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The Lonely Way—Intermezzo—Countess Mizzie - Three Plays
by Arthur Schnitzler
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THE LONELY WAY:

INTERMEZZO:

COUNTESS MIZZIE



THREE PLAYS BY

ARTHUR SCHNITZLER



TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY EDWIN BJOeRKMAN



NEW YORK MITCHELL KENNERLEY MCMXV

COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY MITCHELL KENNERLEY



CONTENTS

PAGE

INTRODUCTION vii

THE LONELY WAY 1

INTERMEZZO 139

COUNTESS MIZZIE 261



INTRODUCTION

Hermann Bahr, the noted playwright and critic, tried one day to explain the spirit of certain Viennese architecture to a German friend, who persisted in saying: "Yes, yes, but always there remains something that I find curiously foreign." At that moment an old-fashioned Spanish state carriage was coming along the street, probably on its way to or from the imperial palace. The German could hardly believe his eyes and expressed in strong terms his wonderment at finding such a relic surviving in an ultra-modern town like Vienna.

"You forget that our history is partly Spanish," Bahr retorted. "And nothing could serve better than that old carriage to explain what you cannot grasp in our art and poetry."

A similar idea has been charmingly expressed by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in the poem he wrote in 1892—when he was still using the pseudonym of "Loris"—as introduction to "Anatol." I am now adding a translation of that poem to my own introduction, because I think it will be of help in reading the plays of this volume. The scene painted by Hofmannsthal might, on the whole, be used as a setting for "Countess Mizzie." For a more detailed version of that scene he refers us to "Canaletto's Vienna"—that is, to the group of thirteen Viennese views which were painted about 1760 by the Venetian Bernardo Belotto (who, like his more famous uncle and model, Antonio Canale, was generally called Canaletto), and which are now hanging in one of the galleries of the Kunsthistorische Hofmuseum at Vienna. The spirit of those pictures may be described, I am told, as one of stately grace. They are full of Latin joy in life and beauty. They speak of an existence constantly softened by concern for the amenities of life. It is just what survives of their atmosphere that frequently makes foreigners speak of Vienna with a tender devotion not even surpassed by that bestowed on Paris or Rome.

An attempt to understand the atmosphere and spirit of modern Vienna will carry us far toward a correct appreciation of Schnitzler's art. And it is not enough to say that Vienna is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is not even enough to say that it preserves more of the past than Paris or London, for instance. What we must always bear in mind is its position as the meeting place not only of South and North but also of past and present. In some ways it is a melting-pot on a larger scale than New York even. Racially and lingually, it belongs to the North. Historically and psychologically, it belongs to the South. Economically and politically, it lives very much in the present. Socially and esthetically, it has always been strongly swayed by tradition. The anti-Semitic movement, which formed such a characteristic feature of Viennese life during the last few decades, must be regarded as the last stand of vanishing social traditions against a growing pressure of economical requirements.

Like all cities sharply divided within itself and living above a volcano of half-suppressed passions, Vienna tends to seek in abandoned gayety, in a frank surrender to the senses, that forgetfulness without which suicide would seem the only remaining alternative. Emotions kept constantly at the boiling-point must have an outlet, lest they burst their container. Add to this sub-conscious or unconscious craving for a neutral outlet, the traditional pressure of the Latin inheritance, and we have the greater part of the causes that explain Schnitzler's preoccupation with the themes of love and death. For Schnitzler is first of all Viennese.

* * * * *

Arthur Schnitzler was born at Vienna on May 15, 1862. His father was Professor Johann Schnitzler, a renowned Jewish throat specialist. I am told that Professor Bernhardi in the play of the same name must be regarded as a pretty faithful portrait of the elder Schnitzler, who, besides his large and important practice, had many other interests, including an extensive medical authorship and the editing of the Wiener klinische Rundschau. It is also to be noticed that Professor Bernhardi has among his assistants a son, who divides his time between medicine and the composition of waltz music.

The younger Schnitzler studied medicine at the Vienna University, as did also his brother, and obtained his M.D. in 1885. During the next two years he was attached to the resident staff of one of the big hospitals. It was also the period that saw the beginning of his authorship. While contributing medical reviews to his father's journal, he was also publishing poems and prose sketches in various literary periodicals. Most of his contributions from this time appeared in a publication named "An der schoenen blauen Donau" (By the Beautiful Blue Danube), now long defunct.

He was also continuing his studies, which almost from the start seem to have turned toward the psychic side of the medical science. The new methods of hypnotism and suggestion interested him greatly, and in 1889 he published a monograph on "Functional Aphonia and its Treatment by Hypnotism and Suggestion." In 1888 he made a study trip to England, during which he wrote a series of "London Letters" on medical subjects for his father's journal. On his return he settled down as a practicing physician, but continued to act as his father's assistant. And as late as 1891-95 we find him named as his father's collaborator on a large medical work entitled "Clinical Atlas of Laryngology and Rhinology."

There are many signs to indicate uncertainty as to his true calling during those early years. The ensuing inner conflict was probably sharpened by some pressure exercised by his father, who seems to have been anxious that he should turn his energies undividedly to medicine. To a practical and outwardly successful man like the elder Schnitzler, his own profession must have appeared by far the more important and promising. While there is no reason to believe that his attitude in this matter was aggressive, it must have been keenly felt and, to some extent at least, resented by the son. One of the dominant notes of the latter's work is the mutual lack of understanding between successive generations, and this lack tends with significant frequency to assume the form of a father's opposition to a son's choice of profession.

This conflict cannot have lasted very long, however, for the younger Schnitzler proved quickly successful in his purely literary efforts. The "Anatol" sketches attracted a great deal of attention even while appearing separately in periodicals, and with their publication in book form, which occurred almost simultaneously with the first performance of "A Piece of Fiction" at a Viennese theater, their author was hailed as one of the most promising among the younger men. From that time he has been adding steadily to his output and his reputation. When his collected works were issued in 1912, these included four volumes of plays and three volumes of novels and stories. Since then he has finished another play and two volumes of prose sketches.

It is rare to find an author turning with such regularity from the epic to the dramatic form and back again. And it is still more rare to find him so thoroughly at home and successful in both fields. In Schnitzler's case these two parallel veins have mutually supported and developed each other. Time and again he has treated the same theme first in one form and then in another. And not infrequently he has introduced characters from his plays into his stories, and vice versa. A careful study of his other works would undoubtedly assist toward a better understanding of his plays, but I do not regard such a study essential for the purpose. It is my belief that Schnitzler has given himself most fully and most typically in his dramatic authorship, and it is to this side of his creative production I must confine myself here.

* * * * *

"Anatol" is nothing but seven sketches in dramatic form, each sketch picturing a new love affair of the kind supposed to be especially characteristic of Viennese life. The man remains the same in all these light adventures. The woman is always a different one. The story is of the kind always accompanying such circumstances—one of waxing or waning attraction, of suspicion and jealousy, of incrimination and recrimination, of intrigue and counter-intrigue. The atmosphere is realistic, but the actuality implied is sharply limited and largely superficial. There is little attempt at getting down to the roots of things. There is absolutely no tendency or thesis. The story is told for the sake of the story, and its chief redeeming quality lies in the grace and charm and verve with which it is told. These were qualities that immediately won the public's favor when "Anatol" first appeared. And to some extent it must be counted unfortunate that the impression made by those qualities was so deep and so lasting. There has been a strong tendency observable, both within and outside the author's native country, to regard him particularly as the creator of Anatol, and to question, if not to resent, his inevitable and unmistakable growth beyond that pleasing, but not very significant starting point.

And yet his next dramatic production, which was also his first serious effort as a playwright, ought to have proved sufficient warning that he was moved by something more than a desire to amuse. "A Piece of Fiction" (Das Maerchen) must be counted a failure and, in some ways, a step backward. But its very failure is a promise of greater things to come. It lacks the grace and facility of "Anatol." Worse still, it lacks the good-humor and subtle irony of those first sketches. Instead it has purpose and a serious outlook on life. The "piece of fiction" refers to the "fallen" woman—to the alleged impossibility for any decent man to give his whole trust to a woman who has once strayed from the straight path. Fedor Denner denounces this attitude in the presence of a young girl who loves him and is loved by him, but who belongs to the category of women under discussion. When he learns her history, he struggles vainly to resist the feelings of distrust and jealousy which he had declared absurd a little while earlier. And the two are forced at last to walk their different ways. Unfortunately the dialogue is heavy and stilted. The play is a tract rather than a piece of art, and the tirades of Fedor are equally unconvincing when he speaks for or against that "fiction" which is killing both his own and the girl's hope of happiness in mutual love. Yet the play marks a step forward in outlook and spirit.

Schnitzler's interest in hypnotism, which had asserted itself in the first scene of "Anatol," appears again in the little verse-play, "Paracelsus," which followed. But this time he used it to more purpose. By the help of it, a woman's innermost soul is laid bare, and some very interesting light is shed on the workings of the human mind in general.

"Amours" (Liebelei) may be regarded as a cross, or a compromise, between "Anatol" and "A Piece of Fiction." The crudeness of speech marking the latter play has given room to a very incisive dialogue, that carries the action forward with unfailing precision. Some of the temporarily dropped charm has been recovered, and the gain in sincerity has been preserved. "Amours" seems to be the first one of a series of plays dealing with the reverse of the gay picture presented in "Anatol." A young man is having a love affair with two women at the same time, one of them married, the other one a young girl with scant knowledge of the world. Yet she knows enough to know what she is doing, and she has sufficient strength of mind to rise above a sense of guilt, though she is more prone to be the victim of fear. Then the married woman's husband challenges the young man, who is killed. And the girl takes her own life, not because her lover is dead, not because of anything she has done, but because his death for the sake of another woman renders her own faith in him meaningless.

"Outside the Game Laws" (Freiwild) is another step ahead—the first play, I think, where the real Arthur Schnitzler, the author of "The Lonely Way" and "Countess Mizzie," reveals himself. It has a thesis, but this is implied rather than obtruded. In style and character-drawing it is realistic in the best sense. It shows already the typical Schnitzlerian tendency of dealing with serious questions—with questions of life and death—in a casual fashion, as if they were but problems of which road to follow or which shop to enter. It has one fault that must appear as such everywhere, namely, a division of purpose. When the play starts, one imagines that those "outside the game laws" are the women of the stage, who are presented as the legitimate prey of any man caring to hunt them. As the play goes on, that starting point is almost lost sight of, and it becomes more and more plain that those "outside the game laws" are sensible, decent men who refuse to submit to the silly dictates of the dueling code. But what I have thus named a fault is mostly theoretical, and does not mar the effective appeal of the play. What must appear as a more serious shortcoming from an American viewpoint is the local nature of the evil attacked, which lessens the universal validity of the work.

"Change Partners!" (Reigen) was produced about the same time as "Outside the Game Laws," but was not printed until 1900, and then only privately. Yet those ten dialogues provoked from the first a storm which seriously threatened Schnitzler's growing reputation and popularity. When Vienna finds a work immoral, one may look for something dreadful. And the work in question attempts a degree of naturalism rarely equaled in France even. Yet those dialogues are anything but immoral in spirit. They introduce ten men and as many women. The man of one scene reappears with a new woman in the next, and then that woman figures as the partner of a new man in the third scene. The story is always the same (except in the final dialogue): desire, satisfaction, indifference. The idea underlying this "ring dance," as the title means literally, is the same one that recurs under a much more attractive aspect in "Countess Mizzie." It is the linking together of the entire social organism by man's natural cravings. And as a document bearing on the psychology of sex "Change Partners!" has not many equals.

In "The Legacy" (Das Vermaechtnis) we meet with a forcible presentation and searching discussion of the world's attitude toward those ties that have been established without social sanction. A young man is brought home dying, having been thrown from his horse. He compels his parents to send for his mistress and their little boy, and he hands both over to the care of his family. That is his "legacy." The family tries hard to rise to this unexpected situation and fails miserably—largely, it must be confessed, thanks to the caddish attitude of a self-made physician who wants to marry the dead man's sister. The second act ends with the death of the little boy; the third, with the disappearance and probable suicide of his mother. The dead man's sister cries out: "Everything that was his is sacred to us, but the one living being who meant more to him than all of us is driven out of our home." The one ray of light offered is that the sister sees through the man who has been courting her and sends him packing. It is noticeable in this play, as in others written by Schnitzler, that the attitude of the women is more sensible and tolerant than that of the men.

The physician is one of the few members of that profession whom the author has painted in an unfavorable light. There is hardly one full-length play of his in which at least one representative of the medical profession does not appear. And almost invariably they seem destined to act as the particular mouthpieces of the author. In a play like "The Lonely Way," for instance, the life shown is the life lived by men and women observed by Schnitzler. The opinions expressed are the opinions of that sort of men and women under the given circumstances. The author neither approves nor disapproves when he makes each character speak in accordance with his own nature. But like most creative artists, he has felt the need of stating his own view of the surrounding throng. This he seems usually to do through the mouth of men like Dr. Reumann in the play just mentioned, or Dr. Mauer in "The Vast Country." And the attitude of those men shows a strange mingling of disapproval and forbearance, which undoubtedly comes very near being Schnitzler's own.

The little one-act play "The Life Partner" (Die Gefaehrtin) is significant mainly as a study for bigger canvases developing the same theme: the veil that hides the true life of man and woman alike from the partner. And the play should really be named "The Life Partner That Was Not." Another one-act play, "The Green Cockatoo," is laid at Paris. Its action takes place on the evening of July 14, 1789—the fall of the Bastille and the birth of the Revolution. It presents a wonderful picture of social life at the time—of the average human being's unconsciousness of the great events taking place right under his nose.

"The Veil of Beatrice," a verse play in five acts, takes us to Bologna in the year 1500, when Cesare Borgia was preparing to invest the city in order to oust its tyrant, Giovanni Bentivoglio (named Lionardo in the play), and add it to the Papal possessions. All the acts take place in one night. The fundamental theme is one dear to Schnitzler—the flaming up of passion under the shadow of impending death. The whole city, with the duke leading, surrenders to this outburst, the spirit of which finds its symbol in a ravishingly beautiful girl, Beatrice Nardi, who seems fated to spread desire and death wherever she appears. With her own death at dawn, the city seems to wake as from a nightmare to face the enemy already at the gates. The play holds much that is beautiful and much that is disappointing. To me its chief importance lies in the fact that it marks a breaking-point between the period when Schnitzler was trying to write "with a purpose," and that later and greater period when he has learned how to treat life sincerely and seriously without other purpose than to present it as it is. That was his starting point in "Anatol," but then he was not yet ready for the realism that must be counted the highest of all: the realism that has no tendency and preaches no lesson, but from which we draw our own lessons as we draw them from life itself in moments of unusual lucidity.

"Hours of Life" (Lebendige Stunden), which has given its name to a volume of four one-act plays, may be described as a mental duel between two sharply opposed temperaments—the practical and the imaginative. An elderly woman, long an invalid, has just died, and a letter to the man who has loved and supported her during her final years reveals the fact that she has taken her own life because she feared that the thought of her was preventing her son, a poet, from working. The duel is between that son and the man who has befriended his mother. The play constitutes a scathing arraignment of the artistic temperament. Bernard Shaw himself has never penned a more bitter one. "Even if you were the world's greatest genius," the old man cries to the young one, "all your scribbling would be worthless in comparison with a single one of those hours of real life that saw your mother seated in that chair, talking to us, or merely listening, perhaps."

The most important of those four one-act plays, however, is "End of the Carnival" (Die letzten Masken). An old journalist, a might-have-been, dying in a hospital, sends for a life-long friend, a successful poet, whom he hates because of his success. All he thinks of is revenge, of getting even, and he means to achieve this end by disclosing to the poet the faithlessness of his wife. Once she had been the mistress of the dying man, and that seems to him his one triumph in life. But when the poet arrives and begins to talk of the commonplaces of daily life, of petty gossip, petty intrigues, and petty jealousies, then the dying man suddenly sees the futility of the whole thing. To him, who has one foot across the final threshold, it means nothing, and he lets his friend depart without having told him anything. There is a curious recurrence of the same basic idea in "Professor Bernhardi," where the central figure acquires a similar sense of our ordinary life's futility by spending two months in jail.

To what extent Schnitzler has studied and been impressed by Nietzsche I don't know, but the thought underlying "The Lady With the Dagger" is distinctly Nietzschean. It implies not only a sense of our having lived before, of having previously stood in the same relationship to the people now surrounding us, but of being compelled to repeat our past experience, even if a sudden flash of illumination out of the buried past should reveal to us its predestined fatal termination. This idea meets us again in the first act of "The Lonely Way." The fourth of those one-act plays, "Literature," is what Schnitzler has named it—a farce—but delightfully clever and satirical.

Those four plays, and the group of three others published under the common title of "Puppets" (Marionetten), are, next to "Anatol," the best known works of Schnitzler's outside of Austria and Germany. They deserve their wide reputation, too, for there is nothing quite like them in the modern drama. Yet I think they have been over-estimated in comparison with the rest of Schnitzler's production. "The Puppet Player," "The Gallant Cassian" and "The Greatest Show of All" (Zum grossen Wurstel) have charm and brightness and wit. But in regard to actual significance they cannot compare with plays like "The Lonely Way," for instance.

The three plays comprised in the volume named "Puppets" constitute three more exemplifications of the artistic temperament, which again fares badly at the hands of their author. And yet he has more than one telling word to say in defense of that very temperament. That these plays, like "Hours of Life" and "Literature," are expressive of the inner conflict raging for years within the playwright's own soul, I take for granted. And they seem to reflect moments when Schnitzler felt that, in choosing poetry rather than medicine for his life work, he had sacrificed the better choice. And yet they do not show any regrets, but rather a slightly ironical self-pity. A note of irony runs through everything that Schnitzler has written, constituting one of the main attractions of his art, and it is the more acceptable because the point of it so often turns against the writer himself.

"The Puppet Player" is a poet who has ceased writing in order to use human beings for his material. He thinks that he is playing with their destinies as if they were so many puppets. And the little drama shows how his accidental interference has created fates stronger and happier than his own—fates lying wholly outside his power. The play suffers from a tendency to exaggerated subtlety which is one of Schnitzler's principal dangers, though it rarely asserts itself to such an extent that the enjoyment of his work is spoiled by it.

His self-irony reaches its climax in the one-act play which I have been forced to name "The Greatest Show of All" because the original title (Zum grossen Wurstel) becomes meaningless in English. There he proceeds with reckless abandon to ridicule his own work as well as the inflated importance of all imaginative creation. But to even up the score, he includes the public, as representative of ordinary humanity, among the objects of his sarcasms. And in the end all of us—poets, players, and spectators—are exposed as mere puppets. The same thought recurs to some extent in "The Gallant Cassian," which is otherwise a piece of sheer fun—the slightest of Schnitzler's dramatic productions, perhaps, but not without the accustomed Schnitzlerian sting.

When, after reading all the preceding plays, one reaches "The Lonely Way" (Der einsame Weg), it is hard to escape an impression of everything else having been nothing but a preparation. It is beyond all doubt Schnitzler's greatest and most powerful creation so far, representing a tremendous leap forward both in form and spirit. It has less passion than "The Call of Life," less subtlety than "Intermezzo," less tolerance than "Countess Mizzie." Instead it combines in perfect balance all the best qualities of those three plays—each dominant feature reduced a little to give the others scope as well. It is a wonderful specimen of what might be called the new realism—of that realism which is paying more attention to spiritual than to material actualities. Yet it is by no means lacking in the more superficial verisimilitude either. Its character-drawing and its whole atmosphere are startlingly faithful to life, even though the life portrayed may represent a clearly defined and limited phase of universal human existence.

The keynote of the play lies in Sala's words to Julian in the closing scene of the fourth act: "The process of aging must needs be a lonely one to our kind." That's the main theme—not a thesis to be proved. This loneliness to which Sala refers, is common to all people, but it is more particularly the share of those who, like himself and Julian, have treasured their "freedom" above everything else and who, for that reason, have eschewed the human ties which to a man like Wegrath represent life's greatest good and deepest meaning. Again we find the principal characters of the play typifying the artistic temperament, with its unhuman disregards of the relationships that have primary importance to other men. Its gross egoism, as exemplified by Julian, is the object of passionate derision. And yet it is a man of that kind, Sala, who recognizes and points out the truer path, when he say: "To love is to live for somebody else."

The play has no thesis, as I have already said. It is not poised on the point of a single idea. Numerous subordinate themes are woven into the main one, giving the texture of the whole a richness resembling that of life itself. Woman's craving for experience and self-determination is one such theme, which we shall find again in "Intermezzo," where it practically becomes the dominant one.

Another one is that fascinated stare at death which is so characteristic of Latin and Slav writers—of men like Zola, Maupassant, and Tolstoy—while it is significantly absent in the great Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon poets. "Is there ever a blissful moment in any decent man's life, when he can think of anything but death in his innermost soul?" says Sala. The same thought is expressed in varying forms by one after another of Schnitzler's characters. "All sorrow is a lie as long as the open grave is not your own," cries the dying Catharine in "The Call of Life." It is in this connection particularly that we of the North must bear in mind Schnitzler's Viennese background and the Latin traditions forming such a conspicuous part of it. The Latin peoples have shown that they can die as bravely as the men of any other race or clime, but their attitude toward death in general is widely different from the attitude illustrated by Ibsen or Strindberg, for instance. A certain gloom, having kinship with death, seems ingrained in the Northern temperament, put there probably by the pressure of the Northern winter. The man of the sunlit South, on the other hand, seems always to retain the child's simple horror at the thought that darkness must follow light. We had better not regard it as cowardice under any circumstances, and cowardice it can certainly not be called in the characters of Schnitzler. But the resignation in which he finds his only antidote, and which seems to represent his nearest approach to a formulated philosophy, cannot be expected to satisfy us. One of his own countrymen, Hermann Bahr, has protested sharply against its insufficiency as a soul-sustaining faith, and in that protest I feel inclined to concur.

With "The Lonely Way" begins a series of plays representing not only Schnitzler's highest achievements so far, but a new note in the modern drama. To a greater extent than any other modern plays—not even excepting those of Ibsen—they must be defined as psychological. The dramas of Strindberg come nearest in this respect, but they, too, lag behind in soul-revealing quality. Plots are almost lacking in the Schnitzler productions during his later period. Things happen, to be sure, and these happenings are violent enough at times, but they do not constitute a sharply selected sequence of events leading up to a desired and foreshadowed end. In the further development of this period, even clearly defined themes are lost sight of, and the course of the play takes on an almost accidental aspect. This is puzzling, of course, and it must be especially provoking to those who expect each piece of art to have its narrow little lesson neatly tacked on in a spot where it cannot be missed. It implies a manner that exacts more alertness and greater insight on the part of the reader. But for that very reason these later plays of Schnitzler should prove stimulating to those who do not suffer from mental laziness or exhaustion.

"Intermezzo" (Zwischenspiel) might be interpreted as an attack on those new marital conventions which abolish the old-fashioned demand for mutual faithfulness and substitute mutual frankness. It would be more correct, however, to characterize it as a discussion of what constitutes true honesty in the ever delicate relationship between husband and wife. It shows, too, the growth of a woman's soul, once she has been forced to stand on her own feet. Viewed from this point, the play might very well be classified as feministic. It would be easy, for one thing, to read into it a plea for a single moral standard. But its ultimate bearing goes far beyond such a narrow construction. Here as elsewhere, Schnitzler shows himself more sympathetic toward the female than toward the male outlook on life, and the creator of Cecilia Adams-Ortenburg may well be proclaimed one of the foremost living painters of the woman soul.

The man who, in "Anatol," saw nothing but a rather weak-minded restlessness in woman's inconstancy, recognizes in "Intermezzo" woman's right to as complete a knowledge of life and its possibilities as any man may acquire. The same note is struck by Johanna in "The Lonely Way." "I want a time to come when I must shudder at myself—shudder as deeply as you can only when nothing has been left untried," she says to Sala in the fourth act. This note sounds much more clearly—one might say defiantly—through the last two acts of "Intermezzo." And when Amadeus, shrinking from its implications, cries to Cecilia that thereafter she will be guarded by his tenderness, she retorts impatiently: "But I don't want to be guarded! I shall no longer permit you to guard me!" In strict keeping with it is also that Schnitzler here realizes and accepts woman's capacity for and right to creative expression. It is from Cecilia's lips that the suggestion comes to seek a remedy for life's hurts in a passionate abandonment to work. In fact, the established attitudes of man and woman seem almost reversed in the cases of Amadeus and Cecilia.

Significant as this play is from any point viewed, I am inclined to treasure it most on account of the subtlety and delicacy of its dialogue. I don't think any dramatist of modern times has surpassed Schnitzler in his ability to find expression for the most refined nuances of thought and feeling. To me, at least, it is a constant joy to watch the iridescence of his sentences, which gives to each of them not merely one, but innumerable meanings. And through so much of this particular play runs a spirit that can only be called playful—a spirit which finds its most typical expression in the delightful figure of Albert Rhon, the poet who takes the place of the otherwise inevitable physician. I like to think of that figure as more or less embodying the author's conception of himself. All the wit and sparkle with which we commonly credit the Gallic mind seems to me abundantly present in the scenes between Albert and Amadeus.

The poise and quiet characterizing "The Lonely Way" and "Intermezzo" appear lost to some extent in "The Call of Life" (Der Ruf des Leben), which, on the other hand, is one of the intensest plays written by Schnitzler. The white heat of its passion sears the mind at times, so that the reader feels like raising a shield between himself and the words. "It was as if I heard life itself calling to me outside my door," Marie says in this play when trying to explain to Dr. Schindler why she had killed her father and gone to seek her lover. The play might as well have been named "The Will to Live," provided we remember that mere existence can hardly be called life. Its basic thought has much in common with that of Frank Wedekind's "Earth Spirit," but Schnitzler spiritualizes what the German playwright has vulgarized. There is a lot of modern heresy in that thought—a lot of revived and refined paganism that stands in sharp opposition to the spirit of Christianity as it has been interpreted hitherto. It might be summarized as a twentieth century version of Achilles' declaration that he would rather be a live dog than the ruler of all the shades in Hades. "What a creature can I be," cries Marie, "to emerge out of such an experience as out of a bad dream—awake—and living—and wanting to live?" And the kind, wise, Schnitzlerian doctor's answer is: "You are alive—and the rest has been...." Life itself is its own warrant and explanation. Unimpaired life—life with the power and will to go on living—is the greatest boon and best remedy of any that can be offered.

The weak point of "The Call to Life" is Marie's father, the old Moser—one of the most repulsive figures ever seen on the stage. It may have been made what it is in order that the girl's crime might not hopelessly prejudice the spectator at the start and thus render all the rest of the play futile. We must remember, too, that the monstrous egoism of Moser is not represented as a typical quality of that old age which feels itself robbed by the advance of triumphant youth. What Schnitzler shows is that egoism grows more repulsive as increasing age makes it less warranted. The middle act of the play, with its remarkable conversation between the Colonel and Max, brings us back to "Outside the Game Laws." That earlier play was in its time declared the best existing stage presentation of the spirit engendered by the military life. But it has a close second in "The Call of Life." To anyone having watched the manners of militarism in Europe, the words of the Colonel to Max will sound as an all-sufficient explanation: "No physicians have to spend thirty years at the side of beds containing puppets instead of human patients—no lawyers have to practice on criminals made out of pasteboard—and even the ministers are not infrequently preaching to people who actually believe in heaven and hell."

If "The Lonely Way" be Schnitzler's greatest play all around, and "Intermezzo" his subtlest, "Countess Mizzie" is the sweetest, the best tempered, the one that leaves the most agreeable taste in the mouth. It gives us a concrete embodiment of the tolerance toward all life that is merely suggested by the closing sentences of Dr. Schindler in the last act of "The Call of Life." It brings back the gay spirit of "Anatol," but with a rare maturity supporting it. The simple socio-biological philosophy of "Change Partners!" is restated without the needless naturalism of those early dialogues. The idea of "Countess Mizzie" is that, if we look deep enough, all social distinctions are lost in a universal human kinship. On the surface we appear like flowers neatly arranged in a bed, each kind in its separate and carefully labeled corner. Then Schnitzler begins to scrape off the screening earth, and underneath we find the roots of all those flowers intertwined and matted, so that it is impossible to tell which belong to the Count and which to Wasner, the coachman, which to Miss Lolo, the ballet-dancer, and which to the Countess.

"Young Medardus" is Schnitzler's most ambitious attempt at historical playwriting. It seems to indicate that he belongs too wholly in the present age to succeed in that direction. The play takes us back to 1809, when Napoleon appeared a second time outside the gates of Vienna. The central character, Medardus Klaehr, is said to be historical. The re-created atmosphere of old Vienna is at once convincing and amusing. But the play is too sprawling, too scattered, to get firm hold on the reader. There are seventy-four specifically indicated characters, not to mention groups of dumb figures. And while the title page speaks of five acts and a prologue, there are in reality seventeen distinct scenes. Each scene may be dramatically valuable, but the constant passage from place to place, from one set of characters to another, has a confusing effect.

There is, too, a more deep-lying reason for the failure of the play as a whole, I think. The ironical outlook so dear to Schnitzler—or rather, so inseparable from his temperament—has betrayed him. Irony seems hopelessly out of place in a historical drama, where it tends to make us feel that the author does not believe in the actual existence of his own characters. I have a suspicion that "Young Medardus" takes the place within the production of Schnitzler that is held by "Peer Gynt" in the production of Ibsen—that Medardus Klaehr is meant to satirize the Viennese character as Peer Gynt satirizes the Norwegian.

The keynote of the play may be found in the words of Etzelt, spoken as Medardus is about to be shot, after having refused to save his own life by a promise not to make any attempts against Napoleon's: "God wanted to make a hero of him, and the course of events turned him into a fool." The obvious interpretation is that the pettiness of Viennese conditions defeated the larger aspirations of the man, who would have proved true to his own possibilities in other surroundings. A more careful analysis of the plot shows, however, that what turns the ambitions of Medardus into dreams and words is his susceptibility to the charms of a woman. Once within the magic circle of her power, everything else—the danger of his country, the death of his sister, his duty to avenge the death of his father—becomes secondary to his passion. And each time he tries to rise above that passion, the reappearance of the woman is sufficient to deflect him from his purpose. It is as if Schnitzler wanted to suggest that the greatest weakness of the Viennese character lies in its sensuous concern with sex to the detriment of all other vital interests. To me it is a very remarkable thing to think that such a play was performed a large number of times at one of the foremost theaters in Vienna, and that, apparently, it received a very respectful hearing. I cannot but wonder what would happen here, if a play were put on the stage dealing in a similar spirit with the American character.

"The soul is a vast country, where many different things find place side by side," says Dr. Theodor Reik in his interesting volume named "Arthur Schnitzler als Psycholog" (Minden, 1913). Thus he explains the meaning of the title given to "The Vast Country" (Das Weite Land). And I don't think it is possible to get closer than that. Nowhere has Schnitzler been more casual in his use of what is commonly called plot. Nowhere has he scorned more completely to build his work around any particular "red thread." Event follows event with seeming haphazardness. The only thing that keeps the play from falling apart is the logical development of each character. It is, in fact, principally, if not exclusively, a series of soul-studies. What happens serves merely as an excuse to reveal the reaction of a certain character to certain external pressures or internal promptings. But viewed in this light, the play has tremendous power and significance.

Dr. Reik's book, to which I just referred, has been written to prove the direct connection between Schnitzler's art and the new psychology established by Dr. Sigmund Freud of Vienna. That the playwright must have studied the Freudian theories seems more than probable. That they may have influenced him seems also probable. And that this influence may have helped him to a clearer grasp of more than one mystery within the human soul, I am willing to grant also. What I want to protest against, is the attempt to make him out an exponent of any particular scientific theory. He is an observer of all life. He is what Amadeus in "Intermezzo" ironically charges Albert Rhon with being: "a student of the human soul." And he has undoubtedly availed himself of every new aid that might be offered for the analysis and interpretation of that soul. The importance of man's sub-conscious life seems to have been clear to him in the early days of "Anatol," and it seems to have grown on him as he matured. Another Freudian conception he has also made his own—that of the close connection between man's sexual life and vital phenomena not clearly designed for the expression of that life. But—to return to the point I have already tried to make—it would be dangerous and unjust to read any work of his as the dramatic effort of a scientific theorizer.

Schnitzler is of Jewish race. In Vienna that means a great deal more than in London, Stockholm or New York. It means an atmosphere of contempt, of suspicion, of hatred. It means frequently complete isolation, and always some isolation. It means a constant sense of conflict between oneself and one's surroundings. All these things are reflected in the works of Schnitzler—more particularly the sense of conflict and of isolation. Life itself is blamed for it most of the time, however, and it is only once in a great while that the specific and localized cause is referred to—as in "Literature," for instance. And even when Schnitzler undertakes, as he has done in his latest play, "Professor Bernhardi," to deal directly with the situation of the Jew within a community with strong anti-Semitic tendencies, he does not appear able to keep his mind fixed on that particular issue. He starts to discuss it, and does so with a clearness and fairness that have not been equaled since the days of Lessing—and then he drifts off in a new direction. The mutual opposition between Jews and Catholics becomes an opposition between the skeptical and the mystical temperaments. It is as if he wanted to say that all differences are unreal except those between individuals as such. And if that be his intention, he is right, I believe, and his play is the greater for bringing that thought home to us.

The play is a remarkable one in many respects. It deals largely with the internal affairs of a hospital. An overwhelming majority of the characters are physicians connected with the big hospital of which Professor Bernhardi is the head. They talk of nothing but what men of that profession in such a position would be likely to talk of. In other words, they are all the time "talking shop." This goes on through five acts. Throughout the entire play there is not the slightest suggestion of what the Broadway manager and the periodical editor call a "love interest." And yet the play holds you from beginning to end, and the dramatic tension could not be greater if its main theme were the unrequited love of the professor's son instead of his own right to place his duties as a physician above all other considerations. To one who has grown soul-weary of the "triangle" and all other combinations for the exploiting of illicit or legitimized love, "Professor Bernhardi" should come as a great relief and a bright promise.

* * * * *

These are the main outlines of Schnitzler's work as a dramatist. They indicate a constant, steady growth, coupled with increased realization of his own possibilities and powers as well as of his limitations. In all but a very few of his plays, he has confined himself to the life immediately surrounding him—to the life of the Viennese middle class, and more particularly of the professional element to which he himself belongs. But on the basis of a wonderfully faithful portrayal of local characters and conditions, he has managed to rear a superstructure of emotional appeal and intellectual clarification that must render his work welcome to thinking men and women wherever it be introduced. And as he is still in the flower of his manhood, it seems reasonable to expect that still greater things may be forthcoming from his pen.

SCHNITZLER'S "ANATOL"

Spearhead fences, yew-tree hedges, Coats of arms no more regilded, Sphinxes gleaming through the thickets.... Creakingly the gates swing open.

With its tritons sunk in slumber, And its fountains also sleeping, Mildewed, lovely, and rococo, Lo ... Vienna, Canaletto's, Dated Seventeen and Sixty.

Quiet pools of green-brown waters, Smooth and framed in snow-white marble, Show between their mirrored statues Gold and silver fishes playing. Slender stems of oleander Cast their prim array of shadows On the primly close-cropped greensward. Overhead, the arching branches Meet and twine to sheltering niches, Where are grouped in loving couples Stiff-limbed heroines and heroes.... Dolphins three pour splashing streamlets In three shell-shaped marble basins. Chestnut blossoms, richly fragrant, Fall like flames and flutter downward To be drowned within the basins.... Music, made by clarinettes and Violins behind the yew-trees, Seems to come from graceful cupids Playing on the balustrade, or Weaving flowers into garlands, While beside them other flowers Gayly stream from marble vases: Jasmin, marigold, and elder.... On the balustrade sit also Sweet coquettes among the cupids, And some messeigneurs in purple. At their feet, on pillows resting, Or reclining on the greensward, May be seen abbes and gallants. From perfumed sedans are lifted Other ladies by their lovers.... Rays of light sift through the leafage, Shed on golden curls their luster, Break in flames on gaudy cushions, Gleam alike on grass and gravel, Sparkle on the simple structure We have raised to serve the moment. Vines and creepers clamber upward, Covering the slender woodwork, While between them are suspended Gorgeous tapestries and curtains: Scenes Arcadian boldly woven, Charmingly designed by Watteau.... In the place of stage, an arbor; Summer sun in place of footlights; Thus we rear Thalia's temple Where we play our private dramas, Gentle, saddening, precocious.... Comedies that we have suffered; Feelings drawn from past and present; Evil masked in pretty phrases; Soothing words and luring pictures; Subtle stirrings, mere nuances, Agonies, adventures, crises....

Some are listening, some are yawning, Some are dreaming, some are laughing, Some are sipping ices ... others Whisper longings soft and languid....

Nodding in the breeze, carnations, Long-stemmed white carnations, image Butterflies that swarm in sunlight, While a black and long-haired spaniel Barks astonished at a peacock....

HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL, (Edwin Bjoerkman.)



CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF PLAYS BY ARTHUR SCHNITZLER

ANATOL (Anatol); seven dramatic scenes; 1889-91 (1893).

A PIECE OF FICTION (Das Maerchen); a drama in three acts; 1891 (1894).

PARACELSUS (Paracelsus); a verse-play in one act; 1892 (1899).

AMOURS (Liebelei); a drama in three acts; 1894 (1896).

OUTSIDE THE GAME LAWS (Freiwild); a drama in three acts; 1896 (1897).

CHANGE PARTNERS! (Reigen); ten dialogues; 1896-97 (1903).

THE LEGACY (Das Vermaechtnis); a drama in three acts; 1897 (1898).

THE LIFE PARTNER (Die Gefaehrtin); a drama in one act; 1898 (1899).

THE GREEN COCKATOO (Der gruene Kakadu); a grotesque in one act; 1898 (1899).

THE VEIL OF BEATRICE (Der Schleier der Beatrice); a drama in five acts; 1899 (1900).

THE LADY WITH THE DAGGER (Die Frau mit dem Dolche); a drama in one act; 1900 (1902).

HOURS OF LIFE (Lebendige Stunden); an act; 1901 (1902).

END OF THE CARNIVAL (Die letzten Masken); a drama in one act; 1901 (1902).

LITERATURE (Literatur); a farce in one act; 1901 (1902).

THE PUPPET PLAYER (Der Puppenspieler); a study in one act; 1902 (1906).

THE GALLANT CASSIAN (Der tapfere Cassian); a puppet play in one act; 1903 (1906).

THE LONELY WAY (Der einsame Weg); a drama in five acts; 1903 (1904).

INTERMEZZO (Zwischenspiel); a comedy in three acts; 1904 (1905).

THE GREATEST SHOW OF ALL (Zum grossen Wurstel); a burlesque in one act; 1904 (1906).

THE CALL OF LIFE (Der Ruf des Leben); a drama in three acts; 1905 (1906).

COUNTESS MIZZIE (Komtesse Mizzi); a comedy in one act; 1909 (1909).

YOUNG MEDARDUS (Der junge Medardus); a history in five acts with a prologue; 1909 (1910).

THE VAST COUNTRY (Das weite Land); a tragicomedy in five acts; 1910 (1911).

PROFESSOR BERNHARDI (Professor Bernhardi); a comedy in five acts; 1912 (1912).

THE GALLANT KASSIAN (Der tapfere Kassian); a musical comedy in one act, with music by Oscar Straus; —— (1909).

THE VEIL OF PIERRETTE (Der Schleier der Pierrette); a comic opera in three acts, with music by Ernst von Dohnnanyi; 1909 (not published).

The figures without brackets indicate the dates of production as given in the collected edition of Arthur Schnitzler's works issued by the S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin, 1912. The figures within brackets, showing the dates of publication, are taken from the twenty-fifth anniversary catalogue of the same house (Berlin, 1911), and from C. G. Kayser's "Vollstaendiges Buecher-Lexikon" (Leipzig, 1891-1912).

"Anatol" was first published by the Bibliographische Bureau (Berlin, 1893), and "A Piece of Fiction" by E. Pierson (Dresden, 1894). Both were reprinted by the Fischer Verlag in 1895. The original versions of "A Piece of Fiction" and "Amours" have been considerably revised. "Change Partners!" was printed privately in 1900, and was subsequently published by the Wiener Verlag, Vienna. "The Gallant Kassian" was published by Ludwig Doblinger, Leipzig.

"The Green Cockatoo," "Paracelsus" and "The Life Partner" appeared in one volume with the sub-title "Three One-act Plays." "Hours of Life," "The Lady With the Dagger," "End of the Carnival," and "Literature" were published together under the title of the first play. "The Puppet Player," "The Gallant Cassian," and "The Greatest Show of All" were brought out in a single volume under the title of "Puppets"(Marionetten).

For additional bibliographical data, see "Arthur Schnitzler: a Bibliography," by Archibald Henderson (Bulletin of Bibliography, Boston, 1913); "The Modern Drama," by Ludwig Lewisohn (New York, 1915), and "The Continental Drama of Today," by Barrett H. Clark (New York, 1914). A good, though brief, analysis of Schnitzler's work is found in Dr. Lewisohn's volume.



A LIST OF FIRST PERFORMANCES OF PLAYS BY ARTHUR SCHNITZLER

ANATOL: Deutsches Volkstheater, Vienna, and Lessingtheater, Berlin, Dec. 3, 1910.

A PIECE OF FICTION: Deutsches Volkstheater, Vienna, Dec. 1, 1893.

PARACELSUS: Burgtheater, Vienna, March 1, 1899.

AMOURS: Burgtheater, Vienna, Oct. 9, 1895.

OUTSIDE THE GAME LAWS: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, 1896.

THE LEGACY: Burgtheater, Vienna, Nov. 30, 1898.

THE LIFE PARTNER: Burgtheater, Vienna, March 1, 1899.

THE GREEN COCKATOO: Burgtheater, Vienna, March 1, 1899.

THE VEIL OF BEATRICE: Lobetheater, Breslau, Dec. 1, 1900.

THE LADY WITH THE DAGGER: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, Jan. 4, 1902.

HOURS OF LIFE: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, Jan. 4, 1902.

END OF THE CARNIVAL: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, Jan. 4, 1902.

LITERATURE: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, Jan. 4, 1902.

THE PUPPET PLAYER: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, September, 1903.

THE GALLANT CASSIAN: Kleines Theater, Berlin, Oct. 12, 1905.

THE LONELY WAY: Deutsche Theater, Berlin, Feb. 13, 1904.

INTERMEZZO: Burgtheater, Vienna (with Joseph Kainz as Adams), Oct. 12, 1905.

THE GREATEST SHOW OF ALL: Lustspieltheater, Vienna, March 16, 1906.

THE CALL OF LIFE: Lessingtheater, Berlin, Feb. 24, 1906.

COUNTESS MIZZIE: Deutsches Volkstheater, Vienna, January, 1909.

YOUNG MEDARDUS: Burgtheater, Vienna, Nov. 24, 1910.

THE VAST COUNTRY: Lessingtheater, Berlin, Oct. 14, 1912.

PROFESSOR BERNHARDI: Kleines Theater, Berlin, Nov. 28, 1912.

THE VEIL OF PIERRETTE: Hofopernhaus, Dresden, Jan. 22, 1910.

Single scenes from "Anatol" were given at Ischl in the Summer of 1893, and at a matinee arranged by the journalistic society "Concordia" at one of the Vienna theaters in 1909. A Czechic translation of the whole series was staged at Smichow, Bohemia, sometime during the nineties. Three of the dialogues in "Change Partners!" were performed by members of the Akademisch-dramatischer Verein at Munich in 1904.

The official records of the Burgtheater at Vienna show that, up to the end of 1912, the eight Schnitzler plays forming part of its repertory had been performed the following number of times: "Paracelsus," 12; "Amours," 42; "The Legacy," 11; "The Life Partner," 14; "The Green Cockatoo," 8; "Intermezzo," 22; "Young Medardus," 43; "The Vast Country," 30.

The list of dates given above has been drawn chiefly from "Das moderne Drama," by Robert F. Arnold (Strassburg, 1912); "Das Burgtheater: statistische Rueckblick," by Otto Rub (Vienna, 1913), and the current files of Buehne und Welt (Berlin). For dates of Schnitzler performances in America and England, see the Henderson bibliography previously mentioned.



THE LONELY WAY

(Der Einsame Weg)

A DRAMA IN FIVE ACTS

1903

PERSONS

PROFESSOR WEGRAT } President of the Academy } of Plastic Arts

GABRIELLE } His wife

FELIX } } Their children JOHANNA }

JULIAN FICHTNER

STEPHAN VON SALA

IRENE HERMS

DR. FRANZ REUMANN } A physician

FICHTNER'S VALET

SALA'S VALET

A MAID AT THE WEGRATS'



THE LONELY WAY



THE FIRST ACT

The little garden attached to Professor Wegrat's house. It is almost surrounded by buildings, so that no outlook of any kind is to be had. At the right in the garden stands the small two-storied house with its woodwork veranda, to which lead three wooden steps. Entries are made from the veranda as well as from either side of the house. Near the middle of the stage is a green garden table with chairs to match, and also a more comfortable armchair. A small iron bench is placed against a tree at the left.

Johanna is walking back and forth in the garden when Felix enters, wearing the uniform of a uhlan.

JOHANNA (turning about)

Felix!

FELIX

Yes, it's me.

JOHANNA

How are you?—And how have you been able to get another furlough?

FELIX

Oh, it won't last long.—And how's mamma?

JOHANNA

Doing pretty well the last few days.

FELIX

Do you think she would be scared if I dropped in on her unexpectedly?

JOHANNA

No. But wait a little just the same. She's asleep now. I have just come from her room.—How long are you going to stay, Felix?

FELIX

To-morrow night I'm off again.

JOHANNA (staring into a fancied distance)

Off....

FELIX

Oh, it sounds big! But one doesn't get so very far off—not in any respect.

JOHANNA

And you have wanted it so badly.... (Pointing to his uniform) Now you've got it. And are you not satisfied?

FELIX

Well, at any rate it is the most sensible thing I have gone into so far. For now I feel at least that I might achieve something under certain circumstances.

JOHANNA

I believe you would make good in any profession.

FELIX

I have my doubts whether I could get anywhere as a lawyer or an engineer. And on the whole I feel a good deal better than ever before. Often it seems to me as if I hadn't been born at the right time. I think I should have come into the world while there was still so much of order left in it, that one could venture all sorts of things one couldn't possibly venture nowadays.

JOHANNA

Oh, but you are free—you've got place to move.

FELIX

Only within certain limits.

JOHANNA

They are a great deal wider than these at any rate.

FELIX (looking around with a smile)

Well, this is not a prison.... Really, the garden has turned out quite pretty. How bare it looked when we were children.—What's that? A row of peach trees? That doesn't look bad at all.

JOHANNA

One of Dr. Reumann's ideas.

FELIX

Yes, I should have guessed it.

JOHANNA

Why?

FELIX

Because I can't believe any member of our family capable of such a useful inspiration. What are his chances anyhow?—I mean in regard to that professorship at Gratz?

JOHANNA

I don't know anything about it. (She turns away)

FELIX

I suppose mamma is outdoors a good deal these fine days?

JOHANNA

Yes.

FELIX

Are you still reading to her? Do you try to divert her a little? To cheer her up?

JOHANNA

Just as if it were such an easy thing!

FELIX

But you have to put some spunk into it, Johanna.

JOHANNA

Yes, Felix, it's easy for you to talk.

FELIX

What do you mean?

JOHANNA (speaking as if to herself)

I don't know if you'll be able to understand me.

FELIX (smiling)

Why should it all at once be so hard for me to understand you?

JOHANNA (looking calmly at him)

Now when she is sick, I don't love her as much as before.

FELIX (startled)

What?

JOHANNA

No, it's impossible that you could quite understand. All the time she is getting farther away from us.... It is as if every day a new set of veils dropped down about her.

FELIX

And what is the meaning of it?

JOHANNA (continues to look at him in the same calm way)

FELIX

You think...?

JOHANNA

You know, Felix, that I never make any mistakes in things of that kind.

FELIX

I know, you say...?

JOHANNA

When poor little Lillie von Sala had to die, I was aware of it in advance—before the rest of you knew that she was sick even.

FELIX

Yes, you had had a dream—and you were nothing but a child.

JOHANNA

I didn't dream it. I knew it. (Brusquely) It's something I can't explain.

FELIX (after a pause)

And papa—has he resigned himself to it?

JOHANNA

Resigned himself?—Do you think he too can see those veils coming down?

FELIX (having first shaken his head slightly)

Nothing but imagination, Johanna—I am sure.—But now I want to.... (Turning toward the house) Papa hasn't come home yet?

JOHANNA

No. As a rule he's very late these days. He has an awful lot to do in the Academy.

FELIX

I'll try not to wake her up—I'll be careful. (He goes out by way of the veranda)

[While alone for a while, Johanna seats herself on the garden bench with her hands clasped across her knees. Sala enters. He is forty-five, but looks younger. Slender to the verge of leanness, and smooth-shaven. His brown hair, which has begun to turn gray at the temples, and which he wears rather long, is parted on the right side. His features are keen and energetic; his eyes, gray and clear.

SALA

Good evening, Miss Johanna.

JOHANNA

Good evening, Mr. von Sala.

SALA

They told me your mother was having a little nap, and so I permitted myself to come out here in the meantime.

JOHANNA

Felix just got here.

SALA

Well? Have they already granted him another furlough? In my days they were stricter in that regiment. However, we were then stationed near the border—somewhere in Galicia.

JOHANNA

I can never keep in mind that you have gone through that kind of thing too.

SALA

Yes, it's long ago now. And it didn't last more than a couple of years. But it was good fun as I look back at it now.

JOHANNA

Like almost everything else you have experienced.

SALA

Like much of it.

JOHANNA

Won't you sit down?

SALA

Thank you. (He seats himself on the support of the armchair) Am I permitted? (Johanna having nodded assent, he takes a cigarette from his case and lights it)

JOHANNA

Are you already settled in your new place, Mr. von Sala?

SALA

I move in to-morrow.

JOHANNA

And it gives you a great deal of pleasure, doesn't it?

SALA

That would be a little premature.

JOHANNA

Are you superstitious?

SALA

Well, for that matter—yes.—But that was not what I had in mind. I only take possession temporarily, not for good.

JOHANNA

Why not?

SALA

I'm going abroad—for a prolonged stay.

JOHANNA

Oh? You are to be envied. I wish I could do the same—go here and there in the world, and not bother myself about a single human being.

SALA

Still at it?

JOHANNA

Still at it.... What do you mean?

SALA

Oh, I recall how the same kind of schemes for traveling used to occupy your mind when you were nothing but a little girl. What was it you wanted to become?—A ballet dancer, I think. Wasn't that it? A very famous one, of course.

JOHANNA

Why do you say that as if it were nothing at all to be a ballet dancer? (Without looking at him) You, in particular, Mr. von Sala, should not be talking like that.

SALA

Why not I, in particular?

JOHANNA (glances up calmly at him)

SALA

I don't quite make out what you mean, Miss Johanna.... Unless I must.... (Simply) Johanna, did you know at the time that I was looking at you?

JOHANNA

When?

SALA

Last year, when you were in the country, and I came out once and stayed over night in your attic. It was bright moonlight, and I thought I could see a fairy gliding back and forth in the meadow.

JOHANNA (nods with a smile)

SALA

And it was for me?

JOHANNA

Oh, I saw you very well, where you stood behind the curtain.

SALA (after a brief pause)

I suppose you will never dance like that for other people?

JOHANNA

Why not?—I have already. And then, too, you were looking on. Of course, it was a good while ago.—It happened on one of the Greek islands. A large number of men stood in a circle around me ... you were one of them ... and I was a slave girl from Lydia.

SALA

A princess in captivity.

JOHANNA (earnestly)

Don't you believe in such things?

SALA

If you want me to—certainly.

JOHANNA (still very serious)

You should believe everything in which the rest cannot believe.

SALA

When the time comes for it, I suppose I shall.

JOHANNA

You see—I can rather believe anything than that I should now be in the world for the first time. And there are moments when I recall quite clearly all sorts of things.

SALA

And at that time you had such a moment?

JOHANNA

Yes, a year ago, when I was dancing for you in the meadow that moonlit summer night. I am sure it was not the first time, Mr. von Sala. (After a short pause, with a sudden change of tone) Where are you going anyhow?

SALA (falling into the same tone)

To Bactria, Miss Johanna.

JOHANNA

Where?

SALA

To Bactria. That's quite a remarkable country, and what's most remarkable about it is that it doesn't exist any longer. What it means is that I am joining an expedition which will start next November. You have read of it in the papers, haven't you?

JOHANNA

No.

SALA

The proposition is to make excavations where it is supposed the ancient Ecbatana stood once—some six thousand years ago. That goes even farther back than your Lydian period, you see.

JOHANNA

When did you get hold of this idea?

SALA

Only a few days ago. Conversationally, so to speak. Count Ronsky, who is at the head of the matter, inspired me with a great desire to go. That wasn't very hard, however. He stirred an old longing within me. (With more spirit) Think of it, Miss Johanna: to be watching with your own eyes the gradual rising of such a buried city out of the ground—house by house, stone by stone, century by century. No, it wasn't meant that I should pass away until I had had this wish of mine fulfilled.

JOHANNA

Why talk of dying then?

SALA

Is there ever a blissful moment in any decent man's life when he can think of anything else in his innermost soul?

JOHANNA

I don't suppose a single wish of yours was ever left unfulfilled.

SALA

Not a single one...?

JOHANNA

I know that you have also had many sad experiences. But frequently I believe you have longed for those too.

SALA

Longed for them...? You may be right, perhaps, in saying that I enjoyed them when they came.

JOHANNA

How perfectly I understand that! A life without sorrow would probably be as bare as a life without happiness. (Pause) How long ago is it now?

SALA

What are you thinking of?

JOHANNA

That Mrs. von Sala died?

SALA

It's seven years ago, almost to a day.

JOHANNA

And Lillie—the same year?

SALA

Yes, Lillie died a month later. Do you often think of Lillie, Miss Johanna?

JOHANNA

Quite often, Mr. von Sala. I have never had a girl friend since that time. (As if to herself) She too would have to be called "miss" now. She was very pretty. She had black hair with a bluish glint in it like your wife, and the same clear eyes that you have, Mr. von Sala. (As if to herself) "Then both of them walked hand in hand along the gloomy road that leads through sunlit land...."

SALA

What a memory you have, Johanna.

JOHANNA

Seven years ago that was.... Remarkable!

SALA

Why remarkable?

JOHANNA

You are building a house, and digging out submerged cities, and writing queer poetry—and human beings who once meant so much to you have been rotting in their graves these seven years—and you are still almost young. How incomprehensible the whole thing is!

SALA

"Thou that livest on, cease thou thy weeping," says Omar Nameh, who was born at Bagdad in the year 412 of the Mohammedan era as the son of a cobbler. For that matter, I know a man who is only thirty-eight. He has buried two wives and seven children, not to speak of grandchildren. And now he is playing the piano in a shabby little Prater[1] restaurant, while artists of both sexes show off their tights and their fluttering skirts on the platform. And recently, when the pitiful performance had come to an end and they were turning out the lights, he went right on, without apparent reason, and quite heedless of everything, playing away on that frightful old rattle-box of his. And then Ronsky and I asked him over to our table and had a chat with him. And then he told us that the piece he had just played was his own composition. Of course, we complimented him. And then his eyes lit up, and he asked us in a voice that shook: "Gentlemen, do you think my piece will make a hit?" He is thirty-eight years old, and his career has come to an end in a small restaurant where his public consists of nurse-girls and non-commissioned officers, and his one longing is—to get their applause!

[1] The Prater is at once the Central Park and the Coney Island of Vienna, plus a great deal more—a park with an area of 2,000 acres bounded by the Danube on one side and by the Danube Canal on the other, full of all kinds of amusement places.

REUMANN (enters)

Good evening, Miss Johanna. Good evening, Mr. von Sala. (Shakes hands with both of them at the same time) How are you?

SALA

Fine. You don't suppose one must be your victim all the time because one has had the honor of consulting you once?

REUMANN

Oh, I had forgotten all about it. However, there are people who feel just that way.—I suppose your mother is having a little rest, Miss Johanna?

JOHANNA (who apparently has been startled by the few words exchanged between the physician and Sala, and who is looking intently at the latter) She is probably awake by this time. Felix is with her.

REUMANN

Felix...? You haven't telegraphed for him, have you?

JOHANNA

Not that I know of. Who could have...?

REUMANN

I only wondered. Your father is inclined to get frightened.

JOHANNA

There they are now.

MRS. WEGRAT (enters from the veranda with Felix)

How are you, my dear Doctor? What do you think of the surprise I have just had?

[All the men shake hands.

MRS. WEGRAT

Good evening, Mr. von Sala.

SALA

I am delighted to see you looking so well, Mrs. Wegrat.

MRS. WEGRAT

Yes, I am doing a little better. If only the gloomy season were not so close at hand.

SALA

But now the finest time of the year is coming. When the woods sparkle with red and yellow, and a golden mist lies on the hills, and the sky grows pale and remote as if it were scared by its own infinity...!

MRS. WEGRAT

Yes, that ought to be worth seeing once more.

REUMANN (reproachfully)

Mrs. Wegrat....

MRS. WEGRAT

Pardon me—but thoughts of that kind will come. (Brightening up a little) If I only knew how much longer I might count on my dear doctor?

REUMANN

I can reassure you on that score, madam: I shall stay in Vienna.

MRS. WEGRAT

What? Has the matter been settled already?

REUMANN

Yes.

MRS. WEGRAT

So another man has actually been called to Gratz?

REUMANN

No, not that way. But the other man, who was practically sure of the place, has broken his neck climbing a mountain.

FELIX

But then your chances should be better than ever. Whom could they possibly consider besides you?

REUMANN

I suppose my chances wouldn't be bad. But I have preferred to forgo them.

MRS. WEGRAT

How?

REUMANN

I won't accept the call.

MRS. WEGRAT

Is that out of superstition?

FELIX

Or out of pride?

REUMANN

Neither. But the thought of having another man's misfortune to thank for my own advancement would be extremely painful to me. Half my life would be spoiled for me. That is neither superstition nor pride, you see, but just commonplace, small-minded vanity.

SALA

You're a subtle one, Doctor.

MRS. WEGRAT

Well, all I gather is that you are going to stay. Which shows how mean your thoughts grow when you are sick.

REUMANN (changing the subject on purpose)

Well, Felix, how do you find life in a garrison?

FELIX

Fine.

MRS. WEGRAT

So you are really satisfied, boy?

FELIX

I feel very thankful to all of you. Especially to you, mamma.

MRS. WEGRAT

Why to me especially? After all, the decision lay with your father in the last instance.

REUMANN

He would, of course, have preferred to see you choose a more peaceful calling.

SALA

Oh, but to-day there is none more peaceful.

FELIX

That's where you are right, Mr. von Sala.—By the by, I was to give you the regards of Lieutenant-Colonel Schrotting.

SALA

Thank you. Does he still remember me?

FELIX

Not he alone. We are constantly being reminded of you—at every meal, in fact. Yours is among the pictures of former officers that hang in the mess rooms.

WEGRAT (enters)

Good evening.—Why, Felix, are you here again? What a surprise!

FELIX

Good evening, papa. I have applied for a two-day furlough.

WEGRAT

Furlough ... furlough? A real one? Or is it another one of those little brilliant tricks?

FELIX (cheerfully and without taking offence)

I am not in the habit of fibbing, papa, am I?

WEGRAT (in the same tone)

I meant no offense, my boy. Even if you had been guilty of deserting the flag, your longing to see your mother would be sufficient excuse for you.

MRS. WEGRAT

To see his parents, you mean.

WEGRAT

Of course—to see us all. But as you are a little under the weather, you come foremost just now.—Well, how are you getting along, Gabrielle? Better, are you not? (In a low voice, almost timidly) My love.... (He strokes her brow and hair) Love.... The air is so mild.

SALA

We are having a wonderful Autumn.

REUMANN

Have you just got away from the Academy, Professor?

WEGRAT

Yes. Now, when I am also the president of it, there is a whole lot to do—and all of it is not pleasant or grateful. But I seem to be made for it, as they have insisted. And I suppose it will have to go on this way. (With a smile) As somebody once called me—an art-official.

SALA

Don't be so unjust to yourself, Professor.

MRS. WEGRAT

You must have been walking all that long way home again?

WEGRAT

I even went out of my way some distance—to pass across the old Turkish fort.[2] I am awfully fond of that road. On evenings like this the whole city lies beneath you as if bathed in a silvery mist.—By the by, Gabrielle, I have some greetings to deliver. I met Irene Herms.

[2] The place where the Turks fortified themselves before driven from Vienna by John Sobieski in 1683 is now a small park, "Tuerkenschanz-Park," located in Doebling, one of the northwestern quarters of Greater Vienna. Only a little ways south of this park, and overlooking it, stands the Astronomical Observatory, not far from which Schnitzler has been living for a number of years. Numerous references to localities in this play indicate that he has placed the Wegrat home in that very villa quarter of Waehring, where he himself is so thoroughly at home.

MRS. WEGRAT

Is she in Vienna?

WEGRAT

Just passing through. She intends to call on you.

SALA

Has she still got an engagement at Hamburg?

WEGRAT

No, she has left the stage, she told me, and is now living in the country with her married sister.

JOHANNA

I saw her once in a play of yours, Mr. von Sala.

SALA

Then you must have been a very small girl indeed.

JOHANNA

She played a Spanish princess.

SALA

Unfortunately. For princesses were not at all in her line. She has never in her life been able to treat verse properly.

REUMANN

And you can still bear that in mind, Mr. von Sala—that some lady on some occasion happened to handle your verse badly?

SALA

Well, why shouldn't I, my dear Doctor? If you were living at the center of the earth, you would know that all things are of equal weight. And were you floating in the center of the universe, you would suspect that all things are of equal importance.

MRS. WEGRAT

How does she look anyhow?

WEGRAT

She is still very pretty.

SALA

Has she preserved her resemblance to that portrait of hers which is hanging in the Museum?

FELIX

What portrait is that?

JOHANNA

Is her portrait really in the Museum?

SALA

Oh, you know it. In the catalogue it is labeled "Actress"—just "Actress." A young woman in the costume of a harlequin, over which she has draped a Greek toga, while at her feet lie a confused heap of masks. With her staring glance turned toward the spectators, she stands there all alone on an empty, dusky stage, surrounded by odd pieces of misfit scenery—one wall of a room, a forest piece, part of an old dungeon....

FELIX

And the background shows a southern landscape with palms and plane trees...?

SALA

Yes, and it is partly raised so that still farther off you can see a pile of furniture, steps, goblets, chandeliers—all glittering in full daylight.

FELIX

But that's Julian Fichtner's picture?

SALA

Exactly.

FELIX

I had not the slightest idea that the figure of that woman was meant for Irene Herms.

WEGRAT

Twenty-five years have passed since he painted that picture. It caused a tremendous sensation at the time. It was his first big success. And to-day I suppose there are lots of people who no longer remember his name.—Come to think of it, I asked Irene Herms about him. But strange to say, not even his "perennial best girl" could tell where in this world he happens to be straying.

FELIX

I talked with him only a few days ago.

WEGRAT

What? You have seen Julian Fichtner? He was in Salzburg?—When?

FELIX

Only about three or four days ago. He looked me up, and we spent the evening together.

[Mrs. Wegrat throws a quick glance at Dr. Reumann.

WEGRAT

How is he doing? What did he tell you?

FELIX

He has turned rather gray, but otherwise he didn't seem to have changed at all.

WEGRAT

How long can it be now since he left Vienna? Two years, isn't it?

MRS. WEGRAT

A little more.

FELIX

He has traveled far and wide.

SALA

Yes, now and then I have had a postcard from him.

WEGRAT

So have we. But I thought you and he were corresponding regularly.

SALA

Regularly? Oh, no.

JOHANNA

Isn't he a friend of yours?

SALA

As a rule I have no friends. And if I have any, I repudiate them.

JOHANNA

But you used to be quite intimate with him.

SALA

He with me rather than I with him.

FELIX

What do you mean by that, Mr. von Sala?

JOHANNA

Oh, I can understand it. I suppose you have had the same experience with most people.

SALA

Something very much like it, at least.

JOHANNA

Yes, one can see it from what you write, too.

SALA

I hope so. Otherwise it might just as well have been written by somebody else.

WEGRAT

Did he say when he would be back in Vienna?

FELIX

Soon, I think. But he didn't say very definitely.

JOHANNA

I should like to see Mr. Fichtner again. I am fond of that kind of people.

WEGRAT

What do you mean by "that kind of people"?

JOHANNA

Who are always arriving from some far-off place.

WEGRAT

But as a rule he never arrived from far-off places when you knew him, Johanna.... He was living right here.

JOHANNA

What did it matter whether he was living here or elsewhere?—Even when he came to see us daily, it was always as if he had just arrived from some great distance.

WEGRAT

Oh, of course....

FELIX

I had often the same feeling.

WEGRAT

Well, it's strange how he has been knocking about in the world—these last few years at least.

SALA

Don't you think his restlessness goes farther back? Were you not students together in the Academy?

WEGRAT

Yes. And to know him properly, you must have known him then. There was something fascinating about him as a young man, something that dazzled. Never have I known anybody whom the term "of great promise" fitted so completely.

SALA

Well, he has kept a whole lot of it.

WEGRAT

But think of all he might have achieved!

REUMANN

I believe that what you might achieve you do achieve.

WEGRAT

Not always. Julian was undoubtedly destined for higher things. What he lacked was the capacity for concentration, the inward calm. He could never feel at home for good anywhere. And the misfortune has been that in his own works, too, he has lived only as a transient, so to speak.

FELIX

He showed me a couple of sketches he had made recently.

WEGRAT

Good?

FELIX

To me there was something gripping about them.

MRS. WEGRAT

Why gripping? What kind of pictures were they?

FELIX

Landscapes. And as a rule very pleasant ones at that.

JOHANNA

Once in a dream I saw a Spring landscape, very sunlit and soft, and yet it made me weep.

SALA

Yes, the sadness of certain things lies much deeper than we commonly suspect.

WEGRAT

So he's working again? Then, perhaps, we may expect something out of the ordinary.

SALA

In the case of anybody who has been an artist once you are never safe against surprises.

WEGRAT

That's it, Mr. von Sala. That's where the great difference lies. In the case of an official you can feel perfectly safe on that score. (With cheerful self-contempt) Such a one paints every year his nice little picture for the exhibition, and couldn't possibly do anything else.

REUMANN

It is still open to question who do most for the advancement of life and art: officials like you, Professor, or—our so-called men of genius.

WEGRAT

Oh, I have not the least intention to play the modest one. But as to men of genius—we had better not talk of them at all. There you are dealing with a world by itself, lying outside of all discussion—as do the elements.

REUMANN

My opinion, I must confess, is utterly different.

WEGRAT

Oh, it's of no use discussing anybody but those who have distinct limitations. And what I have found is—that he who knows his own limitations best is the better man. And on this point I have pretty good reason for self-respect.—Do you feel chilly, Gabrielle?

MRS. WEGRAT

No.

WEGRAT

But you had better pull the shawl a little closer about you, and then we should have a little exercise—in so far as it's possible in here.

MRS. WEGRAT

All right.—Please, Doctor, give me your arm. You haven't paid the least attention to your patient yet.

REUMANN

At your service!

[The rest start ahead, Johanna walking with her brother, and Wegrat with Sala. Dr. Reumann and Mrs. Wegrat seem about to follow, when she suddenly stops.

MRS. WEGRAT

Did you notice his eyes light up—I mean, the eyes of Felix, when they were talking of him? It was most peculiar.

REUMANN

Men of Mr. Fichtner's type appear undoubtedly very interesting to young people. They seem to carry with them an odor of romance.

MRS. WEGRAT (shaking her head)

And he looked him up.... It is perfectly clear that he went to Salzburg just to see him again. I suppose he is beginning to feel a little deserted.

REUMANN

Why not pay a visit to a young friend when one happens to be near the place where he is living? I can see nothing peculiar in that.

MRS. WEGRAT

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I might have looked at the matter in the same way not long ago. But now, in the face of.... No, Doctor, I am not going to be sentimental.

REUMANN

I don't object to sentiment, but to nonsense.

MRS. WEGRAT (smiling)

Thank you.—However, I have occasion to think of many different things. And it is no reason for taking it too seriously, my dear friend. You know, of course, that I told you everything merely that I might have a kind and sensible man with whom to discuss the past—and not at all to be absolved of any guilt.

REUMANN

To give happiness is more than being free of guilt. And as this has been granted you, it is clear that you have made full atonement—if you'll pardon the use of such a preposterously extravagant term.

MRS. WEGRAT

How can you talk like that?

REUMANN

Well, am I not right?

MRS. WEGRAT

Just as if I couldn't feel how all of us, deceivers and deceived, must seem equally contemptible to you in particular!

REUMANN

Why to me in particular...? What you call contempt, madam—supposing I did feel anything like it—would, after all, be nothing but disguised envy. Or do you think I lack the desire to conduct my life as I see most other people conducting theirs? I simply haven't the knack. If I am to be frank, madam—the deepest yearning of all within me is just to be a rogue: a fellow who can dissemble, seduce, sneer, make his way over dead bodies. But thanks to a certain shortcoming in my temperament, I am condemned to remain a decent man—and what is still more painful perhaps: to hear everybody say that I am one.

MRS. WEGRAT (who has been listening with a smile)

I wonder whether you have told the truth about what is keeping you here in Vienna?

REUMANN

Certainly. Indeed, I have no other reason. I have no right to have any other. Don't let us talk any more of it.

MRS. WEGRAT

Are we not such good friends that I can talk calmly with you of everything? I know what you have in mind. But I believe that it might be in your power to drive certain illusions and dreams out of the soul of a young girl. And it would be such a comfort to me if I could leave you for good among these people, all of whom are so near to me, and who yet know nothing whatever about each other—who are hardly aware of their mutual relationships even, and who seem fated to flitter away from each other to God knows where.

REUMANN

We'll talk of those things, madam, when it's time to do so.

MRS. WEGRAT

Of course, I regret nothing. I believe I have never regretted anything. But I have a feeling that something is out of order. Perhaps it's nothing but that strange glimmer in the eyes of Felix which has caused all this unrest within me. But isn't it peculiar—uncanny almost—to think that a man like him may go through the world with all his senses open and yet never know whom he has to thank for being in the world?

REUMANN

Don't let us indulge in generalities, Mrs. Wegrat. In that way you can set the most solid things shaking and swaying until the steadiest eyes begin to grow dizzy. My own conclusion is this: that a lie which has proved strong enough to sustain the peace of a household can be no less respectable than a truth which could do nothing but destroy the image of the past, fill the present with sorrow, and confuse the vision of the future. (He goes out with Mrs. Wegrat)

JOHANNA (entering with Sala)

In this way one always gets back to the same spot. I suppose your garden is bigger, Mr. von Sala?

SALA

My garden is the whole wide woods—that is, for people whose fancy is not restrained by a light fence.

JOHANNA

Your villa has grown very pretty.

SALA

Oh, you know it then?

JOHANNA

A little while ago I saw it again for the first time in three years.

SALA

But three years ago they hadn't put in the foundations yet.

JOHANNA

To me it was already standing there.

SALA

How mysterious....

JOHANNA

Not at all. If you will only remember. Once we made an excursion to Dornbach[3]—my parents, and Felix, and I. There we met you and Mr. Fichtner, and it happened on the very spot where your house was to be built. And now everything looks just as you described it to us then.

[3] A suburb near the western limits of Vienna and not far from the location indicated for the Wegrat home.

SALA

But how did you happen to be in that vicinity?

JOHANNA

Since mamma was taken sick I have often had to take my walks alone....

SALA

And when was it you passed by my house?

JOHANNA

Not long ago—to-day.

SALA

To-day?

JOHANNA

Yes. I went all around it.

SALA

Oh? All around it?—Did you also notice the little gate that leads directly into the woods?

JOHANNA

Yes.—But from that spot the house is almost invisible. The leafage is very thick.—Where have you placed those busts of the Roman emperors?

SALA

They stand on columns at the opening of an avenue of trees. Right by is a small marble bench, and in front of the bench a little pool has been made.

JOHANNA (nodding)

Just as you told us that time.... And there is a greenish gray glitter on the water—and in the morning the shadow from the beech tree falls across it.... I know. (She looks up at him and smiles; both go out together)

CURTAIN



THE SECOND ACT

In the home of Julian Fichtner. A pleasant, rather distinguished room in a state of slight disorder. Books are piled on two chairs, while on another chair stands an open traveling bag. Julian is seated at a writing desk, from the drawers of which he is taking out papers. Some of these he destroys, while others are thrown into the waste-paper basket.

VALET (announcing)

Mr. von Sala. (He goes out)

SALA (enters. His custom to walk up and down while talking asserts itself strikingly during the following scene. Now and then he sits down for a moment, often only on the arm of a chair. At times he stops beside Julian, putting his hand on the latter's shoulder while speaking. Two or three times during the scene he puts his hand to the left side of his chest, in a manner suggesting discomfort of some kind. But this gesture is not sharply accentuated)

JULIAN

I am delighted. (They shake hands)

SALA

So you got back early this morning?

JULIAN

Yes.

SALA

And mean to stay...?

JULIAN

Haven't decided yet. Things are a little upset, as you see. And I fear they'll never be quite in shape again. I intend to give up this place.

SALA

Too bad. I have become so accustomed to it. In what direction are you going to move?

JULIAN

It's possible that I don't take any new quarters at all for a while, but just keep on moving about as I have been doing the last few years. I am even considering to have my things sold at auction.

SALA

That's a thought which gets no sympathy from me.

JULIAN

Really, I haven't got much sympathy for it myself. But the material side of the question has to be considered a little, too. I have been spending too much these last years, and it has to be evened up somehow. Probably I'll settle down again later on. Sometime one must get back to peace and work, I suppose.—Well, how goes it with you? What are our friends and acquaintances doing?

SALA

So you haven't seen anybody yet?

JULIAN

Not one. And you are the only one I have written about my being here.

SALA

And you have not yet called on the Wegrats?

JULIAN

No. I even hesitate to go there.

SALA

Why?

JULIAN

After a certain age it would perhaps be better never to put your foot in any place where your earlier years were spent. It is so rare to find things and people the same as when you left them. Isn't that so?—Mrs. Gabrielle is said to have changed considerably in the course of her sickness. That's what Felix told me at least. I should prefer not to see her again. Oh, you can understand that, Sala.

SALA (rather surprised)

Of course, I understand. How long is it you have had no news from Vienna?

JULIAN

I have constantly started ahead of my mail. Not a single letter has overtaken me during the last fortnight. (Alarmed) What has happened?

SALA

Mrs. Gabrielle died a week ago.

JULIAN

Oh! (He is deeply moved; for a while he walks back and forth; then he resumes his seat and says after a pause) Of course, it was to be expected, and yet....

SALA

Her death came easily.... You know how those left behind always pretend to know such things with certainty. Anyhow, she fell asleep quietly one night and never woke up again.

JULIAN (in low voice)

Poor Gabrielle!—Did you see anything of her toward the end?

SALA

Yes, I went there almost daily.

JULIAN

Oh, did you?

SALA

Johanna asked me. She was literally afraid of being alone with her mother.

JULIAN

Afraid?

SALA

The sick woman inspired her with a sort of horror. She has calmed down a little now.

JULIAN

What a strange creature.... And how does our friend, the professor, bear up under his loss? Resigned to the will of God, I suppose?

SALA

My dear Julian, the man has a position. I fear we cannot grasp that, we who are Gods by the grace of the moment—and also less than men at times.

JULIAN

Of course, Felix is not here?

SALA

I talked with him less than an hour ago, and informed him that you were here. It made him very happy to have you call on him in Salzburg.

JULIAN

It looked so to me. And he did me a lot of good. For that matter, I have really thought of settling down in Salzburg.

SALA

For ever?

JULIAN

For a while. On account of Felix, too. His unspoiled nature affects me very pleasantly—it makes me actually feel younger. Were he not my son, I might almost envy him—and not on account of his youth alone. (With a smile) Thus there is nothing left for me but to love him. I must say that I feel a little ashamed at having to do it incognito, so to speak.

SALA

Are not these feelings a little belated in their appearance?

JULIAN

Oh, I suppose they were there long before I knew. And, you know, I saw the youngster for the first time when he was ten or eleven years old, and it was only then I learned that he was my son.

SALA

It must have been a strange meeting between you and Mrs. Gabrielle, ten years after you had committed that piece of hideous perfidy—as our ancestors used to put it.

JULIAN

It wasn't strange even. It came about quite naturally. Shortly after my return from Paris I happened to meet Wegrat on the street. Of course, we had heard of each other from time to time, and we met as old friends. There are people who seem born to a fate of that kind.... And as for Gabrielle....

SALA

She had forgiven you, of course?

JULIAN

Forgiven...? It was more or less than that. Only once did we talk of the past—she without reproach, and I without regret: as if the whole story had happened to somebody else. And after that never again. I might have thought some miracle had wiped those earlier days out of her memory. In fact, as far as I am concerned, there seemed to be no real connection between that quiet matron and the creature I had once loved. And as for the youngster—well, you know—at first I didn't care more for him than I might have cared for any other pretty and gifted child.—Of course, ten years ago my life had a different aspect. I was still clinging to so many things which since then have slipped away from me. It was only in the course of time that I became more and more drawn to the house, until at last I began to feel at home there.

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