The Good Soldier Svejk Chapter 2.

Schweik’s Anabasis.

Xenophon, the warrior of antiquity, tramped all over Asia Minor and heaven knows where else, without any maps. The ancient Goths likewise achieved their expeditions without any topographical knowledge. An anabasis involves marching straight ahead, penetrating unknown regions, being surrounded by enemies who are on the look-out for a chance of wringing your neck. Anyone who has his head screwed on properly, like Xenophon or all the tribes of marauders who poured into Europe from the Lord knows where as far as the Caspian Sea or the Sea of Azov, can do miracles on the march.

When Csesar’s legions were somewhere up in the remote north, which incidentally they had managed to reach without maps, they decided they would get back to Rome by a different road, so as to see a little more of the world. And they got there, too. Hence, probably, the saying that all roads lead to Rome.

In the same way all roads lead to Budejovice, a circumstance of which the good soldier Schweik was fully persuaded, when instead of the region of Budejovice, he beheld a village in the vicinity of Milévsko. But Schweik kept trudging on in a westerly direction and on the road between Kvetov and Vraz he met an old woman who was returning from church and who hailed him with the Christian salutation :

"Good-day, soldier, which way are you going?"

"I’m off to Budejovice to my regiment," replied Schweik. "I’m off to the war, Ma."

"But you’re on the wrong road, soldier," said the old woman with alarm. "You’ll never get there that way. If you keep straight on, you’ll come to Klatovy."

"Well, I expect I can get to Budejovice from Klatovy," said Schweik with an air of resignation. "It’s a tidy step, of course, especially when I’m in such a hurry to join my regiment, because it’d be rough luck on a man like me who wants to do his duty if I was to get into trouble for not turning up in good time."

The old woman looked at Schweik pityingly and said :

"You wait in that thicket and I’ll bring you some potato soup to warm you. You can see our cottage from here, just behind the thicket a little bit to the left. You can’t go yonder past our village, the police are as thick as flies down that way. You go afterward as far as Malcin, but when you leave there, keep away from Cizovâ. The place swarms with police and they’re on the watch for deserters. You go straight through the woods to Sedlec near Horazdovice. The policeman there’s a decent fellow, he lets ’em pass through the village. Have you got any papers on you?"

"No, Ma."

"Well, don’t go there, then. You’d better go to Radomyśl, but see you get there in the evening, because all the policemen are at the village inn by then. You’ll come to a cottage lower down the road, painted blue, and you can ask there for Melicharek. That’s

my brother. Tell him I sent you and he’ll show you how to get to Budejovice from there."

Schweik waited more than half an hour in the thicket for the old woman, and when he had warmed himself, with the potato soup which the poor old woman brought him in a basin tied up in cloth to keep it from getting cold, from a bundle she took a hunk of bread and a piece of bacon which she slipped into Schweik’s pocket, made the sign of the cross over him and said that she had two grandsons at the front. She then repeated very carefully the names of the villages he was to pass through and those he was to avoid. Finally she took a crown-piece from her skirt pocket and gave it to him to buy himself some brandy with, because it was a long way to Radomyśl.

Schweik followed the route recommended by the old woman. When he got to Malcin he was joined by an itinerant concertina player whom he met at the village inn, where he was refreshing himself with brandy because it was a long way to Radomyśl. The concertina player thought Schweik was a deserter and offered to go with him to Horazdovice, where he had a married daughter, whose husband was also a deserter. The concertina player had evidently had a drop too much.

"She’s got her husband hidden away in a stable for the last two months, and she’ll hide you there, too, till the war’s over," he urged Schweik, "and with two of you there, it’ll make things more cheerful for both."

When Schweik politely declined this offer, the concertina player flew in a temper and threatened to denounce Schweik to the police at Cizovâ. He then made off across the fields.

When Schweik reached Radomyśl toward evening, he made his way to Melicharek, and gave him the old woman’s message. But Melicharek was not at all pleased. He kept asking Schweik for his papers.

"It’s all very well," he grumbled, "for a chap like you to run away from the army. You shirk your duty and then you go trapesing about the country, picking up whatever you can lay your hands on. If there was nothing against you, you’d show your papers without beating about the bush and saying you haven’t got -"

"That’s all right, Dad; good-bye."

"Good-bye to you and let’s hope the next man you meet’ll be a bit greener than me."

When Schweik went out into the darkness, the old man still went on muttering to himself.

"He says he’s going to Budejovice to join his regiment. From Tâbor. And the vagabond goes first to Horazdovice and then to Pisek. Why, drat me if he ain’t going round the blessed world !"

Schweik walked on nearly all night, till somewhere near Putim he came across a haystack in a field. He was pulling the straw away when he heard a voice at his elbow :

"What regiment are you from? Where are you going?"

"The 91st. I’m off to Budejovice."

"What for?"

"My officer’s there."

Close at hand could be heard laughter, proceeding not from one but three. When the mirth subsided, Schweik asked from what regiment they were. He discovered that two were from the 35th and one was from the artillery, also at Budejovice. The men of the 35th had escaped a month previously from a draft, and the artillery man had been on his travels ever since his mobilization. Putim was his home and the haystack belonged to him. At night he always slept there. The day before he had found the other two in the woods, and had taken them with him to his haystack.

They all hoped that the war would be over in a month or two. They imagined that the Russians had practically reached Budapest and Moravia. That was the general belief at Putim. In the morning before daybreak, the dragoon’s mother would bring them breakfast. The men of the 35th would then proceed to Strakonice, because one of them had an aunt there and she knew someone in the hills who owned a sawmill where they could easily hide.

"And you can come with us if you like," they suggested to Schweik. "Tell your officer to go to he’ll."

"That’s not so easy," replied Schweik, and burrowed out a place for himself well inside the haystack.

When he woke up in the morning, they had all gone, and some-

one, apparently the dragoon, had left a hunk of bread for him to take away.

Schweik trudged on through the woods, and near Steken he encountered an old tramp, who invited him to have a swig of brandy, as if he had known him for years.

"Don’t go about in those togs," he warned Schweik. "That there uniform’ll land you, as like as not, in a devil of a mess. It fairly stinks of police round here, and you can’t do any cadging while you’ve got that on. The police don’t worry us like what they used to. It’s only you chaps they’re after now."

"It’s only you chaps they’re after now," he repeated, with such insistence that Schweik thought he had better say nothing about the 91st regiment. Let him go on thinking that Schweik was what he took him for. Why destroy the good old fellow’s illusions?

"And where are you off to?" asked the tramp presently, when they had both lit their pipes and were walking slowly through the village.

"To Budejovice."

"Holy Moses !" said the tramp in alarm. "If you go there, they’ll collar you before you know where you are. Why, you won’t have the ghost of a chance. What you want is a suit of civvy clothes, with plenty of stains on ’em. Nice and dirty. Then you can pass yourself off as a cripple. But don’t you be afraid. Now we’ll hoof it to Strakonice, Volyne, Dub, and I bet you what you like we’ll manage to lay our hands on a suit of civvies. Down Strakonice way there’s plenty of mugs and pious people who don’t lock their doors at night, and in the daytime they don’t even shut ’em. In the winter they go to have a bit of a chat with one of their neighbours, and there’s a suit of civvies for you on the spot. What do you want? You’ve got some boots. All you want is a few more togs. Is your army coat an old one?"


"Then you can stick to it. You can wear that all right among the yokels. You only want a pair of breeches and a coat. When we’ve got hold of that civvy suit we’ll sell the breeches and coat you’re wearing now. Herman the Jew, at Vodnany, he buys up government stuff and sells it again in the villages."

"To-day we’ll make a start from Strakonice," he continued, elaborating his plan. "Four hours hoofing it from here’ll bring us to a place where an old shepherd, a pal of mine, hangs out. We can stay there overnight and in the morning we’ll get to Strakonice and find those togs for you somewhere in the neighbourhood."

The shepherd turned out to be an affable old fellow who could remember the tales his grandfather used to tell about the French wars.

"Yes, me lads," he explained, when they were sitting round a stove, on which potatoes were cooking in their jackets, "in those days my granddad, he done a bunk the same as this soldier here. But they copped him at Vodnany and walloped his backside for him till the skin peeled off in strips. And he got off lightly, he did. Why, there was a chap down Protivin way, he was the granddad of old Jaresh, the pond keeper, he got a dose of powder and shot at Pisek for slinging his hook. And before they put the bullets through him on the ramparts at Pisek, he had to run the gauntlet and got 600 whacks with sticks. When they’d finished with him, he was glad of the bullets to put him out of his misery. And when did you do a bunk?" he asked Schweik.

"When they were marching us off to barracks, just after I’d been called up," replied Schweik, who realized that he must not shake the old shepherd’s faith in him.

"Did you climb over the wall?" inquired the shepherd eagerly, no doubt recalling that his grandfather had told him how he too had climbed over the wall of the barracks.

"Couldn’t manage it any other way."

"And did the sentries fire on you?"

"Not half they didn’t."

"And where are you off to now?"

"He’s fair daft, that’s what he is," the tramp replied on Schweik’s behalf. "He wants to go to Budejovice of all places. That’s the way a young chap without experience does for himself. I shall have to teach him a thing or two. First of all we’re going to scrounge some civvy clothes, and then it’ll be all right. We’ll keep ourselves going till the spring, and then we’ll do a bit of farm work somewhere. People are going to have a rough

time of it this year, and a chap told me that they’re going to nab all the tramps and make them work in the fields. So it strikes me we may as well go of our own free will. There won’t be many men left. They’ll be done in wholesale."

"You think it’ll all be over this year?" asked the shepherd. "Ah, you’re right there, lad. The old wars, they was long wars, if you like. Napoleon’s wars, and afterward the Swedish wars, as I’ve heard say, and the Seven Years’ War."

The water containing the potatoes now began to boil and after a short silence the old shepherd said in prophetic tones :

"But he won’t win this war, our Emperor won’t, me lads. He hasn’t got the people on his side. You ought to hear ’em when they get together at Skocice. That’d show you. After this war, they say, there ain’t going to be any more emperors and they’ll help themselves to the big royal estates. The police have collared a few of ’em for that sort of talk. Ah, the police are having it all their own way now."

The shepherd then strained the potatoes and poured sour sheep’s milk into the dish. After a hasty meal, they soon went to sleep in the warm shanty.

In the night Schweik dressed quietly and crept out. The moon was rising in the east and in its encouraging light Schweik stepped out eastwards, saying to himself :

"I’m bound to get to Budejovice sooner or later."

When he emerged from the woods he saw a town on the right, and he therefore turned aside in a more northerly direction. After that he went due south, where another town became visible (this was Vodnany). He adroitly kept clear of it by cutting across the fields, and the morning sun welcomed him on the snowy slopes above Protivin.

"Straight ahead, straight ahead," said the good soldier Schweik to himself. "Duty calls. I must get to Budejovice."

But by an unfortunate chance, after leaving Protivin, instead of bearing to the south for Budejovice, Schweik turned his steps northward in the direction of Pisek. Toward noon he saw a village close by and as he walked down a small hill, he thought to himself:

"This’ll never do. I’d better ask the way to Budejovice."

And on entering the village he was extremely surprised to see a board on the first cottage bearing the inscription: "Putim."

"Crikey," sighed Schweik. "Why, I’m back again in Putim. That’s where I slept in the haystack."

He was, however, not at all surprised wnen from a white cottage behind a pond a policeman stepped forth, like a spider lurking in its web. He went straight up to Schweik and said :

"Where are you off to?"

"To Budejovice, to join my regiment."

The policeman gave a sarcastic smile.

"But you’re coming away from Budejovice. You’ve left Budejovice behind you," and he drew Schweik into the police station.

"Well, we’re pleased to see you," began the police sergeant of Putim, who had the reputation of being very tactful, but, at the same time, very shrewd. He never bullied persons who were arrested or detained, but subjected them to the kind of cross-examination which made even the innocent admit their guilt.

"Sit down and make yourself at home," he continued. "I expect you’re tired after your long tramp. Now tell us where you’re going to."

Schweik repeated that he was going to Budejovice to join his regiment.

"Then you’ve missed your way," said the police sergeant with a smile, "because you’re coming from Budejovice, as I’ll show you presently. There’s a map of Bohemia hanging above your head. Now just you have a look at it. Here, to the south of us, is Protivin. To the south of Protivin is Hlubokâ, and to the south of that there’s Budejovice. So you see you’re not going to Budejovice but coming away from it."

The police sergeant gazed indulgently at Schweik, who replied in a calm and dignified tone :

"But I am going to Budejovice for all that."

It was more significant than Galileo’s famous remark : "But it does move nevertheless," because he must have said it in a fit of exasperation.

"Now, look here," said the police sergeant to Schweik, still in a very friendly tone, "I’ll prove to you that you’re wrong,

and in the end you’ll realize that every denial only makes it more difficult to own up."

"You’re right there," said Schweik. "Every denial only makes it more difficult to own up."

"There you are ; now you can see it for yourself. I want you to tell me quite frankly where you came from when you started off for this Budejovice of yours. I say ’of yours’ deliberately, for it seems evident that there must be another Budejovice situated somewhere to the north of Putim and not yet marked in any map."

"I started from Tabor."

"And what were you doing at Tabor?"

"I was waiting for the train to Budejovice."

"Why didn’t you take the train to Budejovice?"

"Because I hadn’t got a ticket."

"And why didn’t they give you a free railway warrant? You’re entitled to one, being a soldier."

"Because I hadn’t got any papers on me."

"Aha, there you are," said the police sergeant triumphantly to one of the constables. "He’s not such a fool as he pretends to be. He’s beginning to get himself in a nice muddle."

The police sergeant began again, as if he had not heard Schweik’s last reply about his papers :

"So you left Tabor. Where did you make for then?"


The expression on the police sergeant’s face became somewhat stern and his gaze fell on the map.

"Can you show us on the map which way you went to get to Budejovice?"

"I can’t remember all the places. But I remember that I’ve been in Putim once before."

The whole staff of the police station eyed each other significantly, and the police sergeant continued :

"So you were at the railway station in Tâbor. Have you anything in your pockets? Let’s see what you have."

When they had searched Schweik thoroughly and found nothing except a pipe and some matches, the police sergeant asked him:

"Tell me why it is you’ve got nothing whatever in your pockets."

"Because I don’t need anything."

"Heavens alive !" sighed the police sergeant. "You’re a devil of a nuisance. You said you’d been in Putim once. What did you do here the first time?"

"I went round Putim on my way to Budejovice."

"You see what a muddle-headed fellow you are. You yourself say that you were going to Budejovice, and now we just have made it perfectly clear to you that you’re coming away from Budejovice."

"I suppose I must have walked round in a circle, like."

The police sergeant again exchanged a meaning glance with the whole of his staff.

"In a circle, eh? It strikes me you’ve been loitering about the neighbourhood. Did you stay long in the railway station at Tâbor?"

"Till the last train left for Budejovice."

"And what did you do there?"

"Had a bit of a chat with some soldiers."

Another significant exchange of glances between the police sergeant and his staff.

"And what did you talk to them about? What sort of questions did you ask them?"

"I asked them what regiment they were from and where they were going to."

"I see. And didn’t you ask them how many men there are in the regiment and how it is divided up?"

"No, I didn’t ask them that, because I know it all inside out. Learned it years ago."

"So you know a lot about our army arrangements?"

"I should think I do."

And then, glancing round at his subordinates, the police sergeant triumphantly played his trump card :

"Can you speak Russian?"


The police sergeant nodded to his right-hand man and when they were both in the adjoining room, he rubbed his hands as he

gloated over the thoroughness and certainty of his triumph, and declared :

"Did you hear that? He doesn’t speak Russian. The chap’s as artful as a cartload of monkeys. He’s admitted everything except the most important point. To-morrow we’ll hand him over to the district superintendent at Pisek. The secret of dealing with wrongdoers is to keep your wits about you and to treat em kindly. Did you see how I put him through it? A fair deluge of questions. You wouldn’t think he was that sort, would you? He looks like a village idiot, but those are just the people you’ve got to be most cautious with. Well, just put him under lock and key and I’ll go and draw up a report about it."

And later in the afternoon the police sergeant with an enraptured smile was drawing up a report every sentence of which contained the word "Spionageverdàchtig."1

As he wrote on, the situation became clearer and clearer, and when he had concluded in his queer bureaucratic German: "I therefore herewith beg to report that the enemy officer this day will be handed over to the district police superintendent at Pisek,’ he smiled at what he had accomplished and called out to his right-hand man :

"Have you given the enemy officer anything to eat?"

"In accordance with your instructions, sir, we only supply food to persons who are brought up and cross-examined before twelve o’clock."

"This is a very exceptional case," said the police sergeant impressively. "This is a higher officer, one of the staff. The Russians don’t use lance-corporals for spying jobs. You can send out to The Tom Cat to get him some lunch. Then let them make some tea with rum in it, and send the whole lot here. Don’t say who it’s for. In fact, don’t tell anyone who we’ve got here. That’s a military secret. And what’s he doing now?"

"He asked for a bit of baccy. He’s sitting in the guardroom and looks as pleased as if he was at home. ’It’s nice and warm here,’ he says, ’and your stove don’t smoke. I feel quite snug here. If your stove was to smoke, you should have the chimney swept.

1 Suspected of espionage.

But only in the afternoon, never when the sun’s right on top of the chimney,’ he says."

"Ah, that only shows his artfulness," said the police sergeant in a voice brimful of satisfaction. "He pretends not to mind. All the same, he knows he’s going to be shot. You can’t help respecting a man like that, even though he is an enemy. There he is, practically face to face with death, as you might say. I’m not so sure whether we’d have the nerve to do it. We might shillyshally and then back out of it. But there he sits and says : ’It’s nice and warm here and your stove don’t smoke.’ That’s what I call pluck. Yes, sir. A man’s got to have nerves of steel, he’s got to be full of guts, before he can do a thing like that. Guts and pluck. We could do with a little of it in Austria. Not that we haven’t

got any heroes. I was reading in the paper about - But here we

are, wasting our time talking. Just go down and order that meal and on your way send him in to me."

When Schweik was brought in, the police sergeant with an affable nod invited him to sit down, and then asked him whether he had any parents. Schweik said that he hadn’t.

It at once occurred to the police sergeant that it was better that there was nobody to weep over the fate of this hapless man. With this thought in his mind he gazed at Schweik’s good-humoured countenance and suddenly, in a burst of cordiality, he patted him on the shoulder, bent down toward him and asked in a paternal tone :

"Well, and how do you like being in Bohemia?"

"First-rate," replied Schweik. "I’ve never met such nice people anywhere."

The police sergeant nodded assent.

"Yes, the people here are very kind and pleasant. A little thieving or a bit of a row now and then, but that doesn’t amount to much. I’ve been here for the last fifteen years, and when I come to reckon things out, there’s only three quarters of a murder every year."

"Do you mean a murder that they didn’t make a proper job of?" asked Schweik.

"No, I don’t mean that. In the last fifteen years we’ve only

had eleven murders. Five of them were with robbery and the rest were just ordinary ones that hardly count."

The police sergeant paused for a moment, and then proceeded to apply his method of cross-examination.

"And what were you going to do at Budejovice?"

"Join the 91st regiment."

The police sergeant told Schweik to return to the guard room, and quick, before he forgot it, he added to the report he was drawing up for the superintendent of police at Pisek : "He knows the Czech language perfectly and wanted to enter the 91st infantry regiment at Budejovice."

The police sergeant gleefully rubbed his hands, delighted at the abundance of the material he had collected and at the detailed results achieved by his method of enquiry. He smiled with satisfaction and from a pigeonhole in his desk he took out a schedule of secret instructions issued by the chief of police in Prague. It was marked with the usual "Strictly Confidential" and read as follows :

All police authorities are urgently reminded that they must keep an extremely careful watch on all persons passing through the area of their jurisdiction. The operations of our troops in eastern Galicia have caused a number of Russian units, who have crossed the Carpathians, to occupy positions within the territories of our Empire, thus shifting the battle front further to the west of the Monarchy. This new situation has made it possible for Russian spies, owing to the instability of the battle front, to penetrate further into the territories of our Monarchy, especially in Moravia and Silesia, from which, according to confidential reports, large numbers of Russian spies have proceeded to Bohemia. It has been ascertained that among them there are many Czechs from Russia, trained in Russian military academies and with a perfect knowledge of the Czech language, who seem to be particularly dangerous persons, since they can, and undoubtedly do, spread treasonable propaganda among the Czech population. The police authorities are therefore instructed to detain all suspicious persons and in particular to keep a strict watch on localities in the neighbourhood of military garrisons, centres and stations through which troop trains pass. Persons thus detained are to be immediately subjected to a cross-examination and handed over to the appropriate higher authorities.

The police sergeant again smiled contentedly, and put the secret schedule back again into the pigeonhole labelled "Secret Instructions." There were many of them and they had been drawn up by the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence. The police headquarters at Prague were kept busy all day long duplicating and distributing them. They included :

Instructions for keeping in touch with the disposition of the local

population. Hints how, by means of conversation, to trace the effects of the news

from the front upon the disposition of the local population. Questionnaire on the attitude of the local population towards the war

loans and subscriptions. Questionnaire on the feeling among those called up and about to be

called up. Questionnaire on the feeling among members of the local council. Instructions for an immediate inquiry to ascertain what political

parties the local population belongs to and in what numerical

proportions the individual parties are represented in this respect. Instructions for keeping in touch with the activities of the leaders of

the local political parties. Questionnaire on the manner in which newspapers, periodicals and

pamphlets reach the respective police areas. Orders relating to an inquiry to discover the associates of persons

suspected of disloyalty and to ascertain how their disloyalty is

exhibited. Orders relating to methods for securing informers from among the

local population. Orders for paid informers from among the local population duly

registered for service.

Every day brought fresh orders, regulations, questionnaires and instructions. Swamped by this glut of contrivances which emanated from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, the police sergeant was harassed with large quantities of arrears, and he dealt with the questionnaires in a stereotyped manner by replying that everything was all right and the loyalty among the local population was up to the Ia standard. The Austrian Ministry of the Interior had devised the following standards to indicate de-

grees of loyalty and devotion to the Monarchy : Ia, Ib, Ic ; IIa, IIb, IIc; IIIa, IIIb, IIIc; IVa, IVb, IVc. The latter standard on the "a" grade denoted treason and gallows, "b" implies internment, while "c" meant observation and imprisonment.

The police sergeant often shook his head despairingly when he saw the accumulation of documents and circulars which relentlessly assailed him with every post. As soon as he saw the familiar envelopes stamped "Official, paid," his heart sank, and in the night, when he was brooding over the whole business, would come to the conclusion that he was not going to survive the war. He was at his wit’s end through being bombarded day after day by inquiries from police headquarters, demanding the

reason why he had not replied to questionnaire number

or what he had done with regard to instructions number

or what particular results had accrued from orders


and so on.

Yes, the police sergeant had passed many sleepless nights. He was continually awaiting inspections, investigations. He used to dream about ropes and about being led to the gallows. And in his dream, just before he was going to be hanged, the Minister of National Defence in person asked him :

"Sergeant, what have you done with the reply to circular


But now the outlook was far rosier. The police sergeant did not doubt that the district superintendent of police would tap him on the shoulder and say: "Congratulations, Sergeant." In his mind’s eye he saw other delightful prospects, such as distinctions, rapid promotion and a wide recognition of his efficiency in tracking down wrongdoers, which would pave the way to a brilliant career.

He called his right-hand man and asked him :

"Did that lunch arrive?"

"They brought him some smoked pork with cabbage and

dumplings. There wasn’t any soup left. He’s had some tea and wants some more."

"Then get it for him," was the sergeant’s liberal decision, "and when he’s had it, bring him to me."

"Well, did you enjoy it?" asked the sergeant, when half an hour later Schweik, who had eaten to his heart’s content, was brought to him.

"Oh, it wasn’t so bad, only there ought to have been a little more cabbage. Still, it can’t be helped—I know you wasn’t expecting me. The smoked pork was well done. I wouldn’t mind betting it was home-cured stuff. And the tea with rum did me a world of good."

The sergeant looked at Schweik and began :

"They drink a lot of tea in Russia, don’t they? And have they got rum, too?"

"You can get rum all over the world."

"Now don’t wriggle out of it," thought the sergeant to himself. "You ought to have been more careful about what you said before." And bending over toward Schweik, he asked in a confidential manner :

"I suppose there are pretty girls in Russia, eh?"

"There are pretty girls all over the world."

"Ah, my fine fellow," thought the sergeant, "now you’d like to get out of it, wouldn’t you?" And he rapped out like a machine gun :

"What did you want to do in the 91st regiment?"

"I wanted to go to the front."

The sergeant gazed with satisfaction at Schweik and remarked :

"That’s right. That’s the best way of getting to Russia," and he thought to himself, beaming with delight :

"That was a smart bit of brain work, that was."

He looked to see what effect his words had produced on Schweik, but all he could observe was unruffled composure.

"This chap doesn’t move an eyelid," he reflected with a feeling of alarm. "That’s his military training. If I was in his shoes and anyone was to say that to me, I’d feel pretty shaky about the knees."

"To-morrow morning we’re going to take you to Pisek," he announced with a casual air. "Have you ever been to Pisek?" "Yes, in 1910, at the imperial manœuvres." When he heard this answer the police sergeant’s smile became still more winsome and triumphant. He was now thoroughly convinced that by this system of cross-examination he had surpassed himself.

"Did you go right through the manœuvres?" "Not half I didn’t, seeing that I was a footslogger." And again, with the same tranquil air as before, Schweik gazed at the police sergeant, who wriggled with delight and could not refrain from rapidly entering this in his report. He called his right-hand man and told him to take Schweik away. Whereupon he completed his report thus :

His plan was as follows : Having wormed his way into the ranks of the 91st infantry regiment, he intended to volunteer for the front immediately and at the first opportunity he would then get into Russia, for he had observed that owing to the alertness of the authorities the return journey would otherwise be impossible. It can be readily understood that he would get on well in the 91st regiment, for on his own admission, which was extracted from him after a lengthy cross-examination, he went right through the imperial manœuvres in the neighbourhood of Pisek, as an infantryman, as far back as 1910. From that it is clear that he is extremely efficient in his own special branch. I may add that all the items of incriminating evidence were the result of my system of cross-examination.

The police sergeant then proceeded to the guard room. He lit his pipe and gave Schweik tobacco to fill his with ; the right-hand man put more coal on the fire, and amid the advancing winter twilight the police station was transformed into the cosiest spot on the globe for a friendly chat.

But no one had anything to say. The police sergeant was following up a train of thought, and at last he turned to his right-hand man and said :

"If you ask me, I don’t think they ought to hang spies. A man who sacrifices his life for his duty, for his country, as you might

say, is entitled to a more honourable end with powder and shot. What do you think?"

"Yes, that’s the ticket. Shoot ’em, don’t hang ’em," agreed the right-hand man. "Supposing we was told to go and find out how many machine guns the Russians have got in their machine-gun corps, we’d change our togs and go. And then if I got nabbed, would it be fair to hang me, as if I’d done someone in and robbed him?"

The right-hand man got so excited that he stood up and shouted :

"I say he’s got to be shot and buried with military honours."

"Yes, that’s all right," Schweik chimed in. "The only trouble is that if a chap’s smart enough, they can never prove anything against him."

"Oh, can’t they !" declared the police sergeant with emphasis. "They can, if they’re as smart as he is, and if they’ve got a method of their own. You’ll have a chance of seeing that for yourself.

"Oh, yes, you’ll see it for yourself," he repeated in a mild tone, and with an affable smile he added :

"Nobody’s ever managed to bamboozle us, have they?"

And he turned to his right-hand man.

The right-hand man nodded assent and remarked that people who did that sort of thing were playing a losing game and that it wasn’t any use for a man to pretend he didn’t care a damn, because the more he tried that dodge on, the more he gave himself away.

"Oh, you’ve got the hang of my method, that you have," declared the police sergeant proudly. "Yes, it’s all very well to keep a cool head, but it’s nothing more than a bubble, as you might say. And when it’s only a bit of sham, it’s a corpus delicti."

Whereupon, breaking off this disquisition on his theory, the police sergeant turned to his right-hand man and asked :

"Well, what have we got for supper to-night?"

"Ain’t you going out to The Tom Cat for a meal, sir?"

This question confronted the police sergeant with another difficult problem which called for immediate settlement. Suppose this man were to take advantage of his temporary absence

to escape? His right-hand man was reliable and cautious enough, although he had once let two tramps slip through his ringers.

"We’ll send the old woman out to fetch our supper, and she can take a jug with her for the beer," was how the police sergeant handled the difficult problem. "It’ll do the old girl good to stretch her legs a bit."

And the old girl who waited on them did, in fact, stretch her legs a bit. After supper there was a continual going and coming on the road between the police station and The Tom Cat Inn. The extremely numerous traces of the old woman’s very large boots on this line of communication bore witness to the fact that the police sergeant had consoled himself in full measure for his absence from The Tom Cat. And when at last the old woman arrived at the taproom with the message that the police sergeant sent his best respects and would they please send him a bottle of brandy, the landlord’s curiosity knew no bounds.

"Who’ve they got there?" replied the old woman. "Some suspicious man. Just before I left ’em, they was both holding their arms round his neck and the police sergeant, he was stroking his head and calling him his dear old pal and what-not."

Later on, well after midnight, the police sergeant’s right-hand man was reclining in full uniform on his truckle-bed, sound asleep and snoring loudly. The police sergeant himself, on the other hand, with the remainder of the brandy at the bottom of the bottle, was holding his arms round Schweik’s neck. Tears were flowing over his florid face, his beard was sticky with brandy and he mumbled unsteadily :

"You’ve got to admit the brandy in Russia ain’t as good as this stuff. Then I can toddle off to bed with an easy mind. You got to admit that like a man."

"No, that it ain’t."

The police sergeant rolled on top of Schweik.

"It’s a fair treat to hear you admit it. That’s how a cross-examination ought to be. If I’m guilty, what’s the good of denying it?"

He rose and staggered off with the empty bottle into his own room, muttering :

"If I’d made only a sin-single sl-slip, it might have s-spoiled everything."

He then took his report out of his desk and endeavoured to supplement it with the following material :

I must add that on the basis of paragraph 56 Russian brandy . . .

He made a blot, licked it up, and with a fatuous smile he flopped in full uniform on to his bed and slept like a log.

Towards morning the sergeant’s right-hand man, who was lying on the bed by the opposite wall, started such a salvo of snoring, accompanied by a nasal buzzing, that it woke Schweik up. He left his bed, shook the right-hand man and lay down again. The cocks then began to crow, and when the sun rose shortly afterward, the old woman, who had also overslept herself as a result of so much running to and fro on the previous night, arrived to light the fire. She found the door wide open and everyone plunged into profound slumber. The oil lamp in the guard room was still smoking. The old woman raised an alarm, dragging Schweik and the right-hand man from their beds. To the latter she said : "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, that you did, going to sleep with all your clothes on, as if you was so much cattle," and finally she ordered him in emphatic terms to go and wake up the sergeant, adding that they were a lot of lazy varmints to sleep the clock round like that.

"You’re in nice company and no mistake," she muttered to Schweik, when the right-hand man had gone to wake the sergeant up. "A fine pair of boozers. They’d drink their shirts off their backs. They owes me my wages for the last three years, and if I says anything to ’em about it, the sergeant he answers me back: You’d better keep quiet,’ he says, ’or I’ll have you run in. We know your son’s a poacher and sneaks wood from the private estates.’ And for four blessed years they’ve been worrying the life out of me." The old woman heaved a sigh and went on grumbling. "You be careful with that there sergeant. He’s an artful devil, he is, and a bigger rascal you never set eyes on. He bullies and locks up everybody he can."

It was a hard job to wake the police sergeant up. His right-hand man had all his work cut out to persuade him that it was

morning. At last he stared about him, rubbed his eyes and began to remember what had happened the previous day. Suddenly a horrible idea struck him and with an unsteady glance at his right-hand man, he expressed it thus :

"Has he slung his hook?"

"Not him. He’s a regular sport."

The right-hand man began to walk to and fro. He looked out of the window, came back, tore a piece from a newspaper on the table and crumpled it into a pellet between his fingers. It was evident that he wanted to say something.

The police sergeant looked at him uneasily, and presently, anxious to make quite sure of what he could only guess at, he said:

"Don’t be afraid to get it off your chest. I suppose I must have carried on pretty badly again last night, eh?"

The right-hand man gazed reproachfully at his superior officer.

"If you only knew, sir, the things you said to him yesterday. You did let yourself go and no mistake."

He bent down toward the police sergeant’s ear and whispered :

"You told him that the Czechs and the Russians was brothers, that the Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevitch would get to Bohemia by next week, that Austria wouldn’t hold out, and that when he came up for trial he was to deny everything and just get them muddled up with some cock-and-bull story so as to keep things going until the Cossacks came and set him free. And then you said the Emperor was a knock-kneed old buffer who was going to peg out before very long and that the Kaiser was a skunk and that you’d send him some money so as he could have an easier time in prison, and a lot more things like that."

The right-hand man moved away from the police sergeant and continued :

"I can remember all that because at first I wasn’t very tight. Afterward I got a bit squiffy myself, so the Lord alone knows what you said then."

The police sergeant looked at his right-hand man.

"And I can remember," he declared, "that you said we was no match for Russia, and then, right in front of the old woman, you yelled : ’Three cheers for Russia !’ "

The right-hand man began to pace to and fro nervously.

"You yelled it at the top of your voice," said the police sergeant. "Then you just flopped across the bed and began to snore."

The right-hand man came to a standstill by the window, and drumming on the pane, he remarked :

"You didn’t mince your words either, in front of the old woman, and I remember you saying to her : ’Don’t you forget that every emperor and king only thinks of their pockets and that’s why they have wars.’ And then you cleared off into the yard to spew."

’’You do come out with some choice language, I must say," demurred the police sergeant. "And where did you get the fat-headed idea from that Nikolay Nikolayevitch was going to be King of the Czechs?"

"I don’t remember that," murmured the right-hand man uneasily.

"I shouldn’t think you would, considering you was blind to the wide, and when you wanted to go out, you crawled on to the stove instead of going through the door."

There was a lengthy silence. At last the police sergeant said :

"I’ve always told you that booze is ruin. You can’t stand it and yet you will drink it. Supposing that chap had done a bunk? A fine mess we’d have been in then. Holy Moses, my head don’t half feel dizzy."

"I’ll tell you what," continued the police sergeant, "if he hasn’t done a bunk that only shows how dangerous and artful he is. The thing’s as plain as a pikestaff. Of course, when they come to cross-examine him, he’ll swear blind that the place was open all night, that we was boozed and that he could have cleared off if he’d been guilty. It’s a good thing nobody’ll believe a man with his record, and when we give our evidence under oath, we can say that it’s a pack of lies from beginning to end, and that’ll be another point against him. Not that one more or less makes any difference in his case. I only wish I hadn’t got such a damned headache."

There was a pause. Then the police sergeant said :

"Fetch the old woman here."

"Now just you listen to me," said the police sergeant to the old

woman when she was brought in. He gave her a very stern look right between the eyes, and continued :

"Go and get a crucifix that’ll stand up, and bring it here."

From his desk he took two candles containing traces of the sealing wax with which he sealed up official documents, and when the old woman came scurrying in with the crucifix, he placed it between the two candles on the edge of the table, lit the candles and said solemnly :

"Sit down."

The terrified old woman sank down on a sofa and stared with frightened eyes at the police sergeant, the candles and the crucifix. She was startled out of her wits, and beneath her apron her hands and knees could be seen trembling.

The police sergeant walked gravely twice round her, and then, coming to a standstill in front of her, he declared in a solemn voice :

"Yesterday night you witnessed some very important things that happened here. I don’t expect you’ve got enough intelligence to understand what it was all about. That soldier was a spy."

"My goodness gracious me !" exclaimed the old woman. "The Holy Virgin and -"

"Stop that row, will you? Now we had to say all sorts of things to egg him on and get him to say something, too. Did you hear the funny things we said?"

"Yes, sir, if you please, sir, I did," said the old woman in a shaky voice.

"Now the only reason we said all those funny things was to get him to own up. And we did, too. We made him tell us everything. We nabbed him fair and square."

The police sergeant interrupted his speech for a moment to adjust the wicks of the candles, and then he continued in solemn tones, and gazing sternly at the old woman:

"You was there and so we let you into our secret. But it’s an official secret. You mustn’t breathe a word about it to a living soul. Not even on your deathbed, or there’ll be no Christian burial for you."

"Holy Virgin !" moaned the old woman. "I wish I’d never set foot here. I’m that worried, I -"

"Hold your row, will you? Get up and stand in front of the crucifix. Now raise two fingers of your right hand. You’re going to take an oath. Say it after me."

The old woman staggered to the table and kept on moaning : "Holy Virgin, I wish I’d never set foot here."

And from the cross the tortured countenance of Christ gazed down upon her, the candles became smoky, and everything seemed to her uncannily supernatural. She felt quite stunned, her knees quaked, her hands trembled. She raised her fingers and the police sergeant recited for her benefit in a solemn and emphatic voice :

"I swear to God Almighty and to you, Sergeant, that right up to the day of my death I will never breathe a word to anyone about what I have heard and seen here, even if anyone asks me. So help me God !"

"Now kiss the crucifix," ordered the police sergeant, when the old woman, amid immense sobs, had repeated the oath and crossed herself piously.

"That’s right. Now take the crucifix back to where you borrowed it from and tell them I needed it for a cross-examination."

The old woman, now completely crushed, tiptoed out of the room with the crucifix, and through the window she could be seen continually looking back at the police station, as if she wanted to make sure that it was not a dream, but that she had really just been through a ghastly ordeal.

Meanwhile, the police sergeant was rewriting his report, which in the night he had supplemented with blots, and which, through having been licked, now looked as if it had been smeared with marmalade. He rearranged the whole thing and remembered there was one detail he hadn’t asked about. He therefore had Schweik sent for and enquired of him :

"Can you take photographs?"


"Why haven’t you got a camera with you?"

"Because I haven’t got one," was Schweik’s clear and straightforward answer.

"But if you had one, you’d take photographs, wouldn’t you?" asked the police sergeant.

"Pigs might fly if they had wings," replied Schweik, and he blandly eyed the questioning expression on the face of the police sergeant, whose head was now aching so badly again that the only other question he could think of was :

"Is it hard to photograph a railway station?"

"That’s easier than anything else," replied «Schweik, "because it don’t move and keeps in the same place, so you don’t have to tell it to look pleasant."

The police sergeant could accordingly conclude his report thus:

With further reference to report Number 2172, I beg to add—

And this is what he begged to add :

—in the course of my cross-examination he stated that he could take photographs, and those of railway stations for preference. Though no camera was found in his possession, it may be conjectured that he is hiding it somewhere and therefore does not carry it with him so as to avert attention from himself, which is borne out by his own admission that he would take photographs if he had a camera with him.

The police sergeant, whose head was heavy with the effects of the previous day’s events, became more and more entangled in his report on photography, and continued :

There can be no doubt that, according to his own admission, only the fact he has no camera with him prevented him from photographing the premises of the railway station and, in fact, all places of strategic importance, and there can be no question that he would have done so if he had had with him the necessary photographic apparatus which he had hidden. It is due only to the circumstances that no photographic apparatus was available that no photographs were found in his possession.

"That’ll be enough," said the police sergeant, and he signed his report. He was thoroughly pleased with his work and he read it with great pride to his right-hand man.

"That’s a neat bit of work," he said. "That’s the way to write reports. You’ve got to put everything in. A cross-examination isn’t a simple job, let me tell you. No, sir. It’s not much use unless you can shove the whole lot into your report, so that it makes the coves at the top sit up and take notice. Bring that chap in, and let’s settle up with him."

"Now this gentleman’s going to take you off to the superintendent at Pisek," he announced grandly to Schweik. "According to regulations, we ought to put handcuffs on you. But I think you’re a decent sort of chap, so we won’t put them on this time. I’m pretty certain you won’t try to give us the slip on the way."

The police sergeant was evidently moved by the sight of Schweik’s good-natured face, for he added :

"And don’t bear any grudge against me. Now take him along. Here’s the report."

"Well, good-bye," said Schweik tenderly. "Thanks for all the trouble you’ve taken on my account. I’ll write to you if I have the chance, and if I’m passing this way again at any time, I’ll pay you a call."

Schweik accompanied the right-hand man on to the highroad, and all the people who saw them so deeply immersed in friendly conversation thought they must be very old acquaintances who happened to be going the same way to town.

"I’d never have thought," remarked Schweik, "that I was going to have so much trouble to get to Budejovice. It reminds me of a butcher I know who one night got as far as the Palacky monument and then kept walking round it till morning, because the wall didn’t seem to have any end to it. It upset him so much that in the morning he came over quite faint and so he began to shout ’Police !’ and when the police came running up, he asked them the way home to Kobylin, because he said he’d been walking for five hours alongside some wall or other, and there was no end to it. So they ran him in and he smashed the cell up for them."

They were just passing a pond and Schweik inquired with interest whether there were many fish poachers in the neighbourhood.

"The place fairly swarms with ’em," replied the right-hand

man. "They tried to chuck the other sergeant into the water. The pond keeper up there on the dike peppers their backsides with buckshot, but it’s no use. They shove a piece of sheet-iron inside their breeches."

The right-hand man went on to talk about progress and how there’s nothing people don’t think of, and how one gets the better of the other, and then he expounded a new theory to the effect that the war was a great stroke of luck, because in all those scrimmages, not only the honest men would be knocked out, but the rogues and vagabonds as well.

"As it is, there’s too many people in the world," he declared. "They’re squeezed together like a lot of blessed sardines, and the way they breed is something awful."

They were now approaching a wayside inn.

"It’s damned windy to-day," said the right-hand man. "A little drop of something wouldn’t do us any harm. You needn’t tell anyone I’m taking you to Pisek. That’s a state secret."

In his mind’s eye the right-hand man saw the instructions of the central authorities concerning suspects and of the duty of every police officer "to isolate them from the local population and to take strict precautions, when conveying them to the higher authorities, to prevent any unnecessary verbal communications with the public."

"They mustn’t be told who you are," the right-hand man continued. "It’s nobody’s business what you’ve been up to. There mustn’t be any panic.

"Panic’s a bad thing in wartime," he went on. "Somebody passes a remark and before you know where you are, it’s spread like wildfire all over the neighbourhood. See what I mean?"

"That’s all right," said Schweik. "I won’t spread any panic."

And he kept his word, for when the landlord started talking to them, he went out of his way to remark :

"My brother here says we shall be at Pisek in an hour’s time."

"Is your brother on leave?" the busybody landlord asked the right-hand man, who, without moving an eyelid, answered as bold as brass :

"To-day’s his last day."

"We diddled him all right," he observed to Schweik with a

smile, when the landlord was out of earshot. "No panic, if you please. There’s a war on."

When the right-hand man before entering the inn had expressed his belief that a little drop of something wouldn’t do them any harm, he had been optimistic, because he had overlooked the possibility of applying the principle on a larger scale. And when he had reached the twelfth drop, he declared in a very decided manner that up to three o’clock the superintendent would be at lunch, so it would be useless to get there earlier, apart from the fact that a snowstorm was just starting. If they got to Pisek by four in the afternoon, there’d be loads of time. Why, up to six o’clock there’d be time enough. They’d get there in the dark with weather like that. Not that it mattered whether they started then or later ; Pisek wouldn’t run away.

"We ought to think ourselves lucky we’re in a nice warm spot," he declared; "in this sort of dirty weather the chaps in the trenches are worse off than we are by the fire."

It was quite dark by the time the right-hand man decided that they could start off for Pisek. In the snowstorm they could not see a yard ahead of them, and the right-hand man said :

"Follow your nose till you get to Pisek."

He said this again and then again, but when he was saying it for the third time, his voice no longer sounded from the highroad, but from some lower place, where he had slipped along a snow-covered slope. With the aid of his rifle, he laboriously clambered on to the highroad again. Schweik heard him chuckling to himself in muffled tones : "A regular toboggan slide."

Five times the right-hand man repeated this performance. He was like an ant that, whenever it falls anywhere, stubbornly climbs to the top again. When he reached Schweik at last, he said in perplexed and despairing accents :

"I might very easily lose you."

"Don’t you worry about that," said Schweik. "The best thing we can do is to tie ourselves together. Then we can’t lose each other. Have you got any handcuffs?"

"Every policeman always has to carry handcuffs with him," said the right-hand man earnestly, as he floundered in a circle round Schweik. "That’s our daily bread, as you might say."

"Well, shove ’em on, then," urged Schweik. "Let’s see how they work."

With a masterly movement the guardian of the law fastened one handcuff on Schweik and then attached the other end to his own right wrist. They were now linked together like Siamese twins. They floundered inseparably along the highroad, and whenever the right-hand man tumbled, he pulled Schweik with him. The result of this was, that the handcuffs began to cut into their flesh, and at last the right-hand man announced that he couldn’t stand it any longer and that he’d have to undo the handcuffs. After long and vain attempts to separate himself from Schweik, he sighed :

"We’re fastened together for ever and ever."

"Amen," added Schweik, and they continued their troublesome journey. The right-hand man became terribly depressed and when, after appalling torments, they reached the police headquarters at Pisek late in the evening, he was in a state of complete collapse. On the staircase he said to Schweik :

"Now there’s going to be ructions. We can’t get away from each other."

And ructions there were when the station sergeant sent for the superintendent, Captain Kônig.

The captain’s first words were :

"Breathe on me."

"Aha, I’ve got you taped all right, my man," said the captain, whose keen and experienced sense of smell had unerringly fathomed the situation. "Rum, cognac, toddy, cherry brandy, grog, gin.

"Sergeant," he continued, turning to his subordinate, "here’s an example of how not to do it. He’s handcuffed himself to the prisoner. He’s arrived dead-drunk. There’ll have to be an official inquiry into this. Take off their handcuffs."

"What’s that?" he asked the right-hand man, who was saluting the wrong way round.

"I’ve brought a report, sir."

"A report, eh? There’s going to be a report about you, my man," said the captain curtly. "Sergeant, lock them both up, and in the morning bring them up for cross-examination. Have a look

through that report from Putim and then send it on to me in my quarters."

The captain studied the "report" which the police sergeant at Putim had drawn up on the subject of Schweik. Before him stood his own sergeant, who was privately cursing the captain and all his reports, because his friends were waiting for him to make up a whist party.

"I told you not so long ago, Sergeant," said the captain, "that the police sergeant at Protivin is the biggest bloody fool I’ve ever known, but the sergeant at Putim with this report of his beats him hollow. The soldier who was brought along here by that boozy blackguard of a policeman isn’t a spy. I expect he’s just a common or garden deserter. This report is full of such awful twaddle that a child could see at a glance that the chap was as drunk as a lord when he wrote it."

He had another look at the report from Putim and ordered Schweik to be brought to him immediately. Also, a telegram was to be sent to Putim, instructing the sergeant there to come to Pisek the next day.

"What regiment did you desert from?" was the greeting with which the captain received Schweik.

"I never deserted from any regiment."

The captain looked hard at Schweik and beheld such a lighthearted expression in his tranquil countenance, that he asked :

"How did you get hold of that uniform?"

"Every soldier gets a uniform when he joins up," replied Schweik with a bland smile. "I’m in the 91st regiment and I never ran away from it. It’s all the other way round."

He accompanied the latter phrase with such emphasis that the captain’s jaw dropped as he inquired :

"What do you mean by all the other way round?"

"It’s as simple as A. B. G," explained Schweik confidentially. "I’m on my way to my regiment. I’m looking for my regiment, not running away from it. All I want is to get to my regiment as soon as possible. Well, I suppose the thought of it made me so flurried that I keep moving away from Budejovice, although that’s where they’re all waiting for me. The sergeant at Putim, he

showed me on the map that Budejovice is in the south, but then he goes and sends me to the north. "

The captain made a gesture implying that the sergeant at Putim did worse things than send people to the north.

"So you can’t find your regiment, eh?" he said. "And you went to look for it?"

Schweik explained the whole situation to him. He mentioned Tâbor and all the places through which he had passed on his way to Budejovice : Milevsko, Kvetov, Vraz, Malcin, Cizovâ, Sedlec, Horazdovice, Radomyśl, Putim, Stekno, Strakonice, Volyne, Dub, Vodfiany, Protivin and then Putim again.

With tremendous gusto Schweik described his struggle with destiny and how, with might and main, regardless of obstacles, he had endeavoured to reach his regiment, the 91st, at Budejovice, and how all his efforts had been in vain.

He spoke with fiery zeal and the captain mechanically sketched with a pencil a diagram of the vicious circle from which the good soldier Schweik had failed to extricate himself, when trying to get to his regiment.

"Talk about Hercules," he said presently, when he had listened with relish to Schweik’s account of how upset he had been at failing to reach his regiment. "Why, it must have been a marvelous sight to see you patrolling Putim."

"I might have managed it then," remarked Schweik, "if it hadn’t been for the sergeant there. It’s an unlucky sort of place, sir, if you ask me. You see, he never bothered to inquire what my name or my regiment was, but somehow or other he thought there was something very fishy about me. He ought to have had me taken to Budejovice and at the barracks there they’d have told him whether I’m Schweik who’s looking for his regiment, or whether I’m a suspicious character. Why, I might have been with my regiment, doing my military duties, this very day."

"Why didn’t you point out to the people at Putim that it was all a mistake?"

"Because I saw it wasn’t any use talking to them. Old Rampa, who kept a pub down at Vinohrady, always used to say, when a customer wanted a drink on tick, that there’s times when a man’s as deaf as a post, no matter how you try to make him hear."

The captain made a rapid decision and, showing a due concern for all the beauties and niceties of official diction, he had the following letter typed in the office :

To the C. O.

Imperial Royal Infantry Regiment, No. 91. Budejovice.

Herewith beg to transmit Josef Schweik, the same claiming to be a private in your regiment, and detained, according to his statement, at Putim, by the police, on suspicion of desertion. The aforesaid declares he is proceeding to his regiment, as above. The individual in question is short and thick-set, symmetrical features and blue eyes, without any distinguishing marks. Please find herewith enclosure B.I., this being account for expenses incurred in rationing aforesaid individual, which kindly forward to War Office and acknowledge receipt of individual in question. Beg also to send enclosure C.l. for your acknowledgment, this being list of government property in possession of aforesaid individual at the time of his arrest.

Schweik accomplished the journey from Pisek to Budejovice by train, briskly and punctually. He was escorted by a young constable, who had recently joined the force and who kept his eyes glued on Schweik for fear he might run away.

In due course they reached the barracks.

At the time of their arrival Lieutenant Lukash had been on duty for two days. Suspecting nothing, he was seated at the table in the orderly room, when Schweik was brought to him with the appropriate documents.

"Beg to report, sir, I’m back again," said Schweik, saluting with a solemn demeanour.

The whole of the ensuing scene was witnessed by Ensign Kotatko, who, later on, used to describe how, after this announcement of Schweik’s, Lieutenant Lukash jumped up, clutched his head in his hands, and fell back headlong on top of Kotatko, and how, when he had been brought to, Schweik, who had remained at the salute the whole time, repeated : "Beg to report, sir, I’m back again," whereupon Lieutenant Lukash, as white as a sheet, with trembling hands had taken the documents referring to

Schweik, had signed them, and told everyone to go outside, after which he had locked himself with Schweik in the orderly room. Thus concluded Schweik’s Budejovice anabasis. ...

Schweik and Lieutenant Lukash looked hard at each other.

In the lieutenant’s eyes there was a sort of baleful and desperate glare, while Schweik gazed at the lieutenant tenderly and affectionately, as if he were a sweetheart who had been lost and then found again.

The orderly room was as quiet as a church. From the corridor could be heard the footsteps of a passer-by. Some conscientious volunteer officer, who had stayed in barracks on account of a cold in the head, as was evident from his voice, was snuffling the military lore which he was learning by heart. The following filtered through plainly :

"What reception is to be accorded to members of the royal family when they visit fortresses?

"As soon as Their Majesties reach the vicinity of the fortress in question, the guns in all bastions and ramparts are to fire a salute. The commanding officer will receive Their Majesties, sword in hand, and mounted, and will then -"

"Oh, shut that row !" the lieutenant yelled into the corridor. "And for God’s sake go to hell. If you’re seedy, why the devil don’t you stay in bed?"

The conscientious volunteer officer could be heard departing, and like a quiet echo from the end of the corridor came a snuffling recitative :

"Simultaneously with the commandant’s salute, the volley is to be repeated, and this must be carried out for the third time when Their Majesties leave their conveyances."

And again the lieutenant and Schweik looked at each other silently, till at last Lieutenant Lukash remarked with harsh irony :

"Delighted to see you, Schweik. You’ve turned up again like a bad penny. It looks as if there’s no getting rid of you. Well, they’ve already issued a warrant against you and you’ll be had up to-morrow in the regimental orderly room. I’m not going to waste any more breath swearing at you. I’ve had more than enough annoyance on your account, and my patience is exhausted. When I

think that I managed to put up with an idiot like you for so long -"

He paced up and down the room :

"Really, it’s appalling. The marvel to me is that I didn’t shoot you. What would they have done to me? Nothing whatever. I should have been acquitted. Do you see what I’m driving at?"

"Beg to report, sir, yes, I do, sir."

"Now don’t start again with any of your antics, Schweik, or there’ll be ructions. You carried your lunacy too far, and so there’s been a regular bust-up."

Lieutenant Lukash rubbed his hands :

"Yes, Schweik, you’re for it now."

He went back to his table and wrote a few lines on a piece of paper, called the sentry who was on guard in front of the orderly room, and told him to see that Schweik was taken to the warder with the chit.

Schweik was led away across the barrack square and with undisguised joy the lieutenant saw how the warder unlocked the door bearing, on a black and yellow slab the words : Regiments-arrest, how Schweik vanished behind the door and how, after an interval, the warder emerged from the door by himself.

"Thank heaven for that," said the lieutenant aloud to himself. "Now he’s safe under lock and key."

In the dark regimental dungeon Schweik was heartily welcomed by a portly volunteer officer who was lolling on a straw mattress. He was there all by himself, and after two days of this solitary confinement he was feeling thoroughly bored. Schweik asked him what he was there for and he said it was a mere trifle. By mistake he had punched the head of an artillery officer one night when he had drunk a drop too much. Or rather, he had not exactly punched his head, but only knocked his cap off.

"Of course," he admitted, "there was a bit of a scrimmage and I daresay there was a certain amount of punching as well. But I don’t think that ought to count, because, as I explained at the time, it was all a mistake. I thought he was somebody else—a friend of mine. He looks just the same from behind. They’re both a couple of undersized little blighters."

The volunteer officer now asked Schweik what he had been up to.

"Looking for your regiment, eh?" he said. "You had a regular Cook’s tour. And you’re for it to-morrow. Brother, we’re in the same boat. We shall meet again in the shadow of the gallows. Colonel Schroder’s going to have the time of his life. You wouldn’t believe what a fuss he makes over any little shindy in the regiment. He rushes about the barrack square with his tongue hanging out like a rabid bull dog. And you ought to see him making speeches and chewing the rag generally. He dribbles at the mouth like a camel with an attack of the mumps. Once he gets started, there’s no end to it, and you’d think the whole blessed barracks was going to fall to pieces."

The door opened and admitted the warder, who brought a quarter of a portion of army bread for the two of them, together with some fresh water. Without rising from the straw mattress, the volunteer officer addressed the warder as follows :

"Welcome, benevolent angel, whose heart is overflowing with pity. You are laden with baskets of food and beverages to alleviate our distress. Never shall we forget the kind services you have rendered us. You are a beam of radiance amid our gloomy captivity."

"They’ll knock all that nonsense out of you in the orderly room," growled the warder.

"Now then, don’t get shirty, you old stick-in-the-mud. By Jove, if I was Minister of War, you wouldn’t half have a rough time of it."

The warder glared at him, shook with rage and went out, slamming the door.

"This is a mutual aid society for the abolition of warders," said the volunteer officer, dividing the bread rations into two equal halves. "According to paragraph 16 of the prison regulations, prisoners are supposed to get army rations until they’re sentenced. But this is a place where only the law of the jungle holds good. First come, first served, where the prisoner’s grub is concerned."

They sat down on the bench and gnawed at the bread.

"That warder," the volunteer officer continued his délibéra-

tions, "is a good example of how the army turns a man into a brute. I daresay that before he joined the army he was a young man with ideals, a fair-haired cherub, kind and gentle to everyone, and always taking the part of the under-dog. I wouldn’t mind

betting that everyone looked up to him ; but now - By Jove,

wouldn’t I like to land him one in the jaw or shove him headfirst into the latrine. And there’s another proof for you how absolutely brutal a man gets in a military atmosphere."

The key again grated in the lock and the warder lit the oil-lamp in the passage.

"Lighten our darkness, we beseech Thee, O Lord," exclaimed the volunteer officer. "Enlightenment is finding its way into the army. Good-night, old boy; remember me to all the N. C. O’.s, and I hope you’ll have pleasant dreams. Perhaps you’ll dream about the five crowns that I gave you to buy cigarettes with and that you spent in drinking my health. Sleep well, you brute."

The warder could be heard growling something about the orderly room next day.

"Alone once more," said the volunteer officer. He yawned.

"Well, we’re for it to-morrow, so we’d better have a good night’s rest. Three cheers for the army. Good-night."

He lay down under the coverlet, but began to move about from side to side. Presently he asked :

"Are you asleep?"

"No," replied Schweik, who was on the other mattress. "I’m thinking."

"What about?"

"About the large silver medal for bravery that was won by a cabinetmaker down our way, named Mlicko, because he was the first man in his regiment to have his leg blown off by a shell at the beginning of the war. They gave him an artificial leg, and then he began to swank about with his medal everywhere and make out he was the first cripple in the regiment since the war started. One day he went to the Apollo Café and had a row with some chaps from the meat market, and they pulled off his artificial leg and banged him on the head with it. The chap who pulled it off didn’t know it was an artificial one, and he was scared out of his wits. Anyhow, they put the leg on again at the police station, but after

that, Mlicko couldn’t stand the sight of his big medal for bravery and took it to the pawn shop. Well, they took him in charge there, medal and all, and he got himself into a regular mess. The end of it was that they took the medal away from him and then condemned him to lose his leg in the bargain."

"What for?"

"Why, one day there was some committee came to tell him he didn’t deserve to wear an artificial leg. So they unfastened it and took it away."

"From this it follows," said the volunteer officer, "that all glory is as the grass of the field. Also," he added after a short silence, "it strikes me that the military spirit is declining among us. I therefore suggest, my beloved comrade, that amid the darkness of night, in the stillness of our captivity, we should sing about Bombardier Jaburek. That’ll help to foster the military spirit. But we’ll have to yell, if we want to make ourselves heard all over the barracks. I therefore suggest that we should take up our position by the door."

And presently the windows in the passage rattled to the strains

"And by his gun he stood And kept on loading, loading, And kept on keeping on. A bullet came up quickly And took his arms off slickly,

He never turned a hair

But kept on loading, loading,

As he kept standing there,

And kept on keeping on."

Steps and voices could be heard across the barrack square.

"That’s the warder," said the volunteer officer, "and that’s Lieutenant Pelikan with him. He’s on duty to-day. He’s a reserve officer, a pal of mine. Let’s go on yelling."

And again they shouted :

"And by his gun he stood -"

When the door opened, the warder, evidently agitated by the presence of the orderly officer, snorted : "This isn’t a menagerie, let me tell you."

"Excuse me," replied the volunteer officer, "this is a charity concert for the benefit of incarcerated warriors. The first item on the programme has just started : Martial Symphony."

"Stop all that," said Lieutenant Pelikan, with an appearance of severity. "I believe you know you’ve got to lie down at nine o’clock and not kick up a row. Your singsong can be heard right in the middle of the town."

"Beg to report, sir," said the volunteer officer, "we’ve spent a lot of time over rehearsals, and if we’re not actually out of tune -"

"He carries on like this every evening, sir," said the warder, endeavouring to rouse feeling against his enemy. "In fact, his whole behaviour’s something shocking, sir."

"Beg to report, sir," said the volunteer officer, "I’d like to say something to you in private. The warder can wait outside."

When this was done, the volunteer officer said in a free-and-easy tone :

"Out with those cigarettes, old chap. . . . What, only gaspers ! And you a lieutenant too. Well, they’ll do to go on with. Thanks. And now some matches."

"Gaspers," said the volunteer officer contemptuously, after his departure. "A man ought to do things in style even when he’s on his beam-ends. Well, have a smoke before you turn in for the night. To-morrow’s our day of judgment."

Before going to sleep, the volunteer officer warbled one more ditty, about mountains and valleys and the girls he left behind him.

Meanwhile Colonel Schroder was among his fellow-officers in the hotel, listening to Lieutenant Kretschmann, who had returned from Serbia with a damaged leg (he had been butted by a cow), and who was describing an attack on the Serbian position, as seen from staff headquarters. Colonel Schroder listened with a benign smile. Then a young officer sitting near him, anxious to impress upon the colonel what a ruthless warrior he was, said in loud tones to his neighbour :

"Consumptives have got to be sent to the front. It does ’em good, and, besides, it’s better for us to lose the crocks than the fit men."

The colonel smiled, but suddenly he frowned and, turning to Captain Wenzl, he said :

"I’m surprised that Lieutenant Lukash gives us such a wide berth. He’s not joined us once since the day of his arrival."

"He’s writing poems," announced Captain Sagner scornfully. "He hadn’t been here a couple of hours before he fell in love with a Mrs. Schreiter, the wife of an engineer, whom he met at the theatre."

The colonel stared in front of him with a scowl :

"I’ve heard he’s good at singing comic songs."

"Yes, when he was at the cadet school he was quite a dab at comic songs. He used to make us roar with laughter. And he knows no end of funny yarns, too. It’s a fair treat to listen to him. I can’t make out why he isn’t here."

The colonel shook his head sadly :

"Nowadays there’s no real comradeship among us. I can remember the time when every officer tried to do his bit toward amusing the company. There was one, I remember, a Lieutenant Dankl, he used to strip himself naked, lie on the floor, stick a herring’s tail to his backside and pretend to be a mermaid. Then there was another chap, a Lieutenant Schleisner, who could waggle his ears and neigh like a stallion, besides imitating the miaowing of a cat and the buzzing of a bluebottle. And then I remember Captain Skoday. He always used to bring some girls to the officers’ club whenever we wanted him to. They were three sisters, and he’d got ’em trained like dogs. He put ’em on a table and they used to undress in front of us, taking their time from him. He had a sort of little bâton, and I must say he was a first-rate conductor."

At this reminiscence Colonel Schroder smiled blissfully.

"But nowadays? Do you call this amusement? Why, even the man who can sing comic songs hasn’t turned up. And nowadays the young officers can’t take their liquor like men. It isn’t twelve o’clock yet, and there’s five of ’em under the table, blind to the wide. Why, there were times when we kept it up for two days on end, and the more we drank, the soberer we were, though we kept on shifting beer, wine and liqueurs. There’s no such thing as a real military spirit. God alone knows why it is. You never hear

anything witty now—always the same old endless rigmarole. Just listen to them at the other end of the table, talking about America."

A solemn voice could be heard saying :

"America can’t enter the war. The Americans and English are at loggerheads. America isn’t prepared for war."

Colonel Schroder sighed.

"That’s the sort of balderdash the reserve officers talk. It’s a damned unpleasant business. Yesterday, fellows of that type were adding up figures in a bank or selling nutmeg and blacking, or teaching kids a lot of tommy-rot, and to-day they fancy they’re on a level with pucka officers. They think there’s nothing they can’t do and they want to poke their noses into everything. And what can you expect, when we’ve got pucka officers like Lieutenant Lukash who never set foot among us?"

Colonel Schroder went home in a bad temper, and when he woke up in the morning, he was in a worse temper, because the newspapers which he had been reading in bed contained several references to Austrian troops withdrawing to positions prepared beforehand.

And such was the frame of mind in which at ten o’clock in the morning Colonel Schroder went to preside over what the volunteer officer had, perhaps with some justification, styled the day of judgment.

Schweik and the volunteer officer were waiting for the colonel on the barrack square. With them were the N. C. O.’s, the orderly officer, the adjutant, and the sergeant-major from the orderly room with the documents concerning the culprits.

At last the colonel, looking very gloomy, came into view. He was accompanied by Captain Sagner and was nervously knocking his riding crop against the sides of his high boots.

Having received the report, he walked several times, amid a sepulchral silence, round Schweik and the volunteer officer, who faced eyes right or eyes left according to the flank which the colonel was reaching at that particular moment. They did this with extreme thoroughness, and as it went on for a considerable time, they nearly sprained their necks.

At last the colonel came to a standstill in front of the volunteer officer.

"What were you before you joined the army?" he asked curtly. "An undergraduate, eh? What were you studying? What’s that? Ancient philosophy? Bah! A boozy student, eh?"

"Captain Sagner," he then shouted, "bring all the volunteer officers along here, will you?

"Of course," he continued his conversation with the volunteer officer, "that’s the kind of scum we have to soil our hands with. An undergraduate. Studying ancient philosophy, if you please. About turn. I thought so. Your tunic’s all rumpled up. Anyone’d think you’d just been with a tart or sprawling about in a brothel. I’ll make it hot for you, my fine fellow."

The volunteer officers had now entered the barrack square.

"Fall in, two deep, will you," commanded the colonel. And they did so.

"Just look at this man," bellowed the colonel, pointing with his hunting crop at the volunteer officer. "He’s been bringing discredit on you with his drunken pranks. And has he got any excuse? None whatever. Just look at him. No excuse, and he was an undergraduate before he joined the army. Studying ancient philosophy. Ancient bunkum !"

The colonel spat with contempt.

"Studies ancient philosophy and then gets tight and then knocks off an officer’s cap at night. Man alive, think yourself lucky it was only an artillery officer.

"Nevertheless," continued the colonel, "such conduct must receive exemplary punishment. Orderly room !"

The sergeant-major from the orderly room came forward solemnly, with documents and a pencil.

The stillness was like that in a court of justice during a murder trial, when the judge asks: "Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed upon your verdict?"

And it was in precisely such a tone of voice that the colonel passed sentence :

"Volunteer officer Marek is condemned to twenty-one days in cells, and after serving his sentence will be transferred to the cook house to scrape potatoes there."

Then, turning to the volunteer officers, the colonel gave the order to re-form ranks. They rapidly formed fours and marched off, whereupon the colonel told Captain Sagner that it wouldn’t do at all and that in the afternoon he was to give them another dose of quick marching on the barrack square.

"When they march, it’s got to sound like claps of thunder. Oh, and there’s something else I nearly forgot. Tell them that all volunteer officers are to have five days’ C. B. so as they shan’t forget their ex-comrade, that skunk Marek."

And that skunk Marek stood side by side with Schweik with an air of complete satisfaction. He had got just what he wanted. It was decidedly better to scrape potatoes, roll dumplings and parcel out chops, than, with the wind properly up, in the middle of a withering enemy fire, to yell : "Fix bayonets !"

Colonel Schroder then stationed himself in front of Schweik and looked at him attentively. At this moment Schweik’s whole personality lay in his broad, smiling countenance, bounded by a large pair of ears, which projected from underneath his cap, pressed down tightly upon his head. The general impression was that of a man who is altogether at peace with the world and blissfully unconscious of any transgression on his part. His eyes seemed to ask : "I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?"

The colonel summed up the results of his observations in a brief question which he addressed to the sergeant-major from the orderly room :


Whereupon the colonel saw the mouth belonging to the unruffled countenance open before him.

"Beg to report, sir, daft," replied Schweik, on behalf of the sergeant-major.

Colonel Schroder beckoned to the adjutant and went on one side with him. Then they called the sergeant-major and inspected the material relating to Schweik.

"Aha," said Colonel Schroder, "so that’s Lieutenant Lukash’s orderly, who, according to his report, got lost at Tâbor. It seems to me that officers ought to attend to the training of their own orderlies. If Lieutenant Lukash chose to have this chronic imbecile for his orderly, he must put up with the nuisance of looking

after him. He’s got plenty of spare time for that. He never goes anywhere. Have you ever seen him with us? Well, there you are, then. He’s got enough spare time to lick his orderly into shape."

Colonel Schroder came up to Schweik and, looking at his good-humoured countenance, said :

"You blithering idiot, take three days in cells, and when it’s over, report yourself to Lieutenant Lukash."

Thus it came about that Schweik met the volunteer officer again in the regimental guard room, and Lieutenant Lukash enjoyed a special treat when Colonel Schroder sent for him and announced :

"About a week ago, on joining the regiment, you made an application to me for an orderly, because your own orderly had got lost at the railway station in Tâbor. However, as he has now come back -"

"But, sir -" began Lieutenant Lukash imploringly.

"—I have decided," continued the colonel meaningly, "to detain him for three days in cells and then send him back to you."

Lieutenant Lukash, utterly crushed, reeled out of the colonel’s office.

During the three days which Schweik spent in the company of volunteer officer Marek, he enjoyed himself immensely. Every evening they arranged patriotic demonstrations on the benches in their cell.

Voices were then heard warbling, "God Preserve Our Emperor for Us," and "Prince Eugene the Cavalier." They also went through a programme of soldiers’ ditties, and when the warder arrived, he was greeted with a special musical tribute :

"Our warder’s a jolly good fellow, And he’ll never, never die. But the devil himself will come from hell To fetch him by-and-by.

"He’ll come with a carriage to fetch him And he’ll wallop him on the spot, And then the devils will shove him in the fire To keep hell nice and hot."

And while they were thus annoying the warder, much as an Andalusian bull is annoyed at Seville by means of a red cloth, Lieutenant Lukash, with a sinking heart, was awaiting the moment when Schweik would make his appearance to report himself for service again.