I meant swans, yes. And I remember that I fastened a great furry leaf to one of the swans. It looked like a burdock-leaf—–
And then it turned into Lohengrin’s boat—with the swan yoked to it.
How fond you were of that game, Irene.
We played it over and over again.
Every single Saturday, I believe,—all the summer through.
You said I was the swan that drew your boat.
Did I say so? Yes, I daresay I did. [Absorbed in the game.] Just see how the sea-gulls are swimming down the stream!
[Laughing.] And all your ships have run ashore.
[Throwing more leaves into the brook.] I have ships enough in reserve. [Follows the leaves with his eyes, throws more into the brook, and says after a pause.] Irene,—I have bought the little peasant hut beside the Lake of Taunitz.
Have you bought it? You often said you would, if you could afford it.
The day came when I could afford it easily enough; and so I bought it.
[With a sidelong look at him.] Then do you live out there now—in our old house?
No, I have had it pulled down long ago. And I have built myself a great, handsome, comfortable villa on the site—with a park around it. It is there that we— [Stops and corrects himself.] —there that I usually live during the summer.
[Mastering herself.] So you and—and the other one live out there now?
[With a touch of defiance.] Yes. When my wife and I are not travelling—as we are this year.
[Looking far before her.] Life was beautiful, beautiful by the Lake of Taunitz.
[As though looking back into himself.] And yet, Irene—–
[Completing his thought.] —yet we two let slip all that life and its beauty.