我上前线救护站忙了两 天。回来时已经太晚，所以到第三天晚上才去找巴克莱小姐。她不在花园里，我只好在医院办公室里等待她下来。办公室的墙边上有许多油漆过的木柱子，上边摆着 好些大理石的半身像。甚至办公室外边的门廊上，也有一排排雕像。这些雕像有大理石那种完完整整的品质，看起来千篇一律。雕刻这玩艺儿我总觉得沉闷——不 过，铜像倒还有点道理。但是大理石的半身像，简直就像片坟山。坟山中也有一个好的——在比萨① 的那一个。要看坏的大理石像，最好上热那亚②。这医院本来是某德国大富豪的别墅，这些石像一定花了他不少钱。我倒想知道雕刻师是谁，他赚了多少钱。我看看 那些雕像，不晓得是不是属于一个家族的；可惜雕刻得古典一律。多看也看不出什么名堂来。
我坐在一把椅子上，手里拿着帽子。照规矩我们就是回到了哥里察还得戴钢盔，虽则戴起来怪不舒服，而且太装腔作势，因为镇上的老百姓根本尚未撤退。我 上前线各站去时，只好戴它一顶，同时还带了一个英国制造的防毒面罩。我们现在开始搞到一些面罩了。地道的面罩。照规矩我们还得佩带手枪；就是军医和卫生人 员也不能例外。我现在就感觉得到手枪正顶在椅背上。并且还得把枪佩带在人家看得见的地方，否则有被捕的可能性。雷那蒂佩着一只手枪皮套，里面装的可尽是大 便用的卫生纸。我佩带的倒是一支真枪，所以自己大有枪手的感觉，后来试放几下，才知道不行。那是支7.65口径的阿斯特拉牌手枪，枪筒短，开起来跳动得非 常厉害，别想打中任何目标。我练习了一个时期，尽量往靶子的下边打，想尽方法克服短枪筒那种滑稽的颤跳，到了后来，终于能够在二十步外打中离靶子一码远的 地方了，后来我常常感到佩带手枪的荒唐滑稽，但不久也就忘记了它，随便吊在腰背上，一点感觉都没有，除非是偶尔碰到讲英语的人，才多少感到有点儿不好意 思。我现在坐在椅子上，有一个勤务模样的人坐在一张台子后边，不以为然地盯着我，而我则看着大理石地板、摆有雕像的柱子和墙上的壁画，等待巴克莱小姐。壁 画还算不错。任何壁画，只要开始剥落，总是行的。
“并没有挪开过啊。“我把她扭过来，以便吻她时看得到她的脸，想不到她双眼都是闭着的。我亲一亲她那一对合拢的眼睛，心里想，她大概有点疯疯癫癫 吧。就是有点神经也没有关系，我何必计较这个。这总比每天晚上逛窑子好得多——窑子里的姑娘陪着别的军官们一次次上楼去，每次回来，往你身上一爬，把你的 帽舌拉到脑后，便算跟你有特别的交情了。我知道我并不爱凯瑟琳·巴克莱，也没有任何爱她的念头。这是场游戏，就像打桥牌一般，不过不是在玩牌，而是在说 话。就像桥牌一般，你得假装你是在赌钱，或是为着什么别的东西在打赌。没有人提起下的赌注究竟是什么。这对我并没有什么不方便。
我们亲嘴，接着她突然挣开了身。“不。晚安，求求你，亲爱的。“我们走到门口，我看着她进去，走进门廊。我喜欢看她走动时的样子。她顺着门廊一直 走。我回家去。那天夜里天气热，山峰间军事活动频繁。我望着圣迦伯烈山①上炮火的闪光。我在玫瑰别墅的前边歇下脚来。百叶窗都已经上了，不过妓院里边好像 还很热闹。还有人在唱歌哩。我走回家去。我正在脱衣服的时候，雷那蒂走进来。
I was away for two days at the posts. When I got home it was too late and I did not see Miss Barkley until the next evening. She was not in the garden and I had to wait in the office of the hospital until she came down. There were many marble busts on painted wooden pillars along the walls of the room they used for an office. The hall too, that the office opened on, was lined with them. They had the complete marble quality of all looking alike. Sculpture had always seemed a dull business--still, bronzes looked like something. But marble busts all looked like a cemetery. There was one fine cemetery though--the one at Pisa. Genoa was the place to see the bad marbles. This had been the villa of a very wealthy German and the busts must have cost him plenty. I wondered who had done them and how much he got. I tried to make out whether they were members of the family or what; but they were all uniformly classical. You could not tell anything about them.
I sat on a chair and held my cap. We were supposed to wear steel helmets even in Gorizia but they were uncomfortable and too bloody theatrical in a town where the civilian inhabitants had not been evacuated. I wore one when we went up to the posts and carried an English gas mask. We were just beginning to get some of them. They were a real mask. Also we were required to wear an automatic pistol; even doctors and sanitary officers. I felt it against the back of the chair. You were liable to arrest if you did not have one worn in plain sight. Rinaldi carried a holster stuffed with toilet paper. I wore a real one and felt like a gunman until I practised firing it. It was an Astra 7.65 caliber with a short barrel and it jumped so sharply when you let it off that there was no question of hitting anything. I practised with it, holding below the target and trying to master the jerk of the ridiculous short barrel until I could hit within a yard of where I aimed at twenty paces and then the ridiculousness of carrying a pistol at all came over me and I soon forgot it and carried it flopping against the small of my back with no feeling at all except a vague sort of shame when I met English-speaking people. I sat now in the chair and an orderly of some sort looked at me disapprovingly from behind a desk while I looked at the marble floor, the pillars with the marble busts, and the frescoes on the wall and waited for Miss Barkley. The frescoes were not bad. Any frescoes were good when they started to peel and flake off.
I saw Catherine Barkley coming down the hall, and stood up. She did not seem tall walking toward me but she looked very lovely.
"Good-evening, Mr. Henry," she said.
"How do you do?" I said. The orderly was listening behind the desk.
"Shall we sit here or go out in the garden?"
"Let's go out. It's much cooler."
I walked behind her out into the garden, the orderly looking after us. When we were out on the gravel drive she said, "Where have you been?"
"I've been out on post."
"You couldn't have sent me a note?"
"No," I said. "Not very well. I thought I was coming back."
"You ought to have let me know, darling."
We were off the driveway, walking under the trees. I took her hands, then stopped and kissed her.
"Isn't there anywhere we can go?"
"No," she said. "We have to just walk here. You've been away a long time."
"This is the third day. But I'm back now."
She looked at me, "And you do love me?"
"You did say you loved me, didn't you?"
"Yes," I lied. "I love you." I had not said it before.
"And you call me Catherine?"
We walked on a way and were stopped under a tree.
"Say, 'I've come back to Catherine in the night."
"I've come back to Catherine in the night."
"Oh, darling, you have come back, haven't you?"
"I love you so and it's been awful. You won't go away?"
"No. I'll always come back."
"Oh, I love you so. Please put your hand there again."
"It's not been away." I turned her so I could see her face when I kissed her and I saw that her eyes were shut. I kissed both her shut eyes. I thought she was probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. I did not care what I was getting into. This was better than going every evening to the house for officers where the girls climbed all over you and put your cap on backward as a sign of affection between their trips upstairs with brother officers. I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were. It was all right with me.
"I wish there was some place we could go," I said. I was experiencing the masculine difficulty of making love very long standing up.
"There isn't any place," she said. She came back from wherever she had been.
"We might sit there just for a little while."
We sat on the flat stone bench and I held Catherine Barkley's hand. She would not let me put my arm around her.
"Are you very tired?" she asked.
She looked down at the grass.
"This is a rotten game we play, isn't it?"
"Don't be dull."
"I'm not, on purpose."
"You're a nice boy," she said. "And you play it as well as you know how. But it's a rotten game."
"Do you always know what people think?"
"Not always. But I do with you. You don't have to pretend you love me. That's over for the evening. Is there anything you'd like to talk about?"
"But I do love you."
"Please let's not lie when we don't have to. I had a very fine little show and I'm all right now. You see I'm not mad and I'm not gone off. It's only a little sometimes."
I pressed her hand, "Dear Catherine."
"It sounds very funny now--Catherine. You don't pronounce it very much alike. But you're very nice. You're a very good boy."
"That's what the priest said."
"Yes, you're very good. And you will come and see me?"
"And you don't have to say you love me. That's all over for a while." She stood up and put out her hand. "Good-night."
I wanted to kiss her.
"No," she said. "I'm awfully tired."
"Kiss me, though," I said.
"I'm awfully tired, darling."
"Do you want to very much?"
We kissed and she broke away suddenly. "No. Good-night, please, darling." We walked to the door and I saw her go in and down the hall. I liked to watch her move. She went on down the hall. I went on home. It was a hot night and there was a good deal going on up in the mountains. I watched the flashes on San Gabriele.
I stopped in front of the Villa Rossa. The shutters were up but it was still going on inside. Somebody was singing. I went on home. Rinaldi came in while I was undressing.
"Ah, ha!" he said. "It does not go so well. Baby is puzzled."
"Where have you been?"
"At the Villa Rossa. It was very edifying, baby. We all sang. Where have you been?"
"Calling on the British."
"Thank God I did not become involved with the British."