SCENE I It is just after sunset of an August evening. The scene is aroom in a mountain hut, furnished only with a table, benches.and a low broad window seat. Through this window three rockypeaks are seen by the light of a moon which is slowly whiteningthe last hues of sunset. An oil lamp is burning. SEELCHEN, amountain girl, eighteen years old, is humming a folk-song, andputting away in a cupboard freshly washed soup-bowls andglasses. She is dressed in a tight-fitting black velvet bodice.square-cut at the neck and partly filled in with a gayhandkerchief, coloured rose-pink, blue, and golden, like thealpen-rose, the gentian, and the mountain dandelion; alabasterbeads, pale as edelweiss, are round her throat; her stiffened.white linen sleeves finish at the elbow; and her full well-wornskirt is of gentian blue. The two thick plaits of her hair arecrossed, and turned round her head. As she puts away the lastbowl, there is a knock; and LAMOND opens the outer door. He isyoung, tanned, and good-looking, dressed like a climber, andcarries a plaid, a ruck-sack, and an ice-axe.
LAMOND. Good evening!
SEELCHEN. Good evening, gentle Sir!
LAMOND. My name is Lamond. I'm very late I fear.
SEELCHEN. Do you wish to sleep here?
SEELCHEN. All the beds are full—it is a pity. I will call Mother.
LAMOND. I've come to go up the Great Horn at sunrise.
SEELCHEN. [Awed] The Great Horn! But he is impossible.
LAMOND. I am going to try that.
SEELCHEN. There is the Wine Horn, and the Cow Horn.
LAMOND. I have climbed them.
SEELCHEN. But he is so dangerous—it is perhaps—death.
LAMOND. Oh! that's all right! One must take one's chance.
SEELCHEN. And father has hurt his foot. For guide, there is only Mans Felsman.
LAMOND. The celebrated Felsman?
SEELCHEN. [Nodding; then looking at him with admiration] Are you that Herr Lamond who has climbed all our little mountains this year?
LAMOND. All but that big fellow.
SEELCHEN. We have heard of you. Will you not wait a day for father's foot?
LAMOND. Ah! no. I must go back home to-morrow.
SEELCHEN. The gracious Sir is in a hurry.
LAMOND. [Looking at her intently] Alas!
SEELCHEN. Are you from London? Is it very big?
LAMOND. Six million souls.
SEELCHEN. Oh! [After a little pause] I have seen Cortina twice.
LAMOND. Do you live here all the year?
SEELCHEN. In winter in the valley.
LAMOND. And don't you want to see the world?
SEELCHEN. Sometimes. [Going to a door, she calls softly] Hans! [Then pointing to another door] There are seven German gentlemen asleep in there!
LAMOND. Oh God!
SEELCHEN. Please? They are here to see the sunrise. [She picks up a little book that has dropped from LAMOND'S pocket] I have read several books.
LAMOND. This is by the great English poet. Do you never make poetry here, and dream dreams, among your mountains?
SEELCHEN. [Slowly shaking her head] See! It is the full moon.While they stand at the window looking at the moon, there entersa lean, well-built, taciturn young man dressed in Loden....