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The Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann by Gerhart Hauptmann

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Do what you will for me. [_He seats himself at his loom._] I stay here.

GOTTLIEB

[_After a short struggle._] I'm going to work too--come what may.

[_Goes out._

[_The Weavers' Song is heard, sung by hundreds of voices quite close
at hand; it sounds like a dull, monotonous wail._

INMATES OF THE HOUSE

[_In the entry-room._] "Oh, mercy on us! there they come swarmin' like
ants!"--"Where can all these weavers be from?"--"Don't shove like that, I
want to see too."--"Look at that great maypole of a woman leadin' on in
front!"--"Gracious! they're comin' thicker an' thicker."

HORNIG

[_Comes into the entry-room from outside._] There's a theayter play for
you now! That's what you don't see every day. But you should go up to the
other Dittrich's an' look what they've done there. It's been no half
work. He's got no house now, nor no factory, nor no wine-cellar, nor
nothin'. They're drinkin' out o' the bottles--not so much as takin' the
time to get out the corks. One, two, three, an' off with the neck, an' no
matter whether they cuts their mouths or not. There's some of 'em runnin'
about bleedin' like stuck pigs.--Now they're goin' to do for Dittrich
here.

[_The singing has stopped._

INMATES OF THE HOUSE

There's nothin' so very wicked like about them.

HORNIG

You wait a bit! you'll soon see! All they're doin' just now is makin' up
their minds where they'll begin. Look, they're inspectin' the palace from
every side. Do you see that little stout man there, him with the stable
pail? That's the smith from Peterswaldau--an' a dangerous little chap he
is. He batters in the thickest doors as if they were made o' pie-crust.
If a manufacturer was to fall into his hands it would be all over with
him!

HOUSE INMATES

"That was a crack!"--"There went a stone through the window!"--"There's
old Dittrich, shakin' with fright."--"He's hangin' out a
board."--"Hangin' out a board?"--"What's written on it?"--"Can't you
read?"--"It'd be a bad job for me if I couldn't read!"--"Well, read it,
then!"--"'You--shall have--full--satis-fac-tion! You--you shall have full
satisfaction.'"

HORNIG

He might ha' spared hisself the trouble--_that_ won't help him. It's
something else they've set their minds on here. It's the factories.
They're goin' to smash up the power-looms. For it's them that is ruinin'
the hand-loom weaver. Even a blind man might see that. No! the good folks
knows what they're after, an' no sheriff an' no p'lice superintendent'll
bring them to reason--much less a bit of a board. Him as has seen 'em at
work already knows what's comin'.

HOUSE INMATES

"Did any one ever see such a crowd!"--"What can _these_ be
wantin'?"--[_Hastily._] "They're crossin' the bridge!"--[_Anxiously._]
"They're never comin' over on this side, are they?"--[_In excitement and
terror._] "It's to us they're comin'! They're comin' to us! They're
comin' to fetch the weavers out o' their houses!"

[_General flight. The entry-room is empty. A crowd of dirty, dusty
rioters rush in, their faces scarlet with brandy, and excitement;
tattered, untidy-looking, as if they had been up all night. With the
shout:_ "Weavers, come out!" _they disperse themselves through the
house. BECKER and several other young weavers, armed with cudgels and
poles, come into OLD HILSE'S room. When they see the old man at his
loom they start, and cool down a little._

BECKER

Come, father Hilse, stop that. Leave your work to them as wants to work.
There's no need now for you to be doin' yourself harm. You'll be well
taken care of.

FIRST YOUNG WEAVER

You'll never need to go hungry to bed again.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

The weaver's goin' to have a roof over his head an' a shirt on his back
once more.

OLD HILSE

An' what's the devil sendin' you to do now, with your poles an' axes?

BECKER

These are what we're goin' to break on Dittrich's back.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

We'll heat 'em red hot an' stick 'em down the manufacturers' throats, so
as they'll feel for once what burnin' hunger tastes like.

THIRD YOUNG WEAVER

Come along, father Hilse! We'll give no quarter.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

No one had mercy on us--neither God nor man. Now we're standin' up for
our rights ourselves.

_OLD BAUMERT enters, somewhat shaky on the legs, a newly killed cock
under his arm._

OLD BAUMERT

[_Stretching out his arms._] My brothers--we're all brothers! Come to my
arms, brothers!

[_Laughter._

OLD HILSE

And that's the state you're in, Willem?

OLD BAUMERT

Gustav, is it you? My poor starvin' friend. Come to my arms, Gustav!

OLD HILSE

[_Mutters._] Let me alone.

OLD BAUMERT

I'll tell you what, Gustav. It's nothin' but luck that's wanted. You look
at me. What do I look like? Luck's what's wanted. Don't I look like a
lord? [_Pats his stomach._] Guess what's in there! There's food fit for a
prince in that belly. When luck's with him a man gets roast hare to eat
an' champagne wine to drink.--I'll tell you all something: We've made a
big mistake--we must help ourselves.

ALL

[_Speaking at once._] We must help ourselves, hurrah!

OLD BAUMERT

As soon as we gets the first good bite inside us we're different men.
Damn it all! but you feels the power comin' into you till you're like an
ox, an' that wild with strength that you hit out right an' left without
as much as takin' time to look. Dash it, but it's grand!

JAEGER

[_At the door, armed with an old cavalry sword._] We've made one or two
first-rate attacks.

BECKER

We knows how to set about it now. One, two, three, an' we're inside the
house. Then, at it like lightnin'--bang, crack, shiver! till the sparks
are flyin' as if it was a smithy.

FIRST YOUNG WEAVER

It wouldn't be half bad to light a bit o' fire.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

Let's march to Reichenbach an' burn the rich folks' houses over their
heads!

JAEGER

That would be nothin' but butterin' their bread, Think of all the
insurance money they'd get.

[_Laughter._

BECKER

No, from here we'll go to Freiburg, to Tromtra's.

JAEGER

What would you say to givin' all them as holds Government appointments a
lesson? I've read somewhere as how all our troubles come from them
birocrats, as they calls them.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

Before long we'll go to Breslau, for more an' more'll be joinin' us.

OLD BAUMERT

[_To HILSE._] Won't you take a drop, Gustav?

OLD HILSE

I never touches it.

OLD BAUMERT

That was in the old world; we're in a new world to-day, Gustav.

FIRST YOUNG WEAVER

Christmas comes but once a year.

[_Laughter._

OLD HILSE

[_Impatiently._] What is it you want in my house, you limbs of Satan?

OLD BAUMERT

[_A little intimidated, coaxingly._] I was bringin' you a chicken,
Gustav. I thought it would make a drop o' soup for mother.

OLD HILSE

[_Embarrassed, almost friendly._] Well, you can tell mother yourself.

MOTHER HILSE

[_Who has been making efforts to hear, her hand at her ear, motions them
off._] Let me alone. I don't want no chicken soup.

OLD HILSE

That's right, mother. An' I want none, an' least of all that sort. An'
let me say this much to you, Baumert: The devil stands on his head for
joy when he hears the old ones jabberin' and talkin' as if they was
infants. An' to you all I say--to every one of you: Me and you, we've got
nothing to do with each other. It's not with my will that you're here. In
law an' justice you've no right to be in my house.

A VOICE

Him that's not with us is against us.

JAEGER

[_Roughly and threateningly._] You're on the wrong track, old chap, I'd
have you remember that we're not thieves.

A VOICE

We're hungry men, that's all.

FIRST YOUNG WEAVER

We wants to _live_--that's all. An' so we've cut the rope we was hung up
with.

JAEGER

And we was in our right! [_Holding his fist in front of the old man's
face_.] Say another word, and I'll give you one between the eyes.

BECKER

Come, now, Jaeger, be quiet. Let the old man alone.--What we say to
ourselves, father Hilse, is this: Better dead than begin the old life
again.

OLD HILSE

Have I not lived that life for sixty years an' more?

BECKER

That doesn't help us--there's _got_ to be a change.

OLD HILSE

On the Judgment Day.

BECKER

What they'll not give us willingly we're goin' to take by force.

OLD HILSE

By force. [_Laughs._] You may as well go an' dig your graves at once.
They'll not be long showin' you where the force lies. Wait a bit, lad!

JAEGER

Is it the soldiers you're meanin'? We've been soldiers too. We'll soon do
for a company or two of 'em.

OLD HILSE

With your tongues, maybe. But supposin' you did--for two that you'd beat
off, ten'll come back.

VOICES

[_Call through the window._] The soldiers are comin! Look out!

[_General, sudden silence. For a moment a faint sound of fifes and
drums is heard; in the ensuing silence a short, involuntary
exclamation:_ "The devil! I'm off!" _followed by general laughter._

BECKER

Who was that? Who speaks of runnin' away?

JAEGER

Which of you is it that's afraid of a few paltry helmets? You have me to
command you, and I've been in the trade. I knows their tricks.

OLD HILSE

An' what are you goin' to shoot with? Your sticks, eh?

FIRST YOUNG WEAVER

Never mind that old chap; he's wrong in the upper storey.

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

Yes, he's a bit off his head.

GOTTLIEB

[_Has made his way unnoticed among the rioters; catches hold of the
speaker._] Would you give your impudence to an old man like him?

SECOND YOUNG WEAVER

Let me alone. 'Twasn't anything bad I said.

OLD HILSE

[_Interfering._] Let him jaw, Gottlieb. What. would you be meddlin' with
him for? He'll soon see who it is that's been off his head to-day, him or
me.

BECKER

Are you comin', Gottlieb?

OLD HILSE

No, he's goin' to do no such thing.

LUISE

[_Comes into the entry-room, calls._] What are you puttin' off your time
with prayin' hypocrites like them for? Come quick to where you're wanted!
Quick! Father Baumert, run all you can! The major's speakin' to the crowd
from horseback. They're to go home. If you don't hurry up, it'll be all
over.

JAEGER

[_As he goes out._] That's a brave husband o' yours.

LUISE

Where is he? I've got no husband!

[_Some of the people in the entry-room sing_:

Once on a time a man so small,
Heigh-ho, heigh!
Set his heart on a wife so tall,
Heigh diddle-di-dum-di!

WITTIG, THE SMITH

[_Comes downstairs, still carrying the stable pail; stops on his way
through the entry-room._] Come On! all of you that is not cowardly
scoundrels!--hurrah!

[_He dashes out, followed by LUISE, JAEGER, and others, all shouting_
"Hurrah!"

BECKER

Good-bye, then, father Hilse; well see each other again.

[_Is going._

OLD HILSE

I doubt that. I've not five years to live, and that'll be the soonest
you'll get out.

BECKER

[_Stops, not understanding._] Out o' what, father Hilse?

OLD HILSE

Out o' prison--where else?

BECKER

[_Laughs wildly._] Do you think I'd mind that? There's bread to be had
there anyhow!

[_Goes out._

OLD BAUMERT

[_Has been cowering on a low stool, painfully beating his brains; he now
gets up._] It's true, Gustav, as I've had a drop too much. But for all
that I knows what I'm about. You think one way in this here matter; I
think another. I say Becker's right: even if it ends in chains an'
ropes--we'll be better off in prison than at home. You're cared for
there, an' you don't need to starve. I wouldn't have joined 'em, Gustav,
if I could ha' let it be; but once in a lifetime a man's got to show what
he feels. [_Goes slowly towards the door._] Good-bye, Gustav. If anything
happens, mind you put in a word for me in your prayers.

[_Goes out._

[_The rioters are now all gone. The entry-room, gradually fills again
with curious onlookers from the different rooms of the house. OLD
HILSE knots at his web. GOTTLIEB has taken an axe from behind the
stove and is unconsciously feeling its edge. He and the old man are
silently agitated. The hum and roar of a great crowd penetrate into
the room._

MOTHER HILSE

The very boards is shakin', father--what's goin' on? What's goin' to
happen to us?

[_Pause._]

OLD HILSE

Gottlieb!

GOTTLIEB

What is it?

OLD HILSE

Let that axe alone.

GOTTLIEB

Who's to split the wood, then?

[_He leans the axe against the stove._

[_Pause._]

MOTHER HILSE

Gottlieb, you listen, to what father says to you.

[_Some one sings outside the window:_

Our little man does all that he can,
Heigh-ho, heigh!
At home he cleans the pots an' the pan,
Heigh-diddle-di-dum-di!

[_Passes on._

GOTTLIEB

[_Jumps up, shakes his clenched fist at the window._] Beast! Don't drive
me crazy!

[_A volley of musketry is heard._

MOTHER HILSE

[_Starts and trembles._] Good Lord! Is that thunder again?

OLD HILSE

[_Instinctively folding his hands._] Oh, our Father in heaven! defend the
poor weavers, protect my poor brothers.

[_A short pause ensues._

OLD HILSE

[_To himself, painfully agitated._] There's blood flowin' now.

GOTTLIEB

[_Had started up and grasped the axe when the shooting was heard; deathly
pale, almost beside himself with excitement._] An' am I to lie to heel
like a dog still?

A GIRL

[_Calls from the entry-room._] Father Hilse, father Hilse! get away from
the window. A bullet's just flown in at ours upstairs.

[_Disappears._

MIELCHEN

[_Puts her head in at the window, laughing._] Gran'father, gran'father,
they've shot with their guns. Two or three's been knocked down, an' one
of 'em's turnin' round and round like a top, an' one's twistin' hisself
like a sparrow when its head's bein' pulled of. An' oh, if you saw all
the blood that came pourin'--!

[_Disappears._

A WEAVER'S WIFE

Yes, there's two or three'll never get up again.

AN OLD WEAVER

[_In the entry-room._] Look out! They're goin' to make a rush on the
soldiers.

A SECOND WEAVER

[_Wildly._] Look, look, look at the women! skirts up, an' spittin' in the
soldiers' faces already!

A WEAVER'S WIFE

[_Calls in._] Gottlieb, look at your wife. She's more pluck in her than
you. She's jumpin' about in front o' the bay'nets as if she was dancin'
to music.

[_Four men carry a wounded rioter through the entry-room. Silence,
which is broken by some one saying in a distinct voice,_ "It's weaver
Ulbrich." _Once more silence for a few seconds, when the same voice
is heard again:_ "It's all over with him; he's got a bullet in his
ear." _The men are heard climbing the wooden stair. Sudden shouting
outside:_ "Hurrah, hurrah!"

VOICES IN THE ENTRY-ROOM

"Where did they get the stones from?"--"Yes, it's time you were
off!"--"From the new road."--"Ta-ta, soldiers!"--"It's rainin'
paving-stones."

[_Shrieks of terror and loud roaring outside, taken up by those in
the entry-room. There is a cry of fear, and the house door is shut
with a bang._

VOICES IN THE ENTRY-ROOM

"They're loadin' again."--"They'll fire another volley this
minute."--"Father Hilse, get away from that window."

GOTTLIEB

[_Clutches the axe._] What! is we mad dogs? Is we to eat powder an' shot
now instead o' bread? [_Hesitating an instant to the old man._] Would you
have me sit here an' see my wife shot? Never! [_As he rushes out._] Look
out! I'm coming!

OLD HILSE

Gottlieb, Gottlieb!

MOTHER HILSE

Where's Gottlieb gone?

OLD HILSE

He's gone to the devil.

VOICES FROM THE ENTRY-ROOM

Go away from the window, father Hilse.

OLD HILSE

Not I! Not if you all goes crazy together! [_To MOTHER HILSE, with rapt
excitement._] My heavenly Father has placed me here. Isn't that so,
mother? Here we'll sit, an' do our bounden duty--ay, though the snow was
to go on fire.

[_He begins to weave._

[_Rattle of another volley. OLD HILSE, mortally wounded, starts to
his feet and then falls forward over the loom. At the same moment
loud shouting of_ "Hurrah!" _is heard. The people who till now have
been standing in the entry-room dash out, joining in the cry. The old
woman repeatedly asks:_ "Father, father, what's wrong with you?" _The
continued shouting dies away gradually in the distance. MIELCHEN
comes rushing in._

MIELCHEN

Gran'father, gran'father, they're drivin' the soldiers out o' the
village; they've got into Dittrich's house, an' they're doin' what they
did at Dreissiger's. Gran'father! [_The child grows frightened, notices
that something has happened, puts her finger in her mouth, and goes up
cautiously to the dead man._] Gran'father!

MOTHER HILSE

Come now, father, can't you say something? You're frightenin' me.

THE END

THE BEAVER COAT

A THIEVES' COMEDY

LIST OF CHARACTERS

VON WEHRHAHN, _Justice._

KRUEGER, _Capitalist in a small way._

DR. FLEISCHER.

PHILIP, _his son._

MOTES.

MRS. MOTES.

MRS. WOLFF, _Washerwoman._

JULIUS WOLFF, _her husband._

LEONTINE, ADELAIDE, _her daughters._

WULKOW, _Lighterman._

GLASENAPP, _Clerk in the Justice's court._

MITTELDORF, _Constable._

Scene of the action: anywhere in the neighbourhood of Berlin.

THE FIRST ACT

_A small, blue-tinted kitchen with low ceiling; a window at the left;
at the right a door of rough boards leading out into the open; in the
rear mall an empty casing from which the door has been lifted.--In
the left corner a flat oven, above which hang kitchen utensils in a
wooden frame; in the right corner oars and other boating implements.
Rough, stubby pieces of hewn wood lie in a heap under the window. An
old kitchen bench, several stools, etc.--Through the empty casing in
the rear a second room is visible. In it stands a high, neatly, made
bed; above it hang cheap photographs in still cheaper frames, small
chromolithographs, etc. A chair of soft mood stands with its back
against the bed.--It is winter and moonlight. On the oven a
tallow-candle is burning in a candle-stick of tin. LEONTINE WOLFF has
fallen asleep on a stool by the oven and rests her head and arms on
it. She is a pretty, fair girl of seventeen in the working garb of a
domestic servant. A woolen shawl is tied over her cotton jacket.--For
several seconds there is silence. Then someone is heard trying to
unlock the door from without. But the key is in the lock and a
knocking follows._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Unseen, from without._] Adelaide! Adelaide! [_There is no answer and a
loud knocking is heard at the window._] Are you goin' to open or not?

LEONTINE

[_Drowsily._] No, no, I'm not goin' to be abused that way!

MRS. WOLFF

Open, girl, or I'll come in through the window!

[_She raps violently at the panes._

LEONTINE

[_Waking up._] Oh, it's you, mama! I'm coming now!

[_She unlocks the door from within._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Without laying down a sack which she carries over her shoulder._] What
are _you_ doin' here?

LEONTINE

[_Sleepily._] Evenin', mama.

MRS. WOLFF

How did you get in here, eh?

LEONTINE

Well, wasn't the key lyin' on the goat shed?

MRS. WOLFF

But what do you want here at home?

LEONTINE

[_Awkwardly affected and aggrieved._] So you don't want me to come no
more at all?

MRS. WOLFF

Aw, you just go ahead and put on that way! I'm so fond o' that! [_She
lets the sack drop from her shoulder._] You don't know nothin', I
s'ppose, about how late it's gettin'? You hurry and go back to your
mistress.

LEONTINE

It matters a whole lot, don't it, if I get back there a little too late?

MRS. WOLFF

You want to be lookin' out, y'understand? You see to it that you go, or
you'll catch it!

LEONTINE

[_Tearfully and defiantly._] I ain't goin' back to them people no more,
mama!

MRS. WOLFF

[_Astonished._] Not goin'?... [_Ironically._] Oh, no! That's somethin'
quite new!

LEONTINE

Well, I don't _have_ to let myself be abused that way!

MRS. WOLFF

[_Busy extracting a piece of venison from the sack._] So the Kruegers
abuse you, do they? Aw, the poor child that you are!--Don't you come
round me with such fool talk! A wench like a dragoon...! Here, lend a
hand with this sack, at the bottom. You can't act more like a fool, eh?
You won't get no good out o' me that way! You can't learn lazyin' around,
here, at all. [_They hang up the venison on the door._] Now I tell you
for the last time....

LEONTINE

I ain't goin' back to them people, I tell you. I'd jump in the river
first!

MRS. WOLFF

See that you don't catch a cold doin' it.

LEONTINE

I'll jump in the river!

MRS. WOLFF

Go ahead. Let me know about it and I'll give you a shove so you don't
miss it.

LEONTINE

[_Screaming._] Do I have to stand for that, that I gotta drag in two
loads o' wood at night!

MRS. WOLFF

[_In mock astonishment._] Well, now, that's pretty awful, ain't it? You
gotta drag in wood? Such people, I tell you!

LEONTINE

... An' I gets twenty crowns for the whole year. I'm to get my hands
frost-bitten for that, am I? An' not enough potatoes and herring to go
round!

MRS. WOLFF

You needn't go fussin' about that, you silly girl. Here's the key; go,
cut yourself some bread. An' when you've had enough, go your way,
y'understand? The plum butter's in the top cupboard.

LEONTINE

[_Takes a large loaf of bread from a drawer and cuts some slices._] An'
Juste gets forty crowns a year from the Schulze's an'....

MRS. WOLFF

Don't you try to be goin' too fast.--You ain't goin' to stay with them
people always; you ain't hired out to 'em forever.--Leave 'em on the
first of April, for all I care.--But up to then, you sticks to your
place.--Now that you got your Christmas present in your pocket, you want
to run away, do you? That's no way. I have dealin's with them people, an'
I ain't goin' to have that kind o' thing held against me.

LEONTINE

These bits o' rag that I got on here?

MRS. WOLFF

You're forgettin' the cash you got?

LEONTINE

Yes! Six shillin's. That was a whole lot!

MRS. WOLFF

Cash is cash! You needn't kick.

LEONTINE

But if I can go an' make more?

MRS. WOLFF

Yes, talkin'!

LEONTINE

No, sewin'! I can go in to Berlin and sew cloaks. Emily Stechow's been
doin' that ever since New Year.

MRS. WOLFF

Don't come tellin' me about that slattern! I'd like to get my hands on
her, that's all. I'd give that crittur a piece o' my mind! You'd like to
be promoted into her class, would you? To go sportin' all night with the
fellows? Just to be thinkin' o' that makes me feel that I'd like to beat
you so you can't hardly stand up.--Now papa's comin' an' you'd better
look out!

LEONTINE

If papa thrashes me, I'll run away. I'll see how I can get along!

MRS. WOLFF

Shut up now! Go an' feed the goats. They ain't been milked yet to-night
neither. An' give the rabbits a handful o' hay.

_LEONTINE tries to make her escape. In the door, however, she runs
into her father, but slips quickly by him with a perfunctory_
Evenin'.

_JULIUS WOLFF, the father, is a shipwright. A tall man, with dull
eyes and slothful gestures, about forty-three years old.--He places
two long oars, which he has brought in across his shoulder in a
corner and silently throws down his shipwright's tools._

MRS. WOLFF

Did you meet Emil?

JULIUS _growls._

MRS. WOLFF

Can't you talk? Yes or no? Is he goin' to come around, eh?

JULIUS

[_Irritated._] Go right ahead! Scream all you want to!

MRS. WOLFF

You're a fine, brave fellow, ain't you? An' all the while you forget to
shut the door.

JULIUS

[_Closes the door._] What's up again with Leontine?

MRS. WOLFF

Aw, nothin'.--What kind of a load did Emil have?

JULIUS

Bricks again. What d'you suppose he took in?--But what's up with that
girl again?

MRS. WOLFF

Did he have half a load or a whole load?

JULIUS

[_Flying into a rage._] What's up with the wench, I asks you?

MRS. WOLFF

[_Outdoing him in violence._] An' I want to know how big a load Emil
had--a half or a whole boat full?

JULIUS

That's right! Go on! The whole thing full.

MRS. WOLFF

Sst! Julius!

[_Suddenly frightened she shoots the window latch._

JULIUS

[_Scared and staring at her, is silent. After a few moments, softly._]
It's a young forester from Rixdorf.

MRS. WOLFF

Go an' creep under the bed, Julius. [_After a pause._] If only you wasn't
such an awful fool. You don't open your mouth but what you act like a
regular tramp. You don't understand nothin' o' such things, if you want
to know it. You let me look out for the girls. That ain't no part o' your
concern. That's a part of my concern. With boys that'd be a different
thing. I wouldn't so much as give you advice. But everybody's got their
own concerns.

JULIUS

Then don't let her come runnin' straight across my way.

MRS. WOLFF

I guess you want to beat her till she can't walk. Don't you take nothin'
like that into your head. Don't you think I'm goin' to allow anythin'
like that! I let her be beaten black an' blue? We c'n make our fortune
with that girl. I wish you had sense about some things!

JULIUS

Well, then let her go an' see how she gets along!

MRS. WOLFF

Nobody needn't be scared about that, Julius. I ain't sayin' but what
you'll live to see things. That girl will be livin' up on the first floor
some day and we'll be glad to have her condescend to know us. What is it
the doctor said to me? Your daughter, he says, is a handsome girl; she'd
make a stir on the stage.

JULIUS

Then let her see about gettin' there.

MRS. WOLFF

You got no education, Julius. Yon ain't got a trace of it. Lord, if it
hadn't been for me! What would ha' become o' those girls! I brought 'em
up to be educated, y'understand? Education is the main thing these days.
But things don't come off all of a sudden. One thing after another--step
by step. Now she's in service an' that'll learn her somethin'. Then
maybe, for my part, she can go into Berlin. She's much too young for the
stage yet.

[_During MRS. WOLFF'S speech repeated knocking has been heard. Now
ADELAIDE'S voice comes in._ Mama! Mama! Please, do open! _MRS. WOLFF
opens the door, ADELAIDE comes in. She is a somewhat overgrown
schoolgirl of fourteen with a pretty, child-like face. The expression
of her eyes, however, betrays premature corruption._

Why didn't you open the door, mama? I nearly got my hands and feet
frozen!

MRS. WOLFF

Don't stand there jabberin' nonsense. Light a fire in the oven and you'll
soon be warm. Where've you been all this long time, anyhow?

ADELAIDE

Why, didn't I have to go and fetch the boots for father?

MRS. WOLFF

An' you staid out two hours doin' it!

ADELAIDE

Well, I didn't start to go till seven.

MRS. WOLFF

Oh, you went at seven, did you? It's half past ten now. You don't know
that, eh? So you've been gone three hours an' a half. That ain't much.
Oh, no. Well now you just listen good to what I've got to tell you. If
you go an' stay that long again, and specially with that lousy cobbler of
a Fielitz--then watch out an' see! That's all I says.

ADELAIDE

Oh, I guess I ain't to do nothin' except just mope around at home.

MRS. WOLFF

Now you keep still an' don't let me hear no more.

ADELAIDE

An' even if I do go over to Fielitz's sometime....

MRS. WOLFF

Are you goin' to keep still, I'd like to know? You teach me to know
Fielitz! He needn't be putting on's far as I know. He's got another trade
exceptin' just repairin' shoes. When a man's been twice in the
penitentiary....

ADELAIDE

That ain't true at all.... That's all just a set o' lies. He told me all
about it himself, mama!

MRS. WOLFF

As if the whole village didn't know, you fool girl! That man! I know what
he is. He's a pi--

ADELAIDE

Oh, but he's friends even with the justice!

MRS WOLFF

I don't doubt it. He's a spy. And what's more, he's a _dee_nouncer!

ADELAIDE

What's that--a _dee_nouncer?

JULIUS

[_From the next room, into which he has gone._] I'm just waitin' to hear
two words more.

[_ADELAIDE turns pale and at once and silently she sets about
building a fire in the oven._

_LEONTINE comes in._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Has opened the stag. She takes out the heart, liver, etc, and hands
them to LEONTINE._] There, hurry, wash that off. An' keep still, or
somethin'll happen yet.

[_LEONTINE, obviously intimidated, goes at her task. The girls
whisper together._

MRS. WOLFF

Say, Julius. What are you doin' in there? I guess you'll go an' forget
again. Didn't I tell you this mornin' about the board that's come loose?

JULIUS

What kind o' board?

MRS. WOLFF

You don't know, eh? Behind there, by the goat-shed. The wind loosened it
las' night. You better get out there an' drive a few nails in,
y'understand?

JULIUS

Aw, to-morrow mornin'll be another day, too.

MRS. WOLFF

Oh, no. Don't take to thinkin' that way. We ain't goin' to make that kind
of a start--not we. [_JULIUS comes into the room growling._] There, take,
the hammer! Here's your nails! Now hurry an' get it done.

JULIUS

You're a bit off' your head.

MRS. WOLFF

[_Calling out after him._] When Wulkow comes what d'you want me to ask?

JULIUS

About twelve shillin's sure.

[_Exit._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Contemptuously._] Aw, twelve shillin's. [_A pause._] Now you just hurry
so that papa gets his supper.

[_A brief pause._

ADELAIDE

[_Looking at the stag._] What's that anyhow, mama?

MRS. WOLFF

A stork.

[_Both girls laugh._

ADELAIDE

A stork, eh? A stork ain't got horns. I know what that is--that's a stag!

MRS. WOLFF

Well, if you know why d'you go an' ask?

LEONTINE

Did papa shoot it, mama?

MRS. WOLFF

That's right! Go and scream it through the village: Papa's shot a stag!

ADELAIDE

I'll take mighty good care not to. That'd mean the cop!

LEONTINE

Aw, I ain't scared o' policeman Schulz. He chucked me under the chin
onct.

MRS. WOLFF

He c'n come anyhow. We ain't doin' nothin' wrong. If a stag's full o'
lead and lays there dyin' an' nobody finds it, what happens? The ravens
eat it. Well now, if the ravens eat it or we eat it, it's goin' to be
eaten anyhow. [_A brief pause._] Well now, tell me: You was axed to carry
wood in?

LEONTINE

Yes, in this frost! Two loads o' regular clumps! An' that when a person
is tired as a dog, at half past nine in the evenin'!

MRS. WOLFF

An' now I suppose that wood is lyin' there in the street?

LEONTINE

It's lyin' in front o' the garden gate. That's all I know.

MRS. WOLFF

Well now, but supposin' somebody goes and steals that wood? What's goin'
to happen in the mornin' then?

LEONTINE

I ain't goin' there no more!

MRS. WOLFF

Are those clumps green or dry?

LEONTINE

They're fine, dry ones! [_She yawns again and again._] Oh, mama, I'm that
tired! I've just had to work myself to pieces.

[_She sits down with every sign of utter exhaustion._

MRS. WOLFF

[_After a brief silence._] You c'n stay at home tonight for all I care.
I've thought it all out a bit different. An' to-morrow mornin' we c'n
see.

LEONTINE

I've just got as thin as can be, mama! My clothes is just hangin' on to
me.

MRS. WOLFF

You hurry now and go in to bed or papa'll raise a row yet. He ain't got
no understandin' for things like that.

ADELAIDE

Papa always speaks so uneducated!

MRS. WOLFF

Well, he didn't learn to have no education. An' that'd be just the same
thing with you if I hadn't brought you up to be educated. [_Holding a
saucepan over the oven: to LEONTINE:_] Come now, put it in! [_LEONTINE
places the pieces of washed venison into the sauce-pan._] So, now go to
bed.

LEONTINE

[_Goes into the next room. While she is still visible, she says:_] Oh,
mama, Motes has moved away from Krueger.

MRS. WOLFF

I guess he didn't pay no rent.

LEONTINE

It was just like pullin' a tooth every time, Mr. Krueger says, but he
paid. Anyhow, he says, he had to kick him out. He's such a lyin'
loudmouthed fellow, and always so high and mighty toward Mr. Krueger.

MRS. WOLFF

If I had been in Mr. Krueger's place I wouldn't ha' kept him that long.

LEONTINE

Because Mr. Krueger used to be a carpenter onct, that's why Motes always
acts so contemptuous. And then, too, he quarrelled with Dr. Fleischer.

MRS. WOLFF

Well, anybody that'll quarrel with _him_...! I ain't sayin' anythin', but
them people wouldn't harm a fly!

LEONTINE

They won't let him come to the Fleischers no more.

MRS. WOLFF

If you could get a chanct to work for them people some day!

LEONTINE

They treat the girls like they was their own children.

MRS. WOLFF

And his brother in Berlin, he's cashier in a theatre.

WULKOW

[_Has knocked at the door repeatedly and now calls out in a hoarse
voice._] Ain't you goin' to have the kindness to let me in.

MRS. WOLFF

Well, I should say! Why not! Walk right in!

WULKOW

[_Comes in. He is a lighterman on the Spree river, near sixty years old,
bent, with a greyish-yellow beard that frames his head from ear to ear
but leaves his weather-beaten face free._] I wish you a very good
evenin'.

MRS. WOLFF

Look at him comin' along again to take in a woman a little bit.

WULKOW

I've give up tryin' that this long while!

MRS. WOLFF

Maybe, but that's the way it's goin' to be anyhow.

WULKOW

T'other way roun', you mean.

MRS. WOLFF

What'll it be next?--Here it's hangin'! A grand feller, eh?

WULKOW

I tell you, Julius ought to be lookin' out sharp. They's gettin' to be
pretty keen again.

MRS. WOLFF

What are you goin' to give us for it, that's the main thing. What's the
use o' jabberin'?

WULKOW

Well, I'm tellin' you. I'm straight from Gruenau. An' there I heard it
for certain. They shot Fritz Weber. They just about filled his breeches
with lead.

MRS. WOLFF

What are you goin' to give? That's the main thing.

WULKOW

[_Feeling the stag._] The trouble is I got four o' them bucks lyin' at
home now.

MRS. WOLFF

That ain't goin' to make your boat sink.

WULKOW

An' I don't want her to do that. That wouldn't be no joke. But what's the
good if I get stuck with the things here. I've gotta get 'em in to
Berlin. It's been hard enough work on the river all day, an' if it goes
on freezin' this way, there'll be no gettin' along to-morrow. Then I c'n
sit in the ice with my boat, an' then I've got these things for fun.

MRS. WOLFF

[_Apparently changing her mind._] Girl, you run down to Schulze. Say
how-dee-do an' he's to come up a while, cause mother has somethin' to
sell.

WULKOW

Did I say as I wasn't goin' to buy it?

MRS. WOLFF

It's all the same to me who buys it.

WULKOW

Well, I'm willin' to.

MRS. WOLFF

Any one that don't want it can let it be.

WULKOW

I'll buy this feller! What's he worth?

MRS. WOLFF

[_Touching the venison._] This here piece weighs a good thirty pounds.
Every bit of it, I c'n tell you. Well, Adelaide! You was here. We could
hardly lift it up.

ADELAIDE

[_Who had not been present at all._] I pretty near sprained myself
liftin' it.

WULKOW

Thirteen shillin's will pay for it, then. An' I won't be makin' ten pence
on that bargain!

MRS. WOLFF

[_Acts amazed. She busies herself at the oven as though she had forgotten
WULKOW'S presence. Then, as though suddenly becoming aware of it again,
she says:_] I wish you a very pleasant trip.

WULKOW

Well. I can't give more than thirteen!

MRS. WOLFF

That's right. Let it alone.

WULKOW

I'm just buyin' it for the sake o' your custom. God strike me dead, but
it's as true as I'm standin' here. I don't make _that_ much with the
whole business. An' even if I was wantin' to say: fourteen, I'd be
puttin' up money, I'd be out one shillin'. But I ain't goin' to let that
stand between us. Just so you see my good intentions, I'll say
fourteen....

I can't give no more. I'm tellin' you facts.

MRS. WOLFF

That's all right! That's all right! We c'n get rid o' this stag. We won't
have to keep it till morning.

WULKOW

Yes, if only nobody don't see it hangin' here. Money wouldn't do no good
then.

MRS. WOLFF

This stag here, we found it dead.

WULKOW

Yes, in a trap. I believe you.

MRS. WOLFF

You needn't try to get around us that way. That ain't goin' to do _no_
good! You want to gobble up everythin' for nothin'! We works till we got
no breath. Hours an' hours soakin' in the snow, not to speak o' the risk,
there in the pitch dark. That's no joke, I tell you.

WULKOW

The only trouble is that I got four of 'em already. Or I'd say fifteen
shillin's quick enough.

MRS. WOLFF

No, Wulkow, we can't do business together today. You c'n be easy an' go a
door further. We just dragged ourselves across the lake ... a hairbreadth
an' we would've been stuck in the ice. We couldn't get forward an' we
couldn't get backward. You can't give away somethin' you got so hard.

WULKOW

Well, what do I get out of it all, I want to know! This here lighter
business ain't a natural thing. An' poachin', that's a bad job. If you
all get nabbed, I'd be the first one to fly in. I been worryin' along
these forty years. What've I got to-day? The rheumatiz--that's what! When
I get up o' mornin's early, I gotta whine like a puppy dog. Years an'
years I been wantin' to buy myself a fur-coat. That's what all doctors
has advised me to do, because I'm that sensitive. But I ain't been able
to buy me none. Not to this day. An' that's as true as I'm standin' here.

ADELAIDE

[_To her mother._] Did you hear what Leontine said?

WULKOW

But anyhow. Let it go. I'll say sixteen.

MRS. WOLFF

No, it's no good. Eighteen! [_To ADELAIDE._] What's that you was talkin'
about?

ADELAIDE

Mrs. Krueger has bought a fur-coat that cost pretty near a hundred
crowns. It's a beaver coat.

WULKOW

A beaver coat?

MRS. WOLFF

_Who_ bought it?

ADELAIDE

Why, Mrs. Krueger, I tell you, as a Christmas present for Mr. Krueger.

WULKOW

Is that girl in service with the Kruegers?

ADELAIDE

Not me, but my sister, I ain't goin' in service like that at all.

WULKOW

Well now, if I could have somethin' like that! That's the kind o' thing I
been tryin' to get hold of all this time. I'd gladly be givin' sixty
crowns for it. All this money that goes to doctors and druggists, I'd
much rather spend it for furs. I'd get some pleasure out of that at
least.

MRS. WOLFF

All you gotta do is to go there, Wulkow. Maybe Kruger'll make you a
present of the coat.

WULKOW

I don't suppose he'd do it kindly. But's I said: I'm interested in that
sort o' thing.

MRS. WOLFF

I believes you. I wouldn't mind havin' a thing like that myself.

WULKOW

How do we stand now? Sixteen?

MRS. WOLFF

Nothin' less'n eighteen'll do. Not under eighteen--that's what Julius
said. I wouldn't dare show up with sixteen. No, sir. When that man takes
somethin' like that into his head! [_JULIUS comes in._] Well, Julius, you
said eighteen shillin's, didn't you?

JULIUS

What's that I said?

MRS. WOLFF

Are you hard o' hearin' again for a change? You said yourself: not under
eighteen. You told me not to sell the stag for less.

JULIUS

I said?... Oh, yes, that there piece o' venison! That's right. H-m. An'
that ain't a bit too much; either.

WULKOW

[_Taking' out money and counting it._] We'll make an end o' this.
Seventeen shillin's. Is it a bargain?

MRS. WOLFF

You're a great feller, you are! That's what I said exactly: he don't
hardly have to come in the door but a person is taken in!

WULKOW

[_Has unrolled a sack which had been hidden about his person._] Now help
me shoot it right in here. [_MRS. WOLFF helps him place the venison in
the sack._] An' if by some chanst you should come to hear o' somethin'
like that--what I means is, just f'r instance--a--fur coat like that, f'r
instance. Say, sixty or seventy crowns. I could raise that, an' I
wouldn't mind investin' it.

MRS. WOLFF

I guess you ain't right in your head...! How should _we_ come by a coat
like that?

A MAN'S VOICE

[_Calls from without._] Mrs. Wolff! Oh, Mrs. Wolff! Are you still up?

MRS. WOLFF

[_Sharing the consternation of the others, rapidly, tensely._] Slip it
in! Slip it in! And get in the other room!

[_She crowds them all into the rear room and locks the door._

A MAN'S VOICE

Mrs. Wolff! Oh, Mrs. Wolff! Have you gone to bed?

_MRS. WOLFF extinguishes the light._

A MAN'S VOICE

Mrs. Wolff! Mrs. Wolff! Are you still up? [_The voice recedes singing:_]

"Morningre-ed, morningre-ed,
Thou wilt shine when I am dea-ead!"

LEONTINE

Aw, that's only old "Morningred," mama!

MRS. WOLFF

[_Listens for a while, opens the door softly and listens again. When she
is satisfied she closes the door and lights the candle. Thereupon she
admits the others again._] 'Twas only the constable Mitteldorf.

WULKOW

The devil, you say. That's nice acquaintances for you to have.

MRS. WOLFF

Go on about your way now! Hurry!

ADELAIDE

Mama, Mino has been barkin'.

MRS. WOLFF

Hurry, hurry, Wulkow! Get out now! An' the back way through the vegetable
garden! Julius will open for you. Go on, Julius, an' open the gate.

WULKOW

An's I said, if somethin' like such a beaver coat _was_ to turn up, why--

MRS. WOLFF

Sure. Just make haste now.

WULKOW

If the Spree don't freeze over, I'll be gettin' back in, say, three or
four days from Berlin. An' I'll be lyin' with my boat down there.

MRS. WOLFF

By the big bridge?

WULKOW

Where I always lies. Well, Julius, toddle ahead!

[_Exit._

ADELAIDE

Mama, Mino has been barkin' again.

MRS. WOLFF

[_At the oven._] Oh, let him bark!

[_A long-drawn call is heard in the distance._ "Ferry over!"]

ADELAIDE

Somebody wants to get across the river, mama!

MRS. WOLFF

Well, go'n tell papa. He's down there by the river.--["Ferry over!"] An'
take him his oars. But he ought to let Wulkow get a bit of a start first.

_ADELAIDE goes out with the oars. For a little while MRS. WOLFF is
alone. She marks energetically. Then ADELAIDE returns._

ADELAIDE

Papa's got his oars down in the boat.

MRS. WOLFF

Who wants to get across the river this time o' night?

ADELAIDE

I believe, mama, it's that stoopid Motes!

MRS. WOLFF

What? Who is't you say?

ADELAIDE

I think the voice was Motes's voice.

MRS. WOLFF

[_Vehemently._] Go down! Ran! Tell papa to come up! That fool Motes can
stay on the other side. He don't need to come sniffin' around in the
house here.

_ADELAIDE exits. MRS. WOLFF hides and clears away everything that
could in any degree suggest the episode of the stag. She covers the
sauce-pan with an apron. ADELAIDE comes back._

ADELAIDE

Mama, I got down there too late. I hear 'em talkin' a'ready.

MRS. WOLFF

Well, who is it then?

ADELAIDE

I've been tellin' you: Motes.

_MR. and MRS. MOTES appear in turn in the doorway. Both are of medium
height. She is an alert young woman of about thirty, modestly and
neatly dressed. He wears a green forester's overcoat; his face is
healthy but insignificant; his left eye is concealed by a black
bandage._

MRS. MOTES

[_Calls in._] We nearly got our noses frozen, Mrs. Wolff.

MRS. WOLFF

Why do you go walkin' at night. You got time enough when it's bright day.

MOTES

It's nice and warm here.--Who's that who has time by day?

MRS. WOLFF

Why, you!

MOTES

I suppose you think I live on my fortune.

MRS. WOLFF

I don't know; I ain't sayin' what you live on.

MRS. MOTES

Heavens, you needn't be so cross. We simply wanted to ask about our bill.

MRS. WOLFF

You've asked about that a good deal more'n once.

MRS. MOTES

Very well. So we're asking again. Anything wrong with that? We have to
pay sometime, you know?

MRS. WOLFF

[_Astonished._] You wants to pay?

MRS. MOTES

Of course, we do. Naturally.

MOTES

You act as if you were quite overwhelmed. Did you think we'd run off
without paying?

MRS. WOLFF

I ain't given to thinkin' such things. If you want to be so good then.
Here, we can arrange right now. The amount is eleven shillin's, six
pence.

MRS. MOTES

Oh, yes. Mrs. Wolff. We're going to get money. The people around here
will open their eyes wide.

MOTES

There's a smell of roasted hare here.

MRS. WOLFF

Burned hair! That'd be more likely.

MOTES

Let's take a look and see.

[_He is about to take the cover from the sauce-pan._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Prevents him._] No sniffin' 'round in my pots.

MRS. MOTES

[_Who has observed everything distrustfully._] Mrs. Wolff, we've found
something, too.

MRS. WOLFF

I ain't lost nothin'.

MRS. MOTES

There, look at these.

[_She shows her several wire snares._

MRS. WOLFF

[_Without losing her equanimity in the slightest._] I suppose them are
snares?

MRS. MOTES

We found them quite in the neighbourhood here! Scarcely twenty paces from
your garden.

MRS. WOLFF

Lord love you! The amount of poachin' that's done here!

MRS. MOTES

If you were to keep a sharp lookout, you might actually catch the poacher
some day.

MRS. WOLFF

Aw, such things is no concern o' mine.

MOTES

If I could just get hold of a rascal like that. First, I'd give him
something to remember me by, and then I'd mercilessly turn him over to
the police.

MRS. MOTES

Mrs. Wolff have you got a few fresh eggs?

MRS. WOLFF

Now, in the middle of winter? They're pretty scarce!

MOTES

[_To JULIUS, who has just come in._] Forester Seidel has nabbed a poacher
again. He'll be taken to the detention prison to-morrow. There's an
officer with style about him. If I hadn't had my misfortune, I could have
been a head forester to-day. I'd go after those dogs even more
energetically.

MRS. WOLFF

There's many a one has had to pay for doin' that!

MOTES

Yes, if he's afraid. I'm not! I've denounced quite a few already.
[_Fixing his gaze keenly on MRS. WOLFF and her husband in turn._] And
there are a few others whose time is coming. They'll run straight into my
grip some day. These setters of snares needn't think that I don't know
them. I know them very well.

MRS. MOTES

Have you been baking, perhaps, Mrs. Wolff? We're so tired of baker's
bread.

MRS. WOLFF

I thought you was goin' to square your account.

MRS. MOTES

On Saturday, as I've told you, Mrs. Wolff. My husband has been appointed
editor of the magazine "Chase and Forest."

MRS. WOLFF

Aha, yes. I know what that means.

MRS. MOTES

But if I assure you, Mrs. Wolff! We've moved away from the Kruegers
already.

MRS. WOLFF

Yes, you moved because you had to.

MRS. MOTES

We had to? Hubby, listen to this!--[_She gives a forced laugh._]--Mrs.
Wolff says that we had to move from Kruegers.

MOTES

[_Crimson with rage._] The reason why I moved away from that place?
You'll find it out some day. The man is a usurer and a cutthroat!

MRS. WOLFF

I don't know nothin' about that; I can't say nothin' about that.

MOTES

I'm just waiting to get hold of positive proof. That, man had better be
careful where I'm concerned--he and his bosom friend, Dr. Fleischer. The
latter more especially. If I just wanted to say it--one word and that man
would be under lock and key.

[_From the beginning of his speech on he has gradually withdrawn and
speaks the last words from without._

MRS. WOLFF

I suppose the men got to quarrelin' again?

MRS. MOTES

[_Apparently confidential._] There's no jesting with my husband. If he
determines on anything, he doesn't let go till it's done. And he stands
very well with the justice.--But how about the eggs and the bread?

MRS. WOLFF

[_Reluctantly._] Well, I happen to have five eggs lyin' here. An' a piece
o' bread. [_MRS. MOTES puts the eggs and the half of a loaf into her
basket._] Are you satisfied now?

MRS. MOTES

Certainly; of course. I suppose the eggs are fresh?

MRS. WOLFF

As fresh as my chickens can lay 'em.

MRS. MOTES

[_Hastening in order to catch up with her husband._] Well, good-night.
You'll get your money next Saturday.

[_Exit._

MRS. WOLFF

All right; that'll be all right enough! [_She closes the door and speaks
softly to herself._] Get outta here, you! Got nothin' but debts with
everybody around. [_Over her sauce-pan._] What business o' theirs is it
what we eat? Let 'em spy into their own affairs. Go to bed, child!

ADELAIDE

Good night, mama.

[_She kisses her._

MRS. WOLFF

Well, ain't you goin' to kiss papa good-night?

ADELAIDE

Good night, papa.

[_She kisses him, at which he growls. ADELAIDE, exit._

MRS. WOLFF

You always gotta say that to her special!

[_A pause._

JULIUS

Why do'you go an' give the eggs to them people?

MRS. WOLFF

I suppose you want me to make an enemy o' that feller? You just go ahead
an' get him down on you! I tell you, that's a dangerous feller. He ain't
got nothin' to do except spy on people. Come. Sit down. Eat. Here's a
fork for you. You don't understand much about such things. You take care
o' the things that belongs to you! Did you have to go an' lay the snares
right behind the garden? They was yours, wasn't they?

JULIUS [_Annoyed._] Go right ahead!

MRS. WOLFF

An', o' course, that fool of a Motes had to find 'em first thing. Here
near the house you ain't goin' to lay no more snares at all!
Y'understan'? Next thing'll be that people say we laid 'em.

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