Grant me just one minute’s audience before you condemn me. I know that the honorable public must pass judgment on the author, and that from them there is no appeal, but I know the justice of an honorable public, and I am assured they will not frighten me away from a course in which I so need their indulgent guidance.
He doesn’t talk badly.
He’s more courteous than I thought.
He has respect for the public, after all.
I am ashamed to present to such illustrious judges the modest inspiration of my Muse; it is only the skill of our actors which still consoles me to some extent, otherwise I should be sunk in despair without further ado.
I am sorry for him.
A good fellow!
When I heard your worthy stamping—nothing has ever frightened me so, I am still pale and trembling and do not myself comprehend how I have attained to the courage of thus appearing before you.
Well, clap, then! (All clap.)
I wanted to make an attempt to furnish amusement by means of humor, by cheerfulness and real jokes, and hope I have been successful, since our newest plays so seldom afford us an opportunity to laugh.
[Illustration: #PUSS IN BOOTS# MORITZ VON SCHWIND]
That’s certainly true!
He’s right—that man.
Bravo! Bravo! (They clap.)
I leave you, honored sirs, to decide now whether my attempt is to be rejected entirely—trembling, I withdraw, and the play will begin. (He bows very respectfully and goes behind the curtain.)
VOICES FROM THE GALLERY.
[All are laughing. The music begins again; meanwhile the curtain rises.]
Small room in a peasant’s cottage
LORENZ, BARTHEL, GOTTLIEB. The tom-cat HINZE, is lying on a bench by the stove.
I think that after the death of our father, our little fortune can be divided easily. You know the deceased has left only three pieces of property—a horse, an ox, and that cat there. I, as the eldest, will take the horse; Barthel, second after me, gets the ox, and so the cat is naturally left for our youngest brother.
LEUTNER (in the pit).
For Heaven’s sake! Did any one ever see such an exposition! Just see how far dramatic art has degenerated!
But I understand everything perfectly well.
That’s just the trouble, you should give the spectator a cunning suggestion, not throw the matter right into his teeth.