“There were mists over the river and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet in their capes;  their rifles were wet and under their capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of clips of thin, long 6.5 mm. cartridges, bulged forward under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.”

“The snow slanted across the wind, the bare ground was covered, the stumps of trees projected, there was snow on the guns and there were paths in the snow going back to the latrines behind trenches.”

“I had drunk much wine and afterward coffee and Strega and I explained, winefully, how we did not do the things we wanted to do; we never did such things.”

“Suddenly to care very much and to sleep to wake with it sometimes morning and all that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard and clear and sometimes a dispute about the cost.  Sometimes still pleasant and fond and warm and breakfast and lunch.  Sometimes all niceness gone and glad to get out on the street but always another day starting and then another night.”

“He had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget.  But I did not know that then, although I learned it later.”

“The whole thing seemed to run better while I was away.”

“I thought she was probably a little crazy.  It was all right if she was.  I did not care what I was getting into…I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards.  Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were.  It was all right with me.”

“Because we would not wear any clothes because it was so hot and the window open and the swallows flying over the roofs of the houses and when it was dark afterward and you went to the window very small bats hunting over the houses and close down over the trees and we would drink the capri and the door locked and it hot and only a sheet and the whole night and we would both love each other all night in the hot night in Milan. That was how it ought to be.  I would eat quickly and go and see Catherine Barkley.”

“The saint hung down on the outside of my uniform and I undid the throat of my tunic, unbuttoned the shirt collar and dropped him in under the shirt.  I felt him in his metal box against my chest while we drove.  Then I forgot about him.  After I was wounded I never found him.  Someone probably got it at one of the dressing stations.”

“War is not won by victory.”

“There is a class that controls a country that is stupid and does not realize anything and never can.  That is why we have this war.”

“She came in looking fresh and lovely and sat on the bed and the sun rose while I had the thermometer in my mouth and we smelled the dew on the roofs and then the coffee of the men at the gun on the next roof.”

“You’ll die then.  Fight or die.  That’s what people do.  They don’t marry.”

“There was a great contrast between his world pessimism and personal cheeriness.”

“I know where I stand.  I’ve been out long enough to know.  I’m like a ball-player that bats two hundred and thirty and knows he’s no better.”

“The soil is sacred,” he said, “But I wish it grew more potatoes.”

“That night at the hotel, in our room with the long empty hall outside and our shoes outside the door, a thick carpet on the floor of the room, outside the windows the rain falling and in the room light and pleasant and cheerful, then the light out and it exciting with smooth sheets and the bed comfortable, feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal…We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others.”

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them.  The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.  But those that will not break it kills.  It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.  If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

“No, that is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old men.  They do not grow wise.  They grow careful.”

“I thought he smiled sadly but I could not tell.  He was so old and his face was very wrinkled, so that a smile used so many lines that all gradations were lost.”

“It was lovely in bed with the air  so cold and clear and the night outside the window…The war seemed as far away as the football games of some one else’s college.”

“That was what you did.  You died.  You did not know what it was about.  You never had time to learn.  They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you.  Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo.  Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi.  But they killed you in the end.  You could count on that.  Stay around they would kill you.”


Copyright:  1929 by Charles Scribner’s Sons/Copyright renewed 1957 by Ernest Hemingway

author bio:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ernest-Hemingway

photo: Earl Theisen Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images