Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > German
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XII: German
 
Connubial Bliss
By Ludwig Fulda (1862–1939)
 
From “In Private”

HERMINE and FELIX.

Her.  Felix, it is high time for you to put on your evening clothes.
  1
  Fel.  If I can find them I’ll gladly put them on. But considering the conditions existing here, I think they are probably in the cellar.  2
  Her.  You seem to be in a delightful humor!  3
  Fel.  The humor of despair, my dear. But, by the way, we have not seen each other all day. So I thought——  4
  Her.  We shall see enough of each other before the evening is over.  5
  Fel.  No doubt, from a distance and in a crowd.  6
  Her.  Why, have you no conception of your duties as a host?  7
  Fel.  Of course I have. But there are other duties, and it is on their account that I wanted to chat with you for a few moments.  8
  Her.  Chat with me? Now? There’s no time. To-morrow.  9
  Fel.  But to-morrow you are going to the races.  10
  Her.  Well, then, the day after to-morrow.  11
  Fel.  Hm! The day after to-morrow morning is the performance for the benefit of the sufferers from the fire, and in the afternoon come the living pictures for the benefit of those who suffered from the flood. What is the name of the picture in which you are to pose?  12
  Her.  Domesticity.  13
  Fel.  Domesticity! Aha! A very promising title. You see, my dear, there is no immediate prospect of our having time for that chat of ours. We have now been married four months, and though we have had a great deal of time for others, we have had none at all for ourselves.  14
  Her.  Felix, I still have a hundred things to attend to. I beg of you to dress, and be ready in time.  15
  Fel.  No one will be here for half an hour yet, and you know the lightning speed with which I can change my clothes.  16
  Her.  Very well, then, for Heaven’s sake, tell me quickly what you have to say! Otherwise I shall never get rid of you.  17
  Fel.  Hermine, can things go on this way much longer?  18
  Her.  What things?  19
  Fel.  Merely that you and I associate with each other at a distance; that my marital dignity seems to consist in taking you to balls and escorting you home again; in sitting behind you in the box at the theater; in holding your spy-glass at the races, your fan and flowers at dances; that everywhere you are courted and flattered, and that it is my business to stand aside with a vacant face. I am like some silent character on the stage, who never takes part in the action, and people regard me as the model of a silent husband. For, since you consider it ill-bred for me to sit next to you at dinners, or dance with you at balls——  20
  Her.  Of course it is ill-bred. Married people are together quite enough at home. Hence, in society——  21
  Fel.  At home? But, my dear child, when are we at home? Home is to us a purely geographical term; it is a sort of base of operations from which we make our excursions into society.  22
  Her.  How you exaggerate! Have we not the whole morning to ourselves?  23
  Fel.  In the morning you sleep.  24
  Her.  And when I get up——  25
  Fel.  Then I have my office hours.  26
  Her.  And when they are over——  27
  Fel.  You have gone driving, or are receiving company—the very best people, I grant you. They are all people of merit, at least they all have the merit of being voluble on subjects of which their ignorance is complete. Then, at dinner, we usually have guests again, or we dine out.  28
  Her.  Didn’t we have a charming time the other evening at the Chinese ambassador’s?  29
  Fel.  Oh, most charming! The mind of the lady next to me at table must also have been surrounded by a kind of Chinese wall. I made desperate efforts to entertain her, and she only replied, “How funny!” At last, having exhausted every other conceivable subject, I explained to her the latest method of curing hydrophobia, and she said, “How funny!”  30
  Her.  It’s probably your own fault. I had a very interesting talk.  31
  Fel.  With von Walheim?  32
  Her.  A most entertaining man.  33
  Fel.  What did you talk about?  34
  Her.  Of—of—oh, I forget!  35
  Fel.  Yes, that is usually what one talks about in society—nothing.  36
  Her.  You do not know what the subject of our conversation was.  37
  Fel.  Neither do you, and von Walheim still less.  38
  Her.  But then, we have the afternoon to ourselves.  39
  Fel.  In the afternoon you go shopping, or receive ladies at five-o’clock teas. At night, finally——  40
  Her.  How you exaggerate!  41
  Fel.  At night, finally, we usually do not come home till morning.  42
 
 
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