AMERICA

The meal was spoiled even more for Karl by the doubt in his mind how it was going to be paid for. The natural thing would have been for each to pay his shot, but both Delamarche and Robinson casually remarked that the price of their last night's lodging had emptied their pockets. Watch, ring or anything else that could be sold, was to be seen on neither of them. And Karl could hardly point out that they had lined their pockets over the sale of his suit; that would be an insult, and good-bye for ever. But the astonishing thing was that neither Delamarche nor Robinson bothered themselves about the payment; on the contrary they were in such good spirits that they kept trying to make up to the waitress, . . . At last, just when they thought they were going to get a friendly word from her, she came up to their table, planted both hands on it and asked: 'Who is paying?' Never did hands shoot out more quickly than those of Delamarche and Robinson as they pointed at Karl. Karl was not taken aback, for he had foreseen this, and he saw no harm in paying a trifling bill for his comrades, from whom he expected assistance in turn, although it would certainly have been more decent of them to discuss the matter frankly before the crucial moment. All that troubled him was that he would first have to fish the money out of the secret pocket. . . . The advantage which he held over them through possessing that money and above all through concealing it was easily outweighted by the fact that they had lived in America since their childhood, that they were not accoustumed to anything better than their present circumstances. . . . After paying the bill, he slowly pocketed the coins again, but from his very fingers Delamarche snatched one of them, as a special tip for the waitress, whom he embraced ardently with one hand while giving her the coin with the other.

Karl felt grateful to them for not saying anything about his money as they walked away together, and for a while he actually considered confessing his whole wealth to them, but then refrained, as he could not find a suitable opportunity. . . .

Robinson proposed that they should spend the night here, since they were all very tired . . . . Karl felt obliged to remark that he had enough money to pay for a night's lodgings for them all in some hotel. Delamarche replied that they might still need the money; better to save it for the present. He made no concealment of the fact that they were counting on Karl's money. As his first proposal had been accepted, Robinson went on to suggest that before going to sleep they should have a good meal to stengthen them for the morning, and one of them should fetch food for all three from the hotel close by on the main road, which bore the lighted sign: 'Hotel Occidental'. As he was the youngest and nobody else offered to go, Karl had no hesitation in volunteering for the job, and after the others had announced that they wanted bacon, bread and beer, he went across to the hotel.


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