[Transcriber's note: Google: http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA11&dq=editions:OXFORDN10716921&id=6G MHAAAAQAAJ#v=onepage&q=&f=false]
IN FIVE ACTS,
FROM THE GERMAN
AUGUSTUS WILLIAM IFFLAND.
* * * * * * * * * BY C. LUDGER. * * * * * * * * *
LONDON: PRINTED BV J. W. MYERS, FOR W. WEST, NO. 27, PATERNOSTER-ROW,
1799. [Price Two Shillings and Sixpence.]
The Author of the following Drama is universally allowed to be the Garrick of the German Stage, and the Dramatic Rival of KOTZEBUE in the Closet.—The great Object of MR. IFFLAND, in all his Dramatic Productions, is to render the Theatre what it was in the palmy Days of Terence—a School of Morality, by exhibiting Virtue in all her native Charms, and Vice in all her Deformity; or, in the Language of Pope,
"To wake the Soul by gentle Strokes of Art, To raise the Genius, and to mend the Heart; In conscious Innocence to make Men bold, Live o'er each Scene, and be what you behold!"
Deputy CLARENBACH. CLARENBACH, Master Carpenter. FREDERICA, his Daughter. REISSMAN, Aulic Counsellor. SOPHIA, his Daughter. SELLING, Counsellor. GERNAU, Ranger. WELLENBERG, Lawyer. GROBMAN, Iron Merchant. LEWIS, Deputy Clarenbach's Servant. A Servant of the Aulic Counsellor.
* * * * *
A plain Tradesman's Room, with old fashioned Furniture.
Master CLARENBACH. (Busied with a design.)
Clar. So!—there is my design, and I think it is a pretty good one. It will make a substantial building.—When I am gone, people will say, when they look at the pile, "Master Clarenbach was a man that knew what he was about."
Lew. Deputy Clarenbach presents his compliments to Master Clarenbach, and sends him something.
Lew. Deputy Clarenbach presents his compliments, and sends something.
Clar. (takes off his spectacles.) So my son sends me his compliments? So! well,—return him a good morrow from me. What is it he sends?—money! (opens the paper;) for what? he has written nothing in it, a mere blank.
Lew. I do not know; I am to have a receipt for it.
Clar. Take the money back.
Lew. What the deuce!
Clar. (rises.) No deuce here! and—take off your hat when you stand in my presence, Monsieur Lewis.
Lew. (takes off his hat reluctantly.) I am—
Clar. The Deputy's footman, and I am the Deputy's father.
Lew. Aye, aye; Master Clarenbach, the—
Clar. The carpenter, citizen and master, trustee of the hospital, ad Sanctum Mauritium in this town, master in my own house and in my own room; here is the money. I am busy, good bye. (Sits down to his design.)
Lew. Very odd. [Exit.
Clar. Odd? hem! aye, aye. Odd you are, both the master and the servant.
Enter Fredericka, (with a glass of wine, and a crust of bread on a plate.)
Fred. Father, the weather is very rough this morning.
Clar. Do you think so, my dear?
Fred. I cannot let you go out of the house so; you must take a glass of wine.
Clar. You are right, I think; (takes it.) Moreover, I shall be out a good while to day; (drinks;) perhaps I may not come home to dinner; (drinks;) bring my dinner then to the timber-yard.
Fred. With all my heart.
Clar. (looking at her.) I do not think you will do it with reluctance.
Fred. By no means. I will do it with pleasure. But my brother does not altogether relish it; and, in those little matters, I think we might please him.
Clar. (rises displeased.) I say, no! God bless him in the high station he fills! But that cannot be, if ever he should forget what he has been. And as his memory, in that respect, is daily impaired, it is necessary therefore to put him the oftener in mind of it.
Fred. Yet I think—
Clar. He is a Deputy,—let him thank God for it! I am a carpenter, thank heaven! You are my good dutiful daughter, that takes care of me, nurses me, and gives me great satisfaction; and for that, I return heaven threefold thanks from the bottom of my heart. (Fred. embraces him.) Yes, you are very good! I only find fault with two things; in every other respect you are a nice girl, quite the girl after my own heart. First, you read too much, and then—
Fred. Dear father, do not I tell you a number of entertaining and instructive things out of the books I read? Has my reading formed me otherwise than you would have me?
Clar. Not as yet, if the evil do not come limping at the end! Good God!—Books indeed impart information; that I must own. But since those deep learned works have carried thy brother so high, and, at the same time, so far from us; I think, when I behold the large heap of books in his study, I think I see a finger-post that directs from the heart.
Fred. Your pursuits and his are different, father.
Clar. In our respective lines, I grant it. If his heart were not a stranger to us from other motives, he would, when his work is done, come and say,—Father! you build houses, and I build laws, that the people may live secure in those houses. I have been successful to day in my work, if God should prosper it; and how have you succeeded? Then I would talk to him of my good old timber, and complain of the young green wood; he might then tell me, how pleased he is with the old colleagues that share his toils, or complain of the young green ones.—Thus we might exchange toil and pleasure, complaint and consolation; spend a comfortable hour together, and derive mutual advantage from each other. But he does not choose to do that; and, if his conscience now and then happen to twitch him a little, he sends me money. Money! what is money to me? when have I ever wished for more than to live? (With vivacity.) His money is the only thing I dislike about him.
Fred. Why so, father?
Clar. Because he has not that great quantity of it—hem! there—there, may be enough of it for this time. The second thing: I do not like in you is to see you converse with that Counsellor Selling. What is the meaning of it?
Fred. My brother entertains a high esteem for him.
Clar. Not I.
Fred. He is pleased to see him visit here.
Clar. Not I. And then have you not Gernau, the Ranger, whom you like, and I too?
Fred. Well, are you content if I manage so, that I may keep upon good terms with both?
Clar. I have no objection. But mind, all fair! none of your book stories! (Looks at his watch,) Half past eleven; you will bring my dinner to the yard.
Fred. Undoubtedly. [Exit.
Reiss. Aye, good morrow, Miss! Good morrow, Mr. Clarenbach! Well, how are you?
Clar. At work, Sir!
Reiss. So you have, ex officio, been appointed guardian of the poor orphans of Brunnig?
Clar. Yes, Sir, these four days.
Reiss. Aye, aye; it will prove a troublesome piece of business. Poor children! I pity them.
Clar. So do I.—And, to tell you the truth, the valuable bequest of the old aunt ought to go to the children, and not to you; to whom, contrary to all right and equity, she has bequeathed her all.
Reiss. Aye! Good heaven!—but then it is so in her will.
Clar. True enough. But the law should not permit it.
Reiss. A last will!—O Lord! that is a sacred thing. I pity the children, but—
Clar. I intend to try the validity of it.
Reiss. Aye, aye? I have been told so.
Clar. You ought to decline the bequest, Mr. Reissman.
Reiss. But, what heaven has sent me—
Clar. The property of orphans!
Reiss. You would not have me rob my child of the divine blessings which, without the least solicitation on my part, have devolved upon me from a strange person?
Clar. Your daughter, is not poor. The children of Brunnig are all beggars.
Reiss. Aye, good man, we will manage that, we will manage it!
Clar. How so?
Reiss. O heaven! Yes, we will send the children to the hospital to receive a christian education, and to be instructed, and I will—
Clar. To what hospital?
Reiss. To ours, of which I am the director, and you a trustee.
Clar. That will not do.
Reiss. If it be our will—-
Clar. It must not be our will.
Reiss. Who is to oppose us?
Clar. The rules of the foundation itself; right and equity. The hospital, ad Sanctum Mauritium, is destined for the old and the sick; we must not displace them. No, I will carry on the suit against you as an unlawful heir.—
Reiss. Aye, thou good Lord in heaven! the will is so plain—
Clar. If I am cast, I will take Brunnig's children into my house, and then I will immediately engage in more business, employ more hands, and work hard to accomplish my design, with the aid of heaven.
Reiss. But your son, the deputy, approves of the children being sent to the hospital.
Clar. I do not approve of it.
Reiss. Your son is a sensible learned man, who most certainly knows—
Clar. And I have spent a good deal on him too.
Reiss. And a just man too he is.
Clar. That is his duty.
Reiss. And as these children may be taken care of in another manner, why would you, at your time of life, burthen yourself with more trouble? You have now toiled long enough, and to your credit too: now you should rest, and leave off business.
Clar. God forbid!
Reiss. Your son will not give up that point, I tell you: as a good son, he will lead his father to honour.
Clar. To honour? And what honour do I want, pray? I am a good workman, have sufficient to live on, employ fifteen people daily; share my earnings with many a poor man, and have a good conscience. What honour can he add to what I have?
Reiss. This very moment it is in agitation, to elect you mayor of our town. That is as good as settled, only—
Clar. No, Sir! I will not listen to that. I am quite well, when governed; and might not be so, if I were to govern others.
Reiss. But consider, how happy many a man would feel, if he—
Clar. Oh yes! I know well enough: many a man would wish to govern now-a-days; but not I. I intend to remain reigning master-carpenter in my own house and timber-yard.
Reiss. But perhaps your son might form connections—
Clar. A fig for every connection; cannot he form connections unless his father be mayor?
Reiss. The world has its prejudices—
Clar. Not I.
Reiss. To whom it is often prudent to yield.
Clar. No, Sir, no!
Reiss. But, suppose your son should wish to rise still higher?
Clar. Then God grant it do him good! that is my cordial wish. But I shall remain where I am, and I shall not climb after him.
Reiss. Well then, I must speak plain to you; your son pays his addresses to my daughter.
Clar. Does he? that is well done. Your daughter is an amiable young lady.
Reiss. Well, well;—but then I have some conditions to propose. I only desire that you may change your situation in life.
Clar. Does your daughter likewise insist on it?
Reiss. Suppose she did?
Clar. Then I would, were I in my son's place, decline the hand of a lady that would be ashamed of my father.
Reiss. But, if I should only ask that you shall leave off business—
Clar. Leave off business? I might as well leave off living. I am proud of my business, for, upon my word, I am a good carpenter.
Reiss. Well then, you may say you have been a carpenter. When you are Mayor, I will, with pleasure, call you brother. Only accept the office, and we will see the business taken care of.
Clar. No. I would be what I was called. I had better keep away from your council-board.
Reiss. I have now done my duty. Consider, that when the children come out of the hospital, I intend to make them a present. And that, if an action is brought against me, I shall not think myself under any obligation whatever.
Clar. Do not take it amiss;—I am rather positive, for I am arrived at the age in which people know which way the world turns, because they have often been forced to turn along with it. Should the poor children lose their suit, you are not the man neither of whom I should wish them take alms.
Reiss. Oh! if matters stand so, then I will do nothing at all, for my conscience is free, thank God.
Clar. I wish you joy.
Reiss. As for the rest, it is now all in your option, whether you will promote your son's happiness through that marriage, or not. I wish you good business, Master Clarenbach.
Clar. (alone.) Hem, hem!—I do not wish it, I know well enough;—but I should be sorry for Jack, if he were to lose the girl on that account.
Grob. Your humble servant, Mr. Clarenbach.
Clar. Servant, Sir! What is your pleasure?
Grob. My name is Grobman. I deal in iron wholesale.
Clar. Well; and—
Grob. And mean to settle here.
Clar. I wish you success.
Grob. But there is an other, who wishes to do the same,—one Benninger.
Clar. Success to him likewise!
Grob. He is for having the monopoly of the article here.
Clar. If so, I look upon him in a bad point of view.
Grob. But it is very profitable. I have the same object in view. Your son, the deputy, patronizes Mr. Benninger. But, if you would speak in my favour to your son, I know I should succeed.
Clar. I am a carpenter.
Grob. Very right. But then you are the Deputy's father. Benninger, as I am well informed, has secretly offered your son two thousand dollars by way of present.
Grob. They have agreed.
Clar. Infamous calumny!
Grob. I will give you two hundred dollars beside, if you—
Clar. Set off!—for, upon my word, I will do you some mischief.
Grob. Do you want more than two hundred?
Clar. Justice I want, Justice! My son shall send you to prison, unless he be as great a good for nothing as yourself.
Grob. (laughs.) For what?
Clar. Sell! sell a monopoly! take money,—a bribe! My son, Jack Clarenbach, the sovereign's deputy, take money!
Grob. (laughs.) Aye, sure, for the trouble that he—
Clar. I will bring an action against you.
Grob. Are you in your senses?
Clar. I will inform—
Grob. So you may.
Clar. All you have said.
Grob. Do so.
Clar. My son shall have ample satisfaction. Where is your conscience, fellow? Defame a man in office and dignity? Now, go out by that door, or I will lay both my hands on you.
Grob. The man must be tipsy. (Laughs, and exit.)
Clar. Aye, you may laugh, you cursed thief. All my limbs tremble!—Some envious man, some fiend has sent him hither.—Jack would not betray his native town.
Clar. It is not possible.
Fred. Only think, dear father—
Clar. Curse the money!
Fred. Brother Jack is—-
Clar. He has too much. Yes, yes, yes! I know, he has too much, and it is impossible that he acquired it all in a fair way; but not so neither. It may have been scraped together somewhat unfairly; but not so neither, not so neither.
Fred. What ails you, pray? What do you talk about Jack and his money?
Clar. I cannot bear it, cannot bear his money.
Fred. Only think; Ranger Gernau sends me word, that yesterday the news arrived, that my brother has been made a Privy Counsellor.
Clar. Privy Counsellor?—hem!—Curse that iron merchant, that—
Fred. He is now the first man in this town.
Clar. Take money! sell privileges! (walks up and down.) It is impossible! Father and mother are honest people; he has been sent to church and school, never saw any thing amiss in us; no, nothing amiss in all his life-time. We have worked hard day after day; never indulged ourselves with breakfast or bagging, that he might have every requisite, that we might spend on him as much as ever we could afford. And now, he is got up so high, and is one of those that rule the country, that now he should be worse than I would suffer a 'prentice boy to be, that I employ in my yard! Oh! if that be so, Lord take him or me, for I cannot bear it, either in this world or in the next! [Exit.
[Footnote 1: Bagging, in the North of England, is the common expression for a meal taken between dinner and supper. And, as it perfectly expresses the meaning of the German vesperbrod, I thought myself authorized to adopt it here; particularly as tea, in the mouth of a character, like carpenter Clarenbach, would appear preposterous. The antiquaries of Yorkshire and Lancashire derive the word bagging from the old custom of carrying bread and cheese in a bag, in the afternoon, to the labourers in the fields; and this derivation is not altogether improbable. Translator.]
Fred. I do not understand a word of all this. What does he mean?
Gern. Good morrow, Frederica!
Fred. Why so ruffled? Is that your welcome, after having kept out of the way for two days together?
Gern. Things grow worse and worse, between your brother and me, every day.
Fred. Why so?
Gern. He would have me do things which I neither can, must, nor will do.
Clar. Jack a Privy Counsellor, you say?
Fred. Gernau says so.
Gern. His diploma arrived yesterday.
Clar. He has not mentioned it to me.
Fred. He will most certainly come to day.
Clar. But could he wait till to day?
Fred. Who knows but he wishes to surprise us?
Clar. He is going to be married too.
Fred. My brother?
Clar. I am told all this by strangers. Can he turn out so, because he is a greater man than I? or, perhaps, he is altogether bad.—God knows!
Fred. He is so full of business.
Clar. So am I.
Fred. Those that work with the head are apt to be more absent than those that work with the hand.
Clar. But is it not a real relaxation to act according to the dictates of the heart? or have the hearts of those people nothing to do with their concerns? If so, they are wretched beings indeed, and I am very sorry for my son, that he must first lose the treasures of his heart to hoard up gold. [Exit.
Fred. Tell me immediately, dear Gernau, what is the matter between you and my brother?
Gern. He is not a good man, Frederica.
Fred. Shall I go to him, Gernau?
Gern. Do not embitter my life, good soul; I have trouble enough besides. Your brother will drive me away.
Gern. He will throw me out of my office.
Gern. To put a more accommodating man in my place.
Fred. He does not wish to do that certainly, nor could he even effect it.
Gern. He is all-powerful here; his abilities, his connections at Court, his office, render every thing possible that he wishes to atchieve.
Fred. And what does he want of you? what displeases him?
Gern. Under the pretence of promoting agriculture, he wants the best part of the forest for himself, which is of no great use to the community. And this pretended plea is a garden, he means to lay out in the English style for his own pleasure.
Fred. And should not an industrious man be indulged with some pleasure?
Gern. Should he wish to have it at the expence of the public? I must oppose it.
Fred. Does he know it?
Gern. Yes, he behaved so haughtily to me.
Fred. And you—
Gern. I thought on his sister,—and held my tongue.
Fred. (reaches him her hand.) Gernau!
Gern. He threatened me!
Fred. And you?
Gern. I curbed my passion. He bid me be gone,—and I shall not trouble him again.
Fred. And what do you intend to do as to the forest?
Gern. My duty.
Fred. (draws back her hand.) Oh!
Gern. Yes, yes! It will cost me your hand, I foresee.
Fred. Never!—my affection is fixed, and can never be diverted from the dear object.—Your complaisance—
Gern. I have been complaisant, as far as laid in my power. I cannot be so at the expence of my duty.
Fred. I do not insist on that either. But,—but—
Gern. What would you wish that your own sentiments of equity forbids you to utter?
Fred. I only wish—I demand nothing—I only wish you to soften your rigid idea of duty, if you can.
Gern. I know nothing but justice, that will not admit of any by-road. And if I were capable of such a sacrifice, whither would it lead me? It would lead me to see you, Selling's wife, and to laugh at me.
Fred. Must I break with all the world, because our hearts beat in unison? Am I criminal to listen to Selling's nonsense, because he is the only man through whom I can act upon my brother?
Gern. Then I may rely upon you?
Gern. Pledge me your hand!
Fred. With all my heart!
Gern. Thus love will not forsake me, when I shall fall a victim to my duty.
Fred. I know no deceit, and follow the dictates of my heart.
Gern. In the name of heaven then I go to discharge my duty; it rewards and strengthens. Good bye, Frederica!—One more word, you are good; but are you resolute?
Fred. I am indeed!
Gern. Your brother has plans about you, in which I am most certainly set down for nought.—Frederica, Frederica, let him drive me hence, but not from you!
Fred. He shall not, he cannot. And no man can render me inconstant to you, but yourself.
Gern. Then you are mine, and I am easy.
Fred. And owe no grudge to my brother?
Gern. Frederica, I am an honest man.
Fred. Whom the purest love shall reward, as far as love can reward!
Gern. Adieu, dear Frederica!
Fred. Adieu, Gernau! [Exeunt by opposite doors.
A room in the Privy Counsellor's, furnished in the modern stile.
Lew. I shall have the honour to let the Privy Counsellor know, that the Aulic Counsellor Reissman waits. (Steps into a closet, out of which the Privy Counsellor immediately comes, and Lewis sometime after.)
Reiss. I fly to congratulate you on your well-merited elevation.
P. Coun. I thank you with all my heart. I shall never forget that I am indebted to you for it.
Reiss. I beg,—nay, I entreat—
P. Coun. Your advice.
Reiss. Too much modesty.
P. Coun. Your self-denial. For you yourself had the justest claims to all the honours, with which you permitted me to be invested.
Reiss. Audaces fortuna.—I am too old. Now you should enjoy life, my friend. The merchant will endeavour to get a hundred per cent. if he can; why should the statesman sell his labour to the state at three? Away with the silly prejudice, and the retail-trade of your conscientious precepts; carry on your business wholesale, on the sacred principle of self-preservation.
P. Coun. I partly do so, but my father—
Reiss. I have paid the old honest man a visit.
P. Coun. Very kind of you! very kind of you indeed!
Reiss. He persists in his determination of setting the will aside.
P. Coun. Ridiculous!
Reiss. He will not suffer the children to go to the hospital, because the institution is intended for old and decayed people.
P. Coun. Mere formalities, attached to old age!
Reiss. As for the rest, he appeared pleased with your proposed union with my daughter.
P. Coun. Was he!
Reiss. He said many handsome things of the girl.
P. Coun. Too much cannot be said in her praise. She is an angel.
Reiss. I humbly thank you.—But he will not accept the office of mayor on any account.
P. Coun. I thought so;—but he must.
Reiss. Oh, yes! I must request you to carry that point, for—
P. Coun. Without doubt.
Reiss. For, however pleased I may be with your connection, I could not possibly think of giving my daughter to a man whose father earned his bread as a mechanic.
P. Coun. Leave me alone for that. His whole mode of life will be changed. Nay, this change has in some measure taken place already.
Reiss. Bravo, bravo!
P. Coun. His mansion—
Reiss. Right, right!
P. Coun. His dress—
Reiss. Very necessary.
P. Coun. Those pitiful caps of my sister—
Reiss. Oh, nice! Oh! there you remove a heavy weight from my mind. And then the chief object, that law-suit—
P. Coun. You cannot lose it. The will—?
Reiss. I will stick to that, as if rivetted to it with iron.
P. Coun. It speaks in your favour in all its forms.
Reiss. But he is so obstinate in pursuit of the cause, and will—
P. Coun. He cannot gain it.
Reiss. I think so. But then he has engaged that old foolish lawyer Wellenberg, that—
P. Coun. A fool, and a pedant.
Reiss. True! But then he is such a conscientious fellow; and, besides, you know he is called the champion of the poor and the guardian of orphans.
P. Coun. I have his opinion in my study. Mere declamation! nothing else. Your answer is sound, legal, and argumentative, and then the testamentary disposition is so plain that it cannot be set aside. If you were inclined to make the plaintiff a present—
Reiss. O yes, O yes! notwithstanding I am very economical; for all that I acquire is solely intended for my child, and when it shall please heaven to call me, it will devolve to you, my dear Sir.
P. Coun. Very kind;—but—
Lew. The widow Rieder—
P. Coun. Some other time.
Lew. And Counsellor Wellenberg—
P. Coun. The day after to-morrow, at two o'clock.
Lew. Then there is old Schwartz—
P. Coun. I cannot be troubled with him now. [Exit Lewis.
Reiss. Always plagued, always tormented.—
P. Coun. Oh! there is no end of it!
Reiss. Why! But wealth and honours are very welcome things too. But chiefly mind wealth; wealth is the word. High stations are exposed to storms, like lofty trees in a forest. But, if you have wealth, then come what will. A trunk filled with good bonds is soon packed up. The rest of your moveables may be left to the commissaries, just as you would throw a few bones to the dogs; then retire and go. I am your servant. (Going.) [Privy Counsellor attends him to the door.
Reiss. No ceremony; the morning-hour yields a hundred per cent. [Exit.
PRIVY COUNSELLOR, LEWIS, MASTER CLARENBACH.
Lew. I will first see.
Clar. Why, I heard my son's voice!—
P. Coun. Ah! is it my father?—
Clar. Yes! (reaches him his hand.) God bless you, Jack!
P. Coun. (to Lewis.) Leave us to ourselves. [Lewis exit.
Clar. Halloo!—I say, Monsieur, stop a little, stay a little!—I mean to speak ill of you.
P. Coun. How so?
Clar. Only think, dear Jack, all the people you have refused to see, this fellow has been snarling at. (To Lewis.) You must know those people in the hall are all as good as myself, and my son has been what I am, and in short we are all—men. Whilst the people know that my son has not forgot that his rank and titles are pure gold, they will pass at the highest course of exchange; but, as soon as they discover he has forgot what he has been, then his rank and titles will appear counterfeit. (To the Privy Counsellor.) They are all in the hall yet, except the old lawyer, who has business elsewhere; I have told them Monsieur Lewis had behaved very unmannerly, that I would let you know, and that you would come out to them.
P. Coun. But—
Clar. And that you may remain in currency and value, be so good, Jack, and go to them. [Privy Coun. after a pause, leaves the room.
MASTER CLARENBACH, LEWIS.
Lew. I do not understand Master Clarenbach's behaviour to me.
Clar. I dare say you do not. But, do you see, I think you ought to mend, or my son ought to send you about your business. To hear people, to say either yes or no, is the least my son can do. If you should attempt to hinder him from doing so, you are a rogue.
Lew. There is such constant intrusion.
Clar. Hem! and a great deal of distress too, and— [Exit Lewis.
Enter PRIVY COUNSELLOR.
P. Coun. Well, what should it be? Petitions, memorials, poverty, and faint hopes of relief.
Clar. Why, if you cannot relieve, mercy on us!
P. Coun. They are repeated so often, and I have so much business—
Clar. Now that you have been made a Privy Counsellor, I fear it will still be worse! Well, heaven grant you health, and may you act as you ought, and all may be well yet.
P. Coun. Why, father, did you return the money I sent?—
Clar. Because, thank God! I do not want it. What is the use of having more than is necessary, to supply the wants of life?—I think you have more.
P. Coun. There is no great harm in that.
Clar. But I think there is! People will have strange ideas, and do strange things, when they have too much. If I must tell you my mind, son, I am not altogether pleased to see you raised so high of a sudden, Our plain citizens are not altogether satisfied with you and your elevation. They think the other gentlemen shove you near the fire to get the roasted chesnuts out of the coals for themselves, and that you are a good cat's paw. Such, for instance, is that bequest to old Counsellor Reissman.
P. Coun. Pray, tell me, father, what induces you to oppose that will, which is legal, though I must own it bears hard on the children.
Clar. Jack, you know your father long, though for some time since you have made a stranger of yourself.—What would you think of me, if I had not commenced the suit?
P. Coun. The claim rests on a will.
Clar. Which has been obtained, by the old Counsellor, by undue influence; is not that your opinion?
P. Coun. Can that be proved?—
Clar. We must see—
P. Coun. If you cannot prove it, the Counsellor will recover.
Clar. He certainly will, and therefore you must assist me to combat him.
P. Coun. Who, I? How came you to think so? Well, we will leave the cause to take its due course, and so should you.—
Clar. Ay, ay, Jack.
P. Coun. Besides, I must tell you, Reissman proposes to give me his daughter.
Clar. So I hear. The lady has all my best wishes. Heaven prosper your union! But sure you would not begin it by an act of injustice!
P. Coun. No, certainly not! But why would you, suppose even though Reissman were wrong,—why would you, for the sake of strangers, destroy my happiness?
Clar. Can poor, injured, unhappy children, in any situation, be strangers to me? And have wards, intrusted to my care, fewer titles to my assistance than my own children? And have not you, in the name of the magistrates, appointed me one of their guardians?
P. Coun. That, as they are unfortunate, I might see them in good hands.
Clar. Why, they are in good hands. I am come to request you to see the business speedily executed. Of the verdict itself I will make no mention. You will act as an honest man, or else I must despise you, and look for redress elsewhere. Meanwhile, I tell you, the children shall not go to the hospital, because that is impracticable.
P. Coun. Father, I Have given my word.
Clar. You must recall it.
P. Coun. How can I?
Clar. Say you did not understand the matter. It is upon my word better than to expose your name to shame or ridicule, and to fill your mind with inquietude.
P. Coun. Father, I love you dearly, but pray do not interfere with my business.
Clar. Very well; then you act as Privy Counsellor, as you think proper; and I, as trustee of the hospital and guardian of the children, will do the same.
P. Coun. Cannot we talk of more agreeable things, and drop that question. I wish you so well, but you reject all I propose.
Clar. You make me presents in money, and, I am told, you want to make me mayor of the town. Jack, make me no presents! do good to town and country; and, if you can, come after your business is done. I do not care if it be but once or twice every three months; come to me in my timber-yard. Then we will close the doors, seat ourselves in the little bower, where, when a boy, you used to sit so industriously about your tasks; there we will spend an hour in happy converse, and drink a glass of old wine that you shall send me; then I will thank God for my dear boy, who has continued to be a good son, and, when you leave me again to repair to your desk, I will give you my blessing, and look after you, till you are quite out of sight! Do you see, Jack, I ask no more;—I have no occasion for more; but this I earnestly request of you. Give me your hand, that you will do it. That is the way I wish you to honour and to please me.
P. Coun. I shall do more, father. Pray accept it, and—
Clar. All your other honours are of little estimation in my sight; these grey hairs, blanched with care and toil, shall never be covered with a long bushy wig; look at these hands, rough with labour; look on your father, as you know his ways; you also know that he is neither to be drawn nor driven out of them; Master Clarenbach, even in the office of Mayor, would not suit your fine apartments and your fine company. What, to remain at home, as motionless as an old statue, scarce permitted to speak to an old friend, lest it should lessen his dignity, or break in on his gravity! What, to remain in such a situation, and see people work and move before his window! Jack, that will not do. Pray, as I never found fault with you for being too high, do not find fault with me for being too low; it is best suited to my age and inclinations.
P. Coun. Certainly not; but Mr. Reissman insists on it, as a principal condition.
Clar. I hope you know that there is a wide difference betwixt your father and Mr. Reissman. My axe, since I could raise it, has been employed in raising houses for the industrious, and his pen, since he could handle it, in pulling them down again.
P. Coun. This is the only service you can render me now father; is it not unkind to refuse me then?
Clar. The only service I can render you now? What, if the cares and inquietudes of rank and office should lay you on a sick bed, who would attend you with so much tenderness and affection as your old father? What if your house should take fire, I would be the first to ascend through the flames; but I will not climb into office and rank, I tell you that.
P. Coun. You must give way, father.—
Clar. You now stand on high; may you so stand respected by your fellow citizens and approved by your own conscience is the sincerest wish of your old father! Therefore, I prefer my complaints to you against a man; his name is Grobman, an ironmonger. This wretch wanted to persuade me, that you had taken two thousand dollars from another, to let him have the monopoly. He offered me two hundred dollars, if I would gain you over to his interest. Arrest the vile slanderer.
P. Coun. That fellow is an ideot.
Clar. God forbid! he is much worse. I have told him I would inform against him, and so I have to a few of my acquaintances.
P. Coun. Why so?
Clar. That you should make an example of him.
P. Coun. What is all this fuss? Why do you interfere with my concerns?
Clar. Concerns? I am as anxious for your honour as I am for your life! Do not you bear my name, which has always been as good as the best bond, in this place, time out of mind? Are not you my son? Are not you the representative of our sovereign? Is not the least stain visible on your ermine? Is it, or is it not true, Jack?—No, no, I say; it is impossible, it cannot be true!
P. Coun. It is possible; it is so, but done in a manner which cannot—
Clar. Do not speak, I will not know it. I—-I—cannot (going from him) look on you. Is that your wisdom! your honour! your integrity! Have I, therefore,—well,—if matters are so with you, then do as you like; enquire no more after me, come no more to see me; you ought to be ashamed of yourself, in the presence of your honest father. Farewell, Jack; repent and amend. I will visit you no more, till you have altered your ways, and divided your cursed mammon among the poor. Live on your honest earnings; then come to me, tender me a clean hand, and I will bless you. (Exit.)
PRIVY COUNSELLOR, (alone.)
P. Coun. Whimsical, honest man!—Whoever is forced up to the giddy summit, must hold as fast as he can, and by what he can.
Enter Counsellor SELLING.
P. Coun. What part of the world have you come from Selling?
Sell. From Miss Frederica.
P. Coun. From my sister? how is she? Has the new furniture been carried home?
Sell. Beautiful, splendid! thanks to your care! Old papa will open all his eyes when he comes home. All the old furniture has been carried off, and the room looks very elegant with all the new things you have sent.
P. Coun. And Frederica?—
Sell. She was so uneasy, she did not know what to do with herself. She fixed her eyes on every article as it was carried off, as if she took leave of an old friend. But the large easy chair still remains; she grasped it with both hands, and would not suffer it to be removed.
P. Coun. These people must be metamorphosed; we must see how they reconcile themselves to it.
Sell. But, what a man you are! What a noble heart, to be thus attached to your family!
P. Coun. Very natural. I am indebted to my father for so many things;—and Frederica is a good-natured creature.
Sell. More than that. I know none of her sex that strives so anxiously to cultivate her understanding, and to exalt her faculties to an extraordinary height.
P. Coun. (gives him his hand.) I am glad you find her so.
Sell. With your permission, Frederica will now assume a different dress, better suited to the furniture you have sent.
P. Coun. I have to thank you for this attention.
Sell. By your direction I do all that lies in my power to fan the girl's ambition. If that Mr. Gernau only—
P. Coun. That fool! He shall be removed. All has been prepared, and is now determined on; He goes to Friethal. His patent is in hand.
Sell. It is too lenient for his stubborn opposition. This indulgence on your side will gain you every heart.
P. Coun. Do you think I am rather popular?
Sell. Popular? People venerate you with enthusiasm! And what have you not done to acquire this popularity? The formation of the new roads, under your wise regulation, without any burthen to the individual! the increase of commerce—
P. Coun. I have done a great deal; I think I may claim some merit.
Sell. The abolition of beggary; the institution for the support of the indigent—
P. Coun. Oh! there are so many things to be done yet!
Sell. And you have so much power in your hand. What do you say to my last performance?
P. Coun. I have perused it. To be candid, you must apply yourself more to solid knowledge. There are glaring faults in it.—
Sell. Under your inspection—
P. Coun. With all my heart. But you must do more, and then the faults in orthography are too numerous. Call in the assistance of a good grammarian.
Sell. I will endeavour—
P. Coun. Your motion in the court-house of yesterday, that the foot-passenger should be prohibited to walk in the middle of the street, has provoked some laughter.
Sell. I wanted to propose something in my turn too.
P. Coun. It is too trifling. Wait for the motions of the senior barristers, and—
Sell. I wanted to give myself a little air of consequence by a motion of my own, hence—
P. Coun. No, no. If you have nothing of greater consequence to propose, you had better walk like the rest in the middle of the street. (They retire to the closet.)
Master CLARENBACH's house.
Instead of the furniture which appeared in the first act, a modern writing-desk and handsome chairs.
Enter FREDERICA, followed by a servant with a large band-box.
Fred. My name is Frederica; what do you want with me?
Serv. To take these things, madam.
Fred. I will take nothing.
Serv. And I will take back nothing.
Fred. Who has sent you to me?
Serv. Somebody that has a right, I suppose. (Puts down the band-box, and retires.)
Fred. (alone.) It may remain there, I will not touch it; I will not look at it. (Going from the band-box.) Sure, there are some articles of dress for me in it. It is odd that they will not leave us as we wish, to our own wishes. (Draws a step nearer.) It may not be for me perhaps. (Reads the direction at a distance.) To Miss Frederica Clarenbach; but it is addressed to me, I see! If any person,—if Gernau should happen to come in, I must remove the box. (Takes hold of it.) Quite light! as light as a feather! What does it contain? What is that to me? (Takes it up, and walks a few paces.) If Gernau should now meet me, it would look as if I wanted to conceal something. Dear me! (Places it at some distance on the floor,) my brother must have sent it! Somebody that has a right to do so, the fellow said; that must be my brother, and so I may look at it. Besides, my father will certainly send back the furniture, and then this may bear the rest company. Now, if I should not even look at it, it would seem as if I despised my brother. No, I will open and look at the things; but certainly I will keep none. (Kneels down, cuts the strings, opens the lid, and starts up in surprise.) Ay dear! how pretty! (Kneels down again.) A cloak! O what beautiful lace! hem! why, a cloak is not too gay for tradesfolks; I think it is part of their dress; I may keep it. (Puts it on.) As if it had been made for me! (Kneels down again.) A hat! a very pretty one indeed!—but a feather,—no, God forbid! (Pause.) All but that feather,—I might wear it without a feather. A new hat, I wonder how I look in it! (Puts it on, and then steps up to the glass.) Pretty well;—and the cap under the hat,—that looks like the picture of the handsome English lady at my brother's. (Returns to the box.) What is that red stuff? (Takes out a gown.) Rose-Colour! (Astonished, calls out aloud.) Satin! (The gown drops on the floor?) Satin! God forbid I should wear satin! That is too gaudy, too glossy, too shewy; it would draw all the neighbours to their windows. (Takes up the gown.) I hope I have spoiled nothing. (Hangs it over a chair, kneels down, and continues to examine the box.)
Enter SOPHIA REISSMAN.
Sophia knocks. Frederica screams, and covers her face with her hands.
Soph. (comes in.) Any good people in this house? (Fred. rises and curtesies, her eyes cast down.) They must be all dead, as no one is to be found.
Fred. I am quite alone in the house, madam.
Soph. Do you know me, sweet girl?
Fred. You are, Miss—yes—but—
Soph. Reissman. The Aulic Counsellor Reissman's daughter.
Fred. So; I am glad; I know it well enough; but pray do me the favour to be seated.
Soph. My visit will be but short. I am come to form an acquaintance with the sister of a gentleman who is not indifferent to me, as you may know perhaps.
Fred. We have been told, that he is to have the honour—
Soph. And then I wish to put a question to you, in whose praise I have heard so much, and for whom I entertain great esteem. I expect you will answer it candidly.
Fred. You do me an honour.
Soph. Nothing of that. We are going to be nearer,—nay, very nearly connected with one another. My happiness is concerned in that question; and so I had rather hear you say, that the confidence I repose in you gives you pleasure, if it really does so.
Fred. Pardon my surprise. I am not myself in this moment. I am masqued in a dress that is not suited to my condition in life. My brother has sent it to me. I mean to return the whole. Now I have told you so, I am more easy; and I am now ready to answer every question you may ask with candour.
Soph. Well then, I will candidly own, that I love and esteem your brother for what he is, for what he yet may become, and for what, I hope, he will yet be willing to become. In one respect only I am quite a stranger to him, and in this respect I must remain so, if—and therefore I have applied to you. Upon what footing, pray, are you with him, you and your father?
Fred. We? Upon a good footing! (After a pause with affected vivacity.) Oh, upon a very good footing!
Soph. I say no.
Fred. We are, indeed.
Soph. And again I say no. His silence made me suspect him. And you, my good girl, if you were quite satisfied with his conduct, quite so, as a sister would be with a good brother, you would, in answer to my question, have told me all that love, gratitude, and benevolence, can inspire in one continued strain. You, therefore, are not, at least not particularly so, upon good terms. Whose fault can that be? I am sure not your good father's: report contradicts that; and, I think, I have partly convinced myself of it. Consequently, it is your brother's fault; and that I do not like.
Fred. Your suppositions crowd so upon me—
Soph. Not my suppositions, but truth. Had you satisfactory truth to return, you would not hesitate so much.
Fred. It may be easily conceived, that the difference of rank between him and us will occasion many trifling differences, for which we blame my brother more than we ought perhaps.
Soph. It may be so partly;—but then it should be no more than trifling, and as such ought always to be removed by him who has the advantage.
Gernau, startled at Frederica's dress, discovers the satin gown;—steps forward; once more looks at Frederica, bows politely to Sophia, and is going to withdraw.
Fred. Stay, if you please.—
Gern. I do not wish to intrude.
Soph. No ceremonies; our conversation is at an end. It is not the last we shall have, I hope. In that case it has been of use, if not to us all, most certainly to me.
Frederica is greatly embarrassed, while Gernau, unable to conceal his chagrin, and to keep his countenance, examines the satin.
Soph. (observing both.) If I mistake not, Sir, you have a particular interest that every dress should become this amiable girl;—you certainly are of my opinion, that all the pretty things her brother has just now sent her cannot add to her charms. (Curtesies to him and to Frederica.) Good bye. (Goes.)
(Fred. attends her.)
Soph. (turns quick round.) If my visit has proved agreeable, I beg you will not attend me; and you, Sir, may meanwhile confirm, that I am right in my opinion of my young friend. (Exit quickly.)
Fred. I shall stay then, dear Friend. What do you think of me? (Takes off her cloak and hat.)
Gern. I think I find you quite in the modern stile.
Fred. All sent by my brother.
Gern. Very gallant! and then the furniture, all is strange to me.
Fred. All from my brother.
Gern. What is meant? Perhaps in honour of my departure?
Gern. I am going to be removed from this place.
Fred. Where to?
Gern. To Freethal.
Gern. Yes, yes! your brother, I see, has great views concerning this house. O Frederica, I came in such a melancholy mood!—Your gaudy dress, and all this superb furniture, cast such a gloom over my mind.
Fred. You removed? And, when he robs my heart of all that is dear to it, he sends me satin and tinsel, and hopes by that to bribe me. What a mean opinion he must entertain of me! and how I dislike him!
Gern. Frederica, what is to become of me! When we shall be at so great a distance from each other; when, in obedience to my official duties, I must fly over hill and valley, your picture in my mind, and my heart beating only for you, the image of the poor huntsman will soon be effaced by the splendid objects with which you are going to be dazzled.
Fred. No! and away with the first temptation they have prepared for me; help me to pack up these things; they shall be returned this minute. (Takes the satin, Gernau helps her to fold it up, and they carry it to the box; she kneels down to put the gown in, whilst he holds the other end; he stoops and looks in the box, and then says,)
Gern. What is that?
Fred. (holding up the gown?) What?
Gern. A pocket-book!
Fred. Put it down. All shall go. I will keep nothing.
Gern. What paper is that, that sticks out there?
Fred. Take it.
Gern. (Pulls out a note.) That is not your brother's hand.
Fred. I have not yet seen that pocket-book.
Gern. Oh, very likely! (Reads.) "These dresses are destined to envelope the angel I adore; accept them as a small token of my sincere affections. Selling."—Take, for my last adieu, contempt, thou faithless perfidious girl! (Throws the pocket-book at her feet, and flies off.)
Enter Master CLARENBACH.
Clar. What is the matter here?
Fred. Stop him!
Gern. Leave me!—
Clar. (lays hold of him.) Well, stop a moment! What is it? What, (looks round,) good heaven, what is all this!
Fred. My brother!—
Gern. (shoving the box towards him.) Counsellor Selling!
Clar. Where is my furniture? who had the impudence? who has permitted it? Girl, daughter, Frederica! where was you when all this was done? where is my furniture, my furniture? What are your intentions, people? (looking at the box.) What is that, what is it?
Gern. Counsellor Selling's livery.
Fred. An incomprehensible present for me.
Clar. Pack up; lay hold; each of you a piece; carry it into the passage! Ere night all shall be packed up, and packed off too. (All take a piece of furniture, Gernau takes the band-box.) Stop, stop! each two pieces! take up—(whilst they are each taking two pieces, he discovers the easy chair, and shoves it into the middle of the room.) So thou art here yet, old friend! that is right! (lifts up both his arms.) You are the capital of my rank in life; (giving a knock against the chair,) and thou art the land-mark to point out how far I should extend the use of that capital. Away with the rest! away, I say! (They carry off the furniture.)
The Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN's House.
Enter REISSMAN, with hat and cane.
Reiss. Not here neither? (Rings the bell.) Where then can she be,—my young lady, my daughter?
Reiss. Where is my daughter?
Serv. In the garden.
Reiss. Run and tell her to come directly.
Serv. (exit.) Now it is done, (walking up and down pleased.) Now it is right, and—(stops suddenly,) but that perverse old-fashioned fellow, with his pious lamentations—Pshaw! my intended son-in-law must manage him, and that quickly too, or he shall not have the girl. He is in love with her and the money,—a twofold inducement! He is in my hand, because his conscience is not altogether free,—a triple security!
Soph. You have ordered—
Reiss. I congratulate you, my dear daughter, on your approaching nuptials with the Privy Counsellor. The suit is won; the bequest is confirmed; the money is mine; Victoria!
Soph. (coldly.) So?
Reiss. Yes, truly! Well, what does my dear child say?
Soph. You have carried off the prize.
Reiss. Yes! that is what I have just said.
Soph. Then you have attained your wish.
Reiss. Attained your wish! Is that a reply, when 10,000 pounds have fallen to my lot? Is that the behaviour of a daughter to her father on so happy an occasion.
Soph. Dear father, will not you permit me to reflect a little on those that have lost that immense sum.
Reiss. They are entire strangers to us both, no way related to us.
Soph. The legacy was left by a stranger too.
Reiss. And now it is mine; and if thou wilt not rejoice with me—
Soph. Excuse me, I cannot.
Reiss. Then I will call in persons from the street, that they may share my pleasure. (Pauses.) Speak, unnatural child, and rejoice!
Soph. I am silent, I do not wish to offend you, I love you with all the tenderness of a dutiful child.
Reiss. Would I had a son that knew how to place a due value on this, to enjoy it, to double it, then it would be worth while! But now, when I wish to enjoy the result of all my plans, and the successes I have met with in all my life, I have your sentimental feelings to encounter; and then I would rather relate my happiness to one of the ever-green pyramids in the garden than to you.
Soph. O heaven!
Reiss. And who is to reap the benefit but you, and you only? When I am gone, you may settle annuities upon all the beggars of the country, travel through the rugged mountains, waste my dear wealth in cottages, and scatter hard dollars like pebbles.
Soph. Give me but a sufficient allowance, restore the remainder to Brunnig's children, and I will thank you on my knees.
Reiss. Indeed! Aye, if I were to give you the money and the bond, to divide among those brats, it would make a nice anecdote in the newspapers. Zounds! I am apt to think, that, when you come to the possession of all my property, you will scarce do so much as to erect a small monument to the memory of your father.
Soph. Alas! Brunnig's children would form the fittest groupe of weeping orphans around such a monument.
Reiss. Ungrateful wretch! is this the return for my parental affection? Was it not through the view of gaining this legacy that I raised a deputy to the rank of a privy counsellor? Who is my wealth to devolve to but you and him?
Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.
Reiss. There he is! Thanks, my hearty thanks for the dispatch! That is what I call business. That is what I call a specimen of a useful son-in-law.—Now Miss may fix the happy day. She will tell us more about it at dinner, I will step down to the cellar, and take care that we shall have the best it can afford. We will pour liquid gold down our throats to solemnize the acquisition of solid gold. [Exit.
SOPHIA, Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.
Sophia wipes her eyes.
P. Coun. (after a pause.) Why does my dear Sophia weep?
Soph. My father is pleased with you.
P. Coun. I see I am the cause of your grief.
Soph. Does your conscience tell you so?
P. Coun. Your tears do.
Soph. (after a pause.) Well, then, answer my tears.
P, Coun. (shrugs up his shoulders.) The dead letter has decided in this business, as it does in many more, where our feelings would decide in a different manner, but dare not.
Soph. And dare not!—Further—
P. Coun. Further it fills me with the deepest distress to see my Sophia thus distressed. I am not to blame. I would give any thing to alter the circumstance.
Soph. Any thing?—do not be offended at this question. It conveys no doubt. It contains my firmest confidence in the heart of the man to whom I am going to tender mine,—to whom I have tendered it already. Yes, Clarenbach, I do not conceal it from you; I could not leave you without giving myself up to those tears.
P. Coun. Sophia, my angel! the promised companion of my life, my guardian angel, the most precious gift of providence! How dare I presume to merit your partiality? No! I shall never be able to merit you. Such purity and goodness of mind! how can I convince you of the sincerity of my esteem?
P. Coun. (takes her by the hand.) Sophia!
Soph. A wife has many duties to discharge. And I must tell you before hand, I shall never content myself merely to be your wife, unless I am able to influence you and your actions.
P. Coun. To bless those for whom I am to act.
Soph. But what will be my powers over you? I know the first generous impulse of your heart is always good; but then ambition,—let me speak truth to you,—avarice, the offspring of ambition, leads you astray, and contaminates the source of your first feelings.
P. Coun. (looks aside?) It is so! (after a pause?) Love will buoy me up.
Soph. I shall crave little for myself; but in a just cause I shall at all times insist upon having every thing entire. I shall not relent; the man of my heart must act in full; his actions and motives must appear as clear before the eye of the world as they do in the eye of heaven.—Now the question is, will you, on these conditions, give me your hand? Answer me?
P. Coun. (drops at his feet.) Sophia!
Soph. Rise! I expect no answer from love, but from your conviction. Try your own self. The answer, which you are to give me now, is more than that which you are to give at the foot of the altar; there we are to exchange vows, and all will be settled; but here,—by ourselves,—no witnesses but ourselves,—here, where nothing influences us but the sentiment of future happiness or sorrow, which we create to ourselves, and our eternal responsibility, which, at every motion of the pulse, admonishes us with increased force:—to speak truth,—here we are to unite our hearts for ever,—or separate. Once more then I repeat, on different conditions I will not accept your hand; am I your choice on these conditions!
P. Coun. Yes, yes, yes! Do not you read in my eyes that I understand you, that I look up to you as the source of future bliss; that I repent the past; that with candour and faith, from the bottom of my heart, in this delightful solemn moment, I crave your hand, and feel myself quite happy.
Soph. Well my friend, my dear, my beloved friend! I give credit to all you say, and feel unspeakably happy; even your failings lie on the road to rare perfections, and I vow to heaven that I hope those failings will soon vanish.
P. Coun. You open to me the prospect of paridisic futurity. I shall be active in the promoting the benefit of my country, and rise superior to dirty, narrow, selfish views! recompensed by your approbation, your joys, and sometimes by your tears. Your gentle hand shall reach me the petitions of the wretched, the widow, and the orphan,—and my abilities shall be called forth in their behalf. O Sophia! our wedding day shall long be remembered by the cottagers; every face shall beam with smiles.
Soph. May it be so! may we, hand in hand, conduct our vows pure to the altar, that we may become securities to each other for our future happiness. In virtue of your solemn promise, and as your bride, I lay down two conditions previous to our union; if you assent, I will be your wife, not otherwise.
P. Coun. Speak, that I may have an opportunity to thank you; to promise and perform.
Soph. The first is, that my father, convinced by you, shall instantly? resign the legacy into the hands that ought to receive it.—O Clarenbach! here the daughter must remain silent, and your conviction must finish what would rend my heart! (Privy Counsellor claps his hand together.—Sophia continues after a pause.) The second condition is, that, as I feel I demand much, though convinced I could demand no less,—you shall shorten that state of uncertainty, and by three o'clock this afternoon bring me an answer on that subject. You are not to bring it here; but to the place which this paper (taking out of her pocket a sealed paper) points out. You must not open it till five minutes before three. Pledge me your hand.
P. Coun. (pressing her hand.) My word of honour!
Soph. (after a pause, during which she has been gazing on him with tenderness, utters in a steady tone,) Adieu, (going,) my friend!
P. Coun. (without parting with her hand.) O Sophia, Sophia! what have you demanded!
Soph. (having gently disengaged her hand.) The Chief Judge of my country cannot wish to give me the hand which signed the deed that robs orphans of their right! And, if he thinks he has performed his duty as a judge, let him blush as a man, if he means to conduct me and the spoil at one and the same time to his house. If the man, whom I and the people honour, cannot feel so, the sentiment of my own worth will teach me how to forget him. [Exit.
P. Coun. Sophia,—girl,—soul, to which I know no equal! thou hast raised and again precipitated me to the deepest abyss. You shewed me a glimpse of heaven, and then veiled the bright view from my enraptured sight. Noble, kind, cruel girl! Oh, I could weep as I did in the first impression of love! (throws himself in a chair.) I could weep virtuous tears! Oh! what now am I, what do I now feel! O the power of pure love!—without thee I cannot exist. (Starts up.) Sophia! better being! forget the past, build thy requests upon the future; they commit murder on thy father and me! (Going, meets Counsellor Wellenberg at the door.)
Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH, Counsellor WELLENBERG.
Well. Most honoured Sir.
P. Coun. What is your pleasure, Sir?
Well. I am forced, by necessity, to go in quest of you, Sir; the suit of the poor orphans—
P. Coun. Is determined; the will is confirmed.
Well. I know. (Pulls out a paper.) This is the decree. The oftener I peruse it, and the longer I consider it, the more it resembles a poor chest forced open, beat to pieces, and in the end carried off.
P. Coun. You grow impertinent, Sir.
Well. No, most honoured Sir! but I am filled with spirit and courage, like an old trusty servant, armed with perseverance and justice in the cause of the orphan, which calls aloud to heaven for redress. That I am, and that you will find me.
P. Coun. Do you intend to appeal?
Well. Yes, I do, indeed.
P. Coun. Well, do so, and leave me.
Well. No, no; I will not leave you. I appeal to you, most honoured Sir, not qua judex, but qua homo, qua homo, who believes in the day of judgment, and, at the sound of the last trump, would wish to be called to the right; not to be left among the damned, where many an Aulic Counsellor will be found, I am afraid.
P. Coun. I honour the feelings that animate you, Sir; but they are foreign to the affair. Appeal in form, at—
Well. To avoid all replicas, duplicas, et fatalia, that may delay and put off the cause, I will put you an argumentum, that, eo ipso, shall invalidate your sentence, and re-instate the poor children in their right, assigned to them by God and justice.
P. Coun. (pauses.) Are you possessed of such an argument? (With surprise.) It will be welcome.
Well. Indeed! what you should call truly welcome?—
P. Coun. By heaven, very welcome!
Well. Then give me the embrace of a good man, (Privy Counsellor goes to embrace him,) without touching my hands, which at this present time labour under the chiragra. (Embraces him.) So our town has doubted your humanity, and been of opinion that it is detained as a prisoner in a gold purse.—You blush;—well, that for a Privy Counsellor is a good sign; I will circulate it among the multitude. Now my argumentum is, that—
Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.
Reiss. Ay, see there our old honest friend Wellenberg. (Shakes him by the hand.)
Well. Oh!—oh dear, oh dear! that God—
Reiss. What is the matter?
Well. (puts one hand in his bosom.) Quoad, old and honest? Yes, Quoad, friend?—The status amicitiae case cannot exist; for, if that were the case, you ought to have known that I am afflicted with the chiragra, and not to have squeezed my hands so as to make me cry out in such harsh tones, for which I ought to crave, and do crave, pardon of my most honoured Sir.
P. Coun. A particular circumstance has taken place. The gentleman thinks he has found an argument that will invalidate the sentence pronounced in the cause of the disputed legatees, and re-instate the heirs of Brunnig in that property.
Well. Yes, it is so. Doctor Kannenfeld, namely, has been visited by heaven with a severe fit of illness, and brought near the gates of death. Moved by the exhortations of his spiritual director, he sent for me to attend, and, amidst tears and groans, confessed that he has deprived the children of their lawful property—
P. Coun. What is that?
Reiss. (frightened.) How?
Well. Being, by a certain quidam, whom the finger of heaven, whilst we are here speaking about the matter, has severely touched, persuaded, and bribed, partly to conceal, and even partly to deny the insanity of the testatrix, at the time when the will was made, which robs the true heirs of their due.
P. Coun. (in a low voice.) My God! (Pauses.)
Well. It is so.
Reiss. (embarrassed) Is Doctor Kannenfeld ill? Ay, ay?
Well. He is very ill. He has stated and deposed all the particulars concerning the certain quidam.
Well. Ay, if I were in your stead, I would say to myself, "True, I have won the cause, but I will not keep what is not mine;" your conscience then would applaud you, and your fellow-citizens would esteem you; you would find consolation under every affliction, and when the cold hand of death had arrested almost every faculty, and benumbed almost every sense, your soul would look up with trembling confidence to heaven. The poor orphans would gather round your dying bed, and weep for their second father. Thus speaks old Wallenberg, gentlemen, whose life has been spent in settling the disputes of this world according to the mild precepts of christianity, a religion that at once consults our happiness here and hereafter. [Exit.
P. Coun. (to Reissman.) For heaven's sake!
Reiss. Poh! no matter, (Calls after Wellenberg.) Mr. Wellenberg!
Well. (turns round, without however coming back.) Well? P[oe]nitet me?
Reiss. What ails Dr. Kannenfeld?
Well. A burning fever.
Reiss. So? Ho ho! A burning fever!—ha, ha, ha! old gentleman!—and his intellects? When a man lies in a raging fever, and denounces honest people, what credit ought to be attached to it?
Well. In lucidis intervallis?
Reiss. Burning fever is only another word for madness; the denunciations of a madman is valid only with madmen.
Well. Shall I take them in the presence of witnesses? Shall the faculty make an affidavit of the state of his mind?
Reiss. Do as you please.
Well. And should he die and leave such a deposition?
Reiss. Then it is the deposition of a madman.
Well. Hem! (musing.) And if, aided by all the courts, I were to put you to an oath concerning the foul means you employed to get that will made in your favour—
Reiss. What then?
Well. Then you will—
P. Coun. It is a disagreeable affair I see; and Mr. Reissman has already declared that at all events he was disposed, through mere benevolence, to give up part of the legacy.
Well. What he means to do, let him do in full, and not by halves.
Reiss. Nothing; not a single penny! as you want to compel me, not a single penny! Your sick madman is a calumniator, and so—
Well. Vera laus est laudari a viro laudato.
Reiss. Now, do not rouze my passion, but get you gone. In writing, do as you think proper; I shall know what to do on my side.
Well. Fiat!—Then I will set to work, that the judgment of God may be made manifest on the unjust. [Exit.
Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH, Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.
P. Coun. (confused.) Sir, you see me go perplexed—
Reiss. Do not you talk, you have spoiled all.
P. Coun. I will run after him.
Reiss. You shall not, Sir.
P. Coun. You are undone.
Reiss. Who says so?
P. Coun. God forbid you should take the oath.
Reiss. Instead of standing there by the side of that insect of the law, like a scholar that has received a wrap over his knuckles, you ought to have thundered him down with the voice of a judge, with influence and authority.
P. Coun. But I knew nothing of those shocking circumstances before.
Reiss. Hem! As if there was any difference between persuading a foolish woman to make a will, or getting a fellow that is half mad to draw it up. The former, however, you have supposed to be the case, and yet your morality sustained no shock.
P. Coun. But the oath?—
Reiss. Your pretended delicacy of conscience revolts at it; the mere cowardice of a boy. Who are you, that now takes the part of conscience against me? Are you a better man than I?
P. Coun. Whose work is it?
Reiss. You are a greater coward, but not the better man. Do not presume to raise yourself an inch above me. You have sold both right and bread.
P. Coun. Sir, the pupil may yet recede.
Reiss. If the master will let him; but the master holds him in his hand. If he recedes, mind that he must shrink into his original insignificance. He must hide from this world, for I—I shall not fall alone. If I fall, the ground around shall tremble! Do you take me?
P. Coun. Horrid and abominable!
Reiss. Perhaps you imagine, that I have transformed the carpenter's son into a privy counsellor, merely for the sake of having him for a son-in-law? or because you are master of a tolerable good stile? No, you shall serve me, because you are both good enough and bad enough for the purpose.
P. Coun. But I will not, I will not! I say, with all the resolution, with all the exertion of every one of those good feelings which you would sear and benumb.
Reiss. Too late. You are so entangled, that you can neither advance nor recede. You are fixed where I have placed you.—Thus much for the present. Now leave me in my native good humour. As to the old lawyer, I can soon manage him, never fear—Get the better of your squeamish conscience, and come to dinner.
P. Coun. I cannot.
Reiss. I desire it,—I insist upon it.
Enter Counsellor SELLING.
Sell. Miss has sent me up;—dinner is on the table.
Reiss. Come, gentlemen.
Sell. You have won the day.
Sell. I wish you joy.
Reiss. Now here is the Privy Counsellor, who puzzles his head about some talk concerning the will.
Sell. Ah, that should not puzzle me.
Reiss. Beati possidentes! Either, or—
P. Coun. Or!—-there is the rub.
Enter MASTER CLARENBACH.
Clar. With your permission, gentlemen, I want to speak with my son.
Reiss. By yourselves?
Clar. Hem!—I should think so!
Reiss. Well, then do not let us wait long. (to the Privy Counsellor, half audible.) You have understood, me sufficiently, I think.—Servant, Master Clarenbach. Come along, Counsellor. [Exeunt.
PRIVY COUNSELLOR, MASTER CLARENBACH.
Clar. I must come to you once more;—have you seen old Wellenberg?
P. Coun. Yes.
Clar. Well, what do you say about it?
P. Coun. I am shocked.
Clar. Thank God! What do you mean to do?
P. Coun. Alas! what can I do?
Clar. Jack, your honour is already in great arrears with our town, and your conscience does not altogether keep a fair day-book. I ask you, in the name of God, what do you mean to do?
P. Coun. All I can, father!
Clar. If you are in earnest, come along with me; let us go from hence.
P. Coun. Why so soon,—and whither?
Clar. Fly, fly from the brink of destruction. You must not dine here, you must not remain here any longer. You must not marry into this family.
P. Coun. The girl is my good genius. I cannot leave her.
Clar. Then her father, that bad genius, will not leave you! Do not struggle between the two. Come along with me; do as you ought; be afraid of no man, confide in God, and hope! You will have the girl at last. Come along with me.
P. Coun. I wish I could! were I not at once rivetted down here by the demon of evil, and irresistibly bid to stay by the power of virtue!
Clar. Jack, dear Jack, my son, do not send me away without you; come along with me.
P. Coun. I cannot; you see I cannot.
Clar. God have mercy on thee! thou art undone!
P. Coun. It may be. I am undone whether I stay or go. And so I will stay and strive, and see what I can yet retrieve of my honour.
Clar. How can you save the honour of your situation in life, if the honour of your heart be lost, and that must be lost among these people?—You have removed honest Gernau, because he acts up to his duty.—Your sister weeps bitterly,—the town despises you;—I have not yet frowned on you. and will not do so now, because I pity you. But I will leave this town, and take shelter with honest Gernau, who is to be my son-in-law.
P. Coun. You will leave this town?
Clar. I do not wish it. I shall, with tears, leave my timber-yard and the work which hitherto I have carried on with pleasure and success. But as there is no remedy to save you from destruction, I must go. I cannot witness it.
P. Coun. Is it my fault, if—
Clar. Your faults are many and great; your native town knows them, and despises you. I cannot see you lowered thus, Jack. It has not been in my power to make a great man of you, but I have educated you to be an honest man. I have taken care of the tree, while young, and now it is grown up, one branch decays after the other. And if it must be so, that no green sprig shall henceforth flourish, then I will turn my eyes from it, visit it no more, nor live on the spot where the withered stem, that I am so fond of, shall fall.
P. Coun. Father!
Clar. I cannot weep; but I feel myself very ill on your account.
Enter a Servant.
Serv. The company is waiting for the Privy Counsellor.
P. Coun. I am coming. [Exit Servant.
Clar. Dear son, do not let me go without you. Behold! you may still go with me as half a good man; we will all strive to mend the other bad half.—Have pity on yourself and me; you stand, upon my word, on the spot where the road divides,—the bad people in there, and here your old father. They hold out to you good and high life; I offer you peace and happiness.—For God's sake, Jack, follow me!
P. Coun. (embraces him.) I cannot do that; but I vow to you I will yet do much.
Clar. That is a good word, and no more. Farewell, I will set off.—I shall not see you again. Once more give me your hand.
P. Coun. No, I shall not do that. I will not part with you in this manner.
Clar. It is best so;—it shakes my whole frame,—and my daughter has likewise a claim on my life! Come then once more to this heart, that once delighted in you.—(Embraces him.)
P. Coun. Father!—
Clar. You weep over yourself! God! that it should come to this!—Now farewell; I forgive thee, and so does thy sister. May God take thy wealth from thee, that thou mayest amend, and sometime leave this world in peace!—Farewell! (Attempts to go.)
Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.
Reiss. Well, we are waiting.
Clar. (pulling his son towards him.) You would take him away from me,—tear him out of my arms,—drag him away!—he is my son, and no father will tamely suffer his son to precipitate himself into perdition. Jack, I will not leave thee, I will not yield thee up!—Thou art mine, nature and thy heart have closely interwoven us together; wilt thou, of thy own accord, leave me?
P. Coun. (throws his arms round him.) No, I cannot;—I will follow you hence!
Clar. God be praised, my son is saved!
[Exeunt arm in arm.—Reissman follows them a few steps, sets his arms a-kembow, and looks after them.
Aulic Counsellor Reissman's, the same room as in the preceding act.
Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN enters in a passion; SOPHIA follows.
Reiss. Not a word, not a word more, not a single syllable of that silly fool! What, to leave me and you, as if we were infected with the plague and breathed contagion? I cannot bear the affront, it shall not go unavenged. I had rather die a thousand deaths.
Soph. Was it not his father that desired him to go with him? and you know he ought to obey him.
Reiss. Who am I, and what is his father? Do not name him any more in my hearing; you must not see him any more, nor even think of him. That petty Privy Counsellor is now dead and buried to me.
Soph. By your advice I listened to his addresses.
Reiss. Forget him then by my command.
Serv. Grobman, the ironmonger.
Reiss. Very well, very well; shew him in. [Exit Servant.
Reiss. (to Sophia.) You may retire, go!
Soph. Your commands [Exit.
Reiss. Fie upon him! a creature that I raised from obscurity!—a fellow, who eight years ago was a petty fogger, whom I have raised to the rank of a Privy Counseller!—I was a fool when I did so;—such a fellow soar over my head! (Stamps with his foot.) I would sooner see the whole frame of nature dissolve. I will not lose sight of my object; I will proceed with spirit and caution. I have raised the useless pile, I will pull it down again.
Reiss. (calm and friendly.) What is your pleasure, dear Mr.——?
Grob. Benniger has obtained the monopoly.
Reiss. You do not say so, do you?
Grab. The Privy Counsellor is to procure it for 2300 dollars, which sum is to be paid this afternoon.
Grob. It is but too true. The money is to be paid to Counsellor Selling.
Reiss. (confidentially.) I must tell you that Selling has already mentioned something to me about it. The young man's conscience is alarmed. He does not like to lend a hand in those sort of things. But I would not believe it.
Grob. It is but too certain.
Reiss. O Lord! who could think any thing like it of such a man? that is mean, that is—that must not be permitted. Ay, ay! and the minister prefers such a man, reposes confidence in him, because men, like me, take him by the hand. They think, because such a man is of a low extraction, he must have the interest of the lower class at heart. And then he will betray and sell the state!
Grob. As an inhabitant, I ought to have the preference to a stranger.
Reiss. Most undoubtedly.
Grob. I am very willing to go to some expence too, only—
Reiss. Not a single penny; God forbid I should be guilty of such a sin! That contract with Benniger must be annulled.
Grob. If that were possible, I would with all my heart—
Reiss. Ay, it must be so. I am very intimate with the Privy Counsellor. He was to have my daughter; but I will never give her to a man like him. You must furnish me immediately with a plea, in which you must develope the whole transaction.
Grob. Good God! the Privy Counsellor!
Reiss. I give you my word and hand, as an honest man, I will run all the consequences. In such a case one is in conscience bound; only let me have the declaration immediately. I will manage in such a manner that the Privy Counsellor shall come off with tolerable good credit.
Grob. If you will do that—
Reiss. Yes, yes, yes!
Grob. But Counsellor Selling—
Reiss. Is a young man;—out of fear of displeasing the Privy Counsellor, he has lent his aid. Such a young man may yet be taught in time. That is my principal object.
Grob. Well, the declaration shall be drawn up without delay. Heaven bless you, dear Sir, for thus taking the part of a poor fellow-townsman! [Exit.
Reiss. My duty, my duty!—Bravo, little Selling, that is prettily managed!
Enter Counsellor SELLING.
Sell. Old Wellenberg wishes to call on you.
Reiss. Has he taken any steps yet with the Doctor, concerning the mad patient?
Sell. No, the Doctor is breathing his last.
Reiss. If God should call him off, the calumniator will escape a very serious action in this world. Now my claims and the will have been confirmed, I will, of my own accord, make the children a handsome present.
Sell. Very laudable!
Reiss. When is Benniger to bring you the present for the Privy Counsellor?
Sell. Very soon, I expect.
Reiss. Take it, that we may have a proof; then tell Benniger your mind, and open the business to me.
Sell. But; then I fear the Privy Counsellor will take it in dudgeon.
Reiss. The Privy Counsellor! I will silence him with a single look; ask me within a fortnight what the Privy Counsellor says,—ask me then what he is. God! could I ever have dreamt of any such thing, when I was raising and supporting that upstart!
Sell. Everyone is astonished at your condescension and kindness.
Reiss. All disinterestedness! all good-nature! Was I not going to give him my child? but God forbid!—he does not deserve her.
Sell. Every one knows that you are in the highest favour with the Ministry—
Reiss. These many years.—
Sell. That, properly speaking, you govern both the Privy Councilor and the whole country.
Reiss. I know the country and the people.
Sell. To please you, I attached myself to the Privy Counsellor; but his vanity is such that I cannot hold out with him any longer. He has this very day told me that I learned nothing.
Reiss. There we have it.—
Sell. That I did not know my own language; that I made a motion in court so ridiculous the other day, that every one laughed at me; nay, he told me to my face that I attempted to assume an air of importance that I was not entitled to.
Reiss. I am shocked at it, do you know? Your dear father, who is now no more, was a man who—
Sell. Was Privy Counsellor! But that is nothing in his eyes. Such an upstart will press forward, and people of our consequence must render homage not only to him, but even to the carpenter's family.
Reiss. Pray, were not you to marry his sister?
Sell. No, no! yet, in the state of subjection he kept me, he might at last have brought me to it. He would, as he calls it, correct my writings, and then he would, by way of making it up, sometimes nod his head by way of approbation.
Reiss. As I see that the fellow does not deserve what I have done for him, all shall be altered in future: attach yourself to me.
Sell. Good God! I will with both my hands.
Reiss. I will make out the draft for the declaration, in which you are to charge him with having taken a bribe, and also for having constantly forced you to vote as he pleased in the court. I will carry my point; the Prime Minister shall be informed of the whole. Go hence, and I will send you every thing.
Sell. I shall be very glad to get rid of him; but you will assist me occasionally to propose a law too? will you not?
Reiss. By way of practising? oh yes!
Sell. No, a real law, according to which the people are to act, be it ever so trifling,—only that the world may know, that I can frame a law as well as another. I only want it for the sake of the world, and the consequence it will give me. [Exit.
Reiss. A shallow, shallow, ignorant boy!—but then he may be of use to me.
Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.
P. Coun. I have to explain to you, Sir.
Reiss. Just as you like, Sir.
P. Coun. I cannot remain the man, that, God knows how,—I have gradually—
Reiss. I think so myself.
P. Coun. I can be dependent on you no longer; but I do not choose to be ungrateful. Without enquiring into the motives which induced you to raise me, I owe you my grateful thanks for having done so.
Reiss. I am hourly more and more convinced that I ought to have done so.
P. Coun. This sarcastic remark shall not prevent me, as your intended son-in-law, to render you my services from the purest motives and filial zeal, and to endeavour to compromise that disagreeable affair respecting the will.
Reiss. Ay! would you indeed?
P. Coun. If we only consider it as politically pernicious, it—
Reiss. There is nothing pernicious in the whole affair, my affectionate Mr. Privy Counsellor, and your services are quite useless.
P. Coun. I wish they may prove so. Meanwhile you will not misinterpret my intentions.
Reiss. Your intentions go to the future inheritance of my property, my son-in-law that would be.—
P. Coun. Your daughter,—without any inheritance whatever—
Reiss. With or without inheritance, that is all over; you shall not have her.
P. Coun. You may disinherit her, if you please, should I receive her hand against your will; but your daughter is mine according to your promise, and you can shew no cause for breaking it.
Reiss. (coldly.) Oh yes!
P. Coun. What? which?
Reiss. Some other time.
P. Coun. When? I desire to know it. I desire it, I tell you.
Reiss. You shall soon know it if you are in such a hurry.—I am now busy.
P. Coun. Sir, if Sophia were not your daughter—
Reiss. Ah, that is the thing. Go, your papa is waiting for you:—if you stay, he will come and take you away.
P. Coun. Sir!
Reiss. And come to save you too. Has not he saved you once already this very day?—
P. Coun. Yes, he has that, honest man! May heaven reward him for it!
Reiss. He may perhaps save you once more yet, and perhaps not.—Meanwhile, give yourself no farther trouble to call here. Your servant, Sir.
P. Coun. (looks at his watch.) You distress me more than you know. If that can give you pleasure, enjoy it. [Exit.
Reiss. (looking after him.) Hem! I ought to have discovered at first sight that the fellow is not fit for my purpose; he is simple enough to be in love in right earnest.—My foolish daughter loves him too; she fans his hopes, so of course he will not injure me, when cashiered. The Doctor is falling asleep, and the Lawyer,—-hem!—must likewise be sent to rest,—else I shall have no rest myself! [Exit.
Master Clarenbach's house.
Master CLARENBACH, FREDERICA, and GERNAU, busy with bringing in the furniture seen in the first Act.
Clar. Courage, my dear children! about it! Thank God, we have got rid of that fashionable trumpery. Set the table again there in its place.— So!—-how glad I am to behold my old friends again!
Fred. We shall have a comfortable repast on that table to night.
Clar. As Jack is to be one of the party, O yes!
Gern. I hope his change is right earnest; but I can scarcely believe it.
Clar. No reflections, dear Gernau! What is past ought to be forgotten.
Gern. But I must remove hence for all that.
Clar. Why, perhaps not. Jack will now employ his power to some good purpose.
Fred. I wonder where he stays so long.
Clar. He is dissolving the partnership of sin with Reissman.
Gern. I wish it may be done in writing.
Clar. I have insisted on his having a conversation with him.
Clar. Whom have I the honour to—(Bows, and all the rest rise.)
Soph. Without ceremony, my friends,
Fred. It is Miss Reissman, father!
Soph. Give me leave to wait for your son, Sir, who is to introduce me to your acquaintance, (To Frederica.) We have seen one another already.
Clar. Miss Reissman? So—(with a smile.) The daughter of Mr.——; do not take it amiss.
Fred. Father, let it rest there.
Clar. Yes, yes! We do not like to mention any thing about it. You, you are welcome wherever you go; and so you are to me, God knows! Sit down here near an old man, if you have no objection. (Gern. reaches her a chair.)
Soph. I know how to value the honour of this seat.
Clar. You have a good opinion of my son.
Soph. Yes, good Sir.
Clar. He is rather in an odd predicament to day; but I hope things will take a better turn.
Soph. I sincerely hope so, good father.
Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.
P. Coun. I am happy to find you, Sophia, by the side of my good father, hand in hand. What an enchanting picture in my eye! love, worth, and affection, hand in hand! my Sophia beneath the same roof under which I was born!
Soph. Yes; and I read in your eyes that you were pleased to see me here.
P. Coun. (kissing her hand.) God is my witness, this moment is the happiest of my life; happiness has been a stranger to my heart this long time.
Soph. (rises.) Let peace and happiness dwell in this house henceforward; the good intelligence which I intended to bring about between father and son, between brother and sister, and friend, has taken place Without any interference;—so much the better!
Clar. Ay, I see that your good intentions were in my favour. They were good I see,—I thank you for them. Give me your hand, sweet creature! (shaking her good naturedly by the hand.) Blessed is the man who is doomed to have you for his wife.
Soph. Happy is that son who has such a father! (She leads the son up to the father, and they embrace.)
P. Coun. Behold the father of us both, Sophia!
Soph. O heaven!
P. Coun. How!
Soph. That is the grand question that must give us pause! (Clarenbach makes a sign to Frederica and Gernau, and they retire with him.)
SOPHIA, Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.
P. Conn. I have fulfilled one of your conditions. The other—
Soph. You have lost all your influence over my father.
P. Coun. Yes!
Soph. Then my condition is too hard,—I cancel it.
P. Coun. Heaven bless you!
Soph. I will substitute an other in its place, which depends entirely on yourself.
P. Coun. Then it is already accomplished.
Soph. Am I your choice even without any inheritance?
P. Coun. Without any inheritance whatever!
Soph. Your hand and heart are all I crave. To be candid, I expected nothing less from you. Now for the arduous question; hear me! The disposition in which I find you to day is charming, but not meritorious. You have not been moulded to it by virtue, but frightened into it by vice. You are irritable, you are weak, you are ambitious. A time may come, when neither your father, nor the woman you love will be able to influence you, as they luckily do at present.
P. Coun. You wrong me.
Soph. No, my friend. Give me time to proceed. You are irritable, weak, and ambitious! Do you think, that, on the summit which you now stand, you can render yourself useful to your fellow subjects with these three—I had almost called them vices.
P. Coun. Not if I remain as I am.
Soph. You have hitherto been the instrument of strangers, and, in proportion as you rose in extrinsic pomp, you sunk in intrinsic merit.
P. Coun. True, it is too true.
Soph. You are not possessed of sufficient resolution to stand at the helm of a government; but you have genius, a good heart, and learning enough, sufficient to secure a tranquil passage through life. Let my love supply the whole of my father's considerable fortune; I cannot muster the requisite resolution. Can your esteem for me induce you to renounce the gilded splendor of state and office, and to spend the remainder of your days in the calm retirement of obscurity? (Eagerly.) Have you the resolution, Clarenbach, to resign the Privy Counsellorship?—I do not want an immediate answer.
P. Coun. Love shakes my resolution! but to resign, would it not lower me in the public eye?
Soph. Would it lower you in your own mind?
P. Coun. No. But—
Soph. Contentment must dwell here. (Pointing to his heart.) If ever you have felt content, I need say no more.
P. Coun. No! Oh no!
Soph. Who can refuse his esteem to the man who has tasted the cup of luxury, and, in the flower of youth and in the height of his career, can dash it from his lips, and say, "I will not drink it; I prefer the charms of a tranquil life to all the noise and well-bred hate of a court? I am too irritable to rule my fellow-citizens, notwithstanding I wish to serve them."
P. Coun. Sophia!
Soph. Numbers are anxious to aspire to places, for which they are neither qualified by nature nor education, and, when they have once tasted the sweets of office, how difficult to resign!—I know it.
P. Coun. You shake my resolution.
Soph. But if I have not convinced you, then I will not proceed.
P. Coun. Yes, you convince me; but—
Soph. But you do not see what road to pursue after you shall have resigned your bewitching offer? O my friend! whatever may be the choice of your future pursuits, whatever may be the burthen, my heart, my hands, will bear a part in it; I will joyfully, nay with rapture, assist you in rearing the fabric of your happiness, of your tranquil and real grandeur. Here or elsewhere, merchant, tutor, lawyer, or farmer, whatever you pitch upon, that may afford maintenance and peace of mind, choose that for you and me. I do not wish to have any other share in your determination but the silent satisfaction of having, by inward peace of mind, preserved the life of a good man, whom exterior shew was rapidly conducting to a state of splendid misery.
P. Coun. You have gained your point!—I shall resign my gown. Peace, toil, in future, provided I can call thee my guardian angel!
Soph. (embraces him.) I hope you will find me such.
P. Coun. Father, father!—Sophia, thou hast restored me to myself!—but what is to be thy reward?
Enter MASTER CLARENBACH.
Clar. What is the matter, my son?
P. Coun. Can you conceive it, father? I shall not be a Privy Counsellor much longer.
Clar. How so?
P. Coun. I will lay down my gown, and, with heart and soul, work as I did, before I was raised to that office.
Clar. In earnest? can I rely on it?
P. Coun. Sophia has resigned her fortune on my account, and I shall resign it on hers;—I do not wish for any high office! I am going to re-enter the tranquil class of the industrious citizens. She consents to be my wife. It is her wish, and I see peace and happiness spring from out of it.
Soph. Does it meet with your approbation, father?
Clar. Ay! You ought to read it in my countenance; I would fain open the window, and call out, Jack is no more a Privy Counsellor,—vivat! And then there is a pretty, amiable, discreet young lady, that is not possessed with the demon of pride,—vivat! and she will be Master Clarenbach's daughter in law,—vivat! huzza, I say, Gernau! Girl, come, give me a kiss! (They kiss.)
Enter GERNAU and FREDERICA.
Clar. Jack is my son once more,—vivat! huzza! husband and wife! (steps between them,) son and daughter! (Embraces him.)
Clar. More of it another time.
P. Coun. I will resign.
Clar. Look you here, my sweet girl! he was not calculated for it, no more than a true genuine christian Privy Counsellor is calculated for a carpenter. He has had some learning indeed; but then all that solid by-work, such as is requisite for a Privy Counsellor, of that he never was possessed; and so sit down to work. I must work too; we will scrape plenty of money together, without wronging any one. Daughter-in-law, Frederica, and I, will nurse him as the best soul we know. Now pray give the girl a kiss, that I may believe in the relationship.—(Sophia kisses her.)—And Jack too, that I may be quite happy!—(Sophia gives him a kiss.)—And so God bless you in your pursuits!
Soph. (to the Privy Counsellor.) My father will be your father; and, if ever he could forget it, spare him, and treat him with filial affection.
P. Coun. I promise it. I shall apply once more for his consent, which I once obtained.
Fred. Before you resign?
Clar. No, that were a cheat.—But, dear Jack, all,—how shall I call it? (half audible,) all the earnings of unjust Privy Counsellors,—return them to whom they may belong, then you can work with heart-felt satisfaction.
Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.
Reiss. So, I must look for my young lady here?
Clar. Where she has been doing a deal of good. Come, Sir, come this way; partake in the joys of good men, and think you are one of them.
Soph. Be moved by what you see; sanctify it by your blessing, and you will make us all happy.
P. Coun. Yes, Sir.
Clar. Recollect yourself, and act in a good and fair manner; for, upon my soul! you cannot go from hence but altogether good or bad; I tell you that before hand.
Reiss. (to the Privy Counsellor.) You have sold a monopoly to Benniger, Mr. Privy Counsellor.
Clar. There now. Curse that money!
Reiss. One of our citizens has lodged a complaint about it against you.
Clar. Jack, return the wages of sin!
P. Coun. Immediately, and—
Reiss. Of course, and—
Clar. And then it is all over; for I must tell you, he will not fill the office of a Privy Counsellor any longer.
P. Coun. Yes, Sir, I intend to give in my resignation this very day.
Reiss. Well, well; but your responsibility for the performance of your duty hitherto, and the unconscientious—
Soph. Dear father!
P. Coun. Mr. Reissman!
Clar. I hope, you will not make that an object of minute enquiry?
Reiss. That depends on the nature of the remaining charges. A resignation cannot undo what is done. Come along, daughter, let us go.