It is just after sunset of an August evening. The scene is a
room in a mountain hut, furnished only with a table, benches.
and a low broad window seat. Through this window three rocky
peaks are seen by the light of a moon which is slowly whitening
the last hues of sunset. An oil lamp is burning. SEELCHEN, a
mountain girl, eighteen years old, is humming a folk-song, and
putting away in a cupboard freshly washed soup-bowls and
glasses. She is dressed in a tight-fitting black velvet bodice.
square-cut at the neck and partly filled in with a gay
handkerchief, coloured rose-pink, blue, and golden, like the
alpen-rose, the gentian, and the mountain dandelion; alabaster
beads, pale as edelweiss, are round her throat; her stiffened.
white linen sleeves finish at the elbow; and her full well-worn
skirt is of gentian blue. The two thick plaits of her hair are
crossed, and turned round her head. As she puts away the last
bowl, there is a knock; and LAMOND opens the outer door. He is
young, tanned, and good-looking, dressed like a climber, and
carries a plaid, a ruck-sack, and an ice-axe.
Good evening! LAMOND
Good evening, gentle Sir! SEELCHEN
My name is Lamond. I'm very late I fear. LAMOND
Do you wish to sleep here? SEELCHEN
All the beds are full--it is a pity. I will call Mother. SEELCHEN
I've come to go up the Great Horn at sunrise. LAMOND
SEELCHEN [Awed] The Great Horn! But he is impossible.
I am going to try that. LAMOND
There is the Wine Horn, and the Cow Horn. SEELCHEN
I have climbed them. LAMOND
But he is so dangerous--it is perhaps--death. SEELCHEN
Oh! that's all right! One must take one's chance. LAMOND
And father has hurt his foot. For guide, there is only
Mans Felsman. SEELCHEN
The celebrated Felsman? LAMOND
SEELCHEN [Nodding; then looking at him with admiration] Are you
that Herr Lamond who has climbed all our little mountains this year?
All but that big fellow. LAMOND
We have heard of you. Will you not wait a day for father's
Ah! no. I must go back home to-morrow. LAMOND
The gracious Sir is in a hurry. SEELCHEN
LAMOND [Looking at her intently] Alas!
Are you from London? Is it very big? SEELCHEN
Six million souls. LAMOND
Oh! SEELCHEN [After a little pause] I have seen Cortina twice.
Do you live here all the year? LAMOND
In winter in the valley. SEELCHEN
And don't you want to see the world? LAMOND
Sometimes. SEELCHEN [Going to a door, she calls softly] Hans!
[Then pointing to another door] There are seven German gentlemen
asleep in there!
Oh God! LAMOND
Please? They are here to see the sunrise. SEELCHEN [She picks up
a little book that has dropped from LAMOND'S pocket] I have read
This is by the great English poet. Do you never make poetry
here, and dream dreams, among your mountains? LAMOND
SEELCHEN [Slowly shaking her head] See! It is the full moon.
While they stand at the window looking at the moon, there enters
a lean, well-built, taciturn young man dressed in Loden.
FELSMAN [In a deep voice] The gentleman wishes me?
SEELCHEN [Awed] The Great Horn for to-morrow! [Whispering to him]
It is the celebrated London one.
The Great Horn is not possible. FELSMAN
You say that? And you're the famous Felsman? LAMOND
FELSMAN [Grimly] We start at dawn.
It is the first time for years! SEELCHEN
LAMOND [Placing his plaid and rucksack on the window bench] Can I
I will see; perhaps-- SEELCHEN
runs out up some stairs] [She
FELSMAN [Taking blankets from the cupboard and spreading them on
the window seat] So!
As he goes out into the air. SEELCHEN comes slipping in again
with a lighted candle.
There is still one bed. This is too hard for you. SEELCHEN
Oh! thanks; but that's all right. LAMOND
To please me! SEELCHEN
May I ask your name? LAMOND
Little soul, that means--doesn't it? To please you I would
sleep with seven German gentlemen. LAMOND
Oh! no; it is not necessary. SEELCHEN
LAMOND [With. a grave bow] At your service, then.
[He prepares to go]
Is it very nice in towns, in the World, where you come
When I'm there I would be here; but when I'm here I would be
SEELCHEN [Clasping her hands] That is like me but I am always
Ah! yes; there is no one like you in towns. LAMOND
In two places one cannot be. SEELCHEN [Suddenly] In the towns
there are theatres, and there is beautiful fine work, and--dancing,
and--churches--and trains--and all the things in books--and--
But there is life. SEELCHEN
And there is death. LAMOND
To-morrow, when you have climbed--will you not come back? SEELCHEN
You have all the world; and I have nothing. SEELCHEN
Except Felsman, and the mountains. LAMOND
It is not good to eat only bread. SEELCHEN
LAMOND [Looking at her hard] I would like to eat you!
But I am not nice; I am full of big wants--like the cheese
with holes. SEELCHEN
I shall come again. LAMOND
There will be no more hard mountains left to climb. And
if it is not exciting, you do not care. SEELCHEN
O wise little soul! LAMOND
No. I am not wise. In here it is always aching. SEELCHEN
For the moon? LAMOND
Yes. SEELCHEN [Then suddenly] From the big world you will
LAMOND [Taking her hand] There is nothing in the big world so
sweet as this.
SEELCHEN [Wisely] But there is the big world itself.
May I kiss you, for good-night? LAMOND
She puts her face forward; and he kisses her cheek, and,
suddenly, her lips. Then as she draws away.
I am sorry, little soul. LAMOND
That's all right! SEELCHEN
LAMOND [Taking the candle] Dream well! Goodnight!
SEELCHEN [Softly] Good-night!
FELSMAN [Coming in from the air, and eyeing them] It is cold--it
will be fine.
LAMOND still looking back goes up the stairs; and FELSMAN waits
for him to pass.
SEELCHEN [From the window seat] It was hard for him here. I
He goes up to her, stays a moment looking down then bends and
kisses her hungrily.
Art thou angry? SEELCHEN
He does not answer, but turning out the lamp, goes into an inner
room. SEELCHEN sits gazing through the window at the peaks bathed in
full moonlight. Then, drawing the blankets about her, she
snuggles doom on the window seat.
SEELCHEN [In a sleepy voice] They kissed me--both. [She sleeps]
The scene falls quite dark