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A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 10 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 498

Henry is taken to a field hospital. It is hot and infested with flies. His legs itch, and he is unable to scratch them. The orderly pours mineral water over his dressings to cool him off. In the morning he is taken into another room to have his dressings renewed and his bed clothes changed.

Rinaldi comes to visit Henry; he is still wearing surgical gloves. He is very solicitous and brings Henry a bottle of cognac. He tells Henry that he will most likely be awarded a medal, at least a bronze one. If he can prove that he did something heroic, it will be increased to a silver medal. Rinaldi asks him if he did anything heroic to get wounded. Henry says he did not, that he was blown up while he was eating cheese. Rinaldi tells him there is a report that he carried several people on his back, though one of the doctors said that this would be impossible with his wound. Henry denies that he carried anyone. Rinaldi asks if it is true that he refused medical treatment until others were treated before him. Henry says he did so, but not very firmly. Rinaldi is sure that he can get him a silver medal.

Henry asks if the military operation was successful. Rinaldi states that it was; a thousand prisoners of war were taken. He tells Henry of an operation he performed in which he removed three meters of small intestines and saved the patient. He says he will write it up for a medical journal if Henry will translate it from Italian to English. He opens the bottle of cognac and the two men drink. He says that perhaps Henry will get an English medal as well, but Henry says the English don’t give out medals that easily.

Henry asks Rinaldi if he has seen Miss Barkley. Rinaldi promises to bring her there to the field hospital. Henry asks how the village of Gorizia is and if the girls (in the brothel) are still there. Rinaldi tells him that there are no girls, that no new ones have been brought in for two weeks. They are kept for those officers who stay back from the front. Rinaldi wishes he were back with him at Gorizia. Henry tells him he can make fun of the priest. Rinaldi jokes that he thinks Henry and the priest are “a little that way” (having a homosexual relationship). He teases Henry that he is perhaps Italian after all since he is such a lover. Henry gets irritated by this. Rinaldi promises to send Miss Barkley, though he says that she is a good girl, not a woman. The only difference between a good girl and woman, he says, is that sex hurts more. Henry is truly angered by this. Rinaldi tells him not to get angry and that they should not quarrel. Rinaldi kisses Henry good-bye, tells him the cognac is under the bed, and leaves.

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