[Faintly.] Yes, that too. But go and look over. Those two, coming up—–
[Goes and bends over the edge of the precipice.] It’s only your bird of prey—and his strange lady.
Can’t we get past them—without their seeing us?
Impossible! The path is far too narrow. And there’s no other way down.
[Nerving herself.] Well, well—let us face them here, then!
Spoken like a true bear-killer, comrade!
[PROFESSOR RUBEK and IRENE
appear over the edge of the precipice
at the back. He has his plaid over his shoulders; she has a
fur cloak thrown loosely over her white dress, and a swansdown
hood over her head.
[Still only half visible above the edge.] What, Maia! So we two meet once again?
[With assumed coolness.] At your service. Won’t you come up?
[PROFESSOR RUBEK climbs right
up and holds out his hand to IRENE,
who also comes right to the top.
[Coldly to MAIA.] So you, too, have been all night on the mountain,— as we have?
I have been hunting—yes. You gave me permission, you know.
[Pointing downward.] Have you come up that path there?
As you saw.
And the strange lady too?
Yes, of course. [With a glance at MAIA.] Henceforth the strange lady and I do not intend our ways to part.
Don’t you know, then, that it is a deadly dangerous way you have come?
We thought we would try it, nevertheless. For it did not seem particularly hard at first.
No, at first nothing seems hard. But presently you may come to a tight place where you can neither get forward nor back. And then you stick fast, Professor! Mountain-fast, as we hunters call it.