Something glimmering like a white wall with dark shutters—
That is the forester’s house.
Really? Yes, thank heaven! Now I see the stag’s horns on the roof-tree outlined against the evening sky.
Here is the letter. But you must not carry it
so openly in your hand.
Have you thought of some pretext, in case the old man should meet you?
KATHARINE (bashful, and smiling with self-satisfaction).
Oh, Mr. Robert, do you suppose a girl is so stupid? Don’t worry about that. My little sisters take knitting and sewing lessons from the young lady—so—
ROBERT (folds the letter, which he was reading).
Here it is, Katharine. But give that letter only into Mary’s or her mother’s hands; to no one else, neither to Andrew nor William. Only into her own or her mother’s hands.
But must I go all alone so far?
It is scarcely two gunshots. Nobody must see me in the vicinity of the forester’s house. When you go home, you follow the road. Only in case you should not succeed in delivering the letter come back.
But surely you will not go away?
No, Katharine, I shall remain here.
ROBERT, alone; later, GODFREY; finally MOeLLER with two workingmen.
ROBERT (looks for some time after KATHARINE; then walks up and down).
I wonder whether she will come? Whether she will leave her father for my sake?
I shall go into the world as a hunter. I am young, strong, and understand my profession thoroughly—why should I not succeed?
[Losing himself in thought.]
And then—when I come home from the forest—healthily tired out by my work in the open air—and she has been watching for me—and comes to meet me—and takes my gun, so as to have something to carry—and hangs it on her shoulder—and my hunter’s house standing like that one yonder—the trees rustling—and I holding her in my arms, exclaiming jubilantly: Only that happiness is happiness which one owes to one’s own efforts!—And then—
[The report of a gun is heard, and startles him.]
GODFREY (still behind the scenes, groaning).
What is that?
GODFREY (staggers upon the scene; ROBERT hurries toward him and catches him just as he is falling down).
Godfrey! For heaven’s sake! Has some one shot you? Hallo! Is nobody near? Hallo! Help!
MOeLLER (behind the scenes).