For Whom the Bell Tolls
If he had known how many men have had to use a hill to die on it would not have cheered him any for, in the moment he was passing through, men are not impressed by what has happened to other men in similar circumstances any more than a widow of one day is helped by the knowledge that other loved husbands have died. Whether one has fear of it or not, one’s death is difficult to accept. Sordo had accepted it but there was no sweetness in its acceptance even at fifty-two, with three wounds and him surrounded on a hill.
He joked about it to himself but he looked at the sky and at the far mountains and he swallowed the wine and he did not want it. If one must die, he thought, and clearly one must, I can die. But I hate it.
Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond.
Sordo passed the wine bottle back and nodded his head in thanks. He leaned forward and patted the dead horse on the shoulder where the muzzle of the automatic rifle had burned the hide. He could still smell the burnt hair. He thought how he had held the horse there, trembling, with the fire around them, whispering and cracking, over and around them like a curtain, and had carefully shot him just at the intersection of the crosslines between the two eyes and the ears. Then as the horse pitched down he had dropped down behind his warm, wet back to get the gun going as they came up the hill.
‘Eras mucho caballo,’ he said, meaning, ‘Thou wert plenty of horse.’
El Sordo lay now on his good side and looked up at the sky. He was lying on a heap of empty cartridge hulls but his head was protected by the rock and his body lay in the lee of the horse. His wounds had stiffened badly and he had much pain and he felt too tired to move.
The Old Man And The Sea
"Thank you," the old man said. He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride. "Tomorrow is going to be a good day with this current," he said. "Where are you going?" the boy asked. "Far out to come in when the wind shifts. I want to be out before it is light." "I'll try to get him to work far out," the boy said. "Then if you hook something truly big we can come to your aid." "He does not like to work too far out." "No," the boy said. "But I will see something that he cannot see such as a bird working and get him to come out after dolphin." "Are his eyes that bad?" "He is almost blind." "It is strange," the old man said. "He never went turtle-ing. That is what kills the eyes." "But you went turtle-ing for years off the Mosquito Coast and your eyes are good." "I am a strange old man." "But are you strong enough now for a truly big fish?" "I think so. And there are many tricks."
A Farewell to Arms
I went out the door and down the hall to the room where Catherine was to be after the baby came. I sat in a chair there and looked at the room. I had the paper in my coat that I had bought when I went out for lunch and I read it. It was beginning to be dark outside and I turned the light on to read. After a while I stopped reading and turned off the light and watched it get dark outside. I wondered why the doctor did not send for me. Maybe it was better I was away. He probably wanted me away for a while. I looked at my watch. If he did not send for me in ten minutes I would go down anyway.
Poor, poor dear Cat. And this was the price you paid for sleeping together. This was the end of the trap. This was what people got for loving each other. Thank God for gas, anyway. What must it have been like before anaesthetics? Once it started they were in the mill-race. Catherine had a good time in the time of pregnancy. It wasn’t bad. She was hardly ever sick. She was not awfully uncomfortable until toward the last. So now they got her in the end. You never got away with anything. Get away hell! It would have been the same if we had been married fifty times. And what if she should die? She won’t die. People don’t die in childbirth nowadays. That was what all husbands thought. Yes, but what if she should die? She won’t die. She’s just having a bad time. The initial labour is usually protracted. She’s only having a bad time. Afterward we’d say what a bad time, and Catherine would say it wasn’t really so bad. But what if she should die? She can’t die. Yes, but what if she should die? She can’t, I tell you. Don’t be a fool. It’s just a bad time. It’s just nature giving her hell. It’s only the first labour, which is almost always protracted. Yes, but what if she should die? She can’t die. Why would she die? What reason is there for her to die? There’s just a child that has to be born, the by-product of good nights in Milan. It makes trouble and is born and then you look after it and get fond of it maybe. But what if she should die? She won’t die. But what if she should die? She won’t. She’s all right. But what if she should die? She can’t die. But what if she should die? Hey, what about that? What if she should die?
The Sun Also Rises
The bus climbed steadily up the road. The country was barren and rocks stuck up through the clay. There was no grass beside the road. Looking back we could see the country spread out below. Far back the fields were squares of green and brown on the hillsides. Making the horizon were the brown mountains. They were strangely shaped. As we climbed higher the horizon kept changing. As the bus ground slowly up the road we could see other mountains coming up in the south. Then the road came over the crest, flattened out, and went into a forest. It was a forest of cork oaks, and the sun came through the trees in patches, and there were cattle grazing back in the trees. We went through the forest and the road came out and turned along a rise of land, and out ahead of us was a rolling green plain, with dark mountains beyond it. These were not like the brown, heat-baked mountains we had left behind. These were wooded and there were clouds coming down from them. The green plain stretched off. It was cut by fences and the white of the road showed through the trunks of a double line of trees that crossed the plain toward the north. As we came to the edge of the rise we saw the red roofs and white houses of Burguete ahead strung out on the plain, and away off on the shoulder of the first dark mountain was the gray metal-sheathed roof of the monastery of Roncesvalles.
“There’s Roncevaux,” I said.
“Way off there where the mountain starts.”
“It’s cold up here,” Bill said.
“It’s high,” I said. “It must be twelve hundred metres.”
“It’s awful cold,” Bill said.
The bus levelled down onto the straight line of road that ran to Burguete.