II, Theaterstücke 9, (Der grüne Kakadu. Drei Einakter, 2), Die Gefährtin. Schauspiel in einem Akt (Der Wittwer), Seite 10

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aehrt i
9.2. Dieham
Everything this escritoire contains I purpose to throw into
I cherished any illusions? That were simon pure simplicity
the fire without examination.
when one marries a woman twenty years one’s junior.
OLGA:—No, I'm sure you would not have done it.
realized very clearly in the beginning that at best the future
ROB:—You needn't reproach yourself either. Perhaps it
held but one or two perfect years for me. Yes, dear Olga,
is for the best that I know everything without having to
I was under no delusion regarding that. In my case this talk
glance at the correspondence. Thus there is a complete un¬
of illusions falls flat. Life is not long enough for us to
derstanding—and that is the single gift we ought to ask of
reject even one year of happiness when it is offered to us.
And, let me assure you, it is sufficient—at least as concerns
OLGA (Earnestly):—You might have asked a great deal
our relations with women. I refer naturally to the women
one adores. One soon tires of them. In life there are other
ROB:—Once—yes. And I would not have had to ask in
things which have a greater hold on men.
vain. But now? She was young and I was old; that’s the
OLGA:—Possibly. But one doesn't always realize it.
long and short of it. You and I can weigh affairs of this
ROB:—I have never lost sight of it. She was never at any
sort impartially in the case of others. Why not here? (A
time the all-in-all of my life—never, even during that one
locomotive wkistles in the distance. Olga starts. Pause.)
year of happiness. In a certain sense, I grant you, she was
OLGA:—For my sake, I beg you to receive him tomorrow.
more than that—the fragra##e, if you will. But, as is to be
ROB:—Why? Do I not lock calm? Do you honestly
expected, the fragrance in time died out. But all this is use¬
believe that I—There is just one thing that I must ask yon
less. (He speaks with more and more emotion in his voice,
to do for me. He must not learn that I know. If he did
but outwardly gives the appearance of calmness.) We had
he'd interpret every word of mine in terms of forgiveness
nothing in common, we two, but the memory of our short¬
and magnanimity. I don't want that. It isn't true. I have
lived happiness. And, take my word for it, this sort of com¬
never hated him; I do not hate him now. Why, there’s abso¬
inon memory severs more often than it binds.
lutely no ground for hate—and none for forgiveness either.
OLGA:—I can conceive of it ending differently.
She belonged to him. Pray, let’s not lose sight of that. Let
ROB:—No doubt. But scarcely with a creature of Eve¬
us by all means avoid getting confused by external circum¬
line’s type. She was cut out to be a mistress; not a help¬
stances. She belonged to him—not me. The tension of their
existence could not have lasted must longer.
OLGA:—Helpmeet! That word’s big with meaning. How
OLGA:—I implore you, Robert, do not receive him tonight.
many women do you know who are fit to be helpmeets?
ROB:—I never asked her to be one to me. To speak truth,
ROB:—You know very well she wanted to leave me.
I never felt lonely. A man who has a calling—I don't mean
an occupation—can really never know the pangs of loneli¬
ROB:—Yes, for she confided in you.
OLGA:—Oh, no!
ROB:—Then how did you know where those letters were?
OLGA (Dispassionately) :—There in a nutshell is the great
advantage you men possess—I mean men of yeur cut.
OLGA:—I happened to come in once while she was read¬
ROB:—And when our happiness came to an end I again
ing one aloud. I did not mean to cavesdrop, but—
tock up che thread of my life work, concerning which she
ROB:—But she had to have a confidante, that’s very plain;
knew very little, as you are aware. I went my way and she
and you could not help being hers; that’s evident enough.
went hers.
No. Matters cquld not have continucd thus very long. Do
you think I was blind to the shame hoth endured because of
OLGA:—No. It was not so. Ah, no!
their hypocrisy—and how they suffered? I was longing for
ROB:—Of course it was so. She’s probably told you
the moment—yes, patiently awaiting it—when they would
more than you are willing to own. As far as I am con¬
nerve themselves to come to me and say, Free us!“ Why
cerned this guarded abstraction of her letters is uncalled for.
didn't they find the courage? Why didn't I say to them,
There are no surprises and no discoveries for me any more.
What are you trying to do? You would gladly have me re¬
Vou may go. I don't want to detain you.“ But we were
main in darkness—no, envelope me in darkness. I know very
all cowardly. To me that’s the absurd side of life. We are
eternally expecting some outer force to smite the shackles of
well that I lost her a long time ago. Ves, a long time ago.
the intolerable—an unknown something—which takes upon
(With groting emotion): And do you for a moment believe
itself the pains for our being honest with one another. And
that because all between us was dead I gulled myself into
thinking she was also cold to the joy of life; that she be¬
soon it comes, this something, as with us. (Rumble of car¬
riage ##heels below. Brief silence. Olga is pery much ercited.
came an old woman simply because she had drifted away
Kobert, erternally calm, continnes speaking.)
from me—or I had drifted away from her? I never enter¬
tained the notion.
ROB:—And one must admit, at any rate, it provides a
capital solution. (The carriage stops.)
OLGA:—Really, Robert, I'm quite at a loss to account for
OL.GA:—You are going to receive him?
vour conjectures.
ROB:—He must not see the letters.
ROB:——I know who wrote these letters. It was not you.
I know, too, there is another who deserves to be pitied much
OLGA:—Let me go. I'lI take them away with me.
ROB:—Here, by these stairs—
more deeply than I; one whom she loved. And it was he
OLGA:—I hear his step.
who was bereaved of her today. No, not I; not I. Vou see,
ROB:—He must have come through the garden then. (He
all this trouble was uncalled for. There can be no other.
takes the letters from her and hastily replaces them in the
OLGA:—You are shockingly deceived.
drazver.) Too late. Don't go. (Footsteps outside. Alfred
ROB:—Olga, let me beg you to tear off the mask at once.
rushes i# He wears a dark traveling suit. As he sdies Olga
Otherwise I may be tempted to read those letters after all.
he is just the least bit embarrassed. Robert makes as if to
(Observing a rapid movement of Olga's.) You needn't fear.
go toward him, but stops in an atlitude of waiting after tak¬
I won't do it. Let us burn them before he arrives.
ing troo steps. Alfred grasbs his hand, then goes to Olga and
OLGA:—Do you wish to do that?
ROB:—Ves. For that was my intention before you came.
offers ker his. A brief silence.)