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Coun._ But I knew nothing of those shocking circumstances before.

_Reiss._ Hem! As if there was any difference between persuading a
foolish woman to make a will, or getting a fellow that is half mad to
draw it up. The former, however, you have supposed to be the case, and
yet your morality sustained no shock.

_P. Coun._ But the oath?--

_Reiss._ Your pretended delicacy of conscience revolts at it; the mere
cowardice of a boy. Who are you, that now takes the part of conscience
against me? Are you a better man than I?

_P. Coun._ Whose work is it?

_Reiss._ You are a greater coward, but not the better man. Do not
presume to raise yourself an inch above me. You have sold both right
and bread.

_P. Coun._ Sir, the pupil may yet recede.

_Reiss._ If the master will let him; but the master holds him in his
hand. If he recedes, mind that he must shrink into his original
insignificance. He must hide from this world, for I--I shall not fall
alone. If I fall, the ground around shall tremble! Do you take me?

_P. Coun._ Horrid and abominable!

_Reiss._ Perhaps you imagine, that I have transformed the carpenter's
son into a privy counsellor, merely for the sake of having him for a
son-in-law? or because you are master of a tolerable good stile? No,
you shall serve me, because you are both good enough and bad enough for
the purpose.

_P. Coun._ But I will not, I will not! I say, with all the resolution,
with all the exertion of every one of those good feelings which you
would sear and benumb.

_Reiss._ Too late. You are so entangled, that you can neither advance
nor recede. You are fixed where I have placed you.--Thus much for the
present. Now leave me in my native good humour. As to the old lawyer, I
can soon manage him, never fear--Get the better of your squeamish
conscience, and come to dinner.

_P. Coun._ I cannot.

_Reiss._ I desire it,--I insist upon it.


SCENE VIII.

Enter Counsellor SELLING.

_Sell._ Miss has sent me up;--dinner is on the table.

_Reiss._ Come, gentlemen.

_Sell._ You have won the day.

_Reiss._ Undoubtedly.

_Sell._ I wish you joy.

_Reiss._ Now here is the Privy Counsellor, who puzzles his head about
some talk concerning the will.

_Sell._ Ah, that should not puzzle me.

_Reiss._ _Beati possidentes!_ Either, or--

_P. Coun._ Or!---there is the rub.


SCENE IV.

Enter MASTER CLARENBACH.

_Clar._ With your permission, gentlemen, I want to speak with my son.

_Reiss._ By yourselves?

_Clar._ Hem!--I should think so!

_Reiss._ Well, then do not let us wait long. (to the Privy Counsellor,
half audible.) You have understood, me sufficiently, I think.--Servant,
Master Clarenbach. Come along, Counsellor. [Exeunt.


SCENE X.

PRIVY COUNSELLOR, MASTER CLARENBACH.

_Clar._ I must come to you once more;--have you seen old Wellenberg?

_P. Coun._ Yes.

_Clar._ Well, what do you say about it?

_P. Coun._ I am shocked.

_Clar._ Thank God! What do you mean to do?

_P. Coun._ Alas! what can I do?

_Clar._ Jack, your honour is already in great arrears with our town,
and your conscience does not altogether keep a fair day-book. I ask
you, in the name of God, what do you mean to do?

_P. Coun._ All I can, father!

_Clar._ If you are in earnest, come along with me; let us go from
hence.

_P. Coun._ Why so soon,--and whither?

_Clar._ Fly, fly from the brink of destruction. You must not dine here,
you must not remain here any longer. You must not marry into this
family.

_P. Coun._ The girl is my good genius. I cannot leave her.

_Clar._ Then her father, that bad genius, will not leave you! Do not
struggle between the two. Come along with me; do as you ought; be
afraid of no man, confide in God, and hope! You will have the girl at
last. Come along with me.

_P. Coun._ I wish I could! were I not at once rivetted down here by the
demon of evil, and irresistibly bid to stay by the power of virtue!

_Clar._ Jack, dear Jack, my son, do not send me away without you; come
along with me.

_P. Coun._ I cannot; you see I cannot.

_Clar._ God have mercy on thee! thou art undone!

_P. Coun._ It may be. I am undone whether I stay or go. And so I will
stay and strive, and see what I can yet retrieve of my honour.

_Clar._ How can you save the honour of your situation in life, if the
honour of your heart be lost, and that must be lost among these
people?--You have removed honest Gernau, because he acts up to his
duty.--Your sister weeps bitterly,--the town despises you;--I have not
yet frowned on you. and will not do so now, because I pity you. But I
will leave this town, and take shelter with honest Gernau, who is to be
my son-in-law.

_P. Coun._ You will leave this town?

_Clar._ I do not wish it. I shall, with tears, leave my timber-yard and
the work which hitherto I have carried on with pleasure and success.
But as there is no remedy to save you from destruction, I must go. I
cannot witness it.

_P. Coun._ Is it my fault, if--

_Clar._ Your faults are many and great; your native town knows them,
and despises you. I cannot see you lowered thus, Jack. It has not been
in my power to make a great man of you, but I have educated you to be
an honest man. I have taken care of the tree, while young, and now it
is grown up, one branch decays after the other. And if it must be so,
that no green sprig shall henceforth flourish, then I will turn my eyes
from it, visit it no more, nor live on the spot where the withered
stem, that I am so fond of, shall fall.

_P. Coun._ Father!

_Clar._ I cannot weep; but I feel myself very ill on your account.

Enter a Servant.

_Serv._ The company is waiting for the Privy Counsellor.

_P. Coun._ I am coming. [Exit Servant.

_Clar._ Dear son, do not let me go without you. Behold! you may still
go with me as half a good man; we will all strive to mend the other bad
half.--Have pity on yourself and me; you stand, upon my word, on the
spot where the road divides,--the bad people in there, and here your
old father. They hold out to you good and high life; I offer you peace
and happiness.--For God's sake, Jack, follow me!

_P. Coun._ (embraces him.) I cannot do that; but I vow to you I will
yet do much.

_Clar._ That is a good word, and no more. Farewell, I will set off.--I
shall not see you again. Once more give me your hand.

_P. Coun._ No, I shall not do that. I will not part with you in this
manner.

_Clar._ It is best so;--it shakes my whole frame,--and my daughter has
likewise a claim on my life! Come then once more to this heart, that
once delighted in you.--(Embraces him.)

_P. Coun._ Father!--

_Clar._ You weep over yourself! God! that it should come to this!--Now
farewell; I forgive thee, and so does thy sister. May God take thy
wealth from thee, that thou mayest amend, and sometime leave this world
in peace!--Farewell! (Attempts to go.)


SCENE XI.

Enter Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN.

_Reiss._ Well, we are waiting.

_Clar._ (pulling his son towards him.) You would take him away from
me,--tear him out of my arms,--drag him away!--he is my son, and no
father will tamely suffer his son to precipitate himself into
perdition. Jack, I will not leave thee, I will not yield thee up!--Thou
art mine, nature and thy heart have closely interwoven us together;
wilt thou, of thy own accord, leave me?

_P. Coun._ (throws his arms round him.) No, I cannot;--I will follow
you hence!

_Clar._ God be praised, my son is saved!

[Exeunt arm in arm.--Reissman follows them a few steps, sets his arms
a-kembow, and looks after them.



ACT IV.


SCENE I.

Aulic Counsellor Reissman's, the same room as in the preceding act.

Aulic Counsellor REISSMAN enters in a passion;
SOPHIA follows.

_Reiss._ Not a word, not a word more, not a single syllable of that
silly fool! What, to leave me and you, as if we were infected with the
plague and breathed contagion? I cannot bear the affront, it shall not
go unavenged. I had rather die a thousand deaths.

_Soph._ Was it not his father that desired him to go with him? and you
know he ought to obey him.

_Reiss._ Who am I, and what is his father? Do not name him any more in
my hearing; you must not see him any more, nor even think of him. That
petty Privy Counsellor is now dead and buried to me.

_Soph._ By your advice I listened to his addresses.

_Reiss._ Forget him then by my command.


SCENE II.

Enter Servant.

_Serv._ Grobman, the ironmonger.

_Reiss._ Very well, very well; shew him in. [Exit Servant.

_Reiss._ (to Sophia.) You may retire, go!

_Soph._ Your commands [Exit.

_Reiss._ Fie upon him! a creature that I raised from obscurity!--a
fellow, who eight years ago was a petty fogger, whom I have raised to
the rank of a Privy Counseller!--I was a fool when I did so;--such a
fellow soar over my head! (Stamps with his foot.) I would sooner see
the whole frame of nature dissolve. I will not lose sight of my object;
I will proceed with spirit and caution. I have raised the useless pile,
I will pull it down again.


SCENE III.

Enter GROBMAN.

_Reiss._ (calm and friendly.) What is your pleasure, dear Mr.----?

_Grob._ Benniger has obtained the monopoly.

_Reiss._ You do not say so, do you?

Grab. The Privy Counsellor is to procure it for 2300 dollars, which sum
is to be paid this afternoon.

_Reiss._ Impossible!

_Grob._ It is but too true. The money is to be paid to Counsellor
Selling.

_Reiss._ (confidentially.) I must tell you that Selling has already
mentioned something to me about it. The young man's conscience is
alarmed.



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