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

  Land.  Good-morning, Herr Just; good-morning! What, up so early! Or shall I say—up so late?
  Just.  Say which you please.  2
  Land.  I say only—good-morning! and that deserves, I suppose, that Herr Just should answer, “Many thanks.”  3
  Just.  Many thanks.  4
  Land.  One is peevish, if one can’t have one’s proper rest. What will you bet the Major has not returned home, and you have been keeping watch for him?  5
  Just.  How the man can guess everything!  6
  Land.  I surmise, I surmise.  7
  Just.  (turns round to go). Your servant!  8
  Land.  (stops him). Not so, Herr Just!  9
  Just.  Very well, then, not your servant!  10
  Land.  What, Herr Just, I do hope you are not still angry about yesterday’s affair! Who would keep his anger over night?  11
  Just.  I; and over a good many nights.  12
  Land.  Is that like a Christian?  13
  Just.  As much so as to turn an honourable man who cannot pay to a day, out of doors, into the street.  14
  Land.  Fie! who would be so wicked?  15
  Just.  A Christian innkeeper.—My master! such a man! such an officer!  16
  Land.  I thrust him from the house into the streets? I have far too much respect for an officer to do that, and far too much pity for a discharged one! I was obliged to have another room prepared for him. Think no more about it, Herr Just. (Calls)—Hullo! I will make it good in another way. (A lad comes.) Bring a glass; Herr Just will have a drop; something good.  17
  Just.  Do not trouble yourself, Mr. Landlord. May the drop turn to poison, which… But I will not swear; I have not yet breakfasted.  18
  Land.  (to the lad, who brings a bottle of spirits and a glass). Give it here; go! Now, Herr Just; something quite excellent; strong, delicious, and wholesome. (Fills, and holds it out to him.) That can set an over-taxed stomach to rights again!  19
  Just.  I hardly ought!—And yet why should I let my health suffer on account of his incivility?  (Takes it, and drinks.)  20
  Land.  May it do you good, Herr Just!  21
  Just.  (giving the glass back). Not bad! But, Landlord, you are nevertheless an ill-mannered brute!  22
  Land.  Not so, not so!… Come, another glass; one cannot stand upon one leg.  23
  Just.  (after drinking). I must say so much—it is good, very good! Made at home, Landlord?  24
  Land.  At home, indeed! True Dantzig, real double distilled!  25
  Just.  Look ye, Landlord; if I could play the hypocrite, I would do so for such stuff as that; but I cannot, so it must out.—You are an ill-mannered brute all the same.  26
  Land.  Nobody in my life ever told me that before… But another glass, Herr Just; three is the lucky number!  27
  Just.  With all my heart!—(Drinks). Good stuff indeed, capital! But truth is good also, and indeed, Landlord, you are an ill-mannered brute all the same!  28
  Land.  If I was, do you think I should let you say so?  29
  Just.  Oh! yes; a brute seldom has spirit.  30
  Land.  One more, Herr Just: a four-stranded rope is the strongest.  31
  Just.  No, enough is as good as a feast! And what good will it do you, Landlord? I shall stick to my test till the last drop in the bottle. Shame, Landlord, to have such good Dantzig, and such bad manners! To turn out of his room, in his absence—a man like my master, who has lodged at your house above a year; from whom you have had already so many shining thalers; who never owed a heller in his life—because he let payment run for a couple of months, and because he does not spend quite so much as he used.  32
  Land.  But suppose I really wanted the room and saw beforehand that the Major would willingly have given it up if we could only have waited some time for his return! Should I let strange gentlefolk like them drive away again from my door! Should I wilfully send such a prize into the clutches of another innkeeper? Besides, I don’t believe they could have got a lodging elsewhere. The inns are all now quite full. Could such a young, beautiful, amiable lady remain in the street? Your master is much too gallant for that. And what does he lose by the change? Have not I given him another room?  33
  Just.  By the pigeon-house at the back, with a view between a neighbour’s chimneys.  34
  Land.  The view was uncommonly fine, before the confounded neighbour obstructed it. The room is otherwise very nice, and is papered—  35
  Just.  Has been!  36
  Land.  No, one side is so still. And the little room adjoining, what is the matter with that? It has a chimney which, perhaps, smokes somewhat in the winter—  37
  Just.  But does very nicely in the summer. I believe, Landlord, you are mocking us into the bargain!  38
  Land.  Come, come; Herr Just, Herr Just—  39
  Just.  Don’t make Herr Just’s head hot—  40
  Land.  I make his head hot? It is the Dantzig does that.  41
  Just.  An officer, like my master! Or do you think that a discharged officer, is not an officer who may break your neck for you? Why were you all, you Landlords, so civil during the war? Why was every officer an honourable man then and every soldier a worthy, brave fellow? Does this bit of a peace make you so bumptious?  42
  Land.  What makes you fly out so, Herr Just!  43
  Just.  I will fly out.  44


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