The Good Soldier Svejk Chapter 3.

From Hatvan to the Frontiers of Galicia.

While the battalion, which was to reap military glory, was being transported by railway as far as Lahore in Eastern Galicia, whence it was to proceed on foot to the front, the truck containing Schweik and the volunteer officer was again the scene of more or less treasonable conversations, and on a smaller scale the same sort of thing was happening in the other trucks. Indeed, even in the staff carriage there was a certain amount of discontent because at Fuzes-Abony an army order had been received, by which the wine rations served out to the officers were to be reduced by a quarter of a pint. Of course, the rank-and-file had not been forgotten and their sago rations had been reduced by one third of an ounce per man, which was all the more mysterious because nobody had ever seen any sago in the army.

At Fuzes-Abony also, where it was intended to cook some stew, the discovery was made that one company had lost its field kitchen. Inquiries showed that the luckless field kitchen had never left Bruck and that it was still probably standing, chill and deserted, somewhere behind hut No. 186. The fact was that the cook house staff belonging to this field kitchen had been locked up in the main guardroom for disorderly conduct in the town, on the day before departure and they had so arranged it that they were still under lock and key when their draft was travelling through Hungary.

The company minus its field kitchen was accordingly assigned to another field kitchen, and this caused a slight disagreement, because among the men from both companies who were put on to potato-scraping fatigue duties arose a controversy when one lot declared that they were not such damned fools as to work their guts out for the others. In the end, however, it turned out that the cooking of this stew was really only a sort of manœuvre, so that by the time the troops were cooking stew in the field face to face with the enemy, they could get used to receiving the sudden order: "As you were," whereupon the stew would be thrown away and nobody would even get a taste of it.

So when the stew was about to be served out, the order came for the troops to return to their trucks, and off they went to Miskolcz. No stew was served out there, because a train with Russian trucks was standing in the station and the men were therefore not allowed out. Fantastic rumours now began to spread among the troops that the stew would not be served out until they left the train in Galicia once and for all, when it would be decided that the stew was rancid and unfit for consumption, whereupon it would be thrown away.

They then took the stew with them to Tisza-Lôk and Zambov, and when nobody expected that the stew would be served out, the train stopped at Ujvaros near Satoral Ujhely, where a fire was lit, the stew was warmed up and, at last, duly distributed.

The station was crammed with people. Two munition trains were to be sent off first, and after them two echelons of artillery, as well as a train with pontoon divisions.

Behind the station some Hungarian hussars were amusing themselves at the expense of two Polish Jews from whom they had filched a hamper of brandy, and now, instead of paying them, they were affably smacking their faces. This was evidently regarded as quite the thing to do, because their captain was standing close by and looking on with a broad smile, while behind the station depot a few other Hungarian hussars were putting their hands up the petticoats of the dark-eyed daughters of the Jews who were being castigated.

There was also a train with an aircraft division. On another set of rails could be seen trucks containing aeroplanes and guns, but in a very damaged state. These were the remains of aircraft which had been shot down and the shattered barrels of howitzers. While all the new material was being taken up to the front, these remnants of bygone glory were being conveyed inland for repairs and reconstruction.

Lieutenant Dub, however, was explaining to the troops who had assembled round the damaged guns and aeroplanes that this was war booty. He noticed, too, that a little further on Schweik was standing in another group and holding forth about something. He drew near and heard Schweik’s hearty voice :

"You can take it how you like, it can’t be anything but war booty. It may look a bit rum at first, when you read ’Imperial Royal Artillery Division’ on a gun carriage. But I expect that the Russians collared that gun and we had to get hold of it again.

Booty like that is a lot more valuable, because -

"Because," he solemnly continued, when he caught sight of Lieutenant Dub, "you must never leave anything in the enemy’s hands. That’s like the soldier who had his field bottle snatched away from him by the enemy while they were having a dust-up. That was during the wars with Napoleon, and in the night this soldier went off into the enemy’s camp and brought his field bottle back, and he had the best of the bargain, because the enemy had drawn his brandy rations for the night." All Lieutenant Dub said was :

"Make yourself scarce and don’t let me see you here again."

"Right you are, sir." And Schweik moved off toward another group of trucks.

Lieutenant Dub then continued to act the fool by pointing out to the soldiers an Austrian aeroplane which had been shot down and the struts of which distinctly bore the mark "Wiener Neustadt."

"We shot that down and captured it from the Russians at Lemberg," said Lieutenant Dub. Lieutenant Lukash overheard this remark and coming nearer, he added :

"Yes, and the two Russian airmen were burned to death." Then he went away again without saying another word, but thinking what a dreadful jackass Lieutenant Dub was.

Behind the second lot of trucks he encountered Schweik and endeavoured to steer clear of him, because the face of Schweik, when he gazed upon Lieutenant Lukash, showed that there was much of which he desired to unbosom himself.

Schweik walked straight up to Lieutenant Lukash.

"Beg to report, sir, I’ve come to see if there are any more orders. Beg to report, sir, I’ve been looking for you in the staff carriage."

"Listen here, Schweik," replied Lieutenant Lukash ; "the more I see of you the more convinced I am that you’ve got no respect for your superior officers."

"Beg to report, sir," said Schweik apologetically, "I used to serve under a Colonel Flieder von Boomerang, or something like that, and he was just about half your height. He had a long beard, and it made him look like a monkey, and when he got ratty he used to jump so high that we called him Indiarubber Daddy. Well, one day -"

Lieutenant Lukash tapped Schweik amicably on the shoulder and said in a good-humoured tone :

"Now then, enough of that, you ruffian."

"Right you are, sir," replied Schweik, and returned to his truck.

After midnight the train jogged on toward Ladovec and Tre-bisov, where the Veterans’ Association had turned out to welcome

it, as they were under the mistaken impression that it was the 14th draft of the Hungarian militia, which had passed through the station in the night. The veterans had certainly drunk a drop too much, and when they yelled : "Isten almeg a kirâly" they woke up the whole echelon. Some of the more conscientious among them leaned out of the windows of the trucks and replied :

"Go to blazes! Eljen!"

Whereupon, the veterans yelled till the windows rattled :

"Eljen! Eljen a tisennegyedik regimente!"

Five minutes later the train was approaching Humenné. Here could be seen plain traces of the fighting which had occurred when the Russians were marching into the valley of the Tisza. Primitive trenches flanked the hillsides, with here and there the remains of a burned farm, and where this was surrounded by a hastily constructed shanty, it showed that the inhabitants had returned.

Later, toward noon, when they reached Humenné, where the railway station also showed traces of fighting, preparations were made for lunch and the troops were able to have a glimpse into the public secrets of how the authorities treated the local population after the departure of the Russians, to whom they were akin by language and religion.

On the platform, surrounded by Magyar gendarmes, stood a group of Ruthenian prisoners. Among them were priests, teachers and peasants from the length and breadth of the regions round about. They all had their hands tied behind their backs and they were fastened together in twos. Most of them had broken noses and bumps on their heads, as immediately after their arrest they had been thrashed by the gendarmes.

A little further on, a Magyar gendarme was having some fun with a priest. Round the priest’s left foot he had tied a rope which he held in his hand, and with the butt end of his rifle he was making him dance a czardas, during which he pulled the rope so that the priest fell on his nose, and having his hands tied behind his back he could not get up, and made desperate attempts to turn over on his back, so that he might possibly stand up that way. The gendarme roared so heartily with laughter at this, that the tears came into his eyes and when the priest did at last manage to get

on his feet, he pulled the rope again and once more the priest fell on his nose.

This amusement was stopped by a gendarme officer, who ordered the prisoners to be taken into an empty shed behind the station, so that they could be mauled and knocked about where nobody could see them.

These goings-on were discussed in the staff carriage and on the whole they met with strong disapproval.

Ensign Kraus expressed the view that if the men were traitors they ought to be hanged on the spot, without any ill-treatment beforehand, but Lieutenant Dub thoroughly approved of the whole business which he at once connected with the Sarajevo outrage. He talked as if the Magyar gendarmes at Humenné were avenging the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. In order to lend weight to his words, he said that he took in a monthly paper which even before the war, in the July number, had declared that the unexampled outrage of Sarajevo would leave a wound in human hearts which would not heal for many years to come. And so forth.

Lieutenant Lukash muttered something to the effect that probably the gendarmes at Humenné also took in the paper which had published that touching article. He then left the carriage and went to look for Schweik. He had suddenly begun to feel disgusted with everything and all he wanted was to get drunk and forget his sorrows.

"Listen, Schweik," he said, "you don’t happen to know where you could lay hands on a bottle of brandy? I’m feeling rather seedy."

"Beg to report, sir, that’s the change of weather. I shouldn’t be surprised that when we get to the front you’ll feel worse. The further you get from your proper military base, the queerer you feel. But if you like, sir, I’ll collar some brandy for you, only I’m afraid they’ll leave here without me."

Lieutenant Lukash assured him that they wouldn’t be leaving for another two hours and that brandy was being sold in bottles, on the Q. T., just behind the station. Captain Sagner had sent Matushitch there, and he’d brought back a bottle, of quite respectable cognac for fifteen crowns. So there was fifteen crowns

and Schweik was to go, and not to tell anyone that it was fcr Lieutenant Lukash, or that he had sent him, because, strictly speaking, it was not allowed.

"Don’t you worry, sir," said Schweik. "That’ll be all right, because I’m very fond of things that ain’t allowed and I’ve been mixed up in lots of things like that without even knowing about it. Why, once when we were in barracks at Prague we was told not to -"

"About turn! Quick march!" Lieutenant Lukash interrupted him.

So Schweik went behind the station, repeating to himself all the main points of his expedition. The brandy must be good, so he would have to taste it first, and as it wasn’t allowed, he would have to be cautious.

Just when he was turning aside from the platform, he again ran into Lieutenant Dub.

"What are you loafing about here for?" he asked Schweik. "Do you know me?"

"Beg to report, sir," replied Schweik, saluting, "I don’t want to know you from your bad side."

Lieutenant Dub grew rigid with horror, but Schweik stood there as bold as brass, with his hand touching the peak of his cap, and continued :

"Beg to report, sir, I only want to know you from the good side, so as you can’t make me wish I’d never been born, like you was telling me a little while ago."

At this effrontery Lieutenant Dub shook his head and all he could do was to gasp forth in tones of fury :

"Get out of my sight, you skunk. You’ll hear more about this."

Schweik went beyond the platform and Lieutenant Dub, struck by an idea, set out after him. Past the station, just by the highroad, stood a row of baskets, placed topsy-turvy, and on top of them were some wicker trays containing various dainties which looked as innocent as though they were meant for school children on an outing. There were fragments of sugar sticks, rolled wafers, a large quantity of acid drops, with here and there some slices of black bread with a piece of salami, quite obviously of equine origin. But inside, the baskets contained various kinds of

liquor, small bottles of brandy, rum, gin and other alcoholic beverages.

Just beyond the ditch skirting the highroad was a shanty in which all the transactions in prohibited drinks were arranged.

The soldiers first struck a bargain in front of the wicker trays, and a Jew with side curls produced the brandy from beneath the tray which looked so innocent, and carried it under his caftan into the wooden shanty, where the soldier unobtrusively slipped it into his trousers or under his tunic.

This was the place to which Schweik directed his steps while Lieutenant Dub, with his talent for sleuthing, watched his movements.

Schweik tried his luck at the very first basket. First he selected some sweets, which he paid for and put in his pocket, while the gentleman with the side curls whispered to him in German :

"I’ve got some schnapps, too, soldier."

A bargain was soon struck, Schweik went into the shanty, but handed over no money until the gentleman with the side curls had opened the bottle and Schweik had tasted the contents. However, he was satisfied with the brandy and having slipped the bottle under his tunic, he went back to the station.

"Where have you been, you skunk?" said Lieutenant Dub, standing in front of him as he was about to mount the platform.

"Beg to report, sir, I’ve been to fetch some sweets."

Schweik dived into his pocket and produced a handful of grimy, dusty sweets.

"I don’t know whether you’d care to try them, sir. I’ve had a taste. They’re not bad. They’ve got rather a nice, funny sort of flavour, something like raspberry jam, sir."

The curved outlines of a bottle stood out under Schweik’s tunic.

Lieutenant Dub passed his hands over Schweik’s tunic.

"What’s that you’ve got there, you skunk? Take it out."

Schweik drew forth a bottle plainly and clearly labelled: "Brandy" and containing a yellowish liquid.

"Beg to report, sir," replied Schweik, quite undaunted, "I pumped a little drinking water into this empty brandy bottle. I’ve still got a shocking thirst from that stew we had yesterday. But,

you see, sir, the water from that pump is a bit yellow. I expect it’s the sort of water that’s got iron in it. That kind of water’s very healthy and it does you good."

"If you’re as thirsty as all that, Schweik," said Lieutenant Dub with a diabolical smile, "then have a drink, but take a good swig at it. Drink up the whole lot at one go."

Lieutenant Dub rather fancied that he was successfully piling up the agony. At last, he thought, he had driven Schweik into a corner. His forecast of events was that Schweik would drink a few gulps and would then give in, whereupon he, Lieutenant Dub, would triumph over him and say : "Give me that bottle and let me have a drink of it. I’m thirsty as well." And he pictured gleefully to himself how discomfited Schweik would be at that terrible moment, and then the various species of trouble into which he would be landed as a result.

Schweik uncorked the bottle, raised it to his lips and gulp by gulp the contents vanished down his throat. Lieutenant Dub was dumbfounded. Before his very eyes Schweik drank up the whole bottle without turning a hair. He then threw the empty bottle across the road into a pond, spat and said, as if he had just put away a bottle of lemonade :

"Beg to report, sir, that water really does sort of taste of iron. I used to know a chap who kept a pub near Prague and he used to make a drink that tasted of iron for the summer trippers, by throwing old horseshoes into the well."

"I’ll give you old horseshoes, you ruffian ! You come and show me the well where you got that water from."

"It’s just a few steps from here, sir, right behind that wooden hut."

"You go on in front, you skunk, so that I can see whether you can march properly in step."

"It’s really most curious," thought Lieutenant Dub to himself, "but upon my word this wretched fellow seems quite all right."

Schweik went on in front, commending himself to the will of God. But he had a sort of inkling that there would be a well behind the hut, and so he was not surprised to find that there was one. In fact, there was a pump as well, and when they reached it, Schweik moved the pump handle up and down, whereupon out

flowed some yellowish water, so that Schweik was able to announce with all due solemnity :

"Here’s the water that tastes of iron, sir."

At this juncture, the man with the side curls, now very much scared, came up, and Schweik told him in German to bring a glass, as the lieutenant wanted to have a drink.

Lieutenant Dub was so flabbergasted that he drank up the whole glass of water, which left in his mouth a flavour of horse urine and liquid manure, and, quite dazed by what had happened to him, he gave the Jew with the side curls a five-crown note and turning to Schweik, said :

"What are you hanging about here for? Get back to your right place."

Five minutes later Schweik made his appearance in the staff carriage, and mysteriously beckoned to Lieutenant Lukash to come outside. He then said to him :

"Beg to report, sir, that in five minutes, or ten at the most, I shall be as tight as a lord, but I’m going to lay down in my truck, so perhaps you wouldn’t mind, sir, not calling me for another three hours and not giving me any orders until I’ve slept it off. There’s nothing wrong with me, only I got nabbed by Lieutenant Dub, and I told him it was water, so I had to drink up the whole bottle of brandy right under his nose so as to prove to him that it was water. There’s nothing wrong, sir; I never gave the game away, like you told me, and I was on my guard, but now I beg to report, sir, that I can feel my legs beginning to wobble. Of course, sir, I can stand liquor all right, because when I was with Mr. Katz -"

"Get out of it, you hog !" shouted Lieutenant Lukash, but he was not really angry with Schweik, On the other hand, his dislike of Lieutenant Dub was a hundred per cent, greater than before.

Schweik crept cautiously into his truck and as he lay down on his greatcoat and valise, he said to Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek and the rest :

"Here’s a chap who for once in a way has got tight and doesn’t want to be woke up."

With these words he rolled over on his side and began to snore.

The vapours which he now began to exhale soon made their

presence felt, and Jurajde, the cook, sniffing the atmosphere in the truck, remarked :

"My God, what a stink of brandy!"

Marek, the volunteer officer, who at last, after all his tribulations, had managed to get a job as keeper of battalion records, was seated at the folding table. He was preparing an advance and reserve stock of heroic deeds for the battalion, and it was plain that this peep into the future was causing him much amusement.

Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek looked on with interest at the volunteer officer who, with a broad grin, was writing busily. Presently, he stood up and looked over the shoulder of the volunteer officer, who began to explain matters to him :

"This is no end of a lark, laying up stocks of history for the battalion. The chief thing is to go about the job in a systematic way. There’s got to be system in the whole business."

"A systematic system," remarked Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, with a more or less contemptuous smile.

"Yes," said the volunteer officer in an offhand tone, "a systematized, systematic system for writing the history of the battalion. It’s no use coming out with great victories right at the very start. The whole thing’s got to take its course gradually and according to a definite plan. One battalion can’t win the war right off. The important thing for a painstaking historian like me to do is first of all to draw up a general scheme of the victories we’re going to win. For example, this is where I describe how our battalion, about two months from now, nearly crosses the Russian frontier, which is strongly guarded, let us say, by some regiments of Don Cossacks, while a number of enemy divisions are about to surround us by a flanking movement. At first sight, it looks as if our battalion’s done for and that they’ll make mincemeat of us. But then Captain Sagner issues this order to the battalion : ’It is not God’s will that we should perish here; let us retreat.’ So our battalion takes to its heels, but the enemy division, which has now surrounded us, sees that we’re really chasing after them, and so they begin to take fright and skedaddle, so that without firing a shot they get captured by our reserves. That’s where the history of our battalion really begins. From quite a trifling event, if I may speak prophetically, Sergeant, matters of great moment de-

velop. Our battalion passes from victory to victory. It’ll be interesting to see how our battalion takes the enemy by surprise while they’re asleep. Each man in the battalion will pick one of the enemy and with all his might will shove his bayonet through his chest. The bayonets, with their well-ground edges, will slide in as if they were cutting butter, and only here and there you’ll hear a rib cracking. The bodies of the sleeping enemy will twitch, their eyes, horrified but already sightless, will bulge, they will make gurgling noises and then grow rigid. Blood and foam will appear on the lips of the sleeping enemy and that will end the whole business. Our battalion will score a victory. Or it’ll be even better, say, in about three months’ time, when our battalion captures the Czar. But we’ll talk about that later on, Sergeant. In the meanwhile I must lay in a stock of little incidents giving proof of unexampled bravery. Thus, I’ll write about the dogged self-sacrifice of our men when they are studded with bits of hand grenade. And then, through the explosion of an enemy mine, one of our sergeants, say, of the 12th or 13th company, will have his head blown off. And, by the way," continued Marek, with a gesture indicating sudden remembrance, "I nearly forgot to tell you, Sergeant, to get me a list of all the N. C. O.’s. Tell me the name of one of the sergeant-majors in the 12th company. Houska? Very well, then, Houska’s going to have his head blown off by this mine. His head will fly off, but his body will go on walking for another few yards, he’ll take aim and shoot down an enemy aeroplane. Of course, the royal family will have to arrange a special evening party in their own home to celebrate exploits of that kind. Quite a select affair, to be held in the apartment next to the Emperor’s bedroom. The place will be lit up with candles only, because, as I expect you know, electric light is unpopular in court circles, on account of our aged monarch’s prejudice against short circuits. The festivities in honour of our battalion will begin at six p. m. At that hour the grandchildren of His Royal Highness will be in bed, and after the Emperor has proposed a toast to our draft, a few words will be said by the Archduchess Marie Valerie, who will refer to you, Sergeant, in terms of approval. I tell you, Austria’s got lots and lots of battalions, but ours is the only one that’ll distinguish itself to that extent. Of course, from the notes

I have made, it is evident that our battalion will suffer severe and irretrievable losses, because a battalion without any dead can hardly be called a battalion. A fresh article will have to be written about our losses. Victories are all very well in their way, and I’ve got about forty-two of ’em on tap now. But the history of the battalion has got to be something more than a string of dry facts about victories. So, as I say, there’s got to be plenty of losses as well. For instance, Sergeant, you’re going west by the side of a brook, and Baloun here, who’s squinting at us with such a queer look in his eyes, is not going to be done in by a bullet or by shrapnel or by a bomb. No, he’s going to be strangled by a lasso chucked out of an enemy aeroplane just at the moment when he’s guzzling Lieutenant Lukash’s lunch. But don’t get the wind up, Baloun. You’ll be mentioned all right in the history of the battalion and there’ll be an account of how you met death like a hero, grub in mouth, on the way from the officers’ mess to the trenches. You’ll be mentioned along with all the men of our battalion who fell for the glory of our empire, like Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek here."

"What sort of a death have you got me down for, Marek?" "Wait a bit, Sergeant. Don’t be in such a hurry. You’ve got to go slow with this sort of thing."

The volunteer officer lapsed into thought. Then he said : "You’re from Kralupy, aren’t you? Very well, then, you write home to Kralupy and tell them that you’re going to vanish without a trace, but be careful how you put it. Or perhaps you’d rather be gravely wounded behind the barbed wire in no-man’s-land. We can leave you lying there quite nicely with a broken leg all day long. In the night the enemy will get at our position with a searchlight and then they’ll spot you. So they’ll strafe you with plenty of bombs and shrapnel. You’ll have rendered invaluable services to the army because the enemy will use up as much ammunition on you as on the whole battalion and your ingredient parts and accessories will sail about in the air and chant a great anthem of victory. And in the same way everyone in the battalion will have his turn at distinguishing himself, until, say somewhere in September, there’ll be nothing left of us except these glorious pages of history which will thrill the hearts of all Austrians. And this

is how I’ve wound up the whole thing, Sergeant : All honour to the memory of the fallen ! Their love for our monarchy is the holiest love, for it culminates in death. Let their names, e.g., Vanek, be uttered with awe. And they who were most closely affected by the loss of their bread winners—let them proudly dry their tears, for they who fell were the heroes of our battalion."

Chodounsky the telephonist and Jurajda the cook were listening with bated breath to the volunteer officer’s account of the projected history of the battalion.

"Gather round, gentlemen," said the volunteer officer, turning over his collection of jottings. "I’ve got you all down. Here we are, page 15, Telephonist Chodounsky fell on September 3rd, side by side with Jurajda the battalion cook. Just listen here to what I’ve written about you : ’Unexampled heroism. The former, at the risk of his life, protected the telephone wires in his bombproof shelter, remaining there at the telephone for three days without being relieved. The latter, seeing the menace from the enemy on the flank, hurled himself on the enemy with a cauldron of boiling soap, spreading terror and scalds among the enemy. Both died a glorious death. The former blown to pieces by a mine, the latter suffocated by poison gas. Both perished with the cry (in German) : "Long live our battalion commander!" ’ The supreme command can only show its gratitude by issuing orders acquainting the rest of the army with the gallantry of our battalion and urging them to take an example from us. Here’s an extract from an army order which will be read to all detachments. I may say that it’s very much like the order issued by Archduke Karl in 1805, on the day before he and his army got a devil of a walloping at Padua : ’I hope that the whole army will take the above-mentioned battalion as an example and in particular will gird itself with that spirit of self-reliance, self-confidence and unwavering dauntlessness in the face of danger, that unexampled heroism, that attachment to and confidence in their superior officers, in short, with all those virtues by which this battalion distinguished itself and led it on to memorable exploits, to the welfare and victory of our Emperor.’ "

From the spot where Schweik was reposing, he could be heard talking in his sleep:

"You’re quite right, Mrs. Muller. There’s lots of people who looks like each other. At Kralup there used to be a man named Jarosh who made water pumps and he was the very image of a watchmaker at Pardubice named Lejhanzl, and he again was as like another fellow named Piskor at Jicin, and the whole lot of ’em couldn’t be told apart from the corpse of a stranger who was found in a pond, all rotting away, just near the railway line at Neuhaus." Snores were now heard, and then : "So they all had to pay a whopping big fine, and to-morrow, Mrs. Muller, I want you to cook me some noodles."

At this point Schweik rolled over on to the other side and went on snoring, while Jurajda and the volunteer officer started an argument on the future life.

While they were arguing about reincarnation and lizards and infusions, Lieutenant Dub popped his head in at the door, which was ajar.

"Is Schweik here?" he asked.

"Beg to report, sir, he’s asleep," replied the volunteer officer.

"When I ask for him, it’s your business to pull yourself together and fetch him."

"I can’t do that, sir; he’s asleep."

"Well, wake him up, then. I’m surprised that you didn’t think of that at once. You ought to show more willingness to help your superior officers. You don’t know me yet. But when you do get to know me -"

The volunteer officer began to wake Schweik up.

"Get up, Schweik. There’s a fire."

"The time there was a fire at Odkolek’s mills," mumbled Schweik, turning over on to the other side again, "the firemen came along from as far away as Vysocany."

"You see, sir," said the volunteer officer, courteously, to Lieutenant Dub, "that I’m waking him up, but it’s no use."

Lieutenant Dub lost his temper.

"What’s your name? Marek? Oh, yes ; you’re the volunteer officer who spends all his time under close arrest, aren’t you?"

"Yes, sir. I’ve done all my training as a volunteer officer more or less in clink, but since being discharged by the divisional court-

martial, where my innocence was established beyond the slightest doubt, I’ve reverted to my former rank and been appointed keeper of the battalion records."

"You won’t be that long," yelled Lieutenant Dub, very red in the face. "I’ll see to that !"

"I wish to be reported to the orderly room, sir," said the volunteer officer solemnly.

"Don’t trifle with me," said Lieutenant Dub. "I’ll give you orderly room. We’ll meet again before long, and then you’ll be damned sorry for yourself, because you don’t know me yet ; but you will."

Lieutenant Dub went out wrathfully, and in his annoyance he quite forgot that only a few moments previously he had fully intended to call Schweik to say to him : "Breathe on me," as a final method of establishing Schweik’s unlawful alcoholism. He did not remember this until half an hour afterward, and it was then too late, because in the meanwhile the rank-and-file had been served out with an issue of black coffee with rum. When he got back to the truck, Schweik was already up and doing, and on being summoned by Lieutenant Dub, he skipped out of the truck like a lamb.

"Breathe on me !" Lieutenant Dub bawled at him.

Schweik breathed forth upon him the complete contents of his lungs, and it was like a hot wind sweeping the fragrance of a distillery into a field.

"What’s this I smell, you brute?"

"Beg to report, sir, you can smell rum."

"Oh, I can, can I?" exclaimed Lieutenant Dub victoriously. "I’ve got you at last."

"Yes, sir," said Schweik without any sign of uneasiness. "We’ve just had an issue of rum for our coffee and I drank the rum first. But of course, sir, if there’s some new regulation that we got to drink coffee first and rum afterward, I’m very sorry, and I’ll see it don’t happen again."

"And why were you snoring when I was here half an hour ago? They couldn’t wake you up."

"Beg to report, sir, I couldn’t sleep a wink all night for thinking of the times when I was in the manœuvres at Vesprem. That

was when there was a first and second army corps crossing Styria and Western Hungary and they surrounded our fourth army corps which was camping in Vienna and thereabouts where we’d got fortifications all around us, but they managed to outflank us and got to the bridge that the pioneers had built from the right bank of the Danube. We was supposed to start an offensive and be backed up by some troops from the North, and then, later on, by some more from the South, from Vosek. In the orders we read that a third army corps was coming to help us so as we shouldn’t be cut to pieces between Lake Balaton and Pressburg when we started our big push against the second army corps. But it wasn’t any use. Just when we was winning, they sounded the retreat, and it was the chaps with the white bands round their caps who won."

Lieutenant Dub, without saying another word, shook his head with perplexity and departed, but he immediately came back again and said to Schweik :

"Just remember, all of you, that the time will come when I’ll make you squeal for mercy." That was all he could manage, and he then returned to the staff carriage. He felt the need to hear himself talk, and he therefore said to Captain Sagner in a confidential, free-and-easy tone :

"I say, Captain, what’s your opinion about -?"

"Excuse me a moment," said Captain Sagner, and got out of the carriage.

A quarter of an hour later they started off toward Nagy-Czaba, past the burnt-out villages of Brestov and Great-Radvâny. They could now see that they were getting into the thick of it. The slopes of the Carpathians were scored with trenches, which stretched from valley to valley, and on both sides there were large shell holes. Across the streams flowing into the Lahore, the upper course of which was skirted by the railway, they could see the new bridges which had been built and the charred beams of the old ones. The whole valley had been gouged and scooped out and the trampled state of the ground made it look as if hosts of gigantic moles had been toiling there. At the edges of the shell holes there were tattered shreds of Austrian uniforms which had been uncovered by downpours of rain. Be-

hind Nagy-Czaba, on a charred old fir tree, in the tangle of the branches, hung the boot of an Austrian infantryman, with a piece of shinbone left in it. The forests without foliage or pine needles, the trees without tops and the isolated farms riddled with shot bore witness to the havoc which had been wrought by the artillery fire.

The train moved slowly forward along embankments which had been newly built, so that the whole battalion was able to feast its eyes on the joys of war, and by scanning the military cemeteries with their white crosses, which formed gleaming patches on the devastated hillsides, they had an opportunity of preparing their minds gradually but surely for the field of glory which terminated with an Austrian military cap, caked with mire and dangling on a white cross.

Mezô-Laborcz was the stopping-place behind a shattered, burnt-out railway station from the sooty walls of which twisted girders projected. A new long timber hut, which had been hastily constructed in place of the burnt station, was covered with placards bearing the inscription : "Subscribe to the Austrian war-loan" in various languages. Another long hut contained a Red Cross centre from which emerged two nurses with a fat doctor, who, for their amusement, imitated various animal noises and made unsuccessful attempts to grunt.

At the bottom of the railway embankment lay a broken field kitchen. Schweik pointed it out to Baloun and said :

"Look at that, Baloun, and see what’s in store for us before very long. They were just going to issue the rations when a shell came across and upset the old apple cart."

"This is a shocking business," lamented Baloun. "I never thought anything of that sort was in store for me."

The men were informed that a meal would be served beyond Palota in the Lubka Pass, and the battalion quartermaster-sergeant-major, accompanied by the company cooks and Lieutenant Cajthaml, with four men as a patrol, proceeded into the parish of Meczi. They returned after less than half an hour, with three pigs tied up by their hind legs, the squalling family of a Ruthenian peasant, from whom the pigs had been requisitioned, and the fat military doctor from the Red Cross hut. He was

vociferously explaining something to Lieutenant Cajthaml who only shrugged his shoulders.

The controversy came to a head in front of the staff carriage, when the military doctor began to tell Captain Sagner in downright terms that the pigs were reserved for the Red Cross hospital, while the peasant flatly contradicted this and demanded that the pigs should be restored to him, as they were his only property and he certainly could not let them go at the price which had been paid him. He thereupon thrust the money which he had received for the pigs into the hand of Captain Sagner, whom the peasant’s wife was holding by the other hand ; she was kissing it with the servility which has always been a prominent feature of that region.

Captain Sagner was quite startled, and it was a long time before he managed to shake off the old peasant woman. Not that it mattered, for she was replaced by her younger offspring, who again began to slobber over his hands.

Lieutenant Cajthaml, however, affirmed in very businesslike tones:

"This fellow’s got another twelve pigs, and he’s been properly paid, according to the latest divisional instructions, No. 12420, economic section. According to paragraph 16 of the instructions, the price paid for pigs in localities unaffected by the war must not exceed 1 crown 3 hellers per pound of live stock, while in localities affected by the war 15 hellers per pound of live stock may be added, making a total of 1 crown 18 hellers per pound. Note further the following: If it is ascertained in localities affected by the war that the supply of hogs which can be used as a source of food supply for the troops passing through the locality in question has remained intact, an extra payment of 7 hellers per pound of live stock is to be made, as in the case of localities unaffected by the war. If the matter is not entirely clear, a commission is to be set up on the spot, comprising the owner of the live stock, the officer commanding the detachment concerned and the officer or quartermaster-sergeant in charge of the commissariat."

Lieutenant Cajthaml read all this from a copy of the divisional orders which he always carried about with him, and he practically knew by heart that in the zone of hostilities the regulation

price per pound of carrots was increased to 15 1/2 hellers and the price of one pound of cauliflowers for the officers’ mess in the same zone was increased to 95 hellers. The gentlemen in Vienna who had drawn up these schedules seemed to imagine that the zone of hostilities was a land flowing with carrots and cauliflowers. But Lieutenant Cajthaml read his piece to the excited peasant in German and then asked him whether he understood it. When the peasant shook his head, he bellowed at him :

"Do you want a commission, then?"

The peasant understood only the word "commission," wherefore he nodded, and while his hogs were dragged off to the field-kitchen for execution, he was surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets, who had been detailed for the requisitioning, and the commission proceeded to his farm to ascertain whether he was to get 1 crown 18 hellers per pound or only 1 crown 3 hellers. But scarcely had they set foot on the road leading to the village, than the threefold mortal squealing of hogs could be heard from the field kitchen. The peasant realized that all was up, and shouted desperately in the Ruthenian dialect :

"Give me two guldens for each of them."

Four soldiers edged close to him and the whole family dropped on their knees in the dust in front of Captain Sagner and Lieutenant Cajthaml. The mother and the two daughters clutched at their knees, calling them benefactors, until at last the peasant yelled at them to stand up. He added that the soldiers could eat the pigs if they wanted, and he hoped they’d die of it.

Accordingly, the idea of a commission was dropped, and as the peasant began to shake his fist angrily, each soldier hit him with the butt-end of his rifle, whereupon all the members of the family crossed themselves and took to their heels.

Twenty minutes later the battalion quartermaster-sergeant-major, assisted by Matushitch, the battalion orderly, was smacking his lips over a dish of pig’s fry, and while he was gorging himself, he remarked gibingly to the military clerks:

"I bet you wouldn’t mind a feed like that. Oh, my lads, that’s only for the N. C. O.’s. The livers and lights for the cooks, brains and breast for the quartermaster-sergeant-major, and double rations for the clerks from what the rank-and-file ought to get."

Captain Sagner had already issued instructions as regards the officers’ mess.

"Roast pork with savoury sauce. Pick out the best meat and see it isn’t too fat."

And so it came about that when the rank-and-file received their rations in the Lubka Pass, each man discovered two tiny morsels of meat in his soup, and those who had been born under an un-luckier star discovered only a piece of skin.

On the other hand, the clerks’ mouths shone greasily and the stretcher bearers puffed with fullness, while all around this divine plenty could be seen the unremoved traces of recent fighting. The whole place was littered with cartridge cases, empty tins, shreds of Russian, Austrian and German uniforms, parts of broken vehicles, long, bloodstained strips of gauze and cotton wool which had been used for bandages.

A shell, which had not burst, had hit an old pine tree near the former railway station, of which only a heap of ruins remained. Fragments of shells were scattered everywhere, and it was evident that corpses of soldiers had been buried in the immediate vicinity, because there was a terrible stench of putrefaction. And on all sides lay lumps of human excrement emanating from all the nations of Austria, Germany and Russia.

A half-smashed cistern, the wooden hut of a railway watchman, and, in fact, everything which had any walls, was riddled like a sieve with rifle bullets.

This spectacle of military delights was rendered even more complete by clouds of smoke which were rising from behind a hill near by, as if a whole village were burning there. This was where they were burning the cholera and dysentery huts, to the great joy of those gentlemen who were concerned with the establishment of a hospital under the patronage of Archduchess Marie, and who had filled their pockets by presenting accounts for nonexistent cholera and dysentery huts. Now one row of huts was being removed for all the rest, and amid the stench of burning paillasses the whole swindle of the archduchess’s patronage was rising heavenward.

Behind the railway station on a rock the Germans had already hastened to set up a monument to the fallen Brandenburgers,

with the inscription : "To the heroes of Lubka Pass," and a huge German eagle, carved in bronze. The base of the monument bore an inscription to the effect that the eagle had been constructed from Russian guns captured during the liberation of the Carpathians by German regiments.

In these queer surroundings the battalion was resting after its meal, while Captain Sagner, with the battalion adjutant, was still unable to make head or tail of the cipher telegram from brigade headquarters, on the subject of the further movements of the battalion. The messages were so muddled that it seemed as though they ought not to have entered the Lubka Pass, but should have proceeded in an entirely different direction from Neustadt, because the telegrams mentioned something about: "Cap-Ungvar; Kis-Béreznai Uzok."

Ten minutes later it turned out that the staff officer at brigade headquarters was a complete nincompoop, because a cipher telegram arrived inquiring whether the 8th draft of the 75th regiment were speaking (military cipher G. 3). The nincompoop at brigade headquarters was astonished by the reply that it was the 7th draft of the 91st regiment, and asked who had given orders to proceed toward Munkacevo, along the military railway line via Stryj, when the proper route was through the Lubka Pass via Sanok into Galicia. The nincompoop was staggered to learn that they were telegraphing from the Lubka Pass, and sent a cipher message : "Route unchanged, via Lubka Pass to Sanok, where further instructions."

When Captain Sagner returned to the staff carriage, a debate ensued on the muddle-headedness of the Austrian authorities, and hints were dropped that if it were not for the Germans, the eastern army group would be entirely at sixes and sevens. Lieutenant Dub thereupon proceeded to defend the Austrian muddle-headedness and came out with some twaddle to the effect that the region in which they had arrived was considerably devastated by the recent hostilities and it had therefore not yet been possible to restore the line to proper working order. All the officers looked at him pityingly, as much as to say : "It’s not his fault that he’s dotty." Finding that his views met with no contradiction, Lieutenant Dub went on jabbering about the magnificent impression

which the battered landscape made upon him, for it bore testimony, he said, to the formidable character of our army’s iron grip. Again nobody contradicted him, and he added :

"Oh, yes, there can be no doubt that the Russians retreated here in a thorough panic."

Captain Sagner made up his mind that at the first opportunity, when they were having a hot time in the trenches, he would send Lieutenant Dub out on patrol duty into no-man’s-land to reconnoitre the enemy positions.

It seemed as if Lieutenant Dub would never stop talking. He went on explaining to all the officers what he had read in the papers about these Carpathian battles and the struggle for the Carpathian passes, during the Austro-German offensive on the San. He talked as if he had not only taken part in these operations, but had directed them himself. At last, Lieutenant Lukash could stand it no longer, and remarked to Lieutenant Dub :

"I suppose you discussed all this with your district chief of police before the war?"

Lieutenant Dub glared at Lieutenant Lukash and went out.

The train was standing on an embankment, and at the bottom of the slope various objects were scattered about, evidently thrown away by the Russian soldiers who had retreated through this cutting. There were rusty tea cans, cartridge pouches, coils of barbed wire and more bloodstained strips of gauze and cotton wool. Above this cutting stood a group of soldiers, and Lieutenant Dub was not slow to perceive Schweik was among them, explaining something to the rest.

Accordingly he went there.

"What’s the matter here?" inquired Lieutenant Dub sternly, coming to a standstill right in front of Schweik.

"Beg to report, sir," replied Schweik on behalf of all, "we’re having a look."

"Having a look at what?" shouted Lieutenant Dub.

"Beg to report, sir, we’re having a look down below into the cutting."

"And who gave you permission to do that?"

"Beg to report, sir, we’re carrying out the orders of Colonel Schlager, who was our C. O. at Bruck. When he said good-bye

to us, when we were leaving for the battle field, as he said in his farewell speech, he said we was to have a good look at the places where there’d been any fighting, so as we could see how the fighting was done, and find out anything that might be useful for us to know. And now we can see in that ditch all the things a soldier has to chuck away when he’s doing a bunk. Beg to report, sir, it shows us what a mug’s game it is for a soldier to cart all sorts of useless junk about with him. It only loads him up without doing him any good. All it does is to make him tired, and when he’s been dragging all that heavy stuff about with him, it stands to reason he can’t fight properly."

A ray of hope darted through Lieutenant Dub’s mind that at last he’d manage to get Schweik up before a court-martial for anti-militaristic and treasonable propaganda, and so he quickly asked :

"So you think a soldier ought to throw away the cartridges that are lying about in this ditch, or the bayonets that we can see there?"

"Oh, no, sir, beg to report, sir, not at all," replied Schweik with a sweet smile. "But just have a look down there at that tin chamber pot."

And, right enough, at the bottom of the cutting lay defiantly a chamber pot with the enamel all chipped, eaten away with rust, among shards and other objects which, being no longer fit for domestic purposes, had been discarded by the station master, as material for arguments in future centuries by archaeologists who, having unearthed this settlement, would go quite crazy about it, and school children would be taught about the age of enamelled chamber pots.

Lieutenant Dub gazed at the object in question and he was unable to gainsay Schweik’s designation of it. He therefore said nothing, and Schweik launched out into a long anecdote in which a similar object played a prominent part. If Lieutenant Dub had followed his personal inclinations, he would have pushed Schweik over the edge, but he overcame this temptation, and interrupting Schweik’s narrative, he shouted at the group of soldiers :

"Don’t stand there gaping at me like that. I tell you, you don’t know me yet. But wait till you do get to know me !"

And when Schweik was moving away with the others, he bellowed :

"You stay here, Schweik !"

So there they stood, looking at each other, and Lieutenant Dub tried to think of something really terrifying that he could say. But before he had a chance to speak, Schweik remarked :

"Beg to report, sir, I hope this weather’ll last. It’s not too hot in the daytime and the nights are quite pleasant. That’s the best sort of weather for soldiering."

Lieutenant Dub took out his revolver and asked :

"Do you know what that is?"

"Beg to report, sir, yes, sir. Lieutenant Lukash has got one just like that."

"Then just you remember, my fine fellow," said Lieutenant Dub in solemn and dignified tones, "that something extremely unpleasant will happen to you, if you keep carrying on this propaganda of yours."

And he departed, repeating to himself :

"Yes, that’s the best way to put it to him : Propaganda, that’s the word I wanted ; propaganda."

Before Schweik got back into his truck, he walked up and down a little longer, muttering to himself:

"Well, I’m blessed if I know what sort of a label ought to be shoved on him."

But before he had finished his stroll, Schweik had devised a suitable designation for Lieutenant Dub: "Bloody old belly-acher."

After which discovery he returned to his truck.

Half an hour later they continued their journey towards Sanok. When they got beyond Szczawna, they again began to see small military cemeteries in the valleys. Below Szczawna there was a stone crucifix with a headless Christ, the head having been shot away during the bombardment of the railway line. The train now began to move at express speed as it pounded along down the valley towards Sanok. The horizon became wider and the number of shattered villages on both sides of the landscape

increased accordingly. At Kulashna a Red Cross train, smashed to pieces, was lying in a stream at the bottom of the railway embankment from which it had tumbled. The funnel of the engine had got rammed into the embankment and peeped forth from it like the muzzle of a cannon. This sight attracted much attention in the truck where Schweik was. Jurajda, the cook, was particularly indignant.

"They’re not supposed to shoot at Red Cross trains, are they?"

"They’re not supposed to, but they can," said Schweik. "Whoever fired that shot scored a bull’s-eye ; and then they’ve always got the excuse that it was at night and they couldn’t see the red cross. There’s lots of things in the world that you’re not supposed to do, but they can be managed all the same. When we were on manoeuvres down at Pisek there came an order that soldiers wasn’t to be trussed up while on the march. But our captain, he managed to get round it all right, because there’s no sense in an order like that, and it stands to reason that if a soldier’s trussed up, he can’t march. Well, our captain, the way he managed it was, when a soldier was trussed up, he just had him shoved in an army service lorry, and there you are. So you see there’s lots of things you’re not supposed to do, but you can do them all the same, as long as you set about it with a will, so to speak."

"My friends," said the volunteer officer, who had been busily taking notes, "every cloud has a silver lining. This Red Cross train which has been blown up, half burned, and thrown over the embankment will enrich the glorious annals of our battalion by yet another heroic exploit of the future. I can imagine, say somewhere about September 16th, which is the date I’ve got noted down, that a few simple, untutored soldiers, under the leadership of a corporal, from each company of our battalion, will volunteer to put out of action an enemy armoured train which is firing upon us and preventing us from crossing the river. These

gallant fellows will fulfil their purpose disguised as peasants -

"What’s this I see?" exclaimed the volunteer officer, suddenly breaking off his narrative and staring at his notes. "How on earth did our Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek manage to get into this little affair? Just listen, Sergeant," he continued, turning to

Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, "to the nice things I say about you in the history of the battalion. I rather fancy I mentioned you before, but this is altogether on a better and bigger scale." And, raising his voice, the volunteer officer read :

"Heroic death of Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek. Among those who volunteered for the daring exploit of putting the enemy armoured train out of action was Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, who, like the rest, was disguised in peasant attire. He was stunned by the explosion which ensued, and when he came to, he saw himself surrounded by the enemy, who immediately conveyed him to their divisional headquarters where, with death staring him in the face, he refused to give any information about the strength of our army. As he was in disguise, he was condemned to death as a spy. It had been originally intended to hang him, but in view of his rank, this was commuted to execution by shooting. The sentence was at once carried out by the wall of a cemetery, and the gallant Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek insisted that he should not be blindfolded. When asked whether he had any special wish, he replied, ’Send my last greeting to my battalion and tell them that I die fully persuaded that they will pass on from victory to victory. Also let Captain Sagner know that according to the latest brigade orders the daily ration of tinned meat is increased to 2 1/2 pieces of meat per man.’ Thus died Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, who by the last words he uttered caused at panic among the enemy, who had supposed that, by preventing us from crossing the river, they would cut us off from our supply centres, reduce us rapidly to starvation, and thus cause demoralization in our ranks. The composure with which he looked death in the face is attested by the circumstance that before his execution he played nap with the enemy staff officers. ’Give my winnings to the Russian Red Cross,’ he said, with the barrels of the rifles right in front of him. This nobility of character moved to tears the military representatives who witnessed his execution."

"I hope you don’t mind, Sergeant," continued the volunteer officer, "the liberty I’ve taken with your winnings. I was wondering whether they oughtn’t to be handed over to the Austrian Red Cross, but finally I decided that from a humanitarian point of view it didn’t really matter, as long as they were given for a charitable purpose."

"Poor old Vanek," remarked Schweik, "he might have left his cash to the Prague municipal soup kitchen, but perhaps it’s just as well he didn’t, because the mayor might have spent it on liver sausage for himself."

"Yes, they all do their bit of scrounging," said Chodounsky, the telephone operator.

"And there’s more of it goes on in the Red Cross than anywhere else," affirmed with bitter emphasis Jurajda the cook. "I knew a chap at Bruck who used to do the cooking for the messes there, and he said that the matron and the head nurses used to send home bags and bags of sherry and chocolate. That’s the destiny of man. All of us pass through countless changes in the course of an endless life, and sooner or later, at definite periods of our activity, we all have to do our turn at scrounging. I’ve been through that particular period myself."

Jarajda, cook and occultist, took a bottle of brandy from his haversack.

"Here we have," he said, opening the bottle, "irrefutable proof of my assertion. I took it from the officers’ mess before we left. It’s one of the best makes of brandy and was supposed to be used for the icing on fancy cakes. But it was predestined to be scrounged by me, just as I was predestined to scrounge it."

"And it’d be a nobby sort of idea," observed Schweik, "if we was predestined to join you in this particular bit of scrounging. Anyway, I sort of fancy that’s how it’ll turn out."

And it did indeed turn out that they were so predestined. The bottle was passed round, in spite of the protests of Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, who declared that brandy should be drunk from a mess tin and properly shared out, because there was one bottle among five of them, and with an odd number like that it might easily happen that somebody would get a gulp more than the others ; whereupon Schweik remarked :

"That’s quite right, and if the sergeant wants us to have an even number, perhaps he wouldn’t mind falling out, and then we shan’t have any rumpus about it."

Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek then withdrew his suggestion and made a new and generous proposal by which Jurajda, the donor, was to be allowed to have two swigs at the bottle, but this

aroused a storm of opposition, because Vanek had already had one drink, having sampled the brandy when the bottle was first opened.

Finally they adopted the suggestion of the volunteer officer that they should drink in alphabetical order, after which they played cards, and when the game was over, Chodounsky had lost six months’ pay in advance. He was very upset about it and the volunteer officer, to whom he owed the money, demanded a series of I. O. U.’s from him, so that he could receive Chodounsky’s pay to square the debt.

"Don’t you worry, Chodounsky," Schweik consoled him. "If you have any luck, you’ll go west in the first dust-up we have, and then your I. O. U.’s will be worth damn-all to Marek. Sign for him and chance it."

The supposition that he might go west was extremely distasteful to Chodounsky, and he objected with emphasis.

"There’s no likelihood of me going west, because I’m a telephone operator, and they’re always in bomb-proof shelters."

The volunteer officer, however, expressed the view that telephone operators, on the contrary, are exposed to great danger and it was against them that the enemy artillery was chiefly directed. No telephone operator, he said, was safe in his bomb-prooff shelter. Even if he was at a depth of thirty feet underground, the enemy artillery would spot him just the same. The telephone operators were being wiped out wholesale, and the best proof of it was that when they had left Bruck, the twenty-eighth course for telephone operators was just being started.

Chodounsky looked very down in the mouth, and seeing his woebegone expression, Schweik said to him affably :

"You’ve been properly taken in."

And the volunteer officer said :

"Let’s see what I’ve got you down for in my notes on the history of the battalion. Ah, here we are : ’Chodounsky, telephone operator, buried by a mine, telephoned from his living tomb to the staff : "I die congratulating my battalion on its victory." ’ "

"You ought to be satisfied with that," said Schweik. "What more do you want? Do you remember that telephone operator on

the Titanic who kept telephoning into the kitchen while the boat was sinking and asking them when lunch would be ready?"

"Well, it’s all the same to me," said the volunteer officer. "If you like, I’ll make Chodounsky say, as he breathes his last: ’Give my best wishes to the Iron Brigade.’ "