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A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 37 Summary

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In the night, Henry and Catherine row across the lake. Catherine regrets that Helen Ferguson will wake to find them gone. The wind continues to blow all night. Catherine suggests holding up the umbrella as a sail. Henry tries this, and it works very well until the umbrella is blown inside out. Catherine laughs because he looked funny. Keeping warm with the brandy and drinking water out of the lake, Henry continues rowing through the night. Catherine takes a short turn while Henry rests. Close to the break of morning, they hear a motor boat approaching. They row close to the shore while it passes. It is border patrol, but it passes without noticing them.

In the morning, with the rain falling, they realize that they are in Switzerland. They see a soldier coming out of a café and they wave to him in a friendly manner. Henry wants to make sure that they are well inside the border before they stop. When he is convinced that they are safe, he pulls to shore. Leaving their bags in the boat, they go to a café and order breakfast. The war has affected even neutral Switzerland, as there are no rolls during wartime. Catherine had been looking forward to rolls all night but is complacent. They enjoy their breakfast, but they know that they will most likely be arrested afterward.

When Henry and Catherine go back to their boat, there is a soldier standing guard over their boat. He questions them and examines their passports. Henry tells him they are cousins, coming to Switzerland for the winter sports. He had been studying architecture in Rome, and Catherine (his cousin) had been studying art, but this was hampered by the war. The guard seems to accept their story but must send them to Locarno. They are questioned there but do not have a bad time. Henry can tell that the soldier does not believe a word of their story, but they have passports and especially a sufficient amount of money to spend in Switzerland. They are given a temporary visa and are told that they must report to the police every new place they visit. Henry tells the guards they are planning to go to Montreux, and the guards argue about whether Montreux has winter sports. Worn out from their long night of escape, Henry and Catherine go to a hotel to rest.

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Chapter 36 Summary


Chapter 38 Summary