You said your nearest friends—–
Well, who should they be but my dogs?
Are your dogs your nearest friends?
I have none nearer. My honest, trusty, absolutely loyal comrades—. When one of them turns sick and miserable—bang!—and there’s my friend sent packing—to the other world.
[The SISTER OF MERCY comes
out of the hotel with a tray on which
is bread and milk. She places it on the table outside the
pavilion, which she enters.
[Laughs scornfully.] That stuff there—is that what you call food for human beings! Milk and water and soft, clammy bread. Ah, you should see my comrades feeding. Should you like to see it?
[Smiling across to the PROFESSOR and rising.] Yes, very much.
[Also rising.] Spoken like a woman of spirit, madam! Come with me, then! They swallow whole great thumping meat-bones—gulp them up and then gulp them down again. Oh, it’s a regular treat to see them. Come along and I’ll show you—and while we’re about it, we can talk over this trip to the mountains—–
[He goes out by the corner of the hotel, MAIA following him.
[Almost at the same moment
the STRANGE LADY comes out of the
pavilion and seats herself at the table.
[The LADY raises her glass
of milk and is about to drink, but
stops and looks across at RUBEK with vacant, expressionless
[Remains sitting at his table and gazes fixedly and earnestly at her. At last he rises, goes some steps towards her, stops, and says in a low voice.] I know you quite well, Irene.
[In a toneless voice, setting down her glass.] You can guess who I am, Arnold?
[Without answering.] And you recognise me, too, I see.
With you it is quite another matter.
With me?—How so?
Oh, you are still alive.
[Not understanding.] Alive—–?