我躺在无顶平板货车的 车板上，旁边是大炮，上边是帆布，人又湿又冷又饿。我终于翻转身，头枕着我的臂膀，趴在车板上。我的膝盖虽然僵硬，倒也满好。瓦伦蒂尼的手术的确不错。撤 退时我有一半时间是步行的，后来还在塔利亚门托河上游了一段，多亏他这膝盖。这膝盖确实是他的。另一只膝盖才是我自己的。你的身体经过医生的手术后，就再 也不是你自己的了。头是我的，肚皮里的东西也是我的。肚皮里现在饿坏了。我感觉到饥肠辘辘，正在乱绞乱转。头是我自己的，但是不是供使用的，不是用它来思 想的；只用它来记忆，但是也不能记忆得太多。
我可以回忆凯瑟琳，但是我也知道，我这样想她会想得发疯的，因为我还没有再见到她的把握，所以我不敢想她，只是略为想想，只是当列车慢慢地咔答咔答 地行驶时，稍为想想她。帆布上漏进一点光来，我仿佛是和凯瑟琳一同躺在火车的车板上。躺在硬板上，不去思想，只是感觉，那太难了，因为离别时间太长久了， 现在我衣服既湿，车板又是每次只稍为往前移动一下，内心寂寞，孑然一身湿衣服，权将硬板当夫人。
你说不上喜爱一节平板车的车板，或是罩上帆布套的大炮，或是涂抹过凡士林的大炮的气味，或是漏雨的帆布，不过人在帆布底下，还是满好的，和大炮在一 起，还是愉快的；但是你所爱的是另外一个人，那人你明知道没有在车里，甚至要假想在车里也不行；你现在很清楚，很冷静──与其说很冷静，不如说很清楚很空 虚吧。你趴在车板上，亲身经历一国大军的撤退和另一国大军的进军，现在所看到的只是空虚。你失掉了几辆救护车和人员，好比一个百货店的铺面巡视员，在火灾 中损失了他那一部门的货色。不过没有保火险。你现在离开它了。你再也没有什么义务责任了。倘若百货店在火灾后枪毙巡视员，因为他讲话口音向来不纯正，那么 百货店再开店复业时，就不能指望巡视员会回来，这是一定的。他们也许会另找职业；只要还有其他职业可找，只要警察抓不到他们。
愤怒在河里被洗掉了，任何义务责任也一同洗掉了。其实我的义务在宪兵伸手抓我衣领时就停止了。我是不拘外表形式的，但我倒很想把这军装脱掉。我已把 袖管上的星章割掉，那只是为了便利起见。那与荣誉无关。我并不反对他们。我只是洗手不干了。我祝他们万事如意。世界上还有善良的人，勇敢的人，冷静的人和 明智的人，他们是应该得到荣誉的。但是这已经不是我的战争，我只盼望这该死的车早点开到美斯特列，可以吃吃东西，停止思想。我非停止不可。
皮安尼会告诉他们我被枪毙了。枪毙的人他们要搜查口袋，取去证件。人家可没拿到我的证件。他们也许会说我淹死了。美国方面不晓得将接到什么消息。大 概是因伤及其他原因而死亡吧。善良的基督啊，我真饿啊。从前在饭堂里一同吃饭的那个教士，现在不晓得怎么样了。还有雷那蒂。他大概在波达诺涅。如果他们没 有退得更远的话。嗯，我今后再也看不到他了。他们这些人我都看不到了。这一方面的生活已经结束了。我不相信他得了梅毒。人家说，倘若趁早医治，这病是并不 太严重的。但是他还是担心害上了这个病。要是我害上了这病的话，我也会发愁的。谁都会发愁的。
Lying on the floor of the flat-car with the guns beside me under the canvas I was wet, cold and very hungry. Finally I rolled over and lay flat on my stomach with my head on my arms. My knee was stiff, but it had been very satisfactory. Valentini had done a fine job. I had done half the retreat on foot and swum part of the Tagliamento with his knee. It was his knee all right. The other knee was mine. Doctors did things to you and then it was not your body any more. The head was mine, and the inside of the belly. It was very hungry in there. I could feel it turn over on itself. The head was mine, but not to use, not to think with, only to remember and not too much remember.
I could remember Catherine but I knew I would get crazy if I thought about her when I was not sure yet I would see her, so I would not think about her, only about her a little, only about her with the car going slowly and clickingly, and some light through the canvas and my lying with Catherine on the floor of the car. Hard as the floor of the car to lie not thinking only feeling, having been away too long, the clothes wet and the floor moving only a little each time and lonesome inside and alone with wet clothing and hard floor for a wife.
You did not love the floor of a flat-car nor guns with canvas jackets and the smell of vaselined metal or a canvas that rain leaked through, although it is very fine under a canvas and pleasant with guns; but you loved some one else whom now you knew was not even to be pretended there; you seeing now very clearly and coldly--not so coldly as clearly and emptily. You saw emptily, lying on your stomach, having been present when one army moved back and another came forward. You had lost your cars and your men as a floorwalker loses the stock of his department in a fire. There was, however, no insurance. You were out of it now. You had no more obligation. If they shot floorwalkers after a fire in the department store because they spoke with an accent they had always had, then certainly the floorwalkers would not be expected to return when the store opened again for business. They might seek other employment; if there was any other employment and the police did not get them.
Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation. Although that ceased when the carabiniere put his hands on my collar. I would like to have had the uniform off although I did not care much about the outward forms. I had taken off the stars, but that was for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not against them. I was through. I wished them all the luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved it. But it was not my show any more and I wished this bloody train would get to Mestre and I would eat and stop thinking. I would have to stop.
Piani would tell them they had shot me. They went through the pockets and took the papers of the people they shot. They would not have my papers. They might call me drowned. I wondered what they would hear in the States. Dead from wounds and other causes. Good Christ I was hungry. I wondered what had become of the priest at the mess. And Rinaldi. He was probably at Pordenone. If they had not gone further back. Well, I would never see him now. I would never see any of them now. That life was over. I did not think he had syphilis. It was not a serious disease anyway if you took it in time, they said. But he would worry. I would worry too if I had it. Any one would worry.
I was not made to think. I was made to eat. My God, yes. Eat and drink and sleep with Catherine. To-night maybe. No that was impossible. But to-morrow night, and a good meal and sheets and never going away again except together. Probably have to go damned quickly. She would go. I knew she would go. When would we go? That was something to think about. It was getting dark. I lay and thought where we would go. There were many places.