[With a wild smile.] Oh no—I myself have a resource against that.
What resource do you mean?
[Drawing out the knife.] This!
[Tries to seize it.] Have you a knife?
Always, always—both day and night—in bed as well!
Give me that knife, Irene!
[Concealing it.] You shall not have it. I may very likely find a use for it myself.
What use can you have for it, here?
[Looks fixedly at him.] It was intended for you, Arnold.
As we were sitting by the Lake of Taunitz last evening—–
By the Lake of—–
—outside the peasant’s hut—and playing with swans and water-lilies—–
What then—what then?
—and when I heard you say with such deathly, icy coldness—that I was nothing but an episode in your life—–
It was you that said that, Irene, not I.
[Continuing.] —then I had my knife out. I wanted to stab you in the back with it.
[Darkly.] And why did you hold your hand?
Because it flashed upon me with a sudden horror that you were dead already—long ago.
Dead. Dead, you as well as I. We sat there by the Lake of Taunitz, we two clay-cold bodies—and played with each other.
I do not call that being dead. But you do not understand me.