A monologue from the play by Arthur Schnitzler

NOTE: This translation by Marya Mannes was first published in Reigen, The Affairs of Anatol and Other Plays. Arthur Schnitzler. New York: Boni & Liveright, Inc., 1917. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

ANATOL: There really isn't any more to it. I had known her only two hours and I knew that I would probably never see her again once the evening was over--she told me so herself--and yet I had the feeling that I was loved madly in that moment. It wrapped me round--the air was heavy and fragrant with this love--do you understand? And again I had the foolish and divine thought--"you poor, poor child." The episodic character of it all came so clearly to my consciousness. While I still felt her warm breath on my hand, I seemed to be living it over in my memory--as if it were already a thing of the past. She was just another one of those over whom my path led me. The word came to me then--that arid word "Episode"--and yet I seemed to feel myself as something Eternal. I knew that this poor child would never lose the memory of this hour--I had never felt so sure of it as in just this case. Oh, I often realize that by next morning I will be quite forgotten. But this was different--I was all the world to this girl who lay at my feet--I felt the sacred, enduring love with which she surrounded me--one can feel that--I know that in that moment she had thought for nothing but me--and yet for me she was already something that was past--something that was fleeting--an Episode.