A Farewell to Arms Book 3, Chapter 25
It is fall and the landscape of the town looks more and more dismal. Fred's mood, like the town, is becoming more dismal and detached. He makes his way back to Gorizia but "[i]t did not feel like a homecoming." Chapter 25, pg. 163. He reports to the major's office and the major tells him to sit down. He tells Fred about the fighting and that his trucks are dispersed at different posts. The major suggests that he go to Bainsizza, one of the posts. They discuss the American troops who are coming to fight, and the major thinks that most of them will go to France. Their tone is pessimistic and cynical. They do not seem to feel that anything will change the war. Fred tells the major that he is glad to see him. The major says, "You are very good to say so. I am very tired of this war. If I was away, I do not believe I would come back." Chapter 25, pg. 165
Fred goes to see Rinaldi but he isn't in his room. Fred lies down on the bed because his foot hurts. He is thinking about Catherine when Rinaldi comes back. Rinaldi is mad that they sent Fred back to the front with less than full articulation. Rinaldi says he is depressed by the war. He tells Fred that there have been so many wounded that he has been working constantly. The war is taking its toll on everyone. Rinaldi is sick of it. Fred gives him the phonograph records he requested. Rinaldi wants to have a drink with him but Fred can't drink much because of his jaundice. Rinaldi convinces him to have one drink and then he makes fun of Fred's tooth-brushing habits.
"I kept this to remind me of you trying to brush away the Villa Rossa from your teeth in the morning, swearing and eating aspirin and cursing harlots. Every time I see that glass I think of you trying to clean your conscience with a toothbrush." Chapter 25, pg. 168
They drink and talk about Catherine. Rinaldi tries to exchange stories about their sex lives, but Fred doesn't want to. Rinaldi tells him that he doesn't want to talk about it because he doesn't want to listen to reason. Rinaldi says he only likes operating and having sex, which is often too short. He wants nothing to do with the war, but is happy when he is operating on the soldiers who are wounded by it.
They drink to Catherine and Rinaldi says that he will get an English girl too. They go to eat but the food isn't ready so they drink more. Rinaldi praises their self-destruction. Only the major shows up by the time the food is ready--the mess hall is no longer noisy. The priest comes and is happy to see Fred. Rinaldi tries to bait the priest but it doesn't work. The major tells him that the priest is a good priest and Fred agrees. Rinaldi tells the priest and everyone else to go to hell. He admits that he is a little drunk. The priest tells him that he should go on leave. Rinaldi thinks they are just trying to get rid of him. He calms down when they have dessert and coffee, and then decides to go to town so Fred can talk with the priest. The major tells them he might have syphilis and then he leaves.