The Nuremberg Doll


In one act by A. ADAM.

Text by LEUVEN and BEAUPLAN, translated into German by ERNST PASQUE.

This Operette, though almost buried in oblivion, has been revived by

merit of its true comic humor, which is so rare now-a-days. The music

is very simple, but melodious and natural and in Bertha's part offers

ample scope to a good songstress.

The scene takes place in a toy-shop at Nuremberg. Cornelius the owner,

has an only son Benjamin, whom he dearly loves, notwithstanding his

stupidity, while he is most unjust to his orphan nephew, Heinrich, whom

he keeps like a servant, after having misappropriated the latter's


The old miser wants to procure a wife for his darling, a wife

endowed with beauty and every virtue, and as he is persuaded, that such

a paragon does not exist in life, he has constructed a splendid doll,

which he hopes to endow with life by help of doctor Faust's magic book.

He only awaits a stormy night for executing his design. Meanwhile he

enjoys life and when presented to us is just going with Benjamin to a

masked ball, after sending at the same time his nephew supperless to

bed.--When they have left Heinrich reappears in the garb of

Mephistopheles and clapping his hands, his fiancee Bertha, a poor

seamstress soon enters.

Sadly she tells her lover, that she is unable to go to the ball, having

given all her money, which she had meant to spend on a dress, to a poor

starving beggar-woman in the street.

Heinrich touched by his love's tender heart, goodhumoredly determines

to lay aside his mask, in order to stay at home with Bertha, when

suddenly a bright idea strikes him. Remembering the doll, which his

uncle hides so carefully in his closet, which has however long been

spied out by Heinrich, he shows it to Bertha, who delightedly slips

into the doll's beautiful clothes which fit her admirably.--

Unfortunately Cornelius and his son are heard returning, while Bertha

is still absent dressing. The night has grown stormy, and the old man

deems it favorable for his design; so he at once proceeds to open

Faust's book and to begin the charm.

Heinrich, who has hardly had time to hide himself in the chimney, is

driven out by his cousin's attempts to light a fire. He leaps down

into the room and the terrified couple take him for no other than the

Devil in person, Heinrich wearing his mask and being besides blackened

by soot from the chimney. Perceiving his uncle's terror, he profits by

it, and at once beginning a conjuration he summons the doll, that is to

say Bertha in the doll's dress. Father and son are delighted by her

performances, but when she opens her mouth and reveals a very wilful

and wayward character, Cornelius is less charmed. The doll

peremptorily asks for food, and Mephistopheles indicates, that it is to

be found in the kitchen. While the worthy pair go to fetch it,

Mephistopheles hastily exchanging words with his lady-love, vanishes

into his sleeping room.

The doll now begins to lead a dance, which makes the toymaker's hair

stand on end. She first throws the whole supper out of the window,

following it with plate, crockery, toys etc. Then taking a drum, she

begins to drill them, like a regular tambour-major, slapping their

ears, mouths and cheeks as soon as they try to approach her.

At last, when they are quite worn out, she flies into the closet. But

now the father's spirit is roused, he resolves to destroy his and the

Devil's work; however he is hindered by Heinrich, who now makes his

appearance, and seems greatly astonished at the uproar and disorder he

finds in the middle of the night. He only wants to gain time for

Bertha to undress and then escape.--

Resolutely the old man walks into the closet to slay the doll. But he

returns pale and trembling, having destroyed her while asleep, and

believing to have seen her spirit escape through the window with

fiendish laughter.--Yet awed by his deed, he sees Heinrich returning

who confesses to his uncle, that he has found out his secret about the

doll, and that, having accidently broken it, he has substituted a young

girl. Cornelius, half dead with fright, sees himself already accused

of murder; his only salvation seems to lie in his nephew's silence and

instant flight. Heinrich is willing to leave the country, provided his

uncle give him back his heritage, which consists of 10,000 Thalers.

After some vain remonstrances, the old man gives him the gold.

Heinrich having gained his ends, now introduces Bertha, and the wicked

old fool and his son see too late, that they have been the dupes of the

clever nephew.--