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

  Fran.  (calling through the door by which she has just entered). Fear not; I will watch. See! (observing JUST) I have met with something immediately. But nothing is to be done with that brute.
  Just.  Your servant.  2
  Fran.  I should not like such a servant.  3
  Just.  Well, well, pardon the expression! There is a note from my master to your mistress—her ladyship—his sister, wasn’t it?—sister.  4
  Fran.  Give it me!  (Snatches it from his hand.)  5
  Just.  You will be so good, my master begs, as to deliver it. Afterwards you will be so good, my master begs, as not to think I ask for anything!  6
  Fran.  Well?  7
  Just.  My master understands how to manage the affair. He knows that the way to the young lady is through her maid, methinks. The maid will therefore be so good, my master begs, as to let him know whether he may not have the pleasure of speaking with the maid for a quarter of an hour.  8
  Fran.  With me?  9
  Just.  Pardon me, if I do not give you your right title. Yes, with you. Only for one quarter of an hour; but alone, quite alone, in private tête-à-tête. He has something very particular to say to you.  10
  Fran.  Very well! I have also much to say to him. He may come; I shall be at his service.  11
  Just.  But when can he come? When is it most convenient for you, young woman? In the evening?  12
  Fran.  What do you mean? Your master can come when he pleases; and now be off.  13
  Just.  Most willingly!  (Going.)  14
  Fran.  I say! one word more! Where are the rest of the Major’s servants?  15
  Just.  The rest? Here, there, and everywhere.  16
  Fran.  Where is William?  17
  Just.  The valet? He has let him go for a trip.  18
  Fran.  Oh! and Philip, where is he?  19
  Just.  The huntsman? Master has found him a good place.  20
  Fran.  Because he does not hunt now, of course, But Martin?  21
  Just.  The coachman? He is off on a ride.  22
  Fran.  And Fritz?  23
  Just.  The footman? He is promoted.  24
  Fran.  Where were you then, when the Major was quartered in Thuringia with us that winter? You were not with him, I suppose!  25
  Just.  Oh! yes, I was groom; but I was in the hospital.  26
  Fran.  Groom! and now you are—  27
  Just.  All in all; valet and huntsman, footman and groom.  28
  Fran.  Well, I never! To turn away so many good, excellent servants, and to keep the very worst of all! I should like to know what your master finds in you!  29
  Just.  Perhaps he finds that I am an honest fellow.  30
  Fran.  Oh! one is precious little if one is nothing more than honest. William was another sort of a man! So your master has let him go for a trip!  31
  Just.  Yes, he … let him—because he could not prevent him.  32
  Fran.  How so?  33
  Just.  Oh! William will do well on his travels. He took master’s wardrobe with him.  34
  Fran.  What! he did not run away with it?  35
  Just.  I cannot say that exactly; but when we left Nürnberg, he did not follow us with it.  36
  Fran.  Oh! the rascal!  37
  Just.  He was the right sort! he could curl hair and shave—and chatter—and flirt—couldn’t he?  38
  Fran.  At any rate, I would not have turned away the huntsman, had I been in the Major’s place. If he did not want him any longer as huntsman, he was still a useful fellow. Where has he found him a place?  39
  Just.  With the Commandant of Spandau.  40
  Fran.  The fortress! There cannot be much hunting within the walls either.  41
  Just.  Oh! Philip does not hunt there.  42
  Fran.  What does he do, then?  43
  Just.  He rides—on the treadmill.  44
  Fran.  The treadmill!  45
  Just.  But only for three years. He made a bit of a plot amongst master’s company, to get six men through the outposts.  46
  Fran.  I am astonished; the knave!  47
  Just.  Ah! he was a useful fellow; a huntsman who knew all the foot-paths and by-ways for fifty miles round, through forests and bogs. And he could shoot!  48
  Fran.  It is lucky the Major has still got the honest coachman.  49
  Just.  Has he got him still?  50
  Fran.  I thought you said Martin was off on a ride: of course he will come back!  51
  Just.  Do you think so?  52
  Fran.  Well, where has he ridden to?  53
  Just.  It is now going on for ten weeks since he rode master’s last and only horse—to water.  54
  Fran.  And has not he come back yet? Oh! the rascal!  55
  Just.  The water may have washed the honest coachman away. Oh! he was a famous coachman! He had driven ten years in Vienna. My master will never get such another again. When the horses were in full gallop, he only had to say “Wo! and there they stood, like a wall. Moreover, he was a finished horse-doctor!  56
  Fran.  I begin now to be anxious about the footman’s promotion.  57
  Just.  No, no; there is no occasion for that. He has become a drummer in a garrison regiment.  58
  Fran.  I thought as much!  59
  Just.  Fritz chummed up with a scamp, never came home at night, made debts everywhere in master’s name, and a thousand rascally tricks. In short, the Major saw that he was determined to rise in the world (pantomimically imitating the act of hanging), so he put him in the right road.  60
  Fran.  Oh! the stupid!  61
  Just.  Yet a perfect footman, there is no doubt of that. In running, my master could not catch him on his best horse if he gave him fifty paces; but on the other hand, Fritz could give the gallows a thousand paces, and, I bet my life, he would overhaul it. They were all great friends of yours, eh, young woman?… William and Philip, Martin and Fritz! Now, Just wishes you good-day.  (Exit.)  62


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