A man of whom you expect all this will certainly not surprise you if he says no!
Then may God not frown too severely on me if I come before he calls me! If I had myself alone to consider I would endure it patiently. If the world kicked me in my misery, instead of standing by me, I would bear it submissively and regard it as just punishment for I know not what! I would love my child, even if it had your features, and I would cry so much before the poor innocent thing that, when it grew older and wiser, it would certainly not despise and curse its mother. But it is not myself alone; and on Judgement Day I shall much more easily find an answer to the Judge’s question: why did you drive your father to it?
You talk as if you were the first woman and the last to find herself in your predicament! Thousands have gone through it before you and submitted to their fate. Thousands after you will be confronted with the same situation and accept their fate. Are all these others strumpets, that you are so anxious to stand in the corner by yourself? They also had fathers who invented a score of new oaths when they first heard of it, and talked about murder and homicide! Afterward they were ashamed of themselves and repented their oaths and blasphemies; they sat down and rocked the child, or fanned the flies away!
I readily believe that you fail to understand why anybody in the world should keep an oath.
Enter a boy
Here are some flowers! I am not to say from whom they come!
Oh, what pretty flowers!
[He beats his brow.]
The devil! How stupid of me! I should have sent Some! How can I get out of it? I do not understand such things, and the little girl will take it to heart! She has nothing else to think about!
[He takes the flowers.]
But I shall not keep all of them.
[To Clara] How about it? These here signify repentance and shame, don’t they? Did you not say that to me once?
LEANARD (To the boy).
See here, boy, these are for me. I fasten them on me here, you see—where my heart is. These, these dark red ones, which burn like a dismal fire, you may take back. Do you understand? As soon as my apples are ripe, you may come for some!
That is a long time off!