Illustration of a man in a uniform

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

Start Free Trial

Chapter 40 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

The months go by and the winter begins to fade. Henry and Catherine are very happy up in the mountains, however, and do not mind the cold spells interrupted by short thaws. As the snow changes to rain, Henry wonders whether they should move down to Montreux. It is about a month until the baby is due, so Catherine suggests going to Lausanne where the hospital is. Henry worries that it is too big a town for them, but Catherine says they can be alone in a big town as easily as a small one. The snow is rapidly disappearing under the constant rain. Mr. Guttingen says he understands that they must leave at short notice. He extracts a promise from Henry that they will come back to visit them after the baby is born. The Guttingens take them down to the train station and wave them off.

Henry and Catherine take the train to Lausanne, where they find a small hotel. Catherine unpacks while Henry reads the war news in the newspapers. It is March 18 and the German offensive has started in France. Catherine points out that she must get some baby clothes. When she says that she has to find out what is necessary for a baby, Henry says that, as a nurse, she ought to know. Catherine says that very few of the soldiers had babies. Henry says he did and Catherine throws a pillow at him, spilling his drink. She orders up another one, and they discuss whether to go out or stay in for dinner. She does not like to go out, claiming that she is as big as a “big flour-barrel.” When the waiter brings up Henry’s drink, they order dinner to be brought to their room. Henry sticks to his whiskey and soda. He thinks that he will have to tell the waiter not to put the ice in the whiskey but to bring it up separately. As he thinks about this, Catherine asks him what he is thinking about. When he tells her he is thinking about whiskey, she dismisses the topic.

They stay at the hotel for three weeks. It is almost empty, so they often eat meals in their room. They walk around town in the gradually warming weather. After a few days, however, the cold of winter returns. Catherine buys things she needs for the baby, and Henry takes up boxing for exercise. He thinks that a boxer should not have a beard and contemplates shaving it off, but Catherine does not want him to. When the weather again turns warm, they take rides in the country. They know that the baby will soon arrive and do not want “to lose any time together.”

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Chapter 39 Summary


Chapter 41 Summary