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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about When We Dead Awaken.

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Defiantly.] I am an artist, Irene.  And I take no shame to myself for the frailties that perhaps cling to me.  For I was born to be an artist, you see.  And, do what I may, I shall never be anything else.

IRENE.

[Looks at him with a lurking evil smile, and says gently and softly.] You are a poet, Arnold. [Softly strokes his hair.] You dear, great, middle-aged child,—­is it possible that you cannot see that!

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Annoyed.] Why do you keep on calling me a poet?

IRENE.

[With malign eyes.] Because there is something apologetic in the word, my friend.  Something that suggests forgiveness of sins—­and spreads a cloak over all frailty. [With a sudden change of tone.] But I was a human being—­then!  And I, too, had a life to live,—­and a human destiny to fulfil.  And all that, look you, I let slip—­gave it all up in order to make myself your bondwoman.—­Oh, it was self-murder—­a deadly sin against myself! [Half whispering.] And that sin I can never expiate!

    [She seats herself near him beside the brook, keeps close, though
       unnoticed, watch upon him, and, as though in absence of mind,
       plucks some flowers form the shrubs around them.

IRENE.

[With apparent self-control.] I should have borne children in the world—­many children—­real children—­not such children as are hidden away in grave-vaults.  That was my vocation.  I ought never to have served you—­poet.

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Lost in recollection.] Yet those were beautiful days, Irene.  Marvellously beautiful days—­as I now look back upon them—–­

IRENE.

[Looking at him with a soft expression.] Can you remember a little word that you said—­when you had finished—­finished with me and with our child? [Nods to him.] Can you remember that little word, Arnold?

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Looks inquiringly at her.] Did I say a little word then, which you still remember?

IRENE.

Yes, you did.  Can you not recall it?

PROFESSOR RUBEK.

[Shaking his head.] No, I can’t say that I do.  Not at the present moment, at any rate.

IRENE.

You took both my hands and pressed them warmly.  And I stood there in breathless expectation.  And then you said:  “So now, Irene, I thank you from my heart.  This,” you said, “has been a priceless episode for me.”

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