You said you would take me up to a high mountain and show me all the glory of the world.
[With a slight start.] Did I promise you that, too?
Me too? Who else, pray?
[Indifferently.] No, no, I only meant did I promise to show you—–?
—all the glory of the world? Yes, you did. And all that glory should be mine, you said.
That is sort of figure of speech that I was in the habit of using once upon a time.
Only a figure of speech?
Yes, a schoolboy phrase—the sort of thing I used to say when I wanted to lure the neighbours’ children out to play with me, in the woods and on the mountains.
[Looking hard at him.] Perhaps you only wanted to lure me out to play, as well?
[Passing it off as a jest.] Well, has it not been a tolerable amusing game, Maia?
[Coldly.] I did not go with you only to play.
No, no, I daresay not.
And you never took me up with you to any high mountain, or showed me—–
[With irritation.] —all the glory of the world? No, I did not. For, let me tell you something: you are not really born to be a mountain-climber, little Maia.
[Trying to control herself.] Yet at one time you seemed to think I was.
Four or five years ago, yes. [Stretching himself in his chair.] Four or five years—it’s a long, long time, Maia.
[Looking at him with a bitter expression.] Has the time seemed so very long to you, Rubek?
I am beginning now to find it a trifle long. [Yawning.] Now and then, you know.
[Returning to her place.] I shall not bore you any longer.