RUBEK {throwing his arms violently around her}. Then let two of the dead — us two — for once live life to its uttermost, before we go down to our graves again.

IRENE {with a shriek}. Arnold!

RUBEK. But not here in the half-darkness. Not here with this hideous dank shroud flapping around us!

IRENE {carried away by passion}. No, no — up in the light and in all the glittering glory! Up to the Peak of Promise!

RUBEK. There we will hold our marriage-feast, Irene — oh! my beloved!

IRENE {proudly}. The sun may freely look on us, Arnold.

RUBEK. All the powers of light may freely look on us — and all the powers of darkness too {seizes her hand} — will you then follow me, oh my grace-given bride!

IRENE {as though transfigured}. I follow you, freely and gladly, my lord and master!

RUBEK {drawing her along with him}. We must first pass through the mists, Irene, and then —

IRENE. Yes, through all the mists, and then right up to the summit of the tower that shines in the sunrise.

{The mist-clouds close in over the scene. RUBEK and IRENE, hand in hand, climb up over the snowfield to the right and soon disappear among the lower clouds. Keen storm-gusts hurtle and whistle through the air.}

{The SISTER OF MERCY appears upon the rubble-slope to the left. She stops and looks around silently and searchingly.}

{MAJA can be heard singing triumphantly far in the depths below.}

MAJA. I am free! I am free! I am free!

No more life in the prison for me!

I am free as a bird! I am free!

{Suddenly a sound like thunder is heard from high up on the snowfield, which glides and whirls downwards with rushing speed. RUBEK and IRENE can be dimly discerned as they are whirled along with the masses of snow and buried in them.}

THE SISTER OF MERCY {gives a shriek, stretches out her arms towards them, and cries}, Irene! {Stands silent a moment, then makes the sign of the cross before her in the air, and says}, Pax Vobiscum!