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Pamphlets offorints
37
PAUL H. GRUMMANN
he betrayed. Schnitzler averts all suspicion from Marie for the death of
her father, but she undergoes nameless torments. Not only the guilt
but her rescue from its natural consequences is a source of continual re¬
morse. Schnitzler finally reassures her that what she has experienced and
what has lured her has not been life —the highest significance of her
existence. He adds: Who knows but later — far later — from a day of
disaster like the present one, the call of life will ring into your life far deeper
and purer than on that onc on which you have experienced things that bear
such terrible names as murder and death.' The complexity of the plot of
this drama and the nature of the action might suggest the melodramatic,
if the author had not ennobled the play throughout by characterizations
of the utmost keenness.
The burlesque spirit of the Punch and Judy playe pervades the three
one-act dramas published as Puppet Plays’ (’06). In the first, The
Puppet Player,' George Merklin, induces Anna to pretend that she is in
love with Eduard Jagisch, a timid oboe player. Anna enters into this
plot in order to arouse the jealousy of George, whom she loves. Years
pass, and George becomes a self-satisfied speculative vagabond. Eduard
meets him by chance and takes him to his home, where George learns that
the old puppet play has had serious consequences. Eduard is married to
Anna, and is the happy fatherof a son.
The characters of the sccond play, Brave Cassian,' are of a coarse
type. Martin believes that he has found à certain way of winning at dice.
He is so conceited about his success that he resolves to go into the world
and win for himself one of the stars of the demi-monde. His old mistress,
Sophie, comes to take her farewell, and the two are interrupted by Cassian,
Martin’s cousin, who immediately takes an interest in Sophie. Cassian
hears Martin's account of his mysterious cleverness at dice. The two play
and Cassian loses all of his money. When Cassian fully realizes the superb
qualities of Sophie, he makes unmistakable advances to her, at which Martin
becomes angry, in spite of the fact that he is about to desert her. The
ensuing quarrel leads to a rcopening of the game, with the result that
Martin loses all — his money, his clothes, his mistress, and finally his life.
The technique of The Green Cockatoo' reappears in The Great
Puppet Show.' It is a play within a play. The director, poet, and audi¬
ence are here scen as they witness a puppet play of the stock type. Mem¬
bers of the audience begin to comment, and these comments are blended
with the puppet show in such a manner that no one can any longer distin¬
guish the text from the by-play. The grotesque exaggeration and the rol¬
licking fun do not rob these plays of a deeper significance.
Five stories, Twilight Hours’ (°07), depict characters under various