From Page to Screen: Excerpts From Martha Gellhorn's Wartime Writing


A luxury hotel becomes an unlikely hospital

The Palace Hotel has its old furniture, but it smelled of ether and was crowded with bandaged men. It is the first military hospital of Madrid now. I went around to the operating room, which used to be the reading room.

There were bloody stretchers piled in the hall, but it was quiet this afternoon. The Empire bookcases, where they used to keep dull reading for the hotels guests, were now used for bandages and hypodermic needles and surgical instruments, and there were brilliant lights in the cut-glass chandeliers to make operating easier. The nurse on duty told me about the men on the sixth floor and I went up to see them.

… The man in the red blouse was a Hungarian; his knee had been smashed by a piece of shell. He was handsome and very polite and refused politely to talk about his wound because it was of no importance. He was alive, he was very lucky, the doctors were fine and his knee would probably get well.

-- "The War in Spain," The Face of War by Martha Gellhorn

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