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Title: The Devil
Author: Molnár, Ferenc
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Devil" ***

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THE DEVIL

by FERENC MOLNAR

adapted by

OLIVER HERFORD

by exclusive arrangement with

the author

NEW YORK

MITCHELL KENNERLEY


1908 (Copyright by Henry W. Savage)


[Illustration: Olga and Dr. Miller (The Devil)]


HENRY W. SAVAGE

at Hartford, July 6th, 1908

Staged by Robert Milton, with the assistance of
Julius Herzka, Director-General of the
Volks-Theatre, Vienna



CAST OF CHARACTERS

IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

    Karl Mahler, an artist                        Paul McAllister
    Heinrich, his valet                        W. Chrystie Miller
    Mimi, his model                                  Marion Lorne
    Olga Hofmann, the banker's wife                  Dorothy Dorr
    Herman Hofmann, a banker                         Frank Monroe
    The Devil (calling himself Dr. Miller)          Edwin Stevens
    Elsa Berg, an heiress                         Marguerite Snow

    Madame Zanden                                      Nan Lewald
    Madame Reineke                                    Jane Murray
    Madame Schleswig     Guests at the        Theodosia de Cappet
    Madame Lassen        Hofmanns' ball             Tina Marshall
    Herr Grosser                                       John McKee
    Herr Besser                                       Arthur Hoyt

    Man Servant                                    Franklin Bixby



SYNOPSIS OF SCENES

ACT I.--Karl Mahler's Studio, Vienna. (Afternoon.)

ACT II.--Conservatory Reception Room at the Hofmanns'.
(Evening.)

ACT III.--At Karl's Studio. (The next morning.)



STAGE DIRECTIONS

    _Up._ away from audience
    _Down._ toward audience
    _Up C._ centre of stage, away from audience
    _R._ right of stage
    _L._ left of stage
    _C._ centre of stage
    _R. C._ to right of centre
    _L. C._ to left of centre



THE DEVIL



ACT I


SCENE.--_Room next to_ KARL'S _studio. At the back of the
stage to the L. is a glass door with portière towards the
stage. When this door is opened one can see the studio.
Bach of the stage to the R. a fireplace with burning
fire. Round the fireplace an elevation about half a yard
high reaching into the middle of the room. This elevation
is bordered by a wooden railing with an opening on each
side--in the middle of the railing an ancient Gothic chair,
with back towards the public; the back of the chair must be
so high that a person sitting in it cannot be seen by the
public. On the R. a door leading into the entrance hall of
the apartment. There is a little invisible door covered as
the rest of the room, with wall paper, on the L. near the
footlights. About a yard from this door, a settee with the
head end towards the glass door of the studio. Next to this
settee a small, ancient table, about one yard high. On the
L. a curio cabinet (small); next to it a hall stand with
some shawls of different colors. On L. next the settee a
large, gilded, stand-up candelabra, as used in churches._

_There are many sketches, framed and unframed, about the
room--some statues, some heads, and a very elegant electric
candelabra hanging in the middle of the room. The whole
thing unharmonious but artistic. Down stage on the R. a
medium-sized table littered with books, magazines and
bric-à-brac; a large palette lies on the top of some books
and scattered among the other things some tubes of paint
and paint brushes._

     (_When the Curtain rises the stage is empty for a
     few minutes._)

KARL, _comes in with hat and overcoat which he takes off_

Heinrich! Heinrich!

     [HEINRICH, _coming from studio_.

KARL

Where were you?

HEINRICH

Nowhere, sir.

KARL

The door is wide open; anybody could have walked in.

     [HEINRICH _goes into the studio and comes out
     with a velvet house-jacket. Calling after him:_

Where's today's paper?

     [_He finds the newspaper._

Well, hurry up.

     [HEINRICH _comes back and helps_ KARL _put on his
     jacket._

KARL, _lights a cigarette_

Did you take my dress suit to be pressed?

HEINRICH

Yes, sir: he will bring it back in an hour.

     [_Starts R._

KARL

Good! Here's a crown. Get me a white tie, same as the last
one.

[HEINRICH _starts R._

Hold on! Put out a dress shirt on the bed, then look for my
pearl buttons--they are probably in the top drawer--in a
match-box. Stop! Give me that crown. Take this.

     [_Gives him a bill._

Get me a pair of white gloves, seven and a half. Oh! and
Heinrich, before you go, put the Venetian chair next to the
window. At three o'clock Mrs. Zanden will be here to have
her portrait painted, and I shall be at home to nobody.

     [_Reclines on the settee._

Give me an ash tray.

[HEINRICH _gives it to him._

All right; go along.

HEINRICH

Beg your pardon, sir--

KARL, _seated on couch L._

What is it?

HEINRICH

Mimi is here.

KARL

Where?

HEINRICH

Waiting in the studio.

KARL, _indifferent, reading newspaper_

Send her away.

HEINRICH, _goes to the glass door_

Fräulein, Herr Marler does not need you today.

     [_Exit L._

MIMI, _coming in_

Hallo.

[KARL _is silent, continues reading his paper._

     [MIMI _comes down L._

Don't you want to work today?

KARL

No.

     [_Continues reading paper._

     [HEINRICH _goes into the studio._

MIMI, _in bad humor, crosses to C._

Good-bye.

     [_Turns around._

And tomorrow?

KARL

No.

MIMI, _sad_

Good-bye. (_Wipes her eyes._) You don't love me any more
... you don't love me any more.

KARL

Oh! It's going to start again!

MIMI

Ever since last fall you've been different. I knew it right
away when you started to paint landscapes. When you are in
love you paint Venuses. I know what it means when you start
to paint trees.

KARL

You're silly, Mimi.

MIMI

I know it. With her hat and coat on every model is silly.

KARL

Go home, Mimi.

MIMI, _goes to head of couch_

Yes, yes. Go home! Be a good girl. For a week now you've
sent me home without my even taking my gloves off. I'm no
use any more.

     [_Begins to cry but stops it at once._

Look here: I know everything.

KARL

Really?

MIMI

     [_From behind him, raises his head._

Look at me! Look at me! You want to get married? Tell me
No--you don't dare.

KARL

No.

MIMI, _comes to L. of him_

Oh, you tell me anything you want to my face; but I know
you're going to marry a girl named Elsa--the wife of your
friend Mr. Zanden has arranged everything--look at me
and deny it, if you dare. After all, what's the use! you
wouldn't tell me the truth anyway.

KARL

You little mind-reader.

MIMI

She's a nice one, Mrs. Zanden! Instead of taking you on
herself, she marries you to a friend of hers. But I don't
care; you don't love me any more--doing landscapes all the
time.

KARL

Well, what do you want?

MIMI, _crosses to R. of him and kneels_

Tell me you do love me. (_Pouting_.)

KARL, _bored_

Yes, yes--of course.

MIMI, _imitating him_

Yes, yes, of course. Is that the best you can do?

KARL

Well, what shall I say?

MIMI

Oh! You painters! It's always the same. First you say:
"What an angel! What a Madonna! What a Venus! What color!
What hair! What lines!" Then all of a sudden, it's: "Oh, my
dear! Why, you've gone yellow." The next day you're green,
and then it's: "I have no time today." And, first thing you
know, you're--pooh! Landscapes. (_Scornfully_.)

     [_She goes to him above table at head of couch,
     takes his head in her hands._

Don't you _like_ me?

KARL, smiling

Why, yes.

MIMI

If you were really nice, you would at least promise to
marry me. All the other artists promised. They weren't so
mean as you are! Oh yes, I know I am annoying you. I'm
absolutely boring you.

KARL

If you were not such a dear little nuisance-- [_Reaches up
and draws her down to him._ --I would have done with you a
long time ago.

     [_Kisses her._

And now, run away, little girl: go home.

MIMI

Don't you want me tomorrow? or the day after tomorrow?

KARL

No.

MIMI, _crossing to him at couch_

You will never have me pose any more for you at all?

KARL, _rises; crosses with her to door R._

I'll look in on you this evening on my way to the Zandens'.

MIMI

But you can't work in my house. I've only a lamp!

KARL

Ha! Ha! Ha! Well, we'll put that out!

     [_Has taken her to the door._

MIMI

Oh, will we!

     [_Laughing._

Maybe _you'll_ get put out.

KARL

Bye, bye!

     [_MIMI exits._

     [_Lights another cigarette--the bell rings
     sharply. Calls, somewhat excited._

Heinrich! Heinrich!

HEINRICH, _comes in from studio_

Yes, sir.

     [_Runs through the door on the R., which he
     leaves open, and goes off to open the hall door._

KARL

     [_Fixes his tie nervously, puts away newspaper,
     puts out his cigarette in ash tray, and arranges
     his hair. He goes towards the door through which_
     HERMAN _and_ OLGA _enter_, HEINRICH _closes the
     door from the outside_, KARL _bows_.

Madame!

     [_Bows silently to_ HERMAN.

HERMAN, _in a hurry_

I only came to bring Olga, my boy: I must go back at once.

     [OLGA _has been looking around._

OLGA, _going to C. and over to L._

So this is the famous studio.

KARL, _looking around_

Funny, isn't it? More like a junk shop.

HERMAN

We might have chosen another day to begin Olga's
portrait--we have waited six years, so we could just as
well have waited until tomorrow; but the preparations for
tonight's ball made Olga so nervous that I thought it
best to bring her here. You know this ball is a kind of
house-warming.

     [_Crosses over to C._

OLGA

We were obliged to invite such a _lot_ of people, to clear
off our social obligations.

HERMAN

I wish it was over. I hate these functions. Old Freebody,
in whose business I started, was worth ninety millions, and
he never gave a party in his life--or anything else, for
that matter. When do you want me to call for Olga?

KARL, _R. C._

Well, it gets dark very early now: in three quarters of an
hour we won't be able to see any more.

HERMAN

Well, then--

KARL, _looking at his watch_

Let's say four o'clock.

OLGA, _after looking at a picture L. very closely_

Who is that?

KARL

Oh, some model.

OLGA

Wasn't that the girl we just met on the stairs?

HERMAN _crosses quickly to L._

I must have a look at her.

     [_Looks at picture._

[OLGA _stands so as to hide picture._

Oh, better not.

     [_Makes a gesture as if he had seen something
     indecent._

Well, every minute counts--I must be off.

[_Shakes his finger at_ KARL.

You'll have to stop that sort of thing, now, Karl. You know
you are one of the reasons of tonight's ball. Isn't he,
Olga?

OLGA

Yes--tonight Karl is to fall in love with his future wife.

KARL, _goes L. C._

I shall do my best.

     [_To_ HERMAN.

Sentenced to marry! Well, I'm prepared to meet my doom.

OLGA, _seated on couch, with a little sigh_

At last! I shall be glad.

HERMAN

So shall I. So will the girl. So will Karl.

KARL

I hope so. She's a charming girl.

OLGA

Wait till you--

KARL

I know--I know. I shall adore her. But I have till this
evening, you know.

HERMAN, _crossing to_ OLGA

Well, I'm off. My agent may telephone any minute.

     [_He kisses_ OLGA'S _hand_.

I shall call for you at four o'clock, my dear. And don't
worry about tonight: the caterer has his instructions.

     [_Crossing to R., shaking hands with_ KARL, _who
     holds him back._

KARL, _shaking_ HERMAN'S _hand_

Aren't you afraid to leave your wife?

HERMAN

Shall I tell you the truth? I'm hurrying because I'm afraid
of changing my mind and taking Olga away with me.

OLGA

You're not jealous?

HERMAN, _at door_

If I wasn't afraid of appearing ridiculous, I would say: Be
good! And now, good-bye.

     [_He goes off_, KARL _bringing him to the door of
     entrance hall._

KARL

     [_Coming back, closes the door, stands still for
     a minute--when he comes back_, OLGA _shivers
     slightly and touches her forehead with her hand._

     [_Crosses to L. C. by_ OLGA.

What is it?

OLGA, _with a nervous, soft laugh_

Nothing--nothing at all.

KARL, _tenderly_

Are you frightened?

     [OLGA _does not answer._

Tell me.

OLGA, _nervous, confused, as if she was afraid of him_

I don't know, but--I feel as if--as if--

KARL

What do you mean?

OLGA, _trying to laugh, but very nervously_

I had the same feeling once in Dresden, when my mother took
me to a boarding-school and left me there. I felt as if I
were quite alone in this wide, strange world--and now--you
know yourself. I have fought against coming here for six
years.

     [_Looks around._

What a queer place. I don't think I like it. [KARL _crosses
C. and up laughing._ Strange monsters, cut off heads, and
you in the middle of all this like a wizard. While my
husband was here I did not feel it, but now these heads
seem to stare at me.

     [_She shivers._

KARL

Don't be nervous--every woman I paint comes here.

OLGA, _seated on couch, quietly_

And do you paint every woman that comes here?

KARL

No.

     [_Silence._

OLGA

Did you understand my husband just now?

KARL

I think I did.

OLGA

He has often pretended to be jealous, but this time there
was a ring in his voice that made me feel that there was
something behind it.

KARL

You don't really think he's jealous?

OLGA, _crosses to chair_

No. But this is the first time I've been alone with you.

KARL

Now we can talk things over. I've wanted to for a long time.

OLGA, _leans against R. back of chair_

We've done well to avoid it all these years. A good
conscience is like a warm bath--one feels so comfortable in
it.

KARL

Last Thursday, when we spoke about my painting your
portrait, you seemed embarrassed.

OLGA, _looks at him; their eyes meet_

Don't let us talk about it. I don't want to.

KARL

Don't be afraid of me. If I were not I, your fear might be
justified; but as it is, surely we can trust ourselves to
talk things over quietly. To think that seven years ago I
was a teacher in Herman's family--and I was there the day
your engagement was announced--it was the evening of the
day we--

OLGA, _puts her hand on his, softly reproaching him_

Karl.

KARL

--We kissed each other for the first time. Oh, I know. I
was only a drawing teacher--but you--what were you? Just
a poor little friend of Herman's sisters. Sometimes you
were asked to tea in their grand house. And there we met--a
beggar boy and a beggar girl at the rich man's table. Do
you wonder? And then, just as we realized what we were to
each other, one fine day Herman up and proposed to you.
Such a dazzling offer--who could blame you?

OLGA, _hurt_

Please--please, Karl.

KARL

We were two poor little souls who found one another in the
wilderness of wealth--only to lose each other. Even the
memory of that one little kiss....

OLGA

Dear Karl, don't. We have grown up to be sensible
people--we have put it out of our thoughts.

KARL

Oh, I know it's all over. To-day I'm--(_humorously_) the
famous painter, your husband is my friend, and though we
see one another every day, we have never spoken of it
again. I wouldn't even have the courage to ask you to sit
for your portrait. I was afraid, and I think you were
afraid. And so was your husband. And that is why until this
day--

OLGA, _steps down one pace from chair, gives him her hand_

You _are_ a real friend.

KARL, _goes to her, gently_

There's nothing to be afraid of.

OLGA

Oh, it was only my husband's voice--something in his manner
that frightened me. He must know what we were to one
another, though he has never made the slightest allusion
to it, not one single word in all these years. But when he
left us here alone, he seemed to feel--

     [_Breaks off._

But there is no reason for it, is there? We are not in love
with one another, are we? And it's just lovely to think
that we have not entirely forgotten old times. Don't you
think so, Karl?

KARL, _goes to chair_

Of course I do.

OLGA

Because if we still loved one another, you would not marry,
would you?

     [_Taking off gloves._

KARL

Of course not.

OLGA

So you will be married and you will be very, very
happy--and I shall be happy, too, because it is my own
idea, and I have picked out a nice girl for you--pretty and
clever--

     [KARL _bows silent acquiescence._

And now--

     [_Goes up and knocks on back of chair--business
     of entering imaginary door, etc. She speaks in
     an everyday voice, in marked contrast to former
     tone._

How do you do, Professor? I have come to have my portrait
painted.

KARL, _quite enthusiastic, R. C._

Last night I made a sketch of you from memory.... Oh, I've
made lots of sketches of you; but now, now I see you in
another light.

OLGA, _R._

How do you mean?

KARL

Yesterday I looked upon you as a model. To-day you are a
motif--you are a revelation...? there is something in your
eyes....

OLGA

Please, please, Karl, we agreed that--that--

KARL

Pardon me, I'll try to remember.

     [_Goes up on platform._

OLGA

Let's go to work now--it's getting late.

KARL

Whenever you are ready--

OLGA

What am I to do?

KARL, _steps behind her to take hat pins out of her hat_

Take off your hat and your coat, please.

OLGA

Thanks, I can do that myself.

     [_She takes her hat and coat off. KARL takes her
     coat up on platform._

KARL, _passing her chair as he goes up_

Do you use perfume in your hair?

OLGA

I? Never!

     [_At chair up in alcove._

KARL

Oh, then it is the natural perfume of your hair.

     [_She looks at him reproachfully._

Pardon me: I stood too near.

     [_Looks at her in silence. She crosses back
     of large chair to couch L., and sits facing
     audience._

OLGA, _nervously, turns her head to him_

What is it?

KARL, _leaning against big chair, looking at her dress_

I was just thinking--didn't your husband say an evening
frock?

OLGA

Yes. Herman wants me painted décolletée--in an evening
gown; just a head and shoulders, you know. I would have
preferred a street dress.

KARL

I'm afraid I agree with Herman on that point. But have
you?... Didn't you?... Where is the dress?

OLGA

Oh, I thought you would only be painting my face the first
sitting.

KARL, _comes C., laughs_

So you thought I began at the top of a portrait and painted
down?

OLGA, _hesitating_

Yes.

KARL

Why, the drawing of the shoulders is almost more important
than the head in the first sketch.

OLGA

Oh, dear. How stupid of me.

KARL, crossing L.

I'll tell you what--

     [_He selects some draperies from those hanging in
     the corner._

I have some draperies here--

OLGA

Well--

KARL

You can arrange one of these around your shoulders
like--like an evening gown.

OLGA, _mechanically_

Yes.

KARL, _hanging drapery on cabinet L._

You will have to be quick because it will soon be dark.
Here are the draperies--you'll find some pins over here,
and I'll go into the studio while you--until you--

[_Goes to door of studio._

OLGA, _seated_

Until when? Why?

KARL

Why, if I'm to paint your shoulders--well--

     [_Turns away towards studio._

--your blouse?

OLGA, _terribly embarrassed_

Of course--

KARL

Do just as if you were at home. I'll close this door.

     [_Goes to door R. to entrance hall and locks it._

And now I'll go into the studio ... and you can lock this
door yourself.

     [_He has opened the door of the studio and has
     made one step into studio, and now says in a low
     tone:_

Oh! It's snowing.

     [_He looks at Olga._

OLGA

Snowing?

KARL

Snowing hard.

     [_Silence_.

OLGA

Hadn't we better?--perhaps--perhaps--tomorrow--or--or--

     [_She has been saying this very slowly, as if
     afraid, but now suddenly regains confidence, as
     if she had had a saving idea._

Tomorrow I could bring my maid.

KARL

Oh, no, no. Your husband would certainly want to know the
reason, and really--if this door is closed--

     [_He goes back to his studio._

It's too bad! This snow takes all the light away. But never
mind--never mind; the snow shovellers will be glad of it.

     [_He has spoken the last few sentences in a very
     low voice, as if the situation was painful to
     him. He goes backwards into the studio and now
     closes the door._ [OLGA _is standing with her
     back towards the studio, staring in front of her.
     She now shrinks together, shivers, turns around.
     Sudden resolution, she turns the key, locking
     the door to the studio. Slowly unbuttons her
     blouse, looks at the shawls, of which she chooses
     one, afterwards takes her blouse off quietly,
     putting the shawl around her shoulders. She has
     put the blouse on the settee before she arranges
     the shawl. She now picks up the blouse and wants
     to put it on the chair in front of the fireplace;
     her arm is already stretched out when she
     suddenly drops the blouse, utters a suppressed
     shriek, dropping blouse by chair, and crosses
     quickly to foot of couch._

     [_The_ DEVIL, _in fashionable frock coat, a
     crimson carnation in buttonhole, a man of from
     thirty-five to thirty-eight years old, resembling
     in face classical Mephisto, very elegant, picks
     up the blouse and offers to_ OLGA _in a most
     polite manner._

DEVIL

Pardon, Madame.

     [_Comes C. a little._

I think you dropped something.

     [OLGA takes the blouse mechanically and looks at
     him frightened.

I must beg your pardon, Madame. I came from lunch. Karl
was not at home. I waited and I fell asleep in this very
comfortable chair.

     [_He rubs his eyes._

Forgive me, Madame, for opening my eyes at a moment when,
for propriety's sake, I should have at least kept one eye
shut.

OLGA,_ puts blouse on couch and goes L., horrified and
disgusted_

Oh!

DEVIL, _Right of couch L._

I am aware this is a base insinuation--of course you only
come here--

     [_Ironical_.

OLGA

To have my portrait painted.

DEVIL

I once had a similar encounter at a dentist's; and the
lady, to prove that my insinuations were false, did not
hesitate to sacrifice a perfectly good tooth.

OLGA

I tell you, I--

DEVIL, _very polite_

Oh, I know--you speak the truth. I am even at liberty to
believe it, though _your_ truth is only partly in style.
_Truth_ should have nothing on at all, you know.

OLGA

The insolence! What right have you to speak to me? Who are
you? What are you doing here? Karl!

     [KARL _tries door outside_.

Karl!

     [_She opens the door of the studio_, KARL
     _appears on the threshold and looks surprised at
     the_ DEVIL.

DEVIL, _crosses up R. C. very quickly_

How do you do?

KARL, _taken aback_

How do you do?--er--how are you?

DEVIL, _quickly_

You don't seem to remember me--we met at Monte Carlo--

KARL, _up L. C._

Oh, yes.

DEVIL

Quite an eventful day it was.

KARL, _comes down a little_

Yes, yes, I remember. It was last fall, and I had just lost
all my money at roulette. As I turned from the table, I
caught sight of a stranger frowning at me.

     [_Pointing to_ DEVIL.

It was you. I was startled, because only a moment before I
had seen you next to the croupier, and I thought I heard
you laugh when I lost. But now I remember--you stood behind
me, and when I had lost everything, you offered me, a total
stranger, a handful of louis d'or.

DEVIL

You refused--beggingly.

KARL

Yes, but--

DEVIL, _continuing_

You took them--protestingly.

KARL

In five minutes I had won everything back, and 20,000
francs besides. Your gold seemed to have magic power, I
remember. When you gave it to me it seemed to burn.

DEVIL

But you paid me back and invited me to supper. I had to
refuse, because I was obliged to leave for Spain the same
evening, but I promised to look you up the next time you
needed me--

     [_Crosses to R._

and here I am.

KARL

Well, I'll be--

DEVIL, _interrupting quickly_

Don't mention it. I took a little nap in your chair.

     [_Goes up to back of big chair._

OLGA, _goes C., pointing to big chair. Frightened_

It's very strange--this chair was empty; there was nobody
there.

DEVIL, _stepping towards her, bowing; in a tone allowing no
contradiction_

Then I was mistaken, Madame.

     [OLGA _goes over behind couch L. Silence._

     [OLGA _and_ KARL _look at the_ DEVIL
     _suspiciously_.

KARL, _L. C., embarrassed_

Won't you please sit down? Allow me to introduce you. I
quite forget your name....

DEVIL, R. C.

Call me anything you like: we only call names when the
party is absent; but I am here now--call me Miller, or
Brown, or Black.

     [_Start from_ KARL. DEVIL _stops him._

If you think Doctor sounds better, why not call me Doctor
Miller?

KARL, _very much embarrassed_

Doctor Miller--

     [_Crosses to R. C. The_ DEVIL _kisses_ OLGA'S
     _hand devoutly at foot of couch_.

Under ordinary circumstances, I should now take my hat and
leave;

     [_Goes up C.; turns._

but my infinite tact compels me to force my presence upon
you in this disagreeable situation.

[_Sits down in chair C._

OLGA, _crossing to_ KARL; _to the_ DEVIL

How dare you! Karl! This man has the insolence to--

DEVIL, _seated C. Very quickly_

Your husband has been dead some time?

OLGA, _R._

I'm not a widow.

DEVIL, _very quick_

Oh, divorced?

OLGA

No.

DEVIL

Well, if you think that I have insulted you, I should say
the proper person to refer me to would be your husband.

     [_Rises_; _to_ KARL:

Of course, if you wish, I am at your disposal also.

     [_To_ OLGA:

But, Madame, this would be admitting--

KARL

What's it all about? I don't understand you. You come in
here, I don't know how or where from, and you--you act as
if you had trapped us--

OLGA, _goes to_ KARL _R. C._

The idea!

DEVIL

Say what you like: I cannot go.

OLGA

Why not?

DEVIL

If I were to go now, it would be as much as to say: "Pardon
me, I fear I intrude." But if I remain, I show that I
suspect nothing.

KARL

We don't need your assurance.

     [OLGA _crosses to L. below couch._

     DEVIL, _bows politely; embarrassing silence_

Suppose we talk about something else. I think we are in for
a snowstorm.

     [_Standing R. of studio door. Silence._

     [OLGA _stands near the door leading to the
     studio, quite astonished._

Are you sending anything to this year's exhibition?

KARL, _uncomfortable_

Perhaps--I may send something.

     [_Silence. The_ DEVIL _lights a cigarette at
     table L. C._

DEVIL,_ puffs cigarette. On second puff_

Permit me, Madame.

     [OLGA,_ picking up blouse, as if suddenly
     awakened and realizing her position, goes into
     the studio, closing the door behind her._

Full of temperament--full of temperament. And pretty, too.

     [KARL _starts to light cigarette at table L. C._

     KARL, _dropping cigarette, crosses to chair
     up C., sits and looks at the_ DEVIL _without
     speaking_

DEVIL

Too bad she doesn't love her husband.

     [KARL _turns quickly towards the DEVIL. Quick_:

How do I know? The way she turned to you just now when she
fancied herself insulted--it didn't escape me.

     [KARL _takes up the ash tray and throws it
     angrily on table._

No; she doesn't love her husband. He must be either a
genius or a very common man. Marriage with them is always
unlucky. Believe me, common men live so low that women are
afraid somebody will steal in at night through the window
which they forgot to lock. And Genius, well! That lives on
the top floor--so many stairs, no elevator. Her ideal is--

     [_A motion of the hand, wanting to express an
     even, middle position._

--the second floor.

     [KARL _looks impatiently at his watch and goes
     towards the door of the studio. The_ DEVIL
     _leans back blowing the smoke of his cigarette,
     indifferently._

This is the second time I have seen her shoulders.

KARL, _coming down left of couch_

What do you mean?

DEVIL

The first time I saw them was in Paris--

     [_Start from_ KARL.

at the Louvre--only they were on the _Aphrodite_. Am I
right?

KARL, _crossing to large chair R. C. In bad humor_

How should I know?

DEVIL, _lifting himself upright, cynically_

Which shoulders have you not seen?

KARL, _angry_

I've seen the Aphrodite.

DEVIL, _seated on couch_

Well, you may take my word. I have seen them both. And,
believe me, since Alcamenes, I have only known one sculptor
who could model such shoulders.

KARL

Who's that?

DEVIL

Good living. Such tender, soft lines are only possible for
a woman who lives exquisitely well. I take it she is the
wife of a millionaire?

     [KARL _goes again towards door of studio
     impatiently._

Is she dressing?

KARL, _nervously_

I suppose so.

DEVIL

Is there a looking-glass in your studio?

KARL, _comes down L. of couch_

Yes.

DEVIL

She must be very respectable.

     [KARL _looks at him astonished._

If a lady takes as long as that to dress before a
looking-glass, she's not a--model--anyway.

KARL, _crosses around foot of couch to table L. C._

Look here! I think your remarks are, to say the least, in
very bad taste.

DEVIL, _standing erect_

Do you mean that?

KARL, _aggressively_

I do.

DEVIL, _patting_ KARL'S _cheek_

Then _you_ must be respectable, too.

     [_Crosses to big chair, KARL stares at him
     astonished._

In a situation like this, only a very respectable man can
be so infernally stupid.

     [KARL _crosses to R._ OLGA _opens door of studio,
     goes towards_ KARL _without looking at the_
     DEVIL, _who is hidden in chair._

OLGA, _dropping shawl on couch_

What's the time?

     [_Crosses to_ KARL, _R._

DEVIL, _looking up over back of chair_

He'll be here in ten minutes.

OLGA, _angry_

Who?

DEVIL

Your husband.

OLGA

Oh! So you weren't asleep after all.

DEVIL

Oh, yes, I was.

     [_Rises._

But "What's the time?" always means the husband. A woman's
intuition invariably anticipates her husband's coming by
ten minutes. If it wasn't for that ten minutes, there would
be more divorced women--

     [_He goes and unlocks the door of the hall._

--and less locked doors.

     [KARL _crosses to L. C._

OLGA, _taking her hat_

Will this never stop!

DEVIL

I tried to change the subject. I started to speak about the
weather--the Exhibition--but Karl wouldn't have it.

OLGA

Karl!

KARL

I? I haven't said a single word.

DEVIL, _crosses to big chair_

But your actions fairly shouted. The way you jumped up,
looked at your watch, went to the door--

     [_To_ OLGA:

He was afraid, the poor fellow.

KARL

Afraid of what?

     [_L. C._

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA

That your husband would come before you had finished
dressing. I don't blame him.

OLGA, _R._

What, again!

     [_Goes up to hat._

KARL, _L. C._

Can't you--

DEVIL

Come now! Let us be logical--let us look the situation in
the face. Enter your husband--

     [OLGA _comes down R._

"Well, here I am: where is the picture?" "The picture?"

     [_Shrugs his shoulders._

"There is no picture. Karl hasn't even touched a brush."
Your husband is astonished--he tries to speak--the words
stick in his throat--he gasps: "Well, if you didn't
paint, why is she dressing?" Imagine the situation! You
look at one another horribly embarrassed; Karl stammers
something, but that only makes it worse. Nothing has
happened--and yet the mischief is done. What mischief?
Appearances--appearances. They're like fly-paper. There's
no getting away from them.

     [_Speaking to OLGA:_

You go home with your husband, and he doesn't speak--and if
you ask him: "Why don't you say something?" his blood seems
to boil. If you ask him to take a cab, he suspects that you
want to avoid meeting somebody--every word that you utter
tortures him. And if--

KARL, _C._

And if it _were_ so, we are not alone, you are here.

DEVIL, _icy and cynical_

Just so, I am here--one word from me would save the
situation--but--I know myself--I'm a strange, whimsical,
almost cruel man--and I'm afraid I won't say the word.
Tableau! Embarrassing silence! Then I say: "I regret that
I should have come at such an inopportune moment." I take
my hat and walk out discreetly. If necessary, I can even
stammer my excuses.

OLGA

If this is a jest, it's a cruel one.

DEVIL, _bowing low_

Possible, Madame--but I can do better still. Of course, if
you prefer it, I can make conversation--when your husband
comes in, I can tell him that the portrait has not been
touched and ask his pardon--

OLGA

Pardon? Pardon for what?

DEVIL, _bowing_ For having--quite accidentally--seen your
shoulders.

OLGA, _horrified_

Who are you?

DEVIL

I am one who always comes at the right moment--I come from
Nowhere.

     [_Very bitingly._

I am here--

     [_Touching_ OLGA'S _forehead_.

OLGA

What do you want with me? You turn everything to evil. I
have scarcely known you five minutes, and I seem to feel
your fingers at my throat.

DEVIL

That's because I like you. With most pretty women I take
longer.

KARL, _furiously, starts towards him_

Look here: this has gone far enough!

     [_Makes a few steps towards the_ DEVIL, _who
     stands erect without moving. At the same time_,
     HEINRICH _comes to the door, which he opens, and
     starts speaking at once._

HEINRICH

The tailor has sent an evening suit, but it is not yours,
sir.

DEVIL

Put it on the chair in the bedroom.

KARL

But it's not mine.

DEVIL, _gives a sign to_ HEINRICH _to go out and do as he
was told. Speaking to_ KARL

It's mine.

KARL

Yours?

DEVIL, _makes motion to_ HEINRICH, _who goes out_

     [_During speech_ OLGA _goes up and gets her hat._
     KARL _walks back and forth L. C._

I had to have it pressed. I told the tailor to send it
here. I must dress for tonight. I'm going to a ball the
prettiest woman in Vienna is giving at the house of the
Duke of Maranse.

OLGA, _coming down R., frightened_

But the Duke does not live there now--he's Ambassador in
Madrid; he has sold his house--to us.

DEVIL

I know. I met him in Paris. He told me--

OLGA

We are living there now--we are giving the ball.

DEVIL

Am I mistaken? Am I not invited?

OLGA, _in a very low voice, dropping her head_

Yes--yes, you are.

DEVIL, _very polite_

Madame, you asked me a little while ago what I wanted.
That's what I wanted. Thank you.

     [_Bows and turns towards C. Silence._

OLGA

But my husband--

DEVIL, _turning to her_

Will be delighted. I've just come from Odessa. I have good
news. Wheat is rising--this year's crop turned out worse
than they thought it would.

OLGA, _greatly pleased_

Yes? The crop is bad?

     [_The_ DEVIL _goes to big chair and kneels on it
     L._

DEVIL

So you do love your husband? You're glad the crop is a
failure?

OLGA

Of course I am.

     [_As if she was somewhat ashamed about her
     husband's speculations._

We want the wheat to be bad because that will drive the
price up.

KARL

What of that?

OLGA

My husband will make lots of money.

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA

And you will get that new gown.

OLGA

How do you know I want a new dress?

DEVIL

You have a new hat--a very pretty one--and you will
certainly want a new dress to wear with it.

OLGA

You must be married.

DEVIL

Married? Not the least--but I have an eye for feminine
vanities. Oh, no! A wife is like a single eyeglass--it
looks very nice, but one is better off without it.

OLGA, _R._

You seem to have strong views against marriage. May I ask
why?

DEVIL, _shaking his finger_

Because you are plotting matrimony against Karl, and I want
to save him.

KARL, _starts toward him; stops C._

I beg your pardon--

DEVIL

An artist ought never to marry--his wife will swear on the
wedding day to stand by his side all through life. The day
after the wedding she will stand in his way.

OLGA

Not the real wife.

DEVIL

The real wife is always the other man's wife.

OLGA

You're a cynic.

DEVIL

Oh, no, not cynical, only careful. A tigress who has
married--I mean eaten--a man, is no longer dangerous--you
can ride on her back through the jungle. But, you must wait
till she has married--I mean eaten--somebody; then she is
quite safe.

KARL

Better to keep away from the tigress--and stay at home.

DEVIL

Then why didn't _you_ stay at home P Why did you refuse
a legitimate position--good, everyday morals--a decent
occupation at so much a week? You wanted to go into the
jungle--and there you are. Now fight your battle--hunt
tigers--but don't get married!

     [_He now changes his tone, goes into the church
     chair, on whose back he leans his two arms,
     speaking as if from a pulpit. It is almost dark,
     and during this scene it becomes darker yet._

And yet--what a splendid couple you two would make.

     [OLGA, _standing quite near the_ DEVIL _but not
     looking at him, buries her face in her hands._

Wake up!

     [To KARL:

You, with your talent, your splendid youth!

     [To OLGA:

You, with your temperament, and beauty and longing!

KARL _crosses to R._

Stop! Stop! I beg you--

     [OLGA _backs to R. of back of chair, as though to
     protect_ DEVIL.

--for years we have been just good friends.

DEVIL

     [_He now begins to speak in almost a whisper, but
     getting warmer and warmer, the more embarrassed_
     KARL _and_ OLGA _become._

You may say what you like, but I can read your eyes; they
say to me: "Don't believe him, he lies."

     [_Goes to fire and warms his hands_, KARL _stands
     below_ OLGA.

KARL

Don't interrupt me. For six years we have been --good
friends, nothing else. Olga cares nothing for me--and
I--and I--

DEVIL, _quickly_

What will you give me to interrupt you now?

OLGA

I don't know what you, who profess to know everything, know
about us, but anyone who thinks Karl capable of one base
thought must be very low and contemptible himself.

DEVIL

     [_Goes behind_ OLGA _and whispers into her ear.
     At the end of the speech he is a little to the L.
     of them by the big chair_.

It's not a base thought: it's a great thought--a thought
that brings joy and warmth and light into your wretched
little lives. But joy has its price--and you must pay it,
you misers! The drunkard dies of drink, but while he is
drunk angels in heaven sing to him. The poet dies in the
ecstasy of his sweetest song. It is a coward's bravery that
turns away from the wine, the song--and the lips of woman.
The smallest candle-end shows you it is worth while to burn
up for the sake of a little warmth--a little light. The
only end of life is to burn--to burn yourself up. You must
flame and blaze like a torch and toss the fire about you.
I know: your moralists tell you to love one another--don't
believe them--your grubby little earth with its paltry
million years is not ripe for such a love as that. It can
only breed monks, madmen, Methodists. Don't be a fool, be
a rogue--but be a jolly rogue--and the world is yours!
Look at me! I own the earth. Here is the key of life--Love
yourself--only yourself. Dress yourself in the softest
garments--kiss the sweetest lips--drink of the wine of
Life--Drink! Drink! Drink!

     [_Bell rings sharply--nobody moves._

OLGA, _after a pause, in a low voice_

My husband--

DEVIL

     [_Steps down from the chair, crossing C., snaps
     his fingers angrily, and says afterwards, in a
     cold, cynical tone_:

Mr. Wheat.

     [HEINRICH _opens the door, and_ HERMAN _comes
     in._ HEINRICH _follows him, but stops short at
     the door._

HERMAN

I'm afraid I'm late. My agent hasn't telephoned me yet, but
I didn't want to make you wait too long. Rather dark in
here!

     [HEINRICH _touches a button, lighting the lights,
     and exits._

HERMAN, _sees the_ DEVIL, _presenting himself_

I'm Herman Zanden, of Zanden Brothers & Wilde.

     [DEVIL _mutters something and shakes hands with
     him C._

OLGA, _coming down R._ KARL _goes behind big chair_

Strange man.

HERMAN

Pleased to meet you.

     [_Converses with_ KARL _a few moments; then to_
     OLGA:

Well, my dear, where's the picture? Mayn't I see it?

KARL, _in the big chair, leaning over back_

There's nothing to see--there is no picture.

HERMAN, _looking at his watch_

What have you been doing?

KARL

Nothing. (_Silence_.) It's been dark for the last hour.

HERMAN

Yes, but I've been gone two hours.

DEVIL, _steps to the front L. C. very politely_

It was all my fault. We have been chatting. We've had a
very interesting discussion. And Madame was kind enough to
invite me for this evening.

HERMAN

Oh! I'm very pleased.

DEVIL, _crosses to couch L. and sits_

Thank you. I have just come from Odessa. I had a talk with
the Russian Wheat King. He tells me--

HERMAN

Yes, I've heard; wheat's going up.

OLGA, _frightened_

Isn't that good for us?

HERMAN

No, dear. I did not tell you this is the first year I am
short on wheat.

KARL

What does it mean to be short on wheat?

DEVIL,_ seated on couch L._

It means digging a ditch for others and falling into it
yourself.

     [_To_ HERMAN:

I don't think you've any cause for uneasiness. I have
inside information that the American crop will be excellent.

HERMAN, C.

If that is the case, I shall be safe.

DEVIL

You will be quite safe.

HERMAN

Do you also deal in wheat?

DEVIL

Yes and no. I dabble in everything. And always at improper
moments. (_Rises_.)

KARL, _has been talking to_ OLGA, _but now goes over to_
HERMAN

I'm afraid I can't come before eleven o'clock this evening.

     [_Continues talking to_ HERMAN, _and both go to
     fire._

OLGA, _crosses and meets_ DEVIL, _C._

I must speak to you at once--alone.

     [_Looks around as if she wanted to say that her
     husband and_ KARL _were in the way_.

DEVIL

Alone? Delighted!

     [_Crosses by her and goes up C._ OLGA _goes
     behind couch and_ DEVIL _addresses_ HERMAN.

By the way, if you want to see something delightfully bad,
you ought to take a look at the sketch Karl made yesterday
of your wife.

HERMAN, _coming down_

Where is the sketch?

DEVIL

In the studio.

     [HERMAN _takes_ KARL'S arm _and walks to door of
     the studio; in going into the studio speaks to_
     KARL.

HERMAN

I'm sorry you didn't start Olga's portrait today. What were
you talking about all the time?

     [_Goes into studio._

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA

I'll wait for you here.

     [_He steps back into the room just in time to
     see_ MIMI _enter from the hall._

MIMI, _comes right in, crossing to C._ Excuse me--

DEVIL

You want to see the painter?

MIMI, _excited_

Yes, please.

DEVIL, _very gently, pushing_ MIMI _out of the door into
the hall and speaking through the door_

One minute, my dear. There are some visitors here. Sit down
there. I'll call you.

OLGA, _comes quickly from the studio_

I wanted to tell you--to tell you--

DEVIL, _R. C._

It is not true.

OLGA

What is not true?

DEVIL

Whatever you are going to tell me.

OLGA

But believe me.

DEVIL

Surely no woman can expect that.

OLGA

But I am telling you the truth.

DEVIL

Ah! I might believe you if you said you were not speaking
the truth.

OLGA

Must I think and speak only as you wish me to?

DEVIL

Not yet. Now what can I do for you?

OLGA, _very earnestly L. C._

Don't come tonight. Now my husband has come, I am myself
again, and your manner grates upon me. I had begun to
feel as if some strange force--some invisible hand--was
clutching me --holding me in spite of myself. There is a
mystery about you. It frightens me. I thanked God when I
heard that bell ring. He came just in time.

DEVIL

To point a moral and break up a charming party. We were
just beginning to understand each other.

OLGA

Oh please stop!

DEVIL

Are you afraid?

OLGA

No, but I _ask_ you not to come to our house this evening.

DEVIL, _with a very polite bow, then drawing himself up_

I shall come.

OLGA

And if my husband asks you not to come?

DEVIL

Your husband has already asked me to come.

OLGA

And if, in the presence of my husband, I ask you not to
come?

DEVIL

Well, I'll make a compromise with you. If you repeat your
invitation in your husband's presence, I shall accept; if
you do not, I will not come.

OLGA, _breathing freely_

That's nice of you--the first really nice thing you've
said. I like you much better.

     [KARL and HERMAN come back from the studio, and
     HERMAN starts to talk at once to the DEVIL, KARL
     goes toward OLGA, who meets KARL up C.

OLGA, _to_ HERMAN

Shall we go?

HERMAN

Yes, dear; put your coat on.

     [_Comes down_ L. DEVIL _crosses to_ HERMAN.

KARL, _meets_ OLGA, _they go up to recess. He helps_ OLGA
_to put her coat on._

I see now how bad the sketch is.

     [_Holds mirror for_ OLGA _while she puts her hat
     on._

OLGA

Please don't look at me like that.

KARL

Even if I don't look at you, I see you just the same, Olga.

OLGA, _covering her face with her hand_

We must give up the portrait, Karl ... I'm going away ...
away somewhere.

DEVIL, _L., with_ HERMAN.

You don't say? You represent Holman & Co. in London? When I
am in Odessa I am always old Mr. Holman's guest. A charming
old gentleman. No doubt you have heard the rumors. It seems
they've been mixed up with some unfortunate ventures which
have seriously affected their standing.

HERMAN, _seated on couch_

Strange! Another friend of mine spoke to me about it only
yesterday.

DEVIL

Yes, but that isn't all. He's the president of some trust
company, and in order to boom the stocks he--but it's a
long story, I won't bore you with it now.

     [_Makes as if he wanted to go._

HERMAN

My dear sir, this concerns me more than I can tell you. The
fact is--I--I am heavily interested.

     [OLGA _has her hat on and turns, listening to_
     HERMAN _and the_ DEVIL.

DEVIL

You don't say. But it's a long story.

HERMAN

Well, then--tonight.

DEVIL

Oh, I am so sorry. I have excused myself already to Madame,
but I had forgotten all about a call I must pay at the
Russian Embassy this evening.

HERMAN

Well, lunch with me tomorrow?

DEVIL, _with a gesture of regret_

I'm afraid it will be impossible. I leave tomorrow at nine
o'clock for--Spain.

HERMAN, _to himself_

H'm! I must have this information.

     [HERMAN _crosses to C., speaking to his wife_


My dear, won't you please ask the Doctor to try and arrange
to come to our house this evening?

OLGA, _somewhat embarrassed_

Well, but if pressing business....

DEVIL, _L. C._

It is not so very pressing. Of course, it would mean a
little sacrifice.

HERMAN, _C., looking at_ OLGA

Well--

OLGA, _R. C._

Much as I would like to see you, Doctor, I cannot ask you
to sacrifice anything for our sake.

DEVIL, _as if suddenly remembering something_

Come to think of it, the Russian Ambassador left town
yesterday, so if Madame--

HERMAN, _goes up C._ DEVIL _crosses to her R. C._

Well, my dear?

OLGA, _in a tone of resignation_

I hope we shall have the pleasure this evening--

DEVIL, _crosses to_ OLGA

Pardon me. You said--

OLGA, _very slowly_

I hope we shall have the pleasure of your company this
evening?

     [_Goes to door R._

DEVIL, _ironically_

Madame, I thank you for your invitation; I shall be most
charmed.

HERMAN, _coming down to_ KARL

And you don't come before eleven?

KARL, _by big chair_

No; I expect an art dealer.

HERMAN, _suggestively_

I know your art dealers. Fie! And you going to be married.

OLGA, _curiously, and a bit jealous_

What is it?

KARL

Oh, nothing.

DEVIL, _up C. as if listening_

I think somebody knocked at the door.

HERMAN

I didn't hear anything.

DEVIL

Yes, there it goes again.

     [_Cynically_.

Probably the art dealer.

     [_Goes to hall door, which he opens, steps out,
     speaking into the hall._

Oh, it's you, my dear. Come in. /# [_Swings_ MIMI _into
room past OLGA, landing her C._

MIMI, _as she comes in embarrassed_

Good evening.

     [HEINRICH _enters from studio._

KARL, _up C. embarrassed_

Good evening.

     [MIMI _goes up L._

DEVIL, _R. C., in a low tone to_ HERMAN

We'd better go.

     [MIMI _and_ OLGA _stare at one another._

     [_Cynically to_ HERMAN:

The Art Dealer!

HERMAN, _laughing, going to door_

Well, au revoir.

     [_Exit_.

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA

Quite a little comedy.

OLGA, _at door R._

You think so?

KARL, _to_ MIMI, _pointing to the studio_

Please step in there, Fräulein; I'll be with you in a
minute.

     [KARL _turns to_ OLGA _with hand out-stretched,
     as if to say good-bye._ OLGA _pretends not to see
     it and bows coldly._

DEVIL, _whispers to_ OLGA

You were good enough to invite me for this evening: I am
now going to repay your kindness. In five minutes I shall
be back here to interrupt this tête-à-tête. Watch me forget
my overcoat.

     [_He takes the overcoat which_ KARL _had put on
     a chair at the beginning of the act when he came
     in._ HEINRICH _helps the_ DEVIL _to put on the
     overcoat, but notices that it is his master's._

HEINRICH

Pardon, sir; but this is not your overcoat. This--

DEVIL, _aside to_ HEINRICH

Shut up!

     [DEVIL _goes off_; HEINRICH _follows him out._

KARL, _comes C. to_ MIMI

Didn't I promise you I'd come? What do you want?

MIMI, _coming to him_

Were you ashamed to have those people see me?

KARL

I told you, I'd come. What more do you want?

MIMI

I was downstairs in the lunch room and thought it all over.
Dear Karl, don't be mean--don't get married.

KARL

But--Mimi!

MIMI

I never used to care, but now that I've seen those people
I--I can't bear it. Don't get married!

     [_Cries_.

KARL

You mustn't cry--it spoils your beauty.

MIMI

Oh, I'm a fool.

KARL

Now, you're talking sense.

MIMI

I've been a silly girl--but it's all over now. I'm sensible
again. You are going to settle down and marry Elsa and be
the most famous portrait painter in all Europe.

KARL

Mimi, child--don't speak of portraits. I feel at this
moment as if I never wanted to hear the word portrait
again. I'd like to run away from everything, Mimi. What do
you say?

[Illustration: Mimi and Karl]

     [_Goes to couch L. and sits._

Suppose you and I get married and go away--far away into
the country--or to the United States, where we'd never be
heard of again.

MIMI, _kneels beside him_

Do you mean that?

KARL, _recklessly_

Yes--yes!

MIMI, gives him her hand

That's mighty nice of you, Karl.

     [_Rises, goes L. C._

But no! even if you really mean it--which you don't--

     [_Makes an effort to control herself._

KARL, _interrupting_

Mimi!

MIMI

No, Karl; I'd only keep you back--you must marry in your
own set.

     [_Changes tone._

But don't run away--with--with anybody. Good-bye.-----

KARL

No, don't go! Now you have come, you might as well stay a
while--take your hat off.

     [_Helps her off with her hat and jacket._

I'm glad you came back. Now, let's be sensible--and talk
it over. You know I really am fond of you--after all, I am
your best friend and you are my--my--

     [_The_ DEVIL _has silently opened the door and
     comes in._

DEVIL

My--my overcoat must be somewhere. Your stupid servant gave
me yours.

     [_Takes coat off._

It's funny, but every time I come here, you are helping
some lady to take off her things.

     [MIMI _goes to couch._

MIMI, horrified

Well, I never.

     [_Exit_.

DEVIL

You have every qualification for a ladies' tailor.

KARL

You are very kind.

DEVIL

Don't mention it.

KARL, _impolitely_

I'll fetch your overcoat; I don't want to detain you.

     [_Puts out lights and goes towards studio._

DEVIL

The hanger was torn off. I asked your man to mend it and
bring it here when it was done.

     [_Sits up C. Silence._

I just saw something very touching.

KARL

What?

     [_Goes to C. and sits on arm of chair by_ DEVIL.

DEVIL

The way that woman clung to her husband's arm as if for
protection.

KARL

For protection? (_Sneeringly_.) From you?

DEVIL

Look here, my boy; do you think you are wise to be such a
fool?

     [KARL _rises, starts away_, DEVIL _catches him by
     hand._

KARL

I don't want to talk about it. You don't seem to understand
my position. I have seen this woman for years every day,
and I never even thought--and if I had thought--I should
have laughed at myself.

DEVIL, _rises, takes both_ KARL'S _hands_

Look at her! She's yours. Think what it means --joy,
unspeakable joy--the most supreme joy one can have. And to
think that you are too lazy to stretch out your hand! Why,
another one would toil day and night, would risk life and
limb for such a prize--and it just drops at your feet--a
windfall.

KARL

I suppose that's why--

     [_In a tone as if he didn't think much of it._

--just a windfall.

     [_Sits on couch._

DEVIL, _sits on table L. C._

Last fall, on the sixth of September--I shall never forget
the date--something strange happened to me. I put on an old
suit I hadn't worn for a long time, and as I picked up the
waistcoat, a sovereign fell out. God knows how long it had
been there. As I turned this sovereign over to look at it,
it suddenly slipped through my fingers and rolled away.
I looked and looked, but my sovereign was gone. I become
nervous: I can't find the sovereign. I search around for
half an hour, three quarters of an hour, still I can't find
it. I get angry, I get furious. I shift the furniture--no
sovereign. I call my man--we both look everywhere until
it's dark. I'm perspiring and trembling--I have but one
idea: I must get that sovereign back. Suddenly a suspicion
comes into my mind--I get up from my knees. I scream at the
top of my voice to my servant: "You thief, you have found
the sovereign and put it into your pocket." The man gets
angry and answers me disrespectfully. I am about to strike
him when I see the blade of a knife shining in his hands. I
draw my revolver--

     [_Takes a shining revolver out of his pocket and
     rises._

--and with this revolver I nearly killed a man for a
sovereign--

     [_Look from KARL._

--I didn't need and had never missed--just a found
sovereign.

     [_Puts revolver on table._

KARL, _embarrassed_

I give found money away.

     [_Turns on couch from him._

DEVIL

I would have given it away, but--it slipped through my
fingers, and whatever slips through our fingers, that is
just the one thing we want.

     [_Goes to_ KARL.

We break our necks for it: that's human nature. And if it
once slips through your fingers, you will run after your
found sovereign. And then, when it is too late, you will
discover it was worth having.

KARL

To draw a revolver for a found sovereign?

DEVIL, _sitting by him_

And that little woman will become dearer and more precious
to you every day--you will realize that she could have
given you wings--that her temperament, her beauty, her
passion, would have been the inspiration of your work-- all
this you'll realize when she has slipped away. You could
have become a master--a giant! Not by loving your art,
but by loving her--but you won't know it till it is too
late--too late.

     [_He now takes the shawl with which_ OLGA _had
     draped her shoulders._

This shawl has touched her bosom--

     [_Throws one end over_ KARL'S _shoulder, forcing
     him to see it._ KARL _clasps the shawl and
     touches his lips to it_.

Think what you might have been to one another! What divine
happiness, not because she is beautiful--no, but because
you--

KARL, _throws shawl L. of couch_

Be quiet! Be quiet! Do you want to drive me mad?

DEVIL, _rises and goes to head of couch_

A life that has not been squandered--has not been lived--

KARL

Why do you tell me all this? Why? What do you want?

     [_Throws himself face down on couch._

What do you want?

     [_Horrified, turns to him._

Who sent you?

DEVIL, _darkly_

Nobody! No one! I am here.

     [_Touches_ KARL'S _forehead_.

KARL

No! And a thousand times no.

     [_Throws himself face down again on couch.
     Screams very loud._

No! Do you hear me? No! I have known her all these years,
and we've been good friends only--and we'll remain good
friends, nothing else. I don't want the found sovereign!

     [_Moving to end of couch._

DEVIL, _coming down L. of couch; very emphatically_

And if it slips away?

     [_Silence. Then quickly:_

If another man runs away with it--?

KARL, _suddenly jumping at a conclusion_

Who?

     [_Looks at the_ DEVIL.

DEVIL, _triumphant_

I. (_Silence_.)

KARL

You?

     [_Laughs and turns from him._

DEVIL

Tonight! This very night she'll be mine!

     [_Laughs_.

Oh, what joy! What exquisite joy. For ten thousand years I
have had no prettier mistress!

KARL, _turning to him_

What do you say?

DEVIL, _sitting L. head of couch_

Mistress, I said. Come tonight--to her house--when the
lights are burning--when the air seems to be filled with
music and perfume. You'll see--before day dawns.

KARL

Enough! Enough!

DEVIL

How you will run after your lost sovereign! Every hour when
you wonder where she is, she spends with me. A carriage
passes: your heart stands still. Who's in that carriage?
Shall I tell you? We! You see a couple vanish around a
corner, clinging lovingly to one another. Who were they?
We! Always we. A light goes out in some window. Who put
that light out? We! We sit in every carriage, we vanish
around every corner--clinging lovingly together; we stand
behind every window curtain in close embrace, looking
into your tortured face, your maddened eyes--and we cling
closer--closer--and we laugh---we laugh!

     [_Laughs long._

KARL

     [_Throws himself face down, back to audience, on
     couch, in terrible state of excitement, screaming
     at top of his voice:_

You fiend!

     [_Reaches for revolver with R. hand._ DEVIL
     _grabs his hand and holds revolver._ KARL
     _draws away and sits staring straight ahead_,
     DEVIL _rises, leaves revolver on table, lights
     cigarette, then comes below table._

     [HEINRICH _enters the room noiselessly, carrying
     a lighted candle, goes behind the DEVIL and helps
     him to put his fur coat on_.

     [DEVIL _puts his silk hat on, gives a tip to_
     HEINRICH, _takes up the revolver, puts it into
     his pocket, and says to_ KARL _with a sad smile,
     in a warm tone like a father speaking to his son_:

DEVIL

You see, my boy, one may draw a revolver for a lost
sovereign.

     [_Goes to the door. As he opens the door, a look
     of devilish satisfaction comes into his eyes._



ACT II


SCENE.--_A conservatory in Zanden's house. The L. side of
the stage as well as the whole back of the stage is taken
up by large bay windows, through which one sees into the
garden. In the distance the wall surrounding the house, and
some trees in the garden. It is winter. Bright weather,
but it has been snowing. In the garden as well as in the
street, electric lamps. On the R. side of the stage there
are two doors, one quite near to the footlights, leading
into the apartment--one in the rear, leading to the hall.
There is a platform about two yards long and two yards
wide, between these two doors. Five steps lead from this
platform towards the footlights, and five steps on the
side of the platform to the middle of the stage. On the
top of the platform a door leading to the ball-room. When
this door is opened, one generally hears the ball music.
At the foot of the stairs, about three yards from the
footlights, two square columns having a brass ornament with
eight electric lamps attached. There are heaps of plants
and flowers about the room. Two chairs and a table stand
on the R. side of the stage, about three yards from the
footlights, two chairs and a table on the L. side of the
stage, about five yards from the footlights. There are two
settees, L. and R. On the table L. writing material. It is
about one o'clock at night._

     [_Guests in fancy costumes are moving about as
     the Curtain goes up._

FIRST LADY GUEST, _sitting L. of table R._

Who is the dark man you left so suddenly in the ball room?

SECOND LADY GUEST, _enters and comes down stairs to back of
table L._

I don't know his name.

FIRST LADY GUEST

A most disagreeable man.

SECOND LADY GUEST, _crosses to group L. C._

Oh, dreadful! He behaved shockingly to my husband. He told
him that it will be so cold tonight that his teeth will
shiver in their box.

FIRST LADY GUEST

Olga tells me he is a friend of Herr Karl's, and she only
invited him as a compliment to him.

SECOND LADY GUEST (_stout_)

He insisted on telling me of a remedy for obesity. I don't
consider myself stout--do you?

ELSA, _C., laughingly_

No! I think I'm just right. He sounds interesting--I'd like
to meet him.

FIRST LADY GUEST

You'll be sorry if you do.

ELSA

Oh, indeed.

SECOND LADY GUEST

He'll be very disagreeable, I assure you.

ELSA

I'm not afraid of him.

     [_Wants to go up steps._

FIRST GENTLEMAN GUEST,_ L. C._

Miss Elsa, I really think you had better not.

SECOND LADY GUEST

If Miss Elsa wants to speak to him let her do so. I think
she is the only one really capable of putting him in his
place.

THIRD LADY GUEST, _seated L. of table R._

Oh, she'll make him sit up.

ELSA

Thanks, awfully. Oh, I know what you call me--the
blue-stocking--sassy Elsa--

SECOND LADY GUEST

Elsa, I never said you were a blue-stocking.

FIRST LADY GUEST

I never called you Sassy Elsa.

ELSA

But I am--you know I am--

     [_Pointing at herself._

That's why nobody dares to tell me how to get thin.

SECOND LADY GUEST

The impertinence!

ELSA

Well--you asked for it.

SECOND LADY GUEST, to FIRST LADY GUEST

It will serve her right if--

ELSA, on the stairs

I'd just like to see him--

     [_The_ DEVIL _is standing in front of her.
     Everybody is silent._

DEVIL, _in evening dress, red carnation in buttonhole;
after some silence_

I never dreamed how quiet it could be when seven ladies are
not talking.

     [_Protesting movement on the part of the_ GUESTS.

Oh, I know--you have been very merciful to me in my absence.

ELSA, _on stairs_

You needn't think I am afraid to say what I think to your
face. I was just about to--

     [_She makes a movement showing that she wanted to
     look for him._

DEVIL

You did well to stay. They would have said much worse
things about you--they would have spoken about your
approaching engagement to Karl.

ELSA

What!

     [_Astonished_.

You know?

DEVIL

To my friend Karl--they want to throw you into his arms.

     [_The_ OTHERS _laugh_.

     [_In a low voice to_ ELSA:

I'd like to speak to you--alone.

ELSA

Here?

     [_Gesture that she thinks this impossible in a
     crowded room._

DEVIL

We'll be alone in no time.

     [ELSA _goes to sofa and sits L. of table L._

FOURTH LADY GUEST, _crosses to him; to_ DEVIL

I'm very glad you spoke that way to Elsa. You have quite
won me over, and I don't mind telling you I came very near
having to pick a bone with you.

DEVIL, _R. C., to_ FOURTH LADY GUEST, _who is very
thin_--_looking at her from head to foot_

By the way, speaking of bones--

FOURTH LADY GUEST

What! Again!--oh!

     [_Walks off highly offended._

FIRST GENTLEMAN GUEST, _very effeminate, smiling to the_
DEVIL

Bravo! I couldn't do that--not that I lack courage. I am
famous for my courage--I just love a fight--I once slapped
the face of an athlete who dared to insult a lady.

DEVIL

You coward!

FIRST GENTLEMAN GUEST

What--coward?

DEVIL

Yes, coward. If you dared to slap the face of a cripple I
might admire your courage.

     [FIRST GENTLEMAN GUEST _starts to answer, but
     afterwards makes a gesture seeming to say nothing
     can be done with the_ DEVIL--_going off slowly up
     the stairs._

SECOND GENTLEMAN GUEST, _after a few seconds talking
quietly to the_ DEVIL

Oh-h-h! You are a free-thinker. So am I!

DEVIL, _as if astonished_

You think?

SECOND GENTLEMAN GUEST

I do.

DEVIL

What with?

     [_Exit_ SECOND GENTLEMAN GUEST, _angrily_.

     [_To_ SECOND LADY GUEST, _the stout one, seated
     R. of table L._

A pity you _don't_ dance--there's nothing like it for
reducing the figure.

     [SECOND LADY GUEST _rushes of._

DEVIL, L. _to the_ THIRD LADY GUEST, _pointing at_ FOURTH

_Her_ husband must be in the furniture business.

THIRD LADY GUEST

Yes, who told you?

DEVIL

Her dress--it is the very latest pattern for arm-chairs and
settees--but please don't say I said so.

THIRD LADY GUEST, smiling

Certainly not.

     [_Goes to chair of_ FIRST LADY GUEST.

Jane--

DEVIL, _joins_ ELSA. _To_ ELSA

Look--she's telling her.

THIRD LADY GUEST, _to_ FIRST LADY GUEST

But promise me not to be angry.

DEVIL

She promises.

FIRST LADY GUEST

I promise.

THIRD LADY GUEST

He said that--

DEVIL

Look out for the explosion.

FIRST LADY GUEST, _rises_

Oh, I never--

DEVIL

Now--watch her go.

FIRST LADY GUEST

I never!

     [_Goes off over the staircase._

THIRD LADY GUEST, _going after her_

But, Jane, you promised me--

     [_Exit_.

DEVIL

Voilà! I am now at your disposal.

ELSA, _on settee L._

Aren't you surprised I haven't gone? You insulted me, too.
I only stay because I want to speak to you.

DEVIL, _L. C., ironically_

Charmed, I'm sure.

ELSA

Oh, don't try to be polite--just be yourself. I'm not
afraid of you.

DEVIL

I know it.

ELSA, _crosses up to C._

Perhaps you know my nickname--Saucy Elsa?

     [DEVIL _nods his head._

DEVIL

Yes.

ELSA

Politeness would only embarrass me--and I have chosen you
to deliver a message to that crowd --only because you can
be so delightfully rude.

DEVIL

I am at your entire disposal.

ELSA

Now, how can I be saucy when you talk like that?

DEVIL

I am your devoted servant.

ELSA

You're impossible.

DEVIL

Shall we end this conference?

     [DEVIL _starts up C._

ELSA, _goes to table R. C. and leans against it_

Not yet, please. You informed me just now that I am the
girl they want to throw into the arms of your friend Karl.

DEVIL

Yes.

ELSA

You forget to say I am the girl who _allows_ herself to be
thrown in your friend's arms. Is that right?

DEVIL

Yes.

ELSA, _stands and pushes forward chair_ Please sit down.

     [DEVIL _bows, but remains standing._

ELSA, _in a very loud voice. Crosses and sits_

Please sit down. I don't ask you out of politeness, but
because I want to set you right in this matter--and it is
much easier for me to set you right when you sit down and
I stand up. I don't want people to make fun of me--I know
what they say--do you understand me?

DEVIL, _gets up_

I do.

ELSA

Sit down, please. (_He does so._) I don't want people to
smile and congratulate me to my face, and laugh behind my
back. I won't have it--and as you started this subject I
shall entrust you with the mission of enlightening our
friends out there.

DEVIL

Your confidence honors me.

ELSA

Don't think for a moment that I have taken these people
seriously--I have no more interest in them than I have for
yesterday's newspaper. But I don't choose to have them
think that they have fooled me into marrying Karl. And--

DEVIL, _starts to rise. She stops him_

Pardon me.

ELSA

I see through their scheme. But I shall marry him just the
same, if he will have me. Do you understand me? I shall
marry him--

DEVIL

Pardon me. I don't think you will.

ELSA

You will see.

DEVIL

You have been kind enough to honor me with your confidence,
and now I will be quite frank with you. This marriage
cannot come off.

     [_Stands up._

ELSA, _points to chair_

Please sit down.

DEVIL, _takes her hands and swings her into chair_

No! You will sit down now because I am going to set you
right. I know the reason of this marriage--but you--

     [A MAN SERVANT _crosses stage_; DEVIL _calls him._

You will find in my overcoat a small leather satchel--bring
it here.

     [MAN SERVANT _goes off._

     [_Continuing to_ ELSA:

But you don't know the reason--or you don't want to know
it. And you are about to consent to--

ELSA, _interrupting_

To what? To marry a man who is not madly in love with
me--any more than I am with him. What of it? We are two
perfectly sane people about to make a serious contract with
our eyes wide open, instead of blinded by infatuation like
crazy lovers in magazine stories. What other contract made
by crazy people would be valid for one minute--and this is
for a life-time--

     [Enter SERVANT _and hands bag to_ DEVIL and exits.

DEVIL, _smiling_

True--for a lifetime.

ELSA

You are a man of the world?

DEVIL, _gravely_

Of many worlds.

ELSA

     [_Looks up quickly as if about to ask the_ DEVIL
     _what he means, but checks herself and continues_:

Well, in this world--is it the man chooses the woman, or
the woman who chooses the man?

DEVIL, _smiling_

_We_ are the weaker sex.

ELSA

Answer me! Which chooses?

DEVIL

The man _sometimes_ chooses the engagement ring--

ELSA, _holding up her head proudly, and looking her very
prettiest, straight into his eyes_

Look at me, please.

     [_The_ DEVIL _looks into her eyes._

ELSA, _proudly_

Now tell me, can I or can I not choose the man I will marry?

DEVIL, _leaning on table R., in a courtly manner_

It is written in your eyes--but--I never thought this
subject would excite you so.

_ELSA_, _seated L. of him, with animation_

I won't be laughed at--I don't care what those people think
(_becoming excited_). I know what I am doing, and in spite
of everything I _choose_ to become his wife.

DEVIL, _takes out little red satchel and opens it_

Why?

ELSA, _beginning to lose control of herself_

Because--because--

     [_Breaks down._

--because I love him.

     [_Begins to sob bitterly._

DEVIL

Allow me--

     [_Takes a little handkerchief out of the satchel
     and gives it to her._

I always carry this with me--it's my weeping
satchel--everything a woman needs for weeping.

ELSA, _weeps a little harder; sobbing, wiping her eyes with
the handkerchief_

I love him.

     [_During the following dialogue the_ DEVIL
     _takes out of the weeping satchel a little
     looking-glass, small comb, powder and puff, and
     gives her one after another._

DEVIL

And _this_ is Saucy Elsa!

ELSA

No. Until tonight I was a young girl afraid of nobody--now
I feel like an old woman.

     [_Takes mirror._

_What_ am I to do?

     [_Looks, smiles quickly._

DEVIL

Don't be discouraged. You will have to fight--you must
attack the enemy. But first you must be pretty.

ELSA, _takes puff and powder from him_

I shall try to.

     [_Reaches out for it._

DEVIL

You must show a bold front--you will perhaps feel that it
is hard for a young girl to fight a woman--your weapons are
not quite so numerous as those of the married woman--who
knows love already--who understands--may I say something
shocking?

     [_During this speech_ ELSA _hands back or
     the_ DEVIL _takes all the articles except the
     handkerchief._

ELSA, _looks at him, opening her eyes widely_

Do you ever say anything that isn't?

     [_Gives him handkerchief, rises._

DEVIL

Well, I won't. But remember, you have one weapon which will
deal the death blow to the most attractive woman--to the
woman who knows every card in the game of love--that one
weapon is purity.

ELSA

This sounds strange from _you_!

DEVIL

All the same--it may do you some good. And now--go dance
with Karl--but don't try to be a woman, be a girl. Don't
try to be saucy.

ELSA, _L. C._

I'm not really saucy--I'm afraid it's only a pose--

DEVIL

_Don't_ pose. Be yourself--be bashful--look at the young
man as if you were only waiting for a pirate to steal you
away from girl-land--and show you the way into Woman's
Land. Head high, my little girl---that's it--and if anybody
dares to call you saucy again, tell him that you once met a
gentleman at a ball to whom you thought to give a piece of
your mind, that would make him feel very, very small--and
instead you left with a piece of his mind, that made you
feel very, very small--and made him feel--as if he were the
greatest Scoundrel in the world--

     [_Taking a few steps to the footlights._

which _perhaps_ he is.

     [ELSA _goes up the stairs, when_ KARL _appears
     on the top of the stairs_, DEVIL _is standing at
     this moment behind one of the columns unseen
     by_ KARL--_but quite near_ ELSA. ELSA _turns
     towards the_ DEVIL, _showing her back_ to KARL.

[Illustration: Elsa and Karl]


ELSA

So you don't want me to be saucy?

DEVIL, _whispering_

No.

     [ELSA _goes up one step._

KARL, on top step

Oh, Elsa, there you are!

ELSA, _dropping her eyelids_

Yes.

KARL

Why aren't you in the ball-room?

ELSA

I wanted to be alone. If anybody wants me he can find me.

     [_To_ DEVIL, _whispers_:

Is that better?

KARL

You look sad. Are you worried?

DEVIL, _whispering to_ ELSA

Say no.

ELSA, _leaning against pillar R._

No.

KARL, _coming down_

What has happened?

     [_Sees the_ DEVIL, DEVIL _comes from behind
     pillar between them, meets_ KARL _on lower step._

Oh, I understand--

DEVIL, _finishing_ KARL'S _sentence_

--nothing.

     [_Goes up stairs._

KARL, _nearing_ ELSA

You look lovely, Elsa. Do you know, this pensive air
is very becoming to you--you've always been so cold
and--haughty--it's like finding a little white flower under
the deep snow; you want to pick it up and kiss it--

     [_Takes both of_ ELSA'S _hands in his._

This is the Elsa for me!

ELSA, _ashamed_

Karl!

DEVIL

You will excuse me. I must pay my respects to our hostess.

     [_He goes off quickly_. KARL _and_ ELSA _sit down
     on the L. side of the stage._

ELSA

I don't like that man. Who is he?

     [_Sits R. of table L._

KARL, _sits on sofa L._

A casual acquaintance who insists upon posing as my
friend. Don't let us talk about him. I'm glad I found
you here--something natural in this stifling artificial
atmosphere. Doesn't it seem close to you?

ELSA

Yes, as if some hot wind had passed through these rooms--it
seems to take my breath away.

KARL

I've never heard you speak like that before. Why have you
tried to hide--your real self from me?

     [DEVIL _appears on the platform, with_ OLGA.
     _They come down the steps._

OLGA

Hadn't we better leave the young couple alone?

DEVIL

You are much too considerate.

ELSA, to KARL

Olga--I suppose you'd like to speak to her?

KARL

I much prefer to talk to you.

     [_They continue talking._

     [DEVIL _and OLGA come down. She sits on sofa R._,
     DEVIL _in chair R._

OLGA

They seem to have found each other.

DEVIL

Possibly. Are you sorry?

OLGA

Oh, no.

DEVIL

Shall we leave?

OLGA

No, I like to see my plan bearing fruit.

     [_They continue speaking slowly._

ELSA

They are speaking about us.

KARL

What do we care? Let's be happy--Elsa! I feel as if I had
never known you before tonight.

ELSA, _moves chair so she can hide_ OLGA _from_ KARL. DEVIL
_repeats business_

Why do you keep looking over there?

KARL

Oh, that's only--I was quite unconscious--

     [_They continue speaking slowly._

OLGA

Let's talk about something else. You are very naughty. You
have come here in spite of my--

DEVIL, smiling

Invitation. I would have respected your wish but for one
very good reason--I made a bold wager this afternoon.

OLGA

What?

DEVIL

I made a bet that you would fall in love with me this
evening.

OLGA

Made a bet that _I_ would fall in love with you? And with
whom did you bet?

DEVIL

Karl.

OLGA

Karl? (_Quickly_.) And what did he say?

DEVIL

His answer was curious. I had better not tell you--I am
afraid it would hurt you.

OLGA

No, it won't. Please tell me.

     [_Turns and looks at_ KARL.

DEVIL, _following her glance_

Well, perhaps later. Your little plan bids fair to succeed.

OLGA, _looking away quickly_

I had forgotten their existence.

     [_Changing quickly the conversation._

     [DEVIL _pats_ OLGA'S _hands_.

You have fascinating eyes

     [_During the following few words between_ ELSA
     _and_ KARL, _the_ DEVIL _whispers into the ear
     of_ OLGA, _stroking her hand gently in order to
     arouse_ KARL'S _jealousy_.

KARL

I never saw you look so charming.

ELSA

I feel as if I had changed, perhaps you have something to
do with it.

DEVIL

You seem like a different woman this evening--there is
something about you--

OLGA

It is because I am with somebody I don't quite
understand--but who seems to me a man in every sense of the
word.

     [_This last a little louder, for_ KARL'S
     _benefit_.

DEVIL

Your confession is charming. But I should be more ready to
believe it, if you hadn't made it.

     [DEVIL _kisses_ OLGA'S _hand_.

KARL

Our first love is generally our last, but our last love
always our first--don't you think so?

ELSA

I don't know. I've never been really in love before--but
have twice been disillusionized.

DEVIL

Love at first sight--

     [_The following eight sentences are spoken very
     rapidly, almost at the same time._

OLGA, _distraite_

You are right--for the first sight--that is to say--

KARL

     [_Now always looking at_ OLGA--OLGA _always
     looking at_ KARL; _the_ DEVIL _looking pleased_,
     ELSA _looking furious._

Disillusions--well--yes, disillusions are--disillusions.

DEVIL

I should hate to have to give an account of myself.

OLGA

Yes, indeed--but, of course--it's all a matter of taste.

ELSA

The way girls are brought up nowadays--

KARL

Exactly! Our bringing up--that is--I mean to say--of
course--of course.

OLGA

We mustn't forget--

KARL

I quite agree with you--if--if you know what I mean.

ELSA, _getting up quickly and slapping her hand on the
table_

No, I don't know what you mean.

     [_Crosses to stairs._

Take me to the ball-room--I'm engaged for the next dance.

KARL, _also rising_

Well,--

ELSA, _almost crying, insisting_

Let us go--I wish to go--

     [_She goes towards the stairs_; KARL _follows
     her, goes up side stairs, meeting her at the top
     as she passes_ OLGA.

OLGA

Oh! you are not in the ball-room.

ELSA, _saucily_

Can't you see?

OLGA

You'd better hurry, dear.

ELSA

I hate dancing, but I shan't miss one single dance tonight,
just to spite some people. I shall dance to the last step.

     [ELSA _looks at_ OLGA _in a very impertinent
     way_. OLGA _steps forward as if to give a reply,
     when_ KARL _comes between them; offers his arm
     to_ ELSA.

     [_Exit_ ELSA _and_ KARL _up the staircase_.

OLGA, _angry_

Did you hear that?

DEVIL

I did.

OLGA, _rises, goes C._

What language! How dare she--she must think he loves her!

DEVIL, _rises, goes to her C._

Wait! I'll tell you now what Karl said to me this afternoon.

OLGA

When you wanted to bet?

DEVIL

When I bet you would fall in love with me.

     [_After a short silence._

He wanted to shoot me.

OLGA, _trying to hide her joy_

Karl!

DEVIL

Karl, with his own hands--with this pistol--

     [_Takes revolver out of his pocket._

I took it away from him.

OLGA

Karl wanted to kill you--why, Doctor Miller--

DEVIL, _patting revolver_

Yes, with this simple prescription--six pills.

     [_Puts revolver back in pocket._

OLGA

This afternoon, when you only spoke about me--he wanted to
kill you--and now when he saw us here--saw you whisper in
my ear--saw you take my hand--

     [_Goes L. to where_ KARL _and_ ELSA _had sat._

he _must_ be in love with her.

DEVIL, _crossing to L. C._

Don't you think a man's a fool to try to shoot his friend
on account of a woman?

OLGA

Oh! Karl's not a fool--he thinks the world of me. And you
must have said things--but there is no doubt--that he and
Elsa--like--perhaps love each other.

DEVIL, _very cold, leaning over chair at table L._

Strange! Your being so annoyed at the apparent success of
your pet scheme.

OLGA

You think it will succeed?

DEVIL

I don't know. But it's easy enough to find out.

OLGA

How?

DEVIL

This afternoon, when I told him I'd make you fall in love
with me, he wanted to shoot--that's love--don't talk to me
about respect-- and thinking the world of you--they may
fire cannons out of respect, but pistols--no--that's love
every time.

     [OLGA _protesting silently as if the matter was
     not quite important enough._

Of course, I know--this only interests you because it was
you who planned the marriage, and after all you take a
pride in the success of your scheme. Am I right?

OLGA, _C. near him_

Yes, yes.

DEVIL, _behind pillar C._

Karl shall tell us himself which was the real thing
--the attempted murder of this afternoon, or this
little--flirtation with Elsa.

OLGA

You don't mean to ask him--

[DEVIL _shakes his head slowly, smiling._

you don't mean to _listen_?

DEVIL

Certainly not.

OLGA

What then?

DEVIL

Very simple. But you must take my advice
unconditionally--ask for no reasons--do exactly what I tell
you.

OLGA, _after careful reflection, slowly_

Y-e-s.

DEVIL

I think I remember having seen you once at the Opera in a
very beautiful cloak--fur--was it not?--and cloth--

OLGA

Yes.

DEVIL

With a long train? You must put that cloak on--close it as
high as you can--and wrap yourself in it as if you were
feeling cold. Only show the tips of your shoes--then come
back here--

     [_She starts towards him_. OLGA _looks at the_
     DEVIL, _as if she wanted to ask the reason_.

no questions.

OLGA, L. _of pillar C._

It's all very, very mysterious, but when you look at me
that way, I--I--can't refuse ... your eyes seem to have all
the world's wisdom behind them.

DEVIL,_ R. of pillar C._

You have a poor opinion of me.

OLGA, _turns from him_

Shall I go at once?

DEVIL

At once. And if anyone remarks on it, say you felt cold in
the conservatory.

OLGA, _doubtfully_

But suppose he says....

DEVIL, _interrupting_

Quick! He's coming.

     [KARL _is coming down the stairs towards the
     footlights._

     [OLGA _has gone to the side stairs so that_ KARL
     _cannot see her. She rushes off when he is down
     the stairs._

KARL

     [_Who has not seen her--hears the rustling of the
     silk and runs to the side stairs and looks off R._

Who was that?

DEVIL

Who?

KARL, _coming down to C._

Somebody just ran out--does she want to avoid me?

DEVIL, _goes R., lights cigarette_

Nobody ran away from me. A very pretty girl, Miss Elsa!

KARL, _goes to window L._

Yes.

     [_Silence._

DEVIL

What's the matter?

KARL

Oh, nothing--I am not in particularly good humor--but why
should I be?

DEVIL, _lights a cigarette; offers one to_ KARL

Will you have one?

KARL, _roughly_

No, thank you.

     [_Uncomfortable silence._

DEVIL

You seem annoyed--

KARL, _comes back C., as if in a mood to quarrel_

Do you want to know why?

DEVIL

No.

KARL, _nervous_

Well, I'll tell you--

DEVIL

     [_As if he wanted to go away and evade the
     conversation._

Better keep it to yourself.

KARL

But I will tell you. I'm astonished at the change that has
come over you since this afternoon. I admit it upsets me,
but don't imagine it is on Olga's account--if you don't
mind, we'll leave her out of the discussion.

DEVIL

By all means.

KARL

I've made up my mind to propose to Elsa.

DEVIL, _holds out his hand in an approving tone, takes_
KARL'S _hand and shakes it_

I am very, very glad.

KARL

You are glad?

DEVIL

I am indeed.

     [KARL _stares at him._

What's the matter with you?

KARL, _approaching the_ DEVIL _threateningly_

Look here, that was Olga who ran away just now.

DEVIL

Don't be absurd.

     [_Looking at floor as if his secret was
     discovered._

Why should she run away from me--

KARL

You behave like a school boy.

DEVIL

What do you mean?

KARL

I mean, my dear Doctor--that you are not a gentleman.

DEVIL

I don't quite follow you.

KARL

When a gentleman would be discreet--he even conceals his
discretion.

DEVIL

Very thoughtless of me--but since you have found me out--By
the way, what you said about your marriage--is it settled?

KARL, C.

It is.

DEVIL

You will not change your mind?

KARL

I shall not.

     [_Crosses to settee L. and sits._

DEVIL, _sits in chair L._

Very good. Now I can tell you in confidence about--look
here, you are quite sure you won't change your mind?

KARL

No fear. What is it you want to tell me--tell me
everything. I'd like to learn some of the tricks of the
trade. I may need them--

DEVIL

Tricks of the trade? This from a man about to marry? I'm
shocked.

KARL, _ironically_

You look it. What did you want to tell me about her?

DEVIL

About her?

KARL

About Olga.

DEVIL, _looks to the ground as if he were ashamed_

Oh, nothing.

KARL

Look here, I don't mind telling you her husband is?

DEVIL

Deaf, blind, dumb.

     [_Indicating ears, eyes, mouth and forehead._

KARL, _concealing his pain very badly_

And to think--and this afternoon--at my house--was the
first time--

DEVIL, _goes back of settee_

She's a wonder! believe me, Karl, she's a wonder. It's just
possible she's good--a dash of goodness won't hurt a pretty
woman--but I hope not. I should then have to attribute my
conquest to hypnotism--and that doesn't flatter my vanity.
What do you think? We had agreed--just now when she ran
away--ah--

     [_Checks himself_

So it _was_ Olga!

DEVIL

Well, yes, it was--I hardly know how to tell you--It was a
mad impulse. I proposed, just for fun, without the least
idea she would take it up; it means risking her reputation
and social position--everything--not to mention the risk of
catching cold--

DEVIL

KARL, _startled_

What do you mean?

DEVIL

Well, this evening--before all her guests--there are a
hundred and thirty I believe--

KARL, _impatient_

Yes, go on.

DEVIL

--before the élite of Vienna I may say--she will walk
through the ball-room on my arm--in (_suggestive
pause_)--an opera cloak.

KARL, _not quite grasping it_

An opera cloak?

DEVIL, _suggestively_

That's all.

KARL

You mean to tell me--she--

DEVIL

She will be here in a moment--and then--before all
Vienna--amid the bacchanalian ecstasy--of music, perfume,
dancing--I will escort her through the ball-room like a
classic goddess--like a modern _Mona Vanna_--in an opera
cloak--

KARL

You liar!

DEVIL, _apparently frightened_

But, Karl--

KARL

It's a lie. It's a damnable lie.

DEVIL

You tried to catch me--and I have caught you. You love this
woman.

KARL, _L. C., very loudly_

Yes, I love her. I have listened to all your lies--I have
seen you as I've seen a hundred like you--steal a good
woman's reputation and call it success, social success--and
boast about it as you drag her in the mud. You have
trapped me, it's true--but you will suffer for it. It
is my turn now--and I'll put you out of this house, you
blackguard--get out before I kick you out.

DEVIL, _C. backs up onto second step; stands_

Wait! She is coming now.

     [_Points to door down R._

KARL

Get out, I said.

     [_The_ DEVIL _goes back slowly up the stairs._
     KARL _is about to follow him up as_ DEVIL _is
     on third step_, OLGA _comes on in her opera
     cloak and comes down__ stairs to R. The_ DEVIL
     _goes behind her._ KARL _backs over L. Long
     silence,_ KARL _stares at_ OLGA _and the_ DEVIL,
     _speechless_.

OLGA

Karl, you have not spoken to me once tonight.

DEVIL, _stands very near to_ OLGA, _cynically_

The opera cloak--

OLGA

Everybody is gay, the girls dance as if it were their first
ball--the young men as if it were their last.

DEVIL

Strange! that amidst all this gaiety Karl should be so sad.

OLGA

Sad?

KARL, _with forced gaiety_

Oh, _no_--never felt happier in my life.

OLGA

I am glad to hear it.

KARL

I feel like--like a boy--of twenty--like a fool.

DEVIL, _coming down to C._

No! No!

KARL

I am going to take your advice from this on--I'm going to
get drunk tonight.

OLGA, _shocked_

You, Karl? You drunk?

KARL, _L._

Yes. I am doing things today that I never did before. I've
never been engaged before.

OLGA,_ R._

And tonight?

KARL

Tonight I shall become engaged.

DEVIL

I have already offered him my congratulations--she's a
charming girl.

KARL

A splendid girl. Much too good for me--but marrying is
something new to me--I want to try it. It is a sensation I
have never had.

DEVIL

You don't seem very gay for a bridegroom.

KARL

That's only the last drop of single bitterness--the dregs
of bachelorhood--I'll soon get rid of that and then--

OLGA

Bravo, bravo!

KARL

Oh spare yourself. I'm only thinking of my own pleasure.

OLGA

Karl, I am afraid you have been drinking already.

KARL

You are at liberty to think what you please.

DEVIL

He is in a bad humor to-day. I told you.

KARL, _cannot keep himself any longer_

You will catch cold. Why don't you take off your cloak?

     [_Goes C._

DEVIL, _very quiet_

Perhaps Madame _is_ feeling cold.

OLGA, _wrapping herself tighter in her cloak_

Yes, I feel cold.

DEVIL

Any one not knowing you might think you wear this cloak
just to show it off.

OLGA

Don't let us speak about the cloak.

     [_To_ KARL _in a different tone; crosses to_ KARL
     _L. C._

You seemed to get on very well with Elsa?

KARL

Did I?

DEVIL

It was really charming to watch them.

OLGA

I feel very cold.

DEVIL

I thought you would.

KARL

Cold. I find it hot in here.

OLGA, _crosses back R._

I feel cold.

DEVIL

Perhaps your dress is thin. The way lovely woman flirts
with pneumonia--she wears her lung upon her sleeve.

OLGA

Everything sweet in life comes through carelessness.

KARL, _L. C., very excited_

And do you find boldness sweet?

OLGA

What's that to you? Were you ever bold?

KARL, _crosses to C., losing his self-control completely_

Aren't you afraid of me--you two?

     [OLGA _shivers_.

DEVIL, _R. C., coldly_

I? Not even of the legitimate husband--much less a
moralising bridegroom.

     [HERMAN _enters quickly from above stairs, comes
     down L., stands next to_ KARL.

HERMAN, _banteringly_

Ah, Olga! I see you are well taken care of.

DEVIL, _bowing_

It is a privilege.

HERMAN, _taking_ KARL _aside_

Well, how are you and Elsa getting along?

     [_Goes with_ KARL _towards the back of the stage._

OLGA, _quickly to the_ DEVIL

What have you said to him about my cloak?

DEVIL

About your cloak? Why should I speak of your cloak?

OLGA

You must have said something about my cloak--I felt it he
moment I came in.

DEVIL

What do you mean?

OLGA

The way he seemed to look through me. It was almost as if
he imagined--what did you say? What did you insinuate?

DEVIL

Just what you are thinking.

OLGA, _her hands dropping, her head falling backwards with
closed eyes, shivering_

Oh! How _could_ you?

DEVIL, _cynically_

Come now, don't pretend to be shocked. You admitted you
felt it the moment you came in. The thought seemed to
please you.

OLGA

How dare you speak to me like that! Oh! if I had known.

DEVIL

Then why didn't you take off your cloak? When you saw--you
didn't even open it. Why don't you open it now? The idea
seems to please you still.

KARL, _re-enters, angrily._

Olga!

OLGA

     [_A little scream._

Your arm, Doctor.

     [DEVIL _gives her his arm. As they are about to
     go upstairs,_ KARL _comes back from R._

OLGA, _looking coldly over shoulder at_ KARL

Are you going to stay here?

KARL

Yes; and you, too!

OLGA

What do you mean?

KARL

You stay here.

DEVIL

What's that?

     [OLGA _tries to go away with the devil into the
     ball-room, but_ KARL _steps into their way on the
     stairs._

KARL

Olga, you shall not go into the ball-room!

     [DEVIL, _as if about to leave them alone, is held
     off by_ KARL, _who steps in front of him now_.

You shall not leave--it concerns you, too.

OLGA

Doctor, give me your arm. Doctor!

KARL, _in tone of command_

Stop! We'll settle this thing now--right here!

OLGA

Are you mad?

DEVIL, _goes up stairs below_ KARL

If I didn't think he was mad--

KARL

Take off that cloak.

OLGA, _at L. foot of stairs firmly_;

No

KARL

Take, off that cloak.

OLGA, _to_ DEVIL

Please, Doctor, protect me.

KARL, _half maddened_

Then I'll make you!

     [KARL _rushes down stairs_, DEVIL _catches him
     before he reaches the bottom and holds him back_.

OLGA, _standing very erect, to_ DEVIL

Why did you stop him--?

     [DEVIL _lets_ KARL _go_.

DEVIL, _at foot of stairs, in a very low voice as if
ashamed_

Really, Madame, for all I know--

     [_Feigns embarrassment._

OLGA, _to_ DEVIL

Will you please help me off with my cloak?

DEVIL, _starts to help, then crosses to L. of her, with
gesture of refusal._

Madame! Ah!

KARL, _comes down to her, C._

I will.

OLGA, _very loud_

No.

     [_Wraps herself closer in the cloak._

     [DEVIL _and_ KARL _stare at each other. The_
     DEVIL _shrugs his shoulders_, OLGA _goes up the
     stairs._

HERMAN, _coming through the door_ Oh! There you are. My
dear! His Excellency is looking for you. He is about to
leave.

OLGA, _as if very tired_ All right. Please help me off with
my cloak.

HERMAN

All right, darling.

     [_Takes off her cloak and puts it over his arm_.
     [OLGA _stands in the same gown as she had on at
     the beginning of the act, with her back to the
     audience._

OLGA, _looking at_ KARL _and_ DEVIL, _and speaking with
ironical courtliness, taking_ HERMAN'S _arm_.

Gentlemen.

     [_Exit_ HERMAN _with_ OLGA.

     [KARL _has been standing on one side of the stage
     as if dreaming, suddenly runs to the other side
     of the stage as if to choke the devil who stands
     there_.

KARL, _crossing to_ DEVIL, _L. C._

What have you done?

     [DEVIL _thrusts revolver into_ KARL'S _hand_.

DEVIL

Look out! It's loaded!

     [KARL _stands absolutely still, holding
     revolver._ [_To_ KARL, _insolently_:

If I hadn't given you that pistol you might have slapped my
face. Believe me, there's nothing like turning the other
cheek--if you turn it quickly enough--your enemy will miss
both cheeks.

     [KARL _turns away angrily, lays revolver on table
     R._

     [DEVIL _goes down and takes revolver from table
     R._

     [KARL _stands absent-minded, when_ ELSA _enters
     with her cloak ready to leave._

ELSA

Karl, I wanted to say good-bye to you.

KARL, _as if the tone of her voice was awakening him_

Oh! my dear, dear Elsa!

     [_About to go towards her to kiss her._

     [_The_ DEVIL _comes back and steps between them._

     [MAN SERVANT _enters from behind stairs and
     speaks to_ ELSA.

MAN SERVANT

Your mother is waiting for you in the hall, Fräulein,

KARL

May I see you to your carriage?

     [_Offers_ ELSA _his arm and they go off_.

DEVIL, _to_ MAN SERVANT

Will you accompany Miss Elsa to her carriage? It is
slippery outside, she might fall.

     [_Exit_ MAN SERVANT, _following_ KARL _and_ ELSA.

OLGA, _enters from R., agitated_; _sits at table L._

Your scheme was a great success.

DEVIL

What are you going to do?

OLGA, _writes on an envelope_

I'm going to write to him.

DEVIL, _crosses to her, reads the envelope_

To Karl--but what will you write?

OLGA

He wanted to settle my account. I will settle his. I will
never see him again. Oh! To have thought me capable--of....
How could he? I despise him!

DEVIL

_Pour quoi_, Madame?

OLGA

Because--because--

DEVIL

Because you love him?

OLGA, _frightened_

What!

     [_Tries to get her thoughts together._

After what has happened, I hate him. And I shall tell him
so.

DEVIL

I am very sorry.

     [_Takes pen from her._

OLGA

Don't be sorry. I have much to thank you for. You have
rendered me a service. I shall feel better when I have sent
this letter off.

DEVIL

You'd better make it plain.

OLGA

I shall speak my mind--there shall be no mistake.

DEVIL

That's it; express your real feelings.

     [_With ironical emphasis._

Cold. Harsh.

OLGA

Cold? Harsh?

DEVIL

Make an end of it--once for all.

     [_Dipping pen._

OLGA, _taking pen_

Once for all.

DEVIL

Now write.

     [OLGA _speaks the first sentence as she writes
     it. At the word "longer" the devil takes it
     up, finishing the sentence with a different
     meaning, and dictates rest of letter walking up
     and down._


[Illustration: Dr. Miller (The Devil)]


OLGA, _in hard voice, speaks while writing_

Sir, your behavior of this evening has shown me that you
are no longer--

DEVIL, _continuing_

--able to keep up the wretched farce of mere friendship. I
read your inmost thought tonight and--Karl--the knowledge
that you love me has made me unspeakably happy. Dearest--

     [OLGA _looks up at the_ DEVIL, _who is standing
     now at her L. He repeats "Dearest" and points to
     letter. She resumes writing_.

--why should we struggle any longer against the resistless
tide that is drawing us together? My strength is gone.

     [OLGA _looks up again. The_ DEVIL _repeats "My
     strength is gone" by motion of lips, making no
     sound. She writes:_

--without you I am lost in the black waters--save me, Karl.
With your strong arms about me--with your lips to mine--I
care not where we drift. I am yours, all yours. You are the
master of my soul. Do not leave me, Karl; I love you, I
cannot live without you. God bless you!

     [OLGA'S _head falls forward on her arm_

OLGA, _as if awakening_

What have I written?

DEVIL, _folding letter_

What was in your heart!

OLGA, _laughs hysterically_

I have written everything I had meant never to say.

DEVIL, _taking up letter_

If women wrote time tables, they would tell all the hours
that the trains didn't start and all the places you mustn't
stop at to get to your destination.

     [DEVIL _puts the letter into envelope._

OLGA, _horrified_

What are you doing?

DEVIL, _coldly_

I will deliver the letter. Women sometimes do not write
what they want, but they always want what they write.

OLGA

He must not. He _shall_ not see it.

     [HERMAN _comes down stairs_

HERMAN

Good! You're the kind of guest I like--when all the rest
have deserted the ship you stay and keep the hostess
company.

DEVIL, _crosses to C., putting letter into his pocket_

Madame has been so entertaining, that I--

HERMAN, _crossing to bell R._

Well, let's have another cognac before you go--quite _en
famille_.

DEVIL

Thank you very much, but I have an important call very
early in the morning. Madame,--

     [_Goes to_ OLGA, _kisses her hand._

     [_To_ HERMAN:

I have spent a very pleasant evening at your house.

HERMAN, _coming to him C., they shake hands_

The pleasure is mine.

     [DEVIL starts to go. OLGA utters a suppressed cry.

DEVIL

Madame?

OLGA, _frightened to death, with a forced smile trying to
appear undisturbed_

There was a piece of paper here. Did you perhaps take it by
mistake?

     [_She is almost crying from fright._

DEVIL, _coming down stairs, taking the letter out of his
pocket_

     [_Going towards_ HERMAN _as if he was going to
     give him the letter._

Do you mean this?

OLGA, _deathly pale_

No, no It was not that.

     [_Laughing bitterly._

DEVIL, _bowing_

Madame.

     [_Bows to_ HERMAN. _Goes off upstairs. Bows low
     to both and goes out._

HERMAN _crosses to_ OLGA

Well, I'm glad it's over. You look tired, dearie.

OLGA, _standing by table L._

I am tired.

HERMAN

You look flushed. But it's very becoming, you never looked
prettier.

     [OLGA _is leaning backwards over the table, he
     takes her hand._

My darling wife.

     [_Goes to kiss her._

OLGA, _unkind_

Please, please don't.

HERMAN, _crosses to C. Looks at his watch_

It is after four o'clock, Olga.

     [_Tries to kiss her again._

OLGA

Please, please don't. I feel so nervous.

HERMAN

Your cheeks are burning.

     [_Pats her cheeks._

OLGA, _nervous, impatient_

Please--

HERMAN

All right, all right, I'm going.

     [_He goes towards the door on the R._

Are you going to stay here?

OLGA, _at table L._

Let me rest a minute.

HERMAN

As you please.

     [MAN SERVANT _comes in above platform, and goes
     up side stairs._

OLGA, _to servant_

What do you want?

MAN SERVANT

The lights, Madame.

OLGA

Turn off the lights.

     [_The_ MAN SERVANT _puts all the lights out. The
     lamps in the street and the garden are lighted,
     but the room is dark_.

HERMAN

It would be wiser to sleep, my dear.

     [_He waits a minute, shrugs his shoulders, then
     goes out R._

OLGA, _stands leaning on the table_

To go to sleep....

     [_The_ DEVIL _can be seen outside in his fur
     overcoat, crossing through the garden. As he
     passes a lamp in the garden his shadow reaching
     up to the ceiling is thrown on the white wall of
     the room_, OLGA _is crossing to R. He takes his
     hat off, at which moment she sees the shadow on
     the wall,_ OLGA _shrieks_.

No!

     [_She drops into a chair_.

CURTAIN



ACT III


SCENE.--_Like Act I. The afternoon of the next day, about
three o'clock. When the curtain rises, the_ DEVIL _is
seated in a big chair. Bell rings off stage R._ HEINRICH
_enters R._

DEVIL, _rising from chair_

What do you want?

HEINRICH

There is a lady, sir.

DEVIL

What kind of a lady?

HEINRICH

A real lady, sir.

DEVIL

What does she want?

HEINRICH

She wants to see my master. I told her he was not up yet,
but she said she would wait.

DEVIL

Do you know who the lady is? Have you seen her before?

HEINRICH

Never.

DEVIL

Ask her to step in here.

     [HEINRICH _goes off, shows_ ELSA _in_.

     [DEVIL _bows_.

Ah!

ELSA

You seem to be everywhere. What are you doing here? Are you
his secretary?

DEVIL

No, merely a good friend. Nothing else. I just happened in.
By the way, how do you do?

ELSA

How do you do?

     [_Crosses to couch, sits._

I didn't know there was anybody in this room or I would not
have come in. But as it is only you I don't mind.

     [ELSA _sits down, intentionally turning her back
     to the_ DEVIL.

DEVIL

Karl is expecting you, then?

ELSA

Oh, no.

DEVIL

Will you permit me to prepare him for this pleasant
surprise?

ELSA

No, thank you. Don't disturb him. I can look around while
I'm waiting. I have never been here before.

DEVIL

I know it.

ELSA

Who told you?

DEVIL

The man--a lady might come every day and escape notice--but
coming for the first time she would be sure to attract his
attention.

ELSA

I feel embarrassed coming here alone.

DEVIL

I know that, too.

ELSA

From the same source?

DEVIL

Yes; he said you were a real lady.

ELSA

He is the only one here who has spoken to me like a
gentleman.

DEVIL

He must have thought you were a model.

ELSA, _rises; angrily_

How dare you?

DEVIL

A servant can only speak like a gentleman to--his equals.

ELSA, _sits down again; sarcastically_

Then I was mistaken--it is not Heinrich who is the servant.

DEVIL

Who knows--perhaps he is a clergyman.

ELSA

I don't understand you.

DEVIL

Only two people in the world may open the door of a
bachelor's apartment to a young lady--the man servant, or a
clergyman with a marriage certificate --you can take your
choice.

ELSA

Let me tell you I was once left alone with a gentleman who
tried to kiss me, and I slapped his face.

DEVIL

Indeed? I was once left alone with a lady who tried to slap
me and I _kissed_ her face.

     [_Enter_ HEINRICH.

ELSA, _controlling herself with difficulty_

Oh!

DEVIL

Heinrich! There's a little leather satchel in the pocket of
my overcoat.

     [HEINRICH _goes out_.

ELSA

Don't be afraid. This is not my day for crying.

DEVIL

It's when a girl laughs that I'm most afraid.

     [HEINRICH _brings the satchel, puts it on the
     table L. C. and goes into studio_.

Why did you come here?

ELSA

I intend to sit for my portrait--to do that, I must come
every day.

DEVIL

You intend to come here every day, and to do that you must
have your portrait painted.

ELSA

You are clever at twisting words.

DEVIL

Perhaps you know there is another lady coming every day to
have her portrait painted?

ELSA

Yes, I know. That's why I want mine painted--we'll see
which will be the better likeness.

DEVIL

Come now--you must let me sit down--this time I want you to
be right.

     [_Raises her and swings her in front of him._

     [DEVIL _sits on couch, ELSA leans on table._

Are you aware--

ELSA

This is awful--you question me like a judge.

DEVIL

It is you who answer like a prisoner. Do you know that Karl
is in love with Olga?

ELSA, _bitterly_

Do I know it!

DEVIL

And you still mean to fight?

ELSA

Yes, I mean to fight--you gave me good advice.

DEVIL

That was yesterday.

ELSA

Well--this is to-day.

DEVIL, _impressively_

Yesterday was your winning day. Yesterday it was written
that you, Elsa, would succeed in whatever thing you made up
your mind to do, with the whole strength of your will.

ELSA

Last night I made up my mind to--

DEVIL, interrupting gravely

--to dance every dance--

     [_Pause_

You danced every dance.

ELSA, _defiantly_

Karl asked me to marry him last night.

DEVIL

--and you refused.

ELSA

Yes--but to-day I shall--

DEVIL

To-day is not your winning day--yesterday you chose--to-day
you will have no choice.

ELSA

I won't give him up--I can't--I don't know how.

DEVIL

You will have to learn--let me see--I think I know some one
who has learned the lesson and can teach it to you--

     [_Goes to hall door which he opens._

Why, Mimi! Why do you wait out there? Come in here where
it's warm!

     [MIMI _comes in_--DEVIL _seats_ MIMI _C. He
     regards them both with a satanic smile--begins to
     hum a tune and exits L., singing as he gets out;
     he laughs--his laugh dies away outside._

MIMI, _sitting on small chair C. After a silence_

Are you waiting for the painter, too, Madame?

ELSA, _seated on couch_

Yes.

MIMI

Yes--

     [_Pause_.

He must have been on a spree last night.

[_Smiling_.

When he goes on a spree he always sleeps late.

ELSA, _somewhat embarrassed_

Yes?

MIMI, _making conversation_

Yes. If you haven't slept for a long time, then--you must
sleep a long time.

ELSA

Yes?

MIMI

Yes. Madame--

     [_Silence_.

Is Madame going to have her portrait painted?

ELSA

Yes.

MIMI

Yes, Madame--I know all the ladies that come here--

     [_Quick look from_ ELSA.

I'm quite at home here--I'm his model

     [_Explaining_.

I don't pay for my portraits.

     [_Regarding_ ELSA.

You have a splendid profile, Madame.

ELSA

You always say "Madame"--I am not married. My name is--

MIMI, _interrupting_

I know your name. I've heard it often. You belong to a very
rich family. I know what that means, I used to be well off,
too. I wasn't always obliged to work for a living.

ELSA

No?

MIMI

I was a chorus girl, but I had bad luck.

ELSA

I am so sorry for you.

MIMI

     [_Silence_.

I know all about you and Herr Karl.

     [_Rises, goes C._

ELSA

From whom?

MIMI

I know everything that goes on in this house. I told you I
was his model--I sew on buttons and count the laundry.

     [_Importantly_.

ELSA

Does the laundry-woman steal?

MIMI

No. But she uses strong blueing--I know everything Herr
Karl thinks of.

     [_Pointing at_ ELSA.

ELSA, _as if she was getting interested_

And does that interest you?

MIMI

Yes, indeed it does. But that's all over now

ELSA

Why so?

MIMI

Because he is going to get married

ELSA

But he will paint just the same--he will want models.

MIMI

Yes, but--

     [_Ingeniously_.

you know, when one has sewn on buttons--and counted the
laundry--then to be--just a plain model--that hurts.

     [_Goes up C._; ELSA _crosses_.

ELSA

And you like Herr Karl?

MIMI, _repressing her feelings_

Yes--I--I like him--he's such a dear boy.

ELSA

Does he paint you now?

MIMI, _coming to head of couch; sadly_

No. He only paints landscapes and--bank presidents.

ELSA

Then you did not come to pose to-day?

MIMI

A model always comes to pose. It's tiring work, too, I can
tell you--and if the artist wants to make love --it isn't
her fault--and--

     [_Sighs_.

Oh, it's such a rest.

ELSA

Oh, please.

     [_Draws herself up stiffly, offended._

MIMI

Now I've offended you--I ought to have known better--my
people are all refined--I wasn't born a model.

ELSA

I'm sorry I showed it--but--I--I'm nervous to-day.

MIMI, _brightening_

Oh, I know what it is--I used to suffer dreadfully from
nervousness when I was in the chorus.

ELSA

Come over here, Mimi; I want to talk to you.

MIMI, goes over and sits on the couch

You can talk to me about everything, I'm not a bad sort,
really I'm not. I've known all along about Herr Karl
and--and you--he's such a kind man. I was crying when
I went away yesterday, and he felt sorry for me and he
came to see me on his way to the ball--in his evening
clothes--but I didn't receive him. If it's over, it may as
well be over.

ELSA

Was he fond of you?

MIMI

I loved him, but what's the use? It's like the railway
--the station is there and the train comes and then the
train goes away, and the station cannot run after it; if
the station is small, the train only stops a minute, and--

     [_Sighs_.

one must wait until another train comes

ELSA

You loved him and can speak like that?

MIMI

Yes, I loved him, but it's all over now. I was foolish to
come here again when I'd made up my mind I wouldn't, but
now I'm sensible again; I'll go away and try to forget him,
I hope he will be--hap-hap--happy!

     [_Begins to cry, looks for handkerchief in muff,
     but can't find it_. ELSA _takes handkerchief out
     of "weeping satchel," and gives it to her._

ELSA

Poor Mimi! Poor Mimi!

MIMI, _wiping her eyes with handkerchief, then returning it
to_ ELSA.

I--hope--you will be--hap--happy--too!

ELSA

I--happy?

MIMI

You are going to marry Karl--

ELSA

No--no--I'm not.

MIMI

But it's you he's in love with--

ELSA

No, Mimi; I'm not the one--it's some one else.

MIMI

You don't mean Mrs. Zanden--it can't be--why, she's your
friend.

ELSA

She was.

MIMI

I don't believe it--it's not love--it's a madness--a--

ELSA, _jumping at the idea_

An infatuation?

MIMI

Yes, that's it--he's not in love with her--he's not himself.

ELSA

You think so?

MIMI

Yesterday he acted as if he were under some strange--

     [_Rises_.

     [MIMI _looks nervously behind her on both sides_,
     ELSA _follows her example_.

under some strange--


ELSA

Influence?

MIMI

Yes.

     [_The two girls look at each other in
     silence---for what seems like a minute._

ELSA

Mimi, who is that man?

MIMI, _looks behind her again nervously_

I don't know--I _hate_ him.

ELSA, _after looking behind her_

So do I.

     [_They grasp each other's hands across the table._

     [_A pause._

MIMI, _holding_ ELSA'S _hand_

I'm glad I came, I feel better already for having seen you.
I'm going to be sensible now. I'm going away--and I'm never
coming back!

     [_In altered voice._

What time is it?

ELSA

It's almost three o'clock.

MIMI

Three o'clock! Then I must hurry. I have an appointment at
half past--he's an illustrator--such a talented boy; he's
just had a picture accepted by the _Fleigende Blatter_.

ELSA

And you are posing for him?

MIMI

Oh, yes; but tonight he goes to the artists' dinner, and I
have to find his dress studs, and iron a tie for him, and
trim his cuffs.

     [_Makes gesture of cutting with scissors outside
     the edge of her cuff._

Good-bye.

     [_Goes out quickly._

ELSA

     [_Looks after_ MIMI, _then around the room,
     suddenly begins to sob, and calls in frightened
     voice_:

Mimi! Mimi!

     [_Runs off._

     [DEVIL _enters just_ _as_ ELSA _leaves_.

     [DEVIL _rings bell on table_.

HEINRICH, _entering_

Did you ring, sir?

DEVIL

Where is my tea? Have you any rum in the house?

HEINRICH

Yes, sir.

DEVIL

I'll have some with my tea. Is your master getting up?

HEINRICH

Yes, sir.

DEVIL

Has anyone called to see him this morning?

HEINRICH

Mrs. Zanden's maid has been here three times.

DEVIL

What did she want?

HEINRICH

She inquired whether Mrs. Zanden could see my master. I
told her I had strict orders not to call him before three.

DEVIL

Hurry with the tea.

     [_Door bell rings._

I'll have it in here.

     [DEVIL _goes into studio._

     [HEINRICH _goes out to hall, door slams,_ OLGA
     _speaking outside_.

OLGA

Is your master at home?

HEINRICH

Yes, Madame.

OLGA, entering

My maid told me I could not see him until three--it is
three o'clock now.

HEINRICH

I am very sorry, Madame, but you will have to wait a few
minutes longer. I will tell him that you are here.

OLGA

Thank you.

     [HEINRICH _crosses to studio door_.

Wait! Has anyone called to see your master this morning?

HEINRICH

No, Madame.

OLGA

Didn't anyone leave a letter for him?

HEINRICH

No, Madame.

OLGA, _aside_

Thank God! Please tell him I'm here.

HEINRICH

I'm afraid, Madame, you will have to wait a moment; but I
will tell the doctor----

OLGA, _quickly_

What doctor?

HEINRICH

The gentleman who was here with you yesterday.

OLGA, _aside_

Dr. Miller? _He_--is--in--there?

HEINRICH

Yes, Madame.

OLGA, _aside_

Then I'm too late.

     [_To_ HEINRICH, _reluctantly_

Did you see Dr. Miller give a letter to your master? A
piece of paper?

HEINRICH

Possibly, Madame, but I don't remember.

OLGA

Tell Dr. Miller to come at once. Say a lady wishes to speak
to him, but don't give him my name.

     [HEINRICH _goes out_.

     [OLGA _walks up and down terribly agitated_.

     [DEVIL _enters_.

DEVIL

Are you the lady who wishes to see me at once?

OLGA

Oh, tell me--did you--have you...?

DEVIL, _nods_

Yes--delivered.

     [OLGA _sinks into chair, clasping her hands
     tightly._

     [_Enter_ HEINRICH, _busy with tea things._

Put it here. Thank you.

OLGA

     [_Without looking at the_ DEVIL.

Did he read it?

DEVIL

Yes.

[_Is busy with his tea._

     [_Silence_.

OLGA

My God!

DEVIL

     [_Now standing behind OLGA, tea cup in his hand._

After he read it, he buried his face in the pillow and
cried.

OLGA

He cried?

DEVIL

I hate men who cry.

OLGA

I did not want him to have that letter. I wanted to speak
to him first. I wanted to ask him to give me my letter back
unopened I am too late.

DEVIL

You were not too late. It's I that was too early.

OLGA

He cried?

DEVIL

From joy.

OLGA

I haven't the courage to speak to him, and yet I feel that
I must. I would like to go away, but something holds me;
something I cannot--I cannot--oh, what will become of me?

HEINRICH, _at door_

My master will be here in a moment, sir.

     [HEINRICH _goes out._

DEVIL

I must be going.

OLGA

Don't go! Please stay. I don't want to be alone with him.

DEVIL

But if I am here you cannot speak to him about the letter.
I shall only be in the way.

OLGA, _very weak_

Very well, then, I shall speak to him quite frankly. I
shall ask him for the last time--

KARL, _voice from the studio_

Heinrich!

DEVIL, _quick_

There he is.

OLGA, _very weak_

Please stay.

DEVIL,_ pointing to the small door at L._

I shall be here. If you need me, call.

     [DEVIL _goes out_.

     [KARL _comes in from the studio._

KARL, _kisses_ OLGA'S _hand passionately_

Olga! I ought to go on my knees and beg your pardon for
what I did last night.

OLGA

Speak low--Dr. Miller is in there.

KARL

Olga--can you ever----

OLGA

No, no; it is I who should ask forgiveness I was to blame.
I lost control of myself. After what happened, I wanted to
know--I wanted to make sure--but, you understand now, my
letter has told you everything.

KARL

What letter?

OLGA, _reproachfully_

Karl, I understand. You want to spare me--you're being
discreet; but you don't know me; I mean every word of that
letter, I'm glad I wrote it----

KARL

But I didn't get any letter.

OLGA

Didn't Doctor Miller give you a letter?

KARL

No, no; really.


[Illustration: Olga and Karl]


OLGA

     [_Angry and almost crying, crossing to door._

Doctor Miller.

     [DEVIL enters.

My--my letter.

DEVIL

Ah, pardon me, Madame, a thousand pardons, I quite forgot.
The only excuse I can offer is that there are some letters
which ought never to be delivered.

     [_Takes letter out of his pocket_

OLGA

     [_Takes a step towards_ KARL, _looks at_ DEVIL
     _over her shoulder, shivers slightly_.

Who is that man?

     [_Silence_, KARL _looks at_ DEVIL, OLGA _is
     terrified_.

     [DEVIL _crosses, gives the letter to_ KARL _with
     a smile_.

     [OLGA, _quickly, to_ KARL.

Tear that letter up.

     [KARL _tears up letter_.

Put it in the fire.

     [KARL _crumples up the pieces and throws them
     in the fire. As he does so,_ OLGA _makes an
     involuntary movement with her hand as if to
     stop him, but he does not see it as his back is
     turned. The_ DEVIL _sees it, however, and smiles_

DEVIL

I sincerely regret if my forgetfulness has caused any
inconvenience

KARL, _at alcove, pointing to door R_

     [_Offensively_.

Pray don't let me detain you--

DEVIL

My train doesn't leave for an hour. Once more a thousand
pardons.

     [_Crossing to C., turning to both._

If I could have foreseen what terrible distress the
non-delivery of this letter----

KARL, _firmly_

You may be quite sure it contained nothing--er--nothing--

     [_At a loss for a word._

DEVIL, _looking at_ OLGA

Nothing.

KARL, _at large chair_

You will miss your train.

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA, _bowing_

Madame--

     [_To_ KARL, _offering hand._

     [KARL _turns his back_.

Good-bye, a thousand pardons.

     [_Exit_ DEVIL _at door to hall._

OLGA

I would have given anything in the world if you had not
burned that letter.

KARL

Why--you told--me--

     [OLGA _shrugs her shoulders as if to say, "What
     can one expect of a man?"_

What does it matter anyway, whatever it is? I would rather
hear it from your lips.

OLGA, _firmly_

No! The letter is burned; it is nothing but ashes--it is
dead--no human power can bring it back to life.

KARL

But, Olga!

OLGA

A moment ago I would have given all I possessed to save it
from the fire--and now--

KARL

What has happened?

OLGA

I can't tell you. I only know I am glad--I'm glad.

     [OLGA _here seems to have suddenly become
     composed, almost happy, as if something had been
     settled, though not as she had wished, still it
     is a relief_.

KARL, _takes her hand_

Olga, do you mean you will never--

OLGA, smiling

I mean _you_ will never know what was in that letter--it is
as if it had never been written--it has ceased to exist,
and we are past the day of miracles.

KARL, _impatiently_

Miracles?

OLGA

No, no! Only the devil himself would re-create that letter
from its burnt ashes. Good-bye, Karl. I'm going now--I
shan't see you again.

     [_Shakes hands naturally._

     [_At word "Devil" the_ DEVIL _enters silently
     from hall door. He has his fur coat on. He smiles
     wickedly, and at_ OLGA'S _words "re-create that
     letter," pulls_ OLGA'S _letter out of his pocket,
     and stands so that the chair hides him from_ KARL
     _and_ OLGA, _who are close to studio door._

KARL

Olga, you are afraid of something. What is it?

OLGA

I'm afraid of--myself--good-bye!

KARL

Good-bye, Olga.

     [_They turn and see the devil._

     [_To_ DEVIL, _angrily_.

I thought you'd gone!

     [_Goes abruptly into the studio,_ OLGA _stands as
     if hypnotized._

DEVIL, _to_ OLGA

I _beg_ your pardon, I am so upset to-day--

     [_Holding out letter._

I made a mistake--I gave you my tailor's bill instead of
your letter--here is your letter!

     [DEVIL _gives the letter to_ OLGA, _who snatches
     it from him in a frightened manner and tears it
     open. She recognizes her letter._

OLGA

Karl! my letter! I have my letter--

     [_She runs into the studio._

     [The DEVIL _goes to the door of the studio,
     smiles diabolically, listens a minute at the door
     and rubs his hands as if he was very pleased with
     himself._

DEVIL

Voilà!


CURTAIN.





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