Kuno Francke.

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

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looking down upon all of us, the beloved deceased, may

he rest in peace.

[Silence. Short pause as they continue to eat.l
Laskowski {the first to finish his soup, leans back). A soup

like that does warm a fellow up.
VON TiEDEMANN. Especially when you have been out in

your sleigh for nearly two hours.
Laskowski. And then a full hour at the cemetery on

top of it.
Mrs. von Tiedemann {quicMy). But the sermon was really

touching. From the very heart. Any one who had

knowai the dead man . . .
Laskov/spii. Not a soul kept from crying!
voN Tiedemann. Yes, remarkably beautiful !
Laskowski, A fellow forgot all about being hungry.
Mrs. Borowski {leans over to Paul). Are they talking

about the sermon?
Paul {aloud). Yes, Mrs. Borowski.
Mrs. Borowski. I didn't understand very much.
Paul {courteously). At your age, Mrs. Borowski!
Mertens {in an undertone to Mrs. von Tiedemann). Who

is she?
Mrs. von Tiedemann. It's the widow of the former teacher

at the estate here.


Mertens. She seems to hail from the days of the French
occupation !

VON Tiedemann. Does she? She has at least eighty years
on her back.

Mertens. But is well preserved.

Mrs. Borowski {to Paul). I say, Mr. Warkentin, I knew
your father when he was no bigger than . . . {Hold-
ing her hand not far from the ground.)

Paul {subdued). Fifty years ago?


Mrs. Borowski. Oh, it's longer than that. Almost sixty.
I saw them all grow up. Now I'm almost the only one
left from those times.

Laskowski {leans over toward her ivith his glass). Well,
here's to you Auntie! . . . You don't drink very
much any more I suppose? {He drinks.)

Mrs. Borowski. Oh, indeed! I am still able to take a

Paul. Come, Mrs. Borowski, let me help you. {He fills
her glass.)

Mrs. Borowski. When I was young I never caught sight
of wine. Now that I'm old I have more than I can

Laskowski. Drink ahead. Auntie! Drink ahead! Wine
makes you young!

Mrs. Borowski. You know, your good wife is always send-
ing me some.

Laskowski {nonplussed). I do say, dearie, why, I don't
know a thing about that.

[Antoinette silently shrugs her shoulders and casts
a quick glance at him.']

Laskowski {friendly again). Makes no difference, dearie,
no difference at all! Just send ahead! We do have
a lot of it.

Antoinette. There is surely enough for us to spare a
little for an old lady.

Laskowski. Sure, dearie!

Mrs. Borowski {leans over to Antoinette). Do you re-
member, pet, how you used to come and call with your
parents, now dead and gone? A little bit of a thing
you were, Paul would lift you on the horse and you
didn't cry at all, you sat there just like a grown-up'
... I remember it very well.

Antoinette. I don't. Such things are forgotten.

Paul {looks at her). Have you really forgotten that,
madam I

Antoinette. Heavens, I haven't thought of it again.


Mrs. Borowski. Just wait and see, pet, when you are old
you will think of it again.

Antoinette. Not all people grow to be as old as you, dear
Mrs. Borowski.

Laskowski {has partaken freely of the wine). Dearie,
you'll grow as old as the hills! I can prophesy that
much. Haven't you the finest kind of a time!

Antoinette. I? . . .Of course!

Laskowski {garrulously). What do you lack! . . .
Nuthin ' ! . . . Children 's what you lack !

Antoinette {looks at him sharply). Never mind, please!

Laskowski {abashed). Well, well, don't put on so, dearie!

Mrs. von Tiedemann {to Paul). Have you any children,

Paul. No, I'm sorry to say, madam.

Mr. von Tiedemann {to his wife). We're better off in that
respect, Bess, aren 't we ? Three lusty bairns !

Mrs. Schnaase. And we, with our five !

Laskowski {touched). Do you see, dearie! What am I
always tellin' you! An agriculturalist without chil-
dren . . .

Kunze. Abraham scored one hundred when the Lord
bestowed his son Isaac upon him.

Laskowski. But a fellow like me .can't wait that long —
stuff and nonsense. What if I die and . . .

Paul. You will take care not to do that.

Laskowski. Don't say that, brother! I'm going to die
young! I'm sure of it. An old woman once told my
fortune, and she said I wouldn't see more than fifty.
But, do you know what, dearie?

Mrs. von Tiedemann {to Antoinette). I suppose you fre-
quently came to Ellernhof in the old days, Madam von
Laskowski ?

Antoinette. Why, the departed was my guardian, you
know, Mrs. von Tiedemann.

Mrs. von Tiedemann. Oh yes. I had forgotten that.

VON Tiedemann. Do you ride horseback as much as ever,


Antoinette. Now and then, for pastime !

Laskowski. Now don't you say a word, dearie! Why,
you're pasted on a horse all day long, and then from
horseback right into the cold, cold water. Did any-
body ever hear the like of it?

Paul {to Antoinette). Yesterday I had a horseback ride
again too, madam. Have I told you about it? The
first time in years. And, what is more, I got quite
near your place. I was even able to see the houses of

Antoinette. Did you ride through the forest?

Paul. Of course, through the pine forest of Klonowken,
yesterday morning. Right through the snow.

Antoinette. Why, I was out at the same time.

Paul (looks at her). You were, madam? Too bad! Why
did we not chance to meet?

Antoinette. I suppose it was not ordained so.

Laskowski {after drinking again). I say, dearie, one of
these days when I die, do you know what I '11 do ?

Mertens. If one of us dies, I'll go to Karlsbad, eh, Las-
kowski ?

Laskowski. Listen, dearie! You'll inherit all I have an'
marry another fellow!

Paul (sternly). Control yourself a bit, Laskowski.

Laskowski (undaunted) . Ain't that true, dearie? Tell me
that you '11 come to my grave ! Promise me that much,
dearie! Then I'll die easy. You'll come along and
sit down and cry a few tearies on my grave. (He
chokes doivn his tears and drinks again.)

VON Tiedemann (has also been drinking freely). Well,
here's to our friend, departed in his prime. (He raises
his glass to Laskowski.)

Mes. von Tiedemann (disapprovingly). Why, Fritz!

VON Tiedemann (collecting himself). H'm! Well . . ,
Didn't think of that. One forgets. Pardon me!

Antoinette. Will you not help yourselves, ladies and gen-
tlemen? (To Lene, who is just passing with dishes in
her hands.) Serve around once more!


VON TiEDEMANN {helps Mmself). My favorite dish, veal-
roast! . . . {To BoDENSTEiN.) What do you say,
Doctor, you are so quiet?

Dr. BoDENSTEiisr. Do whatever you do, with a will! I am
now devoting myself to culinary delights!

Mertens. I regard this sauce a phenomenal achievement.

Mrs. Schnaase. There are tomatoes in it, I think.

Mertens. I must ask for the recipe.

Raabe, Junior's (voice in the background). Here's to you!

Voices (in confusion, in the backgrowzd) . Here's to you!
Your health!

Laskgwski {gets up, raises his glass toward the back-
ground). Here's to everybody!

Voices {from behind). Here's to you, Laskowski!

Schrock's {voice). Here's to you, old rough-neck!

Paul. Don't drink so much, Laskowski! (Antoinette
bites her lips and looks aivay.)

Laskowski {whispering). Let me drink, brother! Drink
and forget your pain, says Schiller. Ain't that it, old
chap, ain't it, now? You're a kind of a poet yourself,
ain't you?

VON TiEDEMANN (m an undertone, to Mertens). He's tank-
ing up again !

Antoinette {to Paul, through her teeth). Awful!

Paul {in an undertone). Oh, don't mind him.

Laskowski. Let me drink, old fellow. I'm not going to
live long anyhow. It's on my chest ... Do you
hear it rattle, old boy? Listen! Just listen! Listen
to me, not to my dearie. When we're dead, we're out
of it! We'll not get another drop! An' then we'll
sleep till judgment day in the pitch-dark grave. Then
you '11 be rid of me, dearie !

Antoinette {gets up). Excuse me. Doctor!

Paul {also jumps up). Are you ill, madam?

Mrs. von Tiedemann {moves aside). Now it is getting a
bit uncanny.

Mrs. Boeowski {her hand at her ear). Are they talking
about the judgment day?


KuNZE (who eats away lustily, partly to himself). On the

judgment day when the Lord will return to judge the

quick and the dead.
Paul {to Antoinette, who partly leans upon him). How

are you, Antoinette!
Antoinette {has become composed again). I am all right

Mks. Schnaase. Would you like a glass of water?
Mrs. von Tiedemann. Yes, water !
Antoinette. No, thank you ! This awful heat ! . . .

Don't let me disturb you.

[The conversation which had become very loud is
carried on in a more subdued manner. All are
whispering to each other.']
Paul, Shall I take you out, madam?
Antoinette {with a supreme effort). No, thank you, I

shall remain! {Sits down again.)
Laskowski {ivith a stupid stare). Just stay here, dearie!

Just stay here !
Paul. Now do be quiet, Laskowski. {Also sits down

again. )
Laskowskl Ain't I quiet, brother? Quiet! . . . Quiet!

. . . Quiet! , . . Quiet as the grave! Damn it all.

I wonder how your father feels now.
Kunze. We are happy, but he is happier.
Antoinette {frantically controlling herself). Help your-
selves, ladies and gentlemen! Mr. von Tiedemann,

don't be backward!
VON Tiedemann. I'm getting my share.
Mertens. So am I. I don't let things affect my appetite.
Laskowski {singing half audibly). Jinks, do you have to

die, young as you are . . . young as . . .
Mrs. Borowski {to Paul). Now it has come, just as the

departed always wished.
Paul. How so, Mrs. Borowski?
Mrs. Borowski. That you would be back, Paul, and that

everything about the estate would go right on as

before ! If he could only look down upon that.


Paul (nervously). Yes!

VON TiEDEMANN (leafis ovBT to Paul). Settled fact is it,
Mr. Warkentin? Really going to get into the harness?

Laskowski (pricking up his ears). Can't do it, old chap!
Come on! . . . Can't begin to do it!

Paul. I do intend to, Mr. von Tiedemann.

VON Tiedemann. Well, you 'd better think that over ! Not
every one can match your father as an agriculturalist.

Paul. With a little honest effort . . .

VON Tiedemann. If that were all! To begin with, you
can't match your father physically. You have to be
accustomed to such things. In all kinds of weather!
And then . . . No child's play to farm now-a-days!
Starvation prices for grain! Simply a shame! If
that continues I'll vouch that all this blooming farm-
ing will go to the devil within twenty years !

Mrs. von Tiedemann (shaking her head). To think of hav-
ing you speak that way, Fritz !

VON Tiedemann. Of course, if a fellow has a few pennies
to fall back on, it's not so bad. But how man};^ are
there who have. The rest will go broke!

Laskowski (hums again). The Count of Luxemburg has
squandered all his cash . . . cash . . . cash . . .

VON Tiedemann (eagerly). And who will have the advan-
tage? The few who have money. They will buy for
a song and some day, when times are better again,
they will sell for twice as much. Some day they are
likely to roll in wealth !

Laskowski (as before). Has squandered all his cash . . .
In one old merry night . . . ha, ha!

Antoinette (leans back in her chair). My husband is no
longer conscious of what he is saying!

Laskowski. Me? Not conscious? . . . Don't I know.
Word for word! Shall I tell you, dearie? What you
said and what I said and what Paul said to you . . .
Antoinette, how are you? . . . How are you Antoi-
nette? (Short laugh.) Well, do I know, dearie? Did
I hold on to it?


Paul. One must excuse you in your condition.

VON TiEDEMANN. Dou't worry about him, madam. He's
one of these fellows with a big purse. He may chuckle !
I can foresee that he will buy up the whole county
some day!

Laskowski. Just what I'll do. What's the price of the
w^orld! Five bits a fling! . . . We can still raise
that much. The more foolish the farmer, the bigger
his spuds!

Mertens. His sugar-beets !

Laskowski. I say, boys! ... Do you know how many
tons of sugar-beets I raised to the acre! Last round?

VON TiEDEMANN. Now^, dou't Spread it on!

Laskowski {jumps up). Fellows! My word of honor!
I'm not lying! Thirty-five tons an acre! Who can
match that? Nobody can! I can! I'm a devil of a
fellow, I've always said so, ain't I, dearie^? You know !
{He strikes his chest and sits down.)

VON TiEDEMANN. Thirty-five ton per acre ! Ridiculous !

Mertens. I can honestly swear to the contrary !

Laskowski. And your dad, I tell you he was mad! He
just couldn't look at me! But I don't bear him any
grudge! I'm a man of honor! Shake hands, old
chap! You say so, ain't I a man of honor? Put 'er
there ! Man of honor face to face with man of honor.
But you must look at me, man alive! Or I won't
believe you ! {He extends his hand over to Paul.)

Paul {negative gesture). Never mind! Just believe me.

Laskowski {looks at Antoinette). Dearie, don't make
such a face ! Eat ! Eat ! ... So you can get strong,
so you can survive your poor Heliodor! {All except
Paul and Antoinette laugh.)

Dr. Bodenstein {to Mertens). Incipient delirium!

[Mrs. von Tiedemann whispers something into Mer-
tens' ear.']

Paul {to Antoinette). You really haven't taken a thing,
madam !


Antoinette. I am not hungry. But will the ladies and
gentlemen not take something more? A little more
of the dessert, perhaps.

VON TiEDEMANN. No, thanks, madam! I can't eat another
thing ! Not if I try ! Or I '11 burst !

Mes. von TiEDEMANN {reproacJifully) . Fritz!

Dr. Bodenstein. Albumen! Fat! Carbo-hydrates! In
hoc signo vinces.

Mertens. And now a little cup of coffee!

VON TiEDEMANN. And a cock-tail!

Dr. Bodenstein. To retard metabolism !

Paul. The coffee will be here directly!

[Aunt Clara appears upon the scene and talks to
Antoinette in an undertone.'}

Laskowski {ivho has been dozing, tvakes up again, takes his
glass and addresses Paul) . You know what I 'de done,
Paul, if I'd been your dad?

Antoinette (nodding to Aunt Clara). Miss Clara tells
me that the coffee is in the next room. Whenever the
ladies and gentlemen are so disposed . . .

Laskowski {interrupts). If I'de been your father, old
chap, I'd drunk all of my claret before my wind-up!
I wouldn't 'a left a drop!

Schrock's (i;oice). Greedy gut!

l^All get up and are about to exchange formalities.']

Raabe Junior's {voice in the background). Here's to you!

Dr. Bodenstein {knocks on his glass, with a loud voice).
Ladies and gentlemen ! Let us dedicate a glass to the
memory of the departed, according to the beautiful
tradition of our fathers ; that we must not mourn the
dead, that we should envy them! Our slumbering
friend lives on in the memory of those who were near
to him ! To immortality, in this sense, all of us may,
after all, agree in a manner ! {He raises his glass and
clinks with those beside him. All the rest do the same.
Silence prevails. Only the clinking of glasses is


Paul (raising Ms glass, to Antoinette). The doctor is

right ! Let us drink to his memory, madam ! May the

earth rest lightly on him! (Antoinette lowers her

head and stifles her tears.)
Paul [looking at her fervently). Aren't yon going to

Antoinette (musters her strength, raises her head, and

with tears in her eyes clinks glasses with him).
Paul (drinks). To the memory of my father.
Antoinette (nods). Your father!
Paul. To that of our parents, madam! A silent glass!

(He empties his glass.)

[Antoinette puts doivn her glass, after she has
drunk. ^
Laskowski (has noticed Antoinette). Just cry ahead,

dearie ! Cry your fill ! That 's the way they '11 drink

to your Heliodor some day!
De, Bodenstein. And so they will drink to all of us some

Kunze. For man's life on earth is like unto the grass of

the field, on which the wind bloweth. It fiourisheth

for a season and withereth and no one remembereth

it. So also the children of men.
Dk. Bodenstein. This goblet to the departed, one and all !

(He drinks again.)
Paul. The departed on these walls ! I drink to you ! (He

raises his glass to the portraits on the ivalls. All have

risen meanivhile, and broken up into neiv groups.

Confusion of voices in the background.)
ScHEOCK and Raabe (have intonated the Gaudeamus. At

first softly, then more distinctly the folloiving stanza

is sung) :

Ubi sunt qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos,
Transite ad inferos,
Ubi jam fuere.


Glyszinski {has joined in lustily at the end, and repeats

alone). Ubi jam fuere!

[Mertens, von Tiedemann, Mrs. Schnaase, Mrs. von
TiEDEMANN stand in the foreground where they
have been conversing in an undertone.']
Mertens {in an undertone) . Now the pot is boiling!
VON Tiedemann {a bit mellow). That's the way a funeral

should be ! No airs ! The dead won 't become alive

again anyhow!
Mertens. Many a man might object to that anyhow!
VON Tiedemann. The devil take it. A fellow doesn't want

to give up what he once has !
Mertens. Wasn't Laskowski superb again!
VON Tiedemann. Always is, of late ! Never see him any

other way!
Mrs. von Tiedemann. And then Mrs. Laskowski f Did

you watch, Gretchen?
Mrs. Schnaase. I don't exactly see, Elizabeth!
Mrs. von Tiedemann. You didn't, how they kept on whis-
pering together ? She hasn 't a bit of modesty !
VON Tiedemann. I'll bet my head Laskowski will plant

himself here some day. The young man surely can't

make it go in the long run. Why he can't hold on to

the estate.
Mrs. von Tiedemann. Didn't she bat her eyes again!
Mertens. She does have eyes!
VON Tiedemann. Does she!
Mrs. VON Tiedemann. Just go ahead and propose to her,

the togged-out thing! . . . Come on Gretchen!

[Both go off to the left.]
VON Tiedemann. Bang!
Mertens. What do you think of that?
VON Tiedemann. Let's see if we can find a cocktail ! Come

on Mertens! {They go out at the left.)

[Paul, Antoinette, Glyszinski come over from the


Glyszinski {quite intoxicated, to Antoinette). Without
a doubt, madam, a beautiful, sensitive soul will, above
all, find expression in the hand. So would you, per-
haps, let me have your hand for a moment. . . .

Antoinette (chilli/). For what purpose?

Glyszinski {Jias seized her hand, impassioned). Only to
imprint a kiss upon these beautiful, soft, delicate, dis-
tinguished, aristocratic finger-tips ! {He kisses her

Antoinette {ivithdraws her hand). I beg your pardon, sir !

Laskowski {is detained in a group consisting of Schrock,
Raabe, Jr., and others. He has seen Glyszinski kiss
Antoinette's hand). Boys, let me go!

Schrock, Raabe, and Others. Stay right here, old boy.

Laskowski. Let me go, I say ... I want to get to my
dearie! {He tries to disengage himself.)

Schrock {very unsteady on his feet). Dear old chap! I'll
. . . not ... let you! . . . Let's have another
drink first !

Laskowski. I want to get to my dearie ! ( They restrain

Glyszinski {follows Antoinette tvith his eyes. She has
retreated behind the oleanders in the foreground on
the left). Ravishing creature! I must follow her!
{About to follow her.)

Paul. That you will not do! {Intercepts him.)

Glyszinski. Let me pass !

Paul. That way, please! {He points to the left.)

Glyszinski {with clenched fists). Brutal fellow! {He
struts toivard the left and runs into Laskowski, ivho is
still standing in the group tvith Schrock and the rest,
and who immediately fraternizes with him.)

Paul {looking at him as he goes). A rare team!

Laskowski {approaches Glyszinski, trying to embrace
him). Old chap! . . . Are you a Pole?

Glyszinski. A Pole ! Yes, indeed ! von Glyszinski !

Laskowski. Your name is Glyszinski ! Mine is Laskowski !
Come to my heart, fellow countryman !


Raabe. Boys, such a thing as that calls for a drink. {He

goes over toward the left.)
Laskowski. Drink, fellow countryman! Drink and kiss

my wife. Do you want to kiss my wife ?
Glyszinski {pompously). Sir!
Laskowski. You may. Nobody else. A Pole may. Ain't

she beautiful, that dearie of mine?
Glyszinski. Beautiful as the starry sky!
Laskowski {emhracing his neck). Brother! Come along!
ScHROcK {stands near them, swaying). Your health, you

. . . jolly . . . brothers!
Laskowski. Brotherhood? Yes, we '11 drink to our brother-
hood, my fellow countr^nnan.
Raabe {comes in fro7n the left). There's lots of good stuff
in there. Come, be quick about it. Too bad to waste
your time here!
Laskowski {leading Glyszinski, who resists a trifle, out
at the left, singing as he goes). Poland is not lost
forever !

[Raabe and Scheock follow arm in arm. The rest
have gradually withdrawn toward the left in the
course of the preceding scene. Lene and Fritz
clear the table and carry out the dishes. Aunt
Clara directs the work and assists now and ihen.
Paul stands near the table in the foreground, lost
in thought.']
Aunt Clara. Won't you go and have some coffee, Paul?
Paul. No, not now, Auntie ! Later ! I need a little rest !

Will you soon be through?
Aunt Clara. Directly, my boy ! . . . (To Lene.) Hurry

now ! There is plenty of work ahead !
Paul {subdued). Leave me alone for a little while. Auntie !
Aunt Clara {understanding him). I'll be going, Paul!

[Lene atid Fritz have completed their work and go
out at the right.]
Aunt Clara {in an undertone, as she goes toward the right).
Have a good chat, Paul !


Paul (seriously). No occasion!

[Aunt Clara goes off at the left. One can hear her,
as she closes the door on the left. Silence.']

Paul (stands undecided for a moment, then he slowly walks
over to the row of oleanders, where Antoinette sits
leaning back in a chair at the sofa table with her hands
pressed to her face. He looks at her for a long while,
then softly says). Antoinette!

Antoinette (moans to herself, without stirring). My God!
... My God!

Paul (places his hand on the crown of her head). You
poor . . . poor child! (He sits down in the chair
beside her, takes her hand which she surrenders to him
passively, presses it and tenderly kisses it, saying).
Sweet . . . sweet Toinette !

[Antoinette covers her face with her left hand
while Paul continues to hold her right hand. She
is breathing convulsively.]

Paul (looks at her with devotion, closes his hands nerv-
ously). I fairly worship you! (Continues to look at
her, then says.) Won't you look at me, Antoinette?
(He gently removes her ha^id from her face.) Please,
please, Toinette ! Let me see your eyes ! Just let me
see your eyes! (He stoops doiun over her.)

Antoinette (sinks upon his breast, putting her arms
around his neck). Dearest! . . . Dearest Paul!

Paul (embraces her impetuously). Sweetheart! . . .
Now you are mine! . . . Sweetheart! (Continuing
in a silent, fervent embrace. Pause.)

Antoinette (startled, and tries to withdraw from him).
God! Great God! . . . What have I done?

Paul (holds her and embraces her again). No retreat,
Antoinette. No retreat is possible!

Antoinette (beside herself). Let me go, Paul!

Paul. I shall not let you go, Toinette. And if it is a mat-
ter of life and death.

Antoinette (with a slight outcry). Paul!

Vol. XX— 13


Paul, (presses her to him firmer than ever). Do you want

the people to come in? Then call them! Let them

find us !
Antoinette (on his breast). I had an intimation of this.
Paul. Did you? You too?
Antoinette. Both of us, Paul! (In rapture.) Kiss me,

my friend! . . . My beloved!
Paul. A thousand times over! (He kisses her.)
Antoinette (returns his kisses). And 7, you a thousand

times over!
Paul. My dear, tell me that you love me !
Antoinette (nestling up to him). You know I do, dear!

. . . Why have me tell you?
Paul (with folded hands). Please, please tell me!
Antoinette. I do love you, Paul!
Paul. Tell me again ! I have never heard the word ! Say

it once more!
Antoinette. I have always loved you, Paul !
Paul. Always? Always? Always?
Antoinette. Always !
Paul. And I failed to realize it all ! . . . Fool, fool, fool !

(He moans convulsively.)
Antoinette (places her arms about him again). Don't

think of it ! Not now !
Paul. You are right, dear! Our time is short!
Antoinette. Forget all! Forget! Forget!
Paul. I cannot forget! It was too long!
Antoinette. Indeed it was long! But I knew that you

would return.
Paul. And you took the other man?
Antoinette (sadly, but with a touch of roguishness). And

you the other woman !
Paul (startled). Do not remind me of it!
Antoinette (endearingly). I took the other man while I

was thinking of you ! I waited for you !

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