Chapter 14 Summary
When Henry wakes up, he thinks he is back at the front for a while. He rings the bell, summoning Miss Gage, whom he decides is not as young or as pretty in the daylight as she seemed the evening before. He asks for a barber, but Miss Gage turns the conversation to the nearly empty bottle of vermouth she found in bed with him. She states that she put the other bottle from under his bed in the armoire. She asks why he didn’t ask her to bring him a glass. It isn’t good for him to drink alone, she says. She also tells him that Miss Barkley has arrived and that she doesn’t like her. She then cleans Henry up, and he again asks for a barber.
When the barber arrives, he does not speak. When Henry asks for news of the war, the barber says that he is Italian and will not communicate with the enemy. Henry is confused at the barber’s belligerence and sends him rudely away when he is finished. The porter comes in, trying to keep from laughing. It seems the barber thought that Henry was an Austrian and so would not talk to him. The porter delights to think of his reaction when he tells him that Henry is an American.
When Catherine Barkley comes in, Henry realizes instantly that he is in love with her. He pulls her down to his bed and kisses her. He says that she is sweet to come to his hospital. Catherine says that it wasn’t hard to come, but it might be hard to stay. He pulls her closer, telling her how much he loves her. He tells her to close the door and secretly they make love.
Afterward, Catherine sits in the chair and asks him if now he believes that she loves him. He begs her to stay, saying that he is crazy in love with her. She says that they must be careful, that they cannot give in to the “madness” as they just did. Henry says that they can at night. Catherine warns him that he will have to be careful around other people. It would be difficult for her to be allowed to stay if it were discovered that they were lovers. Catherine leaves, and Henry muses over the fact that he had not wanted to fall in love with her—or with anyone. But he has. Miss Gage comes in to tell him that the doctor will be coming that afternoon.