The Prince of Wales is not in Berlin?
H’st! We know he is not here—but he is here for all the others. The Prince of Wales is here, there, behind the screen, up the chimney, in the air, under the earth, nowhere where he would be in our way, but anywhere where we might need him for the merriest comedy in all the world.
Hotham! Then I am not deceived in your friendship?
Just as little, since our commercial treaty is doomed, as I am mistaken in your chances, despite arrest and displeasure. But come now, come to that friendly goblin who will work for us—to the mysterious spirit on whose account we will keep this corner of the world in anxiety and terror—your doughty rival but your still doughtier ally.
PRINCE (in laughing surprise).
The Prince of Wales. [They both go out.]
Anteroom in the KING’S apartments. The same as in SCENE I of ACT II. Writing materials on the table.
EVERSMANN comes from the KING’S room.
SECKENDORF (puts his head in at another door).
Pst! Eversmann! Have you seen him yet?
Seen whom, Count?
SECKENDORF. The Prince of Wales. He is indeed in Berlin—he has been seen everywhere. Unter den Linden—by the river—even beyond Treptow—a frail figure of a man, stooping slightly—his left shoulder higher than the right. When he speaks you see that one eye-tooth is missing—
The King will not recognize the presence of the Prince of Wales.
We are being deceived, Eversmann. The King has recognized it. [Low.] Or can it be that you have not heard of that most strange—most remarkable command that has gone out to the Castle Guards—a command which upsets all our deductions and plans? All sentries have orders to let a white domino, if such a one should appear at night about the castle, pass unhindered and even unchallenged. Do you not see the thoughtfulness for the Prince of Wales in that? It is he who is to visit His Majesty secretly in disguise. Eversmann, all our pro-Austrian plans are in danger. [There is a knock at the door.] Every noise startles me these days.
It is the court tailor most likely, pardon me. [He
goes to the door.]
Ha, ha! the white domino!
The court tailor? What can the court tailor be doing here? And a white domino? Vienna’s interests are in danger. The King does favor England. I must have certainty. This is the moment when I must show my whole power.