Page:Poet Lore, At the Chasm, volume 24, 1913.pdf/7

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Bohdan (bitterly).—Which you deliberately condemned.

Karel (continuing quietly).—Wait. Don't interrupt. Had I been an unscrupulous fellow and an egotist, I would, like any other person in similar circumstances, have either admired and worshipped the new Byron, or at least kept my mouth shut. That was the time you could have recognized my true character, when, after the hand of your sister, I told you the whole truth as sincerely and openly as I am saying even now, after ten years.

Bohdan (suddenly moved).—But in the meantime, I have learned to love you.

Karel.—Well, some bitterness has remained at the bottom of our cup of love, but that is what makes it wholesome. The drink of love in order that it may be lasting must not be too sweet. 'Love me little, but love me long.' And see now we are relatives and regard each other as true brothers.

Bohdan (slowly).—But to those firstlings of mine you were unjust.

Karel.—Ten years from to-day we will speak about that again (going to desk). Excuse me now, I must finish this introductory article.

Cilka.—And what are you writing now, brother?

Bohdan.—Nothing, dear Cilka, and it is the best. To-day an author ought to be sent to St. Helena. The whole atmosphere is deluged with mottoes and motives. Idealism, naturalism, humanism, realism and God only knows how many more isms. One wants to suit them all and suits none. For instance, I am now collecting human documents, because to-day without them there is no truth in a work of art. That is naturalism. Formerly I sat down, thought for awhile until I discovered something, then combined, created and wrote.

Cilka.—And to-day?

Bohdan.—It is much worse to-day. Now I do not think, do not combine ——

Karel (with sarcasm).—But he omits all that and writes directly. (Lays down pen and rises.) When I have more time I will give you my opinion about that, but now I am in a hurry to get to the office and then to the theater.

Bohdan (with irony).—Thanks—I have time.

Cilka.—But you'll have a cup of tea with us before you go, will you not?

Karel.—Yes, if you don't mind.

(Exit Cilka.)

Bohdan.—Brother, don't you notice a change in Cilka's behavior lately?