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Ter. (in extreme embarrassment, to the commanders, who at Illo's words gave a sudden start, as preparing to resent them.) It is the wine that speaks, and not his reason. Attend not to him, I entreat you.
Iso. (with a bitter laugh) Wine invents nothing: it only tattles.
Illo. He who is not with me is against me. Your tender consciences ! Unless they can slip out hy a backdoor, by a puny proviso!
Ter. (interrupting him) He is stark mad-don't listen to him.
Illo. (raising his voice to the highest pitch) Unless they can slip out by a proviso.—What of the proviso? The devil take this proviso!
Max. (has his attention roused, and looks again into the paper) What is there here then of such perilous import? You make me curious-I must look closer at it.
Ter. (in a low voice to Illo) What are you doing, Illo? You are ruining us.
Tief. (to Kolatto) Ay, ay! I observed, that before we sat down to supper, it was read differently.
Goetz. Why, I seemed to think so too.
Iso. What do I care for that? Where there stand other names, mine can stand too.
Tief. Before supper there was a certain proviso therein, or short clause concerning our duties to the Emperor.
But. (to one of the commanders) For shame, for shame! Bethink you. What is the main business here? The question now is, whether we shall keep our General, or let him retire. One must not take these things too nicely and over-scrupulously.
Iso. (to one of the generals) Did the Duke make any of these provisoes when he gave you your regiment ?
Ter..(to Goetz) Or when he gave you the office of
army-purveyancer, which brings you in yearly a thousand pistoles.
Illo. He is a rascal who makes us out to be rogues. If there be any one that wants satisfaction, let him say so. I am his man.
Tief. Softly, softly! 'Twas but a word or two.
Max. (having read the paper gives it back) Till tomorrow therefore !
Illo. (stammering with rage and fury, loses all command over himself, and presents the paper to Max. with one hand, and his sword in the other) Subscribe-Judas !
Iso. Out upon you, Illo!
Max. (rushes on him suddenly and disarms him, then to Count Tertsky) Take him off to bed.
[Max. leaves the stage. Illo cursing and raving
is held back by some of the officers, and amidst a universal confusion the curtain drops.
Scene, a chamber in Piccolomini's Mansion.-It is Night.
Octavio Piccolomini. A Valet de Chamber, with Lights.
Oct. And when my son comes in, conduct him
hither. What is the hour ? Val.
'Tis on the point of morning. Oct. Set down the light. We mean not to undress. You may retire to sleep.
[Exit Valet. Octavio paces, musing, across the
chamber. Max. Piccolomini enters unobserved, and looks at his father for some moments in
silence.] Max. Art thou offended with me? Heav'n knows That odious business was no fault of mine. 'Tis true, indeed, I saw thy signature. What thou hadst sanction'd, should not, it might seem, Have come amiss to me. But-'tis my natureThou know'st, that in such matters I must follow My own light, not another's.
Oct. (goes up to him, and embraces him,) Follow it,
Max. Declare thyself less darkly.
I will do so.
There must remain no secrets 'twixt us two,
(Both seat themselves.) Max. Piccolomini ! what think'st thou of The oath that was sent round for signatures ?
Max. I hold it for a thing of harmless import, Altho' I love not these set declarations.
Oct. And on no other ground hadst thou refus'd The signature they fain had wrested from thee ?
Max. It was a serious business - - I was absent The affair itself seem'd not so urgent to me.
Oct. Be open, Max, Thou hadst then no suspicion ?
Oct. Thank thy good angel, Piccolomini ;
Max. I know not what thou meanest.
I will tell thee.
Max. (rises,) Octavio !
Patience ! Seat yourself. Much yet
They will be nothing further-spare them! I
Oct. The deeper cause thou hast to hate this light,
(fising his eyes steadfastly on his son's face,) • Which thou concealest, forces mine from me.
(Max. attempts to answer, but hesitates, and casts
his eyes to the ground embarrassed.)
thee ;-a most foul game
Max. That low priest's legend I know well, but did
Expect to hear it from thy mouth.
Max. How mere a maniac they suppose the Duke.