Away Prince—away, the Queen is approaching.
The Queen? Where shall I go?
Into that room over there—you may find some way out—no one must see you here.
[She pushes him to an opposite side-door.]
My knowledge of the territory is growing rapidly. [He goes out.]
The QUEEN comes in, followed by two ladies-in-waiting. She motions them to leave her. They go out. The QUEEN sinks into a chair.
Has my daughter risen? I worked so late into the night that I am still quite fatigued. These wretched politics! Have you seen Kamke?
Your Majesty’s lackey? No, Your Majesty.
He’s been gone so long. I sent him to the Prince of Baireuth.
PRINCE (peeping out from the door, aside).
If I may judge by the letters the Prince brings me from my son, he himself will one day be one of the best sovereigns of our century.
The field is all in my favor.
My son, who judges men so keenly, assures me that I may trust this Prince completely. And I need some one of force and character to aid me; I need such a one now more than ever.
Is there—is there anything new in the air, Your Majesty?
I shall need to display all my strength, all my will-power. I shall have need of it to uphold the dignity of a monarchy whose natural head appears to forget more and more that Prussia has recently joined the ranks of the Great Powers of Europe.
Your Majesty—is laying plots?
I am consumed with curiosity to make the acquaintance of this Prince whom my son considers worthy of his friendship. [SONNSFELD motions to the Prince.] As soon as he arrives, dear Sonnsfeld—
SONNSFELD (pointing to the PRINCE, who comes in).
Kamke has just shown him in. Here he is, Your Majesty.
This is a surprise, Prince. I did not hear you enter.
Your Majesty was so deeply absorbed in thought—
He has a pleasing exterior and intelligent eyes. [Aloud.] Did my messenger—
The good fellow met me just as I was about to leave
my hotel. He gave me
Your Majesty’s gracious command.
QUEEN. Prince—[She sits down, motioning him to do the same.]
My heartiest thanks for the letters from my worthy son. One sentence, which I reread many times, permits me to assume that he has informed you of a certain matter, a certain plan of mine—