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The Lonely Way—Intermezzo—Countess Mizzie - Three Plays
by Arthur Schnitzler
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CECILIA

Next Feb...? With pleasure, my dear Amadeus—provided I am still here.

AMADEUS

Why?

CECILIA

Oh, you haven't heard everything yet. After the performance last night the Director had a talk with me.

AMADEUS (disturbed)

Well?!—There was a hint in the telegram about brilliant conditions.... But, of course, they could only refer to the next season?

CECILIA

If I can break away from here, they want me in Berlin from the beginning of the year.

AMADEUS

But you can't break away!

CECILIA

Oh, if I really want to. The Director does not care to enforce the contract.

AMADEUS

But you don't want to, Cecilia!

CECILIA

That's a matter for careful consideration. I shall be doing a great deal better there.

AMADEUS

Beginning next Fall, I shall—probably be free. You might wait that long, I should think. Then we could make the move together. But....

CECILIA

It doesn't have to be settled to-day, Amadeus. To-morrow we shall have time to discuss the whole matter thoroughly. Really, I am not in a condition to do so to-night.

AMADEUS

You are tired...?

CECILIA

Of course, you must understand that. In fact, I should very much prefer.... (She looks in direction of the door leading to her own room)

CHAMBERMAID (brings in the tea tray and puts it on a small table)

CECILIA

Oh, that's right!—May I pour you a cup, too?

AMADEUS

If you please.

CECILIA (pours the tea; to the chambermaid)

Open one of the windows a little, will you. There's such a lot of cigarette smoke in here.

CHAMBERMAID (opens the window at the right)

AMADEUS

Won't it be too cold for you?

CECILIA

Cold? It has turned very warm again.

AMADEUS

And how did last night's performance go otherwise?

CECILIA

Very well. Wedius in particular proved himself inimitable again.

AMADEUS

You have mentioned him several times in your letters.

CECILIA

You know him since your Dresden period, don't you?

AMADEUS

Yes. He has great gifts.

CECILIA

He thinks a great deal of you, too.

AMADEUS

I'm pleased to hear it.

CHAMBERMAID (goes out)

AMADEUS (helping himself to the cold meat)

Can I help you to some?

CECILIA

No, thanks. I have had all I want.

AMADEUS

Yes, you have had your supper already—all of you, or "everybody," as you put it a while ago.

CECILIA (ingenuously)

I had my supper with Sigismund.

AMADEUS

Was he in Berlin all the time?

CECILIA

He got there two days after me, as I told you in my letters.

AMADEUS

Of course—you have told me everything. Once he accompanied you to the National Gallery.

CECILIA

He also took me to see the Pergamene marbles.[6]

[6] A large collection of art works and other antiquities, recovered by excavations on the site of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor, are kept in the Pergamene Museum, Berlin.

AMADEUS (facetiously)

You're doing a lot for his general education, I must say.—But I should like to know by what fraud Sigismund got himself into that reception of the Director's.

CECILIA

By what fraud?

AMADEUS

Well, you wrote me that he created a regular sensation with those waltzes of his.

CECILIA

So he did. But he didn't have to use fraud to get in. Being a nephew of the Baroness, there was no reason why he should resort to such methods.

AMADEUS

Oh, yes, I didn't remember that.

CECILIA

And by the way, the Director asked very eagerly about you.

AMADEUS

He thinks a great deal of me....

CECILIA (with a smile)

Yes, he really does. The moment your new opera is ready....

AMADEUS

And so on! (He goes on eating) It surprises me, however, that he should ask you about me.

CECILIA

Why does that surprise you?

AMADEUS (as if meaning no offense)

Well, it rather surprises me that he should connect our respective personalities to that extent. Hasn't Berlin heard yet that we are going to be divorced?

CECILIA

Why ... what does that mean?

AMADEUS (laughing)

Rumors to that effect are afloat.

CECILIA

What? Well, I declare!

AMADEUS

Yes, it's incredible what the popular gossip can invent. It's even in the newspapers. His Highness the Prince Sigismund Maradas-Lohsenstein is going to lead you to the altar. The necessary dispensation will be furnished by the Pope. Idiotic—isn't it?

CECILIA

Yes.—But, my dear, you say nothing about what is still more idiotic.

AMADEUS

And what can that be?

CECILIA

That you are on the verge of believing this piece of idiocy.

AMADEUS

I...? How can you.... Oh, no!

CECILIA

You haven't considered, for instance, that I am three years older than he.

AMADEUS (startled)

Well, if it's nothing but those three years of difference in....

CECILIA

No, it isn't that. No, indeed! Even if I were younger than he, I should never think of it.

AMADEUS

But if his devotion should prove more deeply rooted than you have supposed so far?

CECILIA

Not even then.

AMADEUS

Why?

CECILIA

Why...? I know that it couldn't last forever anyhow.

AMADEUS

Have you the end in mind already?

CECILIA

I am not saying that I have it in mind.... But I don't doubt it must come, as it always comes.

AMADEUS

And then...?

CECILIA (shrugs her shoulders)

AMADEUS

And then?

CECILIA

How could I know, Amadeus? There are prospects of so many kinds.

AMADEUS (cowering a moment before those words)

Yes, that's true. Life is full of prospects. Everywhere, wherever you turn, there are temptations and promises—when you have determined to be free, and to take life lightly, as we have done.... That's what you meant, was it not?

CECILIA

Yes, precisely.

AMADEUS

Tell me, Cecilia.... (He draws closer to her) There is one thing I should like to know—whether Sigismund has any idea that your mind is harboring such thoughts—which, after all, would appear rather weird to the other party concerned.

CECILIA

Sigismund...? How can you imagine?! Such things you admit only to your friends. (She gives her hand to him)

AMADEUS (in the same friendly manner)

But if he should notice anything ... although I think it very improbable that he is the kind of man who would.... But let us suppose that he concluded from various signs that some such thoughts were passing through your head—would you deny them, if he asked you?

CECILIA

I believe myself capable of it.

AMADEUS (with a shrinking)

Oh.... Let me tell you, Cecilia.... You are having something definite in mind.... Yes, I am sure of it.... It's a question of some definite prospect.

CECILIA (smiling)

That might be possible.

AMADEUS

What has happened, Cecilia?

CECILIA

Nothing.

AMADEUS

Then there is danger in the air.

CECILIA

Danger...? What could that mean to us? To him who has no obligations there can be no cause for fear.

AMADEUS (taking her lightly by the arm)

Stop playing with words! I can see through the whole thing just the same.—I know! It has been brought home to me by a number of passages in your letters—although they ceased long ago to have the frankness due to our friendship. That new prospect is Wedius!

CECILIA

In what respect did my letters fail to be frank? Didn't I write you immediately after the "Onyegin" performance, that there was something fascinating about his personality?

AMADEUS

So you have said before, of many people. But there was never any such prospect implied in it.

CECILIA

Everything begins to take on new meanings when you are free.

AMADEUS

You are not telling me everything.... What has happened?

CECILIA

Nothing has happened, but (with sudden decision) if I had stayed ... who knows....

AMADEUS (seems to shrink back again; then he walks to and fro; finally he remains standing in the background, near one of the windows) Poor Sigismund!

CECILIA

Why pity him? He knows nothing about it.

AMADEUS (resuming his superior tone)

Is that what draws you to Berlin?

CECILIA

No!... Indeed, no! The spell has been broken ... it seems....

AMADEUS

And yet you talk of going about New Year....

CECILIA (rising)

My dear Amadeus, I am really too tired to discuss that matter to-day. Now I shall say good-night to you. It is quite late. (She holds out her hand to him)

AMADEUS (faltering)

Good-night, Cecilia!... (He clings to her hand) You have been gone three weeks. I shall leave early the day after to-morrow—and when I return, you will be gone, I suppose.... There can't be so very much to your friendship, if you won't stay and talk a while with me under such circumstances.

CECILIA

What's the use of being sentimental? Leave-takings are familiar things to us.

AMADEUS

That's true. But nevertheless this will be a new kind of leave-taking, and a new kind of home-coming also.

CECILIA

Well, seeing that it had to turn out this way....

AMADEUS

But neither of us ever imagined that it would turn out this way.

CECILIA

Oh?

AMADEUS

No, Cecilia, we did not imagine it. The remarkable thing has been that we retained our faith in each other in the midst of all doubts, and that, even when away from each other, we used to feel calm and confident far beyond what was safe, I suppose. But it was splendid. Separation itself used to have a sort of charm of its own—formerly.

CECILIA

Naturally. It isn't possible to love in that undisturbed fashion except when you are miles apart.

AMADEUS

You may be able to make fun of it to-day, Cecilia, but there will never again be anything like it—neither for you nor for me. You can be sure of that.

CECILIA

I know that as well as you do.—But why should you all at once begin to talk as if, somehow, everything would be over between us two, and as if the best part of our life had been irretrievably lost? That's not the case, after all. It cannot possibly be the case. Both of us know that we remain the same as before—don't we—and that everything else that has happened to us, or may happen to us, can be of no particular importance.... And even if it should become important, we shall always be able to join hands, no matter what chasms open between us.

AMADEUS

You speak very sensibly, as usual.

CECILIA

If you seduce ladies by the dozen, and if gentlemen shoot each other dead for my sake—as they do for the sake of Countess Philine—what has that to do with our friendship?

AMADEUS

That's beyond contradiction. Nevertheless, I hadn't expected—in fact, I think it nothing less than admirable—your ability to adjust yourself to everything—your way of remaining perfectly calm in the midst of any new experiences or expectations.

CECILIA

Calm...? Here I am ... by our fireplace ... taking tea in your company. Here I can and shall always be calm. That's the significance of our whole life in common. Whatever may be my destiny in the world at large will slip off me when I enter here. All the storms are on the outside.

AMADEUS

That's more than you can be sure of, Cecilia. Things might happen that would weigh more heavily on you than you can imagine at this moment.

CECILIA

I shall always have the strength to throw off things according to my will before I come to you. And if that strength should ever fail me, I shall come to the door and no farther.

AMADEUS

Oh, no, you mustn't! That would not be in keeping with our agreement. It is just when life grows heavy that I'll be here to help you bear it.

CECILIA

Who knows whether you will always be ready to do so?

AMADEUS

Always—on my oath! No matter what befall you, whether it be sad or wretched, you can always find refuge and sympathy with me. But with all my heart I wish you may be spared most of those things.

CECILIA

That I be spared...? No, Amadeus, a wish like that I can't accept. Hitherto—I have lived so little hitherto. And I am longing for it. I long for all that's sad and sweet in life, for all that's beautiful and all that's pitiful. I long for storms, for perils—for worse than that, perhaps.

AMADEUS

No, Cecilia, that's nothing but imagination!

CECILIA

Oh, no!

AMADEUS

Certainly, Cecilia. You don't know very much as yet, and you imagine many things simpler and cleaner than they are. But there are things you couldn't stand, and others of which you are not capable.—I know you, Cecilia.

CECILIA

You know me?—You know only what I have been to you—what I have been as your beloved and your wife. And as you used to mean the whole world to me—as all my longing, all my tenderness, was bounded by you—we could never guess in those days what might prove my destiny when the real world was thrown open to me.—Even to-day, Amadeus, I am no longer the same as before.... Or perhaps I have always been the same as I am now, but didn't know it merely. And something has fallen away, that used to cover me up in the past.... Yes, that's it: for now I can feel all those desires that used to pass me by as if deflected by a cuirass of insensibility.... Now I can feel how they touch my body and my soul, filling me with qualms and passions. The earth seems full of adventure. The sky seems radiant with flames. And it is as if I could see myself stand waiting with wide-open arms.

AMADEUS (as if calling to somebody in flight)

Cecilia!

CECILIA

What is the matter?

AMADEUS

Nothing.... The words you speak cannot estrange me after all that I have learned already. But there is a new ring in your voice that I have never heard until to-day. Nor have I ever seen that light in your eyes until to-day.

CECILIA

That's what you imagine, Amadeus. If that were really the case, then I should feel the same in regard to you. But I can see no difference in you at all. And I can't imagine how you possibly could come to seem different. To other women you may appear a mischiefmaker—or a silly youth—which has probably happened many times: but to me you will always remain the same as ever. And I have a feeling that, in the last instance, nothing can ever happen to the Amadeus I am thinking of.

AMADEUS

If I could only feel the same—in regard to you! But such assurance is not mine. The recklessness and greed with which you make your way into an unknown world are filling me with outright fear on your behalf. The idea that there are people who know as little of you as you of them at this moment, and to whom you are going to belong...

CECILIA

I shall belong to nobody ... now, that I am free ...

AMADEUS

... who are part of your destiny already, as you of theirs ... it seems to me uncanny. And you are no more the Cecilia I used to love—no! You resemble closely one who was very dear to me, and yet you are not at all the same as she. No, you are not the woman that was my wife for years. I could feel it the moment you entered the place.... The connection between the young girl who sank into my arms one evening seven years ago and the woman who has just returned from abroad to dwell for a brief while in this house seems quite mysterious. For seven years I have been living with another woman—with a quiet, kindly woman—with a sort of angel perhaps, who has now disappeared. She who came to-day has a voice that I have never heard, a look that I am foreign to, a beauty that is strange to me—a beauty not surpassing what the other had, except in being more cruel possibly—and yet a beauty that should confer much greater happiness, I think.

CECILIA

Don't look at me like that!... Don't talk to me like that!... That's not the way to talk to a friend! Don't forget I am no more the one I used to be. When you talk to me like that, Amadeus, it is as if here, too, I should be fanned by those cajoling breaths that nowadays so often touch me like caresses—breaths that make life seem incredibly light, and that make you feel ready for so much that formerly would have appeared incomprehensible.

AMADEUS

If you could guess, Cecilia, how your words hurt me and excite me at the same time!

CECILIA (brusquely)

You must not talk like that, Amadeus. I don't want it. Be sensible, for my sake as well as your own. Good-night.

AMADEUS

Are you going, Cecilia?

CECILIA

Yes. And bear in mind that we are friends and want to remain such.

AMADEUS

Bear in mind that we have always wanted to be honest. And it is not honest—either for you or me—to say that we stand face to face as friends in this moment.... Cecilia—the one thing I can feel at this moment is that you are beautiful ... beautiful as you have never been before!

CECILIA

Amadeus, Amadeus, are you forgetting all that has happened?

AMADEUS

I could forget it—and so could you.

CECILIA

Oh, I remember—I remember! (She wants to leave)

AMADEUS

Stay, Cecilia, stay! The day after to-morrow I shall be gone—stay!

CECILIA

Please don't speak to me like that! I am no longer what I used to be—no longer proud, or calm, or good. Who knows how little might be needed to make me the victim of a certain unscrupulous seducer!

AMADEUS

Cecilia!

CECILIA

Have you so many friends to lose? One is all I have.—Good-night. (She tries to get away)

AMADEUS (seizing her by the hand)

Cecilia, we have long ago bidden each other good-by as man and wife—but we have also made up our minds to take life lightly, to be free, and to lay hold of every happiness that comes within our reach. Should we be mad enough, or cowardly enough, to shrink from the highest happiness ever offered us...?

CECILIA

And what would it lead to ... my friend?

AMADEUS

Don't call me that! I love you and I hate you, but in this moment I am not your friend. What you have been to me—wife, comrade ... what do I care! To-day I want to be—your lover!

CECILIA

You mustn't...! You can't ... no....

AMADEUS

Not your lover then ... but what is both worse and better ... the man who takes you away from another one—the one with whom you are betraying someone else—the one who means to you both bliss and sin at once!

CECILIA

Let me loose, Amadeus.

AMADEUS

No more beautiful adventure will ever blossom by the wayside for either one of us, Cecilia, as long as we may live!

CECILIA

And none more dangerous, Amadeus!

AMADEUS

Wasn't that what you were longing for...?

CECILIA

Good-night, Amadeus.

AMADEUS

Cecilia! (He holds her fast and draws her closer to himself)

CURTAIN



THE THIRD ACT

The same room. It is the morning of the following day. The stage is empty at first. Then Amadeus enters from his room at the left. He wears a dressing-gown, but is otherwise fully dressed. He passes slowly and pensively across the room to the writing desk, from which he picks up the waiting pile of letters. Then he puts the letters down again. He feels chilly, looks around, notices that a window is open, and goes to close it. Then he stands listening for a while at the door to Cecilia's room. Finally he returns to the writing desk and begins to pull out manuscripts from its drawers.

AMADEUS

Let's get things in order.... I wonder how this is going to turn out?—I'll write her from some place along my route. I shall never come back here any more.... I couldn't stand it ... no, I couldn't! (Holding a manuscript in his hand) The Solo—her Solo! Well, I shall not be present to hear her sing it.

CHAMBERMAID (entering)

The men are here to take away the trunk. Here's the check from the expressman.

AMADEUS

All right. Tell them to use the back stairs in taking out the things.

CHAMBERMAID (goes out)

AMADEUS

... When I say good-by to-morrow, she won't guess it is forever.... And the boy ... the boy...? (He walks back and forth) ... But it has to be. (Abruptly) I'll leave this very evening—not to-morrow. Yes, this very evening. (He begins to pile up sheet music) I'll have a talk with the Director. If he says no, I'll simply break away. I won't come back here. (He goes to Cecilia's door again) I suppose she's still asleep. (He comes forward and sits down on the couch, leaning his head in his hands) We have to take lunch together, and she won't guess that it is for the last time.... She won't guess.... And why not? Let her find out ... right now ... I am going to have it out with her. Yes, indeed. (Rising) One can't write a thing of that kind. I'll tell her everything. I'll tell her that I can't bear it—that it drives me crazy to think of the other fellow. And she'll understand. And even if she should plead with me to forgive her ... even if she ... oh! (He goes to her door) I must tell her at once.... Oh, I feel like choking her!... Cecilia! (He knocks at her door, but gets no answer) What does that mean? (He goes into her room) She's gone! (He stays away for about half a minute and comes back by way of the door leading to the garden; then he rings) Where can she....

CHAMBERMAID (enters)

AMADEUS (with pretended unconcern)

Has my wife gone out?

CHAMBERMAID

Yes, sir—quite a while ago.

AMADEUS

Oh...?

CHAMBERMAID

It must be nearly two hours now. She said she would be back about one o'clock.

AMADEUS

All right. Thank you.

CHAMBERMAID

Can I bring in your breakfast now, sir?

AMADEUS

Oh, yes—I had almost forgotten. And a cup of tea, please.

CHAMBERMAID (goes out)

AMADEUS (alone)

Gone!... Well, there is nothing peculiar in that.... Probably to the opera.... But why didn't she tell me...? (He cowers suddenly) To him...? No, that couldn't be possible! Oh, no!... And why not?... A woman like her.... There is nothing to keep her from going to him.... (With a threatening gesture) If I only had him here!... (With sudden inspiration) But that's what I might ... that would be.... To confront him—that's it! To stand face to face with him!... Thus more than one thing might be straightened out.... No, she is not with him.... Where did I get that idea?... That's all over!... But that's what I'll do!... Either I or he!... Many things might then ... everything might then be set right.... He or I!... But to live on like this, while he ... I'll go to Albert. It must be done this very day! (He disappears into his own room)

ALBERT (enters)

CHAMBERMAID (follows him, carrying the breakfast tray) I'll tell the Master at once, sir. (She puts the tray on a small table and goes out to the left)

ALBERT (picks up a moon-shaped roll from the tray and begins to nibble at one of its tips)

AMADEUS (enters, having changed his dressing-gown for a coat)

CHAMBERMAID (follows him, passes quickly across the room and goes out)

AMADEUS

Oh, there you are!

ALBERT

Yes. I'm not too early, I hope? Are you ready? I want to read you the third act. (He takes some papers from his overcoat pocket) You know the setting, of course—the park, the villa, the plane tree. But first of all I must tell you something. Do you remember Mr. von Rabagas, with whom my wife fell in love? I have retouched him slightly. He's going to be cross-eyed. And now I am curious to see what Marie's attitude will be toward him.

AMADEUS (nervously)

All right—later. For the moment there are more important things.

ALBERT

More important...?

AMADEUS

Yes, I want you to do me a great service ... a service that will brook no delay. You have to act as my second.

ALBERT (rising)

Your...? Twaddle! You'll simply refuse the challenge! You're not going to let yourself be killed for the sake of Madame Philine—oh, no!

AMADEUS

It is not a question of Philine. And I have not been challenged. I shall issue the challenge. And for that reason I want you to look up our friend Winter at once, and then I must trouble both of you to call on Prince Sigismund, and tell him....

ALBERT (interrupting him and breaking into laughter)

Oh, Prince Sigismund!—Thank you ever so much!

AMADEUS (surprised)

What's the matter with you?

ALBERT

How obliging! You mean to present me with an ending for the play we concocted yesterday. Thanks. But it's too banal for me—nobody would take any stock in it. I have thought of something much better. You are to be poisoned—yes, sir. And can you guess by whom?—By a brand-new character—one of the secret lovers of your wife.

AMADEUS (furiously)

It doesn't interest me in the least. Stop it, please! I'm not making up endings for your fool comedies! This is real life ... we are right in the midst of it!

ALBERT

You don't mean...?! Well, if I have to stand this unseemly and ridiculous interruption ... what do you want of me anyhow?

AMADEUS

Haven't you understood? The two of you are to challenge Prince Sigismund on my behalf.

ALBERT

Prince Sigismund ... on your behalf.... (He bursts into laughter)

AMADEUS

You seem to think it very funny, but I assure you....

ALBERT

The point is not that you seem funny to me. It's probably balanced by the fact that a lot of people who have thought you funny until now, will all of a sudden think you very sensible ... though they ought to ask themselves, if they had a little logic: why should Mr. Amadeus Adams become jealous on this particular day?... Up to the twenty-third of October he was not, and all at once, on the twenty-third, he is....

AMADEUS

A lot of things have changed since yesterday.

ALBERT

Have changed...? Since yesterday...? Well, I declare!

AMADEUS (after a pause)

So that you didn't believe it either?

ALBERT

To confess the truth—no.

AMADEUS

Which means that I am living among a lot of people who....

ALBERT

Will be in the right ultimately. Why should that arouse your indignation? If we were to live long enough, every lie that's floating about would probably become true. Listen to those who belie you, and you will know the truth about yourself. Gossip knows very rarely what we are doing, but almost always whither we are drifting.

AMADEUS

We didn't know we were drifting this way—that much you will admit, I hope.

ALBERT

And yet it had to come. Friendship between two people of different sexes is always dangerous—even when they are married. If there is too much mutual understanding between our souls, many things are swept along that we would rather keep back; and when our senses are attracted mutually, the suction affects much more of our souls than we would care to have involved. That's a universal law, my dear chap, for which the profound uncertainty of all earthly relations between man and woman must be held responsible. And only he who doesn't know it, will trust himself or anybody else.—If you don't mind? (He begins to butter one of the rolls)

AMADEUS

So you think you understand...?

ALBERT

Of course! That's my specialty, don't you know?

AMADEUS

Well, if you understand what has happened, and understand it must have happened—then you will also understand that I must face the logical consequences.

ALBERT

Logical consequences...? Here I am talking wisdom, and you clamor for nonsense. And that's what you call logical consequences?... My opinion is rather, that you are about to behave like a perfect fool. Anybody else might do what you now propose: you are the only one who mustn't. For when you propose such a thing, it becomes illogical, ungenerous, not to say dishonest. You want to call a man to account for something which, as he sees it, has been declared explicitly permissible.... In his place I should laugh in your face. If anybody has the right to be indignant here, and to demand an account, it is the Prince himself, and nobody else—as he has not deceived you, but you him.

AMADEUS

Well, that's all one, as he undoubtedly will demand an account.

ALBERT

To do so, he must know.

AMADEUS

I'll see to that.

ALBERT

You mean to tell him?

AMADEUS

If you hold it the shortest road to what I have in mind...?

ALBERT

There's a man of honor for you! And is that the discretion you owe the woman you love, do you think?

AMADEUS

Call me illogical, ungenerous, indiscreet—anything you please! I can't help myself! I love Cecilia—do you hear? And I want to go on living with her. But I can't do so until some sort of amends have been made for the past—in my own eyes, in hers, and—I confess it—in the eyes of the world. Sigismund and I must meet, man to man—nothing else can end my trouble.

ALBERT

And how can it make the slightest difference that you two shoot off your guns in the air?

AMADEUS

One of us must out of the way, Albert!... Won't you understand at last?

ALBERT

Now, my dear chap, that's carrying it a little too far! All the time I have thought you were talking of a duel—and now I find that you are after his life!

AMADEUS

Later on you may feel sorry that you could not refrain from inept jesting in a moment like this even. The case is urgent, Albert. Please make up your mind.

ALBERT

And suppose he should refuse?

AMADEUS

He is a nobleman.

ALBERT

He is religious. His father is one of the leaders of the Clerical Party in the Upper House and a vice-president of the Society for the Prevention of Dueling.

AMADEUS

Well, such things are not inherited. And if he won't, I shall know how to make him. There's no other way out of it. There can be no other alternative, if I am to go on living—with or without her. That will set everything right, but nothing else will. It's the one thing that can clear the air about us. Until it is over, we dare not belong to each other again or—be happy.

ALBERT

I hope Cecilia won't insist on killing off Philine and a few others. That would be just as sensible, but would complicate the situation a great deal.

AMADEUS

Won't you go, please!

ALBERT

Yes, I am going.... And how about our opera?

AMADEUS

Oh, we'll have plenty of time to talk of that. However, just to reassure you—all that is finished lies here in the second drawer, everything properly arranged.

ALBERT

And who is to compose the third act?

AMADEUS

It can be given as a fragment, with some kind of ballet as a filler.

ALBERT

Right you are! Something like "Harlequin as Electrician," or "Forget-me-not." (He goes out)

AMADEUS (remains alone for a while; at first he seems to ponder on something; then he returns to the writing desk and falls to work on his papers; a knock is heard at the door leading to the garden) What is it?

PETER (outside)

It's me, papa. Can I come in?

AMADEUS

Certainly, Peter. Come on.

GOVERNESS (entering with Peter)

Good morning.

AMADEUS

Good morning. (He kisses Peter) Is it not a little too cold for him out there?

GOVERNESS

He's very warmly dressed, and besides the sun is shining beautifully.

PETER

Papa, have you seen what mamma brought me?

AMADEUS

What is it?

PETER

A theater—a big theater!

AMADEUS

Is that so? And you have got it already?

PETER

Of course. It's over there in the summer-house. Would you care to look at it?

AMADEUS (glances inquiringly at the governess)

GOVERNESS

Madame brought it to our room quite early, while Peter was still asleep.

AMADEUS

I see.

PETER

I can play theater already. There is a king, and a peasant, and a bride, and a devil—one that's all red—almost as red as the king himself. And in the back there is a mill, and a sky, and a forest, and a hunter.... Won't you come and look at it, papa?

AMADEUS (seated on the couch, with the boy standing between his knees; speaking absentmindedly) Of course I must come and look at it.

CHAMBERMAID (entering)

Sir....

AMADEUS

What is it?

CHAMBERMAID

His Highness asks if you'll see him.

AMADEUS

What highness?

CHAMBERMAID

His Highness, the Prince Lohsenstein.

AMADEUS (rising)

What?

GOVERNESS

Come, Peter—we'll go back and play in the summer-house. (She goes out with Peter)

AMADEUS (with dignity)

Tell the Prince.... (Turning away from her) One moment, please. (To himself) What can that mean...? (Abruptly) Ask him to come in.

CHAMBERMAID (goes out)

AMADEUS (walks quickly to and fro, but stops at some distance from the door when Sigismund enters)

SIGISMUND (is slender, blonde, twenty-six, elegantly dressed, but appears in no respect foppish; he bows to Amadeus) Good-morning.

AMADEUS (takes a few steps forward to meet him and nods politely)

SIGISMUND (looks around a little shyly, but wholly free from any ridiculous embarrassment; his manner is in every respect dignified; there is a slight smile on his face) We have not seen each other for some time, and you'll probably assume that my visit to-day has a special reason.

AMADEUS

Naturally. (Pointing to a chair) Please.

SIGISMUND

Thank you. (He comes nearer, but remains standing) I have decided to take this step—which has not come easy to me, I can assure you—because I find the situation in which we ... in which all of us have been placed, untenable and, in a certain sense, ridiculous ... and because I think that, in one way or another, it should be brought to an end. The sole object of my visit is to put before you a proposition.

AMADEUS

I'm listening.

SIGISMUND

I don't want to waste any words. My proposition is that you get a divorce from your wife.

AMADEUS (shrinks back for a moment, staring at Sigismund; then, after a pause he says calmly) You wish to marry Cecilia?

SIGISMUND

There is nothing I wish more eagerly.

AMADEUS

And what is the attitude of Cecilia toward your intentions?

SIGISMUND

Not encouraging so far.

AMADEUS (puzzled)

Cecilia is absolutely in a position to decide for herself. And of course, she would also have the right to leave me—whenever and howsoever it might please her to do so. For that reason you must pardon me if I find the object of your visit incomprehensible, to say the least.

SIGISMUND

You'll soon find it comprehensible, I think. The discouraging attitude of Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg proves nothing at all in this connection, I must say. As long as Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg has not been set free by you—even if that be done against her own will—she is, in a sense, bound to you. To get this matter fully cleared up, it seems to me necessary that you yourself, my dear Master, insist on a divorce. Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg will not be in a position to choose freely until she has been divorced from you. Until then the struggle between us two will not be on equal terms—as, I trust, you would like to have it.

AMADEUS

There can be no talk of any struggle here. You misunderstand the actual state of affairs in a manner that seems to me incomprehensible. For I have no right to suppose that Cecilia has made any secret of the more deep-lying reasons that have so far prevented us from considering a dissolution of our marriage.

SIGISMUND

Certainly, I am aware of those reasons, but to me they don't by any means seem sufficiently pressing—not even from your own viewpoint—to exclude all thought of a divorce. And I am anxious to assure you that, under all circumstances, I shall feel bound to treat those reasons with the most profound respect.

AMADEUS

What do you mean?

SIGISMUND

You know, my dear Master, that the reverence I have for your art, even if I am not always capable of grasping it, equals the admiration I feel for the singing of Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg. I know how much you two mutually owe to each other, and how you—if I may say so—complement each other musically. And it would never occur to me to put any difficulties whatsoever in the way of your continued artistic relationship. I am equally aware of the tenderness with which you regard your child—for whom, by the way, as you probably know, I have a great deal of devotion—and I can give you my word that the doors leading to the quarters of little Peter will always stand open to you.

AMADEUS

In other words, you would have no objection to seeing the former husband of your—of the wife—of the Princess Lohsenstein, admitted to your house as a friend?

SIGISMUND

Any such objection would be regarded by me as an insult to your—to my—to Mrs. Cecilia Adams-Ortenburg, as well as to you, my dear Master. With those provisions made, the new arrangement, which I am taking the liberty to suggest, would be more sensible and—if you'll allow me a frank expression—more decent than the one to which all of us now have to submit. I am convinced, my dear Master, that, when you have had chance to consider the matter calmly, you will not only agree with me, but you will be surprised that this simple solution of an unbearable situation has not occurred to yourself long ago. As for me, I want to add that, to me personally, this solution seems the only possible one. Yes, I don't hesitate to say that I would leave the city, without hope of ever seeing Mrs. Cecilia again, rather than keep on compromising her in a manner that must be equally painful to all of us.

AMADEUS

Oh, has it come to that all at once? Well, if the matter doesn't trouble Cecilia or me, I think you might well regard it with indifference. I hope you know that we have arranged our life to suit ourselves, without the least regard for popular gossip, and that I don't care at all whether or no Cecilia be compromised—as you call it.

SIGISMUND

I know you don't. But I feel differently. A lady to whom I'm so devoted, and whom I respect so highly that I would lead her to the altar, must appear spotless to God and man alike.

AMADEUS

You might have kept that in mind before. Your previous behavior has given no indication of such a view. You have been waiting for my wife in the immediate vicinity of the opera; you have been walking with her for hours at a time; you have visited her in the country; you have followed her to Berlin and come back here in her company....

SIGISMUND (surprised)

But it was in your power to stop all those things, if they didn't suit you....

AMADEUS

Stop them ... because they didn't suit...? What has that to do with what I am talking of?—I am not the person who has found this situation unbearable and compromising.

SIGISMUND

Oh, I understand. Considering, however, that you have placed such emphasis on your indifference to popular gossip, I must say that your tone sounds pretty excited. But permit me to assure you that this impresses me rather pleasantly. Bear in mind that I am merely human. What young man in my place would have refrained from meeting the adored one, when everything was rendered so easy for him? And nevertheless I didn't visit the Pustertal or make the tour to Berlin without an inward struggle—in fact, I have often had to struggle with myself while waiting for her near the opera. And I cannot tell you how I have suffered under the searching glances directed at Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg and myself when we were having supper together after one of the Berlin performances, for instance, or when we went for an afternoon drive in the Tiergarten.[7] Not to speak of the painful impression my aunt's remarks made on me when I called to bid her good-by! Really, I can't find words to express it.

[7] A large park in the center of Berlin, corresponding to the Central Park of New York or the Hyde Park of London.

AMADEUS

How much longer do you mean to keep up this remarkable comedy, my dear Prince?

SIGISMUND (drawing back)

Do you mean....

AMADEUS

What in the world makes you appear before me in a part which I don't know whether to call tasteless or foolhardy?

SIGISMUND

Sir!... Oh...! You think.... I see now.... And you imagine that I would have crossed your threshold again under such circumstances?

AMADEUS

Why should that particular thing not be imagined?

SIGISMUND

Later on we shall get back to what you think of me. But a third person is concerned in this matter, and I am not going to stand....

AMADEUS

May I ask whether you have been equally angry with everyone who has dared to question the virtue of Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg?

SIGISMUND

You are at least the first one who has dared to question it to my face, and the last one who may dare to do so unpunished.

AMADEUS

Do you think the punishment threatening the impertinent one in your mind will be apt to restore the reputation of Cecilia? Do you think it would put an end to the gossip if you, of all people, tried to champion the honor of Mrs. Adams-Ortenburg?

SIGISMUND

Who could, if not I?

AMADEUS

If it is not a comedy you are now playing, then you haven't the right even!

SIGISMUND

Do you mean to say that Cecilia is the only woman in the world who must stand unprotected against any slander?

AMADEUS

If you are telling the truth, Prince Sigismund, then there is only one person in the world who has the right to protect Cecilia, and that person am I.

SIGISMUND

Considering what has happened, I have excellent reason to think that you will neither avail yourself of that right nor fulfill that duty.

AMADEUS

You are mistaken. And if you will take the trouble of returning home, you will soon be convinced of your mistake.

SIGISMUND

What do you mean?

AMADEUS

I mean simply that two of my friends are now on their way to your house on my behalf....

SIGISMUND

Well...?

AMADEUS

To demand reparation for what ... (looking Sigismund straight in the eye) I believed you guilty of.

SIGISMUND (takes a step back; a pause ensues during which they stare hard at each other) You have challenged.... (Reaching out his hand) That's fine!

AMADEUS (does not accept the proffered hand)

SIGISMUND

But it's splendid! I can assure you that the whole matter now assumes quite a different aspect. And, of course, I shall be at your disposal just the same, if you insist.

AMADEUS (draws a deep breath, looks long at Sigismund, and shakes his head at last) No, I won't any longer. (He shakes hands with him, and then begins walking to and fro, muttering to himself) Cecilia.... Cecilia...! (Returning to Sigismund and addressing him in a totally different tone) Won't you please be seated, Sigismund?

SIGISMUND

No, thank you.

AMADEUS (feeling repelled and suspicious again)

Just as you please.

SIGISMUND

Don't misunderstand me, please. But I suppose this ends our conference, my dear Master. (Looking around) And yet I must admit that your rude treatment has made me feel a great deal more at ease. Isn't that strange? And in spite of the fact that, after this unexpected turn, my hopes must be held practically—I beg your pardon!—completely disposed of.... In spite of this I feel actually in much better spirits than I have done for a long time. Even if I am not to have the happiness of which I have foolishly dared to dream so long....

AMADEUS

Was it so very foolish?

SIGISMUND (good-humoredly)

Oh, yes. But this is at least an acceptable conclusion. (Shaking his head) It seems queer! If I hadn't come here at this very moment, you might never have learned—you might never have believed—might have believed that Cecilia.... And one of us might perhaps—must perhaps have.... (He makes a gesture to complete the sentence)

AMADEUS

It was indeed a strange coincidence that made you choose this particular moment....

SIGISMUND

Coincidence, you say? Oh, no, there are no coincidences—as you will discover sooner or later. (Pause) Well, good-by then, and give my regards to Mrs. ... Adams ...

AMADEUS

You can safely call her Cecilia.

SIGISMUND

... and tell her, please, that she mustn't be angry with me for having taken such a step without her knowledge. Of course, my going away won't surprise her. When leaving her yesterday, I told her that I couldn't continue this kind of existence.

AMADEUS

And she...? What did she say?

SIGISMUND (hesitatingly)

She....

AMADEUS (excited again)

She tried to keep you here...?

SIGISMUND

Yes.

AMADEUS

So that after all...!

SIGISMUND

Now she won't try any longer, my dear Master. (With a wistful smile) I have served my purpose.

AMADEUS

What do you mean?

SIGISMUND

Oh, I can see now why she needed me—of course, you were not at all aware of it!

AMADEUS

Why did she need you?

SIGISMUND

Simply and solely as a means of winning you back.

AMADEUS

What makes you think...?

SIGISMUND

What...? That she has succeeded.

AMADEUS

No, Sigismund—she hadn't lost me—in spite of all that had happened. In fact, I feel as if I had rather lost her than she—me.

SIGISMUND

That's awfully kind of you. But now—God be with you!

AMADEUS (with something like emotion)

And when shall we see you again?

SIGISMUND

I don't know. Perhaps never.—-Please don't imagine that I might take my own life. I shall get over it, being still young.—Oh, my dear Master, if things could only become what they used to be, so that I could sit here at the fireplace while Cecilia was singing—or hammer away at the piano after supper...!

AMADEUS

Don't be quite so modest, please! The fame of your piano playing has reached Berlin even, I hear.

SIGISMUND

So she has told you that, too?!—But you see, dear Master, all that can never come back—we could no longer feel at ease with each other.... So—never to meet again!

AMADEUS

Never.... Why? Perhaps I shall see you very soon alone. I am also—going away.

SIGISMUND

I know. We were talking of it yesterday, in the dining car. You are to conduct your—number-which-one is it now?

AMADEUS

The fourth.

SIGISMUND

So you have got that far already?—And where are you going anyhow?

AMADEUS

To the Rhine district first of all; then by way of Munich to Italy—Venice, Milan, Rome.

SIGISMUND

Rome...? There we may possibly meet. But you'll have to pardon me for not coming to your concerts. So far I have not been able to understand your symphonies.... But I am sure I shall sometime! One does grow more and more clever, and sorrow and experiences in particular have a maturing influence.... "Now he's making fun of it," I suppose you are thinking. But, really, I am not in a very humorous mood. Farewell, my dear Master—and my most respectful compliments to your wife. (He goes out)

AMADEUS (walks back and forth; takes a few deep breaths, as if relieved; goes out into the garden; returns; sits down at the piano and plays a few improvisations; gets up and goes to the writing desk, where he begins to look for something among the papers) Where's that Solo? ... She's going to sing it, and I shall be present...! (He seats himself at the piano again, apparently in a very happy mood) Cecilia!... Cecilia!

CECILIA (enters)

AMADEUS (rising)

Ah, there you are at last, Cecilia!

CECELIA (very calmly)

Good-morning, Amadeus.

AMADEUS

A little late.

CECILIA (smiling)

Yes. (She takes off her hat and goes to the mirror to arrange her hair)

AMADEUS

What made you get out so early?

CECILIA

Various things I had to attend to.

AMADEUS

And may one ask...?

CECILIA

One may.—Look here, what I have got for you. (She takes a letter from a small bag)

AMADEUS

What's that? (He takes it) What...? My letter to Philine...! Did you go to her, Cecilia?

CECILIA

Well, I felt a little nervous about it. Now I think it was rather silly of me.

AMADEUS

And how...?

CECILIA

Oh, the simplest thing in the world! I asked her for it, and she gave it to me. It was lying in an open drawer in her writing desk—with others. I think you can call yourself lucky.

AMADEUS

Cecilia! (He tears the letter to pieces and throws these into the fireplace)

CECILIA

Well, you would never have made up your mind to demand it of her, and that would have kept me in a state of irritation. I can't have anything like that on my mind when I want to work.—And now that's settled. (She turns away) Then I went to the opera, too. I have had a talk with the Director. He's going to indorse my request to be set free.

AMADEUS

Your request to be set free...?

CECILIA

Yes, I shall go to Berlin on the first of January.

AMADEUS

But, Cecilia, we haven't talked it over yet....

CECILIA

What's the use of postponing a thing that's already settled in my own mind?—You know I never like to do that.

AMADEUS

But it means a whole year of separation!

CECILIA

To start with. But I think it might be just as well to prepare ourselves for a still longer period.

AMADEUS

Do you mean to leave me, Cecilia?!

CECILIA

What else can I do, Amadeus? That ought to be as clear to you as it is to me.

AMADEUS

So it would have been a little while ago, Cecilia. But I have come to see our future in a different light.... Cecilia ... Sigismund has been here!

CECILIA

Sigismund?!... You have talked with him?... What did he want?

AMADEUS

What did he want...? Your hand.

CECILIA

And you refused...?

AMADEUS

He is sending you his farewell greetings through me, Cecilia.

CECILIA

So that's what has put you in such a good humor all at once! (Pause) And if he hadn't come here?

AMADEUS

If he hadn't come here....

CECILIA

Speak out, please!

AMADEUS (remains silent)

CECILIA

You didn't mean to ... to fight him?

AMADEUS

I did. Albert was on his way to him at the time.

CECILIA

What vanity, Amadeus!

AMADEUS

No, not vanity, Cecilia. I love you.

CECILIA (remains wholly unresponsive)

AMADEUS

You can't guess, of course, what took place within me while his words were gradually bringing home the truth to me! Once more the doors of heaven have been thrown open to me!

CECILIA

The only thing you forget is that they must remain closed to me forever.

AMADEUS

Don't say that, Cecilia. What has happened to me in the past seems so very insignificant, after all.

CECILIA

Insignificant, you say?—And if it had happened to me, it would have been so significant that people should have had to kill or be killed on that account? How can you think then, that I might get over it so easily?

AMADEUS

How can I...? Because you have proved it already. You knew just what had happened, and yet you became mine again.... You knew that I had been faithless, while you had kept your faith, and yet....

CECILIA

You say that I have kept my faith?—No, I haven't! And even if I should seem faithful to you, I have long ago ceased to be so in my own mind. I know the desires that have burned within me.... I know how often my body has trembled and yearned in the presence of some man.... And what I told you last night—that I am waiting with wide-open arms, full of longings and expectations—that's true, Amadeus—no less true than it is that I am standing face to face with you now.

AMADEUS

If that be true, what has kept you from satisfying all your longings—you, who have been as free as I have?

CECILIA

I am a woman, Amadeus. And we seem to be like that. Something makes us hesitate even when we have already made up our minds.

AMADEUS

And because you seemed guilty in your own mind, you remained silent?... And for no other reason have you left me—me, whose sufferings you might have relieved by a single word—to believe you as guilty as myself?

CECILIA

Perhaps....

AMADEUS

And how long did you mean to let me go on believing that?

CECILIA

Until it became true, Amadeus.

AMADEUS

But there has been enough of it now, Cecilia. It will never become true ... never after this.

CECILIA

Where do you get that idea, Amadeus? It is going to be true. Do you think, perhaps, that all this was meant as a kind of ordeal for you? Do you think I was playing a childish comedy in order to punish you, and that now, when you have discovered the truth prematurely, I shall sink into your arms and declare everything right again? Have you really imagined that everything could now be forgotten, and that we might resume our marriage relations at the exact point where they were interrupted? How can you possibly have wished that such might be the case—so that our marriage would be like thousands of others, where both deceive each other, and become reconciled, and deceive each other again—just as the moment's whim happens to move them?

AMADEUS

We have neither deceived each other, nor become reconciled—we have been free, and have merely found each other again.

CECILIA

Each other, you say?... As if that were possible! What is it then, that has made me seem so desirable to you all at once? Not the fact that I am Cecilia—oh, no! But the fact that I seem to have come back another woman. And have I really become yours again? Not at all! Not unless you have grown so modest all at once that you can be satisfied with a happiness that might have fallen to somebody else perhaps, if he had merely chanced to be on hand at that particular moment.

AMADEUS (shrinking back)

But even if last night be sacrificed to this fixed idea of yours, Cecilia—it is daylight now—we are awake—and in this moment of clear light you must feel, no less than I, that we love each other, Cecilia—love as we have never loved before.

CECILIA

This moment might prove deceptive—and I am sure it would. No other moment would be more apt to prove such. Do you think those many moments in which we felt our tenderness gradually ebbing away—those many moments when we felt the lure of other loves—do you think them less worthy of consideration than this one? The only thing urging us together now is our fear of the final leave-taking. And our feelings at this moment make a pretty poor sample upon which to base an eternity. I don't trust them. What has happened once, may ... nay, must repeat itself—to-morrow—or two years from now—or five ... in a more indiscreet manner, perhaps, or in a manner more tragical—but certainly in a manner to be much more regretted.

AMADEUS

Oh, no—never again! Now—after what I have felt and experienced lately, I can vouch for myself.

CECILIA

I don't feel equally certain of myself, Amadeus.

AMADEUS

That doesn't scare me, Cecilia, for now I'm prepared to fight for you—now I'm worthy and capable of fighting for you. Hereafter you shall never more be left unprotected as you were in the past—my tenderness will guard you.

CECILIA

But I don't want to be guarded! I shall no longer permit you to guard me! And I can no more give you any promises than I care to accept yours.

AMADEUS

And if I should forgo them myself—if I should risk it on a mere uncertainty?

CECILIA

That's more than I dare—whether the risk concern you or myself ... more than I would risk even with certainty in mind. (She turns away from him)

AMADEUS

Then I cannot possibly understand you, Cecilia. What is it you want to make us pay for so dearly—yes, both of us? Is it our guilt or our happiness?

CECILIA

Why should either one of them be paid for? What's the use of such a word between us? Neither one of us has done anything that requires atonement. Neither one of us has any right to reproach the other one. Both of us have been free, and each one has used his freedom in accordance with his own desire and ability. I think nothing has happened but what must happen. We have trusted each other too much—or too little. We were neither made to love each other faithfully forever nor to maintain a pure friendship. Others have become resigned—I can't—and you mustn't allow yourself, Amadeus. Our experiment has failed. Let us admit our disillusionment. That can be borne. But I have no curiosity to find how it tastes when everything comes to an end in sheer loathing.

AMADEUS

Comes to an end, you say?—But that can't be possible, Cecilia! It can't be possible that we should really leave each other—part from each other like strangers! We are still face to face—each of us can feel the closeness of the other one—and that's why you cannot yet realize what it would mean. Consider all the things that might come into your life as well as into mine during a separation of that kind—so prolonged and so void of responsibility—things that now have no place in your imagination even, and for which there could be no reparation.

CECILIA

Could they be worse than what has already befallen me? Faithfulness to each other in the ordinary sense matters least of all, I should think. And we could probably more easily find our way back to each other sometime from almost any other experience than that adventure of last night, or from a moment of self-deception like this one.

AMADEUS

Find our way back, you say...?

CECILIA

It's also possible that, after a couple of years, we won't care to do so—that everything may be over between us to such an extent that we cannot imagine it now. That's possible, I say. But if we stayed together now, everything would be over within the next few seconds. For then we should be no better than all those we have despised hitherto—the one difference being that we had arranged ourselves more comfortably than the rest.

ALBERT (entering)

I beg your pardon for coming in unannounced like this, but....

CECILIA (withdraws toward the background)

AMADEUS (going to meet Albert)

Yes, I know—you didn't find the Prince—he has been here himself.

ALBERT

What does that mean?

AMADEUS

That there was no reason why I should want to kill him.

ALBERT

I see.—Well, I'll be hanged if I haven't suspected something of the kind myself!—Then I suppose everything is once more in perfect order in this house?

AMADEUS

Yes, in perfect order. When I return, Cecilia will be in Berlin, and I shall not follow her.

ALBERT

What? Then you are going to ask for a separation after all?

CECILIA (approaching them)

No, we are not going to ask for a separation. We'll just separate.

ALBERT

What?... (He looks from one to the other; pause) Really I like that. Indeed, I do. I think both of you are splendid—but especially you, Cecilia—and, of course, there is nothing else left for you to do now.

PETER (enters, carrying some of his puppets)

Papa! Mamma! I can play theater beautifully. Won't you come and look? Oh, please come!

CECILIA (strokes his hair)

AMADEUS (remains standing at some distance from them)

ALBERT

Well, isn't this just like life—the life you are always talking of! This should be the moment when you had to fall into each others' arms with absolute certainty, if you had had the luck to be imaginatively created—that is, not by me, of course.

CECILIA

No, the boy means too much to both of us to make that possible—don't you think so, Amadeus?

AMADEUS (losing control of himself after a glance at Peter) All at once to be alone in the world again—it's a thought I can hardly face!

CECILIA

But we shall be somewhere in that world, you know—your child, and the mother of your child. We are not parting as enemies, after all.... (With a smile) I am even ready to come here and sing that Solo of yours—although we shall not be able to study it together.

AMADEUS

It's more than I can bear...!

CECILIA

It will have to be borne. We must work—both of us.

ALBERT (to Amadeus)

Yes, and it remains to be seen what effect a real sorrow like this may have on you. It's just what you have lacked so far. I expect you'll get a lot out of it. In a sense, I might almost envy you.

PETER

What's the matter?... Look here, mamma, how they jump about! That's the king, and this is the devil.

ALBERT

Come on, sonny, and play your piece to me. But I insist that the hero must either marry in the end, or be carried off by the devil. In either case you can go home quite satisfied when the curtain drops. (He goes out with Peter)

CECILIA (after a glance at Amadeus, starts to follow them)

AMADEUS

Cecilia!

CECILIA (turns back)

AMADEUS (passionately)

Why didn't you show me the door, Cecilia, when you knew...?

CECILIA

Well, did I know?... I have loved you, Amadeus. And all I wanted, perhaps, was that the inevitable end should be worthy of our love—that we should part after a final moment of bliss, and with a pang.

AMADEUS

With a pang, you say...? Do you really feel anything like that?

CECILIA (coming close to him and speaking very gently)

Why don't you try to understand me, Amadeus? I feel it just as keenly as you do. But there is another thing I feel more strongly than you, and it is well for us both that I do. It is this, Amadeus, that we have been so much to each other that we must keep the memory of it pure. If that was nothing but an adventure last night, then we have never been worthy of our past happiness.... If it was a farewell, then we may expect new happiness in the future ... perhaps.... (She starts toward the garden)

AMADEUS

And that's our reward, then, for having always been honest to each other!

CECILIA (turning toward him again)

Honest, you call it...? Have we always been that?

AMADEUS

Cecilia!

CECILIA

No, I can't think so any longer. Let everything else have been honest—but that both of us should have resigned ourselves so promptly when you told me of your passion for the Countess and I confessed my affection for Sigismund—that was not honest. If each of us had then flung his scorn, his bitterness, his despair into the face of the other one, instead of trying to appear self-controlled and superior—then we should have been honest—which, as it was, we were not. (She walks across the veranda outside and disappears into the garden)

AMADEUS (to himself)

All right—then we were not honest. (After a pause) And suppose we had been?! (For a moment he seems to consider; then he goes to the writing desk and puts the manuscript music lying there into the little handbag; after a glance into the garden, he goes into his own room, returning at once with his hat and overcoat; then he opens the handbag again and picks out a manuscript, which he places on the piano; then he goes out rapidly, taking hat, overcoat and handbag with him; a brief pause follows)

CECILIA (enters and notices that the handbag is gone; she goes quickly into Amadeus' room, but returns immediately; she crosses the room to the main entrance and remains standing there, opening her arms widely at first, and then letting them sink down again; going to the piano, she catches sight of the manuscript lying there and picks it up; while looking at it, she sinks down on the piano stool)

PETER (appears on the veranda with Albert and calls from there) Mother!

CECILIA (does not hear him)

ALBERT (observing that Cecilia is alone and sunk in grief, takes Peter with him into the garden again)

CECILIA (begins to weep softly and lets her head sink down on the piano)

CURTAIN



COUNTESS MIZZIE

OR

THE FAMILY REUNION

(Komtesse Mizzi oder der Familientag)

A COMEDY IN ONE ACT

1907



PERSONS

COUNT ARPAD PAZMANDY

MIZZIE } His daughter

PRINCE EGON RAVENSTEIN

LOLO LANGHUBER

PHILIP

PROFESSOR WINDHOFER

WASNER

THE GARDENER

THE VALET



COUNTESS MIZZIE

The garden of Count Arpad. In the background, tall iron fence. Near the middle of this, but a little more to the right, there is a gate. In the foreground, at the left, appears the facade of the two-storied villa, which used to be an imperial hunting lodge about 180 years ago and was remodeled about thirty years ago. A narrow terrace runs along the main floor, which is raised above the ground. Three wide stairs lead from the terrace down to the garden. French doors, which are standing open, lead from the terrace into the drawing-room. The windows of the upper floor are of ordinary design. Above that floor appears a small balcony, to which access is had through a dormer window. This balcony holds a profusion of flowering plants. A garden seat, a small table and an armchair stand under a tree at the right, in the foreground.

COUNT (enters from the right; he is an elderly man with gray mustaches, but must still be counted decidedly good-looking; his bearing and manners indicate the retired officer; he wears a riding suit and carries a crop)

VALET (entering behind the Count)

At what time does Your Grace desire to have dinner to-day?

COUNT (who speaks with the laconism affected by his former colleagues, and who, at that particular moment, is engaged in lighting a huge cigar) At two.

VALET

And when is the carriage to be ready, Your Grace?

MIZZIE[1] (appearing on the balcony with a palette and a bunch of brushes in one hand, calls down to her father) Good morning, papa.

[1] Diminutive of Maria.

COUNT

Morning, Mizzie.

MIZZIE

You left me all alone for breakfast again, papa. Where have you been anyhow?

COUNT

Most everywhere. Rode out by way of Mauer and Rodaun.[2] Perfectly splendid day. And what are you doing? At work already? Is there anything new to be seen soon?

[2] Small towns south of Vienna. The subsequent reference to the Tiergarten shows that the Pazmandy residence must be in the little suburb of Lainz, at the extreme southwestern corner of Vienna. Near the Tiergarten there is actually an imperial hunting lodge, which the playwright seems to have appropriated for his purpose.

MIZZIE

Yes, indeed, papa. Nothing but flowers though, as usual.

COUNT

Isn't the professor coming to see you to-day?

MIZZIE

Yes, but not until one.

COUNT

Well, don't let me interrupt you.

MIZZIE (throws a kiss to him and disappears from the balcony)

COUNT (to the valet)

What are you waiting for? Oh, the carriage. I'm not going out again to-day. Joseph can take a holiday. Or wait a moment. (He calls up to the balcony) Say, Mizzie....

MIZZIE (reappears on the balcony)

COUNT

Sorry to disturb you again. Do you think you'll want the carriage to-day?

MIZZIE

No, thank you, papa. I can think of nothing.... No, thanks. (She disappears again)

COUNT

So Joseph can do what he pleases this afternoon. That's—oh, see that Franz gives the nag a good rubbing down. We got a little excited this morning—both of us.

VALET (goes out)

COUNT (sits down on the garden seat, picks up a newspaper from the table and begins to read)

GARDENER (enters)

Good morning, Your Grace.

COUNT

Morning, Peter. What's up?

GARDENER

With Your Grace's permission, I have just cut the tea roses.

COUNT

Why all that lot?

GARDENER

The bush is full up. It ain't wise, Your Grace, to leave 'em on the stem much longer. If maybe Your Grace could find some use....

COUNT

Haven't got any. Why do you stand there looking at me? I'm not going to the city. I won't need any flowers. Why don't you put them in some of those vases and things that are standing about in there? Quite the fashion nowadays, isn't it? (He takes the bunch of flowers from the gardener and inhales their fragrance while he seems to be pondering something) Wasn't that a carriage that stopped here?

GARDENER

That's His Highness' pair of blacks. I know 'em by their step.

COUNT

Thanks very much then. (He hands back the roses)

PRINCE (comes in by the gate)

COUNT (goes to meet him)

GARDENER

Good morning, Your Highness.

PRINCE

Hello, Peter.

GARDENER (goes out toward the right)

PRINCE (wears a light-colored Summer suit; is fifty-five, but doesn't look it; tall and slender; his manner of speech suggests the diplomat, who is as much at home in French as in his native tongue)

COUNT

Delighted, old chap. How goes it?

PRINCE

Thanks. Splendid day.

COUNT (offers him one of his gigantic cigars)

PRINCE

No, thank you, not before lunch. Only one of my own cigarettes, if you permit. (He takes a cigarette from his case and lights it)

COUNT

So you've found time to drop in at last. Do you know how long you haven't been here? Three weeks.

PRINCE (glancing toward the balcony)

Really that long?

COUNT

What is it that makes you so scarce?

PRINCE

You mustn't mind. But you are right, of course. And even to-day I come only to say good-by.

COUNT

What—good-by?

PRINCE

I shall be off to-morrow.

COUNT

You're going away? Where?

PRINCE

The sea shore. And you—have you made any plans yet?

COUNT

I haven't given a thought to it yet—this year.

PRINCE

Well, of course, it's wonderful right here—with your enormous park. But you have to go somewhere later in the Summer?

COUNT

Don't know yet. But it's all one.

PRINCE

What's wrong now?

COUNT

Oh, my dear old friend, it's going downhill.

PRINCE

How? That's a funny way of talking, Arpad. What do you mean by downhill?

COUNT

One grows old, Egon.

PRINCE

Yes, and gets accustomed to it.

COUNT

What do you know about it—you who are five years younger?

PRINCE

Six almost. But at fifty-five the springtime of life is pretty well over. Well—one gets resigned to it.

COUNT

You have always been something of a philosopher, old chap.

PRINCE

Anyhow, I can't see what's the matter with you. You look fine. (Seats himself; frequently during this scene he glances up at the balcony; pause)

COUNT (with sudden decision)

Have you heard the latest? She's going to marry.

PRINCE

Who's going to marry?

COUNT

Do you have to ask? Can't you guess?

PRINCE

Oh, I see. Thought it might be Mizzie. And that would also.... So Lolo is going to marry.

COUNT

She is.

PRINCE

But that's hardly the "latest."

COUNT

Why not?

PRINCE

It's what she has promised, or threatened, or whatever you choose to call it, these last three years.

COUNT

Three, you say? May just as well say ten. Or eighteen. Yes, indeed. In fact, since the very start of this affair between her and me. It has always been a fixed idea with her. "If ever a decent man asks me to marry him, I'll get off the stage stante pede." It was almost the first thing she told me. You have heard it yourself a couple of times. And now he's come—the one she has been waiting for—and she's to get married.

PRINCE

Hope he's decent at least.

COUNT

Yes, you're very witty! But is that your only way of showing sympathy in a serious moment like this?

PRINCE

Now! (He puts his hand on the Count's arm)

COUNT

Well, I assure you, it's a serious moment. It's no small matter when you have lived twenty years with somebody—in a near-marital state; when you have been spending your best years with her, and really shared her joys and sorrows—until you have come to think at last, that it's never going to end—and then she comes to you one fine day and says: "God bless you, dear, but I'm going to get wedded on the sixteenth...." Oh, damn the whole story! (He gets up and begins to walk about) And I can't blame her even. Because I understand perfectly. So what can you do about it?

PRINCE

You've always been much too kind, Arpad.

COUNT

Nothing kind about it. Why shouldn't I understand? The clock has struck thirty-eight for her. And she has said adieu to her profession. So that anybody can sympathize with her feeling that there is no fun to go on as a ballet dancer retired on half pay and mistress on active service to Count Pazmandy, who'll be nothing but an old fool either, as time runs along. Of course, I have been prepared for it. And I haven't blamed her a bit—'pon my soul!

PRINCE

So you have parted as perfect friends?

COUNT

Certainly. In fact, our leave-taking was quite jolly. 'Pon my soul, I never suspected at first how tough it would prove. It's only by degrees it has come home to me. And that's quite a remarkable story, I must say....

PRINCE

What's remarkable about it?

COUNT

I suppose I had better tell you all about it. On my way home that last time—one night last week—I had a feeling all of a sudden—I don't know how to express it ... tremendously relieved, that's what I felt. Now you are a free man, I said to myself. Don't have to drive to Mayerhof Street[3] every night God grants you, merely to dine and chatter with Lolo, or just sit there listening to her. Had come to be pretty boresome at times, you know. And then the drive home in the middle of the night, and, on top of it, to be called to account when you happened to be dining with a friend in the Casino or taking your daughter to the opera or a theater. To cut it short—I was in high feather going home that night. My head was full of plans already.... No, nothing of the kind you have in mind! But plans for traveling, as I have long wanted to do—to Africa, or India, like a free man.... That is, I should have brought my little girl along, of course.... Yes, you may well laugh at my calling her a little girl still.

[3] A street in the district of Wieden, near one of the principal shopping districts and leading to the great Theresian Riding Academy.

PRINCE

Nothing of the kind. Mizzie looks exactly like a young girl. Like quite a young one. Especially in that Florentine straw hat she was wearing a while ago.

COUNT

Like a young girl, you say! And yet she's exactly of an age with Lolo. You know, of course! Yes, we're growing old, Egon. Every one of us. Oh, yes.... And lonely. But really, I didn't notice it to begin with. It was only by degrees it got hold of me. The first days after that farewell feast were not so very bad. But the day before yesterday, and yesterday, as the time approached when I used to start for Mayerhof Street.... And when Peter brought in those roses a moment ago—for Lolo, of course—why, then it seemed pretty plain to me that I had become a widower for the second time in my life. Yes, my dear fellow. And this time forever. Now comes the loneliness. It has come already.

PRINCE

But that's nonsense—loneliness!

COUNT

Pardon me, but you can't understand. Your way of living has been so different from mine. You have not let yourself be dragged into anything new since your poor wife died ten years ago. Into nothing of a serious nature, I mean. And besides, you have a profession, in a sense.

PRINCE

Have I?

COUNT

Well, as a member of the Upper House.

PRINCE

Oh, I see.

COUNT

And twice you have almost been put into the cabinet.

PRINCE

Yes, almost....

COUNT

Who knows? Perhaps you will break in some time. And I'm all done. Had myself retired three years ago in the bargain—like a fool.

PRINCE (with a smile)

That's why you are a free man now. Perfectly free. With the world open before you.

COUNT

And no desire to do a thing, old man. That's the whole story. Since that time I haven't gone to the Casino even. Do you know what I have been doing the last few nights? I have sat under that tree with Mizzie—playing domino.

PRINCE

Well, don't you see? That's not to be lonely. When you have a daughter, and particularly such a sensible one, with whom you have always got on so well.... What does she say about your staying at home nights anyhow?

COUNT

Nothing. Besides, it has happened before, quite frequently. She says nothing at all. And what could she say? It seems to me she has never noticed anything. Do you think she can have known about Lolo?

PRINCE (laughing)

Man alive!

COUNT

Of course. Yes, I know. Of course, she must have known. But then, I was still almost a young man when her mother died. I hope it hasn't hurt her feelings.

PRINCE

No, that wouldn't. (Casually) But being left so much alone may have troubled her at times, I should think.

COUNT

Has she complained of me? There's no reason why you shouldn't tell me.

PRINCE

I am not in her confidence. She has never complained to me. And, heavens, it may never have troubled her at all. She has so long been accustomed to this quiet, retired life.

COUNT

Yes, and she seems to have a taste for it, too. And then she used to go out a good deal until a few years ago. Between you and me, Egon, as late as three years ago—no, two years ago—I still thought she might make the plunge after all.

PRINCE

What plunge? Oh, I see....

COUNT

If you could only guess what kind of men have been paying attention to her quite recently....

PRINCE

That's only natural.

COUNT

But she won't. She absolutely won't. What I mean is, that she can't be feeling so very lonely ... otherwise she would ... as she has had plenty of opportunity....

PRINCE

Certainly. It's her own choice. And then Mizzie has an additional resource in her painting. It's a case like that of my blessed aunt, the late Fanny Hohenstein, who went on writing books to a venerable old age and never wanted to hear a word about marriage.

COUNT

It may have some connection with her artistic aspirations. At times I'm inclined to look for some psychological connection between all these morbid tendencies.

PRINCE

Morbid, you say? But you can't possibly call Mizzie morbid.

COUNT

Oh, it's all over now. But there was a time....

PRINCE

I have always found Mizzie very sensible and very well balanced. After all, painting roses and violets doesn't prove a person morbid by any means.

COUNT

You don't think me such a fool that her violets and roses could make me believe.... But if you remember when she was still a young girl....

PRINCE

What then?

COUNT

Oh, that story at the time Fedor Wangenheim wanted to marry her.

PRINCE

O Lord, are you still thinking of that? Besides, there was no truth in it. And that was eighteen or twenty years ago almost.

COUNT

Her wanting to join the Ursuline Sisters rather than marry that nice young fellow, to whom she was as good as engaged already—and then up and away from home all at once—you might call that morbid, don't you think?

PRINCE

What has put you in mind of that ancient story to-day?

COUNT

Ancient, you say? I feel as if it happened last year only. It was at the very time when my own affair with Lolo had just begun. Ah, harking back like that...! And if anybody had foretold me at the time...! You know, it really began like any ordinary adventure. In the same reckless, crazy way. Yes, crazy—that's it. Not that I want to make myself out worse than I am, but it was lucky for all of us that my poor wife had already been dead a couple of years. Lolo seemed ... my fate. Mistress and wife at the same time. Because she's such a wonderful cook, you know. And the way she makes you comfortable. And always in good humor—never a cross word.... Well, it's all over. Don't let us talk of it.... (Pause) Tell me, won't you stay for lunch? And I must call Mizzie.

PRINCE (checking him)

Wait—I have something to tell you. (Casually, almost facetiously) I want you to be prepared.

COUNT

Why? For what?

PRINCE

There is a young man coming here to be introduced.

COUNT (astonished)

What? A young man?

PRINCE

If you have no objection.

COUNT

Why should I object? But who is he?

PRINCE

Dear Arpad—he's my son.

COUNT (greatly surprised)

What?

PRINCE

Yes, my son. You see, I didn't want—as I'm going away....

COUNT

Your son? You've got a son?

PRINCE

I have.

COUNT

Well, did you ever...! You have got a young man who is your son—or rather, you have got a son who is a young man. How old?

PRINCE

Seventeen.

COUNT

Seventeen! And you haven't told me before! No, Egon ... Egon! And tell me ... seventeen...? My dear chap, then your wife was still alive....

PRINCE

Yes, my wife was still alive at the time. You see, Arpad, one gets mixed up in all sorts of strange affairs.

COUNT

'Pon my soul, so it seems!

PRINCE

And thus, one fine day, you find yourself having a son of seventeen with whom you go traveling.

COUNT

So it's with him you are going away?

PRINCE

I am taking that liberty.

COUNT

No, I couldn't possibly tell you.... Why, he has got a son of seventeen!... (Suddenly he grasps the hand of the Prince, and then puts his arms about him) And if I may ask ... the mother of that young gentleman, your son ... how it happens ... as you have started telling me....

PRINCE

She's dead long ago. Died a couple of weeks after he was born. A mere slip of a girl.

COUNT

Of the common people?

PRINCE

Oh, of course. But a charming creature. I may as well tell you everything about it. That is, as far as I can recall it myself. The whole story seems like a dream. And if it were not for the boy....

COUNT

And all that you tell me only now! To-day only—just before the boy is coming here!

PRINCE

You never can tell how a thing like that may be received.

COUNT

Tut, tut! Received, you say...? Did you believe perhaps ... I'm something of a philosopher myself, after all.... And you call yourself a friend of mine!

PRINCE

Not a soul has known it—not a single soul in the whole world.

COUNT

But you might have told me. Really, I don't see how you could.... Come now, it wasn't quite nice.

PRINCE

I wanted to wait and see how the boy developed. You never can tell....

COUNT

Of course, with a mixed pedigree like that.... But you seem reassured now?

PRINCE

Oh, yes, he's a fine fellow.

COUNT (embracing him again)

And where has he been living until now?

PRINCE

His earliest years were spent a good way from Vienna—in the Tirol.

COUNT

With peasants?

PRINCE

No, with a small landowner. Then he went to school for some time at Innsbruck. And during the last few years I have been sending him to the preparatory school at Krems.[4]

[4] Innsbruck is the capital of the province of Tirol. Krems is a small city on the Donau, not so very far from Vienna, having a fine high school or "gymnasium." The idea is, of course, that as the boy grew up, his father became more and more interested and wanted to have him within easier reach.

COUNT

And you have seen him frequently?

PRINCE

Of course.

COUNT

And what's his idea of it anyhow?

PRINCE

Up to a few days ago he thought that he had lost both his parents—his father as well—and that I was a friend of his dead father.

MIZZIE (appearing on the balcony)

Good morning, Prince Egon.

PRINCE

Good morning, Mizzie.

COUNT

Well, won't you come down a while?

MIZZIE

Oh, if I am not in the way.... (She disappears)

COUNT

And what are we going to say to Mizzie?

PRINCE

I prefer to leave that to you, of course. But as I am adopting the boy anyhow, and as a special decree by His Majesty will probably enable him to assume my name in a few days ...

COUNT (surprised)

What?

PRINCE

... I think it would be wiser to tell Mizzie the truth at once.

COUNT

Certainly, certainly—and why shouldn't we? Seeing that you are adopting him.... It's really funny—but, you see, a daughter, even when she gets to be an old maid, is nothing but a little girl to her father.

MIZZIE (appears; she is thirty-seven, but still very attractive; wears a Florentine straw hat and a white dress; she gives the Count a kiss before holding out her hand to the Prince) Well, how do you do, Prince Egon? We don't see much of you these days.

PRINCE

Thank you.—Have you been very industrious?

MIZZIE

Painting a few flowers.

COUNT

Why so modest, Mizzie? (To the Prince) Professor Windhofer told her recently that she could safely exhibit. Won't have to fear comparison with Mrs. Wisinger-Florian herself.[5]

[5] "Neben der Wiesinger-Florian." The name is slightly misspelt in the German text. It is that of Mrs. Olga Wisinger-Florian, a well-known Viennese painter of floral pieces, whose work is represented in many of the big galleries in Europe. She was born in 1844, made her name in the early eighties, and is still living.

MIZZIE

That's so, perhaps. But I have no ambition of that kind.

PRINCE

I'm rather against exhibiting, too. It puts you at the mercy of any newspaper scribbler.

MIZZIE

Well, how about the members of the Upper House—at least when they make speeches?

COUNT

And how about all of us? Is there anything into which they don't poke their noses?

PRINCE

Yes, thanks to prevailing tendencies, there are people who would blackguard your pictures merely because you happen to be a countess, Mizzie.

COUNT

Yes, you're right indeed.

VALET (entering)

Your Grace is wanted on the telephone.

COUNT

Who is it? What is it about?

VALET

There is somebody who wishes to speak to Your Grace personally.

COUNT

You'll have to excuse me a moment. (To the Prince, in a lowered voice) Tell her now—while I am away. I prefer it. (He goes out followed by the valet)

MIZZIE

Somebody on the telephone—do you think papa can have fallen into new bondage already? (She seats herself)

PRINCE

Into new bondage, you say?

MIZZIE

Lolo used always to telephone about this time. But it's all over with her now. You know it, don't you?

PRINCE

I just heard it.

MIZZIE

And what do you think of it, Prince Egon. I am rather sorry, to tell the truth. If he tries anything new now, I'm sure he'll burn his fingers. And I do fear there is something in the air. You see, he's still too young for his years.

PRINCE

Yes, that's so.

MIZZIE (turning so that she faces the Prince)

And by the way, you haven't been here for ever so long.

PRINCE

You haven't missed me very much ... I fear.... Your art ... and heaven knows what else....

MIZZIE (without affectation)

Nevertheless....

PRINCE

Awfully kind of you.... (Pause)

MIZZIE

What makes you speechless to-day? Tell me something. Isn't there anything new in the world at all?

PRINCE (as if he had thought of it only that moment)

Our son has just passed his examinations for the university.

MIZZIE (slightly perturbed)

I hope you have more interesting news to relate.

PRINCE

More interesting....

MIZZIE

Or news, at least, that concerns me more closely than the career of a strange young man.

PRINCE

I have felt obliged, however, to keep you informed about the more important stages in the career of this young man. When he was about to be confirmed, I took the liberty to report the fact to you. But, of course, we don't have to talk any more about it.

MIZZIE

He pulled through, I hope?

PRINCE

With honors.

MIZZIE

The stock seems to be improving.

PRINCE

Let us hope so.

MIZZIE

And now the great moment is approaching, I suppose.

PRINCE

What moment?

MIZZIE

Have you forgotten already? As soon as he had passed his examinations, you meant to reveal yourself as his father.

PRINCE

So I have done already.

MIZZIE

You—have told him already?

PRINCE

I have.

MIZZIE (after a pause, without looking at him)

And his mother—is dead...?

PRINCE

She is—so far.

MIZZIE

And forever. (Rising)

PRINCE

As you please.

[The Count enters, followed by the valet.

VALET

But it was Your Grace who said that Joseph could be free.

COUNT

Yes, yes, it's all right.

VALET (goes out)

MIZZIE

What's the matter, papa?

COUNT

Nothing, my girl, nothing. I wanted to get somewhere quick—and that infernal Joseph.... If you don't mind, Mizzie, I want to have a few words with Egon.... (To the Prince) Do you know, she has been trying to get me before. I mean Lolo. But she couldn't get the number. And now Laura telephones—oh, well, that's her maid, you know—that she has just started on her way here.

PRINCE

Here? To see you?

COUNT

Yes.

PRINCE

But why?

COUNT

Oh, I think I can guess. You see, she has never put her foot in this place, of course, and I have been promising her all the time that she could come here once to have a look at the house and the park before she married. Her standing grievance has always been that I couldn't receive her here. On account of Mizzie, you know. Which she has understood perfectly well. And to sneak her in here some time when Mizzie was not at home—well, for that kind of thing I have never had any taste. And so she sends me a telephone message, that the marriage is set for the day after to-morrow, and that she is on her way here now.

PRINCE

Well, what of it? She is not coming here as your mistress, and so I can't see that you have any reason for embarrassment.

COUNT

But to-day of all days—and with your son due at any moment.

PRINCE

You can leave him to me.

COUNT

But I don't want it. I'm going to meet the carriage and see if I can stop her. It makes me nervous. You'll have to ask your son to excuse me for a little while. Good-by, Mizzie. I'll be back right away. (He goes out)

PRINCE

Miss Lolo has sent word that she's coming to call, and your papa doesn't like it.

MIZZIE

What's that? Has Lolo sent word? Is she coming here?

PRINCE

Your father has been promising her a chance to look over the place before she was married. And now he has gone to meet the carriage in order to steer her off.

MIZZIE

How childish! And how pathetic, when you come to think of it! I should really like to make her acquaintance. Don't you think it's too silly? There is my father, spending half his lifetime with a person who is probably very attractive—and I don't get a chance—don't have the right—to shake hands with her even. Why does he object to it anyhow? He ought to understand that I know all about it.

PRINCE

Oh, heavens, that's the way he is made. And perhaps he might not have minded so much, if he were not expecting another visit at this very moment....

MIZZIE

Another visit, you say?

PRINCE

For which I took the liberty to prepare him.

MIZZIE

Who is it?

PRINCE

Our son.

MIZZIE

Are you ... bringing your son here?

PRINCE

He'll be here in half an hour at the most.

MIZZIE

I say, Prince ... this is not a joke you're trying to spring on me?

PRINCE

By no means. On a departed ... what an idea!

MIZZIE

Is it really true? He's coming here?

PRINCE

Yes.

MIZZIE

Apparently you still think that nothing but a whim keeps me from having anything to do with the boy?

PRINCE

A whim...? No. Seeing how consistent you have been in this matter, it would hardly be safe for me to call it that. And when I bear in mind how you have had the strength all these years not even to ask any questions about him....

MIZZIE

There has been nothing admirable about that. I have had the strength to do what was worse ... when I had to let him be taken away ... a week after he was born....

PRINCE

Yes, what else could you—could we have done at the time? The arrangements made by me at the time, and approved by you in the end, represented absolutely the most expedient thing we could do under the circumstances.

MIZZIE

I have never questioned their expediency.

PRINCE

It was more than expedient, Mizzie. More than our own fate was at stake. Others might have come to grief if the truth had been revealed at the time. My wife, with her weak heart, had probably never survived.

MIZZIE

Oh, that weak heart....

PRINCE

And your father, Mizzie.... Think of your father!

MIZZIE

You may be sure he would have accepted the inevitable. That was the very time when he began his affair with Lolo. Otherwise everything might not have come off so smoothly. Otherwise he might have been more concerned about me. I could never have stayed away several months if he hadn't found it very convenient at that particular moment. And there was only one danger connected with the whole story—that you might be shot dead by Fedor Wangenheim, my dear Prince.

PRINCE

Why I by him? It might have taken another turn. You are not a believer in judgment by ordeal, are you? And the outcome might have proved questionable from such a point of view even. You see, we poor mortals can never be sure how things of that kind are regarded up above.

MIZZIE

You would never talk like that in the Upper House—supposing you ever opened your mouth during one of its sessions.

PRINCE

Possibly not. But the fundamental thing remains, that no amount of honesty or daring could have availed in the least at the time. It would have been nothing but useless cruelty toward those nearest to us. It's doubtful whether a dispensation could have been obtained—and besides, the Princess would never have agreed to a divorce—which you know as well as I do.

MIZZIE

Just as if I had cared in the least for the ceremony...!

PRINCE

Oh....

MIZZIE

Not in the least. Is that new to you? Didn't I tell you so at the time? Oh, you'll never guess what might ... (her words emphasized by her glance) what I ... of what I might have been capable at that time. I would have followed you anywhere—everywhere—even as your mistress. I and the child. To Switzerland, to America. After all, we could have lived wherever it happened to suit us. And perhaps, if you had gone away, they might never even have noticed your absence in the Upper House.

PRINCE

Yes, of course, we might have run away and settled down somewhere abroad.... But do you still believe that a situation like that would have proved agreeable in the long run, or even bearable?

MIZZIE

No, I don't nowadays. Because, you see, I know you now. But at that time I was in love with you. And it is possible that I—might have gone on loving you for a long time, had you not proved too cowardly to assume the responsibility for what had happened.... Yes, too much of a coward, Prince Egon.

PRINCE

Whether that be the proper word....

MIZZIE

Well, I don't know of any other. There was no hesitation on my part. I was ready to face everything—with joy and pride. I was ready to be a mother, and to confess myself the mother of our child. And you knew it, Egon. I told you so seventeen years ago, in that little house in the woods where you kept me hidden. But half-measures have never appealed to me. I wanted to be a mother in every respect or not at all. The day I had to let the boy be taken away from me, I made up my mind never more to trouble myself about him. And for that reason I find it ridiculous of you to bring him here all of a sudden. If you'll allow me to give you a piece of good advice, you'll go and meet him, as papa has gone to meet Lolo—and take him back home again.

PRINCE

I wouldn't dream of doing so. After what I have just had to hear from you again, it seems settled that his mother must remain dead. And that means that I must take still better care of him. He is my son in the eyes of the world too. I have adopted him.

MIZZIE

Have you...?

PRINCE

To-morrow he will probably be able to assume my name. I shall introduce him wherever it suits me. And of course, first of all to my old friend—your father. If you should find the sight of him disagreeable, there will be nothing left for you but to stay in your room while he is here.

MIZZIE

If you believe that I think your tone very appropriate....

PRINCE

Oh, just as appropriate as your bad temper.

MIZZIE

My bad temper...? Do I look it? Really, if you please ... I have simply permitted myself to find this fancy of yours in rather poor taste. Otherwise my temper is just as good as ever.

PRINCE

I have no doubt of your good humor under ordinary circumstances.... I am perfectly aware, for that matter, that you have managed to become reconciled to your fate. I, too, have managed to submit to a fate which, in its own way, has been no less painful than yours.

MIZZIE

In what way? To what fate have you had to submit...? Everybody can't become a cabinet minister. Oh, I see ... that remark must refer to the fact that His Highness did me the honor ten years ago, after the blissful departure of his noble spouse, to apply for my hand.

PRINCE

And again seven years ago, if you'll be kind enough to remember.

MIZZIE

Oh, yes, I do remember. Nor have I ever given you any cause to question my good memory.

PRINCE

And I hope you have never ascribed my proposals to anything like a desire to expiate some kind of guilt. I asked you to become my wife simply because of my conviction that true happiness was to be found only by your side.

MIZZIE

True happiness!... Oh, what a mistake!

PRINCE

Yes, I do believe that it was a mistake at that moment. Ten years ago it was probably still too early. And so it was, perhaps, seven years ago. But not to-day.

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