You will be decorated. They want to get you the medaglia d’argento but perhaps they can get only the bronze. . . . Because you are gravely wounded. They say if you can prove you did any heroic act you can get the silver. Otherwise it will be the bronze. Tell me exactly what happened. Did you do any heroic act? . . . Be serious. You must have done something heroic either before or after. Remember carefully.
That morning the major in charge of the ward asked me if I felt that I could travel the next day. I said I could. He said then they would ship me out early in the morning. He said I would be better off making the trip now before it got too hot. . . . They were anxious to ship me to Milan where there were better X-ray facilities and where, after the operation, I could take mechanotherapy.
Listen, I have a surprise for you. Your English. You know? The English you go to see every night at their hospital? She is going to Milan too. She goes with another to be at the American hospital. They had not got nurses yet from America. I talked to-day with the head of their riparto. They have too many women here at the front. They send some back. How do you like that, baby?
The porter rang the bell, then he knocked on the door, then he opened the door and went in. When he came back there was an elderly woman wearing glasses with him. Her hair was loosed and half-falling and she wore a nurse’s dress.
“I can’t understand,” she said. “I can’t understand Italian. . . . None of the rooms are ready. There isn’t any patient expected.” She tucked at her hair and looked at me near-sightedly.”
I ate some lunch and in the afternoon Miss Van Campen, the superintendent, came up to see me. She did not like me and I did not like her. She was small and neatly suspicious and too good for her position. She asked many questions and seemed to think it was somewhat disgraceful that I was with the Italians.