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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 505 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 09.

CLARA.

Don’t talk in that way, dear mother!  It weakens you.

MOTHER.

No, child, it does me good!  Am I not well and strong again now?  Did not the Lord call me merely to let me know that my festal robe was not yet pure and spotless?  And did he not permit me to come back from the very edge of the grave, and grant me time to prepare myself for the heavenly wedding?  He was not as kind as that to those five Virgins in the Gospel, about whom I had you read to me last night.  And that is the reason why today, when I am going to the Holy Communion, I put this dress on.  I wore it the day I made the best and most pious resolutions of my life; I want it to remind me of those which I have not yet carried out.

CLARA.

You still talk as you did in your illness!

SCENE II

CARL (enters).

Good morning, mother!  Well, Clara, I suppose you might put up with me, if I were not your brother?

CLARA.

A gold chain?  Where did you get that?

CARL.

Why do I sweat so?  Why do I work two hours longer than the others every evening?  You are impertinent!

MOTHER.

A quarrel on Sunday morning?  Shame on you, Carl!

CARL.

Mother, haven’t you got a gulden for me?

MOTHER.

I haven’t any money except for the housekeeping!

CARL.

Well, give me some of that then!  I won’t grumble if you make the pancakes thinner for the next two weeks.  You have often done so before!  I know that all right!  When you were saving up for Clara’s white dress, we didn’t have anything decent to eat for a month.  I shut my eyes, but I knew right well that a new hair ribbon or some other bit of finery was on the way.  So let me get something out of it too, for once!

MOTHER.

You are absolutely shameless!

CARL.

I haven’t much time, else—­[He starts to go.]

MOTHER.

Where are you going?

CARL.

I won’t tell you, and then, when the old growler asks you where I am, you can answer without blushing that you don’t know.  Anyway I don’t need your gulden—­it is best not to draw all your water from one well.

[To himself.]

Here at home they always think the worst things they can about me; why shouldn’t I take pleasure in keeping them worried?  Why should I say that, since I don’t get my gulden, I shall have to go to church, unless a friend helps me out of my predicament?

SCENE III

CLARA.

What does he mean by that?

MOTHER.

Oh, he grieves me terribly!  Yes, yes, your father is right!  Those are the consequences!  He is just as insolent now in demanding a gulden as he was cunning in pleading for a piece of sugar when he was a little curly-headed baby.  I wonder if he would not demand the gulden now, if I had refused him the sugar then?  That often hurts me!  And I think he doesn’t even love me!  Did you ever once see him cry during my illness?

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