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FORESTER (_very calmly_).

As, for example, just now.

STEIN.

You have made up your mind to annoy me.

FORESTER.

Nonsense! You only want to pick a quarrel. STEIN. I? But why do you
immediately trump, when I play a wrong card?

FORESTER.

Playing a wrong card means losing the game.

STEIN (_throwing down his cards_).

Well, there you have the whole business!

[_Jumps up_.]

FORESTER. I deal.

[_Shuffles calmly and deals_.]

STEIN (_has taken a few steps_).

I am not going to play any more with you.

FORESTER (_unconcerned_).

But it is my turn to deal.

STEIN (_sits down again_).

Obstinate old fellow!

FORESTER.

You immediately lose your temper.

STEIN (_taking his cards; still angry_).

You would not give in, even if it were as clear as day that you are
wrong!



SCENE VII

_The same. Enter_ MÖLLER, _leading in_ SOPHY; WILKENS. _The waltz
outside is finished_.

SOPHY.

But now I think that -

FORESTER.

One more turn.

SOPHY.

Everything is ready -

FORESTER.

The pastor -

SOPHY.

He sent word that we are not to wait lunch for him. But he would be here
at eleven o'clock sharp for the betrothal.

FORESTER.

Then sit down and eat.

STEIN.

Please, do not let us detain you.

FORESTER.

It is immaterial whether we sit here or there. Now then! Forty in
spades.

[_Continuing to play_.]

STEIN.

All right! Go ahead.

FORESTER (_triumphantly_).

Are not you thinking of Godfrey again? And the clearing? Hey?

STEIN (_controlling himself_).

Now you see -

FORESTER (_more excited_).

That the fellow is a fool - Queens are trumps.

STEIN.

I'm bearing in mind that we are not alone.

FORESTER (_excited by the game_).

And trump - and trump! - the forest shall be cleared!

STEIN.

That will do, I say. The idea was mine.

FORESTER.

And trump.

STEIN.

And if I - [_He controls himself_.]

FORESTER (_triumphantly_).

Well, what then?

[_Puts the cards together_.]

STEIN (_making a desperate effort to contain himself_).

And if I should wish to have it so - if I should insist upon it - then -
FORESTER.

Everything would remain as it is.

STEIN.

The forest would be cleared.

FORESTER.

Nothing of the kind.

STEIN.

We'll see about that. And now the forest _shall_ be cleared.

FORESTER.

It shall _not_.

STEIN.

Sir!

FORESTER (_laughing_).

Mr. Stein!

STEIN.

It's all right! It's all right!

FORESTER (_very calmly_).

As it is.

STEIN.

Not another word -

FORESTER.

And not a tree -

STEIN (_rises_).

No contradiction and no sarcasm! That I request. That I insist upon. I
am the master of Düsterwalde.

FORESTER.

And I am the forester of Düsterwalde.

[STEIN _is getting more and more excited. He shows plainly that the
presence of other persons increases his sensitiveness, and he makes an
evident effort to control his temper. The_ FORESTER _treats the matter
lightly, as an every-day affair_. SOPHY _with increasing anxiety looks
from one to the other_. WILKENS _does not move a muscle of his face_.
MÖLLER _exhibits his sympathy by accompanying his master's words with
appropriate gestures. The entire pantomimic by-play is very rapid_.]

STEIN.

You are my servant, and I command: The forest shall be cleared. If not,
you are no longer my servant. The forest shall be cleared.

FORESTER.

Old hot-head!

STEIN.

Either you obey, or you are no longer forester.

FORESTER.

Stuff and nonsense!

STEIN.

And I shall put Godfrey in your place.

FORESTER.

Quite right. Congratulations.

STEIN (_buttons his coat_).

The forest shall be cleared.

FORESTER.

The forest shall not be cleared.

SOPHY (_stepping between the two_).

But -

STEIN.

I regret this exceedingly. - Mr. Möller! - I bid everybody good-day.

[_Exit_.]

MÖLLER.

Bravo! At last he has spoken his mind in a manner worthy of Stein and
Son. Yours truly.

[_Follows_ STEIN.]

FORESTER.

I deal -

[_He looks up while shuffling the cards_.]

But - well, let him go. If he can't sit for an hour without exploding,
the old powder-bag -



SCENE VIII

_The_ FORESTER _remains seated imperturbably_. SOPHY _stands beside his
chair_. WILKENS _steps up to the_ FORESTER.

SOPHY.

But what in the world is going to come of this?

WILKENS.

He should have gone after him.

FORESTER. The old hot-head!

SOPHY.

I am absolutely dumbfounded. On the very day of betrothal!

WILKENS.

But for the sake of a few miserable trees he surely is not going to -

FORESTER.

Miserable trees? Thunder! In my forest there is no miserable
tree! - Nonsense. There is no cause for lamentation.

WILKENS.

But Mr. Stein -

FORESTER.

Is not going to run far. When his anger has subsided, he will be the
first one to - he is better than I.

WILKENS.

But -

FORESTER.

Hang it! You always have a "But." That's the way he goes on every day.
For twenty years -

WILKENS.

But today he is your master.

FORESTER.

Master or not. The forest shall not be cleared. WILKENS. But you will
lose your place.

FORESTER.

To Godfrey? Idle talk! Stein himself can't bear Godfrey, and he knows
what I am worth to him. I need not sing my own praise. Show me a forest
anywhere in the whole district that can be compared to mine. - Do you
hear? Why, there he is back again. Sit down. And if he comes in, act as
if nothing had happened.



SCENE IX _The same. Enter_ MÖLLER _rapidly; later_, ANDREW.

FORESTER (_not looking up_).

Well, I deal.

[_Takes the cards, notices his mistake_.]

Is that you, Mr. Möller?

MÖLLER (_pompously_).

At your service.

FORESTER.

Well, sit down. Has he cooled down again, the old hot-head? Why doesn't
he come in? I suppose he expects me to fetch him?

[_Is about to go_.]

MÖLLER.

Mr. Stein sends me to ask you, sir, whether you have changed your mind.

FORESTER.

I should say not!

MÖLLER.

That you will clear the forest?

FORESTER.

That I will _not_ clear the forest.

MÖLLER.

That means, that you are going to resign your position as forester.

FORESTER.

That means - that you are a fool.

MÖLLER (_very pompously_).

I have been commissioned by Mr. Adolf Friedrich Stein, head of the firm
of Stein and Son, in case you should still persist in your refusal to
execute the command of your master, to announce to you your dismissal,
and to notify Godfrey immediately that he is forester of Düsterwalde.

FORESTER.

And that would be a great pleasure to you -

MÖLLER.

I am not to be considered in this matter. What is to be considered is
the firm of Stein and Son, whom I have the honor to represent. I give
you five minutes time for consideration.

[_Steps to the window_.]

[Illustration: SCHNORR VON CAROLSFELD THE FINDING OF MOSES]

FORESTER.

Dismiss me? Dismiss me? Do you know what that means? Dismiss a man who
has served faithfully for forty years? Good heavens, sir! If I should do
what he wishes - then I deserved to be dismissed. Clear the forest! And
the mountain faces north and northwest, absolutely exposed -

WILKENS.

Well! But this is not a question of your trees.

FORESTER.

So that the wind can rush in and break down everything. Hang it!
Nonsense! He does not mean it at all. If he only comes to his senses -

WILKENS.

That's just what I say. Until it comes to the actual cutting down, one
has time to think a hundred times. And don't you see that it is not at
all the cutting down that Mr. Stein is concerned about? He is only
concerned about maintaining his authority. If he is the master he
necessarily must be right.

FORESTER.

But he is wrong, and I shall not give my consent to anything that is
wrong. For forty years I have disregarded my own interest for the sake
of what was intrusted to my care; I have -

WILKENS.

Well. My opinion is, that if for forty years you have had such tender
regard for your trees, you might now, for once, have a similar regard
for your wife and children and yourself.

FORESTER.

Do you know that to Stein there may result from this a loss of six
thousand dollars? Do you? Of that sum I should deprive him if I
consented. And would you have some one come along and say: "Ulrich gave
his consent to that? In fifteen years there might have been such a
forest of timber, that a forester's heart would have swelled with pride,
and - "

WILKENS.

Well. That might still -

FORESTER.

After the cursed wind from the direction of Hersbruck once has made
havoc in it? You talk as you understand it.

SOPHY (_anxiously_).

But what is to become of us?

FORESTER.

We are honest people, and such we shall remain. WILKENS. Well! As if
honesty entered even remotely into this question!

FORESTER.

But, gracious heavens! What else does enter? Hey? Am I to play the
sycophant? Just try to kick me! You'll soon learn better. And laugh in
my sleeve? Only no honest, fearless word! That is your peasant's
philosophy. As long as they don't touch your pocket-book, you put up
with anything. If you are not compelled -

WILKENS (_self-satisfied_).

Well, yes. If the peasant is not compelled, he moves neither hand nor
foot. There he is quite right. That is the peasant's philosophy. And, I
tell you, this peasant's philosophy is not so foolish. Had you practised
this philosophy, you would have done your duty, and not a penny's worth
more; you would have spent your money on yourself, your wife and your
children, and not to increase somebody else's wealth. In that case, it
would not concern you now what becomes of it. - Whose bread I eat, his
praise I sing. You are paid to be servant, not master. When, therefore,
your master says: The forest shall be cleared -

FORESTER.

Then I must see to it that it is not done. The honest man comes before
the servant.

WILKENS.

Well. Now we are just as far as we were at the beginning.

[_Turns away_.]

SOPHY.

You are not going? You are my only consolation, cousin. No doubt, he
will change his mind. He has the greatest respect for you, cousin.

WILKENS.

I notice he has.

SOPHY.

The betrothal! - Mary! How unfortunate that the pastor has not yet
arrived! Cousin, if you only would -

_Enter_ ANDREW.

WILKENS.

His head is as hard as iron. Can any one make anything plain to him?
MÖLLER (_who until now has been looking out of the window without saying
anything, looks at his watch, and then turns pompously to the_
FORESTER).

Sir, I should like to ask you for your final decision.

FORESTER.

What I have said, I have said.

[_Takes a few steps, then stops_.]

And moreover, he can't do it; I mean, dismiss me. He has no right to
dismiss me. First of all he must produce evidence that I have deserved
it. He has no right to dismiss me without any cause whatever.

MÖLLER (_with authority_).

So you will not clear the forest? Say it plainly: You will not?

FORESTER.

If it was not sufficiently plain to you before, then: No! I can't state
it more plainly. I will not be a scoundrel, and he cannot dismiss an
honest man. Is that plain, definite and unmistakable? I am forester, and
I remain forester - and the forest shall not be cleared. That you may
tell your master and your Godfrey and whomever you please.

SOPHY.

Have only a little patience with him. I am sure Mr. Stein does not mean
it, and you have been so kind already -

MÖLLER.

If the decision rested with me, with me, Justus Möller, - what would I
not do to please you, madam? But I am here as the representative of
Stein and Son.

FORESTER.

And if he thinks he has a right, let him act accordingly. But you,
woman, do not insult my good right by asking favors of the wrong-doer.
Good-day, Mr. Möller. Is there anything else you desire? Nothing? Have
you anything else to tell me?

MÖLLER (_very pompously_).

Nothing beyond the fact that your incumbency of the post of forester
ceases with the present moment. Here is your salary - a half year in
advance. In consideration whereof, as soon as possible, within three
days at the latest, you will vacate this house, so that the present
forester may move in, upon whom, from this moment on, rests the sole
responsibility for the forest.

[_The_ FORESTER _is obliged to sit down_.]

SOPHY (_to_ ANDREW, _whom she has been compelled to restrain all the
while, and who now rushes toward the door_).

Where are you going, Andrew?

ANDREW.

I am going to tell Robert what his father -

SOPHY.

Don't you dare to -

ANDREW.

Let me go, mother, before I lay hands on that fellow there -

[_Exit in violent anger_.]

FORESTER.

Never mind. Never mind! Keep quiet, woman.

[_Rises_.]

Good-day, Mr. Möller. You have left some money behind you, sir. Better
take it, or I'll throw it after you.

[_Steps to the window and whistles_.]

MÖLLER.

You see, madam, it gives me pain to discharge my duty. I am going to
Godfrey.

FORESTER (_without turning toward him_).

Good luck on the way!



SCENE X

_The_ FORESTER _is standing at the window whistling_. WILKENS _is
looking for his cane and hat_. SOPHY _in perplexity looks from one to
the other. As he is about to leave_, MÖLLER _encounters_ ROBERT _and_
ANDREW, _who come rushing in_. MARY _is clinging to the arm of_ ROBERT
_whom she tries to calm_.

ROBERT (_entering angrily_).

He shall give in. He shall not spoil the beautiful day.

ANDREW.

Go to your father. He commenced this quarrel.

MÖLLER.

It is lucky that I meet you, Mr. Stein. I am commissioned to beg you to
come home at once.

[_Exit_.]

ROBERT.

Ulrich, you yield; you must yield.

FORESTER (_turning away from the window_).

You, Mr. Stein? What do you want from me? Mary, you go out there! What
do you want from the man whom your father intends to dismiss?

ROBERT.

But why will you not consent?

ANDREW.

Because he wishes to remain an honest man, and will not suffer himself
to be made a scoundrel by you. [_The_ FORESTER _makes a sign to him to
be silent_.]

ROBERT.

I am not talking to you now, Andrew.


FORESTER.

You are here with your father's consent, Mr. Stein? Moreover - sir, and
if your father had the power to take from me my position and my
honor - the fact that I have an irreproachable child, that is something
he cannot take from me. And any one else - hey? Young man, on this point
I am touchy. Do you understand?

SOPHY.

But will you fall out even with your last friend?

FORESTER.

Mary's reputation is at stake. If he is a friend, he knows without my
telling him what he has to do.

ROBERT.

I know what I have to do; but you do not. Otherwise you would
not risk your children's happiness for a whim - for -

FORESTER.

Ho! ho! Tell that to your father, young man!

ROBERT.

For your obstinacy. I have your word, and Mary has mine; I am a man, and
will be no scoundrel.

FORESTER.

And because you will not be a scoundrel, I am to be one? Shall people
say: "Ulrich caused a quarrel between father and son?" Sir, my girl is
too good to have it said of her that she stole into your family. Mr.
Stein, this is my home. You know what I mean.

SOPHY.

At least let the children -

FORESTER.

Do something foolish? And you look on; and afterward you can do nothing
better than weep.

ROBERT.

Mary, whatever befall -

FORESTER.

I do not know whether I know Mary. If I am mistaken in her then it is
better you go with him at once.

MARY.

Father, he is so true.

FORESTER.

Very well. Go with him.

SOPHY.

So inflexible -

ROBERT. In the name of heaven, Mary, which has
destined us for one another -

FORESTER (_as before, to his wife_).

And let me advise you not to - Do you hear, if it should come to pass -


[_Turns with her toward the background_.]

ANDREW (_bursting out_).

Now it's enough! Mary, either you go or he goes.

SOPHY.

Now you are beginning too, Andrew! [_Goes to him on the left side of the
stage_.]

ANDREW.

I have been silent long enough. Let me alone, mother. His father has
insulted my father; I will not allow this fellow to insult my sister
also.

ROBERT.

You belong to me, Mary. I should like to see him who - keep your hands
off!

MARY.

Robert, it is my brother!

ANDREW (_threatening_).

Only one step further, or -

ROBERT.

Away, I say; for God's sake -

ANDREW.

You are no match for me -

ROBERT.

Not with the point of your finger shall you touch what belongs to me. I
defy you all -

ANDREW.

Do you hear that, father?

FORESTER (_stepping between the two_).

Back there, fellow! Who is master in this house?

ANDREW.

If you are master, father, then show that you are. Otherwise let me show
it to that fellow there.

FORESTER.

Andrew, go over there, and say not another word!

ANDREW.

Father -

FORESTER.

Will you mind what I say?

[ANDREW _pulls a rifle from the wall_.]

FORESTER.

What are you doing there?

ANDREW (_with suppressed rage_).

Nothing. Here in the house you are master. Outside no one is master;
outside we all are.

FORESTER.

In my forest I am master.

ANDREW.

But not a step beyond.

FORESTER.

What do you mean? Answer!

ANDREW.

Nothing particular, father. Only that fellow there need know. - If you
are not concerned about your own honor - I shall protect Mary's honor.
That is for him who dares to come near Mary.

SOPHY.

What words are those?

ROBERT.

Idle words. It is children that are afraid of words.

ANDREW.

There will be something more than words, as surely as I am a man.

ROBERT.

If you were a man you would not threaten, you -

ANDREW.

If we were somewhere else, you would not taunt -

FORESTER.

Andrew!

ROBERT.

Make room -

ANDREW.

Get out, I say -

[FORESTER _almost at the same time puts his finger in his mouth and
gives a shrill whistle_.]

ANDREW.

If you no longer -

FORESTER (_stepping between the two_).

Rebellious boys! Hold your peace! Don't you dare to strike, either one
of you! You confounded fellow! When I need a guardian I certainly shall
not select a greenhorn. Is it I who is master here or is it some one
else? What business have you here, fellow? Get you gone into the forest;
look after Weiler that he does not loaf; then take out a dozen maple
trees from the nursery and put them up in damp moss; see to it that the
messenger from Haslau does not have to wait when he comes. Not a word!
Along with you!

[ANDREW _obeys and goes, after having cast a threatening look at_
ROBERT, _to which the latter replies_.]

FORESTER.

And you, Mr. Stein; good-day, Mr. Stein. You know what I mean.

SOPHY.

If you would intercede with your father; but gently and kindly! And if
you would bring him back!

MARY.

Then I should see how truly you love me, Robert.

FORESTER (_less roughly_).

Don't come again before that. Good-by, Robert. And leave that girl
alone.

ROBERT.

I am going. But come what may, I shall not resign my claim upon Mary.
[_Exit_.]

SOPHY.

Is everything to turn out unlucky today? And you, cousin, are you also
going to leave us?

WILKENS.

Well! If one insists on running his head through a wall, I'm not the
fool to hold my hand in between.

[_Exit_.]



ACT II

_In the Manor House_



SCENE I

STEIN _alone, seated._

STEIN.

Confound his obstinacy! The whole fine day spoiled! Otherwise
we should now be at table. I suppose he is right after all, that this
clearing serves no goad purpose. But is that a reason why he should put
me into this rage? It is true, I should have been wiser than he.
Probably my excitement was also partly to blame. - I am only sorry for
his wife - and the children. I am going to - [_Rises, then sits down
again._] Do what? Repair one foolish action with another? Be as rash in
yielding as I was in taking offense? The old hotspur! But that shall
serve me as a lesson.

[_Short pause. Then he rises again, takes his cane and hat and throws
both down again._]

No, it won't do - It simply will not do. Well! I should make myself
ridiculous forever! This time he must come to me; I can't help him. But
perhaps he has already - isn't that Möller?

[_Hastens toward the person coming in._]



SCENE II

ROBERT; STEIN.

ROBERT (_entering, in a passion_).

You will ruin my happiness, father?

STEIN (_surprised, indignant_).

Robert!

ROBERT.

You have no right to do that.

STEIN.

That's the last straw! Now you too must come along and set me fuming.

ROBERT.

Father, you have me fetched away from the betrothal festivities like a
child from his playthings. But I am no child to whom one gives and takes
away as one likes. I have your word, and you must keep it. Do you intend
to sacrifice my happiness to a whim? Paternal authority cannot go so
far.

STEIN.

But tell me, what is your object in saying this?

ROBERT.

I wish to ask you whether you intend to bring about a reconciliation
between the forester and yourself.

STEIN.

Boy, how can you dare to ask? Do you mean to call me to account? Go to
that obstinate fellow. It is he that is in the wrong; it is he that must
yield!

ROBERT.

I just came from the forester; he referred me to you.

STEIN.

I can do nothing. And now leave me in peace.

ROBERT.

You will do nothing toward a reconciliation?

STEIN.

Nothing, unless he yields. And now go your ways.

ROBERT.

If you will do nothing toward a reconciliation I shall never again cross
his threshold. Andrew and I have become mortal enemies. Perhaps this
very day I shall face him in an encounter for life and death. Come what
may, I have done everything I was able to do. Father, no blame can
attach to me. If a catastrophe takes place - you could have prevented it,
the forester could have prevented it. Mary is mine, and neither you nor
the forester shall take her from me.

STEIN.

Are you mad, boy? To your room this moment! Do you hear?

ROBERT.

Father, I ask you -

STEIN.

You shall obey, not ask!

ROBERT.

Your anger carries you away. Father, I implore you, do not tear open the
wound which healed only because I made allowance for your excited state.
I shall wait till you have become calm; till you are again master of
yourself.

STEIN.

You see that I am master of myself. You try to provoke me by all means,
and you do not succeed. But now not another word! Not a sound!

ROBERT (_beside himself_).

Not a word? A hundred words, a thousand words; as many as I have breath
to utter. I _will_ speak; until I have relieved myself of this load on
my heart, I will speak! You may forbid your Möller, your blacksmiths to
speak, not me! Show your impatience as much as you want, remain or
go - speak I _will_. Once for all you shall know that I will no longer
stand being treated like a boy, that I will be free, that I can stand on
my own feet, that you shall be obliged to respect me, that I will be
neither your toy nor any man's!

STEIN.

Do you threaten me with the old song? I know it by heart. You are still
here? I thought you had gone. Oh, indeed! You mean to speak, do you?
Speak, do what you wish. I shall not prevent you.

ROBERT (_calmly, with the accent of determination_).

And if you wished to prevent me, it were too late. I insist upon my
right, even if it should cost my own or another's life. But I hold you
and the forester responsible.

STEIN (_who is beginning to repent his anger_).

Boy -

ROBERT.

Farewell - perhaps forever! [_Rushes out_.]



SCENE III

STEIN _alone; later, the_ PASTOR.

STEIN (_forgetting himself, going a few steps after him_).

Where are you going? Robert! My boy! - Curse it! I have scarcely got over
my anger, and the next moment - But does it not seem as though all had
entered into a conspiracy to keep me in a turmoil of excitement? If he
really has had a falling out and meets those hotspurs - But I cannot run
after him. Will he come back?

_Enter the_ PASTOR.

STEIN.

You, parson? You find me here.

PASTOR.

I have heard of the affair.

[_Shakes hands_.]

STEIN.

Robert, my boy -

PASTOR.

Almost knocked me down. He wants to leave home again, hey? We'll manage
to hold him.

STEIN.

And with that obstinate old fellow -

PASTOR.

I know. It's the old story again, the everlasting story, the ending of
which one always knows in advance.

STEIN.

But this time one cannot be so certain.

PASTOR.

True. It is more complicated than usual, because at the same time the
affair of the young gentleman was mixed up with it. Moreover, the young
gentleman this time has also had words with Andrew. However -

STEIN.



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