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.
What’s the matter, darling? . . . I know. You haven’t anything to do. All you have is me and I go away. . . . I’m sorry, darling. I know it must be a dreadful feeling to have nothing at all suddenly. . . . But I’ll be with you. I was only gone for two hours. Isn’t there anything you can do? . . . Don’t think about me when I’m not here.
I went to the door very softly, not to disturb Catherine, and opened it. The barman stood there. He wore his overcoat and carried his wet hat. “Can I speak to you, Tenente? . . . They are going to arrest you in the morning. . . . I came to tell you. I was out in the town and I heard them talking in a café. . . . For something about war. . . . I know that they know you were here before as an officer and now you are here out of uniform. After this retreat they arrest everybody.”
I stayed a long way out because it was from now on that we ran the most danger of meeting guardia. There was a high dome-capped mountain on the other shore a way ahead. I was tired. It was no great distance to row but when you were out of condition it had been a long way. I knew I had to pass that mountain and go up the lake at least five miles further before we could be in Swiss water.
At Locarno we did not have a bad time. They questioned us but they were polite because we had passports and money. I do not think they believed a word of the story and I thought it was silly but it was like a law-court. You did not want something reasonable, you wanted something technical and then stuck to it without explanations. But we had passports and we would spend the money. So they gave us provisional visas.