Fiction > Harvard Classics > Gotthold Ephraim Lessing > Minna von Barnhelm
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781).  Minna von Barnhelm.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Scene V

  Wer.  Little woman, do you know my Major?
  Fran.  Major von Tellheim? Yes, indeed, I do know that good man.  2
  Wer.  Is he not a good man? Do you like him?  3
  Fran.  From the bottom of my heart.  4
  Wer.  Indeed! I tell you what, little woman, you are twice as pretty now as you were before. But what are the services, which the landlord says he has rendered our Major?  5
  Fran.  That is what I don’t know; unless he wished to take credit to himself for the good result which fortunately has arisen from his knavish conduct.  6
  Wer.  Then what Just told me is true? (Towards the side where the LANDLORD went off.) A lucky thing for you that you are gone! He did really turn him out of his room?—To treat such a man so, because the donkey fancied that he had no more money! The Major no money!  7
  Fran.  What! Has the Major any money?  8
  Wer.  By the load. He doesn’t know how much he has. He doesn’t know who is in his debt. I am his debtor, and have brought him some old arrears. Look, little woman, in this purse (drawing it out of one pocket) are a hundred louis d’ors; and in this packet  (drawing it out of another pocket) a hundred ducats. All his money!  9
  Fran.  Really! Why then does the Major pawn his things? He pledged a ring, you know—  10
  Wer.  Pledged! Don’t you believe it. Perhaps he wanted to get rid of the rubbish.  11
  Fran.  It is no rubbish; it is a very valuable ring; which, moreover, I suspect, he received from a loving hand.  12
  Wer.  That will be the reason. From a loving hand! Yes, yes; such a thing often puts one in mind of what one does not wish to remember, and therefore one gets rid of it.  13
  Fran.  What!  14
  Wer.  Odd things happen to the soldier in winter quarters. He has nothing to do then, so he amuses himself, and to pass the time he makes acquaintances, which he only intends for the winter, but which the good soul with whom he makes them, looks upon for life. Then, presto! a ring is suddenly conjured on to his finger; he hardly knows himself how it gets there; and very often he would willingly give the finger with it, if he could only get free from it again.  15
  Fran.  Oh! and do you think this has happened to the Major?  16
  Wer.  Undoubtedly. Especially in Saxony. If he had had ten fingers on each hand, he might have had all twenty full of rings.  17
  Fran.  (aside). That sounds important, and deserves to be inquired into. Mr. Freeholder, or Mr. Sergeant—  18
  Wer.  Little woman, if it makes no difference to you, I like “Mr. Sergeant” best.  19
  Fran.  Well, Mr. Sergeant, I have a note from the Major to my mistress. I will just carry it in, and be here again in a moment. Will you be so good as to wait? I should like very much to have a little talk with you.  20
  Wer.  Are you fond of talking, little woman? Well, with all my heart. Go quickly. I am fond of talking too: I will wait.  21
  Fran.  Yes, please wait.  (Exit.)  22


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