Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Major von Tellheim had been wounded in the right arm, and after heroic deeds he had been discharged from the army. Crippled and poor, he had been put out of his room at the inn; in his absence his effects had been placed in a mean chamber with no view. The landlord had perhaps been justified. Two ladies had arrived asking for good accommodations, and Tellheim was behind in his rent.
Tellheim’s servant, Just, sat in the inn parlor muttering about the injustice done to his master. The landlord came in and gave Just several drinks, but the worthy servant would not cease his complaints. Tellheim, entering in time to hear some of the dispute, ended the controversy by saying that the bill would be paid and that he would move out immediately. The landlord declared he was not afraid the bill would not be paid, for he had found a rich purse in Tellheim’s writing desk.
When they were alone, Tellheim explained to Just that the money in the purse belonged to Werner, his sergeant; it was a trust. For immediate needs Tellheim asked his servant to pawn a ring for eighty louis. He tried to dismiss Just with a month’s wages, but the servant preferred to work on for nothing. Then a widow came in to repay a loan Tellheim had made to her dead husband. Tellheim sent her away, vowing her husband owed him nothing. Werner tried to help the major by giving him all he could realize from the sale of his farm, but Tellheim would accept no help.
(The entire section is 1235 words.)
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