Will Your Majesty put on the embroidered uniform?
The embroidered uniform, Eversmann. I am expecting guests to whom all honor must be shown. Great honor—for when it concerns the arrival of persons who—[He sits down.] Take off my boots. [EVERSMANN pulls off the boots with difficulty.] Has the Prince of Baireuth been here yet?
Is Your Majesty going to all this trouble on his account?
On his account? Possibly. [Aside.] I’ll lead them all a dance. [Aloud.] Zounds! Villain! Rascal! My corns! I believe the rogue is hurting me on purpose—because I won’t tell him anything.
But, Your Majesty, I haven’t asked any questions yet.
I’ll have you asking questions! Now what are you laughing at, sirrah? Heh? Fetch me my dressing gown until you have found the uniform. [EVERSMANN turns to go.] Hey, there! Why did you laugh just now?
Because I know—that before I have brought
Your Majesty your hat Your
Majesty will have told me all about it.
KING (threatening him with his cane).
You rascal—how dare you?
EVERSMANN (retiring toward the door).
Your Majesty can’t keep a secret. There is only one thing Your Majesty can hold fast to, and that is—your money! Ha! ha! I’ll fetch the dressing-gown. [He goes out.]
KING (sitting in his shirt-sleeves).
He’s right. It burns my heart out. But they shan’t know. Not any of them—they shan’t. They’ve spoiled my pet plans before now. I’ll play a different game, this time, and I’ll send all the camels through the needle’s eye at once. They think I’m on the side of Austria. But no—ha! ha! England’s own offer, brought by the Hanoverian courier, was a great surprise to me—he! he! England is my wife’s idea—therefore I am for England, too—and soon we’ll have the wedding and the christening, ha! ha!
[A lackey comes in, announces.]
His Highness the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth.
Pleased to receive him.
[The lackey goes out and the PRINCE comes in.]
Are these old crosspatch’s apartments? [To
the KING.] That’s the
King’s study in there, isn’t it?
Yes—at your service.
Go in and announce me. I’m the Prince of Baireuth.
KING (surprised, aside).
What does he take me for?
What fashion is this? Are you in the King’s service? Is this the style in which to receive guests to whom His Majesty has promised an audience?