AT THE CHASM
Thus he has a weapon against me in his hands. But at that time I was in frenzy, the whole night my head was in a whirl. The whole night I was writing to him, describing to him my sufferings of five years; the injuries which life inflicts are more painful the more trifling they are. But he was so magnanimous—and then do we not just as often cry over the book of an unknown poet, just as I cried before his painting? And do not the heartrending tones of music shake the depths of our souls? He stole upon me during one weak moment of mine—only a lack of strength induced me to write to him—I have just heard howthinks about it and that must be the way the whole world regards it; at least, that healthy, actual, real world which would condemn us both. But I will write to him immediately—before he leaves. (Sits down to the desk and begins to write quickly.)
(While she has been writing Karel enters quickly. She rises frightened and stands by the desk.)
Cilka.—Did you not go?
Karel.—I forgot the opera-glasses. I thought of them on the way and you know how short-sighted I am.
Cilka.—They must be in the bedroom.
Karel.—No. I remember having seen them here somewhere on the desk.
Cilka.—No, no! They are not here.
Karel.—Somewhere among the papers, perhaps. I am positive I saw them here this morning.
Cilka.—You could not have. I am certain they are not here.
Karel.—Let me look for them myself. (She wants to throw away the papers, but he prevents her from doing so and picks up the letter.)
Cilka.—You will be late.
Karel (who has read the letter in the meantime).—What in the world have you been writing here? (Still looking at the letter.) There is no meaning in that. At least I cannot understand it.
Karel.—Wait, my dear. I have to read this over a couple of times—such things interest me greatly.
Cilka (to herself).—O God! What shall I say?
Karel (takes his hat off, goes a few steps away from her and reads slowly).—'Poor, unfortunate friend: Judge me, condemn me, but I cannot. The bond of duty is so strong, that its breach even rends our life. While I am writing this, I am no longer myself, I have duties greater and more sacred than you can imagine, to you only will I entrust that which even my husband does not yet know—I am a mother. You know all; go away