Is this true? You expect—
Hedwig: [Proudly, scornfully.]
You will not shoot me if I give you a soldier for your empire and your armies and your guns, will you, Herr Captain?
Why—eh, no. Every child counts these times. But we will put you under lock and key. You are a firebrand. I warned you. Come along.
You want my child, but still you will not promise
me what I asked you.
Well, we shall see.
Give me just a moment. I want to send a message to the emperor. Will you take it for me, Herr Captain?
Well, well, hurry up!
[Hedwig sits at table and writes a brief note.]
She has lost Franz. She is crazed.
There. See that it is placed in the hands of the emperor. [Gives him the note.] Good-by, Amelia! Never be a war bride, Amelia.
[Kisses her three times,] Good-by, Mother.
[Embraces her tenderly.] Thank you for these.
[She gathers the baby things in her hands, crosses the room, pressing a little sock to her lips. As she passes the cupboard she deftly seizes the pistol, and moves into the bedroom. On the threshold she looks over her shoulder.]
You may read the message out loud.
[She disappears into the room, still pressing the little sock to her lips.]
Hertz: [Reading the note.]
“A Message to the Emperor: I refuse to bear my child until you promise there shall be no more war.”
[A shot is fired in the bedroom. They rush into the room. The Mother stands trembling by the table.]
Hertz: [Awed, coming out of the room with the baby things, which he places on the table.]
Dead! Tcha! tcha! she was mad. I will hush it up, Maria.
[He tears up Hedwig’s message to the emperor, and goes out of the house, shaking his head. Amelia is kneeling in the doorway of the bedroom, bending over something, and softly crying. The Mother slowly gathers up the pieces of Hedwig’s message and the baby garments, now dashed with blood, and, sitting on the bench, holds them tight against her breast, staring straight in front of her, her lips moving inaudibly. She closes her eyes and rocks to and fro, still muttering and praying.]