I killed them.
[Severely.] Now you are telling me lies again!
I have killed them, I tell you—murdered them pitilessly. As soon as ever they came into the world. Oh, long, long before. One after the other.
[Sadly and earnestly.] There is something hidden behind everything you say.
How can I help that? Every word I say is whispered into my ear.
I believe I am the only one that can divine your meaning.
Surely you ought to be the only one.
[Rests his hands on the table and looks intently at her.] Some of the strings of your nature have broken.
[Gently.] Does not that always happen when a young warm-blooded woman dies?
Oh Irene, have done with these wild imaginings—! You are living! Living—living!
[Rises slowly from her chair and says, quivering.] I was dead for many years. They came and bound me—laced my arms together behind my back—. Then they lowered me into a grave-vault, with iron bars before the loop-hole. And with padded walls—so that no one on the earth above could hear the grave-shrieks—. But now I am beginning, in a way, to rise from the dead.
[She seats herself again.]
[After a pause.] In all this, do you hold me guilty?
Guilty of that—your death, as you call it.
Guilty of the fact that I had to die. [Changing her tone to one of indifference.] Why don’t you sit down, Arnold?
Yes.—You need not be afraid of being frozen. I don’t think I am quite turned to ice yet.
[Moves a chair and seats himself at her table.] There, Irene. Now we two are sitting together as in the old days.