A Farewell to Arms Chapter 28
They move through the empty town along with many other vehicles. There is a roadblock somewhere further ahead and the convoy stalls for the night. The landscape looks even more dismal as they pull out of it. Everyone is anxious and uncertain. Bonello has given a ride to a couple of engineers. He tries to tell them that Fred is American, but they don't believe him. There are two girls in Aymo's car when Fred gets back from inspecting the others. They are silent sisters who want a ride but they don't want to be touched. Aymo doesn't understand it:
"What does she ride with me for if she doesn't like me?. . .They got right up in the car the minute I motioned to them." Chapter 28, pg. 196
Aymo has trouble understanding a non-sexual relationship with women. The girls cry, but one of the other men give them cheese. The younger one eats it as the older one continues to cry. Aymo asks if they are virgins and they both are. The convoy is still. Fred thinks about Catherine and bids her good night out loud. Piani wakes him when the convoy starts to move. The rain begins to let up as many peasants join the retreat with all of their belongings. Fred takes the cars on a side road to avoid the traffic jam. He is driven to impatience by his anxiety. Aymo says he is hungry and asks how Fred's leg feels. They stop at a farmhouse to service the vehicles. One of the engineers steals a clock from the deserted house but Fred tells him to put it back. He wants order to remain even in the retreat. They find some food and wine and fill their canteens. They get ready to leave again.