I heard someone coming down the hallway. I looked toward the door. It was Catherine Barkley.
She came into the room and over to the bed.
“Hello, darling,” she said. She looked fresh and young and very beautiful. I thought I had never seen any one so beautiful. . . . When I saw her I was in love with her. Everything turned over inside of me. She looked toward the door, saw there was no one, then she sat on the side of the bed and leaned over and kissed me. I pulled her down and kissed her and felt her heart beating.
“Miss Gage,” I called. “Please ask the house doctor to come back a minute . . . I can’t wait six months to be operated on. My God, doctor, did you ever stay in bed six months? . . . For six months and then have an operation? . . . Do you really think yourself I will have to wait that long? . . . Who is that first captain? . . . I don’t want my leg fooled around with by a first captain. If he was any good he would be made a major. I know what a first captain is, doctor. . . Could another surgeon see it?”
Two hours later Dr. Valentini came into the room. He was in a great hurry and the points of his mustache stood straight up. He was a major, his face was tanned and he laughed all the time.
“How did you do it, this rotten thing?” he asked. “Let me see the plates. Yes, yes, that’s it. You look healthy as a goat. Who’s the pretty girl? Is she your girl? I thought so. Isn’t this a bloody war? . . . I’ll make you better than new. . . . Tomorrow morning. Not before.”
A breeze came in the night and we heard the men of the anti-aircraft gun on the next roof talking. It was cool and they were putting on their capes. I worried in the night about some one coming up but Catherine said they were all asleep. Once in the night we went to sleep and when I woke she was not there but I heard her coming along the hall and the door opened and she came back to the bed and said it was all right she had been downstairs and they were all asleep.
And, darling, when you’re going under the ether just think about something else—not us. Because people get very blabby under an anæsthetic. . . . Anything. Anything but us. Think about your people. Or even any other girl . . . Say your prayers then. That ought to create a splendid impression.