Can any one have seen me?
EVERSMANN (goes to the door, halts again, looks at the PRINCE impudently).
Why are you looking at me, sirrah? I am the Prince
EVERSMANN (is quite indifferent, comes down a few steps, bows very slightly).
His Majesty is coming in from the parade, but does not grant audiences in this room.
I thank you for the information, my good man.
Don’t mention it, pray.
And who are you?
EVERSMANN. I? [There is along pause.]
I am Eversmann. [He goes out into the QUEEN’s room.]
Eversmann? The Minister of Finance or the Head Steward, I wonder? He betrays parsimony in every shred of his garments. [Drums and the sound of presented arms is heard back of the rear entrance.] The King is coming. The King? Why should I feel so timid, so oppressed, all of a sudden? Does my courage fail me because I am about to confront this curiosity of his century? I’d rather observe him from the side at first.
[He draws back and stands close by the door to the left.]
A loud knocking, as with a cane, is heard at the centre door.
Now, what’s that?
KING (still without, beats the door loudly with his cane).
Surely this castle is haunted!
[He slips into the door at the right.]
KING (knocking again, still outside).
Eversmann! Doesn’t the fellow hear?
EVERSMANN (coming in hurriedly).
The door is open, Your Majesty. [Goes to centre door, opens it.]
PRINCE (looking in at his door).
Your Majesty? Is that the King?
KING (in corridor but not yet visible).
Eversmann, have you forgotten that this is the day for revising the books?
No, indeed, Your Majesty. I was occupied in balancing
the books of Her
Majesty the Queen.
QUEEN (comes out from her door, listens timidly).
Was that the King’s voice?
Eversmann, tell the castellan that eleven o’clock is closing hour for my wife’s apartment, and that, if I see a light again in her rooms until after midnight, I will come over myself at the stroke of twelve to search into every corner and to discover what political plot is brewing there. You’d better tell my wife yourself, sirrah—so that she may obey orders.