In Our Time | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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In Our Time | L'Envoi | Summary



The King of Greece, working in his garden, greets the first-person narrator and introduces the queen. They sit at a table under a tree and drink. The king is under house arrest by a revolutionary committee. He says one of the revolutionaries, Plastíras, is "a very good man, I believe, but frightfully difficult." He praises Plastíras for "shooting those chaps." He adds Kerensky should have shot more people. He concludes by hoping he himself does not get shot. The narrator sums up the meeting, saying "it was very jolly." He adds that the king wants to go to America, "like all Greeks."


This vignette returns to Greece in the Greco-Turkish war of 1921–22, where the first vignette in the collection begins. The vignette "Smyrna" is about the Greek defeat at Smyrna in 1922, and this vignette, "L'Envoi," is about what happened after that defeat. Because of a military coup, King Constantine of Greece left the throne. Colonel Nikólaos Plastíras was a leader of the 1922 coup.

In the vignette, the king tries to make the best of the situation. The revolutionary committee will not let him leave his house, but he tries to enjoy house arrest. "We have good whiskey anyway," he says. He even praises one of the men who forced him off the throne, Plastíras. He compares Plastíras to Aleksandr Kerensky, who served as the head of the provisional government of Russia from July to October 1917. In July, he took over from Tsar Nikolas, who abdicated and was then executed. In October 1917, the Bolsheviks, a communist party, took over from Kerensky. The king is hoping for a different outcome for Greece.

The narrator's final comment puts the king in his place. He may be a king, but in the narrator's eyes, he is just another emigrant.

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