Page:Poet Lore, At the Chasm, volume 24, 1913.pdf/22

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Bohdan.—He escaped from us, as in a miracle; disappeared. Most of his friends were offended and with disgust left the depot because he did not even say 'Good-bye' to them.

Karel.—They could not have done better.

Cilka (still more restless).—Did you stay? Is he gone?

Bohdan.—I wanted to go also, but the friend who asked me to join him in this escort affair told me that the whole business looked suspicious and begged me to stay till the departure of the train.

Cilka.—And you stayed?

Bohdan.—Not to be in Bystrina's way we went to the waiting-room, which has large windows on all sides, so that one can see into the restaurant and on the peron also.

Karel.—And did you see your eccentric artist?

Bohdan.—He was very excited, ran up and down the peron, looked into the waiting-rooms, inspected the cabs, coaches and buses. He was probably expecting someone.

Karel.—Expecting someone?

Bohdan.—So it seemed. But it was getting late. The first gong sounded; Bystrina, all exhausted, sank into a sofa in the waiting-room. The second gong; he did not move. We were surprised and worried, and so we went over to him.

Cilka.—My God, what happened?

Bohdan.—Nothing; he rose to meet us, greeted us seriously, then he turned to me and said in a melancholy way: 'Sir, you are a novelist: excuse my rudeness, but I am going into distant lands and want to get rid of a few things which have no meaning for me, but for you, a novelist, might be of some interest and value.' He put his hand into his pocket (does likewise), and took out this envelope (does likewise), and continued: 'Here are memoirs of a lost individual,—there's also a letter characteristic of a woman; for you, a novelist, it is almost made to order,—if you want to use the material, do so, as much as you please. Good-bye; the second bell has rung and I would not like to miss my train.' And while we stood amazed, he disappeared in the twilight of the peron.

Cilka (extremely nervous).—And is he gone?

Bohdan.—Evidently. His train left the depot the next minute.

Karel.—And have you opened the envelope?

Bohdan.—That will be my feast this midnight. (Waving it in the air.) This indeed is something vital,—a real human document,—not even Zola or Goncourt had ever anything of this kind in their possession.

Karel.—Let me look at it, will you? (Reaches for it.)