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

Yes, to-day too, my dear Prince. Your fate has been never to know me, never to understand me at all—no more when I loved you than when I hated you, and not even during the long time when I have been completely indifferent toward you.

PRINCE

I have always known you, Mizzie. I know more about you than you seem able to guess. Thus, for instance, I am not unfamiliar with the fact that you have spent the last seventeen years in more profitable pursuits than weeping over a man who, in all likelihood, was not worthy of you at the time in question. I am even aware that you have chosen to expose yourself to several disillusionments subsequent to the one suffered at my hands.

MIZZIE

Disillusionments, you say? Well, for your consolation, my dear Prince, I can assure you that some of them proved very enjoyable.

PRINCE

I know that, too. Otherwise I should hardly have dared to call myself familiar with the history of your life.

MIZZIE

And do you think that I am not familiar with yours? Do you want me to present you with a list of your mistresses? From the wife of the Bulgarian attache in 1887 down to Mademoiselle Therese Gredun—if that be her real name—who retained the honors of her office up to last Spring at least. It seems likely that I know more than you even, for I can give you a practically complete list of those with whom she has deceived you.

PRINCE

Oh, don't, if you please. There is no real pleasure in knowledge of that kind when you don't uncover it yourself.

[A carriage is heard stopping in front of the house.

PRINCE

That's he. Do you want to disappear before he comes out here? I can detain him that long.

MIZZIE

Don't trouble yourself, please. I prefer to stay. But don't imagine that there is anything astir within me.... This is nothing but a young man coming to call on my father. There he is now.... As to blood being thicker than water—I think it's nothing but a fairy tale. I can't feel anything at all, my dear Prince.

PHILIP (comes quickly through the main entrance; he is seventeen, slender, handsome, elegant, but not foppish; shows a charming, though somewhat boyish, forwardness, not quite free from embarrassment) Good morning. (He bows to Mizzie)

PRINCE

Good morning, Philip.—Countess, will you permit me to introduce my son? This is Countess Mizzie, daughter of the old friend of mine in whose house you are now.

PHILIP (kisses the hand offered him by Mizzie; brief pause)

MIZZIE

Won't you be seated, please?

PHILIP

Thank you. Countess. (All remain standing)

PRINCE

You came in the carriage? Might just as well send it back, as mine is here already.

PHILIP

Won't you come back with me instead, papa? You see, I think Wasner does a great deal better than your Franz with his team of ancients.

MIZZIE

So Wasner has been driving you?

PHILIP

Yes.

MIZZIE

The old man himself? Do you know that's a great honor? Wasner won't take the box for everybody. Up to about two years ago he used to drive my father.

PHILIP

Oh....

PRINCE

You're a little late, by the way, Philip.

PHILIP

Yes, I have to beg your pardon. Overslept, you know. (To Mizzie) I was out with some of my colleagues last night. You may have heard that I passed my examinations a couple of weeks ago, Countess. That's why we rather made a night of it.[6]

[6] "... Ein bissel gedraht." The term is specifically Viennese and implies not only "making a night of it," but also making the contents of that night as varied as the resources of the locality will permit.

MIZZIE

You seem to have caught on to our Viennese ways pretty quickly, Mister....

PRINCE

Oh, dear Mizzie, call him Philip, please.

MIZZIE

But I think we must sit down first of all, Philip. (With a glance at the Prince) Papa should be here any moment now. (She and the Prince sit down)

PHILIP (still standing)

If you permit me to say so—I think the park is magnificent. It is much finer than ours.

MIZZIE

You are familiar with the Ravenstein park?

PHILIP

Certainly, Countess. I have been living at Ravenstein House three days already.

MIZZIE

Is that so?

PRINCE

Of course, gardens cannot do as well in the city as out here. Ours was probably a great deal more beautiful a hundred years ago. But then our place was still practically outside the city.

PHILIP

It's a pity that all sorts of people have been allowed to run up houses around our place like that.

MIZZIE

We are better off in that respect. And we shall hardly live to see the town overtake us.

PHILIP (affably)

But why not, Countess?

MIZZIE

A hundred years ago these grounds were still used for hunting. The place adjoins the Tiergarten, you know. Look over that wall there, Philip. And our villa was a hunting lodge once, belonging to the Empress Maria Theresa. The stone figure over there goes back to that period.

PHILIP

And how old is our place, papa?

PRINCE (smiling)

Our place, sonny, dates back to the seventeenth century. Didn't I show you the room in which Emperor Leopold spent a night?

PHILIP

Emperor Leopold, 1648 to 1705.

MIZZIE (laughs)

PHILIP

Oh, that's an echo of the examinations. When I get old enough.... (He interrupts himself) I beg your pardon! What I meant to say was simply—all that stuff will be out of my head in a year. And, of course, when I learned those dates, I didn't know Emperor Leopold had been such a good friend of my own people.

MIZZIE

You seem to think your discovery enormously funny, Philip?

PHILIP

Discovery, you say.... Well, frankly speaking, it could hardly be called that. (He looks at the Prince)

PRINCE

Go on, go on!

PHILIP

Well, you see, Countess, I have always had the feeling that I was no Philip Radeiner by birth.

MIZZIE

Radeiner? (To the Prince) Oh, that was the name...?

PRINCE

Yes.

PHILIP

And, of course, it was very pleasant to find my suspicions confirmed—but I have really known it all the time. I can put two and two together. And some of the other boys had also figured out—that I.... Really, Countess, that story about Prince Ravenstein coming to Krems merely to see how the son of his late friend was getting along—don't you think it smacked a little too much of story book ... Home and Family Library, and that sort of thing? All the clever ones felt pretty sure that I was of noble blood, and as I was one of the cleverest....

MIZZIE

So it seems.... And what are your plans for the future, Philip?

PHILIP

Next October I shall begin my year as volunteer with the Sixth Dragoons, which is the regiment in which we Ravensteins always serve. And what's going to happen after that—whether I stay in the army or become an archbishop—in due time, of course....

MIZZIE

That would probably be the best thing. The Ravensteins have always been strong in the faith.

PHILIP

Yes, it's mentioned in the Universal History even. They were Catholic at first; then they turned Protestant in the Thirty Years War; and finally they became Catholic again—but they always remained strong in their faith. It was only the faith that changed.

PRINCE

Philip, Philip!

MIZZIE

That's the spirit of the time, Prince Egon.

PRINCE

And an inheritance from his mother.

MIZZIE

You have been working hard, your father tells me, and have passed your examinations with honors.

PHILIP

Well, that wasn't difficult, Countess. I seem to get hold of things quickly. That's probably another result of the common blood in me. And I had time to spare for things not in the school curriculum—such as horseback riding and ...

MIZZIE

And what?

PHILIP

Playing the clarinet.

MIZZIE (laughing)

Why did you hesitate to tell about that?

PHILIP

Because.... Well, because everybody laughs when I say that I play the clarinet. And so did you, too, Countess. Isn't that queer? Did anybody ever laugh because you told him that you were painting for a diversion?

MIZZIE

So you have already heard about that?

PHILIP

Yes, indeed, Countess—papa told me. And besides, there is a floral piece in my bedroom—a Chinese vase, you know, with a laburnum branch and something purplish in color.

MIZZIE

That purplish stuff must be lilacs.

PHILIP

Oh, lilacs, of course. I saw that at once. But I couldn't recall the name just now.

VALET (entering)

There is a lady who wishes to see the Count. I have showed her into the drawing-room.

MIZZIE

A lady...? You'll have to excuse me for a moment, gentlemen. (She goes out)

PHILIP

That's all right, papa—if it's up to me, I have no objection.

PRINCE

To what? Of what are you talking?

PHILIP

I have no objection to your choice.

PRINCE

Have you lost your senses, boy?

PHILIP

But really, papa, do you think you can hide anything from me? That common blood in me, you know....

PRINCE

What put such an idea into your head?

PHILIP

Now look here, papa! You have been telling me how anxious you were to introduce me to your old friend, the Count. And then the Count has a daughter—which I have known all the time, by the way.... The one thing I feared a little was that she might be too young.

PRINCE (offended, and yet unable to keep serious)

Too young, you say....

PHILIP

It was perfectly plain that you had a certain weakness for that daughter.... Why, you used to be quite embarrassed when talking of her. And then you have been telling me all sorts of things about her that you would never have cared to tell otherwise. What interest could I have in the pictures of a Countess X-divided-by-anything, for instance—supposing even that you could tell her lilacs from her laburnums by their color? And, as I said, my one fear was that she might be too young—as my mother, that is, and not as your wife. Of course, there is not yet anybody too young or beautiful for you. But now I can tell you, papa, that she suits me absolutely as she is.

PRINCE

Well, if you are not the most impudent rogue I ever came across...! Do you really think I would ask you, if I should ever....

PHILIP

Not exactly ask, papa ... but a happy family life requires that all the members affect each other sympathetically ... don't you think so?

[Mizzie and Lolo Langhuber enter.

MIZZIE

You must look around, please. I am sure my father would be very sorry to miss you. (She starts to make the usual introductions) Permit me to....

LOLO

Oh, Your Highness.

PRINCE

Well, Miss Pallestri....

LOLO

Langhuber, if you please. I have come to thank the Count for the magnificent flowers he sent me at my farewell performance.

PRINCE (introducing)

My son Philip. And this is Miss ...

LOLO

Charlotta Langhuber.

PRINCE (to Philip)

Better known as Miss Pallestri.

PHILIP

Oh, Miss Pallestri! Then I have already had the pleasure....

PRINCE

What?

PHILIP

You see, I have Miss Pallestri in my collection.

PRINCE

What ... what sort of collection is that?

LOLO

There must be some kind of mistake here, Your Highness. I can not recall....

PHILIP

Of course, you can't, for I don't suppose you could feel that I was cutting out your picture from a newspaper at Krems?

LOLO

No, thank heaven!

PHILIP

It was one of our amusements at school, you know. There was one who cut out all the crimes and disasters he could get hold of.

LOLO

What a dreadful fellow that must have been!

PHILIP

And there was one who went in for historical personalities, like North Pole explorers and composers and that kind of people. And I used to collect theatrical ladies. Ever so much more pleasant to look at, you know. I have got two hundred and thirteen—which I'll show you sometime, papa. Quite interesting, you know. With a musical comedy star from Australia among the rest.

LOLO

I didn't know Your Highness had a son—and such a big one at that.

PHILIP

Yes, I have been hiding my light under a bushel so far.

PRINCE

And now you are trying to make up for it, I should say.

LOLO

Oh, please let him, Your Highness. I prefer young people like him to be a little vif.

PHILIP

So you are going to retire to private life, Miss Pallestri? That's too bad. Just when I might have the pleasure at last of seeing you on those boards that signify the world....

LOLO

That's awfully kind of Your Highness, but unfortunately one hasn't time to wait for the youth that's still growing. And the more mature ones are beginning to find my vintage a little out of date, I fear.

PRINCE

They say that you are about to be married.

LOLO

Yes, I am about to enter the holy state of matrimony.

PHILIP

And who is the happy man, if I may ask?

LOLO

Who is he? Why, he is waiting outside now—with that carriage.

MIZZIE

Why—a coachman?

LOLO

But, Countess—a coachman, you say?! Only in the same manner as when your papa himself—beg your pardon!—happens to be taking the bay out for a spin at times. Cab owner, that's what my fiance is—and house owner, and a burgess of Vienna, who gets on the box himself only when it pleases him and when there is somebody of whom he thinks a whole lot. Now he is driving for a certain Baron Radeiner—whom he has just brought out here to see your father, Countess. And I am having my doubts about that Baron Radeiner.

PHILIP

Permit me to introduce myself—Baron Radeiner.

LOLO

So that's you, Your Highness?

PHILIP

I have let nobody but Wasner drive me since I came here.

LOLO

And under an assumed name at that, Your Highness? Well, we are finding out a lot of nice things about you!

COUNT (appears, very hot)

Well, here I am. (Taking in the situation) Ah!

LOLO

Your humble servant, Count! I have taken the liberty—I wanted to thank you for the magnificent flowers.

COUNT

Oh, please—it was a great pleasure....

PRINCE

And here, old friend, is my son Philip.

PHILIP

I regard myself as greatly honored, Count.

COUNT (giving his hand to Philip)

I bid you welcome to my house. Please consider yourself at home here.—I don't think any further introductions are required.

MIZZIE

No, papa.

COUNT (slightly embarrassed)

It's very charming of you, my dear lady. Of course, you know better than anybody that I have always been one of your admirers.... But tell me, please, how in the world did you get out here? I have just been taking a walk along the main road, where every carriage has to pass, and I didn't see you.

LOLO

What do you take me for, Count? My cab days are past now. I came by the train, which is the proper thing for me.

COUNT

I see.... But I hear that your fiance himself....

LOLO

Oh, he has more pretentious customers to look after.

PHILIP

Yes, I have just had the pleasure of being conducted here by the fiance of Miss Pallestri.

COUNT

Is Wasner driving for you? Well, that settles it—of course—clear psychological connection! (Offers his cigar case) Want a smoke?

PHILIP (accepting)

Thank you.

PRINCE

But, Philip...! A monster like that before lunch!

COUNT

Excellent. Nothing better for the health. And I like you. Suppose we sit down.

[The Count, the Prince and Philip seat themselves, while Mizzie and Lolo remain standing close to them.

COUNT

So you'll be off with your father to-morrow?

PHILIP

Yes, Count. And I'm tremendously pleased to think of it.

COUNT

Will you be gone long?

PRINCE

That depends on several circumstances.

PHILIP

I have to report myself at the regiment on the first of October.

PRINCE

And it's possible that I may go farther south after that.

COUNT

Well, that's news. Where?

PRINCE (with a glance at Mizzie)

Egypt, and the Sudan maybe—for a little hunting.

MIZZIE (to Lolo)

Let me show you the park.

LOLO

It's a marvel. Ours isn't a patch on it, of course. (She and Mizzie come forward)

MIZZIE

Have you a garden at your place, too?

LOLO

Certainly. As well as an ancestral palace—at Ottakring.[7] The great-grandfather of Wasner was in the cab business in his days already.—My, but that's beautiful! The way those flowers are hanging down. I must have something just like it.

[7] One of the factory districts of Vienna, known chiefly because of the big insane asylum located there.

COUNT (disturbed)

Why are the ladies leaving us?

MIZZIE

Never mind, papa, I'm merely explaining the architecture of our facade.

PHILIP

Do you often get visits of theatrical ladies, Count?

COUNT

No, this is merely an accident.

[The men stroll off toward those parts of the garden that are not visible.

MIZZIE

It seems strange that I have never before had a chance of meeting you. I am very glad to see you.

LOLO (with a grateful glance)

And so I am. Of course, I have known you by sight these many years. Often and often have I looked up at your box.

MIZZIE

But not at me.

LOLO

Oh, that's all over now.

MIZZIE

Do you know, I really feel a little offended—on his behalf.

LOLO

Offended, you say...?

MIZZIE

It will be a hard blow for him. Nobody knows better than I how deeply he has been attached to you. Although he has never said a word to me about it.

LOLO

Do you think it's so very easy for me either, Countess? But tell me. Countess, what else could I do? I am no longer a spring chicken, you know. And one can't help hankering for something more settled. As long as I had a profession of my own, I could allow myself—what do they call it now?—to entertain liberal ideas. It goes in a way with the position I have held. But how would that look now, when I am retiring to private life?

MIZZIE

Oh, I can see that perfectly. But what is he going to do now?

LOLO

Why shouldn't he marry, too? I assure you, Countess, that there are many who would give all their five fingers.... Don't you realize, Countess, that I, too, have found it a hard step to take?

MIZZIE

Do you know what I have been wondering often? Whether he never thought of making you his wife?

LOLO

Oh, yes, that's just what he wanted.

MIZZIE

Why...?!

LOLO

Do you know when he asked me the last time, Countess? Less than a month ago.

MIZZIE

And you said no?

LOLO

I did. It would have done no good. Me a Countess! Can you imagine it? I being your stepmother, Countess...! Then we could not have been chatting nicely as we are doing now.

MIZZIE

If you only knew how sympathetically you affect me....

LOLO

But I don't want to appear better than I am. And who knows what I might....

MIZZIE

What might you?

LOLO

Well, this is the truth of it. I have gone clear off my head about Wasner. Which I hope won't make you think the worse of me. In all these eighteen years I have had nothing to blame myself with, as far as your dear papa is concerned. But you can't wonder if my feelings began to cool off a little as the years passed along. And rather than to make your dear papa—oh, no, no, Countess ... I owe him too much gratitude for that.... Lord!

MIZZIE

What is it?

LOLO

There he is now, looking right at me.

MIZZIE (looks in the direction indicated)

WASNER (who has appeared at the entrance, raises his tall hat in salute)

LOLO

Don't you think me an awful fool, Countess? Every time I catch sight of him suddenly, my heart starts beating like everything. Yes, there's no fool like an old one.

MIZZIE

Old...? Do you call yourself old? Why, there can't be much difference between us.

LOLO

Oh, mercy.... (With a glance at Mizzie)

MIZZIE

I am thirty-seven.—No, don't look at me with any pity. There is no cause for that. None whatever.

LOLO (apparently relieved)

I have heard some whispers. Countess—of course, I didn't believe anything. But I thank heaven it was true. (They shake hands)

MIZZIE

I should like to congratulate your fiance right now, if you'll permit me.

LOLO

That's too sweet of you—but what about the Count—perhaps he wouldn't like...?

MIZZIE

My dear, I have always been accustomed to do as I pleased. (They go together toward the entrance)

WASNER

You're too kind, Countess....

[The Count, the Prince and Philip have reappeared in the meantime.

COUNT

Look at that, will you!

WASNER

Good morning, Count. Good morning, Highness.

PRINCE

I say, Wasner, you may just as well take your bride home in that trap of yours. My son is coming with me.

WASNER

Your son...?

PHILIP

Why haven't you told me that you were engaged, Wasner?

WASNER

Well, there are things you haven't told either ... Mr. von Radeiner!

COUNT (to Lolo)

Thank you very much for your friendly visit, and please accept my very best wishes.

LOLO

The same to you, Count. And I must say, that when one has such a daughter....

MIZZIE

It's too bad I haven't come to know you before.

LOLO

Oh, really, Countess....

MIZZIE

Once more, my dear Miss Lolo, good luck to you! (Mizzie embraces Lolo)

COUNT (looks on with surprise and some genuine emotion)

LOLO

I thank you for the kind reception, Count—and good-by!

COUNT

Good-by, Miss Langhuber. I trust you'll be happy ... indeed I do, Lolo.

LOLO (gets into the carriage which has driven up to the gate in the meantime)

WASNER (is on the box, hat in hand; they drive off)

MIZZIE (waves her hand at them as they disappear)

PHILIP (who has been standing in the foreground with the Prince) Oh, my dear papa, I can see through the whole story.

PRINCE

You can?

PHILIP

This Miss Lolo must be the natural daughter of the Count, and a sister of the Countess—her foster-sister, as they say.

PRINCE

No, you would call that a step-sister. But go on, Mr. Diplomat.

PHILIP

And of course, both are in love with you—both the Countess and the ballet dancer. And this marriage between the dancer and Wasner is your work.

PRINCE

Go on.

PHILIP

You know—there's something I never thought of until just now!

PRINCE

What?

PHILIP

I don't know if I dare?

PRINCE

Why so timid all at once?

PHILIP

Supposing my mother was not dead....

PRINCE

H'm....

PHILIP

And, through a remarkable combination of circumstances, she should now be going back to the city in the very carriage that brought me out here...? And suppose it should be my own mother, whose picture I cut out of that newspaper...?

PRINCE

My lad, you'll certainly end as a cabinet minister—Secretary of Agriculture, if nothing better.—But now it's time for us to say good-by.

[The Count and Mizzie are coming forward again.

PRINCE

Well, my dear friend, this must be our farewell call, I am sorry to say.

COUNT

But why don't you stay.... That would be delightful ... if you could take lunch with us....

PRINCE

Unfortunately, it isn't possible. We have an appointment at Sacher's.[8]

[8] A fashionable restaurant near the Imperial Palace in the Inner City.

COUNT

That's really too bad. And shall I not see you at all during the Summer?

PRINCE

Oh, we shall not be entirely out of touch.

COUNT

And are you starting to-morrow already?

PRINCE

Yes.

COUNT

Where are you going?

PRINCE

To the sea shore—Ostend.

COUNT

Oh, you are bound for Ostend. I have long wanted to go there.

PRINCE

But that would be fine....

COUNT

What do you think, Mizzie? Let's be fashionable. Let's go to Ostend, too.

MIZZIE

I can't answer yet. But there's no reason why you shouldn't go, papa.

PHILIP

That would be delightful, Countess. It would please me awfully.

MIZZIE (smiling)

That's very kind of you, Philip. (She holds out her hand to him)

PHILIP (kisses her hand)

COUNT (to the Prince)

The children seem to get along beautifully.

PRINCE

Yes, that's what I have been thinking. Good-by then. Good-by, my dear Mizzie. And good-by to you, my dear old fellow. I hope at least to see you again at Ostend.

COUNT

Oh, she'll come along. Won't you, Mizzie? After all, you can get studios by the sea shore, too. Or how about it, Mizzie?

MIZZIE (remains silent)

PRINCE

Well, until we meet again! (He shakes hands with the Count and Mizzie)

PHILIP (kisses the hand of Mizzie once more)

COUNT (giving his hand to Philip)

It has been a great pleasure.

[The Prince and Philip go out through the gate and step into the carriage which has been driving up in the meantime, and which now carries them off. The Count and Mizzie come forward again and seat themselves at the table under the tree. Pause.

COUNT

Hasn't this been a queer day?

MIZZIE

All life is queer—only we forget it most of the time.

COUNT

I suppose you're right. (Pause)

MIZZIE

You know, papa, you might just as well have brought us together a little earlier.

COUNT

Who? Oh, you and....

MIZZIE

Me and Miss Lolo. She's a dear.

COUNT

So you like her? Well, if it were only possible to know in advance.... But what's the use? Now it's all over.

MIZZIE (takes hold of his hand)

COUNT (rises and kisses her on the forehead; strolls about aimlessly for a few seconds) Tell me, Mizzie, what you think.... How do you like the boy?

MIZZIE

Philip? Oh, rather fresh.

COUNT

Fresh, perhaps, but smart. I hope he'll stay in the army. That's a much more sensible career than the diplomatic service. Slow, but sure. All you need is to live long enough in order to become a general. But a political career.... Now look at Egon ... three times he has almost become a minister.... And suppose he had succeeded? (Walking back and forth) Yes, yes ... we shall be rather lonely this Summer.

MIZZIE

But why shouldn't you go to Ostend, papa?

COUNT

Yes, why not...? Really, won't you come along? It would be rather ... without you, you know.... It's no use looking at me like that. I know! I haven't paid as much attention to you in the past as I should have....

MIZZIE (taking his hand again)

Oh, papa, you're not going to apologize, are you? I understand perfectly.

COUNT

Oh, well. But, you see, I shall not get much joy out of that trip without you. And what would you be doing here, all by yourself? You can't paint all day long.

MIZZIE

The only trouble is ... the Prince has asked me to marry him.

COUNT

What? Is it possible? No, you don't mean.... And ... and you said no?

MIZZIE

Practically.

COUNT

You did...? Oh, well.... After all, I have never tried to persuade you. It must be as you.... But I can't understand why. I have noticed for a long time, that he.... As far as age is concerned, you wouldn't be badly matched. And as for the rest ... sixty millions are not to be despised exactly. But just as you say.

MIZZIE (remains silent)

COUNT

Or could it possibly be on account of the boy? That would be to exaggerate the matter, I assure you. Things of that kind occur in the very best families. And particularly when you consider that his heart always remained with his wife.... All of a sudden you get dragged into an affair of that kind without exactly knowing how.

MIZZIE

And some poor girl of the people is thrown aside and allowed to go to the dogs.

COUNT

Oh, please, that's only in the books. And how could he help it? That kind of women seem always to die off early. And who knows what he might have done, if she hadn't died.... I really think that his action in regard to the boy has been pretty decent. That took courage, you know. I could tell you more than one case.... But don't let us talk of it. If that should be the only thing against him, however.... And besides, our being together at Ostend wouldn't commit you in any way.

MIZZIE

No, that's true.

COUNT

Well, then ... I tell you what. You make the trip with me. And if the place suits you, you can stay. If not, you can go on to London for a visit with Aunt Lora. I mean simply, that there is no sense in your letting me go away alone.

MIZZIE

All right.

COUNT

What do you mean?

MIZZIE

I'll go with you. But without any obligation—absolutely free.

COUNT

You'll come with me, you say?

MIZZIE

I will, papa.

COUNT

Oh, I'm so glad. Thank you, Mizzie.

MIZZIE

Why should you thank me? It's a pleasure to me.

COUNT

You can't imagine, of course ... without you, Mizzie.... There would be so much to remember—this time in particular.... You know, of course, that I took Lolo to Normandy last year?

MIZZIE

Of course, I know....

COUNT

And as far as Egon is concerned ... not that I want to persuade you by any means ... but in a strange place like that you often get more acquainted with a person in a couple of days than during many years at home.

MIZZIE

It's settled now that I go with you, papa. And as for the rest, don't let us talk of it—for the time being.

COUNT

Then, you know, I'm going to telephone to the ticket office at once and reserve sleeping car compartments for the day after to-morrow—or for to-morrow.

MIZZIE

Are you in such a hurry?

COUNT

What's the use of sitting about here, once we have made up our minds? So I'll telephone.... Does that suit you?

MIZZIE

Yes.

COUNT (puts his arms about her)

PROFESSOR WINDHOFER (appears at the garden gate)

COUNT

Why, there's the professor. Have you a lesson to-day?

MIZZIE

I had forgotten it, too.

PROFESSOR (handsome; about thirty-five; his beard is blond and trimmed to a point; he is very carefully dressed, and wears a gray overcoat; he takes off his hat as he enters the garden and comes forward)

Good morning, Countess. How do you do, Count?

COUNT

Good morning, my dear Professor, and how are you? You have to pardon me. I was just about to go to the telephone—we are going away, you know.

PROFESSOR

Oh, are you going away? Please, don't let me detain you.

COUNT

I suppose I shall see you later, Professor. (He goes into the house)

PROFESSOR

So you are going away, Countess?

MIZZIE

Yes, to Ostend.

PROFESSOR

That's rather a sudden decision.

MIZZIE

Yes, rather. But that's my way.

PROFESSOR

That means an end to the lessons for the present, I suppose? Too bad.

MIZZIE

I don't think I shall be able to-day even ... I am feeling a little upset.

PROFESSOR

Do you?—Well, you look rather pale, Maria.

MIZZIE

Oh, you think so?

PROFESSOR

And how long will you be gone?

MIZZIE

Until the Fall probably—perhaps until very late in the Fall even.

PROFESSOR

Then we can resume our lessons next November at the earliest, I suppose?

MIZZIE (smiling)

I don't think we shall....

PROFESSOR

Oh, you don't think so? (They look hard at each other)

MIZZIE

No, I don't.

PROFESSOR

Which means, Maria—that I am discharged.

MIZZIE

How can you put it that way, Rudolph? That is not quite fair.

PROFESSOR

Pardon me. But it really came a little more suddenly than I had expected.

MIZZIE

Better that than have it come too slow. Don't you think so?

PROFESSOR

Well, girl, I have no intention whatever to make any reproaches.

MIZZIE

Well, you have no reason. And it wouldn't be nice either. (She holds out her hand to him)

PROFESSOR (takes her hand and kisses it)

Will you please excuse me to the Count?

MIZZIE

Are you going already...?

PROFESSOR (unconcernedly)

Isn't that better?

MIZZIE (after a pause, during which she looks straight into his eyes) Yes, I think so. (They shake hands)

PROFESSOR

Good luck, Maria.

MIZZIE

Same to you.... And remember me to your wife and the children.

PROFESSOR

I won't forget, Countess. (He goes out)

MIZZIE (remains on the same spot for a little while, following him with her eyes)

COUNT (on the terrace)

Everything is ready. We'll leave at nine-thirty to-morrow night.—But what has become of the professor?

MIZZIE

I sent him away.

COUNT

Oh, you did?—And can you guess who has the compartment between yours and mine?... Egon and his young gentleman. Won't they be surprised though?

MIZZIE

Yes ... won't they? (She goes into the house)

THE END

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