Chapter 33 Summary

Henry gets off the train in Milan, where he had been hospitalized and fell in love with Catherine. He goes into a wine shop and gets some coffee. Two soldiers who are visibly drunk are at a table nearby. The proprietor asks Henry if he would like a glass of grappa, which Henry turns down. The proprietor asks what is happening at the front, but Henry says he does not know, pretending that he is not involved in the war. However, the proprietor says he saw Henry come down from the wall; he knows Henry came off the train that just arrived. Henry tells him that there is a big retreat.

The proprietor gives Henry a glass of grappa and tells him that he will help if he is in trouble. Henry denies being in trouble, but the proprietor persists, telling him that he can stay there if he is in trouble. Henry asks where the others who are in trouble stay. The man answers that they stay there, in the building. Henry is told that it is difficult now to leave Italy but it is not impossible. He again tells the proprietor that he is not in trouble and invites him to have a glass of grappa with him. The proprietor warns him to lose his coat, as the places where Henry removed the stars are visible by the different coloration on the cloth. He also tells Henry that he can get him papers. Henry says he doesn’t need papers, but he asks how much they are. As Henry leaves, the proprietor assures him again that he is his friend.

Henry takes a cab to the hospital, where he is greeted warmly by the porter and his wife. He asks after Catherine and is told that she has gone to Stresa with another English lady (Helen Ferguson). Henry asks them not to tell anyone that they have seen him.

He then goes to the apartment of Simmons, one of the opera singers he had befriended. Henry tells Simmons that he is in a jam and wants to know how to get into Switzerland. Simmons tells him that he cannot leave Italy. Henry knows this, but he wants to know what would happen if he reached Switzerland. Simmons tells him that he would be interned but allowed to wander around, only needing to check in at times. Simmons changes the topic, telling him that his concert went badly. Henry asks him to go buy him some civilian clothes because his are all in Rome. Simmons offers some of his own clothes.