Yesterday, Ingrid and I were honored by Anna’s first visit to my new apartment. Ingrid came home to find us sitting on my bed reciting Schiller. Isn’t that what you normally do with your 15-year-old friends? Maybe you should! When I asked her what she had been reading on the train, she answered “Kabale und Liebe” (engl.: Intrigue and Love) with a lack of enthusiasm, “it’s for school”. My face lit up and I explained excited that I also had to read it 13 years ago and loved it so much that I wrote my favorite quotes down and pinned them to my book shelf where they remained for ten years. Driven by my heart’s desire to get Anna into Schiller (who, next to Shakespeare, is one of my heroes), I read my favourite parts to her aloud. I was under the impression that she was quite amused, especially by the great Hofmarschall von Kalb, who figures as the jester, and whom my mom and I quote every now and then.
Ingrid came home and being the intellectual lady she is, she did not look too bewildered by the scene but instead asked if she should get my copy from the book shelf so we could read with assigned parts. In the end, we did not but she went to make us pasta with Mediterranean vegetables – vegetarian, healthy and pretty to look at.
After dinner, we entertained ourselves by learning how to pray the rosary (this sounds far weirder than it was. Anna had a bracelet with an integrated rosary and we noticed we don’t really know how to pray the rosary), trying to gain insight into which enneagram types we are and then we got our left-over helium balloons, inhaled the helium and read Schiller to each other again. I suppose you begin to understand why I do not need a TV to pass my evenings?
MARSHAL. You drive me distracted! Whom did you say? Von Bock? Don’t you know that we are mortal enemies? And don’t you know why?
PRESIDENT. The first word that I ever heard of it!
MARSHAL. My dear count! You shall hear—your hair will stand on end! You must remember the famous court ball—it is now just twenty years ago. It was the first time that English country-dances were introduced—you remember how the hot wax trickled from the great chandelier on Count Meerschaum’s blue and silver domino. Surely, you cannot have forgotten that affair!
PRESIDENT. Who could forget so remarkable a circumstance!
MARSHAL. Well, then, in the heat of the dance Princess Amelia lost her garter. The whole ball, as you may imagine, was instantly thrown into confusion. Von Bock and myself—we were then fellow-pages—crept through the whole saloon in search of the garter. At length I discovered it. Von Bock perceives my good-fortune—rushes forward—tears it from my hands, and, just fancy—presents it to the princess, and so cheated me of the honor I had so fortunately earned. What do you think of that?
PRESIDENT. ‘Twas most insolent!
MARSHAL. I thought I should have fainted upon the spot. A trick so malicious was beyond the powers of mortal endurance. At length I recovered myself; and, approaching the princess, said,—”Von Bock, ’tis true, was fortunate enough to present the garter to your highness; but he who first discovered that treasure finds his reward in silence, and is dumb!”
PRESIDENT. Bravo, marshal! Admirably said! Most admirable!
MARSHAL. And is dumb! But till the day of judgment will I remember his conduct—the mean, sneaking sycophant! And as if that were not aggravation enough, he actually, as we were struggling on the ground for the garter, rubbed all the powder from one side of my peruke with his sleeve, and ruined me for the rest of the evening.