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- Minna von Barnhelm - 2/27 -


LAND. Nobody in my life ever told me that before . . . But another glass, Herr Just; three is the lucky number!

JUST. With all my heart!-- (Drinks). Good stuff indeed, capital! But truth is good also, and indeed, Landlord, you are an ill-mannered brute all the same!

LAND. If I was, do you think I should let you say so?

JUST. Oh! yes; a brute seldom has spirit.

LAND. One more, Herr Just: a four-stranded rope is the strongest.

JUST. No, enough is as good as a feast! And what good will it do you, Landlord? I shall stick to my text till the last drop in the bottle. Shame, Landlord, to have such good Dantzig, and such bad manners! To turn out of his room, in his absence--a man like my master, who has lodged at your house above a year; from whom you have had already so many shining thalers; who never owed a heller in his life--because he let payment run for a couple of months, and because he does not spend quite so much as he used.

LAND. But suppose I really wanted the room and saw beforehand that the Major would willingly have given it up if we could only have waited some time for his return! Should I let strange gentlefolk like them drive away again from my door! Should I wilfully send such a prize into the clutches of another innkeeper? Besides, I don't believe they could have got a lodging elsewhere. The inns are all now quite full. Could such a young, beautiful, amiable lady remain in the street? Your master is much too gallant for that. And what does he lose by the change? Have not I given him another room?

JUST. By the pigeon-house at the back, with a view between a neighbour's chimneys.

LAND. The view was uncommonly fine, before the confounded neighbour obstructed it. The room is otherwise very nice, and is papered--

JUST. Has been!

LAND. No, one side is so still. And the little room adjoining, what is the matter with that? It has a chimney which, perhaps, smokes somewhat in the winter--

JUST. But does very nicely in the summer. I believe, Landlord, you are mocking us into the bargain!

LAND. Come, come; Herr Just, Herr Just--

JUST. Don't make Herr Just's head hot--

LAND. I make his head hot? It is the Dantzig does that.

JUST. An officer, like my master! Or do you think that a discharged officer, is not an officer who may break your neck for you? Why were you all, you Landlords, so civil during the war? Why was every officer an honourable man then and every soldier a worthy, brave fellow? Does this bit of a peace make you so bumptious?

LAND. What makes you fly out so, Herr Just!

JUST. I will fly out.

SCENE III. Major von Tellheim, Landlord, Just

MAJ. T. (entering). Just!

JUST. (supposing the Landlord is still speaking). Just? Are we so intimate?

MAJ. T. Just!

JUST. I thought I was "Herr Just" with you.

LAND. (seeing the Major). Hist! hist! Herr Just, Herr Just, look round; your master--

MAJ. T. Just, I think you are quarreling! What did I tell you?

LAND. Quarrel, your honour? God forbid! Would your most humble servant dare to quarrel with one who has the honour of being in your service?

JUST. If I could but give him a good whack on that cringing cat's back of his!

LAND. It is true Herr Just speaks up for his master, and rather warmly; but in that he is right. I esteem him so much the more: I like him for it.

JUST. I should like to knock his teeth out for him!

LAND. It is only a pity that he puts himself in a passion for nothing. For I feel quite sure that your honour is not displeased with me in this matter, since--necessity--made it necessary--

MAJ. T. More than enough, sir! I am in your debt; you turn out my room in my absence. You must be paid, I must seek a lodging elsewhere. Very natural.

LAND. Elsewhere? You are going to quit, honoured sir? Oh, unfortunate stricken man that I am. No, never! Sooner shall the lady give up the apartments again. The Major cannot and will not let her have his room. It is his; she must go; I cannot help it. I will go, honoured sir--

MAJ. T. My friend, do not make two foolish strokes instead of one. The lady must retain possession of the room--

LAND. And your honour could suppose that from distrust, from fear of not being paid, I . . . As if I did not know that your honour could pay me as soon as you pleased. The sealed purse . . . five hundred thalers in louis d'ors marked on it--which your honour had in your writing-desk . . . is in good keeping.

MAJ. T. I trust so; as the rest of my property. Just shall take them into his keeping, when he has paid your bill--

LAND. Really, I was quite alarmed when I found the purse. I always considered your honour a methodical and prudent man, who never got quite out of money . . . but still, had I supposed there was ready money in the desk--

MAJ. T. You would have treated me rather more civilly. I understand you. Go, sir; leave me. I wish to speak with my servant.

LAND. But, honoured sir--

MAJ. T. Come, Just; he does not wish to permit me to give my orders to you in his house.

LAND. I am going, honoured sir! My whole house is at your service. (Exit.)

SCENE IV. Major Von Tellheim, Just

JUST. (stamping with his foot and spitting after the Landlord). Ugh!

MAJ. T. What is the matter?

JUST. I am choking with rage.

MAJ. T. That is as bad as from plethora.

JUST. And for you sir, I hardly know you any longer. May I die before your eyes, if you do not encourage this malicious, unfeeling wretch. In spite of gallows, axe, and torture I could . . . yes, I could have throttled him with these hands, and torn him to pieces with these teeth!

MAJ. T. You wild beast!


Minna von Barnhelm - 2/27

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