You stupid fellow, you. With your patronizing air, hang it! As if you did not want to make a break between Stein and Ulrich because of that Loehlein girl. I should know that, even if I were as stupid as that confounded, patronizing fellow of a Moeller. That’s all I have to say. And what of it, that I am forester for a day? For it won’t be two days before those two cronies are again one heart and one soul; after that it’s all over with my forester’s job. You think you are a decent fellow, because you are not thirsty. It will last one day—for one day I shall be sp—spite-forester—and that day I have turned to account, my dear fellow—with Ulrich’s Andrew—turned to account, my dear fellow. Come, my dear fellow, for I am jolly, my dear fellow. You patronizing fellow of a Moeller. [Embrace him.]
MOeLLER (ashamed and very much embarrassed, trying to keep him off).
For heaven’s sake, what are you thinking of?
If any one should see this!
Shame on you!
[Making an effort to recover his dignity.]
You have hatched a scheme with Ulrich’s Andrew, have you?
Scheme, scheme! I have had a talk with him, do you know? Because of yesterday, you know? and because of my grudge against his old man, you know? You know nothing, you know? When he hears it he’ll bite his white beard with rage, the old man will.
But what the deuce could you have put into Andrew’s head?
What? Nothing. You’ll learn it soon enough. Hey? Thirst, thirst—that is my wail, that is my chronic ill-health, my misery; that is the cause of my gout; that will kill me while I am still young. Where is Stein?
Now come along to my room and drink a cup of black coffee, so that you may recover your senses. Then I must go to the blast-furnace. I’ll take you along as far as the mill in the dell, and then you go the rest of the way to your home. One has to tie your hands, if you are not to drive away your good fortune.
GODFREY (while MOeLLER is leading him off).
Where is he? Hey, there! Where is he? Stein!
In the FORESTER’s house.
SOPHY alone; then WEILER; and, later, the FORESTER.
SOPHY (closing the window).
Robert hasn’t come back yet, nor the pastor.
WEILER (entering through the centre door).
Bless my soul, if he don’t come to grief! But who, in thunder, is really forester? I wonder whether the mistress has saved me anything? But, anyhow, I have no appetite. Well!
I suppose it has become cold by this time.
[Takes from the oven a plate with food, from the closet bread, etc., and puts it on the table to the left.]