George Pope Morris Poems >>
The Maid Of Saxony; Or, Who's The Traitor? - Act II

Scene I.

Discovered. The stage represents a large apartment without the usual side-entrances.
 On the left hand is a row of long, old-fashioned windows, with painting-screens
 so arranged as to let the light fall obliquely on the tables beneath; at which
 the FACTORY GIRLS are seated, employed in painting various articles of porcelain.
 SOPHIA MANSFIELD is seated at the table nearest the audience. On the right are
 separate tables, at which GIRLS are employed mixing and grinding colors. In the
 center of the stage is a small platform, on which a number of painted vases, ready
 for the oven, are placed. KARL is engaged in examining them. At the rear of the
 stage is the entrance to the room--a large open door--on each side of which are
 rows of shelves, filled with vases, bowls, plates, jars, mantel ornaments, and
 the like, put there to dry. The whole representing the painting-room of the Royal
 Porcelain Factory. Through the doors the furnaces are seen, on which the porcelain
 is placed to set the colors, and which several WORKMEN are attending. The curtain
 rises slowly to the music.

(German air.)
  Home, home, home--
  Dear, lost home!
Though here we pine in slavery,
Our hearts are all in Saxony,
  Our girlhood's happy home!

Land of the free and bold,
To hopeless bondage sold!
While abject toil and fear
Enchain thy daughters here,
  We yearn for thee,
  O Saxony!--
For freedom, love, and home!

(The GIRLS attempt to waltz to the music; but, overcome by their feelings, they resume
their tasks.)

  Home, home, home--
  Dear, lost home!
Though cares oppress us fearfully,
We exiles carol cheerfully
  Of girlhood's happy home!

Beneath our native sky,
The hours went swiftly by;
While on a foreign soil,
Our youth consumes in toil!
  We yearn for thee,
  O Saxony!--
For freedom, love, and home!

(The GIRLS attempt to waltz, as before, etc.)

  Home, home, home, etc.

(The WORKMEN and the GIRLS resume their tasks.)


WEDGEWOOD (looking around, and speaking enthusiastically as he enters.)
Admirable, upon my word! Every department better than the last, and this the best
of all! Never saw anything like it. The colors brilliant--the designs exquisitely
classical--"a place for everything, and everything in its place!"

Whatever His Majesty constructs, whether a fortress or a factory, is perfect in all
its details.

Yet look around, and read your monarch's history in the eyes of these prisoners of
war. Observe that picture of melancholy (pointing to SOPHIA, who, during the scene,
has been leaning dejectedly on her hand.--KARL standing by her side.) How reluctantly
she pursues her task! Our English manufacturers work in quite another manner, for
they are free!

And are free men or free women never indisposed?--or do you Englishmen blame your
king whenever any of his subjects turn pale? The woman at whom you are looking is
evidently ill.

The fie upon your inhumanity for making a poor, sick girl work when she seems scarcely
able to hold up her head! (Aside.) I don't half like that fellow. Villainously odd.

My poor girl, what is the matter with you. The overseer says that, since you came
here, you have done nothing worthy of your pencil. Yet this charming piece (pointing
to an ornament on her painting)--which was brought from Saxony is of your design--is
it not?

Yes, sir, it was my misfortune to paint it. If the king had never seen or liked it,
I should now be--

In Saxony; but forget that country, and you may be happy in this.

I can not forget it!--I can not forget everybody that I ever loved. Ask not a Saxon
woman to forget her country!

Whom do you love in Saxony now?

Whom do I NOT love in Saxony? I have a brother there, whom I have not seen since
childhood. He was at college when I was carried off from the cottage in which we
both were born. He is ignorant of my fate. (She regards ALBERT with great attention,
and examines his features minutely.)

Why do you gaze upon me so intently?

I know not why, sir; but you seemed even now a dear heart-cherished one, whom I have
wished for long and anxiously.

Think me that one, and trust me.

I will--for there's a cherub nestling in my heart which whispers, "You are here to
save me!" (ALBERT leads her to her task, which she resumes in great dejection of

Is that poor girl often thus?

She sits as you see her, like one stupefied, half the day.

The cause of this--if it is convenient?

She has fallen to the lot of a soldier (glancing at SOPHIA)--who swears, if she delays
another day to MARRY HIM, that he will complain to the king.

COUNT (turning furiously upon KARL.)
Wretch! (seizes him.)

KARL (throwing him off.)
This insult will cost you dear! Your scorn for the king's commands--

COUNT (scornfully.)
I had forgotten. (Releases him.) You are a mere instrument in the hands of a tyrant!

KARL (aside.)
That word again!--

SOPHIA (running between them, and throwing herself at the feet of LANISKA.)
Save me! save me! You CAN save me! You are a powerful lord, and can speak to the
king! Save me from this detested marriage.

KARL (aside to SOPHIA.)
Are you mad?

COUNT (raising SOPHIA, who clings to him, and shrinks from KARL.)
I will do so, or perish in the attempt!

KARL (aside.)
Ah! say you so? Then the king shall know HIS enemy and MINE! [Exit.

WEDGEWOOD (noticing KARL go off.)
Whew! There's mischief brewing! If that black-muzzled rascal is not hatching trouble
for us all, I'll never trust my seven senses again! I wonder they permit such a
bear to go at large in a garden like this--he'll root up the flowers as well as
weeds.--Dangerously odd!

(Trumpet sounds without, and a buzz and hum as if of a distant crowd; the noise comes
near the Factory.)

What's afoot now, I wonder?

Some new freak, no doubt, of this eccentric monarch. (Noises.)

WEDGEWOOD (looking out.)
The town is all astir (noise louder)--humming and buzzing like a hive of bees! (Noise,
and distant shouts.) And yonder comes a fussy little burgomaster with a proclamation,
and a crowd of noisy citizens at his heels--odd! [Noise and shouts increase.

(Sophia and the other GIRLS and the WORKMEN leave their occupations, as if anxious
to learn the cause of the uproar. When the buzzing, huzzaing, and noise reach the
Factory, loud sound of the trumpet.)

BURGOMASTER (without.)
Make way there, good people--make way there for the royal herald! (The BURGOMASTER
bustles in with the HERALD--the crowd following and surrounding him--noises.) Stand
back (using his wand)--stand back, you idle, ragged tatterdemalions, and pay all
due reverence to the constituted authorities! (laughter)--for know all men by
these presents (very pompously,) that I represent the king! (laughter.)

What a figure for the part! (laughter.)

BURGOMASTER (smartly striking with his wand one who laughs louder than the rest.)
Take that, and let it teach you better manners in future, you scarecrow!--Now draw
near, good people, and be dumb! Lend me all your ears!--

You have ears enough already for any two-legged animal--

While I, by virtue of my office as a magistrate, publish this important document!
(SOPHIA comes forward.)

CITIZEN (eagerly.)
Now for it!

BURGOMASTER (hitting him smartly over the head.)
You will, will you?--Hish! This paper is big with information to the whole realm;
but more especially to the daughters of Saxony. (SOPHIA and the GIRLS of the Factory,
by looks and actions, evince great interest in the reading of the paper.)

Hish! (To HERALD.) Now proceed in regular order, and according to ancient form and
usage, to read the royal proclamation!--Hish! (Hands paper to HERALD.)

HERALD (reads.)
"By the grace of God, we, Frederick the Second, King of Prussia, hereby make known
that he will give freedom--"

SOPHIA (eagerly aside.)
Freedom? (Listens with anxiety.)

"And a reward of five hundred crowns to the ARTIST who shall produce the most
beautifully designed and highly-finished enameled porcelain vase of Berlin china;
and permit her to marry whomsoever she shall think proper."

SOPHIA (aside and joyfully.)
Her I aright? (The GIRLS of the Factory show great joy at this.)

"The ARTIST's name shall be inscribed upon the vase, which shall be called 'The Prussian

SOPHIA (aside.)
Oh, happy, happy news!

"Signed at the Sans Souci--
             "By the King."

HA-z-z-a-a-h-a-a-a-a! (Amid the shouts and general joy of the GIRLS, the BURGOMASTER
bustles out, using his wand frequently, and speaking all the while; the HERALD
following, and the CITIZENS buzzing and huzzaing as before.) Silence you nondescript
villains!--Silence, I say! You stun me with your uproar! (Loud shout.--Passionately.)
Oh, shut your ugly mugs! (Strikes them.)

Mugs! I like that. He's in the crockery-trade, like myself.

SOPHIA (with joy.)
This proclamation has animated me with new life and energy. I feel like one inspired!

What mean you?

To become a competitor for the prize.

You will have many opponents.

I heed them not.

All will be zeal throughout the manufactory.

So much the greater need for my perseverance.

Some will be excited with the hope of gaining their liberty.

Oh, blessed hope!

Some stimulated by the crowns.--Not at all odd.--It would be odd if they were not!

But none have so strong a motive for exertion as I have.

COUNT (with enthusiasm.)
Nobly resolved! I will assist you with every faculty I possess.

ALBERT (with the same feeling.)
And I!

WEDGEWOOD (with the same.)
And all!--If it is convenient.

SOPHIA (joyfully.)
Then doubt not my success. (Exit LANISKA, ALBERT, and, WEDGEWOOD.) Oh, how my
heart bounds with the thoughts of once more seeing Saxony! Its mountains, torrents,
vineyards, are all before me now! And then our native songs!--They steal into my
heart and melt it.

(German air.)
Sky, stream, moorland, and mountain,
 Tree, cot, spire, and dome,
Breeze, bird, vineyard, and fountain,
 Kindred, friends, country, and home!--
   Home, home, home, home!--
 These are the blessings of home!

(The FACTORY-GIRLS now waltz cheerfully to the music.)

Hope how fondly I cherish,
 Dear land, to see thee once more!
O Fate! let me not perish
 Far from my own native shore!
   Home, home, home, home!--
 Saxony, Liberty's home!

(The GIRLS waltz as before, etc.)

Those who freedom inherit,
 Bow not to Tyranny's throne;
Then, friends, in a kind spirit,
 Judge of my love by your own.
   Home, home, home, home!--
 The land of the heart is our home!

(They all waltz with great spirit until the scene closes.)

Scene II.

A Street in Berlin. Enter FREDERICK in a cloak--KARL following.

Those who have the command of motives, and know their power, have also the command
of all that the arts, or what is called a genius for the arts, can produce. The
human mind and human ingenuity are much the same in Italy, England, and Prussia.
Then why should not we have a Prussian as well as a Wedgewood or a Barbarini vase?
We shall see. I do not understand mon metier de roi, if I can not call forth talents
where I know them to exist. (To KARL.) And so the count denounced me for a tyrant,
did he, Karl?

He did, Your Majesty.

He's a mere stripling; and I permit boys and fools to speak of me as they list. But
I am no tyrant, Karl! He might have spared me that. (Musingly.) Tyrant!--

KARL (aside.)
It rankles deeply.

KING (recovering from his meditation.)
Youth and inexperience--to say nothing of love--pshaw!--which is the root of all
folly--shall be his apology this time: but let him beware how he offends again--

KARL (aside.)
It moves him as I intended.

No, I am no tyrant. I should not be branded with such a title!

KARL (startled.)
Branded, Your Majesty?

What has happened, Karl? You are as pale as ashes! What mystery is here? I am to
be trusted.

Your Majesty was ever kind; and if I might--

Might! You may. Speak freely to your sovereign--your friend--and tell me what it
is that weighs upon your mind.

Dared these lips my sad story impart,
What relief it would give to my heart!
Though the scenes of past years as they rise,
Bring the dews of remorse to my eyes,
Yet, oh hear me, and ever conceal
What in agony now I reveal!--

Speak freely, Karl--

And behold, while I throw off the mask!
  Ah, no, no, no, no, no--
I shrink in despair from the task!

In the page of my life there appears
A sad passage that's written in tears!
Could but that be erased, I would give
All the remnant of days I may live:
yet the cause of the cloud on my brow
I have never disclosed until now--

Say on, Karl--

Here behold!--It is branded in flame!
  Ah, no, no, no, no, no--
I shrink in despair from my shame! [KARL rushes out.

There's a mystery about that fellow that I can not understand.--Whom have we here?
Oh, the English traveller who is in such a good humor with my manufactory, and who
has such strange notions respecting me. Good--good!

[Draws his cloak about him and retires.


I begin to perceive that I shall get into some confounded scrape if I stay here much
longer, and so will my young friend Mr. Worrendorf, who has made me his confidant:
but mum's the word! (Seeing the KING, who is in the act of taking snuff.) Ah, use
snuff, my old boy?--Odd!--Thank you for a pinch. (Takes a pinch sans ceremonie, and
without the King's consent. FREDERICK shuts the box angrily. WEDGEWOOD starts back
in astonishment.--Aside.) Wonder who the old-fashioned brown jug can be! I'll take
him by the handle and pour him out, and see what's in him.

Like the snuff?

Yes (snuffs)--it's decent blackguard (snuffs)--quite decent.

Taste it again.

Don't care if I do. (Helps himself.)

Perhaps you will also do me the favor to accept the box?

WEDGEWOOD (taking the box.)
If it is convenient. What am I to infer from this?

That you and I cannot take snuff out of the same box. MY box is not large enough
for two.

WEDGEWOOD (astonished.)
You don't say so! "Not large enough for two?" (Looks at the box.) Damn me if
I don't think it large enough for a dozen, unless they took snuff with a shovel!
(Aside.) Who in the name of all that's magnanimous can this old three-cornered
cocked-hatted cockolorum be?

You were overheard to say but now that you would like to see the king?

Overheard? (Aside.) Ah, that's the way they do everything here. A man can't sneeze
without some one of the four winds of heaven reporting it to His Majesty! There is
no such thing as a secret in the whole kingdom! How do the women get along, I wonder?
(To FREDERICK.) "Like to see the king?" Certainly I should.

That box will procure you an audience. Present it at the palace.

Look you here, my jolly old cock, none of your jokes--none of your tricks upon
travellers, if you please. What do you mean?

That I am appreciated at court.

WEDGEWOOD (aside.)
Oh, there's no standing on this! (To FREDERICK.) Do you intend to say that you
are personally acquainted with Frederick the Great?

I know him, I believe, better than any subject in his realm. He is my most intimate

Well, then, if that be the case, all that I have to say is, that he is not over and
above nice in his choice of companions.--What an odd old file!

KING (angrily.)
Look you here, Mr. Wedgewood--


Yes--I know you well enough. You are an Englishman by birth--a crockery-merchant
by trade--a gentleman from inclination--and an odd sort of character from habit.
Without knowing anything more about it than the man in the moon, you have condemned
the policy of the king, who is aware of all you have said and done since your arrival
in Prussia.

WEDGEWOOD (alarmed.)
Oh, I'll get out of this infernal country as fast as my legs can carry me! The king
is all ears, like a field of corn; and all eyes, like a potato-patch!

What alarms you?

Everything. It's all over with me! I'm an earthen teapot with the spout knocked
off!--Suspiciously odd!

You, sir, like too many others, are entirely mistaken in the character of Frederick.
You will understand him better when we meet again (going.)

But, before you go, pray receive your box again!--(the KING looks at him sternly--
WEDGEWOOD is greatly alarmed)--if--it--is--convenient!

Not now. When next we confer, remember me.--Farewell! [Exit.

Remember you? I think I shall. Once seen, never forgotten. What a deep old screw!

(Enter HAROLD.)

The king commands your presence at the chateau of the countess.

The devil he does! (Looks at the box.) What's here? As I live, the royal arms!
(Conceals the box from HAROLD.) Oh, the thing's plain enough. That fellow has
stolen this box; and for fear of being found out, he has put it off on me! It's
all up!--I've been bamboozled by the nefarious old monster of iniquity! But I'll
after him straight, and have him JUGGED. If I don't, they'll make not bones of
JUGGING me!--If it is convenient. [Exit in a flurry.

How he trembles! He's frightened out of his senses--Fear? What is it? A word not
to be found in the articles of war--a soldier's only vocabulary!

Fiery Mars, thy votary hear!
 Weave for me a wreath of glory!
When I rest upon my bier,
 Let my memory live in story!
Aid my sword in time of war!
 In my country's cause I wield it--
Only with the breath I draw,
 Will I to the foeman yield it!


Scene III.

SOPHIA MANSFIELD's apartments in the Porcelain Factory. Enter SOPHIA.

'Tis done. My vase is finished, and in the possession of the overseer. How is it
with me? Although my fortunes are suspended by a single thread, an unaccustomed
buoyancy pervades my bosom. Are these emotions precursors of victory, or has the
love of Laniska given me a new existence, and tinged the world once more with hues
of paradise? How new and fresh and strange are all he things here about my heart!
This is his gift--a simple flower! He said it is an emblem of love. It is not so.
Love does not perish thus!--Love can not be a flower.

Ah! Love is not a garden-flower,
 That shoots from out the cultured earth;
That needs the sunbeam and the shower,
 Before it wakens into birth:
It owns a richer soil and seed,
 And woman's heart supplies them both,
Where it will spring, without a weed,
 Consummate in its growth.

These leaves will perish when away
 From either genial sun or shower;
Not so will wither and decay
 Celestial Love's perennial flower.
'Tis our companion countless miles,
 Through weal or woe in after years;
And though it flourishes in smiles,
 It blooms as fresh in tears!


My dear Sophia, I am overjoyed to learn that you have completed your vase.

Thanks, dear madam. Is it true that the works of the different competitors are to
be exhibited at the fete of the countess, and that the decision is to be there made?

It is--and the countess insists upon your being present.

I am an unknown girl, madam; and if I decline the invitation, I beseech you take it
not amiss.

--But I will take it amiss, and so will the count and countess, whose messenger I
am, and who insisted upon my bringing you to the chateau at once.

Well, madam, since you will have it so--

Oh, you'll be delighted. Only think of the concentrated attractions of "the court,
the camp, the grove!" Oh, they're too much for any mortal woman to withstand!

The king, the princes of the court,
 With lords and ladies bright,
Will in their dazzling state resort
 To this grand fete to-night:
The merry-hearted and the proud
Will mingle in the glittering crowd,
Who glide with Fashion's sparkling stream
Where one I love will shine supreme!--
  La ra la, la ra la, la la la, etc.

The cavaliers of Italy,
 The gay gallants of France,
With Spain and England's chivalry,
 Will join the merry dance.
The court of Love--the camp of Mars,
Fair Prussian dames, "earth-treading stars,"
To music's strain will float in light,
Where one I love will beam to-night!--
  La ra la, la ra la, la la la, etc.

[Exit cheerfully.

Scene IV.

Discovered. Grand Saloon in the Chateau of the COUNTESS LANISKA, arranged for a
 Fete. The scene opens with dancing and waltzing by the CHARACTERS, and discovers
 the KING and retinue, LORDS and LADIES of the Court, foreign AMBASSADORS and ATTACHES,
 the COUNTESS LANISKA, ALBERT, WEDGEWOOD, KARL, GIRLS of the Factory, etc., etc.
 The CHARACTERS are variously grouped during the dance; and while all are observing
 the KING, who, with KARL at his side, is attentively examining the Vases, which
 are placed on stands on one side of the stage, the COUNT LANISKA enters, conducting,
 in SOPHIA and FREDERICA. After the dance, the KING speaks.

The hour has arrived which is to decide the fate of the competitors. (All the
CHARACTERS express by their looks and actions the utmost anxiety as to the result,
and draw near to the KING.)

The inscription upon this vase is in the handwriting of the Count Laniska.

'Tis well.

KARL (aside.)
And it is a death-warrant!

Subjects and children: we have reason to be proud of an art that redounds to the
honor and glory of Prussia. Where all have deserved well, all shall be well remembered.
(The GIRLS of the Factory manifest great joy at these words, and turn to congratulate
each other. SOPHIA and LANISKA stand apart, and watch every action of the KING,
while the other CHARACTERS appear greatly interested in SOPHIA.) This vase, however,
I select from the rest, as the most beautiful of them all. (SOPHIA clasps her hands
in great agitation.) Let this be known to after ages as "THE PRUSSIAN VASE;" and
let the name here inscribed (looks at and points to the name on the vase) be chronicled
throughout these realms. (Takes SOPHIA by the hand.) Sophia Mansfield is the artist
and she is free! (SOPHIA, overcome by her feelings, falls on the bosom of FREDERICA.)

Victoria! victoria!
 The Saxon maid is free--
Victoria! victoria! etc.

My heart will break with gratitude!

And mine with joy!

KARL (aside.)
It will be of brief duration.

KING (who has regarded SOPHIA with great interest.)
Let the dance proceed.

(A merry dance and waltz by the CHARACTERS, at the termination of which a tableau
is formed. The utmost merriment and hilarity mark the action of the scene. At the
conclusion of the dance, the KING, who has been occupied in carefully examining the
Vase, wipes it with his handkerchief, which becomes stained with the paint. KARL
draws his attention to the inscription.)

Behold, my liege!--

Ha! What words are these? (Reads.) "To Frederick the Great Tyrant"--Treachery!--
(KARL immediately seizes the Vase, and carries it off, without the inscription being
seen by any but the KING.) Break off the sports!

COUNTESS (greatly astonished.)
What means Your Gracious Majesty?

(Who has taken out his tablets, and written on them in great haste--does not regard
her, and speaks furiously.)--Let all the doors be closed! Such base ingratitude
shall not go unpunished!--Give over your mirth! Ho! My guards! (Drums immediately
sound.) My guards!

(Presto! Enter HAROLD, CORPORAL, and GRENADIERS, in great haste. The KING hands
HAROLD his orders, and rushes out in a towering passion. Enter WEDGEWOOD. All the
guests are thrown into great confusion. Re-enter KARL.)

HAROLD (promptly.)
Count Laniska, stand forth!

What is your business with me, Harold?

You are our prisoner.


KARL (aside.)
Now I triumph!

Under whose orders do you act?

Those of the king.

The king!

Sophia Mansfield!

What of her?

She must away with us to the castle of Spandau.

O Heaven, support me!

COUNT (drawing his sword.)
Touch her at your peril, Harold!

This is madness! Give me your sword! (Wrests it from him, and give it to HAROLD.)
Of what are they accused?

Of ingratitude and treason!





         It can not be!
Of treason who accuses me?

The king himself!--These orders read! (Hands paper to COUNT.)

The king himself!

COUNT (looking at the papers.)
         'Tis true indeed!

Oh, what a fearful change is here!

KARL (aside.)
I triumph now!--my vengeance fear!

(SOPHIA and LANISKA are made prisoners.)

The king's commands let all obey!

             We must obey!

Oh, how my trusting heart is grieved!--

Our royal master is deceived!
No traitor I!--My loyal heart
Spurns with disdain so base a part!

How vainly Fortune smiled on me!

Oh, give me death or liberty!

Tear them apart!

         No more delay!

To prison, hence!--

 To prison?


             Away! away!

(As the GUARDS attempt to separate COUNT LANISKA and SOPHIA, great confusion ensues,
and the act-drop descends.)

End of the second act.