What do you think of all this?
Why, I simply can’t get the excellent acting of the man who plays the cat out of my head. What a study! What art! What observation! What costuming!
That is true; he really does look like a large tom-cat.
And just notice his whole mask, as I would rather call his costume, for since he has so completely disguised his natural appearance, this expression is far more fitting. But I say, God bless the ancients when blessing is due. You probably do not know that the ancients acted all parts, without exception, in masks, as you will find in Athenaeus, Pollux and others. It is hard, you see, to know all these things so accurately, because one must now and then look up those books oneself to find them. At the same time, however, one then has the advantage of being able to quote them. There is a difficult passage in Pausanias.
You were going to be kind enough to speak of the cat.
Why, yes; and I only meant to say all the preceding by the way, hence I beg you most earnestly to consider it as a note; and, to return to the cat, have you noticed, I wonder, that he is not one of those black cats? No, on the contrary, he is almost entirely white and has only a few black spots; that expresses his good-nature excellently; moreover, the theme of the whole play, all the emotions to which it should appeal, are suggested in this very fur.
That is true.
The curtain is going up again!
Room in a peasant’s house
GOTTLIEB, HINZE. Both are sitting at a small table and eating.
Did it taste good?
Very good, very fine.
But now my fate must soon be determined, for otherwise I do not know what I am to do.
Just have patience a few days longer; why, good fortune must have some time to grow; who would expect to become happy all of a sudden, so to speak? My good man, that happens only in books; in the world of reality things do not move so quickly.
Now just listen, the cat dares to speak of the world
reality! I feel almost like going home, for I’m afraid I shall go mad.
It looks almost as if that is what the writer intended.
A splendid kind of artistic enjoyment, to be mad,
If I only knew, dear Hinze, how you have come by this amount of experience, this intelligence!
Are you, then, under the impression that it is in vain one lies for days at the stove with one’s eyes tight shut? I always kept studying there quietly. In secret and unobserved does the power of the intelligence grow; hence it is a sign that one has made the least progress when one sometimes has a mind to crane one’s neck around as far as possible, so as to look back at the ground one has already covered. Now do be kind enough to untie my napkin.