Page:Poet Lore, At the Chasm, volume 24, 1913.pdf/23

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Bohdan.—Oh, no, my dear. (Moving away from him.) My novel would not interest you afterwards.

Karel.—In other words, I would know what you have copied and what you yourself created.—You novelists! But you can show me them anyway; you know that your Bystrina interests me greatly now, although I cannot be perhaps as enthusiastic about him as you or Cilka.

Bohdan.—Oh, no, old boy, these letters are a perfect treasure to me; I will not show them to any one so easily.

Cilka.—That's right. They would only spoil a reader's illusion.

Bohdan.—Especially readers who read between the lines.

Karel.—Well, we'll see. (Sits down to the desk.) I'll try to do some work before supper.

Bohdan.—Auf Wiedersehen!

Karel.—Where are you going?

Bohdan.—To my room.

Karel (writing).—You cannot resist the temptation. Inquisitive as Eve. But you will let me look at them, won't you?

Servant.—A special message from the office, Mr. Proskovec.

(Bohdan stops in the doorway and puts the papers into his pocket.)

Karel.—What can they want? I only left them a short while ago.

Servant.—The man says he was looking for you in the theater. He is waiting for an answer.

Karel.—Go and tell him I will be there as soon as possible. (Exit servant.)

Karel (has opened the letter).—Good God!

(Bohdan comes forward.)

Cilka.—What has happened?

Karel.—But you spoke with him only a moment ago.

Bohdan.—With whom?

Karel.—With Bystrina; he is dead.

(Cilka with a cry falls into Bohdan's arms.)

Karel.—Here is what the night editor writes: (reads from the letter) 'We have just received information that our phenomenal artist, Ladislav Bystrina, creator of the "Triumph of Death," shot himself in the restaurant garden of the Western Depot at the very moment when the train left on which he intended to go to Paris. Although we know that you did not sympathize with his aims, still we request you to write a biographical sketch containing appreciation of his art and its meaning. We will wait for the article until twelve o'clock at night.'

Bohdan.—He was a very great genius and passed through this world unappreciated. Now you will write eulogies and enthusiastic hymns.