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Pamphlets Offpr in—
ARTHUR SCHNTTZLER.
459
uproarious laughter. With pique mingling with his relief, Anatol
rises to the occasion, professing the righteous indignation of a
wounded spirit. To vindicate his amour-propre, he contemptuously
informs her that he too has fallen in love with another, but as far
as he is concerned his confession does come too late. Only a
man could be so brutal, retorts Anna; a woman would never be
so tactless as to say anything so crude. And so this sparkling
comedy ends with the girl carrying off the remains of the supper
to her cavalier round the corner.
The whole cyele, however, should be read to appreciate the
racy ripple of the dialogue, the subtle malice of the characterisa¬
tion, and the general verve and irony of these most sparkling of
comedies.
Perhaps at this moment it may be convenient just to mention
the audacious psychology of the super-Boccaccian Reigen. English
decorum, however, forbids anything but the most casual allusion
to this sequence of duologues, where all the members of the social
hierarchy are linked together by participation in the same eternal
plot.
The series Marionetten, to which allusion has already been
made, has for its motif the ironic tragedy of those who essay to
manipulate the lives of others. The best of the three plays is
The Puppet-player. To the happy fireside of Eduard and Anna
there is introduced an old friend, George Merklin, whom the
husband had casually encountered. Merklin is a picturesque, if
battered, Bohemian who encircles himself somewhat showily with
a halo of alleged mysticism. The whole art of the dramatist,
however, in this little piece is devoted to creating an atmosphere
of light melancholy, in which the poctic isolation of the second¬
rate genius, Merklin, stands in vivid contrast to the prosaie
happiness of his less gifted friend. The climax comes when it
transpires that Merklin had loved Anna in the past and had
brought the two together by way of a psychological experiment at
a Bohemian supper.
The little girl who was so nice to you simply did what I
wished. You two were the puppets in my hand. I pulled the
strings. It was arranged that she should pretend to be in love
with yon. For you always roused my sympathy, my dear Eduard;
I wanted to awake in you the illusion of happiness, so that yon
should be ready for true happiness when you found it.?' And so
this shoddy super-man goes out into this lonely world, having
played with the fates of others and found that he had only played
away his own life’s happiness.
Perhaps, however, Schnitzler’s most characteristic serics of
one-acters is Lebendige Stunden. Life should be weighed as
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