Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/224

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A Tramp Abroad 0224 1h.jpg

Wedding party assembled in old Huss's drawing room; Hoch placid and content, Gretchen weeping over her hard fate. Enter old Huss's head book-keeper. Huss says fiercely, "I gave you three weeks to find out why your books don't balance, and to prove that you are not a defaulter; the time is up,—find me the missing property or you go to prison as a thief." Book-keeper: "I have found it." "Where?" Book-keeper: sternly,—tragically: "In the bridegroom's pile!—behold the thief—see him blench and tremble!" [Sensation.] Paul Hoch: "Lost, lost!"—falls over the cow in a swoon and is handcuffed. Gretchen: "Saved!"

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Falls over the calf in a swoon of joy, but is caught in the arms of Hans Schmidt, who springs in at that moment. Old Huss: "What, you here, varlet? unhand the maid and quit the place." Hans: still supporting the insensible girl: "Never! Cruel old man, know that I come with claims which even you can not despise."

Hans: "What, you? name them."

Hans: "Then listen. The world had forsaken me, I forsook the world I wandered in the solitude of the forest, longing for death but finding none. I fed upon roots, and in my bitterness I dug for the bitterest, loathing the sweeter kind. Digging, three days agone, I struck a manure mine!—a Golconda, a limitless Bonanza, of solid manure! I can buy you all and have mountain ranges of manure left! Ha-ha, now thou smilest a smile!" [Immense sensation.] Exhibition of specimens from the mine. Old Huss, enthusiastically: "Wake her up, shake her up,