Summary and Analysis
Book One: Chapter XII
Rinaldi and the major from the mess visit Lieutenant Henry in the field hospital on the night before Henry is to be transferred to an American-run hospital in Milan for special treatment. They drink brandy together, and Rinaldi delivers the news that Catherine Barkley will be at that hospital. Henry departs for Milan by train.
Another turning point in the narrative: Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley are sent to the same hospital. But first Hemingway reminds us of the gravity of the general situation, as Henry speaks of patients dying in his ward and of those buried in the garden outside.
Stylistically, the author combines direct and indirect discourse with stream-of-consciousness in the long paragraphs describing the drunken visit by Rinaldi and the major. That is, the author quotes directly from their conversation rather than summarizing, but he disposes with the convention of setting off individual speeches via quotation marks and paragraphs. It all flows together in an imitation of an intoxicated person's experience of the conversation.
mechano-therapy the treatment of disease, injuries, etc. by using mechanical devices, massage, etc.
"They asked me if I would declare war on Turkey" Turkey became allied with the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) after the start of World War I in 1914.
Bulgaria Bulgaria too became allied with the Central Powers after the start of the war.
"We will get Nice and Savoia from the French. We will get Corsica and all the Adriatic coast-line." The major is alluding to territories held at one time or another by Italian city-states but not currently in their possession.
"I will never forget Romulus suckling the Tiber." According to legend, Romulus, founder of Rome, was said to have been suckled by a she-wolf. The Tiber is the river on which Rome was built. This is nonsensical, drunken talk.
to the Crystal Palace, to the Cova, to Campari's, to Biffi's, to the galleria . . . the Gran Italia . . . the Scala Sites of interest around Milan. The galleria is the Victor Emmanuel Gallery, a glass-covered walkway lined with shops. La Scala is Milan's world-famous opera house.
sight draft a means of wiring money overseas.
Garibaldi Giuseppe (1807-82); Italian patriot and general: leader in the movement to unify Italy.
riparto (Italian) division.
Vicenza commune in north Italy.