[He pushes him back.]
Hi, you impertinent boy, who do not
Know yet the Ten Commandments of the Mark!
Here is your sabre, and the scabbard with it!
[He tears off the officer’s sword together with the belt.]
1ST OFFICER (reeling).
By God, Prince, that’s—
THE PRINCE (threateningly).
If you don’t hold your tongue—
HOHENZOLLERN (to the officer).
Silence! You must be mad!
THE PRINCE (giving up the sword).
Ho, corporal’s guard!
Off to headquarters with the prisoner!
[To KOTTWITZ and the other officers.]
Now, gentlemen, the countersign:
Who follows not his general to the fight!—
Now, who dares lag?
KOTTWITZ. You heard. Why thunder more?
It was advice, no more, they sought to give.
KOTTWITZ. On your head be it. I go with you.
THE PRINCE (somewhat calmed). Come!
Be it upon my head then. Follow, brothers!
A room in a village. A gentleman-in-waiting, booted and spurred, enters. A peasant and his wife are sitting at a table, at work.
God greet you, honest folk! Can you make room
To shelter guests beneath your roof?
THE WIFE. And may one question, whom?
The highest lady in the land, no less.
Her coach broke down outside the village gates,
And since we hear the victory is won
There’ll be no need for farther journeying.
The victory won? Heaven!
GENTLEMAN-IN-WAITING. What! You haven’t
The Swedish army’s beaten hip and thigh;
If not forever, for the year at least
The Mark need fear no more their fire and sword!—
Here comes the mother of our people now.
The ELECTRESS, pale and distressed, enters with the PRINCESS NATALIE, followed by various ladies-in-waiting. The others as before.
ELECTRESS (on the threshold).
Bork! Winterfeld! Come! Let me have your arm.
NATALIE (going to her).
Oh, mother mine!
LADIES-IN-WAITING. Heavens, how pale! She is faint.
[They support her.]
ELECTRESS. Here, lead me to a chair, I must sit
Dead, said he—dead?
NATALIE. Mother, my precious mother!
ELECTRESS. I’ll see this bearer of dread news myself.
CAPTAIN VON MOeRNER enters, wounded, supported by two troopers. The others.