ECKHOF, a grenadier.
A Lackey in the King’s
service. Generals, Officers, Court Ladies.
Members of the Smoking-Circle. Grenadiers, Lackeys.
Scene of action: The Royal Castle of Berlin.
First performance, January 1st, 1844, in the Court Theatre in Dresden.
[Illustration: THE POTSDAM GUARD ADOLPH VON MENZEL]
A room in the Palace. One window and four doors. A table and two armchairs on the left of the room.
EVERSMANN, taking snuff comfortably. Two Drummers of the Guard.
Later FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD.
The drummers take up a position near the door to the left, leading to the apartments of the PRINCESS, and execute a roll of the drums.
FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD (opens the door and looks in).
That will do.
[The drummers play a second roll.]
SONNSFELD (looks in again).
Yes, yes. We heard it.
[EVERSMANN gives the sign again and the drummers play a third long roll.]
SONNSFELD (comes out angrily, speaks when the noise has subsided).
This is unendurable! It is enough to ruin one’s nerves—left wheel—march—out with you to the parade ground where you be long! [The drummers march out still playing. When the noise can no longer be heard she continues.] Eversmann, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You should remind the King of the respect due to ladies.
I obey my royal master’s orders, ma’am. And inasmuch as late rising is a favorite vice of the youth of today, it has been ordered that the reveille be played at six o’clock every morning before the doors of the royal Princes and Princesses.
Princess Wilhelmine is no longer a child.
Her morning dreams are all the sweeter for that reason.
Dreams of our final release—of despair—of death—
Or possibly dreams of marriage—and the like—
Have a care, Eversmann! The Crown Prince has won his freedom at last; he is keeping a most exact record of all that happens in Berlin and in the immediate environment of his severe father. It is well known that you influence the King more than do his ministers.
If the poetic fancy of our Crown Prince, who, by the way, is my devoted young friend Fritz, cannot see the truth more clearly than that, then I have little respect for the imaginative power of poets. I—and influence? I twist His Majesty’s stately pigtail every morning, clip his fine manly beard, fill his cozy little Dutch pipe for him each evening—and if in the course of these innocent employments His Most Sacred Majesty lets fall a hint, a remark—a little command possibly—why—naturally—