THE LAST DAYS OF MANKIND ACTIII SCENE 1
Vienna. Korso. Larvae and lemurs. Hyenas. Groups are forming.
NEWSPAPER VENDOR 1(heavy eastern European accent): Extra! Extra edition! Venice bombed! Heavy Italian losses! Venice bombarded!
PROFITEER 1: There’s no doubt, it was in the evening edition.
PROFITEER 2: It’s really true?
NEWSPAPER VENDOR 2: Extra! 100,000 Italians dead, please!
PROFITEER 1: Kramer’s on in Marienbad from the first.
NEWSPAPER VENDOR 1: Kragujevac captured!
PROFITEER 2: Thank God, the wife’ll want to stay on then.
PROFITEER 1: And while the cat’s away –
(The Privy Counsellor and the Professor, seen at the Café Pucher, exit the Imperial Hotel. A wounded man limps by.)
PRIVY COUNSELLOR: No fiakers? It’s a scandal!
BOTH (aiming their canes a passing motor car): Cab!
PRIVY COUNSELLOR (calling after a fiaker): Are you free?
FIAKER DRIVER (shrugging his shoulders): Taken!
PROFESSOR: At least there’s something left, we can still eat.
(Beggars of all sorts surround them but are ignored) –
PROFESSOR: Don’t you think there’s a strange atmosphere in Vienna now? You know what’s wrong? People are tired of the war! Even a blind man can see that! (A blind soldier stands in front of them.) You’ve heard about Old Biach’s war psychosis, I suppose?
PRIVY COUNSELLOR: How does affect him exactly?
PROFESSOR: Every second word is from a Moriz Benedikt leader – heavily stressed! He is convinced that the slanders of the Entente are aimed at him personally. And then there’s the megalomania.
PRIVY COUNSELLOR: How does that manifest itself?
PROFESSOR: He thinks he is Moriz Benedikt.
PRIVY COUNSELLOR: Very sad.
PROFESSOR: Did your boy get a War Archive job?
PRIVY COUNSELLOR: Yes, but he’s got a hernia. They’re sending him home. But Ben Tiber needs a dramaturge at his music hall, so -
(Old Biach appears, deep in thoughts, New Free Press in hand. )
BOTH (aiming with their sticks at a passing automobile): Cab! (Off.)
OLD BIACH: Cleopatra's nose was one of her most beautiful features. The Sibyl was the daughter of a working man. (Looking cautiously around) William Tell says, ‘Each to his own trade, mine is murder’. (A pause, then abruptly, with sudden emotion) The first thing a travelling salesman must do is put out his antennae and get a feel for his customers. (With satisfaction) We can already hear the rasp of Ivangorod’s death rattle. (Barely concealed gloating) Poincaré is shattered and Lloyd George has been humbled.
HQ OFFICER 1 (to three others): Nowotny, how are you? Pokorny, Powolny – what’s the political low-down now, what about Romania? 
HQ OFFICER 2 (twirling his cane): A breach of trust, just like Italy.
HQ OFFICER 3: Absolutely!
HQ OFFICER 4: I am so in agreement with that one – but I had great fun yesterday - fantastic! Did you see Schönpflug’s cartoon - brilliant!
(The Subscriber and the Patriot appear.)
PATRIOT: I see that tomorrow’s court circular will announce the granting of the title Privy Counsellor to the managing director of Ignaz Deutsch and Sons in Budapest – Herr Emil Morgenstern.
SUBSCRIBER: We have accepted the obligations the God of War has imposed on us. War is a Promethean bringer of light, a great annunciator of truth. It has lifted the great treasure trove of virtue from out of the swamp of materialism and selfishness in which it was feared lost.
PATRIOT: Have you signed up for war bonds?
SUBSCRIBER: Of course. Have you?
BOTH: We have accepted the obligations Mars has imposed. (Off.)
CRIPPLE (two stumps, mouth gaping, shoe laces in one hand, newspapers in the other, a hollow, rasping voice): Half of Serbia wholly overwhelmed!
HQ OFFICER 1: Serbia has been wholly overwhelmed!
HQ OFFICER 2: No, half of it has been wholly overwhelmed -
HQ OFFICER 3: No, the whole of it’s been half-overwhelmed -
POLDI FESCH (to friend): Another piss up with Sascha Kolowrat – (off.)
HQ OFFICER 4: Whatever, there are still the 100,000 dead greaseballs!
(Two invalid wounded hobble past.)
HQ OFFICER 2: Shirkers everywhere. One is ashamed to be in Vienna.
(Newly drafted soldiers, grey-haired, of older years march past, singing.)
When we come home, when we come home,
We’ll meet again when we come home –
HQ OFFICER 3: It’s always the same girls now.
HQ OFFICER 4: You know what, let's go to Hopfner’s!
NEWSPAPER VENDOR 1: Victory on all fronts! Romanians advance!
VOICE OF FIAKER DRIVER: Course it’s over the odds! It’s war, right!
 As the play progresses figures in masks and hyenas start to appear occasionally among the crowd.
 Leopold Kramer (1869-1942); Viennese actor.
 Marienbad, Mariánské Lázně (Czech), spa town near Karlovy Vary, now in the Czech Republic; a favourite spa for the aristocracy of Europe before the First World War, expensive, exclusive, elegant.
 First capital of modern Serbia (1818-1839), briefly its capital again 1914-1915.
 In the original two commercial counsellors, i.e. prominent businessmen.
 Originally a separate scene (III.7, Hotel Imperial).
 Ben Tiber (1867-1925); owner of Vienna’s biggest music hall; little need for a dramaturge!
 Originally a separate scene (III.8).
 Seemingly random sentences from Benedikt editorials; some war-related others not.
 Romania declared war on the Central Powers on 27 August 1916, partly in an attempt to annex Transylvania. Despite initial success its army, though large, was poorly trained and struggled, particularly against the Germans. Romania was heavily dependent on Russian support and after the October Revolution it was effectively isolated and surrounded; it was forced to conclude an armistice in 1917.