The Jewish question, it appears, is still a live one in Austria, and this new play of Schnitzler's, himself of Semitic descent, is the very frank discussion of a certain incident which occurred in Vienna in which a Roman Catholic clergyman and a Jewish doctor were embroiled. The dramatist is fair, he holds the scales evenly.
A curious thing is that deathless fame which Martin speaks of a passing curious thing; for when word came of Henry Schnitzler's death, Mary Murphy, of the Thayer House, put off Gabriel Carnine's ring, and wept many tears in the stage driver's coffee and wore black in her hat for a year, and when Gabriel came home, she married him and all went as merrily as a wedding-bell.
She had hold of the handle of the bucket with him, and they pulled and hauled and laughed as boy and girl will laugh so long as the world turns round. The street was deserted, and only the bar of light that fell across the sidewalk from Schnitzler's saloon indicated the presence of human beings in the little low buildings that pent in the highway.
Under Captain J. Lord Lee whose life afterwards touched Barclay's sometimes "The Army of the Border," being about forty in number, came to Sycamore Ridge that night, and greatly to the scandal of the decent village, there appeared with the men two women in short skirts and red leggins, who were introduced at Schnitzler's saloon as Happy Hally and Lady Lee.
A score or so of men had passed muster. The line on the post at the wooden awning in front of Schnitzler's saloon was marked at five feet six. All had stood by it with their heads above the line. It was Watts McHurdie's turn. He wore high-heeled boots for the occasion, but strut as he would, his roached hair would not touch the stick that came over the line.
As the night deepened and Henry Schnitzler's supply of liquor seemed exhaustless, the Army of the Border went from song to war and wandered about banging doors and demanding to know if any white-livered Missourian in the town was man enough to come out and fight.
But the thesis of Ibsen is less academic, sounder, of more universal interest than Schnitzler's. There is no metaphysical hair-splitting in An Enemy of the People, nor sentimental talk about euphoria and going happily to death. Grim old Daddy Ibsen told us that people were being poisoned by impure spring water, and, as Alan Dale said, was the first man to write a drama around a drain-pipe.