Rudolf, his nephew
Pauline, his wife
von Walting, a distant cousin of the Baron
Gregorius Tost, an innkeeper
Everl, his daughter, a waitress in town
Frau Bratelhoferin, an innkeeper
Agnes, a farm girl
Simon Dappel, a country bumpkin (originally played by Nestroy)
Uhu, an investor
Moorbach, Pauline's former guardian
Buchner, Kuppenschnee's bailiff
Friedrich, Rudolf's servant
Jean, Walting's servant
Emmerenzia Bachstelz, formerly Kuppenschnee's housekeeper
Sack, a miller
Hansel, a waiter,
Steffel, a menial, both employed by Tost
Anton, a servant
Servants, hunters, carters
The action of Acts 1 and 2 takes place in Kuppenschnee's mansion and
a tavern in the suburbs, of Acts 3 and 4 in Tost's inn and a remote hunting
Act 1. - [Chorus] - Rudolf has been separated
from his wife and been disinherited by his uncle as a result. Baron
Kuppenschnee has now
made Herr von Walting, a distant cousin, his heir instead. The latter
is already behaving like the new master, while Rudolf just wants to
get away as quickly as possible. But his servant Friedrich is convinced
is a plot afoot. He urges Rudolf to make it up with Pauline, but Rudolf
will only do so if she makes the first move. In fact Pauline has written
several times to her husband, but the letters have been intercepted
by Walting, who is naturally determined to prevent any reconciliation.
The scene shifts to Frau Bratelhoferin's tavern in the suburbs. Drinking
there as a refreshing change from his own alehouse, the innkeeper Gregorius
Tost sees himself as a free spirit whose talents are being wasted.
He is always trying to get involved in "secret plans and little intrigues",
so Friedrich's suspicions of a plot interest him greatly. To try to
discover the truth, Friedrich pretends to Walting's servant Jean that
he is in
debt and dissatisfied with his master Rudolf. Jean offers to lend him
40 guilders. As Tost has to change the money for them, he feels he
is already a co-conspirator. Jean offers Friedrich a position with
and Friedrich accepts.
Walting arrives and, knowing Tost's love of intrigue, decides to involve
him in his schemes. He instructs him that, if a lady should arrive
at his tavern in the company of an older gentleman, he should ensure
they cannot proceed on their journey without a lengthy delay. Tost
is thrilled with this commission. Walting is pleased that Rudolf has
threatened with arrest by the investor Uhu, who had lent the Baron's
nephew 3,000 guilders to pay off a gambling debt on the strength of
his promised inheritance. When the Baron shows Rudolf the document
Walting his sole heir, Rudolf asks his uncle to at least pay the debt
to Uhu. When Tost lets slip what the money was for, the Baron is furious
and is happy to have him arrested.
[Song, Dappel: "I'm searching for my Agnes"] - Dappel tells
his troubles to Radschuh, a carter: back in his tiny village he had
fallen in love with Agnes and started to make wedding plans. But Agnes
to go to the town, work as a maidservant, save money and see the world.
Now he is searching for her, and ready to forgive her everything. Radschuh
advises him to give up the search, forget Agnes and become a carter.
Tost's daughter Everl is interested in Dappel's new job prospects.
She drops hints that her father wants her to find a husband who can
take over his tavern. Dappel is tempted but can't get Agnes out of
his head. There is a bit of a stir when Moorbach enters and asks for
for a lady who is travelling incognito. - [Chorus]
Act 2. Pauline is
distressed that, in leaving her husband, she has deprived him of
She knows he is too proud to live off her money. Moorbach manages
to comfort her, for in the meantime Friedrich has managed to lay hands
on her intercepted letters and found out where she is staying.
keep her informed of new developments.
Pauline needs a trustworthy maid, and Agnes is recommended to her.
Though her manner is somewhat cheeky, Pauline takes a liking to
informs Moorbach about Walting's schemes: he is trying to ensure
that Pauline does not return to the Baron's estate, and has managed
the Baron against her. Walting is now in a position to prevent
Pauline seeing the Baron, but news of her arrival at the inn might
to intercept her, and thus away from the Baron's side.
Meanwhile Everl is still trying to win Dappel's affections and
wean him off his old love. But the circumspect Dappel prefers to
if Agnes really marries someone else, and if she does, and is then
widowed, if she would still prefer another man to him a second
time. Only in those
circumstances would he feel able to commit his heart to another
woman. Everl feels she can't wait that long, as her father is coming
to fetch her that afternoon. If she hasn't got a husband by then,
marry her father's head waiter.
Dappel now meets Agnes. He tries to reason with her, but she is
convinced she is destined for higher things. She encourages Dappel
to save, as
she is doing. Once they've got a decent sum together, they could
perhaps consider marriage. Tost's love of intrigue gets the better
of his duty
as a father and he is thrilled to hear about his daughter Everl's
cavorting with a man who has a relationship with another woman
in the same building.
But Tost has opened a letter that he was supposed to deliver for
Walting. Before considering how to rectify this, he reads it. In
Walting writes to a creditor, Griffel, that he will soon be able
to pay his debts,
as the Baron does not have long to live, since he, Walting has
persuaded him to undertake a journey that will overtax his fragile
now does Tost observe that Dappel is in the room. On discovering
that this is the man who "compromised his daughter",
he immediately insists that Dappel marry her. Dappel's protests
make no impression
on him at all. Dappel realises to his alarm that Agnes has left
Radschuh urges him to go to Poland, but Tost still insists on a
wedding. The guests toast the happy couple, and Dappel doesn't
have the will
to extricate himself. - [Chorus]
Act 3. [Chorus of guests] The unhappy
Dappel is introduced to everyone in Tost's tavern as Everl's
bridegroom. Meanwhile Tost boasts to
Emmerenzia and Dörfling that he is "the secret cog in
a great wheel of intrigue". There is much excitement at the
arrival of a splendid-looking carriage. The occupants enter. It
is Moorbach and Agnes, playing the
part of a great lady. In a discreeet aside that can nonetheless
be heard by all, Moorbach informs Tost that the lady is the young
the estranged wife of the old Baron's nephew, now returning in
the hope of being reconciled to her husband. Remembering his orders,
a few screws loosened on their carriage, and sends word to Walting.
He is enormously proud of his role in the plot. Moorbach has promised
pay Agnes 800 guilders if she follows his instructions and doesn't
reveal her identity to anyone.
Emmerenzia takes the opportunity to ask the young Baroness to
give employment to all the men in her family. To her surprise
are granted, as is Tost's wish for a title. The Baroness's generosity
almost makes him regret his role in the intrigue against her.
Everl thinks she recognises Agnes, but her father dismisses her
daughter now press Dappel to ask for a title for himself. To
draw the lady's attention to Dappel, they dress him as a gardener
hand her a bouquet of flowers. A resigned Dappel lets them dress
him as they
wish, without understanding what is happening. As he hands over
the bouquet, he is sure he recognises the recipient, but her
him doubt his own eyes. She recognises him, but plays her role
to the hilt, though she almost drops the mask for an instant
a ladylike objection to the impending nuptials.
Seeing Walting and his lackeys approach, Moorbach accuses Tost
of treachery. Before Dappel can make up his mind whether to try
to save her, Walting's
men abduct the lady and Moorbach. - [Chorus of Walting's lackeys]
4. Walting confronts Tost about the letter. He knows it has
not reached Griffel, so Tost admits to having lost it. But Everl
tells her father
she took the letter and sent it to the Baron, in the hope that
the lady will relent over her marriage to Dappel. - [Trio Dappel/Everl/Tost]
Dappel finally summons up the nerve to tell Everl he doesn't
marry her, and in a fit if pique she throws him out. Tost meanwhile
is frightened of the Baron's wrath, especially when Jean arrives
summons to go straight to Walting.
At the mansion, Tost suddenly takes fright and hides in the
armoury. Then Agnes overhears a conversation between Jean and
which Anton voices his suspicion that Walting will have the
murdered that night. Dappel has secretly entered the castle
to try to save her. Agnes joyfully throws her arms around him.
their escape by tying curtains together and descending through
a window into the garden. During the preparations a shot goes
off in the armoury
and Agnes faints in terror. When she revives, she confesses
to Tost, whose jittery hands had pressed a trigger by mistake,
need to kill her because she is just a farm girl in disguise.
The equally terrified Tost is more interested in using Agnes'
while they are arguing who should climb down first, Walting
and his men enter
and things look black. The Baron arrives in the nick of time.
Pauline has told him of the real state of affairs. Rudolf is
his inheritance. Agnes is generously rewarded by Moorbach.
With the money
she will buy her own farm and marry Dappel, who is deliriously