The Lawyers, A Drama in Five Acts
by Augustus William Iffland
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Soph. Dear father!

P. Coun. In virtue of your promise, you are my father-in-law; if you wish to be my enemy in earnest, you may abide by the consequence. Whatever I could do and urge against you, Sophia has my word for it, I will do nothing. Sophia is my lawful bride.

Reiss. By no means, never!

Soph. I am his bride, father; you gave your word.

Reiss. Before he was impeached.

Fred. Sir—

Gern. (passionately.) That is too much!

Clar. Hush, Sir! or I will run and fetch all the children of Brunnig, that have been robbed by you; their words, their tears, and their curses, shall impeach you before God and man. You accuse others, who are angels of light compared with you.

Reiss. (in a passion.) Do you intend to marry him?

Soph. Yes!

Reiss. Without office, without bread, without honour?

Soph. Without office, without bread, but who says without honour?

Reiss. I, I, I!

Clar. Thunder and lightning!

P. Coun. Patience, father!—Withdraw; your daughter stays with my father.

Reiss. If she chooses to be disinherited.

Soph. Be it, in the name of God!

Reiss. I will shew her who is the man for whom she sacrifices her inheritance.

P. Coun. Then I will inform the world who has made such a man of me; whose contrivance it is, if ever I acted contrary to those principles of honesty this worthy citizen had taught me.

Reiss. What!

Soph. Clarenbach, he is my father!—Clarenbach, where do I stand now?

P. Coun. Would you forsake me, helpless, on the brink of the precipice from which you were just about to snatch me? Do you value my soul less than my honour?

Soph. No, no! I will stay and support you. You have my word; I will not break it.

Reiss. His disgrace shall break it, and distress punish it; you shall never see my face again. [Exit.

Soph. Father!—

Clar. Here is one that has a heart for the distressed children! Come, my daughter.

P. Coun. My resignation was to be spontaneous; it is now forced and attended with disgrace.

Soph. My heart is Clarenbach's, whether he be fortunate or unfortunate.

P. Coun. He will ruin me, and endeavour to dissolve our mutual tie.

Clar. But I and old Wellenberg say, he shall not; between us two old boys we will sing him such a song, as will make him wish he were under earth or water. Let me alone; your happiness is at stake.

Soph. He is my father,—he is old; for his daughter's sake do not disgrace him.

Clar. But disgrace myself, ay? No; honour to him who honour deserves! I will ring the bell of disgrace over him, so as to make the whole country resound. (Disengages himself, and exit.)

Soph. On that condition I cannot be your wife. (Going.)

P. Coun. (stops her,) Sophia!

Soph. In this case, the voice of nature should over-rule that of love! If he is to be ruined, were it to break my heart and cost me my life, it is my duty to perish by his side. (Disengages herself, and exit.)

Fred. Sister, dear sister! (Follows.)

P. Coun. (to Gernau.) Man! you, that, though poor and low, have remained faithful to your duty; I apply to that heart which my power has tortured, and seek for consolation. (Clings round his neck.)

Gern. I sympathize in your sufferings; let me go and get information, and act for you.

P. Coun. No! If I should fall, I ought to rise by myself, and if I cannot bring that about, I ought to perish in the dark, unpitied by man. [Exit.



Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN, bringing in two bottles of wine, which he puts on the table.

Reiss. The doctor is dead,—good night to him! The lawyer will soon follow; he is an old man! Old people are subject to many accidents; death has them constantly at his nod, such is the course of nature!


Enter Counsellor SELLING.

Sell. Oh, dear Sir, what shall we do now? I have read that Benniger such a lecture, and taken the money ad depositum. But, good heaven! that fellow is a wild ferocious beast. He says, it is a bargain; that the receiver is the thief, and not the bidder. He insists on having the patent for the monopoly dispatched; if not, he swears he will play the deuce.

Reiss. So much the better; let him do his best.

Sell. Ah, but, dear Sir, he does not say a word against the Privy Counsellor; you and I are the scape-goats; every nerve trembles.

Reiss. So you are quite alarmed?

Sell. Truly.

Reiss. The rogue intended to bribe, and of course is liable to a heavy punishment.

Sell. But then he is a stranger.

Reiss. Have him arrested, then he can do no harm.

Sell. But he can talk a good deal for all that.

Reiss. That is my business. Have him arrested.

Sell. But the Prime Minister—

Reiss. Is at a great distance, and do not you know, though I do not publicly affect it, that I am the prime minister of this country. Arrest him, I say.

Sell. Very well. But then I have—

Reiss. What else? To the point!

Sell. A concern, that lies very near my heart. I am told the Privy Counsellor is to resign,—and perhaps to leave this town. I could not help making his sister considerable presents this morning, which cost a great deal of money; and, if his power should be at an end, all would be thrown away; he ought to reimburse me.

Reiss. But those presents have been returned, I understand.

Sell. Without the least injury! but my expence was heavy. I must lose by those things, if I were to dispose of them. Could not you manage so by your authority, that he should take them at prime cost?

Reiss. No, I employ my authority to better purposes.

Sell. Good heaven! the gown of rose satin alone cost me—

Reiss. (displeased.) Let it be converted into a morning-gown for yourself.

Sell. A morning-gown!—Ay, that will do. Rose colour becomes my complexion. I thank you, it shall. I will have it lined with lawn. I will have it made up directly. (Going.)

Reiss. And have the fellow secured.

Sell. Directly! the morning-gown made up, and the fellow arrested! I thank you for extricating me out of this embarrassment. [Exit.

Reiss. Blockhead!—My whole existence is at stake;—once won, won for ever!



Soph. Father, I beg—

Reiss. Yes, you will soon beg.—Begone, be gone!

Soph. Your situation is dreadful, as dreadful as mine. Be kind and just. Lend your helping hand.

Reiss. Be gone to the Carpenter. Out of my sight, be gone, I say!

Soph. I am come,—I cannot leave you till your mind is at ease.

Reiss. I shall be at ease as soon as you depart, the spy of my actions. Be gone, I tell you!

Soph. Father!

Reiss. Begone, I tell you; begone, or I will have thee driven out of my house! Out of my sight, snake, serpent, traitor, spy, begone!

Soph. I have ever obeyed you, and I will even obey this cruel command. [Exit.


Enter Lawyer WELLENBERG.

Well. You have sent for me;—here I am.

Reiss. I thank you;—sit down.

Well. What is your pleasure?

Reiss. I want to have a little conversation in a fair way.

Well. Propose fair things, and our conversation shall be fair. I will listen.

Reiss. Well, Doctor Kannenfeld is no more.

Well. It has pleased the Disposer of all Events to call him.

Reiss. Very fortunately for him! That slanderer, I would—

Well. Not so. Slanderer, not so,—a true penitent, a sinner, and of course one that has found mercy in the Divine Presence. He is dead as to his earthly frame, but the tears of repentance which he so often shed on my breast, I trust, will raise up fruits of joy and consolation in it: With respect to you, he is not dead as long as I live. To the point then;—in the name of heaven, what do you want?

Reiss. To offer a few propositions.

Well. Let us hear them.

Reiss. Sit down here, if you please.—(Wellenberg sits down at the table.)—Our good ancient German ancestors used always to drink a glass when they sat down on some good purpose, or when they had a mind to lay down some good rules for their descendents. (Fills a glass.)

Well. Ay, if there were any such good purposes in the present case, I would have no objection.

Reiss. Drink to a good intention, (raising the glass,) dear Mr. Wellenberg.

Well. When the good shall be atchieved, we will take a little wine; a very little, as an offering to gratitude.

Reiss. Wine cheers the heart of man.

Well. Good actions will cheer it much better. Come, ad rem.

Reiss. I am now possessed of the legacy,—you see. (drinks.) Your health.

Well. To your amendment.

Reiss. Very well, I thank you. (Reaches him a glass.)

Well. (takes a sip.) In the name of goodness.—

Reiss. I have resolved to do something for all that for the children, for whom I am very sorry.

Well. Something handsome. You must do every thing for the sake of the children and your own soul.

Reiss. What do you mean by that?

Well. You must give up the whole.

Reiss. You are not in earnest?

Well. Do you never expect to be called to an account for your actions in this world?

Reiss. The doctor's insanity has infected you.

Well. But the solemn oath, which I mean to have administered to you in a public court of justice, will open doors that you little expect.

Reiss. I can take it! the—(Wellenberg rises.)—Where are you going?

Well. Away! for—for—I am seized with a tremor at the mere idea that an oath does not shake your frame to its centre. What, will you stretch out your hand against the judgments of God? Methinks I see the very sparks of hell before my eyes; methinks I see an infernal fiend between you and me, writhing, hissing, and sneering; methinks I see him anxious to seize on your poor soul, as his prey for ever. I am ill; do good for once, and permit me to go home and throw myself on my bed. (Going.)

Reiss. Stay.

Well. I cannot.

Reiss. But, as the advocate of the children, you ought to hear my proposition.

Well. Then propose, briefly and fairly.

Reiss. Sit down.

Well. I must sit down; for the idea of your perjury has enfeebled me so, that I cannot move. (Sits down.) Propose to the honour of your Creator and the salvation of your soul, that I may recover my strength.

Reiss. Not as an obligation, but, through mere motives of pity and christian charity, I will give the children half of the legacy. What do you say to that?

Well. Half a virtue is no virtue at all; yet it is better than vice.

Reiss. Well?

Well. The fiend may yet lose his hold.

Reiss. Drink a glass.

Well. I almost stand in want of it, for I do not feel well on your account. (Drinks off the glass of wine.)

Reiss. What am I about! I have, in the warmth of conversation, left the bottle uncorked, and the spirit of the liquor, intended to honour you, will evaporate. No matter; (takes the bottle to himself, and substitutes the other, out of which he immediately fills him a glass,) here is fresh wine.

Well. (puts down the glass.) I will drink no more.

Reiss. But, when we have done and agreed, in token of reconciliation—

Well. My first and last words are, give up the whole of the bequest, or take the oath!

Reiss. Ay! what is all that!—(Fills a glass for himself out of the bottle which he had removed from Wellenberg's side.) A glass of wine will warm you. Come, touch here! (Offers to touch glasses with him.)

Well. No! the inclinations which wine inspires are false. Good inclinations ought to come from the heart instead of the bottle.

Reiss. Shall I tell you what carries me so far? It is your honest character, and my respect for you; and, as my daughter is a good-for-nothing hussy, I will, in the name of God, provided they let me alone while I live, I will, after my death, bequeath the remainder of the bequest to the children by a formal testament, which I wish you to draw up immediately. That is, upon my word, more than fair! Come, touch glasses upon that, and then we have done. (Touches glasses with him, and drinks it off.)

Well. (touches glasses, but does not drink.) That is something.

Reiss. Is it not! (Fills his own glass.) Well, then, on with it!

Well. (holds up his glass, but does not drink.) The good spirit begins to move you; and I begin to feel better in your company.

Reiss. (wipes his forehead.) I am glad of it.

Well. You wipe your forehead?

Reiss. Hem! you have put me in such a heat.

Well. Thank God! I wish you would examine your conscience fully, and then wipe your eyes too; then I would, in the joy of my heart, empty my glass at once.

Reiss. I thank you. Now to a prosperous futurity! (Holds up the glass.)

Well. In heaven,—yes! (going to drink;) but (puts the glass down) then every thing ought to be in a good state upon earth. Drink no more, it will heat you; and, to do good, the soul ought to be sober.

Reiss. Well then—

Well. In your proposition there may still be an acceptable compromise for the children. But—

Reiss. I should think so. Then accept it, give me your hand, and empty your glass.

Well. Ay, if it concerned only the children, I would accept it. But it concerns your soul, which cannot go out of this world in peace, if your conscience is not at peace. Therefore I do not accede to the proposition.

Reiss. What?

Well. I cannot accept it for the sake of your immortal soul, till you quite clear yourself, and give up the whole.

Reiss. Is that your last determination?

Well. It is.

Reiss. Then I will give up nothing at all.

Well. Then God have mercy upon you! I have done my duty.

Reiss. Does not the will itself secure me against every claim?

Well. Not quite so.

Reiss. I beg your pardon; does not Article V. say—

Well. If you avail yourself of that plea, and the good spirit has forsaken you, what must be the awful result! Think in time; what, to barter everlasting happiness for a few pieces of yellow dirt! Now I have done. (Rises.)

Reiss. The fifth article says, "that if ever"—Stop a little; I have the will at hand. (Goes into the closet.)

Well. I see there is nothing to be done here. God have mercy upon this obstinate man!—Has he not even tried to tempt me with his wine, that I might do what is evil? But heaven be praised, he did not succeed; and how easily might he have succeeded, though my nerves are worn out with age and infirmities! Besides, it is a very strong wine; (takes the glass, and smells to it.) Very strong! (looks at it;) rather feculent. (Puts the glass down, walks a few steps, and seems to muse.) Hem! (examines Reissman's glass.) This one is fine; (looks again at his own glass;) this is not so. (Puts it down.) This glass came out of the second bottle. He has not drank of that, I think. No, he has not, I now recollect. Perhaps,—but that is very wicked,— perhaps not content with intoxication, he thought to get me to do the evil that is in his soul? Such men are not to be trusted; their notions are abominable. Perhaps he mixed some intoxicating ingredient in this wine? He is capable of such an action; for, otherwise, why should he press me to drink? Then my soul would have perished at the same time with my philosophy!—I must know that; I will have it examined; and, if so, I will thank God for my deliverance, and withdraw my hand for ever from the obdurate sinner. (Takes both bottles, and goes away with them. When he has left the room, Reissman comes out of the closet with the will.)

Reiss. Look you here; here it expressly says.—Where is he? (Looks out of the door, comes back, claps his hands together; pours the wine that is in the two glasses out of the window; puts them in his pocket; goes once more to the door, at which the Lawyer went out. He is in a violent agitation; wipes the table very carefully with his handkerchief; carries it into the closet, out of which he returns with his hat and cane, and is going out by the door towards the street. When he is at the door he returns, carefully examines the chair on which the Lawyer has been seated, passes his handkerchief over it, carries both chairs into the closet, examines the floor where the chairs stood, and precipitately exit.)


Master Clarenbach's house.


Clar. Step in here, child! here you are, if not rich, at least safe. You have now done your duty as a daughter. Now recommend the perverse man to heaven, and let things take their course.

Soph. Can I be easy with that? It is lamentable, that I have no other means left.

Clar. My son has acted as a man of honour ought. He would not leave me till I had given him my word, neither to act nor to speak against your father.

Soph. You have given it.

Clar. And will keep it.

Soph. I will acknowledge it with filial affection, with the same care and attention as if I were your own daughter.

Clar. Jack has obtained you by noble means, dear daughter; that is a good and laudable commencement of the marriage-state.



Gern. Dear old man, I have forgotten all the wrongs the Privy Counsellor ever did me. They now vanish like a dream. He has more than compensated for all.

Soph. With respect to you?

Gern. That is out of his power now. But he has acted with such discretion, with such abundance of good nature, and rendered so much justice to every body else, that I must be devoid of all feeling, if I could consider my accounts with him as unsettled.

Clar. Pray speak more of that. I have been unwilling this long while to enquire into the actions of my son; but to-day I am so pleased with him, that I could talk of him for ever without interruption.

Gern. He desired me to go home with him. Away with every penny, said he, which I have not acquired fairly, or of which the least doubt remains. Then he counted money, sealed it up, and called out to me repair to the next trading town. I will give you the directions into whose hands this cash is to go. I will wrong no man, assist me to discharge my duty, name not who sent it! I will set off this very day.—He is this moment gone to pay two people, that had been overcharged in their contributions towards the construction of the bridge. He intends to discharge that debt personally, because they are good people on whom he can rely, who will not take advantage of his frankness.

Clar. Your work, dear daughter! a clear conscience, joy, and honour! what a valuable portion you bring into my family! When at evenings we shall meet, and every one of us shall sum up the honest earnings of the day, with what affection and gratitude shall we then calculate and pay you the interest of your capital!



Fred. Your father has been here this minute to enquire after Lawyer Wellenberg.

Soph. (quick.) Is he gone yet?

Fred. He seemed in doubt some time, whether to go or stay, but then he went without saying any thing.

Clar. Ah, the legacy,—his conscience—Dr. Kannenfeld,—it begins to operate.

Gern. Yes, yes.

Soph. Oh, I wish that was settled!

Clar. Do not be uneasy; old Wellenberg has him entirely in his power, and he knows what he is about.


Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.

P. Coun. Sophia, I have kept my word.

Clar. (reaches him his hand.) We have been told so.

Soph. I know it.

P. Coun. My accounts are now settled, and my mind is at ease. I can now call a furnished house and four thousand dollars my own honest property. I have thrown off the burden, I have got rid of a connection that imposed upon me.

Gern. Dear brother! how is it possible that any connection should warp your generous principles.

P. Coun. Man does not warp all at once, but by degrees. Providence lent me a hand. (Lays Sophia's hand on his breast.) You even look kinder than you used to do.

Fred. I should never have forgiven you, if you had compelled me to give my hand to Selling.

P. Coun. Dear Frederica!

Clar. Well, well! that was done while he was intoxicated with foreign wine. The cup of pride produces that,—a good and useful beverage for those that quaff it in moderation. Whoever cannot do that, had better drink home-made wine.

Soph. But what do you intend to do with regard to your office, and the charge brought against you concerning the monopoly?

P. Coun. I mean to set off for the capital, and candidly lay the whole before the Minister; he is a good man; I will tell him I assumed a burthen too heavy for my shoulders, and entreat him to lay it on some person better suited to bear it.

Clar. That is right, Jack! When I was desired to sketch a design for the Prince's palace in our neighbourhood, I also said, "Please your Highness, I am a carpenter; the undertaking is beyond my sphere; send for an architect, and what he plans I will endeavour to execute. My head may conceive the plan for a common dwelling-house well enough, but not for a palace; and so I do not wish to step out of my line." The old Prince has since repeatedly thanked me for it, and said, with a significant nod, "You were right, master, Clarenbach! I wish some of my counsellors would do the same, and, when called on, say, I am not fit to fill that office. But they take the hatchet in hand, and slash away without any art or judgment."—My dear son, throw it down, and let some good political carpenter take it up. God be with you!


Enter Lawyer WELLENBERG.

Well. Are you all here?—thank God!

Clar. You are welcome, Mr. Wellenberg.

Well. A chair, a chair. (P. Counsellor reaches a chair.)

Clar. What is the matter with you, pray?

Well. O Heaven! oh!

Fred. What ails you, Sir?

Gern. You make me uneasy.

Soph. Have you spoken with my father?

Well. Yes, yes, yes.

P. Coun. Dear Wellenberg, pray speak plain.

Well. Est necesse, ut remotis testibus loquar.

P. Coun. Dicam ergo aliis ut abeant.

Well. Imo, jubeas, quaeso! sunt enim res summi momenti.

P. Coun. Nunquid sane de sponsae meae parente?

Well. Quin ita! agitur enim vitae et animae salus.

P. Coun. Good folks, leave me a minute alone with this good gentleman.

Clar. Good God!

Soph. It concerns my father.—O Clarenbach!

P. Coun. We will manage all for the best.

Soph. To your compassion, to your filial compassion,—to your duty as a son, to your heart, to every thing I appeal, Clarenbach! You must bring him back to the path of virtue, even against his will. You must, and my gratitude shall be eternal.


Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.

Reiss. Mr. Wellenberg!—

Well. Oh, that God—(Rises.)

Reiss. I want to speak with you.

Well. No, no! I will not.—Keep off, keep at six yards distance from me at least.

Reiss. I must have a private conversation with you.

Well. God forbid!

Soph. Dear Mr. Wellenberg grant it; I entreat you.

Well. Can I?—ask him.

P. Coun. I beg, I entreat you.

Well. (after a pause?) Well, yes. Yes then, I will run the risk.

Soph. I thank you.

Well. But—(beckons the Privy Counsellor to come near him, and whispers to him.)

P. Coun. Yes, I will. Come along.

Reiss. (alarmed.) What,—what, will you?

P. Coun. Nothing that can give you any uneasiness.

Reiss. Where do you intend to go?

P. Coun. To win this hand and your esteem. Come along. (All exeunt, except Reissman and Wellenberg.)


Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN, Lawyer WELLENBERG.

Reiss. Ay, dear Mr. Wallenberg, you are—it is—why are you—I cannot conceive for what reason you left my house in that abrupt manner.

Well. The warning came from above to the unworthy. (Takes the bottle out of his pocket.) What is this? (putting it on the chair.) Answer me that!

Reiss. How!—(snatching at it.)

Well. Keep off!—It is poison!

Reiss. Ay, good God!

Well. There is poison in the wine you pressed me to drink.

Reiss. Should you by some unfortunate mistake—

Well. It is poison! it was intended to close my lips for ever! Lulled to sleep by your artful proposals, I might have passed into the other world according to the old proverb, "Dead men tell no tales;" but you forgot that I should rise against you at the last day.

Reiss. (assuming courage.) Mr. Lawyer, dare you—

Well. I dare call you an assassin,

Reiss. Who knows what you have been doing with this bottle in the mean while?

Well. So you think to escape by your cunning? This moment I see, and you feel, the mark which the Almighty has impressed on your brow. Your mind is callous, and yet you are so struck with terror, that your tongue cleaves to the roof of your mouth, and cannot perform its office.

Reiss. But, you, you—

Well. Silence! Is your soul insensible to the trepidation of your body, or what I have not in my power to do? Here stands the evidence of the crime, there the delinquent, and here I stand, either as judge or a merciful man, if you deliver yourself up vanquished into my hands; and, if not, as your accuser before the tribunal of the public. Kneel down this moment, the sword of justice hangs over your head!

Reiss. (shaking.) My God!

Well. You are at the end of your career! The judgment of heaven is committed to my hands, but mercy reigns in my heart: act in such a manner, that my heart may preponderate; for I am a man whom you have driven to extremes.

Reiss. (with terror.) What, what must I?—

Well. To the extreme, I say. I can hardly refrain from demanding justice.

Reiss. What is your demand then?

Well. For myself I demand nothing. But what does your conscience demand, wicked man? Is it silent? (With warmth;) Then, then I must do what I ought to do.

Reiss. Well, then, I will give up the legacy at once.

Well. Further—

Reiss. What can I do more?

Well. Resign your office, that the corroding canker may be removed from the breast of my country.

Reiss. But—

Well. God and man demand that I should utter this language.

Reiss. I will, I will.

Well. Consent to the Privy Counsellor's marriage, and do not disinherit your virtuous daughter. All these points must be reduced to writing, and signed by you this very day; then I will remain silent, and spare you, that mercy in turn may be shewn to me.

Reiss. I will. Let the seal of silence be placed for ever on your lips.

Well. Forever!

Reiss. Give me your word and hand.

Well. My word is sufficient. (Puts the bottle in his pocket.) If you accomplish the conditions, this affair shall be buried in eternal oblivion.

Reiss. All shall be done this very day.

Well. Now go, and inform the people of all the blessings you intend to shower on them.

Reiss. I will grant them every thing, but I cannot tell them the happy effects of our conversation.

Well. It must be so to save appearances.

Reiss. You are right! (Takes a ring from his finger.) Accept this, it is of the first water, worth two hundred Louis d'ors.

Well. The tears of joy that your virtuous daughter will shed are the purest christian water, and sparkle better. Those I will accept, and thank God for the tribulations, for by this he has enabled me to purchase what is good. Now go. I wish you to die well and soon. Thus I discharge the sinner from his terrors and my hands, and recommend him to the hand of the Father of all.—(Reissman slaps his forehead, and exit.)—I think I have done well; at least, I do not know how I could have done better. He has stood before the executioner; if that do not shake and convert him, his good angel will veil his face and fly from him, and then he will soon be hurled whither I would not wish.


Enter Master CLARENBACH.

Clar. Old friend, you have performed wonders!

Well. Not I, not I, (looking up to heaven,) but another.

Clar. He restores the legacy to the poor orphans; he consents to my son's marriage.

Well. Even so, he has done no more than the duty of a Christian.

Clar. He does not disinherit his daughter; he gives the children their inheritance.



P. Coun. Matchless man!

Soph. Eternal, eternal gratitude!

Well. (Puts his hands in his pockets.) Spare my weak hands; my heart is sound!—

P. Coun. How was it possible, how did it happen?

Gern. Tell us.

Fred. I cannot conceive it.

Well. That—

P. Coun. He uttered all these benefactions in such a hurry—

Fred. And at the same time looked nobody in the face—

Gern. And then he ran away.

Clar. I never saw a man do so much good in so ungracious a manner.

Soph. Good God! but he has done it after all, and—

Clar. Well, well; but how did it come about?

Well. Never ask that question again!—never! Do you understand me?

Clar. We thank God it is so; why should we enquire how it came to be so?

Well. That is right, friend Clarenbach! (To the Privy Counsellor.) And you resign the Privy Counsellorship?

P. Coun. My abilities are not adequate to it.

Well. Have I not told you a hundred times, when he was what they call a Lawyer, and when he wrote with such humane feelings, with such fire, with such indefatigability, in the cause of justice,—Master Clarenbach, said I, Jack stands very high on level ground; do not suffer him to rise higher, for he will tumble down.

Clar. It is true upon my word.

Well. So you came down of your accord? that is well done!

P. Coun. Henceforth I hope to prove useful to mankind. Under your guidance, I will be a Lawyer once more.

Well. (with a smile.) Lawyer! I cannot bear that name; it conveys the idea of an entangled net, or of a deceitful guide, that will lead you out of the way into the pathless desert. We should not be called Lawyers, but the Friends of Justice.

Clar. Yes, yes; Friends of Justice, the foes of chicanery!

Well. Who will not plead in an unjust cause! Do you promise that? Have you the resolution to be an honest Lawyer?

P. Coun. With the greatest pleasure.

Well. Write little; act a good deal; take little money; have a good stock of honesty and kind intentions; apply but seldom for advice to the corpus juris, but often to the heart; and to the hour of death I shall esteem you. I shall lead the way by the course of nature, but it will yet be a consolation to me in my last moments to think I have left an honest man behind me,—a man that will wipe away the tears of the widow and the orphan.

Clar. Jack, listen to the words of this good old man; let them sink deep into your heart; let them be your model! He possesses little worldly wealth; but, at the last day, what myriads that now roll in wealth would wish that they had possessed as little and done half as much good with it; but it is not for me to judge; I only say, make him your model.

P. Coun. Dear father, I will.

Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.

Reiss. I am come to tell you what I know will please you. How sweet are the tears of repentance! how refreshing to the drooping soul! I have at last settled my accounts with my conscience; I owe much, but I will endeavour to pay all. Now I feel in earnest that I am a father, and this is my dear daughter! (Embraces Sophia.)

Soph. O my dear father, the serenity of your brow, like a mild evening-sun, sooths the perturbation of my mind. I see that all is peace within. This single moment of joy would repay an age of sorrow.

Reiss. O my child! (embraces her again;) and this is my son! (embraces Privy Counsellor; Clarenbach takes him by the hand.) I am now completely happy, my mind tells me so; my feeble sight was dazzled with the false lustre of gold; but honest Wellenberg took me by the hand and conducted me into the path in which I ought to walk in the evening of life.

Clar. I have not wept for some time; but nature, on the present occasion, has indulged me with a few tears, and they shall be paid on sight. (takes Reissman by the hand.) We are both in the evening of life; let us descend with even step to the grave; our dear friend Wellenberg will be our guide. Let us leave our children behind us, and, if any evil should tempt them in an unguarded moment, may our example interpose like a guardian angel! Splendor and ambition are gaudy signs, painted by the hand of delusion, to lead the bewildered traveller still farther astray. (Gernau kisses Sophia's hand, and gazes on Frederica with fond attention.)

Soph. (embraces Frederica, and drops a tear.) Excuse me, I have a tear for joy as well as sorrow.

Clar. Come, let us not delay the nuptial rites. [Exeunt omnes.



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