Annajanska the Bolshevik Empress
SCHNEIDEKIND. Yes, sir.
STRAMMFEST. Have you sent my report yet to the government? [He sits down.]
SCHNEIDEKIND [coming to the table]. Not yet, sir. Which government do you
wish it sent to? [He sits down.]
STRAMMFEST. That depends. What's the latest? Which of them do you think is
most likely to be in power tomorrow morning?
SCHNEIDEKIND. Well, the provisional government was going strong yesterday.
But today they say that the Prime Minister has shot himself, and that the extreme
left fellow has shot all the others.
STRAMMFEST. Yes: that's all very well; but these fellows always shoot
themselves with blank cartridge.
SCHNEIDEKIND. Still, even the blank cartridge means backing down. I should
send the report to the Maximilianists.
STRAMMFEST. They're no stronger than the Oppidoshavians; and in my own
opinion the Moderate Red Revolutionaries are as likely to come out on top as
either of them.
SCHNEIDEKIND. I can easily put a few carbon sheets in the typewriter and send
a copy each to the lot.
STRAMMFEST. Waste of paper. You might as well send reports to an infant
school. [He throws his head on the table with a groan.]
SCHNEIDEKIND. Tired out, Sir?
STRAMMFEST. O Schneidekind, Schneidekind, how can you bear to live?
SCHNEIDEKIND. At my age, sir, I ask myself how can I bear to die?
STRAMMFEST. You are young, young and heartless. You are excited by the
revolution: you are attached to abstract things like liberty. But my family has
served the Panjandrums of Beotia faithfully for seven centuries. The
Panjandrums have kept our place for us at their courts, honored us, promoted us,
shed their glory on us, made us what we are. When I hear you young men
declaring that you are fighting for civilization, for democracy, for the overthrow of
militarism, I ask myself how can a man shed his blood for empty words used by
vulgar tradesmen and common laborers: mere wind and stink. [He rises, exalted