good standing.”

“You have a passport, haven’t you?”

“Of course. Oh let’s not talk about it. Let’s be happy.”

“I couldn’t be any happiei” I said. A fat gray cat with a tail that lifted like a plume crossed the floor to our table and curved against my leg to purr each time she rubbed. I reached down and stroked her. Catherine smiled at me very happily. “Here comes the coffee,” she said.

They arrested us after breakfast. We took a little walk through the village then went down to the quay to get our bags. A soldier was standing guard over the boat.

“Is this your boat?”


“Where do you come from?”

“Up the lake.”

“Then I have to ask you to come with me.”

“How about the bags?”

“You can carry the bags.”

I carried the bags and Catherine walked beside me and the soldier walked along behind us to the old custom house. In the custom house a lieutenant, very thin and military, questioned us.

“What nationality are you?”

“American and British.”

“Let me see your passports.”

I gave him mine and Catherine got hers out of her handbag.

He examined them for a long time.

“Why do you enter Switzerland this way in a boat?”

“I am a sportsman,” I said. “Rowing is my great sport. I always row when I get a chance.”

“Why do you come here?”

“For the winter sport. We are tourists and we want to do the winter sport.”

“This is no place for winter sport.”

“We know it. We want to go where they have the winter sport.”

“What have you been doing in Italy?”

“I have been studying architecture. My cousin has been studying art.”

“Why do you leave there?”

“We want to do the winter sport. With the war going on you cannot study architecture.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest