Mother! Fie! As if I had forgotten that she lies where even the innkeeper’s boots no longer has to open his nut-cracker mouth with a “Yes, sir!” when he is called! I did not weep when I heard the funeral bell in my dark cell, but—Redcoat, you would not even let me roll the last ball at the bowling alley, although I already had it in my hand. Well, I shall not leave you time for a last breath when I meet you alone, and that may happen this very evening! I know where you are to be found about ten o’clock! Afterward, aboard ship!—I wonder where Clara is? I am as hungry as I am thirsty! Today is Thursday—they have veal broth for dinner. If it were winter, they would have had cabbage—before Shrove-Tuesday white cabbage—after Shrove-Tuesday, green cabbage! That is as fixed as Thursday’s having to come when Wednesday has passed, so that it cannot say to Friday: You go in my place—my feet are sore!
At last!—You should not kiss so much! Whenever four red lips meet a bridge for the devil is built!—What have you there?
Where? What?—In your hand!
Nothing? Is it a secret?
[He snatches LEONARD’S letter.]
Give me that! When the father is not here the brother is guardian!
I held fast to the scrap of paper, and yet the evening wind is so strong that it blows the tiles off the roofs. As I was passing the church one fell right in front of me, so that my foot struck against it. Oh, God! I thought—one more! And I stood still. That would have been fine; they would have buried me and said: “She met with an accident!”—But I waited in vain for the second.
CARL (has read the letter).
Thunder and—I’ll lame the hand that wrote that!—Bring me a bottle of wine! Or is your savings box empty?
There is one more in the house. I had bought it secretly for mother’s birthday and put it aside. Tomorrow would have been the day—[She turns away.]
Give it to me!
CLARA (brings the wine).
CARL (drinks quickly).
Now we can start in again—planing, sawing, hammering, and, in between, eating, drinking, and sleeping, so that we can go on planing, sawing, and hammering, and on Sundays do a bit of praying into the bargain! I thank Thee, O Lord, that I may plane, saw, and hammer!
Long live every good dog that is tied to a chain, and yet does not snap at everything around him!
[He drinks again.]
And once more: Here’s to his health!
Carl, do not drink so much! Father says the devil lurks in wine!