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I am ill; do good for
once, and permit me to go home and throw myself on my bed. (Going.)

_Reiss._ Stay.

_Well._ I cannot.

_Reiss._ But, as the advocate of the children, you ought to hear my
proposition.

_Well._ Then propose, briefly and fairly.

_Reiss._ Sit down.

_Well._ I must sit down; for the idea of your perjury has enfeebled me
so, that I cannot move. (Sits down.) Propose to the honour of your
Creator and the salvation of your soul, that I may recover my strength.

_Reiss._ Not as an obligation, but, through mere motives of pity and
christian charity, I will give the children half of the legacy. What do
you say to that?

_Well._ Half a virtue is no virtue at all; yet it is better than vice.

_Reiss._ Well?

_Well._ The fiend may yet lose his hold.

_Reiss._ Drink a glass.

_Well._ I almost stand in want of it, for I do not feel well on your
account. (Drinks off the glass of wine.)

_Reiss._ What am I about! I have, in the warmth of conversation, left
the bottle uncorked, and the spirit of the liquor, intended to honour
you, will evaporate. No matter; (takes the bottle to himself, and
substitutes the other, out of which he immediately fills him a glass,)
here is fresh wine.

_Well._ (puts down the glass.) I will drink no more.

_Reiss._ But, when we have done and agreed, in token of
reconciliation--

_Well._ My first and last words are, give up the whole of the bequest,
or take the oath!

_Reiss._ Ay! what is all that!--(Fills a glass for himself out of the
bottle which he had removed from Wellenberg's side.) A glass of wine
will warm you. Come, touch here! (Offers to touch glasses with him.)

_Well._ No! the inclinations which wine inspires are false. Good
inclinations ought to come from the heart instead of the bottle.

_Reiss._ Shall I tell you what carries me so far? It is your
honest character, and my respect for you; and, as my daughter is a
good-for-nothing hussy, I will, in the name of God, provided they let
me alone while I live, I will, after my death, bequeath the remainder
of the bequest to the children by a formal testament, which I wish you
to draw up immediately. That is, upon my word, more than fair! Come,
touch glasses upon that, and then we have done. (Touches glasses with
him, and drinks it off.)

_Well._ (touches glasses, but does not drink.) That is something.

_Reiss._ Is it not! (Fills his own glass.) Well, then, on with it!

_Well._ (holds up his glass, but does not drink.) The good spirit
begins to move you; and I begin to feel better in your company.

_Reiss._ (wipes his forehead.) I am glad of it.

_Well._ You wipe your forehead?

_Reiss._ Hem! you have put me in such a heat.

_Well._ Thank God! I wish you would examine your conscience fully, and
then wipe your eyes too; then I would, in the joy of my heart, empty my
glass at once.

_Reiss._ I thank you. Now to a prosperous futurity! (Holds up the
glass.)

_Well._ In heaven,--yes! (going to drink;) but (puts the glass down)
then every thing ought to be in a good state upon earth. Drink no more,
it will heat you; and, to do good, the soul ought to be sober.

_Reiss._ Well then--

_Well._ In your proposition there may still be an acceptable compromise
for the children. But--

_Reiss._ I should think so. Then accept it, give me your hand, and
empty your glass.

_Well._ Ay, if it concerned only the children, I would accept it. But
it concerns your soul, which cannot go out of this world in peace, if
your conscience is not at peace. Therefore I do not accede to the
proposition.

_Reiss._ What?

_Well._ I cannot accept it for the sake of your immortal soul, till you
quite clear yourself, and give up the whole.

_Reiss._ Is that your last determination?

_Well._ It is.

_Reiss._ Then I will give up nothing at all.

_Well._ Then God have mercy upon you! I have done my duty.

_Reiss._ Does not the will itself secure me against every claim?

_Well._ Not quite so.

_Reiss._ I beg your pardon; does not Article V. say--

_Well._ If you avail yourself of that plea, and the good spirit has
forsaken you, what must be the awful result! Think in time; what, to
barter everlasting happiness for a few pieces of yellow dirt! Now I
have done. (Rises.)

_Reiss._ The fifth article says, "that if ever"--Stop a little; I have
the will at hand. (Goes into the closet.)

_Well._ I see there is nothing to be done here.
God have mercy upon this obstinate man!--Has he not even tried to tempt
me with his wine, that I might do what is evil? But heaven be praised,
he did not succeed; and how easily might he have succeeded, though my
nerves are worn out with age and infirmities! Besides, it is a very
strong wine; (takes the glass, and smells to it.) Very strong! (looks
at it;) rather feculent. (Puts the glass down, walks a few steps, and
seems to muse.) Hem! (examines Reissman's glass.) This one is fine;
(looks again at his own glass;) this is not so. (Puts it down.) This
glass came out of the second bottle. He has not drank of that, I think.
No, he has not, I now recollect. Perhaps,--but that is very wicked,--
perhaps not content with intoxication, he thought to get me to do the
evil that is in his soul? Such men are not to be trusted; their notions
are abominable. Perhaps he mixed some intoxicating ingredient in this
wine? He is capable of such an action; for, otherwise, why should he
press me to drink? Then my soul would have perished at the same time
with my philosophy!--I must know that; I will have it examined; and, if
so, I will thank God for my deliverance, and withdraw my hand for ever
from the obdurate sinner. (Takes both bottles, and goes away with them.
When he has left the room, Reissman comes out of the closet with the
will.)

_Reiss._ Look you here; here it expressly says.--Where is he? (Looks
out of the door, comes back, claps his hands together; pours the wine
that is in the two glasses out of the window; puts them in his pocket;
goes once more to the door, at which the Lawyer went out. He is in a
violent agitation; wipes the table very carefully with his
handkerchief; carries it into the closet, out of which he returns with
his hat and cane, and is going out by the door towards the street. When
he is at the door he returns, carefully examines the chair on which the
Lawyer has been seated, passes his handkerchief over it, carries both
chairs into the closet, examines the floor where the chairs stood, and
precipitately exit.)


SCENE V.

Master Clarenbach's house.

MASTER CLARENBACH, SOPHIA.

_Clar._ Step in here, child! here you are, if not rich, at least safe.
You have now done your duty as a daughter. Now recommend the perverse
man to heaven, and let things take their course.

_Soph._ Can I be easy with that? It is lamentable, that I have no other
means left.

_Clar._ My son has acted as a man of honour ought. He would not leave
me till I had given him my word, neither to act nor to speak against
your father.

_Soph._ You have given it.

_Clar._ And will keep it.

_Soph._ I will acknowledge it with filial affection, with the same care
and attention as if I were your own daughter.

_Clar._ Jack has obtained you by noble means, dear daughter; that is a
good and laudable commencement of the marriage-state.


SCENE VI.

Enter GERNAU.

_Gern._ Dear old man, I have forgotten all the wrongs the Privy
Counsellor ever did me. They now vanish like a dream. He has more than
compensated for all.

_Soph._ With respect to you?

_Gern._ That is out of his power now. But he has acted with such
discretion, with such abundance of good nature, and rendered so much
justice to every body else, that I must be devoid of all feeling, if I
could consider my accounts with him as unsettled.

_Clar._ Pray speak more of that. I have been unwilling this long while
to enquire into the actions of my son; but to-day I am so pleased with
him, that I could talk of him for ever without interruption.

_Gern._ He desired me to go home with him. Away with every penny, said
he, which I have not acquired fairly, or of which the least doubt
remains. Then he counted money, sealed it up, and called out to me
repair to the next trading town. I will give you the directions into
whose hands this cash is to go. I will wrong no man, assist me to
discharge my duty, name not who sent it! I will set off this very
day.--He is this moment gone to pay two people, that had been
overcharged in their contributions towards the construction of the
bridge. He intends to discharge that debt personally, because they are
good people on whom he can rely, who will not take advantage of his
frankness.

_Clar._ Your work, dear daughter! a clear conscience, joy, and honour!
what a valuable portion you bring into my family! When at evenings we
shall meet, and every one of us shall sum up the honest earnings of the
day, with what affection and gratitude shall we then calculate and pay
you the interest of your capital!


SCENE VII.

Enter FREDERICA.

_Fred._ Your father has been here this minute to enquire after Lawyer
Wellenberg.

_Soph._ (quick.) Is he gone yet?

_Fred._ He seemed in doubt some time, whether to go or stay, but then
he went without saying any thing.

_Clar._ Ah, the legacy,--his conscience--Dr. Kannenfeld,--it begins to
operate.

_Gern._ Yes, yes.

_Soph._ Oh, I wish that was settled!

_Clar._ Do not be uneasy; old Wellenberg has him entirely in his power,
and he knows what he is about.


SCENE VIII.

Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.

_P. Coun._ Sophia, I have kept my word.

_Clar._ (reaches him his hand.) We have been told so.

_Soph._ I know it.

_P. Coun._ My accounts are now settled, and my mind is at ease. I can
now call a furnished house and four thousand dollars my own honest
property. I have thrown off the burden, I have got rid of a connection
that imposed upon me.

_Gern._ Dear brother!



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