Not a word? A hundred words, a thousand words; as many as I have breath to utter. I will speak; until I have relieved myself of this load on my heart, I will speak! You may forbid your Moeller, your blacksmiths to speak, not me! Show your impatience as much as you want, remain or go—speak I will. Once for all you shall know that I will no longer stand being treated like a boy, that I will be free, that I can stand on my own feet, that you shall be obliged to respect me, that I will be neither your toy nor any man’s!
Do you threaten me with the old song? I know it by heart. You are still here? I thought you had gone. Oh, indeed! You mean to speak, do you? Speak, do what you wish. I shall not prevent you.
ROBERT (calmly, with the accent of determination).
And if you wished to prevent me, it were too late. I insist upon my right, even if it should cost my own or another’s life. But I hold you and the forester responsible.
STEIN (who is beginning to repent his anger).
Farewell—perhaps forever! [Rushes out.]
STEIN alone; later, the PASTOR.
STEIN (forgetting himself, going a few steps after him).
Where are you going? Robert! My boy!—Curse it! I have scarcely got over my anger, and the next moment—But does it not seem as though all had entered into a conspiracy to keep me in a turmoil of excitement? If he really has had a falling out and meets those hotspurs—But I cannot run after him. Will he come back?
Enter the PASTOR.
You, parson? You find me here.
I have heard of the affair.
Robert, my boy—
Almost knocked me down. He wants to leave home again, hey? We’ll manage to hold him.
And with that obstinate old fellow—
I know. It’s the old story again, the everlasting story, the ending of which one always knows in advance.
But this time one cannot be so certain.
True. It is more complicated than usual, because at the same time the affair of the young gentleman was mixed up with it. Moreover, the young gentleman this time has also had words with Andrew. However—
Isn’t that he who is coming along there?
MOeLLER; STEIN; the PASTOR.
You, Moeller? What is the prospect? Will he yield?
So little does he think of yielding that he even wishes me to tell you, you have not the power to dismiss him.