With a ceaseless urge to surrender, which was foreign to his outwardly quiet nature, he threw himself into living and surrendered to Life; he leapt into the ocean of humanity, heedless of where the flood would take him, careless of whether it would devour him.
He no longer had to worry about himself; now he had time to concern himself with others.
He talked with people wherever he met them — in London, in the beginning mostly with Germans, then, as he gradually mastered the foreign language, more and more with the natives. In Paris, he did the same.
Wherever he went he made acquaintances and took an interest in their affairs: in the boarding house where he lived for a time; on his wanderings through the city; in the bar where he drank his glass of ale; in the theatres and music halls; in the museums and in all the meeting places of public life. As most people would rather talk — especially about themselves — than listen, he learned a great deal; and, because of the great hospitality of the English, he also had many glimpses into their home-life.
He also got to know something of the circles in which their lives were lived, circles which often touched, tried to break away again, only to touch again somewhere else, and which enclosed the individual like invisible walls.
He did not allow himself to be dragged into any of these circles. He was here to see Life in all its abundance.
It seemed to him as though he had emerged suddenly from the silence of a forest onto the beaches of a mighty ocean: the ocean of Life for which he had been seeking lay before him, surging and rolling in eternal motion. It rushed and roared, yelled and shouted, hissed and whistled through the streets in the ever-changing flood of its days and ebb of its nights; and all who pushed and jostled, shoved and stumbled here were driven and dominated by only one thought: to maintain themselves in this struggle in order to survive and to succeed in accumulating as much as was humanly possible. Those who had nothing they could call their own clamoured for enough to see them through the day; those who had plenty clamoured for more and more . . .
Money! — Money! — This was the battle-cry of every new day.
But because he was exempted for a while from the struggle, and so needed to take thought neither for the day nor for the morrow, he could allow himself to drift, never tiring in the strength of his youth and his desire to see all... He never saw enough; every day was a new experience.
HIS FIRST DISCOVERY ASTONISHED AND THEN SHATTERED HIM: the realization of how quietly, amidst all the uproar, this struggle between in-