Fiction > Harvard Classics > Gotthold Ephraim Lessing > Minna von Barnhelm
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Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781).  Minna von Barnhelm.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act IV
 
Scene II
 
 
RICCAUT DE LA MARLINIÈRE,  MINNA,  FRANZISKA


  Ric.  (before he enters). Est-il permis, Monsieur le Major?
  1
  Fran.  Who is that? Any one for us?  (going to the door).  2
  Ric.  Parbleu! I am wrong. Mais non—I am not wrong. C’est la chambre—  3
  Fran.  Without doubt, my lady, this gentleman expects to find Major von Tellheim here still.  4
  Ric.  Oui, dat is it! Le Major de Tellheim; juste, ma belle enfant, c’est lui que je cherche. Où est-il?  5
  Fran.  He does not lodge here any longer.  6
  Ric.  Comment? Dere is four-and-twenty hour ago he did lodge here, and not lodge here any more? Where lodge he den?  7
  Min.  (going up to him). Sir—  8
  Ric.  Ah! Madame, Mademoiselle, pardon, lady.  9
  Min.  Sir, your mistake is quite excusable, and your astonishment very natural. Major von Tellheim has had the kindness to give up his apartments to me, as a stranger, who was not able to get them elsewhere.  10
  Ric.  Ah! voilà de ses politesses! C’est un très-galant homme que ce Major!  11
  Min.  Where has he gone now?—truly I am ashamed that I do not know.  12
  Ric.  Madame not know? C’est dommage; j’en suis fâché.  13
  Min.  I certainly ought to have inquired. Of course his friends will seek him here.  14
  Ric.  I am vary great his friend, Madame.  15
  Min.  Franziska, do you not know?  16
  Fran.  No, my lady.  17
  Ric.  It is vary nécessaire dat I speak him. I come and bring him a nouvelle, of which he will be vary much at ease.  18
  Min.  I regret it so much the more. But I hope to see him perhaps shortly. If it is a matter of indifference from whom he hears this good news, I would offer, sir—  19
  Ric.  I comprehend. Mademoiselle parle français? Mais sans doute; telle que je la vois! La demande était bien impolie; vous me pardonnerez, Mademoiselle.  20
  Min.  Sir—  21
  Ric.  No! You not speak French, Madame?  22
  Min.  Sir, in France I would endeavour to do so; but why here? I perceive that you understand me, sir; and I, sir, shall doubtless understand you; speak as you please.  23
  Ric.  Good, good! I can also explain me in your langue. Sachez donc, Mademoiselle, you must know, Madame, dat I come from de table of de ministre, ministre de, ministre de… What is le ministre out dere, in de long street, on de broad place?  24
  Min.  I am a perfect stranger here.  25
  Ric.  Si, le ministre of de war departement. Dere I have eat my dinner; I ordinary dine dere, and de conversation did fall on Major Tellheim; et le ministre m’a dit en confidence, car Son Excellence est de mes amis, et il n’y a point de mystères entre nous; Son Excellence, I say, has trust to me, dat l’affaire from our Major is on de point to end, and to end good. He has made a rapport to de king, and de king has resolved et tout à fait en faveur du Major. “Monsieur,” m’a dit Son Excellence, “vous comprenez bien, que tout dépend de la manière, dont on fait envisager les choses au roi, et vous me connaissez. Cela fait un très-joli garçon que ce Tellheim, et ne sais-je pas que vous l’aimez? Les amis de mes amis sont aussi les miens. Il coûte un peu cher au Roi ce Tellheim, mais est-ce que l’on sert les rois pour rien? Il faut s’entr’aider en ce monde; et quand il s’agit de pertes, que ce soit le Roi qui en fasse, et non pas un honnête homme de nous autres. Voilà le principe, dont je ne me dépars jamais.” But what say Madame to it? N’est pas, dat is a fine fellow! Ah! que Son Excellence a le cœur bien placé! He assure me au reste, if de Major has not reçu already une lettre de la main—a royal letter, dat to-day infailliblement must he receive one.  26
  Min.  Certainly, sir, this news will be most welcome to Major von Tellheim. I should like to be able to name the friend to him, who takes such an interest in his welfare.  27
  Ric.  Madame, you wish my name? Vous voyez en moi—you see, lady, in me, le Chevalier Riccaut de la Marlinière, Seigneur de Prêt-au-val, de la branche de Prens d’or. You remain astonished to hear me from so great, great a family, qui est véritablement du sang royal. Il faut le dire; je suis sans doute le cadet le plus aventureux que la maison n’a jamais eu. I serve from my eleven year. Une affaire d’honneur make me flee. Den I serve de holy Papa of Rome, den de Republic St. Marino, den de Poles, den de States General, till enfin I am brought her. Ah! Mademoiselle, que je voudrais n’avoir jamais vu ce pays-ci! Had one left me in de service of de States General, should I be now at least colonel. But here always to remain capitaine, and now also a discharged capitaine.  28
  Min.  That is ill luck.  29
  Ric.  Oui, Mademoiselle, me voilà réformé, et par là mis sur le pavé!  30
  Min.  I am very sorry for you.  31
  Ric.  Vous êtes bien bonne, Mademoiselle…. No, merit have no reward here. Réformer a man, like me! A man who also have ruin himself in dis service! I have lost in it so much as twenty thousand livres. What have I now? Tranchons le mot; je n’ai pas le sou, et me voilà exactement vis-à-vis de rien.  32
  Min.  I am exceedingly sorry.  33
  Ric.  Vous êtes bien bonne, Mademoiselle, But as one say—misfortune never come alone! qu’un malheur ne vient jamais seul: so it arrive with me. What ressource rests for an honnête homme of my extraction, but play? Now, I always played with luck, so long I not need her. Now I very much need her, je joue avec un guignon, Mademoiselle, que surpasse toute croyance. For fifteen days, not one is passed, dat I always am broke. Yesterday, I was broke dree times. Je sais bien, qu’il y avait quelque chose de plus que le jeu. Car parmi mes pontes se trouvaient certaines dames. I will not speak more. One must be very galant to les dames. Dey have invite me again to-day, to give me revanche; mais-vous m’entendez, Mademoiselle,—one must first have to live, before one can have to play.  34
  Min.  I hope, sir—  35
  Ric.  Vous êtes bien bonne, Mademoiselle.  36
  Min.  (Takes FRANZISKA aside.) Franziska, I really feel for the man. Would he take it ill, if I offer him something?  37
  Fran.  He does not look to me like a man who would.  38
  Min.  Very well! Sir, I perceive that—you play, that you keep the bank; doubtless in places where something is to be won. I must also confess that I … am very fond of play.  39
  Ric.  Tant mieux, Mademoiselle, tant mieux! Tous les gens d’esprit aiment le jeu à la fureur.  40
  Min.  That I am very fond of winning; that I like to trust my money to a man, who—knows how to play. Are you inclined, sir, to let me join you? To let me have a share in your bank?  41
  Ric.  Comment, Mademoiselle, vous voulez être de moitié avec moi? De tout mon coeur.  42
  Min.  At first, only with a trifle.  (Opens her desk and takes out some money.)  43
  Ric.  Ah! Mademoiselle, que vous êtes charmante!  44
  Min.  Here is what I won a short time back; only ten pistoles. I am ashamed, so little—  45
  Ric.  Donnez toujours, Mademoiselle, donnez.  (Takes it.)  46
  Min.  Without doubt, your bank, sir, is very considerable.  47
  Ric.  Oh! yes, vary considerable. Ten pistoles! You shall have, Madame, an interest in my bank for one third, pour le tiers. Yes, one third part it shall be—something more. With a beautiful lady one must not be too exac. I rejoice myself, to make by that a liaison with Madame, et de ce moment je recommence à bien augurer de ma fortune.  48
  Min.  But I cannot be present, sir, when you play.  49
  Ric.  For why it nécessaire dat you be present? We other players are honourable people between us.  50
  Min.  If we are fortunate, sir, you will of course bring me my share. If we are unfortunate—  51
  Ric.  I come to bring recruits, n’est pas, Madame?  52
  Min.  In time recruits might fail. Manage our money well, sir.  53
  Ric.  What does Madame think me? A simpleton, a stupid devil?  54
  Min.  I beg your pardon.  55
  Ric.  Je suis des bons, Mademoiselle. Savez vous ce que cela veut dire? I am of the quite practised—  56
  Min.  But still, sir,—  57
  Ric.  Je sais monter un coup—  58
  Min.  (amazed). Could you?  59
  Ric.  Je file la carte avec une adresse.  60
  Min.  Never!  61
  Ric.  Je fais sauter la coupe avec une dexterite.  62
  Min.  You surely would not, sir!—  63
  Ric.  What not, Madame; what not? Donnes moi un pigeonneau à plumer, et—  64
  Min.  Play false! Cheat!  65
  Ric.  Comment, Mademoiselle? Vous appelez cela cheat? Corriger la fortune, l’enchaîner sous ses doigts, être sûr de son fait, dat you call cheat? Cheat! Oh! what a poor tongue is your tongue! what an awkward tongue!  66
  Min.  No, sir, if you think so—  67
  Ric.  Laissez-moi faire, Mademoiselle, and be tranquille! What matter to you how I play! Enough! to-morrow, Madame, you see me again or with hundred pistol, or you see no more. Votre très-humble, Mademoiselle, votre très-humble.  (Exit quickly.)  68
  Min.  (looking after him with astonishment and displeasure). I hope the latter, sir.  69
 

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