The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Volume Vii Part 55

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KING.

Yes, what did the old Dessauer invent?

SECKENDORF (_aside_).

Aha, you see, now we have caught him.

PRINCE.

 

It can’t be gunpowder, because Count Seckendorf has already discovered that. [_All laugh_.]

SECKENDORF (_aside_).

Never mind, Grumbkow, I’ll wait the fitting moment.

KING.

He invented _iron ramrods_. Now, you see, my son in Rheinsberg, for all his Homers and Voltaires, and whatever their heathen names may be, that he gathers round him, couldn’t think of anything like that. [_Aside_.]

Is he drinking, Eversmann?

HOTHAM (_to_ PRINCE).

Don’t let slip your advantage.

PRINCE.

Who the devil could think of iron ramrods!

GRUMBKOW (_rising_).

We’ll drink a pleasant journey to His Highness, the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth. [_They all rise except the_ KING.]

ALL.

A pleasant journey.

HOTHAM (_aside_).

You’re done for–you’ve lost everything.

PRINCE (_aside_).

It was shameful perfidy!

HOTHAM (_aside_).

Make him respect you–be as brutal as he is–pretend to be drunk. [_They all sit down after having touched gla.s.ses amid laughter_.]

PRINCE (_rises, his tankard in his hand. Speaks as if slightly intoxicated_).

Gentlemen–

KING (_aside_).

I believe he’s hipped.

PRINCE.

And–and–and–I thank you. [_He sits down. They all laugh_.]

KING.

Bravo, Prince, you are a most excellent speaker.

GRUMBKOW.

He’s done for, Your Majesty: we must have him make a speech now.

KING.

Yes. Give us a speech, Prince.

ALL.

A speech–speech!

[The PRINCE _rests his head in his hands and does not rise_.]

HOTHAM.

The question is–what shall he talk about?

KING.

About anything–whatever he chooses.

HOTHAM.

I could suggest an interesting subject.

KING.

Out with it.

HOTHAM.

What if he were to discuss some member of this merry company?

KING.