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Scene-A Chamber in the House of the Duchess of


Scene 1.

Countess Tertsky, Thekla, Lady Neubrunn.
(The two latter sit at the same table at work.)

Coun. (watching them from the opposite side) So you

have nothing, niece, to ask me ? Nothing?
I have been waiting for a word from you.
And could you then endure in all this time
Not once to speak his name?

(Thekla remaining silent, the Countess rises and
advances to her.)

Why, how comes this?
Perhaps I am already grown superfluous,
And other ways exist, besides through me ?
Confess it to me, Thekla ! have you seen him ?

Thek. To-day and yesterday I have not seen him.
Coun. And not heard from him either ? Come, he

Thek. No syllable.

And still you are so calm ?
Thek. I am.
Coun. May't please you, leave us, Lady Neubrunn !

(Exit Lady Neubrunn.


The Countess, Thekla.

Coun. It does not please me, Princess! that he holds Himself so still, exactly at this time.

Thek. Exactly at this time?

He now knows all. 'Twere now the moment to declare himself.

Thek. If I'm to understand you, speak less darkly.

Coun. 'Twas for that purpose that I bade her leave us.
Thekla, you are no more a child. Your heart
Is now no more in nonage ; for you love
And boldness dwells with love that you have prov'd.
Your nature moulds itself upon your father's
More than your mother's spirit. Therefore may you
Hear, what were too much for her fortitude.

Thek. Enough! no further preface, I entreat you,
At once, out with it! Be it what it may,
It is not possible that it should torture me
More than this introduction. What have you
To say to me? Tell me the whole, and briefly !

Coun. You'll not be frighten'd-

Name it, I entreat you.
Coun. It lies within your power to do your father
A weighty service-



Lies within my power ?
Coun. Max. Piccolomini loves you. You can link him
Indissolubly to your father.

What need of me for that? And is he not
Already link'd to him ?

He was.

And wherefore
Sould he not be so now-not be so always ?

Coun. He cleaves to the Emp'ror too.

Not more than duty
And honour may demand of him.

We ask
Proofs of his love, and not proofs of his honour.
Duty and honour !
Those are ambiguous words with many meanings.
You should interpret them for him : his love
Should be the sole definer of his honour.

Thek. How ?
Coun. Th’Emperor or you must he renounce.

Thek. He will accompany my father gladly
In his retirement. From himself you heard,
How much he wish'd to lay aside the sword.

Coun. He must not lay the sword aside, we mean; He must unsheath it in your father's cause.

Thek. He'll spend with gladness and alacrity His life, his heart's blood in my father's cause, If shame or injury be intended him.

Coun. You will not understand me. Well, hear then! Your father has fallen off from the Emperor, And is about to join the enemy With the whole soldieryThek.

Alas, my mother! Coun. There needs a great example to draw on The army after him. The Piccolomini

Possess the love and rev'rence of the troops ;
They govern all opinions, and wherever
They lead the way, none hesitate to follow;
The son secures the father to our interests
You've much in your hands at this moment.

My miserable mother! what a death-stroke
Awaits thee!-No! She never will survive it.

Coun. She will accommodate her soul to that
Which is and must be. I do know your mother.
The far-off future weighs upon her heart
With torture of anxiety; but is it
Unalterably, actually present,
She soon resigns herself, and bears it calmly.

Thek. O my fore-boding bosom! Even now,
E’en now 'tis here, that icy hand of horror!
And my young hope lies shuddering in its grasp.
I knew it well-no sooner had I enter'd,
A heavy, ominous presentiment
Reveal’d to me, that spirits of death were hov'ring
Over my happy fortune. But why think I
First of myself? My mother! O my mother!
Coun. Calm yourself! Break not out in vain lament-

ing! Preserve you

father the firm friend,
And for yourself the lover; all will yet
Prove good and fortunate.

Prove good ? What good ?
Must we not part? Part ne'er to meet again?
Coun. He parts not from you! He can not part from

Thek. Alas for his sore anguish! It will rend
His heart asunder.

If indeed he loves you,
His resolution will be speedily taken.

for your

Thek. His resolution will be speedily taken

do not doubt of that! A resolution ! Does there remain one to be taken? Coun.

Hush !
Collect yourself! I hear your mother coming.

Thek. How shall I bear to see her ?

Collect yourself.

Scene III.

To them enter the Duchess.

Duch. (to the Countess) Who was here, sister? I heard

some one talking,
And passionately too.

Nay! There was no one.
Duch. I am grown so timorous, every trifling noise
Scatters my spirits, and announces to me
The footstep of some messenger of evil.
And can you tell me, sister, what the event is ?
Will he agree to do do the Emperor's pleasure,
And send th' horse-regiments to the Cardinal ?
Tell me, has he dismiss'd Von Questenberg
With a favourable answer ?

No, he has not.
Duch. Alas! then all is lost! I see it coming,
The worst that can come! Yes, they will depose him ;
The accursed business of the Regensburg diet
Will all be acted o'er again!

No! never! Make your heart easy, sister, as to that.

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