The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 eBook

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.

On my word, how fine we are here, very fine indeed!  And how nice it does look with so many lights burning. [He blows out several.] Why are you hiding yourselves, ladies?  Did you expect such a visitor?

QUEEN.

Your Majesty

[The ladies place themselves so that they screen the table.  They hide the cards quickly.]

KING.

Do not let me disturb you, ladies.  What is your particular entertainment this evening?  Enjoying a cup of soup, Frau von Holzendorf? [Comes nearer.] Oho—­the silver service? [He looks into cups.] What’s that?  Tea?  Chocolate?  Coffee?

QUEEN.

Your Majesty will surely—­permit us—­to keep pace with our age.

KING.

Frau von Viereck, you, I imagine, have been keeping pace with your age long enough.  About thirty years ago you’d give an old boy like myself a handshake occasionally.

[Slyly he holds out his hand to her.]

VIERECK (tries to hide the cards behind her back).

Your Majesty—­such graciousness—­

[She holds out one hand.]

KING.

Both, Fran von Viereck—­let me have both.

[VIERECK lets the cards fall behind her back.]

KING.

What’s that?  Did you not drop something?  My God!  Cards! [He stands as if speechless.] Playing-cards! [To the QUEEN.] Cards, madam—­a Christian court—­and cards!  I am sure, Frau von Viereck, you were merely prophesying from those cards.  I know, ladies, that you were only telling your fortunes from the cards.  I am quite sure, Frau von Viereck, that you were merely endeavoring to ascertain whether you would bury your fifth husband also.  Surely—­or—­is it possible?  Money on the tables! [He clasps his hands in horror.] You—­have-been-playing?—­at my court?—­playing-cards? [There is a knock at the door to the left.] Who knocks there?

QUEEN (aside).

It is Wilhelmine or the Prince of Wales!  I am lost!

[Another gentle knock is heard.]

KING.

You are awaiting more visitors?  Come in!

[He goes to the door himself and opens it.]

SCENE IV

WILHELMINE, wearing a white veil and domino, comes in cautiously.

KING.

A veiled lady!  And such mysterious visitors are received here? [He lifts the veil.] What do I see!  Wilhelmine!

WILHELMINE (throwing herself at his feet).

Father!  Forgive me!

KING.

Forgive you!  This invasion of the State Prison—­this attack on my sovereign will?

WILHELMINE (rising, aside).

This is a nice reception.

[There is a knock from the left.]

KING.

Was that not another knock? [A stronger knock.] This castle is haunted, I do believe.  And I have indeed been fortunate enough to prevent the outbreak of a conspiracy! [A louder knock.] Who is there at that door?  You will not answer?  Then I must open it myself.

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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