Part 11 out of 12
he sits an' listens when they ring.
I don't know. Things is goin' queer to-day. Mrs. Fielitz sent for him to
come over. Horseradish seed is what she said she wanted. An' then she
goes an' leaves for the city.
[_Exit, shaking his head._
They been stalkin' about since four o'clock in the mornin'. Up an' down
they went with their bull's-eye lantern. I don't believe they went to bed
Well, if Fielitz has gone to buy a clock you can't expect him to eat or
drink or sleep.
[_Behind the fence._] Gustav!
The boy is coming now, running along.
That's right. Rauchhaupt! Here's Gustav!
_GUSTAV comes prancing up, highly excited, gesticulating violently.
He points in the direction from which he has come._
Is that there a war dance you're tryin' to perform? Looks like the
cannibals' goin's on. I believe that brat feeds on human flesh.
Hurry now an' run to your father.
Go on now!
Get along with your horse-radish.
_GUSTAV gesticulating, puts his hollow hand to his mouth and toots in
imitation of a trumpet. Laughter._
Where's the fire, you little firebrand?
Ede, catch hold o' him!
All right. [_He tries to creep up to GUSTAV. The latter observes this,
gives a loud toot and, still tooting, hurries away, dropping a box of
matches as he does so._] Hallo!
Just what I need.
Safetys! A whole box full.
_MRS. SCHULZE comes rushing down the stairs._
Here I is!
It's ... it's ... it's ... over at ...
Anything about the missis?
No, at Fielitzes'.
Is that so? Nothin' about my wife? Well, then,--[_he shakes her_]--just
stop to get your breath. Things is as they is. I'm prepared for
anythin'--life an' death. I gotta stand it.
What kind o' talk is that? Anythin' wrong with you?
No; it's burnin'!
Go an' blow it out then!--Where is it burnin'!
At the Fielitzes'!
Good Lord! That ain't possible!
[_He drops the iron file and some nails which he has been holding._
Where's the fire?
At Fielitzes'; the flame is comin' out o' the skylight.
[_Has stepped forward._] Confound it all, but it's smoky! Come here! You
can see it well from here.
[_Also stares in the direction of the fire. His expression shows that a
complete understanding of the situation has come to him, which he
expresses by a conscious whistling._] There ain't no words for this; I
just gotta whistle.
Ede! Run over to Scheibler's! Run! Get the horses for the engine! That
smoke's comin' up thick over the gable.
[_He rushes into the smithy, throws his apron aside, puts on a
fireman's helmet, belt, etc._
An' nobody at home there, goodness gracious!
That's the lucky part of it, after all.
_The roaring of the fire alarm trumpet is heard._
You hear, Doctor? They're tootin' already!
[_Reappears in his fireman's uniform._] You get out o' the way here, old
lady. Go an' attend to things upstairs. Nothin' to be done here with a
syringe. You go up to my wife. Hold on! We gotta have the key to the
engine house. The devil!
_MRS. SCHULZE withdraws into the house. RAUCHHAUPT'S head reappears
on the other side of the fence._
My, but there's a smell o' burnin' in the air.
Sure it smells that way. There's a fire at the Fielitzes'.
The devil! I didn't know nothin' about that!
That's all right, old man. Wasn't you a constable onct?
[_He rushes away._
_A fourteen-year-old boy comes madly hurrying up._
[_To DR. BOXER._] Master! The key to the engine house! They can't get in
to the engine.
I'm not the fireman! Just keep cool!
They wants you to come to the engine right off.
You didn't hear what I told you.
There's a fire!
I know that. The engine master has left. He's reached the engine long
There's a fire. They wants you to come down to the engine!
[_He runs away._
_RAUCHHAUPT appears at the gate. Two LITTLE GIRLS cling to his rags._
I'm used to that! It don't excite me a bit! Mieze! Lottie! You c'n come
an' see somethin'.--I seen hundreds an' hundreds o' fires,
[_Takes off the leathern apron._] It's a very sad thing for those people,
Everythin' is sad in this here world. It's all a question o' how you
looks at it! The same thing that's sad c'n be mighty cheerin'. Now
there's me: I raises pineapples, an' my hothouse wall ... it's right up
against Fielitzes' back wall. Now I won't have to keep no fire goin' for
_A somewhat OLDER GIRL also comes out through the gate and nestles
close up to the others. MRS. SCHULZE leans out from the window in the
[_Addressing someone in the room behind her._] Missis, you c'n be reel
quiet! The wind's blowin' from the other side.
Did you see that there old witch? She always knows where the wind comes
from.--I retired from all that, yessir! I didn't want to be a old
bloodhound right along. I don't mix in them things no more. But that
woman--she could be a keen one. [_A fireman, blowing his horn very
excitedly, walks by._] Go it easy, August! Patience! Look out, or your
breeches will bust!
[_Enraged._] Aw, shut up! Go an' hide yourself in the holes you're always
_A FOURTH and a FIFTH GIRL, aged nine and ten years respectively,
join the old man._
[_Laughing._] That's quite a fierce fellow.
Gussie, Nelly, gimme your hand.--That's all nothin' but hurry. That
feller don't know what's goin' on in this world. He's blowin' the trumpet
of Jericho, I'm thinkin', or maybe even the trump o' Judgment Day!--
I don't think I quite take your meaning, Mr. Rauchhaupt.
Maybe Mrs. Wolff was only tryin' to scorch roaches. All right. Maybe, for
all I care, 'twas somethin' else. But if Mrs. Wolff ever puts _her_ hand
to somethin'--there ain't very much left.
What do you mean by that?
Oh, I was just thinkin'.
[_He withdraws, together with the children._
THE CURTAIN FALLS
THE THIRD ACT
_The court-room of JUSTICE VON WEHRHAHN. A large, white-washed room
level with the ground. The main door is in the left wall. Along the
wall to the right is the large official table covered with books,
documents, etc. Behind it stands the chair of the justice. By the
middle window, small table and chair for the clerk of the court. In
the foreground, right, a book case of soft wood, and on the left
wall, shelves for documents and records. A small door in the
background. Several chairs._
_GLASENAPP sits at his small table. The JUSTICE'S chair is
_In front of the official table DR. BOXER, LANGHEINRICH in his
uniform of a captain of the fire brigade, EDE and THREE FIREMEN are
waiting. They are engaged in a rather excited conversation. All are
red with heat, stained with mud, wet and sooty._
_MRS. SCHULZE, somewhat pale, is resting in a chair and waiting
likewise. She is in a very thoughtful mood. Repeatedly she takes off
her headkerchief and puts it on again and arranges her grey hair._
_The action takes place on the same day as that of the first act,
five hours later._
_The conversation suddenly ceases._
_JUSTICE VON WEHRHAHN enters betraying a high degree of official
zeal. He covers his left eye with his left hand as though in pain,
sits down behind the table, takes his hand from his eye, which
twitches painfully, and begins._
Well, what's the result of this wretched mess?
[_Noticeably stimulated by exertion, whiskey and beer._] I've come to
announce, Baron, that the whole business is burned down.
[_Throwing down on the table an object which he has brought with him. It
is seen to be a photograph in a frame of deer feet._] That's because
you're all only half awake! You're all made that way. Yon drowse around
and do nothing. We're not three miles distant from Berlin; our entire
activity should have a different air!
[_Softly to DR. BOXER._] The fire did have air enough, eh?
Never mind. I know all about it.
[_He pulls out his handkerchief, wipes the perspiration from his
forehead and taps his eye._
Your honour, I'd like to lay claim, humbly, to some credit ... We did our
part honestly. We was on the spot with the engine.
Then get a better engine!
But if you can't get no water!
You managed to get plenty of beer.
Puttin' out a fire makes you thirsty!
That seems undoubtedly to have been the case.--Glasenapp, will you come
and look? Something flew into my eye. [_GLASENAPP jumps up and
investigates._] I had just examined Mrs. Schulze when the north gable
caved in. It must have been a spark or something like that.--By the way,
hasn't Mrs. Schulze been here?
Here I is.
_WEHRHAHN motions him away. GLASENAPP steps back and goes over to his
To proceed, then. It has come to my ears ... Mrs. Schulze has informed
me, that a certain incident took place in front of your smithy.--It seems
that you saw that worthless boy immediately before the flame rose and
that he had a box of matches. How is it now with this story of the
matches? Tell us what you know!
He had a box o' matches. That's so.
And he let it fall.
An' I picked it up. Yessir.
Me. Same person you see. Here's the box. All the matches ain't there no
more 'cause I smoked several times ...
[_He places the box of matches on the official table._]
[_Unpleasantly impressed by EDE'S manner, takes up the box and fixes his
eyes upon him._] You helped along vigorously, I suppose?
You bet! 'Tain't no fun otherwise.
I meant especially in the consumption of beer.
That's what I thought you meant. Yessir!
You seem to be in a very playful mood.
Merry an' larky--that's my motto, your honour!
Delighted to hear that, I must say.--Look here, are you Dr. Boxer?
Quite right. Dr. Boxer.
So you are he! Aha! I would hardly have recognised you. Your mother still
has the little notion shop here.... Your father was a--er--tradesman--?
[_Voluntarily misunderstanding him._] Yes, my father was in the reserve
forces and was decorated with the Iron Cross in 1870.
Ah, yes. Of course. I recall.--Your mother came running to my office
recently and brought along several stones. Her kitchen windows had been
broken, I believe. Mischievous boys, no doubt. I investigated, of course.
I'm told you want to settle down here?--There's a very good physician
here now--formerly of the army staff--very capable.
I don't doubt that for a moment.
To be quite frank--as things are now--I wonder whether this is an
appropriate territory for you?
I can take some time to discover that.
Naturally. So can we. So continue, please.--What was it that you
observed, Dr. Boxer?
The incident of the matches certainly.
The incident of the horn blowing and of the matches.
Where were you when all this took place?
I stood in front of Langheinrich's smithy.
Did you have any particular business there?--You needn't get impatient at
all. I understand that it doesn't concern me at present. Your sympathetic
affinity for the working classes is known to us from of old.--The boy
will be arrested now. I imagine that Constable Tschache has captured him.
At all events--is on his trail. He was seen, in Rahnsdorf too. Please
call in Sadowa!
[_GLASENAPP withdraws by the rear door._
Am I dismissed now, your honour?
Extremely sorry; no. Kindly wait.--Mrs. Schulze, where is your nephew
keeping himself today? I haven't seen him all day long. Does any one know
where Constable Schulze is?
[_Softly._] He might send out a warrant after him.
Doesn't any one know where Constable Schulze is?--Has any one interviewed
Mrs. Fielitz? Or hasn't she returned from Berlin yet?--I want somebody to
go to Councillor Reinberg.--[_To GLASENAPP, who is just returning._] Mr.
Schmarowski, Mrs. Fielitz's son-in-law, is there submitting his
building-plans. The news should be broken to him gently.
[_Softly to BOXER and LANGHEINRICH._] Yes, gently, so he don't stumble
over the church steeple.
[_DR. BOXER and LANGHEINRICH restrain their laughter with
[_Observing this._] Does that strike you as very amusing?--I don't know
what other reason you should have to laugh, Langheinrich. When people are
hardworking and ambitious and a fright like this comes to them--a
visitation from God--we might properly say: God protect us from such
things! I see nothing to laugh at.--Did you have the impression ... did
the boy seem to you ... I mean, in reference to this affair--as if things
were not quite right with him?
[_Softly to BOXER and LANGHEINRICH._] We knows where he ain't quite
Did he arouse your suspicion? Yes or no? Or did the thought actually
occur to you that he might have started the fire?
No. I have become too much of a stranger here. The conditions seem to
In what respect?
[_With assumed seriousness._] I have returned from a very narrow life.
Out on the ocean one becomes accustomed to a certain narrowness of
outlook. And so, as I said, I hardly feel capable of any comment for the
present and must ask for the necessary consideration.
We're not discussing conditions. The thing that lies before us is a
concrete case. For instance: whether the boy tootled or not--what has
that to do with narrowness or breadth of outlook?
Quite right. I haven't been able to get a general view yet. I can't so
suddenly find my way again. I feel, naturally, the importance, the
seriousness of the conditions here at home and that makes me feel
He did tootle this way, through his hand, didn't he? You heard that too,
didn't you, Langheinrich?
Sure, he did it right out loud.
When a feller tootles so tootin'ly that you c'n rightly say he's
tootlin', then you c'n hear that there tootlin' tootin'ly.
[_To LANGHEINRICH._] Did you observe anything else that aroused your
suspicions? I mean, while you were extinguishing the fire? Were there any
indications that pointed in another direction, or that might, at least,
point in another direction? [_LANGHEINRICH thinks for a moment, then
shakes his head._] You didn't get inside of the house, did you?
I just barely glanced into the room. Then the ceiling came crashin' down.
A hair's breadth sooner an' I'd ha' been smothered.
The fire was started from without. Constable Tschache is quite right in
that supposition. Probably from behind where the goatshed is. That would
also be in agreement with your evidence, Mrs. Schulze! You saw him creep
around the house. Right above the goatshed there is a window from which,
as a rule, straw was sticking out. I myself made that observation. And
this window gives on Rauchhaupt's garden. This window tempted the boy. It
tempted him because he had it daily before his eyes. So he simply climbed
on the roof of the shed and from there reached the sky-light. Very
pleasant neighbour to have--I must say!--Who's that crossing the street
and howling so?
[_Looks through the window._] Shoemaker Fielitz and his wife.
What? Is that Mrs. Fielitz who comes howling so? It's enough to melt the
heart of a stone.
_MRS. FIELITZ, whose loud, convulsive weeping has been audible before
she appeared, enters, leaning upon the SEXTON and followed by HER
HUSBAND, who carries a large, new clock carefully in his arms.
FIELITZ and HIS WIFE are both in their Sunday clothes._
Well, heavens and earth, Mrs. Fielitz! Trust in the Lord! Our trust in
the Lord--that's the main thing! This isn't a killing matter.--Get a
drink of brandy, Nickel! Go over and ask my wife for it. Mrs. Fielitz has
got to be brought to her senses first.--Do me a favour, Mrs. Fielitz, and
stop your outburst of tears. I can feel for you, when it comes to that.
Quite a severe blow of fate. Have any valuables been destroyed? [_MRS.
FIELITZ weeps more violently._] Mrs. Fielitz! Mrs. Fielitz! Listen to me!
Please listen to what I say to you! Kindly don't lose your reason! D'you
understand? Don't lose your head! You're generally a sensible
woman.--Well, if you won't, you won't.--[_NICKEL, who has been gone for a
moment, returns with a brandy bottle and a small glass._]--Give her the
brandy; quick,--I'll address myself to you, Fielitz. I see that you're
quite collected, at least. That's the way a man ought to be, you
understand. In any situation--be that what it may. So, Fielitz, you give
me some information! I'll put the same question to you first: Have any
valuables been destroyed?
[_He is only partially successful in restraining the convulsive sobs that
attack him while he speaks._] Yes. Six bills ... banknotes!
Well, I'll be blessed! Is that true? And, of course, you don't even know
the numbers! My gracious, but you're careless people! One ought to think
of such things! But that does no good now. Fielitz, do you hear me! One
ought to take some thought.--Now he's beginning to howl too! Do you
understand me? The place for ready money is a bank! And anyhow--the whole
business! One doesn't leave one's property alone like that! One shouldn't
leave it quite unprotected, especially with such a crowd in the
neighbourhood as we have here!
I ... aw ... who'd ha' thought o' such a thing, your honour?
Why don't you lay that clock down?
I'm a peaceable man, your honour. I--I--I--I--Oh, Lordy, Lordy! I can't
tell you nothin', how that there thing happened.--I'm on good terms with
people; I don't quarrel with nobody ... I has made mistakes in my life.
That happens when a man ain't got no good companions. But that people
should go an' treat me this way! No, I ain't never deserved that.
[_Weeping._] Fielitz, what has I always been tellin' you? Who's right
now, eh? Tell me that: who's right now? You didn't make no enemies on
_our_ account. Them's very different stories--them is. An' I guess Mr.
von Wehrhahn knows somethin' about that!
Aw, mother, keep still. That there, that was my dooty.
[_EDE, half seriously, half in jest, makes a threatening gesture
behind FIELITZ. WEHRHAHN observes this._
Look here, you there! What's that you did? You stood behind Fielitz and
shook your fist over his head.
Maybe I'm weak in the chest, but I don't rightly know.
Listen: I'll tell you something. The place for insane people is the
asylum. But if you behave with any more impudence, you'll first be taken
to gaol!--I didn't understand you quite rightly, Mrs. Fielitz. You
insinuated something just now. Have you any suspicions in that direction?
I don't care to express myself more clearly. But do you suspect a--how
shall I express it--an act of, so to speak, political reprisal? In that
case you must be absolutely open. We shall then certainly get to the
bottom of it.
No, no, no! I ain't got no suspicion. I'd rather go an' beg on the public
roads. I don't want to accuse no human being. I don't know. I can't make
nothin' of it at all. That's what I says again an' again. I don't know
nothin'.--Everythin' was locked up. We went away. The kitchen fire was
out; the top o' the oven was cold. Well, how did it happen? I can't
understand it, nohow. I don't know. But you see, that a feller like that
there feller c'n sit here an' make insinerations--that does hurt a body
right to the soul!
Don't permit that to make any impression on you! Where would any of us
be, if we let such things affect us? Any one who goes to church nowadays
has the whole world hooting him. You just stick to me. [_He rummages
among the papers on his table._] By the way, I succeeded in saving
something here--a picture of your late husband. At least, I believe that
that's what it is. It was framed in deer's feet. [_He finds the picture
and hands it to MRS. FIELITZ._] Here!
_MRS. FIELITZ takes the picture, grasps WEHRHAHN'S hand with a swift
motion and kisses it, weeping._
[_Audibly._] Has anybody maybe got a bit o' sponge in his pocket, 'cause,
you see, stockin's don't absorb so much water.
Make a note of that fellow, Glasenapp! Out with him! At once! You are to
_EDE withdraws with absurd gestures of his arms and legs. Suppressed
I'm really very much surprised at you, Langheinrich. That fellow has a
regular felon's face. One of those knife ruffians; a regular socialist.
He's been in gaol several times on account of street brawls. And that's
the kind of a man that you take into your shop and home.
All that don't concern me, your honour. I don't mix in politics.
Oh, is that so? We can afford to wait and see.
If a feller goes an' does his work all right ...
Nonsense! Mere twaddle! Let any one tell me with whom he associates and I
will tell him who he is.
_The murmuring and chattering of a crowd is heard. Constable SCHULZE
enters in full uniform._
Where have you been all day?
[_Utterly disconcerted for some moments. Then:_] We nabbed the boy, your
Is that so? Who did it?
Me and Tschache.
Right near here; by the church.
He always sits there and listens to the bells.
Why didn't you tell us that before? Did he try to escape? Did he run from
He sat in the ditch an' didn't notice us. Tschache could ride close up to
him. An' then we got him by the scruff an' had him tight.
[_He steps back and grasps GUSTAV, whom_ TSCHACHE is leading in.
Members of the crowd press forward._
H-m! At all events he is here. I'm rather sorry, I must say. He's the son
of a former Prussian constable ... Has any one informed old Rauchhaupt?
Somebody had better go for him.
I'm takin' care of a sick person, your honour. Maybe I might be able to
get off now?
Prepare the record, Glasenapp. No, Mrs. Schulze, you'll have to remain
here for the present. The matter will be finished soon enough.--So let us
prepare the record ...
[_He leans back in his chair and stares at the ceiling as if
collecting his thoughts for the purpose of dictating._
[_Softly to DR. BOXER._] Look at Mrs. Fielitz, will you, Doctor? Eh?
Ain't she grown yellow as a lemon peel?--If only that thing don't go
crooked, I tell you. [_He shows to DR. BOXER, who wards him off with a
gesture, something secretly in his hollow hand._] D'you want to see
somethin'? Eh? That's a fuse, that's what.
[_Softly._] Where did you get that from?
It ain't me that knows! That might come from anywhere in the world. It
might even come from Fielitz's cellar. Yessir. Maybe you don't believe
that? An' if I wanted to be nasty, Doctor ...
Private conversation is not permitted here.
[_Tugs at LANGHEINRICH'S sleeve and asks softly:_] Didn't you meet
Leontine to-day? Where was it?
[_With a triumphant glance at SCHULZE._] Over in Woltersdorf.
Well, then, Glasenapp ... This is a horrible state of affairs--the
seventh conflagration this Autumn. And these people pretend to constitute
a civilised society! These firebrands pretend to be Christians. One need
merely step out on one's balcony to see the reflection of a fire
somewhere in the heavens. Now and then in clear nights I have counted the
reflections of as many as five. Contempt of judges and laws--that's what
it is! And that has taken such hold of these scoundrels that arson has
become a kind of diversion.--But they had better go slow. Just a little
patience, ladies and gentlemen! We know the tracks! We are on the right
scent! And the people in question will have a terrible awakening when,
quite suddenly, discovery and retribution come upon them. Any one who is
at all versed in the procedure of criminal justice knows that it goes
ahead slowly and surely and finally lays hold upon the guilty.--But as
Commissioner von Stoeckel quite rightly observed: The whole moral
downfall of our time, its actual return to savagery is a consequence of
the lack of religion! Educated people do not hesitate to undermine the
divine foundations upon which the structure of salvation rests.--But,
thank God, we're always to be found at our place! We are, so to speak,
always on our watch-tower!--And, I tell you, boy: There is a God! Do you
understand? There is a God in Heaven from whom no evil deed remains
hidden. Brotherly love! Christian spirit! What your kind needs is to have
your breeches drawn tight and your behind flogged! I'd make you sick of
playing with fires, you infamous little scamp!--Yes, Dr. Boxer, that is
exactly my conviction. You can shrug your shoulders all you please; that
doesn't disturb me in the slightest degree. You can even take up your pen
and raise the cry of cruelty and unfeelingness in the public prints!
Flogging! Christian discipline--that's what is needed, and no sentimental
slopping around! You understand!
[_Has become more and more excited by the rising enthusiasm of the
speaker. At the end of WEHRHAHN'S oratorical effort he can restrain
himself no longer and breaks out in a loud, deceptively exact imitation
of an ass's bray._] I! a! a! a! I! a! a! a!
[_Also embarrassed._] What does that mean?
I really don't know.
That's Gustav's art, your honour. He's famous for imitatin' animals'
Is that so? And what animal was this supposed to be?
I guess a lion, all right.--
_WEHRHAHN shrugs his shoulders, laughs jeeringly and goes to his
seat. Silence. Then renewed laughter._
I must request silence. This is no place for laughter! We are not
indulging in horse-play for your benefit. We are not trying to amuse any
one. The things we are discussing here are of a deadly seriousness. This
isn't a circus.
_RAUCHHAUPT enters and stares helplessly about him._
[_Tugs at the coat of SCHULZE, who stands near her but with his back
turned. He faces her and she asks with a sorrowful expression._] Did you
see my girl to-day?
_SCHULZE nods and turns back again._
[_As before._] You did see Leontine this morning?
_SCHULZE nods again and turns away._
[_Repeating the action._] An' where did you meet her, Constable?
[_Almost without moving his lips._] It was over beyond Woltersdorf.
[_To LANGHEINRICH._] What's the matter here? What's all this here about?
[_Observes RAUCHHAUPT._] You are a retired Prussian constable?
[_Having failed to hear the question._] Say, Schulze, what's all this
His honour axed you somethin'. I can't go an' give you no information.
That's against orders. If you'd only ha' kept a better watch on that
there boy! I preached to you about that often enough.
I don't know what you been preachin'! You ol' mush head! Go on preachin'!
I begs to have it recorded that Rauchhaupt insulted me officially.
What? 'Cause you're such a old idjit? That's the reason why I insults you
Man alive! Do you know where you are? Or have you just dropped here out
of the clouds! Confound it all! Stand still! Obey orders!
Here I is, your honour, an' I humbly announces ...
That you are recalcitrant and disorderly! You are trying to get into
trouble! How long have you been retired?
In addition your memory is probably injured. And anyhow--your whole
appearance! The devil! To think of a former constable looking like that
... I thought I knew all types!
That's 'cause I am ... You'll kindly excuse ...
Nothing is excused here! D'you understand? You actually smell! You
contaminate the air!
'Tain't nothin' but the smell o' earth ...
That must be from them pineapples.--
In short: make haste to get out as soon as possible; otherwise, as I said
... Out! Out! You have probably seen now what is taking place here, and
now you have nothing further to do.--Here are the papers. Constable! Take
them right over to the court.
[_He hands the papers to SCHULZE. The officers clash their sabres,
grasp GUSTAV more firmly and prepare to lead him out. RAUCHHAUPT
glares about in helpless and growing terror._
I have the impression, your honour, that this boy is really a patient.
You will forgive me for mingling ...
The boy's a imbecile--clean daft!
No, no, Doctor! Oh, no, Mr. Langheinrich, that there boy knows what he's
doin'. I had a hen onct an' she went an' hatched out eleven little chicks
and he goes an' takes bricks an' kills seven of 'em.
That's right, aunt. An' how about that other business, about the little
purse what he stole?
The little purse, yes, an' what was in it. An' the way he went about that
there thing ... nobody as is well could ha' done it more clever.
An' then, aunt, the shawl ...
Naw, an' then that there pistol. That boy's got all the good sense he
needs. I'm a old an' experienced woman.
What's that you is? What? A ole witch with a low, lousy tongue in her
head! You go an' sweep in front o' your own door before you go an' accuse
other people. If somebody was to go an' watch your trade--takin' care o'
babies an' such like an' seein' to it that there ain't no shortage o'
angels in heaven--all kinds o' things might come out an' you wouldn't
know how to see or hear no more.--What's this? What's the matter with
Gustav? I gotta know that--what all this here is!
Hold your tongue! [_To the constable._] Right about--march!
Hold on, I says! Hold on, now! That's no way! Things like that ain't
mentioned in Scripter! I'm the father o' this here child! What's he done?
What do people think he's done? Gustav! What is they accusin' you of? I
went through the Schleswig-Holstein campaign; I was under fire in
'sixty-six; I was wounded in 'seventy. Here's my leg an' here is my
scars. I served the King of Prussia ...
Those are old stories that you're telling us.
... With God for King and Fatherland! But this thing here, no, sir; I
can't allow that. I wants to know what this thing here with Gustav is
Look here, my man, you had better come to your senses! I have told you
that once before. In consideration of your service to the state I have
overlooked several things as it is. Well now, I'll do one thing more.
Listen to me! This fine little product--this son of yours, has committed
arson. At least, he is under the very strongest suspicion. Now step out
of the way and don't interfere with the officers in the performance of
their duty. Go on, Schulze!
Committed arson? That there boy? Over there? At Fielitz's? Gustav? This
here boy? This here little feller? O Lordy! But that makes me laugh! An'
that they ain't all laughin'--that's the funny part. Here, Schulze, don't
you go in for no foolishness! I wore them brass buttons myself
onct!--Howdy-do, Mrs. Fielitz! Well, Fielitz, how are you? Where are you
goin' to hang up that clock o' yours?
Now he's jeerin' at us atop o' our troubles.
Not a bit. Why should I be jeerin' at you anyhow? It's a misfortune, you
think! Lord, Lord, so it is! Cats die around in sheds an' the birds they
falls down dead to the earth. No, I ain't jeerin' at you! Anyhow: I ain't
scared o' many things. I've gone for some tough customers in my
time--fellers that none o' the other constables wanted to tackle! This
here finger is bitten through. Yessir! But before I tackles any one like
you--I'll go an' hang myself.
[_Almost grey in the face, with trembling lips, yet with considerable
vehemence and energy._] What's that man goin' for me like that for? What
did I ever do to him, I'd like to know! Can I help it that things has
turned out this way? I ain't seen nothin'! I wasn't there! I ain't cast
no suspicions on no one! An' if they went an' arrested that boy o'
yours--I didn't know no more about that than you!
Woman! Woman! Look at me!
Rot! Stop botherin' me. Leave me in peace an' don't go showin' off that
way! I got enough trouble to go through. The doctor tells a person not to
get excited, 'cause you might go just like that! An' a man like you ...
We don't know where to lie down! We don't know where we're goin' to sleep
to-night! We're lyin' in the street, you might say, half dead an' all
broken up ...
Woman! Woman! Can you look at me?
Leave me alone an' go where you belongs. I don't let nobody treat me like
that! I c'n look at you all right! Why not? I c'n look at you three days
an' three nights an' see nothin' but a donkey before me! If this here
thing is put off on your boy now, whose fault is it mostly? How did you
go an' talk about the boy? You says, says you: he steals, he sets fire to
your straw shed--an' now you're surprised that things turns out this way!
You beat this here poor boy ... he used to come runnin' over to me with
so many blue spots on his body that there wasn't a place on him that
wasn't sore. An' now you acts all of a sudden like a crazy man!
_WEHRHAHN has motioned the officers who grasp GUSTAV more firmly and
lead him toward the door. RAUCHHAUPT observes this and jumps with
lightning-like rapidity in front of GUSTAV, placing his hands on the
latter's shoulders and holding him fast._
Can't be done! I can't allow that, your honour. My Gustav ain't no
criminal! I lived along reel quiet all to myself an' now I got into this
here conspiracy. There's got to be proofs first of all! [_To
LANGHEINRICH._] Could it ha' been he, d'you think? [_LANGHEINRICH shrugs
his shoulders._] Them's all a crowd o' thieves around here--that's what
... Gustav, don't you cry! They can't, in God's name--they can't do
nothin' to you ...
Hands off! Or ... Hands off!
Your honour, I'll take my oath o' office, that's what I'll take, that my
boy here is innercent!
_Tempi passati_. You're getting yourself into trouble. For the last time:
Then I'd rather kill him right here on the spot, your honour!
[_Steps between and separates RAUCHHAUPT from his son._] Move' on! You're
not to touch the boy! If you dare the constable will draw his sabre!
[_White as chalk, half maddened with excitement, has loosened his hold on
GUSTAV and plants himself in front of the main door._] Don't do that to
me, your honour, for God's sake, for Christ's sake--don't! That's a point
o' honour with me--a point o' honour! Anythin' exceptin' that! I'll go
instead. I c'n furnish bail. I'll run an' get bail. I c'n get back here
right away! Eh? C'n I? Or can't that be done now?
Stuff and nonsense. Move out of the way!
I knows who it was that did it!
_WEHRHAHN thrusts RAUCHHAUPT aside and the two officers conduct
GUSTAV out. DR. BOXER and LANGHEINRICH support and restrain
RAUCHHAUPT at the same time. He falls into a state of dull collapse.
Silence ensues. Without saying a word WEHRHAHN returns to his table,
blows his nose, glances swiftly at RAUCHHAUPT and MRS. FIELITZ and
Let us have some light, Glasenapp.
_GLASENAPP lights a lamp on the table._
No, no, I tell you; it's bad, bad! A man like that! He goes an' accuses
everybody in the whole place.
You! Mrs. Schulze! You can go your ways!
_MRS. SCHULZE withdraws rapidly._
I'd like to ax your honour ... we don't even know where we're goin' to
Are you asleep now, Fielitz?
[_Frightened from the contemplation of his clock._] Not me, your honour!
I thought you were because your head drooped so.
[_With childish bashfulness._] I was just lookin' at the hands.
[_To MRS. FIELITZ._] You want to go?
If it's maybe possible ... I can't hardly stand on them two legs o' mine
I believe that. When did you get up this morning?
-- -- --?
We both got up around eight o'clock.
Do you always get up so late?
Sure not! That there man is confused to-day in his mind. We got up at
five. We always get up at five!
Well, Mrs. Fielitz, you go on home now.--I should be mighty sorry in some
respects ... However, justice goes its way. Murder will out. Criminals
come to a fearful end! The eternal Judge doesn't forget. And--you [_To
RAUCHHAUPT._] might as well go home. Go home and wait to see how things
turn out. I'll let things go this time. Your paternal feeling robbed you
of your senses.
[_Steps forward._] I should like 'umbly to report, your honour ...
Go on! Go on! What else do you want? Let us have no more nonsense, my
[_Goes close up to MRS. FIELITZ._] God is my witness! I'll show you up!
THE CURTAIN FALLS
THE FOURTH ACT
_The attic room over LANGHEINRICH'S smithy. To the left, two small,
curtained windows. At one of the windows an arm-chair on which MRS.
FIELITZ is sitting. She has aged perceptibly and grown thinner.--At
the second window stands a sewing-machine with a chair beside it. A
skirt at which some one has been working is thrown across the chair.
A bodice lies on the machine itself. A door in the rear wall leads to
a little sleeping-chamber immediately under the roof. To the left of
this door a brown tile-oven; to its right, a yellow wardrobe. In the
right wall there is likewise a door which opens upon the hall. Behind
this door a neatly made bed and a yellow chest of drawers. Above this
chest hangs a seven-day clock. The SHOEMAKER FIELITZ stands in his
stocking feet upon the chest of drawers and winds the clock._
_In the middle of the room an extension table. A hanging lamp above
it. Four yellow chairs surround the table, a fifth--of the same set
stands near the bed. LANGHEINRICH and EDE, _dressed in their
working-clothes, are busy at the table. LANGHEINRICH holds an iron
weather-vane which EDE is painting red._
_EDE and LANGHEINRICH break out in loud laugh._
[_Who has been minding the clock while the others have been laughing._]
Somebody's been pokin' around here again.
You c'n bet on that. I s'ppose that's what's happened. You'd better watch
All I say is: let me catch some one at it! An' I won't care what happens
That's right! That's the way! Don't you care who it is, neither. I think
it was Leontine.
The girl ain't been near that there clock!
Somethin's goin' to happen some day. I don't take no jokes o' that kind.
You gotta save that to put it in the shop.
That's the truth! That's what I always been sayin'! That corner shop'll
soon be built now, an' then maybe he won't have no clock to hang up in
it. How could he go an' start a business then!
Firebrands! Pack o' thieves! Laugh if you wants to! You can't never get
the better o' me!
Not a bit, can they! An' that wouldn't do. How many contracts has you
been makin'? I mean about furnishin' people with shoes. You got to have
somethin' to start with!
Can't you leave the man in peace!
You just go in my room; there you c'n see letters an' contracts lyin'
around--packages an' heaps o' them!
[_Looks into the adjoining room._] I don't see nothin'.
Tear up the floorin': you'll find the docyments hidden there. People has
got to have their business secrets!
O' course they has! An' whippersnappers don't know much about that. Go
an' learn how to read an' write before you go an' mix in my business.
Come, Fielitz, let them be! Don't lose your temper. You know as
Langheinrich has got to have his joke! That's the way the man is made.
I do feel pretty jolly to-day, an' that's a fac'! I got a piece o' work
done. An' if I don't go an' fall down from the steeple when I puts it
up--I'll go an' christen this here occasion. An' I won't use water.
Are you goin' to put it up yourself?
You c'n take your oath on that! An' why not? Schmarowski, he designed it.
But I forged it an' I'll put it up.
You better let Schmarowski do that himself.
Schmarowski ain't afraid o' anything shaky.
No, that's as true as can be, I know. He ain't afraid o' God nor the
devil. That little man ... I tell you, Bismarck is just a coward
alongside o' him!
I'd like to make a inquiry: who is it that built that there new house?
Well, who did?
Me! An' not Schmarowski.
Well, that's certain! We all knows that, Mr. Fielitz.
Right up from the foundation! Me an' nobody but me! That there is my
land, my bricks, my money! All the insurance money's been sunk into that.
Ax mother here if that ain't the fac'!
Oh, Lord, Fielitz! Can't you let that be? Has you got to tell them old
stories all over again?
That I has! I got to prove that, mother! I got to let them people know
who I is! Watch out, I tell you, when I makes my speech to-day!
Schmarowski says there ain't goin' to be no speech makin'.
You can't go an' tie up my tongue, an' Schmarowski can't do it neither!
[_He withdraws into the adjoining little room._
You better look out, ole lady, an' see that there ain't no bloody row
raised. There's talk now o' some people wantin' to get ugly. Better be a
All you gotta do is to keep your eye on him a bit. Treat him to drinks
from the beginnin'. I can't keep that man in order to-day. He's bound to
go to the festival.
Schmarowski got a drubbin' yesterday.
Last night, yes, after the people's meetin'.
Maybe he went an' gave it to 'em a bit too hot.
That's what he did. That little scamp talked, Mrs. Fielitz! The whole
meetin' just shouted! An' he didn't mind callin' a spade a spade neither.
He oughtn't to be so hot, I think.
That he ought, just that! An' why not? Do what you can an' go ahead!
That's the way! That whole crowd don't deserve no better. Not Wehrhahn
an' not Friderici. An' anyhow, it was a good thing, Mrs. Fielitz. It was
done just in the nick o' time! Now he's gone an' broken with them
fellers, an' everybody knows it. There ain't no goin' back now. Now he
belongs to us, Mrs. Fielitz, an' I never would ha' thought it of him!
You got reason to be satisfied with him, I'm thinkin'. Look at the noise
in your workshop with four journeymen ...
That's true, too, an' I'm not denyin' it. He put money in circulation. I
couldn't make friends with Pastor Friderici's collection plate. Couldn't
do it. Now everything's arranged.--Now I want you to keep your eyes open
at the window when I gets up to the top o' the steeple. I'll wave an'
sing out an'--jump down!
_LANGHEINRICH and EDE exeunt with the weather vane. A brief silence._
I wonder if Rauchhaupt will be comin' in to-day?
I don't see, mother, why you're so frightened all the time. Rauchhaupt
ain't nothin' but an old fool. Let him come all he pleases an' jabber
away! Let him, mother. Nobody don't pay no attention to his nonsense!
They says as he's been talkin' around a lot.
Well, let him! I got letters too. Here's one of 'em again, mother. [_She
throws down a letter in its envelope._] But I don't worry about that. An'
anyhow it's only that assistant at the railroad.
It might ha' been Constable Schulze, too.
Or that assistant teacher Lehnert--if you want to go on guessin'!
Well, let 'em! Them fellers is jealous--an' envious o' Schmarowski an'
his new house! They'd like to go an' lay somethin' at our door. But no!
'Tain't so simple as that!
[_Who has been sewing at her machine for a moment._] Look, mama, I found
Hurry now, hurry! Don't go an' lose time now. That dress has got to be
ready by two. Adelaide has been sendin' over again!--The one thing you
ought to do is to go down to the cellar an' get that couple o' bottles o'
wine, so's we can drink their health when they come up! You c'n see,
they'll soon be through.
That thing was the Missis' spine supporter.
She was a poor, wretched crittur: strappin' herself an' tyin' herself an'
squeezin' herself, an' yet she couldn't get rid o' her hump.
Well, why did she have to be so vain!
Don't grudge her her rest. She's deserved it.
They says that her ghost keeps rappin' up in the top attic where
Let her be! Let her be! Don't talk no more. Maybe he was a bit rough with
her for all she brought money to him. She had to sew an' sew an' earn
money.... No wonder she can't find no rest.
Why did she have to go an' marry Langheinrich?
Let them old stories be! I don't like to hear about 'em. My head's full
enough o' trouble without 'em. I don't know what's wrong with me anyhow.
A body sees ghosts enough now an' then without thinkin' o' the past.
I must say, though, that if he's unfaithful to me that way....
Langheinrich? Let him go an' be. When it comes to that, there ain't no
man that's any good. If there was to be a single one whom you could go
an' depend on when it comes to that--it'd be somethin' new to me.--Main
thing is to be at your post. The man ain't bad. He means reel well. Be
savin'. You know how careful he is! An' take care o' his bit o' clothes
an' be good to his little girl. He don't object to your boy. [_FIELITZ
re-enters clad in his long, black Sunday coat._] You can't go to that
dinner lookin' like that. Come here an' I'll sew on that there button.
'Tain't possible you'll do that much! Don't go an' hurt yourself now.
[_Holds his garment with her left hand and sews, still seated._] It ain't
nobody's fault if a body can't get around so quick no more. You gets well
enough taken care of.
Aw, them times is past! You needn't lie atop of it all! I'm like a old
bootjack--kicked in a corner.--Has anybody been shovin' my clock?
It's likely. He's got a screw loose.
You just wait!
Langheinrich was just jokin'?
I'll show the whole crowd o' you somethin' now that I got on top. I c'n
go an' stand up to any man yet!
Well, o' course. There ain't nobody doubts that.
I just want you to wait two years an' see who it'll be that has made the
most money: Schmarowski, Langheinrich or me!
I don't see what grudge you got against Langheinrich? He went an' took us
into his house....
He did that 'cause he's got his reason an' 'cause he wants a high rent.
You better be glad he is the way he is.
On account o' that bit o' business with the fuse? You go right ahead an'
let him trample on you.
What was that there about a fuse?
That business? What d'you s'ppose? Dr. Boxer talked about it too.
I don't know nothin' about them affairs o' yours.
Mother, I got a good conscience.
You c'n go an' put it in a glass case.
Mother, I ain't sayin' nothin' else right now ...
That's all foolishness!
Schmarowski was here. How's that now with, the mortgage?
You mean that my mortgage is now the fourth?
Anybody knows that a buildin' like that costs money.
Schmarowski is sinkin' all his money in bricks an' mortar.
It's a fac'! That thing has taken hold o' him like a sickness.
Main thing is that you agrees. Don't you?
Not a bit! I don't agree to nothin'. I been a agent in my time an' took
care o' the most complexcated affairs. Yes, an' Wehrhahn patted me on the
back an' was mighty jolly 'cause I'd been so sly ... No, mother, I ain't
so green.--I c'n keep accounts! I knows how to use my pen! I'm more'n
half a lawyer! That feller ain't goin' to get the better o' me.
_SCHMAROWSKI enters very bustling. He has changed the style of his
garments considerably--light Spring overcoat, elegant little hat and
cane. He carries a roll of building plans._
Mornin', Mrs. Fielitz. How are you now? Did you get over that slight
Thank you kindly; I gets along. Take a seat.
Yes, I will. I've reely deserved it. I've been on my feet since four
o'clock this morning! Lord only knows how I succeed in staggerin' along.
Mornin'. I'm here too, you know.
Good mornin'. Didn't notice you at all. I have my head so full these days
Certainly. Don't doubt it! Have you anything to say to me? If so, go
Not this here moment! I got other things to attend to just now. I gotta
go an' meet a gentleman at the station on account o' them Russian rubber
shoes. Later. Sure. But not just now.
[_He stalks out excitedly._
That cobbler makes us all look ridiculous. He plays off in all the public
houses. The other day this thing happened out there in the waiting-room
where all the best people were sittin': he just made his way to 'em an'
talked all kinds of rot about the factories he was goin' to build and
The man acts as if he didn't have his right mind no more.
But you're gettin' along all right.
Tolerable. Oh, yes. Only I can't hardly stand the hammerin' no more. I
wish we was out o' this here house!
Patience! For Heaven's sake, have patience now! Things have gone pretty
smoothly so far. Don't let's begin to hurry now. Just a little patience.
I'm as anxious as any one for us to get settled. But I can't do no
wonders. I'm glad the roof is on. I know what that cost me--an' then all
these annoyances atop o' that. [_He shows her a number of opened
letters._] Anonymous, all of 'em, of course. The meanest accusations of
Fielitz, of you, an', of course, of myself.
I don't know what them people wants. When you got trouble you needn't go
huntin' for insult. That's the way things is, an' different they won't
be. They questioned us up an' down. Three times I had to go an' run to
court. If there'd been anythin' to find out, they'd ha' found it out long
I don't want to offer no opinion about that. That's your affair; that
don't concern me. 'S far as I'm concerned, I gave the people to
understand what I am. When people want to get rid o' me, they got to take
the consequences. That's what Pastor Friderici had better remember. I saw
through his game.--But to come to the point, as I'm in a hurry, as you
see. Everything's goin' very 'well--but cash is needed--cash!
But Fielitz ain't willin'.