Miiller stands in front ofthe hut waiting forme.I givehimthe boots. Wegoin and he triesthemon.Theyfitwell.He roots among his supplies and offers me afine piece of saveloy. With it goes hotteaandrum.33
THREE..~..•.•.•...••...........................Reinfon:ementshavearrived.Thevacancieshavebeen filled and thesacks of strawinthehutsare alreadybooked.Someof them are oldhands,but thereare twenty-five men of a laterdraftfrom the base. They are about two yearsyoungerthanus. Kropp nudges me:"Seenthein-fants?"I nod. We stick out ourchests,shaveintheopen, shove our handsinour pockets, inspect therecruitsand feel ourselves stone-age veterans.Katczinskyjoins us. We stroll past the horse-boxes and go over to the reinfon:ements, who arealreadybeing issued with gas masks and coffee.35
Erich Maria Remarque"Long time since you've had anything decenttoeat, eh?" Kat asks one ofthe youngsters.He grimaces. "For breakfast, turnip-bread-lunch, turnip-stew-supper,turnip-cutletsandturnip-salad." Kat gives aknowing whistle."Bread made of turnips? You've been in luck,it's nothing new for ittobe made ofsawdust. Butwhat doyou saytoharicot beans? Have some?"The youngster turns red: "Youcan't kid me."Katczinsky merely says: "Fetch your mess-tin."We follow curiously. He takes ustoa tub be-side his straw sack. Sure enough it is half full ofbeef and beans. Katczinsky plants himself infront ofit like a general and says:"Sharp eyes and light fingers! That's what thePrussianssay."We are surprised. "Great guts, Kat, how didyou come by that?" I ask him."Ginger was glad I took it. I gave him threepieces of parachute-silk for it. Cold beans tastefine,too."Patronizingly he gives the youngster a portionand says:"Next time you come with your mess-tin havea cigar or a chew oftobacco in your other hand.Get me?" Then he turnstous. "You get off scotfree, of course."36ALL QUIET ON THE WESTEIlN FRONT• ••We couldn't do without Katczinsky; be has asixth sense. There are such peopleeverywherebut onedoesnotappreciate itatfirst.Everycom-pany hasoneortwo.KatczinskyisthesmartestIknow.Bytradeheisacobbler,Ibelieve,but thathasn't anythingtodowithit;heunderstandsalltrades. It'sagoodthingtobefriendswithhim,asKropp andIare, and Haie Westhustoo,moreorless. But Haieisrather the executivearm, oper-ating under Kat's orders whenthingscometoblows.Forthat hehashisqualifications.Forexample,weland atnightinsomeentirelyunknown spot,a sorry hole,that has been eatenouttotheverywalls.Wearequarteredinasmalldark factoryadaptedtothe purpose. There arebedsin it, orrather bunks-a coupleofwoodenbeamsoverwhichwire netting isstretched.Wire netting is hard. And there's nothingtoput onit.Ourwaterproof sheets aretoothin.Weuseourblanketstocoverourselves.Kat looksat the place and then saystoHaieWesthus:"Comewith me."Theygoofftoexplore.