What are you doing, girl? [Amelia starts and puts the bag in the cupboard.] Who’s going away? They haven’t sent for Arno?
Mother: [Sighs, and drops her load on the hearth.]
Is the hay all in?
Yes. I put in the last load. All the big work on our place is done, and so—[Looks at her mother and hesitates. Her mother begins to chop the wood into kindling.] I’ll do that, Mother.
Let be, girl. It keeps me from worrying. Get a bite to eat. What were you doing with that bag? Who were you packing it for?
Amelia: [With downcast eyes.]
Sit down, Mother, and be still while I tell you—
[Pushes her mother into a chair.]
Is there any news? Quick! Tell me!
Not since yesterday. Only they say Franz is at the front. We don’t know where Emil and Otto are, and there’s been a battle; but—
Mother: [Murmurs, with closed eyes.]
My boys! my boys!
Don’t, Mother! They may come back. [A cheer is heard.]
Amelia: [Running to the door and looking out.]
They are cheering the war brides, that’s all.
Aye. There’s been another wedding ceremony.
How many war brides to-day?
Ten, they said.
Aye, that is good. Has any one asked you, Amelia? [Amelia looks embarrassed.] Some one should ask you. You are a good-looking girl.
Amelia: [In a low voice.]
Hans Hoffman asked me last night.
The young and handsome lieutenant? You are lucky. You said yes?
Amelia: [Shakes her head.]
I hardly know him. I’ve only spoken to him once before. O Mother—that isn’t what I want to do.
What did you tell him?
That I was going away to join the Red Cross.
He didn’t believe me. He kissed me—and I ran away.
The Red Cross!
Yes; that is what I was going to tell you just now. That is why I was packing the bag. [Gets it.] I—I want to go. I want to go to-night. I can’t stand this waiting.