Then what would you put in its place?
Yes, is not life in sunshine and in beauty a hundred times better worth while than to hang about to the end of your days in a raw, damp hole, and wear yourself out in a perpetual struggle with lumps of clay and blocks of stone?
[With a little sigh.] Yes, I have always thought so, certainly.
And then I had become rich enough to live in luxury and in indolent, quivering sunshine. I was able to build myself the villa on the Lake of Taunitz, and the palazzo in the capital,—and all the rest of it.
[Taking up his tone.] And last but not least, you could afford to treat yourself to me, too. And you gave me leave to share in all your treasures.
[Jesting, so as to turn the conversation.] Did I not promise to take you up to a high enough mountain and show you all the glory of the world?
[With a gentle expression.] You have perhaps taken me up with you to a high enough mountain, Rubek—but you have not shown me all the glory of the world.
[With a laugh of irritation.] How insatiable you are, Maia.! Absolutely insatiable! [With a vehement outburst.] But do you know what is the most hopeless thing of all, Maia? Can you guess that?
[With quiet defiance.] Yes, I suppose it is that you have gone and tied yourself to me—for life.
I would not have expressed myself so heartlessly.
But you would have meant it just as heartlessly.
You have no clear idea of the inner workings of an artist’s nature.
[Smiling and shaking her head.] Good heavens, I haven’t even a clear idea of the inner workings of my own nature.