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Full Online Book HomePlaysWin Or Lose - Act 3: Scene 1 To Scene 14
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Win Or Lose - Act 3: Scene 1 To Scene 14 Post by :walter1970 Category :Plays Author :Henryk Sienkiewicz Date :May 2012 Read :3513

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Win Or Lose - Act 3: Scene 1 To Scene 14

ACT III: SCENE I TO SCENE XIV

(The same Drawing-room.)

SCENE I

(Mr. Podczaski enters, followed by a servant.)


PODCZASKI. Tell the Doctor that Mr. Podczaski wishes to see him on an important matter.

SERVANT. The Doctor is very busy. The princess is ill. But I will tell him (goes out).

PODCZASKI (alone).--I have enough of this work for nothing. The countess sends me about to agitate for her, but when I ask her for some money, she answers: We shall see about it after the election. She is an aristocrat and she refuses a hundred florins to a nobleman. To the deuce with such business. I had better try elsewhere, to serve the Doctor. He pays because he has common sense. And as he will bite them, then I will rise in consideration.

 

 

SCENE II

(Podczaski. Jozwowicz.)


PODCZASKI. Your servant, sir.

DOCTOR. What can I do for you?

PODCZASKI. Well, sir, I am going to come right to the point. You know what services I have rendered the Countess Miliszewski?

DOCTOR. Yes, you have been agitating against me in favor of Count Miliszewski. Podczaski. No, not at all, sir. Well, sir, it was so, but I am going to change that, and you may be certain--

DOCTOR. In a word, what do you wish, sir?

PODCZASKI. God sees, sir, that I served the countess faithfully, and it cost me quite a little, but on consulting my conscience I have concluded not to act any more against such a man as you, sir, for the sake of the country.

DOCTOR. I appreciate your sentiments, which are those of a good citizen. You do not wish to act against me any longer?

PODCZASKI. No, sir!

DOCTOR. You are right. Then you are with me?

PODCZASKI. If I may offer my services--

DOCTOR. I accept.

PODCZASKI (aside).--He is a man--I have a hundred florins in my pocket already. (Aloud) My gratitude--

DOCTOR. Mine will be shown after the election.

PODCZASKI. Oh!

 

 

SCENE III

(The same. Jan Miliszewski--then Anton.)


JAN. Good-morning, doctor. Is my mother here?

DOCTOR. The countess is not here.

JAN. We came together, but mamma went directly to the prince's apartment. I remained alone and I cannot find my way to the prince's apartment. (Seeing Podczaski, who bows to him) Ah! Mr. Podczaski, what are you doing here?

PODCZASKI. Your servant, sir. Well, I came to consult the doctor--I have rheumatism in my feet.

JAN. Doctor, will you be kind enough to show me to the Prince's apartment?

DOCTOR. They are in the left wing of the chateau.

JAN. Thank you. But later I would like to have a talk with you.

DOCTOR. I will be at your service, sir.

(Jan goes toward the door. He knocks against Anton.)

ANTON. I beg your pardon, sir.

JAN. Pardon (he adjusts his monocle and looks at Anton--then goes out).

ANTON (to Doctor).--I was told you were here and I rushed. Listen, a matter of great importance. (Seeing Podczaski) What! You are here? Our adversary here?

PODCZASKI (speaking in Anton's ear).--I am no longer your adversary.

ANTON (looking at him).--So much the better then--but leave us alone just the same.

PODCZASKI (aside).--Bad. (Aloud) Gentleman, do not forget me. (Aside) The devil has taken my hundred florins. (He goes out.)

ANTON. What did he wish?

DOCTOR. Money.

ANTON. Did you give it to him?

DOCTOR. No.

ANTON. You did well. We do not bribe. But no matter about that. What good luck that they put up Miliszewski for a candidate. Otherwise you would be lost because Husarski would have had the majority.

DOCTOR. Anton, I am sure that we will be defeated.

ANTON. No! What am I for? Uf! How tired I am. Let me rest for five minutes (he sits down). Good gracious! how soft the furniture is here. We must donate some money for some public purpose. Have you any money?

DOCTOR. I have some.

ANTON. We are going to give that money to build a school.

DOCTOR. Here is the key of my desk--you will find some ready money there, and some checks.

ANTON. Very well, but I must rest a moment. In the mean while what is the news here? You are not looking well. Your eyes have sunken. Upon my word, I was not so much in love with my wife. Speak--I will rest in the mean while--but speak frankly.

DOCTOR. I will be frank with you.

ANTON. What more?

DOCTOR. That marriage will be broken off.

ANTON. Why.

DOCTOR. Because there are times when these people do not succeed in anything.

ANTON. To the garret with those peacocks. And what about that cannibal Pretwic?

DOCTOR. A long story. The princess has mistaken the sympathy which she feels for him for something more serious. To-day she knows that she does not love him.

ANTON. That is good. Truly, it looks as though they were pursued by fate. It is the lot of races that have lived too long.

DOCTOR. Implacable logic of things.

ANTON. Then she is not going to marry him. I pity them, but to the deuce with sentimentality!

DOCTOR. She would marry him if it killed her to keep her word. But there is a third person entangled in the matter--Count Drahomir.

ANTON. At every step one meets a count! He betrays Pretwic?

DOCTOR. What a blockhead you are.

ANTON. Well, frankly speaking, I do not care one whit for your drawing-room affairs.

DOCTOR. Drahomir and she do not know that they love each other. But something attracts them to each other. What is that force? They do not ask. They are like children.

ANTON. And how will you profit from all this?

DOCTOR. Listen, you democrat. When two knights are in love with one noble damsel, that love usually ends dramatically--and the third party usually gets the noble damsel.

ANTON. And the knights?

DOCTOR. Let them perish.

ANTON. What then do you suppose will happen?

DOCTOR. I do not know. Pretwic is a passionate man. He does not foresee anything--I see only the logic of things which is favorable to me, and I shall not be stupid enough to place any obstacles to my happiness.

ANTON. I am sure you will help it along in case of need.

DOCTOR. Well, I am a physician. It is my duty to assist nature.

ANTON. The programme is ready. I know you. I only wish to ask you how you know what you say is so. Maybe it is only a story.

DOCTOR. I can have verification of it through the princess's ex-governess.

ANTON. You must know as soon as possible.

DOCTOR. Mrs. Czeska will be here in a moment. I asked her to come here.

ANTON. Then I am going. Do you know what? Do not help nature too much, because it would be--

 

 

SCENE IV

(The same. Mrs. Czeska.)


CZESKA (entering).--You wished to speak to me?

DOCTOR. Yes, madam.

ANTON (bows to Mrs. Czeska, then speaks to Jozwowicz).--I am going to get the money and I will be back in a moment.

DOCTOR. Very well. (Anton goes out.)

CZESKA. Who is that gentleman?

DOCTOR. A pilot.

CZESKA. What do you mean?

DOCTOR. He guides the boat in which I am sailing. As for the rest, he is a horribly honest man.

CZESKA. I do not understand very well. What did you wish to speak to me about?

DOCTOR. About the princess. You are both like mother and daughter, and you should have her entire confidence. What is the matter with her? She conceals something--some sorrow. As a doctor I must know everything, because in order to cure physical disease one must know the moral cause. (Aside) The spirit of Aesculapius forgive me this phrase.

CZESKA. My good sir, what are you asking about?

DOCTOR. I have told you that the princess conceals some sorrow.

CZESKA. I do not know.

DOCTOR. We both love her; let us then speak frankly.

CZESKA. I am willing.

DOCTOR. Then, does she love her fiance?

CZESKA. How can you ask me such a question? If she did not, she would not be betrothed to him. It is such a simple thing that even I do not talk to her about it any more.

DOCTOR. You say: "I do not talk about it any more"; so you have already talked about it.

CZESKA. Yes. She told me that she was afraid she did not love him enough. But every pure soul fears that it does not fulfil its duty. Why did you ask me that?

DOCTOR (saluting her).--I have my reasons. I wished to know. (Aside) I am wasting my time with her.

 

 

SCENE V

(The same. Jan Miliszewski.)


JAN. I could not find mamma. Good-morning, madam. Do I intrude?

CZESKA. Not at all, sir. (To Jozwowicz) She will do her duty; rest assured of that.

DOCTOR. Thank you. (Czeska goes out.)

JAN. Doctor.

DOCTOR. I am listening to you, sir.

JAN. Let us speak frankly. Mamma wishes me to become a member of parliament, but I do not care for it.

DOCTOR. You are too modest, sir.

JAN. You are sneering, and I do not know how to defend myself. But I am frank with you--I would not care a bit about being elected to parliament if it were not for my mamma. When mamma wishes for something it must be accomplished. All women of the family of Srokoszynski are that way, and mamma is of that family.

DOCTOR. But, count, you have a will of your own.

JAN. That is the trouble--the Miliszewskis are all ruled by the women. It is our family characteristic, sir.

DOCTOR. A knightly characteristic indeed! But what can I do for you?

JAN. I am not going to oppose you.

DOCTOR. I must be as frank with you as you are with me. Until now you have helped me.

JAN. I don't know how, but if it is so, then you must help me in your turn.

DOCTOR. In what?

JAN. It is a very delicate question. But you must not tell mamma anything about it.

DOCTOR. Certainly not.

JAN. Mamma wishes me to marry the princess, but I, sir, I do not want--

DOCTOR. You do not want?

JAN. It astonishes you?

DOCTOR. I must be frank--

JAN. I do not wish to because I do not wish to. When a man does not feel like marrying, then he does not feel like it. You will suppose that I am in love with some one else? It may be. But it is not with the princess. Naturally, when mamma says: "Jan, go ahead," I go ahead, because I cannot help it. The Miliszewskis knew how to manage the men, but not the women.

DOCTOR. I do not understand--how can I be useful to you?

JAN. You can do anything in this house, so you must help me secretly, to be refused.

DOCTOR. Count, you may rely on me in that matter.

JAN. Thank you.

DOCTOR. And it will be so much the easier done because the princess is betrothed.

JAN. I did not know that any one dared to compete with me.

DOCTOR (aside).--What an idea! (Aloud) It is Mr. George Pretwic.

JAN. Then they wished to make sport of me.

DOCTOR. Mr. Pretwic is an audacious man. You were perfectly right when you said the question was a delicate one. The people are afraid of Mr. Pretwic; if you were to give up, people would say that--

JAN. That I am also afraid? Then I will not give up. My dear sir, I see you do not know the Miliszewskis. We do not know how to handle the women, but there is not a coward in our family. I know that people laugh at me, but the one who would dare to call me a coward would not laugh. I will show them at once that I am not a coward. Where is Mr. Pretwic?

DOCTOR. He is in the garden (pointing through the window). Do you see him there, near the lake?

JAN. Good-bye.

 

 

SCENE VI

(Jozwowicz alone--then Anton.)


DOCTOR. The men who have not such sons are great! Ha! ha! ha!

ANTON (rushing in).--You are here? Here are your receipts for the money. Why are you laughing?

DOCTOR. Miliszewski has gone to challenge Pretwic.

ANTON. Are they crazy?

DOCTOR. What an opinion she would have of Pretwic if he were to quarrel with such an idiot!

ANTON. You have done it.

DOCTOR. I told you that I shall assist nature.

ANTON. Do as you please; I withdraw.

DOCTOR. Good-bye. Or no, I am going also. I must prevent the adventure from going too far.

ANTON. I wanted to tell you that I must buy some food for my children. I will return the money--later on. Is it all right?

DOCTOR. How can you ask? (Goes out.)

 

 

SCENE VII

(Stella and Drahomir. (They enter from the garden.))


STELLA. That walk tired me. See how weak I am (sits down). Where is Mr. Pretwic?

DRAHOMIR. Young Miliszewski asked to speak to him a moment. The countess is speaking to the prince. It seems that their conversation is very animated because the countess did not know that you were betrothed, and she had some designs on you. But pray excuse me; I laugh and you suffer by it.

STELLA. I would laugh too if I did not know how much it troubles my father. And then, I pity Count Miliszewski.

DRAHOMIR. I understand how a similar situation would be painful to a man who was in love, but such is not the case with the count. He will console himself if his mother orders it.

STELLA. Sometimes one may be mistaken about people.

DRAHOMIR. Do you speak about me or Miliszewski?

STELLA. Let us say it is about you. They told me that you were a mirror of all perfections.

DRAHOMIR. And have you discovered that I am the personification of all faults?

STELLA. I did not say so.

DRAHOMIR. But you think so. But I am not deceived. Your portrait drawn by Mr. Pretwic and the Doctor is exactly like you.

STELLA. How was the portrait?

DRAHOMIR. With wings at the shoulders.

STELLA. That means that I have as much dignity as a butterfly.

DRAHOMIR. Angels' wings are in harmony with their dignity.

STELLA. True friendship should speak the truth. Tell me some bitter one.

DRAHOMIR. Very bitter?

STELLA. As wormwood--or as is sometimes the case--with life.

DRAHOMIR. Then you are kind to me.

STELLA. For what sin shall I begin penitence?

DRAHOMIR. For lack of friendship for me.

STELLA. I was the first to appeal for friendship--in what respect am I untrue to it?

DRAHOMIR. Because you share with me your joys, sports, laughter, but when a moment of sorrow comes, you keep those thorns for yourself. Pray share with me your troubles also.

STELLA. It is not egotism on my part. I do not wish to disturb your serenity.

DRAHOMIR. The source of my serenity does not lie in egotism either. George told me of you when I came here: "I know only how to look at her and how to pray to her; you are younger and more mirthful, try to amuse her." Therefore I brought all my good spirits and laid them at your feet. But I notice that I have bored you. I see a cloud on your face--I suspect some hidden sorrow, and being your best friend, I am ready to give my life to dispel that cloud.

STELLA (softly).--You must not talk that way.

DRAHOMIR (clasping his hands).--Let me talk. I was a giddy boy, but I always followed my heart, and my heart guessed your sorrow. Since that moment a shadow fell across my joy, but I overcame it. One cannot recall a tear which has rolled down the cheek, but a friendly hand can dry it. Therefore I overcame that cloud in order that the tears should not come to your eyes. If I have been mistaken, if I have chosen the wrong path, pray forgive me. Your life will be as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers, therefore be mirthful--be mirthful.

STELLA (with emotion, giving him her hand).--I shall be; being near you, I am capricious, spoiled, and a little bit ill. Sometimes I do not know myself what is the matter with me, and what I wish. I am happy; truly I am happy.

DRAHOMIR. Then, no matter, as Mrs. Czeska says. Let us be merry, laugh, and run in the garden and play pranks with the countess and her son.

STELLA. I have discovered the source of your mirth; it is a good heart.

DRAHOMIR. No, madam. I am a great good-for-nothing. But the source of true happiness is not in this.

STELLA. Sometimes I think that there is none in this world.

DRAHOMIR. We cannot grasp it with our common sense, and will not fly after that winged vision. Sometimes perhaps it flies near us, but before we discover it, before we stretch out our hands, it is too late!

STELLA. What sad words--too late!

 

 

SCENE VIII

(The same. Jozwowicz.)


DOCTOR (entering, laughs).--Ha! ha! Do you know what has happened?

STELLA. Is it something amusing?

DOCTOR. A dreadful, tragic, but before a ridiculous thing. Miliszewski wished to challenge Pretwic.

STELLA. For Heaven's sake!

DOCTOR. You must laugh with me. If there were anything dreadful I would not frighten you, princess.

DRAHOMIR. And what has been the end of it?

DOCTOR. I was angry with Mr. Pretwic for taking the matter so seriously.

DRAHOMIR. How could he help it?

DOCTOR. But it would be shameful for a man like Mr. Pretwic to fight with such a poor thing.

STELLA. The doctor is right. I do not understand Mr. Pretwic.

DOCTOR. Our princess must not be irritated. I have made peace between them. Mr. Pretwic did not grasp the real situation and his naturally sanguine disposition carried him away. But now that I have explained to him, he agrees that it would be too utterly ridiculous.

DRAHOMIR. And what about Miliszewski?

DOCTOR. I have sent him to his mamma. He is a good boy.

STELLA. I shall scold Mr. Pretwic, nevertheless.

DRAHOMIR. But you must not be too severe.

STELLA. You are laughing, gentlemen. I am sorry that it was necessary to explain the matter to Mr. Pretwic. I must scold him immediately (she goes out).

 

 

SCENE IX

(Drahomir. Doctor.)


DRAHOMIR. The princess is a true angel.

DOCTOR. Yes, there is not a spot in the crystalline purity of her nature.

DRAHOMIR. It must be true when even you, a sceptic, speak of her with such enthusiasm.

DOCTOR. I have been here six years. When I came she wore short dresses. She grew by my side. Six years have their strength--it was impossible not to become attached to her.

DRAHOMIR. I believe you. (After a while of silence) Strange, however, that you self-made people have no hearts.

DOCTOR. Why?

DRAHOMIR. Because--I know what you would say about her social position, but hearts are equal, so it does not matter. Then how did it happen that you, being so near the princess, did not--

DOCTOR (interrupting).--What?

DRAHOMIR. I cannot find an expression.

DOCTOR. But I have found it. You are asking me why I did not fall in love with her?

DRAHOMIR. I hesitated to pronounce the too bold word.

DOCTOR. Truly, if you, count, are lacking in boldness, I am going to help you out, and I ask you: And you, sir?

DRAHOMIR. Doctor, be careful.

DOCTOR. I hear some lyrical tone.

DRAHOMIR. Let us finish this conversation.

DOCTOR. As you say, although I can speak quietly, and in order to change the conversation, I prefer to ask you: Do you think she will be happy with Mr. Pretwic?

DRAHOMIR. What a question! George loves her dearly.

DOCTOR. I do not doubt it, but their natures are so different. Her thoughts and sentiments are as delicate as cobweb--and George? Have you noticed how hurt she was that he accepted the challenge?

DRAHOMIR. Why did you tell her about it?

DOCTOR. I was wrong. Therefore George--

DRAHOMIR. Will be happy with her.

DOCTOR. Any one would be happy with her, and to every one one might give the advice to search for some one like her. Yes, count, search for some one like her (he goes out).

DRAHOMIR (alone).--Search for some one like her--and if there is some one like, her--too late (he sits down and covers his face with his hand).

 


SCENE X

(Stella. Drahomir.)


STELLA (seeing Drahomir, looks at him for a while).--What is the matter with you?

DRAHOMIR. You here? (A moment of silence.)

STELLA (confused).--I am searching for papa. Excuse me, sir, I must go.

DRAHOMIR (softly)--Go, madam. (She goes out. At the door she stops, hesitates for a while and then disappears.) I must get away from here as soon as possible.

 

 

SCENE XI

(Drahomir. Prince. Finally Jozwowicz.)


PRINCE (rushing in).--She has tormented me until now. Good gracious! Ah, it is you, Drahomir.

DRAHOMIR. Yes, prince. Who tormented you?

PRINCE. The Countess Miliszewski. My dear boy, how can he be a member of parliament when he is so densely stupid!

DRAHOMIR. It is true.

PRINCE. Don't you see! And then she proposed to marry him to Stella. The idea! She is already betrothed. But of course they did not know.

DRAHOMIR. How did you get rid of her?

PRINCE. The doctor helped me out. Jozwowicz is a smart man--he has more intelligence than all of us together.

DRAHOMIR. It is true.

PRINCE. But you, Drahomir, you are smart also, are you not?

DRAHOMIR. How can I either affirm or deny? But Jozwowicz is very intelligent, that much is certain.

PRINCE. Yes. I do not like him, and I am afraid of him and I am fond of him, but I tell you I could not live without him.

DRAHOMIR. He is an honest man, too.

PRINCE. Honest? Very well, then, but you are better because you are not a democrat. Drahomir, I love you. Stella, I love him--Ah! She is not here.

DRAHOMIR. Thank you, prince.

PRINCE. If I had another daughter, I would--well--

DRAHOMIR. Prince, pray do not speak that way. (Aside) I must run away.

PRINCE. Come, have a cigar with me. We will call the others and have a talk. Jozwowicz! Pretwic!

DOCTOR (entering).--What are your orders, Your Highness?

PRINCE. You, Robespierre, come and have a cigar. Thank you, my boy. You have rid me of the countess.

DOCTOR. I will send for Pretwic, and we will join you. (He rings the bell. A servant comes in--the prince and Drahomir go out.) Ask Mr. Pretwic to come here. (The servant goes out.)

DOCTOR (alone). Anton was right. I am helping along the logic. But I do not like the sap--because I am accustomed to break. (Pretwic enters.)

 

 


SCENE XII

(Pretwic. Jozwowicz.)


GEORGE. I was looking for you.

DOCTOR. The prince has invited us to smoke a cigar with him.

GEORGE. Wait a moment. For God's sake tell me what it means. Stella changes while looking at her--there is something heavy in the air. What does it mean?

DOCTOR. That melancholy is the mode now.

GEORGE. You are joking with me.

DOCTOR. I know nothing.

GEORGE. Excuse me. The blood rushes to my head. I see some catastrophe hanging over me. I thought you would say something to pacify me. I thought you were my friend.

DOCTOR. Do you doubt it?

GEORGE. Shake hands first. Then give me some advice.

DOCTOR. Advice? Are you ill?

GEORGE (with an effort).--Truly, you play with me as a cat with a mouse.

DOCTOR. Because I know nothing of presentiments.

GEORGE. Did you not tell me that she is not ill?

DOCTOR. No, she is wearied.

GEORGE. You speak about it in a strange way and you have no conception of the pain that your words cause me.

DOCTOR. Then try to distract her.

GEORGE. What? Who?

DOCTOR. Who? Count Drahomir, for instance.

GEORGE. Is she fond of him?

DOCTOR. And he of her also. Such poetical souls are always fond of each other.

GEORGE. What do you mean by that?

DOCTOR (sharply).--And you--how do you take my words?

GEORGE (rises.)--Not another word. You understand me, and you must know that I do not always forgive.

DOCTOR (rises also, approaches George and looks into his eyes).--I believe you wish to frighten me. Besides this, what more do you wish?

GEORGE (after a moment of struggle with himself).--You must ask me what I did wish, because I do not now wish for anything. You have known her longer than I have, therefore I came to you as her friend and mine, and for answer you banter with me. In your eyes there shone hatred for me, although I have never wronged, you. Be the judge yourself! I would be more than right in asking you: What do you wish of me, if it were not for the reason (with pride) that it is immaterial to me. (He goes out.)

DOCTOR. We shall see.

 

 

SCENE XIII

(Jozwowicz. Servant.)


SERVANT. A messenger brought this letter from Mr. Anton Zuk.

DOCTOR. Give it to me. (The servant goes out. Doctor looks at the door through which George went out.) Oh, I can no longer control my hatred. I will crush you into dust; and now I shall not hesitate any longer. (Opens letter feverishly) Damnation, I must be going there at once.

 


SCENE XIV

(Jozwowicz. Mrs. Czeska.)

CZESKA (enters swiftly). Doctor, I am looking for you.

DOCTOR. What has happened?

CZESKA. Stella is ill. I found her weeping.

DOCTOR (aside.)--Poor child! (Aloud) I will go to see her at once. (They go out.)

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