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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 474 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07.

KING.

Then Your Highness—­wishes to speak to—­to the King of Prussia?

PRINCE.

You heard me say so, did you not?  Announce me.

KING.

At once, Your Highness. [Turns to go.]

PRINCE.

Is this the way to go into your master’s presence?  In your shirt-sleeves?

KING.

I’m—­I’m on a very confidential footing with the King. [He goes out.]

PRINCE (alone).

This is a strange Royal Household indeed!  The servants stand about the anterooms in their shirt-sleeves—­doubtless from motives of economy to save their liveries.  Well, the great hour has arrived—­the die will fall.  Wilhelmine—­she—­she alone I love—­and she is to consent to unite herself to the painted picture of a Prince of Wales—­the colored silhouette of an Austrian Arch-Duke whom she has never seen!  Ah, no, my fate rests on the Genius of Love—­on chance, which may be even kinder to me than I expect.  Her parents are of divided minds—­thereby do I gain time to win Wilhelmine’s heart—­for myself.  The King is coming.  Now I can listen to his favorable opinions regarding—­Austria.

SCENE V

The KING comes in, in dress uniform, with the grand cordon.

PRINCE (looking at him).

Is that not—­

KING.

You are surprised?  It was a slight mistake in identity.

PRINCE (embarrassed).

Your Majesty—­I am a stranger—­

KING.

It’s of no consequence.  You were deucedly insolent—­but my people are thick-skinned.  Well—­I want to speak to you, my dear Prince of Baireuth.  Are you just come from Baireuth?

PRINCE.

Yes, Your Majesty—­that is, I left Baireuth three years ago.

KING.

And where were you all this time?

PRINCE.

In—­in England.

KING.

Ah—­you spent much time in England?

PRINCE (aside).

I suppose he wants me to help him with Austria, and to disparage England. [Aloud.] In England?  Yes, quite time enough to learn all about that unmannerly and extremely ridiculous country and its ways.

KING: 

What’s that?  England ridiculous?  Here, here, young friend—­we have some distance to go yet before we reach the point where England stands today.  H’m—­have you been in Italy?  Or in Austria—­or thereabouts?

PRINCE (aside).

Does he favor England?  I thought it was Austria—­yes, he favors Austria. [Aloud.] Austria?  Surely; a wonderful country—­such development of industry—­and commerce—­such life and activity in all directions!

KING.

Activity?  H’m!  The activity in Austria isn’t dangerous yet!

PRINCE (aside).

Then he does not favor Austria.  I fancy I’m not ingratiating myself at all.

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