The next scene is in the lodgings of Christine on the eve of
that duel of which the love-stricken girl is in blissful ignorance.
Christine, bien entendu, in contradistinction to the casual and
heart-whole Mizzi, is taking her love affair with the maximum of
seriousness. Katherine, a benevolent busybody of a neighbour,
puts Weirung, the musician father of Christine, on his guard.
Weirung, however, having been the uncomplaisant brother of his
sister, is determined on the strength of his experience to bethe
complaisant father of his danghter.
Wemuse. I became, Heaven knows, proud, and gloried in my conduct
—and then, littie by little, the grey hairs came and the wrinkles, and one
day went by another till her whole youth was gone—and gradually, so
that one could scarcely notice it, the young girl became an old maid, and
then I first began to suspect what I had really done.
Karnenivz. But, Mr. Weirung.
Wrinurc, I can see how she often used to sit with me in the evening
by this lamp in this room, with her silent smile, with a strange kind of
devotion, as if she still wished to thank me for something, and I—the one
thing I wanted most to do was to throw myself on my knees and ask for
her forgiveness for guarding her so well from all dangers and from all
The act ends with a love scene between Christine and Fritz,
poignant in its irony. He is all in all to her, she is just something
to him; but he goes off to fight a duel on account of another woman
without so much as bidding her a real farewell.
In the third act the news of Fritz’s death is broken to Christine
—and here comes the most subtle and delicate touch of all.
Poignant as is her grief at his death, her grief at the casual
flippancy of his treatment is even more poignant. Dur sin de
stécle Ophelia rushes madly out of the house to commit suicide in
the nearest brook, or perhaps more probably under the nearest
train, to point the philosophic moral:" A bas la grande passion!
The play, however, should be read or seen to obtain an
adequate appreciation of the precision with which each character
is drawn, the spontaneity with which the dialogue flows, and the
lyric pathos with which the whole is invested. The limitations,
such as they are, simply lie in the fact that each act is self¬
complete in itself. However good they may be, three consecutive
Pone-acters?’ never made a drama. To compare great things with
low, each act of a drama, like each instalment of a feuilleton,
should leave as it were the hanging tag of some vital interrogation.
The dramatic banquet should not only regale the mind of the
spectator during, but titillate it with the aftermath between the
As weshall see later, when he comes to dramatise on the larger