[Continuing undisturbed.] I live at such high speed, Maia. We live so, we artists. I, for my part, have lived through a whole lifetime in the few years we two have known each other. I have come to realise that I am not at all adapted for seeking happiness in indolent enjoyment. Life does not shape itself that way for me and those like me. I must go on working—producing one work after another—right up to my dying day. [Forcing himself to continue.] That is why I cannot get on with you any longer, Maia—not with you alone.
[Quietly.] Does that mean, in plain language, that you have grown tired of me?
[Bursts forth.] Yes, that is what it means! I have grown tired— intolerably tired and fretted and unstrung—in this life with you! Now you know it. [Controlling himself.] These are hard, ugly words I am using. I know that very well. And you are not at all to blame in this matter;—that I willingly admit. It is simply and solely I myself, who have once more undergone a revolution—[Half to himself]— and awakening to my real life.
[Involuntarily folding her hands.] Why in all the world should we not part then?
[Looks at her in astonishment.] Should you be willing to?
[Shrugging her shoulders.] Oh yes—if there’s nothing else for it, then—–
[Eagerly.] But there is something else for it. There is an alternative—–
[Holding up her forefinger.] Now you are thinking of the pale lady again!
Yes, to tell the truth, I cannot help constantly thinking of her. Ever since I met her again. [A step nearer her.] For now I will tell you a secret, Maia.
[Touching his own breast.] In here, you see—in here I have a little bramah-locked casket. And in that casket all my sculptor’s visions are stored up. But when she disappeared and left no trace, the lock of the casket snapped to. And she had the key—and she took it away with her.—You, little Maia, you had no key; so all that the casket contains must lie unused. And the years pass! And I have no means of getting at the treasure.
[Trying to repress a subtle smile.] Then get her to open the casket for you again—–