By Robert Musil

At a bleak, remoted army tuition at the fringes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 4 younger cadets - Torless, Beineberg, Reiting and their sufferer Basini - go with the flow even extra clear of their school-fellows right into a inner most international of formality, secrecy and torture. This name is first released in 1906.

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From time to time, at regular intervals, the station-master stepped out of his office and, always with the same turn of his head, glanced up the long line towards the signal-box, where the signals still failed to indicate the approach of the express each time, which had been delayed for a long time at the frontier; then, always with the very same movement of his arm, he would pull out his pocket-watch and, then, shaking his head, he would disappear again: just so do the figures on ancient towerclocks appear and disappear again with the striking of the hour.

At this period there was an episode symptomatic of something still germinating in Törless, which was to develop significantly in him later. What happened was this: one day the youthful Prince H. entered the school, a scion of one of the oldest, most influential, and most conservative noble families in the empire. All the others thought him boring, and found his gentle gaze affected; the manner in which he stood with one hip jutting forward and, while talking, languidly interlocked and unlocked his fingers, they mocked as effeminate.

The remarkable thing about it was that this sudden consuming fondness for his parents was for himself something new and disconcerting. He had never imagined such a thing before, he had gone to boarding-school gladly and of his own free will, indeed he had laughed when at their first leave-taking his mother had been unable to check her tears; and only later, when he had been on his own for some days and been getting on comparatively well, did it gush up in him suddenly and with elemental force. He took it for homesickness and believed he was missing his parents.

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