Infomotions, Inc.When We Dead Awaken / Ibsen, Henrik, 1828-1906



Author: Ibsen, Henrik, 1828-1906
Title: When We Dead Awaken
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): professor rubek; rubek; maia; irene; ulfheim; professor
Contributor(s): Archer, William, 1856-1924 [Translator]
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Title: When We Dead Awaken

Author: Henrik Ibsen

Release Date: December, 2003 [EBook #4782]
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[This file was first posted on March 24, 2002]

Edition: 10

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN ***




Produced by Sonia K.










WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN

By Henrik Ibsen.


Introduction and translation by William Archer.




INTRODUCTION.


From _Pillars of Society_ to _John Gabriel Borkman_, Ibsenís plays had
followed each other at regular intervals of two years, save when his
indignation over the abuse heaped upon _Ghosts_ reduced to a single
year the interval between that play and _An Enemy of the People_.
_John Gabriel Borkman_ having appeared in 1896, its successor was
expected in 1898; but Christmas came and brought no rumour of a new
play. In a man now over seventy, this breach of a long-established
habit seemed ominous.  The new National Theatre in Christiania was
opened in September of the following year; and when I then met Ibsen
(for the last time) he told me that he was actually at work on a new
play, which he thought of calling a "Dramatic Epilogue."  "He wrote
_When We Dead Awaken_," says Dr. Elias, "with such labour and such
passionate agitation, so spasmodically and so feverishly, that those
around him were almost alarmed.  He must get on with it, he must get
on!  He seemed to hear the beating of dark pinions over his head.  He
seemed to feel the grim Visitant, who had accompanied Alfred Allmers
on the mountain paths, already standing behind him with uplifted hand.
His relatives are firmly convinced that he knew quite clearly that this
would be his last play, that he was to write no more.  And soon the
blow fell."

_When We Dead Awaken_ was published very shortly before Christmas 1899.
He had still a year of comparative health before him.  We find him in
March 1900, writing to Count Prozor: "I cannot say yet whether or not
I shall write another drama; but if I continue to retain the vigour of
body and mind which I at present enjoy, I do not imagine that I shall
be able to keep permanently away from the old battlefields.  However,
if I were to make my appearance again, it would be with new weapons
and in new armour."  Was he hinting at the desire, which he had long
ago confessed to Professor Herford, that his last work should be a
drama in verse?  Whatever his dream, it was not to be realised.  His
last letter (defending his attitude of philosophic impartiality with
regard to the South African war) is dated December 9, 1900.  With the
dawn of the new century, the curtain descended upon the mind of the
great dramatic poet of the age which had passed away.

_When We Dead Awaken_ was acted during 1900 at most of the leading
theatres in Scandinavia and Germany.  In some German cities (notably
in Frankfort on Main) it even attained a considerable number of
representatives.  I cannot learn, however, that it has anywhere held
the stage.  It was produced in London, by the State Society, at the
Imperial Theatre, on January 25 and 26, 1903.  Mr. G. S. Titheradge
played Rubek, Miss Henrietta Watson Irene, Miss Mabel Hackney Maia,
and Mr. Laurence Irving Ulfheim.  I find no record of any American
performance.

In the above-mentioned letter to Count Prozor, Ibsen confirmed that
critic's conjecture that "the series which ends with the Epilogue
really began with _The Master Builder."  As the last confession, so
to speak, of a great artist, the Epilogue will always be read with
interest.  It contains, moreover, many flashes of the old genius, many
strokes of the old incommunicable magic.  One may say with perfect
sincerity that there is more fascination in the dregs of Ibsen's mind
than in the "first sprightly running" of more common-place talents.
But to his sane admirers the interest of the play must always be
melancholy, because it is purely pathological.  To deny this is, in
my opinion, to cast a slur over all the poet's previous work, and in
great measure to justify the criticisms of his most violent detractors.
For _When We Dead Awaken_ is very like the sort of play that haunted
the "anti-Ibsenite" imagination in the year 1893 or thereabouts.  It
is a piece of self-caricature, a series of echoes from all the earlier
plays, an exaggeration of manner to the pitch of mannerism.  Moreover,
in his treatment of his symbolic motives, Ibsen did exactly what he
had hitherto, with perfect justice, plumed himself upon never doing:
he sacrificed the surface reality to the underlying meaning.  Take,
for instance, the history of Rubek's statue and its development
into a group.  In actual sculpture this development is a grotesque
impossibility.  In conceiving it we are deserting the domain of
reality, and plunging into some fourth dimension where the properties
of matter are other than those we know.  This is an abandonment of the
fundamental principle which Ibsen over and over again emphatically
expressed--namely, that any symbolism his work might be found to
contain was entirely incidental, and subordinate to the truth and
consistency of his picture of life.  Even when he dallied with the
supernatural, as in _The Master Builder_ and _Little Eyolf_, he was
always careful, as I have tried to show, not to overstep decisively
the boundaries of the natural.  Here, on the other hand, without any
suggestion of the supernatural, we are confronted with the wholly
impossible, the inconceivable.  How remote is this alike from his
principles of art and from the consistent, unvarying practice of his
better years!  So great is the chasm between _John Gabriel Borkman_
and _When We Dead Awaken_ that one could almost suppose his mental
breakdown to have preceded instead of followed the writing of the
latter play.  Certainly it is one of the premonitions of the coming
end.  It is Ibsen's _Count Robert of Paris_.  To pretend to rank it
with his masterpieces is to show a very imperfect sense of the nature
of their mastery.




WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN.

A DRAMATIC EPILOGUE.



CHARACTERS.


PROFESSOR ARNOLD RUBEK, a sculptor.
MRS. MAIA RUBEK, his wife.
THE INSPECTOR at the Baths.
ULFHEIM, a landed proprietor.
A STRANGER LADY.
A SISTER OF MERCY.

      Servants, Visitors to the Baths, and Children.


  The First Act passes at a bathing establishment on the
         coast; the Second and Third Acts in the
          neighbourhood of a health resort, high
                    in the mountains.




ACT FIRST.


[Outside the Bath Hotel.  A portion of the main building can be seen
   to the right.  An open, park-like place with a fountain, groups
   of fine old trees, and shrubbery.  To the left, a little pavilion
   almost covered with ivy and Virginia creeper.  A table and chair
   outside it.  At the back a view over the fjord, right out to sea,
   with headlands and small islands in the distance.  It is a calm,
   warm and sunny summer morning.

[PROFESSOR RUBEK and MRS. MAIA RUBEK are sitting in basket chairs
   beside a covered table on the lawn outside the hotel, having just
   breakfasted.  They have champagne and seltzer water on the table,
   and each has a newspaper.  PROFESSOR RUBEK is an elderly man of
   distinguished appearance, wearing a black velvet jacket, and
   otherwise in light summer attire.  MAIA is quite young, with
   a vivacious expression and lively, mocking eyes, yet with a
   suggestion of fatigue.  She wears an elegant travelling dress.


MAIA.

[Sits for some time as though waiting for the PROFESSOR to say
something, then lets her paper drop with a deep sigh.]  Oh dear, dear,
dear---!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks up from his paper.]  Well, Maia?  What is the matter with you?


MAIA.

Just listen how silent it is here.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiles indulgently.]  And you can hear that?


MAIA.

What?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

The silence?


MAIA.

Yes, indeed I can.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, perhaps you are right, _mein Kind_.  One can really hear the
silence.


MAIA.

Heaven knows you can--when it's so absolutely overpowering as it is
here---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Here at the Baths, you mean?


MAIA.

Wherever you go at home here, it seems to me.  Of course there was
noise and bustle enough in the town.  But I don't know how it is--
even the noise and bustle seemed to have something dead about it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a searching glance.]  You don't seem particularly glad to be at
home again, Maia?


MAIA.

[Looks at him.]  Are you glad?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Evasively.]  I---?


MAIA.

Yes, you, who have been so much, much further away than I.  Are you
entirely happy, now that you are at home again?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No--to be quite candid--perhaps not entirely happy---


MAIA.

[With animation.]  There, you see!  Didn't I know it!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I have been too long abroad.  I have drifted quite away from all this
--this home life.


MAIA.

[Eagerly, drawing her chair nearer him.]  There, you see, Rubek!  We
had much better get away again!  As quickly as ever we can.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Somewhat impatiently.]  Well, well, that is what we intend to do, my
dear Maia.  You know that.


MAIA.

But why not now--at once?  Only think how cozy and comfortable we
could be down there, in our lovely new house---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiles indulgently.]  We ought by rights to say: our lovely new home.


MAIA.

[Shortly.]  I prefer to say house--let us keep to that.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[His eyes dwelling on her.]  You are really a strange little person.


MAIA.

Am I so strange?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, I think so.


MAIA.

But why, pray?  Perhaps because I'm not desperately in love with
mooning about up here---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Which of us was it that was absolutely bent on our coming north
this summer?


MAIA.

I admit, it was I.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It was certainly not I, at any rate.


MAIA.

But good heavens, who could have dreamt that everything would have
altered so terribly at home here?  And in so short a time, too!  Why,
it is only just four years since I went away---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Since you were married, yes.


MAIA.

Married?  What has that to do with the matter?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Continuing.]  --since you became the Frau Professor, and found
yourself mistress of a charming home--I beg your pardon--a very
handsome house, I ought to say.  And a villa on the Lake of Taunitz,
just at the point that has become most fashionable, too--.  In fact
it is all very handsome and distinguished, Maia, there's no denying
that.  And spacious too.  We need not always be getting in each
other's way---


MAIA.

[Lightly.]  No, no, no--there's certainly no lack of house-room, and
that sort of thing---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Remember, too, that you have been living in altogether more spacious
and distinguished surroundings--in more polished society than you were
accustomed to at home.


MAIA.

[Looking at him.]  Ah, so you think it is _I_ that have changed?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Indeed I do, Maia.


MAIA.

I alone?  Not the people here?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh yes, they too--a little, perhaps.  And not at all in the direction
of amiability.  That I readily admit.


MAIA.

I should think you must admit it, indeed.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Changing the subject.]  Do you know how it affects me when I look at
the life of the people around us here?


MAIA.

No.  Tell me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It makes me think of that night we spent in the train, when we were
coming up here---


MAIA.

Why, you were sound asleep all the time.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Not quite.  I noticed how silent it became at all the little roadside
stations.  I heard the silence--like you, Maia---


MAIA.

H'm,--like me, yes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

--and that assured me that we had crossed the frontier--that we were
really at home.  For the train stopped at all the little stations--
although there was nothing doing at all.


MAIA.

Then why did it stop--though there was nothing to be done?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Can't say.  No one got out or in; but all the same the train stopped a
long, endless time.  And at every station I could make out that there
were two railway men walking up and down the platform--one with a
lantern in his hand--and they said things to each other in the night,
low, and toneless, and meaningless.


MAIA.

Yes, that is quite true.  There are always two men walking up and down,
and talking---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

--of nothing.  [Changing to a livelier tone.]  But just wait till to-
morrow.  Then we shall have the great luxurious steamer lying in
the harbour.  We'll go on board her, and sail all round the coast--
northward ho!--right to the polar sea.


MAIA.

Yes, but then you will see nothing of the country--and of the people.
And that was what you particularly wanted.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shortly and snappishly.]  I have seen more than enough.


MAIA.

Do you think a sea voyage will be better for you?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It is always a change.


MAIA.

Well, well, if only it is the right thing for you---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

For me?  The right thing?  There is nothing in the world the matter
with me.


MAIA.

[Rises and goes to him.]  Yes, there is, Rubek.  I am sure you must
feel it yourself.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why my dearest Maia--what should be amiss with me?


MAIA.

[Behind him, bending over the back of his chair.]  That you must tell
me.  You have begun to wander about without a moment's peace.  You
cannot rest anywhere--neither at home nor abroad.  You have become
quite misanthropic of late.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a touch of sarcasm.]  Dear me--have you noticed that?


MAIA.

No one that knows you can help noticing it.  And then it seems to me
so sad that you have lost all pleasure in your work.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

That too, eh?


MAIA.

You that used to be so indefatigable--working from morning to night!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Gloomily.]  Used to be, yes---


MAIA.

But ever since you got your great masterpiece out of hand---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods thoughtfully.]  "The Resurrection Day"---


MAIA.

--the masterpiece that has gone round the whole world, and made you
so famous---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Perhaps that is just the misfortune, Maia.


MAIA.

How so?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

When I had finished this masterpiece of mine--[Makes a passionate
movement with his hand]--for "The Resurrection Day" is a masterpiece!
Or was one in the beginning.  No, it is one still.  It must, must,
must be a masterpiece!


MAIA.

[Looks at him in astonishment.]  Why, Rubek--all the world knows that.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Short, repellently.]  All the world knows nothing!  Understands
nothing!


MAIA.

Well, at any rate it can divine something---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Something that isn't there at all, yes.  Something that never was in
my mind.  Ah yes, that they can all go into ecstasies over!  [Growling
to himself.]  What is the good of working oneself to death for the mob
and the masses--for "all the world"!


MAIA.

Do you think it is better, then--do you think it is worthy of you, to
do nothing at all but portrait-bust now and then?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a sly smile.]  They are not exactly portrait-busts that I turn
out, Maia.


MAIA.

Yes, indeed they are--for the last two or three years--ever since you
finished your great group and got it out of the house---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

All the same, they are no mere portrait-busts, I assure you.


MAIA.

What are they, then?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

There is something equivocal, something cryptic, lurking in and behind
these busts--a secret something, that the people themselves cannot
see---


MAIA.

Indeed?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Decisively.]  I alone can see it.  And it amuses me unspeakably.--On
the surface I give them the "striking likeness," as they call it, that
they all stand and gape at in astonishment--[Lowers his voice]--but
at bottom they are all respectable, pompous horse-faces, and self-
opinionated donkey-muzzles, and lop-eared, low-browed dog-skulls, and
fatted swine-snouts--and sometimes dull, brutal bull-fronts as well---


MAIA.

[Indifferently.]  All the dear domestic animals, in fact.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Simply the dear domestic animals, Maia.  All the animals which men have
bedevilled in their own image--and which have bedevilled men in return.
[Empties his champagne-glass and laughs.]  And it is these double-faced
works of art that our excellent plutocrats come and order of me.  And
pay for in all good faith--and in good round figures too--almost their
weight in gold, as the saying goes.


MAIA.

[Fills his glass.]  Come, Rubek!   Drink and be happy.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Passes his hand several times across his forehead and leans back
in his chair.]  I am happy, Maia.  Really happy--in a way.  [Short
silence.]  For after all there is a certain happiness in feeling
oneself free and independent on every hand--in having at ones command
everything one can possibly wish for--all outward things, that is to
say.  Do you not agree with me, Maia?


MAIA.

Oh yes, I agree.  All that is well enough in its way.  [Looking at
him.]  But do you remember what you promised me the day we came to
an understanding on--on that troublesome point---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods.] --on the subject of our marriage, yes.  It was no easy matter
for you, Maia.


MAIA.

[Continuing unruffled.]  --and agreed that I was to go abroad with
you, and live there for good and all--and enjoy myself.--Do you
remember what you promised me that day?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shaking his head.]  No, I can't say that I do.  Well, what did I
promise?


MAIA.

You said you would take me up to a high mountain and show me all the
glory of the world.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a slight start.]  Did I promise you that, too?


MAIA.

Me too?  Who else, pray?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Indifferently.]  No, no, I only meant did I promise to show you---?


MAIA.

--all the glory of the world?  Yes, you did.  And all that glory should
be mine, you said.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

That is sort of figure of speech that I was in the habit of using once
upon a time.


MAIA.

Only a figure of speech?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, a schoolboy phrase--the sort of thing I used to say when I wanted
to lure the neighbours' children out to play with me, in the woods and
on the mountains.


MAIA.

[Looking hard at him.]  Perhaps you only wanted to lure me out to play,
as well?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Passing it off as a jest.]  Well, has it not been a tolerable amusing
game, Maia?


MAIA.

[Coldly.]  I did not go with you only to play.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No, no, I daresay not.


MAIA.

And you never took me up with you to any high mountain, or showed me---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With irritation.]  --all the glory of the world?  No, I did not.  For,
let me tell you something: you are not really born to be a mountain-
climber, little Maia.


MAIA.

[Trying to control herself.]  Yet at one time you seemed to think
I was.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Four or five years ago, yes.  [Stretching himself in his chair.]  Four
or five years--it's a long, long time, Maia.


MAIA.

[Looking at him with a bitter expression.]  Has the time seemed so
very long to you, Rubek?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I am beginning now to find it a trifle long.  [Yawning.]  Now and
then, you know.


MAIA.

[Returning to her place.]  I shall not bore you any longer.

    [She resumes her seat, takes up the newspaper, and begins turning
       over the leaves.  Silence on both sides.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Leaning on his elbows across the table, and looking at her teasingly.]
Is the Frau Professor offended?


MAIA.

[Coldly, without looking up.]  No, not at all.

    [Visitors to the baths, most of them ladies, begin to pass,
       singly and in groups, through the park from the right, and
       out to the left.

    [Waiters bring refreshments from the hotel, and go off behind
       the pavilion.

    [The INSPECTOR, wearing gloves and carrying a stick, comes from
       his rounds in the park, meets visitors, bows politely, and
       exchanges a few words with some of them.


THE INSPECTOR.

[Advancing to PROFESSOR RUBEK's table and politely taking off his hat.]
I have the honour to wish you good morning, Mrs. Rubek.--Good morning,
Professor Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Good morning, good morning Inspector.


THE INSPECTOR.

[Addressing himself to MRS. RUBEK.]  May I venture to ask if you have
slept well?


MAIA.

Yes, thank you; excellently--for my part.  I always sleep like a stone.


THE INSPECTOR.

I am delighted to hear it.  The first night in a strange place is often
rather trying.--And the Professor---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, my night's rest is never much to boast of--especially of late.


THE INSPECTOR.

[With a show of sympathy.]  Oh--that is a pity.  But after a few weeks'
stay at the Baths--you will quite get over that.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looking up at him.]  Tell me, Inspector--are any of your patients in
the habit of taking baths during the night?


THE INSPECTOR.

[Astonished.]  During the night?  No, I have never heard of such
a thing.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Have you not?


THE INSPECTOR.

No, I don't know of any one so ill as to require such treatment.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, at any rate there is some one who is in the habit of walking
about the park by night?


THE INSPECTOR.

[Smiling and shaking his head.]  No, Professor--that would be against
the rules.


MAIA.

[Impatiently.]  Good Heavens, Rubek, I told you so this morning--you
must have dreamt it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Drily.]  Indeed?  Must I?  Thank you!  [Turning to the INSPECTOR.]
The fact is, I got up last night--I couldn't sleep--and I wanted to
see what sort of night it was---


THE INSPECTOR.

[Attentively.]  To be sure--and then---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I looked out at the window--and caught sight of a white figure in
there among the trees.


MAIA.

[Smiling to the INSPECTOR.]  And the Professor declares that the
figure was dressed in a bathing costume---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

--or something like it, I said.  Couldn't distinguish very clearly.
But I am sure it was something white.


THE INSPECTOR.

Most remarkable.  Was it a gentleman or a lady?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I could almost have sworn it was a lady.  But then after it came another
figure.  And that one was quite dark--like a shadow---.


THE INSPECTOR.

[Starting.]  A dark one?  Quite black, perhaps?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, I should almost have said so.


THE INSPECTOR.

[A light breaking in upon him.]  And behind the white figure?  Following
close upon her---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes--at a little distance---


THE INSPECTOR.

Aha!  Then I think I can explain the mystery, Professor.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, what was it then?


MAIA.

[Simultaneously.]  Was the professor really not dreaming?


THE INSPECTOR.

[Suddenly whispering, as he directs their attention towards the
background on the right.]  Hush, if you please!  Look there--don't
speak loud for a moment.

    [A slender lady, dressed in fine, cream-white cashmere, and
       followed by a SISTER OF MERCY in black, with a silver cross
       hanging by a chain on her breast, comes forward from behind
       the hotel and crosses the park towards the pavilion in front
       on the left.  Her face is pale, and its lines seem to have
       stiffened; the eyelids are drooped and the eyes appear as
       though they saw nothing.  Her dress comes down to her feet
       and clings to the body in perpendicular folds.  Over her head,
       neck, breast, shoulders and arms she wears a large shawl of
       white crape.  She keeps her arms crossed upon her breast.
       She carries her body immovably, and her steps are stiff and
       measured.  The SISTER's bearing is also measured, and she has
       the air of a servant.  She keeps her brown piercing eyes
       incessantly fixed upon the lady.  WAITERS, with napkins on
       their arms, come forward in the hotel doorway, and cast
       curious glances at the strangers, who take no notice of
       anything, and, without looking round, enter the pavilion.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Has risen slowly and involuntarily, and stands staring at the closed
door of the pavilion.]  Who was that lady?


THE INSPECTOR.

She is a stranger who has rented the little pavilion there.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

A foreigner?


THE INSPECTOR.

Presumably.  At any rate they both came from abroad--about a week ago.
They have never been here before.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Decidedly; looking at him.]  It was she I saw in the park last night.


THE INSPECTOR.

No doubt it must have been.  I thought so from the first.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What is this lady's name, Inspector?


THE INSPECTOR.

She has registered herself as "Madame de Satow, with companion."  We
know nothing more.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Reflecting.]  Satow?  Satow---?


MAIA.
[Laughing mockingly.]  Do you know any one of that name, Rubek?  Eh?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shaking his head.]  No, no one.--Satow?  It sounds Russian--or in all
events Slavonic.  [To the INSPECTOR.]  What language does she speak?


THE INSPECTOR.

When the two ladies talk to each other, it is in a language I cannot
make out at all.  But at other times she speaks Norwegian like a
native.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Exclaims with a start.]  Norwegian?  You are sure you are not
mistaken?


THE INSPECTOR.

No, how could I be mistaken in that?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks at him with eager interest.]  You have heard her yourself?


THE INSPECTOR.

Yes.  I myself have spoken to her--several times.--Only a few words,
however; she is far from communicative.  But---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But Norwegian it was?


THE INSPECTOR.

Thoroughly good Norwegian--perhaps with a little north-country accent.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Gazing straight before him in amazement, whispers.]  That too?


MAIA.

[A little hurt and jarred.]  Perhaps this lady has been one of your
models, Rubek?  Search your memory.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks cuttingly at her.]  My models?


MAIA.

[With a provoking smile.]  In your younger days, I mean.  You are said
to have had innumerable models--long ago, of course.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[In the same tone.]  Oh no, little Frau Maia.  I have in reality had
only one single model.  One and only one--for everything I have done.


THE INSPECTOR.

[Who has turned away and stands looking out to the left.]  If you'll
excuse me, I think I will take my leave.  I see some one coming whom
it is not particularly agreeable to meet.  Especially in the presence
of ladies.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looking in the same direction.]  That sportsman there?  Who is it?


THE INSPECTOR.

It is a certain Mr. Ulfheim, from---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, Mr. Ulfheim---


THE INSPECTOR.

--the bear-killer, as they call him---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I know him.


THE INSPECTOR.

Who does not know him?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Very slightly, however.  Is he on your list of patients--at last?


THE INSPECTOR.

No, strangely enough--not as yet.  He comes here only once a year--on
his way up to his hunting-grounds.--Excuse me for the moment---

    [Makes a movement to go into the hotel.


ULFHEIM's VOICE.

[Heard outside.]  Stop a moment, man!  Devil take it all, can't you
stop?  Why do you always scuttle away from me?


THE INSPECTOR.

[Stops.]  I am not scuttling at all, Mr. Ulfheim.

    [ULFHEIM enters from the left followed by a servant with a
       couple of sporting dogs in leash.  ULFHEIM is in shooting
       costume, with high boots and a felt hat with a feather in
       it.  He is a long, lank, sinewy personage, with matted hair
       and beard, and a loud voice.  His appearance gives no precise
       clue to his age, but he is no longer young.]


ULFHEIM.

[Pounces upon the INSPECTOR.]  Is this a way to receive strangers,
hey?  You scamper away with your tail between your legs--as if you
had the devil at your heels.


THE INSPECTOR.

[Calmly, without answering him.]  Has Mr. Ulfheim arrived by the
steamer?


ULFHEIM.

[Growls.]  Haven't had the honour of seeing any steamer.  [With his arms
akimbo.]  Don't you know that I sail my own cutter?  [To the SERVANT.]
Look well after your fellow-creatures, Lars.  But take care you keep
them ravenous, all the same.  Fresh meat-bones--but not too much meat
on them, do you hear?  And be sure it's reeking raw, and bloody.  And
get something in your own belly while you're about it. [Aiming a kick
at him.]  Now then, go to hell with you!

    [The SERVANT goes out with the dogs, behind the corner of the
       hotel.]


THE INSPECTOR.

Would not Mr. Ulfheim like to go into the dining-room in the meantime?


ULFHEIM.

In among all the half-dead flies and people?  No, thank you a thousand
times, Mr. Inspector.


THE INSPECTOR.

Well, well, as you please.


ULFHEIM.

But get the housekeeper to prepare a hamper for me as usual.  There
must be plenty of provender in it--and lots of brandy--!  You can
tell her that I or Lars will come and play Old Harry with her if
she doesn't---


THE INSPECTOR.

[Interrupting.]  We know your ways of old.  [Turning.]  Can I give
the waiter any orders, Professor?  Can I send Mrs. Rubek anything?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No thank you; nothing for me.


MAIA.

Nor for me.

    [The INSPECTOR goes into the hotel.


ULFHEIM.

[Stares at them for a moment; then lifts his hat.]  Why, blast me
if here isn't a country tyke that has strayed into regular tip-top
society.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looking up.]  What do you mean by that, Mr. Ulfheim?


ULFHEIM.


[More quietly and politely.]  I believe I have the honour of addressing
no less a person than the great Sculptor Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods.]  I remember meeting you once or twice--the autumn when I was
last at home.


ULFHEIM.

That's many years ago, now.  And then you weren't so illustrious as I
hear you've since become.  At that time even a dirty bear-hunter might
venture to come near you.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiling.]  I don't bite even now.


MAIA.

[Looks with interest at ULFHEIM.]  Are you really and truly a bear-
hunter?


ULFHEIM.

[Seating himself at the next table, nearer the hotel.]  A bear-hunter
when I have the chance, madam.  But I make the best of any sort of
game that comes in my way--eagles, and wolves, and women, and elks,
and reindeer--if only it's fresh and juicy and has plenty of blood
in it.

    [Drinks from his pocket-flask.


MAIA.

[Regarding him fixedly.]  But you like bear-hunting best?


ULFHEIM.

I like it best, yes.  For then one can have the knife handy at a pinch.
[With a slight smile.]  We both work in a hard material, madam--both
your husband and I.  He struggles with his marble blocks, I daresay;
and I struggle with tense and quivering bear-sinews.  And we both
of us win the fight in the end--subdue and master our material.  We
never rest till we've got the upper hand of it, though it fight never
so hard.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Deep in thought.]  There's a great deal of truth in what you say.


ULFHEIM.

Yes, for I take it the stone has something to fight for too.  It is
dead, and determined by no manner of means to let itself be hammered
into life.  Just like the bear when you come and prod him up in his
lair.


MAIA.

Are you going up into the forests now to hunt?


ULFHEIM.

I am going right up into the high mountain.--I suppose you have never
been in the high mountain, madam?


MAIA.

No, never.


ULFHEIM.

Confound it all then, you must be sure and come up there this very
summer!  I'll take you with me--both you and the Professor, with
pleasure.


MAIA.

Thanks.  But Rubek is thinking of taking a sea trip this summer.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Round the coast--through the island channels.


ULFHEIM.

Ugh--what the devil would you do in those damnable sickly gutters--
floundering about in the brackish ditchwater?  Dishwater I should
rather call it.


MAIA.

There, you hear, Rubek!


ULFHEIM.

No, much better come up with me to the mountain--away, clean away,
from the trail and taint of men.  You cant' think what that means
for me.  But such a little lady---

    [He stops.

    [The SISTER OF MERCY comes out of the pavilion and goes into
       the hotel.


ULFHEIM.

[Following her with his eyes.]  Just look at her, do!  That night-crow
there!--Who is it that's to be buried?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I have not heard of any one---


ULFHEIM.

Well, there's some one on the point of giving up the ghost, then--in
on corner or another.--People that are sickly and rickety should have
the goodness to see about getting themselves buried--the sooner the
better.


MAIA.

Have you ever been ill yourself, Mr. Ulfheim.


ULFHEIM.

Never.  If I had, I shouldn't be here.--But my nearest friends--they
have been ill, poor things.


MAIA.

And what did you do for your nearest friends?


ULFHEIM.

Shot them, of course.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looking at him.]  Shot them?


MAIA.

[Moving her chair back.]  Shot them dead?


ULFHEIM.

[Nods.]  I never miss, madam.


MAIA.

But how can you possibly shoot people!


ULFHEIM.

I am not speaking of people---


MAIA.

You said your nearest friends---


ULFHEIM.

Well, who should they be but my dogs?


MAIA.

Are your dogs your nearest friends?


ULFHEIM.

I have none nearer.  My honest, trusty, absolutely loyal comrades--.
When one of them turns sick and miserable--bang!--and there's my
friend sent packing--to the other world.

    [The SISTER OF MERCY comes out of the hotel with a tray on which
       is bread and milk.  She places it on the table outside the
       pavilion, which she enters.


ULFHEIM.

[Laughs scornfully.]  That stuff there--is that what you call food for
human beings!  Milk and water and soft, clammy bread.  Ah, you should
see my comrades feeding.  Should you like to see it?


MAIA.

[Smiling across to the PROFESSOR and rising.]  Yes, very much.


ULFHEIM.

[Also rising.]  Spoken like a woman of spirit, madam!  Come with me,
then!  They swallow whole great thumping meat-bones--gulp them up and
then gulp them down again.  Oh, it's a regular treat to see them.
Come along and I'll show you--and while we're about it, we can talk
over this trip to the mountains---

    [He goes out by the corner of the hotel, MAIA following him.

    [Almost at the same moment the STRANGE LADY comes out of the
       pavilion and seats herself at the table.

    [The LADY raises her glass of milk and is about to drink, but
       stops and looks across at RUBEK with vacant, expressionless
       eyes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Remains sitting at his table and gazes fixedly and earnestly at her.
At last he rises, goes some steps towards her, stops, and says in a
low voice.]  I know you quite well, Irene.


THE LADY.

[In a toneless voice, setting down her glass.]  You can guess who I
am, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Without answering.]  And you recognise me, too, I see.


THE LADY.

With you it is quite another matter.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

With me?--How so?


THE LADY.

Oh, you are still alive.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Not understanding.]  Alive---?


THE LADY.

[After a short pause.]  Who was the other?  The woman you had with
you--there at the table?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[A little reluctantly.]  She?  That was my--my wife.


THE LADY.

[Nods slowly.]  Indeed.  That is well, Arnold.  Some one, then, who does
not concern me---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods.]  No, of course not---


THE LADY.

--one whom you have taken to you after my lifetime.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Suddenly looking hard at her.]  After your--?  What do you mean by
that, Irene?


IRENE.

[Without answering.]  And the child?  I hear the child is prospering
too.  Our child survives me--and has come to honour and glory.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiles as at a far-off recollection.]  Our child?  Yes, we called it
so--then.


IRENE.

In my lifetime, yes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Trying to take a lighter tone.]  Yes, Irene.--I can assure you "our
child" has become famous all the wide world over.  I suppose you have
read about it.


IRENE.

[Nods.]  And has made its father famous too.--That was your dream.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[More softly, with emotion.]  It is to you I owe everything, everything,
Irene--and I thank you.


IRENE.

[Lost in thought for a moment.]  If I had then done what I had a right
to do, Arnold---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well?  What then?


IRENE.

I should have killed that child.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Killed it, you say?


IRENE.

[Whispering.]  Killed it--before I went away from you.  Crushed it--
crushed it to dust.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shakes his head reproachfully.]  You would never have been able to,
Irene.  You had not the heart to do it.


IRENE.

No, in those days I had not that sort of heart.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But since then?  Afterwards?


IRENE.

Since then I have killed it innumerable times.  By daylight and in the
dark.  Killed it in hatred--and in revenge--and in anguish.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Goes close up to the table and asks softly.]  Irene--tell me now
at last--after all these years--why did you go away from me?  You
disappeared so utterly--left not a trace behind---


IRENE.

[Shaking her head slowly.]  Oh Arnold--why should I tell you that now--
from the world beyond the grave.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Was there some one else whom you had come to love?


IRENE.

There was one who had no longer any use for my love--any use for my
life.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Changing the subject.]  H'm--don't let us talk any more of the past---


IRENE.

No, no--by all means let us not talk of what is beyond the grave--what
is now beyond the grave for me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Where have you been, Irene?  All my inquiries were fruitless--you
seemed to have vanished away.


IRENE.

I went into the darkness--when the child stood transfigured in the
light.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Have you travelled much about the world?


IRENE.

Yes.  Travelled in many lands.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks compassionately at her.]  And what have you found to do, Irene?


IRENE.

[Turning her eyes upon him.]  Wait a moment; let me see--.  Yes, now I
have it.  I have posed on the turntable in variety-shows.  Posed as a
naked statue in living pictures.  Raked in heaps of money.  That was
more than I could do with you;  for you had none.--And then I turned
the heads of all sorts of men.  That too, was more than I could do
with you, Arnold.  You kept yourself better in hand.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Hastening to pass the subject by.]  And then you have married, too?


IRENE.

Yes; I married one of them.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Who is your husband?


IRENE.

He was a South American.  A distinguished diplomatist.  [Looks straight
in front of her with a stony smile.]  Him I managed to drive quite out
of his mind; mad--incurably mad; inexorably mad.--It was great sport,
I can tell you--while it was in the doing.  I could have laughed within
me all the time--if I had anything within me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And where is he now?


IRENE.

Oh, in a churchyard somewhere or other.  With a fine handsome monument
over him.  And with a bullet rattling in his skull.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Did he kill himself?


IRENE.

Yes, he was good enough to take that off my hands.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Do you not lament his loss, Irene?


IRENE.

[Not understanding.]  Lament?  What loss?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why, the loss of Herr von Satow, of course.


IRENE.

His name was not Satow.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Was it not?


IRENE.

My second husband is called Satow.  He is a Russian---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And where is he?


IRENE.

Far away in the Ural Mountains.  Among all his gold-mines.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

So he lives there?


IRENE.

[Shrugs her shoulders.]  Lives?  Lives?  In reality I have killed
him---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Start.]  Killed---!


IRENE.

Killed him with a fine sharp dagger which I always have with me in
bed---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Vehemently.]  I don't believe you, Irene!


IRENE.

[With a gentle smile.]  Indeed you may believe it, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks compassionately at her.]  Have you never had a child?


IRENE.

Yes, I have had many children.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And where are your children now?


IRENE.

I killed them.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Severely.]  Now you are telling me lies again!


IRENE.

I have killed them, I tell you--murdered them pitilessly.  As soon as
ever they came into the world.  Oh, long, long before.  One after the
other.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Sadly and earnestly.]  There is something hidden behind everything
you say.


IRENE.

How can I help that?  Every word I say is whispered into my ear.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I believe I am the only one that can divine your meaning.


IRENE.

Surely you ought to be the only one.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Rests his hands on the table and looks intently at her.]  Some of the
strings of your nature have broken.


IRENE.

[Gently.]  Does not that always happen when a young warm-blooded woman
dies?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh Irene, have done with these wild imaginings--!  You are living!
Living--living!


IRENE.

[Rises slowly from her chair and says, quivering.]  I was dead for
many years.  They came and bound me--laced my arms together behind
my back--.  Then they lowered me into a grave-vault, with iron bars
before the loop-hole.  And with padded walls--so that no one on the
earth above could hear the grave-shrieks--.  But now I am beginning,
in a way, to rise from the dead.

    [She seats herself again.]


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[After a pause.]  In all this, do you hold me guilty?


IRENE.

Yes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Guilty of that--your death, as you call it.


IRENE.

Guilty of the fact that I had to die.  [Changing her tone to one of
indifference.]  Why don't you sit down, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

May I?


IRENE.

Yes.--You need not be afraid of being frozen.  I don't think I am quite
turned to ice yet.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Moves a chair and seats himself at her table.]  There, Irene.  Now we
two are sitting together as in the old days.


IRENE.

A little way apart from each other--also as in the old days.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Moving nearer.]  It had to be so, then.


IRENE.

Had it?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Decisively.]  There had to be a distance between us---


IRENE.

Was it absolutely necessary, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Continuing.]  Do you remember what you answered when I asked if you
would go with me out into the wide world?


IRENE.

I held up three fingers in the air and swore that I would go with you
to the world's end and to the end of life.  And that I would serve you
in all things---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

As the model for my art---


IRENE.

--in frank, utter nakedness---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With emotion.]  And you did serve me, Irene--so bravely--so gladly
and ungrudgingly.


IRENE.

Yes, with all the pulsing blood of my youth, I served you!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nodding, with a look of gratitude.]  That you have every right to say.


IRENE.

I fell down at your feet and served you, Arnold!  [Holding her clenched
hand towards him.]  But you, you,--you--!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Defensively.]  I never did you any wrong!  Never, Irene!


IRENE.

Yes, you did!  You did wrong to my innermost, inborn nature---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Starting back.]  I--!


IRENE.

Yes, you!  I exposed myself wholly and unreservedly to your gaze--
[More softly.]  And never once did you touch me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Irene, did you not understand that many a time I was almost beside
myself under the spell of all your loveliness?


IRENE.

[Continuing undisturbed.]  And yet--if you had touched me, I think I
should have killed you on the spot.  For I had a sharp needle always
upon me--hidden in my hair--  [Strokes her forehead meditatively.]
But after all--after all--that you could---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks impressively at her.]  I was an artist, Irene.


IRENE.

[Darkly.]  That is just it.  That is just it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

An artist first of all.  And I was sick with the desire to achieve the
great work of my life.  [Losing himself in recollection.]  It was to
be called "The Resurrection Day"--figured in the likeness of a young
woman, awakening from the sleep of death---


IRENE.

Our child, yes---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Continuing.]  It was to be the awakening of the noblest, purest, most
ideal woman the world ever saw.  Then I found you.  You were what I
required in every respect.  And you consented so willingly--so gladly.
You renounced home and kindred--and went with me.


IRENE.

To go with you meant for me the resurrection of my childhood.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

That was just why I found in you all that I required--in you and in
no one else.  I came to look on you as a thing hallowed, not to be
touched save in adoring thoughts.  In those days I was still young,
Irene.  And the superstition took hold of me that if I touched you,
if I desired you with my senses, my soul would be profaned, so that
I should be unable to accomplish what I was striving for.--And I
still think there was some truth in that.


IRENE.

[Nods with a touch of scorn.]  The work of art first--then the human
being.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You must judge me as you will; but at that time I was utterly dominated
by my great task--and exultantly happy in it.


IRENE.

And you achieved your great task, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Thanks and praise be to you, I achieved my great task.  I wanted to
embody the pure woman as I saw her awakening on the Resurrection Day.
Not marvelling at anything new and unknown and undivined; but filled
with a sacred joy at finding herself unchanged--she, the woman of earth
--in the higher, freer, happier region--after the long, dreamless sleep
of death.  [More softly.]  Thus did I fashion her.--I fashioned her in
your image, Irene.


IRENE.

[Laying her hands flat upon the table and leaning against the back of
her chair.]  And then you were done with me---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Reproachfully.]  Irene!


IRENE.

You had no longer any use for me---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

How can you say that!


IRENE.

--and began to look about you for other ideals---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I found none, none after you.


IRENE.

And no other models, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You were no model to me.  You were the fountainhead of my achievement.


IRENE.

[Is silent for a short time.]  What poems have you made since?  In
marble I mean.  Since the day I left you.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I have made no poems since that day--only frittered away my life in
modelling.


IRENE.

And that woman, whom you are now living with---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Interrupting vehemently.]  Do not speak of her now! It makes me tingle
with shame.


IRENE.

Where are you thinking of going with her?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Slack and weary.]  Oh, on a tedious coasting-voyage to the North,
I suppose.


IRENE.

[Looks at him, smiles almost imperceptibly, and whispers.]  You should
rather go high up into the mountains.  As high as ever you can.  Higher,
higher,--always higher, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With eager expectation.]  Are you going up there?


IRENE.

Have you the courage to meet me once again?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Struggling with himself, uncertainly.]  If we could--oh, if only we
could---!


IRENE.

Why can we not do what we will?  [Looks at him and whispers beseechingly
with folded hands.]  Come, come, Arnold!  Oh, come up to me---!

    [MAIA enters, glowing with pleasure, from behind the hotel,
       and goes quickly up to the table where they were previously
       sitting.]


MAIA.

[Still at the corner of the hotel, without looking around.]  Oh, you
may say what you please, Rubek, but--[Stops, as she catches sight of
IRENE]--Oh, I beg your pardon--I see you have made an acquaintance.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Curtly.]  Renewed an acquaintance.  [Rises.]  What was it you wanted
with me?


MAIA.

I only wanted to say this: you may do whatever you please, but _I_ am
not going with you on that disgusting steamboat.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why not?


MAIA.

Because I want to go up on the mountains and into the forests--that's
what I want.  [Coaxingly.]  Oh, you must let me do it, Rubek.--I shall
be so good, so good afterwards!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Who is it that has put these ideas into your head?


MAIA.

Why he--that horrid bear-killer.  Oh you cannot conceive all the
marvelous things he has to tell about the mountains.  And about life
up there!  They're ugly, horrid, repulsive, most of the yarns he spins
--for I almost believe he's lying--but wonderfully alluring all the
same.  Oh, won't you let me go with him?  Only to see if what he says
is true, you understand.  May I, Rubek?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, I have not the slightest objection.  Off you go to the mountains--
as far and as long as you please.  I shall perhaps be going the same
way myself.


MAIA.

[Quickly.]  No, no, no, you needn't do that!  Not on my account!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I want to go to the mountains.  I have made up my mind to go.


MAIA.

Oh thanks, thanks!  May I tell the bear-killer at once?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Tell the bear-killer whatever you please.


MAIA.

Oh thanks, thanks, thanks!  [Is about to take his hand; he repels the
movement.]  Oh, how dear and good you are to-day, Rubek!

    [She runs into the hotel.

    [At the same time the door of the pavilion is softly and
       noiselessly set ajar.  The SISTER OF MERCY stands in the
       opening, intently on the watch.  No one sees her.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Decidedly, turning to IRENE.]  Shall we meet up there then?


IRENE.

[Rising slowly.]  Yes, we shall certainly meet.--I have sought for you
so long.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

When did you begin to seek for me, Irene?


IRENE.

[With a touch of jesting bitterness.]  From the moment I realised
that I had given away to you something rather indispensable, Arnold.
Something one ought never to part with.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Bowing his head.]  Yes, that is bitterly true.  You gave me three or
four years of your youth.


IRENE.

More, more than that I gave you--spend-thrift as I then was.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, you were prodigal, Irene.  You gave me all your naked loveliness---


IRENE.

--to gaze upon---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

--and to glorify---


IRENE.

Yes, for your own glorification.--And the child's.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And yours too, Irene.


IRENE.

But you have forgotten the most precious gift.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

The most precious--?  What gift was that?


IRENE.

I gave you my young, living soul.  And that gift left me empty within
--soulless.  [Looking at him with a fixed stare.]  It was that I died
of, Arnold.

    [The SISTER OF MERCY opens the door wide and makes room for her.
       She goes into the pavilion.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Stands and looks after her; then whispers.]  Irene!




ACT SECOND.


[Near a mountain resort.  The landscape stretches, in the form of
   an immense treeless upland, towards a long mountain lake.  Beyond
   the lake rises a range of peaks with blue-white snow in the clefts.
   In the foreground on the left a purling brook falls in severed
   streamlets down a steep wall of rock, and thence flows smoothly
   over the upland until it disappears to the right.  Dwarf trees,
   plants, and stones along the course of the brook.  In the
   foreground on the right a hillock, with a stone bench on the
   top of it.  It is a summer afternoon, towards sunset.

[At some distance over the upland, on the other side of the brook,
   a troop of children is singing, dancing, and playing.  Some are
   dressed in peasant costume, others in town-made clothes.  Their
   happy laughter is heard, softened by distance, during the
   following.

[PROFESSOR RUBEK is sitting on the bench, with a plaid over his
   shoulders, and looking down at the children's play.

[Presently, MAIA comes forward from among some bushes on the upland
   to the left, well back, and scans the prospect with her hand
   shading her eyes.  She wears a flat tourist cap, a short skirt,
   kilted up, reaching only midway between ankle and knee, and high,
   stout lace-boots.  She has in her hand a long alpenstock.


MAIA.

[At last catches sight of RUBEK and calls.]  Hallo!

    [She advances over the upland, jumps over the brook, with the
       aid of her alpenstock, and climbs up the hillock.


MAIA.

[Panting.]  Oh, how I have been rushing around looking for you, Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods indifferently and asks.]  Have you just come from the hotel?


MAIA.

Yes, that was the last place I tried--that fly-trap.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looking at her for moment.]  I noticed that you were not at the
dinner-table.


MAIA.

No, we had our dinner in the open air, we two.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

"We two"?  What two?


MAIA.

Why, I and that horrid bear-killer, of course.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, he.


MAIA.

Yes.  And first thing to-morrow morning we are going off again.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

After bears?


MAIA.

Yes.  Off to kill a brown-boy.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Have you found the tracks of any?


MAIA.

[With superiority.]  You don't suppose that bears are to be found in
the naked mountains, do you?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Where, then?


MAIA.

Far beneath.  On the lower slopes; in the thickest parts of the forest.
Places your ordinary town-folk could never get through---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And you two are going down there to-morrow?


MAIA.

[Throwing herself down among the heather.]  Yes, so we have arranged.
--Or perhaps we may start this evening.--If you have no objection,
that's to say?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I?  Far be it from me to---


MAIA.

[Quickly.]  Of course Lars goes with us--with the dogs.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I feel no curiosity as to the movements of Mr. Lars and his dogs.
[Changing the subject.]  Would you not rather sit properly on the
seat?


MAIA.

[Drowsily.]  No, thank you.  I'm lying so delightfully in the soft
heather.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I can see that you are tired.


MAIA.

[Yawning.]  I almost think I'm beginning to feel tired.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You don't notice it till afterwards--when the excitement is over---


MAIA.

[In a drowsy tone.]  Just so.  I will lie and close my eyes.

    [A short pause.

MAIA.

[With sudden impatience.]  Ugh, Rubek--how can you endure to sit there
listening to these children's screams!  And to watch all the capers
they are cutting, too!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

There is something harmonious--almost like music--in their movements,
now and then; amid all the clumsiness.  And it amuses me to sit and
watch for these isolated moments--when they come.


MAIA.

[With a somewhat scornful laugh.]  Yes, you are always, always an
artist.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And I propose to remain one.


MAIA.

[Lying on her side, so that her back is turned to him.]  There's not
a bit of the artist about him.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With attention.]  Who is it that's not an artist?


MAIA.

[Again in a sleepy tone.]  Why, he--the other one, of course.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

The bear-hunter, you mean?


MAIA.

Yes.  There's not a bit of the artist about him--not the least little
bit.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiling.]  No, I believe there's no doubt about that.


MAIA.

[Vehemently, without moving.]  And so ugly as he is!  [Plucks up a
tuft of heather and throws it away.]  So ugly, so ugly!  Isch!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Is that why you are so ready to set off with him--out into the wilds?


MAIA.

[Curtly.]  I don't know.  [Turning towards him.]  You are ugly, too,
Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Have you only just discovered it?


MAIA.

No, I have seen it for long.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shrugging his shoulders.]  One doesn't grow younger.  One doesn't
grow younger, Frau Maia.


MAIA.

It's not that sort of ugliness that I mean at all.  But there has come
to be such an expression of fatigue, of utter weariness, in your eyes
--when you deign, once in a while, to cast a glance at me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Have you noticed that?


MAIA.

[Nods.]  Little by little this evil look has come into your eyes.  It
seems almost as though you were nursing some dark plot against me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Indeed?  [In a friendly but earnest tone.]  Come here and sit beside
me, Maia; and let us talk a little.


MAIA.

[Half rising.]  Then will you let me sit upon your knee?  As I used to
in the early days?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No, you mustn't--people can see us from the hotel.  [Moves a little.]
But you can sit here on the bench--at my side.


MAIA.

No, thank you;  in that case I'd rather lie here, where I am.  I can
hear you quite well here.  [Looks inquiringly at him.]  Well, what is
it you want to say to me?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Begins slowly.]  What do you think was my real reason for agreeing to
make this tour?


MAIA.

Well--I remember you declared, among other things, that it was going
to do me such a tremendous lot of good.  But--but---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But---?


MAIA.

But now I don't believe the least little bit that that was the reason---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Then what is your theory about it now?


MAIA.

I think now that it was on account of that pale lady.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Madame von Satow---!


MAIA.

Yes, she who is always hanging at our heels.  Yesterday evening she
made her appearance up here too.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But what in all the world---!


MAIA.

Oh, I know you knew her very well indeed--long before you knew me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And had forgotten her, too--long before I knew you.


MAIA.

[Sitting upright.]  Can you forget so easily, Rubek?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Curtly.]  Yes, very easily indeed.  [Adds harshly.]  When I want
to forget.


MAIA.

Even a woman who has been a model to you?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

When I have no more use for her---


MAIA.

One who has stood to you undressed?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

That means nothing--nothing for us artists.  [With a change of tone.]
And then--may I venture to ask--how was I to guess that she was in
this country?


MAIA.

Oh, you might have seen her name in a Visitor's List--in one of the
newspapers.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But I had no idea of the name she now goes by.  I had never heard of
any Herr von Satow.


MAIA.

[Affecting weariness.]  Oh well then, I suppose it must have been for
some other reason that you were so set upon this journey.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Seriously.]  Yes, Maia--it was for another reason.  A quite different
reason.  And that is what we must sooner or later have a clear
explanation about.


MAIA.

[In a fit of suppressed laughter.]  Heavens, how solemn you look!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Suspiciously scrutinising her.]  Yes, perhaps a little more solemn
than necessary.


MAIA.

How so---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And that is a very good thing for us both.


MAIA.

You begin to make me feel curious, Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Only curious?  Not a little bit uneasy.


MAIA.

[Shaking her head.]  Not in the least.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Good.  Then listen.--You said that day down at the Baths that it seemed
to you I had become very nervous of late---


MAIA.

Yes, and you really have.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And what do you think can be the reason of that?


MAIA.

How can I tell---?  [Quickly.]  Perhaps you have grown weary of this
constant companionship with me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Constant--?  Why not say "everlasting"?


MAIA.

Daily companionship, then.  Here have we two solitary people lived
down there for four or five mortal years, and scarcely have an hour
away from each other.--We two all by ourselves.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With interest.]  Well?  And then---?


MAIA.

[A little oppressed.]  You are not a particularly sociable man, Rubek.
You like to keep to yourself and think your own thoughts.  And of
course I can't talk properly to you about your affairs.  I know
nothing about art and that sort of thing--  [With an impatient
gesture.]  And care very little either, for that matter!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, well; and that's why we generally sit by the fireside, and chat
about your affairs.


MAIA.

Oh, good gracious--I have no affairs to chat about.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, they are trifles, perhaps; but at any rate the time passes for
us in that way as well as another, Maia.


MAIA.

Yes, you are right.  Time passes.  It is passing away from you, Rubek.
--And I suppose it is really that that makes you so uneasy---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods vehemently.]  And so restless!  [Writhing in his seat.]  No, I
shall soon not be able to endure this pitiful life any longer.


MAIA.

[Rises and stands for a moment looking at him.]  If you want to get
rid of me, you have only to say so.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why will you use such phrases?  Get rid of you?


MAIA.

Yes, if you want to have done with me, please say so right out.  And I
will go that instant.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With an almost imperceptible smile.]  Do you intend that as a threat,
Maia?


MAIA.

There can be no threat for you in what I said.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Rising.]  No, I confess you are right there.  [Adds after a pause.]
You and I cannot possibly go on living together like this---


MAIA.

Well?  And then---?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

There is no "then" about it.  [With emphasis on his words.]  Because
we two cannot go on living together alone--it does not necessarily
follow that we must part.


MAIA.

[Smiles scornfully.]  Only draw away from each other a little, you
mean?

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shakes his head.]  Even that is not necessary.


MAIA.

Well then?  Come out with what you want to do with me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With some hesitation.]  What I now feel so keenly--and so painfully--
that I require, is to have some one about me who really and truly
stands close to me---


MAIA.

[Interrupts him anxiously.]  Don't I do that, Rubek?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Waving her aside.]  Not in that sense.  What I need is the
companionship of another person who can, as it were, complete me--
supply what is wanting in me--be one with me in all my striving.


MAIA.

[Slowly.]  It's true that things like that are a great deal too hard
for me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh no, they are not at all in your line, Maia.


MAIA.

[With an outburst.]  And heaven knows I don't want them to be, either!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I know that very well.--And it was with no idea of finding any such
help in my life-work that I married you.


MAIA.

[Observing him closely.]  I can see in your face that you are thinking
of some one else.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Indeed?  I have never noticed before that you were a thought-reader.
But you can see that, can you?


MAIA.

Yes, I can.  Oh, I know you so well, so well, Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Then perhaps you can also see who it is I am thinking of?


MAIA.

Yes, indeed I can.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well?  Have the goodness to---?


MAIA.

You are thinking of that--that model you once used for--  [Suddenly
letting slip the train of thought.]  Do you know, the people down at
the hotel think she's mad.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Indeed?  And pray what do the people down at the hotel think of you
and the bear-killer?


MAIA.

That has nothing to do with the matter.  [Continuing the former train
of thought.]  But it was this pale lady you were thinking of.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Calmly.]  Precisely, of her.--When I had no more use for her--and
when, besides, she went away from me--vanished without a word---


MAIA.

Then you accepted me as a sort of makeshift, I suppose?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[More unfeelingly.]  Something of the sort, to tell the truth, little
Maia.  For a year or a year and a half I had lived there lonely and
brooding, and had put the last touch--the very last touch, to my work.
"The Resurrection Day" went out over the world and brought me fame--
and everything else that heart could desire.  [With greater warmth.]
But I no longer loved my own work.  Men's laurels and incense nauseated
me, till I could have rushed away in despair and hidden myself in the
depths of the woods.  [Looking at her.]  You, who are a thought-reader
--can you guess what then occurred to me?


MAIA.

[Lightly.]  Yes, it occurred to you to make portrait-busts of gentlemen
and ladies.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Nods.]  To order, yes.  With animals' faces behind the masks.  Those
I threw in gratis--into the bargain, you understand.  [Smiling.]  But
that was not precisely what I had in my mind.


MAIA.

What, then?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Again serious.]  It was this, that all the talk about the artist's
vocation and the artist's mission, and so forth, began to strike me
as being very empty, and hollow, and meaningless at bottom.


MAIA.

Then what would you put in its place?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Life, Maia.


MAIA.

Life?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, is not life in sunshine and in beauty a hundred times better worth
while than to hang about to the end of your days in a raw, damp hole,
and wear yourself out in a perpetual struggle with lumps of clay and
blocks of stone?


MAIA.

[With a little sigh.]  Yes, I have always thought so, certainly.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And then I had become rich enough to live in luxury and in indolent,
quivering sunshine.  I was able to build myself the villa on the Lake
of Taunitz, and the palazzo in the capital,--and all the rest of it.


MAIA.

[Taking up his tone.]  And last but not least, you could afford to
treat yourself to me, too.  And you gave me leave to share in all
your treasures.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Jesting, so as to turn the conversation.]  Did I not promise to take
you up to a high enough mountain and show you all the glory of the
world?


MAIA.

[With a gentle expression.]  You have perhaps taken me up with you to
a high enough mountain, Rubek--but you have not shown me all the glory
of the world.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a laugh of irritation.]  How insatiable you are, Maia.!
Absolutely insatiable!  [With a vehement outburst.]  But do you know
what is the most hopeless thing of all, Maia?  Can you guess that?


MAIA.

[With quiet defiance.]  Yes, I suppose it is that you have gone and
tied yourself to me--for life.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I would not have expressed myself so heartlessly.


MAIA.

But you would have meant it just as heartlessly.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You have no clear idea of the inner workings of an artist's nature.


MAIA.

[Smiling and shaking her head.]  Good heavens, I haven't even a clear
idea of the inner workings of my own nature.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Continuing undisturbed.]  I live at such high speed, Maia.  We live
so, we artists.  I, for my part, have lived through a whole lifetime
in the few years we two have known each other.  I have come to realise
that I am not at all adapted for seeking happiness in indolent
enjoyment.  Life does not shape itself that way for me and those like
me.  I must go on working--producing one work after another--right up
to my dying day.  [Forcing himself to continue.]  That is why I cannot
get on with you any longer, Maia--not with you alone.


MAIA.

[Quietly.]  Does that mean, in plain language, that you have grown
tired of me?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Bursts forth.]  Yes, that is what it means!  I have grown tired--
intolerably tired and fretted and unstrung--in this life with you!
Now you know it.  [Controlling himself.]  These are hard, ugly words
I am using.  I know that very well.  And you are not at all to blame
in this matter;--that I willingly admit.  It is simply and solely I
myself, who have once more undergone a revolution--[Half to himself]--
and awakening to my real life.


MAIA.

[Involuntarily folding her hands.]  Why in all the world should we not
part then?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks at her in astonishment.]  Should you be willing to?


MAIA.

[Shrugging her shoulders.]  Oh yes--if there's nothing else for it,
then---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Eagerly.]  But there is something else for it.  There is an
alternative---


MAIA.

[Holding up her forefinger.]  Now you are thinking of the pale lady
again!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, to tell the truth, I cannot help constantly thinking of her.  Ever
since I met her again.  [A step nearer her.]  For now I will tell you
a secret, Maia.


MAIA.

Well?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Touching his own breast.]  In here, you see--in here I have a little
bramah-locked casket.  And in that casket all my sculptor's visions
are stored up.  But when she disappeared and left no trace, the lock
of the casket snapped to.  And she had the key--and she took it away
with her.--You, little Maia, you had no key; so all that the casket
contains must lie unused.  And the years pass!  And I have no means
of getting at the treasure.


MAIA.

[Trying to repress a subtle smile.]  Then get her to open the casket
for you again---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Not understanding.]  Maia---?


MAIA.

--for here she is, you see.   And no doubt it's on account of this
casket that she has come.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I have not said a single word to her on this subject!


MAIA.

[Looks innocently at him.]  My dear Rubek--is it worth while to make
all this fuss and commotion about so simple a matter?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Do you think this matter is so absolutely simple?


MAIA.

Yes, certainly I think so.  Do you attach yourself to whoever you
most require.  [Nods to him.]  I shall always manage to find a place
for myself.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Where do you mean?


MAIA.

[Unconcerned, evasively.]  Well--I need only take myself off to the
villa, if it should be necessary.  But it won't be; for in town--in
all that great house of ours--there must surely, with a little good
will, be room enough for three.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Uncertainly.]  And do you think that would work in the long run?


MAIA.

[In a light tone.]  Very well, then--if it won't work, it won't.  It
is no good talking about it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And what shall we do then, Maia--if it does not work?


MAIA.

[Untroubled.]  Then we two will simply get out of each other's way--
part entirely.  I shall always find something new for myself, somewhere
in the world.  Something free!  Free!  Free!--No need to be anxious
about that, Professor Rubek!  [Suddenly points off to the right.]
Look there!  There we have her.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Turning.]  Where?


MAIA.

Out on the plain.  Striding--like a marble stature.  She is coming this
way.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Stands gazing with his hand over his eyes.]  Does not she look like
the Resurrection incarnate?  [To himself.]  And her I could displace--
and move into the shade!  Remodel her--.  Fool that I was!


MAIA.

What do you mean by that?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Putting the question aside.]  Nothing.  Nothing that you would
understand.

    [IRENE advances from the right over the upland.  The children
       at their play have already caught sight of her and run to
       meet her.  She is now surrounded by them; some appear confident
       and at ease, others uneasy and timid.  She talks low to them
       and indicates that they are to go down to the hotel; she
       herself will rest a  little beside the brook.  The children
       run down over the slope to the left, half way to the back.
       IRENE goes up to the wall of rock, and lets the rillets of
       the cascade flow over her hands, cooling them.


MAIA.

[In a low voice.]  Go down and speak to her alone, Rubek.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And where will you go in the meantime?


MAIA.

[Looking significantly at him.]  Henceforth I shall go my own ways.

    [She descends form the hillock and leaps over the brook, by aid
       of her alpenstock.  She stops beside IRENE.


MAIA.

Professor Rubek is up there, waiting for you, madam.


IRENE.

What does he want?


MAIA.

He wants you to help him to open a casket that has snapped to.


IRENE.

Can I help him in that?


MAIA.

He says you are the only person that can.


IRENE.

Then I must try.


MAIA.

Yes, you really must, madam.

    [She goes down by the path to the hotel.

    [In a little while PROFESSOR RUBEK comes down to IRENE, but stops
       with the brook between them.


IRENE.

[After a short pause.]  She--the other one--said that you had been
waiting for me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I have waited for you year after year--without myself knowing it.


IRENE.

I could not come to you, Arnold.  I was lying down there, sleeping the
long, deep, dreamful sleep.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But now you have awakened, Irene!


IRENE.

[Shakes her head.]  I have the heavy, deep sleep still in my eyes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You shall see that day will dawn and lighten for us both.


IRENE.

Do not believe that.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Urgently.]  I do believe it!  And I know it!  Now that I have found
you again---


IRENE.

Risen from the grave.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Transfigured!


IRENE.

Only risen, Arnold.  Not transfigured.

    [He crosses over to her by means of stepping-stones below the
       cascade.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Where have you been all day, Irene?


IRENE.

[Pointing.]  Far, far over there, on the great dead waste---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Turning the conversation.]  You have not your--your friend with you
to-day, I see.


IRENE.

[Smiling.]  My friend is keeping a close watch on me, none the less.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Can she?


IRENE.

[Glancing furtively around.]  You may be sure she can--wherever I may
go.  She never loses sight of me--  [Whispering.]  Until, one fine
sunny morning, I shall kill her.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Would you do that?


IRENE.

With the utmost delight--if only I could manage it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why do you want to?


IRENE.

Because she deals in witchcraft.  [Mysteriously.]  Only think, Arnold--
she has changed herself into my shadow.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Trying to calm her.]  Well, well, well--a shadow we must all have.


IRENE.

I am my own shadow.  [With an outburst.]  Do you not understand that!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Sadly.]  Yes, yes, Irene, I understand.

    [He seats himself on a stone beside the brook.  She stands behind
       him, leaning against the wall of rock.


IRENE.

[After a pause.]  Why do you sit there turning your eyes away from me?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Softly, shaking his head.]  I dare not--I dare not look at you.


IRENE.

Why dare you not look at me any more?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You have a shadow that tortures me.  And I have the crushing weight of
my conscience.


IRENE.

[With a glad cry of deliverance.]  At last!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Springs up.]  Irene--what is it!


IRENE.

[Motioning him off.]  Keep still, still, still!  [Draws a deep breath
and says, as though relieved of a burden.]  There!  Now they let me
go.  For this time.--Now we can sit down and talk as we used to--when
I was alive.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, if only we could talk as we used to.


IRENE.

Sit there, where you were sitting.  I will sit here beside you.

    [He sits down again.  She seats herself on another stone, close
       to him.


IRENE.

[After a short interval of silence.]  Now I have come back to you from
the uttermost regions, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Aye, truly, from an endless journey.


IRENE.

Come home to my lord and master---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

To our home;--to our own home, Irene.


IRENE.

Have you looked for my coming every single day?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

How dared I look for you?


IRENE.

[With a sidelong glance.]  No, I suppose you dared not.  For you
understood nothing.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Was it really not for the sake of some one else that you all of a
sudden disappeared from me in that way?


IRENE.

Might it not quite well be for your sake, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks doubtfully at her.]  I don't understand you---?


IRENE.

When I had served you with my soul and with my body--when the statue
stood there finished--our child as you called it--then I laid at your
feet the most precious sacrifice of all--by effacing myself for all
time.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Bows his head.]  And laying my life waste.


IRENE.

[Suddenly firing up.]  It was just that I wanted!  Never, never
should you create anything again--after you had created that only
child of ours.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Was it jealously that moved you, then?


IRENE.

[Coldly.]  I think it was rather hatred.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Hatred?  Hatred for me?


IRENE.

[Again vehemently.]  Yes, for you--for the artist who had so lightly
and carelessly taken a warm-blooded body, a young human life, and
worn the soul out of it--because you needed it for a work of art.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And you can say that--you who threw yourself into my work with such
saint-like passion and such ardent joy?--that work for which we two
met together every morning, as for an act of worship.


IRENE.

[Coldly, as before.]  I will tell you one thing, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well?


IRENE.

I never loved your art, before I met you.--Nor after either.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But the artist, Irene?


IRENE.

The artist I hate.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

The artist in me too?


IRENE.

In you most of all.  When I unclothed myself and stood for you, then I
hated you, Arnold---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Warmly.]  That you did not, Irene!  That is not true!


IRENE.

I hated you, because you could stand there so unmoved---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Laughs.]  Unmoved?  Do you think so?


IRENE.

--at any rate so intolerably self-controlled.  And because you were
an artist and an artist only--not a man!  [Changing to a tone full
of warmth and feeling.]  But that statue in the wet, living clay,
that I loved--as it rose up, a vital human creature, out of those
raw, shapeless masses--for that was our creation, our child.  Mine
and yours.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Sadly.]  It was so in spirit and in truth.


IRENE.

Let me tell you, Arnold--it is for the sake of this child of ours
that I have undertaken this long pilgrimage.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Suddenly alert.]  For the statue's---?


IRENE.

Call it what you will.  I call it our child.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And now you want to see it?  Finished?  In marble, which you always
thought so cold?  [Eagerly.]  You do not know, perhaps, that it is
installed in a great museum somewhere--far out in the world?


IRENE.

I have heard a sort of legend about it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And museums were always a horror to you.  You called them grave-
vaults---


IRENE.

I will make a pilgrimage to the place where my soul and my child's
soul lie buried.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Uneasy and alarmed.]  You must never see that statue again!  Do you
hear, Irene!  I implore you--!  Never, never see it again!


IRENE.

Perhaps you think it would mean death to me a second time?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Clenching his hands together.]  Oh, I don't know what I think.--But
how could I ever imagine that you would fix your mind so immovably on
that statue?  You, who went away from me--before it was completed.


IRENE.

It was completed.  That was why I could go away from you--and leave
you alone.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Sits with his elbows upon his knees, rocking his head from side to
side, with his hands before his eyes.]  It was not what it afterwards
became.


IRENE.

[Quietly but quick as lightning, half-unsheathes a narrow-bladed sharp
knife which she carried in her breast, and asks in a hoarse whisper.]
Arnold--have you done any evil to our child?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Evasively.]  Any evil?--How can I be sure what you would call it?


IRENE.

[Breathless.]  Tell me at once: what have you done to the child?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I will tell you, if you will sit and listen quietly to what I say.


IRENE.

[Hides the knife.]  I will listen as quietly as a mother can when she---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Interrupting.]  And you must not look at me while I am telling you.


IRENE.

[Moves to a stone behind his back.]  I will sit here, behind you.--
Now tell me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Takes his hands from before his eyes and gazes straight in front of
him.  When I had found you, I knew at once how I should make use of
you for my life-work.


IRENE.

"The Resurrection Day" you called your life-work.--I call it "our
child."


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I was young then--with no knowledge of life.  The Resurrection, I
thought, would be most beautifully and exquisitely figured as a young
unsullied woman--with none of our earth-life's experiences--awakening
to light and glory without having to put away from her anything ugly
and impure.


IRENE.

[Quickly.]  Yes--and so I stand there now, in our work?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Hesitating.]  Not absolutely and entirely so, Irene.


IRENE.

[In rising excitement.]  Not absolutely--?  Do I not stand as I always
stood for you?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Without answering.]  I learned worldly wisdom in the years that
followed, Irene.  "The Resurrection Day" became in my mind's eye
something more and something--something more complex.  The little
round plinth on which your figure stood erect and solitary--it no
longer afforded room for all the imagery I now wanted to add---


IRENE.

[Groped for her knife, but desists.]  What imagery did you add then?
Tell me!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I imagined that which I saw with my eyes around me in the world.  I
had to include it--I could not help it, Irene.  I expanded the plinth
--made it wide and spacious.  And on it I placed a segment of the
curving, bursting earth.  And up from the fissures of the soil there
now swarm men and women with dimly-suggested animal-faces.  Women and
men--as I knew them in real life.


IRENE.

[In breathless suspense.]  But in the middle of the rout there stands
the young woman radiant with the joy of light?--Do I not stand so,
Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Evasively.]  Not quite in the middle.  I had unfortunately to move
that figure a little back.  For the sake of the general effect, you
understand.  Otherwise it would have dominated the whole too much.


IRENE.

But the joy in the light still transfigures my face?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, it does, Irene--in a way.  A little subdued perhaps--as my altered
idea required.


IRENE.

[Rising noiselessly.]  That design expresses the life you now see,
Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, I suppose it does.


IRENE.

And in that design you have shifted me back, a little toned down--to
serve as a background-figure--in a group.

    [She draws the knife.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Not a background-figure.  Let us say, at most, a figure not quite in
the foreground--or something of that sort.


IRENE.

[Whispers hoarsely.]  There you uttered your own doom.

    [On the point of striking.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Turns and looks up at her.]  Doom?


IRENE.

[Hastily hides the knife, and says as though choked with agony.]  My
whole soul--you and I--we, we, we and our child were in that solitary
figure.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Eagerly, taking off his hat and drying the drops of sweat upon his
brow.]  Yes, but let me tell you, too, how I have placed myself in
the group.  In front, beside a fountain--as it were here--sits a man
weighed down with guilt, who cannot quite free himself from the earth
-crust.  I call him remorse for a forfeited life.  He sits there and
dips his fingers in the purling stream--to wash them clean--and he is
gnawed and tortured by the thought that never, never will he succeed.
Never in all eternity will he attain to freedom and the new life.  He
will remain for ever prisoned in his hell.


IRENE.

[Hardly and coldly.]  Poet!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Why poet?


IRENE.

Because you are nerveless and sluggish and full of forgiveness for all
the sins of your life, in thought and in act.  You have killed my soul
--so you model yourself in remorse, and self-accusation, and penance--
[Smiling.]  --and with that you think your account is cleared.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Defiantly.]  I am an artist, Irene.  And I take no shame to myself
for the frailties that perhaps cling to me.  For I was born to be an
artist, you see.  And, do what I may, I shall never be anything else.


IRENE.

[Looks at him with a lurking evil smile, and says gently and softly.]
You are a poet, Arnold.  [Softly strokes his hair.]  You dear, great,
middle-aged child,--is it possible that you cannot see that!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Annoyed.]  Why do you keep on calling me a poet?


IRENE.

[With malign eyes.]  Because there is something apologetic in the word,
my friend.  Something that suggests forgiveness of sins--and spreads
a cloak over all frailty.  [With a sudden change of tone.]  But I was
a human being--then!  And I, too, had a life to live,--and a human
destiny to fulfil.  And all that, look you, I let slip--gave it all
up in order to make myself your bondwoman.--Oh, it was self-murder--a
deadly sin against myself!  [Half whispering.]  And that sin I can
never expiate!

    [She seats herself near him beside the brook, keeps close, though
       unnoticed, watch upon him, and, as though in absence of mind,
       plucks some flowers form the shrubs around them.


IRENE.

[With apparent self-control.]  I should have borne children in the
world--many children--real children--not such children as are hidden
away in grave-vaults.  That was my vocation.  I ought never to have
served you--poet.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Lost in recollection.]  Yet those were beautiful days, Irene.
Marvellously beautiful days--as I now look back upon them---


IRENE.

[Looking at him with a soft expression.]  Can you remember a little
word that you said--when you had finished--finished with me and with
our child?  [Nods to him.]  Can you remember that little word, Arnold?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks inquiringly at her.]  Did I say a little word then, which you
still remember?


IRENE.

Yes, you did.  Can you not recall it?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shaking his head.]  No, I can't say that I do.  Not at the present
moment, at any rate.


IRENE.

You took both my hands and pressed them warmly.  And I stood there in
breathless expectation.  And then you said: "So now, Irene, I thank
you from my heart.  This," you said, "has been a priceless episode
for me."


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks doubtfully at her.]  Did I say "episode"?  It is not a word I
am in the habit of using.


IRENE.

You said "episode."


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With assumed cheerfulness.]  Well, well--after all, it was in reality
an episode.


IRENE.

[Curtly.]  At that word I left you.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You take everything so painfully to heart, Irene.


IRENE.

[Drawing her hand over her forehead.]  Perhaps you are right.  Let us
shake off all the hard things that go to the heart.  [Plucks off the
leaves of a mountain rose and strews them on the brook.]  Look there,
Arnold.  There are our birds swimming.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What birds are they?


IRENE.

Can you not see?  Of course they are flamingoes.  Are they not
rose-red?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Flamingoes do not swim.  They only wade.


IRENE.

Then they are not flamingoes.  They are sea-gulls.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

They may be sea-gulls with red bills, yes.  [Plucks broad green leaves
and throws them into the brook.]  Now I send out my ships after them.


IRENE.

But there must be no harpoon-men on board.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No, there shall be no harpoon-men.  [Smiles to her.]  Can you remember
the summer when we used to sit like this outside the little peasant hut
on the Lake of Taunitz?


IRENE.

[Nods.]  On Saturday evenings, yes,--when we had finished our week's
work---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

--And taken the train out to the lake--to stay there over Sunday---


IRENE.

[With an evil gleam of hatred in her eyes.]  It was an episode, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[As if not hearing.]  Then, too, you used to set birds swimming in the
brook.  They were water-lilies which you---


IRENE.

They were white swans.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I meant swans, yes.  And I remember that I fastened a great furry leaf
to one of the swans.  It looked like a burdock-leaf---


IRENE.

And then it turned into Lohengrin's boat--with the swan yoked to it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

How fond you were of that game, Irene.


IRENE.

We played it over and over again.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Every single Saturday, I believe,--all the summer through.


IRENE.

You said I was the swan that drew your boat.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Did I say so?  Yes, I daresay I did.  [Absorbed in the game.]  Just
see how the sea-gulls are swimming down the stream!


IRENE.

[Laughing.]  And all your ships have run ashore.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Throwing more leaves into the brook.]  I have ships enough in reserve.
[Follows the leaves with his eyes, throws more into the brook, and says
after a pause.]  Irene,--I have bought the little peasant hut beside
the Lake of Taunitz.


IRENE.

Have you bought it?  You often said you would, if you could afford it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

The day came when I could afford it easily enough; and so I bought it.


IRENE.

[With a sidelong look at him.]  Then do you live out there now--in
our old house?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

No, I have had it pulled down long ago.  And I have built myself a
great, handsome, comfortable villa on the site--with a park around
it.  It is there that we-- [Stops and corrects himself.] --there that
I usually live during the summer.


IRENE.

[Mastering herself.]  So you and--and the other one live out there now?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[With a touch of defiance.]  Yes.  When my wife and I are not
travelling--as we are this year.


IRENE.

[Looking far before her.]  Life was beautiful, beautiful by the Lake
of Taunitz.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[As though looking back into himself.]  And yet, Irene---


IRENE.

[Completing his thought.]  --yet we two let slip all that life and
its beauty.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Softly, urgently.]  Does repentance come too late, now?


IRENE.

[Does not answer, but sits silent for a moment; then she points over
the upland.]  Look there, Arnold,--now the sun is going down behind
the peaks.  See what a red glow the level rays cast over all the
heathery knolls out yonder.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks where she is pointing.]  It is long since I have seen a sunset
in the mountains.


IRENE.

Or a sunrise?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

A sunrise I don't think I have ever seen.


IRENE.

[Smiles as though lost in recollection.]  I once saw a marvellously
lovely sunrise.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Did you?  Where was that?


IRENE.

High, high up on a dizzy mountain-top.--You beguiled me up there by
promising that I should see all the glory of the world if only I---

    [She stops suddenly.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

If only you--?  Well?


IRENE.

I did as you told me--went with you up to the heights.  And there I
fell upon my knees and worshipped you, and served you.  [Is silent
for a moment; then says softly.]  Then I saw the sunrise.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Turning at him with a scornful smile.]  With you--and the other woman?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Urgently.]  With me--as in our days of creation.  You could open all
that is locked up in me.  Can you not find it in your heart, Irene?


IRENE.

[Shaking her head.]  I have no longer the key to you, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

You have the key!  You and you alone possess it!  [Beseechingly.]
Help me--that I may be able to live my life over again!


IRENE.

[Immovable as before.]  Empty dreams!  Idle--dead dreams.  For the
life you and I led there is no resurrection.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Curtly, breaking off.]  Then let us go on playing.


IRENE.

Yes, playing, playing--only playing!

    [They sit and strew leaves and petals over the brook, where they
       float and sail away.

    [Up the slope to the left at the back come ULFHEIM and MAIA in
       hunting costume.  After them comes the SERVANT with the leash
       of dogs, with which he goes out to the right.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Catching sight of them.]  Ah!  There is little Maia, going out with
the bear-hunter.


IRENE.

Your lady, yes.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Or the other's.


MAIA.

[Looks around as she is crossing the upland, sees the two sitting by
the brook, and calls out.]  Good-night, Professor!  Dream of me.  Now
I am going off on my adventures!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Calls back to her.]  What sort of an adventure is this to be?


MAIA.

[Approaching.]  I am going to let life take the place of all the rest.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Mockingly.]  Aha!  So you too are going to do that, little Maia?


MAIA.

Yes.  And I've made a verse about it, and this is how it goes:

    [Sings triumphantly.]

              I am free!  I am free!  I am free!
              No more life in the prison for me!
              I am free as a bird!  I am free!
              For I believe I have awakened now--at last.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It almost seems so.


MAIA.

[Drawing a deep breath.]  Oh--how divinely light one feels on waking!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Good-night,  Frau Maia--and good luck to---


ULFHEIM.

[Calls out, interposing.]  Hush, hush!--for the devil's sake let's
have none of your wizard wishes.  Don't you see that we are going
out to shoot---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What will you bring me home from the hunting, Maia?


MAIA.

You shall have a bird of prey to model.  I shall wing one for you.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Laughs mockingly and bitterly.]  Yes, to wing things--without knowing
what you are doing--that has long been quite in your way.


MAIA.

[Tossing her head.]  Oh, just let me take care of myself for the
future, and I wish you then--!   [Nods and laughs roguishly.]
Good-bye--and a good, peaceful summer night on the upland!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Jestingly.]  Thanks!  And all the ill-luck in the world over you and
your hunting!


ULFHEIM.

[Roaring with laughter.]  There now, that is a wish worth having!


MAIA.

[Laughing.]  Thanks, thanks, thanks, Professor!

    [They have both crossed the visible portion of the upland, and go
       out through the bushes to the right.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[After a short pause.]  A summer night on the upland!  Yes, that would
have been life!


IRENE.

[Suddenly, with a wild expression in her eyes.]  Will you spend a
summer night on the upland--with me?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Stretching his arms wide.]  Yes, yes,--come!


IRENE.

My adored lord and master!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, Irene!


IRENE.

[Hoarsely, smiling and groping in her breast.]  It will be only an
episode--  [Quickly, whispering.]  Hush!--do not look round, Arnold!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Also in a low voice.]  What is it?


IRENE.

A face that is staring at me.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Turns involuntarily.]  Where!  [With a start.]  Ah---!

    [The SISTER OF MERCY's head is partly visible among the bushes
       beside the descent to the left.  Her eyes are immovably fixed
       on IRENE.


IRENE.

[Rises and says softly.]  We must part then.  No, you must remain
sitting.  Do you hear?  You must not go with me.  [Bends over him
and whispers.]  Till we meet again--to-night--on the upland.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

And you will come, Irene?


IRENE.

Yes, surely I will come.  Wait for me here.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Repeats dreamily.]  Summer night on the upland.  With you.  With you.
[His eyes meet hers.]  Oh, Irene--that might have been our life.--And
that we have forfeited--we two.


IRENE.

We see the irretrievable only when--

    [Breaks off.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks inquiringly at her.]  When---?


IRENE.

When we dead awaken.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shakes his head mournfully.]  What do we really see then?


IRENE.

We see that we have never lived.

    [She goes towards the slope and descends.

    [The SISTER OF MERCY makes way for her and follows her.  PROFESSOR
       RUBEK remains sitting motionless beside the brook.


MAIA.

[Is heard singing triumphantly among the hills.]

               I am free!  I am free!  I am free!
               No more life in the prison for me!
               I am free as a bird!  I am free!




ACT THIRD.


[A wild riven mountain-side, with sheer precipices at the back.
   Snow-clad peaks rise to the right, and lose themselves in drifting
   mists.  To the left, on a stone-scree, stands an old, half-ruined
   hut.  It is early morning.  Dawn is breaking.  The sun has not
   yet risen.

[MAIA comes, flushed and irritated, down over the stone-scree on the
   left.  ULFHEIM follows, half angry, half laughing, holding her
   fast by the sleeve.


MAIA.

[Trying to tear herself loose.]  Let me go!  Let me go, I say!


ULFHEIM.

Come, Come!  are you going to bite now?  You're as snappish as a wolf.


MAIA.

[Striking him over the hand.]  Let me, I tell you?  And be quiet!


ULFHEIM.

No, confound me if I will!


MAIA.

Then I will not go another step with you.  Do you hear?--not a single
step!


ULFHEIM.

Ho, ho!  How can you get away from me, here, on the wild mountain-side?


MAIA.

I will jump over the precipice yonder, if need be---


ULFHEIM.

And mangle and mash yourself up into dogs'-meat!  A juicy morsel!
[Lets go his hold.]  As you please.  Jump over the precipice if you
want to.  It's a dizzy drop.  There's only one narrow footpath down
it, and that's almost impassable.


MAIA.

[Dusts her skirt with her hand, and looks at him with angry eyes.]
Well, you are a nice one to go hunting with!


ULFHEIM.

Say rather, sporting.


MAIA.

Oh!  So you call this sport, do you?


ULFHEIM.

Yes, I venture to take that liberty.  It is the sort of sport I like
best of all.


MAIA.

[Tossing her head.]  Well--I must say!  [After a pause; looks
searchingly at him.]  Why did you let the dogs loose up there?


ULFHEIM.

[Blinking his eyes and smiling.]  So that they too might do a little
hunting on their own account, don't you see?


MAIA.

There's not a word of truth in that!  It wasn't for the dogs' sake
that you let them go.


ULFHEIM.

[Still smiling.]  Well, why did I let them go then?  Let us hear.


MAIA.

You let them go because you wanted to get rid of Lars.  He was to run
after them and bring them in again, you said.  And in the meant-time--.
Oh, it was a pretty way to behave!


ULFHEIM.

In the meantime?


MAIA.

[Curtly breaking off.]  No matter!


ULFHEIM.

[In a confidential tone.]  Lars won't find them.  You may safely swear
to that.  He won't come with them before the time's up.


MAIA.

[Looking angrily at him.]  No, I daresay not.


ULFHEIM.

[Catching at her arm.]  For Lars--he knows my--my methods of sport,
you see.


MAIA.

[Eludes him, and measures him with a glance.]  Do you know what you
look like, Mr. Ulfheim?


ULFHEIM.

I should think I'm probably most like myself.


MAIA.

Yes, there you're exactly right.  For you're the living image of
a faun.


ULFHEIM.

A faun?


MAIA.

Yes, precisely; a faun.


ULFHEIM.

A faun!  Isn't that a sort of monster?  Or a kind of a wood demon, as
you might call it?


MAIA.

Yes, just the sort of creature you are.  A thing with a goat's beard
and goat-legs.  Yes, and the faun has horns too!


ULFHEIM.

So, so!--has he horns too?


MAIA.

A pair of ugly horns, just like yours, yes.


ULFHEIM.

Can you see the poor little horns _I_ have?


MAIA.

Yes, I seem to see them quite plainly.


ULFHEIM.

[Taking the dogs' leash out of his pocket.]  Then I had better see
about tying you.


MAIA.

Have you gone quite mad?  Would you tie me?


ULFHEIM.

If I am a demon, let me be a demon!  So that's the way of it!  You
can see the horns, can you?


MAIA.

[Soothingly.]  There, there, there!  Now try to behave nicely, Mr.
Ulfheim.  [Breaking off.]  But what has become of that hunting-castle
of yours, that you boasted so much of?  You said it lay somewhere
hereabouts.


ULFHEIM.

[Points with a flourish to the hut.]  There you have it, before your
very eyes.


MAIA.

[Looks at him.]  That old pig-stye!


ULFHEIM.

[Laughing in his beard.]  It has harboured more than one king's
daughter, I can tell you.


MAIA.

Was it there that that horrid man you told me about came to the king's
daughter in the form of a bear?


ULFHEIM.

Yes, my fair companion of the chase--this is the scene.  [With a
gesture of invitation.]  If you would deign to enter---


MAIA.

Isch!  If ever I set foot in it--!  Isch!


ULFHEIM.

Oh, two people can doze away a summer night in there comfortably
enough.  Or a whole summer, if it comes to that!


MAIA.

Thanks!  One would need to have a pretty strong taste for that kind of
thing.  [Impatiently.]  But now I am tired both of you and the hunting
expedition.  Now I am going down to the hotel--before people awaken
down there.


ULFHEIM.

How do you propose to get down from here?


MAIA.

That's your affair.  There must be a way down somewhere or other, I
suppose.


ULFHEIM.

[Pointing towards the back.]  Oh, certainly!  There is a sort of way--
right down the face of the precipice yonder---


MAIA.

There, you see.  With a little goodwill---


ULFHEIM.

--but just you try if you dare go that way.


MAIA.

[Doubtfully.]  Do you think I can't?


ULFHEIM.

Never in this world--if you don't let me help you.


MAIA.

[Uneasily.]  Why, then come and help me!  What else are you here for?


ULFHEIM.

Would you rather I should take you on my back---?


MAIA.

Nonsense!


ULFHEIM.

--or carry you in my arms?


MAIA.

Now do stop talking that rubbish!


ULFHEIM.

[With suppressed exasperation.]  I once took a young girl--lifted her
up from the mire of the streets and carried her in my arms.  Next my
heart I carried her.  So I would have borne her all through life--
lest haply she should dash her foot against a stone.  For her shoes
were worn very thin when I found her---


MAIA.

And yet you took her up and carried her next your heart?


ULFHEIM.

Took her up out of the gutter and carried her as high and as carefully
as I could. [With a growling laugh.]  And do you know what I got for
my reward?


MAIA.

No.  What did you get?


ULFHEIM.

[Looks at her, smiles and nods.]  I got the horns!  The horns that you
can see so plainly.  Is not that a comical story, madam bear-murderess?


MAIA.

Oh yes, comical enough!  But I know another story that is still more
comical.


ULFHEIM.

How does that story go?


MAIA.

This is how it goes.  There was once a stupid girl, who had both a
father and a mother--but a rather poverty-stricken home.  Then there
came a high and mighty seigneur into the midst of all this poverty.
And he took the girl in his arms--as you did--and travelled far, far
away with her---


ULFHEIM.

Was she so anxious to be with him?


MAIA.

Yes, for she was stupid, you see.


ULFHEIM.

And he, no doubt, was a brilliant and beautiful personage?


MAIA.

Oh, no, he wasn't so superlatively beautiful either.  But he pretended
that he would take her with him to the top of the highest of mountains,
where there were light and sunshine without end.


ULFHEIM.

So he was a mountaineer, was he, that man?


MAIA.

Yes, he was--in his way.


ULFHEIM.

And then he took the girl up with him---?


MAIA.

[With a toss of the head.]  Took her up with him finely, you may be
sure!  Oh no! he beguiled her into a cold, clammy cage, where--as it
seemed to her--there was neither sunlight nor fresh air, but only
gilding and great petrified ghosts of people all around the walls.


ULFHEIM.

Devil take me, but it served her right!


MAIA.

Yes, but don't you think it's quite a comical story, all the same?


ULFHEIM.

[Looks at her moment.]  Now listen to me, my good companion of the
chase---


MAIA.

Well, what it is now?


ULFHEIM.

Should not we two tack our poor shreds of life together?


MAIA.

Is his worship inclined to set up as a patching-tailor?


ULFHEIM.

Yes, indeed he is.  Might not we two try to draw the rags together here
and there--so as to make some sort of a human life out of them?


MAIA.

And when the poor tatters were quite worn out--what then?


ULFHEIM.

[With a large gesture.]  Then there we shall stand, free and serene--
as the man and woman we really are!


MAIA.

[Laughing.]  You with your goat-legs yes!


ULFHEIM.

And you with your--.  Well, let that pass.


MAIA.

Yes, come--let us pass--on.


ULFHEIM.

Stop!  Whither away, comrade?


MAIA.

Down to the hotel, of course.


ULFHEIM.

And afterward?


MAIA.

Then we'll take a polite leave of each other, with thanks for pleasant
company.


ULFHEIM.

Can we part, we two?  Do you think we can?


MAIA.

Yes, you didn't manage to tie me up, you know.


ULFHEIM.

I have a castle to offer you---


MAIA.

[Pointing to the hut.]  A fellow to that one?


ULFHEIM.

It has not fallen to ruin yet.


MAIA.

And all the glory of the world, perhaps?


ULFHEIM.

A castle, I tell you---


MAIA.

Thanks!  I have had enough of castles.


ULFHEIM.

--with splendid hunting-grounds stretching for miles around it.


MAIA.

Are there works of art too in this castle?


ULFHEIM.

[Slowly.]  Well, no--it's true there are no works of art; but---


MAIA.

[Relieved.]  Ah! that's one good thing, at any rate!


ULFHEIM.

Will you go with me, then--as far and as long as I want you?


MAIA.

There is a tame bird of prey keeping watch upon me.


ULFHEIM.

[Wildly.]  We'll put a bullet in his wing, Maia!


MAIA.

[Looks at him a moment, and says resolutely.]  Come then, and carry me
down into the depths.


ULFHEIM.

[Puts his arm round her waist.]  It is high time!  The mist is upon us!


MAIA.

Is the way down terribly dangerous?


ULFHEIM.

The mountain is more dangerous still.

    [She shakes him off, goes to the edge of the precipice and looks
       over, but starts quickly back.


ULFHEIM.

[Goes towards her, laughing.]  What?  Does it make you a little giddy?


MAIA.

[Faintly.]  Yes, that too.  But go and look over.  Those two, coming
up---


ULFHEIM.

[Goes and bends over the edge of the precipice.]  It's only your bird
of prey--and his strange lady.


MAIA.

Can't we get past them--without their seeing us?


ULFHEIM.

Impossible!  The path is far too narrow.  And there's no other way
down.


MAIA.

[Nerving herself.]  Well, well--let us face them here, then!


ULFHEIM.

Spoken like a true bear-killer, comrade!

    [PROFESSOR RUBEK and IRENE appear over the edge of the precipice
       at the back. He has his plaid over his shoulders; she has a
       fur cloak thrown loosely over her white dress, and a swansdown
       hood over her head.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Still only half visible above the edge.]  What, Maia!  So we two meet
once again?


MAIA.

[With assumed coolness.]  At your service.  Won't you come up?

    [PROFESSOR RUBEK climbs right up and holds out his hand to IRENE,
       who also comes right to the top.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Coldly to MAIA.]  So you, too, have been all night on the mountain,--
as we have?


MAIA.

I have been hunting--yes.  You gave me permission, you know.


ULFHEIM.

[Pointing downward.]  Have you come up that path there?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

As you saw.


ULFHEIM.

And the strange lady too?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Yes, of course.  [With a glance at MAIA.]  Henceforth the strange lady
and I do not intend our ways to part.


ULFHEIM.

Don't you know, then, that it is a deadly dangerous way you have come?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

We thought we would try it, nevertheless.  For it did not seem
particularly hard at first.


ULFHEIM.

No, at first nothing seems hard.  But presently you may come to a tight
place where you can neither get forward nor back.  And then you stick
fast, Professor!  Mountain-fast, as we hunters call it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Smiles and looks at him.]  Am I to take these as oracular utterances,
Mr. Ulfheim?


ULFHEIM.

Lord preserve me from playing the oracle!  [Urgently, pointing up
towards the heights.]  But don't you see that the storm is upon us?
Don't you hear the blasts of wind?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Listening.]  They sound like the prelude to the Resurrection Day.


ULFHEIM.

They are storm-blasts form the peaks, man!  Just look how the clouds
are rolling and sinking--soon they'll be all around us like a winding
-sheet!


IRENE.

[With a start and shiver.]  I know that sheet!


MAIA.

[Drawing ULFHEIM away.]  Let us make haste and get down.


ULFHEIM.

[To PROFESSOR RUBEK.]  I cannot help more than one.  Take refuge in
the hut in the mean-time--while the storm lasts.  Then I shall send
people up to fetch the two of you away.


IRENE.

[In terror.]  To fetch us away!  No, no!


ULFHEIM.

[Harshly.]  To take you by force if necessary--for it's a matter of
life and death here.  Now, you know it.  [To MAIA.]  Come, then--and
don't fear to trust yourself in your comrade's hands.


MAIA.

[Clinging to him.]  Oh, how I shall rejoice and sing, if I get down
with a whole skin!


ULFHEIM.

[Begins the descent and calls to the others.]  You'll wait, then, in
the hut, till the men come with ropes, and fetch you away.

    [ULFHEIM, with MAIA in his arms, clambers rapidly but warily down
       the precipice.


IRENE.

[Looks for some time at PROFESSOR RUBEK with terror-stricken eyes.]
Did you hear that, Arnold?--men are coming up to fetch me away!  Many
men will come up here---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Do not be alarmed, Irene!


IRENE.

[In growing terror.]  And she, the woman in black--she will come too.
For she must have missed me long ago.  And then she will seize me,
Arnold!  And put me in the strait-waistcoat.  Oh, she has it with her,
in her box.  I have seen it with my own eyes---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Not a soul shall be suffered to touch you.


IRENE.

[With a wild smile.]  Oh no--I myself have a resource against that.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What resource do you mean?


IRENE.

[Drawing out the knife.]  This!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Tries to seize it.]  Have you a knife?


IRENE.

Always, always--both day and night--in bed as well!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Give me that knife, Irene!


IRENE.

[Concealing it.]  You shall not have it.  I may very likely find a use
for it myself.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What use can you have for it, here?


IRENE.

[Looks fixedly at him.]  It was intended for you, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

For me!


IRENE.

As we were sitting by the Lake of Taunitz last evening---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

By the Lake of---


IRENE.

--outside the peasant's hut--and playing with swans and water-lilies---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

What then--what then?


IRENE.

--and when I heard you say with such deathly, icy coldness--that I was
nothing but an episode in your life---


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It was you that said that, Irene, not I.


IRENE.

[Continuing.]  --then I had my knife out.  I wanted to stab you in the
back with it.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Darkly.]  And why did you hold your hand?


IRENE.

Because it flashed upon me with a sudden horror that you were dead
already--long ago.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Dead?


IRENE.

Dead.  Dead, you as well as I.  We sat there by the Lake of Taunitz,
we two clay-cold bodies--and played with each other.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

I do not call that being dead.  But you do not understand me.


IRENE.

Then where is the burning desire for me that you fought and battled
against when I stood freely forth before you as the woman arisen from
the dead?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Our love is assuredly not dead, Irene.


IRENE.

The love that belongs to the life of earth--the beautiful, miraculous
earth-life--the inscrutable earth-life--that is dead in both of us.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Passionately.]  And do you know that just that love--it is burning
and seething in me as hotly as ever before?


IRENE.

And I?  Have you forgotten who I now am?


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Be who or what you please, for aught I care!  For me, you are the woman
I see in my dreams of you.


IRENE.

I have stood on the turn-table-naked--and made a show of myself to many
hundreds of men--after you.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

It was I that drove you to the turn-table--blind as I then was--I, who
placed the dead clay-image above the happiness of life--of love.


IRENE.

[Looking down.]  Too late--too late!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Not by a hairsbreadth has all that has passed in the interval lowered
you in my eyes.


IRENE.

[With head erect.]  Nor in my own!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Well, what then!  Then we are free--and there is still time for us to
live our life, Irene.


IRENE.

[Looks sadly at him.]  The desire for life is dead in me, Arnold.  Now
I have arisen.  And I look for you.  And I find you.--And then I see
that you and life lie dead--as I have lain.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

Oh, how utterly you are astray!  Both in us and around us life is
fermenting and throbbing as fiercely as ever!


IRENE.

[Smiling and shaking her head.]  The young woman of your Resurrection
Day can see all life lying on its bier.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Throwing his arms violently around her.]  Then let two of the dead--
us two--for once live life to its uttermost--before we go down to our
graves again!


IRENE.

[With a shriek.]  Arnold!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

But not here in the half darkness!  Not here with this hideous dank
shroud flapping around us---


IRENE.

[Carried away by passion.]  No, no--up in the light, and in all the
glittering glory!  Up to the Peak of Promise!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

There we will hold our marriage-feast, Irene--oh, my beloved!


IRENE.

[Proudly.]  The sun may freely look on us, Arnold.


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

All the powers of light may freely look on us--and all the powers of
darkness too.  [Seizes her hand.]  Will you then follow me, oh my
grace-given bride?


IRENE.

[As though transfigured.]  I follow you, freely and gladly, my lord
and master!


PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Drawing her along with him.]  We must first pass through the mists,
Irene, and then---


IRENE.

Yes, through all the mists, and then right up to the summit of the
tower that shines in the sunrise.

    [The mist-clouds close in over the scene--PROFESSOR RUBEK and
       IRENE, hand in hand, climb up over the snow-field to the right
       and soon disappear among the lower clouds.  Keen storm-gusts
       hurtle and whistle through the air.

    [The SISTER OF MERCY appears upon the stone-scree to the left.
       She stops and looks around silently and searchingly.


MAIA.

               I am free!  I am free!  I am free!
               No more life in the prison for me!
               I am free as a bird!  I am free!

    [Suddenly a sound like thunder is heard from high up on the snow-
       field, which glides and whirls downwards with headlong speed.
       PROFESSOR RUBEK and IRENE can be dimly discerned as they are
       whirled along with the masses of snow and buried in them.


THE SISTER OF MERCY.

[Gives a shriek, stretches out her arms towards them and cries.] Irene!

    [Stands silent a moment, then makes the sign of the cross before
       her in the air, and says.

Pax vobiscum!

    [MAIA's triumphant song sounds from still farther down below.









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