LINDENSCHMIED (puts his hands with convulsive haste into his pockets).
And nothing—absolutely nothing—not even a blunt knife about me!
The same. Enter ANDREW.
Isn’t it close in here! [Takes off his muffler.] Good evening.
[Wraps the muffler around the lock of the gun, and puts the gun next to him against the wall.]
I advise every one not to touch this; the gun is loaded.
[To the host.]
I do not know what is the matter with me. All at once I began to feel so badly out there. I was going to wait for my brother at the boundary. HOST.
Make yourself at home, Mr. Andrew.
I suppose William has not yet come.
[Throws himself on a bench, puts his arms upon the table and rests his head upon them.]
FREI (rattles his glass on the table).
Let me have another one, host. And it is a favor that I now drink in your place, when you still charge for it. In a week from now you will have to provide the stuff, and no honest man need pay you a penny for it, I tell you.
LINDENSCHMIED (from this point on incessantly casting furtive glances sometimes at ANDREW, sometimes at the gun).
If he would only go to sleep—that fellow!
[Leaning across the table, secretly to FREI.]
There in the Dell, you say?—And are you quite sure, Frei, that nothing will be punished any longer?
Superstition, I tell you! If you do something, and they hang you, you may call me a rascal for the rest of your life. Look here! What formerly was called fidelity and honesty, that’s a tale with which old grannies used to humbug us. And a fellow that keeps his word is a scoundrel; such a one I would not trust as far as the door. The common people are essentially honest, because they are the common people. You ought to hear those gentlemen over there talk; there was a professor among them; he ought to know.
LINDENSCHMIED (leads him aside).
But what about conscience? And about the hereafter?
All superstition! Nothing else, let me tell you.
That’s what I always thought. But formerly a person was not allowed to say such things.
They humbugged people with heaven and hell, so that our noble and gracious master might keep his hares all to himself. They have drummed a conscience into poor people in their childhood, so that they should submit patiently when the rich are living in luxury and extravagance.
And he is in the Dell?
[HOST becomes attentive.]