Oh, my poor mother! It is too terrible!
God knows I would gladly sacrifice the jewelry if, by so doing, I could undo what has already been done! But the fault is not mine! That my suspicions, in spite of my profound respect for your father, fell on your brother, was natural; he had polished the desk, and with him the jewels had disappeared. I noticed it almost immediately, for I had occasion to take some papers out of the drawer in which they lay. Still it did not occur to me to take stringent measures to arrest him immediately. Merely as a preliminary, I told Adam, the bailiff, about the matter, and besought him to keep his investigations absolutely secret. But he would not listen to the idea of sparing anybody; he declared he must and would bring the case to court at once, for, he said, your brother was a drunkard and a debt-contractor. And he has, alas, so much influence with the burgomaster that he can put through anything he wants to. The man seems to bear a bitter grudge against your father—I do not know why, but it was impossible to soothe him; he held his hands over his ears and called out, as he was hurrying away: “If you had given me the jewelry, it would not have made me as happy as this!”
Once in the tavern the bailiff put his glass down on the table by my father’s and nodded to him as if he wanted to touch glasses with him. My father then took his away, and said: “People in red coats and blue trimmings used to have to drink out of glasses with wooden feet. Also they used to have to wait out in front of the window, or, if it was raining, by the door, and respectfully remove their hats when the landlord handed them the drink. Moreover, if they felt a desire to touch glasses with anybody, they waited until neighbor Hangman happened in.” Oh, God! What is not possible in this world! My mother had to pay for that with an untimely death!
One should never anger anybody, and least of all bad people! Where is your father?
In the mountains at the lumber-dealer’s.
I’ll ride out and hunt him up. I have already been at the burgomaster’s, but unfortunately found him out. Otherwise your brother would be here now. But the Secretary has already dispatched a messenger! You will see him before evening! [Exit.]
Now I should rejoice! Oh, God! And I can think of nothing except: Now it is you alone! And yet I have a feeling as though something must occur to me at once that would set everything right again!
Enter, the SECRETARY.
CLARA (seizes a chair to keep from falling).
He! Oh, if only he had not come back!