A Farewell to Arms Chapter 37
The rain stops only occasionally while he rows. He knows that his hands will blister, but it is hard to save them on the rough water. They miss the town they are supposed to pass as a landmark. Catherine worries about Miss Ferguson and Fred is worried about getting into Switzerland before dawn.
"I rowed all night. Finally my hands were so sore I could hardly close them over the oars. We were nearly smashed up on the shore several times. I kept fairly close to the shore because I was afraid of getting lost on the lake and losing time." Chapter 37, pg. 271
It is cold and the visibility is bad. Nevertheless, Fred stays calm. He has to pull out into the lake later on to avoid soldiers. They try to use the umbrella as an improvised sail while Catherine steers, but it doesn't work well. Catherine makes him rest and have a drink and she rows for a bit. She is in good spirits and laughs at the spectacle of Fred holding the umbrella. It is early before the dawn and they are about five miles from Switzerland. Fred warns her not to hit herself in the stomach with the oar and she quips "If I did. . .life might be much simpler." Chapter 37, pg. 275 Fred doesn't react to this comment and there is a silence after she speaks. Soon he takes the oars again and it begins to rain as daylight begins to show. He rows away from a motor boat carrying Italian guards who don't seem to take serious notice of him. Soon Fred thinks that they must be in Switzerland. They come near a town that seems to be a good spot to land, and they ashore. They leave their bags in the boat and go to a café for breakfast. Fred knows that they will be arrested after breakfast, and they are. They show their passports and Fred tells the officers that he is pursuing 'winter sport'. The soldier tells him he will have to go to the larger town, Locarno with a soldier as an escort. The soldier is happy when he sees how much money they have.
"At Locarno we did not have a bad time. They questioned us but they were polite because we had passports and money. I do not think they believed a word of the story and I thought it was silly but it was like a law-court. You did not want something reasonable, you wanted something technical and then stuck to it without explanations. But we had passports and we would spend the money. So they gave us provisional visas." Chapter 37, pg. 281
They debate where to go next and two officers offer their hometowns as possible destinations.. One tells him to go to Montreux for the luge. Fred tells him that he is interested in toboggans. The other officer tells him to go to another city, but reminds him to report to the police wherever he goes. Catherine is sleepy, and she tells Fred that she had a wonderful time the night before. They are not worried for the first time in several days. They go to a hotel to sleep.