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The German Classics Of The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12
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VOLUME XII



GUSTAV FREYTAG THEODOR FONTANE







THE GERMAN CLASSICS OF THE NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURY

Masterpieces of German Literature TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF KUNO FRANCKE, PH.D., LL.D., LITT.D. Professor of the History of German Culture, Emeritus, and Honorary Curator of the Germanic Museum, Harvard University

ASSISTANT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF WILLIAM GUILD HOWARD, A.M. Professor of German, Harvard University

In Twenty Volumes Illustrated



ALBANY, N.Y. J.B. LYON COMPANY PUBLISHERS Copyright 1914



CONTRIBUTORS AND TRANSLATORS



VOLUME XII

Special Writers

ERNEST F. HENDERSON, Ph.D., L.H.D., Author of The History of Germany in the Middle Ages; Short History of Germany, etc.: The Life of Gustav Freytag.

WILLIAM A. COOPER, A.M., Associate Professor of German, Leland Stanford Junior University: The Life of Theodor Fontane.

Translators

ERNEST F. HENDERSON, Ph.D., L.H.D., Author of The History of Germany in the Middle Ages; Short History of Germany, etc.: The Journalists.

WILLIAM A. COOPER, A.M., Associate Professor of German, Leland Stanford Junior University: Effi Briest; Extracts from "My Childhood Days."

E.H. BABBITT, A.B., Assistant Professor of German, Tufts College: Doctor Luther; Frederick the Great.

MARGARETE MUeNSTERBERG:

Sir Ribbeck of Ribbeck; The Bridge by the Tay.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME XII

GUSTAV FREYTAG

The Life of Gustav Freytag. By Ernest F. Henderson

The Journalists. Translated by Ernest F. Henderson

Doctor Luther. Translated by E.H. Babbitt

Frederick the Great. Translated by E.H. Babbitt

THEODOR FONTANE

The Life of Theodor Fontane. By William A. Cooper

Effi Briest. Translated by William A. Cooper

Extracts from "My Childhood Days." Translated by William A. Cooper

Sir Ribbeck of Ribbeck. Translated by Margarete Muensterberg

The Bridge by the Tay. Translated by Margarete Muensterberg



ILLUSTRATIONS—VOLUME XII

Frederick the Great Playing the Flute. By Adolph von Menzel. Frontispiece

Gustav Freytag. By Stauffer-Bern

At the Concert. By Adolph von Menzel

Nature Enthusiasts. By Adolph von Menzel

On the Terrace. By Adolph von Menzel

In the Beergarden. By Adolph von Menzel

Lunch Buffet at Kissingen. By Adolph von Menzel

Luther Monument at Worms. By Ernst Rietschel

Frederick William I Inspecting a School. By Adolph von Menzel

Court Ball at Rheinsberg. By Adolph von Menzel

Frederick the Great and His Round Table. By Adolph von Menzel

Frederick the Great on a Pleasure Trip. By Adolph von Menzel

Theodor Fontane. By Hanns Fechner

Fontane Monument at Neu-Ruppin

A Sunday in the Garden of the Tuileries. By Adolph von Menzel

Divine Service in the Woods at Koesen. By Adolph von Menzel

A Street Scene at Paris. By Adolph von Menzel

Procession at Gastein. By Adolph von Menzel

High Altar at Salzburg. By Adolph von Menzel

Bathing Boys. By Adolph von Menzel

Frau von Schleinitz "At Home." By Adolph von Menzel

Supper at a Court Ball. By Adolph von Menzel



EDITOR'S NOTE

This volume, containing representative works by two of the foremost realists of midcentury German literature, Freytag and Fontane, brings, as an artistic parallel, selections from the work of the greatest realist of midcentury German painting: Adolph von Menzel.

KUNO FRANCKE.



THE LIFE OF GUSTAV FREYTAG

By ERNEST F. HENDERSON, PH.D., L.H.D.

Author of A History of Germany in the Middle Ages; A Short History of Germany, etc.

It is difficult to assign to Gustav Freytag his exact niche in the hall of fame, because of his many-sidedness. He wrote one novel of which the statement has been made by an eminent French critic that no book in the German language, with the exception of the Bible, has enjoyed in its day so wide a circulation; he wrote one comedy which for years was more frequently played than any other on the German stage; he wrote a series of historical sketches—Pictures of the German Past he calls them—which hold a unique place in German literature, being as charming in style as they are sound in scholarship. Add to these a work on the principles of dramatic criticism that is referred to with respect by the very latest writers on the subject, an important biography, a second very successful novel, and a series of six historical romances that vary in interest, indeed, but that are a noble monument to his own nation and that, alone, would have made him famous.

As a novelist Freytag is often compared with Charles Dickens, largely on account of the humor that so frequently breaks forth from his pages. It is a different kind of humor, not so obstreperous, not so exaggerated, but it helps to lighten the whole in much the same way. One moment it is an incongruous simile, at another a bit of sly satire; now infinitely small things are spoken of as though they were great, and again we have the reverse.

It is in his famous comedy, The Journalists, which appeared in 1853, that Freytag displays his humor to its best advantage. Some of the situations themselves, without being farcical, are exceedingly amusing, as when the Colonel, five minutes after declaiming against the ambition of journalists and politicians, and enumerating the different forms under which it is concealed, lets his own ambition run away with him and is won by the very same arts he has just been denouncing. Again, Bolz's capture of the wine-merchant Piepenbrink at the ball given under the auspices of the rival party is very cleverly described indeed. There is a difference of opinion as to whether or not Bolz was inventing the whole dramatic story of his rescue by Oldendorf, but there can be no difference of opinion as to the comicality of the scene that follows, where, under the very eyes of his rivals and with the consent of the husband, Bolz prepares to kiss Mrs. Piepenbrink. The play abounds with curious little bits of satire, quaint similes and unexpected exaggerations. "There is so much that happens," says Bolz in his editorial capacity, "and so tremendously much that does not happen, that an honest reporter should never be at a loss for novelties." Playing dominoes with polar bears, teaching seals the rudiments of journalism, waking up as an owl with tufts of feathers for ears and a mouse in one's beak, are essentially Freytagian conceptions; and no one else could so well have expressed Bolz's indifference to further surprises—they may tell him if they will that some one has left a hundred millions for the purpose of painting all negroes white, or of making Africa four-cornered; but he, Bolz, has reached a state of mind where he will accept as truth anything and everything.

Freytag's greatest novel, entitled Soll und Haben (the technical commercial terms for "debit" and "credit"), appeared in 1856. Dombey and Son by Dickens had been published a few years before and is worth our attention for a moment because of a similarity of theme in the two works. In both, the hero is born of the people, but comes in contact with the aristocracy not altogether to his own advantage; in both, looming in the background of the story, is the great mercantile house with its vast and mysterious transactions. The writer of this short article does not hesitate to place Debit and Credit far ahead of Dombey and Son. That does not mean that there are not single episodes, and occasionally a character, in Dombey and Son that the German author could never have achieved. But, considered as an artistic whole, the English novel is so disjointed and uneven that the interest often flags and almost dies, while many of the characters are as grotesque and wooden as so many jumping-jacks. In Freytag's work, on the other hand, the different parts are firmly knitted together; an ethical purpose runs through the whole, and there is a careful subordination of the individual characters to the general plan of the whole structure. It is much the same contrast as that between an old-fashioned Italian opera and a modern German tone-drama. In the one case the effects are made through senseless repetition and through tours de force of the voice; in the other there is a steady progression in dramatic intensity, link joining link without a gap.

But to say that Debit and Credit is a finer book than Dombey and Son is not to claim that Freytag, all in all, is a greater novelist than Dickens. The man of a single fine book would have to be superlatively great to equal one who could show such fertility in creation of characters or produce such masterpieces of description. Dickens reaches heights of passion to which Freytag could never aspire; in fact the latter's temperament strikes one as rather a cool one. Even Spielhagen, far inferior to him in many regards, could thrill where Freytag merely interests.

Freytag's forte lay in fidelity of depiction, in the power to ascertain and utilize essential facts. It would not be fair to say that he had little imagination, for in the parts of The Ancestors that have to do with remote times, times of which our whole knowledge is gained from a few paragraphs in old chronicles and where the scenes and incidents have to be invented, he is at his best. But one of his great merits lies in his evident familiarity with the localities mentioned in the pages as well as with the social environment of his personages. The house of T.D. Schroeter in Debit and Credit had its prototype in the house of Molinari in Breslau, and at the Molinaris Freytag was a frequent visitor. Indeed in the company of the head of the firm he even undertook just such a journey to the Polish provinces in troubled times as he makes Anton take with Schroeter. Again, the life in the newspaper office, so amusingly depicted in The Journalists, was out of the fulness of his own experience as editor of a political sheet. A hundred little natural touches thus add to the realism of the whole and make the figures, as a German critic says, "stand out like marble statues against a hedge of yew." The reproach has been made that many of Freytag's characters are too much alike. He has distinct types which repeat themselves both in the novels and in the plays. George Saalfeld in Valentine, for instance, is strikingly like Bolz in The Journalists or Fink in Debit and Credit. Freytag's answer to such objections was that an author, like any other artist, must work from models, which he is not obliged constantly to change. The feeling for the solidarity of the arts was very strong with him. He practically abandoned writing for the stage just after achieving his most noted success and merely for the reason that in poetic narration, as he called it, he saw the possibility of being still more dramatic. He felt hampered by the restrictions which the necessarily limited length of an evening's performance placed upon him, and wished more time and space for the explanation of motives and the development of his plot. In his novel, then, he clung to exactly the same arrangement of his theme as in his drama—its initial presentation, the intensification of the interest, the climax, the revulsion, the catastrophe. Again, in the matter of contrast he deliberately followed the lead of the painter who knows which colors are complementary and also which ones will clash.



What, now, are some of the special qualities that have made Freytag's literary work so enduring, so dear to the Teuton heart, so successful in every sense of the word? For one thing, there are a clearness, conciseness and elegance of style, joined to a sort of musical rhythm, that hold one captive from the beginning. So evident is his meaning in every sentence that his pages suffer less by translation than is the case with almost any other author.

Freytag's highly polished sentences seem perfectly spontaneous, though we know that he went through a long period of rigid training before achieving success. "For five years," he himself writes, "I had pursued the secret of dramatic style; like the child in the fairy-tale I had sought it from the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. At length I had found it: my soul could create securely and comfortably after the manner which the stage itself demanded." He had found it, we are given to understand, in part through the study of the French dramatists of his own day of whom Scribe was one just then in vogue. From them, says a critic, he learned "lightness of touch, brevity, conciseness, directness, the use of little traits as a means of giving insight into character, different ways of keeping the interest at the proper point of tension, and a thousand little devices for clearing the stage of superfluous figures or making needed ones appear at the crucial moment." Among his tricks of style, if we may call them so, are inversion and elision; by the one he puts the emphasis just where he wishes, by the other he hastens the action without sacrificing the meaning. Another of his weapons is contrast—grave and gay, high and low succeed each other rapidly, while vice and virtue follow suit.

No writer ever trained himself for his work more consciously and consistently. He experimented with each play, watched its effect on his audiences, asked himself seriously whether their apparent want of interest in this or that portion was due to some defect in his work or to their own obtuseness. He had failures, but remarkably few, and they did not discourage him; nor did momentary success in one field prevent him from abandoning it for another in which he hoped to accomplish greater things. He is his own severest critic, and in his autobiography speaks of certain productions as worthless which are only relatively wanting in merit.

Freytag's orderly treatment of his themes affords constant pleasure to the reader. He proceeds as steadily toward his climax as the builder does toward the highest point of his roof. He had learned much about climaxes, so he tells us himself, from Walter Scott, who was the first to see the importance of a great final or concluding effect.

We have touched as yet merely on externals. Elegance of style, orderliness of arrangement, consecutiveness of thought alone would never have given Freytag his place in German literature. All these had first to be consecrated to the service of a great idea. That idea as expressed in Debit and Credit is that the hope of the German nation rests in its steady commercial or working class. He shows the dignity, yes, the poetry of labor. The nation had failed to secure the needed political reforms, to the bitter disappointment of numerous patriots; Freytag's mission was to teach that there were other things worth while besides these constitutional liberties of which men had so long dreamed and for which they had so long struggled.

Incidentally he holds the decadent noble up to scorn, and shows how he still clings to his old pretensions while their very basis is crumbling under him. It is a new and active life that Freytag advocates, one of toil and of routine, but one that in the end will give the highest satisfaction. Such ideas were products of the revolution of 1848, and they found the ground prepared for them by that upheaval. Freytag, as Fichte had done in 1807 and 1808, inaugurated a campaign of education which was to prove enormously successful. A French critic writes of Debit and Credit that it was "the breviary in which a whole generation of Germans learned to read and to think," while an English translator (three translations of the book appeared in England in the same year) calls it the Uncle Tom's Cabin of the German workingman. A German critic is furious that a work of such real literary merit should be compared to one so flat and insipid as Mrs. Stowe's production; but he altogether misses the point, which is the effect on the people of a spirited defense of those who had hitherto had no advocate.

Freytag has been called an opportunist, but the term should not be considered one of reproach. It certainly was opportune that his great work appeared at the moment when it was most needed, a moment of discouragement, of disgust at everything high and low. It brought its smiling message and remained to cheer and comfort. The Journalists, too, was opportune, for it called attention to a class of men whose work was as important as it was unappreciated. Up to 1848, the year of the revolution, the press had been under such strict censorship that any frank discussion of public matters had been out of the question. But since then distinguished writers, like Freytag himself, had taken the helm. Even when not radical, they were dreaded by the reactionaries, and even Freytag escaped arrest in Prussia only by hastily becoming a court official of his friend the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—within whose domains he already owned an estate and was in the habit of residing for a portion of each year—and thus renouncing his Prussian citizenship. Even Freytag's Pictures from the German Past may be said to have been opportune. Already, for a generation, the new school of scientific historians—the Rankes, the Wattenbachs, the Waitzs, the Giesebrechts—had been piling up their discoveries, and collating and publishing manuscripts describing the results of their labors. They lived on too high a plane for the ordinary reader. Freytag did not attempt to "popularize" them by cheap methods. He served as an interpreter between the two extremes. He chose a type of facts that would have seemed trivial to the great pathfinders, worked them up with care from the sources, and by his literary art made them more than acceptable to the world at large. In these Pictures from the German Past, as in the six volumes of the series of historical romances entitled The Ancestors, a patriotic purpose was not wanting. Freytag wished to show his Germans that they had a history to be proud of, a history whose continuity was unbroken; the nation had been through great vicissitudes, but everything had tended to prove that the German has an inexhaustible fund of reserve force. Certain national traits, certain legal institutions, could be followed back almost to the dawn of history, and it would be found that the Germans of the first centuries of our era were not nearly so barbarous as had been supposed.

And so with a wonderful talent for selecting typical and essential facts and not overburdening his narrative with detail he leads us down the ages. The hero of his introductory romance in The Ancestors is a Vandal chieftain who settles among the Thuringians at the time of the great wandering of the nations—the hero of the last of the series is a journalist of the nineteenth century. All are descendants of the one family, and Freytag has a chance to develop some of his theories of heredity. Not only can bodily aptitudes and mental peculiarities be transmitted, but also the tendency to act in a given case much as the ancestor would have done.

It cannot be denied that as Freytag proceeds with The Ancestors the tendency to instruct and inform becomes too marked. He had begun his career in the world by lecturing on literature at the University of Breslau, but had severed his connection with that institution because he was not allowed to branch out into history. Possibly those who opposed him were right and the two subjects are incapable of amalgamation. Freytag in this, his last great work, revels in the fulness of his knowledge of facts, but shows more of the thoroughness of the scholar than of the imagination of the poet. The novels become epitomes of the history of the time. No type of character may be omitted. So popes and emperors, monks and missionaries, German warriors and Roman warriors, minstrels and students, knights, crusaders, colonists, landskechts, and mercenaries are dragged in and made to do their part with all too evident fidelity to truth.

We owe much of our knowledge of Freytag's life to a charming autobiography which served as a prefatory volume to his collected works. Freytag lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1895 at the age of seventy-nine. Both as a newspaper editor and as a member of parliament (the former from 1848 to 1860, the latter for the four years from 1867 to 1871) he had shown his patriotism and his interest in public affairs. Many of his numerous essays, written for the Grenzboten, are little masterpieces and are to be found among his collected works published in 1888. As a member of parliament, indeed, he showed no marked ability and his name is associated with no important measure.

Not to conceal his shortcoming it must be said that Freytag, at the time of the accession to the throne of the present head of the German Empire, laid himself open to much censure by attacking the memory of the dead Emperor Frederick who had always been his friend and patron.

In conclusion it may be said that no one claims for Freytag a place in the front rank of literary geniuses. He is no Goethe, no Schiller, no Dante, no Milton, no Shakespeare. He is not a pioneer, has not changed the course of human thought. But yet he is an artist of whom his country may well be proud, who has added to the happiness of hundreds of thousands of Germans, and who only needs to be better understood to be thoroughly enjoyed by foreigners.

England and America have much to learn from him—the value of long, careful, and unremitting study; the advantage of being thoroughly familiar with the scenes and types of character depicted; the charm of an almost unequaled simplicity and directness. He possessed the rare gift of being able to envelop every topic that he touched with an atmosphere of elegance and distinction. His productions are not ephemeral, but are of the kind that will endure.

* * * * *



GUSTAV FREYTAG



* * * * *

THE JOURNALISTS



DRAMATIS PERSONAE

BERG, retired Colonel.

IDA, his daughter.

ADELAIDE RUNECK.

SENDEN, landed proprietor. PROFESSOR OLDENDORF, editor-in-chief. CONRAD BOLZ, editor. BELLMAUS, on the staff.. KAeMPE, on the staff. } of the newspaper The Union. KOeRNER, on the staff. PRINTER HENNING, owner. MILLER, factotum.

BLUMENBERG, editor. } of the newspaper SCHMOCK, on the staff. Coriolanus.



PIEPENBRINK, wine merchant and voter.

LOTTIE, his wife.

BERTHA, their daughter.

KLEINMICHEL citizen and voter.

FRITZ, his son.

JUDGE SCHWARZ.

A foreign ballet-dancer.

KORB, secretary for Adelaide's estate.

CARL, the Colonel's man-servant.

A waiter.

Club-guests. Deputations of citizens.



Place of action: A provincial capital.

THE JOURNALISTS[1] (1853)

TRANSLATED BY ERNEST F. HENDERSON, PH.D., L.H.D.



ACT I

SCENE I

A summer parlor in the COLONEL'S house. Handsome furnishings. In the centre of rear wall an open door, behind it a verandah and garden; on the sides of rear wall large windows. Right and left, doors; on the right, well in front, a window. Tables, chairs, a small sofa.

IDA is sitting in front on the right reading a book. The COLONEL enters through centre door with an open box in his hand in which are dahlias.

COLONEL.

Here, Ida, are the new varieties of dahlias our gardener has grown. You'll have to rack your brains to find names for them. Day after tomorrow is the Horticultural Society meeting, when I am to exhibit and christen them.

IDA.

This light-colored one here should be called the "Adelaide."

COLONEL.

Adelaide Buneck, of course. Your own name is out of the running, for as a little dahlia you have long been known to the flower-trade.

IDA.

One shall be called after your favorite writer, "Boz."

COLONEL.

Splendid! And it must be a really fine one, this yellow one here with violet points. And the third one—how shall we christen that?

IDA (stretching out her hand entreatingly to her father).

"Edward Oldendorf."

COLONEL.

What! The professor? The editor? Oh no, that will not do! It was bad enough for him to take over the paper; but that he now has allowed himself to be led by his party into running for Parliament—that I can never forgive him.

IDA.

Here he comes himself.

COLONEL (aside).

It used to be a pleasure to me to hear his footstep; now I can hardly keep from being rude when I see him.

Enter OLDENDORF.

OLDENDORF.

Good morning, Colonel!

IDA (with a friendly greeting).

Good morning, Edward. Help me to admire the new dahlias that father has grown.

COLONEL.

But do not trouble the professor. Such trifles no longer interest him; he has bigger things in his head.

OLDENDORF.

At all events I have not lost my ability to enjoy what gives you pleasure.

COLONEL (grumbling to himself).

You have not given me much proof of that. I fear you take pleasure in doing the very things that vex me. You are doubtless quite busy now with your election, Mr. Future Member of Parliament!

OLDENDORF.

You know, Colonel, that I myself have less than any one else to do with it.

COLONEL.

Oh, I don't believe that! It is the usual custom in such elections, I imagine, to pay court to influential persons and shake hands with the voters, to make speeches, scatter promises, and do all the other little devil's tricks.

OLDENDORF.

You yourself do not believe, Colonel, that I would do anything discreditable?

COLONEL.

Not? I am not so sure, Oldendorf. Since you have turned journalist, edit your Union and daily reproach the State with its faulty organization, you are no longer what you used to be.

OLDENDORF (who up to this point has been conversing with IDA about the flowers, but now turns to the COLONEL).

Does what I now say or write conflict with my former views? It would be hard to convince me of that. And still less can you have noticed any change in my feelings or in my conduct toward you.

COLONEL (obdurate).

Well, I don't see what reason you would have for that. I am not going to spoil my morning by quarreling. Ida may try to straighten things out with you. I am going to my flowers. [Takes the box and exit toward the garden.]

OLDENDORF.

What has put your father in such a bad humor? Has something in the newspaper vexed him again?

IDA.

I do not think so. But it annoys him that now in politics you again find it necessary to advocate measures he detests and attack institutions he reveres. (Shyly.) Edward, is it really impossible for you to withdraw from the election?

OLDENDORF.

It is impossible.

IDA.

I should then have you here, and father could regain his good humor; for he would highly appreciate the sacrifice you were making for him, and we could look forward to a future as peaceful as our past has been.

OLDENDORF.

I know that, Ida, and I feel anything but pleasure at the prospect of becoming member for this town; yet I cannot withdraw.

IDA (turning away).

Father is right. You have changed entirely since becoming editor of the paper.

OLDENDORF.

Ida! You too! If this is going to cause discord between us I shall indeed feel badly.

IDA.

Dear Edward! I am only grieving at losing you for so long.

OLDENDORF.

I am not yet elected. If I do become member and can have my way, I will take you to the capital and never let you leave my side again.

IDA.

Ah, Edward, we can't think of that now! But do spare father.

OLDENDORF.

You know how much I stand from him; and I don't give up hope of his becoming reconciled to me. The election once over, I will make another appeal to his heart. I may wrest from him a favorable answer that will mean our marriage.

IDA.

But do humor his little foibles. He is in the garden near his dahlia bed; express your delight over the gay colors. If you go at it skilfully enough perhaps he may still call one the "Edward Oldendorf." We have been talking of it already. Come! [Exeunt both.]

Enter SENDEN, BLUMENBERG, CARL, SCHMOCK.

SENDEN (entering).

Is the Colonel alone?

CARL.

Professor Oldendorf is with him.

SENDEN.

Take in our names. [Exit CARL.] This everlasting Oldendorf! I say, Blumenberg, this connection of the old gentleman with the Union must stop. We cannot really call him one of us so long as the professor frequents this house. We need the Colonel's influential personality.

BLUMENBERG.

It is the best-known house in town—the best society, good wine, and art.

SENDEN.

I have my private reasons, too, for bringing the Colonel over to our side. And everywhere the professor and his clique block our way.

BLUMENBERG.

The friendship shall cease. I promise you that it shall cease, gradually, within the next few weeks. The first step has already been taken. The gentlemen of the Union have fallen into the trap.

SENDEN.

Into what trap?

BLUMENBERG.

The one I set for them in our paper. [Turning upon SCHMOCK who is standing in the doorway.] Why do you stand here, Schmock? Can't you wait at the gate?

SCHMOCK.

I went where you did. Why should I not stand here? I know the Colonel as well as you do.

BLUMENBERG.

Don't be forward and don't be impudent. Go and wait at the gate, and when I bring you the article, quickly run with it to the press—understand?

SCHMOCK.

How can I help understanding when you croak like a raven?

[EXIT.]



BLUMENBERG (to SENDEN).

He is a vulgar person, but he is useful! Now that we are alone, listen! The other day when you brought me to call here, I begged the Colonel just to write down his ideas on the questions of the day.

SENDEN.

Yes, alas! You piled on the flattery much too thick, but the old gentleman did, nevertheless, at last take fire.

BLUMENBERG.

We begged him to read to us what he had written; he read it to us, we praised it.

SENDEN.

It was very tiresome all the same.

BLUMENBERG.

I begged it of him for our paper.

SENDEN.

Yes, unfortunately! And now I must carry these bulky things to your press. These articles are too heavy; they won't do the Coriolanus any good.

BLUMENBERG.

Yet I printed them gladly. When a man has written for a paper he becomes a good friend of that paper. The Colonel at once subscribed for the Coriolanus, and, the next day, invited me to dinner.

SENDEN (shrugging his shoulders).

If that is all you gain by it!

BLUMENBERG.

It is merely the beginning.—The articles are clumsy; why should I not say so?

SENDEN.

God knows they are!

BLUMENBERG.

And no one knows who the author is.

SENDEN.

That was the old gentleman's stipulation. I imagine he is afraid of Oldendorf.

BLUMENBERG.

And precisely what I anticipated has come to pass. Oldendorf's paper has today attacked these articles. Here is the latest issue of the Union.

SENDEN.

Let me look at it. Well, that will be a fine mix-up! Is the attack insulting?

BLUMENBERG.

The Colonel will be sure to consider it so. Don't you think that that will help us against the professor?

SENDEN.

Upon my honor you are the slyest devil that ever crept out of an inkstand!

BLUMENBERG.

Give it to me, the Colonel is coming. Enter the COLONEL.

COLONEL.

Good morning, gentlemen!—[aside] and that Oldendorf should just happen to be here! If only he will remain in the garden! Well, Mr. Editor, how is the Coriolanus?

BLUMENBERG.

Our readers admire the new articles marked with an arrow. Is there any chance that some more—

COLONEL (drawing a manuscript from his pocket and looking round).

I rely on your discretion. As a matter of fact I wanted to read it through again on account of the structure of the sentences.

BLUMENBERG.

That can best be done in the proof-reading.

COLONEL.

I think it will do. Take it; but not a word—

BLUMENBERG.

You will let me send it at once to press. [At the door.] Schmock!

[SCHMOCK appears at the door, takes the manuscript and exit quickly.]

SENDEN.

Blumenberg is keeping the sheet up to the mark, but, as he has enemies, he has to fight hard to defend himself.

COLONEL (amused).

Enemies? Who does not have them? But journalists have nerves like women. Everything excites you; every word that any one says against you rouses your indignation! Oh come, you are sensitive people!

BLUMENBERG.

Possibly you are right, Colonel. But when one has opponents like this Union

COLONEL.

Oh, yes, the Union. It is a thorn in the flesh to both of you. There is a great deal in it that I cannot praise; but, really when it comes to sounding an alarm, attacking, and pitching in, it is cleverer than your paper. The articles are witty; even when they are on the wrong side one cannot help laughing at them.

BLUMENBERG.

Not always. In today's attack on the best articles the Coriolanus has published in a long time I see no wit at all.

COLONEL.

Attack on what articles?

BLUMENBERG.

On yours, Colonel. I must have the paper somewhere about me.

[Searches, and gives him a copy of the Union.]

COLONEL.

Oldendorf's paper attacks my articles! [Reads.] "We regret such lack of knowledge—"

BLUMENBERG.

And here—

COLONEL.

"It is an unpardonable piece of presumption"—What! I am presumptuous?

BLUMENBERG.

And here—

COLONEL.

"One may be in doubt as to whether the naivete of the contributor is comical or tragical, but at all events he has no right to join in the discussion"—[Throwing down the paper.] Oh, that is contemptible! It is a low trick!

Enter IDA and OLDENDORF from the garden.

SENDEN (aside).

Now comes the cloud-burst!

COLONEL.

Professor, your newspaper is making progress. To bad principles is now added something else—baseness.

IDA (frightened).

Father!

OLDENDORF (coming forward).

Colonel, how can you justify this insulting expression?

COLONEL (holding out the paper to him).

Look here! That stands in your paper! In your paper, Oldendorf!

OLDENDORF.

The tone of the attack is not quite as calm as I could have wished—

COLONEL.

Not quite so calm? Not really?

OLDENDORF.

In substance the attack is justified.

COLONEL.

Sir! You dare say that to me!

IDA.

Father!

OLDENDORF.

Colonel, I do not comprehend this attitude, and I beg you to consider that we are speaking before witnesses.

COLONEL.

Do not ask for any consideration. It would have been your place to show consideration for the man whose friendship you are otherwise so ready to claim.

OLDENDORF.

But, first of all, tell me frankly what is your own connection with the articles attacked in the Coriolanus?

COLONEL.

A very chance connection, too insignificant in your eyes to deserve your regard. The articles are by me!

IDA.

Heavens!

OLDENDORF (vehemently).

By you? Articles in the paper of this gentleman?

IDA (entreating him).

Edward!

OLDENDORF (more calmly).

The Union has attacked not you but an unknown person, who to us was merely a partisan of this gentleman. You would have spared us both this painful scene had you not concealed from me the fact that you are a correspondent of the Coriolanus.

COLONEL.

You will have to stand my continuing not to make you a confidant of my actions. You have here given me a printed proof of your friendship, which does not make me long for other proofs.

OLDENDORF (taking up his hat).

I can only say that I deeply regret the occurrence, but do not feel myself in the least to blame. I hope, Colonel, that, when you think the matter over calmly, you will come to the same conclusion. Good-by, Miss Ida. Good day to you.

[Exit as far as centre door.]

IDA (entreating).

Father, don't let him leave us that way!

COLONEL.

It is better than to have him stay.

Enter ADELAIDE.

ADELAIDE (entering in elegant traveling costume, meets OLDENDORF at the door).

Not so fast, Professor!

[OLDENDORF kisses her hand and leaves.]

IDA. }(together Adelaide! [Falls into her arms.]). COLONEL. } Adelaide! And at such a moment!

ADELAIDE (holding IDA fast and stretching out her hand to the COLONEL).

Shake hands with your compatriot. Aunt sends love, and Rosenau Manor, in its brown autumn dress, presents its humble compliments. The fields lie bare, and in the garden the withered leaves dance with the wind.—Ah, Mr. von Senden!

COLONEL (introducing).

Mr. Blumenberg, the editor.

SENDEN.

We are delighted to welcome our zealous agriculturist to the city.

ADELAIDE.

And we should have been pleased occasionally to meet our neighbor in the country.

COLONEL.

He has a great deal to do here. He is a great politician, and works hard for the good cause.

ADELAIDE.

Yes, indeed, we read of his doings in the newspaper. I drove through your fields yesterday. Your potatoes are not all in yet. Your steward didn't get through with the work.

SENDEN.

You Rosenau people are privileged to get through a week earlier than any one else.

ADELAIDE.

On the other hand, we have nothing to do but to farm. (Amicably.) The neighbors send greetings.

SENDEN.

Thank you. We must relinquish you now to friends who have more claim on you than we have. But will you not receive me in the course of the day so that I can ask for the news from home? [ADELAIDE inclines her head.]

SENDEN.

Good-by, Colonel. (To IDA.) My respectful compliments, Miss Berg.

[Exit together with BLUMENBERG.]

IDA (embracing ADELAIDE).

I have you at last. Now everything will be all right!

ADELAIDE.

What is to be all right? Is anything not all right? Back there some one passed me more quickly than usual, and here I see glistening eyes and a furrowed brow. [Kisses her on the eyes.] They shall not ruin your pretty eyes. And you, honored friend, turn a more friendly countenance to me.

COLONEL.

You must stay with us all winter; it will be the first you have given us in a long time; we shall try to deserve such a favor.

ADELAIDE (seriously).

It is the first one since my father's death that I have cared to mingle with the world again. Besides, I have business that calls me here. You know I came of age this summer, and my legal friend, Judge Schwarz, requires my presence. Listen, Ida, the servants are unpacking, go and see that things are properly put away. (Aside.) And put a damp cloth over your eyes for people can see that you have been crying. [Exit IDA to the right. ADELAIDE quickly goes up to the COLONEL.] What is the matter with Ida and the professor?

COLONEL.

That would be a long story. I shall not spoil my pleasure with it now. We men are at odds; our views are too opposed.

ADELAIDE.

But were not your views opposed before this, too? And yet you were on such good terms with Oldendorf!

COLONEL.

They were not so extremely opposed as now.

ADELAIDE.

And which of you has changed his views?

COLONEL.

H'm! Why, he, of course. He is led astray in great part by his evil companions. There are some men, journalists on his paper, and especially there is a certain Bolz.

ADELAIDE (aside).

What's this I hear?

COLONEL.

But probably you know him yourself. Why, he comes from your neighborhood.

ADELAIDE.

He is a Rosenau boy.

COLONEL.

I remember. Your father, the good old general, could not endure him.

ADELAIDE.

At least he sometimes said so.

COLONEL.

Since then this Bolz has become queer. His mode of life is said to be irregular, and I fear his morals are pretty loose. He is Oldendorf's evil genius.

ADELAIDE.

That would be a pity!—No, I do not believe it!

COLONEL. What do you not believe, Adelaide?

ADELAIDE (smiling).

I do not believe in evil geniuses. What has gone wrong between you and Oldendorf can be set right again. Enemies today, friends tomorrow—that is the way in politics; but Ida's feelings will not change so quickly. Colonel, I have brought with me a beautiful design for a dress. That new dress I mean to wear this winter as bridesmaid.

COLONEL.

No chance of it! You can't catch me that way, girl. I'll carry the war into the enemy's country. Why do you drive other people to the altar and let your own whole neighborhood joke you about being the Sleeping Beauty and the virgin farmer?

ADELAIDE (laughing).

Well, so they do.

COLONEL.

The richest heiress in the whole district! Courted by a host of adorers, yet so firmly intrenched against all sentiment; no one can comprehend it.

ADELAIDE.

My dear Colonel, if our young gentlemen were as lovable as certain older ones—but, alas! they are not.

COLONEL.

You shan't escape me. We shall hold you fast in town, until we find one among our young men whom you will deem worthy to be enrolled under your command. For whoever be your chosen husband, he will have the same experience I have had—namely, that, first or last, he will have to do your bidding.

ADELAIDE (quickly).

Will you do my bidding with regard to Ida and the professor? Now I have you!

COLONEL.

Will you do me the favor of choosing your husband this winter while you are with us? Yes? Now I have you!

ADELAIDE.

It's a bargain! Shake hands! [Holds out her hand to him.]

COLONEL (puts his hand in hers, laughing).

Well, you're outwitted.

[Exit through centre door.]

ADELAIDE (alone).

I don't think I am. What, Mr. Conrad Bolz! Is that your reputation among people! You live an irregular life? You have loose morals? You are an evil genius?—

Enter KORB.

KORB (through the centre door with a package).

Where shall I put the account-books and the papers, Miss Adelaide?

ADELAIDE.

In my apartment. Tell me, dear Korb, did you find your room here in order?

KORB.

In the finest order. The servant has given me two wax candles; it is pure extravagance.

ADELAIDE.

You need not touch a pen for me this whole day. I want you to see the town and look up your acquaintances. You have acquaintances here, I suppose?

KORB.

Not very many. It is more than a year since I was last here.

ADELAIDE (indifferently).

But are there no people from Rosenau here?

KORB.

Among the soldiers are four from the village. There is John Lutz of Schimmellutz—

ADELAIDE.

I know. Have you no other acquaintance here from the village?

KORB.

None at all, except him, of course—

ADELAIDE.

Except him? Whom do you mean?

KORB.

Why, our Mr. Conrad.

ADELAIDE.

Oh, to be sure! Are you not going to visit him? I thought you had always been good friends.

KORB.

Going to visit him? That is the first place I am going to. I have been looking forward to it during the whole journey. He is a faithful soul of whom the village has a right to be proud.

ADELAIDE (warmly).

Yes, he has a faithful heart.

KORB (eagerly).

Ever merry, ever friendly, and so attached to the village! Poor man, it is a long time since he was there!

ADELAIDE.

Don't speak of it!

KORB.

He will ask me about everything—about the farming—

ADELAIDE (eagerly).

And about the horses. The old sorrel he was so fond of riding is still alive. KORB. And about the shrubs he planted with you.

ADELAIDE.

Especially about the lilac-bush where my arbor now stands. Be sure you tell him about that.

KORB.

And about the pond. Three hundred and sixty carp!

ADELAIDE.

And sixty gold-tench; don't forget that. And the old carp with the copper ring about his body, that he put there, came out with the last haul, and we threw him back again.

KORB.

And how he will ask about you, Miss Adelaide!

ADELAIDE.

Tell him I am well.

KORB.

And how you have carried on the farming since the general died; and that you take his newspaper which I read aloud to the farm-hands afterward.

ADELAIDE.

Just that you need not tell him. [Sighing, aside.] On these lines I shall learn nothing whatever. [Pause, gravely.] See here, dear Korb, I have heard all sorts of things about Mr. Bolz that surprise me. He is said to live an irregular life.

KORB.

Yes, I imagine he does; he always was a wild colt.

ADELAIDE.

He is said to spend more than his income.

KORB.

Yes, that is quite possible. But I am perfectly sure he spends it merrily.

ADELAIDE (aside).

Small consolation I shall get from him! (Indifferently.) He has now a good position, I suppose; won't he soon be looking for a wife?

KORB.

A wife? No, he is not doing that. It is impossible.

ADELAIDE.

Well, I heard something of the kind; at least he is said to be much interested in a young lady. People are talking of it.

KORB.

Why, that would be—no, I don't believe it. (Hastily.) But I'll ask him about it at once.

ADELAIDE.

Well, he would be the last person to tell you. One learns such things from a man's friends and acquaintances. The village people ought to know it, I suppose, if a Rosenau man marries.

KORB.

Of course they should. I must get at the truth of that.

ADELAIDE.

You would have to go about it the right way. You know how crafty he is.

KORB.

Oh, I'll get round him all right. I'll find some way.

ADELAIDE.

Go, dear Korb! [Exit KORB.] Those were sad tidings with which the Colonel met me. Conrad—immoral, unworthy? It is impossible! A noble character cannot change to that extent. I do not believe one word of what they say!

[EXIT.]

SCENE II

Editorial room of the "Union." Doors in the centre and on both sides. On the left, in the foreground, a desk with newspapers and documents. On the right, a similar, smaller table. Chairs.

Enter BOLZ, through the side door on the right, then MILLER through the centre door.

BOLZ (eagerly).

Miller! Factotum! Where is the mail?

MILLER (nimbly with a package of letters and newspapers).

Here is the mail, Mr. Bolz; and here, from the press, is the proof-sheet of this evening's issue to be corrected.

BOLZ (at the table on the left quickly opening, looking through, and marking letters with a pencil).

I have already corrected the proof, old rascal!

MILLER.

Not quite. Down here is still the "Miscellaneous" which Mr. Bellmaus gave the type-setters.

BOLZ.

Let us have it!

[Reads in the newspaper.]

"Washing stolen from the yard"—"Triplets born"—"Concert"—"Concert"—"Meeting of an Association"—"Theatre"—all in order—"Newly invented engine"—"The great sea-serpent spied."

[Jumping up.]

What the deuce is this? Is he bringing up the old sea-serpent again? It ought to be cooked into a jelly for him, and he be made to eat it cold.

[Hurries to the door on the right.]

Bellmaus, monster, come out!

Enter BELLMAUS.

BELLMAUS (from the right, pen in hand).

What is the matter! Why all this noise?

BOLZ (solemnly).

Bellmaus, when we did you the honor of intrusting you with the odds and ends for this newspaper, we never expected you to bring the everlasting great sea-serpent writhing through the columns of our journal!—How could you put in that worn-out old lie?

BELLMAUS.

It just fitted. There were exactly six lines left.

BOLZ.

That is an excuse, but not a good one. Invent your own stories. What are you a journalist for? Make a little "Communication," an observation, for instance, on human life in general, or something about dogs running around loose in the streets; or choose a bloodcurdling story such as a murder out of politeness, or how a woodchuck bit seven sleeping children, or something of that kind. So infinitely much happens, and so infinitely much does not happen, that an honest newspaper man ought never to be without news.

BELLMAUS.

Give it here, I will change it.

[Goes to the table, looks into a printed sheet, cuts a clipping from it with large shears, and pastes it on the copy of the newspaper.]

BOLZ.

That's right, my son, so do, and mend thy ways.

[Opening the door on the right.]

Kaempe, can you come in a moment? (To MILLER, who is waiting at the door.) Take that proof straight to the press!

[MILLER takes the sheet from BELLMAUS and hurries off.]

Enter KAeMPE.

KAeMPE.

But I can't write anything decent while you are making such a noise.

BOLZ.

You can't? What have you just written, then? At most, I imagine, a letter to a ballet-dancer or an order to your tailor.

BELLMAUS.

No, he writes tender letters. He is seriously in love, for he took me walking in the moonlight yesterday and scorned the idea of a drink.

KAeMPE (who has seated himself comfortably).

Gentlemen, it is unfair to call a man away from his work for the sake of making such poor jokes.

BOLZ.

Yes, yes, he evidently slanders you when he maintains that you love anything else but your new boots and to some small degree your own person. You yourself are a love-spurting nature, little Bellmaus. You glow like a fusee whenever you see a young lady. Spluttering and smoky you hover around her, and yet don't dare even to address her. But we must be lenient with him; his shyness is to blame. He blushes in woman's presence, and is still capable of lovely emotions, for he started out to be a lyric poet.

BELLMAUS.

I don't care to be continually reproached with my poems. Did I ever read them to you?

BOLZ.

No, thank Heaven, that audacity you never had. (Seriously.) But, now, gentlemen, to business. Today's number is ready. Oldendorf is not yet here, but meanwhile, let us hold a confidential session. Oldendorf must be chosen deputy from this town to the next Parliament; our party and the Union must put that through. How does our stock stand today?

KAeMPE.

Remarkably high. Our opponents agree that no other candidate would be so dangerous for them, and our friends everywhere are most hopeful. But you know how little that may signify. Here is the list of the voters. Our election committee sends word to you that our calculations were correct. Of the hundred voters from our town, forty surely ours. About an equal number are pledged to the other party; the remnant of some twenty votes are undecided. It is clear that the election will be determined by a very small majority.

BOLZ.

Of course we shall have that majority—a majority of from eight to ten votes. Just say that, everywhere, with the greatest assuredness. Many a one who is still undecided will come over to us on hearing that we are the stronger. Where is the list of our uncertain voters? [Looks it over.]

KAeMPE.

I have placed a mark wherever our friends think some influence might be exerted.

BOLZ.

I see two crosses opposite one name; what do they signify?

KAeMPE.

That is Piepenbrink, the wine-dealer Piepenbrink. He has a large following in his district, is a well-to-do man, and, they say, can command five or six votes among his adherents.

BOLZ.

Him we must have. What sort of a man is he?

KAeMPE.

He is very blunt, they say, and no politician at all.

BELLMAUS.

But he has a pretty daughter.

KAeMPE.

What's the use of his pretty daughter? I'd rather he had an ugly wife—one could get at him more easily.

BELLMAUS.

Yes, but he has one—a lady with little curls and fiery red ribbons in her cap.

BOLZ.

Wife or no wife, the man must be ours. Hush, some one is coming; that is Oldendorf's step. He needn't know anything of our conference. Go to your room, gentlemen. To be continued this evening.

KAeMPE (at the door).

It is still agreed, I suppose, that in the next number I resume the attack on the new correspondent of the Coriolanus, the one with the arrow.

BOLZ.

Yes, indeed. Pitch into him, decently but hard. Just now, on the eve of the election, a little row with our opponents will do us good; and the articles with the arrow give us a great opening.

[Exeunt KAeMPE and BELLMAUS.]

Enter OLDENDORF through centre door.

OLDENDORF.

Good-day, Conrad.

BOLZ (at the table on the right, looking over the list of voters).

Blessed be thy coming! The mail is over there; there is nothing of importance.

OLDENDORF.

Do you need me here today?

BOLZ.

No, my darling. This evening's issue is ready. For tomorrow Kaempe is writing the leading article.

OLDENDORF.

About what?

BOLZ.

A little skirmish with the Coriolanus. Another one against the unknown correspondent with the arrow who attacked our party. But do not worry; I told Kaempe to make the article dignified, very dignified.

OLDENDORF.

For Heaven's sake, don't! The article must not be written.

BOLZ.

I fail to comprehend you. What use are political opponents if you cannot attack them?

OLDENDORF.

Now see here! These articles were written by the Colonel; he told me so himself today.

BOLZ.

Thunder and lightning!

OLDENDORF (gloomily).

You may imagine that along with this admission went other intimations which place me just now in a very uncomfortable position as regards the Colonel and his family.

BOLZ (seriously).

And what does the Colonel want you to do?

OLDENDORF.

He will be reconciled to me if I resign the editorship of this paper and withdraw as candidate for election.

BOLZ.

The devil! He is moderate in his demands!

OLDENDORF.

I suffer under this discord; to you, as my friend, I can say so.

BOLZ (going up to him and pressing his hand).

Solemn moment of manly emotion!

OLDENDORF.

Don't play the clown just now. You can imagine how unpleasant my position in the Colonel's house has become. The worthy old gentleman either frigid or violent; the conversation spiced with bitter allusions; Ida suffering—I can often see that she has been crying. If our party wins and I become member for the town, I fear I shall lose all hope of marrying Ida.

BOLZ (vehemently).

And if you withdraw it will be a serious blow to our party. (Rapidly and emphatically.) The coming session of Parliament will determine the fate of the country. The parties are almost equal. Every loss is a blow of a vote to our cause. In this town we have no other candidate but you, who is sufficiently popular to make his election probable. If you withdraw from the contest, no matter what the reason, our opponents win.

OLDENDORF.

Unfortunately what you say is true.

BOLZ (with continued vehemence).

I won't dwell on my confidence in your talents. I am convinced that, in the House, and, possibly, as one of the ministers, you will be of service to your country. I merely ask you, now, to remember your duty to our political friends, who have pinned their faith on you, and to this paper and ourselves, who for three years have worked for the credit of the name of Oldendorf which heads our front page. Your honor is at stake, and every moment of wavering is wrong.

OLDENDORF (dignified).

You are exciting yourself without reason. I too deem it wrong to retire now when I am told that our cause needs me. But in confessing to you, my friend, that my decision means a great personal sacrifice, I am not compromising either our cause or ourselves as individuals.

BOLZ (soothingly).

Right you are! You are a loyal comrade. And so peace, friendship, courage! Your old Colonel won't be inexorable.

OLDENDORF.

He has grown intimate with Senden, who flatters him in every way, and has plans, I fear, which affect me also. I should feel still more worried but for knowing that I have now a good advocate in the Colonel's house. Adelaide Runeck has just arrived.

BOLZ.

Adelaide Runeck? She into the bargain! (Quickly calling through the door on the right.) Kaempe, the article against the knight of the arrow is not to be written. Understand?

Enter KAeMPE.

KAeMPE (at the door, pen in hand).

But what is to be written, then?

BOLZ.

The devil only knows! See here! Perhaps I can induce Oldendorf to write the leading article for tomorrow himself. But at all events you must have something on hand.

KAeMPE.

But what?

BOLZ (excitedly).

For all I care write about emigration to Australia; that, at any rate, will give no offense.

KAeMPE.

Good! Am I to encourage it or advise against it?

BOLZ (quickly).

Advise against it, of course; we need every one who is willing to work here at home. Depict Australia as a contemptible hole. Be perfectly truthful but make it as black as possible—how the Kangaroo, balled into a heap, springs with invincible malice at the settler's head, while the duckbill nips at the back of his legs; how the gold-seeker has, in winter, to stand up to his neck in salt water while for three months in summer he has not a drop to drink; how he may live through all that only to be eaten up at last by thievish natives. Make it very vivid and end up with the latest market prices for Australian wool from the Times. You'll find what books you need in the library. [Slams the door to.]

OLDENDORF (at the table).

Do you know Miss Runeck? She often inquires about you in her letters to Ida.

BOLZ.

Indeed? Yes, to be sure, I know her. We are from the same village—she from the manor-house, I from the parsonage. My father taught us together. Oh, yes, I know her!

OLDENDORF.

How comes it that you have drifted so far apart? You never speak of her.

BOLZ.

H'm! It is an old story—family quarrels, Montagues and Capulets. I have not seen her for a long time.

OLDENDORF (smiling).

I hope that you too were not estranged by politics.

BOLZ.

Politics did, indeed, have something to do with our separation; you see it is the common misfortune that party life destroys friendship.

OLDENDORF.

Sad to relate! In religion any educated man will tolerate the convictions of another; but in politics we treat each other like reprobates if there be the slightest shade of difference of opinion between us.

BOLZ (aside).

Matter for our next article! (Aloud.) "The slightest shade of difference of opinion between us." Just what I think! We must have that in our paper! (Entreating). Look! A nice little virtuous article: "An admonition to our voters—Respect our opponents, for they are, after all, our brothers!" (Urging him more and more.) Oldendorf, that would be something for you—there is virtue and humanity in the theme; writing will divert you, and you owe the paper an article because you forbade the feud. Please do me the favor! Go into the back room there and write. No one shall disturb you.

OLDENDORF (smiling).

You are just a vulgar intriguer!

BOLZ (forcing him from his chair).

Please, you'll find ink and paper there. Come, deary, come! [He accompanies him to the door on the left. Exit OLDENDORF. BOLZ calling after him.] Will you have a cigar? An old Henry Clay? [Draws a cigar-case from his pocket.] No? Don't make it too short; it is to be the principal article! [He shuts the door, calls through the door on the right.] The professor is writing the article himself. See that nobody disturbs him! [Coming to the front.] So that is settled.—Adelaide here in town! I'll go straight to her! Stop, keep cool, keep cool! Old Bolz, you are no longer the brown lad from the parsonage. And even if you were, she has long since changed. Grass has grown over the grave of a certain childish inclination. Why are you suddenly thumping so, my dear soul? Here in town she is just as far off from you as on her estates. [Seating himself and playing with a pencil.] "Nothing like keeping cool," murmured the salamander as he sat in the stove fire.

Enter KORB.

KORB.

Is Mr. Bolz in?

BOLZ (jumping up).

Korb! My dear Korb! Welcome, heartily welcome! It is good of you not to have forgotten me. [Shakes hands with him.] I am very glad to see you.

KORB.

And I even more to see you. Here we are in town. The whole village sends greetings! From Anton the stable-boy—he is now head man—to the old night watchman whose horn you once hung up on the top of the tower. Oh, what a pleasure this is!

BOLZ.

How is Miss Runeck? Tell me, old chap!

KORB.

Very well indeed, now. But we have been through much. The late general was ill for four years. It was a bad time. You know he was always an irritable man.

BOLZ.

Yes, he was hard to manage.—

KORB.

And especially during his illness. But Miss Adelaide took care of him, so gentle and so pale, like a perfect lamb. Now, since his death, Miss Adelaide runs the estate, and like the best of managers. The village is prospering again. I will tell you everything, but not until this evening. Miss Adelaide is waiting for me; I merely ran in quickly to tell you that we are here.

BOLZ.

Don't be in such a hurry, Korb.—So the people in the village still think of me!

KORB.

I should say they did! No one can understand why you don't come near us. It was another matter while the old gentleman was alive, but now—

BOLZ (seriously).

My parents are dead; a stranger lives in the parsonage.

KORB.

But we in the manor-house are still alive! Miss Runeck would surely be delighted—

BOLZ.

Does she still remember me?

KORB.

Of course she does. This very day she asked about you.

BOLZ.

What did she ask, old chap?

KORB.

She asked me if it was true what people are saying, that you have grown very wild, make debts, run after girls, and are up to the devil generally.

BOLZ.

Good gracious! You stood up for me, I trust?

KORB.

Of course! I told her that all that might be taken for granted with you.

BOLZ.

Confound it! That's what she thinks of me, is it? Tell me, Korb, Miss Adelaide has many suitors, has she not?

KORB.

The sands of the sea are as nothing to it.

BOLZ (vexed).

But yet she can finally choose only one, I suppose.

KORB (slyly).

Correct! But which one? That's the question.

BOLZ.

Which do you think it will be?

KORB.

Well, that is difficult to say. There is this Mr. von Senden who is now living in town. If any one has a chance it is probably he. He fusses about us like a weasel. Just as I was leaving he sent to the house a whole dozen of admission cards to the great fete at the club. It must be the sort of club where the upper classes go arm-in-arm with the townspeople.

BOLZ.

Yes, it is a political society of which Senden is a director. It is casting out a great net for voters. And the Colonel and the ladies are going?

KORB.

I hear they are. I, too, received a card.

BOLZ (to himself).

Has it come to this? Poor Oldendorf!—And Adelaide at the club fete of Mr. von Senden!

KORB (to himself).

How am I going to begin and find out about his love-affairs? (Aloud.) Oh, see here, Mr. Conrad, one thing more! Have you possibly some real good friend in this concern to whom you could introduce me?

BOLZ.

Why, old chap?

KORB.

It is only—I am a stranger here, and often have commissions and errands where I need advice. I should like to have some one to consult should you chance to be away, or with whom I could leave word for you.

BOLZ.

You will find me here at almost any time of day. [At the door.] Bellmaus! [Enter BELLMAUS.] You see this gentleman here. He is an honored old friend of mine from my native village. Should he happen not to find me here, you take my place.—This gentleman's name is Bellmaus, and he is a good fellow.

KORB.

I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Bellmaus.

BELLMAUS.

And I to make yours. You have not told me his name yet.

BOLZ.

Korb. He has had a great deal to carry in his life, and has often carried me on his back, too.

BELLMAUS.

I too am pleased, Mr. Korb. [They shake hands.]

KORB.

Well, that is in order, and now I must go or Miss Adelaide will be waiting.

BOLZ.

Good-by! Hope to see you very soon again.

[Exit KORB; exit BELLMAUS through door on the right.]

BOLZ (alone).

So this Senden is courting her! Oh, that is bitter!

Enter HENNING, followed by MILLER.

HENNING (in his dressing-gown, hurriedly, with a printed roll in his hand).

Your servant, Mr. Bolz! Is "opponent" spelt with one p or with two p's? The new proofreader has corrected it one p.

BOLZ (deep in his thoughts).

Estimable Mr. Henning, the Union prints it with two p's.

HENNING.

I said so at once. [To MILLER.] It must be changed; the press is waiting.

[Exit MILLER hastily.]

I took occasion to read the leading article. Doubtless you wrote it yourself. It is very good, but too sharp, Mr. Bolz. Pepper and mustard—that will give offense; it will cause bad blood.

BOLZ (still deep in his thoughts, violently).

I always did have an antipathy to this man!



HENNING (hurt).

How? What? Mr. Bolz? You have an antipathy to me?

BOLZ.

To whom? No, dear Mr. Henning, you are a good fellow and would be the best newspaper owner in the world, if only you were not often as frightened as a hare. [Embraces him.] My regards to Mrs. Henning, sir, and leave me alone. I am thinking up my next article.

HENNING (while he is being thrust out).

But do, please, write very moderately and kindly, dear Mr. Bolz.

BOLZ (alone, walking to and fro again).

Senden avoids me whenever he can. He stands things from me that any one else would strongly resent. Is it possible that he suspects—

Enter MILLER.

MILLER (hurriedly).

A lady I don't know wishes to pay her respects to you.

BOLZ.

A lady! And to me?

MILLER.

To the editor. [Hands him a card.]

BOLZ (reads).

Leontine Pavoni-Gessler, nee Melloni from Paris. She must have to do with art. Is she pretty?

MILLER.

H'm! So, so!

BOLZ.

Then tell her we are very sorry that we cannot have the pleasure, that it is the editor's big washing-day.

MILLER.

What?

BOLZ (vehemently).

Washing, children's washing. That we are sitting up to the elbows in soapsuds.

MILLER (laughing).

And I am to—

BOLZ (impatiently).

You're a blockhead! [At the door.] Bellmaus! [Enter BELLMAUS.] Stay here and receive the visitor. [Gives him the card.]

BELLMAUS.

Ah, that is the new ballet-dancer who is expected here. [Inspecting his coat.] But I'm not dressed for it!

BOLZ.

All the more dressed she will be. [To MILLER.] Show the lady in.

[Exit MILLER.]

BELLMAUS.

But really I cannot—

BOLZ (irritably).

Oh the devil, don't put on airs! [Goes to the table, puts papers in the drawer, seizes his hat.]

Enter MADAME PAVONI.

MADAME PAVONI.

Have I the honor of seeing before me the editor of the Union?

BELLMAUS (bowing).

To be sure—that is to say—won't you kindly be seated? [Pushes up chairs.]

BOLZ.

Adelaide is clear-sighted and clever. How can she possibly fail to see through that fellow?

MADAME PAVONI.

Mr. Editor, the intelligent articles about art which adorn your paper—have prompted me—

BELLMAUS.

Oh, please!

BOLZ. (having made up his mind).

I must gain entrance into this club-fete!

[Exit with a bow to the lady. BELLMAUS and MADAME PAVONI sit facing each other.]



ACT II

SCENE I

The COLONEL'S summer parlor. In the foreground on the right IDA and ADELAIDE, next to ADELAIDE the COLONEL, all sitting. In front of them a table with coffee set.

COLONEL (in conversation with ADELAIDE, laughing).

A splendid story, and cleverly told! I am heartily glad that you are with us, dear Adelaide. Now, at any rate, we shall talk about something else at table besides this everlasting politics! H'm! The professor has not come today. He never used to miss our coffee-hour.

[Pause; ADELAIDE and IDA look at each other. IDA sighs.]

ADELAIDE.

Perhaps he has work to do.

IDA.

Or he is vexed with us because I am going to the fete tonight.

COLONEL (irritably).

Nonsense, you are not his wife nor even openly his fiancee. You are in your father's house and belong in my circle.—H'm! I see he treasures it up against me that I did some plain speaking the other day. I think I was a little impatient.

ADELAIDE (nodding her head).

Yes, a little, I hear.

IDA.

He is worried about the way you feel, dear father.

COLONEL.

Well, I have reason enough to be vexed; don't remind me of it. And that, in addition, he lets himself be mixed up in these elections, is unpardonable.

[Walks up and down.]

But you had better send for him, Ida.

IDA rings. Enter CARL.

IDA.

Our compliments to the professor and we are waiting coffee for him.

[Exit CARL.]

COLONEL.

Well, that about waiting was not quite necessary. Why, we have finished our coffee.

ADELAIDE.

Ida has not finished yet.

IDA.

Hush!

ADELAIDE.

Why did he ever let himself be put up as candidate? He has plenty to do as it is.

COLONEL.

Pure ambition, girls. The devil of ambition possesses these young men. He impels them as steam does a locomotive.

IDA.

No, father, he never thought of himself in the matter.

COLONEL.

It does not stand out quite so nakedly as, "I must make a career for myself," or "I wish to become a famous man." The procedure is more delicate. The good friends come along and say: "Your duty to the good cause requires you to—it is a crime against your country if you do not—it is a sacrifice for you but we demand it." And so a pretty mantle is thrown around vanity, and the candidate issues forth—from pure patriotism of course! Don't teach an old soldier worldly wisdom. We, dear Adelaide, sit calmly by and laugh at such weaknesses.

ADELAIDE.

And are indulgent toward them when we have so good a heart as you.

COLONEL.

Yes, one profits by experience.

Enter CARL.

CARL.

Mr. von Senden and two other gentlemen.

COLONEL.

What do they want? Pleased to see them!

[Exit CARL.]

Allow me to have them shown in here, children. Senden never stays long. He is a roving spirit.

[The ladies rise.]

IDA.

The hour is again spoiled for us.

ADELAIDE.

Don't mind it; we shall have all the more time to dress.

[Exeunt IDA and ADELAIDE on the left.]

Enter SENDEN, BLUMENBERG, a third gentleman.

SENDEN.

Colonel, we come on behalf of the committee for the approaching election to notify you that that committee has unanimously voted to make you, Colonel, our party's candidate.

COLONEL. Me?

SENDEN.

The committee begs you to accept this nomination so that the necessary announcement can be made to the voters at this evening's fete.

COLONEL.

Are you in earnest, dear Senden? Where did the committee get such an idea?

SENDEN.

Colonel, our president, who had previously agreed to run for our town, found that it would be more advantageous to be candidate from a provincial district; apart from him no one of our townsmen is so well known and so popular with the citizens as yourself. If you accede to our request our party is certain of victory; if you refuse, there is every probability that our opponents will have their own way. You will agree with us that such an eventuality must be avoided under all circumstances.

COLONEL.

I see all that; but, on personal grounds, it is impossible for me to help our friends in this matter.

SENDEN (to the others).

Let me explain to the Colonel certain things which will possibly make him look favorably on our request.

[Exeunt BLUMENBERG and the other gentlemen into the garden, where they are visible from time to time.]

COLONEL.

But, Senden, how could you put me in this embarrassing position! You know that for years Oldendorf has frequented my house and that it will be extremely unpleasant for me openly to oppose him.

SENDEN.

If the professor is really so devoted to you and your household, he has now the best opportunity to show it. It is a foregone conclusion that he will at once withdraw.

COLONEL.

I am not quite so sure of that; he is very stubborn in many ways.

SENDEN.

If he do not withdraw such egotism can scarcely still be called stubbornness. And in such a case you would scarcely be under obligations to him; obligations, Colonel, which might work injury to the whole country. Besides, he has no chance of being elected if you accept, for you will defeat him by a majority not large but sure.

COLONEL.

Are we so perfectly certain of this majority!

SENDEN.

I think I can guarantee it. Blumenberg and the other gentlemen have made very thorough inquiries.

COLONEL.

It would serve the professor quite right if he had to withdraw in my favor.—But no—no; it will not do at all, my friend.

SENDEN.

We know, Colonel, what a sacrifice we are asking of you, and that nothing could compensate you for it save the consciousness of having done your country a great service.

COLONEL.

To be sure.

SENDEN.

It would be so regarded in the capital, too, and I am convinced that your entering the House would also cause pleasure in other circles than those of your numerous friends and admirers.

COLONEL.

I should meet there many old friends and comrades. (Aside.) I should be presented at Court.

SENDEN.

The minister of war asked very warmly after you the other day; he too must have been one of your companions in arms.

COLONEL.

Yes indeed! As young blades we served in the same company and played many mad pranks together. It would be a pleasure to see him now in the House, drawing his honest face into dark lines. He was a wild devil in the regiment, but a fine boy.

SENDEN.

Nor will he be the only one to receive you with open arms.

COLONEL.

In any case, I should have to think the matter over.

SENDEN.

Don't be angry, Colonel, if I urge you to decide. This evening we have to introduce their candidate to our citizen guests. It is high time, or all is lost.

COLONEL (hesitating).

Senden, you put a knife to my throat!

[SENDEN, from the door, motions the gentlemen in the garden to come in.]

BLUMENBERG.

We venture to urge you, knowing that so good a soldier as you, Colonel, makes up his mind quickly.

COLONEL (after struggling inwardly).

Well, so be it, gentlemen, I accept! Tell the committee I appreciate their confidence. This evening we will talk over details.

BLUMENBERG.

We thank you, Colonel. The whole town will be rejoiced to hear of your decision.

COLONEL.

Good-by until this evening.

[Exeunt the visitors;

COLONEL alone, thoughtfully.]

I fear I ought not to have accepted so quickly; but I had to do the minister of war that favor. What will the girls say to it? And Oldendorf?

[Enter OLDENDORF.]

There he is himself.

[Clears his throat.]

He will be astonished. I can't help it, he must withdraw. Good morning, Professor, you come just at the right moment.

OLDENDORF (hastily).

Colonel, there is a report in town that Mr. von Senden's party have put you up as their candidate. I ask for your own assurance that you would not accept such a nomination.

COLONEL.

And, supposing the proposition had been made to me, why should I not accept as well as you? Yes, rather than you; for the motives that would determine me are sounder than your reasons.

OLDENDORF.

So there is some foundation then to the rumor?

COLONEL.

To be frank, it is the truth. I have accepted. You see in me your opponent.

OLDENDORF.

Nothing so bad has yet occurred to trouble our relations. Colonel, could not the memory of a friendship, hearty and undisturbed for years, induce you to avoid this odious conflict?

COLONEL.

Oldendorf, I could not act otherwise, believe me. It is your place now to remember our old friendship. You are a younger man, let alone other relationships; you are the one now to withdraw.

OLDENDORF (more excitedly).

Colonel, I have known you for years. I know how keenly and how deeply you feel things and how little your ardent disposition fits you to bear the petty vexations of current politics, the wearing struggle of debates. Oh, my worthy friend, do listen to my exhortations and take back your consent.

COLONEL.

Let that be my concern. I am an old block of hard timber. Think of yourself, dear Oldendorf. You are young, you have fame as a scholar; your learning assures you every success. Why, in another sphere of activity, do you seek to exchange honor and recognition for naught but hatred, mockery, and humiliation? For with such views as yours you cannot fail to harvest them. Think it over. Be sensible, and withdraw.

OLDENDORF.

Colonel, could I follow my own inclinations I should do so on the spot. But in this contest I am under obligations to my friends. I cannot withdraw now.

COLONEL (excitedly).

Nor can I withdraw, lest I harm the good cause. We are no further now than in the beginning. (Aside.) Obstinate fellow!

[Both walk up and down on opposite sides of the stage.]

You have not the least chance whatever of being elected, Oldendorf; my friends are sure of having the majority of the votes. You are exposing yourself to a public defeat. (Kindly.) I should dislike having you of all people beaten by me; it will cause gossip and scandal. Just think of it! It is perfectly useless for you to conjure up the conflict.

OLDENDORF.

Even if it were such a foregone conclusion as you assume, Colonel, I should still have to hold out to the end. But as far as I can judge the general sentiment, the result is by no means so certain. And think, Colonel, if you should happen to be defeated—

COLONEL (irritated).

I tell you, that will not be the case.

OLDENDORF.

But if it should be? How odious that would be for both of us! How would you feel toward me then! I might possibly welcome a defeat in my heart; for you it would be a terrible mortification, and, Colonel, I dread this possibility.

COLONEL.

For that very reason you should withdraw.

OLDENDORF.

I can no longer do so; but there is still time for you.

COLONEL (vehemently).

Thunder and lightning, sir, I have said yes; I am not the man to cap it with a no!

[Both walk up and down.]

That appears to end it, Professor! My wishes are of no account to you; I ought to have known that! We must go our separate ways. We have become open opponents; let us be honest enemies—

OLDENDORF (seizing the COLONEL'S hand).

Colonel, I consider this a most unfortunate day; for I see sad results to follow. Rest assured that no circumstances can shake my love and devotion for you.

COLONEL.

We are drawn up in line of battle, as it were. You mean to let yourself be defeated by an old military man. You shall have your desire.

OLDENDORF.

I ask your permission to tell Miss Ida of our conversation.

COLONEL (somewhat uneasy).

You had better not do that just now, Professor. An opportunity will come in due time. At present the ladies are dressing. I myself will say what is necessary.

OLDENDORF.

Farewell, Colonel, and think of me without hard feelings.

COLONEL.

I will try my best, Professor.

[Exit OLDENDORF.]

He has not given in! What depths of ambition there are in these scholars!

Enter IDA, ADELAIDE.

IDA.

Was not that Edward's voice?

COLONEL.

Yes, my child.

ADELAIDE.

And he has gone away again! Has anything happened?

COLONEL.

Well, yes, girls. To make a long story short, Oldendorf does not become member for this town, but I.

ADELAIDE} (together.) You, Colonel? IDA } You, father?

IDA.

Has Edward withdrawn?

ADELAIDE.

Is the election over?

COLONEL.

Neither one nor the other. Oldendorf has proved his much-vaunted devotion to us by not withdrawing, and election day is not yet past. But from what I hear there is no doubt that Oldendorf will be defeated.

IDA.

And you, father, have come out before everybody as his opponent?

ADELAIDE.

And what did Oldendorf say to that, Colonel?

COLONEL.

Don't excite me, girls! Oldendorf was stubborn, otherwise he behaved well, and as far as that is concerned all is in order. The grounds which determined me to make the sacrifice are very weighty. I will explain them to you more fully another time. The matter is decided; I have accepted; let that suffice for the present.

IDA.

But, dear father—

COLONEL.

Leave me in peace, Ida, I have other things to think of. This evening I am to speak in public; that is, so to say, the custom at such elections. Don't worry, my child, we'll get the better of the professor and his clique.

[Exit COLONEL toward the garden. IDA and ADELAIDE stand facing each other and wring their hands.]

IDA.

What do you say to that?

ADELAIDE.

You are his daughter—what do you say?

IDA.

Not possible!—Father! Scarcely had he finished explaining to us thoroughly what petty mantles ambition assumes in such elections—

ADELAIDE.

Yes, he described them right vividly, all the little wraps and cloaks of vanity.

IDA.

And within an hour he lets them throw the cloak about himself. Why, it is terrible! And if father is not elected? It was wrong of Edward not to give in to father's weakness. Is that your love for me, Professor? He, too, never thought of me!

ADELAIDE.

Shall I tell you what? Let us hope that they both fail. These politicians! It was bad enough for you when only one was in politics; now that both have tasted of the intoxicating drink you are done for. Were I ever to come into a position to make a man my master, I should impose upon him but one condition, the wise rule of conduct of my old aunt: Smoke tobacco, my husband, as much as you please; at most it will spoil the walls; but never dare to look at a newspaper—that will spoil your character.

[KORB appears at the door.]

What news do you bring, Korb?

KORB (hastily, mysteriously).

It isn't true!

ADELAIDE (the same). What isn't true?

KORB.

That he has a fiancee. He has no idea of it. His friend says he has but one lady-love.

ADELAIDE (eagerly).

Who is she?

KORB. His newspaper.

ADELAIDE (relieved).

Ah, indeed. (Aloud.)

One can see by that how many falsehoods people tell. It is good, dear Korb.

[Exit KORB.]

IDA. What isn't true?

ADELAIDE (sighing).

Well, that we women are cleverer than men. We talk just as wisely and I fear are just as glad to forget our wisdom at the first opportunity. We are all of us together poor sinners!

IDA.

You can joke about it. You never knew what it was to have your father and the man you loved oppose each other as enemies.

ADELAIDE.

Do you think so! Well, I once had a good friend who had foolishly given her heart to a handsome, high-spirited boy. She was a mere child and it was a very touching relationship: knightly devotion on his part and tender sighings on hers. Then the young heroine had the misfortune to become very jealous, and so far forgot poetry and deportment as to give her heart's chosen knight a box on the ear. It was only a little box, but it had fateful consequences. The young lady's father had seen it and demanded an explanation. Then the young knight acted like a perfect hero. He took all the blame upon himself and told the alarmed father that he had asked the young lady to kiss him—poor fellow, he never had the courage for such a thing!—and the blow had been her answer. A stern man was the father; he treated the lad very harshly. The hero was sent away from his family and his home, and the heroine sat lonely in her donjon-tower and mourned her lost one.

IDA.

She ought to have told her father the truth.

ADELAIDE.

Oh, she did. But her confession made matters only worse. Years have gone by since then, and the knight and his lady are now old people and have become quite sensible.

IDA (smiling).

And, because they are sensible, do they not love each other any longer?

ADELAIDE.

How the man feels about it, dear child, I cannot tell you exactly. He wrote the lady a very beautiful letter after the death of her father—that is all I know about it. But the lady has greater confidence than you, for she still hopes. (Earnestly.) Yes, she hopes; and even her father permitted that before he died—you see, she still hopes.

IDA (embracing her).

And who is the banished one for whom she still hopes?

ADELAIDE.

Hush, dearest, that is a dark secret. Few persons living know about it; and when the birds on the trees of Rosenau tell each other the story they treat it as a dim legend of their forefathers. They then sing softly and sorrowfully, and their feathers stand on end with awe. In due time you shall learn all about it; but now you must think of the fete, and of how pretty you are going to look.

IDA.

On the one hand the father, on the other the lover—how will it end?

ADELAIDE.

Do not worry. The one is an old soldier, the other a young statesman; two types that we women have wound around our little fingers from time immemorial! [Both leave.]

SCENE II

Side room of a public hall. The rear wall a great arch with columns, through which one looks into the lighted hall and through it into another. On the left, toward the front, a door. On the right, tables and chairs; chandeliers. Later, from time to time distant music. In the hall ladies and gentlemen walking about or standing in groups. SENDEN, BLUMENBERG, behind them SCHMOCK coming from the hall.

SENDEN. All is going well. There is a splendid spirit in the company. These good townspeople are delighted with our arrangements. It was a fine idea of yours, Blumenberg, to have this fete.

BLUMENBEEG. Only hurry and get people warmed up! It's a good thing to begin with some music. Vienna waltzes are best on account of the women. Then comes a speech from you, then some solo singing, and, at supper, the introduction of the Colonel, and the toasts. It can't help being a success; the men must have hearts of stone if they don't give their votes in return for such a fete.

SENDEN. The toasts have been apportioned.

BLUMENBERG. But the music?—Why has the music stopped?

SENDEN. I am waiting for the Colonel to arrive.

BLUMENBERG. He must be received with a blare of trumpets. It will flatter him, you know.

SENDEN. That's what I ordered. Directly after, they start up a march and we bring him in procession.

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