Henry gets off the train in Milan. He stops in a wine shop, where the proprietor gives him a glass of grappa (a type of brandy) in exchange for news of the front. Henry's vague answers, and the mark on his sleeve where the stars have been cut away, lead the proprietor to guess that he is in trouble. He offers to let Henry stay. Henry refuses the offer and assures the proprietor that he is not in trouble.
The proprietor's willingness to help Henry, who has clearly deserted the army, shows that much of the population shares Henry and the other army members' hatred of the war. Henry's refusal of help shows his rugged individualism.
Henry goes to the hospital. The porter tells him that Catherine left two days ago for the town of Stresa. Henry then goes to the house of the American opera singer Ralph Simmons who gives Henry civilian clothes in which to disguise himself.
Now that he has left the army, the most important goal for Henry is finding Catherine, who gives him a sense of purpose. Ralph Simmons's willingness to help Henry indicates that Ralph also dislikes the war.