[After a short pause.] Who was the other? The woman you had with you—there at the table?
[A little reluctantly.] She? That was my—my wife.
[Nods slowly.] Indeed. That is well, Arnold. Some one, then, who does not concern me—–
[Nods.] No, of course not—–
—one whom you have taken to you after my lifetime.
[Suddenly looking hard at her.] After your—? What do you mean by that, Irene?
[Without answering.] And the child? I hear the child is prospering too. Our child survives me—and has come to honour and glory.
[Smiles as at a far-off recollection.] Our child? Yes, we called it so—then.
In my lifetime, yes.
[Trying to take a lighter tone.] Yes, Irene.—I can assure you “our child” has become famous all the wide world over. I suppose you have read about it.
[Nods.] And has made its father famous too.—That was your dream.
[More softly, with emotion.] It is to you I owe everything, everything, Irene—and I thank you.
[Lost in thought for a moment.] If I had then done what I had a right to do, Arnold—–
Well? What then?
I should have killed that child.
Killed it, you say?
[Whispering.] Killed it—before I went away from you. Crushed it— crushed it to dust.
[Shakes his head reproachfully.] You would never have been able to, Irene. You had not the heart to do it.
No, in those days I had not that sort of heart.