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A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 8 Summary

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The next day Henry hears that there is to be an attack up the river. He is to take four cars up there in anticipation of wounded to be transported down to the hospitals in town. As they pass the villa where the British hospital is housed, Henry asks the driver to stop. He goes in and asks to see Catherine Barkley. Informed that she is on duty, he asks if he may see her for just a minute. An orderly goes to get her. When she arrives, Henry asks if she is better, since she was unwell then night before when he tried to visit her. She tells him that she must have been stricken by the heat but has improved now.

Henry tells Catherine that he has to leave, as there is to be a show up above Plava. He discounts the seriousness of it, but Catherine is visibly concerned and asks him if he will be back. He tells her that he plans on returning the next day. She takes off a Saint Anthony medal from her neck and gives it to him. He asks if she is Catholic. She is not but finds the Saint Anthony medal “useful.” He says good-bye, but Catherine tells him it is not good-bye and bids him to be careful. She refuses his request to kiss her, and he leaves. He opens up the case holding the medal. The driver recognizes it, stating that he has one as well. When Henry puts it in his pocket, the driver tells him to wear it around his neck, which he does. Henry says that after he was wounded, the medal disappeared, probably taken by someone at the medical station where the wounded are taken before being transported to a hospital.

The convoy of ambulances climbs up the mountains. Henry enjoys the view as they pass the foothills by the river and up to the heights. They pass a mule train driven by men wearing red fezzes. The road is empty below. As the convoy climbs up to the mountaintops, Henry sees two more mountain ranges beyond. A little higher, he sees another, then another. There are mountain ranges spread out as far as he can see. Below are the river and the train track. It is nearly dark when they drive down to the main road by the river that will take them to their destination.

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