With this message—
Before the old man, or the hotheaded boys, or all three, do something impetuous which—
[Makes preparations for writing.]
As if today had never been—
Mr. Stein comes as usual around the corner of the forester’s house and knocks at the window, and the white moustache inside grunts his “Immediately—”
And if you meet Robert—
I shall be the first one to congratulate the new proprietor
And today you bring them all along—the old man, the boys, the mother and the bride. Then[advances to the pastor at the door], as a preliminary celebration we’ll crack a bottle of my oldest Johannisberger. But what is the matter out there? Who comes rushing up the stairs?
[At the door.] What has happened?
The same: MOeLLER, then BASTIAN.
MOeLLER (comes in, beside himself).
But what is the matter?
A murder!—A dreadful murder!
But, man alive, speak—
STEIN. My son!
[Falls into a chair.]
Has Robert been murdered?
[Goes anxiously up to STEIN.]
Not yet. Not yet, I hope. But—I am quite beside myself. Ulrich’s Andrew has already shot and killed Godfrey. Those from the forester’s house have instituted a regular hunt for their enemies. I had Godfrey carried home. He looks horrible. The bullet entered at the left side of the spine. He died in Mr. Robert’s arms. I asked him: Was it Andrew, Godfrey? It was Andrew, he said—it was Andrew—and lay down a dead man. I implored Mr. Robert to come home for God’s sake; he was quite beside himself, and would not come. And I had not gone two hundred steps with my men, when two more shots were fired behind us.
STEIN (rises, beside himself).
Mount your horse at once—ride till it drops dead—only be quick—get soldiers from the town—surround the whole forest—catch that murderer’s band from the forester’s house! You, Bastian, get quickly my Luettich rifle, the one that’s loaded—then call the workingmen—have them armed—to—where was it, Moeller?
At the first bridge—in the Dell, scarcely ten minutes beyond the forester’s house.
God grant that the worst may still be prevented!
STEIN (stamps his foot).
Bastian! Bastian! Why are you still standing there! Make haste!