The Good Soldier Svejk Chapter 4.

Quick March.

Sanok turned out to be the brigade headquarters of the "Iron Brigade," to which the battalion of the 91st regiment belonged by virtue of its origins. Although the railway communication was unbroken from Sanok to Lemberg and northward as far as the frontier, it was a mystery why the staff of the eastern sector had arranged for the Iron Brigade with its staff to concentrate the draft battalions for a hundred miles behind the line, when at this particular period the front extended from Brody on the Bug and along the river northwards toward Sokol.

This very interesting strategic problem was solved in a remarkably simple manner when Captain Sagner went to the

brigade headquarters at Sanok to report the arrival of the draft there.

The orderly officer was the brigade adjutant, a Captain Tayerle.

"I can’t make out," said Captain Tayerle, "why you haven’t been given definite instructions. It’s all settled which way you’ve got to go, and, of course, you ought to have notified us beforehand about it. According to the arrangements made by the general staff, you’ve arrived two days too soon."

Captain Sagner’s face flushed, but it never occurred to him to say anything about all the cipher telegrams which he had been receiving throughout the journey.

"I can’t make it out," repeated Captain Tayerle, and mused somewhat. "By the way," he then continued, "are you a regular officer? You are? That’s quite a different matter. A chap doesn’t know where he is nowadays. We’ve had so many of these dud lieutenants passing through here. When we were withdrawing from Limanowa and Kraśnik, all these temporary gentlemen got the wind up, as soon as they set eyes on a Cossack patrol. We staff chaps can’t stand all those hangers-on. They put on too much side just because they’ve passed some damn fool examination. They’re a lot of bloody outsiders, that’s what they are."

Captain Tayerle spat with contempt, and then confidentially patted Captain Sagner on the shoulder.

"You’re staying here for about a couple of days. I’ll show you round the town. We’ve got a few tasty bits of skirt here, I can tell you. There’s a general’s daughter, some hot baby she is. We all dress up in women’s togs, and you ought to see the stunts she does then. She’s a skinny piece, nothing much to look at, but, by Jove, she knows a thing or two. She’s a saucy piece of goods. But you’ll see for yourself.

"Excuse me," he broke off. "I must go out and spew. That’s the third time to-day."

When he returned, he informed Captain Sagner, in order to show him what a jolly time they were having there, that it was the after-effects of the previous evening’s spree, at which the pioneer section had done their bit.

Captain Sagner soon became acquainted with the commander

of this section. A lanky fellow in uniform with three gold stars dashed into the office, and without observing the presence of Captain Sagner, he addressed Captain Tayerle thus :

"Hallo, you dirty dog, what are you doing here? You made a fine old mess of the countess last night."

He sat down on a chair and flicking his thin bamboo cane across his calves, he continued, with a broad grin :

"The last thing I remember was you spewing into her lap."

"Yes," assented Captain Tayerle, "we had a jolly time last night."

He then introduced Captain Sagner to the officer with the bamboo cane, and they all three adjourned to the café. When they had installed themselves there, Captain Tayerle ordered a bottle of brandy and called for any of the girls who were disengaged to be sent in. It now turned out that the café was really a disorderly house, and as none of the girls were disengaged, Captain Tayerle flew into a temper and started bullying the manageress. He wanted to know who was with Miss Ella. When he was told that it was a lieutenant, he blustered more than ever.

The lieutenant who was with Miss Ella was none other than Lieutenant Dub, who, as soon as the draft had been billeted in the local grammar school, had called together his squad and made a long speech to them, particularly drawing attention to the fact that all along their line of retreat the Russians had left behind them brothels with diseased occupants, for the purpose of striking a treacherous blow at the well-being of the Austrian army. He therefore warned the troops against visiting such establishments. He added that he proposed to visit these places personally to see whether his orders were being carried out. They were now, he said, in the battle zone, and anyone caught infringing these regulations would be tried by court-martial.

So Lieutenant Dub had gone forth to see personally whether his orders were being obeyed, and as a starting point for his tour of inspection he had selected the sofa in Miss Ella’s apartment, on the second floor of what was known as the "Municipal Café," and lolling in his pants upon this bug-infested sofa, he was having a thoroughly good time. While Miss Ella was telling him the tragic story of her life, the usual yarn about how her

father had been a factory owner and her mother a teacher at a young ladies’ college at Budapest, and how she had been driven to her present life by an unhappy love affair, Lieutenant Dub was helping himself freely to a bottle of gin which, together with two glasses, stood on a small table within reach. By the time the bottle was half empty, Lieutenant Dub was quite fuddled, and thought that Miss Ella was Kunert, his orderly. He kept on addressing her in bullying tones :

"Now then, Kunert, you brute, wait till you get to know me from the bad side -"

Meanwhile, Captain Sagner had returned to his battalion. New divisional orders had been received, and it now became necessary to decide exactly where the 91st regiment was to go, because according to the new arrangements its original route was to be followed by the draft battalion of the 102nd regiment. It was all very complicated. The Russians were retreating very rapidly in the northeastern corner of Galicia, so that a number of Austrian units were mingling there, and, in places, units of the German army were also being thrust in like wedges, while the resulting chaos was supplemented by the arrival of new draft battalions and other military formations at the front. The same thing was happening in sectors which were some distance behind the front, as here in Sanok, where a number of German troops, the reserves of the Hanoverian division, had suddenly arrived. Their commander was a colonel of such hideous aspect that the brigadier was quite upset by the sight of him. The colonel of the Hanoverian reserves produced the arrangements of his staff, by which his troops were to be billeted in the local grammar school, where the men of the 91st regiment had already taken up their quarters. And for his staff he demanded the premises of the local branch of the Cracow Bank, which was occupied by the brigade headquarters staff.

The brigadier got into direct communication with divisional headquarters, to whom he gave an account of the situation. The cantankerous Hanoverian then had a talk to divisional headquarters, and the consequence was that the brigade received the following orders :

"The brigade will evacuate the town at 6 p. m. and will pro-

ceed in the direction Turowa-Wolsko-Liskowiec-Starasól-Sambor, where further orders will be received. The brigade will be accompanied by the draft battalion of the 91st regiment, as escort, thus : The advance guard will leave at 5:30 p. m. in the direction of Turowa, with a distance of 2 miles between the southern and northern protecting flank. The rear guard will leave at 6:15 p. m."

So a great hubbub arose in the grammar school. An officers’ conference was to be held, but was delayed by the absence of Lieutenant Dub. Schweik was detailed to go and look for him.

"I hope," said Lieutenant Lukash to Schweik, "that you won’t have any trouble in finding him. You two don’t seem to hit it off together, somehow."

"Beg to report, sir," said Schweik. "I’d like to have my orders in writing. Then there won’t be any mistake, and, as you say, sir, we don’t seem to hit it off together."

While Lieutenant Lukash was jotting down on a leaf torn from his notebook a few words to the effect that Lieutenant Dub was to proceed immediately to the grammar school for the conference, Schweik continued :

"Yes, sir, you can safely leave it to me, like you always can. I’ll find him all right, because the troops have been told that brothels are out of bounds, and he’s sure to be in one to make sure that none of the chaps in his company are anxious for a court-martial, which is what he generally threatens them with. He told his company himself that he was going to search every blessed brothel in the town, and if he copped anyone, they’d get to know him from his bad side and they’d be sorry for it. And, as a matter of fact, I know where he is. He’s in that café, just opposite, because all his company watched him, to see where he’d go first."

The Municipal Café, the establishment to which Schweik referred, was divided into two parts. Visitors who did not wish to pass through the café itself could go round to the back of the premises, where an elderly lady who was basking in the sun would extend a polyglot invitation in German, Polish and Magyar to inspect the female attractions of the establishment. When Schweik entered, he came into contact with this worthy person,

who brazenly denied that they had any lieutenant among the visitors, whereupon Schweik thrust her aside and proceeded with dignified tread to mount the wooden staircase to the second floor. This caused the polyglot matron to set up a terrific hullabaloo, as a result of which, the proprietor of the establishment, an impoverished Polish aristocrat, appeared on the scene, rushed upstairs after Schweik and tugged at his tunic, shouting to him in German that only officers were allowed on the second floor, and that the place for private soldiers was down below. Schweik pointed out to him that he was paying a visit there in the interests of the whole army, and that he was looking for a lieutenant without whom the army could not proceed to the front. When the proprietor began to show signs of more obstreperous tactics, Schweik pushed him downstairs and went on his way to inspect the premises.

He discovered that all the rooms were empty, until he reached a door at the very end of the passage. In reply to his knock, he heard, first of all, Miss Ella’s voice raised in squeaky protest, followed by the gruff voice of Lieutenant Dub, who, perhaps imagining that he was still in his quarters in camp, spluttered, "Come in!"

Schweik went in, went up to the sofa and handing Lieutenant Dub the leaf torn from the notebook of Lieutenant Lukash, he said, with a sideway glance at the articles of clothing scattered about in a corner :

"Beg to report, sir, you’ve got to get dressed and come at once along with me, like it says in these here orders I’m handing to you, back to the place where we’re quartered, because there’s going to be an important meeting there."

Lieutenant Dub goggled his eyes at Schweik, whom, through alcoholic mists, he just managed to recognize. He imagined that Schweik had been sent up before him in the orderly room and accordingly he said :

"All right, Schweik, I’ll settle—settle—settle—up—with— with—you—in a—jiff—jiff—jiffy. I’ll sh-sh-show—you— what’s—coming—to—you -"

And then, turning to Miss Ella, he shouted :

"Kunert, another—little—drink—for—me."

He had his little drink and then, tearing up the paper containing the message, he laughed heartily.

"Is—that—a—note—of—excuse?" he babbled on merrily. "We—don’t—accept—them—here. We’re—in—the—army— now—and—not—at—school. Schweik—step—two—paces forward—in—what—year—did—Philip—of—Macedon—defeat —the—Romans? What’s—that? You—don’t—know—you— thickheaded dunce, you?"

"Beg to report, sir," continued Schweik relentlessly, "this is brigade orders, sir, and all the officers have got to get dressed and go to the battalion Besprechung. You see, sir, we’re starting a big push, and they’ve just got to decide which company’s going to be the advance guard and which the rear guard, and who’s to be on the flank, and all that. That’s what they’ve got to decide, sir, and it strikes me, sir, you ought to have something to say about it."

This diplomatic speech somewhat cleared Lieutenant Dub’s mind, and he now began to perceive dimly that he was not in barracks. With some show of caution he asked :

"Where am I?"

Schweik coughed.

"Beg to report, sir, you’re in a brothel. It takes all sorts to make a world, sir."

Lieutenant Dub sighed deeply, slipped down from the sofa and began to hunt for his uniform. In this process he received assistance from Schweik, and when at last he was dressed, they went forth together. Before they emerged into the outer world again, however, Schweik returned, and ignoring Miss Ella, who quite misinterpreted the reason for his reappearance, rapidly finished what was left of the bottle of gin, and then joined Lieutenant Dub once more.

In the street the sultry state of the atmosphere caused Lieutenant Dub to lapse anew into befuddlement. He began to talk to Schweik completely at random, explaining to him that at home he had a pillar box from Heligoland, and that as soon as he had passed his matriculation he had gone to play billiards, and had not raised his cap to his form master. And after each remark he inquired: "See what I mean?"

"Of course I see what you mean, sir," replied Schweik. "The way you talk, sir, is just like a tinker I used to know, Pokorny his name was. If anyone asked him : ’Have you ate any mushrooms this year?’ he’d say, ’No, but I hear the new Sultan of Morocco’s a fine fellow.’ "

Lieutenant Dub came to a standstill and blurted out :

"Sultan of Morocco? He’s a back number."

Whereupon he wiped the sweat from his forehead and staring at Schweik with a glazed expression in his eyes, he muttered:

"I’ve never sweated like this, even in winter. See what I mean?"

"Not half I don’t, sir. There was an old gentleman who was a regular customer at The Flagon, he used to be on the county council, or something, but they’d pensioned him off, and he said exactly the same thing. He always said he was surprised how much warmer it was in summer than in winter, and he couldn’t make out why nobody had looked into it."

At the entrance to the grammar school, Schweik left Lieutenant Dub, who reeled upstairs into the conference room, where he immediately reported to Captain Sagner that he was quite drunk. Throughout the proceedings he sat there with bowed head, but during the debate he stood up every now and then, and shouted :

"Your opinions are quite correct, gentlemen, but I’m quite drunk."

When all the arrangements had been made for Lieutenant Lukash’s company to form the advance guard, Lieutenant Dub gave a sudden jerk, stood up and said :

"I wonder whether you gentlemen remember our old form master? Three cheers for our old form master! Hip, hip, hurray!"

It occurred to Lieutenant Lukash that the best thing to do would be to get Kunert, Lieutenant Dub’s orderly, to put him into the physics laboratory, at the door of which a sentry was posted, probably to prevent anyone from stealing the rest of the collection of minerals which were in a glass case, and half of which had already been pilfered. Brigade headquarters impressed the need for this upon all detachments which were quartered

there. This precaution dated from the time when a battalion of Hungarian militiamen had begun to help themselves to the specimens in the glass case. They took a particular fancy to the collection of crystals and quartz which they slipped into their haversacks. And one of the white crosses in the military cemetery bore the inscription : "Laszlo Gargany," this being the name of the Hungarian militiaman who was sleeping his eternal sleep there. During one of the inroads upon the collection of minerals he had drunk up all the methylated spirits from a receptacle containing a number of preserved reptiles.

When all the other officers had gone, Lieutenant Lukash sent for Kunert, who carried Lieutenant Dub out and deposited him on a sofa. Lieutenant Dub suddenly became quite boyish. He caught hold of Kunert’s hand, began to examine the palm of it, saying that from the lines of the palm of Kunert’s hand he could read the name of Kunert’s future wife.

"What’s your name? Take a notebook and a pencil out of the breastpocket of my tunic. So your name’s Kunert? All right; come back here in a quarter of an hour, and I’ll give you a piece of paper with the name of your future wife on it."

Scarcely had he said this, than he began to snore, but he soon woke up again and started scrawling in his notebook. He tore out what he had written, threw it on the floor and mysteriously putting his finger to his lips, he said in a fatuous voice :

"Not yet, not for another quarter of an hour. You’d better look for the paper blindfold."

Kunert was such a good-natured fellow that he actually came back a quarter of an hour later, and when he undid the piece of paper, he read there, in Lieutenant Dub’s scribble :

"The name of your future wife will be Mrs. Kunert."

When, a little later, he showed this to Schweik, he told him to take great care of the piece of paper, because such keepsakes from big military men were very valuable. In the old days it wasn’t like that. Officers never used to correspond with their orderlies and call them "sir."

When preparations had been completed for the advance to begin in accordance with the official plans, the brigade general,

the same one who had been so neatly ousted from his quarters by the Hanoverian colonel, had the whole battalion drawn up in the customary square formation, and delivered a speech to them. This man, who was very fond of orating, went on talking about anything that came into his head, and when his stock of ideas was exhausted, he suddenly remembered the field post.

"Soldiers," he thundered forth, "we are now approaching the enemy front, from which we are separated by only a few days’ march. Hitherto, soldiers, being constantly on the move, you have had no opportunity of sending your addresses to those who are near and dear to you, so that you could have the pleasure of receiving letters from those you left behind you."

He seemed unable to extricate himself from this train of thought, and he kept on repeating such phrases as : "Those near and dear to you," "The ones you left behind you," "Sweethearts and wives," etc. And anyone who heard his speech might have supposed that all these men in drab uniforms were to proceed with the utmost readiness to the slaughter simply and solely because a field post had been organized at the front, and that if a soldier had both his legs blown off by a shell, he was sure to die happy when he remembered that his field post was No. 72 and that perhaps a letter was awaiting him there from those he had left behind him, possibly together with a parcel containing a piece of salt beef, some bacon and a few home-made cakes.

After the general’s speech, the brigade band played the national anthem, there were three cheers for the Emperor, and then the various detachments of this herd of human cattle, destined for the shambles somewhere beyond the River Bug, set out successively on the march, in accordance with the instructions which had been received.

The nth company started at 5 ’.30 in the direction of Turowa Wolska. Schweik toddled along right at the back with the ambulance section, while Lieutenant Lukash rode up and down the column, frequently inspecting the ambulance section at the rear, in order to ascertain whether there was any improvement in the condition of Lieutenant Dub, who was being conveyed in a small cart, covered with tarpaulin, to fresh exploits in an unknown future. Lieutenant Lukash also relieved the monotony of the

march every now and then by exchanging a few words with Schweik, who, stolidly shouldering his haversack and rifle, was telling Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek about how many years before he had been on a fine route march during the manœuvres at Velké Mezirici. After a while he began to trot sturdily along in step with Lieutenant Lukash’s horse and started talking about the field post.

"That was a nice speech we heard and no mistake, and it must be a treat for everyone to get a nice letter from home when he’s away at the front. When I was doing my service, years and years ago, I once got a letter sent to me in barracks, and I’ve still got it on me."

From a grimy pocketbook Schweik extracted a grease-stained letter, and still keeping in step with Lieutenant Lukash’s horse, which had broken into a gentle trot, he read :

"You rotten blighter, you dirty, low-down crook. Corporal Kriz went to Prague on leave, and he told me you’ve been dancing with some boss-eyed little slut and that you’ve given me the push. All right then, we’re through with each other. Bożena. And let me tell you that corporal is a regular sport, and he won’t half lay you out. I asked him to. And let me tell you that when you come back on leave you won’t find me in the land of the living."

"Of course," explained Schweik, keeping in step with the gentle trotting of the horse, "when I did come back on leave, I found her in the land of the living all right. Not half I didn’t. There she was in a pub with a couple of soldiers, and one of ’em was so much in the land of the living that he was putting his hand under her bodice, as if he wanted, beg to report, sir, to pluck the bloom of her virginity, as they say."

"Well, Schweik, there’s no getting away from it, you always manage to hit the nail on the head," said Lieutenant Lukash, and rode forward to the other end of the column. The men were now beginning to straggle, because after their long rest in the train the march in full equipment was making their limbs ache, and they eased themselves as best they could. They kept shifting their rifles from one side to the other and most of them went plodding along with bowed heads. They were all suffering from great thirst

because, although the sun had already gone down, it was as sultry as in the middle of the day, and by now their water bottles were all quite empty. This discomfort, which, they realized, was a foretaste of the far greater hardships which were in store for them, made everyone become more and more slack and jaded. Earlier in the day they had been singing, but now this stopped entirely and they began to ask each other how much further it was to Turowa Wolska, where they supposed that they were going to spend the night.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Dub, through being well shaken up in the two-wheeled cart, was slowly coming to. He could now raise himself into a sitting posture and more than five hundred yards ahead of him he saw clouds of dust, from which the shapes of soldiers dimly emerged. Lieutenant Dub, who now began to recover his martial enthusiasm, leaned his head over the side of the cart and yelled into the midst of the dust rising from the highroad:

"Soldiers, the lofty task before you is a difficult one ; you are faced by all kinds of privations and hardships of every description. But I have the utmost faith in your endurance and your strong will. No obstacle, soldiers, is too great for you to overcome. Once more I will repeat that I am not leading you to any easy victory. It’s going to be a hard job for you, but you’ll manage it in the end, and your fame will endure through the ages."

And, at this point, Lieutenant Dub was very, very unwell indeed. He bowed his head over the dust of the highway, but after this interval of abasement, he exclaimed with new fervour :

"Soldiers, keep up your spirits! Left, right; left, right; left, right-After which he sank back on to the haversack of Chodounsky, the telephone operator, and slept soundly till they reached Turowa Wolska, where, at Lieutenant Lukash’s orders, they helped him to his feet and lifted him down from the cart. He was still not quite his old self, because when he was moving off toward his squad, he said to Lieutenant Lukash :

"You don’t know me yet, but wait till you do, that’s all !" "You’d better go and ask Schweik about your queer behaviour," replied Lieutenant Lukash.

So before rejoining his squad, Lieutenant Dub went to look for Schweik, whom he found in the company of Baloun and Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek. Being far from sure of himself, he asked them :

"Well, are you having a good talk?"

"That we are, sir," replied Schweik. "We’re just talking about lemon juice. There’s nothing like a good talk for making a soldier forget his hardships."

Lieutenant Dub then asked Schweik to come along with him for a little way, because he wanted to ask him something. When they were out of earshot of the rest, he asked in an extremely faltering voice :

"You weren’t talking about me, were you?"

"Lord bless you, no, sir. We was just talking about lemon juice, like what I just said, sir."

"Lieutenant Lukash was just telling me that I’ve been behaving queerly and that you know all about it, Schweik."

Schweik replied in very solemn and emphatic tones :

"You never behaved queerly, sir, not a bit of it. You was just paying a visit to a free-and-easy house. But I reckon there was some mistake about that. I expect, sir, you landed yourself in the wrong place because the weather was so hot, and if you ain’t used to liquor, why, when it begins to get a bit warmer than usual, even ordinary rum’ll get into your head, and you was drinking gin, sir. So I had orders to hand you a notice telling you to attend the officers’ meeting that was going to be held before we started moving forward, and I found you upstairs with a young lady. And what with the gin and the hot weather and one thing and another, you didn’t know who I was and you was lying undressed on a sofa. But you wasn’t behaving queerly, sir, not by any manner of means. And as I was saying just now, sir, that’s the sort of thing that might happen to anyone when the weather’s hot. Some people can’t stand it at all, and others take to it like a duck to water, as the saying is. If you’d have known old Vejvoda, a French-polisher he was, and he used to live down our way. Well, he made up his mind he’d never drink anything that’d make him tight. So off he goes one day to look for teetotal drinks. Just to give himself a proper send-off, like, he has a good glass of spirits before he starts. Well,

at the first pub he comes to, he orders a vermouth, and in a cautious sort of way he begins to ask the landlord what it is the teetotallers drink. Because he thought, and he was quite right, too, that even teetotallers couldn’t stand plain water. So the landlord explains to him that teetotallers drink soda water, lemonade, milk, cold skilly, teetotal wine and other beverages without alcohol. Old Vejvoda rather takes a fancy to the teetotal wine and asks whether there was any teetotal brandy as well. Then he had some more vermouth and tells the landlord what a shame it is for a man to be always getting boozed, and the landlord says he can stand anything except a man who gets boozed in somebody else’s pub and then comes to him for a bottle of soda water to clear his head, and then kicks up a row in the bargain. ’If you want to get tight,’ says the landlord, ’get tight here in my pub, or you’re no friend of mine.’ So then, sir, old Vejvoda -"

"Look here," snappishly interrupted Lieutenant Dub, who, as a result of Schweik’s recital, had become quite sober, "what are you telling me all this for?"

"Beg to report, sir, this ain’t really got nothing to do with our official business, like, but I thought that as we was having a friendly little chat -"

At this moment it occurred to Lieutenant Dub that Schweik again insulted him, and he shouted at him :

"One of these days you’ll get to know what sort of man I am. What are you standing like that for?"

"Beg to report, sir, I ain’t standing properly, and that’s a fact. Beg to report, sir, I forgot to click my heels together, sir."

Schweik now remedied this omission in fine style.

Lieutenant Dub wondered what he was to say next, and finally he growled :

"Just you pay attention to me once and for all and don’t let me have to tell you about it."

And, as this seemed somehow inconclusive, he tacked on to it his ancient slogan :

"You don’t know me, but I know you."

He then sent for Kunert, his orderly, and instructed him to fetch a jug of water. To Kunert’s credit be it said that he was a long time searching for a jug of water in Turowa Wolska. At last

he succeeded in pilfering a jug from the parish priest and he filled this jug with water from a well which was almost completely boarded up, as the contents of it were suspected of containing typhus germs. Lieutenant Dub drank up the whole jugful without any untoward consequences, thus confirming the truth of the old proverb about ill weeds.

They were all very much mistaken in supposing that they were going to spend the night at Turowa Wolska.

Lieutenant Lukash called for Chodounsky, Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, together with Schweik, the company runner and Baloun. Their instructions were simple. They were to leave their equipment with the ambulance section, to make immediately for Maly Polanec across the fields, and then along the river, downward in a southeastern direction on the road to Liskowiec.

Schweik, Vanek and Chodounsky were to act as billeting officers and to secure a night’s quarters for the company, which would follow them an hour later, or an hour and a half at the outside. Meanwhile, on the spot where he, Lieutenant Lukash, was to spend the night, Baloun was to have a goose roasted and the other three were to keep a sharp eye on Baloun, to prevent him from gobbling up half of it. In addition to this, Vanek, in cooperation with Schweik, was to purchase a hog for the whole company, in proportion to the statutory allowance of meat. Stew was to be cooked that night. The billets must be clean. They were to avoid the vermin-infested huts, so that the troops could get a proper rest, because the company had to leave Liskowiec at half past six in the morning for Krościenko on the way to Starasól.

While the four of them were setting forth on their way, the parish priest turned up and began to distribute among the troops a leaflet containing a hymn in the various languages of the army. He had a parcel of these hymns which had been left with him by a high church dignitary who was making a motor trip through devastated Galicia, accompanied by a number of young ladies.

Now there were many latrines at Turowa Wolska, and before long all of them were clogged with these leaflets.

When it grew dark, the way became extremely unpleasant and the four of them who were to find quarters for the 11th company

got into a small wood above a stream which was supposed to lead to Liskowiec.

Baloun, who for the first time in his life found himself on an errand involving a journey into the unknown, and to whom everything—the darkness, and the fact that they were going on in advance to look for billets—began to appear uncanny, was suddenly gripped by a weird suspicion that all was not as it should be.

"Comrades," he murmured, as he stumbled along the road above the stream, "our lives have been sacrificed."

"What do you mean?" asked Schweik in quiet but gruff accents.

"Comrades, we mustn’t make such a row," said Baloun imploringly. "I feel it in my bones they’ll hear us and start shooting before we know where we are. I know what I’m talking about. They’ve sent us on in advance so as to find out whether the enemy are anywhere about, and when they hear the shooting, they’ll know they can’t go any further. We’re what’s called an advance patrol, comrades."

"Well, go on in advance, then," said Schweik. "We’ll keep close behind you and when you’re shot, just let us know, so as we can duck down in good time. You’re a fine soldier, you are, afraid of being shot at. Why, that’s the very thing that ought to suit every soldier down to the ground. It stands to reason, the more the enemy fire at him, the quicker they’ll use up their ammunition. Every time one of the enemy fires a shot at you, his chances of putting up a good fight get smaller. And at the same time he’s glad he can fire at you, because he’s got fewer cartridges to carry about, and it’s easier for him to do a bunk."

Baloun sighed deeply :

"What about my farm?"

"Farm be blowed!" said Schweik. "It’s better for you to lay down your life for the Emperor. Haven’t they taught you that?"

"They did say something about it," said the boobyish Baloun. "But I wish the Emperor’d fed us better."

"Well, you are a greedy hog and no mistake," objected Schweik. "Before going into action a soldier didn’t ought to get anything to eat at all. Captain Untergriez used to tell us that, years and years ago. ’You damned gang of skunks,’ he said, ’if

ever there’s a war, take good care not to overeat yourselves before you go into action. Anyone who overeats himself and then gets shot in the stomach is done for, because all the soup and army-bread starts spurting out of his inside and the inflammation finishes him off on the spot. But if his stomach’s empty, a wound like that is nothing at all, just a mere fleabite, only nicer."

Below, in the village where they were to find quarters for the company, it was pitch-dark, and all the dogs began to yelp, the result being that the expedition was brought to a standstill to discuss how these brutes could be dealt with.

"Suppose we went back?" whispered Baloun.

"If we did that," said Schweik, "you’d be shot for cowardice."

The yelping of the dogs became worse and worse, and Schweik yelled into the nocturnal gloom :

"Lie down, you varmints, lie down, will you !" just as he used to yell at his own dogs when he was still a dog fancier. This made them bark all the more, and so Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek said:

"Don’t yell at them, Schweik, or vou’ll set every blessed dog in Galicia barking at us."

As they descended toward the village, Schweik favoured them with recollections of his experiences with dogs during the army manoeuvres, and he also pointed out that dogs are afraid of lighted cigarettes at night. Unfortunately none of them had any cigarettes to smoke, so that Schweik’s suggestion produced no positive results. It turned out, however, that the dogs were barking for joy, because they had pleasant memories of the troops who had previously passed that way and had always left them something to feed on. From afar they had scented the approach of people who would leave them bones and carcases of horses. And so before Schweik knew where he was, four curs were fawning upon him, their tails wagging with delight. Schweik stroked and patted them as he said in wheedling tones :

"Well, here we are at last. We’ve come here to have a nice little snooze, a nice little feed ; we’ll give you some nice little bones and some nice little crusts, and to-morrow morning off we go again to fight the enemy."

Lights began to appear in the cottages and when they knocked

at the door of the first cottage, to find out where the mayor lived, a shrill and grating female voice was heard from within, announcing in a language which was neither Polish nor Ukrainian, that her husband was fighting at the front, that her children had got smallpox, that the Russians had taken everything away with them, and that before her husband had gone to the front, he had told her never to open the door to anyone at night. It was only when they had emphasized their attack on the door by insisting that they had been sent to look for billets that an unknown hand let them in, and they then discovered that this was actually the residence of the mayor, who unsuccessfully tried to make Schweik believe that he had not imitated the shrill female voice. He explained that when his wife was suddenly woken up, she would start talking at random, without knowing what she said. As regards quarters for the whole company, the village was so tiny, he said, that there wasn’t room for a single soldier in it. There was no place at all for them to sleep. Nor was there anything on sale ; the Russians had taken all there was. He suggested that if the gentlemen would kindly allow him, he would take them to Krościenko, three-quarters of an hour further on. That was a place with large estates and they would find plenty of room there. Every soldier would be able to wrap himself up in a sheepskin, and there were so many cows that every soldier would be able to fill his mess tin with milk. There was good water, too, and the officers would be able to sleep in a mansion there. But here, in Liskowiec ! A wretched, scabby, verminous place ! He himself had once had five cows, but the Russians had taken everything from him, so that when he wanted milk for his sick children, he had to go as far as Krościenko.

In proof of this, the cows in the byre adjoining his cottage began to low and the shrill female voice could be heard abusing the unfortunate animals and expressing the hope that they might fall a prey to cholera. But this did not nonplus the mayor, who said as he proceeded to put on his top boots :

"The only cow we’ve got here belongs to my neighbour, and that’s the one you’ve just heard. It’s a sick cow, a wretched animal, worthy sirs. The Russians took her calf away from her. Ever since then she’s stopped giving milk, but the owner feels

sorry for her and he won’t slaughter her because he hopes that the Blessed Virgin will put things right again."

During this speech he had been putting on his sheepskin coat.

"Now we’ll go to Krościenko, worthy sirs," he continued ; "it’s only three-quarters of an hour from here. No, what am I saying, wretched sinner that I am?—it’s not as far as that ; it won’t take even half an hour. I know a short cut across the stream and then through a small birch wood round by an oak tree. It’s a large village and they’ve got very strong vodka there. Let’s go now, worthy sirs. You must not lose any time. The soldiers of your famous regiment must be given a proper and comfortable place to rest in. The soldiers of our king and emperor who are fighting against the Russians need clean quarters to spend the night in. But here in our village there’s nothing but vermin, smallpox and cholera. Yesterday, in this cursed village of ours, three men turned black with the cholera. The most merciful God has cursed Liskowiec, worthy sirs."

At this point Schweik waved his hand majestically.

"Worthy sirs," he said, mimicking the mayor’s voice, "I once read in a book that when the Swedish wars were on, and there was orders to billet the troops in such and such a village, and the mayor tried to get out of it and wouldn’t oblige them, they hung him up pn the nearest tree. And then a Polish corporal was telling me to-day at Sanok that when the billeting officers arrive the mayor has to call together all the chief men of the village and then he just goes round with them to the cottages and says : Three men here, four men there, officers in the parsonage, and everything’s got to be ready in half an hour.

"Worthy sir," continued Schweik, turning to the mayor, "whereabouts is the nearest tree?"

The mayor did not understand the meaning of the word "tree," and so Schweik explained to him that it was a birch or an oak, or something that plums or apples grew on, or, in fact, anything with strong branches. The mayor did not quite understand this either, but when he heard the names of fruit being mentioned, he became alarmed because the cherries were now ripe, and so he said that he knew nothing about that kind of thing, but that there was an oak tree in front of his cottage.

"AU right, then," said Schweik, with an international gesture to denote hanging, "we’ll hang you up in front of your cottage, because you’ve got to understand that there’s a war on and we’ve got orders to sleep here and not in Krościenko or wherever it is. You’re not going to change our military plans, and if you try to, you’ll swing for it, like in that book about the Swedish wars. I remember, gentlemen, there was a case like this during the manœuvres at -"

Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek interrupted.

"Tell us about that later," he said, and then, turning to the mayor, he added:

"Now then, wake ’em all up and we’ll find our billets."

The mayor began to tremble and stammered something about being anxious to do the best for the worthy sirs, but if it had to be, why, perhaps they could find room in the village after all, with everything to their satisfaction, and he’d bring a lantern at once.

When he had gone out of the room, which was very scantily illuminated by a small oil lamp underneath the image of some saint or other, Chodounsky suddenly exclaimed :

"Where’s Baloun got to?"

But before they could take proper stock of the place, the door behind the stove, which led to some outer place, quietly opened, and Baloun squeezed his way in. He looked round cautiously to see if the mayor was still there, and then said snufflingly as if he had a terrible cold :

"I’ve been in the larder and shoved my hand into something and took a mouthful of it, and now it all keeps sticking together. It ain’t salty and it ain’t sweet ; it’s dough for making bread with."

Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek flashed an electric torch on him, and they all agreed that never in their lives had they seen an Austrian soldier in such a ghastly mess. Then they had quite a scare, because they saw Baloun’s tunic swelling up as if he were in the last stage of pregnancy.

"What have you been up to, Baloun?" inquired Schweik compassionately, as he prodded him in the bulging stomach.

"That’s gherkins," wheezed Baloun, stifled by the dough, which wouldn’t move up nor down. "Be careful, that’s salt gher-

kins. I ate three of ’em in a bit of a hurry, and brought the rest for you."

Baloun began to extract gherkin after gherkin from beneath his tunic and handed them round.

At this juncture the mayor appeared on the threshold, with a light, and seeing what had happened, he crossed himself and lamented :

"The Russians took everything, and now our soldiers are taking everything, too."

They then all proceeded into the village, escorted by a pack of dogs who clung most obstinately to Baloun and pranced at his trouser pockets, where he had a lump of bacon. This was another of his finds in the pantry, but for sheer gluttony he had basely kept it to himself.

As they went round in search of billets, they ascertained that Liskowiec was a large place but that it really had been reduced to dire straits by the turmoil of war. It had not actually incurred any damage by fire, as, miraculously enough, neither side had included it in the sphere of operations, but on the other hand the inhabitants of neighbouring villages which had been destroyed were now crowded into it. In some huts there were as many as eight families living in the greatest misery, after all the losses they had suffered as a result of the pillage arising from the war, the first phase of which had swamped them like the turbulent waves of a flood.

The company had to be quartered partly in a small devastated distillery at the other end of the village, where half of them could be accommodated in the fermenting room. The rest, in batches of ten, were billeted on a number of farms, the wealthy owners of which had refused to admit any of the poverty-stricken rabble who had been reduced to beggary by being robbed of their goods and chattels.

The staff, with all the officers, Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, orderlies, telephone operators, ambulance section, cooks and Schweik, quartered themselves in the parsonage, where there was plenty of room, because the incumbent had likewise refused to admit any of the families who had lost all their possessions.

He was a tall, gaunt old man in a faded and greasy cassock,

who was so stingy that he would scarcely eat anything. His father had brought him up in great hatred of the Russians, but he suddenly got rid of his hatred when the Russians withdrew and the Austrian troops arrived, eating up all the geese and chickens which the Russians had not interfered with, while a few shaggy Cossacks had been quartered on him. And his grudge against the Austrian troops had increased when the Magyars had come into the village and taken all the honey from his hives. He now looked daggers at his nocturnal guests, and if did him good to be able to shrug his shoulders and declare, as he paced to and fro before them:

"I’ve got nothing. I’m a complete pauper and you won’t find so much as a slice of bread here."

Baloun looked particularly upset to hear of this distress, and it was a wonder he did not burst into tears. He found his way into the kitchen of the parsonage, upon which a sharp eye was being kept by a lanky youth acting as both handy-man and cook to the incumbent, who had given him strict orders to see that nothing, was stolen anywhere. And Baloun had found nothing in the kitchen, except a little caraway seed wrapped up in paper inside a salt cellar. So he had made short work of that.

In the yard of the small distillery behind the parsonage the fires were alight under the field cookers, and the water was already on the boil, but there was nothing in the water. The quartermaster-sergeant and the cooks had searched the village from end to end for a pig, but no pig had they found. Everywhere they obtained the same answer : the Russians had taken and eaten everything.

Then they knocked up the Jew in the tavern. He tugged at his side curls and displayed enormous distress at not being able to oblige them. But in the end he induced them to buy from him an ancient cow, a relic of the previous century, a gaunt eyesore on its last legs, a sheer mass of skin and bone. He demanded an exorbitant sum for this appalling object, and tearing his side curls he swore that they would not find another cow like this in the whole of Galicia, in the whole of Austria and Germany, in the whole of Europe, in the whole world. He wailed, whined and protested that this was the fattest cow which had ever come into the world at Jehovah’s behest. He vowed by all his forefathers that

people came from far and wide to look at this cow, that the whole countryside talked about this cow as a legend, that, in fact, it was no cow at all, but the juiciest of oxen. Finally, he kneeled down before them, and clutching at the knees of one after another, he exclaimed :

"Kill a poor old Jew if you like, but don’t go away without the cow."

He so bamboozled everybody with his howling that in the end the piece of carrion at which any knacker would have drawn the line was taken away to the field cooker. Then, long after he had the money safely in his pocket, he kept on wailing and lamenting that they had completely ruined him, destroyed him, that he had been reduced to beggary by having sold them so magnificent a cow at such an absurdly low price. He begged them to hang him up for having, in his old age, committed such a piece of folly which must make his fathers turn in their graves.

When, on top of this, he had wallowed in the dust before them, he suddenly shook all his grief aside, and went home, where he said to his wife:

"Elsa, my dear, the soldiers are fools, and your Nathan is a very shrewd man."

The cow gave them a lot of trouble. At times it seemed that they would never be able to skin the animal. When they tried to do so, they kept tearing the skin apart, and underneath they beheld sinews as twisted as a dried hawser.

Meanwhile, from somewhere or other, a sack of potatoes had been brought along, and hopelessly they began to cook the gristle and bones, while in the smaller field cooker a thoroughly desperate attempt was made to concoct from this piece of skeleton some kind of meal for the officers’ mess.

This wretched cow, if such a freak can be called a cow, stuck in the memories of all who came into contact with it, and later on, if at the Battle of Sokal the commanders had reminded the troops of the cow from Liskowiec, it is fairly certain that the nth company, with terrible yells of wrath, would have flung themselves, bayonets in hand, upon the enemy. The scandal of the cow was such that it did not even produce any broth. The more the flesh was boiled, the tighter it stuck to the bones, forming with them a

solid mass, as stodgy as a bureaucrat who has spent half his life feeding on official forms and devouring files and documents.

Schweik, who, as a sort of courier, kept up the lines of communication between staff and kitchen, in order to make sure when the meal would be cooked, finally announced to Lieutenant Lukash :

"It’s no use, sir, the meat on that cow is so hard that you could cut glass with it. The cook tried to bite a piece of it, and he’s broke a front tooth. And Baloun, he tried to bite a piece of it, too, and he’s broke a double tooth."

And Baloun solemnly stepped forward in front of Lieutenant Lukash, and handing him the broken tooth, wrapped up in a copy of the hymn which he had been given at Turowa Wolska, he stammered :

"Beg to report, sir, I’ve done what I could. This tooth got broke in the officers’ mess when we was trying to see if we could make some beefsteak out of that meat."

At these words, a woebegone form arose from the armchair by the window. It was Lieutenant Dub, who had been brought along in a two-wheeled cart by the ambulance section. He was a thorough wreck.

"Make less noise, please," he said brokenly. "I’m very unwell."

He sank back into the old armchair, every chink in which swarmed with bugs’ eggs.

"I’m tired out," he said in tragic accents. "I am sick and ailing, so please don’t speak about broken teeth in my presence. My address is: 18 King Street, Smichov, and if I don’t live until tomorrow, kindly see that the news is conveyed to my family in a considerate manner and that they don’t forget to mention on my grave that before the war I taught in a school under His Majesty’s Imperial Royal Government."

He then lapsed into a gentle snoring.

It was now decided that the troops had better have a nap before rations were issued, because in any case there would be no supper until morning.

In the kitchen, in front of a lighted stump of church candle, sat Chodounsky, the telephone operator, and wrote a stock of letters

to his wife, to save himself the trouble later on. The first was as follows :

My deer, deer wife, my beloved Bożenka,

It is nite and I keep thinking of you my deer one and see you thinking of me as you look at the empty plaice in the bed beside you. Please dont be angry with me if the thort of this makes me think about New-merus things. You no of corse I have bean at the f runt since the war started and I have herd Newmerus things from frends of mine who were wounded and went home on leeve and when they got home they wood rather have been under the Erth than find out that sum rotter had bean after their wives. It is Panefull for me deer Bożenka to rite to you like this I woodnt rite like this but you sed yourself I wasn’t the ferst who was on close turms with you and before me there was Mr Kraus who lives down Nicholas Street well when I think of this in the nite that this Crock mite start making himself a Newsense to you I think deerest Bożenka I cood ring his neck on the spot, I kep this to myself a long time but when I think he mite start coming after you agane it makes my Hart ake and let me just tell you I wont stand any wife of mine running round like a Hoar with everybody and bringing Disgrace on my name. Forgive me deerest Bożenka for talking so plane but take care I dont here anything of that Sort about you. Or I shood have to do you both In because I am prepaired for anything even if it cost me my Life with lots and lots of Kisses best wishes to Dad and Ma Your own Tony.

P. S. Don’t forget I gave you my name.

The next epistle which he added to his store ran :

My deerest Bożenka,

When you receeve these Lines you will no we have had a grate Battel in witch I am glad to say we came off Best. We shot down about io enemy airoplains and a general with a big Wort on his nose. In the Hite of the Battel when the shells were bersting above our Heds I thort of you deerest Bożenka and wondered what you were doing how you are and how everything is at Home. I allways remember how we were together at the beerhouse and you took me home and the next day you were Tired out. Now we are mooving on agane so their is no more Time for me to rite. I hope you have been Fathef ull to me becos you no I wont stand any nonsense of that Sort. But now we are starting to March again with lots and lots of kisses deer hoping all will turn out Well your own Tony.

At this point Chodounsky began to nod and soon fell fast asleep on the table.

The incumbent, who was not asleep and who kept walking all over the parsonage, opened the kitchen door, and for the sake of economy blew out the stump of church candle which was burning at Chodounsky’s elbow.

In the dining room nobody, except Lieutenant Dub, was asleep. Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, who had received from the brigade headquarters at Sanok a new schedule relating to supplies, was studying it carefully, and he discovered that the nearer the troops got to the front, the less food they were given. He could not help laughing at one paragraph in the schedule which prohibited the use of saffron and ginger in the preparation of soup for the rank-and-file. The schedule also contained a remark to the effect that bones were to be collected and sent to the base for transfer to divisional stores. This was rather vague, as it did not specify whether it referred to human bones or those of other cattle which had been slaughtered.

When in the morning they left Liskowiec on the way to Starasol and Stambov, they carried the wretched cow with them in the field cooker. It had not yet been cooked, and they decided that this was to be done as they went along. Then, halfway between Liskowiec and Starasol, where they were to halt for a rest, they would eat the cow.

Black coffee was served out to the troops before they started.

Lieutenant Dub was again put into the two-wheeled cart of the ambulance section, because he had taken a turn for the worse. Lieutenant Lukash was on horseback, with Schweik as a close companion, marching forward so briskly that it looked as though he begrudged every moment’s delay which kept him from coming into contact with the enemy. As he stepped out thus, side by side with Lieutenant Lukash, he said :

"I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, sir, but some of these chaps here are a weak-kneed lot. What they got on their back don’t weigh fifty pounds, and it’s all they can do to stick it. Somebody ought to give ’em lectures about it like what Lieutenant Buchanek —he’s dead now, poor blighter—did to us. He made us halt and

gather round him like a lot of chickens round a hen, and then he begins to tell us what’s what. ’You blackguards you,’ he says, ’you don’t seem to realize you’re marching along the surface of the earth, you gang of boobies, it’s enough to make anyone sick to look at you. Why,’ he says, ’if you was marching along on the sun, where a man who weighs twelve stone on this planet would top the scale at more than two tons, that’d finish you off. That’d be something like marching,’ he says, ’if you was carrying more than three hundredweight of stuff in your haversacks and your rifle weighed close on two hundred pounds. That’d give you a gruelling and make you hang your tongue out of your mouths like a lot of broken-winded dogs.’ Well, there was a teacher chap on our squad and he ups and says : ’Begging your pardon, sir, but in the moon a man who weighs twelve stone here would only weigh about two stone. It’d be easier for us to march in the moon, because our haversacks would only weigh ten pounds there. In the moon we should just go floating along in the air, we shouldn’t have to march at all.’ ’Oh, you wouldn’t, wouldn’t you?’ says poor old Lieutenant Buchanek. ’You wretched lout, you’re asking for a smack in the eye. And think yourself lucky,’ he says, ’that I’m only going to give you a common or garden smack in the eye, an earthly smack in the eye. If I was to give you one like you’d get on the moon,’ he says, ’you’d be so light, you’d go sailing away to the Alps and you’d get smashed to smithereens against them. And if I gave you a heavy smack,’ he says, ’like you’d get in the sun, it’d make mincemeat of your uniform and your head’d go flying away to Africa or somewhere.’ So he gave him just a common or garden smack in the eye and then we marched on. And this teacher chap, he kicked up such a row about that smack in the eye, sir, that Lieutenant Buchanek had him up in the orderly room afterward and he got fourteen days and he had another six weeks to serve, but he didn’t finish ’em off because he had a rupture and they made him do a circle on the horizontal bar and that settled his hash and he died as a malingerer in hospital."

"It’s a very funny thing, Schweik," said Lieutenant Lukash, "but, as I’ve told you several times before, you’ve got a strange way of poking fun at officers."

"Oh, no, sir," replied Schweik breezily. "I only wanted to show

you, sir, how people get themselves into trouble in the army. That chap thought he was cleverer than Lieutenant Buchanek, and he wanted to score off him and take him down a peg or two in front of all the men, and so when he got that common or garden smack in the eye, we was all very much relieved. You take it from me, sir, we wasn’t a bit sorry for him, in fact, we was all very pleased that the lieutenant answered him back and told him off properly and saved the situation, as you might say."

At this point Lieutenant Lukash seemed to be tired of the conversation, and he galloped his horse forward to overtake the vanguard.

Lieutenant Dub’s condition had now so much improved that he was able to get out of the two-wheeled cart, and he began to address the company like a man in a dream. He delivered a long speech which made the troops feel wearier than did their packs and rifles. It abounded in such profundities as these :

"The attachment of the common soldier to the officer makes it possible for incredible sacrifices to be made. It does not matter, in fact, far from it, whether this attachment is something innate in the soldier, for if not, it must be enforced. This attachment is no ordinary attachment, it is a combination of respect, fear and discipline."

All this time Schweik was marching along on the left, and while Lieutenant Dub was speechifying, he kept his head turned toward him, as if he had received the order "Eyes right !" At first Lieutenant Dub did not notice this, and he continued :

"This discipline, this compulsory obedience, this compulsory attachment of soldier to officer evinces itself very concisely, because the relation between soldier and officer is very simple : one obeys, the other orders. We have often read in books on military tactics that military brevity, military simplicity is the virtue at which every soldier must aim. Every soldier, whether he likes it or not, must be deeply attached to his superior officer, who in his eyes must be the ingrained paragon of an unswerving and infallible will."

At this point he perceived Schweik’s fixed posture of "eyes right." It suddenly gave him an uneasy feeling that his speech was becoming very involved and that he could find no outlet from

this blind alley of the attachment of the soldier to his superior officer. Accordingly, he bellowed at Schweik :

"What are you staring at me like that for?"

"Beg to report, sir, I’m just carrying out orders, just like you yourself told me to. You said that when you was talking I was to keep my eyes fixed on your mouth. And because every soldier has got to be attached to his superior officer and carry out all his orders and always remember -"

"You look the other way!" shouted Lieutenant Dub. "And don’t you let me catch you staring at me, you brainless booby."

Schweik changed over to "eyes left" and went on marching along by the side of Lieutenant Dub in such a rigid attitude, that at last Lieutenant Dub shouted out :

"What are you looking that way for, while I’m talking to you?"

"Beg to report, sir, I’m carrying out your orders and facing eyes left."

"Good God !" sighed Lieutenant Dub, "what a devil of a nuisance you are ! Hold your tongue and keep at the back, where I can’t see you."

So Schweik stayed at the back with the ambulance section, and jogged comfortably along with the two-wheeled cart until they reached the place where they were to rest, and where, at last, they all had a taste of the soup and meat from the baleful cow.

"This cow," said Schweik, "ought to have been pickled in vinegar for a fortnight at least, and so ought the man who bought it."

A courier came galloping up from brigade headquarters with a new order for the nth company. Their line of route was changed so as to lead to Felstyn ; Woralycz and Sambor were to be avoided because, owing to the presence of two Posen regiments, it would be impossible for them to find billets there.

Lieutenant Lukash immediately issued instructions. He told Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek, together with Schweik, to find a night’s quarters for the company at Felstyn.

"And see you don’t get into any mischief on the way, Schweik," said Lieutenant Lukash. "Above all, behave properly toward any of the people you come across."

"Beg tb report, sir, I’ll do my best. But I had a nasty dream

when I dozed off early this morning. I dreamed about a wash tub that kept slopping over all night in the passage of the house where I lived, till it had all dripped away and soaked the landlord’s ceiling, and he gave me notice on the spot. The funny part of it is, sir, that something like that really happened. At Karlin, behind the viaduct -"

"Look here, Schweik, you’d better drop all that twaddle and have a look at this map and help Vanek to find out which way you’re to go. From this village you bear to the right till you reach the river, and then you follow the river as far as the next village. From there, at the spot where the first stream, which you’ll find on your right, flows into this one, you cut across the fields upward due north, and that’ll bring you to Felstyn. You can’t miss it. Can you remember all that?"

Schweik thought he could, and so he set out with Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek in accordance with these particulars.

It was the beginning of the afternoon. The landscape seemed to be wilting in the swelter, and the stench of decay was wafted from the pits in which soldiers had been buried and not properly covered up. They now entered a region where fighting had taken place in the advance to Przemysl and where whole battalions had been mown down by machine guns. In the small thickets by the river could be seen the havoc wrought by the artillery. There were large areas and slopes which had once been dotted with trees, but all that was left of them was jagged stumps jutting from the ground. And this wilderness was furrowed with trenches.

"This looks a bit different from Prague," said Schweik when the silence was becoming oppressive. And then, after a pause, he continued :

"There’ll be a fine harvest here after the war. They won’t have to buy any bone meal. It’s a good thing for farmers when they’ve got a whole regiment rotting away on their fields. There’s no manure can beat it. That reminds me of Lieutenant Holub, who used to be in the barracks at Karlin. Everybody thought he was a bit dotty because he never called us names and always kept,his hair on when he talked to us. One day we reported to him that our bread rations wasn’t fit to eat. Any other officer would have made it hot for us, for having the cheek to grouse about our grub, but

not he, oh dear no ! He just stood there as cool as you please, he didn’t call anyone a skunk or a swine or a bloody fool, and he didn’t give anyone a smack in the eye. He just makes the men stand round him and says to them, as civil as could be : ’First of all,’ he says, ’you must bear in mind that a barracks ain’t a delicatessen store where you can get pickled eels and sardines in oil and assorted sandwiches. Every soldier ought to have enough sense,’ he says, ’to eat his rations without any grousing, and he’s got to show enough discipline not to make any fuss about the quality of the stuff that’s given him to eat. Just suppose,’ he says, ’there’s a war. Well, the ground you get buried in after a battle don’t care a damn what sort of bread you’ve been eating before you pegged out. Mother earth,’ he says, ’just takes you apart and eats you up, boots and all. Nothing gets lost, and from what’s left of you there’ll be a fresh crop of wheat to make bread rations for other soldiers, who’ll perhaps start grousing like you except that they’ll come up against someone who’ll shove them into clink and keep them there till God knows when, because he’s got a right to. So now,’ he says, ’I’ve made it all clear to you, and I hope you’ll bear it in mind and nobody will come here with any more complaints.’ Well, it got the men’s back up, the way he kept a civil tongue in his head. ’Why don’t he tell us off properly?’ they says to each other, and so one day they picked me out to go and tell him that we all liked him but we didn’t sort of feel we was in the army as long as he never told us off properly. Well, off I goes to call on him and I asks him not to be so smooth-spoken, because chaps expect to get it in the neck when they’re in the army and they’re used to being told every day that they’re skunks and bloody fools, or else they don’t have any respect for their superior officers. At first he wouldn’t hear of it, and talked a lot of stuff about intelligence and how it ought to be a thing of the past for men to be ruled with a rod of iron, but in the end he saw my point and gave me a smack in the eye and kicked me downstairs, so as we should think all the more of him. When I told the other chaps what had happened, they was all very pleased, but then he went and spoiled everything the next day. He comes up to me in front of everyone and says : ’I acted a bit hasty yesterday, Schweik, so

here’s a gulden to drink my health with.’ You can’t get away from it, an officer ought to know better than that."

Schweik now inspected the landscape.

"It strikes me," he said, "that we’ve taken the wrong road. Lieutenant Lukash explained it to us all right. We’ve got to gc up and down, then to the left and to the right, then to the right again, then to the left, and we’re keeping straight on. I can set some crossroads in front of us, and if you ask me, I should say we ought to go to the left."

When they reached the crossroads, Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek affirmed that they ought to go to the right.

"Well, anyhow, this is the way I’m going," said Schweik ; "it’s a more comfortable road than yours. I’m going along by the stream where the forget-me-nots grow, and if you want to traipse along in the broiling heat, you can. I stick to what Lieutenant Lukash told us. He said we couldn’t miss the way. So I’m going to take it easy across the fields and pick some flowers."

"Don’t be a fool, Schweik," said Quartermaster-sergeant Vanek. "You can see from the map that we’ve got to go to the right, like I said."

"Maps are wrong sometimes," replied Schweik, as he strolled downhill toward the stream. "I know a pork butcher who tried to get home one night from Prague to Vinohrady and he followed a map, and the next morning he was found lying stiff and dead-beat in a cornfield near Kladno. If you won’t take my word for it, Sergeant, and you’re so cocksure you’re right, why we’ll just have to part, and we’ll meet again when we get to Felstyn. Just look at your watch, and then we’ll know who gets there first. And if you get into any danger, just fire into the air, so as I’ll know where you are."

Later in the afternoon Schweik reached a small pond where he came upon an escaped Russian prisoner who was bathing there. When he saw Schweik he took to his heels, stark naked.

Schweik rather wondered how the Russian uniform, which was lying under the willow trees, would suit him. So he.took off his own uniform and dressed himself in the clothes belonging to the unfortunate naked prisoner, who had escaped from the con-

voy which was quartered in the village on the other side of the forest. Schweik was anxious to have a good look at his reflection in the water, and so he lingered beside the brink of the pond for such a long time that he was discovered there by the field patrol who was looking for the Russian fugitive. They were Magyars, and in spite of Schweik’s protests they took him off to the base at Chyruwa, where they put him among a gang of Russian prisoners who were being sent to repair the railway line leading to Przemyśl.

The whole thing had happened so suddenly that Schweik did not realize until the next day what had happened to him, and on the white wall of the school room where a part of the prisoners were quartered, he inscribed with a piece of charred wood :

Hear slept Josef Schweik of Prague, Company Orderly of the 11th Draft of the 91st Regiment who while looking for Billets was taken Prisoner near Felstyn by the Austrians by Misteak.