Passage: A Farewell to Arms p. 291-p.294
The Tip of the Iceberg Theory
Stream of consciousness technique and métaphore of ‘card game‘
PASSAGE: A FAREWELL TO ARMS P. 291-P.294
I ate the ham and eggs and drank the beer. The ham and eggs were in a round dish—the ham underneath and the eggs on top. It was very hot and at the first mouthful I had to take a drink of beer to cool my mouth. I was hungry and I asked the waiter for another order. I drank several glasses of beer. I was not thinking at all but read the paper of the man opposite me. It was about the break through on the British front. When he realized I was reading the back of his paper he folded it over. I thought of asking the waiter for a paper, but I could not concentrate. It was hot in the cafe and the air was bad. Many of the people at the tables knew one another. There were several card games going on. The waiters were busy bringing drinks from the bar to the tables. Two men came in and could find no place to sit. They stood opposite the table where I was. I ordered another beer. I was not ready to leave yet. It was too soon to go back to the hospital. I tried not to think and to be perfectly calm. The men stood around but no one was leaving, so they went out. I drank another beer. There was quite a pile of saucers now on the table in front of me. The man opposite me had taken off his spectacles, put them away in a case, folded his paper and put it in his pocket and now sat holding his liqueur glass and looking out at the room. Suddenly I knew I had to get back. I called the waiter, paid the reckoning, got into my coat, put on my hat and started out the door. I walked through the rain up to the hospital.
Upstairs I met the nurse coming down the hall.
“I just called you at the hotel,” she said. Something dropped inside me. “What is wrong?”
“Mrs. Henry has had a hemorrhage.” “Can I go in?”
“No, not yet. The doctor is with her.” “Is it dangerous?”
“It is very dangerous.” The nurse went into the room and shut the door. I sat outside in the hail. Everything was gone inside of me. I did not think. I could not think. I knew she was going to die and I prayed that she would not. Don’t let her die. Oh, God, please don’t let her die. I’ll do anything for you if you won’t let her die. Please, please, please, dear God, don’t let her die. Dear God, don’t let her die. Please, please, please don’t let her die. God please make her not die. I’ll do anything you say if you don’t let her die. You took the baby but don’t let her die. That was all right but don’t let her die. Please, please, dear God, don’t let her die.
The nurse opened the door and motioned with her finger for me to come. I followed her into the room. Catherine did not look up when I came in. I went over to the side of the bed. The doctor was standing by the bed on the opposite side. Catherine looked at me and smiled. I bent down over the bed and started to cry.
“Poor darling,” Catherine said very softly. She looked gray.
“You’re all right, Cat,” I said. “You’re going to be all right.”
“I’m going to die,” she said; then waited and said, “I hate it.” I took her hand.
“Don’t touch me,” she said. I let go of her hand. She smiled. “Poor darling. You touch me all you want.”
“You’ll be all right, Cat. I know you’ll be all right.”
“I meant to write you a letter to have if anything happened, but I didn’t do it.” “Do you want me to get a priest or any one to come and see you?” “Just you,” she said. Then a little later, “I’m not afraid. I just hate it.” “You must not talk so much,” the doctor said.
“All right,” Catherine said.
“Do you want me to do anything, Cat? Can I get you anything?”
Catherine smiled, “No.” Then a little later, “You won’t do our things with another girl, or say the same things, will you?”
“I want you to have girls, though.” “I don’t want them.”
“You are talking too much,” the doctor said. “Mr. Henry must go out. He can come back again later. You are not going to die. You must not be silly.”
“All right,” Catherine said. “I’ll come and stay with you nights,” she said. It was very hard for her to talk.
“Please go out of the room,” the doctor said. “You cannot talk.” Catherine winked at me, her face gray. “I’ll be right outside,” I said.
“Don’t worry, darling,” Catherine said. “I’m not a bit afraid. It’s just a dirty trick.” “You dear, brave sweet.”
I waited outside in the hall. I waited a long time. The nurse came to the door and came over to me. “I’m afraid Mrs. Henry is very ill,” she said. “I’m afraid for her.”
“Is she dead?”
“No, but she is unconscious.”
It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They couldn’t stop it. I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die.
Outside the room, in the hall, I spoke to the doctor, “Is there anything I can do to-night?”
“No. There is nothing to do. Can I take you to your hotel?” “No, thank you. I am going to stay here a while.” “I know there is nothing to say. I cannot tell you—” “No,” I said. “There’s nothing to say.”
“Good-night,” he said. “I cannot take you to your hotel?” “No, thank you.”
“It was the only thing to do,” he said. “The operation proved—” “I do not want to talk about it,” I said.
“I would like to take you to your hotel.” “No, thank you.”
He went down the hall. I went to the door of the room. “You can’t come in now,” one of the nurses said. “Yes I can,” I said.
“You can’t come in yet.”
“You get out,” I said. “The other one too.”
But after I had got them out and shut the door and turned off the light it wasn’t any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.