Enter the FORESTER in haste; pale and distracted; SOPHY.
SOPHY (going to meet him).
Back already?—[Correcting herself] at last?
FORESTER (looking shyly about).
Did anybody ask for me?
No. Are they pursuing you?
Because you come in as if you were being hunted.
I meant the soldiers.—Why do I see Mary everywhere! In the Dell—
SOPHY (is frightened).
In the Dell!
And all the way back I heard her walking behind me.
On your way back—
Whenever I walked, I heard her behind me; whenever I stood still, she also stood still, but I did not look around.
You did not look around?
Why, I knew it was nothing. I have a feeling as though even now she were still standing behind me.
SOPHY (wishes to divert him from the subject).
Did you shoot anything? Is it outside?
FORESTER (shuddering involuntarily).
Before the door. What a strange look you give me! What is that on your clothes?
FORESTER (turns away involuntarily).
What is it?
What you see—
Why will you not let me see it?
It is nothing.
[Turns to the table at the right, takes down his gun.]
Is the soup warm? My tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth.
SOPHY (takes a plate and spoon from the closet, goes to the stove where she pours out the soup).
If he should look into the room! What I ask, I ask only in anxiety to have him forget about Mary.
[She puts the soup before the FORESTER on the table to the right; listens.]
Isn’t there a noise in the room?
[Walks about the FORESTER’S chair, so as to distract him.]
Ulrich, don’t you think that Robert could still restore the old friendly relations?
[FORESTER makes a movement.]
Why do you start so?
Don’t wake up Mary! Wasn’t there some one at the window?
That is the old rose-bush outside, which is always nodding so anxiously and knocking at the window, as if it had to prevent a catastrophe, and nobody paid any attention to it.