Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 453
The night following Catherine’s announcement of her pregnancy, the weather turns cold and rainy. Henry feels sick in the night and becomes nauseated the next morning following breakfast. The house surgeon examines him and has him look in a mirror to see that the whites of his eyes are yellow. He has jaundice and is ill for two weeks. Because of his illness, he and Catherine do not get to spend his convalescent leave as they had planned in Pallanza on Lago Maggiore.
One day as Henry is bed-ridden with jaundice, Miss Van Campen marches into his room, opens the armoire door, and finds Henry’s stash of empty liquor bottles. She is particularly incensed by a bear-shaped bottle. She demands to know how long Henry has had liquor in his room. He informs her that he brought some with him at the beginning and has bought some ever since. His justification is that he has had Italian officers come to visit him and must have something to offer them to drink. In response to her questioning, he also admits that he has drunk it himself. Miss Van Campen informs him that she will have someone come to take the empty bottles away. She says that she regrets pitying him for his jaundice. She accuses him of purposely getting jaundice through alcoholism to avoid being sent back to the front. She warns him that “self-inflicted jaundice” will not entitle him to a convalescent leave.
Henry asks Miss Van Campen if she has ever had jaundice. She replies that she has seen a great deal of it but has never had it herself. She imagines that, despite the discomfort, it must be better than going back to the front. Henry than asks her if she ever knew a man who had tried to disable himself by kicking himself in the scrotum. She ignores his question and reiterates that she has known several men who have tried to avoid being sent back to the front by giving themselves wounds. Henry tells her that she is ignoring his question and that being kicked in the scrotum is the nearest thing he can think of to having jaundice. Miss Van Campen is furious and storms out. Miss Gage comes in and asks Henry what he said to set Miss Van Campen off. He explains, and Miss Gage calls him a fool. She promises Henry that she will swear that he never drank anything himself, but he tells her that Miss Van Campen found the bottles. When Miss Gage tries to take the bottles out, Miss Van Campen arrives and takes them to show to the doctor after she files her report. Henry loses his convalescent leave.
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