我穿上平民服装，觉得好像是个参加化装跳舞会的人。军装穿久了，现在身子不再裹得紧紧的，仿佛若有所失。特别是那条裤子，穿在身上，觉得松松垮垮。 我在米兰买了一张到施特雷沙去的车票。我还买了一顶新帽子。西姆的帽子我不能戴，他的衣服倒是挺不错的。衣服带有烟草味，当我坐在车厢里望着窗外时，我觉 得帽子崭新，衣服很旧。我觉得自己很忧郁，正像车窗外伦巴第区那片濡湿的乡野。车厢里有几个飞行员，他们不大瞧得起我。他们目光避开，不来看我，很藐视我 这种年纪的人还在当平民。我倒不觉得受了侮辱。要是在从前，我准会侮辱他们一下，挑动他们干一架。他们在加拉剌蒂下了车，剩下我一个人，也乐得安静。我身 边有报纸，但我不看，因为我不想知道战事。我要忘掉战争。我单独媾和了。我觉得异常寂寞，所以车子到施特雷沙时，心中很高兴。
到车站时，我等待旅馆兜揽生意的伙计，但是一个都没有出现。旅游季节早已过了，没人来接火车。我提着小提包下了火车，这小提包是西姆的，提起来很 轻，因为里边没有什么东西，只有两件衬衫。我在车站屋檐下躲雨，看着火车开走了。我在站上找到一个人，问他什么旅馆还在开业。巴罗美群岛①大旅馆还开着， 还有几家小旅馆是一年四季都营业的。我提着小提包冒雨上那大旅馆去。我看见有一部马车从街上驶过来，便向车夫打招呼。乘着马车上旅馆，比较有派头。车子赶 到大旅馆停车处的入口，门房连忙打着伞出来迎接，非常有礼貌。
我开了一个好房间。房间又大又亮，面临着湖上①。湖上现在罩着云，不过阳光一出来，一定很美丽。我对旅馆的人说，我在等待我的太太。房间里摆有一张 双人大床，那种燕尔新婚的大床，上面铺着缎子床罩。旅馆十分奢华。我走下长廊和宽阔的楼梯，穿过几个房间，到了酒吧间。那酒保我本来就认得，我坐在一只高 凳上，吃吃咸杏仁和炸马铃薯片。马丁尼鸡尾酒又凉爽又纯净。
“原来是你啊！“凯瑟琳说。她的脸孔光亮起来。她快乐得好像不敢相信这是真的。我亲亲她。凯瑟琳红了脸，我就在桌边坐下。“你这一团槽的，“弗格逊 说。 “你来这儿做什么？吃了饭没有？““没有。“伺候开饭的姑娘进来了，我吩咐她多开一客。凯瑟琳目不转睛地看着我，快乐幸福。
那天夜晚在旅馆里，房间外边是一条又长又空的走廊，门外边放着我们的鞋子，房间里铺着厚厚的地毯，窗外下着雨，房间里则灯光明亮，快乐愉快，后来灯 灭了，床单平滑，床铺舒服，一片兴奋，那时的心情，好比我们回了家，不再感觉孤独，夜间醒来，爱人仍在，并没有发觉梦醒人去；除了这以外，一切事物都是不 真实的。我们疲乏的时候就睡觉，一个醒来，另一个也就醒来，所以不会感觉孤独寂寞。一个男人，或是一个女郎，虽然相爱，却时常想要单独安静一下，而一分 开，必然招惹对方妒忌，但是我可以实实在在地说，我们两人从来没有这种感觉。我们在一起的时候，也有孤独的感觉，那是与世人格格不相入的孤独。这种经验我 一生中只有过一次。我和好些女人在一起的时候，总感觉孤独寂寞，而且你最寂寞就是在这种时候。但是我和凯瑟琳在一起，从来不寂寞，从来不害怕。我知道夜里 和白天是不同的：一切事物都不相同，夜里的事在白天没法子说明，因为那些事在白天根本就不存在，而对于寂寞的人来说，黑夜是极可怕的时间，只要他们的寂寞 一开始。但是我和凯瑟琳的生活在夜间和白天几乎没有分别，而夜间只有更美妙些。倘若有人带着这么多的勇气到世界上来，世界为要打垮他们，必然加以杀害，到 末了也自然就把他们杀死了。世界打垮了每一个人，于是有许多人事后在被打垮之余显得很坚强。但是世界对打垮不了的人就加以杀害。世界杀害最善良的人，最温 和的人，最勇敢的人，不偏不倚，一律看待。倘若你不是这三类人，你迟早当然也得一死，不过世界并不特别着急要你的命。
In civilian clothes I felt a masquerader. I had been in uniform a long time and I missed the feeling of being held by your clothes. The trousers felt very floppy. I had bought a ticket at Milan for Stresa. I had also bought a new hat. I could not wear Sim's hat but his clothes were fine. They smelled of tobacco and as I sat in the compartment and looked out the window the new hat felt very new and the clothes very old. I myself felt as sad as the wet Lombard country that was outside through the window. There were some aviators in the compartment who did not think much of me. They avoided looking at me and were very scornful of a civilian my age. I did not feel insulted. In the old days I would have insulted them and picked a fight. They got off at Gallarate and I was glad to be alone. I had the paper but I did not read it because I did not want to read about the war. I was going to forget the war. I had made a separate peace. I felt damned lonely and was glad when the train got to Stresa.
At the station I had expected to see the porters from the hotels but there was no one. The season had been over a long time and no one met the train. I got down from the train with my bag, it was Sim's bag, and very light to carry, being empty except for two shirts, and stood under the roof of the station in the rain while the train went on. I found a man in the station and asked him if he knew what hotels were open. The Grand-Hotel & des Isles Borromées was open and several small hotels that stayed open all the year. I started in the rain for the Isles Borromées carrying my bag. I saw a carriage coming down the street and signalled to the driver. It was better to arrive in a carriage. We drove up to the carriage entrance of the big hotel and the concierge came out with an umbrella and was very polite.
I took a good room. It was very big and light and looked out on the lake. The clouds were down over the lake but it would be beautiful with the sunlight. I was expecting my wife, I said. There was a big double bed, a _letto matrimoniale_ with a satin coverlet. The hotel was very luxurious. I went down the long halls, down the wide stairs, through the rooms to the bar. I knew the barman and sat on a high stool and ate salted almonds and potato chips. The martini felt cool and clean.
"What are you doing here in _borghese?_" the barman asked after he had mixed a second martini.
"I am on leave. Convalescing-leave."
"There is no one here. I don't know why they keep the hotel open."
"Have you been fishing?"
"I've caught some beautiful pieces. Trolling this time of year you catch some beautiful pieces."
"Did you ever get the tobacco I sent?"
"Yes. Didn't you get my card?"
I laughed. I had not been able to get the tobacco. It was American pipe-tobacco that he wanted, but my relatives had stopped sending it or it was being held up. Anyway it never came.
"I'll get some somewhere," I said. "Tell me have you seen two English girls in the town? They came here day before yesterday."
"They are not at the hotel."
"They are nurses."
"I have seen two nurses. Wait a minute, I will find out where they are."
"One of them is my wife," I said. "I have come here to meet her."
"The other is my wife."
"I am not joking."
"Pardon my stupid joke," he said. "I did not understand." He went away and was gone quite a little while. I ate olives, salted almonds and potato chips and looked at myself in civilian clothes in the mirror behind the bar. The bartender came back. "They are at the little hotel near the station," he said.
"How about some sandwiches?"
"I'll ring for some. You understand there is nothing here, now there are no people."
"Isn't there really any one at all?"
"Yes. There are a few people."
The sandwiches came and I ate three and drank a couple more martinis. I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized. I had had too much red wine, bread, cheese, bad coffee and grappa. I sat on the high stool before the pleasant mahogany, the brass and the mirrors and did not think at all. The barman asked me some question.
"Don't talk about the war," I said. The war was a long way away. Maybe there wasn't any war. There was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. But I did not have the feeling that it was really over. I had the feeling of a boy who thinks of what is happening at a certain hour at the schoolhouse from which he has played truant.
Catherine and Helen Ferguson were at supper when I came to their hotel. Standing in the hallway I saw them at table. Catherine's face was away from me and I saw the line of her hair and her cheek and her lovely neck and shoulders. Ferguson was talking. She stopped when I came in.
"My God," she said.
"Hello," I said.
"Why it's you!" Catherine said. Her face lighted up. She looked too happy to believe it. I kissed her. Catherine blushed and I sat down at the table.
"You're a fine mess," Ferguson said. "What are you doing here? Have you eaten?"
"No." The girl who was serving the meal came in and I told her to bring a plate for me. Catherine looked at me all the time, her eyes happy.
"What are you doing in mufti?" Ferguson asked.
"I'm in the Cabinet."
"You're in some mess."
"Cheer up, Fergy. Cheer up just a little."
"I'm not cheered by seeing you. I know the mess you've gotten this girl into. You're no cheerful sight to me."
Catherine smiled at me and touched me with her foot under the table.
"No one got me in a mess, Fergy. I get in my own messes."
"I can't stand him," Ferguson said. "He's done nothing but ruin you with his sneaking Italian tricks. Americans are worse than Italians."
"The Scotch are such a moral people," Catherine said.
"I don't mean that. I mean his Italian sneakiness."
"Am I sneaky, Fergy?"
"You are. You're worse than sneaky. You're like a snake. A snake with an Italian uniform: with a cape around your neck."
"I haven't got an Italian uniform now."
"That's just another example of your sneakiness. You had a love affair all summer and got this girl with child and now I suppose you'll sneak off."
I smiled at Catherine and she smiled at me.
"We'll both sneak off," she said.
"You're two of the same thing," Ferguson said. "I'm ashamed of you, Catherine Barkley. You have no shame and no honor and you're as sneaky as he is."
"Don't, Fergy," Catherine said and patted her hand. "Don't denounce me. You know we like each other."
"Take your hand away," Ferguson said. Her face was red. "If you had any shame it would be different. But you're God knows how many months gone with child and you think it's a joke and are all smiles because your seducer's come back. You've no shame and no feelings." She began to cry. Catherine went over and put her arm around her. As she stood comforting Ferguson, I could see no change in her figure.
"I don't care," Ferguson sobbed. "I think it's dreadful."
"There, there, Fergy," Catherine comforted her. "I'll be ashamed. Don't cry, Fergy. Don't cry, old Fergy."
"I'm not crying," Ferguson sobbed. "I'm not crying. Except for the awful thing you've gotten into." She looked at me. "I hate you," she said. "She can't make me not hate you. You dirty sneaking American Italian." Her eyes and nose were red with crying.
Catherine smiled at me.
"Don't you smile at him with your arm around me."
"You're unreasonable, Fergy."
"I know it," Ferguson sobbed. "You mustn't mind me, either of you. I'm so upset. I'm not reasonable. I know it. I want you both to be happy."
"We're happy," Catherine said. "You're a sweet Fergy."
Ferguson cried again. "I don't want you happy the way you are. Why don't you get married? You haven't got another wife have you?"
"No," I said. Catherine laughed.
"It's nothing to laugh about," Ferguson said. "Plenty of them have other wives."
"We'll be married, Fergy," Catherine said, "if it will please you."
"Not to please me. You should want to be married."
"We've been very busy."
"Yes. I know. Busy making babies." I thought she was going to cry again but she went into bitterness instead. "I suppose you'll go off with him now to-night?"
"Yes," said Catherine. "If he wants me."
"What about me?"
"Are you afraid to stay here alone?"
"Yes, I am."
"Then I'll stay with you."
"No, go on with him. Go with him right away. I'm sick of seeing both of you."
"We'd better finish dinner."
"No. Go right away."
"Fergy, be reasonable."
"I say get out right away. Go away both of you."
"Let's go then," I said. I was sick of Fergy.
"You do want to go. You see you want to leave me even to eat dinner alone. I've always wanted to go to the Italian lakes and this is how it is. Oh, Oh," she sobbed, then looked at Catherine and choked.
"We'll stay till after dinner," Catherine said. "And I'll not leave you alone if you want me to stay. I won't leave you alone, Fergy."
"No. No. I want you to go. I want you to go." She wiped her eyes. "I'm so unreasonable. Please don't mind me."
The girl who served the meal had been upset by all the crying. Now as she brought in the next course she seemed relieved that things were better.
That night at the hotel, in our room with the long empty hall outside and our shoes outside the door, a thick carpet on the floor of the room, outside the windows the rain falling and in the room light and pleasant and cheerful, then the light out and it exciting with smooth sheets and the bed comfortable, feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once. I have been alone while I was with many girls and that is the way that you can be most lonely. But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together. I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started. But with Catherine there was almost no difference in the night except that it was an even better time. If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
I remember waking in the morning. Catherine was asleep and the sunlight was coming in through the window. The rain had stopped and I stepped out of bed and across the floor to the window. Down below were the gardens, bare now but beautifully regular, the gravel paths, the trees, the stone wall by the lake and the lake in the sunlight with the mountains beyond. I stood at the window looking out and when I turned away I saw Catherine was awake and watching me.
"How are you, darling?" she said. "Isn't it a lovely day?"
"How do you feel?"
"I feel very well. We had a lovely night."
"Do you want breakfast?"
She wanted breakfast. So did I and we had it in bed, the November sunlight coming in the window, and the breakfast tray across my lap.
"Don't you want the paper? You always wanted the paper in the hospital?"
"No," I said. "I don't want the paper now."
"Was it so bad you don't want even to read about it?"
"I don't want to read about it."
"I wish I had been with you so I would know about it too."
"I'll tell you about it if I ever get it straight in my head."
"But won't they arrest you if they catch you out of uniform?"
"They'll probably shoot me."
"Then we'll not stay here. We'll get out of the country."
"I'd thought something of that."
"We'll get out. Darling, you shouldn't take silly chances. Tell me how did you come from Mestre to Milan?"
"I came on the train. I was in uniform then."
"Weren't you in danger then?"
"Not much. I had an old order of movement. I fixed the dates on it in Mestre."
"Darling, you're liable to be arrested here any time. I won't have it. It's silly to do something like that. Where would we be if they took you off?"
"Let's not think about it. I'm tired of thinking about it."
"What would you do if they came to arrest you?"
"You see how silly you are, I won't let you go out of the hotel until we leave here."
"Where are we going to go?"
"Please don't be that way, darling. We'll go wherever you say. But please find some place to go right away."
"Switzerland is down the lake, we can go there."
"That will be lovely."
It was clouding over outside and the lake was darkening.
"I wish we did not always have to live like criminals," I said.
"Darling, don't be that way. You haven't lived like a criminal very long. And we never live like criminals. We're going to have a fine time."
"I feel like a criminal. I've deserted from the army."
"Darling, please be sensible. It's not deserting from the army. It's only the Italian army."
I laughed. "You're a fine girl. Let's get back into bed. I feel fine in bed."
A little while later Catherine said, "You don't feel like a criminal do you?"
"No," I said. "Not when I'm with you."
"You're such a silly boy," she said. "But I'll look after you. Isn't it splendid, darling, that I don't have any morning-sickness?"
"You don't appreciate what a fine wife you have. But I don't care. I'll get you some place where they can't arrest you and then we'll have a lovely time."
"Let's go there right away."
"We will, darling. I'll go any place any time you wish."
"Let's not think about anything."