The Good Soldier Svejk Chapter 10.

Schweik Becomes the Chaplain’s Orderly.


Once more began his Odyssey under the honourable escort of two soldiers with bayonets, who had to convey him to the chaplain.

By reason of their physical peculiarities, his escort supplemented each another. While one was lanky, the other was stumpy and fat. The lanky one limped with the right foot, the stumpy warrior with the left. They were both home-service men, having been entirely exempted from military service before the war.

They jogged on solemnly alongside the pavement and from

time to time took a peep at Schweik who marched between them and saluted everybody. His civilian clothing, including the military cap in which he had answered his calling-up notice, had got lost in the storeroom at the detention barracks. But before discharging him, they gave him an old military uniform which had belonged to some pot-bellied fellow who must have been a head taller than Schweik. Three more Schweiks could have got into the trousers he was wearing. They reached beyond his chest and their endless folds attracted the notice of the passers-by. A vest tunic with patches on the elbows, and covered with grease and grime, dangled round Schweik like a coat on a scarecrow. The military cap, which had also been issued in exchange at the detention barracks, came down over his ears.

Schweik replied to the smiles of the passers-by with sweet smiles of his own and glances which beamed with warm goodnature.

And so they proceeded on their way to Karlin where the chaplain lived.

It was the stumpy, stout one who first addressed Schweik.

"Where are you from?" he inquired.


"You won’t give us the slip?"

The lanky man joined in the conversation. It is a most remarkable thing that while short, fat men are mostly apt to be good-humoured optimists, the lanky spindle-shanked ones, on the other hand, are of a more skeptical turn of mind.

And so the lanky fellow said to the dumpy little man : "He’d run away if he could."

"Why should he?" retorted the fat little man. "He’s practically free, now that they’ve let him out of the detention barracks. It’s all in the doings I’ve got here."

"And what’s in the doings you’ve got for the chaplain?" inquired the lanky man.

"I don’t know."

"There you are, you don’t know and yet you’re talking about it."

They crossed the Charles Bridge in complete silence. In Charles Street the fat little man again addressed Schweik :

"Don’t you know why we’re taking you to the chaplain?"

"For confession," said Schweik casually; "they’re going to hang me to-morrow. It’s always done. They call it spiritual comfort."

"And why are they going to . . .?" the lanky fellow asked cautiously, while the fat man gazed at Schweik pityingly.

"I don’t know," replied Schweik with a good-humoured smile. "It’s all a mystery to me. I suppose it’s fate."

"You must have been born under an unlucky star," remarked the little man sympathetically and with the air of an expert.

"If you ask me," said the lanky man skeptically, "they don’t hang a man for nothing at all. There must be some reason for it."

"Yes, when there isn’t a war on," remarked Schweik, "but when there’s a war, they don’t care whether a man gets killed at the front or is hanged at home. As far as they’re concerned it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other."

"I say, you’re not one of those political prisoners, are you?" asked the lanky man. From the tone of his voice it was clear that he was beginning to take to Schweik.

"I should jolly well think I am," said Schweik with a smile.

"You’re not a National Socialist, are you?" The fat little man was beginning to get cautious now. He thought he’d better have his say. "It’s no business of ours, anyway, and there’s lots of people about who’ve got their eyes on us. It’s these blessed bayonets that make them stare so. We might manage to unfix them in some place where we can’t be seen. You won’t give us the slip? It’d be damned awkward for us if you did. Wouldn’t it, Tonik?" he concluded, turning to the lanky man, who said in a low voice :

"Yes, we might unfix our bayonets. After all, he’s one of our chaps."

He had ceased to be a skeptic and he was brimming over with pity for Schweik. So they looked for a convenient spot where they unfixed their bayonets, whereupon the fat man allowed Schweik to walk by his side.

"You’d like to have a smoke, wouldn’t you?" he said, "that is, if ..." He was about to say : "If they let you have a smoke before you’re hanged," but he did not complete the sentence, feeling

that under the circumstances it would scarcely be a tactful remark.

They all had a smoke and Schweik’s escort began to tell him about their wives and children, and about their five acres and a cow.

"I’m thirsty," said Schweik.

The lanky man and the fat man looked at each other.

"We might drop in somewhere for a quick one," said the little man, who knew by a sort of intuition that the lanky man would agree. "But it must be some place where we shouldn’t be noticed."

"Let’s go to The Gillyflower," suggested Schweik. "You can shove your harness in the kitchen. Serabona, the landlord, belongs to the Sokols, so you needn’t be afraid of him.

"They play the fiddle and harmonica there," continued Schweik. "The company’s good too—tarts and people like that who wouldn’t go to a really swell place."

The lanky man and the little man looked at each other again and then the lanky man said :

"Well, let’s go there then. It’s a good step yet to Karlin."

On the way Schweik told them some good stories and they were in good spirits when they reached The Gillyflower. There they did as Schweik had suggested. They put their rifles in the kitchen and went into the taproom where fiddle and harmonica were filling the premises with the strains of a song then much in vogue.

A girl was sitting on the lap of a jaded youth with his hair carefully parted, and singing hoarsely :

"I had a girl, I had a girl But now another man’s got her."

A drunken vendor of herrings was sleeping at a table, and every now and then he woke up, banged his fist on the table, mumbled: "It’s gotter stop," and fell asleep again. Behind a billiard table and beneath a mirror three girls were pestering a tram conductor: "Come on, kid, let’s have a drop of gin." By the door a soldier was sitting with a number of civilians and telling them about the way he was wounded in Serbia. His arm was

bandaged up, and his pockets were full of the cigarettes they had given him. He said he couldn’t drink any more and one of the company, a bald-headed old man, kept on urging him : "Have another with me, lad, who knows when we’ll meet again? Shall I get them to play you something? Is ’The Orphan Child’ one of your favourites?"

This was the tune which the bald-headed old man liked best, and presently the fiddle and harmonica were reproducing its lachrymose melody. The old man became tearful and with quavering voice joined in the chorus.

From the other table somebody said : "Stow it, can’t you? Go and eat coke. Buzz off, you with your bloody orphan child."

And to emphasize these suggestions, the hostile table began to sing:

"Oh, it’s hard, it’s hard to part, Sorrow’s gnawing at my heart."

"Franta !" they called to the wounded soldier, when, after another spell of singing, they had succeeded in outdinning "The Orphan Child," "give ’em a miss and come over to us. Bring some cigarettes along. Never mind those bastards."

Schweik and his escort watched all these goings-on with interest. Schweik remembered how he used to go there often before the «war. But his escort had no such reminiscences. For them it was something entirely new and they began to take a fancy to it. The first to attain complete satisfaction there was the little fat man, for such as he, besides being optimistic, have a very great propensity for epicurism. The lanky man was still struggling with himself. And as he had already lost his skepticism, so too he was gradually losing his reticence and what was left of his forethought.

"I’m going to have a dance," he said after his fifth drink, when he saw the couples dancing a polka.

The little man was now having a thoroughly good time. Next to him sat a girl who was talking smut. His eyes were fairly sparkling.

Schweik kept on drinking. The lanky man finished his dance and returned with his partner to the table. Then they sang and

danced, drinking the whole time and cuddling the girls who had joined them. In the afternoon a soldier came up to them and offered to give them blood-poisoning for five crowns. He said he had a syringe on him and would squirt petroleum into their legs or hands.1 That would keep them in bed for at least two months, and possibly if they kept applying spittle to the wound, as much as six months, with the chance of getting completely out of the army.

When it was getting toward evening, Schweik proposed that they should resume their journey to the chaplain. The little fat man, who was now beginning to babble, urged Schweik to wait a little longer. The lanky man was also of the opinion that the chaplain could wait. But Schweik had now lost interest in The Gillyflower and threatened that if they would not come, he would go off by himself.

So they went, but he had to promise them that they would all make one more halt somewhere else. And they stopped at a small café where the fat man sold his silver watch to enable them to continue their spree. When they left there, Schweik led them by the arm. It was a very troublesome job for him. Their feet kept slipping and they were continually evincing a desire for one more round of drinks. The little fat man nearly lost the envelope addressed to the chaplain and so Schweik was compelled to carry it himself. He also had to keep a sharp look-out for officers and N. C. O.’s. After superhuman efforts and struggles, he managed to steer them safely to the house where the chaplain lived. He fixed their bayonets for them, and by pommelling them in the ribs, made them lead him instead of having to lead them.

On the first floor a visiting card bearing the inscription "Otto Katz, Feldkurat"2showed them where the chaplain lived. A soldier opened the door. From within could be heard voices and the clinking of glasses and bottles.

1This is quite an efficacious method of getting into hospital. But the smell of the petroleum which remains in the swelling gives the game away. Benzine is better because it evaporates more quickly. Later on, a mixture of ether and benzine was used for this purpose and, later still, other improvements were devised.—Author’s note. 2Army chaplain.

"We—beg—to—report—sir," said the lanky man laboriously in German, and saluting the soldier. "We have—brought—an envelope—and a man."

"In you come," said the soldier. "Where did you manage to get so top-heavy? The chaplain’s a bit that way, too." The soldier spat and departed with the envelope.

They waited in the passage for a long time, and at last the door opened and in rushed the chaplain. He was in his shirt sleeves and held a cigar between his fingers.

"So you’re here, are you?" he said to Schweik, "and these are the chaps who brought you. I say, got a match?"

"Beg to report, sir, I haven’t."

"Here, I say, why not? Every soldier ought to have matches to light up with. A soldier who’s got no matches is—What is he?"

"Beg to report, sir, he’s without matches," replied Schweik.

"Splendid, he’s without matches and can’t give anyone a light. Well, that’s one thing, and now for the next item on the programme. Do your feet stink, Schweik?"

"Beg to report, sir, they don’t stink."

"So much for that. And now the third point. Do you drink brandy?"

"Bag to report, sir, I don’t drink brandy, only rum."

"Good. Just have a look at that chap there. I borrowed him for to-day from Lieutenant Feldhuber. He’s his batman. And he doesn’t drink. He’s a tee-tee-tee-totaller and that’s why he’s been put on a draft. Be-because a man like that’s no use to me. He only drinks water and bawls like a bull."

"You’re a teetotaller," he said, turning to the soldier. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you bloody fool. For two pins I’d punch you in the jaw."

The chaplain now turned his attention to the men who had escorted Schweik and who, in their endeavour to stand up straight, were wobbling about, vainly trying to prop themselves up with their rifles.

"Y—you’re dr-drunk," said the chaplain. "You’re drunk while on duty and now you’ll be for it. I’ll see to that. Schweik, take

their rifles away ; march them off to the kitchen and mount guard over them until the patrol comes for them. I’ll tel-tel-telephone at once to the barracks."

And thus Napoleon’s saying: "In war the situation changes from one moment to another," was again amply confirmed. In the morning they had escorted him with fixed bayonets to prevent him from giving them the slip ; then he himself had led them along ; and now, here he was, mounting guard over them.

They first became fully aware of this change in the situation when they were sitting in the kitchen and saw Schweik standing at the door with rifle and bayonet.

"I could do with a drink," sighed the little optimistic man, while the lanky fellow again had a fit of skepticism and said that the whole business was a piece of low treachery. He started loudly accusing Schweik of having landed them in their present plight and reproached him for having promised them that he would be hanged the next day. Now they could see that what he had said about the confession and the hanging was all a hoax.

Schweik made no reply but walked to and fro by the door.

"We haven’t half got ourselves in a mess," exclaimed the lanky man.

At last, having heard all their accusations, Schweik remarked :

"Now you can see that the army’s no picnic. I’m just doing my duty. I got into this just the same as what you did, but fortune smiled on me, as the saying is."

"I could do with a drink," repeated the optimist desperately.

The lanky man stood up and staggered to the door.

"Let’s go home, mate," he said to Schweik. "Don’t act the fool."

"You go away," said Schweik. "I’ve got to guard you. We ain’t on speaking terms now."

The chaplain suddenly appeared in the doorway.

"I can’t get through to the barracks. So you’d better go home and re-remember you mustn’t boo-booze when you’re on duty. Quick march !"

In fairness to the chaplain it should be added that he had not telephoned to the barracks, for the simple reason that he had no telephone, and was talking to a lamp stand.


Schweik had been the chaplain’s orderly for three whole days, and during this period he had seen him only once. On the third day an orderly arrived from Lieutenant Helmich telling Schweik to come and fetch the chaplain.

On the way, the orderly told Schweik that the chaplain had had a row with the lieutenant, had smashed a piano, was dead drunk and refused to go home. Lieutenant Helmich, who was also drunk, had thrown the chaplain into the passage, where he was dozing on the ground by the doorway. When Schweik reached the spot, he shook the chaplain, and when the latter opened his eyes and began to mumble, Schweik saluted and said :

"Beg to report, sir, I’m here."

"And what do you want here?"

"Beg to report, sir, I’ve come to fetch you."

"So you’ve come to fetch me, have you? And where are we going?"

"Home, sir."

"And what have I got to go home for? Aren’t I at home?"

"Beg to report, sir, you’re on the floor in somebody else’s home."

"And—how—did—I get here?"

"Beg to report, sir, you were paying a call."

"Not—not—not paying a call. You’re—you’re—wrong there."

Schweik lifted the Chaplain and propped him up against the wall. While Schweik was holding him, the Chaplain floundered from side to side and clung to him, saying : "You’re letting me fall." And then, once more, with a fatuous smile, he repeated : "You’re letting me fall." At last Schweik managed to squeeze the Chaplain up against the wall, whereupon he began to doze again in his new posture.

Schweik woke him up.

"What d’you want?" asked the Chaplain, making a vain attempt to drag himself along by the wall and to sit up. "Who are you, anyway?"

"Beg to report, sir," replied Schweik, pushing the Chaplain back against the wall, "I’m your batman, sir."

"I haven’t got a batman," said the Chaplain with some effort, making a fresh attempt to tumble on top of Schweik. There was a little tussle which ended in Schweik’s complete victory. Schweik took advantage of this to drag the Chaplain down the stairs into the entrance hall where the Chaplain tried to stop Schweik from taking him into the street. "I don’t know you," he kept telling Schweik during their tussle. "Do you know Otto Katz? That’s me."

"I’ve been to the Archbishop’s," he yelled, catching hold of the door in the entrance hall. "The Vatican takes a great interest in me. Is that clear to you?"

Schweik assented and began to talk to the Chaplain as man to man.

"Let go of that, I tell you," he said, "or I’ll give you such a wallop. We’re going home; so now stow your gab."

The Chaplain let go of the door and clung to Schweik, who pushed him aside and then carried him out into the street, where he drew him along the pavement in a homeward direction.

"Who’s that bloke?" asked one of the onlookers in the street.

"That’s my brother," replied Schweik. "He came home on leave and when he saw me, he was so happy that he got tight, because he thought I was dead."

The Chaplain, who caught the last few words, stood up straight and faced the onlookers : "Any of you who are dead must report themselves to headquarters within three days, so that their corpses can be consecrated."

And he lapsed into silence, endeavouring to fall nose-first on to the pavement, while Schweik held him under the arm and drew him along homeward. With his head thrust forward and his feet trailing behind and dangling like those of a cat with a broken back, the Chaplain was muttering to himself : "Dominus vobis-cum—et cum spiritu tuo. Dominus vobiscum."

When they reached a cab rank, Schweik propped the Chaplain in a sitting posture up against a wall and went to negotiate with the cabmen about the fare. One of the cabmen declared that he

knew the Chaplain very well, that he’d driven him home once and would never do it again.

"He spewed all over my cab," he announced in plain terms, "and then he never paid his fare. I was carting him round for more than two hours before he found out where he lived. And a week later, when I’d been after him about three times, he paid me five crowns for the whole lot."

After long discussions, one of the cabmen agreed to take them.

Schweik went back to the Chaplain who had now fallen asleep. Somebody had removed his bowler hat (for he usually put on civilian clothing when he went for a walk) and taken it away.

Schweik woke him up and with the help of the cabman got him inside the cab. There the Chaplain collapsed in a complete torpor and took Schweik for Colonel Just of the 75th Infantry Regiment. He kept muttering : "Don’t be too hard on me, sir. I know I’m a bit of a cad." At one moment, it seemed as if the jolting of the cab against the curb was bringing him to his senses. He sat up straight and began to sing snatches from some unrecognizable song. But then he lapsed once again into a complete torpor and turning to Schweik with a wink he inquired :

"How are you to-day, dear lady?"

Then, after a brief pause :

"Where are you going for your summer holidays?"

Evidently he saw everything double, for he then remarked :

"So you’ve got a grown-up son," and he pointed to Schweik.

"Sit down," shouted Schweik, when the Chaplain started trying to climb on to the seat, "or I’ll teach you how to behave, see if I don’t."

The Chaplain thereupon became quiet and his little piglike eyes stared out of the cab in a state of complete bewilderment as to what was happening to him. Then, with a melancholy expression, he propped his head up in his hands and began to sing :

"I seem to be the only one Whom nobody loves at all."

But he immediately broke off and remarked in German : "Excuse me, sir, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I can sing

whatever I like." Whereupon he attempted to whistle some tune or other, but the noise which issued from his lips was so loud that the cab came to a standstill. Schweik told the cabman to drive on and the Chaplain then tried to light his cigarette holder.

"It won’t burn," he said despondently, when he had used up all his matches. "You keep on blowing at it."

But again he at once lost the thread of continuity and started laughing.

"This is no end of a lark. We’re in a tram, aren’t we?"

He began to search his pockets.

"I’ve lost my ticket," he shouted. "Stop the tram. I must find my ticket."

And with a gesture of resignation :

"All right. Let them drive on."

Then he began to babble : "In the vast majority of cases . . . Yes, all right ... In all cases . . . You’re wrong . . . Second floor . . . That’s only an excuse . . . That’s your concern, not mine, dear lady . . . Bill, please . . . I’ve had a black coffee."

In a semi-dream he began to squabble with an imaginary adversary, who was disputing his rights to a seat by the window in a restaurant. Then he began to take the cab for a train and leaning out, he yelled in Czech and German: "Nymburk, all change." Schweik thereupon pulled him back and the Chaplain forgot about the train and began to imitate various farmyard noises. He kept up the cock crow longest and his clarion call was trumpeted forth in fine style from the cab. For a while he became altogether very active and restless, trying to get out of the cab and hurling terms of abuse at the people past whom they drove. After that he threw his handkerchief out of the cab and shouted to the cabman to stop, because he had lost his luggage. Next he started telling a story : "At Budejovice there was a drummer. He got married. A year later he died." He burst out laughing. "Isn’t that screamingly funny?"

All this time Schweik treated the Chaplain with relentless severity. Each time that he made various frolicsome attempts to get out of the cab, to smash the seat and so on, Schweik gave him one or two hard punches in the ribs, which treatment he accepted with remarkable lethargy. Only once did he put up any sort of

resistance by trying to jump out of the cab. He said that he wouldn’t go a step further, because he knew that they were on their way to Podmokly and not to Budejovice, as they ought to be. Within a minute Schweik had settled his attempt at mutiny and forced him to resume his previous posture on the seat, at the same time taking care to stop him from falling asleep. His mildest remark in this connection was : "Keep awake, or you’ll be a dead ’un."

All at once the Chaplain was overcome by a fit of melancholy and he began to cry. Tearfully he asked Schweik whether he had a mother.

"I’m all alone in the world, my friends," he shouted from the cab, "take pity on me !"

"Stop that row," said Schweik. "Shut up, or everybody’ll say you’re boozed."

"I’ve not drunk a thing, old boy," replied the Chaplain. "I’m as sober as a judge."

But suddenly he stood up and saluted :

"Beg to report, sir, I’m drunk," he said in German. And then he repeated ten times in succession, with a heartfelt accent of despair : "I’m a dirty dog." And turning to Schweik he persistently begged and entreated :

"Trrow me out of the cab. What are taking me with you for?"

He sat down again and muttered : "Rings are forming around the moon. I say, Captain, do you believe in the immortality of the soul? Can a horse get into heaven?"

He started laughing heartily, but after a while he began to mope and gazed apathetically at Schweik, remarking: "I say, excuse me, but I’ve seen you before somewhere. Weren’t you in Vienna? I remember you from the seminary."

For a while he amused himself by reciting Latin verses :

"Aurea prima satas œtas, quœ vindice nullo."

"This won’t do," he then said, "throw me out. Why won’t you throw me out? I shan’t hurt myself.

"I want to fall on my nose," he declared in a resolute tone. Then, beseechingly, he continued :

"I say, old chap, give me a smack in the eye."

"Do you want one or several?" inquired Schweik.


"Well, there you are then."

The Chaplain counted out aloud the smacks as he received them, beaming with delight.

"That does you good," he said, "it helps the digestion. Give me another on the mouth.

"Thanks awfully," he exclaimed, when Schweik had promptly complied with his request. "Now I’m quite satisfied. I say, tear my waistcoat, will you?"

He manifested the most diverse desires. He wanted Schweik to dislocate his foot, to throttle him for a while, to cut his nails, to pull out his front teeth. He exhibited a yearning for martyrdom, demanding that his head should be cut off, put in a bag and thrown into the river.

"Stars round my head would suit me nicely," he said with enthusiasm. "I should need ten of them."

Then he began to talk about horse racing and rapidly passed on to the topic of the ballet, but that did not detain him for long, either.

"Can you dance the czardas?" he asked Schweik. "Can you do the bunny-hug? It’s like this . . ."

He wanted to jump on top of Schweik, who accordingly began to use his fists on him and then laid him down on the seat.

"I want something," shouted the Chaplain, "but I don’t know what. Do you know what I want?" And he drooped his head in complete resignation.

"What’s it matter to me what I want?" he said solemnly, "and it doesn’t matter to you, either. I don’t know you. How dare you stare at me like that? Can you fence?"

For a moment he became more aggressive and tried to push Schweik off the seat. Afterward, when Schweik had quieted him down by a frank display of his physical superiority, the Chaplain asked :

"Is to-day Monday or Friday?"

He was also anxious to know whether it was December or June and he exhibited a great aptitude for asking the most diverse questions, such as : "Are you married? Do yuu like Gorgonzola

cheese? Have you got any bugs at home? Are you quite well? Has your dog had the mange?"

He became communicative. He said that he had not yet paid for his riding boots, whip and saddle, that some years ago he had suffered from a certain disease which had been cured with permanganate.

"There was no time to think of anything else," he said with a belch. "You may think it’s a nuisance, but, hm, hm, what am I to do? Hm, hm. Tell me that. So you must excuse me.

"Thermos flasks," he continued, forgetting what he had just been talking about, "are receptacles which will keep beverages and food stuffs at their original temperature. Which game do you think is fairer, bridge or poker?

"Oh yes, I’ve seen you somewhere before," he shouted, trying to embrace Schweik. "We used to go to school together.

"You’re a good chap," he said tenderly, stroking his foot. "You’ve quite grown up since I saw you last. The pleasure of seeing you makes up for all my troubles."

He waxed poetic and began to talk about the return to the sunshine of happy faces and warm hearts.

Then he knelt down and began to pray, laughing the whole time.

When finally they reached their destination, it was very difficult to get him out of the cab.

"We aren’t there yet," he shouted. "Help, help ! I’m being kidnapped. I want to drive on."

He had to be wrenched out of the cab like a boiled snail from its shell. At one moment it seemed as if he were going to be pulled apart, because his legs got mixed up with the seat. At last, however, he was dragged through the entrance hall and up the stairs into his rooms, where he was thrown like a sack on to the sofa. He declared that he would not pay for the cab because he had not ordered it, and it took more than a quarter of an hour to explain to him that it was a cab. Even then he continued to argue the point.

"You’re trying to do me down," he declared, winking at Schweik and the cabman. "We walked all the way here."

But suddenly in an outburst of generosity, he threw his purse

to the cabman. "Here, take the lot, ich kann besahłen.3 A kreutzer more or less doesn’t matter to me."

To be strictly accurate, he ought to have said that thirty-six kreutzers more or less didn’t matter to him, for that was all the purse contained. Fortunately, the cabman submitted it to a close inspection, referring the while to smacks in the eye.

"All right, then, you give me one," replied the Chaplain. "Do you think I couldn’t stand it? I could stand five from you."

The cabman discovered a five-crown piece in the Chaplain’s waistcoat pocket. He departed, cursing his fate and the Chaplain who had wasted his time and reduced his takings.

The Chaplain got to sleep very slowly, because he kept making fresh schemes. He was anxious to do all kinds of things, to play the piano, to have a dancing lesson, to fry some fish and so on. But at last he fell asleep.


When Schweik entered the Chaplain’s room in the morning, he found him reclining on the sofa in a very dejected mood.

"I can’t remember," he said, "how I got out of bed and landed on the sofa."

"You never went to bed, sir. As soon as we got here, we put you on the sofa. That was as much as we could manage."

"And what sort of things did I do? Did I do anything at all? Was I drunk?"

"Not half you wasn’t," replied Schweik, "canned to the wide, sir. In fact, you had a little dose of the D. T.’s. It strikes me, sir, that a change of clothes and a wash wouldn’t do you any harm."

"I feel as if someone had given me a good hiding," complained the Chaplain, "and then I’ve got an awful thirst on me. Did I kick up a row yesterday?"

"Oh, nothing to speak of, sir. And as for your thirst, why, that’s the result of the thirst you had yesterday. It’s not so easy to get rid of. I used to know a cabinetmaker who got drunk for the first time in 1910 on New Year’s Eve and the morning of

3"I can pay."

January ist he had such a thirst on him and felt so seedy that he bought a herring and then started drinking again. He did that every day for four years and nothing can be done for him because he always buys his herrings on a Saturday to last him the whole week. It’s one of those vicious circles that our old sergeant-major in the 91st regiment used to talk about."

The Chaplain was thoroughly out of sorts and had a bad fit of the blues. Anyone listening to him at that moment would have supposed that he regularly attended those teetotal lectures, the gist of which was : "Let us proclaim a life-and-death struggle against alcohol which slaughters the best men," and that he was a reader of that edifying work : A Hundred Sparks From the Ethical Anvil. It is true that he slightly modified the views expressed there. "If," he said, "a chap drank high-class beverages, such as arak, maraschino or cognac, it’d be all right. But what I drank yesterday was gin. It’s a marvel to me how I can swallow so much of the stuff. The taste of it’s disgusting. It’s got no colour and it burns your throat. And if it was at least the real thing, distilled from the juniper like I’ve drunk in Moravia. But the gin I had yesterday was made of some sort of wood alcohol mixed with oily bilge. Just listen to the way I croak.

"Brandy’s poison," he decided. "It must be the real original stuff and not produced at a low temperature in a factory by a pack of Jews. It’s the same with rum. Good rum’s a rarity. Now, if I only had some genuine cherry brandy here," he sighed, "it’d put my stomach right in no time. The sort of stuff that Captain Schnabel’s got."

He began to search in his pockets and inspected his purse.

"Holy Moses ! I’ve got 36 kreutzers. What about selling the sofa?" he reflected. "What do you think? Will anyone buy a sofa? I’ll tell the landlord that I’ve lent it or that someone’s pinched it from me. No, I’ll leave the sofa. I’ll send you to Captain Schnabel to see if you can get him to lend me 100 crowns. He won some money at cards the day before yesterday. If he won’t fork out, try Lieutenant Mahler in the barracks at Vrso-vice. If that’s no go, try Captain Fischer at Hradcany. Tell him I’ve got to pay for the horse’s fodder and that I’ve blued the money on booze. And if he don’t come up to scratch, why we’ll

have to pawn the piano, and be blowed to them. I’ll write a note that’ll do just as well for one as the other. Don’t let them put you off. Say that I’m absolutely stony broke. You can pitch any yarn you please, but don’t come back empty-handed or I’ll send you to the front. And ask Captain Schnabel where he gets that cherry brandy, and then buy two bottles of it."

Schweik carried out his task in brilliant style. His simplicity and his honest countenance aroused complete confidence in what he said. He deemed it inexpedient to tell Captain Schnabel, Captain Fischer and Lieutenant Mahler that the Chaplain owed money for the horse’s fodder, but he thought it best to support his application by stating that the Chaplain was at his wit’s end about a paternity order. And he got the money from all of them.

When he produced the 300 crowns on his victorious return from the expedition, the Chaplain, who in the meanwhile had washed and changed, was very surprised.

"I got the whole lot at one go," said Schweik, "so as we shouldn’t have to worry our heads about money again to-morrow or the next day. It was a fairly easy job, although I had to beg and pray of Captain Schnabel before I could get anything out of him. Oh, he’s a brute. But when I told him about our paternity case -"

"Paternity case?" repeated the Chaplain, horrified.

"Yes, paternity case, sir. You know, paying girls so much a week. You told me to pitch any yarn I pleased, and that’s all I could think of. Down our way there was a cobbler who had to pay money like that to five different girls. It fairly drove him crazy and he had to go and borrow from people, but everyone took his word for it that he was in the deuce of a fix. They asked me what sort of a girl it was and I told them she was a very smart little bit, not fifteen yet. Then they wanted to have her address."

"You’ve made a nice mess of it, I must say," sighed the Chaplain and began to pace the room.

"This is a pretty kettle of fish," he said, clutching at his head. "Oh, what a headache I’ve got."

"I gave them the address of a deaf old lady down our street," explained Schweik. "I wanted to do the thing properly, because orders are orders. I wasn’t going to let them put me off and I had

to think of something. And now there’s some men waiting in the passage for that piano. I brought them along with me, so as they can take it to the pawnshop for us. It’ll be a good thing when that piano’s gone. We’ll have more room and we’ll have more money, too. That’ll keep our minds easy for a few days. And if the landlord asks what we’ve done with the piano, I’ll tell him some of the wires are broke and we’ve sent it to the factory to be repaired. I’ve already told that to the house porter’s wife so as she won’t think it funny when they take the piano away in a van. And I’ve found a customer for the sofa. He’s a second-hand furniture dealer—a friend of mine, and he’s coming here in the afternoon. You can get a good price for leather sofas nowadays."

"Is there anything else you’ve done?" inquired the Chaplain, still holding his head and showing signs of despair.

"Beg to report, sir, I’ve brought five bottles of that cherry brandy like Captain Schnabel has, instead of the two you said. You see, now we’ll have some in stock and we shan’t be hard up for a drink. Shall I see about that piano before the pawnshop closes?"

The Chaplain replied with a gesture signifying his hopeless plight. And in a trice the piano was being stowed away in the van.

When Schweik got back from the pawnshop he found the Chaplain sitting with an open bottle of cherry brandy in front of him, and fuming because he had been given an underdone cutlet for lunch. He was again tipsy. He declared to Schweik that on the next day he would turn over a new leaf. Drinking alcoholic beverages was, he said, rank materialism and man was made to live the life of the spirit. He talked in a philosophical strain for about half an hour. When he had opened the third bottle, the second-hand furniture dealer arrived, and the Chaplain sold him the sofa for a mere song. He asked him to stop and have a chat and he was very disappointed when the dealer excused himself, as he had to go and buy a night commode.

"I’m sorry I haven’t got one," said the Chaplain regretfully, "but a man can’t think of everything."

After the second-hand furniture dealer had gone, the Chaplain started an affable little talk with Schweik, in the course of

which he drank another bottle. A part of the conversation dealt with the Chaplain’s personal attitude toward women and cards. They sat there for a long time. And when evening came, it overtook Schweik and the Chaplain in friendly discourse.

In the night, however, there was a change in the situation. The Chaplain reverted to the state in which he had been on the previous day. He mixed Schweik up with somebody else and said to him:

"Here, don’t go away. Do you remember that red-headed cadet in the transport section?"

This idyllic interlude continued until Schweik said to the Chaplain:

"I’ve had enough of this. Now you’re going to toddle along to bed and have a good snooze, see?"

"I’ll toddle along, my dear boy, of course I will," babbled the Chaplain. "Do you remember we were in the Fifth together and I used to do your Greek exercises for you? You’ve got a villa at Zbraslav. And you can go for the steamer trips on the Vltava. Do you know what the Vltava is?"

Schweik made him take his boots off and undress. The Chaplain obeyed, but addressed a protest to unknown persons :

"You see, gentlemen," he said to the cupboard, "how my relatives treat me.

"I refuse to acknowledge my relatives," he suddenly decided, getting into bed. "Even if heaven and earth conspire against me, I refuse to acknowledge them."

And the room resounded with the Chaplain’s snoring.


It was about this time that Schweik paid a visit to Mrs. Muller, his old charwoman. The door was opened to him by Mrs. Muller’s cousin, who amid tears informed him that Mrs. Muller had been arrested on the same day on which she had taken Schweik in a Bath chair to the army medical board. They had tried the old lady before a court-martial, and as they had no evidence against her, they had taken her to the internment camp at Steinhof. There was a postcard from her. Schweik took this household relic and read :


We are Very comfortable hear and are all well. The Woman on the bed next to mine has Spotted . . . and their are also some with small . . . Otherwise, all is well.

We have plenty to eat and collect Potato . . . for Soup. I have heard that Mr. Schweik is . . . so find out somehow wear he is berried so that after the War we can put some Flowers on his grave. I forgot to tell you that in the Attic in a dark corner there is a box with a little Dog, a terrier puppy, in it. But he has had nothing to eat for several Weeks ever since they came to fetch me to ... So I think it must be to late and the littel Dog is also . . .

Across the letter had been stamped a pink inscription :

"Zensuriert k. k. Konsentrationslager, Steinhof."4 "And the little dog was dead," sobbed Mrs. Muller’s cousin. "And you’d never recognize the place where you used to live. I’ve got some dressmakers lodging there. And they’ve turned the place into a regular drawing room. Fashion pictures on all the walls and flowers in the windows."

Mrs. Mùller’s cousin was thoroughly upset.

Amid continued sobbing and lamentation she finally expressed the fear that Schweik had run away from the army and wanted to bring about her downfall also and plunge her into misery. She wound up by talking to him as if he were an infamous adventurer.

"That’s one of the best jokes I’ve heard," said Schweik. "I’m fairly tickled to death by it. Well, I don’t mind telling you, Mrs. Kejr, you guessed it right, first go. I have done a bunk. But first of all I had to do in fifteen sergeants and sergeant-majors. Only don’t tell anyone . . ."

And as Schweik departed from the home which had given him so chilly a welcome, he said :

"Mrs. Kejr, there’s some collars and shirt fronts of mine at the laundry. You might go and fetch them for me, so that when I come back from the army, I’ll have some civilian togs to put on And see that the moths don’t get at my things in the wardrobe. Well, give me best respects to the young ladies who are sleeping in my bed."

4"Censored, Imperial & Royal Internment Camp, Steinhof."

Then Schweik went to see what was going on at The Flagon. When Mrs. Palivec saw him, she said that she wouldn’t serve him with any drink, because he’d probably taken French leave.

"My husband," she said, beginning to harp upon a now ancient topic, "he was as careful as could be and there he is, poor fellow, in prison, though as innocent as a babe unborn. And yet there’s people going about scot free who’ve run away from the army. They were looking for you here again last week.

"We was more careful than you," she concluded her discourse, "and now look at the bad luck we’ve had. It ain’t everyone who’s as lucky as what you are."

An elderly man, a locksmith from Smichow, had overheard these remarks and he now came up to Schweik, saying :

"Do you mind waiting for me outside? I’d like to have a word with you."

In the street it turned out that from what Mrs. Palivec had said he took Schweik for a deserter. He told him he had a son who had also run away from the army and was hiding with his grandmother. Although Schweik assured him that he was not a deserter, he pressed a ten-crown piece into his hand.

"Just to keep you going for a bit," he explained, taking him into a wineshop round the corner. "I know how things are with you. Don’t you worry. I won’t give you away."

It was late at night when Schweik got back, but the Chaplain was not yet at home. He did not turn up till the morning, when he woke Schweik up and said :

"To-morrow we’re going to celebrate mass for the troops. Make some black coffee and put some rum into it. Or better still, brew some grog."