Arch-Duke Leopold is willing, they say—that is if [with a sly gesture toward the PRINCESS’ room] if Princess Wilhelmine—
Sh! You will probably be chosen to conduct the
PRINCE (beside himself).
The Princess is—destined—
To be the future Empress of Austria.
[He goes out into the QUEEN’S room.]
Empress! Queen! And I—I who love her to desperation, I am to help bring about either of these alliances? That will mean a tragedy or [after a pause he continues more cheerfully]—Courage—courage—it may turn out a comedy after all, as merry a comedy as ever was played at any Royal Court. [He goes out.]
GRUMBKOW and SECKENDORF come in with EVERSMANN. The latter carries a wide orange-colored ribbon with many stars and Orders on it, and a gleaming sword.
The KING’S room. A side door on the left; a centre door. A writing table and chairs.
It was a dispatch, you say, Eversmann?
A dispatch from Hanover.
And all this elegance? The ribbon? The sword of state? What does it mean?
His Majesty ordered these immediately after the arrival of the dispatch.
A dispatch from Hanover—arrived about an hour ago—grand cordon commanded—sword of state—we must put these facts together, Grumbkow—find their meaning.
There are to be twelve plates more at table today. [Meaningfully.] Thirty-six thalers are set aside for the dinner—everybody to appear in full court dress.
A dispatch from Hanover-grand cordon—sword of state—twelve plates extra—thirty-six thalers—the combination, Grumbkow—we must find the combination!
When he had torn the seal from the dispatch, he wept two big tears and said: “I’ll make them all happy if I have to beat them to a jelly to do it.” And now he’s all eagerness and would like to invite the whole city to dinner.
On thirty-six thalers?
The orphans in the asylum are to have new clothes.
The orphans? That looks like a wedding.
Dispatch—Hanover—thirty-six thalers—two tears—beat them all—the meaning of that, Grumbkow?—we must put two and two together and find it.