Scene 103 – Mayor’s house in Schabbach (Maria’s parents’ home)
Maria leans out to wash an open window when she notices Paul’s reflection in the windowpane. She turns her gaze toward the street that Paul is walking down in the direction of his parents’ home. Maria’s mother, the mayor’s wife, evidently noticed Paul as well, and with curiosity she presses herself up to the window to risk a glance through the lace curtain. Maria enthusiastically turns to her mother.
MARIA: Isn’t that Paul Simon?
Scene 104 – Village street in Schabbach
Paul starts walking faster. When he meets an elderly village resident who is pulling a hay cart behind her, Paul nods his head to her as he walks, silently but friendly. His desire to get home is too great for him to stop along the way to be asked how things went for him and where he was in the war. The old woman stops and gazes dumfounded at the returnee. As Paul continues, he sees a young woman standing on the other side of a grated window at the innkeeper’s, washing panes of glass. It is Apollonia, the maid. Paul has never seen her before. His gait slowing, he nods to her in greeting and then goes on his way. Apollonia shoots him a shy glance in return. Outside, Glasisch is standing in front of the window and lustfully wiping the pane from the outside, playfully trying to get Apollonia’s attention.
APPOLONIA: Oh, go away!
Appolonia is disgusted by Glasisch and wrings her window rags out in a tin pail. She is transfixed as she looks into the dirty water and her black curls dance on her cheeks. It gives her a very sad, forlorn, and strange expression.