I know you want to comfort me, but don’t you see, you torment me far more than if you told me the truth? I cannot bear the uncertainty.
A non-com, can torment a private, a lieutenant a non-com, a captain a lieutenant, until he goes mad.
Now I see that he is tormenting me, he is merely raking about in the wound and looking up surreptitiously at me over his glasses.
All the same the woman is a tormentor, she is going to force me to say it.
Wild, tormenting rumours of an armistice and peace are in the air, they lay hold on our hearts and make the return to the front harder than ever.
In whirling confusion my thoughts hum in my brain—I hear the warning voice of my mother, I see the Russians with the flowing beards leaning against the wire fence, I have a bright picture of a canteen with stools, of a cinema in Valenciennes; tormented, terrified, in my imagination I see the grey, implacable muzzle of a rifle which moves noiselessly before me whichever way I try to turn my head.