_A spacious salon in white stucco. In the rear-wall, between two high mirrors, a wide folding doorway showing in the rear room a big card-table surrounded by Turkish upholstered chairs. In the left wall two doors, the upper one to the entrance-hall, the lower to the dining-room. Between them a rococo-console with a white marble top, and above it Lulu's Pierrot-picture in a narrow gold frame let into the wall. Two other doors, right; near the lower one a small table. Wide and brightly-covered chairs stand about, with thin legs and fragile arms; and in the middle is a sofa of the same style (Louis XV.)._
_A large company is moving about the salon in lively conversation. The men—_ Alva _,_ Rodrigo _, Marquis_ Casti-Piani _, Banker_ Puntschu _, and Journalist_ Heilmann _—are in evening dress._ Lulu _wears a white Directoire dress with huge sleeves and white lace falling freely from belt to feet. Her arms are in white kid gloves, her hair done high with a little tuft of white feathers._ Geschwitz _is in a bright blue hussar-waist trimmed with white fur and laced with silver braid, a tall tight collar with a white bow and stiff cuffs with huge ivory links._ Magelone _is in bright rainbow-colored shot silk with very wide sleeves, long narrow waist, and three ruffles of spiral rose- colored ribbons and violet bouquets. Her hair is parted in the middle and drawn low over her temples. On her forehead is a mother-of-pearl ornament, held by a fine chain under her hair._ Kadidia _, her daughter, twelve years old, has_ _bright-green satin gaiters which yet leave visible the tops of her white silk socks, and a white-lace-covered dress with bright-green narrow sleeves, pearl-gray gloves, and free black hair under a big bright-green hat with white feathers._ Bianetta _is in dark-green velvet, the collar sewn with pearls, and a full skirt, its hem embroidered with great false topazes set in silver._ Ludmilla Steinherz _is in a glaring summer frock striped red and blue._
_Rodrigo stands, centre, a full glass in his hand._
RODRIGO. Ladies and gentlemen—I beg your pardon—please be quiet—I drink—permit me to drink—for this is the birthday party of our amiable hostess—( _taking Lulu's arm_ ) of Countess Adelaide d'Oubra—damned and done for!—I drink therefore——and so forth, go to it, ladies! ( _All surround Lulu and clink with her. Alva presses Rodrigo's hand._ )
ALVA. I congratulate you.
RODRIGO. I'm sweating like a roast pig.
ALVA. ( _To Lulu._ ) Let's see if everything's in order in the card-room. ( _Alva and Lulu exeunt, rear. Bianetta speaks to Rodrigo._ )
BIANETTA. They were telling me just now you were the strongest man in the world.
RODRIGO. That I am. May I put my strength at your disposal?
MAGELONE. I love sharp-shooters better. Three months ago a sharp-shooter stepped into the casino and every time he went “bang!” I felt like this. ( _She wriggles her hips._ )
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Who speaks thruout the act in a bored and weary tone, to Magelone._ ) Say, dearie, how does it happen we see your nice little princess here for the first time to-night? ( _Meaning Kadidia._ )
MAGELONE. Do you really find her so delightful?—She is still in the convent.
She must be back in school again on Monday.
KADIDIA. What did you say, mama?
MAGELONE. I was just telling the gentleman that you got the highest mark in geometry last week.
HEILMANN. Some pretty hair she's got!
CASTI-PIANI. Just look at her feet: the way she walks!
PUNTSCHU. By god, she's got breeding!
MAGELONE. ( _Smiling._ ) But my dear sirs, take pity on her! She's nothing but a child still!
PUNTSCHU. That'd trouble me damned little! ( _To Heilmann._ ) I'd give ten years of my life if I could initiate the young lady into the ceremonies of our secret society!
MAGELONE. But you won't get me to consent to that for a million. I won't have the child's youth ruined, the way mine was!
CASTI-PIANI. Confessions of a lovely soul! ( _To Magelone._ ) Would you not agree, either, for a set of real diamonds?
MAGELONE. Don't brag! You'll give as few real diamonds to me as to my child.
You know that quite the best yourself. ( _Kadidia goes into the rear room._ )
GESCHWITZ. But is nobody at all going to play, this evening?
LUDMILLA. Why, of course, comtesse. I'm counting on it very much, for one!
BIANETTA. Then let's take our places right away. The gentlemen will soon come then.
GESCHWITZ. May I ask you to excuse me just a second. I must say a word to my friend.
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Offering his arm to Bianetta._ ) May I have the honor to be your partner? You always hold such a lucky hand!
LUDMILLA. Now just give me your other arm and then lead us into the gambling- hell. ( _The three go off so, rear._ )
MAGELONE. Say, Mr. Puntschu, have you still got a few Jungfrau shares for me, maybe?
PUNTSCHU. Jungfrau-shares? ( _To Heilmann._ ) The lady means the stock of the funicular railway on the Jungfrau. The Jungfrau, you know,—the Virgin—is a mountain up which they want to build a wire railway. ( _To Magelone._ ) You know, just so there may be no confusion;—and how easy that would be in this select circle!—Yes, I still have some four thousand Jungfrau-shares, but I should like to keep those for myself. There won't be such another chance soon of making a little fortune out of hand.
HEILMANN. I've only one lone share of this Jungfrau-stock so far. I should like to have more, too.
PUNTSCHU. I'll try, Mr. Heilmann, to look after some for you. But I'll tell you beforehand you'll have to pay drug-store prices for them!
MAGELONE. My fortune-teller advised me to look about me in time. All my savings are in Jungfrau-shares now. If it doesn't turn out well, Mr. Puntschu, I'll scratch your eyes out!
PUNTSCHU. I am perfectly sure of my affairs, my dearie!
ALVA. ( _Who has come back from the card-room, to Magelone._ ) I can guarantee your fears are absolutely unfounded. I paid very dear for my Jungfrau-stock and haven't regretted it a minute. They're going up steadily from day to day.
There never was such a thing before.
MAGELONE. All the better, if you're right. ( _Taking Puntschu's arm._ ) Come, my friend, let's try our luck now at baccarat. ( _All go out, rear, except Geschwitz and Rodrigo who scribbles something on a piece of paper and folds it up, then notices Geschwitz._ )
RODRIGO. Hm, madam countess—( _Geschwitz starts and shrinks._ ) Do I look as dangerous as that? ( _To himself._ ) I must make a bon mot. ( _Aloud._ ) May I perhaps make so bold—
GESCHWITZ. You can go to the devil!
CASTI-PIANI. ( _As he leads Lulu in._ ) Permit me a word or two.
LULU. ( _Not noticing Rodrigo who presses his note into her hand._ ) Oh, as many as you like. ( _Rodrigo bows and goes out, rear._ )
CASTI-PIANI. ( _To Geschwitz._ ) Leave us alone!
LULU. ( _To Casti-Piani._ ) Have I hurt you again in any way?
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Since Geschwitz does not stir._ ) Are you deaf? ( _Geschwitz, sighing deeply, goes out, rear._ )
LULU. Just say straight out how much you want.
CASTI-PIANI. With money you can no longer serve me.
LULU. What makes you think that we have no more money?
CASTI-PIANI. You handed out the last bit of it to me yesterday.
LULU. If you're sure of that then I suppose it's so.
CASTI-PIANI. You're down on the bare ground, you and your writer.
LULU. Then why all the words?—If you want to have me for yourself you need not first threaten me with execution.
CASTI-PIANI. I know that. But I've told you more than once that you won't be my downfall. I haven't sucked you dry because you loved me, but loved you in order to suck you. Bianetta is more to my taste from top to bottom than you.
You set out the choicest sweetmeats, and after one has frittered his time away at them he finds he's hungrier than before. You've loved too long, even for our present relations. With a healthy young man, you only ruin his nervous system. But you'll fit all the more perfectly in the position I have sought out for you.
LULU. You're crazy! Have I commissioned you to find a position for me?
CASTI-PIANI. I told you, though, that I was an appointments-agent.
LULU. You told me you were a police spy.
CASTI-PIANI. One can't live on that alone. I was an appointments-agent originally, till I blundered over a minister's daughter I'd got a position for in Valparaiso. The little darling in her childhood's dreams imagined the life even more intoxicating than it is, and complained of it to Mama. On that, they nabbed me; but by reliable demeanor I soon enough won the confidence of the criminal police and they sent me here on a hundred and fifty marks a month, because they were tripling our contingent here on account of these everlasting bomb-explosions. But who can get along on a hundred and fifty marks a month?
My colleagues get women to support them; but, of course, I found it more convenient to take up my former calling again; and of the numberless adventuresses of the best families of the entire world, whom chance brings together here, I have already forwarded many a young creature hungry for life to the place of her natural vocation.
LULU. ( _Decisively._ ) I wouldn't do in that business.
CASTI-PIANI. Your views on that question make no difference whatever to me.
The department of justice will pay anyone who delivers the murderess of Dr.
Schön into the hands of the police a thousand marks. I only need to whistle for the constable who's standing down at the corner to have earned a thousand marks. Against that, the House of Oikonomopulos in Cairo bids sixty pounds for you—twelve hundred marks—two hundred more than the Attorney General. And, besides, I am still so far a friend of mankind that I prefer to help my loves to happiness, not plunge them into misfortune.
LULU. ( _As before._ ) The life in such a house can never make a woman of my stamp happy. When I was fifteen, that might have happened to me. I was desperate then—thought I should never be happy. I bought a revolver, and ran one night bare-foot thru the deep snow over the bridge to the park to shoot myself there. But then by good luck I lay three months in the hospital without setting eyes on a man, and in that time my eyes opened and I got to know myself. Night after night in my dreams I saw the man for whom I was created and who was created for me, and then when I was let out on the men again I was no longer a silly goose. Since then I can see on a man, in a pitch-dark night and a hundred feet away, whether we're suited to each other; and if I sin against that insight I feel the next day dirtied, body and soul, and need weeks to get over the loathing I have for myself. And now you imagine I'll give myself to every and any Tom and Harry!
CASTI-PIANI. Toms and Harries don't patronize Oikonomopulos of Cairo. His custom consists of Scottish lords, Russian dignitaries, Indian governors, and our jolly Rhineland captains of industry. I must only guarantee that you speak French. With your gift for languages you'll quickly enough learn as much English, besides, as you'll need to get on with. And you'll reside in a royally furnished apartment with an outlook on the minarets of the El Azhar Mosque, and walk around all day on Persian carpets as thick as your fist, and dress every evening in a fabulous Paris gown and drink as much champagne as your customers can pay for, and, finally, you'll even remain, up to a certain point, your own mistress. If the man doesn't please you, you needn't bring him any reciprocal feelings. Just let him give in his card, and then—( _Shrugs, and snaps his fingers._ ) If the ladies didn't get used to that the whole business would be simply impossible, because every one after the first four weeks would go headlong to the devil.
LULU. ( _Her voice shaking._ ) I do believe that since yesterday you've got a screw loose somewhere. Am I to understand that the Egyptian will pay fifteen hundred francs for a person whom he's never seen?
CASTI-PIANI. I took the liberty of sending him your pictures.
LULU. Those pictures that I gave you, you've sent to him?
CASTI-PIANI. You see he can value them better than I. The picture in which you stand before the mirror as Eve he'll probably hang up at the house-door, after you've got there… . And then there's one thing more for you to notice: with Oikonomopulos in Cairo you'll be safer from your blood-hounds than if you crept into a Canadian wilderness. It isn't so easy to transport an Egyptian courtesan to a German prison,—first, on account of the mere expense, and second, from fear of coming too close to eternal Justice.
LULU. ( _Proudly, in a clear voice._ ) What's your eternal Justice to do with me! You can see as plain as your five fingers I shan't let myself be locked up in any such amusement-place!
CASTI-PIANI. Then do you want me to whistle for the policeman?
LULU. ( _In wonder._ ) Why don't you simply ask me for twelve hundred marks, if you want the money?
CASTI-PIANI. I want for no money! And I also don't ask for it because you're dead broke.
LULU. We still have thirty thousand marks.
CASTI-PIANI. In Jungfrau-stock! I never have anything to do with stock. The Attorney-General pays in the national currency, and Oikonomopulos pays in English gold. You can be on board early to-morrow. The passage doesn't last much more than five days. In two weeks at most you're in safety. Here you are nearer to prison than anywhere. It's a wonder which I, as one of the secret police, cannot understand, that you two have been able to live for a full year unmolested. But just as I came on the track of your antecedents, so any day, with your mighty consumption of men, one of my colleagues may make the happy discovery. Then I may just wipe my mouth, and you spend in prison the most enjoyable years of your life. If you will kindly decide quickly. The train goes at 12.30. If we haven't struck a bargain before eleven, I whistle up the policeman. If we have, I pack you, just as you stand, into a carriage, drive you to the station, and to-morrow escort you on board ship.
LULU. But is it possible you can be serious in all this?
CASTI-PIANI. Don't you understand that I can act now only for your bodily rescue?
LULU. I'll go with you to America or to China, but I can't let myself be sold of my own accord! That is worse than prison!
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Drawing a letter from his pocket._ ) Just read this effusion!
I'll read it to you. Here's the postmark “Cairo,” so you won't believe I work with forged documents. The girl is a Berliner, was married two years and to a man whom you would have envied her, a former comrade of mine. He travels now for the Hamburg Colonial Company… .
LULU. ( _Merrily._ ) Then perhaps he visits his wife occasionally?
CASTI-PIANI. That is not incredible. But hear this impulsive expression of her feelings. My white-slave traffic seems to me absolutely no more honorable than the very best judge would tax it with being, but a cry of joy like this lets me feel a certain moral satisfaction for a moment. I am proud to earn my money by scattering happiness with full hands. ( _Reads._ ) “Dear Mr. Meyer”—that's my name as a white-slave trader—“when you go to Berlin, please go right away to the conservatory on the Potsdamer Strasse and ask for Gusti von Rosenkron—the most beautiful woman that I've ever seen in nature—delightful hands and feet, naturally small waist, straight back, full body, big eyes and short nose—just the sort you like best. I have written to her already. She has no prospects with her singing. Her mother hasn't a penny. Sorry she's already twenty-two, but she's pining for love. Can't marry, because absolutely without means. I have spoken with Madame. They'd like to take another German, if she's well educated and musical. Italians and Frenchwomen can't compete with us,
'cause of too little culture. If you should see Fritz”—Fritz is the husband; he's getting a divorce, of course,—“tell him it was all a bore. He didn't know any better, nor did I either.” Now come the exact details—
LULU. ( _Goaded._ ) I can not sell the only thing that ever was my own!
CASTI-PIANI. Let me read some more.
LULU. ( _As before._ ) This very evening, I'll hand over to you our entire wealth.
CASTI-PIANI. Believe me, for God's sake, I've got your last red cent! If we haven't left this house before eleven, you and your lot will be transported to-morrow in a police-car to Germany.
LULU. You can't give me up!
CASTI-PIANI. Do you think that would be the worst thing I can have done in my life?… I must, in case we go to-night, have just a brief word with Bianetta. ( _He goes into the card-room, leaving the door open behind him. Lulu stares before her, mechanically crumpling up the note that Rodrigo stuck into her hand, which she has held in her fingers thruout the dialog. Alva, behind the card-table, gets up, a bill in his hand, and comes into the salon._ )
ALVA. ( _To Lulu._ ) Brilliantly! It's going brilliantly! Geschwitz is wagering her last shirt. Puntschu has promised me ten more Jungfrau-shares.
Steinherz is making her little gains and profits. ( _Exit, lower right._ )
LULU. I in a bordell?—( _She reads the paper she holds, and laughs madly._ )
ALVA. ( _Coming back with a cash-box in his hand._ ) Aren't you going to play, too?
LULU. Oh, yes, surely—why not?
ALVA. By the way, it's in the Berliner Tageblatt to-day that Alfred Hugenberg has hurled himself over the stairs in prison.
LULU. Is he too in prison?
ALVA. Only in a sort of house of detention. ( _Exit, rear. Lulu is about to follow, but Countess Geschwitz meets her in the door-way._ )
GESCHWITZ. You are going because I come?
LULU. ( _Resolutely._ ) No, God knows. But when you come then I go.
GESCHWITZ. You have defrauded me of all the good things of this world that I still possessed. You might at the very least preserve the outward forms of politeness in your intercourse with me.
LULU. ( _As before._ ) I am as polite to you as to any other woman. I only beg you to be equally so to me.
GESCHWITZ. Have you forgotten the passionate endearments by which, while we lay together in the hospital, you seduced me into letting myself be locked into prison for you?
LULU. Well, why else did you bring me down with the cholera beforehand? I swore very different things to myself, even while it was going on, from what I had to promise you! I am shaken with horror at the thought that that should ever become reality!
GESCHWITZ. Then you cheated me consciously, deliberately?
LULU. ( _Gaily._ ) What have you been cheated of, then? Your physical advantages have found so enthusiastic an admirer here, that I ask myself if I won't have to give piano lessons once more, to keep alive! No seventeen-year- old child could make a man madder with love than you, a pervert, are making him, poor fellow, by your shrewishness.
GESCHWITZ. Of whom are you speaking? I don't understand a word.
LULU. ( _As before._ ) I'm speaking of your acrobat, of Rodrigo Quast. He's an athlete: he balances two saddled cavalry horses on his chest. Can a woman desire anything more glorious? He told me just now that he'd jump into the water to-night if you did not take pity on him.
GESCHWITZ. I do not envy you this cleverness with which you torture the helpless victims sacrificed to you by their inscrutable destiny. My own plight has not yet wrung from me the pity that I feel for you. _I_ feel free as a god when I think to what creatures you are enslaved.
LULU. Who do you mean?
GESCHWITZ. Casti-Piani, upon whose forehead the most degenerate baseness is written in letters of fire!
LULU. Be silent! I'll kick you, if you speak ill of him. He loves me with an uprightness against which your most venturous self-sacrifices are poor as beggary! He gives me such proofs of self-denial as reveal you for the first time in all your loathsomeness! You didn't get finished in your mother's womb, neither as woman nor as man. You have no human nature like the rest of us. The stuff didn't go far enough for a man, and for a woman you got too much brain into your skull. That's the reason you're crazy! Turn to Miss Bianetta! She can be had for everything for pay! Press a gold-piece into her hand and she'll belong to you. ( _All the_ _company save Kadidia throng in out of the card- room._ ) For the Lord's sake, what has happened?
PUNTSCHU. Nothing whatever! We're thirsty, that's all.
MAGELONE. Everybody has won. We can't believe it.
BIANETTA. It seems I have won a whole fortune!
LUDMILLA. Don't boast of it, my child. That isn't lucky.
MAGELONE. But the bank has won, too! How is that possible?
ALVA. It is colossal, where all the money comes from!
CASTI-PIANI. Let us not ask! Enough that we need not spare the champagne.
HEILMANN. I can pay for a supper in a respectable restaurant afterwards, anyway!
ALVA. To the buffet, ladies! Come to the buffet! ( _All exeunt, lower left._ )
RODRIGO. ( _Holding Lulu back._ ) Un momong, my heart. Have you read my billet-doux?
LULU. Threaten me with discovery as much as you like! I have no more twenty thousands to dispose of.
RODRIGO. Don't lie to me, you punk! You've still got forty thousand in Jungfrau-stock. Your so-called spouse has just been bragging of it himself!
LULU. Then turn to him with your blackmailing! It's all one to me what he does with his money.
RODRIGO. Thank you! With that blockhead I'd need twice twenty-four hours to make him grasp what I was talking about. And then come his explanations, that make one deathly sick; and meanwhile my bride writes me “It's all up!” and I can just hang a hurdy-gurdy over my shoulder.
LULU. Have you got engaged here, then?
RODRIGO. Maybe I ought to have asked your permission first? What were my thanks here that I freed you from prison at the cost of my health? You abandoned me! I might have had to be a baggage-man if this girl hadn't taken me up! At my very first entrance, right away, they threw a velvet-covered arm- chair at my head! This country is too decadent to value genuine shows of strength any more. If I'd been a boxing kangaroo they'd have interviewed me and put my picture in all the papers. Thank heaven, I'd already made the acquaintance of my Celestine. She's got the savings of twenty years deposited with the government; and she loves me just for myself. She doesn't aim only at vulgar things, like you. She's had three children by an American bishop—all of the greatest promise. Day after to-morrow we'll get married by the registrar.
LULU. You have my blessing.
RODRIGO. Your blessing can be stolen from me. I've told my bride I had twenty thousand in stock at the bank.
LULU. ( _Amused._ ) And after that he boasts the person loves him for himself!
RODRIGO. She honors in me the man of mind, not the man of might as you and all the others have done. That's over now. First they tore the clothes from one's body and then they waltzed around with the chambermaid. I'll be a skeleton before I'll let myself in again for such diversions!
LULU. Then why the devil do you pursue the unfortunate Geschwitz with your attentions?
RODRIGO. Because the creature is of noble blood. I'm a man of the world, and can do distinguished conversation better than any of you. But now ( _with a gesture_ ) my talk is hanging out of my mouth! Will you get me the money before to-morrow evening or won't you?
LULU. I have no money.
RODRIGO. I'll have hen-droppings in my head before I'll let myself be put off with that! He'll give you his last cent if you'll only do your damned duty once! You lured the poor lad here, and now he can see where to scare up a suitable engagement for his accomplishments.
LULU. What has it to do with you if he wastes his money with women or at cards?
RODRIGO. Do you absolutely want, then, to throw the last penny that his father earned by his paper into the jaws of this rapacious pack? You'll make four people happy if you'll not take things too exactly and sacrifice yourself for a beneficent purpose! Has it got to be only Casti-Piani forever?
LULU. ( _Lightly._ ) Shall I ask him perhaps to light you down the stairs?
RODRIGO. As you wish, countess! If I don't get the twenty thousand marks by to-morrow evening, I make a statement to the police and your court has an end.
Auf Wiedersehen! ( _Heilmann enters, breathless, upper right._ )
LULU. You're looking for Miss Magelone? She's not here.
HEILMANN. No, I'm looking for something else—
RODRIGO. ( _Taking him to the entry-door, opposite him._ ) Second door on the left.
LULU. ( _To Rodrigo._ ) Did you learn that from your bride?
HEILMANN. ( _Bumping into Puntschu in the doorway._ ) Excuse me, my angel!
PUNTSCHU. Ah, it's you. Miss Magelone's waiting for you in the lift.
HEILMANN. You go up with her, please. I'll be right back. ( _He hurries out, left. Lulu goes out at lower left. Rodrigo follows her._ )
PUNTSCHU. Some heat, that! If I don't cut off your ears, you'll cut 'em off me! If I can't hire out my Jehoshaphat, I've just got to help myself with my brains! Won't they get wrinkled, my brains! Won't they get indisposed! Won't they need to bathe in Eau de Cologne! ( _Bob, a groom in a red jacket, tight leather breeches, and twinkling riding-boots, 15 years old, brings in a telegram._ )
BOB. Mr. Puntschu, the banker!
PUNTSCHU. ( _Breaks open the telegram and murmurs:_ ) “Jungfrau Funicular Stock fallen to—” Ay, ay, so goes the world! ( _To Bob._ ) Wait! ( _Gives him a tip._ ) Tell me—what's your name?
BOB. Well, it's really Freddy, but they call me Bob, because that's the fashion now.
PUNTSCHU. How old are you?
KADIDIA. ( _Enters hesitatingly from lower left._ ) I beg your pardon, can you tell me if mama is here?
PUNTSCHU. No, my dear. ( _Aside._ ) Devil, she's got breeding!
KADIDIA. I'm hunting all over for her; I can't find her anywhere.
PUNTSCHU. Your mama will turn up again soon, as true as my name's Puntschu! ( _Looking at Bob._ ) And that pair of breeches! God of Justice! It gets uncanny! ( _He goes out, upper right._ )
KADIDIA. Haven't you seen my mama, perhaps?
BOB. No, but you only need to come with me.
KADIDIA. Where is she then?
BOB. She's gone up in the lift. Come along.
KADIDIA. No, no, I can't go up with you.
BOB. We can hide up there in the corridor.
KADIDIA. No, no, I can't come, or I'll be scolded. ( _Magelone, terribly excited, rushes in, upper left, and possesses herself of Kadidia._ )
MAGELONE. Ha, there you are at last, you common creature!
KADIDIA. ( _Crying._ ) O mama, mama, I was hunting for you!
MAGELONE. Hunting for me? Did I tell you to hunt for me? What have you had to do with this fellow? ( _Heilmann, Alva, Ludmilla, Puntschu, Geschwitz, and Lulu enter, lower left. Bob has withdrawn._ ) Now don't bawl before all the people on me; look out, I tell you!
LULU. ( _As they all surround Kadidia._ ) But you're crying, sweetheart! Why are you crying?
PUNTSCHU. By God, she's really been crying! Who's done anything to hurt you, little goddess?
LUDMILLA. ( _Kneels before her and folds her in her arms._ ) Tell me, cherub, what bad thing has happened. Do you want a cookie? Do you want some chocolate?
MAGELONE. It's just nerves. The child's getting them much too soon. It would be the best thing if no one paid any attention to her!
PUNTSCHU. That sounds like you! You're a pretty mother! The courts'll yet take the child away from you and appoint me her guardian! ( _Stroking Kadidia's cheeks._ ) Isn't that so, my little goddess?
GESCHWITZ. I should be glad if we started the baccarat again at last? ( _All go into the card-room. Lulu is held back at the door by Bob._ )
LULU. ( _When Bob has whispered to her._ ) Certainly! Let him come in! ( _Bob opens the door and lets Schigolch enter, in evening dress, his patent-leather shoes much worn, and keeping on his shabby opera hat._ )
SCHIGOLCH. ( _With a look at Bob._ ) Where d'd you get him from?
LULU. The circus.
SCHIGOLCH. How much does he get?
LULU. Ask him if it interests you. ( _To Bob._ ) Shut the doors. ( _Bob goes out lower left, shutting the door behind him._ )
SCHIGOLCH. ( _Sitting down._ ) The truth is, I'm in need of money. I've hired a flat for my mistress.
LULU. Have you taken another mistress here, too?
SCHIGOLCH. She's from Frankfort. In her youth she was mistress to the King of Naples. She tells me every day she was once very bewitching.
LULU. ( _Outwardly with complete composure._ ) Does she need the money very badly?
SCHIGOLCH. She wants to fit up her own apartments. Such sums are of no account to you. ( _Lulu is suddenly overcome with a fit of weeping._ )
LULU. ( _Flinging herself at Schigolch._ ) O God Omnipotent!
SCHIGOLCH. ( _Patting her._ ) Well? What is it now?
LULU. ( _Sobbing violently._ ) It's too horrible!
SCHIGOLCH. ( _Draws her onto his knee and holds her in his arms like a little child._ ) Hm—You're trying to do too much, child. You must go to bed, now and then, with a story.—Cry, that's right, cry it all out. It used to shake you just so fifteen years ago. Nobody has screamed since then, the way you could scream! You didn't wear any white tufts on your head then, nor any transparent stockings on your legs: you had neither shoes nor stockings then.
LULU. ( _Crying._ ) Take me home with you! Take me home with you to-night!
Please! We'll find carriages enough downstairs!
SCHIGOLCH. I'll take you with me; I'll take you with me.—What is it?
LULU. It's going round my neck! I'm to be shown up!
SCHIGOLCH. By who? Who's showing you up?
LULU. The acrobat.
SCHIGOLCH. ( _With the utmost composure._ ) I'll look after him.
LULU. Look after him! Please, look after him! Then do with me what you will!
SCHIGOLCH. If he comes to me, he's done for. My window is over the water. But ( _shaking his head_ ) he won't come; he won't come.
LULU. What number do you live at?
SCHIGOLCH. 376, the last house before the hippodrome.
LULU. I'll send him there. He'll come with the crazy person that creeps about my feet. He'll come this very evening. Go home and let them find it comfortable.
SCHIGOLCH. Just let them come.
LULU. To-morrow bring the gold rings he wears in his ears.
SCHIGOLCH. Has he got rings in his ears?
LULU. You can take them out before you let him down. He doesn't notice anything when he's drunk.
SCHIGOLCH. And then, child—what then?
LULU. Then I'll give you the money for your mistress.
SCHIGOLCH. I call that pretty stingy.
LULU. And whatever else you want! What I have!
SCHIGOLCH. It's pretty near ten years since we knew each other.
LULU. Is that all?—But you've got a mistress.
SCHIGOLCH. My Frankforter is no longer of to-day.
LULU. But then swear!
SCHIGOLCH. Haven't I always kept my word to you?
LULU. Swear that you'll look after him!
SCHIGOLCH. I'll look after him.
LULU. Swear it to me! Swear it to me!
SCHIGOLCH. ( _Puts his hand on her ankle._ ) By everything that's holy! To- night, if he comes—
LULU. By everything that's holy!—How cool that is!
SCHIGOLCH. How hot this is!
LULU. Drive straight home. They'll come in half-an-hour! Take a carriage!
SCHIGOLCH. I'm going.
LULU. Quick! Please!— —All-powerful—
SCHIGOLCH. Why do you stare at me so again already?
LULU. Nothing—… .
SCHIGOLCH. Well? Is your tongue frozen on you?
LULU. My garter's broken.
SCHIGOLCH. What if it is? Is that all?
LULU. What does that augur?
SCHIGOLCH. What does it? I'll fasten it for you if you'll keep still.
LULU. That augurs misfortune!
SCHIGOLCH. ( _Yawning._ ) Not for you, child. Cheer up, I'll look after him! ( _Exit. Lulu puts her left foot on a foot-stool, fastens her garter, and goes out into the card-room. Then Rodrigo is cuffed in from the dining-room, lower left, by Casti-Piani._ )
RODRIGO. You can treat me decently anyway!
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Still perfectly unemotional._ ) Whatever would induce me to do that? I will know what you said to her here a little while ago.
RODRIGO. Then you can be very fond of me!
CASTI-PIANI. Will you bandy words with me, dog? You demanded that she go up in the lift with you!
RODRIGO. That's a shameless, perfidious lie!
CASTI-PIANI. She told me so herself. You threatened to denounce her if she didn't go with you.—Shall I shoot you on the spot?
RODRIGO. The shameless hussy! As if anything like that could occur to me!—Even if I should want to have her, God knows I don't first need to threaten her with prison!
CASTI-PIANI. Thank you. That's all I wanted to know. ( _Exit, upper left._ )
RODRIGO. Such a hound! A fellow I could throw up onto the roof so he'd stick like a Limburger cheese!—Come back here, so I can wind your guts round your neck. That would be even better!
LULU. ( _Enters, lower left; merrily._ ) Where were you? I've been hunting for you like a pin.
RODRIGO. I've shown him what it means to start anything with me!
RODRIGO. Your Casti-Piani! What made you tell him, you slut, that I wanted to seduce you?!
LULU. Did you not ask me to give myself to my deceased husband's son for twenty thousand in Jungfrau shares?
RODRIGO. Because it's your duty to take pity on the poor young fellow! You shot away his father before his nose in the very best years of life! But your Casti-Piani will think it over before he comes into my sight again. I gave him one in the basket that made the tripes fly to heaven like Roman candles. If you've got no better substitute for me, then I'm sorry ever to have had your favor!
LULU. Lady Geschwitz is in the fearfullest case. She twists herself up in fits. She's at the point of jumping into the water if you let her wait any longer.
RODRIGO. What's the beast waiting for?
LULU. For you, to take her with you.
RODRIGO. Then give her my regards, and she can jump into the water.
LULU. She'll lend me twenty thousand marks to save me from destruction if you will preserve her from it herself. If you'll take her off to-night, I'll deposit twenty thousand marks to-morrow in your name at any bank you say.
RODRIGO. And if I don't take her off with me?
LULU. Denounce me! Alva and I are dead broke.
RODRIGO. Devil and damnation!
LULU. You make four people happy if you don't take things too exactly and sacrifice yourself for a beneficent purpose.
RODRIGO. That won't go; I know that, beforehand. I've tried that out enough now. Who counts on an honorable soul like that in a bag o' bones! What the person had for me was her being an aristocrat. My behavior was as gentleman- like, and more, as you could find among German circus-people. If I'd only just pinched her in the calves once!
LULU. ( _Watchfully._ ) She is still a virgin.
RODRIGO. ( _Sighing._ ) If there's a God in heaven, you'll get paid for your jokes some day! I prophesy that.
LULU. Geschwitz waits. What shall I tell her?
RODRIGO. My very best wishes, and I am perverse.
LULU. I will deliver that.
RODRIGO. Wait a sec. Is it certain sure I get twenty thousand marks from her?
LULU. Ask herself!
RODRIGO. Then tell her I'm ready. I await her in the dining-room. I must just first look after a barrel of caviare. ( _Exit, left. Lulu opens the rear door and calls in a clear voice “Martha!” Countess Geschwitz enters, closing the door behind her._ )
LULU. ( _Pleased._ ) Dear heart, you can save me from death to-night.
LULU. By going to a certain house with the acrobat.
GESCHWITZ. What for, dear?
LULU. He says you must belong to him this very night or he'll denounce me to- morrow.
GESCHWITZ. You know I can't belong to any man. My fate has not permitted that.
LULU. If you don't please him, that's his own fix. Why has he fallen in love with you?
GESCHWITZ. But he'll get as brutal as a hangman. He'll revenge himself for his disappointment and beat my head in. I've been thru that already… . Can you not possibly spare me this hardest test?
LULU. What will you gain by his denouncing me?
GESCHWITZ. I have still enough of my fortune to take us to America together in the steerage. There you'd be safe from all your pursuers.
LULU. ( _Pleased and gay._ ) I want to stay here. I can never be happy in any other city. You must tell him that you can't live without him. Then he'll feel flattered and be gentle as a lamb. You must pay the coachman, too: give him this paper with the address on it. 376 is a sixth-class hotel where they're expecting you with him this evening.
Geschwitz. ( _Shuddering._ ) How can such a monstrosity save your life? I don't understand that. You have conjured up to torture me the most terrible fate that can fall upon outlawed me!
LULU. ( _Watchful._ ) Perhaps the encounter will cure you.
GESCHWITZ. ( _Sighing._ ) O Lulu, if an eternal retribution does exist, I hope I may not have to answer then for you. I cannot make myself believe that no God watches over us. Yet you are probably right that there is nothing there, for how can an insignificant worm like me have provoked his wrath so as to experience only horror there where all living creation swoons for bliss?
LULU. You needn't complain. When you are happy you're a hundred thousand times happier than one of us ordinary mortals ever is!
GESCHWITZ. I know that too! I envy no one! But I am still waiting. You have deceived me so often already.
LULU. I am yours, my darling, if you quiet Mr. Acrobat till to-morrow. He only wants his vanity placated. You must beseech him to take pity on you.
GESCHWITZ. And to-morrow?
LULU. I await you, my heart. I shall not open my eyes till you come: see no chambermaid, receive no hair-dresser, not open my eyes before you are with me.
GESCHWITZ. Then let him come.
LULU. But you must throw yourself at his head, dear! Have you got the house- number?
GESCHWITZ. Three-seventy-six. But quick now!
LULU. ( _Calls into the dining-room._ ) Ready, my darling?
RODRIGO. ( _Entering._ ) The ladies will pardon my mouth's being full.
GESCHWITZ. ( _Seizing his hand._ ) I implore you, have mercy on my need!
RODRIGO. A la bonne heure! Let us mount the scaffold! ( _Offers her his arm._ )
LULU. Good-night, children! ( _Accompanies them into the corridor… . then quickly returns with Bob._ ) Quick, quick, Bob! We must get away this moment!
You escort me! But we must change clothes!
BOB. ( _Curt and clear._ ) As the gracious lady bids.
LULU. Oh what, gracious lady! You give me your clothes and put on mine. Come!
( _Exeunt into the dining-room. Noise in the card-room, the doors are torn open, and Puntschu, Heilmann, Alva, Bianetta, Magelone, Kadidia and Ludmilla enter, Heilmann holding a piece of paper with a glowing Alpine peak at its top._ )
HEILMANN. ( _To Puntschu._ ) Will you accept this share of Jungfrau-stock, sir?
PUNTSCHU. But that paper has no exchange, my friend.
HEILMANN. You rascal! You just don't want to give me my revenge!
MAGELONE. ( _To Bianetta._ ) Have you any idea what it's all about?
LUDMILLA. Puntschu has taken all his money from him, and now gives up the game.
HEILMANN. Now he's got cold feet, the filthy Jew!
PUNTSCHU. How have I given up the game? How have I got cold feet? The gentleman has merely to lay plain cash! Is this my banking-office I'm in? He can proffer me his trash to-morrow morning!
HEILMANN. Trash you call that? The stock in my knowledge is at 210!
PUNTSCHU. Yesterday it was at 210, you're right. To-day, it's just nowhere.
And to-morrow you'll find nothing cheaper or more tasteful to paper your stairs with.
ALVA. But how is that possible? Then we would be down and out!
PUNTSCHU. Well, what am _I_ to say, who have lost my whole fortune in it! To- morrow morning I shall have the pleasure of taking up the struggle for an assured existence for the thirty-sixth time!
MAGELONE. ( _Passing forward._ ) Am I dreaming or do I really hear the Jungfrau-stock has fallen?
PUNTSCHU. Fallen even lower than you! Tho you can use 'em for curl-paper.
MAGELONE. O God in Heaven! Ten years' work! ( _Falls in a faint._ )
KADIDIA. Wake up, mama! Wake up!
BIANETTA. Say, Mr. Puntschu, where will you eat this evening, since you've lost your whole fortune?
PUNTSCHU. Wherever you like, young lady! Take me where you will, but quickly!
Here it's getting frightful. ( _Exeunt Puntschu and Bianetta._ )
HEILMANN. ( _Squeezing up his stock and flinging it to the ground._ ) That is what one gets from this pack!
LUDMILLA. Why do you speculate on the Jungfrau too? Send a few little notices on the company to the German police here, and then you'll still win something in the end.
HEILMANN. I've never tried that in my life, but if you want to help me—?
LUDMILLA. Let's go to an all-night restaurant. Do you know the Five-footed Calf?
HEILMANN. I'm very sorry—
LUDMILLA. Or the Sucking Lamb, or the Smoking Dog? They're all right near here. We'll be all by ourselves there, and before dawn we'll have a little article ready.
HEILMANN. Don't you sleep?
LUDMILLA. Oh, of course; but not at night. ( _Exeunt Heilmann and Ludmilla._ )
ALVA. ( _Who has been trying to resuscitate Magelone._ ) Ice-cold hands! Ah, what a splendid woman! We must undo her waist. Come, Kadidia, undo your mother's waist! She's so fearfully tight-laced.
KADIDIA. ( _Without stirring._ ) I'm afraid. ( _Lulu enters lower left in a jockey-cap, red jacket, white leather breeches and riding boots, a riding cape over her shoulders._ )
LULU. Have you any cash, Alva?
ALVA. ( _Looking up._ ) Have you gone crazy?
LULU. In two minutes the police'll be here. We are denounced. You can stay of course, if you're eager to!
KADIDIA. ( _Shaking her mother, in tears._ ) Mama, Mama! Wake up! They've all run away!
MAGELONE. ( _Coming to herself._ ) And youth gone! And my best days gone! Oh, this life!
KADIDIA. But I'm young, mama! Why shouldn't I earn any money? I don't want to go back to the convent! Please, mama, keep me with you!
MAGELONE. God bless you, sweetheart! You don't know what you say—Oh, no, I shall look around for an engagement in a Varieté, and sing the people my misfortunes with the Jungfrau-stock. Things like that are always applauded.
KADIDIA. But you've got no voice, mama!
MAGELONE. Ah, yes, that's true!
KADIDIA. Take me with you to the Varieté!
MAGELONE. No, it would break my heart!—But, well, if it can't be otherwise, and you're so made for it,—I can't change things!—Yes, we can go to the Olympia together to-morrow!
KADIDIA. O mama, how glad that makes me feel! ( _A plain-clothes detective enters, upper left._ )
DETECTIVE. In the name of the law—I arrest you!
CASTI-PIANI. ( _Following him, bored._ ) What sort of nonsense is that? That isn't the right one!