Fiction > Harvard Classics > Gotthold Ephraim Lessing > Minna von Barnhelm
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781).  Minna von Barnhelm.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
Scene III
FRANZISKA, and afterwards the LANDLORD

  Fran.  (looking after him seriously). I deserve the hit! Thank you, Just. I undervalued honesty. I will not forget the lesson. Ah! our unfortunate Major!  (Turns round to enter her mistress’ room, when the LANDLORD comes.)
  Land.  Wait a bit, my pretty maid.  2
  Fran.  I have not time now, Mr Landlord.  3
  Land.  Only half a moment! No further tidings of the Major? That surely could not possibly be his leave-taking!  4
  Fran.  What could not?  5
  Land.  Has not our ladyship told you? When I left you, my pretty maid, below in the kitchen, I returned accidentally into this room—  6
  Fran.  Accidentally—with a view to listen a little.  7
  Land.  What, girl! how can you suspect me of that? There is nothing so bad in a landlord as curiosity. I had not been here long, when suddenly her ladyship’s door burst open: the Major dashed out; the lady after him; both in such a state of excitement; with looks—in attitudes—that must be seen to be understood. She seized hold of him; he tore himself away; she seized him again—“Tellheim.” “Let me go, Madam.” “Where?” Thus he drew her as far as the staircase. I was really afraid he would drag her down; but he got away. The lady remained on the top step; looked after him; called after him; wrung her hands. Suddenly she turned round; ran to the window; from the window to the staircase again; from the staircase into the room, backwards and forwards. There I stood; she passed me three times without seeing me. At length it seemed as if she saw me; but heaven defend us! I believe the lady took me for you. “Franziska,” she cried, with her eyes fixed upon me, “am I happy now?” Then she looked straight up to the ceiling, and said again—“Am I happy now?” Then she wiped the tears from her eyes, and smiled, and asked me again—“Franziska, am I happy now?” I really felt, I know not how. Then she ran to the door of her room, and turned round again towards me, saying—“Come, Franziska, whom do you pity now?” and with that she went in.  8
  Fran.  Oh! Mr. Landlord, you dreamt that.  9
  Land.  Dreamt! No, my pretty maid; one does not dream so minutely. Yes, what would not I give—I am not curious: but what would not I give—to have the key to it!  10
  Fran.  The key? Of our door? Mr. Landlord, that is inside; we took it in at night; we are timid.  11
  Land.  Not that sort of key; I mean, my dear girl, the key—the explanation, as it were; the precise connexion of all that I have seen.  12
  Fran.  Indeed! Well, good-bye, Mr. Landlord. Shall we have dinner soon?  13
  Land.  My dear girl, not to forget what I came to say—  14
  Fran.  Well? In as few words as possible.  15
  Land.  Her ladyship has my ring still. I call it mine—  16
  Fran.  You shall not lose it.  17
  Land.  I have no fear on that account: I merely put you in mind. Do you see, I do not wish to have it again at all. I can guess pretty well how she knew the ring, and why it was so like her own. It is best in her hands. I do not want it any more; and I can put them down—the hundred pistoles which I advanced for it, to the lady’s bill. Will not that do, my pretty maid?  18


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