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Title: Magda - A Play in Four Acts
Author: Sudermann, Hermann, 1857-1928
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                 MAGDA
                          A Play In Four Acts


                                  _By_
                           HERMANN SUDERMANN


                    _Translated from the German by_
                      CHARLES EDWARD AMORY WINSLOW


                               *   *   *

                          Copyright, 1895, by
                      Lamson, Wolffe and Company.

                 Assignment of above Copyright to

                            Emanuel Lederer,
                   13 West 42d Street, New York City,

                      recorded in Assignment Book
             V. 21 Page 143, June 8,1899, Washington, D. C.


                               *   *   *


CAUTION.-Professionals and amateurs are hereby notified that this play
is fully copyrighted under the existing laws of the United States
Government, and nobody is allowed to do this play without first having
obtained permission of Samuel French, 24 West 22d Street, New York
City, U. S. A.



                           _Copyright, 1895_,
                    By Lamson, Wolffe, and Company.



                                 MAGDA



                               CHARACTERS


      Lieutenant-Colonel Leopold Schwartz.
      Pastor Heffterdingt
      Dr. Von Kellner
      Max
      Major-General Von Klebs
      Prof. Beckmann
      Mrs. Schwartz, the stepmother
      Magda Schwartz    \
                         > sisters
      Marie Schwartz    /
      Franziska
      Mrs. General Von Klebs
      Mrs. Justice Ellrich
      Mrs. Schumann
      Theresa, the Schwartzs' maid


                               *   *   *


                                SYNOPSIS


      Scene--The Schwartzs' home.
      Act I.--Afternoon.
      Act II.--Evening of the same day.
      Act III.--The next morning.
      Act IV.--The same morning.



                                 Note.


Herr Hermann Sudermann has achieved surprising success in passing from
novel-writing to dramatic authorship. He has a style of the utmost
distinction, and is well skilled in technique. His masterpiece,
"Heimat," is absolutely original. No play has ever produced a more
impressive effect upon German audiences. When it ceases to be
performed, it will still hold a permanent and important place in the
libraries of dramatic literature. Though a psychological study, there
is no concentration of attention upon morbid conditions. All these have
passed before the play begins. There is no passion for mere passion's
sake. Its development proceeds from the energies of circumstances and
character.

Herr Sudermann, unlike some of the new dramatists, is not lacking in
humor; and the snobbishness, stuffy etiquette, and scandal-mongering of
a provincial town are well illustrated by the minor characters. Into
this atmosphere comes the whirlwind from the outer world with fatal
effect. It is scarcely possible to conceive more varied and intense
emotions naturally and even inevitably evolved from the action of a
single day. The value of the drama lies in the sharp contrasts between
the New and the Old, alternately commanding, in their strife, the
adhesion of the spectator or reader. The preparation for the return of
"The Prodigal Daughter" occupies an entire act, and invests her
entrance with an interest which increases until the tremendous climax.
Yet the proud martinet father commands our respect and sympathy; and
the Pastor, in his enlightened self-conquest, is the antithesis alike
of the narrowness and lawlessness of parent and child, and remains the
hero of the swift tragedy.

It is not uncommon that the scrupulousness attending circumstances
where partiality would be a natural impulse, makes criticism even
unusually exacting. It is believed that in this spirit the present
translation may be somewhat confidently characterized as being both
spirited and faithful.

                                                      E. W.

The Oxford.
     _January_, 1896.



                                Persons.


      Schwartze, _Lieutenant-Colonel on half-pay_.

      Magda,     \
                   > _his children by his first wife_.
      Marie,     /

      Augusta, _born_ Von Wendlowski, _his second wife_.
      Franziska von Wendlowski, _her sister_.
      Max von Wendlowski, _Lieutenant, their nephew_.
      Heffterdingt, _Pastor of St. Mary's_.
      Dr. von Keller, _Councillor_.
      Beckmann, _Professor Emeritus_.
      Von Klebs, _Major-General on half-pay_.
      Mrs. von Klebs.
      Mrs. Justice Ellrich.
      Mrs. Schumann.
      Theresa, _maidservant of the Schwartze family_.


      _Place_. The principal city of a province.

      _Time_. The present.



                                 MAGDA.



                                 ACT I.

Scene. _Living-room in house of_ Lieutenant-Colonel Schwartze,
_furnished in simple and old-fashioned style. Left, at back, a glass
door with white curtains through which the dining-room is seen. There
is also a hall door, through which a staircase to the upper story is
visible. Right, a corner window, with white curtains, surrounded by
ivy. Left, a door to the_ Lieutenant-Colonel's _room. Steel engravings
of a religious and patriotic character, in tarnished gold frames,
photographs of military groups, and cases of butterflies on the walls.
Right, over the sofa, among other pictures, is the portrait of the
first Mrs. Schwartze, young and charming, in the costume of the
sixties. Behind the sofa, an old-fashioned desk. Before the window, a
small table with workbox and hand sewing-machine. At the back, between
the doors, an old-fashioned tall clock. In the left-hand corner, a
stand with dried grasses; in front, a table with a small aquarium.
Left, in front, a corner sofa with a small pipe-cupboard behind it. A
stove with a stuffed bird on it; and behind, a bookcase with a bust of
the old Emperor William._


[Marie _and_ Theresa _discovered_. Theresa _at the door_. Marie _is
occupied with the sewing-machine_.]


                                THERESA.

Miss Marie!

                                 MARIE.

Well!

                                THERESA.

Is your father still lying down?

                                 MARIE.

What's the matter? Has any one called?

                                THERESA.

No, but-- There! Look at that! [_Producing a magnificent mass of
flowers_.]

                                 MARIE.

Good Heavens! Take it to my room quickly, or papa-- But, Theresa, when
the first came yesterday, weren't you told not to let any more be left?

                                THERESA.

I'd have sent the florist's boy away if I could, but I was up on the
ladder fixing the flag, and he laid it down and was gone before I could
stop him. My, my, though, they're beautiful! and if I might make a
guess, the Lieutenant--

                                 MARIE.

You may not make a guess.

                                THERESA.

All right, all right. Oh, I know what I wanted to ask. Does the flag
hang well? [Marie _looks out, and nods assent_.]

                                THERESA.

The whole town is full of flags and flowers, and the most expensive
tapestries are hung out of the windows. One would think it was the
King's birthday. And all this fuss is about a stupid Music Festival!
What is this Music Festival, Miss Marie? Is it different from a choral
festival?

                                 MARIE.

Yes, indeed.

                                THERESA.

Is it better?

                                 MARIE.

Oh, much better!

                                THERESA.

Oh, well, if it's better-- [_A knock_.]

                                 MARIE.

Come in!

                              _Enter_ Max.

                                THERESA.

Well, _now_ I suppose I can leave the flowers.

                    [_Exit_ Theresa, _laughing_.

                                 MARIE.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Max.

                                  MAX.

What on earth do you mean?

                                 MARIE.

Aren't these flowers yours?

                                  MAX.

Good Heavens! I can afford a few pennies for a bunch of violets once in
a while, but this-- Oh, no!

                                 MARIE.

Nor yesterday's?

                                  MAX.

No, nor yesterday's. [Marie _rings_.]

                            _Enter_ Theresa.

                                 MARIE.

Please throw these flowers away.

                                THERESA.

What! Throw those beautiful flowers away?

                                 MARIE.

You are right. The pastor would say, "If God's gifts do not please us,
we must at least take care that they give pleasure to others." Wouldn't
he?

                                  MAX.

Probably he would.

                                 MARIE.

Then you had better take them back to the florist's. Did they come from
Zimmerman's? [Theresa _nods_.] Well, we'll sell them if we can, and
give the money to Pastor Heffterdingt for his hospital.

                                THERESA.

Shall I go now?

                                 MARIE.

After you have made the coffee. I'll serve it myself. [_Exit_ Theresa.]
These flowers are an insult! I need not tell you, Max, that I have
given no one the shadow of an excuse for such a thing.

                                  MAX.

I'm very sure of that.

                                 MARIE.

And papa was so angry. He simply stormed. And I was quiet because I
suspected it was you. If he got hold of the poor fellow, it would go
hard with him.

                                  MAX.

Do you think it would be any better if I got hold of him?

                                 MARIE.

What rights have you in the case?

                                  MAX.

Marie! [_Takes her hand_.]

                                 MARIE.

[_Gently disengaging herself_.] Oh, Max, please--not that. You know
every corner of my heart. But we must think of the proprieties.

                                  MAX.

Proprieties! Oh, pshaw!

                                 MARIE.

Well, you know what a world we live in. Here, every one is afraid of
every one else because each depends upon the good opinion of the other.
If a few anonymous flowers can make me talked of, how much more--

                                  MAX.

Oh, yes, I know.

                                 MARIE.

[_Laying her hand on his shoulder_.] Max, you'll speak again to Aunt
Frankie, won't you, about the guaranty[1] of your income?

                                  MAX.

I have already.

                                 MARIE.

Well?

                                  MAX.

[_Shrugging his shoulders_.] As long as she lives, not a penny.

                                 MARIE.

Then there's only one person who can help us.

                                  MAX.

Your father?

                                 MARIE.

No. For Heaven's sake, don't let him hear of it. He might forbid you
the house.

                                  MAX.

What has he against me?

                                 MARIE.

You know how he has been since our misfortune. He feels that there is a
blot to be wiped out; and especially now, when the whole town echoes
with music,--when everything recalls Magda.

                                  MAX.

What if she should come back, some day?

                                 MARIE.

After twelve years? She will never come.
                                          [_Weeps_.]

                                  MAX.

Marie!

                                 MARIE.

You're right, you're right. I will put it away from me.

                                  MAX.

But who is the one person who can help us?

                                 MARIE.

Why, the pastor!

                                  MAX.

Yes, yes, he might.

                                 MARIE.

He can do everything. He stirs your very heart--as if-- And then he
seems like a kind of relation. He should have been my brother-in-law.

                                  MAX.

Yes, but she wouldn't have it so.

                                 MARIE.

Don't speak angrily, Max. She must have made atonement. [_A ring_.] Oh,
perhaps this is he.

                                  MAX.

No, no, I forgot to tell you. Councillor von Keller asked me to bring
him here to-day.

                                 MARIE.

What does he want?

                                  MAX.

He wants to interest himself in the missions--no, it's in our home work
particularly, I think. I don't know-- Well, at any rate he wants to
come to the committee meeting tomorrow.

                                 MARIE.

I'll call father and mother. [_Enter_ Theresa _with a card_.] Show him
in. [_Exit_ Theresa.] Entertain him until I come back. [_Gives him her
hand_.] And we'll talk again about the pastor some other time?

                                  MAX.

In spite of the proprieties?

                                 MARIE.

Oh, Max, I've been too forward! Haven't I?

                                  MAX.

Marie!

                                 MARIE.

No, no--we won't speak of it. Good-by.
                                                    [_Exit_ Marie.

                          _Enter_ Von Keller.

                                  MAX.

You must content yourself with me for a few minutes, my dear Von
Keller. [_They shake hands_.]

                              VON KELLER.

With pleasure, my good sir, with pleasure. [_Sits_.] How our little
town is changed by the festival! It really seems as if we were in the
great world.

                                  MAX.

[_Laughing_.] I advise you not to say that aloud.

                              VON KELLER.

What did I say? I assure you I did not mean anything. If such a
misunderstanding got abroad--

                                  MAX.

You have nothing to fear from me!

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, of course not. Ah, how much better it would be to know nothing of
the outer world!

                                  MAX.

How long were you away?

                              VON KELLER.

Five years, with examinations and being sent down to commissioners and
all that. Well, now I am back again. I drink home-brewed beer; I
patronize local tailors; I have even, with a noble fearlessness of
death, eaten the deer-steak of the season; and this I call pleasure!
Yes, youth, travel, and women are good things; but the world must be
ruled, and sober men are needed. Your time will come some day. The
years of honor are approaching. Yes, yes, especially when one joins the
ecclesiastical courts.

                                  MAX.

Are you going to do that?

                              VON KELLER.

I think of it. And to be at one with those of the cloth-- I speak quite
openly with you--it is worth my while, in short, to interest myself in
religious questions. I have of late in my speeches, as perhaps you
know, taken this position; and as for the connections which this
household has--let me tell you I am proud of them.

                                  MAX.

You might have been proud long ago.

                              VON KELLER.

Excuse me, am I over-sensitive? Or do I read a reproach in your words?

                                  MAX.

Not quite that, but--if you will pardon me, it has sometimes
appeared--and not to me alone--as if you avoided the houses where my
uncle's family were to be found.

                              VON KELLER.

And my presence here now--does not that prove the contrary?

                                  MAX.

Exactly. And therefore I too will speak very frankly. You were the last
person to meet my lost cousin, Magda.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Confused_.] Who says--

                                  MAX.

You yourself have spoken of it, I am told. You met her with my friend
Heydebrand when he was at the military academy.

                              VON KELLER.

Yes, yes, it's true.

                                  MAX.

It was wrong of me not to ask you about her openly, but you will
probably understand my reticence. I feel almost as if I belonged to
this family and I feared to learn something which might disgrace it.

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, not at all, not in the least. It was like this. When I was in
Berlin for the State Examinations, I saw one day on Leipsic Street a
familiar face,--a home face, if I may say so. You know what that is
when one is far away. Well, we spoke to each other. I learned that she
was studying to sing in opera, and that for this purpose she had left
her home.

                                  MAX.

Not exactly. She left home to be companion to an old lady.
[_Hesitates_.] There was a difference with her father.

                              VON KELLER.

A love affair?

                                  MAX.

In a way. Her father supported the suitor and told her to obey or leave
his house.

                              VON KELLER.

And she went away?

                                  MAX.

Yes. Then, a year later, when she wrote that she was going on the
stage, it made the breach complete. But what else did you hear?

                              VON KELLER.

That's all.

                                  MAX.

Nothing else?

                              VON KELLER.

Well, well,--I met her once or twice at the opera-house where she had a
pass.

                                  MAX.

And you know absolutely nothing of her life?

                              VON KELLER.

[_With a shrug_.] Have you heard nothing from her?

                                  MAX.

Nothing at all. Well, at any rate, I am grateful to you. I beg you,
however, not to mention the meeting to my uncle, unless he asks you
about it directly. He knows of it, of course, but the name of the lost
daughter is never mentioned in this house.

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, I have tact enough not to do that.

                                  MAX.

And what do you think has become of her?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, music is a lottery. Ten thousand blanks and one prize. A host of
beginners and but one who makes a career. If one becomes a Patti or a
Sembrich, or, to come down to our own Festival--

                _Enter_ Schwartze _and_ Mrs. Schwartze.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Shaking hands_.] Welcome to my house! Councillor von Keller, my wife.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Pray sit down.

                              VON KELLER.

I should not have dared, madam, to ask the honor of this introduction
had I not wished so strongly to share in the good and useful work which
centres here. My purpose may excuse my temerity.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You're very kind; but you do us too much honor. If you seek the centre
of the whole movement, Pastor Heffterdingt is the man. He inspires all;
he controls all; he--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Do you know our pastor, sir?

                              VON KELLER.

I have heard him speak many times, dear lady, and have admired equally
the sincerity of his convictions and his naïve faith in human nature.
But I cannot comprehend the influence he exerts.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You will find it out. He is so plain and simple that one hardly
realizes what a man he is. He brings every one round.

                              VON KELLER.

I am almost converted already, dear lady.

                               SCHWARTZE.

As for us here, all I can do is to give these weak and useless hands to
help on the great work. It's only right that an old soldier should
dedicate the little strength left him by the throne to the service of
the altar. Those are the two causes to fight for.

                              VON KELLER.

That's a great thought!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Thanks, thanks, but no more of this. Ah, ten years ago, when they gave
me my discharge, I was a devil of a fellow. Max, doesn't my old
battalion still tremble at my name?

                                  MAX.

That they do, uncle.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Ah, that is one thing you escape in the civil service,--being laid on
the shelf without any fault of your own,--without the shadow of a
fault. Then there came a slight stroke of apoplexy. See how my hand
trembles now! And what had I to look forward to? It was then that my
young friend, Heffterdingt, showed me the way, through work and prayer,
to a new youth. Without him I never should have found it.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You mustn't believe all he says, Mr. von Keller. If he didn't always
depreciate himself, he would be better thought of in the highest
circles.

                              VON KELLER.

High and low, madam, everywhere your husband is known and honored.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Lighting up_.] Indeed? Ah, well, no vanity. No, no, that is the moth
that corrupts.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Is it really so wrong to wish for a little honor?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh!

                               SCHWARTZE.

What is honor? You would call it being led up the room by the governor,
or being asked to tea at the castle when the royal family is here.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You know very well that the latter honor has never fallen to my lot.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Oh, yes, pardon me. I knew your weak spot. I should have avoided it.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes, just think, Councillor, Mrs. Fanny Hirschfeld of the Children's
Hospital was invited, and I was not.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Deprecatingly_.] Oh!

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Laughing, and stroking her head_.] Ah, the moth that corrupts, the
moth that corrupts! [_Enter_ Marie _with the coffee. She bows in a
friendly way to_ Von Keller.] Herr von Keller, my daughter--my only
daughter.

                              VON KELLER.

I've already had the pleasure.

                                 MARIE.

I can't offer you a hand for welcome, Dr. Von Keller, but you may have
a cup of coffee instead.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Helping himself and looking at the others_.] I am very fortunate in
being treated like an old acquaintance of the family.

                               SCHWARTZE.

As far as we are concerned, you shall become not only an acquaintance
but a friend. And that is no conventional politeness, Councillor; for I
know you, and in these times, when all the ties of morality and
authority seem strained to bursting, it is doubly necessary that those
who stand for the good old patriarchal order should hold together.

                              VON KELLER.

Very true, very true indeed. One doesn't hear such sentiments as that
in the world in general, where modern ideas pass current for small
change.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Modern ideas! Oh, pshaw! I know them. But come into the quiet homes
where are bred brave soldiers and virtuous wives. There you'll hear no
talk about heredity, no arguments about individuality, no scandalous
gossip. There modern ideas have no foothold, for it is there that the
life and strength of the Fatherland abide. Look at this home! There is
no luxury,--hardly even what you call good taste,--faded rugs, birchen
chairs, old pictures; and yet when you see the beams of the western sun
pour through the white curtains and lie with such a loving touch on the
old room, does not something say to you, "Here dwells true happiness"?
[Von Keller _nods with conviction_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Broodingly_.] And here it might have dwelt!

                                 MARIE.

[_Hurrying to him_.] Papa!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes, I know. Well, in this house rules old-fashioned paternal
authority. And it shall rule as long as I live. And am I therefore a
tyrant? Tell me. You ought to know.

                                 MARIE.

You're the best, the dearest--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

He is so excitable, you see, Councillor.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Have you not been well brought up? And shall we not hold together, we
three? But the age goes on planting rebellion in children's hearts,
putting mistrust between man and wife [_rises_], and it will never be
satisfied till the last roof-tree smokes in ruins, and men wander about
the streets, fearful and alone, like homeless curs. [_Sinks back
exhausted_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You ought not to get so wrought up, papa. You know it is bad for you.
[Max _makes a sign to_ Von Keller.]

                              VON KELLER.

Shall I go? [Max _nods_.] This is an interesting subject to develop,
Colonel. I must say I think perhaps you are a little severe. But my
time--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Severe? Ah, well, don't think ill of an old man for speaking a little
too hotly.

                              VON KELLER.

Ah, sir, heat is the badge of youth. I believe I am a graybeard beside
you.

                               SCHWARTZE.

No, no. [_Presses his hand_.]

                              VON KELLER.

Madam! Miss Marie! [_Exit_. Max _follows him_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Greet the battalion for me, my boy.

                                  MAX.

I will, dear uncle. [_Exit_.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

A very agreeable man.

                                 MARIE.

Almost too agreeable.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You are speaking of our guest! [Mrs. Schwartze _makes_ Marie _a sign
to be careful_.]

                                 MARIE.

Will you have your pipe, papa?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, dear.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

The gentlemen of the card-club will be here soon. How lucky that we
didn't eat the haunch of venison Sunday! I've ordered some red wine for
the General, too. I paid three marks; that's not too dear, is it?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Not if it's good. Is your sister coming to-day?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

I think so.

                               SCHWARTZE.

She was asked to the Governor's yesterday, wasn't she?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Sighing_.] Yes.

                               SCHWARTZE.

And we were not. Poor thing! She must look out for me to-day if she
boasts. [_Aside_] Old cat!

                                 MARIE.

[_Kneels before him, lighting his pipe_.] Be good, father dear. What
harm does it do you?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes, darling. I'll be good. But my heart is sore. [_Bell rings_.
Marie _hurries out_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Here they are.

               _Enter_ Major-general Von Klebs, Professor
                         Beckmann, _and_ Marie.

                               VON KLEBS.

My humblest respects to the ladies. Ah, my dear madam! [_Kisses her
hand_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Make yourselves at home, gentlemen.

                               VON KLEBS.

Ha, my dear Colonel, hearty as ever? All ready for the fray, little
one? Now we are all right. But we were almost too late. We were caught
in the Music Festival crowd. Such a confusion! I was bringing the
schoolmaster along, and just as we passed by the German House, there
was a great crush of people, gaping as if there were a princess at the
least. And what do you suppose it was? A singer! These are really what
one may call goings-on. All this fuss about a singer! What do they call
the person?

                               BECKMANN.

Ah, General, we seem to be in a strange land to-day.

                               VON KLEBS.

We are under a curse, my dear madam. We are bearing a penance. [_They
sit_.]

                               BECKMANN.

But you must know dall' Orto, the great Italian Wagner singer. We are
very fortunate in getting her for the festival. If she were not here--

                               VON KLEBS.

Well, well, what if she were not? Eh? I hoped that our strictly moral
circle, at least, would hold itself aloof from all this. But since the
Governor gives receptions in the lady's honor! And, best of all, to cap
the climax, who do you think was standing to-day among the enthusiasts,
craning his neck like the rest? You'll never guess. It's too
inconceivable. The pastor!

                               SCHWARTZE.

The pastor?

                               VON KLEBS.

Yes, our pastor.

                               SCHWARTZE.

How extraordinary!

                               VON KLEBS.

Now, I ask you, what did he want there? And what did the others want
there? And what good is the whole festival?

                               BECKMANN.

I should think that the cultivation of the faculty of the ideal among
the people was an object--

                               VON KLEBS.

The way to cultivate the faculty of the ideal is to found a Soldiers'
Union.

                               SCHWARTZE.

But, General, every one isn't so lucky as to be a soldier.

                               VON KLEBS.

[_Sorting his cards_.] Well, we have been, Colonel. I know no one, I
wish to know no one, who has not been a soldier. And all this so-called
Art,--what good does it do?

                               BECKMANN.

Art raises the moral tone of the people.

                               VON KLEBS.

There we have it, madam!--We're beaten, beaten by the hero of
Königgrätz.--I tell you Art is a mere invention of those who are afraid
to be soldiers to gain an important position for themselves. I pass.

                               SCHWARTZE.

I pass.

                               BECKMANN.

And will you maintain that Art-- I have the nine of spades.

[_Bell rings. Exit_ Marie. Von Klebs _makes an impatient movement_.
Schwartze _quiets him. They begin to play_.]

              _Enter_ Franziska, _followed by the_ Pastor.

                               VON KLEBS.

Ah, Miss Franziska! [_Aside_] That is the end of us!

                               SCHWARTZE.

No, no, we'll send her into the garden.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Throwing herself into a chair_.] Oh, I am so hot! I must get my
breath. Pray don't put yourself out, General.

                               BECKMANN.

Nine of spades!

                               VON KLEBS.

Hello, here's the pastor too!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Good-day to you! [_He shakes hands with each_.]

                               VON KLEBS.

How long have you been running after the singers. Pastor?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

What? Oh, yes. Yes, I am running after singers. That's my occupation
now.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You can play with our card party though, can't you?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Unfortunately, no. I must, on the contrary, ask for a few serious words
with you, my dear sir.

                               VON KLEBS.

Ah, but you'll put it off, won't you, Pastor?

                               FRANZISKA.

Oh, for Heaven's sake! It's so important. There must be no delay.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Is my sister-in-law in it too?

                               FRANZISKA.

Very much so.

                               VON KLEBS.

Oh, well, we can go away again.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Oh, we shouldn't like that at all.

                               SCHWARTZE.

If it were not you, dear pastor, who separated us!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

But perhaps, Marie, the gentlemen would be willing to take a turn with
you in the garden.

                               VON KLEBS.

Certainly! That's good! That's famous! That's what we'll do! Miss
Marie, be so good as to lead the way.

                               BECKMANN.

Shall we leave the cards as they lie?

                               VON KLEBS.

Yes, you have the nine of spades. Come on.
   [_Exit_ Von Klebs, Beckmann, _and_ Marie.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Well?

                               FRANZISKA.

Good Lord, don't you see how upset I am? You might at least give me a
glass of water. [Mrs. Schwartze _brings it_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Will you promise me, my dear sir, that whatever may happen you will
preserve your calmness? You may believe me, much depends upon it.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes; but what--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Miss Franziska will tell you better.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_After drinking the water_.] This is a day indeed! Fate is avenging
me. This man has for years outraged my holiest feelings, but today I
can heap coals of fire on his head. [_Moved_.] Brother-in-law, give me
your hand. Sister, yours.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Pardon me, dear Miss Franziska, I think your news is so important
that--

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Melting_.] Don't be angry, don't be angry. I am so upset! Well,
yesterday I was at the Governor's. Only the nobility and the most
important people were asked. You weren't asked?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Angrily_.] No.

                               FRANZISKA.

I did not mean to offend you. Oh, I am so upset! [_Suppressing a sob at
a sign from the_ Pastor.] Yes, yes, yes. I had on my yellow silk dress
with the Brussels lace--you know I've had the train shortened. Well, as
I stepped into the room--whom do you think I saw?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Well, well, who?

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Sobbing_.] Your child! Magdalene!

[Schwartze _staggers, and is supported by the_ Pastor. Mrs. Schwartze
_cries out. A pause._]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Pastor?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

It is true.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Standing up_.] Magdalene is no longer my child.

                               FRANZISKA.

Ah, just wait. If you listen, you'll look at it in quite another light.
Such a child you will welcome with open arms.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Magdalene is no longer my child.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

But you may at least hear the circumstances.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Dazed_.] Yes, I suppose so.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_At a sign from_ Heffterdingt.] Well, the great dining-hall was
crammed. They were almost all strangers. Then I saw his Excellency
coming down the room. And on his arm was a lady--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

On his Excellency's arm?

                               FRANZISKA.

With dark hair, and very proud and tall--and around her a crowd of men
just like the circle about royalty--and chatting and laughing. And any
one to whom she spoke seemed as happy as if it were the Princess. And
she wore half a dozen orders, and an orange band with a medal about her
neck. I was wondering what royal personage it could be--when she turned
half around--and--I knew Magda's eyes!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Impossible!

                               FRANZISKA.

That is what I saw!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

My dear Colonel, it is true.

                               SCHWARTZE.

If she-- [_Clasping his hands_.] At least she has not fallen! She has
not fallen! Father in Heaven, Thou hast kept her safely!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

And what is she, to have such honor--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

She has become a great singer, and calls herself, in Italian, Maddalene
dall' Orto.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Listen, listen, Leopold, the famous singer of whom the papers are so
full is our child!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Magda is no longer my child.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Is that your fixed resolve?

                               FRANZISKA.

What sort of a heart have you? You ought to imitate me. She offended me
as only she could,--the little wretch! That is, then she was a little
wretch. But now--well, she did not look at me; but if she had--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Leopold, she was on his Excellency's arm!

                               SCHWARTZE.

I tell you, and you,--and you, too, Pastor,--that I would rather have
seen her lying in rags and tatters at my feet and begging for
forgiveness. For then I should have known that she was still, at heart,
my child. But why has she come back here? The world was large enough
for her triumph. Why should she rob this humble provincial nest of
ours? I know why. To show her miserable father how far one can rise in
the world by treading filial duty into the dust,--that is her
intention. Pride and arrogance speak in her, and nothing else.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

My dear Colonel, I might ask, what speaks in you? A father's love? You
could make no pretence to that. Your rights? I think rather it would be
your right to rejoice in the good fortune of your child. Offended
custom? I don't know-- Your daughter has done so much through her own
strength that even offended custom might at least condone it. It
appears to me that pride and arrogance speak in you--and nothing else.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Angrily_.] Pastor!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Oh, don't be angry--there is no need of that. When I have something to
say, I must say it, mustn't I? I might almost think that it displeased
you that she has climbed so high in spite of you. Your pride demands
something to forgive, and you are angry because there is nothing to be
forgiven. And now, let me ask you, do you seriously wish that she had
found her way home, lost and ruined? Do you dare answer for such a wish
before the throne of God? [_A silence_.] No, my dear old friend. You
have often, in jest, called me your good angel; let me be so once, in
reality. Come with me--now--to-day.

                               FRANZISKA.

If you'd only seen-- [Heffterdingt _stops her_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Has she made the slightest effort to approach her parents? Has she
thought of her home with one throb of love? Who will vouch for it that
my outstretched hand will not be repulsed with scorn?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I will vouch for it.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You? You, above all, have had a proof of her untamable pride.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_With embarrassment_.] You should not have reminded me of that.

               _Enter_ Marie _with flowers, and_ Theresa.

                                 MARIE.

Papa, papa, listen to what Theresa-- Oh! am I interrupting?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Pulling himself together_.] What is it?

                                 MARIE.

To-day I got some more flowers; and when I sent Theresa back to the
florist's, she found out it was not a man, but a lady, who had ordered
them. And she couldn't sell them again; so she brought them back. [_The
others exchange glances_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Tell me, Theresa, did they describe this lady to you?

                                THERESA.

She was tall, with great dark eyes, and there was something very
distinguished and foreign about her.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Leads_ Marie _to the back of the stage, and lays his hand on_
Schwartze's _arm_.] You asked for a token of love!

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Staring at the flowers_.] From her!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

They must have cost a small fortune!

                                 MARIE.

Theresa has something else very wonderful to tell, too.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

What is it, Theresa? Quick!

                                THERESA.

If the pastor wishes it. When I came back, the porter told me that last
evening in the twilight a carriage stopped before the door; there was a
lady inside. She didn't get out, but kept watching all the windows of
our house where there were lights. And when he went out to ask what she
wanted, she said something to her coachman, and they were gone! [_All
show signs of astonishment_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

That's all, Theresa. [_Exit_ Theresa.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Pardon us, dear Miss Marie, if we treat you once more like a child, and
ask you to leave us alone for a moment.

                                 MARIE.

I am so frightened at all this, Pastor. [_Imploringly_.] Papa?

                               SCHWARTZE.

What is it, child?

                                 MARIE.

Papa, papa, do you know who this lady is?

                               SCHWARTZE.

I? No. I can only guess.

                                 MARIE.

[_Bursting out_.] Magdalene--Magda! Magda is here! [_Falling on her
knees_.] Oh, you will forgive her?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Get up, my child. Your sister is far above my poor forgiveness.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

She is not above your love.

                                 MARIE.

Magda is here! Magda herself is here! [_Throws her arms about her
mother's neck, weeping_.]

                               FRANZISKA.

Won't any one bring me a glass of water? I am so upset!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Are you quite resolved? [Schwartze _remains motionless_.] Will you let
her go on her way without--

                               SCHWARTZE.

That would be best.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

How will it be with you if in your death-hour a longing for your lost
child comes upon you, and all you can say to yourself is, "She stood
before my door and I would not open it"?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Shaken and half convinced_.] What would you have me do? Must I abase
myself before my runaway child?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

No, you shall not do that. I--I--will go to her.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You? Pastor--you?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

This afternoon I waited before her hotel to see if Miss Franziska had
not been mistaken. At a quarter to four she came out of the house and
got into her carriage.

                                 MARIE.

You saw her?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

How did she look? What did she have on?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

The performance began at four, and must be almost over now. I will wait
for her again at the hotel, and will tell her that she will find your
arms open to her. May I?

                                 MARIE.

Yes, yes, papa, won't you let him?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Just think with whom your daughter--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Will you swear to me that no weak and personal motives are mixed with
your intention,--that you do what you do in the name of our Lord and
Saviour?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I swear it!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Then God's will be done. [Marie _gives a cry of joy_. Heffterdingt
_presses_ Schwartze's _hand_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Holding his hand, speaking softly_.] The way will be hard for you, I
know. Your lost youth--your pride--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Dear Colonel, I begin to think that pride is a very poor sort of thing.
It really profits us little to have it always in our mouths. I am
giving back a daughter to an old father. I am giving back a home to an
erring soul. That, I think, is enough. [_Exit_. Marie _throws herself
on her father's breast, laughing and crying_.]



                                ACT II.


Scene _same as_ Act I. _It is evening; only a slight glow of sunset
still shines through the windows_.

                  [Marie _and_ Theresa _discovered_.]

                                THERESA.

[_Bringing in a lighted lamp_.] Miss Marie! Miss Marie!--What is she
staring at all the time? Miss Marie!

                          MARIE [_starting_.]

[_From the window_.] What do you want?

                                THERESA.

Shall I lay the supper?

                                 MARIE.

Not yet.

                                THERESA.

It's half-past seven.

                                 MARIE.

And he left at half-past six. The performance must have been over long
ago. She will not come.

                                THERESA.

Who? Is any one coming to supper?

                                 MARIE.

No, no, no. [_As_ Theresa _is going_.] Theresa! do you suppose you
could pick a couple of bouquets in the garden?

                                THERESA.

I might try, but I couldn't tell what I was getting. It's almost pitch
dark.

                                 MARIE.

Yes, yes. You may go.

                                THERESA.

Shall I try to pick the flowers, or--

                                 MARIE.

No--thank you, no.

                                THERESA.

[_Aside_.] What is the matter with her?
                                                     [_Exit_.

                        _Enter_ Mrs. Schwartze.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Well, Marie, whatever happens I've put on my other cap,--the one with
the ribbons. Is it straight?

                                 MARIE.

Yes, mamma dear, very nice.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Hasn't Aunt Frankie come up yet?

                                 MARIE.

No.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Heavens! I forgot the two gentlemen entirely. And papa has locked
himself up, and will hear nothing and see nothing. Oh, if the General
should be offended! It is our most aristocratic connection. That would
be a misfortune indeed.

                                 MARIE.

Oh, mamma dear, when he hears what is the matter!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes, I know. And the pastor has not come either. Marie, one
minute. If she should ask you--

                                 MARIE.

Who?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Why, Magda.

                                 MARIE.

Magda!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What am I to you, Marie? They call it stepmother. I'm more than that,
am I not?

                                 MARIE.

Certainly, mamma dear.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You see, then I could not get used to having two such big daughters.
But it's all right now? [Marie _nods_.] And we do love each other?

                                 MARIE.

Very much, mamma dear. [_She kisses her_.]

                           _Enter_ Franziska.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Irritably_.] One's always disturbing these affecting tableaux!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What did the General say?

                               FRANZISKA.

The General? H'm, he was angry enough. "To leave us alone for an hour
and a half, that's nice courtesy," he said. And I think myself--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_To_ Marie, _very sadly_.] There, what did I tell you?

                               FRANZISKA.

Well, this time I smoothed the thing over, so that the gentlemen went
away in a good humor.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Really! Oh, I thank you, Frankie, a thousand times.

                               FRANZISKA.

Yes, I'm good enough to run errands and play the scullery-maid; but
when it comes to being one of the family, an old aunt with her heart
full of love--

                                 MARIE.

Who has offended you, Aunt Frankie?

                               FRANZISKA.

Yes, that's very fine. But a little while ago, when I was so upset, no
one troubled himself about me one bit. To guarantee an income so that
our little miss can be married, I am--

                                 MARIE.

Aunt Frankie!

                               FRANZISKA.

But as long as I live--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What are you talking about?

                               FRANZISKA.

We know, we two. And to-day. Who brought back your daughter to you?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

But she hasn't yet--

                               FRANZISKA.

I brought back your daughter to you. And who thanks me for it? And who
recognizes that I have pardoned her? For I have pardoned her
[_weeping_] everything!

                   _Enter_ Theresa, _in great excitement_.

                                 MARIE.

What is it, Theresa?

                                THERESA.

I am so frightened--

                                 MARIE.

What's the matter?

                                THERESA.

The carriage--

                                 MARIE.

What carriage?

                                THERESA.

The same as last night.

                                 MARIE.

Is it there? Is it there? [_Runs to the window_.] Mamma, mamma, come,
she's there--the carriage--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Why, there _is_ a carriage.

                                 MARIE.

[_Beating on the door at the left_.] Papa, papa! Come quickly, be
merciful, come quickly!

          [_Exit_ Theresa _at a sign from_ Franziska.]

                           _Enter_ Schwartze.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What's the matter?

                                 MARIE.

Magda--the carriage!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Good God! [_Hurries to the window_.]

                                 MARIE.

Look--look! She's standing up! She's trying to look into the windows.
[_Clapping her hands_.] Papa! papa!

                               SCHWARTZE.

What is it you have to say?

                                 MARIE.

[_Frightened_.] I? Nothing.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Perhaps you were going to say, "She stood before your door and you
would not open it." Eh?

                                 MARIE.

Yes, yes.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Do you hear, wife? She stands before our door. Shall we--in spite of
our pride--shall we call her in?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Oh, Leopold, since everybody thinks so much of her--

                                 MARIE.

Ah! She's driving away!

                               SCHWARTZE.

No, no, she's not. Come, we will bring her to you.

                               FRANZISKA.

Yes, yes, bring her to me, too.
      [_Exit_ Schwartze _and_ Mrs. Schwartze.

                                 MARIE.

She's sitting back again! If only the carriage doesn't-- What a long
time they are! They must have got downstairs. [_Frightened, almost
beside herself_.] There--there--oh, don't go away! Magda! Magda!

                               FRANZISKA.

Don't scream so! What's the matter?

                                 MARIE.

She's looking round. She's seen them. She's stopping. She's bursting
open the door. She's jumped out! Now! Now! She's in father's arms!
[_Covers her face and sobs_.] Oh, Aunt Frankie! Aunt Frankie!

                               FRANZISKA.

What else could a father do? Since I have forgiven her, he could
not--he could not hold out--

                                 MARIE.

She's between father and mother. Oh, how grand she is! She's
coming--she's coming. What a homely little thing I shall seem beside
her! Oh, I am so frightened! [_Leans against the wall, left. A pause.
Voices of_ Magda _and her parents are heard outside_.]

_Enter_ Magda, _brilliantly dressed, with a large mantle, and a Spanish
veil on her head. She embraces_ Marie.

                                 MAGDA.

My puss! My little one! How my little one has grown! My
pet--my--[_kissing her passionately_]. But what's the matter? You're
dizzy. Come, sit down. No, no, please sit down. Now. Yes, you must.
[_Places_ Marie _in an arm-chair_.] Dear little hands, dear little
hands! [_Kneels before her, kissing and stroking her hands_.] But
they're rough and red, and my darling is pale. There are rings round
her eyes.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Lays his hand lightly on her shoulder_.] Magda, we are here too.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, yes--I'm entirely--[_Standing up, affectionately_.] Dear old papa!
How white you have become! Dear papa! [_Taking his hand_.] But what's
the matter with your hand? It's trembling.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Nothing, my child. Don't ask about it.

                                 MAGDA.

H'm--and you've grown handsomer with the years. I can't look at you
enough. I shall be very proud with such a handsome papa. But she must
get better [_indicating_ Marie]. She's as white as milk. Do you take
iron? Eh? You must take iron? [_tenderly_]. Just to think that I am at
home! It seems like a fairy tale. It was a capital idea of yours to
call me back without any explanations--_senza complimenti_--for we've
outgrown those silly misunderstandings long ago.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Misunderstandings!

                                 MAGDA.

I came near driving away. Would not that have been bad of me? But you
must acknowledge, I have scratched at the door--very quietly, very
modestly--like Lady when she had run away. Where is Lady? Her place is
empty. [_Whistles_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Why, she's been dead seven years!

                                 MAGDA.

Ah, _povera bestia_--yes, I forgot. And, mamma!--yes, mamma! I haven't
looked at you yet. How pretty you've grown! You used to have an air of
belated youth about you that was not becoming. But now you're a dear,
old little mother. One wants to lay one's head quietly in your lap. I
will, too. It'll do me good. Ah, what fine quarrels we used to have! I
was a contrary little beast. And you held up your end. But now we'll
smoke the pipe of peace, sha'n't we?

                             MRS. SCHWARTZE.

You're joking with me, Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

Sha'n't I? Mayn't I? There, there,--pure love, pure love. We will have
nothing but love. We shall be the best of friends.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Who has for a long time tried to attract attention_.] And we also,
eh, my dear Magda?

                                 MAGDA.

_Tiens, tiens_! [_Examines her critically through her lorgnette_.] Same
as ever. Always active? Always, as of old, the centre of the family?

                               FRANZISKA.

Oh--

                                 MAGDA.

Well, give us your hand! There. I never could bear you, and shall never
learn, I'm afraid. That runs in the blood, doesn't it?

                               FRANZISKA.

I have already forgiven you.

                                 MAGDA.

Really! Such magnanimity! I hardly-- Do you really forgive everything?
From top to bottom? Even that you stirred up my mother against me
before she ever came into the house? That you made my father--[_Puts
her hand to her lips_.] _Meglio tacere! Meglio tacere!_

                                 MARIE.

[_Interrupting_.] For Heaven's sake, Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, my darling--nothing, not a word.

                               FRANZISKA.

She has a fine presence!

                                 MAGDA.

And now let me look about me! Ah, everything's just the same. Not a
speck of dust has moved.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

I hope, Magda, that you won't find any specks of dust.

                                 MAGDA.

I'm sure of that, _mammina_. That wasn't what I meant. Twelve years!
Without a trace! Have I dreamed all that comes between?

                               SCHWARTZE.

You will have a great deal to tell us, Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Starting_.] What? Well, we will see, we will see. Now I should
like-- What would I like? I must sit still for a moment. It all comes
over me so. When I think-- From that door to the window, from this
table to the old bureau,--that was once my world.

                               SCHWARTZE.

A world, my child, which one never outgrows, which one never should
outgrow--you have always held to that?

                                 MAGDA.

What do you mean? And what a face you make over it! Yes, yes,
though--that question came at the right time. I have been a fool! I
have been a fool! My dear old papa, this happiness will be short.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Why?

                                 MAGDA.

What do you think of me? Do you think I am as free as I appear? I'm a
weary, worn-out drudge who is only fortunate when the lash is on her
back.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Whose drudge? What lash?

                                 MAGDA.

That I can't explain, dear father. You don't know my life. You probably
wouldn't understand it, either. Every day, every hour has its work laid
out. Ah, well, now I must go back to the hotel.

                                 MARIE.

No, Magda, no.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, puss, yes. There have been six or seven men there for ever so
long, waiting for an audience. But I tell you what, I must have you
to-night. Can't you sleep with me?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Of course. That is--what do you mean--sleep where?

                                 MAGDA.

At the hotel.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What? You won't stay! You'll put such an affront on us?

                                 MAGDA.

What are you thinking of? I have a whole retinue with me.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Your father's house is the place for this retinue.

                                 MAGDA.

I don't know. It is rather lively. First, there's Bobo, my parrot, a
darling,--he wouldn't be bad; then my pet maid, Giulietta, a little
demon,--I can't live without her; then my courier,--he's a tyrant, and
the terror of landlords; and then we mustn't forget my teacher.

                               FRANZISKA.

He's a very old man, I hope.

                                 MAGDA.

No, he's a very young man.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_After a silence_.] Then you must have forgotten your--your _dame
d'honneur_.

                                 MAGDA.

What _dame d'honneur_?

                               SCHWARTZE.

You can't travel about from country to country with a young man
without--

                                 MAGDA.

Ah! does that disquiet you? I can,--be quite easy,--I can. In my world
we don't trouble ourselves about such things.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What world is that?

                                 MAGDA.

The world I rule, father dear. I have no other. There, whatever I do is
right because I do it.

                               SCHWARTZE.

That is an enviable position. But you are still young. There must be
cases when some direction--in short, whose advice do you follow in your
transactions?

                                 MAGDA.

There is no one who has the right to advise me, papa dear.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Well, my child, from this hour your old father claims that right.
Theresa! [Theresa _answers from outside_.] Go to the German House and
bring the baggage--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Entreatingly_.] Pardon, father dear, you forget that my orders are
necessary.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What?--Yes, yes, I forgot. Do what you will, my daughter.

                                 MARIE.

Magda--oh, Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Taking her mantle_.] Be patient, darling. We'll have a talk soon all
to our two selves. And you'll all come to breakfast with me, won't you?
We can have a good chat and love each other!--so much!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

We--breakfast with you?

                                 MAGDA.

I want to have you all under my roof.

                               SCHWARTZE.

The roof of a hotel?

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, papa dear, I have no other home.

                               SCHWARTZE.

And this?

                                 MARIE.

Don't you see how you've hurt him?

_Enter the_ Pastor. _He stops, and seems to control strong emotion_.
Magda _examines him with her lorgnette_.

                                 MAGDA.

He too! Let me see.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Just think. She is going away again!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I don't know whether I am known to the lady.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Mockingly_.] You're too modest, Pastor. And now since I have seen you
all--[_Puts on her mantle_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Quickly, aside_.] You must keep her.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I? If you are powerless, how can I--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Try!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Constraining himself, with embarrassment_.] Pardon me, madam, it
seems very officious of me--if I--will you give me a few moments'
interview?

                                 MAGDA.

What have we two to say to each other, my dear pastor?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Oh, do, please! He knows best about everything.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Ironically_.] Indeed!

                                 MARIE.

I may never ask you for anything again, but do this one thing for my
sake!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Patting her and looking from one to the other_.] Well, the child asks
so prettily. Pastor, I am at your service. [Marie _thanks her
silently_.]

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Aside to_ Mrs. Schwartze.] Now he'll give her a lecture. Come.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You were once the cause of my sending her from my home. To-day you must
see to it that she remains. [Heffterdingt _expresses doubt_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Marie!

                                 MARIE.

Yes, papa.
            [_Exit_ Schwartze, Mrs. Schwartze, Franziska, _and_ Marie.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Sits down and examines him through her lorgnette_.] So this is the
man who undertakes by a five minutes' interview entirely and absolutely
to break my will. That they believe in your ability to do it shows me
that you are a king in your own dominions. I make obeisance. And now
let me see you ply your arts.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I understand no arts, madam, and would avail myself of none. If they
put some trust in me here, it is because they know that I seek nothing
for myself.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Ironically_.] That has always been the case?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

No, madam. I had, once in my life, a strong, an intense desire. It was
to have you for my wife. I need only look at you to see that I was
presumptuous. Since then I have put the wish away from me.

                                 MAGDA.

Ah, Pastor, I believe you're paying court to me now.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Madam, if it were not discourteous--

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, then even a shepherd of souls may be discourteous!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I should commiserate you on the atmosphere which has surrounded you.

                                 MAGDA.

[_With mocking superiority_.] Really? What do you know about my
atmosphere?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

It seems to me that it has made you forget that serious men are to be
taken seriously.

                                 MAGDA.

Ah! [_Rising_.] Well, then I will take you seriously; and I will tell
you that you have always been unbearable to me, with your well-acted
simplicity, your droning mildness, your-- Since, however, you
condescended to cast your eyes on my worthlessness and drove me from
home with your suit,--since then, I have hated you.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

It seems to me that according to this I was the foundation of your
greatness.

                                 MAGDA.

You're right there. Here I was parched and stifled. No, no, I don't
hate you. Why should I hate you so much? It's all so far, so very far,
behind me. If you only knew how far! You have sat here day after day in
this heavy close air, reeking of lavender, tobacco, and cough mixture,
while I have felt the storm breaking about my head. Pastor, if you had
a suspicion of what life really is,--of the trial of strength, of the
taste of guilt, of conquest, and of pleasure,--you would find yourself
very comical with your clerical shop-talk. Ha, ha, ha! Pardon me, I
don't believe such a laugh has rung through this respectable house for
twelve years; for there's no one here who knows how to laugh. Is there,
eh?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

No, I fear not.

                                 MAGDA.

Fear, you say. That sounds as though you deprecated it. But don't you
hate laughter?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Most of us cannot laugh, madam.

                                 MAGDA.

And to those who could, laughter is sin. You might laugh yourself. What
have you to be solemn about? You need not look at the world with this
funereal mien. Surely you have a little blond wife at home who knits
industriously, and half a dozen curly heads around her, of course. It's
always so in parsonages.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I have remained single, madam.

                                 MAGDA.

Ah! [_Silence_.] Did I hurt you so much, then?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Let that be, shall we not? It is so long ago.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Letting her mantle fall_.] And your work,--does not that bring
happiness enough?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Thank God, it does. But if one takes it really in earnest, one cannot
live only for one's self; at least, I cannot. One cannot exult in the
fulness of one's personality, as you would call it. And then many
hearts are opened to me-- One sees too many wounds there, that one
cannot heal, to be quite happy.

                                 MAGDA.

You're a remarkable man-- I don't know--if I could only get rid of the
idea that you're insincere.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Will you let me ask you one question before you go?

                                 MAGDA.

Well!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

It is about an hour since you entered this house, your home--no, not so
much. I could not have been waiting for you nearly as long as that.

                                 MAGDA.

For me? You? Where?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

In the corridor outside your room.

                                 MAGDA.

What did you want there?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

My errand was useless, for now you are here.

                                 MAGDA.

Do you mean to say that you came for me--you to whom I-- If any one had
an interest in keeping me away, it was you.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Are you accustomed to regard everything which those about you do as the
result of selfish interest?

                                 MAGDA.

Of course. It's so with me! [_Struck by a new thought_.] Or perhaps
you-- No, I'm not justified in that assumption. [_Sharply_.] Ah, such
nonsense! it is only fit for fairy tales. Well, Pastor, I'll own that I
like you now better, much better than of old when you--what shall I
say?--made an honorable proposal.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

H'm!

                                 MAGDA.

If you could only end it all with a laugh--this stony visage of yours
is so unfriendly--one is quite _sconcertata_. What do you say? _Je ne
trouve pas le mot_.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Pardon me, may I ask the question now?

                                 MAGDA.

Good Lord, how inquisitive the holy man is! And you don't see
that I was coquetting with you a little. For, to have been a man's
fate,--that flatters us women,--we are grateful for it. You see I have
acquired some art meanwhile. Well, out with your question!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Why--why did you come home?

                                 MAGDA.

Ah!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Was it not homesickness?

                                 MAGDA.

No. Well, perhaps a very little. I'll tell you. When I received the
invitation to assist at this festival--why they did me the honor, I
don't know--a very curious feeling began to seethe within me,--half
curiosity and half shyness, half melancholy and half defiance,--which
said: "Go home incognito. Go in the twilight and stand before the
paternal house where for seventeen years you lived in bondage. There
look upon what you were. But if they recognize you, show them that
beyond their narrow virtues there may be something true and good."

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Only defiance then?

                                 MAGDA.

At first, perhaps. Once on the way, though, my heart beat most
wonderfully, as it used to do when I'd learnt my lesson badly. And I
always did learn my lessons badly. When I stood before the hotel, the
German House,--just think, the German House, where the great officials
and the great artists stayed,--there I had again the abject reverence
as of old, as if I were unworthy to step on the old threshold. I
entirely forgot that I was now myself a so-called great artist. Since
then, every evening I have stolen by the house,--very quietly, very
humbly,--always almost in tears.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

And nevertheless you are going away.

                                 MAGDA.

I must.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

But--

                                 MAGDA.

Don't ask me why. I must.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Has any one offended your pride? Has any one said a word of your
needing forgiveness?

                                 MAGDA.

Not yet--or, yes, if you count the old cat.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

What is there in the world which draws you away again after an hour?

                                 MAGDA.

I will tell you. I felt it the first minute I came. The paternal
authority already stretches its net over me again, and the yoke stands
ready beneath which I must bow.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

But there is neither yoke nor net here. Do not fear shadows. Here are
only wide-opened arms which wait to clasp the lost daughter to the
empty breast.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, I beg you, none of that. I do not intend to furnish a pendant to
the prodigal son. If I came back as a daughter, as a lost daughter, I
should not hold my head up before you as I do; I should grovel in the
dust in full consciousness of all my sins. [_With growing
excitement_.] And that I will not do--that I cannot do--for I am
what I am, and I cannot be another. [_Sadly_.] And therefore I have no
home--therefore I must go forth again--therefore--

                        _Enter_ Mrs. Schwartze.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

For Heaven's sake, hush!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Excuse me, Pastor, I only wanted to know about supper. [_Imploringly
to_ Magda, _who sits turned away with her hands before her face_.] We
happen to have a warm joint to-day. You know, Pastor, the gentlemen of
the card-club were to be with us. Now, Magda, whether you're going away
or not, can't you eat a mouthful in your father's house?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Don't ask now, my dear madam.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Oh, if I'm interrupting--I only thought--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Later.

                                 MARIE.

[_Appearing in the doorway_.] Will she stay? [Magda _shrinks at the
sound of the voice_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

'Sh! [_Exit_ Mrs. Schwartze _and_ Marie.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

You have no home, Miss Magda? Did you hear the old mother beseeching
and alluring with the best that she has, though it's only a poor dish?
Did you hear Marie's voice trembling with tears in the fear that I
should not prevail? They trust me too much; they think I only need to
speak the word. They don't suspect how helpless I stand here before
you. Look! Behind that door are three people in a fever of sorrow and
love. If you cross this threshold, you rob each of them of so much
life. And you have no home?

                                 MAGDA.

If I have one, it is not here.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Embarrassed_.] Perhaps-- Nevertheless you should not go. Only a few
days,--just not to take away the idea that you belong here. So much you
owe to them!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Sadly_.] I owe nothing now to any one here.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

No? Really nothing? Then I must tell you about a certain day,--eleven
years ago now. I was called into this house in haste, for the Colonel
was dying. When I came, he lay there stiff and motionless, his face
drawn and white; one eye was already closed, in the other still
flickered a little life. He tried to speak, but his lips only quivered
and mumbled.

                                 MAGDA.

What had happened?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

What had happened? I will tell you. He had just received a letter in
which his eldest daughter bade him farewell.

                                 MAGDA.

My God!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

It was a long time before he recovered from the apoplectic stroke. Only
a trembling in the right arm, which you perhaps have noticed, now
remains.

                                 MAGDA.

That is indeed a debt I owe.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Ah, if that were all, Miss Magda! Pardon me, I call you by the name I
used long ago. It springs to my lips.

                                 MAGDA.

Call me what you like. Go on.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

The necessary result followed. When he received his discharge,--he will
not believe in the cause, don't speak to him of it,--then his mind
broke down.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, yes; that is my debt too.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Then you see, Miss Magda, began my work. If I speak of it, you must not
think I am pluming myself on it to you. What good would that do me? For
a long, long time I nursed him, and by degrees I saw his mind revive
again. First I let him collect slugs from the rose-bushes.

                                 MAGDA.

[_With a shudder_.] Ugh!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Yes, so far had it gone; then I gave him charge of some money, and then
I made him my assistant in the institutions with whose management I was
intrusted. There is a hospital and a soup-kitchen and an infirmary, and
it makes a great deal to be done. So he became a man once more. I have
tried to influence your step-mother too; not because I was greedy for
power. Perhaps you'll think that of me. In short, the old tension
between her and Marie has been slowly smoothed away. Love and
confidence have descended upon the house.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Staring at him_.] And why did you do all this?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Well, first it is my calling. Then I did it for his sake, for I love
the old man; and above all--for--your sake.

      [Magda _starts, and points to herself interrogatively_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Yes, for your sake. For this weighed upon me: The day will come when
she will turn homeward,--perhaps as victor; but perhaps also as
vanquished, broken and ruined in body and soul-- Pardon me these
thoughts, I had heard nothing of you-- In either case she shall find a
home ready for her. That was my work, the work of long years; and now I
implore you not to destroy it.

                                 MAGDA.

[_In anguish_.] If you knew through what I have passed, you would not
try to keep me.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

That is all shut out. This is home. Let it alone; forget it.

                                 MAGDA.

How can I forget it? How dare I?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Why should you resist when all stretch their hands out to you in
rejoicing? It's very easy. Let your heart speak when you see all around
overflowing with love for you.

                                 MAGDA.

[_In tears_.] You make me a child again. [_A pause_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Then you will stay?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Springing up_.] But they must not question me!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Must not question you?

                                 MAGDA.

About my life outside there. They wouldn't understand,--none of them;
not even you.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Well, then, they sha'n't.

                                 MAGDA.

And you will promise me, for yourself and for the others?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Yes, I can promise it.

                                 MAGDA.

[_In a stifled voice_.] Call them, then.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Opening the door on the left_.] She will stay.

_Enter_ Marie; _then_ Mrs. Schwartze, Franziska, _and_ Schwartze. Marie
_throws herself joyfully into_ Magda's _arms_. Mrs. Schwartze _also
embraces her_.

                               SCHWARTZE.

It was your duty, my child.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, father. [_She softly takes his right hand in both of hers, and
carries it tenderly to her lips_.]

                               FRANZISKA.

Thank Heaven! Now we can have supper at last! [_Opens the sliding door
into the dining-room. The supper-table is seen, all set, and lighted
brightly by a green-shaded hanging-lamp_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Gazing at it_.] Oh, look! The dear old lamp! [_The women go slowly
out_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Stretching out his hands_.] This is your greatest work, Pastor.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Oh, don't, I beg you! And there's a condition attached.

                               SCHWARTZE.

A condition?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

We must not ask about her life.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Startled_.] What? What? I must, not--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

No, no; you must not ask--you must not ask--or-- [_Struck by a new
thought_.] If you do not--yes--I am sure she will confess everything
herself.



                                ACT III.

Scene: _the same. Morning. On the table at the left, coffee-service and
flowers._


             [Mrs. Schwartze _and_ Franziska _discovered_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Excitedly_.] Thank Heaven, you've come. Such a time we've had this
morning!

                               FRANZISKA.

So?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Just think, two people have come from the hotel,--a gentleman who looks
like a lord, and a young lady like a princess. They're her servants.

                               FRANZISKA.

What extravagance!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

And they're calling and talking all over the house, and neither of them
knows any German. And her ladyship ordered a warm bath, that was not
warm enough; and a cold douche, which was not cold enough; and spirits,
which she simply poured out of the window; and toilet vinegar, which we
didn't have at all.

                               FRANZISKA.

What demands! And where is your famous young lady?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

After her bath she has gone back to bed again.

                               FRANZISKA.

I would not have such sloth in my house.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

I shall tell her so. For Leopold's sake-- [_Enter_ Theresa.] What do
you want, Theresa?

                                THERESA.

Councillor von Keller--he has sent his servant here to ask whether the
Lieutenant has come yet, and what is the young lady's answer.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What young lady?

                                THERESA.

That's what I don't know.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Then just give our regards, and say that the Lieutenant has not come
yet.

                               FRANZISKA.

He is on duty till twelve. After that he'll come.

[_Exit_ Theresa. _As she opens the door, a great noise is heard in the
hall,--a man's voice and a woman's disputing in Italian_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Listen to that! [_Speaking outside_.] Just you wait. Your Signora'll be
here soon. [_Shuts the door_.] Ah! And now, breakfast. What do you
think she drinks?

                               FRANZISKA.

Why, coffee.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

No.

                               FRANZISKA.

Tea, then?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

No.

                               FRANZISKA.

Then it must be chocolate!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

No; coffee and chocolate mixed.

                               FRANZISKA.

Horrible! But it must be good.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

And yesterday half a dozen trunks came from the hotel, and as many more
are still there. Ah, what there is in them all! One whole trunk for
hats! A peignoir of real point, and open-work stockings with gold
embroidery, and [_in a whisper_] silk chemises--

                               FRANZISKA.

What? Silk--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_With a gesture of horror_.] It is simply sinful.

_Enter_ Magda, _in brilliant morning toilette, speaking outside as she
opens the door_.

                                 MAGDA.

_Ma che cosa volete voi? Perche non aspettate, finché vi commando?_ Ha?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Now they are getting their share!

                                 MAGDA.

No, no; _è tempo_! [_Shutting the door_.] _Va, bruto_! Good-morning,
mamma. [_Kisses her_.] I'm a late sleeper, eh? Ah, good-morning, Aunt
Frankie. In a good humor? So am I.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What did the strange gentleman want, Magda?

                                 MAGDA.

Stupid beast! He wanted to know when I was going away, the idiot! How
can I tell? [_Patting her_.] Eh, _mamma mia_? Oh, children, I slept
like the dead. My ear on the pillow, and off! And the douche was so
nice and cold. I feel so strong. _Allons, cousine_! Hop! [_Seizes_
Franziska _by the waist and jumps her into the air_.]

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Furiously_.] What do you--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Haughtily_.] Eh?

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Cringingly_]. You are so facetious.

                                 MAGDA.

Am I? [_Clapping her hands_.] Breakfast!

     _Enter_ Marie, _with a tray of coffee things_.

                                 MARIE.

Good-morning.

                               FRANZISKA.

Good-morning, my child.

                                 MAGDA.

I'm dying of hunger. Ah! [_Pats her stomach_. Marie _kisses_
Franziska's _hand_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Taking off the cover, with unction_.] Delicious! One would know
Giulietta was in the house.

                               FRANZISKA.

She has made noise enough, at least.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, she couldn't live without a good row. And when she gets too
excited, she quietly throws a plate at your head. I'm accustomed to it.
What is papa doing?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

He's making his excuses to the members of the Committee.

                                 MAGDA.

Is your life still half made up of excuses? What sort of a committee is
it?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

It's the Christian Aid Society. They should have had a meeting here
this morning in our house. Now we thought it would not do. It would
look as if we wanted to introduce you.

                               FRANZISKA.

But, Augusta, now it will look as if your daughter were more important
to you--

                                 MAGDA.

Well, I hope she is!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Of course! But--oh dear, you don't know what sort of people they are.
They are deserving of great respect. For instance, there's Mrs. General
von Klebs. [_Proudly_.] We are friends of hers.

                                 MAGDA.

[_With sham respect_.] Really?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Now, they'll probably come to-morrow. Then you'll meet, besides, some
other pious and aristocratic ladies whose patronage gains us a great
deal of influence. I'm curious to see how they'll like you.

                                 MAGDA.

How I shall like them, you should say.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes--that is--but we're talking and talking--

                                 MARIE.

[_Jumping up_.] Oh, excuse me, mamma.

                                 MAGDA.

No, you must stay here.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes, Magda; but about your trunks at the hotel,--I am constantly on the
rack for fear something should be left.

                                 MAGDA.

Send for them, then, children.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Aside to_ Mrs. Schwartze.] Now I'll question her thoroughly, Augusta.
Leave us alone.

                                         [_Exit_ Mrs. Schwartze.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Sitting down, with importance_.] And now, my dear Magda, you must
tell your old aunt all about it.

                                 MAGDA.

Eh? Ah, look here, mamma needs help. Go on, quick! Make yourself
useful.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Viciously_.] If you command it.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, I have only to request.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Rising_.] It seems to me that your requests are somewhat forcible.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Laughing_.] Perhaps.

                  [_Exit_ Franziska _in a rage_.

                                 MARIE.

Oh, Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, sweet. That's the way to go through the world,--bend or break;
that is, I never bend. It's the only way.

                                 MARIE.

Oh, good Heavens!

                                 MAGDA.

Poor child! Yes, in this house one learns quite other views. I bent,
myself, yesterday disgracefully. Ah, how nice our old mamma is!
[_Earnestly, pointing to the mother's picture_.] And she up there! Do
you remember her? [Marie _shakes her head_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Thoughtfully_.] She died too soon! Where's papa? I want him. And yet
I'm afraid of him too. Now, child, while I eat my breakfast, now you
must make your confession.

                                 MARIE.

Oh, I can't.

                                 MAGDA.

Just show me the locket!

                                 MARIE.

There!

                                 MAGDA.

A lieutenant! Naturally. With us it's always a tenor.

                                 MARIE.

Oh. Magda, it's no joke. He is my fate.

                                 MAGDA.

What is the name of this fate?

                                 MARIE.

It's Cousin Max.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Whistles_.] Why don't you many the good youth, then?

                                 MARIE.

Aunt Frankie wants a better match for him, and so she won't give him
the guaranty he needs. It's abominable!

                                 MAGDA.

_Si! C'est bête, ça!_ And how long have you loved each other?

                                 MARIE.

I don't remember when we did not.

                                 MAGDA.

And where does he meet you?

                                 MARIE.

Here.

                                 MAGDA.

I mean elsewhere--alone.

                                 MARIE.

We are never alone together. I think this precaution we owe to our own
self-respect.

                                 MAGDA.

Come here--close--tell me the truth--has it never entered your mind to
cast this whole network of precaution and respect away from you, and to
go with the man you love out and away--anywhere--it doesn't matter
much--and as you lie quietly on his breast, to hurl back a scornful
laugh at the whole world which has sunk behind you?

                                 MARIE.

No, Magda, I never feel so.

                                 MAGDA.

But would you die for him?

                                 MARIE.

              [_Standing up with a gesture of enthusiasm_.]
I would die a thousand deaths for him!

                                 MAGDA.

My poor little darling! [_Aside_.] They bring everything to naught. The
most terrible of all passions becomes in their hands a mere resigned
defiance of death.

                                 MARIE.

Whom are you speaking of?

                                 MAGDA.

Nothing, nothing. See here, how large is this sum you need?

                                 MARIE.

Sixty thousand marks.

                                 MAGDA.

When can you be married? Must it be now, or will afternoon do?

                                 MARIE.

Don't mock me, Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

You must give me time to telegraph. One can't carry so much money about
with one.

                                 MARIE.

[_Slowly taking it in, and then, with an outburst of joy, throwing
herself at_ Magda's _feet_.] Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

[_After a silence_.] Be happy, love your husband. And if you hold your
first-born on your arm, in the face of the world [_holding out her arms
with angry emphasis_]-- so, face to face, then think of one who-- Ah!
some one's coming.

                _Enter_ Heffterdingt _with a portfolio_.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Crossing to him_.] Oh, it's you. That's good. I wanted you.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

You wanted me? What for?

                                 MAGDA.

Only--I want to talk with you, holy man.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Isn't it good, Miss Magda, to be at home again?

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, yes, except for the old aunt's sneaking about.

                                 MARIE.

[_Who is collecting the breakfast-things; laughing, but frightened_.]
Oh, Heavens, Magda!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Good-morning, Miss Marie.

                                 MARIE.

Good-morning, Pastor.

                                           [_Exit, with the table_.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Heavens, how she beams!

                                 MAGDA.

She has reason.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Isn't your father here?

                                 MAGDA.

No.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Isn't he well?

                                 MAGDA.

I think so. I haven't seen him yet. Yesterday we sat together till
late. I told him what I could tell. But I think he was very unhappy;
his eyes were always searching and probing. Oh, I fear your promise
will be badly kept.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

That seems like a reproach. I hope you don't regret--

                                 MAGDA.

No, my friend, I don't regret it. But I feel very curiously. I seem to
be in a tepid bath, I'm so weak and warm. What they call German
sentiment is awaking again, and I have been so unused to it. My heart
seems like a Christmas number of the "Gartenlaube,"--moonlight,
betrothals, lieutenants, and I don't know what! But the best of it is,
I know that I'm playing with myself. I can cast it all off as a child
throws away its doll, and be my old self again.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

That would be bad for us.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, don't be angry with me. I seem to be all torn and rooted up. And
then I am so afraid--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Of what?

                                 MAGDA.

I can't--I can't be quite one of you. I am an intruder. [_Aside,
fearfully_.] If a spectre from without were to appear, this whole idyl
would go up in flames. [Heffterdingt _suppresses a start of
astonishment_.] And I'm confined, hemmed in. I begin to be a coward.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I don't think one should be terrified at feeling filial love.

                                 MAGDA.

Filial love? I should like to take that snow-white head in my lap and
say, "You old child!" And nevertheless I must bend my will, I must bend
my will. I am not accustomed to that. I must conquer; I must sing down
opposition. I sing or I live,--for both are one and the same,--so that
men must will as I do. I force them, I compel them to love and mourn
and exult and lament as I do. And woe to him who resists! I sing them
down,--I sing and sing until they become slaves and playthings in my
hands. I know I'm confused, but you understand what I mean.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

To work the impress of one's own personality,--that's what you mean,
isn't it?

                                 MAGDA.

_Si, si, si, si_! Oh, I could tell you everything. Your heart has
tendrils which twine about other hearts and draw them out. And you
don't do it selfishly. You don't know how mighty you are. The men
outside there are beasts, whether in love or hate. But you are a man.
And one feels like a man when one is near you. Just think, when you
came in yesterday, you seemed to me so small; but something grows out
from you and becomes always greater, almost too great for me.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Good Heavens, what can it be?

                                 MAGDA.

What shall I call it,--self-sacrifice, self-abnegation? It is something
with self--or rather the reverse. That is what impresses me. And that
is why you can do so much with me.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

How strange!

                                 MAGDA.

What?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I must own it to you--it is--it is nonsense; but since I have seen you
again, a sort of longing has awakened within me to be like you.

                                 MAGDA.

Ha, ha! You, model of men! Like me!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I have had to stifle much in my nature. My peace is the peace of the
dead. And as you stood before me yesterday in your freshness, your
natural strength, your--your greatness, I said to myself, "That is what
you might have been if at the right moment joy had entered into your
life."

                                 MAGDA.

[_In a whisper_.] And one thing more, my friend,-- sin! We must sin if
we wish to grow. To become greater than our sins is worth more than all
the purity you preach.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Impressed_.] That would be-- [_Voices outside_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Starting and listening_.] 'Sh!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

What's the matter?

                                 MAGDA.

Nothing, it's only my stupid nervousness; not on my own account,
believe me, only out of pity for all these. We shall still be friends?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

As long as you need me.

                                 MAGDA.

And when I cease to need you?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

There will be no change in me, Miss Magda. [_As he is going, he meets_
Schwartze _in the doorway_.]

                           _Enter_ Schwartze.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Good-morning, my dear pastor! Will you go out on the porch for a
moment? I will follow you. [_Exit_ Heffterdingt.] Now, did you sleep
well, my child? [_Kisses her on the forehead_.]

                                 MAGDA.

Finely. In my old room I found the old sleep of childhood.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Had you lost it?

                                 MAGDA.

Haven't you?

                               SCHWARTZE.

They say a good conscience-- Come to me, my child.

                                 MAGDA.

Gladly, papa! No, let me sit at your feet. There I can see your
beautiful white beard. When I look at it, I always think of Christmas
eve and a quiet snow-covered field.

                               SCHWARTZE.

My child, you know how to say pretty things. When you speak, one seems
to see pictures about one. Here we are not so clever; that is why we
have nothing to conceal here.

                                 MAGDA.

We also-- But speak quietly, papa.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, I must. You know what agreement you made with the pastor.

                                 MAGDA.

Which you will keep?

                               SCHWARTZE.

I am accustomed to keep to what I have promised. But you must see
that the suspicion--whatever I may do, the suspicion weighs like a
mountain--

                                 MAGDA.

What do you suspect?

                               SCHWARTZE.

I don't know. You have appeared among us as wonderfully as gloriously.
But brilliance and worldly honor and all that don't blind a father's
eyes. You seem to be warm at heart too. At least, one would think so to
hear you speak. But there is something in your eyes which does not
please me, and a scornful curl about your lips.

                                 MAGDA.

Dear, good old papa!

                               SCHWARTZE.

You see! This tenderness is not that of a daughter towards her father.
It is so that one pets a child, whether it be a young or an old one.
And although I'm only a poor soldier, lame and disabled, I demand your
respect, my child.

                                 MAGDA.

I have never withheld it. [_Rising_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

That is good, that is good, my daughter. Believe me, we are not so
simple as we may appear to you. We have eyes to see, and ears to hear,
that the spirit of moral revolt is abroad in the world. The seed which
should take root in the heart, begins to decay. What were once sins
easily become customs to you. My child, soon you will go away. When you
return, you may find me in the grave.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, no, papa!

                               SCHWARTZE.

It's in God's hand. But I implore you-- Come here, my
child--nearer--so-- [_He draws her down to him, and takes her head
between his hands_.] I implore you--let me be happy in my dying hour.
Tell me that you have remained pure in body and soul, and then go with
my blessing on your way.

                                 MAGDA.

I have remained--true to myself, dear father.

                               SCHWARTZE.

How? In good or in ill?

                                 MAGDA.

In what--for me--was good.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Blankly_.] In what--for you--then?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Rising_.] And now don't worry any more. Let me enjoy these few days
quietly. They will be over soon enough.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Broodingly_.] I love you with my whole heart, because I have sorrowed
for you--so long. [_Threateningly, rising_.] But I must know who you
are.

                                 MAGDA.

Father dear-- [_Bell rings_. Mrs. Schwartze _bursts in_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Just think! the ladies of the Committee are here! They want to
congratulate us in person. Do you think we ought to offer them coffee,
Leopold?

                               SCHWARTZE.

I will go into the garden, Augusta.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

For Heaven's sake--they're just coming--you must receive their
congratulations.

                               SCHWARTZE.

I can't--no--I can't do it! [_Exit, left_.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What is the matter with your father?

              _Enter_ Mrs. General Von Klebs, Mrs. Justice
                Ellrich, Mrs. Schumann, _and_ Franziska.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_As she opens the door_.] My dear, the ladies--

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

[_Giving her hand to_ Mrs. Schwartze.] What a day for you, my dear!
The whole town rejoices in the happy event.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Permit me--my daughter--Mrs. General von Klebs, Mrs. Justice Ellrich,
Mrs. Schumann.

                             MRS. SCHUMANN.

I am only the wife of a simple merchant; but--

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

My husband will do himself the honor soon--

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Won't you sit down, ladies? [_They sit_.]

                               FRANZISKA.

[_With aplomb_.] Yes, it is truly a joyful event for the whole family.

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

We have unfortunately not shared the pleasures of the festival, my dear
young lady. I must therefore refrain from expressing that admiration to
which you are so well accustomed.

                             MRS. SCHUMANN.

If we had known, we should certainly have ordered tickets.

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

Do you expect to remain here for very long?

                                 MAGDA.

That I really cannot say, madam--or, pardon me--your ladyship?

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

I must beg you--no.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, pardon me!

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

Oh, please!

                                 MAGDA.

We are such birds of passage, my dear madam, that we can really never
plan for the future.

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

But one must have one's real home.

                                 MAGDA.

Why? One must have a vocation. That seems to me enough.

                               FRANZISKA.

It's all in the point of view, dear Magda.

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

Ah, we're so far removed from all these ideas, my dear young lady.
Every now and then some person gives lectures here, but the good
families have nothing to do with it.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Politely_.] Oh, I can quite understand that. The good families need
nothing, as they have plenty to eat. [_A silence_.]

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

But at least you must have some residence?

                                 MAGDA.

If you call it so,--a place to sleep. Yes, I have a villa by the Lake
of Como and an estate at Naples. [_Sensation_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

But you've said nothing to us about that.

                                 MAGDA.

I hardly ever make use of them, mamma dear.

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

Art must be a very trying occupation?

                                 MAGDA.

[_In a friendly tone_.] It depends upon how one follows it, my dear
madam.

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

My daughter used to take singing-lessons, and it always taxed her very
much.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Politely_.] Oh, I'm sorry for that.

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

Naturally, you only do it for pleasure.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, it's so much pleasure! [_Aside to_ Mrs. Schwartze, _who sits near
her_.] Get these women away, or I shall be rude!

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

Are you really engaged by a theatre, my dear young lady?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Very sweetly_.] Sometimes, my dear madam.

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

Then you are out of an engagement at present?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Murmurs_.] Oh, come, come! [_Aloud_.] Yes, I'm a vagabond now. [_The
ladies look at each other_.]

                            MRS. VON KLEBS.

There are really not many daughters of good families on the stage, are
there?

                                 MAGDA.

[_In a friendly tone_.] No, my dear madam; most of them are too stupid.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Oh, Magda!

                              _Enter_ Max.

                                 MAGDA.
Oh, that must be Max! [_Goes to him and shakes hands_.] Just think, I
had quite forgotten your face. We were great friends, were we not?

                                  MAX.

Were we? [_Astonished_.]

                                 MAGDA.

Well, we can begin now.

                             MRS. ELLRICH.

[_Aside_.] Do you understand this?

[Mrs. Von Klebs _shrugs her shoulder. The ladies rise and take their
leave, shaking hands with_ Mrs. Schwartze _and_ Franziska, _and bowing
to_ Magda.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Confused_.] Must you go already, ladies? My husband will be so
sorry--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Coolly_.] _Au revoir_, ladies, _au revoir_!
      [_Exit the ladies in the order of their rank_.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Turning back from the door_.] Mrs. von Klebs was offended, or she
would have stayed. Magda, you certainly must have offended Mrs. von
Klebs.

                               FRANZISKA.

And the other ladies, too, were hurt.

                                 MAGDA.

Mamma dear, won't you see about my trunk?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes, I'll go to the hotel myself. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!
                                                      [_Exit_.

                               FRANZISKA.

Wait, I'm coming too. [_Spitefully_.] I must make myself useful, of
course!

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, Aunt Frankie, a word with you.

                               FRANZISKA.

Now?

                                 MAGDA.

We're going to celebrate a betrothal to-day.

                               FRANZISKA.

What betrothal?

                                 MAGDA.

Between him and Marie.

                                  MAX.

[_Joyfully_.] Magda!

                               FRANZISKA.

I think, as I occupy a mother's position towards him, that it is my
right--

                                 MAGDA.

No; the giver alone has rights, my dear aunt. And now don't fail.

                               FRANZISKA.

[_Furiously_.] I will make you--                         [_Exit_.

                                  MAX.

How shall I thank you, my dear Miss--

                                 MAGDA.

Magda, my dear cousin, Magda!

                                  MAX.

Pardon me, it was my great respect--

                                 MAGDA.

Not so much respect, my boy,--I don't like it; more weight, more
individuality!

                                  MAX.

Ah, my dear cousin, should a young lieutenant with twenty-five marks'
pay, not to speak of debts, have individuality? It would only be a
hindrance to him.

                                 MAGDA.

Ah!

                                  MAX.

If I manage my men properly, and dance a correct figure at our
regimental balls, and am not a coward, that is enough.

                                 MAGDA.

To make a wife happy, certainly. Go and find her. Go along!

                                  MAX.

[_Starts to go, and turns back_.] Oh, excuse me, in my happiness I
entirely forgot the message I-- Early this morning--by-the-by, you
can't think what a tumult the whole city is in about you--well, early
this morning--I was still in bed--an acquaintance came in who is also
an old acquaintance of yours, very pale from excitement, and he asked
whether it were all true, and if he might come to see you.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, let him come.

                                  MAX.

He wanted me to ask you first. He would then send in his card this
morning.

                                 MAGDA.

What formalities the men go through here! Who is he?

                                  MAX.

Councillor von Keller.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Speaking with difficulty_.] He--what?--he?

                                  MAX.

[_Laughing_.] Pardon me, but you're as white now as he was.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Quietly_.] I? White?

                     _Enter_ Theresa _with a card_.

                                  MAX.

Here he is. Dr. von Keller.

                                 MAGDA.

Let him come up.

                                  MAX.

[_Smiling_.] I'll only say to you, my dear cousin, that he's a very
important man, who has a great career before him, and promises to be a
pillar of our religious circle.

                                 MAGDA.

Thank you!

                  _Enter_ Von Keller _with a bouquet_.

                                  MAX.

[_Crossing to him_.] My dear Councillor, here is my cousin, who is
delighted to see you. You will excuse me.

                                      [_Exit, with a bow to each_.

[Von Keller _remains standing at the door_. Magda _moves about
nervously. Silence_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Aside_.] Here is my spectre! [_Indicates a seat at the table, left,
and sits down opposite_.]

                              VON KELLER.

First, you must allow me to express my warmest and most sincere good
wishes. This is a surprise which you happily could not have expected.
And as a sign of my interest, allow me, my dearest friend, to present
you with these modest flowers.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, how thoughtful! [_Takes the flowers with a laugh, and throws them
on the table_.]

                              VON KELLER.

[_In embarrassment_.] I--I see with sorrow that you resent this
approach on my part. Have I in any way been wanting in the necessary
delicacy? In these narrow circles a meeting could not have been
avoided. I think it is better, my dearest friend, that we should come
to an understanding,--that we should know the relations--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Rising_.] You're right, my friend. I was not at the height of my own
nature just now. Had I been, I might have played the deserted
Marguerite to the end. The morals of home had infected me a little. But
I am myself again. Give me your hand bravely. Don't be afraid, I won't
harm you. So--tight--so!

                              VON KELLER.

You make me happy.

                                 MAGDA.

I've painted this meeting to myself a thousand times, and have been
prepared for it for years. Something warned me, too, when I undertook
this journey home--though I must say I hardly expected just here
to-- Yes, how is it that, after what has passed between us, you came
into this house? It seems to me a little--

                              VON KELLER.

I tried to avoid it until quite recently; but since we belong to the
same circles, and since I agree with the views of this family--that is,
at least in theory--

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, yes. Let me look at you, my poor friend. How you have changed!

                              VON KELLER.

[_Laughing nervously_.] I seem to have the misfortune to make a rather
absurd figure in your eyes.

                                 MAGDA.

No, oh, no! I can see it all. The effort to keep worthy of respect
under such difficulties, with a bad conscience, is awkward. You
look down from the height of your pure atmosphere on your sinful
youth,--for you are called a pillar, my dear friend.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Looking at the door_.] Pardon me--I can hardly accustom myself again
to the affectionate terms. And if any one should hear us-- Would it not
be better--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Sadly_.] Let them hear us.

                              VON KELLER.

[_At the door_.] Good Heavens! Well [_sitting down again_], as I was
saying, if you knew with what real longing I look back from this height
at my gay, discarded youth--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Half to herself_.] So gay,-- yes, so gay.

                              VON KELLER.

Well, I felt myself called to higher things. I thought-- Why should I
undervalue my position? I have become Councillor, and that
comparatively young. An ordinary ambition might take satisfaction in
that. But one sits and waits at home, while others are called to the
ministry. And this environment, conventionality, and narrowness, all is
so gray,--gray! And the ladies here--for one who cares at all about
elegance--I assure you something rejoiced within me when I read this
morning that you were the famous singer,--you to whom I was tied by so
many dear memories and--

                                 MAGDA.

And then you thought whether it might not be possible with the help of
these dear memories to bring a little color into the gray background?

                              VON KELLER.

[_Smiling_.] Oh, pray don't--

                                 MAGDA.

Well, between old friends--

                              VON KELLER.

Really, are we that, really?

                                 MAGDA.

Certainly, _sans rancune_. Oh, if I took it from the other standpoint,
I should have to range the whole gamut,--liar, coward, traitor! But as
I look at it, I owe you nothing but thanks, my friend.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Pleased, but confused_.] This is a view which--

                                 MAGDA.

Which is very convenient for you. But why should I not make it
convenient for you? In the manner in which we met, you had no
obligations towards me. I had left my home; I was young and innocent,
hot-blooded and careless, and I lived as I saw others live. I gave
myself to you because I loved you. I might perhaps have loved any one
who came in my way. That--that seemed to be all over. And we were so
happy,--weren't we?

                              VON KELLER.

Ah, when I think of it, my heart seems to stop beating.

                                 MAGDA.

There in the old attic, five flights up, we three girls lived so
merrily in our poverty. Two hired pianos, and in the evening bread and
dripping. Emmy used to warm it herself over the oil-stove.

                              VON KELLER.

And Katie with her verses! Good Lord! What has become of them?

                                 MAGDA.

_Chi lo sà_? Perhaps they're giving singing-lessons, perhaps they're on
the stage. Yes, we were a merry set; and when the fun had lasted half a
year, one day my lover vanished.

                              VON KELLER.

An unlucky chance, I swear to you. My father was ill. I had to travel.
I wrote everything to you.

                                 MAGDA.

H'm! I did not reproach you. And now I will tell you why I owe you
thanks. I was a stupid, unsuspecting thing, enjoying freedom like a
runaway monkey. Through you I became a woman. For whatever I have done
in my art, for whatever I have become in myself, I have you to thank.
My soul was like--yes, down below there, there used to be an Æolian
harp which was left mouldering because my father could not bear it.
Such a silent harp was my soul; and through you it was given to the
storm. And it sounded almost to breaking,--the whole scale of passions
which bring us women to maturity,--love and hate and revenge and
ambition [_springing up_], and need, need, need--three times need--and
the highest, the strongest, the holiest of all, the mother's
love!-- All I owe to you!

                              VON KELLER.

What--what do you say?

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, my friend, you have asked after Emmy and Katie. But you haven't
asked after your child.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Jumping up and looking about anxiously_.] My child!

                                 MAGDA.

Your child? Who calls it so? Yours? Ha, ha! Dare to claim portion
in him and I'll kill you with these hands. Who are you? You're a
strange man who gratified his lust and passed on with a laugh. But I
have a child,--my son, my God, my all! For him I lived and starved
and froze and walked the streets; for him I sang and danced in
concert-halls,--for my child who was crying for his bread! [_Breaks out
in a convulsive laugh which changes to weeping, and throws herself on a
seat, right_.]

                              VON KELLER.

[_After a silence_.] I am confounded. If I could have suspected,--yes,
if I could have suspected--I will do everything; I will not shrink from
any reparation. But now, I beg you to quiet yourself. They know that I
am here. If they saw us so, I should be--[_correcting himself_] you
would be lost.

                                 MAGDA.

Don't be afraid. I won't compromise you.

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, I was not speaking for myself, not at all. But just think, if it
were to come out, what the town and your father--

                                 MAGDA.

Poor old man! His peace is destroyed, at any rate.

                              VON KELLER.

And think! the more brilliantly you are placed now, the more certain is
your ruin.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Madly_.] And if I wish for ruin! If I--

                              VON KELLER.

For Heaven's sake, hush! some one's coming.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Springing up_.] Let them come! Let them all come! I don't care, I
don't care! To their faces I'll say what I think of you,--of you and
your respectable society. Why should I be worse than you, that I must
prolong my existence among you by a lie! Why should this gold upon my
body, and the lustre which surrounds my name, only increase my infamy?
Have I not worked early and late for ten long years? Have I not woven
this dress with sleepless nights? Have I not built up my career step by
step, like thousands of my kind? Why should I blush before any one? I
am myself, and through myself I have become what I am.

                              VON KELLER.

Good! You may stand there proudly, but you might at least consider--

                                 MAGDA.

Whom? [_As he is silent_.] Whom? The pillar! Ha, ha! The pillar begins
to totter! Be easy, my dear friend. I am not revengeful. But when I
look at you in all your cowardly dignity--unwilling to take upon you
the slightest consequence of your doings, and contrast you with myself,
who sank through your love to be a pariah and an outcast-- Ah, I'm
ashamed of you. Pah!

                              VON KELLER.

For Heaven's sake! Your father! If he should see you like this!

                                 MAGDA.

[_In agony_.] My father! [_Escapes through the door of the dining-room,
with her handkerchief to her face_.]

_Enter_ Schwartze, _happy and excited, through the hall-door_.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Ah, my dear Councillor--was that my daughter who just disappeared?

                              VON KELLER.

[_In great embarrassment_.] Yes, it was--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Why should she run away from me? Magda!

                              VON KELLER.

[_Trying to block his path_.] Had you not better-- The young lady
wished to be alone for a little!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Now? Why? When one has visitors, one does not-- Why should she--

                              VON KELLER.

She was a little--agitated.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Agitated?

                              VON KELLER.

Yes; that's all.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Who has been here?

                              VON KELLER.

No one. At least, as far as I know.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Then, what agitating things could you two have to talk about?

                              VON KELLER.

Nothing of importance,--nothing at all, I assure you.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What makes you look so, then? You can scarcely stand.

                              VON KELLER.

I? Oh, you're mistaken, you're mistaken.

                               SCHWARTZE.

One question, Councillor-- You and my daughter-- Please sit down.

                              VON KELLER.

My time is unfortunately--

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Almost threatening_.] I beg you to sit down.

                              VON KELLER.

[_Not daring to resist_.] Thank you. [_They sit_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

You met my daughter some years ago in Berlin?

                              VON KELLER.

Yes.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Councillor von Keller, I know you to be as discreet as you are
sensible; but there are cases in which silence is a crime. I ask
you--and your life-long relations with me give me the right to ask, as
well as the mystery--which just now-- In short, I ask you, Do you know
anything discreditable about my daughter's life there?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, for Heaven's sake, how can you--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Do you not know how and where she lived?

                              VON KELLER.

No. I am absolutely--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Have you never visited at her house?

                              VON KELLER.

[_More and more confused_.] No, no, never, never.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Not once?

                              VON KELLER.

Well, I called on her once; but--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Your relations were friendly?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, entirely friendly--of course, only friendly. [_A pause_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Passes his hand over his forehead, looks earnestly at_ Von
Keller; _then, speaking absently_.] So? Then, honestly--if it might
be--if--if-- [_Gets up, goes to_ Von Keller, _and sits down again,
trying to quiet himself_.] Dr. von Keller, we both live in a quiet
world, where scandals are unknown. But I have grown old, very old. And
therefore I can't--can't control my thoughts as I should. And I can't
rid myself of an idea which has--suddenly--taken possession of me. I
have just had a great joy which I don't want to be embittered. But, to
quiet an old man, I beg you--give me your word of honor that--

                              VON KELLER.

[_Rising_.] Pardon me, this seems almost like a cross-examination.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You must know, then, what I--

                              VON KELLER.

Pardon me, I wish to know nothing. I came here innocently to make a
friendly visit, and you have taken me by surprise. I will not be taken
by surprise. [_Takes his hat_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Dr. von Keller, have you thought what this refusal means?

                              VON KELLER.

Pardon me, if you wish to know anything, I beg you to ask your
daughter. She will tell you what--what-- And now you must let me go.
You know where I live. In case-- I am very sorry it has happened so:
but-- Good-day, Colonel! [_Exit_.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_After brooding for a time_.] Magda!

                                 MARIE.

[_Running in anxiously_.] For Heaven's sake, what's the matter?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Chokingly_.] Magda,--I want Magda.

                                 MARIE.

[_Goes to the door and opens it_.] She's coming now--down the stairs.

                               SCHWARTZE.

So! [_Pulls himself together with an effort_.]

                                 MARIE.

[_Clasping her hands_.] Don't hurt her! [_Pauses with the door open_.
Magda _is seen descending the stairs. She enters in travelling-dress,
hat in hand, very pale, but calm_.]

                                 MAGDA.

I heard you call, father.

                               SCHWARTZE.

I have something to say to you.

                                 MAGDA.

And I to you.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Go in--into my room.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, father. [_She goes to the door, left_. Schwartze _follows her_.
Marie, _who has drawn back frightened to the dining-room door, makes an
unseen gesture of entreaty_.]



                                ACT IV.

                           Scene: _the same_.


[Mrs. Schwartze _and_ Marie _discovered_. Mrs. Schwartze, _in hat and
cloak, is knocking on the door at the left_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Leopold! Oh, Heaven, I dare not go in.

                                 MARIE.

No, no, don't! Oh, if you'd only seen his face!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

And they've been in there half an hour, you say?

                                 MARIE.

Longer, longer!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Now she's speaking! [_Listening, frightened_.] He's threatening her.
Marie, Marie! Run into the garden. The pastor's there, in the arbor.
Tell him everything,--about Mr. von Keller's being here,--and ask him
to come in quickly.

                                 MARIE.

Yes, mamma. [_Hurries to the hall-door_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Wait a minute, Marie. Has Theresa heard anything? If it should get
about--

                                 MARIE.

I've already sent her away, mamma.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

That's right, that's right. [_Exit_ Marie. Mrs. Schwartze _knocks
again_.] Leopold! listen to me, Leopold! [_Retreating_.] Oh, Heaven!
he's coming! [_Enter_ Schwartze, _bent and tottering_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

How do you feel, Leopold?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Sinking into a chair_.] Yes, yes,--just like the roses. The knife
conies, and cuts the stem, and the wound can never be healed. What am I
saying? What?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

He's out of his mind.

                               SCHWARTZE.

No, no, I'm not out of my mind. I know quite well-- [Magda _appears at
the door, left_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What have you done to him?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, what have you--what have you? That is my daughter. What shall I do
with my daughter now?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Humbly, almost beseechingly_.] Father, isn't it best, after what has
happened, that you should let me go,--that you should drive me into the
streets? You must get free of me if this house is to be pure again.

                               SCHWARTZE.

So, so, so! You think, then, you have only to go--to go away, out
there, and all will be as before? And we? What will become of us?
I--good God!--I--I have one foot in the grave--soon it will be
over--but the mother, and your sister--your sister.

                                 MAGDA.

Marie has the husband she wants--

                               SCHWARTZE.

No one will marry a sister of yours. [_With aversion_.] No, no. Don't
think it!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Aside_.] My God!

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_To_ Mrs. Schwartze.] See, she's beginning now to realize what she has
done.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Yes; what--

                                 MAGDA.

[_In tender sympathy, but still with a tinge of superiority_.] My poor
old father--listen to me--I can't change what has passed. I will give
Marie half my fortune. I will make up a thousand times all that I have
made you suffer to-day. But now, I implore you, let me go my way.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Oho!

                                 MAGDA.

What do you want of me? What am I to you? Yesterday at this time you
did not know even whether I still lived; and to-day-- It is madness to
demand that I should think and feel again as you do; but I am afraid of
you, father, I'm afraid of you all--ah, I am not myself-- [_Breaking
out in torment_.] I cannot bear the sorrow.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Ha, ha!

                                 MAGDA.

Father dear, I will humble myself before you willingly. I lament with
my whole heart that I've brought sorrow to you to-day, for my flesh and
blood still belong to you. But I must live out my own life. That I owe
to myself,--to myself and mine. Good-by!

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Stopping her_.] Where are you going?

                                 MAGDA.

Let me pass, father.

                               SCHWARTZE.

I'll kill you first. [_Seizes her_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Leopold! [_Enter_ Heffterdingt. _He throws himself between them with a
cry of horror_. Magda, _freed by the old man, goes slowly back, with
her eyes fixed on the_ Pastor, _to the seat, left, where she remains
motionless_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_After a silence_.] In God's name!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, yes, yes, Pastor--it made a fine family group, eh? Look at her!
She has soiled my name. Any scoundrel can break my sword. That is my
daughter; that is--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Dear Colonel, these are things which I do not understand, and which I
do not care to understand. But it seems to me there must be something
to do, instead of--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yes, to do,--yes, yes,--there's much to do here. I have much to do. I
don't see why I'm standing here. The worst of it is--the worst of it
is, he can say to me--this man--you are a cripple--with your shaking
hand--with such a one I can't fight, even if I have had your daughter
for a-- But I will show him-- I will show him-- Where is my hat?

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Where are you going, Leopold? [Magda _rises_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

My hat!

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Gives him hat and stick_.] Here, here!

                               SCHWARTZE.

So! [_To_ Magda.] Learn to thank the God, in whom you disbelieve, that
he has preserved your father until this hour, for he shall bring you
back your honor!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Kneeling, and kissing his hand_.] Don't do it, father! I don't
deserve this of you.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Bends weeping over her head_.] My poor, poor child!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Calling after him_.] Father!

                       [_Exit_ Schwartze _quickly_.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

My child, whatever happens, we women--we must hold together.

                                 MAGDA.

Thanks, mamma. The play will soon be played out now.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

My dear Mrs. Schwartze, Marie is out there, full of sorrow. Go and say
a kind word to her.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

What shall I say to comfort her, when all the happiness has gone out of
her life? [Magda _jumps up in anguish_.] Oh, Pastor, Pastor!

                                                          [_Exit_.

                                 MAGDA.

[_After a silence_.] Oh, I am so tired!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Miss Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

[_Brooding_,] I think I shall see those glaring bloodshot eyes before
me always--wherever I go.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Miss Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

How you must despise me!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Ah, Miss Magda, I have long been a stranger to despite. We are all poor
sinners--

                                 MAGDA.

[_With a bitter laugh_.] Truly we are-- Oh, I am so tired!--it is
crushing me. There is that old man going out to let himself be shot
dead for my sake, as if he could atone for all my sins with his single
life! Oh, I am so tired!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Miss Magda--I can only conjecture--what all this means--but you have
given me the right to speak to you as a friend. And I feel that I am
even more. I am your fellow-sinner, Miss Magda!

                                 MAGDA.

Good Heavens! Still harping on that!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Do you feel the obligation, Miss Magda, to bring honor and peace back
to this house?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Breaking out in anguish_.] You have lived through the sorrow, and ask
whether I feel it?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I think your father will obtain from that gentleman the declaration
that he is ready for any sort of peaceable satisfaction.

                                 MAGDA.

Ha, ha! The noble soul! But what can I do?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

You can--not spurn the hand which he will offer you.

                                 MAGDA.

What? You don't mean-- This man--this strange man whom I despise--how,
how could I--

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Dear Miss Magda, there comes an hour to almost every man when he
collects the broken pieces of his life, to form them together into a
new design. I have found it so with myself. And now it is your turn.

                                 MAGDA.

I will not do it--I will not do it.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

You will have to.

                                 MAGDA.

I would rather take my child in my arms and throw myself into the sea.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Suppresses a violent start; continues after a silence, hoarsely_.] Of
course, that is the simplest solution. And your father can follow you.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, have pity on me! I must do whatever you demand. I don't know how
you have gained such power over me. Oh, man, if the slightest memory of
what you once felt, if the least pity for your own youth, still lives
within you, you cannot sacrifice me so!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I do not sacrifice you alone, Miss Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

[_With awakening perception_.] Good God!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

There's no other way. I see none. You know yourself that the old man
would not survive it. And what would become of your mother, and what
would become of your poor sister? Miss Magda, it is as if with your own
hand you set fire to the house and let everything burn that is within.
And this house is still your home--

                                 MAGDA.

[_In growing agony_.] I will not, I will not. This house is not my
home. My home is with my child!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

This child, too. He will grow up fatherless, and will be asked, "Where
is your father?" He will come and ask you, "Where is my father?" What
can you answer him? And, Miss Magda, he who has not peace in his heart
from the beginning will never win it in the end.

                                 MAGDA.

All this is not true, and if it were true, have I not a heart too? Have
I not a life to live also? Have I not a right to seek my own happiness?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Harshly_.] No; no one has that. But do as you will. Ruin your home,
ruin your father and sister and child, and then see what heart you have
to seek your own happiness. [Magda _bows her head, sobbing. The_ Pastor
_crosses to her, and leans over the table pityingly, with his hand on
her hair_.] My poor--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Seizing his hand_.] Answer me one question. You have sacrificed your
life for my sake. Do you think, to-day, in spite of what you know and
what you do not know, do you think that I am worth this sacrifice?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Constrained, as if making a confession_.] I have said already I am
your fellow-sinner, Miss Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

[_After a pause_.] I will do what you demand.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I thank you.

                                 MAGDA.

Good-by.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Good-by. [_Exit. He is seen through the open door speaking to_ Marie
_and sending her in_. Magda _remains motionless, with her face in her
hands until he has gone_.

                             _Enter_ Marie.

                                 MARIE.

What can I do, Magda?

                                 MAGDA.

Where has the pastor gone?

                                 MARIE.

Into the garden. Mamma is with him.

                                 MAGDA.

If father asks for me, say I shall wait there. [_Nods towards left_.]

                                 MARIE.

And haven't you a word for me, Magda?

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, yes. Fear nothing. [_Kisses her on the forehead_.] Everything will
come out well, so well--no, no, no. [_In weary bitterness_.] Everything
will come out quite well. [_Exit, left_. Marie _goes into the
dining-room_.]

_Enter_ Schwartze. _He takes out a pistol-case and opens it. Takes a
pistol, cocks it with difficulty, examines the barrel, and aims at a
point on the wall. His arm trembles violently. He strikes it angrily,
and lets the pistol sink. Enter_ Max.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Without turning_.] Who's there?

                                  MAX.

It's I, uncle.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Max? Ah, you may come in.

                                  MAX.

Uncle, Marie told me-- What are the pistols for, uncle?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Ah, they used to be fine pistols,--beautiful pistols. See, boy, with
this I have hit the ace of hearts at twenty paces, or say fifteen.
And fifteen would be enough. We ought to have been in the garden
already, but--but [_helplessly touches his trembling arm, almost in
tears_]--but I can nevermore--

                                  MAX.

[_Hurrying to him_.] Uncle? [_They embrace each other for a moment_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

It's all right,--it's all right.

                                  MAX.

Uncle, I need not say that I take your place, that I meet any man you
point out; it is my right.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Yours,--why? In what capacity? Will you marry into a disgraced family?

                                  MAX.

Uncle!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Are you prepared to strip off the uniform of our regiment? Yes, I might
set up a gambling-house, and you could play the stool-pigeon for a
living. There is no knowing what we might do. What! you, with your
beautiful name, your noble name, propose this sacrifice,--and I to
profit by it! Ha, ha! No, my boy; even if you still were willing, I am
not. This house and all within are marked for ruin. Go your way from
it. With the name of Schwartze you have nothing more to do.

                                  MAX.

Uncle, I demand that you--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Hush! Not now! [_Motions to the door_.] Soon I may need you as one
needs a friend in such affairs, but not now--not now. First I must find
the gentleman. He was not at home--the gentleman was not at home. But
he shall not think he has escaped me. If he is out a second time, then,
my son, your work begins. Until then, be patient,--be patient.

                      _Enter_ Theresa _from hall_.

                                THERESA.

Councillor von Keller. [Schwartze _starts_.]

                                  MAX.

He here! How--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Let him come in. [_Exit_ Theresa.

                                  MAX.

Uncle! [_Points to himself in great excitement_. Schwartze _shakes his
head, and signs to_ Max _to leave the room. Enter_ Von Keller. _Exit_
Max. _They meet in the doorway_. Von Keller _greets_ Max _courteously_.
Max _restrains himself from insulting him_.]

                              VON KELLER.

Colonel, I am grieved at having missed you. When I returned from the
Casino, where I am always to be found at noon,--where, I say, I am
always to be found,--your card lay on the table; and as I imagine that
there are matters of importance to be discussed between us, I made
haste--as I say, I have made haste--

                               SCHWARTZE.

Councillor, I do not know whether in this house there should be a chair
for you, but since you have come here so quickly, you must be tired. I
beg you to be seated.

                              VON KELLER.

Thanks. [_Sits down, near the open pistol-case, starts as he sees it,
watches the_ Colonel _apprehensively_.] H'm!

                               SCHWARTZE.

Now, have you nothing to say to me?

                              VON KELLER.

Allow me first one question: Did your daughter, after our conversation,
say anything to you about me?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Councillor, have you nothing to say to me?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, certainly, I have a great deal to say to you. I would gladly, for
instance, express to you a wish, a request; but I don't quite know
whether-- Won't you tell me, at least, has your daughter spoken of me
at all favorably?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Angrily_.] I must know, sir, how we stand, in what light I am to
treat you.

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, pardon me, now I understand-- [_Working himself up_.] Colonel,
you see in me a man who takes life earnestly. The days of a light
youth-- [Schwartze _looks up angrily_.] Pardon me, I meant to
say--since early this morning a holier and, if I may say so, a more
auspicious resolution has arisen within me. Colonel, I am not a man of
many words. I have already wandered from the point. As one man of honor
to another, or-- in short, Colonel, I have the honor to ask you for the
hand of your daughter. [Schwartze _sits motionless, breathing
heavily_.] Pardon me, you do not answer--am I perhaps not worthy--

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Groping for his hand_.] No, no, no; not that,--not that. I am an old
man. These last hours have been a little too much for me. Don't mind
me.

                              VON KELLER.

H'm, h'm!

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Rising, and closing the lid of the pistol-case_.] Give me your hand,
my young friend. You have brought heavy sorrow upon me,--heavy sorrow.
But you have promptly and bravely made it good. Give me the other hand.
So, so! And now do you wish to speak to her also? You will have much to
say. Eh?

                              VON KELLER.

If I might be allowed.

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Opens the hall-door and speaks off, then opens the door, left_.]
Magda!

                             _Enter_ Magda.

                                 MAGDA.

What is it, father?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Magda, this gentleman asks for the honor-- [_As he sees the two
together, he looks with sudden anger from one to the other_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Anxiously_.] Father?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Now everything's arranged. Don't make it too long! [_To_ Magda.] Yes,
everything's all right now. [_Exit_.

                              VON KELLER.

Ah, my dearest Magda, who could have suspected it?

                                 MAGDA.

Then we are to be married.

                              VON KELLER.

Above all, I don't want you to entertain the idea that any design of
mine has been at the bottom of this development which I welcome so
gladly, which I--

                                 MAGDA.

I haven't reproached you.

                              VON KELLER.

No, you have no reason.

                                 MAGDA.

None whatever.

                              VON KELLER.

Let me further say to you that it has always been my strongest wish
that Providence might bring us together again.

                                 MAGDA.

Then you have really never ceased to love me?

                              VON KELLER.

Well, as an honorable man and without exaggeration I can scarcely
assert that. But since early this morning a holier and a more
auspicious resolution has arisen within me--

                                 MAGDA.

Pardon me, would this holy and auspicious resolution have arisen within
you just the same if I had come back to my home in poverty and shame?

                              VON KELLER.

My dearest Magda, I am neither self-seeking nor a fortune-hunter, but I
know what is due to myself and to my position. In other circumstances
there would have been no social possibility of making legitimate our
old relations--

                                 MAGDA.

I must consider myself, then, very happy in these ten long years to
have worked up unconsciously towards such a high goal.

                              VON KELLER.

I don't know whether I am too sensitive, but that sounds almost like
irony. And I hardly think that--

                                 MAGDA.

That it is fitting from me?

                              VON KELLER.

[_Deprecatingly_.] Oh!

                                 MAGDA.

I must ask for your indulgence. The role of a patient and forbearing
wife is new to me. Let us speak, then, of the future [_sits and motions
to him to do the same_]--of our future. What is your idea of what is to
come?

                              VON KELLER.

You know, my dearest Magda, I have great designs. This provincial town
is no field for my statesmanship. Besides, it is my duty now to find a
place which will be worthy of your social talents. For you will give up
the stage and concert-hall,--that goes without saying.

                                 MAGDA.

Oh, that goes without saying?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, I beseech you--you don't understand the conditions; it would be a
fatal handicap for me. I might as well leave the service at once.

                                 MAGDA.

And if you did?

                              VON KELLER.

Oh, you can't be in earnest. For a hardworking and ambitious man who
sees a brilliant future before him to give up honor and position, and
as his wife's husband to play the vagabond,--to live merely as the
husband of his wife? Shall I turn over your music, or take the tickets
at the box-office? No, my dearest friend, you underestimate me, and the
position I fill in society. But don't be uneasy. You will have nothing
to repent of. I have every respect for your past triumphs, but
[_pompously_] the highest reward to which your feminine ambition can
aspire will be achieved in the drawing-room.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Aside_.] Good Heaven, this thing I'm doing is mere madness!

                              VON KELLER.

What do you say? [Magda _shakes her head_.] And then the wife, the
ideal wife, of modern times is the consort, the true, self-sacrificing
helper of her husband. For instance, you, by your queenly personality
and by the magic of your voice, will overcome my enemies, and knit even
my friends more closely to me. And we will be largely hospitable. Our
house shall be the centre of the most distinguished society, who still
keep to the severely gracious manners of our forefathers. Gracious and
severe may seem contradictory terms, but they are not.

                                 MAGDA.

You forget that the child on whose account this union is to be
consummated will keep the severely inclined away from us.

                              VON KELLER.

Yes, I know, dear Magda, it will be painful for you; but this child
must of course remain the deepest secret between us. No one must
suspect--

                                 MAGDA.

[_Astounded and incredulous_.] What--what do you say?

                              VON KELLER.

Why, it would ruin us. No, no, it is absurd to think of it. But we can
make a little journey every year to wherever it is being educated. One
can register under a false name; that is not unusual in foreign parts,
and is hardly criminal. And when we are fifty years old, and other
regular conditions have been fulfilled, [_laughing_], that can be
arranged, can't it? Then we can, under some pretext, adopt it, can't
we?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Breaks into a piercing laugh; then, with clasped hands and
staring eyes_.] My sweet! My little one! _Mio bambino! Mio
povero_--_bam_--you--you--I am to--ha, ha, ha! [_Tries to open the
folding door_.] Go! go!

                           _Enter_ Schwartze.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What--

                                 MAGDA.

Good you're here! Free me from this man, take this man away from me.

                               SCHWARTZE.

What?

                                 MAGDA.

I have done everything you demanded. I have humbled myself, I have
surrendered my judgment, I have let myself be carried like a lamb to
the slaughter. But my child I will not leave. Give up my child to save
his career! [_Throws herself into a chair_.]

                               SCHWARTZE.

Mr. von Keller, will you please--

                              VON KELLER.

I am inconsolable, Colonel. But it seems that the conditions which for
the interest of both parties I had to propose, do not meet the
approbation--

                               SCHWARTZE.

My daughter is no longer in the position to choose the conditions under
which she-- Dr. von Keller, I ask your pardon for the scene to which
you have just been subjected. Wait for me at your home. I will myself
bring you my daughter's consent. For that I pledge you my word of
honor. [_Sensation_. Magda _rises quickly_.]

                              VON KELLER.

Have you considered what--

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Holding out his hand_.] I thank you, Dr. von Keller.

                              VON KELLER.

Not at all. I have only done my duty.

                                              [_Exit, with a bow_.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Stretching herself_.] So! Now I'm the old Magda again. [Schwartze
_locks the three doors silently_.] Do you think, father, that I shall
become docile by being shut up?

                               SCHWARTZE.

So! Now we are alone. No one sees us but He who sees us--there
[_pointing upward_] Quiet yourself, my child. We must talk together.

                                 MAGDA.

[_Sits down_.] Good! We can come to an understanding, then,--my home
and I.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Do you see that I am now quite calm?

                                 MAGDA.

Certainly.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Quite calm, am I not? Even my arm does not tremble. What has happened,
has happened. But just now I gave your betrothed--

                                 MAGDA.

My betrothed?-- Father dear!

                               SCHWARTZE.

I gave your betrothed my word of honor. And that must be kept, don't
you see?

                                 MAGDA.

But if it is not in your power, my dear father.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Then I must die,--then I must simply die. One cannot live on when
one-- You are an officer's daughter. Don't you understand that?

                                 MAGDA.

[_Compassionately_.] My God!

                               SCHWARTZE.

But before I die, I must set my home in order, must I not? Every one
has something which he holds sacred. What is sacred to your inmost
soul?

                                 MAGDA.

My art.

                               SCHWARTZE.

No, that is not enough. It must be more sacred.

                                 MAGDA.

My child.

                               SCHWARTZE.

Good! Your child,--your child,--you love it? [Magda _nods_.] You wish
to see it again? [_She nods_.] And--yes--if you made an oath upon its
head [_makes a motion as if he laid his hand upon a child's head_],
then you would not perjure yourself? [Magda _shakes her head, smiling_.]
That's well. [_Rising_.] Either you swear to me now, as upon his head,
that you will become the honorable wife of his father, or--neither of
us two shall go out of this room alive. [_Sinks back on the seat_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_After a short silence_.] My poor, dear papa! Why do you torture
yourself so? And do you think that I will let myself be constrained by
locked doors? You cannot believe it.

                               SCHWARTZE.

You will see.

                                 MAGDA.

[_In growing excitement_.] And what do you really want of me? Why do
you trouble yourself about me? I had almost said, what have you all to
do with me?

                               SCHWARTZE.

That you will see.

                                 MAGDA.

You blame me for living out my life without asking you and the whole
family for permission. And why should I not? Was I not without family?
Did you not send me out into the world to earn my bread, and then
disown me because the way in which I earned it was not to your taste?
Whom did I harm? Against whom did I sin? Oh, if I had remained the
daughter of the house, like Marie, who is nothing and does nothing
without the sheltering roof of the home, who passes straight from the
arms of her father into the arms of her husband; who receives from the
family life, thought, character, everything,--yes, then you would have
been right. In such a one the slightest error would have ruined
everything,--conscience, honor, self-respect. But I? Look at me. I was
alone. I was as shelterless as a man knocked about in the world,
dependent on the work of my own hands. If you give us the right to
hunger--and I have hungered--why do you deny us the right to love, as
we can find it, and to happiness, as we can understand it?

                               SCHWARTZE.

You think, my child, because you are free and a great artist, that you
can set at naught--

                                 MAGDA.

Leave art out of the question. Consider me nothing more than the
seamstress or the servant-maid who seeks, among strangers, the little
food and the little love she needs. See how much the family with its
morality demand from us! It throws us on our own resources, it gives us
neither shelter nor happiness, and yet, in our loneliness, we must live
according to the laws which it has planned for itself alone. We must
still crouch in the corner, and there wait patiently until a respectful
wooer happens to come. Yes, wait. And meanwhile the war for existence
of body and soul is consuming us. Ahead we see nothing but sorrow and
despair, and yet shall we not once dare to give what we have of youth
and strength to the man for whom our whole being cries? Gag us, stupefy
us, shut us up in harems or in cloisters--and that perhaps would be
best. But if you give us our freedom, do not wonder if we take
advantage of it.

                               SCHWARTZE.

There, there! That is the spirit of rebellion abroad in the world. My
child--my dear child--tell me that you were not in earnest--that
you--that you--pity me--if-- [_Looking for the pistol-case_]. I don't
know what may happen--child--have pity on me!

                                 MAGDA.

Father, father, be calm, I cannot bear that.

                               SCHWARTZE.

I will not do it--I cannot do it-- [_Looking still for the
pistol-case._] Take it from me! Take it from me!

                                 MAGDA.

What, father?

                               SCHWARTZE.

Nothing, nothing, nothing. I ask you for the last time.

                                 MAGDA.

Then you persist in it?

                               SCHWARTZE.

My child, I warn you. You know I cannot do otherwise.

                                 MAGDA.

Yes, father, you leave me no other way. Well, then, are you sure that
you ought to force me upon this man--[Schwartze _listens_] that,
according to your standards, I am altogether worthy of him?
[_Hesitating, looking into space_.] I mean--that he was the only one in
my life?

                               SCHWARTZE.

[_Feels for the pistol-case and takes the pistol out_.] You jade! [_He
advances upon her, trying to raise the weapon. At the same moment he
falls back on the seat, where he remains motionless, with staring eyes,
the pistol grasped in his hand, which hangs down by his side_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_With a loud cry_.] Father! [_She flies toward the stove for shelter
from the weapon, then takes a few steps, with her hands before her
face_.] Father! [_She sinks, with her knees in a chair, her face on the
back. Calling and knocking outside. The door is broken open_.] _Enter_
Max, Marie, Heffterdingt, and Mrs. Schwartze.

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

Leopold, what's the matter? Leopold! [_To the_ Pastor.] O my God, he's
as he used to be!

                                 MARIE.

Papa dear! Speak, one word! [_Throws herself down at his right_.]

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

Get the doctor, Max.

                                  MAX.

Is it a stroke?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

I think so. [_Exit_ Max. _Aside to_ Magda.] Come to him. [_As she
hesitates_.] Come; it is the end. [_Leads her trembling to_ Schwartze's
_chair_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Who has tried to take the pistol_.] Let it go, Leopold; what do you
want with it? See, he's holding the pistol and won't let it go.

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Aside_.] It is the convulsion. He cannot. My dear old friend, can you
understand what I'm saying to you? [Schwartze _bows his head a little_.
Magda _sinks down at his left_.] God, the All-Merciful One, has called
you from on high. You are not her judge. Have you no sign of
forgiveness for her? [Schwartze _shakes his head slowly_.]

                                 MARIE.

[_Sinking down by_ Magda.] Papa, give her your blessing, dear papa! [_A
smile transfigures his face. The pistol escapes from his hand. He
raises his hand slowly to place it on_ Marie's _head. In the midst of
this motion a spasm goes through his body. His arm falls back, his head
sinks_.]

                            MRS. SCHWARTZE.

[_Crying out_.] Leopold!

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Taking her hand_.] He has gone home. [_He folds his hands. Silent
prayer, broken by the sobbing of the women_.]

                                 MAGDA.

[_Springing up and spreading out her arms in agony_.] Oh, if I had only
never come! [Heffterdingt _makes a motion to beg her silence. She
misunderstands_.] Are you going to drive me away? His life was the cost
of my coming. May I not stay now?

                             HEFFTERDINGT.

[_Simply and peacefully_. ] No one will hinder you from praying upon
his grave.



                        [_Curtain falls slowly_.]



                                THE END.

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 1: Without which officers in the German army may not marry.]





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