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The young man's conscience is
alarmed. He does not like to lend a hand in those sort of things. But I
would not believe it.

_Grob._ It is but too certain.

_Reiss._ O Lord! who could think any thing like it of such a man? that
is mean, that is--that must not be permitted. Ay, ay! and the minister
prefers such a man, reposes confidence in him, because men, like me,
take him by the hand. They think, because such a man is of a low
extraction, he must have the interest of the lower class at heart. And
then he will betray and sell the state!

_Grob._ As an inhabitant, I ought to have the preference to a stranger.

_Reiss._ Most undoubtedly.

_Grob._ I am very willing to go to some expence too, only--

_Reiss._ Not a single penny; God forbid I should be guilty of such a
sin! That contract with Benniger must be annulled.

_Grob._ If that were possible, I would with all my heart--

_Reiss._ Ay, it must be so. I am very intimate with the Privy
Counsellor. He was to have my daughter; but I will never give her to a
man like him. You must furnish me immediately with a plea, in which you
must develope the whole transaction.

_Grob._ Good God! the Privy Counsellor!

_Reiss._ I give you my word and hand, as an honest man, I will run all
the consequences. In such a case one is in conscience bound; only let
me have the declaration immediately. I will manage in such a manner
that the Privy Counsellor shall come off with tolerable good credit.

_Grob._ If you will do that--

_Reiss._ Yes, yes, yes!

_Grob._ But Counsellor Selling--

_Reiss._ Is a young man;--out of fear of displeasing the Privy
Counsellor, he has lent his aid. Such a young man may yet be taught in
time. That is my principal object.

_Grob._ Well, the declaration shall be drawn up without delay.
Heaven bless you, dear Sir, for thus taking the part of a poor
fellow-townsman! [Exit.

_Reiss._ My duty, my duty!--Bravo, little Selling, that is prettily
managed!


SCENE IV.

Enter Counsellor SELLING.

_Sell._ Old Wellenberg wishes to call on you.

_Reiss._ Has he taken any steps yet with the Doctor, concerning the mad
patient?

_Sell._ No, the Doctor is breathing his last.

_Reiss._ If God should call him off, the calumniator will escape a very
serious action in this world. Now my claims and the will have been
confirmed, I will, of my own accord, make the children a handsome
present.

_Sell._ Very laudable!

_Reiss._ When is Benniger to bring you the present for the Privy
Counsellor?

_Sell._ Very soon, I expect.

_Reiss._ Take it, that we may have a proof; then tell Benniger your
mind, and open the business to me.

_Sell._ But; then I fear the Privy Counsellor will take it in dudgeon.

_Reiss._ The Privy Counsellor! I will silence him with a single look;
ask me within a fortnight what the Privy Counsellor says,--ask me then
what he is. God! could I ever have dreamt of any such thing, when I was
raising and supporting that upstart!

_Sell._ Everyone is astonished at your condescension and kindness.

_Reiss._ All disinterestedness! all good-nature! Was I not going to
give him my child? but God forbid!--he does not deserve her.

_Sell._ Every one knows that you are in the highest favour with the
Ministry--

_Reiss._ These many years.--

_Sell._ That, properly speaking, you govern both the Privy Councilor
and the whole country.

_Reiss._ I know the country and the people.

_Sell._ To please you, I attached myself to the Privy Counsellor; but
his vanity is such that I cannot hold out with him any longer. He has
this very day told me that I learned nothing.

_Reiss._ There we have it.--

_Sell._ That I did not know my own language; that I made a motion in
court so ridiculous the other day, that every one laughed at me; nay,
he told me to my face that I attempted to assume an air of importance
that I was not entitled to.

_Reiss._ I am shocked at it, do you know? Your dear father, who is now
no more, was a man who--

_Sell._ Was Privy Counsellor! But that is nothing in his eyes. Such an
upstart will press forward, and people of our consequence must render
homage not only to him, but even to the carpenter's family.

_Reiss._ Pray, were not you to marry his sister?

_Sell._ No, no! yet, in the state of subjection he kept me, he might at
last have brought me to it. He would, as he calls it, correct my
writings, and then he would, by way of making it up, sometimes nod his
head by way of approbation.

_Reiss._ As I see that the fellow does not deserve what I have done for
him, all shall be altered in future: attach yourself to me.

_Sell._ Good God! I will with both my hands.

_Reiss._ I will make out the draft for the declaration, in which you
are to charge him with having taken a bribe, and also for having
constantly forced you to vote as he pleased in the court. I will carry
my point; the Prime Minister shall be informed of the whole. Go hence,
and I will send you every thing.

_Sell._ I shall be very glad to get rid of him; but you will assist me
occasionally to propose a law too? will you not?

_Reiss._ By way of practising? oh yes!

_Sell._ No, a real law, according to which the people are to act, be it
ever so trifling,--only that the world may know, that I can frame a law
as well as another. I only want it for the sake of the world, and the
consequence it will give me. [Exit.

_Reiss._ A shallow, shallow, ignorant boy!--but then he may be of use
to me.


SCENE V.

Enter Privy Counsellor CLARENBACH.

_P. Coun._ I have to explain to you, Sir.

_Reiss._ Just as you like, Sir.

_P. Coun._ I cannot remain the man, that, God knows how,--I have
gradually--

_Reiss._ I think so myself.

_P. Coun._ I can be dependent on you no longer; but I do not choose to
be ungrateful. Without enquiring into the motives which induced you to
raise me, I owe you my grateful thanks for having done so.

_Reiss._ I am hourly more and more convinced that I ought to have done
so.

_P. Coun._ This sarcastic remark shall not prevent me, as your intended
son-in-law, to render you my services from the purest motives and
filial zeal, and to endeavour to compromise that disagreeable affair
respecting the will.

_Reiss._ Ay! would you indeed?

_P. Coun._ If we only consider it as politically pernicious, it--

_Reiss._ There is nothing pernicious in the whole affair, my
affectionate Mr. Privy Counsellor, and your services are quite useless.

_P. Coun._ I wish they may prove so. Meanwhile you will not
misinterpret my intentions.

_Reiss._ Your intentions go to the future inheritance of my property,
my son-in-law that would be.--

_P. Coun._ Your daughter,--without any inheritance whatever--

_Reiss._ With or without inheritance, that is all over; you shall not
have her.

_P. Coun._ You may disinherit her, if you please, should I receive her
hand against your will; but your daughter is mine according to your
promise, and you can shew no cause for breaking it.

_Reiss._ (coldly.) Oh yes!

_P. Coun._ What? which?

_Reiss._ Some other time.

_P. Coun._ When? I desire to know it. I desire it, I tell you.

_Reiss._ You shall soon know it if you are in such a hurry.--I am now
busy.

_P. Coun._ Sir, if Sophia were not your daughter--

_Reiss._ Ah, that is the thing. Go, your papa is waiting for you:--if
you stay, he will come and take you away.

_P. Coun._ Sir!

_Reiss._ And come to save you too. Has not he saved you once already
this very day?--

_P. Coun._ Yes, he has that, honest man! May heaven reward him for it!

_Reiss._ He may perhaps save you once more yet, and perhaps
not.--Meanwhile, give yourself no farther trouble to call here. Your
servant, Sir.

_P. Coun._ (looks at his watch.) You distress me more than you know. If
that can give you pleasure, enjoy it. [Exit.

_Reiss._ (looking after him.) Hem! I ought to have discovered at first
sight that the fellow is not fit for my purpose; he is simple enough to
be in love in right earnest.--My foolish daughter loves him too; she
fans his hopes, so of course he will not injure me, when cashiered. The
Doctor is falling asleep, and the Lawyer,---hem!--must likewise be sent
to rest,--else I shall have no rest myself! [Exit.


SCENE VI.

Master Clarenbach's house.

Master CLARENBACH, FREDERICA, and GERNAU, busy with bringing in the
furniture seen in the first Act.

_Clar._ Courage, my dear children! about it! Thank God, we have got rid
of that fashionable trumpery. Set the table again there in its place.--
So!---how glad I am to behold my old friends again!

_Fred._ We shall have a comfortable repast on that table to night.

_Clar._ As Jack is to be one of the party, O yes!

_Gern._ I hope his change is right earnest; but I can scarcely believe
it.

_Clar._ No reflections, dear Gernau! What is past ought to be
forgotten.

_Gern._ But I must remove hence for all that.

_Clar._ Why, perhaps not. Jack will now employ his power to some good
purpose.

_Fred._ I wonder where he stays so long.

_Clar._ He is dissolving the partnership of sin with Reissman.

_Gern._ I wish it may be done in writing.

_Clar._ I have insisted on his having a conversation with him.


SCENE VII.

Enter SOPHIA.

_Clar._ Whom have I the honour to--(Bows, and all the rest rise.)

_Soph._ Without ceremony, my friends,

_Fred._ It is Miss Reissman, father!

_Soph._ Give me leave to wait for your son, Sir, who is to introduce me
to your acquaintance, (To Frederica.) We have seen one another already.

_Clar._ Miss Reissman? So--(with a smile.) The daughter of Mr.----; do
not take it amiss.

_Soph._ What?

_Fred._ Father, let it rest there.

_Clar._ Yes, yes! We do not like to mention any thing about it. You,
you are welcome wherever you go; and so you are to me, God knows!



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