Miiller stands in front ofthe hut waiting for mei

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Miiller stands in front ofthe hut waiting for me.I give him the boots. Wegoin and he tries themon.Theyfitwell. He roots among his supplies and offers me a fine piece of saveloy. With it goes hot tea and rum. 33
THREE .. ~ ..•.•.•...•• ............ .... . ......... . Reinfon:ements have arrived. The vacancies have been filled and the sacks of straw in the huts are already booked. Some of them are old hands, but there are twenty-five men of a later draft from the base. They are about two years younger than us. Kropp nudges me: "Seen the in- fants?" I nod. We stick out our chests, shave in the open, shove our hands in our pockets, inspect the recruits and feel ourselves stone-age veterans. Katczinsky joins us. We stroll past the horse- boxes and go over to the reinfon:ements, who are already being issued with gas masks and coffee. 35
Erich Maria Remarque "Long time since you've had anything decent to eat, eh?" Kat asks one ofthe youngsters. He grimaces. "For breakfast, turnip-bread- lunch, turnip-stew-supper, turnip-cutlets and turnip-salad." Kat gives aknowing whistle. "Bread made of turnips? You've been in luck, it's nothing new for it to be made ofsawdust. But what doyou say to haricot beans? Have some?" The youngster turns red: "Youcan't kid me." Katczinsky merely says: "Fetch your mess- tin." We follow curiously. He takes us to a tub be- side his straw sack. Sure enough it is half full of beef and beans. Katczinsky plants himself in front ofit like a general and says: "Sharp eyes and light fingers! That's what the Prussians say." We are surprised. "Great guts, Kat, how did you come by that?" I ask him. "Ginger was glad I took it. I gave him three pieces of parachute-silk for it. Cold beans taste fine, too." Patronizingly he gives the youngster a portion and says: "Next time you come with your mess-tin have a cigar or a chew oftobacco in your other hand. Get me?" Then he turns to us. "You get off scot free, of course." 36 ALL QUIET ON THE WESTEIlN FRONT • • We couldn't do without Katczinsky; be has a sixth sense. There are such peopleeverywhere but onedoesnotappreciate itat first. Everycom- pany hasoneortwo.Katczinskyisthe smartest I know.Bytradeheisacobbler,Ibelieve,but that hasn't anything to do with it;heunderstands all trades. It'sa good thing to befriendswith him, as Kropp andIare, and Haie Westhus too, moreor less. But Haieisrather the executivearm, oper- ating under Kat's orders when things come to blows.Forthat hehashisqualifications. Forexample,weland atnightinsomeentirely unknown spot,a sorry hole,that has been eaten out to theverywalls. We arequartered in asmall dark factoryadapted to the purpose. There are beds in it, orrather bunks-a coupleofwooden beamsoverwhichwire netting isstretched. Wire netting is hard. And there's nothing to put onit. Our waterproof sheets are too thin. We useourblankets to coverourselves. Kat looksat the place and then says to Haie Westhus:"Comewith me."Theygooff to explore.

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