Part 12 out of 12
Mr. Fielitz will have to be!
He's still thinkin' about that corner shop o' his. Can't you keep a bit
o' space for it?
Can't be done! How'd I end if I begin that way? You got sense enough to
see that yourself. No. There wasn't no such agreement. We can't be
thinkin' o' things like that.--A banker is comin' to this dinner, Mrs.
Fielitz, an' I ought to know what to expect exactly. Everything is bein'
straightened out now. If I'm left to stick in the mud now...!
I'll see to it. Don't bother.
Very well. An' now there's something else. Have you heard anything from
Yes, I hears that he don't want to hold his tongue an' that he goes about
holdin' us up to contempt. That's the same thing like with Wehrhahn. I
never did nothin' but kindnesses to Rauchhaupt. An' now he comes here day
in an' day out an' makes a body sick an' sore with his old stories that
never was nowhere but in his head. Maybe ... my goodness ... a man like
that ... he c'n go an' keep on an' on, till, in the end ... well, well
Don't be afraid, Mrs. Fielitz. Things don't go no further now that the
noise is quieted down.--By the way, I see that the carpenters are
assemblin'. I got to go over there an' rattle off my bit o' speech. It's
just this: if Rauchhaupt should come in again, you just question him
carefully a little. There's a new affair bein' started. Got a political
side to it. Immense piece o' business. 'Course I got my finger in that
pie, as I has in all the others now. We'd like to get Rauchhaupt's land
... He bought it for a song in the old days. If we c'n get it--the whole
of it an' not parcelled--there'd be a cool million in it.
An' here I got two savin's bank books.
Thank you. Just what I need. There are times when a man can't be sparin'
o' money ...
The girl is comin'. Hurry an' slip 'em into your pocket.
_SCHMAROWSKI hastily puts the bankbooks into his pocket, nods to MRS.
FIELITZ and withdraws rapidly._
[_Half rising from her chair and looking anxiously out through the
window._] If only they don't go' an' make trouble this day. There's a
great crowd o' people standin' around.
_LEONTINE returns with the three bottles of wine and the glasses._
Mama! Mama! He's downstairs again. That fool of a Rauchhaupt is down
Rauchhaupt. He's comin' in right behind me.
[_She places the bottles and glasses on the table._
[_With sudden determination._] Let him! He c'n come up for all I cares.
I'll tell him the reel truth for onct.
[_RAUCHHAUPT puts his head in at the door._
Is I disturbing you, Mrs. Fielitz?
No, you ain't disturbin' me.
Is I disturbin' anybody else then?
I don't know about that. It depends.
[_Enters. His appearance is not quite so neglected as formerly._] My
congratulations. I'm comin' in to see if things is goin' right again.
[_With forced joviality._] You got a fine instinct for them things,
[_Staring at her, emphatically._] That I has, certainly! That I has!--I
just met Dr. Boxer, too. He's goin' to come up and see you in a minute,
too. An' I axed him about a certain matter, too.
What kind o' thing was that?
About that time, you know! They says that he said somethin' to
Langheinrich that time an' Langheinrich said somethin' to him, too.
I ain't concerned with them affairs o' yours. Leontine! Go an' get a
piece o' sausage so that they c'n have a bite o' food when they comes
The world don't stop movin'.
No, it don't. That's so.
Wouldn't you like for me to stay here now?
Yon better be goin' an' buy some silk stockin's.
What's the meanin' o' that?
That don't mean, nothin' much. You might think she was a
countess--standin' there at Mrs. Boxer's:--Adelaide, I mean, what's now
Mrs. Schmarowski. There she stood in the shop an' chaffered about a
yellow petticoat. She's a great lady nowadays an' one as wears red silk
People like us don't hardly have enough to buy cotton, ones.
I wonder what people will say about Adelaide in the end?
That ain't just talkin'. Them's facts. T'other day the beer waggon
unloaded some beer at Mrs. Kehrwieder's--Mrs. Kehrwieder that's a
washerwoman hereabouts. Well, my lady comes rustlin' up--that's what she
does--an' turns up her nose--she ain't no beastly snob, oh, no!--an' then
she asks Mrs. Kehrwieder: is it reely true that the poor drinks beer?
You needn't come to me with your rot an' your gossip.
Anyhow, what I was goin' to tell you is this: I'm on a new scent!
What kind of a scent is that you're on?
Mum's the word! I gotta be careful. I can't say nothin'; I don't pretend
to know nothin'. But I kept my eyes open pretty wide, I tell you. There's
detectives workin', too. I been to Wehrhahn, too, an' he told me to go
[_Knitting._] O Lordy! Wehrhahn. He's goin' to do you a lot o' good,
ain't he? It'll cost some more o' your money--that's what!
Mrs. Fielitz, the things we has found out, I'll show 'em up clear as day,
I tell you. You c'n get hold o' the smallest secret. The public
prosecutor hisself pricked up his ears. An' the way you does it is this:
first you draws big circles, Mrs. Fielitz, an' then you draws littler
ones an' littler ones an' then--then somebody is caught! Who? Why, them
criminals what set fire to the house. O' course I don't mean you, Mrs.
I'd give the matter a rest if I was you. Nothin' ain't goin' to come out.
How much you bet, Missis? I'll take you up.
If nothin' didn't come out at first ...
How much you bet, Missis? Come now, an' bet. All a body's gotta be is
patient. You ordered Gustav to come over at eleven o'clock with the
seeds. An' just then Mrs. Schulze passed by your door. No, I don't take
my nose off the scent.
Now I'll tell you something Rauchhaupt. I don't care nothin' about your
nose. But I tell you, if you don't stop but go on sniffin' around here
all the blessed time.... I tell you, some day my patience'll be at an
Why don't you go an' sue me, Mrs. Fielitz?
For my part you c'n say right out what you has to say. Then a person'll
know what to answer you. But don't go plannin' your stinkin' plans with
that Schulze woman! I put that there woman outta here! She comes here an'
tries to talk me into lettin' Leontine come over to her. The constable,
he'd like that pretty well. My girl ain't that kind, though. An' now, o'
course, the old witch'd like to give us a dig. Before that she wanted to
do the same to you!--I don't know anyhow what you're makin' so much noise
about! I don't see as anythin' bad has happened to that boy o' yours!
He's taken care of. He's got a good home! He gets nursin' an' good food!
No, no, that don't do me no good inside. I don't let that there rest on
me--not on me an' not on Gustav. Can't be done! That keeps bitin' into
me. I can't let that go. It cost me ten years o' my life. I knows that! I
knows what I went through that time when I tried to hang myself. I ain't
never goin' to get over that, 's long's I live! I'll find out who was at
the bottom of it all! I made up my mind to that!
Good Lord, an' why not? Go ahead an' do it! Keep peggin' away at it. What
business is it o' mine? Has I got to have myself excited this way all the
time when, the doctor told me how bad it is for me....
Missis, there ain't a soul as knows what that was. I knows it. I just ran
home, blind.... couldn't see nothin'! I didn't know nothin' no more o'
God or the world. I just kept pantin' for air! An' then there I lay--like
a dead person on the bed. They rubbed me with towels an' they brushed me
with brushes, an' sprayed camphor all over me an' such stuff! Then I came
back to life.
How many hundreds o' times has you been tellin' me that? I knows,
Rauchhaupt, that you went off o' your head. Well, what about that? Look
at me! My hair didn't get no blacker from that there business; I didn't
get no stronger from it neither. Who's worse off right now--you or me?
That's what I'd like to know. You got your health; you're lookin'
prosperous! An' me? What am I to-day? An' how does I look? Well, then,
what more d'you want?--I dreamed o' my own funeral, already!--What do you
want more'n that? I ain't goin' to bother nobody much longer. There ain't
much good to be got by houndin' me!... An' that's the truth.--An' anyhow,
you're a foolish kind o' a man, Rauchhaupt. You're so crazy, nobody
wouldn't hardly believe it. First you was always wantin' to get rid o'
the boy ...
Oh, you don't know Gustav, that you don't! What that there boy could do
when I had him ... an' the way he was kind to children an' such like! An'
the way he c'n sing! An' the thoughts he's got in his head! That there
time when he ran away from the asylum, he went an' he sat down in front
o' the church where he was always listenin' to the bells, an' there he
sat reel still, waitin'. You ought to ha' seen the boy then, Mrs.
Fielitz, the way all that shows in his face. That's somethin'! Only thing
is, he can't get it out the way the likes o' us c'n do it.
Rauchhaupt, I had worse things 'n that. Yes. I lost a boy--an' he was the
best thing I had in this world. Well, you see? You c'n go an' stare at me
now! My life--it ain't been no joke neither.--Go right on starin' at me!
Maybe you'll lose your taste for this kind o' thing the way you did onct
Mrs. Fielitz, I'm a peaceable man, but that there ... I'm peaceable,
Missis. I never liked bein' a constable, but ...
Well, then! Everybody knows that! On that very account! An' now there
ain't nobody as bad as you! You're actin' like a reg'lar bloodhound! Why?
You've always been as good as gold, Rauchhaupt! Every child in the place
knows that! An' now, what's all this about?--You c'n go an' open one o'
them there bottles. Why shouldn't we go an' drink a bit o' a drop
together? [_RAUCHHAUPT wipes his eyes and then walks across to draw the
cork of one of the bottles._]--Fightin' c'n begin again afterwards. I
s'ppose life ain't no different from that.--An' we can't change it. There
ain't nothin' but foolishness around. An' when you want to go an' open
people's eyes--you can't do it! Foolishness--that's what rules this
world.--What are we: you an' me an' all of us? We has had to go worryin'
and workin' all our lives--every one of us has! Well, then! We ought to
know how things reely is! If you don't join the scramble--you're lazy: if
you do--you're bad.--An' everythin' we does get, we gets out o' the dirt.
People like us has to turn their hands to anythin'! An' they, they tells
you: be good, be good! How? What chanct has we got? But no, we don't even
live in peace with each other.--I wanted to get on--that's true. An'
ain't it natural? We all wants to get out o' this here mud in which we
all fights an' scratches around ... Out o' it ... away from it ... higher
up, if you wants to call it that ... Is it true as you're wantin' to move
away from here, Rauchhaupt?
Yes, Mrs. Fielitz, I been havin' that in my mind. An' why? Dr. Boxer an'
me, we knows why. [_He groans sorrowfully._] It ain't only on account o'
my wantin' to be nearer to Gustav. No, no! I don't feel well in this here
neighbourhood no more. Everybody looks at me kind o' queer nowadays.
[_The bottle has now been uncorked and RAUCHHAUPT fills two glasses._
That's another thing. Why does we care what people think?
No, no! When a man has done what I has--that's different. When a man's
gone that length--an' a former officer at that--that he's gone an' taken
a rope an' tried.... I don't understand, Missis, I don't understand how I
could ha' done that.--But they cut me down ... that they did.
Is it reely true what people says about it?
You see, it got out, an' people knows! An' that--me bein' a former
officer--when I think o' that! No, no rain an' no wind can't wash that
blot off o' me.
I say: let's drink to our health. I don't care about people nor what they
thinks.--But if, maybe, you do want to sell some day--who knows?... I c'n
talk to Schmarowski. You two might agree.
_DR. BOXER, EDE and LEONTINE enter._
You're having a very jolly time here, Mrs. Fielitz.
Just to-day. It's an exception; that it is!
Young lady! Hey, there! You want to see somethin'? Langheinrich is
dancin' around on the church-steeple!
_MRS. FIELITZ rises with difficulty and looks out._
I can't bear to look at things like that even.
Let him fall! He won't fall nowhere but on his feet; he's just like a
[_Softly and half-humorously threatening RAUCHHAUPT._] Stop exciting my
patient all the time. A deuce of a lot of good all my doctoring will do
You c'n leave the man be, Doctor. People has put him up to things.
Otherwise he's the best feller in the world.
Very well, then! And beyond that, Mrs. Fielitz, how do you feel?
Well enough. 'Tis true,--[_she points to her breast_]--somethin's cracked
inside o' here. But then! Everybody's gotta get out o' the world
sometime. I've lived quite a while!
You musn't talk so much! You must keep still longer. [_To RAUCHHAUPT._]
I've got an invitation for you. Mr. Schmarowski saw you going in here,
and so he stopped me and asked me to say that he'd like to have you come
over to the dinner!
Rauchhaupt--well, o' course. Why not?
An' I won't go givin' nothin' away yet.
And you, Doctor?
[_Quickly._] Heaven forbid! Not I?
An' why not? Do you bear him a grudge about anythin'?
I? Bear a grudge? I never do that. But, do you see, I'm a lost man as far
as all this is concerned. I don't deny that it amuses me to watch all
these doings here, but I can't join in them. I'll never learn to do
that.--I will probably go away again, too.
An' give up such a good practice?
Sea-faring--that gives a man true health. That is the best practice for
one, Mrs. Fielitz, who is in some respects so little practical.
You ain't very practical, that's true.
No, I am not.--Listen, listen, how they're letting themselves go! [_Many
voices are heard in enthusiastic shouting._] Great enthusiasm again! In a
moment they will raise Schmarowski and carry him on their shoulders. They
were about to do it a moment ago. [_A great, confused noise of huzzaing
voices floats into the room._] Well, do you see? Isn't that truly
Mother, look, look who the workin'men is raisin' up! The workin'men is
raisin' him up!
[_She rises convulsively and stares out._
Don't you see who it is?
That's how it is. I couldn't bear to see that there feller. But now ...
well ... he's got some sense an' he's fightin' for sensible
ideas--against arbitrary an' police power--now, well, I'll drink to his
Well, of course, Ede, naturally you will!
_FIELITZ enters highly excited._
Me ... me ... me ... me ... it was me that did it! Go on an' shout, an'
shout! It's that there feller that they lifts up! Let 'em. But I don't
make no speeches like that! Character, conscience--them's the main
things. Yes, it was me as paid an' me as built. But even if Wehrhahn went
an' dropped me--I don't let go my sound opinions! There's gotta be order!
There's gotta be morality! I'm for the monarchy right down to my marrow!
I don't envy him that there triumph!
Look here, Fielitz! Come over here to the light, will you? I'd like to
examine your eyes.--Don't your pupils move at all?
[_Pants swiftly and convulsively, throws her hands high up as if in joy,
and cries out half in rapture, half in terror:_] Julius!
She's gone to sleep.
[_Appealing to the DOCTOR._] Mother is swingin' her arms around so!
Who? Where? Mrs. Fielitz?
[_Laughing._] Is she tryin' to catch sparrows in the air?
_DR. BOXER has turned from FIELITZ to MRS. FIELITZ._
_FIELITZ unconcerned by the events in the room, walks excitedly up
and down in the background. RAUCHHAUPT is tensely watching from the
window what takes place without._
What is it? Mother won't answer at all!
I believe they're goin' to end by comin' over here!
What is it, Mrs. Fielitz? What are you trying to do? Why do you move your
hands about in that way?
[_Reaching out strangely with both hands._] You reaches ... you reaches
... always this way ...
[_As before._] You always reaches out after ... somethin' ...
[_Her arms drop and she falls silent._
[_To DR. BOXER._] Is she sleepin'?
[_Seriously._] Yes, she has fallen asleep. But keep all those people back
The whole crowd is comin' over here.
[_Emphatically._] Keep them back! Ede! Turn them back at once!
_EDE runs out._
Doctor, what's happened to mother?
Your mother has ...
[_Significantly._] Has fallen asleep.
[_Face assumes an expression of horror; she is about to shriek. DR. BOXER
takes hold of her vigorously and puts his hand over her mouth. She
regains a measure of self-control._] But, Doctor, she was talkin' just
[_Gently draws LEONTINE forward with his left hand and places his right
upon the forehead of the dead woman._] So she was. And from now on she
takes her fill of silence.
_In the background FIELITZ, careless of what has happened, regards
his eyes sharply and intently in a hand mirror._
THE CURTAIN FALLS