ACT FOURTH SCENE I
A ROAD OUT OF VIENNA
It is a morning in early May. Rain descends in torrents, accompanied by peals of thunder. The tepid downpour has caused the trees to assume as by magic a clothing of limp green leafage, and has turned the ruts of the uneven highway into little canals.
A drenched travelling-chariot is passing, with a meagre escort, In the interior are seated four women: the ARCHDUCHESS MARIA LOUISA, in age about eighteen; her stepmother the EMPRESS OF AUSTRIA, third wife of FRANCIS, only four years older than the ARCHDUCHESS ; and two ladies of the Austrian Court. Behind come attendant carriages bearing servants and luggage.
The inmates remain for the most part silent, and appear to be in a gloomy frame of mind. From time to time they glance at the moist spring scenes which pass without in a perspective distorted by the rain-drops that slide down the panes, and by the blurring effect of the travellers' breathings. Of the four the one who keeps in the best spirits is the ARCHDUCHESS, a fair, blue-eyed, full-figured, round-lipped maiden.
Whether the rain comes in or not I must open the window. Please allow me. (She straightway opens it.f
Yes—open or shut it—I don't care. I am too ill to care for anything! (The carriage jolts into a hole.) O woe! To think that I am driven away from my husband's home in such a miserable conveyance, along such a road, and in such weather as this. (Peal of thunder.) There are his guns!