Page:Poet Lore, At the Chasm, volume 24, 1913.pdf/20

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Karel (moving out of her reach).—Oh, no, sweetheart, that letter is mine; it is my trophy, which I will never yield.

Cilka.—Karel, if you love me give me that letter.

Karel.—Just because I do love you I will keep it.

Cilka.—And why, pray? You were laughing at it a moment ago?

Karel.—No, I cannot give you that letter, for to me it is a firm hostage of——

Cilka (frightened).—Gracious!

Karel.—You timid child. There is a sentence in the letter and for that sentence it is of the greatest value to me.

Cilka.—Just for one sentence?

Karel.—Certainly, but will you tell me the pure truth?

Cilka.—What do you want to know?

Karel (goes near her and takes both her hands in his).—Did you write the pure truth?

Cilka.—But it is from a novel.

Karel.—Let it. But there is a sentence in it which is of the greatest importance, which you yourself even cannot conceive; I thank you for it, and for that sentence I want to retain this letter.

Cilka.—Which is it?

Karel.— 'The bond of duty is so strong, that its breach even rends our life.'

Cilka.—Did that impress you so much?

Karel.—Yes, there is more in that than you think. When I left here, on my way, I thought of that little misunderstanding which we had. I wronged you, dear soul, I wronged you greatly—but all will be different now.

Cilka.—I still fail to understand.

Karel.—You'll understand in the course of time. Our life is so changeable, we are not our own now. A few shocks are necessary so we may regain our balance and equilibrium. I saw your silent suffering—and I combined the whole novel within my excited mind. I lack the strength to tell you all of what I thought on my way in those dark and gloomy streets there.

Cilka.—Oh! How you frighten me.

Karel.—You were partly right;—in my excitement, I came home and here I find the letter and the jest explained the essence and purity of your soul. You wrote from the depths of your heart, did you not? surely it was your conviction when you wrote that 'The bond of duty is so strong that its breach rends our life.' Thanks for that, thanks. It surely came from your soul, darling, did it not?

Clika.—Yes, it came from my soul.