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AT THE CHASM

Bohdan.— You see, even this constant excitement is something which Karel cannot bear. He is so full of vigor and energy. When he comes home somewhat tired out and weary, instead of being cheerful and consoling, instead of coming to greet him with a pleasant smile, you stand here with a sunken head, always thoughtful and dreaming of things in which his soul does not share. You will estrange him entirely if you do not change. If you will keep on imagining things this way, some of them will finally become realized. Forget all these 'should have beens' and 'could have beens.' Reconcile yourself to the present life.

Cilka.—But then our relation will become very strained because it will be one of constant mutual concessions, which will be false and unnatural.

Bohdan.—On the contrary, your present relations are strained and unnatural. He is nothing but wit and jest; by that he tries to balance your silence. He is health and energy itself, which offends your sickly sensitiveness—this mischief is still unhatched, but take care that it should not take a more serious turn.

Cilka.—And what should I do?

Bohdan.—Live. Abandon these dreams. Be firm and energetic. I know that it is not so easy, but where there's a will, there's a way.

Cilka.—In other words, I should kill all the poetry of my youth——

Bohdan.—No, no, little girl, but learn how to combine and reconcile this poetry with your actual life, that is the whole secret.

Cilka.—According to you, then, the marriage of two artistic temperaments could not at all be happy.

Bohdan.—If they were both sickly and sensitive beings their marriage would be simply a curse. In married life it is desirable to have two, as I would say, complementary natures—characters of a similar kind after awhile become hateful to each other because one tries to dominate the other, and in the long run the relations become unsound.

Cilka.—And if the wife has an artistic temperament?

Bohdan.—In that case, her disposition should be strong, otherwise her sensitiveness will be in her husband's way. By this I do not mean that she ought not partake in her husband's works, on the contrary, I have always been of the opinion that a woman's influence is always beneficial in a work of Art, but I think he ought to find in her a perfect sympathizer; she ought to encourage and reward his efforts; she ought to be his first public and her praise his first laurel. For negations and criticism there is always time. They, at any rate, never influence or direct a true work of Art. But why are we analyzing these problems? Your husband is not an