Three Comedies

Mathilde (to AXEL). You Jesuit!--You have no consideration, no mercy; you trample
upon hearts as you would upon the grass that grows in your path. But you shall not find
this so easy as you think. It is true she is a child--but I shall go with her! I don't know
you, and I don't trust you. (Clenches her fist.) But I shall watch over her!
(SCENE.--AXEL's house, a year later. The room is arranged almost identically like that
in the first act. Two large portraits of LAURA'S parents, very well executed, hang in full
view. LAURA is sitting at the table, MATHILDE on the couch on the right.)
Mathilde (reading aloud from a book). "'No,' was the decided answer. Originally it was
he that was to blame, but now it is she. He tore her from her parents, her home and her
familiar surroundings; but since then he has sought her forgiveness so perseveringly, and
her love so humbly, that it would take all the obstinacy of a spoilt child to withstand him.
Just as formerly he could think of nothing but his love, so now she will consider nothing
except her self-love; but she is so much the more to blame than he, as her motives are less
good than his. She is like a child that has woke up too early in the morning; it strikes and
kicks at any one that comes to pet it."
Laura. Mathilde--does it really say that?
Mathilde. Indeed it does.
Laura. Just as you read it?
Mathilde. Look for yourself.
Laura (takes the book and looks at it, then lays it down). It is almost our own story, word
for word. I would give anything to know who has written it.
Mathilde. It is a mere coincidence--
Laura. No, some wicked wretch has seen something like this--some creature that is
heartless enough to be able to mock at a parent's love; it must be some one who either is
worthless himself or has had worthless parents!
Mathilde. Why, Laura, how seriously you take it!
Laura. Yes, it irritates me, this libelling of all fidelity. What is fidelity, if it does not
mean that a child should be true to its parents?