[Buttons his coat.]
Where are you going?
To pay debts before another day comes.
[While he watches ANDREW furtively, he fumbles with his left hand in his vest-pocket, in order to pay the host.]
Why, I can’t get it out with—
The fingers of your left hand are stiff.
LINDENSCHMIED (with a pantomime).
Those of my right will soon become crooked.
Have you had a stroke?
LINDENSCHMIED (laughing hoarsely).
Yes, a leaden one. Two ounces of powder and three of buckshot.
[Constantly speaks in a subdued voice, so as not to awaken ANDREW.] A memorandum from that fellow in the Dell.
Because I coined money out of the deer belonging to
the owner of
Strahlau. There was enough uncoined money running about in the forest.
Let me have another one, host.
[Holds out his glass.]
LINDENSCHMIED (lost in thought, alone in the foreground).
Six times I ran out where he was to pass; but he did not come. At that time conscience was still the fashion. Then I thought: “It is not to be now,” and postponed it to some time when he should come along by accident, so that I should be obliged to see that it was to be. For whole nights it choked me like a nightmare and wasted my body, that I should not lay hands on him, and now—ha! ha! ha!
[Gives a short convulsive laugh, thus rousing himself out of his thoughts; looks around embarrassed.]
Did you laugh, Lindenschmied?
I don’t know whether it was me.
You have a queer laugh. Are you going along, Lindenschmied, into the ducal territory?
LINDENSCHMIED (slaps him on the shoulder).
Man, now we have liberty! I have my own way.
I don’t care.
[Steps to the background to the host.]
What do I owe you on this last occasion that it is
necessary to pay?
There; give me change.
You have had three, four—
[LINDENSCHMIED has availed himself of the moment when no one is looking at him to take away ANDREW’S gun furtively, and hurries out with it.]
What is the time, host?
FREI (going out).
ANDREW (starts up).
Eight? Now William may come.
HOST (approaches ANDREW timidly).
You are an honest man. To you I may unburden my mind. They are an abominable set—those that just left. They let fall some words. Godfrey is drunk in the Dell, and Lindenschmied, his mortal enemy, has gone after him. And what didn’t he say! He was talking of making his fingers crooked. And that fellow is capable of everything!