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The German classics : masterpieces of German literature translated into English (Volume 20) online

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later on.

Hella. And the fact that he expected you to marry any
woman that suited him,; you don't seem to think of that
at all.

Paul. Yes, yes, you are right . . .


Aunt Claha. Tell me, Paul?

Paul. Yes, Auntie.

Aunt Clara. What in the world have you to do in Berlin
that prevents you from staying here?

Paul. Oh, Aunt Clara, that is a difficult matter! I pub-
lish a journal.

Aunt Clara. A journal? Hm!

Hella. We publish a feminist journal which we ourselves
have founded and simply cannot desert.

Aunt Clara (naively). Well is that so very necessary,

Hella. 75 it necessary?

Paul (dubiously). Oh Hella! (Shrugs his shoulders.)

Hella. Yes it is necessary. If you are able to forget it,
/ am not!

Paul. I shall not quarrel now, the hour does not seem
fitting to me. I want to go in. (He makes a signifi-
cant gesture to the right.) Would you care to go
with me?

Hella. You want to see him?

Paul. Yes, I want to see him.

Hella (gets up and steps up to Paul). Excuse me, Paul!
I am really not in the frame of mind.

Paul. As you think best.

Hella. You know very well that I spare myself the sight
of the dead, whenever I can. I did not even see my

Aunt Clara (has risen). I '11 go with you, my boy, brace up !

Paul (nods to her, choking dotvn his words). I'm all right.
(The two slotvly go out at the right.) [Short silence.]

Hella (stands at the chair, clenches her fist, stamps her
foot, in a hurst of passion). I cannot look at the man
who has forbidden me his house ! Never !

Glyszinski (has also risen, steps up to Hella). How I
admired you, madam!

Hella (still struggling). I cannot bring myself to that!



Glyszinski (sentimentally). How you sat there! How
you spoke! Every word a blow! No evasion! No
retre;,t! Mind triumphing over matter! The first
time I ever had this impression of you, Hella, do you
recall, the large meeting when you stood on the stage
and your eye controlled thousands? Then and there
my soul rushed out to you ! Now you possess it.

Hella (stands erect, resolutely and deliberately). If I
really possess your soul, dear doctor, listen to my

Glyszinski. I am your slave, command me!

Hella. It concerns Paul. You see how matters stand
with him.

Glyszinski (gloomily). Paul is not a modern man. I
knew that long ago.

Hella. Let us avoid all digressions now! (With unflinch-
ing emphasis.) Paul must . . . not . . . remain
here! Do you understand?

Glyszinskl What can I do in the matter?

Hella (taps her finger on his chest). You must help me
get him away from here as soon as possible !

Glyszinski. And you would ask me to do that?

Hella. Why shouldn't I?

Glyszinski. Expect me to help reestablish the bond be-
tween you? Don't be inhuman, Hella!

Hella. But you surely realize the relations that obtain
between you and me, doctor. You are my co-worker,
my friend!

Glyszinski. Is that all, Hella?

Hella. Why, do you demand more? Beyond friendship
I can give you nothing ! No, it will be better for you
to help me plan how we can get him away most readily.
Rather today than tomorrow.

Glyszinski. Even if I were willing ; why he pays no atten-
tion to me. Sometimes he strikes the pose of the man
of thirty and treats me like a schoolboy. If it were
not for you, Hella !


Hella {goes hack and forth in intense excitement). I see
it coming! I see it coming! Irresistible! I have
been watching it for a year. Something is working on
him. The old spirits have been revived in him. They
are restless to assert themselves. That calls for
prompt action. He must not remain here. He must
absolutely not remain in this atmosphere, which un-
settles the mind, this funereal atmosphere. Oh ! I can 't
stand it! Come on, doctor, I must have some fresh
air ! Get my things !

Glyszinski. I am on the wing! {About to start in some
direction or other.)

Hella {restrains him). But no, wait a moment! We can
go right through our rooms. A door leads to the
garden from there. {She listens.) Isn't that Paul,
now? Do you hear?

Glyszinski. It seems to be.

Hella {hurriedly). Quickly! I do not care to see him
now! I don't want to hear about the dead man. 1
can't endure it. Do hurry! {She draws him along
out toward the left.)

[Paul and Aunt Clara come in again from the right.
Paul walks slowly through the hall with his head
hoived. For a moment he remains standing before
the chair near the sofa, then suddenly sits down
and presses his face into his hands. Aunt Claea
has sloivly followed him, stands before him, and
looks at him lovingly and sadly. Brief silence.']

Aunt Clara {puts her hand on his head). Compose your-
self, Paul! What's the good of it! Your father is
past all trouble.

Paul {ivithout raising his head). Yes, he's beyond it all.

Aunt Clara. All of us may be glad when we are that far

Paul {between his teeth). When we are that far along,
yes, yes, Aunt Clara ! Wlien we are all through with
it, this incomprehensible, senseless force! {He leans
back in the chair and folds his hands over his head.)


Aunt Clara. Your dead father enjoys the best lot after
all. It's not at all an occasion for weeping, Paul.

Paul {nods his head mechanically). You cauajht the mean-
ing, Auntie.

Aunt Clara. I am old, my boy. I know what is back of
life. Nothing.

Paul. You have caught the meaning.

Aunt Clara. When you are as far along as I am, you will
think so too.

Paul {throivs his head back on his chair, yielding to his
pain). I am tired, Aunt Clara! Tired enough to die!

Aunt Clara. That is due to the journey, Paul.

Paul {repeats mechanically). That is due to the journey.
{Waking up.) You are right. Aunt Clara. To the
long journey and the long, long way.

Aunt Clara. Now you will take a rest, my boy.

Paul. That's what I should like to do, Aunt Clara. TaKe
a real rest after all of the wild years! And they do
say the best rest is to be found at home.

Aunt Clara. Do you see how good it is for you to be at
home again.

Paul {absorbed). How calmly he lay there. How great
and serene ! Not the vestige of a doubt left ! Every-
thing overcome. All the questions solved! . . .
{Lamenting.) Father, father, if I were only in your
place! {He presses his head in his hands.)

Aunt Clara {ivorried). Paul, what's the matter!

Paul. Nothing, Aunt Clara, it's over now.

Aunt Clara. No, no, my boy, there's something wrong
with you. You needn't tell me. I know well enough.

Paul {controlling himself). You know nothing at all.

Aunt Clara. And you can't talk me out of it. It's your
wife. What I know, I know. Your wife is to blame !
And if you do say no ten times over!

Paul {gets up, with a firm voice). I repeat. Aunt Clara,
you know nothing about it ! I do not want to hear one
word about that, please remember. {With marked


emphasis.) I do not want to hear of it! {Walks up

and down in excitement.)
Aunt Claea. Paul, Paul, if you had only taken Antonie!
Paul {sits down in the chair at the fireplace, restraini^ig

his pain). Be quiet. Aunt Clara! . . . Do you want

to make me even more miserable than I am?
Aunt Clara {gets up, steps up to him and lays her hand

on his head). My poor, poor boy!


The forenoon of the following day. The gloomy light of a winter day
comes in through the wide windows at the background of the hall, as on
the day before. Outside, white bushes and trees loom up vaguely. A
dark velvet cover is spread over the sofa table now. A fire again biases
in the fireplace.

In front of it on the left sits Glyszinski with his feet toward the fire and
a book in his hand. He is again faultlessly clad in a black suit; looks
pale. At his right, in the center chair HelLiA reposes comfortably. She
likewise holds a book and looks as if she had been reading. As on the
previous day, her dress is dark, but not black.

Hella. These awful visits of condolence all day yester-
day! If calls of that kind continue today, I'll simply
lock myself in and fail to appear. Let Paul settle it
as he may.

Glyszinski. And yet ! How easily and graciously you can
dispose of the good people. I can't get over my aston-

Hella. Yes and then to feign a sadness that one does not
remotely feel, cannot feel! What an idea!

Glyszinski {after a moment of reflection, whispering) . Do
you know what makes me glad?

Hella {curtly). No, possibly you will tell me.

Glyszinski {halts a bit). That the dead man is out of the
house! ... I suppose they took him to the church?

Hella. Yes, quite early this morning. The coffin is to be
there till tomorrow. I suppose you were afraid?


Glyszinski, Why you know that I sometimes see things.

Hella. You modern creature, you! L"»ok at me! I try
to see things by daylight. I can battle with them!
Not with the other kind.

GtYsziNSKi. Oh you don't realize how I have envied you
for that.

Hella. Why don't you follow my example then I Do not
lose yourself deeper and deeper in your riddles. Enter
the conflict! Just as I do!

Glyszinski. You, Hella . . . ! I cannot vie with you.

Hella. Don't be a weakling! Try it! You are old

Glyszinski (grumbling). Too old.

Hella (more and more impassioned). Too old! Ridicu-
lous. When Paul was of your age he was already in
the fray, founding our Women's Rights. And I, I
helped him.

Glyszinski. You must have been of firmer fiber than we
of the younger generation.

Hella {gets up, stands up straight, folds her hands over
her head). Possibly! I was scarcely twenty at the
time, but I felt strong enough to throw down the gaunt-
let to the whole world, when it was a question of my
rights. I had an uncontrollable thirst for freedom,
and it is not too much to assert that I gave Paul the
incentive for all that followed.

Glyszinskl That's just like you, Hella! I suppose he
would simply have remained in his old trot if it had
not been for you.

Hella {supporting herself on the chair). I should not go
that far. He had already freed himself, but did not
know in what direction to move. He was still groping.
He might have followed an utterly wrong course, might
have fooled away his time with literature and imprac-
tical things like that. His rescue from all that was my
work. I guided him! You know he was a pupil of
my father. When we became acquainted, I had no


difficulty in showering things upon him. You see I
had spent my whole childhood in this intellectual
atmosphere. And he . . . well, you can see from
where he had come. {She sweeps her hand around.)
That is just why I was ahead of him.

Glyszinski (lamenting). Why w^as I not born ten years
earlier? Then I should have found what he now has
and fails to value!

Hella (walks through the hall slowly, engrossed in mem-
ories). Yes it was a joyous time! All of us young,
vigorous and certain of victory! (Her manner be-
comes gloomy.)

Glyszinski (has followed her with his eyes). Are you so
no longer, Hella?

Hella (morosely). I? . . . (Collects herself.) More
than ever . . . But I have become tired, Doctor!

Glyszinski (subdued). I do suppose it requires more than
mortal strength to hold out, in this fashion, a whole
life long.

Hella (straightening up). Yes, if one did not know that
he is going to prevail, that he will carry out his
demands; one can rest assured only when he has the
better arguments in his favor. Not until then. (She
steps to the background in great excitement.)

Glyszinski (jumps up). Hella! Hella! . . .

Hella (comes back again). Not an hour before that, I
tell you. Do you understand the terrible aspect of
my present position now? My nails fairly tingle.
Whenever I hear the clock strike out there, something
seems to drive me away. Another hour gone, and life
is so short. It cries within me, go to your post, and
I am forced to remain ! I must remain on account of

Glyszinski (strikes his fist on the chair). Oh he doesn't
deserve to have you sacrifice yourself for him ! If you
called me in this manner ... I should follow you to
the scaffold!


Hella {approaches him, in a changed manner). What was
your impression of Paul toda>, Doctor? Be frank!

Glyszinski (gloomily). Why do you ask me about that?
I scarcely caught sight of him before he rode away.

Hella. It seemed to me that he was more cheerful, freer.
(To herself.) Possibly because the body was out of
the house. {She turns away again.)

[Glyszinski steps to the background, shaking his
head, seems in a quandary.']

Hella {has paid no attention to him, since her thoughts
completely dominate her, speaks as if to herself). May
be all will turn out for the best after all. {She gains
control of herself and looks up.) Where in the world
are you, Doctor? {She approaches him.)

Glyszinski {stands at the windoiv and looks into the
garden). I am watching the snow.

Hella. I suppose you are surprised that I am hopeful
again ?

Glyszinski. Since I have been in your company nothing
surprises me !

Hella {continues). But Paul must listen to reason. My
position is clearly correct. You do not know him as
I do. Paul is tender-hearted; all that is necessary is
to know how to deal with him. {She reflects a moment
and concludes.) Possibly I did not always know how
to do that.

Glyszinski {deprecatingly). Don 't belittle yourself , Hella !

Hella. And there shall be a change. But first of all he
must get away from here. Of course we shall have
to wait till after the funeral. But then I shall not
allow myself to be kept here any longer. I'll get in
and ride away and Paul will be forced to come along.
When I once have him in Berlin again . . .

Glyszinski. And the estate?

Hella. I'll simply sell that.

Glyszinski {rushes up to her with flaming eyes). Hella!


Hella {coldly). Well?

Glyszinski. Are you going to leave Paul?

Hella. How so? What is the matter with you?

Gf-LY^zi-^^T^i {seizes her hand) . Can't you leave Paul! My

life is at stake.
Hella. Dear friend, don't stake your life so foolishly!

And release my hand. I do not want to leave Paul ! I

haven't the slightest reason to do so. We agree very

Glyszinski {drops his head). Then I was mistaken, after

Hella. Yes, it seems so to me also. You simply do not

know what Paul has been to me. [Pause.'] I want to

go to work, I still have much to do. The editorial work

is crowding. {Takes several steps.)
Paul {enters from the right, clad in a riding suit and riding

boots, shakes of the snow and tvaves his hat vigorously

as he speaks). Good morning, you stay-at-homes!

Just see how I look.
Hella {has turned around at his approach and looks at

him). You are bringing winter in with you, Paul.
Paul {with dash). That's what I'm doing. I'm bringing

winter in with me. Regular country winter, with ice

and snow, such as the city knows only by hearsay.

Don't you envy me?
Hella {surprised). How so? For what?
Paul. For what, she asks! Why for all the snow in

which I have been stamping about! For this honest

winter mood, that I have not had for so many years!
Hella. Where in the world have you been!
Paul {sits doivn, facing the fire, and crosses his legs). Far,

far away, I can tell you.

[Glyszinski has risen from his chair and has slowly
walked over toward the left, where he sits down
on the sofa and pretends to become interested in
a book.]

Vol. XX— 10


Hella. One can tell that. You are in a beautiful condi-

Paul {stares into the fire, spinning mvay at his thoughts).
I rode a great, great distance! ... To the border
of our possessions !

Hella. Is that so very far?

Paul. Very far ! ... At least it seemed so to me when
I was a child.

Hella. Yes, of course, to a child everything seems larger.

Paul. But this time it was no delusion! It was really
quite a distance. And I did remain away long enough

Hella {sarcastically). Are you not boasting, Paul? I
believe you were riding around in a circle.

Paul {waking up). And so I did. Criss cross over the
fields, taking ditches, helter skelter as it were, right
through the dense snow.

Hella {as before). Can you really ride, Paul?

Paul. I? Well, I should say! I supposed I had forgot-
ten how, during all of these empty years, but when I
had mounted, for a moment I was unsteady, but only
for a moment, then I felt my old power. The bay
realized that I still know how, and off we were like
destruction itself.

Glyszinski {from the sofa). I should like to try it myself

Paul {without heeding him). And curiously enough Hella,
strange as the way had naturally become to me, I
nevertheless got along easily. After all, one does not
forget the things with which one has once been
familiar, and, you see, my father took me with him
often enough in my boyhood. {Smiling.) Possibly in
order that, some day in the future, I might get my
bearings in the old fields ! At last I got into the forest
and when I was out of that, I saw the houses of Klo-
nowken, all covered with snow . . .


Hella {has listened oery attentively, interrupts) . Klonow-
ken, you say! Isn't that the estate where — what
is his name? — your relative lives?

Paul. Laskowski, you mean?

Hella. Quite right, Laskowski . . . But you did not call
on him, did you?

Paul. No, then I came back.

Hella. The ride has certainly agreed with you. Your
color is much better than yesterday.

Paul {joyously). Is \V. . . . Well that is just the way
I feel.

Hella. Then you can see more clearly today, what you
wish to do and what is necessary?

Paul. Much more clearly, Hella! As I trotted along in
the snowstorm, many things dawned upon me. My
head has became clear, Hella.

Hella. I am glad for you and both of us !

Paul {seizes her hand). Yes, for both of us. We must
come to an agreement, Hella!

Hella {cautiously). I hope we are agreed. And, more-
over, you know how we can remain so !

Paul {thoughtful again). Well, as I rode along, strange!
So many years of desk work, I thought to myself, and
nothing but desk work. My bones have almost become
stiff as a result and, after all, what has come of it?
Little enough ! You surely must admit that.

Hella {seriously) . I can not admit that, Paul.

Paul. But we do live in a continual turmoil, Hella, in an
everlasting struggle the outcome of which we can not
foresee and from which we shall reap no rewards.
We are working for strangers, are sacrificing our best
years and have forgotten to consider ourselves. Do
you suppose they will thank us some day when we are
down and out? Not a soul!

Hella. Nor do I demand gratitude and recognition. I do
what I have recognized to be correct; that constitutes
my happiness.


Paul. But not mine. I want more, Hella' I am at an
age when fine words no longer avail me. And see, here
is a world in which I have what I need, what I am
seeking, here at last I can follow myself up, can see
what is really in me and not what has merely been
imposed upon me. I am on the crest of my life, Hella.
Possibly past it. Do not take it amiss ! I need rest,
composure . . .

Hella (reserved). And for that you are going to the end
of the world?

Paul. I had got to the end of the world! Now I shall
begin all over again. Would the attempt not be worth
while? Tell me, comrade! {He seizes both of Hella 's
hands and looks squarely into her eyes.)

Hella (reserved). I can't answer you now, Paul.

Paul (visibly relieved). Very well! If you can not at
present . . . There is plenty of time.

Hella. Isn't there? You will give me time. I should
like to put it off only a few days longer.

Paul (joyously). Why as long as you please. Till then
I shall be assured of you and meanwhile you will get
acclimated ?

Hella. Only a few days, Paul. Possibly I can make a
definite proposition to you by that time.

Paul (shakes her hands again, happy). Hella, my clever,
unusual Hella! (He puts his arms around her waist,
about to kiss her.)

Hella (with quick resistance). What are you doing, Paul!
Don't you see how wet you are?

Paul. Snow-water! Clear snow-water. What harm will
that do! Give me a kiss, Hella!

Hella (reluctantly). You do have notions at times! . . .
So here is your kiss! (Extends her cheek to him.)

Paul (embraces her.) Oh, no! Today I must have some-
thing unusual! (He tries to kiss her mouth.)

Hella (warding him off). Do stop that, Paul! I beg you
urgently !


Paul {looks into her eyes). But why not, Hella! Just
for today . . . ! {His voice is soft and pleading.)

Hella {with her face toward the sofa). Why Glyszinski
is sitting there.

Paul {impatiently). Wliat is Glyszinski to me? It's
surely all right for a husband and wife to kiss each

Hella. But not before strangers ! I can 't bear that, Paul !

Paul {bitterly). Calm down! It never happens anyhow!
{He releases her and tvalks through the hall with great

Hella {shrugging her shoulders). Because it is really not
proper for two people w^ho are as old as we have be-
come. People should become sensible sometime.

Paul {ivith increasing excitement). You always were!
Why, I don't know you any other Vv^ay.

Hella. You must have liked it well enough.

Paul {bursting out). Yes I probably did . . . I At that
time! Because I was a fool!

Hella {picks up her book again, turns as if to go away).
Now you are becoming abusive ! Good-by, I have work
to do!

Paul {intercepts her). Hella! I am coming to you v/ith
an overflowing heart! I have a yearning to be alone
with you, once, only once; I am almost desperate for
a heart to heart talk . . .

Glyszinski {who has silently followed the scene from the
sofa, presumably engrossed in his book, but at times
has cast over a furtive glance, makes a motion as if to
rise). If I'm disturbing you, you only need to say
so . . .

Hella. Do not be funny, doctor. You do know that I
wanted to go to my room some time ago. Please let
me pass, Paul!

Paul {has retreated, with an angry bow). You have plenty
of room! {Across to Glyszinskl) Hella is quite
right. There is no longer any occasion for you to


go. {He goes to the fireplace and sits down facing the

Hella {remains in the centre of the hall a few moments

longer, then takes a step in the direction of Paul, and

speaks in a changed, gentler voice). Paul! (Paul

does not stir).
Hella {urgently). Paul!
Paul. That's all right!
Hella. Oh, is it! Very well! {She turns awag abruptly,

goes over toward the right, opens the door and turns

around, saying curtly). I wish to work, so please do

not disturb me. {She goes out.)
Paul {has become restless, gets up and calls). Hella!

{One can hear how the door is being locked on the other

side.) As you please, then! {He sits down again).
Glyszinski {looking up from his book). Hella has locked

the door.

[Paul sets his teeth and is silent. Pause.']
Glyszinskl Am I disturbing you?
Paul {ivithout turning around). I have already told you,

no! Not any longer, now!
Glyszinski. So I have been disturbing you?
Paul. I'll leave that to you.

Glyszinski. You would like to have me go away?
Paul. Dear Glyszinski, don't ask such stupid questions!
Glyszinski. Well, I should have gone long ago . . .
Paul {cutting). Indeed?
Glyszinski. I can see very well how irksome I am to

Paul. You are not at all irksome, dear Glyszinski, neither

now nor formerly. You are only funny.
Glyszinski. You two admitted me to your household.
Paul. Excuse me! Hella admitted you.
Glyszinski. That is what I was going to say. Upon

Hella 's express invitation . . .
Paul. Correct.


Glyszinski. Indeed I may say upon her wish . . .

Paul. Also correct.

Glyszinski. I came into your house.

Paul. That was very kind of you.

Glyszinski. And so I can leave it only upon her invitation.

Not before! I should be offending Hella, and that I

cannot take upon myself. I revere her too much for

Paul {cutting). Sensitive soul that you are!
Glyszinskl Of course my views may not agree with all

the conventional rules of society, but there are still

other, higher duties.
Paul {amused). And you honor them?
Glyszinski {casting a piercing look at Paul). Yes, it is

my duty to protect Hella.
Paul. Protect Hella? . . . {He gets up.) Do you know!

One is impelled to feel sorry for you ! {He turns away

and walks through the hall.)
Glyszinski. Well !
Paul. Yes, you have no idea how far you are off the track.

That's the reason.
Glyszinski. Thanks for your sympathy!

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