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Pamphlets Offpr. s
scale, Schnitzler not infrequently exhibits the defects of those
very qualities which make him so supreme in the sphere of the
one-act piece.
In Märchen (the Fairy Tale), on the other hand, the problem
is brought more officially into the foreground of the play, while
each act is more closely connected with those which follow or
precede it. Fedor Denner, a romantic young journalist (nearly all
Schnitzler’s young men are highly romantic), is in love with
Fanny, a young actress on the threshold of theatrical success, and
of those dangers which follow so closely in the wake of theatrical
success. Fedor, moreover, is not only romantic, he is modern—
ultra-modern. And so, in the inspiring atmosphere of Fanny’s
home cirele, where the mother bustles about with the refreshments
and the“good'’ piano-teacher of a sister discourses music forthe
edification of the journalists, painters, and students who frequent
the house, he gives an impassioned little lecture on the Fairy
Tale of the Fallen Woman'’ and on the“washed-out views and
dead-beat ideas of which the fairy tale is composed. The little
lecture, however, goes off just a little too successfully. In a
climax, marvellous in its tacit concentration, Fanny takes an
opportunity of kissing his hand. Fedor is revolted, however, by
the revelation implied in this pathetic gratitude. He had con¬
templated marriage, but now¬
— For the time being he nurses
in solitary misery all the pangs of retrospective jealousy. Then
Fanny, unable to bear the separation, rushes headlong into his
arms. Then comes the great act of the play: We are back once
more in the housc of Fanny’s mother. The young actress, having
scored a brilliant success on the Vienna stage, has been offered a
splendid contract in St. Petersburg by Moritzki, the agent. If,
however, she goes to St. Petersburg, she will have to face the
pains and pleasures of life unsheltered by the respectability of a
family. The problem is acute. Fanny, however, places the fate
of her life on the knees of—Fedor. And Fedor shuffles and
Fanyy. Come, and you—what do-you say yourself?
Frpos. After you have received Herr Moritzki at the house you can
scarcely seriously mean to refuse him.
Fayyr. Herr Denner, I consider you an exceptionally shrewd man, I ask
you for your advice.
Frpon. Yes, I think .I would accept.
Favyv. Good! (To Monirzki). Herr Moritzki.
Woman-like, however, having signed the contract, she craves
time to reconsider. Fedor looks at it again.
Fasnr. Fedor—you give me the contract back.
Frpon. Well, yes.