A monologue from the play by Frank Wedekind

NOTE: This translation by Samuel A. Eliot was first published in 1914 by Boni and Liveright, New York. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

ILSE: Last Carnival I went for three days and three nights without getting into bed, or even out of my clothes. From masquerade ball to café; noontimes at Bellavista, evenings at the cabaret, nights to another ball! Lena was along, and fatty Viola. -- The third night, Henry found me. He'd stumbled over my arm. I was lying senseless in the gutter-snow. -- So then I joined up with him. For two weeks I never left his lodgings. That was a horrible time! -- Mornings I had to throw on his Persian dressing-gown, and evenings walk about the room in a black page's costume--white lace at the collar, cuffs, and knees. Every day he'd photograph me in a new arrangement: one time on the back of the sofa, as Ariadne, another time as Leda, another as Ganymede, and once on all fours as a female Nebuchadnezzar. And then he would rave about killing--about shooting, suicide, and charcoal fumes. Early mornings he'd bring a pistol into bed, load it full of cartridges and poke it into my breast: one wink, and I'll fire! --Oh, he would have fired, Moritz; he would have fired! -- Then he'd stick the thing in his mouth like a bean-shooter. Brrr! The bullet would have gone through my spine. Over the bed was a mirror let into the ceiling. You saw yourself actually hanging down from the sky. I had the most frightful dreams at night. God, O God! One day when he went to get some absynth I threw my cloak on and slipped out into the street. The Carnival was over. The police snapped me up. What was I after in men's clothes? -- They took me to headquarters, and there came Nohl, Fehrendorf, Padinsky, Spühler, Oikonomopulos, the whole Priapia, and bailed me out. In a cab they transported me to Adolar's studio. Ever since I've been true to the gang. Fehrendorf is a monkey, Nohl is a pig, Boyokevitch an owl, Loison a hyena, Oikonomopulos a camel--but that's why I love them one and all the same, and don't care to take up with anyone else, though the world were full of archangels and millionaires!