The war has in fact ended, but poverty has not. It only ducked beneath the barrage of ordinances, crawled foxily behind the paper ramparts of war loans and banknotes with their ink still wet. Now it’s creeping back out, hollow-eyed, broad-muzzled, hungry, and bold, and eating what’s left in the gutters of the war. An entire winter of zeroes and denominations snows down from the sky, hundreds of thousands, millions, but every flake, every thousand, melts in your hand. Money dissolves while you’re sleeping, it flies away while you’re changing your shoes (coming apart, with wooden heels) to run to the market for a second time; you never stop moving, but you’re always too late. Life becomes mathematics, addition, multiplication, a mad whirl of figures and numbers, a vortex that snatches the last of your possessions into its black insatiable vacuum: your mother’s gold hair clasp off your neck, her wedding ring off her finger, the damask cloth off the table. But no matter how much you toss in, it’s no use, you can’t plug that black hellish hole, it does no good to stay up late knitting wool sweaters and rent all your rooms out and use the kitchen as a bedroom, doubling up with someone else. Sleep, though, that’s still the one thing you can’t begrudge yourself, the only thing that doesn’t cost money: the hours when you throw your spent, wan, now gaunt, still-untouched body on the mattress, unconscious of this ongoing apocalypse for six or seven hours.
The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
Here’s another quote mentioning mathematics: