Islands in the Stream Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

Ernest Hemingway

Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

Thomas Hudson steers the cruiser all night; first Ara accompanies him on the bridge and then Henry comes after midnight. The seas are heavy with waves, and Thomas Hudson tells Ara to talk to him about something, anything. Ara tells him that Peters could not raise Guantanamo by radio. Thomas Hudson tells him that Peters had burnt out something on the radio that cannot be repaired. Willie is keeping Peters awake, Ara says. Thomas Hudson wonders who is keeping Willie awake.

Ara asks Thomas Hudson how badly he feels. Thomas Hudson muses about how badly he could possibly feel. Henry comes up and relieves Ara, stating that Peters has reached Miami and is listening to all the police prowl cars. He has heard some “chatter” in German but cannot place it.

Thomas Hudson does not feel like talking with Henry. After an hour, Henry reports a light off the starboard bow, but they lose it. Thomas Hudson tells him to fetch Juan to help look because he was slow to spot the light. Henry apologizes and suggests having a four-man team perform lookout, but Thomas Hudson will wait for that until just before daylight. He speculates that the German ship might be headed toward Cuba. Eventually they will need to get water and food. He is certain he will be able to capture them within a week. They will probably run only at night and lay up during the day.

Thomas Hudson warns himself not to do anything in a bloodthirsty way. He knows none of this will bring anything back. He should be glad he has some work to do to keep him occupied. He asks the other men what they see, but they only see ocean until Henry announces he sees land. Thomas Hudson thanks Henry (who thus redeems his earlier lapse) for his good work and sends the other men below for coffee.

The next crew of four comes topside, and Thomas Hudson assigns them each a quadrant to watch. He learns that Peters and Willie drank whiskey but still managed to stay awake all night. The boat will have to fill up with gas soon, but a pig can be caught on a nearby island for food. He speculates that there is probably only the German U-boat out in the nearby ocean. Thomas Hudson complains that things go slowly for him. His mate suggests that he get some sleep, and then everything will go much faster.