Ernest Hemingway (1899 -
Ernest Hemingway, A day's wait
He came into the room to shut the windows while we were still in bed and I saw he looked ill. He was
shivering, his face was white, and he walked slowly as though it ached to move.
"What's the matter, Schatz?"
"I've got a headache."
05 "You better go back to bed."
"No. I'm all right."
"You go to bed. I'll see you when I'm dressed."
But when I came downstairs he was dressed, sitting by the fire, looking a very sick and miserable boy of
nine years. When I put my hand on his forehead I knew he had a fever.
10 "You go up to bed," I said, "you're sick."
"I'm all right," he said.
When the doctor came he took the boy's temperature.
"What is it ?" I asked him.
"One hundred and two."
15 Downstairs, the doctor left three different medicines in different coloured capsules with instructions for
giving them. One was to bring down the fever, another a purgative, the third to overcome an acid
condition. The germs of influenza can only exist in an acid condition, he explained. He seemed to know
all about influenza and said there was nothing to worry about if the fever did not go above one hundred
and four degrees. This was a light epidemic of flu and there was no danger if you avoided pneumonia.
20 Back in the room I wrote the boy's temperature down and made a note of the time to give the various
"Do you want me to read to you ?"
"All right. If you want to," said the boy. His face was very white and there were dark areas under his
eyes. He lay still in the bed and seemed very detached from what was going on. I read aloud from
25 Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates; but I could see he was not following what I was reading.
"How do you feel, Schatz?" I asked him.
"Just the same, so far," he said.
I sat at the foot of the bed and read to myself while I waited for it to be time to give another capsule. It
would have been natural for him to go to sleep, but when I looked up he was looking at the foot of the
30 bed, looking very strangely.
"Why don't you try to go to sleep ? I'll wake you up for the medicine."
"I'd rather stay awake."
After a while he said to me, "You don't have to stay in here with me, Papa, if it bothers you."
"It doesn't bother me."
35 "No, I mean you don't have to stay if it's going to bother you."
I thought perhaps he was a little light-
o'clock I went out for a while.
It was a bright, cold day, the ground covered with a sleet that had frozen so that it seemed as if all the
bare trees, the bushes, the cut brush and all the grass and the bare ground had been varnished with
40 ice. I took the young Irish setter for a little walk up the road and along a frozen creek, but it was difficult
to stand or walk on the glassy surface and the red dog slipped and slithered and I fell twice, hard, once
dropping my gun and having it slide over the ice. We flushed a covey of quail under a high clay bank with
overhanging brush and I killed two as they went out of sight over the top of the bank. Some of the covey
lit in trees, but most of them scattered into brush piles and it was necessary to jump on the ice-
45 mounds of brush several times before they would flush. Coming out while you were poised unsteadily on
the icy, springy brush they made difficult shooting and I killed two, missed five, and started back pleased
to have found a covey close to the house and happy there were so many left to find on another day.
At the house they said the boy had refused to let anyone come into the room.
"You can't come in," he said. "You mustn't get what I have."
50 I went up to him and found him in exactly the position I had left him, white-
his cheeks flushed by the fever, staring still, as he had stared, at the foot of the bed. I took
"What is it ?"
"Something like a hundred," I said. It was one hundred and two and four tenths.
55 "It was a hundred and two," he said.
"Who said so ?"
"Your temperature is all right," I said. "It's nothing to worry about."
"I don't worry," he said, "but I can't keep from thinking."
60 "Don't think," I said. "Just take it easy."
"I'm taking it easy," he said and looked straight ahead. He was evidently holding tight onto himself about
"Take this with water."
"Do you think it will do any good ?"
65 "Of course it will."
I sat down and opened the Pirate book and commenced to read, but I could see he was not
following, so I stopped.
"About what time do you think I'm going to die ?" he asked.
70 "About how long will it be before I die ?"
"You aren't going to die. What's the matter with you ?"
"Oh, yes, I am. I heard him say a hundred and two."
"People don't die with a fever of one hundred and two. That's a silly way to talk."
"I know they do. At school in France the boys told me you can't live with forty-
75 hundred and two."
He had been waiting to die all day, ever since nine o'clock in the morning.
"You poor Schatz," I said. "Poor old Schatz. It's like miles and kilometers. You aren't going to
die. That's a different thermometer. On that thermometer thirty-
80 "Are you sure ?"
"Absolutely," I said. "It's like miles and kilometers. You know, like how many kilometers we make when
we do seventy in the car ?"
"Oh," he said.
But his gaze at the foot of the bed relaxed slowly. The hold over himself relaxed too, finally, and the next
85 day it was very slack and he cried very easily at little things that were of no importance.
1.1. Answer the w-
1.2. Write a biography of Schatz.
2. Analysis and discussion
2.1. How many parts does the story fall into? Give the lines. Say why.
2.2. Is there much action in the story? Say why or why not (5 sentences).
2.3. What is the time scheme. Do not forget the acting time and the reading timeof the short story.
2.4. What is the middle part about? What is the dominant element of speech in this part?
2.5. Describe the relationship between father and son.
2.6. From which point of view is the story narrated?
2.7. Lack of communication often results in misunderstanding. Why has this observation become particularly true in our modern society? Discuss.