“We’ll give him a little while to make sure he’s solid asleep. Then we’ll get the stuff,” Nick said.

“You get over outside the fence,” his sister said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m moving around. But he might wake up and see you.”

“All right,” Nick agreed. “I’ll get everything out of here. Most of it’s here.”

“Can you find everything without a light?”

“Sure. Where’s the rifle?”

“Flat on the back upper rafter. Don’t slip or make the wood fall down, Nick.”

“Don’t you worry.”

She came out to the fence at the far corner where Nick was making up his pack beyond the big hemlock that had been struck by lightning the summer before and had fallen in a storm that autumn. The moon was just rising now behind the far hills and enough moonlight came through the trees for Nick to see clearly what he was packing. His sister put down the sack she was carrying and said, “They’re sleeping like pigs, Nickie.”


“The down-state one was snoring just like the one outside. I think I got everything.”

“You good old Littless.”

“I wrote a note to our mother and told her I was going with you to keep you out of trouble and not to tell anybody and that you’d take good care of me. I put it under her door. It’s locked.”

“Oh, shit,” Nick said. Then he said, “I’m sorry, Littless.”

“Now it’s not your fault and I can’t make it worse for you.”

“You’re awful.”

“Can’t we be happy now?”


“I brought the whiskey,” she said hopefully. “I left some in the bottle. One of them can’t be sure the other didn’t drink it. Anyway they have another bottle.”

“Did you bring a blanket for you?”

“Of course.”

“We better get going.”

“We’re all right if we’re going where I think. The only thing makes the pack bigger is my blanket. I’ll carry the rifle.”

“All right. What kind of shoes have you?”

“I’ve got my work-moccasins.”

“What did you bring to read?”

“Lorna Doone and Kidnapped and Wuthering Heights.”

“They’re all too old for you but Kidnapped.”

“Lorna Doone isn’t.”

“We’ll read it out loud,” Nick said. “That way it lasts longer. But, Littless, you’ve made things sort of hard now and we better go. Those bastards can’t be as stupid as they act. Maybe it was just because they were drinking.”

Nick had rolled the pack now and tightened the straps and he sat back and put his moccasins on. He put his arm around his sister. “You sure you want to go?”

“I have to go, Nickie. Don’t be weak and undecisive now. I left the note.”

“All right,” Nick said. “Let’s go. You can take the rifle until you get tired of it.”

“I’m all ready to go,” his sister said. “Let me help you strap the pack.”

“You know you haven’t had any sleep at all and that we have to travel?”

“I know. I’m really like the snoring one at the table says he was.”

“Maybe he was that way once, too,” Nick said. “But what you have to do is keep your feet in good shape. Do the moccasins chafe?”

“No. And my feet are tough from going barefoot all summer.”

“Mine are good, too,” said Nick. “Come on. Let’s go.”

They started off walking on the soft hemlock needles and the trees were high and there was no brush be­tween the tree trunks. They walked uphill and the moon came through the trees and showed Nick with the very big pack and his sister carrying the .22 rifle. When they were at the top of the hill they looked back and saw the lake in the moonlight, it was clear enough so they could see the dark point, and beyond were the high hills of the far shore.

“We might as well say good-by to it,” Nick Adams said.

“Good-by, lake,” Littless said. “I love you, too.”

They went down the hill and across the long field and through the orchard and then through a rail fence and into a field of stubble. Going through the stubble field they looked to the right and saw the slaughter­house and the big barn in the hollow and the old log farmhouse on the other high land that overlooked the lake. The long road of Lombardy poplars that ran to the lake was in the moonlight.

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest