The soiree lived up to its name. Various artists, even more, those who held, denied the program. On several occasions people recited and sang. It was completely impossible for me to concentrate on anything but her. It was as if the rest of the world was lost and there was only more her and me. Then finally she took her place beside the wing. She let her bell-clear voice ring. If I had not already fallen to her completely, at the latest in that moment would have overtaken me this fate. But it was already too late for that. Finally, she finished her performance with a slight nod of her head. Royal seemed every one of her graceful movements. After that, the company dispersed. That too, I only realized from the corner of my eye. I followed her with my eyes, first. At last she settled down on a sofa. Something about the way she moved filled me with concern. So, I summoned up my courage and dared to approach her.
„Dearest Madam,“ I said to her. I had to work hard because I was too excited. Busy and shaky, my voice sounded. Smiling, she turned to me and gave me, the unworthy, her gracious attention.
„What can I do for you, sir …“, she replied, in her soft voice, „Excuse me, I think we have not been introduced to each other yet. I’m Elisabetta Mandl. „
„Elisabetta, what a charming name,“ I said, so unexpectedly that it was not possible for me to hold back the words, „excuse me, but I’m still so fond of her performance that I’m probably very upset. My name is Caspar Mauser.“
„How gracious you are to a lost one, Mr. Mauser,“ she said softly, almost modestly.
„No, no, I’m not nice. There are no words that could even adequately describe your charm,“ I heard myself replying, seriously wondering if that was really me who was speaking. At least the voice would fit, but what said?
„You exaggerate shamelessly. I’m nothing more than a poor little woman, one, like everyone else, „she retorted.
„Forgive my audacity,“ I ventured now an advance, „But I was afraid you were not quite well. Can I serve you in any way? „
„That’s very gallant of you, very gallant,“ she said, with all feminine warmth, „but no one can help me. I am a lost one. That’s what fate is like. Not everybody thinks this is good. Of course, I have a home and all the amenities, but what good is that if there is no warmth, no affection. Enough, I must not complain that it would be unfair, even to the generosity of my husband. I got everything I need.“
„Everything except love,“ I was now almost foolhardy in my approach, „What good does the other everything, without the love, without a man who carries you on hands as it is due to you. Is he really so heartless, your husband? „
„He cannot help it and I finally chose him,“ she replied, almost breathless, „Nevertheless, the heart of a woman. You understand?“
„And as I understand!“ I blurted out, whatever I meant by that I could not explain myself, but that was not required.
„I am so happy that there is one person on this big, wide world who understands me,“ she replied, giving me one of her breathtaking smiles, „Do not you want to sit down with me?“
„With all my heart,“ I answered truthfully. „I would not do anything better than sit here with them, look at you, listen to you, and see you smile. But as long as they are so unhappy, I cannot just sit here and wait. I’ll go to your husband right now and save you from him. From man to man. And if I’m the last thing I do. „
„No, do not do that!“ Exclaimed this angel. Full anxiety and worry were her words, but that spurred me even more.
„Can I see the most graceful of all women suffer? Never ever. It has to be clarified, only then will I find peace. See me beaten or as your savior,“ with that I turned away from her to my uplifted head and proud breast, and to my supposed adversary.