Things will happen—what is one to do, Clara?
Away from here! The man can talk!
[She starts to go.]
Do you think that I believe you?
Thank God, you cannot be a suicide without being an infanticide as well!
Better both than a parricide! Oh, I know that one cannot atone for one sin with another! But what I now do affects me alone! If I hand the knife to my father the blow strikes him as well as me! It strikes me in any case! That gives me courage and strength in all my distress! Things will go well with you on earth!
“I must, I must marry her!” And why must I? She is going to do a crazy thing in order to keep her father from doing one. Where lies the necessity of my doing a still crazier thing in order to ward off hers? I cannot admit the necessity—at least not until I see before me the man who wants to get ahead of me with the most insane act of all! And if he thinks as I do about it there will be no end! That sounds quite sensible, and yet—I must follow her! Here comes somebody! Thank God!—Nothing is more ignominious than to have to be at variance with one’s own thoughts! A rebellion in the head, in which one brings forth viper after viper and each one tries to eat the other or bite his tail, is the worst of all!
Enter the SECRETARY.
Mr. Secretary? To what do I owe the honor—
Leonard, you will see at once!
You say Leonard to me?—To be sure, we used to be schoolmates!
And we may perhaps be death-mates too!
[He draws forth two pistols.]
Do you know how to handle these?
I do not understand you!
SECRETARY (cocks one of them).
Do you see?—This is how it is done! Then you aim at me, as I am now doing at you, and pull the trigger! So!