. Ladies and gentlemen, companions-in-arms, knights and ladies of the road, comrades all,–I have the honour to make an announcement to you. The wandering company of the Red Feathers is determined from this date, likewise disbanded, or, as others would say, dissolved. “What means this, Master Johannes?” I hear you say. “Who has done this thing?” Ladies and gentles all, I answer you that young Cupid has done this thing. With unerring aim he has loosed his arrows. With the same happy arrow (taking the MOTHER’S hand) he has pierced the hearts of this gracious lady and myself, while yonder gallant gentleman I name no names, but the perspicacious will perceive whom I mean–is about to link his life with the charming maiden who stands so modestly by his side. There is one other noble lady present to whom I have not yet referred–
(holding out her hand to the MOTHER). I think I must go. Good-bye, and thank you.
(taking her hand and patting it). Wait a moment, dear.
(continuing his speech)–noble lady to whom I have not yet referred. I will not hide from you the fact that she plays upon the fiddle with an elegance rarely to be heard. It is the earnest wish of (swelling his chest) my future wife and myself that she should take up her abode with us.
. It’s very kind of you, but I don’t think–
(coming across). Mother, she’s going to stay with us; she promised.
. It’s sweet of you to ask her, dear, but I think it would be much more suitable that she should live with us.
. We should love to have her, and she could come and see you whenever she liked.
. I was going to suggest that she should live with us and come and see you sometimes.
(who has been thinking deeply). I have it! What say you to this? For six months, making in all twenty-six weeks of the year, she shall live, reside, dwell, or, as one might say, take up her habitation with us; whereas for the other six months–(They have been so busy discussing the future of the FIDDLER that they have not noticed that she is no longer there. Suddenly the sound of the fiddle is heard.) What’s that?
[The FIDDLER comes in, wearing her cap now with the red feather in it. She is playing a wild song, a song of the road. She is content again. She goes up the room, and as she passes them she gives them a little bend of the head and the beginnings of a grave smile. She goes out of the door, still playing; she is still playing as she goes past the windows. They follow her with their eyes. When she is gone they still listen until the music dies in the distance.]