Proclaims how Alraune came to an end.
HE slowly went up to his room, washed his wound, bandaged it and laughed at the girl’s shooting ability.
“She will learn soon enough,” he thought. “We just need a little target practice.”
Then he remembered her look as she ran away. She was all broken up, full of wild despair, as if she had committed a crime. And it had only been an unlucky coincidence–which fortunately had turned out all right–He hesitated–A coincidence? Ah, that was it. She didn’t take it as a coincidence–took it as–fate.
That was certainly it. That was why she was frightened–that was why she ran away–When she looked into his eyes she saw her own image there. That’s what she was afraid of–death, who scattered his flowers where ever her feet trod–
The little attorney had warned him, “Now it is your turn.” Hadn’t Alraune herself told him the same thing when she asked him to leave? Wasn’t the old magick working on him just like it had on all the others? His uncle had left him worthless paper–Now they were digging gold out of the rocks! Alraune brought riches–and she brought death.
Suddenly he was frightened–now for the first time. He bared his wound once again–Oh yes, there it was. His heart beat right under the tear. It had only been the little movement of his body as he turned, as he pointed to the squirrel with his arm that had saved him. Otherwise–otherwise–
No, he didn’t want to die, especially right now because of his mother, he thought. Yes, because of her–but even if she wasn’t there, he wanted to live for himself as well. It had taken many long years to learn how to live, but now he had mastered that great art, which now gave him more than many thousands of others. He lived fully and strongly, stood on the summit and really enjoyed the world and all of its delights.
“Fate loves me,” he thought. “It’s pointing with its finger–much more clearly than the words of the attorney. There is still time.”
He pulled out his suitcase, tore the lid open and began to pack–How had Uncle Jakob ended his leather bound volume?
“Try your luck! It’s too bad that I won’t be there when your turn comes. I would have dearly loved to see it.”
He shook his head.
“No, Uncle Jakob,” he murmured. “You will get no satisfaction out of me this time, not this time.”
He threw his boots together, grabbed a pair of stockings, and laid out a shirt and suit that he wanted to wear. His glance fell on the deep blue kimono that hung over the back of a chair. He picked it up, contemplated the scorched hole that the bullet had made.
“I should leave it here,” he said. “A momento for Alraune. She can put it with the other momentos.”
A deep sigh sounded behind him. He turned around–She stood in the middle of the room, in a thin silk negligee, looking at him with large open eyes.
“You are packing?” she whispered. “You are leaving–I thought so.”
A lump rose in his throat but he choked it back down and pulled himself together.
“Yes, Alraune, I’m going on a journey,” he said.
She threw herself down onto a chair, didn’t answer, just looked at him quietly. He went to the wash basin, took up one thing after another, comb, brush, soap and sponge. Finally he threw the lid shut and locked the suitcase.
“Well,” he said forcefully. “Now I’m ready.”
He stepped up to her, reached out his hand. She didn’t move, didn’t raise her arm and her pale lips remained shut. Only her eyes spoke.
“Don’t go,” they pleaded. “Don’t leave me. Stay with me.”
“Alraune,” he murmured and it sounded like a reproach, like a plea even, to let him go.
But she didn’t let him go, held him solidly with her eyes, “Don’t leave me.”
It felt like his will was melting and he forcefully turned his eyes away from her. But then her lips moved.
“Don’t go,” she insisted. “Stay with me.”
“No,” he screamed. “I don’t want to. You will put me in the ground like all the others!”
He turned his back on her, went to the table, and tore a couple pieces of cotton from the bandage wadding that he had brought for his wound. He moistened them with oil and plugged them solidly into his ears.
“Now you can talk,” he cried. “If you like. I can’t hear you. I can’t see you–I must go and you know it. Let me go.”
She softly said, “Then you will feel me.”
She stepped up to him, lightly laid her hand on his arm and her fingers trembled and spoke – “Stay with me!–Don’t abandon me.”
The light kiss of her little hands was so sweet, so sweet.
“I will tear myself loose,” he thought, “soon, just one second longer.”
He closed his eyes, and with a deep breath savored the caressing touch of her fingers. Then she raised her hands and his cheeks trembled under their gentle touch. She slowly brought her arms around his neck, bent his head down, raised herself up and brought her moist lips to his mouth.
“How strange it is,” he thought. “Her nerves speak and mine understand their language.”
She pulled him one step to the side, pressed him down onto the bed, sat on his knees and wrapped him in a cloak of tender caresses. With slender fingers she pulled the cotton out of his ears and whispered sultry, loving words to him. He didn’t understand because she spoke so softly, but he sensed the meaning, felt that she was no longer saying, “Stay!”–That now she was saying, “I’m so glad that you are staying.”
He kept his eyelids tightly shut over his eyes, yet now he only heard her lips whisper sweet nothings, only felt the tips of her little fingers as they ran across his breast and his face. She didn’t pull him, didn’t urge him–and yet he felt the streaming of her nerves pulling him down onto the bed. Slowly, slowly, he let himself sink.
Then suddenly she sprang up. He opened his eyes, saw her run to the door and shut it, then to the window and tightly close the heavy curtains. A dim twilight still flowed through the room. He wanted to rise, to stand up, but she was back before he could move a single limb. She threw off the black negligee and came to him, shut his eyelids again with gentle fingers and pressed her lips on his.
He felt her little breast in his hand, felt her toe nails play against the flesh of his legs, felt her hair falling over his cheeks–and he didn’t resist, gave himself to her, just as she wanted–
“Are you staying?” she asked.
But he sensed it wasn’t a question any more, she only wanted to hear it from his own lips.
“Yes,” he said softly.
Her kisses fell like the rain in May. Her caresses dropped like a shower of almond blossoms in the evening wind and her loving words sprang like the shimmering pearls of the cascade in the park pool.
“You taught me!” she breathed. “You–you showed me what love is–Now you must stay for my love, which you created!”
She lightly traced her fingers over his wound, kissed it with her tongue, raised her head and looked at him with crazy, confused eyes.
“I hurt you–”she whispered. “I struck you–right over your heart–Do you want to beat me? Should I get the whip? Do what you want!–Tear wounds in me with your teeth–take a knife even. Drink my blood–Do whatever you want–Anything, anything–I am your slave.”
He closed his eyes again and sighed deeply.
“You are the Mistress,” he thought. “The winner!”
Sometimes when he entered the library it seemed as if a laugh came from out of the corners somewhere. The first time he heard it he thought it was Alraune, even though it didn’t sound like her voice. He searched around and found nothing. When he heard it again he became frightened.
“That’s Uncle Jakob’s hoarse voice,” he thought. “He is laughing at me.”
Then he took hold of himself, pulled himself together.
“A hallucination,” he muttered. “And no wonder–my nerves are over stimulated.”
He moved about as if in a dream, slouching and staggering, with hanging, drooping movements and listless eyes. But every nerve was taut and overloaded when he was with her–Then his blood raced, where before it had been sickly and barely crawled.
He had been her teacher, that was true. He had opened her eyes, taught her every Persian mystery from the land of the morning, every game of the ancients that had made love into a fine art. But it was as if he said nothing strange to her at all, only reawakened her long lost memories from some other time. Often her swift desire flamed and broke out like a forest fire in the summer time before he could even speak. He threw the torch and yet shuddered at the rutting fire that scorched his flesh, engulfed him in feverish passion, left him withered and curdled the blood in his veins.
Once as he slunk over the courtyard he met Froitsheim.
“You don’t ride any more, young Master?” asked the old coachman.
He quickly said, “No, not any more.”
Then his gaze met the old man’s and he saw how the dry lips opened.
“Don’t speak, old man!” he said quickly. “I know what you want to say to me! But I can’t–I can’t.”
The coachman watched for a long time as Frank Braun went into the garden, spit, thoughtfully shook his head, then crossed himself.
One evening Frieda Gontram sat on the stone bench under the copper beeches. He stepped up to her and offered his hand.
“Back already Frieda?”
“The two months are gone,” she said.
He put his hand to his forehead.
“Gone,” he murmured. “It scarcely seems like a week to me. How goes it with your brother?” he continued.
“He is dead,” she replied, “for a long time now. Vicar Schrőder and I buried him up there, in Davos.”
“Dead,” he responded.
Then as if to chase the thought away he quickly asked, “What else is new out there? We live like hermits, never go out of the garden.”
“The princess died of a stroke,” she began. “Countess Olga– ”
But he didn’t let her continue.
“No, no,” he cried. “Say nothing. I don’t want to hear. Death, death and more death–Be quiet Frieda, be quiet!”
Now he was happy that she was there. They spoke very little to each other, but they sat together quietly, secretly, when the Fräulein was in the house. Alraune resented that Frieda Gontram was back.
“Why did she come? I won’t have it! I want no one here except you.”
“Let her be,” he said. “She is not in the way, hides herself whenever she can.”
Alraune said, “She is together with you when I’m not there. I know it. She better be careful!”
“What will you do?” he asked.
She answered, “Do? Nothing! Have you forgotten that I don’t need to do anything? It all happens by itself.”
Once again resistance awoke in him.
“You are dangerous,” he said. “Like a poisonous berry.”
She raised her lips, “Why does she nibble then? I ordered her to stay away forever!–But you changed it to two months. It is your fault.”