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Minna von Barnhelm by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

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MAJ. T.
I require no favour; I want justice. My honour--

MIN.
The honour of such a man--

MAJ. T. (warmly).
No, Madam, you may be able to judge of any other subject, but not of
this. Honour is not the voice of conscience, not the evidence of a few
honourable men--

MIN.
No, no, I know it well. Honour is . . . honour.

MAJ. T.
In short, Madam . . . You did not let me finish.--I was going to say,
if they keep from me so shamefully what is my own; if my honour be not
perfectly righted--I cannot, Madam, ever be yours, for I am not
worthy, in the eyes of the world, of being yours. Minna von Barnhelm
deserves an irreproachable husband. It is a worthless love which does
not scruple to expose its object to scorn. He is a worthless man, who
is not ashamed to owe a woman all his good fortune; whose blind
tenderness--

MIN.
And is that really your feeling, Major?
(turning her back suddenly).
Franziska!

MAJ. T.
Do not be angry.

MIN. (aside to Franziska).
Now is the time! What do you advise me, Franziska?

FRAN.
I advise nothing. But certainly he goes rather too far.

MAJ. T. (approaching to interrupt them).
You are angry, Madam.

MIN. (ironically).
I? Not in the least.

MAJ. T.
If I loved you less--

MIN. (still in the same tone).
Oh! certainly, it would be a misfortune for me. And hear, Major, I
also will not be the cause of your unhappiness. One should love with
perfect disinterestedness. It is as well that I have not been more
open! Perhaps your pity might have granted to me what your love
refuses.
(Drawing the ring slowly from her finger.)

MAJ. T.
What does this mean, Madam?

MIN.
No, neither of us must make the other either more or less happy. True
love demands it. I believe you, Major; and you have too much honour to
mistake love.

MAJ. T.
Are you jesting, Madam?

MIN.
Here! take back the ring with which you plighted your troth to me.
(Gives him the ring.)
Let it be so! We will suppose we have never met.

MAJ. T.
What do I hear?

MIN.
Does it surprise you? Take it, sir. You surely have not been
pretending only!

MAJ. T. (takes the ring from her).
Heavens! can Minna speak thus?

MIN.
In one case you cannot be mine; in no case can I be yours. Your
misfortune is probable; mine is certain. Farewell!
(Is going.)

MAJ. T.
Where are you going, dearest Minna?

MIN.
Sir, you insult me now by that term of endearment.

MAJ. T.
What is the matter, Madam? Where are you going?

MIN.
Leave me. I go to hide my tears from you, deceiver!
(Exit.)

SCENE VII.
Major von Tellheim, Franziska

MAJ. T.
Her tears? And I am to leave her.
(Is about to follow her.)

FRAN. (holding him back).
Surely not, Major. You would not follow her into her own room!

MAJ. T.
Her misfortune? Did she not speak of misfortune?

FRAN.
Yes, truly; the misfortune of losing you, after--

MAJ. T.
After? After what? There is more in this. What is it, Franziska? Tell
me! Speak!

FRAN.
After, I mean, she has made such sacrifices on your account.

MAJ. T.
Sacrifices for me!

FRAN.
Well, listen. It is a good thing for you, Major, that you are freed
from your engagement with her in this manner.--Why should I not tell
you? It cannot remain a secret long. We have fled from home. Count von
Bruchsal has disinherited my mistress, because she would not accept a
husband of his choice. On that every one deserted and slighted her.
What could we do? We determined to seek him, whom--

MAJ. T.
Enough! Come, and let me throw myself at her feet.

FRAN.
What are you thinking about! Rather go, and thank your good fortune.

MAJ. T.
Pitiful creature! For what do you take me? Yet no, my dear Franziska,
the advice did not come from your heart. Forgive my anger!

FRAN.
Do not detain me any longer. I must see what she is about. How easily
something might happen to her. Go now, and come again, if you like.
(Follows Minna.)

SCENE VIII.
Major von Tellheim

MAJ. T.
But, Franziska! Oh! I will wait your return here.--No, that is more
torturing!--If she is in earnest, she will not refuse to forgive me.
Now I want your aid, honest Werner!--No, Minna, I am no deceiver!
(Rushes off.)

ACT V.

SCENE I.
Major von Tellheim (from one side), Werner (from the other)

MAJ. T.
Ah! Werner! I have been looking for you everywhere. Where have you
been?

WER.
And I have been looking for you, Major; that is always the way.--I
bring you good news.

MAJ. T.
I do not want your news now; I want your money. Quick, Werner, give me
all you have; and then raise as much more as you can.

WER.
Major! Now, upon my life, that is just what I said--"He will borrow
money from me, when he has got it himself to lend."

MAJ. T.
You surely are not seeking excuses!

WER.
That I may have nothing to upbraid you with, take it with your right
hand, and give it me again with your left.

MAJ. T.
Do not detain me, Werner. It is my intention to repay you; but when
and how, God knows!

WER.
Then you do not know yet that the treasury has received an order to
pay you your money? I just heard it at--

MAJ. T.
What are you talking about? What nonsense have you let them palm off
on you? Do you not see that if it were true I should be the first
person to know it? In short, Werner, money! money!

WER.
Very well, with pleasure. Here is some! A hundred louis d'ors there,
and a hundred ducats there.
(Gives him both.)

MAJ. T.
Werner, go and give Just the hundred louis d'ors. Let him redeem the
ring again, on which he raised the money this morning. But whence will
you get some more, Werner? I want a good deal more.

WER.
Leave that to me. The man who bought my farm lives in the town. The
date for payment is a fortnight hence, certainly; but the money is
ready, and by a reduction of one half per cent--

MAJ. T.
Very well, my dear Werner! You see that I have had recourse to you
alone--I must also confide all to you. The young lady you have seen is
in distress--

WER.
That is bad!

MAJ. T.
But to-morrow she shall be my wife.

WER.
That is good!

MAJ. T.
And the day after, I leave this place with her. I can go; I will go. I
would sooner throw over everything here! Who knows where some good
luck may be in store for me? If you will, Werner, come with us. We
will serve again.

WER.
Really? But where there is war, Major!

MAJ. T.
To be sure. Go, Werner, we will speak of this again.

WER.
Oh! my dear Major! The day after to-morrow! Why not to-morrow? I will
get everything ready. In Persia, Major, there is a famous war; what do
you say?

MAJ. T.
We will think of it. Only go, Werner!

WER.
Hurrah! Long live Prince Heraclius!
(Exit.)

SCENE II.
Major von Tellheim

MAJ. T.
How do I feel! . . . My whole soul has acquired a new impulse. My own
unhappiness bowed me to the ground; made me fretful, short-sighted,
shy, careless: her unhappiness raises me. I see clearly again, and
feel myself ready and capable of undertaking anything for her sake.
Why do I tarry?
(Is going towards Minna's room, when Franziska comes out of it.)

SCENE III.
Franziska, Major von Tellheim

FRAN.
Is it you? I thought I heard your voice. What do you want, Major?

MAJ. T.
What do I want? What is she doing? Come!

FRAN.
She is just going out for a drive.

MAJ. T.
And alone? Without me? Where to?

FRAN.
Have you forgotten, Major?

MAJ. T.
How silly you are, Franziska! I irritated her, and she was angry. I
will beg her pardon, and she will forgive me.

FRAN.
What! After you have taken the ring back, Major!

MAJ. T.
Ah! I did that in my confusion. I had forgotten about the ring. Where
did I put it?
(Searches for it.)
Here it is.

FRAN.
Is that it?
(Aside, as he puts it again in his pocket.)
If he would only look at it closer!

MAJ. T.
She pressed it upon me so bitterly. But I have forgotten that. A full
heart cannot weigh words. She will not for one moment refuse to take
it again. And have I not hers?

FRAN.
She is now waiting for it in return. Where is it, Major? Show it to
me, do!

MAJ. T. (embarrassed).
I have . . . forgotten to put it on. Just--Just will bring it
directly.

FRAN.
They are something alike, I suppose; let me look at that one. I am
very fond of such things.

MAJ. T.
Another time, Franziska. Come now.

FRAN. (aside).
He is determined not to be drawn out of his mistake.

MAJ. T.
What do you say? Mistake!

FRAN.
It is a mistake, I say, if you think my mistress is still a good
match. Her own fortune is far from considerable; by a few calculations
in their own favour her guardians may reduce it to nothing. She
expected everything from her uncle; but this cruel uncle--

MAJ. T.
Let him go! Am I not man enough to make it all good to her again!

FRAN.
Do you hear? She is ringing; I must go in again.

MAJ. T.
I will accompany you.

FRAN.
For heaven's sake, no! She forbade me expressly to speak with you.
Come in at any rate a little time after me.
(Goes in.)

SCENE IV.
Major von Tellheim

MAJ. T. (calling after her).
Announce me! Speak for me, Franziska! I shall follow you directly.
What shall I say to her? Yet where the heart can speak, no preparation
is necessary. There is one thing only which may need a studied turn
. . . this reserve, this scrupulousness of throwing herself,
unfortunate as she is, into my arms; this anxiety to make a false show
of still possessing that happiness which she has lost through me. How
she is to exculpate herself to herself--for by me it is already
forgiven--for this distrust in my honour, in her own worth . . . Ah!
here she comes.

SCENE V.
Minna, Franziska, Major von Tellheim

MIN. (speaking as she comes out, as if not aware of the Major's
presence).
The carriage is at the door, Franziska, is it not? My fan!

MAJ. T. (advancing to her).
Where are you going, Madam?

MIN. (with forced coldness).
I am going out, Major. I guess why you have given yourself the trouble
of coming back: to return me my ring.--Very well, Major von Tellheim,
have the goodness to give it to Franziska.--Franziska, take the ring
from Major von Tellheim!--I have no time to lose.
(Is going.)

MAJ. T. (stepping before her).
Madam! Ah! what have I heard? I was unworthy of such love.

MIN.
So, Franziska, you have--

FRAN.
Told him all.

MAJ. T.
Do not be angry with me, Madam. I am no deceiver. You have, on my
account, lost much in the eyes of the world, but not in mine. In my
eyes you have gained beyond measure by this loss. It was too sudden.
You feared it might make an unfavourable impression on me; at first
you wished to hide it from me. I do not complain of this mistrust. It
arose from the desire to retain my affection. That desire is my pride.
You found me in distress; and you did not wish to add distress to
distress. You could not divine how far your distress would raise me
above any thoughts of my own.

MIN.
That is all very well, Major, but it is now over. I have released you
from your engagement; you have, by taking back the ring--

MAJ. T.
Consented to nothing! On the contrary, I now consider myself bound
more firmly than ever. You are mine, Minna, mine for ever.
(Takes off the ring.)
Here, take it for the second time--the pledge of my fidelity.

MIN.
I take that ring again! That ring?

MAJ. T.
Yes, dearest Minna, yes.

MIN.
What are you asking me? that ring?

MAJ. T.
You received it for the first time from my hand, when our positions
were similar and the circumstances propitious. They are no longer
propitious, but are again similar. Equality is always the strongest
tie of love. Permit me, dearest Minna!
(Seizes her hand to put on the ring.)

MIN.
What! by force, Major! No, there is no power in the world which shall
compel me to take back that ring! Do you think that I am in want of a
ring? Oh! you may see
(pointing to her ring)
that I have another here which is in no way inferior to yours.

FRAN. (aside).
Well, if he does not see it now!

MAJ. T. (letting fall her hand).
What is this? I see Fraulein von Barnhelm, but I do not hear her.--You
are pretending.--Pardon me, that I use your own words.

MIN. (in her natural tone).
Did those words offend you, Major?

MAJ. T.
They grieved me much.

MIN. (affected).
They were not meant to do that, Tellheim. Forgive me, Tellheim.

MAJ. T.
Ah! that friendly tone tells me you are yourself again, Minna: that
you still love me.

FRAN. (exclaims).
The joke would soon have gone a little too far.

MIN. (in a commanding tone).
Franziska, you will not interfere in our affairs, I beg.

FRAN. (aside, in a surprised tone).
Not enough yet!

MIN.
Yes, sir, it would only be womanish vanity in me to pretend to be cold
and scornful. No! Never! You deserve to find me as sincere as
yourself. I do love you still, Tellheim, I love you still; but
notwithstanding--

MAJ. T.
No more, dearest Minna, no more!
(Seizes her hand again, to put on the ring.)

MIN. (drawing back her hand).
Notwithstanding, so much the more am I determined that that shall
never be,--never!--Of what are you thinking, Major?--I thought your
own distress was sufficient. You must remain here; you must obtain by
obstinacy--no better phrase occurs to me at the moment--the most
perfect satisfaction, obtain it by obstinacy. . . . And that even
though the utmost distress should waste you away before the eyes of
your calumniators--

MAJ. T.
So I thought, so I said, when I knew not what I thought or said.
Chagrin and stifling rage had enveloped my whole soul; love itself, in
the full blaze of happiness, could not illumine it. But it has sent
its daughter, Pity, more familiar with gloomy misfortune, and she has
dispelled the cloud, and opened again all the avenues of my soul to
sensations of tenderness. The impulse of self-preservation awakes,
when I have something more precious than myself to support, and to
support through my own exertions. Do not let the word "pity" offend
you. From the innocent cause of our distress we may hear the term
without humiliation. I am this cause; through me, Minna, have you lost
friends and relations, fortune and country. Through me, in me, must
you find them all again, or I shall have the destruction of the most
lovely of her sex upon my soul. Let me not think of a future in which
I must detest myself.--No, nothing shall detain me here longer. From
this moment I will oppose nothing but contempt to the injustice which
I suffer. Is this country the world? Does the sun rise here alone?
Where can I not go? In what service shall I be refused? And should I
be obliged to seek it in the most distant clime, only follow me with
confidence, dearest Minna--we shall want for nothing. I have a friend
who will assist me with pleasure.

SCENE VI.
An Orderly, Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

FRAN. (seeing the Orderly).
Hist, Major!

MAJ. T. (to the Orderly).
Who do you want?

ORD.
I am looking for Major von Tellheim. Ah! you are the Major, I see. I
have to give this letter from his Majesty the King
(taking one out of his bag).

MAJ. T.
To me?

ORD.
According to the direction.

MIN.
Franziska, do you hear? The Chevalier spoke the truth after all.

ORD. (whilst Tellheim takes the letter).
I beg your pardon, Major; you should properly have had it yesterday,
but I could not find you out. I learnt your address this morning only
from Lieutenant Riccaut, on parade.

FRAN.
Do you hear, my lady?--That is the Chevalier's minister. "What is the
name of de ministre out dere, on de broad place?"

MAJ. T.
I am extremely obliged to you for your trouble.

ORD.
It is my duty, Major.
(Exit.)

SCENE VII.
Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

MAJ. T.
Ah! Minna, what is this? What does this contain?

MIN.
I am not entitled to extend my curiosity so far.

MAJ. T.
What! You would still separate my fate from yours?--But, why do I
hesitate to open it? It cannot make me more unhappy than I am: no,
dearest Minna, it cannot make us more unhappy--but perhaps more happy!
Permit me.
(While he opens and reads the letter, the Landlord comes stealthily on
the stage.)

SCENE VIII.
Landlord, Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

LAND. (to Franziska.)
Hist! my pretty maid! A word!

FRAN. (to the Landlord).
Mr. Landlord, we do not yet know ourselves what is in the letter.

LAND.
Who wants to know about the letter! I come about the ring. The lady
must give it to me again, directly. Just is there, and wants to redeem
it.

MIN. (who in the meantime has approached the Landlord).
Tell Just that it is already redeemed; and tell him by whom--by me.

LAND.
But--

MIN.
I take it upon myself. Go!

(Exit Landlord.)

SCENE IX.
Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

FRAN.
And now, my lady, make it up with the poor Major.

MIN.
Oh! kind intercessor! As if the difficulties must not soon explain
themselves.

MAJ. T. (after reading the letter, with much emotion.)
Ah! nor has he herein belied himself! Oh! Minna, what justice! what
clemency! This is more than I expected; more than I deserved!--My
fortune, my honour, all is reestablished!--Do I dream?
(Looking at the letter, as if to convince himself.)
No, no delusion born of my own desires! Read it yourself, Minna; read
it yourself!

MIN.
I would not presume, Major.

MAJ. T.
Presume! The letter is to me; to your Tellheim, Minna. It contains--
what your uncle cannot take from you. You must read it! Do read it.

MIN.
If it affords you pleasure, Major.
(Takes the letter and reads.)

"My dear Major von Tellheim,

"I hereby inform you, that the business which caused me some
anxiety on account of your honour, has been cleared up in your
favour. My brother had a more detailed knowledge of it, and his
testimony has more than proved your innocence. The Treasury has
received orders to deliver again to you the bill in question, and
to reimburse the sum advanced. I have also ordered that all claims
which the Paymaster's Office brings forward against your accounts
be nullified. Please to inform me whether your health will allow
of your taking active service again. I can ill spare a man of your
courage and sentiments. I am your gracious King," &c.

MAJ. T.
Now, what do you say to that, Minna?

MIN. (folding up and returning the letter).
I? Nothing.

MAJ. T.
Nothing?

MIN.
Stay--yes. That your king, who is a great man, can also be a good man.
--But what is that to me! He is not my king.

MAJ. T.
And do you say nothing more? Nothing about ourselves?

MIN.
You are going to serve again. From Major, you will become Lieutenant-
Colonel, perhaps Colonel. I congratulate you with all my heart.

MAJ. T.
And you do not know me better? No, since fortune restores me
sufficient to satisfy the wishes of a reasonable man, it shall depend
upon my Minna alone, whether for the future I shall belong to any one
else but her. To her service alone my whole life shall be devoted! The
service of the great is dangerous, and does not repay the trouble, the
restraint, the humiliation which it costs. Minna is not amongst those
vain people who love nothing in their husbands beyond their titles and
positions. She will love me for myself; and for her sake I will forget
the whole world. I became a soldier from party feeling--I do not
myself know on what political principles--and from the whim that it is
good for every honourable man to try the profession of arms for a
time, to make himself familiar with danger, and to learn coolness and
determination. Extreme necessity alone could have compelled me to make
this trial a fixed mode of life, this temporary occupation a
profession. But now that nothing compels me, my whole and sole
ambition is to be a peaceful and a contented man. This with you,
dearest Minna, I shall infallibly become; this in your society I shall
unchangeably remain. Let the holy bond unite us to-morrow; and then we
will look round us, and in the whole wide habitable world seek out the
most peaceful, the brightest, most smiling nook which wants but a
happy couple to be a Paradise. There we will dwell; there shall each
day. . . . What is the matter, Minna?
(Minna turns away uneasily, and endeavours to hide her emotion.)

MIN. (regaining her composure).
It is cruel of you, Tellheim, to paint such happiness to me, when I am
forced to renounce it. My loss--

MAJ. T.
Your loss! Why name your loss? All that Minna could lose is not Minna.
You are still the sweetest, dearest, loveliest, best creature under
the sun; all goodness and generosity, innocence and bliss! Now and
then a little petulant; at times somewhat wilful--so much the better!
So much the better! Minna would otherwise be an angel, whom I should
honour with trepidation, but not dare to love.
(Takes her hand to kiss it.)

MIN. (drawing away her hand).
Not so, sir. Why this sudden change? Is this flattering impetuous
lover, the cold Tellheim!--Could his returning good fortune alone
create this ardour in him? He will permit me during his passionate
excitement to retain the power of reflection for us both. When he
could himself reflect, I heard him say--"it is a worthless love which
does not scruple to expose its object to scorn."--True; and I aspire
to as pure and noble a love as he himself. Now, when honour calls him,
when a great monarch solicits his services, shall I consent that he
shall give himself up to love-sick dreams with me? that the
illustrious warrior shall degenerate into a toying swain? No, Major,
follow the call of your higher destiny.

MAJ. T.
Well! if the busy world has greater charms for you, Minna, let us
remain in the busy world! How mean, how poor is this busy world; you
now only know its gilded surface. Yet certainly, Minna, you will.
. . . But let it be so! until then! Your charms shall not want
admirers, nor will my happiness lack enviers.

MIN.
No, Tellheim, I do not mean that! I send you back into the busy world,
on the road of honour, without wishing to accompany you. Tellheim will
there require an irreproachable wife! A fugitive Saxon girl who has
thrown herself upon him--

MAJ. T. (starting up, and looking fiercely about him).
Who dare say that! Ah! Minna, I feel afraid of myself, when I imagine
that any one but yourself could have spoken so. My anger against him
would know no bounds.

MIN.
Exactly! That is just what I fear. You would not endure one word of
calumny against me, and yet you would have to put up with the very
bitterest every day. In short, Tellheim, hear what I have firmly
determined, and from which nothing in the world shall turn me--

MAJ. T.
Before you proceed, I implore you, Minna, reflect for one moment, that
you are about to pronounce a sentence of life or death upon me!

MIN.
Without a moment's reflection! . . . As certainly as I have given you
back the ring with which you formerly pledged your troth to me, as
certainly as you have taken back that same ring, so certainly shall
the unfortunate Minna never be the wife of the fortunate Tellheim!

MAJ. T.
And herewith you pronounce my sentence.

MIN.
Equality is the only sure bond of love. The happy Minna only wished to
live for the happy Tellheim. Even Minna in misfortune would have
allowed herself to be persuaded either to increase or to assuage the
misfortune of her friend through herself. . . . He must have seen,
before the arrival of that letter, which has again destroyed all
equality between us, that in appearance only I refused.

MAJ. T.
Is that true? I thank you, Minna, that you have not yet pronounced the
sentence. You will only marry Tellheim when unfortunate? You may have
him.
(Coolly.)
I perceive now that it would be indecorous in me to accept this tardy
justice; that it will be better if I do not seek again that of which I
have been deprived by such shameful suspicion. Yes; I will suppose
that I have not received the letter. Behold my only answer to it!
(About to tear it up.)

MIN. (stopping him).
What are you going to do, Tellheim?

MAJ. T.
Obtain your hand.

MIN.
Stop!

MAJ. T.
Madam, it is torn without fail if you do not quickly recall your
words.--Then we will see what else you may have to object to in me.

MIN.
What! In such a tone? Shall I, must I, thus become contemptible in my
own eyes? Never! She is a worthless creature, who is not ashamed to
owe her whole happiness to the blind tenderness of a man!

MAJ. T.
False! utterly false!

MIN.
Can you venture to find fault with your own words when coming from my
lips?

MAJ. T.
Sophistry! Does the weaker sex dishonour itself by every action which
does not become the stronger? Or can a man do everything which is
proper in a woman? Which is appointed by nature to be the support of
the other?

MIN.
Be not alarmed, Tellheim! . . . I shall not be quite unprotected, if I
must decline the honour of your protection. I shall still have as much
as is absolutely necessary. I have announced my arrival to our
ambassador. I am to see him to-day. I hope he will assist me. Time is
flying. Permit me, Major--

MAJ. T.
I will accompany you, Madam.

MIN.
No, Major; leave me.

MAJ. T.
Sooner shall your shadow desert you! Come Madam, where you will, to
whom you will everywhere, to friends and strangers, will I repeat in
your presence--repeat a hundred times each day--what a bond binds you
to me, and with what cruel caprice you wish to break it--

SCENE X.
Just, Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

JUST. (impetuously).
Major! Major!

MAJ. T.
Well!

JUST.
Here quick! quick!

MAJ. T.
Why! Come to me. Speak, what is the matter?

JUST.
What do you think?
(Whispers to him.)

MIN. (aside to Franziska).
Do you notice anything, Franziska?

FRAN.
Oh! you merciless creature! I have stood here on thorns!

MAJ. T. (to Just).
What do you say? . . . That is not possible! . . . You?
(Looking fiercely at Minna.)
Speak it out; tell it to her face. Listen, Madam.

JUST.
The Landlord says, that Fraulein von Barnhelm has taken the ring which
I pledged to him; she recognised it as her own, and would not return
it.

MAJ. T.
Is that true, Madam? No, that cannot be true!

MIN. (smiling).
And why not, Tellheim? Why can it not be true?

MAJ. T. (vehemently).
Then it is true! . . . What terrible light suddenly breaks in upon me!
. . . Now I know you--false, faithless one!

MIN. (alarmed).
Who, who is faithless?

MAJ. T.
You, whom I will never more name!

MIN.
Tellheim!

MAJ. T.
Forget my name . . . You came here with the intention of breaking with
me . . . It is evident! . . . Oh, that chance should thus delight to
assist the faithless! It brought your ring into your possession. Your
craftiness contrived to get my own back into mine!

MIN.
Tellheim, what visions are you conjuring up! Be calm, and listen to
me.

FRAN. (aside).
Now she will catch it!

SCENE XI.

Werner (with a purse full of gold), Just, Major von Tellheim, Minna,
Franziska

WER.
Here I am already, Major!

MAJ. T. (without looking at him).
Who wants you?

WER.
I have brought more money! A thousand pistoles!

MAJ. T.
I do not want them!

WER.
And to-morrow, Major, you can have as many more.

MAJ. T.
Keep your money!

WER.
It is your money, Major . . . I do not think you see whom you are
speaking to!

MAJ. T.
Take it away! I say.

WER.
What is the matter with you?--I am Werner.

MAJ. T.
All goodness is dissimulation; all kindness deceit.

WER.
Is that meant for me?

MAJ. T.
As you please!

WER.
Why I have only obeyed your commands.

MAJ. T.
Obey once more, and be off!

WER.
Major
(vexed).
I am a man--

MAJ. T.
So much the better!

WER.
Who can also be angry.

MAJ. T.
Anger is the best thing we possess.

WER.
I beg you, Major.

MAJ. T.
How often must I tell you? I do not want your money!

WER. (in a rage).
Then take it, who will!
(Throws the purse on the ground, and goes to the side).

MIN. (to Franziska).
Ah! Franziska, I ought to have followed your advice. I have carried
the jest too far.--Still, when he hears me . . .
(going to him).

FRAN. (without answering Minna, goes up to Werner).
Mr. Sergeant--

WER. (pettishly).
Go along!

FRAN.
Ah! what men these are.

MIN.
Tellheim! Tellheim!
(Tellheim, biting his fingers with rage, turns away his face, without
listening.)
No, this is too bad . . . Only listen! . . . You are mistaken! . . . A
mere misunderstanding. Tellheim, will you not hear your Minna? Can you
have such a suspicion? . . . I break my engagement with you? I came
here for that purpose? . . . Tellheim!

SCENE XII.

Two Servants (running into the room from different sides), Werner,
Just, Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

FIRST SER.
Your ladyship, his excellency the Count!

SECOND SER.
He is coming, your ladyship!

FRAN. (running to the window).
It is! it is he!

MIN.
Is it? Now, Tellheim, quick!

MAJ. T. (suddenly recovering himself).
Who, who comes? Your uncle, Madam! this cruel uncle! . . . Let him
come; just let him come! . . . Fear not! . . . He shall not hurt you
even by a look. He shall have to deal with me . . . You do not indeed
deserve it of me.

MIN.
Quick, Tellheim! one embrace and forget all.

MAJ. T.
Ah! did I but know that you could regret--

MIN.
No, I can never regret having obtained a sight of your whole heart!
. . . Ah! what a man you are! . . . Embrace your Minna, your happy
Minna: and in nothing more happy than in the possession of you.
(Embracing.)
And now to meet him!

MAJ. T.
To meet whom?

MIN.
The best of your unknown friends.

MAJ. T.
What!

MIN.
The Count, my uncle, my father, your father . . . My flight, his
displeasure, my loss of property--do you not see that all is a
fiction, credulous knight?

MAJ. T.
Fiction! But the ring? the ring?

MIN.
Where is the ring that I gave back to you?

MAJ. T.
You will take it again? Ah! now I am happy . . . Here, Minna
(taking it from his pocket).

MIN.
Look at it first! Oh! how blind are those who will not see! . . . What
ring is that? the one you gave me? or the one I gave to you? Is it not
the one which I did not like to leave in the landlord's possession?

MAJ. T.
Heaven! what do I see! What do I hear!

MIN.
Shall I take it again now? Shall I? Give it to me! give it!
(Takes it from him, and then puts it on his finger herself.)
There, now all is right!

MAJ. T.
Where am I?
(Kissing her hand.)
Oh! malicious angel, to torture me so!

MIN.
As a proof, my dear husband, that you shall never play me a trick
without my playing you one in return. . . . Do you suppose that you
did not torture me also?

MAJ. T.
Oh you actresses! But I ought to have known you.

FRAN.
Not I, indeed; I am spoilt for acting. I trembled and shook, and was
obliged to hold my lips together with my hand.

MIN.
Nor was mine an easy part.--But come now--

MAJ. T.
I have not recovered myself yet. How happy, yet how anxious, I feel.
It is like awaking suddenly from a frightful dream.

MIN.
We are losing time . . . I hear him coming now.

SCENE XIII.

Count von Bruchsal (accompanied by several servants and the Landlord),
Two Servants, Werner, Just, Major von Tellheim, Minna, Franziska

COUNT. (entering).
She arrived in safety, I hope?

MIN. (running to meet him).
Ah! my father!

COUNT.
Here I am, dear Minna
(embracing her).
But what, girl
(seeing Tellheim),
only four-and-twenty hours here, and friends--company already!

MIN.
Guess who it is?

COUNT.
Not your Tellheim, surely!

MIN.
Who else!--Come, Tellheim
(introducing him).

COUNT.
Sir, we have never met; but at the first glance I fancied I recognised
you. I wished it might be Major von Tellheim.--Your hand, sir; you
have my highest esteem; I ask for your friendship. My niece, my
daughter loves you.

MIN.
You know that, my father!--And was my love blind?

COUNT.
No, Minna, your love was not blind; but your lover--is dumb.

MAJ. T. (throwing himself in the Count's arms).
Let me recover myself, my father!

COUNT.
Right, my son. I see your heart can speak, though your lips cannot. I
do not usually care for those who wear this uniform. But you are an
honourable man, Tellheim; and one must love an honourable man, in
whatever garb he may be.

MIN.
Ah! did you but know all!

COUNT.
Why should I not hear all?--Which are my apartments, landlord?

LAND.
Will your Excellency have the goodness to walk this way?

COUNT.
Come, Minna! Pray come, Major!
(Exit with the Landlord and servants.)

MIN.
Come, Tellheim!

MAJ. T.
I will follow you in an instant, Minna. One word first with this man
(turning to Werner).

MIN.
And a good word, methinks, it should be. Should it not, Franziska?
(Exit.)

SCENE XIV.
Major von Tellheim, Werner, Just, Franziska

MAJ. T. (pointing to the purse which Werner had thrown down).
Here, Just, pick up the purse and carry it home. Go!
(Just takes it up and goes.)

WER. (still standing, out of humour, in a corner, and absent till he
hears the last words).
Well, what now?

MAJ. T. (in a friendly tone while going up to him).
Werner, when can I have the other two thousand pistoles?

WER. (in a good humour again instantly).
To-morrow, Major, to-morrow.

MAJ. T.
I do not need to become your debtor; but I will be your banker. All
you good-natured people ought to have guardians. You are in a manner
spendthrifts.--I irritated you just now, Werner.

WER.
Upon my life you did! But I ought not to have been such a dolt. Now I
see it all clearly. I deserve a hundred lashes. You may give them to
me, if you will, Major. Only no more ill will, dear Major!

MAJ. T.
Ill will!
(shaking him by the hand).
Read in my eyes all that I cannot say to you--Ah! let me see the man
with a better wife and a more trusty friend than I shall have.--Eh!
Franziska?
(Exit.)

SCENE XV.
Werner, Franziska

FRAN. (aside).
Yes, indeed, he is more than good!--Such a man will never fall in my
way again.--It must come out.
(Approaching Werner bashfully.)
Mr. Sergeant!

WER. (wiping his eyes).
Well!

FRAN.
Mr. Sergeant--

WER.
What do you want, little woman?

FRAN.
Look at me, Mr. Sergeant.

WER.
I can't yet; there is something, I don't know what, in my eyes.

FRAN.
Now do look at me!

WER.
I am afraid I have looked at you too much already, little woman!
There, now I can see you. What then?

FRAN.
Mr. Sergeant--don't you want a Mrs. Sergeant?

WER.
Do you really mean it, little woman?

FRAN.
Really I do.

WER.
And would you go with me to Persia even?

FRAN.
Wherever you please.

WER.
You will! Hullo, Major, no boasting! At any rate I have got as good a
wife, and as trusty a friend, as you.--Give me your hand, my little
woman! It's a match!--In ten years' time you shall be a general's
wife, or a widow!

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