Page:Poet Lore, At the Chasm, volume 24, 1913.pdf/9

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JAROSLAV VRCHLICKY

293

Bohdan.—And never will have, for Cilka is sensitive. She suffers in silence.

Karel.—What's wrong with her? She does not know herself— Oh, leave her alone—she'll be all right in time.

Bohdan.—I would not drop the matter so carelessly.

Karel.—Well then, if you know of something why don't you come out with it?

Bohdan.—I speak from observation.

Karel (with sarcasm).—And what is it, if you please, that you have observed?

Bohdan.—That Cilka is not happy.

Karel.—Words—conclusions—I want facts.

Bohdan.—Those I have not. I judge only by certain symptoms.

Karel.—Name those certain symptoms.

Bohdan.—Seeking of solitude, taciturnity, and hidden weeping.

Karel.—I've already explained that—she cannot forget the loss of her child. What else?

Bohdan.—What else do you want? But wait. (Speaks hesitatingly.) I was at the exhibition of Bystrina's picture yesterday.

Karel (ironically).—That phenomenal 'Triumph of Death'?

Bohdan.—The picture is splendid, but that is neither here nor there. Your wife was there.

Karel.—What of it?

Bohdan.—I entered the hall quietly. She was alone. She was so attentive to the picture that she did not hear my step. I stepped near her and saw how bitterly she was weeping—like a child. Karel, I tell you again that woman is not happy.

Karel.—You saw again with the eyes of a poet, my boy. Is not that picture one which would make any sensitive person cry? She saw in that the death of her child—nothing else.

Bohdan.—You saw that picture yourself, did you not?

Karel.—Certainly.

Bohdan.—Did you not observe anything?

Karel.—Just what do you mean?

Bohdan.—Don't you remember, in that long procession of the dead approaching the throne of Death, the first pair to the right;—the face of the man cannot be seen because he has turned to the side. But the features of the woman—Cilka's image.

Karel (thinking).—Yes—Yes, it seems to me there's a somewhat remote resemblance. But that would really be a pure impertinence.

Bohdan.—The resemblance is positive, but as to your objections,