he wrote his compte-rendu
The common fear is the fear of the possibility that the tramp may be so or so. The tramp’s fear is the fear of the possibility of being understood or misunderstood as so or so. These two kinds of tensions even each other out. In the long run they weigh equal, so that nothing ever happens.
Thereby it is said: there was no freedom on the road, only never-ending requirements to adapt to fear, yours, others’. The pressure of the people was too strong, in its incalculable weight a pressure on the senses. The joy of the road came chopped up in pieces, some golden metres of road, twelve steps or a stone’s throw, then gone.
But the joy of being was there. It came often rising. For the sun was no eye of consciousness, and neither was the moon.
At times Bolle thought that he’d stayed walking the road just for that reason, just because the joy of being had came to him directly out of sun and moon, which never had occurred during the time when he was tobacco roller and cigar maker.
So was the long road of the tramp yet some kind of shortcut to the sun and the moon. It could be bought at the price of always being bullied, his every step, bullied and damned, that he knew. To this added also the even higher price that he has to refrain from the big, soft and lovely binder of life – the woman. A high price, ten thousand times too high.
What was left of the woman when such a high price had been paid? So he often asked himself, and he always gave himself the same answer: too high a price! too high a price!
And yet he remained on the roads, without any other freedom than that urge to move under the sun. It must be more expensive than could ever be understood. What freedom was could never really be explained.
Do you know that you are a louse, said the man with the rake.
Yes, of course, I do, said Bolle. We are all lice in the high forests of the world. However, we are beautiful lice, on two legs. And a lot we know, a lot we dream and a lot we accomplish. Far beyond the sun we see, and far beyond the moon. And we know we shall die, yet we walk upright.
You involve everything, just to better the image of yourself, said the man with the rake. Someone should beat you up. Why do you walk like that? Have you ever worked?
So I’ve never pretended.
The rake man laughed.
Well, that was sweet to hear, the confession of a sweet soul. You’ve never pretended, you said, that you’ve worked. In other words, you’ve never worked. And that is why you’re a louse. Do you understand? On those grounds I underlined you’re a louse. I knew it.