(In the gray, dimly lit anteroom before the Ritter House’s front door. Spotlight follows as Karina enters stage right carrying a heavy carpetbag and walks to front center.)
KARINA: (Setting bag down) I am getting out and I am never coming back. It’s bad enough that the musicians played “Barbara Allen” eight times this evening. Markus is overdoing the life-is-fleeting bit.
He’ll find out how fleeting if I have to stay under the same roof as his she-witch of a sister one for nght.
Where is that carriage? It should be here..
MARKUS: (Entering stage right). Karina! There you are. Why did you leave dinner? It’s time to announce our engagement. (Grabs and swirls with her.)
KARINA: (Stops abruptly and adjusts her skirts). I left, my dearest Markus, so you could not announce our engagement.
MARKUS: Karina, sweetie, I thought we’d agreed that we’d announce our engagement as soon as the mourning period for my father was over.
KARINA: (Shakes head. Walks left to peer out door. Turns back.) That was a mistake.
MARKUS: What is the matter?
KARINA: You don’t know?
MARKUS: (Suddenly angry) So it is Lea. What did she say this time?
KARINA: More insults than I can remember. I cannot stay here, Markus.
MARKUS: But you will be mistress of Ritter House, not Lea. I’ll make her stay in her room. I’ll forbid her to speak in your presence. Just don’t let her ruin our future.
Besides, Lea will marry soon and plague some other household.
KARINA: Lea may never marry. She’ll never meet anyone who is a match for her.
MARKUS: She will marry—soon.
KARINA: If I could only believe that.
MARKUS: I’ve made her dowry immense—Blackbird Villa, 100 sheep, 20 horses, and 20 head of cattle.
KARINA: You think a man would marry a witch for that?
MARKUS: Then I’ll make it more. Trust me, Katrina, I will invite every eligible man to a ball soon and have this settled by Christmas. I promise.
KARINA: By Christmas. (Pause.) And I need not spend a day in this house until she is gone?
(Barbara Allen plays backstage.)
MARKUS: Not a day. Come with me now. (Takes her arm.) The musicians are playig our song. (Hums.)
KARINA: (Sigh.) How nice.
(Pair exits stage right. )