by Frank Wedekind
A TRAGEDY IN THREE ACTS
Translated by Samuel A. Eliot, Jr.
BONI AND LIVERIGHT
NEW YORK 1918
ALBERT AND CHARLES BONI
BY FRANK WEDEKIND
ERDGEIST (EARTH-SPIRIT) $1.00
PANDORA'S BOX $1.00
ALVA SCHÖN, writer.
RODRIGO QUAST, acrobat.
ALFRED HUGENBERG, escaped from a reform-school.
LUDMILLA STEINHERZ. }
KADIDIA, her daughter. }
COUNT CASTI PIANI. } In Act II.
PUNTSCHU, a banker. }
HEILMANN, a journalist. }
BOB, a groom. }
A DETECTIVE. }
MR. HUNIDEI. }
KUNGU POTI, imperial prince of Uahubee. } In Act III.
DR. HILTI, tutor. }
The hall of EARTH-SPIRIT, Act IV, feebly lighted by an oil
lamp on the centre table. Even this is dimmed by a heavy shade. Lulu's
picture is gone from the easel, which still stands by the foot of the
stairs. The fire-screen and the chair by the ottoman are gone too. Down
left is a small tea-table, with a coffee-pot and a cup of black coffee
on it, and an arm-chair next it.
In this chair, deep in cushions, with a plaid shawl over her
knees, sits Countess Geschwitz in a tight black dress. Rodrigo, clad as
a servant, sits on the ottoman. At the rear, Alva Schön is walking up
and down before the entrance door.
RODRIGO. He lets people wait for him as if he were a concert
GESCHWITZ. I beg of you, don't speak!
RODRIGO. Hold my tongue, with a head as full of thoughts as mine
is!I absolutely can't believe she's changed so awfully much to her
GESCHWITZ. She is more glorious to look at than I have ever seen
RODRIGO. God preserve me from founding my life-happiness on your
taste and judgment! If the sickness has hit her as it has you, I'm
smashed and thru! You're leaving the contagious ward like an
acrobat-lady who's had an accident after giving herself up to art. You
can scarcely blow your nose any more. First you need a quarter-hour to
sort your fingers, and then you have to be mighty careful not to break
off the tip.
GESCHWITZ. What puts *us* under the ground gives *her* health and
RODRIGO. That's all right and fine enough. But I don't think I'll be
travelling off with her this evening.
GESCHWITZ. You will let your bride journey all alone, after all?
RODRIGO. In the first place, the old fellow's going with her to
protect her in case anything serious. My escort could only be
suspicious. And secondly, I must wait here till my costumes are ready.
I'll get across the frontier soon enough alright,and I hope in the
meantime she'll put on a little embonpoint, too. Then we'll get
married, provided I can present her before a respectable public. I love
the practical in a woman: what theories they make up for themselves are
all the same to me. Aren't they to you too, doctor?
ALVA. I haven't heard what you were saying.
RODRIGO. I'd never have got my person mixed up in this plot if she
hadn't kept tickling my bare pate, before her sentence. If only she
doesn't start doing too much as soon as she's out of Germany! I'd like
best to take her to London for six months, and let her fill up on
plum-cakes. In London one expands just from the sea air. And then, too,
in London one doesn't feel with every swallow of beer as if the hand of
fate were at one's throat.
ALVA. I've been asking myself for a week whether a person who'd been
sentenced to prison could still be made to go as the chief figure in a
GESCHWITZ. If the man would only come, now!
RODRIGO. I've still got to redeem my properties out of the pawn-shop
here, too. Six hundred kilos of the best iron. The baggage-rate on 'em
is always three times as much as my own ticket, so that the whole
junket isn't worth a trowser's button. When I went into the pawn-shop
with 'em, dripping with sweat, they asked me if the things were
genuine!I'd have really done better to have had the costumes made
abroad. In Paris, for instance, they see at the first glance where
one's best points are, and bravely lay them bare. But you can't learn
that with bow-legs; it's got to be studied on classically shaped
people. In this country they're as scared of naked skin as they are
abroad of dynamite bombs. A couple of years ago I was fined fifty marks
at the Alhambra Theater, because people could see I had a few hairs on
my chest, not enough to make a respectable tooth-brush! But the Fine
Arts Minister opined that the little school-girls might lose their joy
in knitting stockings because of it; and since then I have myself
shaved once a month.
ALVA. If I didn't need every bit of my creative power now for the
World-conqueror, I might like to test the problem and see what could
be done with it. That's the curse of our young literature: we're so
much too literary. We know only such questions and problems as come up
among writers and cultured people. We cannot see beyond the limits of
our own professional interests. In order to get back on the trail of a
great and powerful art we must move as much as possible among men
who've never read a book in their lives, whom the simplest animal
instincts direct in all they do. I've tried already, with all my might,
to work according to those principlesin my Earth-spirit. The woman
who was my model for the chief figure in that, breathes to-dayand has
for a yearbehind barred windows; and on that account for some
incomprehensible reason the play was only brought to performance by the
Society for Free Literature. As long as my father was alive, all the
stages of Germany stood open to my creations. That has been vastly
RODRIGO. I've had a pair of tights made of the tenderest blue-green.
If *they* don't make a success abroad, I'll sell mouse-traps! The
trunks are so delicate I can't sit on the edge of a table in 'em. The
only thing that will disturb the good impression is my awful bald head,
which I owe to my active participation in this great conspiracy. To lie
in the hospital in perfect health for three months would make a fat pig
of the most run-down old hobo. Since coming out I've fed on nothing but
Karlsbad pills. Day and night I have orchestra rehearsals in my
intestines. I'll be so washed out before I get across the frontier that
I won't be able to lift a bottle-cork.
GESCHWITZ. How the attendants in the hospital got out of her way
yesterday! That was a refreshing sight. The garden was still as the
grave: in the loveliest noon sunlight the convalescents didn't venture
out of doors. Away back by the contagious ward she stepped out under
the mulberry trees and swayed on her ankles on the gravel. The
door-keeper had recognized me, and a young doctor who met me in the
corridor shrunk up as tho a revolver shot had struck him. The Sisters
vanished into the big rooms or stayed stuck against the walls. When I
came back there was not a soul to be seen in the garden or at the gate.
No better chance could have been found, if we had had the curséd
passports. And now the fellow says he isn't going with her!
RODRIGO. I understand the poor hospital-brothers. One has a bad foot
and another has a swollen cheek, and there appears in the midst of them
the incarnate death-insurance-agentess! In the Hall of the Knights, as
the blessed division was called from which I organized my spying, when
the news got around there that Sister Theophila had departed this life,
not one of the fellows could be kept in bed. They scrambled up to the
window-bars, if they had to drag their pains along with them by the
hundred-weight. I never heard such swearing in my life!
ALVA. Allow me, Fräulein von Geschwitz, to come back to my
proposition once more. Tho my father was shot in this room, still I can
see in the murder, as in the punishment, nothing but a horrible
misfortune that has befallen *her*; nor do I think that my father, if
he had come through alive, would have withdrawn his support from her
entirely. Whether your plan for freeing her will succeed still seems to
me very doubtful, tho I wouldn't like to discourage you; but I can find
no words to express the admiration with which your self-sacrifice, your
energy, your superhuman scorn of death, inspires me. I don't believe
any man ever risked so much for a woman, let alone for a friend. I am
not aware, Fräulein von Geschwitz, how rich you are, but the expenses
for what you have accomplished must have exhausted your fortune. May I
venture to offer you a loan of 20,000 markswhich I should have no
trouble raising for you in cash?
GESCHWITZ. How we did rejoice when Sister Theophila was really dead!
From that day on we were free from custody. We changed our beds as we
liked. I had done my hair like hers, and copied every tone of her
voice. When the professor came he called *her* gnädiges Fräulein and
said to me, It's better living here than in prison!... When the
Sister suddenly was missing, we looked at each other in suspense: we
had both been sick five days: now was the deciding moment. Next morning
came the assistant.How is Sister Theophila?Dead!We
communicated behind his back, and when he had gone we sank in each
other's arms: God be thanked! God be thanked!What pains it cost me
to keep my darling from betraying how well she already was! You have
nine years of prison before you, I cried to her early and late. Now
they probably won't let her stay in the contagious ward three days
RODRIGO. I lay in the hospital full three months to spy out the
ground, after toilfully peddling together the qualities necessary for
such a long stay. Now I act the valet here with you, Dr. Schön, so that
no strange servants may come into the house. Where is the bridegroom
who's ever done so much for his bride? *My* fortune has also been
ALVA. When you succeed in developing her into a respectable artiste
you will have put the world in debt to you. With the temperament and
the beauty that she has to give out of the depths of her nature she can
make the most blasé public hold its breath. And then, too, she will be
protected by *acting* passion from a second time becoming a criminal in
RODRIGO. I'll soon drive her kiddishness out of her!
GESCHWITZ. There he comes! (Steps louden in the gallery. Then the
curtains part at the head of the stairs and Schigolch in a long black
coat with a white sun-shade in his right hand comes down. Thruout the
play his speech is interrupted with frequent yawns.)
SCHIGOLCH. Confound the darkness! Out-doors the sun burns your eyes
GESCHWITZ. (Wearily unwrapping herself.) I'm coming!
RODRIGO. Her ladyship has seen no daylight for three days. We live
here like in a snuff-box.
SCHIGOLCH. Since nine o'clock this morning I've been round to all
the old-clothes-men. Three brand new trunks stuffed full of old
trowsers I've expressed to Buenos Ayres via Bremerhaven. My legs are
dangling on me like the tongue of a bell. That's the new life it's
going to be from now on!
RODRIGO. Where are you going to get off to-morrow morning?
SCHIGOLCH. I hope not straight into Ox-butter Hotel again!
RODRIGO. I can tell you a fine hotel. I lived there with a lady
lion-tamer. The people were born in Berlin.
GESCHWITZ. (Upright in the arm-chair.) Come and help me!
RODRIGO. (Hurries to her and supports her.) And you'll be
safer from the police there than on a high tightrope!
GESCHWITZ. He means to let you go with her alone this afternoon.
SCHIGOLCH. Maybe he's still suffering from his chillblains!
RODRIGO. Do you want me to start my new engagement in bath-robe and
SCHIGOLCH. HmSister Theophila wouldn't have gone to heaven so
promptly either, if she hadn't felt so affectionate towards our
RODRIGO.. She'll have a different value when one must serve thru a
honeymoon with her. Anyway, it can't hurt her if she gets a little
fresh air beforehand.
ALVA. (A pocketbook in his hand, to Geschwitz who is leaning on a
chair-back by the centre table.) This holds 10,000 marks.
GESCHWITZ. Thank you, no.
ALVA. Please take it.
GESCHWITZ. (To Schigolch.) Come along, at last!
SCHIGOLCH. Patience, Fräulein. It's only a stone's throw across
Hospital Street. I'll be here with her in five minutes.
ALVA. You're bringing her here?
SCHIGOLCH. I'm bringing her here. Or do you fear for your health?
ALVA. You see that I fear nothing.
RODRIGO. According to the latest wire, the doctor is on his way to
Constantinople to have his Earth-spirit produced before the Sultan by
harem-ladies and eunuchs.
ALVA. (Opening the centre door under the gallery.) It's
shorter for you thru here. (Exeunt Schigolch and Countess Geschwitz.
Alva locks the door.)
RODRIGO. You were going to give more money to the crazy sky-rocket!
ALVA. What has that to do with you?
RODRIGO. I get paid like a lamp-lighter, tho I had to demoralize all
the Sisters in the hospital. Then came the assistants' and the doctors'
turn, and then
ALVA. Will you seriously inform me that the medical professors let
themselves be influenced by you?
RODRIGO. With the money those gentlemen cost me I could become
President of the United States!
ALVA. But Fräulein von Geschwitz has reimbursed you for every penny
that you spent. So far as I know you're getting a monthly salary of
five hundred marks from her besides. It is often pretty hard to believe
in your love for the unhappy murderess. When I asked Fräulein von
Geschwitz just now to accept my help, it certainly was not to incite
your insatiable avarice. The admiration which I have learnt to have for
Fräulein von Geschwitz in this affair, I am far from feeling towards
you. It is not at all clear to me what claims of any kind you can make
upon me. That you chanced to be present at the murder of my father has
not yet created the slightest bond of relationship between you and me.
On the contrary, I am firmly convinced that if the heroic undertaking
of Countess Geschwitz had not come your way you would be lying
somewhere to-day without a penny, drunken in the gutter.
RODRIGO. And do you know what would have become of you if you hadn't
sold for two millions the tuppeny paper your father ran? You'd have
hitched up with the stringiest sort of ballet-girl and been to-day a
stable-boy in the Humpelmeier Circus. What work do you do? You've
written a drama of horrors in which my bride's calves are the two chief
figures and which no high-class theater will produce. You walking
pajamas! You fresh rag-bag you! Two years ago I balanced two saddled
cavalry-horses on this chest. How that'll go now, after this (
clasping his bald head), is a question sure enough. The foreign
girls will get a fine idea of German art when they see the sweat come
beading thru my tights at every fresh kilo-weight! I shall make the
whole auditorium stink with my exhalations!
ALVA. You're weak as a dish-clout!
RODRIGO. Would to God you were right! or did you perhaps intend to
insult me? If so, I'll set the tip of my toe to your jaw so that your
tongue'll crawl along the carpet over there!
ALVA. Try it! (Steps and voices outside.) Who is that...?
RODRIGO. You can thank God that I have no public here before me!
ALVA. Who can that be!
RODRIGO. That is my beloved. It's a full year now since we've seen
ALVA. But how should they be back already! Who can be coming there?
I expect no one.
RODRIGO. Oh the devil, unlock it!
ALVA. Hide yourself!
RODRIGO. I'll get behind the portières. I've stood there once
before, a year ago. (Disappears, right. Alva opens the rear door,
whereupon Alfred Hugenberg enters, hat in hand.)
ALVA. With whom have I.... You? Aren't you?
HUGENBERG. Alfred Hugenberg.
ALVA. What can I do for you?
HUGENBERG. I've come from Münsterburg. I ran away this morning.
ALVA. My eyes are bad. I am forced to keep the blinds closed.
HUGENBERG. I need your help. You will not refuse me. I've got a plan
ready. Can anyone hear us?
ALVA. What do you mean? What sort of a plan?
HUGENBERG. Are you alone?
ALVA. Yes. What do you want to impart to me?
HUGENBERG. I've had two plans already that I let drop. What I shall
tell you now has been worked out to the last possible chance. If I had
money I should not confide it to you; I thought about that a long time
before coming.... Will you not permit me to set forth to you my design?
ALVA. Will you kindly tell me just what you are talking about?
HUGENBERG. She cannot possibly be so indifferent to you that I must
tell you that. The evidence *you* gave the coroner helped her more than
everything the defending counsel said.
ALVA. I beg to decline the supposition.
HUGENBERG. You would say that; I understand that, of course. But all
the same you were her best witness.
ALVA. *You* were! You said my father was about to force her to shoot
HUGENBERG. He was, too. But they didn't believe me. I wasn't put on
ALVA. Where have you come from now?
HUGENBERG. From a reform-school I broke out of this morning.
ALVA. And what do you have in view?
HUGENBERG. I'm trying to get into the confidence of a turnkey.
ALVA. What do you mean to live on?
HUGENBERG. I'm living with a girl who's had a child by my father.
ALVA. Who is your father?
HUGENBERG. He's a police captain. I know the prison without ever
having been inside it; and nobody in it will recognize me as I am now.
But I don't count on that at all. I know an iron ladder by which one
can get from the first court to the roof and thru an opening there into
the attic. There's no way up to it from inside. But in all five wings
boards and laths and great heaps of shavings are lying under the roofs,
and I'll drag them all together in the middle and set fire to them. My
pockets are full of matches and all the things used to make fires.
ALVA. But then you'll burn up there!
HUGENBERG. Of course, if I'm not rescued. But to get into the first
court I must have the turnkey in my power, and for that I need money.
Not that I mean to bribe him; that wouldn't go. I must lend him money
to send his three children to the country, and then at four o'clock in
the morning when the prisoners of respected families are discharged,
I'll slip in the door. He'll lock-up behind me and ask me what I'm
after, and I'll ask him to let me out again in the evening. And before
it gets light, I'm up in the attic.
ALVA. How did you escape from the reform-school?
HUGENBERG. Jumped out the window. I need two hundred marks for the
rascal to send his family to the country.
RODRIGO. (Stepping out of the portières, right.) Will the
Herr Baron have coffee in the music-room or on the veranda?
HUGENBERG. Where does that man come from? Out of the same door! He
jumped out of the same door!
ALVA. I've taken him into my service. He is dependable.
HUGENBERG. (Grasping his temples.) Fool that I am! Oh, fool!
RODRIGO. Oh, yah, we've seen each other here before! Cut away now to
your vice-mamma. Your kid brother might like to uncle his brothers and
sisters. Make your sir-papa the grandfather of his children! You're the
only thing we've missed. If you once get into my sight in the next two
weeks, I'll beat your bean up for porridge.
ALVA. Be quiet, you!
HUGENBERG. I'm a fool!
RODRIGO. What do you want to do with your fire? Don't you know the
lady's been dead three weeks?
HUGENBERG. Did they cut off her head?
RODRIGO. No, she's got that still. She was mashed by the cholera.
HUGENBERG. That is not true!
RODRIGO. What do you know about it! There, read it: here! (Taking
out a paper and pointing to the place.) The murderess of Dr.
Schön.... (Gives Hugenberg the paper. He reads:)
HUGENBERG. The murderess of Dr. Schön has in some incomprehensible
way fallen ill of the cholera in prison. It doesn't say that she's
RODRIGO. Well, what else do you suppose she is? She's been lying in
the churchyard three weeks. Back in the left-hand corner behind the
rubbish-heap where the little crosses are with no names on them, there
she lies under the first one. You'll know the spot because the grass
hasn't grown on it. Hang a tin wreath there, and then get back to your
nursery-school or I'll denounce you to the police. I know the female
that beguiles her leisure hours with you!
HUGENBERG. (To Alva.) Is it true that she's dead?
ALVA. Thank God, yes!Please, do not keep me here any longer. My
doctor has forbidden me to receive visitors.
HUGENBERG. My future is worth so little now! I would gladly have
given the last scrap of what life is worth to me for her happiness.
Heigh-ho! One way or another I'll sure go to the devil now!
RODRIGO. If you dare in any way to approach me or the doctor here or
my honorable friend Schigolch too near, I'll inform on you for intended
arson. You need three good years, to learn where not to stick your
fingers in! Now get out!
RODRIGO. Get out!! (Throws him out the door. Coming down.) I
wonder you didn't put your purse at that rogue's disposal, too!
ALVA. I won't stand your damned jabbering! The boy's little finger
is worth more than all you!
RODRIGO. I've had enough of this Geschwitz's company! If my bride is
to become a corporation with limited liability, somebody else can go in
ahead of me. I propose to make a magnificent trapeze-artist out of her,
and willingly risk my life to do it. But then I'll be master of the
house, and will myself indicate what cavaliers she is to receive!
ALVA. The boy has what our age lacks: a hero-nature; therefore, of
course, he is going to ruin. Do you remember how before sentence was
passed he jumped out of the witness-box and yelled at the justice: How
do you know what would have become of you if you'd had to run around
the cafés barefoot every night when you were ten years old?!
RODRIGO. If I could only have given him one in the jaw for that
right away! Thank God, there are jails where scum like that gets some
respect for the law pounded into them.
ALVA. One like him might have been my model for my
World-conqueror. For twenty years literature has presented nothing
but demi-men: men who can beget no children and women who can bear
none. That's called The Modern Problem.
RODRIGO. I've ordered a hippopotamus-whip two inches thick. If that
has no success with her, you can fill my cranium with potato-soup. Be
it love or be it whipping, female flesh never inquires. Only give it
some amusement, and it stays firm and fresh. She is now in her
twentieth year, has been married three times and has satisfied a
gigantic horde of lovers, and her heart's desires are at last pretty
plain. But the man's got to have the seven deadly sins on his forehead,
or she honors him not. If he looks as if a dog-catcher had spat him out
on the street, then, with such women-folks, he needn't be afraid of a
prince! I'll rent a garage fifty feet high and break her in there; and
when she's learnt the first diving-leap without breaking her neck I'll
pull on a black coat and not stir a finger the rest of my life. When
she's educated practically it doesn't cost a woman half as much trouble
to support her husband as the other way round, if only the man takes
care of the mental labor for her, and doesn't let the sense of the
family go to wreck.
ALVA. I have learnt to rule humanity and drive it in harness before
me like a well-broken four-in-hand,but that boy sticks in my head.
Really, I can still take private lessons in the scorn of the world from
RODRIGO. She'll just comfortably let her hide be papered with
thousand-mark bills! I'll extract salaries out of the directors with a
centrifugal pump. I know their kind. When they don't need a man, let
him shine their shoes for them; but when they must have an artiste they
cut her down from the very gallows with their own hands and with the
most entangling compliments.
ALVA. In my situation there's nothing more in the world to fearbut
death. In the realm of sensation I am the poorest beggar. But I can no
longer scrape up the moral courage to exchange my established position
for the excitements of the wild, adventurous life!
RODRIGO. She had sent Papa Schigolch and me together in chase of
some strong antidote for sleeplessness. We each got a twenty-mark piece
for expenses. There we see the youngster sitting in the Night-light
Café. He was sitting like a criminal on the prisoner's bench. Schigolch
sniffed at him from all sides, and remarked, He is still virgin. (
Up in the gallery, dragging steps are heard.) There she is! The
future magnificent trapeze-artiste of the present age!
(The curtains part at the stair-head, and Lulu, supported by
Schigolch, and in a black dress, slowly and wearily descends.)
SCHIGOLCH. Hui, old mold! We've still to get over the frontier
RODRIGO. (Glaring stupidly at Lulu.) Thunder of heaven!
LULU. (Speaks, to the end of the act, in the gayest tones.)
Slowly! You're pinching my arm!
RODRIGO. How did you ever get the shamelessness to break out of
prison with such a wolf's face?!
SCHIGOLCH. Stop your snout!
RODRIGO. I'll run for the police! I'll give information! This
scarecrow let herself be seen in tights?! The padding alone would cost
two months' salary!You're the most perfidious swindler that ever had
lodging in Ox-butter Hotel!
ALVA. Kindly refrain from insulting the lady!
RODRIGO. Insulting you call that?! For this gnawed bone's sake I've
worn myself away! I can't earn my own living! I'll be a clown if I can
still stand firm under a broom-stick! But let the lightning strike me
on the spot if I don't worm ten thousand marks a year for life out of
your tricks and frauds! I can tell you that! A pleasant trip! I'm going
for the police! (Exit.)
SCHIGOLCH. Run, run!
LULU. He'll take good care of himself!
SCHIGOLCH. We're rid of *him*!And now some black coffee for the
ALVA. (At the table left.) Here is coffee, ready to pour.
SCHIGOLCH. I must look after the sleeping-car tickets.
LULU. (Brightly.) Oh, freedom! Thank God for freedom!
SCHIGOLCH. I'll be back for you in half an hour. We'll celebrate our
departure in the station-restaurant. I'll order a supper that'll keep
us going till to-morrow.Good morning, doctor.
ALVA. Good evening.
SCHIGOLCH. Pleasant rest!Thanks, I know every door-handle here. So
long! Have a good time! (Exit.)
LULU. I haven't seen a room for a year and a half. Curtains, chairs,
ALVA. Won't you drink it?
LULU. I've swallowed enough black coffee these five days. Have you
ALVA. I've got some elixir de Spaa.
LULU. That reminds one of old times. (Looks round the hall while
Alva fills two glasses.) Where's my picture gone?
ALVA. I've got it in my room, so no one shall see it here.
LULU. Bring it down here now.
ALVA. Didn't you even lose your vanity in prison?
LULU. How anxious at heart one gets when one hasn't seen herself for
months! One day I got a brand-new dust-pan. When I swept up at seven in
the morning I held the back of it up before my face. Tin doesn't
flatter, but I took pleasure in it all the same.Bring the picture
down from your room. Shall I come too?
ALVA. No, Heaven's sake! You must spare yourself!
LULU. I've been sparing myself long enough now! (Alva goes out,
right, to get the picture.) He has heart-trouble; but to have to
plague one's self with imagination fourteen months!... He kisses with
the fear of death on him, and his two knees shake like a frozen
vagabond's. In God's name.... In this roomif only I had not shot his
father in the back!
ALVA. (Returns with the picture of Lulu in the Pierrot-dress.
) It's covered with dust. I had leant it against the fire-place, face to
LULU. You didn't look at it all the time I was away?
ALVA. I had so much business to attend to, with the sale of our
paper and everything. Countess Geschwitz would have liked to have hung
it up in her house, but she had to be prepared for search-warrants. (
He puts the picture on the easel.)
LULU. (Merrily.) Now the poor monster is learning the joys of
life in Hotel Ox-butter by her own experience.
ALVA. Even now I don't understand how events hang together.
LULU. Oh, Geschwitz arranged it all very cleverly. I must admire her
inventiveness. But the cholera must have raged fearfully in Hamburg
this summer; and on that she founded her plan for freeing me. She took
a course in hospital nursing here, and when she had the necessary
documents she journeyed to Hamburg with them and nursed the cholera
patients. At the first opportunity that offered she put on the
underclothes in which a sick woman had just died and which really ought
to have been burnt. The same morning she traveled back here and came to
see me in prison. In my cell, while the wardress was outside, we, as
quick as we could, exchanged underclothes.
ALVA. So that was the reason why the Countess and you fell sick of
the cholera the same day!
LULU. Exactly, that was it! Geschwitz of course was instantly
brought from her house to the contagious ward in the hospital. But with
me, too, they couldn't think of any other place to take me. So there we
lay in one room in the contagious ward behind the hospital, and from
the first day Geschwitz put forth all her art to make our two faces as
like each other as possible. Day before yesterday she was let out as
cured. Just now she came back and said she'd forgotten her watch. I put
on her clothes, she slipped into my prison frock, and then I came away.
(With pleasure.) Now she's lying over there as the murderess of
ALVA. So far as outward appearance goes you can still agree with the
picture as much as ever.
LULU. I'm a little peaked in the face, but otherwise I've lost
nothing. Only one gets incredibly nervous in prison.
ALVA. You looked horribly sick when you came in.
LULU. I had to, to get our necks out of the noose.And you? What
have you done in this year and a half?
ALVA. I've had a succès d'estime in literary circles with a play I
wrote about you.
LULU. Who's your sweetheart now?
ALVA. An actress I've rented a house for in Karl Street.
LULU. Does she love you?
ALVA. How should I know that? I haven't seen the woman for six
LULU. Can you stand that?
ALVA. You will never understand that. With me there's the closest
alternation between my sensuality and mental creativeness. So towards
you, for example, I have only the choice of regarding you artistically
or of loving you.
LULU. (In a fairy-story tone.) I used to dream every other
night that I'd fallen into the hands of a sadic.... Come, give me a
ALVA. It's shining in your eyes like the water in a deep well one
has just thrown a stone into.
ALVA. (Kisses her.) Your lips have got pretty thin, anyway.
LULU. Come! (Pushes him into a chair and seats herself on his
knee.) Do you shudder at me?In Hotel Ox-butter we all got a
luke-warm bath every four weeks. The wardresses took that opportunity
to search our pockets as soon as we were in the water. (She kisses
ALVA. Oh, oh!
LULU. You're afraid that when I'm away you couldn't write any more
poems about me?
ALVA. On the contrary, I shall write a dithyramb upon thy glory.
LULU. I'm only sore about the hideous shoes I'm wearing.
ALVA. They do not encroach upon your charms. Let us be thankful for
the favor of this moment.
LULU. I don't feel at all like that to-day.Do you remember the
costume ball where I was dressed like a knight's squire? How those
wine-full women ran after me that time? Geschwitz crawled round, round
my feet, and begged me to step on her face with my cloth shoes.
ALVA. Come, dear heart!
LULU. (In the tone with which one quiets a restless child.)
Quietly! I shot your father.
ALVA. I do not love thee less for that. One kiss!
LULU. Bend your head back. (She kisses him with deliberation.
ALVA. You hold back the fire of my soul with the most dexterous art.
And your breast breathes so virginly too. Yet if it weren't for your
two great, dark, childish eyes, I must needs have thought you the
cunningest whore that ever hurled a man to destruction.
LULU. (In high spirits.) Would God I were! Come over the
border with us to-day! Then we can see each other as often as we will,
and we'll get more pleasure from each other than now.
ALVA. Through this dress I feel your body like a symphony. These
slender ankles, this cantabile. This rapturous crescendo. And these
knees, this capriccio. And the powerful andante of lust!How
peacefully these two slim rivals press against each other in the
consciousness that neither equals the other in beautytill their
capricious mistress wakes up and the rival lovers separate like the two
hostile poles. I shall sing your praises so that your senses shall
LULU. (Merrily.) Meanwhile I'll bury my hands in your hair. (
She does so.) But here we'll be disturbed.
ALVA. You have robbed me of my reason!
LULU. Aren't you coming with me to-day?
ALVA. But the old fellow's going with you!
LULU. He won't turn up again.Is not that the divan on which your
father bled to death?
ALVA. Be still. Be still....
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 gentlemenI beg your pardonplease be quietI
drinkpermit me to drinkfor this is the birthday party of our
amiable hostess(taking Lulu's arm) of Countess Adelaide
d'Oubradamned and done for!I drink thereforeand so forth, go to
it, ladies! (All surround Lulu and clink with her. Alva presses
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
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,
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 Virginis 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
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 youtwelve hundred
markstwo 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 thenthought 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
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
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
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. Meyerthat's my
name as a white-slave traderwhen you go to Berlin, please go right
away to the conservatory on the Potsdamer Strasse and ask for Gusti von
Rosenkronthe most beautiful woman that I've ever seen in
naturedelightful hands and feet, naturally small waist, straight
back, full body, big eyes and short nosejust 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 FritzFritz 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
LULU. (Goaded.) I can not sell the only thing that ever was
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
ALVA. (Coming back with a cash-box in his hand.) Aren't you
going to play, too?
LULU. Oh, yes, surelywhy 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
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
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
HEILMANN. I can pay for a supper in a respectable restaurant
ALVA. To the buffet, ladies! Come to the buffet! (All exeunt,
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
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
bishopall 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
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
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
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,
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,
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 mewhat'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
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
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
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
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
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.) HmYou'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
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
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, childwhat 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
SCHIGOLCH. I'm going.
LULU. Quick! Please!All-powerful
SCHIGOLCH. Why do you stare at me so again already?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
GESCHWITZ. (Seizing his hand.) I implore you, have mercy on
RODRIGO. A la bonne heure! Let us mount the scaffold! (Offers her
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
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
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
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
LUDMILLA. Let's go to an all-night restaurant. Do you know the
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
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!
ALVA. (Springing up.) Merciful Heaven! (Exeunt Alva and
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
sayOh, 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 lawI arrest you!
CASTI-PIANI. (Following him, bored.) What sort of nonsense is
that? *That* isn't the right one!
An attic room, without windows, but with two sky-lights, under
one of which stands a bowl filled with rain-water. Down right, a door
thru a board partition into a sort of cubicle under the slanting roof.
Near it, a wobbly flower-table with a bottle and a smoking oil-lamp on
it. Upper right, a worn-out couch. Door centre; near it, a chair
without a seat. Down left, below the entrance door, a torn gray
mattress. None of the doors can shut tight.
The rain beats on the roof. Schigolch in a long gray overcoat
lies on the mattress; Alva on the couch, wrapped in a plaid whose
straps still hang on the wall above him.
SCHIGOLCH. The rain's drumming for the parade.
ALVA. Cheerful weather for her first appearance! I dreamt just now
we were dining together at Olympia. Bianetta was still with us. The
table-cloth was dripping on all four sides with champagne.
SCHIGOLCH. Ya, ya. And I was dreaming of a Christmas pudding. (
Lulu appears, back, barefoot, in a torn black dress, but with her hair
falling to her shoulders.) Where have you been? Curling your hair
ALVA. She only does that to revive old memories.
LULU. If one could only get warmed, just a little, from one of you!
ALVA. Will you enter barefoot on your pilgrimage?
SCHIGOLCH. The first step always costs all kinds of moaning and
groaning. Twenty years ago it was no whit better, and what she has
learned since then! The coals only have to be blown. When she's been at
it a week, not ten locomotives will hold her in our miserable attic.
ALVA. The bowl is running over.
LULU. What shall I do with the water?
ALVA. Pour it out the window. (Lulu gets up on the chair and
empties the bowl thru the sky-light.)
LULU. It looks as if the rain would let up at last.
SCHIGOLCH. Your wasting the time when the clerks go home after
LULU. Would to God I were lying somewhere where no step would wake
me any more!
ALVA. Would I were, too! Why prolong this life? Let's rather starve
to death together this very evening in peace and concord! Is it not the
last stage now?
LULU. Why don't *you* go out and get us something to eat? You've
never earned a penny in your whole life!
ALVA. In this weather, when no one would kick a dog from his door?
LULU. But me! I, with the little blood I have left in my limbs, I am
to stop your mouths!
ALVA. I don't touch a farthing of the money!
SCHIGOLCH. Let her go, just! I long for one more Christmas pudding;
then I've had enough.
ALVA. And I long for one more beefsteak and a cigarette; then die! I
was just dreaming of a cigarette, such as has never yet been smoked!
SCHIGOLCH. She'll see us put an end to before her eyes, before doing
herself a little pleasure.
LULU. The people on the street will sooner leave cloak and coat in
my hands than go with me for nothing! If you hadn't sold my clothes, I
at least wouldn't need to be afraid of the lamp-light. I'd like to see
the woman who could earn anything in the rags I'm wearing on my body!
ALVA. I have left nothing human untried. As long as I had money I
spent whole nights making up tables with which one couldn't help
winning against the cleverest card-sharps. And yet evening after
evening I lost more than if I had shaken out gold by the pailful. Then
I offered my services to the courtesans; but they don't take anyone
without the stamps of the courts, and they see at the first glance if
one's related to the guillotine or not.
SCHIGOLCH. Ya, ya.
ALVA. I spared myself no disillusionments; but when I made jokes,
they laughed at *me*, and when I behaved as respectable as I am, they
boxed my ears, and when I tried being smutty, they got so chaste and
maidenly that my hair stood up on my head for horror. He who has not
prevailed over society, they have no confidence in.
SCHIGOLCH. Won't you kindly put on your boots now, child? I don't
think I shall grow much older in this lodging. It's months since I had
any feeling in the ends of my toes. Toward midnight, I'll drink a bit
more down in the pub. The lady that keeps it told me yesterday I seemed
to really want to be her lover.
LULU. In the name of the three devils, I'll go down! (She puts to
her mouth the bottle on the flower-table.)
SCHIGOLCH. So they can smell your stink a half-hour off!
LULU. I shan't drink it all.
ALVA. You won't go down. You're my woman. You shan't go down. I
LULU. What would you forbid your woman when you can't support
ALVA. Whose fault is that? Who but my woman has laid me on the
LULU. Am I sick?
ALVA. Who has trailed me thru the dung? Who has made me my father's
LULU. Did *you* shoot him? He didn't lose much, but when I see you
lying there I could hack off both my hands for having sinned so against
my judgment! (She goes out, into her room.)
ALVA. She infected me from her Casti-Piani. It's a long time since
she was susceptible to it herself!
SCHIGOLCH. Little devils like her can't begin putting up with it too
soon, if angels are ever going to come out of them.
ALVA. She ought to have been born Empress of Russia. Then she'd have
been in the right place. A second Catherine the Second! (Lulu
re-enters with a worn-out pair of boots, and sits on the floor to put
LULU. If only I don't go headfirst down the stairs! Ugh, how cold!
Is there anything in the world more dismal than a daughter of joy?
SCHIGOLCH. Patience, patience! She's only got to take the right road
into the business at the start.
LULU. It's all right with me! Nothing's wrong with me any more. (
Puts the bottle to her lips.) That warms one! O accursed! (Exit.
SCHIGOLCH. When we hear her coming, we must creep into my cubby-hole
ALVA. I'm damned sorry for her! When I think back.... I grew up with
her in a way, you know.
SCHIGOLCH. She'll hold out as long as I live, anyway.
ALVA. We treated each other at first like brother and sister. Mama
was still living then. I met her by chance one morning when she was
dressing. Dr. Goll had been called for a consultation. Her hair-dresser
had read my first poem, that I'd had printed in Society: Follow thy
pack far over the mountains; it will return again, covered with sweat
SCHIGOLCH. Oh, ya!
ALVA. And then she came, in rose-colored muslin, with nothing under
it but a white satin slipfor the Spanish ambassador's ball. Dr. Goll
seemed to feel his death near. He asked me to dance with her, so she
shouldn't cause any mad acts. Papa meanwhile never turned his eyes from
us, and all thru the waltz she was looking over my shoulder, only at
him.... Afterwards she shot him. It is unbelievable.
SCHIGOLCH. I've only got a very strong doubt whether anyone will
bite any more.
ALVA. I shouldn't like to advise it to anybody! (Schigolch
grunts.) At that time, tho she was a fully developed woman, she had
the expression of a five-year-old, joyous, utterly healthy child. And
she was only three years younger than me thenbut how long ago it is
now! For all her immense superiority in matters of practical life, she
let me explain Tristan and Isolde to herand how entrancingly she
could listen! Out of the little sister who at her marriage still felt
like a school-girl, came the unhappy, hysterical artist's wife. Out of
the artist's wife came then the spouse of my blessed father, and out of
*her* came, then, my mistress. Well, so that is the way of the world.
Who will prevail against it?
SCHIGOLCH. If only she doesn't skid away from the gentlemen with
honorable intentions and bring us up instead some vagabond she's
exchanged her heart's secrets with.
ALVA. I kissed her for the first time in her rustling bridal dress.
But afterwards she didn't remember it.... All the same, I believe she
had thought of me even in my father's arms. It can't have been often
with him: he had his best time behind him, and she deceived him with
coachman and boot-black; but when she did give herself to him, then
I stood before her soul. Thru that, too, without my realizing it,
she attained this dreadful power over me.
SCHIGOLCH. There they are! (Heavy steps are heard mounting the
ALVA. (Starting up.) I will not endure it! I'll throw the
SCHIGOLCH. (Wearily picks himself up, takes Alva by the collar
and cuffs him toward the left.) Forward, forward! How is the young
man to confess his trouble to her with us two sprawling round here?
ALVA. But if he demands other thingslow thingsof her?
SCHIGOLCH. If, well, if! What more will he demand of her? He's only
a man like the rest of us!
ALVA. We must leave the door open.
SCHIGOLCH. (Pushing Alva in, right.) Nonsense! Lie down!
ALVA. I'll hear it soon enough. Heaven spare him!
SCHIGOLCH. (Closing the door, from inside.) Shut up!
ALVA. (Faintly.) He'd better look out! (Lulu enters,
followed by Hunidei, a gigantic figure with a smooth-shaven, rosy face,
sky-blue eyes, and a friendly smile. He wears a tall hat and overcoat
and carries a dripping umbrella.)
LULU. Here's where I live. (Hunidei puts his finger to his lips
and looks at Lulu significantly. Then he opens his umbrella and puts it
on the floor, rear, to dry.) Of course, I know it isn't very
comfortable here. (Hunidei comes forward and puts his hand over her
mouth.) What do you mean me to understand by that? (Hunidei puts
his hand over her mouth, and his finger to his lips.) I don't know
what that means. (Hunidei quickly stops her mouth. Lulu frees
herself.) We're quite alone here. No one will hear us. (Hunidei
lays his finger on his lips, shakes his head, points at Lulu, opens his
mouth as if to speak, points at himself and then at the door.) Herr
Gott, he's a monster! (Hunidei stops her mouth; then goes rear,
folds up his overcoat and lays it over the chair near the door; then
comes down with a broad smile, takes Lulu's head in both his hands and
kisses her on the forehead. The door, right, half opens.)
SCHIGOLCH. (Behind the door.) He's got a screw loose.
ALVA. He'd better look out!
SCHIGOLCH. She couldn't have brought up anything drearier!
LULU. (Stepping back.) I hope you're going to give me
something! (Hunidei stops her mouth and presses a gold-piece in her
hand, then looks at her uncertain, questioningly, as she examines it
and throws it from one hand to the other.)
LULU. All right, it's good. (Puts it into her pocket. Hunidei
quickly stops her mouth, gives her a few silver coins, and glances at
her commandingly.) Oh, that's nice of you! (Hunidei leaps madly
about the room, brandishing his arms and staring upward in despair.
Lulu cautiously nears him, throws an arm round him and kisses him on
the mouth. Laughing soundlessly, he frees himself from her and looks
questioningly. She takes up the lamp and opens the door to her room. He
goes in smiling, taking off his hat. The stage is dark save for what
light comes thru the cracks of the door. Alva and Schigolch creep out
on all fours.)
ALVA. They're gone.
SCHIGOLCH. (Behind him.) Wait.
ALVA. One can hear nothing here.
SCHIGOLCH. You've heard that often enough!
ALVA. I will kneel before her door.
SCHIGOLCH. Little mother's sonny! (Presses past Alva, gropes
across the stage to Hunidei's coat, and searches the pockets. Alva
crawls to Lulu's door.) Gloves, nothing more! (Turns the coat
round, searches the inside pockets, pulls a book out that he gives to
Alva.) Just see what that is. (Alva holds the book to the light.
ALVA. (Wearily deciphering the title-page.) Warnings to pious
pilgrims and such as wish to be so. Very helpful. Price, 2 s. 6 d.
SCHIGOLCH. It looks to me as if God had left *him* pretty
completely. (Lays the coat over the chair again and makes for the
cubby-hole.) There's nothing doing with these people. The country's
best time's behind it!
ALVA. Life is never as bad as it's painted. (He, too, creeps
SCHIGOLCH. Not even a silk muffler he's got and yet in Germany we
creep on our bellies before this rabble.
ALVA. Come, let's vanish again.
SCHIGOLCH. She only thinks of herself, and takes the first man that
runs across her path. Hope the dog remembers her the rest of his life!
(They disappear, left, shutting the door behind them. Lulu
re-enters, setting the lamp on the table. Hunidei follows.)
LULU. Will you come to see me again? (Hunidei stops her mouth.
She looks upward in a sort of despair and shakes her head. Hunidei,
putting his coat on, approaches her grinning; she throws her arms
around his neck; he gently frees himself, kisses her hand, and turns to
the door. She starts to accompany him, but he signs to her to stay
behind and noiselessly leaves the room. Schigolch and Alva re-enter.
LULU. (Tonelessly.) How he has stirred me up!
ALVA. How much did he give you?
LULU. (As before.) Here it is! All! Take it! I'm going down
SCHIGOLCH. We can still live like princes up here.
ALVA. He's coming back.
SCHIGOLCH. Then let's just retire again, quick.
ALVA. He's after his prayer-book. Here it is. It must have fallen
out of his coat.
LULU. (Listening.) No, that isn't he. That's some one else.
ALVA. Some one's coming up. I hear it quite plainly.
LULU. Now there's some one tapping at the door. Who may that be?
SCHIGOLCH. Probably a good friend he's recommended us to. Come in! (
Countess Geschwitz enters, in poor clothes, with a canvas roll in her
GESCHWITZ. (To Lulu.) If I've come at a bad time, I'll turn
around again. The truth is, I haven't spoken to a living soul for ten
days. I must just tell you right off, I haven't got any money. My
brother never answered me at all.
SCHIGOLCH. Your ladyship would now like to stretch her feet out
under our table?
LULU. (Tonelessly.) I'm going down again.
GESCHWITZ. Where are you going in this pomp?However, I come not
wholly empty-handed. I bring you something else. On my way here an
old-clothes man offered me twelve shillings for it, but I could not
force myself to part from it. You can sell it, though, if you want to.
SCHIGOLCH. What is it?
ALVA. Let us see it. (Takes the canvas and unrolls it. Visibly
rejoiced.) Oh, by God, it's Lulu's portrait!
LULU. (Screaming.) Monster, you brought that here? Get it out
of my sight! Throw it out of the window!
ALVA. (Suddenly with renewed life, deeply pleased.) Why, I
should like to know? Looking on this picture I regain my self-respect.
It makes my fate comprehensible to me. Everything we have endured gets
clear as day. (In a somewhat elegiac strain.) Let him who feels
secure in his middle-class position when he sees these blossoming
pouting lips, these child-eyes, big and innocent, this rose-white body
abounding in life,let him cast the first stone at us!
SCHIGOLCH. We must nail it up. It will make an excellent impression
on our patrons.
ALVA. (Energetic.) There's a nail sticking all ready for it
in the wall.
SCHIGOLCH. But how did you come upon this acquisition?
GESCHWITZ. I secretly cut it out of the wall in your house, there,
after you were gone.
ALVA. Too bad the color's got rubbed off round the edges. You didn't
roll it up carefully enough. (Fastens it to a high nail in the wall.
SCHIGOLCH. It's got to have another one underneath if it's going to
hold. It makes the whole flat look more elegant.
ALVA. Let me alone; I know how I'll do it. (He tears several
nails out of the wall, pulls off his left boot, and with its heel nails
the edges of the picture to the wall.)
SCHIGOLCH. It's just got to hang a while again, to get its proper
effect. Whoever looks at that'll imagine afterwards he's been in an
ALVA. (Putting on his boot again, standing up proudly.) Her
body was at its highest point of development when that picture was
painted. The lamp, kid dear! Seems to me it's got extraordinarily dark.
GESCHWITZ. He must have been an eminently gifted artist who painted
LULU. (Perfectly composed again, stepping before the picture with
the lamp.) Didn't you know him, then?
GESCHWITZ. No. It must have been long before my time. I only
occasionally heard chance remarks of yours, that he had cut his throat
ALVA. (Comparing the picture with Lulu.) The child-like
expression in the eyes is still absolutely the same in spite of all she
has lived thru since. (In joyous excitement.) The dewy freshness
that covered her skin, the sweet-smelling breath from her lips, the
rays of light that beam from her white forehead, and this challenging
splendor of young flesh in throat and arms
SCHIGOLCH. All that's gone with the rubbish wagon. She can say with
self-assurance: That was me once! The man she falls into the hands of
to-day 'll have no conception of what we were when we were young.
ALVA. (Cheerfully.) God be thanked, we don't notice the
continual decline when we see a person all the time. (Lightly.)
The woman blooms for us in the moment when she hurls the man to
destruction for the rest of his life. That is her nature and her
SCHIGOLCH. Down in the street-lamp's shimmer she's still a match for
a dozen walking spectres. The man who still wants to make connections
at this hour looks out more for heart-qualities than mere physical good
points. He decides for the pair of eyes from which the least thievery
LULU. (Now as pleased as Alva.) I shall see if you're right.
ALVA. (In sudden anger.) You shall not go down again, as I
GESCHWITZ. Where do you want to go?
ALVA. Down to fetch up a man.
ALVA. She's done it once to-day already.
GESCHWITZ. Lulu, Lulu, where you go I go too.
SCHIGOLCH. If you want to put your bones up for sale, kindly get a
district of your own!
GESCHWITZ. Lulu, I shall not stir from your side! I have weapons
SCHIGOLCH. Confound it all, her ladyship plots to fish with our
LULU. You're killing me. I can't stand it here any more. (Exit.
GESCHWITZ. You need fear nothing. I am with you. (Follows her.
ALVA. (Whimpering, throws himself on his couch. Schigolch swears,
loudly and grumbling.) I guess there's not much more good to expect
on this side!
SCHIGOLCH. We ought to have held the creature back by the throat.
She'll scare away everything that breathes with her aristocratic
ALVA. She's flung me onto a sick-bed and larded me with thorns
outside and in!
SCHIGOLCH. And she's still got enough strength in her body to do the
same for ten men alright.
ALVA. No mortally wounded man'll ever find the stab of mercy
welcomer than I!
SCHIGOLCH. If she hadn't enticed the acrobat to my place that time,
we'd have him round our necks to-day too.
ALVA. I see it swinging above my head as Tantalus saw the branch
with the golden apples!
SCHIGOLCH. (On his mattress.) Won't you turn up the lamp a
ALVA. Can a simple, natural man in the wilderness suffer so
unspeakably?!God, God, what have I made of my life!
SCHIGOLCH. What's the beastly weather made of my ulster! When I was
five-and-twenty, I knew how to help myself!
ALVA. It has not cost everyone my sunny, glorious youth!
SCHIGOLCH. I guess it'll go out in a minute. Till they come back
it'll be as dark in here again as in mother's womb.
ALVA. With the clearest consciousness of my purpose I sought
intercourse with people who'd never read a book in their lives. With
self-denial, with exaltation, I clung to the elements, that I might be
carried to the loftiest heights of poetic fame. The reckoning was
false. I am the martyr of my calling. Since the death of my father I
have not written a single line!
SCHIGOLCH. If only they haven't stayed together! Nobody but a silly
boy will go with two, no matter what.
ALVA. They've not stayed together!
SCHIGOLCH. That's what I hope. If need be, she'll keep the creature
off from her with kicks.
ALVA. One, risen from the dregs, is the most celebrated man of his
nation; another, born in the purple, lies in the mud and cannot die!
SCHIGOLCH. Here they come!
ALVA. And what blessed hours of mutual joy in creation they had
lived thru with each other!
SCHIGOLCH. They can do that now, for the first time rightly.We
must hide again.
ALVA. I stay here.
SCHIGOLCH. Just what do you pity them for?Who spends his money has
his good reasons for it!
ALVA. I have no longer the moral courage to let my comfort be
disturbed for a miserable sum of money! (He wraps himself up in his
SCHIGOLCH. Noblesse oblige! A respectable man does what he owes his
position. (He hides, left. Lulu opens the door, saying Come right
in, dearie, and there enters Prince Kungu Poti, heir-apparent of
Uahubee, in a light suit, white spats, tan button-boots, and a gray
tall hat. His speech, interrupted with frequent hiccoughs, abounds with
the peculiar African hiss-sounds.)
KUNGU POTI. God damnit's dark on the stairs!
LULU. It's lighter here, sweetheart. (Pulling him forward by the
hand.) Come on!
KUNGU POTI. But it's cold here, awful cold!
LULU. Have some brandy?
KUNGU POTI. Brandy? You betalways! Brandy's good!
LULU. (Giving him the bottle.) I don't know where there's a
KUNGU POTI. Doesn't matter. (Drinks.) Brandy! Lots of it!
LULU. You're a nice-looking young man.
KUNGU POTI. My father's the emperor of Uahubee. I've got six wives
here, two Spanish, two English, two French. WellI don't like my
wives. Always I must take a bath, take a bath, take a bath....
LULU. How much will you give me?
KUNGU POTI. Gold! Trust me, you shall have gold! One gold-piece. I
always give gold-pieces.
LULU. You can give it to me later, but show it to me.
KUNGU POTI. I never pay beforehand.
LULU. But you can show it to me, thoh!
KUNGU POTI. Don't understand, don't understand! Come,
Ragapsishimulara! (Seizing Lulu round the waist.) Come on!
LULU. (Defending herself with all her strength.) Let me be!
Let me be! (Alva, who has risen painfully from his couch, sneaks up
to Kungu Poti from behind and pulls him back by the collar.)
KUNGU POTI. (Whirling round.) Oh! Oh! This is a murder-hole!
Come, my friend, I'll put you to sleep! (Strikes him over the head
with a loaded cane. Alva groans and falls in a heap.) Here's a
sleeping-draught! Here's opium for you! Sweet dreams to you! Sweet
dreams! (Then he gives Lulu a kiss; pointing to Alva.) He dreams
of you, Ragapsishimulara! Sweet dreams! (Rushing to the door.)
Here's the door!! (Exit.)
LULU. But I'll not stay here?!Who can stand it here now!Rather
down onto the street! (Exit. Schigolch comes out.)
SCHIGOLCH.Blood!Alva!He's got to be put away somewhere.
Hop!Or else our friends 'll get a shock from himAlva! Alva!He
that isn't quite clear about it! One thing or t'other; or it'll soon
be too late! I'll give him legs! (Strikes a match and sticks it into
Alva's collar....) He will have his rest. But no one sleeps
here.(Drags him by the head into Lulu's room. Returning, he tries
to turn up the light.) It'll be time for me, too, right soon now,
or they'll get no more Christmas puddings down there in the tavern. God
knows when she'll be coming back from her pleasure tour! (Fixing an
eye on Lulu's picture.) She doesn't understand business! She can't
live off love, because her life is love.There she comes. I'll just
talk straight to her once(Countess Geschwitz enters.) ... If
you want to lodge with us to-night, kindly take a little care that
nothing is stolen here.
GESCHWITZ. How dark it is here!
SCHIGOLCH. It gets much darker than this.The doctor's already gone
GESCHWITZ. She sent me ahead.
SCHIGOLCH. That was sensible.If anyone asks for me, I'm sitting
downstairs in the pub.
GESCHWITZ. (After he has gone.) I will sit behind the door. I
will look on at everything and not quiver an eye-lash. (Sits on the
broken chair.) Men and women don't know themselvesthey know not
what they are. Only one who is neither man nor woman knows them. Every
word they say is untrue, a lie. And they do not know it, for they are
to-day so and to-morrow so, according as they have eaten, drunk, and
loved, or not. Only the body remains for a time what it is, and only
the children have reason. The men and women are like the animals: none
knows what it does. When they are happiest they bewail themselves and
groan, and in their deepest misery they rejoice over every tiny morsel.
It is strange how hunger takes from men and women the strength to
withstand misfortune. But when they have fed full they make this world
a torture-chamber, they throw away their lives to satisfy a whim, a
mood. Have there ever once been men and women to whom love brought
happiness? And what is their happiness, save that they sleep better and
can forget it all? My God, I thank thee that thou hast not made me as
these. I am not man nor woman. My body has nothing common with their
bodies. Have I a human soul? Tortured humanity has a little narrow
heart; but I know I deserve nothing when I resign all, sacrifice
all.... (Lulu opens the door, and Dr. Hilti enters. Geschwitz,
unnoticed, remains motionless by the door.)
LULU. (Gaily.) Come right in! Come!you'll stay with me all
DR. HILTI. (His accent is very broad and flat.) But I have no
more than five shillings on me. I never take more than that when I go
LULU. That's enough, because it's you! You have such faithful eyes!
Come, give me a kiss! (Dr. Hilti begins to swear, in the broadest
north-country vowels.) Please, don't say that.
DR. HILTI. By the de'il, 'tis the first time I've e'er gone with a
girrl! You can believe me. Mass, I hadn't thought it would be like
LULU. Are you married?
DR. HILTI. Heaven and Hail, why do you think I am married?No, I'm
a tutor; I read philosophy at the University. The truth is, I come of a
very old country family. As a student, I got just two shillings
pocket-money, and I could make better use of that than for girrls!
LULU. So you have never been with a woman?
DR. HILTI. Just so, yes! But I want it now. I got engaged this
evening to a country-woman of mine. She's a governess here.
LULU. Is she pretty?
DR. HILTI. Yaw, she's got a hundred thousand.I am very eager, as
it seems to me....
LULU. (Tossing back her hair.) I *am* in luck! (Takes the
lamp.) Well, if you please, Mr. Tutor? (They go into her room.
Geschwitz draws a small black revolver from her pocket and sets it to
GESCHWITZ.Come, come,beloved! (Dr. Hilti tears open the door
DR. HILTI. (Plunging in.) Insane seraphs! Some one's lying in
LULU. (Lamp in hand, holds him by the sleeve.) Stay with me!
DR. HILTI. A dead man! A corpse!
LULU. Stay with me! Stay with me!
DR. HILTI. (Tearing away.) A corpse is lying in there!
Horrors! Hail! Heaven!
LULU. Stay with me!
DR. HILTI. Where d's it go out? (Sees Geschwitz.) And there
is the devil!
LULU. Please, stop, stay!
DR. HILTI. Devil, devilled devilry!Oh, thou eternal(Exit.
LULU. (Rushing after him.) Stop! Stop!
GESCHWITZ. (Alone, lets the revolver sink.) Better, hang! If
she sees me lie in my blood to-day she'll not weep a tear for me! I
have always been to her but the docile tool that could be used for the
heaviest labor. From the first day she has abhorred me from the depths
of her soul.Shall I not rather jump from the bridge? Which could be
colder, the water or her heart? I would dream till I was
drowned.Better, hang!Stab?Hm, there would be no use in
thatHow often have I dreamt that she kissed me! But a minute more;
an owl knocks there at the window, and I wake up.Better, hang! Not
water; water is too clean for me. (Starting up.) There!There!
There it is!Quick now, before she comes! (Takes the plaid-straps
from the wall, climbs on the chair, fastens them to a hook in the
door-post, puts her head thru them, kicks the chair away, and falls to
the ground.) Accursed life!Accursed life!Could it be before me
still??Let me speak just once to thy heart, my angel! But thou art
cold!I am not to go yet! Perhaps I am even to have been happy
once.Listen to him, Lulu! I am not to go yet! (She drags herself
before Lulu's picture, sinks to her knees and folds her hands.) My
adoréd angel! My love! My star!Have mercy upon me, pity me, pity me,
(Lulu opens the door, and Jack entersa thick-set man of elastic
movements, with a pale face, inflamed eyes, arched and heavy brows, a
drooping mustache, thin imperial and shaggy whiskers, and fiery red
hands with gnawed nails. His eyes are fixed on the ground. He wears a
dark overcoat and a little round felt hat. Entering, he notices
JACK. Who is that?
LULU. That's my sister. She's crazy. I don't know how to get rid of
JACK. Your mouth looks beautiful.
LULU. It's my mother's.
JACK. Looks like it. How much do you want? I haven't got much money.
LULU. Won't you spend the night with me here?
JACK. No, haven't got the time. I must get home.
LULU. You can tell them at home to-morrow that you missed the last
'bus and spent the night with a friend.
JACK. How much do you want?
LULU. I'm not after lumps of gold, but, well, a little something.
JACK. (Turning.) Good night! Good night!
LULU. (Holds him back.) No, no! Stay, for God's sake!
JACK. (Goes past Geschwitz and opens the cubicle.) Why should
I stay here till morning? Sounds suspicious! When I'm asleep they'll
turn my pockets out.
LULU. No, I won't do that! No one will! Don't go away again for
that! I beg you!
JACK. How much do you want?
LULU. Then give me the half of what I said!
JACK. No, that's too much. You don't seem to have been at this long?
LULU. To-day is the first time. (She jerks back Geschwitz, on her
knees still, half turned toward Jack, by the straps around her neck.
) Lie down and be quiet!
JACK. Let her alone! She isn't your sister. She is in love with you.
(Strokes Geschwitz's head like a dog's.) Poor beast!
LULU. Why do you stare at me so all at once?
JACK. I got your measure by the way you walked. I said to myself:
That girl must have a well-built body.
LULU. How can you see things like that?
JACK. I even saw that you had a pretty mouth. But I've only got a
florin on me.
LULU. Well, what difference does that make! Just give that to me!
JACK. But you'll have to give me half back, so I can take the 'bus
LULU. I have nothing on me.
JACK. Just look, thoh. Hunt thru your pockets!Well, what's that?
Let's see it!
LULU. (Showing him.) That's all I have.
JACK. Give it to me!
LULU. I'll change it to-morrow, and then give you half.
JACK. No, give it all to me.
LULU. (Giving it.) In God's name! But now you come! (Takes
up the lamp.)
JACK. We need no light. The moon's out.
LULU. (Puts the lamp down.) As you say. (She falls on his
neck.) I won't harm you at all! I love you so! Don't let me beg you
JACK. Alright; I'm with you. (Follows her into the cubby-hole.
The lamp goes out. On the floor under the two sky-lights appear two
vivid squares of moonlight. Everything in the room is clearly seen.
GESCHWITZ. (As in a dream.) This is the last evening I shall
spend with these people. I'm going back to Germany. My mother'll send
me the money. I'll go to a university. I must fight for woman's rights;
study law.... (Lulu shrieks, and tears open the door.)
LULU. (Barefoot, in chemise and petticoat, holding the door shut
behind her.) Help!
GESCHWITZ. (Rushes to the door, draws her revolver, and pushing
Lulu aside, aims it at the door. As Lulu again cries Help!) Let
go! (Jack, bent double, tears open the door from inside, and runs a
knife into Geschwitz's body. She fires one shot, at the roof, and falls
with suppressed crying, crumpling up. Jack tears her revolver from her
and throws himself against the exit-door.)
JACK. God damn! I never saw a prettier mouth! (Sweat drips from
his hairy face. His hands are bloody. He pants, gasping violently, and
stares at the floor with eyes popping out of his head. Lulu, trembling
in every limb, looks wildly round. Suddenly she seizes the bottle,
smashes it on the table, and with the broken neck in her hand rushes
upon Jack. He swings up his right foot and throws her onto her back.
Then he lifts her up.)
LULU. No, no!Mercy!Murder!Police! Police!
JACK. Be still. You'll never get away from me again. (Carries her
LULU. (Within, right.) No!No!No!Ah!Ah!...
(After a pause, Jack re-enters. He puts the bowl on the table.
JACK. That *was* a piece of work! (Washing his hands.) I *am*
a damned lucky chap! (Looks round for a towel.) Not even a
towel, these folks here! Hell of a wretched hole! (He dries his
hands on Geschwitz's petticoat.) This invert is safe enough from
me! (To her.) It'll soon be all up with you, too. (Exit.)
GESCHWITZ. (Alone.) Lulu!My angel!Let me see thee once
more! I am near theestay near theeforever! (Her elbows give way.
) O cursed!! (Dies.)