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Ludwig Thoma, The First of August [Der erste August] (1915)

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[Lively and soldierly, with a strong voice]
Here! [He squeezes himself out of the bench.]

I have a telegram for you. You must depart tonight.

Everyone has stood up and gone to the table. Hans goes quickly to the window. The mayor hands him a slip of paper.

Gschwendtnerin [shocked]

Mayor [serious]
Yes, folks! It’s war! The mobilization has been ordered. [To Hans.] You are going to have to go to the station today. [Hans has read the slip of paper and lets out a shrill, “Yahoo!”.]

Bua! Bua! How are you able to scream yahoo?

Surely I won’t cry! Now we’re off. [To the mayor.] I’ll be ready soon, Mayor. [He turns to the left to go.]

Gschwendtnerin [grabs his hand]
You aren’t going to just get up and run away?

Hans [well-meaning]
I need to get everything ready, Mama. After that I will come and say goodbye. [Exit stage left.]

The town bell is now ringing as loud as it can, and sounds quite solemn.

Yes, folks, who would have thought? Now it has truly come this far! We often talked about it and no one really believed it!

And in the middle of the harvest!

Just like 1870. And once again the French – like always, the French.

And Russians and Serbs and French and the devil knows who else . . .

[Bursting out in anger]
What did we do to them? What do we want from them? Weren’t we just simply hard-working – day in and day out? We were quite happy with our work and didn’t want anything else but our work. And then some idiot comes and tears down the fence, saying: get out of the way, I want your stuff.

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