And this holds out some hope for me?
There lies no hope in this unfortunate mission of mine, but in one of its clauses which states that the marriage, if all else be favorable, may be concluded only on this condition [looking about cautiously]: that certain English manufacturers shut out by Prussia be readmitted into the country [softly] on acceptable terms.
And into this—this mercantile scheming you would mingle a question of love—an affair of the heart?
I am here to speak for the hearts of our merchants, hearts that beat warmly for the throne, but still more warmly for their balance-sheets. If our factories have nothing to hope for, then, Prince [takes his hands], my protector, my patron, then I am all yours. And you shall see that I have other talents besides those of diplomacy.
Talents to awaken a hope on which the bitterest disappointment must follow.
Wait, Prince, wait and trust—
To the counting-room?
Why not? And when, in case the King will not agree to the new treaties, I have devoted myself entirely to your cause, when you under stand that my heart beats high in gratitude to a Prince whom I met by mere chance and who has been my benefactor—when you have finally won the heart and hand of the Princess, then all I shall ask of Your Highness, as a German sovereign at the Diet of Regensburg, in Germany’s very heart, is merely your assistance in obtaining from the German Empire some little concession for our harmless, innocent—manufactures.
KAMKE (opens the door to the right).
Everything else later. For the present—trust
me. Over there are the
Queen’s apartments. Farewell. [He goes out.]
Land! Land in sight! Something, surely, can be done now! With Hotham at my right hand, I need only some female reinforcement at my left. The moment seems favorable. I will try to draw little Sonnsfeld, the Princess’ lady-in-waiting, into the plot. She is waiting in the anteroom. I’ll knock. [He goes softly to the PRINCESS’ door and knocks]. I hear a sound. [He knocks again.] The rustle of a gown—it is she. [He draws back a step and turns.] First one must take these little outposts and then—to the main battle.
[WILHELMINE comes in.]
Ah, it is you—yourself!
Oh, then it was you, Prince? I have reason to be very angry with you.
With me, Your Highness? Why with me?
As if you did not know the insult you have offered me.