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A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms Book 2, Chapter 13 Summary
In Milan, Mr. Henry is taken to the American hospital by ambulance. It’s late at night and the porter finds an older nurse, who comes out. She doesn’t speak Italian, and Mr. Henry explains that he needs a room. She says that they weren’t expecting a patient. Mr. Henry is in great pain and tells the porter to find him a room. He learns that all the rooms are empty. A room is located, but the nurse can’t put sheets on the bed, because all the sheets are locked away. Mr. Henry gives the porter and ambulance drivers some money, and they leave. He gives the nurse his medical papers. She says she can’t read them because they are in Italian, and she starts crying. He tells her that she can go. He is more comfortable and falls asleep. When he wakes up, he rings a bell and a young pretty nurse comes in. He asks her for the doctor, and she says that he’s at Lake Como and didn’t know there was anyone coming. She asks about his injury and his name. He tells her his name is Frederic Henry. They discuss his injuries and how he got them. She leaves and comes back with the nurse from the night before. They make his bed, with him in it. He learns that the woman in charge of the hospital is Miss Van Campen, and that the young nurse and Mrs. Walker are the only nurses there. He asks the young nurse, Miss Gage, for water and refuses breakfast. He asks her to open the curtains and sees that he has a beautiful view. He asks again for a doctor and is told that they are trying to reach him. Later, after he eats lunch, Miss Van Campen comes in. She and Frederic don’t like each other. She says he can’t have any booze unless the doctor says it’s OK. After Miss Van Campen leaves, Miss Gage returns and asks why he was "rude" to Miss Van Campen. He says he wasn’t and asks for the doctor again. After she leaves, Frederic gets the porter to buy him some wines and newspapers. That night, Miss Gage brings him some eggnog and tells him that Miss Van Campen put sherry in it for him. She tells him to be nice to Miss Van Campen, because she is old and works hard. She brings him a meal, of which he eats a little. Then he goes to sleep, wakes, and can’t go back to sleep. When it’s morning, he falls asleep again.
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