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Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Part 2 out of 3

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MIN.
From me
(drawing his hand to her heart)?
Dreamer!

MAJ. T.
Despair will lay me dead at your feet.

MIN.
From me?

MAJ. T.
From you. Never, never to see you again. Or at least determined, fully
determined, never to be guilty of a mean action; never to cause you to
commit an imprudent one. Let me go, Minna!
(Tears himself away, and Exit.)

MIN. (calling after him).
Let you go, Minna? Minna, let you go? Tellheim! Tellheim!

ACT III.

SCENE I.
The Parlour. Just (with a letter in his hand)

JUST.
Must I come again into this cursed house! A note from my master to her
ladyship that would be his sister. I hope nothing will come of this,
or else there will be no end to letter carrying. I should like to be
rid of it; but yet I don't wish to go into the room. The women ask so
many questions, and I hate answering--Ah! the door opens. Just what I
wanted, the waiting puss!

Scene II
Franziska and Just

FRAN. (calling through the door by which she has just entered).
Fear not; I will watch. See!
(observing Just)
I have met with something immediately. But nothing is to be done with
that brute.

JUST.
Your servant.

FRAN.
I should not like such a servant.

JUST.
Well, well, pardon the expression! There is a note from my master to
your mistress--her ladyship--his sister, wasn't it?--sister.

FRAN.
Give it me!
(Snatches it from his hand.)

JUST.
You will be so good, my master begs, as to deliver it. Afterwards you
will be so good, my master begs, as not to think I ask for anything!

FRAN.
Well?

JUST.
My master understands how to manage the affair. He knows that the way
to the young lady is through her maid, methinks. The maid will
therefore be so good, my master begs, as to let him know whether he
may not have the pleasure of speaking with the maid for a quarter of
an hour.

FRAN.
With me?

JUST.
Pardon me, if I do not give you your right title. Yes, with you. Only
for one quarter of an hour; but alone, quite alone, in private tete-a-
tete. He has something very particular to say to you.

FRAN.
Very well! I have also much to say to him. He may come; I shall be at
his service.

JUST.
But when can he come? When is it most convenient for you, young woman?
In the evening?

FRAN.
What do you mean? Your master can come when he pleases; and now be off.

JUST.
Most willingly!
(Going.)

FRAN.
I say! one word more! Where are the rest of the Major's servants?

JUST.
The rest? Here, there, and everywhere.

FRAN.
Where is William?

JUST.
The valet? He has let him go for a trip.

FRAN.
Oh! and Philip, where is he?

JUST.
The huntsman? Master has found him a good place.

FRAN.
Because he does not hunt now, of course. But Martin?

JUST.
The coachman? He is off on a ride.

FRAN.
And Fritz?

JUST.
The footman? He is promoted.

FRAN.
Where were you then, when the Major was quartered in Thuringia with us
that winter? You were not with him, I suppose!

JUST.
Oh! yes, I was groom; but I was in the hospital.

FRAN.
Groom! and now you are--

JUST.
All in all; valet and huntsman, footman and groom.

FRAN.
Well, I never! To turn away so many good, excellent servants, and to
keep the very worst of all! I should like to know what your master
finds in you!

JUST.
Perhaps he finds that I am an honest fellow.

FRAN.
Oh! one is precious little if one is nothing more than honest. William
was another sort of a man! So your master has let him go for a trip!

JUST.
Yes, he . . . let him--because he could not prevent him.

FRAN.
How so?

JUST.
Oh! William will do well on his travels. He took master's wardrobe
with him.

FRAN.
What! he did not run away with it?

JUST.
I cannot say that exactly; but when we left Nurnberg, he did not
follow us with it.

FRAN.
Oh! the rascal!

JUST.
He was the right sort! he could curl hair and shave--and chatter and
flirt--couldn't he?

FRAN.
At any rate, I would not have turned away the huntsman, had I been in
the Major's place. If he did not want him any longer as huntsman, he
was still a useful fellow. Where has he found him a place?

JUST.
With the Commandant of Spandau.

FRAN.
The fortress! There cannot be much hunting within the walls either.

JUST.
Oh! Philip does not hunt there.

FRAN.
What does he do, then?

JUST.
He rides--on the treadmill.

FRAN.
The treadmill!

JUST.
But only for three years. He made a bit of a plot amongst master's
company, to get six men through the outposts.

FRAN.
I am astonished; the knave!

JUST.
Ah! he was a useful fellow; a huntsman who knew all the foot paths and
by-ways for fifty miles round, through forests and bogs. And he could
shoot!

FRAN.
It is lucky the Major has still got the honest coachman.

JUST.
Has he got him still?

FRAN.
I thought you said Martin was off on a ride: of course he will come
back!

JUST.
Do you think so?

FRAN.
Well, where has he ridden to?

JUST.
It is now going on for ten weeks since he rode master's last and only
horse--to water.

FRAN.
And has not he come back yet? Oh! the rascal!

JUST.
The water may have washed the honest coachman away. Oh! he was a
famous coachman! He had driven ten years in Vienna. My master will
never get such another again. When the horses were in full gallop, he
only had to say "Wo!" and there they stood, like a wall. Moreover, he
was a finished horse-doctor!

FRAN.
I begin now to be anxious about the footman's promotion.

JUST.
No, no; there is no occasion for that. He has become a drummer in a
garrison regiment.

FRAN.
I thought as much!

JUST.
Fritz chummed up with a scamp, never came home at night, made debts
everywhere in master's name, and a thousand rascally tricks. In short,
the Major saw that he was determined to rise in the world
(pantomimically imitating the act of hanging),
so he put him in the right road.

FRAN.
Oh! the stupid!

JUST.
Yet a perfect footman, there is no doubt of that. In running, my
master could not catch him on his best horse if he gave him fifty
paces; but on the other hand, Fritz could give the gallows a thousand
paces, and, I bet my life, he would overhaul it. They were all great
friends of yours, eh, young woman? . . . William and Philip, Martin
and Fritz! Now, Just wishes you good day.
(Exit.)

SCENE III.
Franziska, /and afterwards the/ Landlord

FRAN. (looking after him seriously).
I deserve the hit! Thank you, Just. I undervalued honesty. I will not
forget the lesson. Ah! our unfortunate Major!
(Turns round to enter her mistress' room, when the Landlord comes.)

LAND.
Wait a bit, my pretty maid.

FRAN.
I have not time now, Mr. Landlord.

LAND.
Only half a moment! No further tidings of the Major? That surely could
not possibly be his leave-taking!

FRAN.
What could not?

LAND.
Has not our ladyship told you? When I left you, my pretty maid, below
in the kitchen, I returned accidentally into this room--

FRAN.
Accidentally--with a view to listen a little.

LAND.
What, girl! how can you suspect me of that? There is nothing so bad in
a landlord as curiosity. I had not been here long, when suddenly her
ladyship's door burst open: the Major dashed out; the lady after him;
both in such a state of excitement; with looks--in attitudes--that
must be seen to be understood. She seized hold of him; he tore himself
away; she seized him again--"Tellheim." "Let me go, Madam." "Where?"
Thus he drew her as far as the staircase. I was really afraid he would
drag her down; but he got away. The lady remained on the top step;
looked after him; called after him; wrung her hands. Suddenly she
turned round; ran to the window; from the window to the staircase
again; from the staircase into the room, backwards and forwards. There
I stood; she passed me three times without seeing me. At length it
seemed as if she saw me; but heaven defend us! I believe the lady took
me for you. "Franziska," she cried, with her eyes fixed upon me, "am I
happy now?" Then she looked straight up to the ceiling, and said again
--"Am I happy now?" Then she wiped the tears from her eyes, and
smiled, and asked me again--"Franziska, am I happy now?" I really
felt, I know not how. Then she ran to the door of her room, and turned
round again towards me, saying--"Come, Franziska, whom do you pity
now?" and with that she went in.

FRAN.
Oh! Mr. Landlord, you dreamt that.

LAND.
Dreamt! No, my pretty maid; one does not dream so minutely. Yes, what
would not I give--I am not curious: but what would not I give--to have
the key to it!

FRAN.
The key? Of our door? Mr. Landlord, that is inside; we took it in at
night; we are timid.

LAND.
Not that sort of key; I mean, my dear girl, the key--the explanation,
as it were; the precise connexion of all that I have seen.

FRAN.
Indeed! Well, good-bye, Mr. Landlord. Shall we have dinner soon?

LAND.
My dear girl, not to forget what I came to say--

FRAN.
Well? In as few words as possible.

LAND.
Her ladyship has my ring still. I call it mine--

FRAN.
You shall not lose it.

LAND.
I have no fear on that account: I merely put you in mind. Do you see,
I do not wish to have it again at all. I can guess pretty well how she
knew the ring, and why it was so like her own. It is best in her
hands. I do not want it any more; and I can put them down--the hundred
pistoles which I advanced for it, to the lady's bill. Will not that
do, my pretty maid?

SCENE IV.
Paul Werner, Landlord, Franziska

WER.
There he is!

FRAN.
A hundred pistoles? I thought it was only eighty.

LAND.
True, only ninety, only ninety. I will do so, my pretty maid, I will
do so.

FRAN.
All that will come right, Mr. Landlord.

WER. (coming from behind, and tapping Franziska on the shoulder).
Little woman--Little woman.

FRAN. (frightened).
Oh! dear!

WER.
Don't be alarmed! I see you are pretty, and a stranger, too. And
strangers who are pretty must be warned. Little woman! little woman! I
advise you to beware of that fellow!
(Pointing to the Landlord).

LAND.
Ah! What an unexpected pleasure! Herr Werner! Welcome, welcome! Yes,
you are just the same jovial, joking, honest Werner! So you are to
beware of me, my pretty maid. Ha! ha! ha!

WER.
Keep out of his way everywhere!

LAND.
My way? Am I such a dangerous man? Ha! ha! ha! Hear him, my pretty
maid! A good joke, isn't it?

WER.
People like him always call it a joke, if one tells them the truth.

LAND.
The truth. Ha! ha! ha! Better and better, my pretty maid, isn't it? He
knows how to joke! I dangerous? I? Twenty years ago there might have
been something in it. Yes, yes, my pretty maid, then I was a dangerous
man: many a one knew it; but now--

WER.
Oh! the old fool!

LAND.
There it is! When we get old, danger is at an end! It will be so with
you too, Herr Werner!

WER.
You utter old fool!--Little woman, you will give me credit for enough
common sense not to speak of danger from him. That one devil has left
him, but seven others have entered into him.

LAND.
Oh! hear him! How cleverly he can turn things about. Joke upon joke,
and always something new! Ah! he is an excellent man, Paul Werner is.
(To Franziska, as if whispering.)
A well-to-do man, and a bachelor still. He has a nice little freehold
three miles from here. He made prize-money in the war, and was a
sergeant to the Major. Yes, he is a real friend of the Major's; he is
a friend who would give his life for him.

WER.
Yes; and that is a friend of the Major's--that is a friend . . . whose
life the Major ought to take
(Pointing to the Landlord).

LAND.
How! What! No, Herr Werner, that is not a good joke. I no friend to
the Major! I don't understand that joke.

WER.
Just has told me pretty things.

LAND.
Just! Ah! I thought Just was speaking through you. Just is a nasty,
ill-natured man. But here on the spot stands a pretty maid--she can
speak, she can say if I am no friend of the Major's--if I have not
done him good service. And why should not I be his friend? Is not he a
deserving man? It is true, he has had the misfortune to be discharged;
but what of that? The king cannot be acquainted with all deserving
officers; and if he knew them, he could not reward them all.

WER.
Heaven put those words into your mouth. But Just . . . certainly there
is nothing remarkable about Just, but still Just is no liar; and if
that what he has told me be true--

LAND.
I don't want to hear anything about Just. As I said, this pretty maid
here can speak.
(Whispering to her.)
You know, my dear; the ring! Tell Herr Werner about it. Then he will
learn better what I am. And that it may not appear as if she only said
what I wish, I will not even be present. I will go; but you shall tell
me after, Herr Werner, you shall tell me, whether Just is not a foul
slanderer.
(Exit.)

SCENE V.
Werner, Franziska

WER.
Little woman, do you know my Major?

FRAN.
Major von Tellheim? Yes, indeed, I do know that good man.

WER.
Is he not a good man? Do you like him?

FRAN.
From the bottom of my heart.

WER.
Indeed! I tell you what, little woman, you are twice as pretty now as
you were before. But what are the services, which the landlord says he
has rendered our Major?

FRAN.
That is what I don't know; unless he wished to take credit to himself
for the good result which fortunately has arisen from his knavish
conduct.

WER.
Then what Just told me is true?
(Towards the side where the Landlord went off.)
A lucky thing for you that you are gone! He did really turn him out of
his room?--To treat such a man so, because the donkey fancied that he
had no more money! The Major no money!

FRAN.
What! Has the Major any money?

WER.
By the load. He doesn't know how much he has. He doesn't know who is
in his debt. I am his debtor, and have brought him some old arrears.
Look, little woman, in this purse
(drawing it out of one pocket)
are a hundred louis d'ors; and in this packet
(drawing it out of another pocket)
a hundred ducats. All his money!

FRAN.
Really! Why then does the Major pawn his things? He pledged a ring,
you know--

WER.
Pledged! Don't you believe it. Perhaps he wanted to get rid of the
rubbish.

FRAN.
It is no rubbish; it is a very valuable ring; which, moreover, I
suspect, he received from a loving hand.

WER.
That will be the reason. From a loving hand! Yes, yes; such a thing
often puts one in mind of what one does not wish to remember, and
therefore one gets rid of it.

FRAN.
What!

WER.
Odd things happen to the soldier in winter quarters. He has nothing to
do then, so he amuses himself, and to pass the time he makes
acquaintances, which he only intends for the winter, but which the
good soul with whom he makes them, looks upon for life. Then, presto!
a ring is suddenly conjured on to his finger; he hardly knows himself
how it gets there; and very often he would willingly give the finger
with it, if he could only get free from it again.

FRAN.
Oh! and do you think this has happened to the Major?

WER.
Undoubtedly. Especially in Saxony. If he had had ten fingers on each
hand, he might have had all twenty full of rings.

FRAN. (aside).
That sounds important, and deserves to be inquired into. Mr.
Freeholder, or Mr. Sergeant--

WER.
Little woman, if it makes no difference to you, I like "Mr. Sergeant"
best.

FRAN.
Well, Mr. Sergeant, I have a note from the Major to my mistress. I
will just carry it in, and be here again in a moment. Will you be so
good as to wait? I should like very much to have a little talk with
you.

WER.
Are you fond of talking, little woman? Well, with all my heart. Go
quickly. I am fond of talking too: I will wait.

FRAN.
Yes, please wait.
(Exit.)

SCENE VI.
Paul Werner

WER.
That is not at all a bad little woman. But I ought not to have
promised her that I would wait, for it would be most to the purpose, I
suppose, to find the Major. He will not have my money, but rather
pawns his property. That is just his way. A little trick occurs to me.
When I was in the town, a fortnight back, I paid a visit to Captain
Marloff's widow. The poor woman was ill, and was lamenting that her
husband had died in debt to the Major for four hundred thalers, which
she did not know how to pay. I went to see her again to-day; I
intended to tell her that I could lend her five hundred thalers, when
I had received the money for my property; for I must put some of it
by, if I do not go to Persia. But she was gone; and no doubt she has
not been able to pay the Major. Yes, I'll do that; and the sooner the
better. The little woman must not take it ill of me; I cannot wait.
(Is going in thought, and almost runs against the Major, who meets
him.)

SCENE VII.
Major Von Tellheim, Paul Werner

MAJ. T.
Why so thoughtful, Werner?

WER.
Oh! that is you. I was just going to pay you a visit in your new
quarters, Major.

MAJ. T.
To fill my ears with curses against the Landlord of my old one. Do not
remind me of it.

WER.
I should have done that by the way: yes. But more particularly, I wish
to thank you for having been so good as to take care of my hundred
louis d'ors. Just has given them to me again. I should have been very
glad if you would have kept them longer for me. But you have got into
new quarters, which neither you nor I know much about. Who knows what
sort of place it is? They might be stolen, and you would have to make
them good to me; there would be no help for it. So I cannot ask you to
take them again.

MAJ. T. (smiling).
When did you begin to be so careful, Werner?

WER.
One learns to be so. One cannot now be careful enough of one's money.
I have also a commission for you, Major, from Frau Marloff; I have
just come from her. Her husband died four hundred thalers in your
debt; she sends you a hundred ducats here, in part payment. She will
forward you the rest next week. I believe I am the cause that she has
not sent you the whole sum. For she also owed me about eighty thalers,
and she thought I was come to dun her for them--which, perhaps, was
the fact--so she gave them me out of the roll which she had put aside
for you. You can spare your hundred thalers for a week longer, better
than I can spare my few groschens. There, take it!
(Hands him the ducats.)

MAJ. T.
Werner!

WER.
Well! Why do you stare at me so? Take it, Major!

MAJ. T.
Werner!

WER.
What is the matter with you? What annoys you?

MAJ. T. (angrily striking his forehead, and stamping with his foot.)
That . . . the four hundred thalers are not all there.

WER.
Come! Major, did not you understand me?

MAJ. T.
It is just because I did understand you! Alas, that the best men
should to-day distress me most!

WER.
What do you say?

MAJ. T.
This only applies partly to you. Go, Werner!
(Pushing back Werner's hand with the money in it.)

WER.
As soon as I have got rid of this.

MAJ. T.
Werner, suppose I tell you that Frau Marloff was here herself early
this morning--

WER.
Indeed?

MAJ. T.
That she owes me nothing now--

WER.
Really?

MAJ. T.
That she has paid me every penny--What will you say then?

WER. (thinks for a minute).
I shall say that I have told a lie, and that lying is a low thing,
because one may be caught at it.

MAJ. T.
And you will be ashamed of yourself?

WER.
And what of him who compels me to lie? Should not he be ashamed too?
Look ye, Major; if I was to say that your conduct has not vexed me, I
should tell another lie, and I won't lie any more.

MAJ. T.
Do not be annoyed, Werner. I know your heart, and your affection for
me. But I do not require your money.

WER.
Not require it! Rather sell, rather pawn, and get talked about!

MAJ. T.
Oh! people may know that I have nothing more. One must not wish to
appear richer than one is.

WER.
But why poorer? A man has something as long as his friend has.

MAJ. T.
It is not proper that I should be your debtor.

WER.
Not proper! On that summer day which the sun and the enemy made hot
for us, when your groom, who had your canteen, was not to be found,
and you came to me and said--"Werner, have you nothing to drink?" and
I gave you my flask, you took it and drank, did you not? Was that
proper? Upon my life, a mouthful of dirty water at that time was often
worth more than such filth
(taking the purse also out of his pocket, and holding out both to
him).
Take them, dear Major! Fancy it is water. God has made this, too, for
all.

MAJ. T.
You torment me: don't you hear, I will not be your debtor.

WER.
At first, it was not proper; now, you will not. Ah! that is a
different thing.
(Rather angrily.)
You will not be my debtor? But suppose you are already, Major? Or, are
you not a debtor to the man who once warded off the blow that was
meant to split your head; and, at another time, knocked off the arm
which was just going to pull and send a ball through your breast? How
can you become a greater debtor to that man? Or, is my neck of less
consequence than my money? If that is a noble way of thinking, by my
soul it is a very silly one too.

MAJ. T.
To whom do you say that, Werner? We are alone, and therefore I may
speak; if a third person heard us, it might sound like boasting. I
acknowledge with pleasure, that I have to thank you for twice saving
my life. Do you not think, friend, that if an opportunity occurred I
would have done as much for you, eh?

WER.
If an opportunity occurred! Who doubts it, Major? Have I not seen you
risk your life a hundred times for the lowest soldier, when he was in
danger?

MAJ. T.
Well!

WER.
But--

MAJ. T.
Why cannot you understand me? I say, it is not proper that I should be
your debtor; I will not be your debtor. That is, not in the
circumstances in which I now am.

WER.
Oh! so you would wait till better times. You will borrow money from me
another time, when you do not want any: when you have some yourself,
and I perhaps none.

MAJ. T.
A man ought not to borrow, when he has not the means of repaying.

WER.
A man like yourself cannot always be in want.

MAJ. T.
You know the world . . . Least of all should a man borrow from one who
wants his money himself.

WER.
Oh! yes; I am such a one! Pray, what do I want it for? When they want
a sergeant, they give him enough to live on.

MAJ. T.
You want it, to become something more than a sergeant--to be able to
get forward in that path in which even the most deserving, without
money, may remain behind.

WER.
To become something more than a sergeant! I do not think of that. I am
a good sergeant; I might easily make a bad captain, and certainly a
worse general.

MAJ. T.
Do not force me to think ill of you, Werner! I was very sorry to hear
what Just has told me. You have sold your farm, and wish to rove about
again. Do not let me suppose that you do not love the profession of
arms so much as the wild dissolute way of living which is
unfortunately connected with it. A man should be a soldier for his own
country, or from love of the cause for which he fights. To serve
without any purpose--to-day here, to-morrow there--is only travelling
about like a butcher's apprentice, nothing more.

WER.
Well, then, Major, I will do as you say. You know better what is
right. I will remain with you. But, dear Major, do take my money in
the meantime. Sooner or later your affairs must be settled. You will
get money in plenty then; and then you shall repay me with interest. I
only do it for the sake of the interest.

MAJ. T.
Do not talk of it.

WER.
Upon my life, I only do it for the sake of the interest. Many a time I
have thought to myself--"Werner, what will become of you in your old
age? when you are crippled? when you will have nothing in the world?
when you will be obliged to go and beg!" And then I thought again--
"No, you will not be obliged to beg: you will go to Major Tellheim; he
will share his last penny with you; he will feed you till you die; and
with him you can die like an honest fellow."

MAJ. T. (taking Werner's hand).
And, comrade, you do not think so still?

WER.
No, I do not think so any longer. He who will not take anything from
me, when he is in want, and I have to give, will not give me anything
when he has to give, and I am in want. So be it.
(Is going.)

MAJ. T.
Man, do not drive me mad! Where are you going?
(Detains him.)
If I assure you now, upon my honour, that I still have money--If I
assure you, upon my honour, that I will tell you when I have no more--
that you shall be the first and only person from whom I will borrow
anything--will that content you?

WER.
I suppose it must. Give me your hand on it, Major.

MAJ. T.
There, Paul! And now enough of that, I came here to speak with a
certain young woman.

SCENE VIII.
Franziska (coming out of Minna's room), Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner

FRAN. (entering).
Are you there still, Mr. Sergeant?
(Seeing Tellheim.)
And you there too, Major? I will be at your service instantly.
(Goes back quickly into the room.)

SCENE IX.
Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner

MAJ. T.
That was she! But it seems you know her, Werner.

WER.
Yes, I know her.

MAJ. T.
Yet, if I remember rightly, when I was in Thuringia you were not with
me.

WER.
No; I was seeing after the uniforms in Leipsic.

MAJ. T.
Where did you make her acquaintance, then?

WER.
Our acquaintance is very young. Not a day old. But young friendship is
warm.

MAJ. T.
Have you seen her mistress, too?

WER.
Is her mistress a young lady? She told me you are acquainted with her
mistress.

MAJ. T.
Did not you hear? She comes from Thuringia.

WER.
Is the lady young?

MAJ. T.
Yes.

WER.
Pretty?

MAJ. T.
Very pretty.

WER.
Rich?

MAJ. T.
Very rich.

WER.
Is the mistress as fond of you as the maid is? That would be capital!

MAJ. T.
What do you mean?

SCENE X.
Franziska (with a letter in her hand), Major von Tellheim, Paul Werner

FRAN.
Major--

MAJ. T.
Franziska, I have not yet been able to give you a "Welcome" here.

FRAN.
In thought, I am sure that you have done it. I know you are friendly
to me; so am I to you. But it is not at all kind to vex those who are
friendly to you so much.

WER. (aside).
Ah! now I see it. It is so!

MAJ. T.
My destiny, Franziska! Did you give her the letter?

FRAN.
Yes; and here I bring you . . .
(holding out a letter).

MAJ. T.
An answer!

FRAN.
No, your own letter again.

MAJ. T.
What! She will not read it!

FRAN.
She would have liked, but--we can't read writing well.

MAJ. T.
You are joking!

FRAN.
And we think that writing was not invented for those who can converse
with their lips whenever they please.

MAJ. T.
What an excuse! She must read it. It contains my justification--all
the grounds and reasons--

FRAN.
My mistress wishes to hear them all from you yourself, not to read
them.

MAJ. T.
Hear them from me myself! That every look, every word of hers, may
embarrass me; that I may feel in every glance the greatness of my
loss.

FRAN.
Without any pity! Take it.
(Giving him his letter.)
She expects you at three o'clock. She wishes to drive out and see the
town; you must accompany her.

MAJ. T.
Accompany her!

FRAN.
And what will you give me to let you drive out by yourselves? I shall
remain at home.

MAJ. T.
By ourselves!

FRAN.
In a nice close carriage.

MAJ. T.
Impossible!

FRAN.
Yes, yes, in the carriage, Major. You will have to submit quietly; you
cannot escape there! And that is the reason. In short, you will come,
Major, and punctually at three. . . . Well, you wanted to speak to me
too alone. What have you to say to me? Oh! we are not alone.
(Looking at Werner.)

MAJ. T.
Yes, Franziska; as good as alone. But as your mistress has not read my
letter, I have nothing now to say to you.

FRAN.
As good as alone! Then you have no secrets from the Sergeant?

MAJ. T.
No, none.

FRAN.
And yet I think you should have some from him.

MAJ. T.
Why so?

WER.
How so, little woman?

FRAN.
Particularly secrets of a certain kind. . . . All twenty, Mr.
Sergeant!
(Holding up both her hands, with open fingers.)

WER.
Hist! hist! girl.

MAJ. T.
What is the meaning of that?

FRAN.
Presto! conjured on to his finger, Mr. Sergeant
(as if she was putting a ring on her fingers).

MAJ. T.
What are you talking about?

WER.
Little woman, little woman, don't you understand a joke?

MAJ. T.
Werner, you have not forgotten, I hope, what I have often told you;
that one should not jest beyond a certain point with a young woman!

WER.
Upon my life I may have forgotten it! Little woman, I beg--

FRAN.
Well, if it was a joke, I will forgive you this once.

MAJ. T.
Well, if I must come, Franziska, just see that your mistress reads my
letter beforehand? That will spare me the pain of thinking again--of
talking again, of things which I would willingly forget. There, give
it to her!
(He turns the letter in giving it to her, and sees that it has been
opened.)
But do I see aright? Why it has been opened.

FRAN.
That may be.
(Looks at it.)
True, it is open. Who can have opened it? But really we have not read
it, Major; really not. And we do not wish to read it, because the
writer is coming himself. Come; and I tell you what, Major! don't come
as you are now--in boots, and with such a head. You are excusable, you
do not expect us. Come in shoes, and have your hair fresh dressed. You
look too soldierlike, too Prussian for me as you are.

MAJ. T.
Thank you, Franziska.

FRAN.
You look as if you had been bivouacking last night.

MAJ. T.
You may have guessed right.

FRAN.
We are going to dress, directly too, and then have dinner. We would
willingly ask you to dinner, but your presence might hinder our
eating; and observe, we are not so much in love that we have lost our
appetites.

MAJ. T.
I will go. Prepare her somewhat, Franziska, beforehand, that I may not
become contemptible in her eyes, and in my own. Come, Werner, you
shall dine with me.

WER.
At the table d'hote here in the house? I could not eat a bit there.

MAJ. T.
With me, in my room.

WER.
I will follow you directly. One word first with the little woman.

MAJ. T.
I have no objection to that.
(Exit.)

SCENE XI.
Paul Werner, Franziska

FRAN.
Well, Mr. Sergeant!

WER.
Little woman, if I come again, shall I too come smartened up a bit?

FRAN.
Come as you please: my eyes will find no fault with you. But my ears
will have to be so much the more on their guard. Twenty fingers, all
full of rings. Ah! ah! Mr. Sergeant!

WER.
No, little woman; that is just what I wished to say to you. I only
rattled on a little. There is nothing in it. One ring is quite enough
for a man. Hundreds and hundreds of times I have heard the Major say--
"He must be a rascally soldier, who can mislead a young girl." So
think I too, little woman. You may trust to that! I must be quick and
follow him. A good appetite to you.
(Exit.)

FRAN.
The same to you! I really believe, I like that man!
(Going in, she meets Minna coming out.)

SCENE XII.
Minna, Franziska

MIN.
Has the Major gone already, Franziska? I believe I should have been
sufficiently composed again now to have detained him here.

FRAN.
And I will make you still more composed.

MIN.
So much the better! His letter! oh! his letter! Each line spoke the
honourable noble man. Each refusal to accept my hand declared his love
for me. I suppose he noticed that we had read his letter. I don't mind
that, if he does but come. But are you sure he will come? There only
seems to me to be a little too much pride in his conduct. For not to
be willing to be indebted for his good fortune, even to the woman he
loves, is pride, unpardonable pride! If he shows me too much of this,
Franziska--

FRAN.
You will discard him!

MIN.
See there! Do you begin to pity him again already! No, silly girl, a
man is never discarded for a single fault. No; but I have thought of a
trick to pay him off a little for this pride, with pride of the same
kind.

FRAN.
Indeed, you must be very composed, my lady, if you are thinking of
tricks again.

MIN.
I am so; come. You will have a part to play in my plot.
(Exeunt.)

ACT IV.

SCENE I.
Minna's Room.

Minna (dressed handsomely and richly, but in good taste), Franziska
(They have just risen from a table, which a servant is clearing.)

FRAN.
You cannot possibly have eaten enough, my lady.

MIN.
Don't you think so, Franziska? Perhaps I had no appetite when I sat
down.

FRAN.
We had agreed not to mention him during dinner. We should have
resolved likewise, not to think of him.

MIN.
Indeed, I have thought of nothing but him.

FRAN.
So I perceived. I began to speak of a hundred different things, and
you made wrong answers to each.
(Another servant brings coffee.)
Here comes a beverage more suited to fancies--sweet, melancholy
coffee.

MIN.
Fancies! I have none. I am only thinking of the lesson I will give
him. Did you understand my plan, Franziska?

FRAN.
Oh! yes; but it would be better if he spared us the putting it in
execution.

MIN.
You will see that I know him thoroughly. He who refuses me now with
all my wealth, will contend for me against the whole world, as soon as
he hears that I am unfortunate and friendless.

FRAN. (seriously).
That must tickle the most refined self-love.

MIN.
You moralist! First you convict me of vanity--now of self-love. Let me
do as I please, Franziska. You, too, shall do as you please with your
Sergeant.

FRAN.
With my Sergeant?

MIN.
Yes. If you deny it altogether, then it is true. I have not seen him
yet; but from all you have said respecting him, I foretell your
husband for you.

SCENE II.
Riccaut De La Marliniere, Minna, Franziska

RIC. (before he enters).
Est-il permis, Monsieur le Major?

FRAN.
Who is that? Any one for us?
(going to the door).

RIC.
Parbleu! I am wrong. Mais non--I am not wrong. C'est la chambre--

FRAN.
Without doubt, my lady, this gentleman expects to find Major von
Tellheim here still.

RIC.
Oui, dat is it! Le Major de Tellheim; juste, ma belle enfant, c'est
lui que je cherche. Ou est-il?

FRAN.
He does not lodge here any longer.

RIC.
Comment? Dere is four-and-twenty hour ago he did lodge here, and not
lodge here any more? Where lodge he den?

MIN. (going up to him).
Sir--

RIC.
Ah! Madame, Mademoiselle, pardon, lady.

MIN.
Sir, your mistake is quite excusable, and your astonishment very
natural. Major von Tellheim has had the kindness to give up his
apartments to me, as a stranger, who was not able to get them
elsewhere.

RIC.
Ah! voila de ses politesses! C'est un tres-galant homme que ce Major!

MIN.
Where has he gone now?--truly I am ashamed that I do not know.

RIC.
Madame not know? C'est dommage; j'en suis fache.

MIN.
I certainly ought to have inquired. Of course his friends will seek
him here.

RIC.
I am vary great his friend, Madame.

MIN.
Franziska, do you not know?

FRAN.
No, my lady.

RIC.
It is vary necessaire dat I speak him. I come and bring him a
nouvelle, of which he will be vary much at ease.

MIN.
I regret it so much the more. But I hope to see him perhaps shortly.
If it is a matter of indifference from whom he hears this good news, I
would offer, sir--

RIC.
I comprehend. Mademoiselle parle francais? Mais sans doute; telle que
je la vois! La demande etait bien impolie; vous me pardonnerez,
Mademoiselle.

MIN.
Sir--

RIC.
No! You not speak French, Madame?

MIN.
Sir, in France I would endeavour to do so; but why here? I perceive
that you understand me, sir; and I, sir, shall doubtless understand
you; speak as you please.

RIC.
Good, good! I can also explain me in your langue. Sachez donc,
Mademoiselle, you must know, Madame, dat I come from de table of de
ministre, ministre de, ministre de . . . What is le ministre out dere,
in de long street, on de broad place?

MIN.
I am a perfect stranger here.

RIC.
Si, le ministre of de war departement. Dere I have eat my dinner; I
ordinary dine dere, and de conversation did fall on Major Tellheim; et
le ministre m'a dit en confidence, car Son Excellence est de mes amis,
et il n'y a point de mysteres entre nous; Son Excellence, I say, has
trust to me, dat l'affaire from our Major is on de point to end, and
to end good. He has made a rapport to de king, and de king has
resolved et tout a fait en faveur du Major. "Monsieur," m'a dit Son
Excellence, "vous comprenez bien, que tout depend de la maniere, dont
on fait envisager les choses au roi, et vous me connaissez. Cela fait
un tres-joli garcon que ce Tellheim, et ne sais-je pas que vous
l'aimez? Les amis de mes amis sont aussi les miens. Il coute un peu
cher au Roi ce Tellheim, mais est-ce que l'on sert les rois pour rien?
Il faut s'entr'aider en ce monde; et quand il s'agit de pertes, que ce
soit le Roi qui en fasse, et non pas un honnete homme de nous autres.
Voila le principe, dont je ne me depars jamais." But what say Madame
to it? N'est pas, dat is a fine fellow! Ah! que Son Excellence a le
coeur bien place! He assure me au reste, if de Major has not recu
already une lettre de la main--a royal letter, dat to-day
infailliblement must he receive one.

MIN.
Certainly, sir, this news will be most welcome to Major von Tellheim.
I should like to be able to name the friend to him, who takes such an
interest in his welfare.

RIC.
Madame, you wish my name? Vous voyez en moi--you see, lady, in me, le
Chevalier Riccaut de la Marliniere, Seigneur de Pret-au-val, de la
branche de Prens d'or. You remain astonished to hear me from so great,
great a family, qui est veritablement du sang royal. Il faut le dire;
je suis sans doute le cadet le plus aventureux que la maison n'a
jamais eu. I serve from my eleven year. Une affaire d'honneur make me
flee. Den I serve de holy Papa of Rome, den de Republic St. Marino,
den de Poles, den de States General, till enfin I am brought her. Ah!
Mademoiselle, que je voudrais n'avoir jamais vu ce pays-ci! Had one
left me in de service of de States General, should I be now at least
colonel. But here always to remain capitaine, and now also a
discharged capitaine.

MIN.
That is ill luck.

RIC.
Oui, Mademoiselle, me voila reforme, et par la mis sur le pave!

MIN.
I am very sorry for you.

RIC.
Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle. . . . No, merit have no reward
here. Reformer a man, like me! A man who also have ruin himself in dis
service! I have lost in it so much as twenty thousand livres. What
have I now? Tranchons le mot; je n'ai pas le sou, et me voila
exactement vis-a-vis de rien.

MIN.
I am exceedingly sorry.

RIC.
Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle, But as one say--misfortune never
come alone! qu'un malheur ne vient jamais seul: so it arrive with me.
What ressource rests for an honnete homme of my extraction, but play?
Now, I always played with luck, so long I not need her. Now I very
much need her, je joue avec un guignon, Mademoiselle, que surpasse
toute croyance. For fifteen days, not one is passed, dat I always am
broke. Yesterday, I was broke dree times. Je sais bien, qu'il y avait
quelque chose de plus que le jeu. Car parmi mes pontes se trouvaient
certaines dames. I will not speak more. One must be very galant to les
dames. Dey have invite me again to-day, to give me revanche; mais--
vous m'entendez, Mademoiselle,--one must first have to live, before
one can have to play.

MIN.
I hope, sir--

RIC.
Vous etes bien bonne, Mademoiselle.

MIN. (Takes Franziska aside.)
Franziska, I really feel for the man. Would he take it ill, if I offer
him something?

FRAN.
He does not look to me like a man who would.

MIN.
Very well! Sir, I perceive that--you play, that you keep the bank;
doubtless in places where something is to be won. I must also confess
that I . . . am very fond of play.

RIC.
Tant mieux, Mademoiselle, tant mieux! Tous les gens d'esprit aiment le
jeu a la fureur.

MIN.
That I am very fond of winning; that I like to trust my money to a
man, who--knows how to play. Are you inclined, sir, to let me join
you? To let me have a share in your bank?

RIC.
Comment, Mademoiselle, vous voulez etre de moitie avec moi? De tout
mon coeur.

MIN.
At first, only with a trifle.
(Opens her desk and takes out some money.)

RIC.
Ah! Mademoiselle, que vous etes charmante!

MIN.
Here is what I won a short time back; only ten pistoles. I am ashamed,
so little--

RIC.
Donnez toujours, Mademoiselle, donnez.
(Takes it.)

MIN.
Without doubt, your bank, sir, is very considerable.

RIC.
Oh! yes, vary considerable. Ten pistoles! You shall have, Madame, an
interest in my bank for one third, pour le tiers. Yes, one third part
it shall be--something more. With a beautiful lady one must not be too
exac. I rejoice myself, to make by that a liaison with Madame, et de
ce moment je recommence a bien augurer de ma fortune.

MIN.
But I cannot be present, sir, when you play.

RIC.
For why it necessaire dat you be present? We other players are
honourable people between us.

MIN.
If we are fortunate, sir, you will of course bring me my share. If we
are unfortunate--

RIC.
I come to bring recruits, n'est pas, Madame?

MIN.
In time recruits might fail. Manage our money well, sir.

RIC.
What does Madame think me? A simpleton, a stupid devil?

MIN.
I beg your pardon.

RIC.
Je suis des bons, Mademoiselle. Savez vous ce que cela veut dire? I am
of the quite practised--

MIN.
But still, sir,--

RIC.
Je sais monter un coup--

MIN. (amazed).
Could you?

RIC.
Je file la carte avec une adresse.

MIN.
Never!

RIC.
Je fais sauter la coupe avec une dexterite.

MIN.
You surely would not, sir!--

RIC.
What not, Madame; what not? Donnes moi un pigeonneau a plumer, et--

MIN.
Play false! Cheat!

RIC.
Comment, Mademoiselle? Vous appelez cela cheat? Corriger la fortune,
l'enchainer sous ses doigts, etre sur de son fait, dat you call cheat?
Cheat! Oh! what a poor tongue is your tongue! what an awkward tongue!

MIN.
No, sir, if you think so--

RIC.
Laissez-moi faire, Mademoiselle, and be tranquille! What matter to you
how I play! Enough! to-morrow, Madame, you see me again or with
hundred pistol, or you see no more. Votre tres-humble, Mademoiselle,
votre tres humble.
(Exit quickly.)

MIN. (looking after him with astonishment and displeasure).
I hope the latter, sir.

SCENE III.
Minna and Franziska

FRAN. (angrily).
What can I say? Oh! how grand! how grand!

MIN.
Laugh at me; I deserve it.
(After reflecting, more calmly.)
No, do not laugh; I do not deserve it.

FRAN.
Excellent! You have done a charming act--set a knave upon his legs
again.

MIN.
It was intended for an unfortunate man.

FRAN.
And what is the best part of it, the fellow considers you like
himself. Oh! I must follow him, and take the money from him.
(Going.)

MIN.
Franziska, do not let the coffee get quite cold; pour it out.

FRAN.
He must return it to you; you have thought better of it; you will not
play in partnership with him. Ten pistoles! You heard, my lady, that
he was a beggar!
(Minna pours out the coffee herself.)
Who would give such a sum to a beggar? And to endeavour, into the
bargain, to save him the humiliation of having begged for it! The
charitable woman who, out of generosity, mistakes the beggar, is in
return mistaken by the beggar. It serves you right, my lady, if he
considers your gift as--I know not what.
(Minna hands a cup of coffee to Franziska.)
Do you wish to make my blood boil still more? I do not want any.
(Minna puts it down again.)
"Parbleu, Madame, merit have no reward here"
(imitating the Frenchman).
I think not, when such rogues are allowed to walk about unhanged.

MIN. (coldly and slowly, while sipping her coffee).
Girl, you understand good men very well; but when will you learn to
bear with the bad? And yet they are also men; and frequently not so
bad as they seem. One should look for their good side. I fancy this
Frenchman is nothing worse than vain. Through mere vanity he gives
himself out as a false player; he does not wish to appear under an
obligation to one; he wishes to save himself the thanks. Perhaps he
may now go, pay his small debts, live quietly and frugally on the rest
as far as it will go, and think no more of play. If that be so,
Franziska, let him come for recruits whenever he pleases.
(Gives her cup to Franziska.)
There, put it down! But, tell me, should not Tellheim be here by this
time?

FRAN.
No, my lady, I can neither find out the bad side in a good man, nor
the good side in a bad man.

MIN.
Surely he will come!

FRAN.
He ought to remain away! You remark in him--in him, the best of me--a
little pride; and therefore you intend to tease him so cruelly!

MIN.
Are you at it again? Be silent! I will have it so. Woe to you if you
spoil this fun of mine . . . if you do not say and do all, as we have
agreed. I will leave you with him alone; and then--but here he comes.

SCENE IV.

Paul Werner (comes in, carrying himself very erect as if on duty),
Minna, Franziska

FRAN.
No, it is only his dear Sergeant.

MIN.
Dear Sergeant! Whom does the "dear" refer to?

FRAN.
Pray, my lady, do not make the man embarrassed. Your servant, Mr.
Sergeant; what news do you bring us?

WER. (goes up to Minna, without noticing Franziska).
Major von Tellheim begs to present, through me, Sergeant Werner, his
most respectful compliments to Fraulein von Barnhelm, and to inform
her that he will be here directly.

MIN.
Where is he then?

WER.
Your ladyship will pardon him; we left our quarters before it began to
strike three; but the paymaster met us on the way; and because
conversation with those gentlemen has no end, the Major made me a sign
to report the case to your ladyship.

MIN.
Very well, Mr. Sergeant. I only hope the paymaster may have good news
for him.

WER.
Such gentlemen seldom have good news for officers.--Has your ladyship
any orders?
(Going.)

FRAN.
Why, where are you going again, Mr. Sergeant? Had not we something to
say to each other?

WER. (In a whisper to Franziska, and seriously).
Not here, little woman; it is against respect, against discipline.
. . . Your ladyship--

MIN.
Thank you for your trouble. I am glad to have made your acquaintance.
Franziska has spoken in high praise of you to me.
(Werner makes a stiff bow, and goes.)

SCENE V.
Minna, Franziska

MIN.
So that is your Sergeant, Franziska?

FRAN. (aside).
I have not time to reproach her for that jeering /your/.
(Aloud.)
Yes, my lady, that is my Sergeant. You think him, no doubt, somewhat
stiff and wooden. He also appeared so to me just now; but I observed,
he thought he must march past you as if on parade. And when soldiers
are on parade, they certainly look more like wooden dolls than men.
You should see and hear him when he is himself.

MIN.
So I should, indeed!

FRAN.
He must still be in the next room; may I go and talk with him a
little?

MIN.
I refuse you this pleasure unwillingly: but you must remain here,
Franziska. You must be present at our conversation. Another thing
occurs to me.
(Takes her ring from her finger.)
There, take my ring; keep it for me, and give me the Major's in the
place of it.

FRAN.
Why so?

MIN. (whilst Franziska is fetching the ring).
I scarcely know, myself; but I fancy I see, beforehand, how I may make
use of it. Some one is knocking. Give it to me, quickly.
(Puts the ring on.)
It is he.

SCENE VI.

Major von Tellheim (in the same coat, but otherwise as Franziska
advised), Minna, Franziska

MAJ. T.
Madam, you will excuse the delay.

MIN.
Oh! Major, we will not treat each other in quite such a military
fashion. You are here now; and to await a pleasure, is itself a
pleasure. Well
(looking at him and smiling)
dear Tellheim, have we not been like children?

MAJ. T.
Yes, Madam; like children, who resist when they ought to obey quietly.

MIN.
We will drive out, dear Major, to see a little of the town, and
afterwards to meet my uncle.

MAJ. T.
What!

MIN.
You see, we have not yet had an opportunity of mentioning the most
important matters even. He is coming here to-day. It was accident that
brought me here without him, a day sooner.

MAJ. T.
Count von Bruchsal! Has he returned?

MIN.
The troubles of the war drove him into Italy: peace has brought him
back again. Do not be uneasy, Tellheim; if we formerly feared on his
part the greatest obstacle to our union--

MAJ. T.
To our union!

MIN.
He is now your friend. He has heard too much good of you from too many
people, not to become so. He longs to become personally acquainted
with the man whom his heiress has chosen. He comes as uncle, as
guardian, as father, to give me to you.

MAJ. T.
Ah! dear lady, why did you not read my letter? Why would you not read
it?

MIN.
Your letter! Oh! yes, I remember you sent me one. What did you do with
that letter, Franziska? Did we, or did we not read it? What was it you
wrote to me, dear Tellheim?

MAJ. T.
Nothing but what honour commands me.

MIN.
That is, not to desert an honourable woman who loves you. Certainly
that is what honour commands. Indeed, I ought to have read your
letter. But what I have not read, I shall hear, shall not I?

MAJ. T.
Yes, you shall hear it.

MIN.
No, I need not even hear it. It speaks for itself. As if you could be
guilty of such an unworthy act, as not to take me! Do you know that I
should be pointed at for the rest of my life? My countrywomen would
talk about me, and say. "That is she, that is the Fraulein von
Barnhelm, who fancied that because she was rich could marry the noble
Tellheim; as if such men were to be caught with money." That is what
they would say, for they are all envious of me. That I am rich, they
cannot deny; but they do not wish to acknowledge that I am also a
tolerably good girl, who would prove herself worthy of her husband. Is
that not so, Tellheim?

MAJ. T.
Yes, yes, Madam, that is like your countrywomen. They will envy you
exceedingly a discharged officer, with sullied honour, a cripple, and
a beggar.

MIN.
And are you all that? If I mistake not, you told me something of the
kind this forenoon. Therein is good and evil mixed. Let us examine
each charge more closely. You are discharged? So you say. I thought
your regiment was only drafted into another. How did it happen that a
man of your merit was not retained?

MAJ. T.
It has happened, as it must happen. The great ones are convinced that
a soldier does very little through regard for them, not much more from
a sense of duty, but everything for his own advantage. What then can
they think they owe him? Peace has made a great many, like myself
superfluous to them; and at last we shall all be superfluous.

MIN.
You talk as a man must talk, to whom in return the great are quite
superfluous. And never were they more so than now. I return my best
thanks to the great ones that they have given up their claims to a man
whom I would very unwillingly have shared with them. I am your
sovereign, Tellheim; you want no other master. To find you discharged,
is a piece of good fortune I dared scarcely dream of! But you are not
only discharged; you are more. And what are you more? A cripple, you
say! Well!
(looking at him from head to foot),
the cripple is tolerably whole and upright--appears still to be pretty
well, and strong. Dear Tellheim, if you expect to go begging on the
strength of your limbs, I prophesy that you will be relieved at very
few doors; except at the door of a good-natured girl like myself.

MAJ. T.
I only hear the joking girl now, dear Minna.

MIN.
And I only hear the "dear Minna" in your chiding. I will not joke any
longer; for I recollect that after all you are something of a cripple.
You are wounded by a shot in the right arm; but all things considered,
I do not find much fault with that. I am so much the more secure from
your blows.

MAJ. T.
Madam!

MIN.
You would say, "You are so much the less secure from mine." Well,
well, dear Tellheim, I hope you will not drive me to that.

MAJ. T.
You laugh, Madam. I only lament that I cannot laugh with you.

MIN.
Why not? What have you to say against laughing? Cannot one be very
serious even whilst laughing? Dear Major, laughter keeps us more
rational than vexation. The proof is before us. Your laughing friend
judges of your circumstances more correctly than you do yourself.
Because you are discharged, you say your honour is sullied; because
you are wounded in the arm, you call yourself a cripple. Is that
right? Is that no exaggeration? And is it my doing that all
exaggerations are so open to ridicule? I dare say, if I examine your
beggary that it will also be as little able to stand the test. You may
have lost your equipage once, twice, or thrice; your deposits in the
hands of this or that banker may have disappeared together with those
of other people; you may have no hope of seeing this or that money
again which you may have advanced in the service; but are you a beggar
on that account? If nothing else remained to you but what my uncle is
bringing for you--

MAJ. T.
Your uncle, Madam, will bring nothing for me.

MIN.
Nothing but the two thousand pistoles which you so generously advanced
to our government.

MAJ. T.
If you had but read my letter, Madam!

MIN.
Well, I did read it. But what I read in it, on this point, is a
perfect riddle. It is impossible that any one should wish to turn a
noble action into a crime. But explain to me, dear Major.

MAJ. T.
You remember, Madam, that I had orders to collect the contribution for
the war most strictly in cash in all the districts in your
neighbourhood. I wished to forego this severity, and advanced the
money that was deficient myself.

MIN.
I remember it well. I loved you for that deed before I had seen you.

MAJ. T.
The government gave me their bill, and I wished, at the signing of the
peace, to have the sum entered amongst the debts to be repaid by them.
The bill was acknowledged as good, but my ownership of the same was
disputed. People looked incredulous, when I declared that I had myself
advanced the amount in cash. It was considered as bribery, as a
douceur from the government, because I at once agreed to take the
smallest sum with which I could have been satisfied in a case of the
greatest exigency. Thus the bill went from my possession, and if it be
paid, will certainly not be paid to me. Hence, Madam, I consider my
honour to be suspected! not on account of my discharge, which, if I
had not received, I should have applied for. You look serious, Madam!
Why do you not laugh? Ha! ha! ha! I am laughing.

MIN.
Oh! stifle that laugh, Tellheim, I implore you! It is the terrible
laugh of misanthropy. No, you are not the man to repent of a good
deed, because it may have had a bad result for yourself. Nor can these
consequences possibly be of long duration. The truth must come to
light. The testimony of my uncle, of our government--

MAJ. T.
Of your uncle! Of your government! Ha! ha! ha!

MIN.
That laugh will kill me, Tellheim. If you believe in virtue and
Providence, Tellheim, do not laugh so! I never heard a curse more
terrible than that laugh! But, viewing the matter in the worst light,
if they are determined to mistake your character here, with us you
will not be misunderstood. No, we cannot, we will not, misunderstand
you, Tellheim. And if our government has the least sentiment of
honour, I know what it must do. But I am foolish; what would that
matter? Imagine, Tellheim, that you have lost the two thousand
pistoles on some gay evening. The king was an unfortunate card for
you: the queen
(pointing to herself)
will be so much the more favourable. Providence, believe me, always
indemnifies a man of honour--often even beforehand. The action which
was to cost you two thousand pistoles, gained you me. Without that
action, I never should have been desirous of making your acquaintance.
You know I went uninvited to the first party where I thought I should
meet you. I went entirely on your account. I went with a fixed
determination to love you--I loved you already! with the fixed
determination to make you mine, if I should find you as dark and ugly
as the Moor of Venice. So dark and ugly you are not; nor will you be
so jealous. But, Tellheim, Tellheim, you are yet very like him! Oh!
the unmanageable, stubborn man, who always keeps his eye fixed upon
the phantom of honour, and becomes hardened against every other
sentiment! Your eyes this way! Upon me,--me, Tellheim!
(He remains thoughtful and immovable, with his eyes fixed on one
spot.)
Of what are you thinking? Do you not hear me?

MAJ. T. (absent).
Oh, yes; but tell me, how came the Moor into the service of Venice?
Had the Moor no country of his own? Why did he hire his arm and his
blood to a foreign land?

MIN. (alarmed).
Of what are you thinking, Tellheim? It is time to break off. Come!
(taking him by the hand).
Franziska, let the carriage be brought round.

MAJ. T. (disengaging his hand, and following Franziska).
No, Franziska; I cannot have the honour of accompanying your mistress.
Madam, let me still retain my senses unimpaired for to-day, and give
me leave to go. You are on the right way to deprive me of them. I
resist it as much as I can. But hear, whilst I am still myself, what I
have firmly determined, and from which nothing in the world shall turn
me. If I have not better luck in the game of life; if a complete
change in my fortune does not take place; if--

MIN.
I must interrupt you, Major. We ought to have told him that at first,
Franziska.--You remind me of nothing.--Our conversation would have
taken quite a different turn, Tellheim, if I had commenced with the
good news which the Chevalier de la Marliniere brought just now.

MAJ. T.
The Chevalier de la Marliniere! Who is he?

FRAN.
He may be a very honest man, Major von Tellheim, except that--

MIN.
Silence, Franziska! Also a discharged officer from the Dutch service,
who--

MAJ. T.
Ah! Lieutenant Riccaut!

MIN.
He assured us he was a friend of yours.

MAJ. T.
I assure you that I am not his.

MIN.
And that some minister or other had told him, in confidence, that your
business was likely to have the very best termination. A letter from
the king must now be on its way to you.

MAJ. T.
How came Riccaut and a minister in company? Something certainly must
have happened concerning my affair; for just now the paymaster of the
forces told me that the king had set aside all the evidence offered
against me, and that I might take back my promise, which I had given
in writing, not to depart from here until acquitted. But that will be
all. They wish to give me an opportunity of getting away. But they are
wrong, I shall not go. Sooner shall the utmost distress waste me away
before the eyes of my calumniators, than--

MIN.
Obstinate man!

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