Act III, Scene 5
(During the ball. In front of the curtain. LEA runs in, stage left. Looks around. Bursts into tears. Looks up as though she might speak to the audience. Cries louder. MARKUS enters, moves to comfort her, stops short of touching her.)
MARKUS: I can’t blame you for being angry. I..Stefan and I..have been deceitful and you’ve suffered for it. I really expected you to return to Ritter House after a few days. I never imagined you’d spend the summer without shelter and food. I am so sorry. (Waits.)
LEA: (Looks at Markus. Shakes head.) You really don’t understand.
MARKUS: I understand that you have walked for weeks, that you have had to sleep on the ground and beg for food. I will never forgive myself.
LEA: (Laughs.) You think I cry because of what happened weeks—or even days—ago? (Stops. Looks as though she might weep again.) Markus, I loved being on the road. I loved seeing people—children and old women, mothers and field laborers and cart drivers—tired and worn and happy. Happy because we were there.
MARKUS: But you’re very upset.
LEA: Do I get to go wandering next summer—or the summer after that? No. In there (points toward the music)–that’s the rest of my life. (Begins weeping again.)
MARKUS: What do you..
LEA: Just let me be.
(MARKUS starts to touch LEA, stops, turns and exits stage right.)
LEA: (To audience) So there is no Lanzo. I’m in love with an actor’s role, a charade, a man who really does not exist.
(STEFAN enters; LEA does not notice.)
Everyone knew Lanzo. Everyone loved him. And he doesn’t exist.
STEFAN: I mourn for Lanzo also. (LEA stares at him.) While my brother lived, I was allowed to roam. I spent longer and longer on the road. Then I became heir, and it was forbidden. (Chuckle) My father will never forgive me for this summer but I had to have a few more weeks of freedom. (Looks at Lea.) Lanzo still exists though, Lea. (Hits chest.) In here.
LEA: You were so happy in the ball. I saw you, smiling and humming.
STEFAN: (Chuckles.) I was so happy to see Lea being Lea. I was hoping you’d start singing.
Gunda has captured Ulrich’s heart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo,
(LEA joins in.)
Fitting 21 cows on a cupid’s dart,
Hey li lee, li lee lo.
(BOTH laugh. STEFAN hugs LEA to him.)
STEFAN: Could you imagine Gunda’s face? (Releases LEA.) Responsibility—how I hate it.
But I have to go back now, you know—go back and behave.
LEA: (Sighs.) If you must, you must.
(STEFAN takes LEA’s hand as the curtain opens. Together they join the dancers at the ball. When the music ends, ALL join hands for a bow. Lights dim.)