Page images
PDF
EPUB

Iso. Subscribe as much as you like-but you must excuse me from reading it.

Ter. There is no need. It is the oath which you have already read.-Only a few marks of your pen! (Isolani hands over the paper to Octavio, respectfully.)

Ter. Nay, nay, first come first served. There is no precedence here. (Octavio runs over the paper with apparent indifference. Tertsky watches him at some distance.

Goetz. (to Tertsky,) Noble Count! with your permission-Good night.

Ter Where's the hurry? Come, one other composing draught.-(To the servants.)—Ho!

Goetz. Excuse me-an't able.
Ter. A thimble-full!
Goetz. Excuse me.

Tief. (sits down,) Pardon me, nobles. This standing does not agree with me.

Ter. Consult only your own convenience, General.

Tief. Clear at head, sound in stomach-only my legs won't carry me any longer.

Iso. (pointing at his corpulence.) Poor legs! how should they ? Such an unmerciful load! (Octavio subscribes his name, and reaches over the paper to Tertsky, who gives it to Isolani ; and he goes to the table to sign his name.) Tief. 'Twas that war in Pomerania that first brought

Out in all weathers-ice and snow-no help for it.--I shall never get the better of it all the days of my life.

Goetz. Why, in simple verity, your Swede makes no nice inquiries about the season.

Ter. (observing Isolani, whose hand trembles excessively, so that he can searcely direct his pen.) Have you had that ugly complaint long, noble brother ?- Despatch it.

it on.

Iso. The sins of youth! I have already tried the Chalybeate waters. Well-I must bear it. (Tertsky gives the paper to Maradas ; he steps to the table to subscribe.)

Oct. (advancing to Butler) You are not over fond of the orgies of Bacchus, Colonel! I have observed it. You would, I think, find yourself more to your liking in the uproar of a battle, than of a feast.

But. I must confess, 'tis not in my way. Oct. (stepping nearer to him friendlily) Nor in mine either, I can assure you ; and I am not a little glad, my much honoured Colonel Butler, that we agree so well in our opinions. A half dozen good friends at most, at a small round table, a glass of genuine Tokay, open hearts, and a rational conversation, that's my taste!

But. And mine too, when it can be had. (The paper comes to Tiefenbach, who glances over it at the same time with Goetz and Kolatto. Maradas in the mean time returns to Octavio, all this takes place, the conversation with Butler proceeding uninterrupted.)

Oct. (introducing Maradas to Butler) Don Balthasar Maradas ! likewise a man of our stamp, and long ago your admirer. (Butler bows.)

Oct. (continuing) You are a stranger here—'twas but yesterday you arrived ;—you are ignorant of the ways and means here. 'Tis a wretched place I know, at our age, one loves to be snug and quiet-What if you moved your lodgings ?--Come, be my visitor. (Butler makes a low bow.) Nay, without compliment !-For a friend like you, I have still a corner remaining.

But. (coldly) Your obliged humble servant, my Lord Lieutenant-General! (The paper comes to Butler, who goes to the table to subscribe it. The front of the stage is vacant, so that both the Piccolominis, each on the side where he had been from the commencement of the scene, remain alone.

Oct. (After having some time watched his son in silence, advances somewhat nearer to him.) You were long absent from us, friend!

Max. I-urgent business detained me.
Oct. And, I observe, you are still absent!

Max. You know this croud and bustle always makes me silent.

Oct. (advancing still nearer) May I be permitted to ask what the business was that detained you ?- Tertsky knows it without asking!

Max. What does Tertsky know?
Oct. He was the only one who did not miss you.

Iso. (who has been attending to them from some distance, steps up) Well done, father! Rout out his baggage ! Beat up his quarters! There is something there that should not be.

Ter. (with the paper) Is there none wanting ? Have the whole subscribed ?

Oct. All.
Ter. (calling aloud) Ho! Who subscribes ?

But. (to Tertsky) Count the names. There ought to be just thirty.

Ter. Here is a cross.
Tief. That's my mark.

Iso. He cannot write; but his cross is a good cross, and is honoured by Jews as well as Christians.

Oct. (presses on to Max) Come, General; let us go. It is late.

Ter. One Piccolomini only has signed.

Iso. (pointing to Max) Look! that is your man, that statue there, who has had neither eye, ear, nor tongue for us the whole evening. (Max. receives the paper from Tertsky, which he looks upon vacantly )

SCENE XIV.

(To these enter Illo from the inner room. He has in his

hand the golden service-cup, and is extremely distempered with drinking : Goetz and Butler follow him, endeavouring to keep him back.)

Illo. What do you want? Let me go.

Goetz and But. Drink no more, Illo! For heaven's sake, drink no more.

Illo. (goes up to Octavio, and shakes him cordially by the hand, and then drinks.) Octavio! I bring this to you ! Let all grudge be drowned in this friendly bowl! I know well enough, ye never loved me- Devil take me!-and I never loved you !-I am always even with people in that way!—Let what's past be past—that is, you understand - forgotten! I esteem you infinitely. (Embracing him repeatedly.) You have not a dearer friend on earth than I-but that you know. The fellow that cries rogue to you, calls me villain-and I'll strangle him !--my dear friend!

Ter. (whispering to him) Art in thy senses? For heaven's sake, Illo! think where you are.

Illo. (aloud) What do you mean ?- There are none but friends here, are there? (Looks round the whole circle with a jolly and triumphant air.) Not a sneeker among us, thank heaven! Ter. (to Butler, eagerly) Take him off with you,

force him off, I entreat you, Butler!

But. (to Illo) Field-Marshal! a word with you. (Leads him to the side-board.)

Illo. (cordially) A thousand for one! Fill--Fill it once more up to the brim.—To this gallant man's health !

Iso. (to Max. who all the while has been staring on the paper with fixed but vacant eyes) Slow and sure, my noble brother!-Hast parsed it all yet ?-Some words yet to go thro'?-Ha?Max. (waking as from a dream) What am I to do?

Ter., and at the same time Iso. Sign your name. (Octavio directs his eyes on him with intense anxiety.)

Max. (returns the paper) Let it stay till to-morrow. It is business-to-day I am not sufficiently collected. Send it to me to-morrow.

Ter. Nay, collect yourself a little.

Iso. Awake, man ! awake!-Come, thy signature, and have done with it! What? Thou art the youngest in the whole company, and wouldest be wiser than all of us together? Look there! thy father has signed—we have all signed.

Ter. (to Octavio) Use your influence. Instruct him. Oct. My son is at the age of discretion.

Illo. (leaves the service-cup on th. side-board) What's the dispute ?

Ter. He declines subscribing the paper.
Max. I say, it may as well stay till to-morrow.

Illo. It cannot stay. We have all subscribed to it-. and so must you.—You must subscribe.

Max. Illo, good night.

Illo. No !-You come not off so. The Duke shall learn who are his friends. (All collect round Illo and Max.)

Max. What my sentiments are towards the Duke, the Duke knows, every one knows—what need of this wild stuff?

Illo. This is the thanks the Duke gets for his partiality to Italians and foreigners.-Us Bohemians he holds for little better than dullards-nothing pleases him but what's outlandish.

« PreviousContinue »