What does the banker think when he sees the lawyer sleeping at the table?

In "The Bet," when the banker sees the lawyer sleeping at the table, he thinks that the lawyer is a pitiful figure, and he feels sorry for him. This alone, however, does not deter the banker from his plan to kill the lawyer.

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Towards the end of "The Bet," the banker sneaks into the lawyer's room. The lawyer is at this point only a few hours away from winning a very large sum of money from the banker. The banker can no longer afford to lose this money, and so he decides to kill the lawyer. Glancing through the window, he sees the lawyer asleep at his table. The lawyer by this point is very thin, like "a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones," and looks much older than he is. The banker, upon seeing the lawyer, thinks to himself, "Poor creature!"

The banker perhaps feels sorry for the lawyer in some small part because of how old, hungry, and tired the lawyer looks. The banker also assumes, however, that the lawyer is at this moment dreaming of the money he is about to win from the banker, and so he feels sorry for the lawyer because he knows that the lawyer will never see that money. This sympathy of course cannot be very genuine, or very strong, because the banker is still resolved at this point to kill the lawyer. The banker indeed thinks to himself, "I have only to take this half-dead man, throw him on the bed, stifle him a little with the pillow."

Although he professes to feel pity when he sees the lawyer sleeping at the table, the banker is of course mostly thinking about how he will kill the lawyer and thus keep the money he stands to lose to him. He is, in other words, thinking as much or more about himself, and his own future, as he is thinking about the lawyer.

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