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Little Eyolf by Henrik Ibsen

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ASTA. You insist do so, Alfred.

ALLMERS. But don't you think it is terribly weak and unfeeling of
me--to be able to do so?

ASTA. Oh, no--I am sure it is impossible to keep circling for ever
round one fixed thought.

ALLMERS. Yes, for me it is impossible. Before you came to me, here
I sat, torturing myself unspeakably with this crushing, gnawing

ASTA. Yes?

ALLMERS. And would you believe it, Asta--? H'm--

ASTA. Well?

ALLMERS. In the midst of all the agony, I found myself speculating
what we should have for dinner to-day.

ASTA. [Soothingly.] Well, well, if only it rests you to--

ALLMERS. Yes, just fancy, dear--it seemed as if it did give me
rest. [Holds out, his hand to her across the table.] How good it
is, Asta, that I have you with me. I am so glad of that. Glad,
glad--even in my sorrow.

ASTA. [Looking earnestly at him.] You ought most of all to be
glad that you have Rita.

ALLMERS. Yes, of course I should. But Rita is no kin to me--it
isn't like having a sister.

ASTA. [Eagerly.] Do you say that, Alfred?

ALLMERS. Yes, our family is a thing apart. [Half jestingly.] We
have always had vowels for our initials. Don't you remember how
often we used to speak of that? And all our relations--all equally
poor. And we have all the same colour of eyes.

ASTA. Do you think I have--?

ALLMERS. No, you take entirely after your mother. You are not in
the least like the rest of us--not even like father. But all the

ASTA. All the same--?

ALLMERS. Well, I believe that living together has, as it were,
stamped us in each other's image--mentally, I mean.

ASTA. [With warm emotion.] Oh, you must never say that, Alfred. It
is only I that have taken my stamp from you; and it is to you that
I owe everything--every good thing in the world.

ALLMERS. [Shaking his head.] You owe me nothing, Asta. On the

ASTA. I owe you everything! You must never doubt that. No sacrifice
has been too great for you--

ALLMERS. [Interrupting.] Oh, nonsense--sacrifice! Don't talk of
such a thing.--I have only loved you, Asta, ever since you were a
little child. [After a short pause.] And then it always seemed to
me that I had so much injustice to make up to you for.

ASTA. [Astonished.] Injustice? You?

ALLMERS. Not precisely on my own account. But--

ASTA. [Eagerly.] But--?

ALLMERS. On father's.

ASTA. [Half rising from the bench.] On--father's! [Sitting down
again.] What do you mean by that, Alfred?

ALLMERS. Father was never really kind to you.

ASTA. [Vehemently.] Oh, don't say that!

ALLMERS. Yes, it is true. He did not love you--not as he ought to

ASTA. [Evasively.] No, perhaps not as he loved you. That was only

ALLMERS. [Continuing.] And he was often hard to your mother, too--
at least in the last years.

ASTA. [Softly.] Mother was so much, much younger than he--remember

ALLMERS. Do you think they were not quite suited to each other?

ASTA. Perhaps not.

ALLMERS. Yes, but still--. Father, who in other ways was so gentle
and warm-hearted--so kindly towards every one--

ASTA. [Quietly.] Mother, too, was not always as she ought to have

ALLMERS. Your mother was not!

ASTA. Perhaps not always.

ALLMERS. Towards father, do you mean?

ASTA. Yes.

ALLMERS. I never noticed that.

ASTA. [Struggling with her tears, rises.] Oh, my dear Alfred--let
them rest--those who are gone. [She goes towards the right.]

ALLMERS. [Rising.] Yes, let them rest. [Wringing his hands.] But
those who are gone--it is they that won't let us rest, Asta.
Neither day nor night.

ASTA. [Looks warmly at him.] Time will make it all seem easier,

ALLMERS. [Looking helplessly at her.] Yes, don't you think it
will?--But how I am to get over these terrible first days
[Hoarsely.]--that is what I cannot imagine.

ASTA. [Imploringly, laying her hands on his shoulders.] Go up to
Rita. Oh, please do--

ALLMERS. [Vehemently, withdrawing from her.] No, no, no--don't talk
to me of that! I cannot, I tell you. [More calmly.] Let me remain
here, with you.

ASTA. Well, I will not leave you.

ALLMERS. [Seizing her hand and holding it fast.] Thank you for
that! [Looks out for a time over the fiord.] Where is my little
Eyolf now? [Smiling .sadly to her.] Can you tell me that my big,
wise Eyolf? [Shaking his head.] No one in all the world can tell me
that. I know only this one terrible thing--that he is gone from me.

ASTA. [Looking up to the left, and withdrawing her hand.] Here they
are coming.

[MRS. ALLMERS and Engineer BORGHEIM come down by the wood-path, she
leading the way. She wears a dark dress and a black veil over her
head. He has an umbrella under his arm.]

ALLMERS. [Going to meet her.] How is it with you, Rita?

RITA. [Passing him.] Oh, don't ask.

ALLMERS. Why do you come here?

RITA. Only to look for you. What are you doing?

ALLMERS. Nothing. Asta came down to me.

RITA. Yes, but before Asta came? You have been away from me all the

ALLMERS. I have been sitting here looking out over the water.

RITA. Ugh,--how can you?

ALLMERS. [Impatiently.] I like best to be alone now.

RITA. [Moving restlessly about.] And then to sit still! To stay in
one place!

ALLMERS. I have nothing in the world to move for.

RITA. I cannot bear to be anywhere long. Least of all here--with
the fiord at my very feet.

ALLMERS. It is just the nearness of the fiord--

RITA. [To BORGHEIM.] Don't you think he should come back with the
rest of us?

BORGHEIM. [To ALLMERS.] I believe it would be better for you.

ALLMERS. No, no; let me stay where I am.

RITA. Then I will stay with you, Alfred.

ALLMERS. Very well; do so, then. You remain too, Asta.

ASTA. [Whispers to BORGHEIM.] Let us leave them alone!

BORGHEIM. [With a glance of comprehension.] Miss Allmers, shall we
go a little further--along the shore? For the very last time?

ASTA. [Taking her umbrella.] Yes, come. Let us go a little further.

[ASTA and BORGHEIM go out together behind the boat-shed. ALLMERS
wanders about for a little. Then he seats himself on a stone under
the trees on the left.]

RITA. [Comes up and stands before him, her hands folded and hanging
down.] Can you think the thought, Alfred--that we have lost Eyolf?

ALLMERS. [Looking sadly at the ground.] We must accustom ourselves
to think it.

RITA. I cannot. I cannot. And then that horrible sight that will
haunt me all my life long.

ALLMERS. [Looking up.] What sight? What have you seen?

RITA. I have seen nothing myself. I have only heard it told. Oh--!

ALLMERS. You may as well tell me at once.

RITA. I got Borgheim to go down with me to the pier--

ALLMERS. What did you want there?

RITA. To question the boys as to how it happened.

ALLMERS. But we know that.

RITA. We got to know more.


RITA. It is not true that he disappeared all at once.

ALLMERS. Do they say that now?

RITA. Yes. They say they saw him lying down on the bottom. Deep
down in the clear water.

ALLMERS. [Grinding his teeth.] And they didn't save him!

RITA. I suppose they could not.

ALLMERS. They could swim--every one of them. Did they tell you how
he was lying whilst they could see him?

RITA. Yes. They said he was lying on his back. And with great, open

ALLMERS. Open eyes. But quite still?

RITA. Yes, quite still. And then something came and swept him away.
They called it the undertow.

ALLMERS. [Nodding slowly.] So that was the last they saw of him.

RITA. [Suffocated with tears.] Yes.

ALLMERS. [In a dull voice.] And never--never will any one see him

RITA. [Wailing.] I shall see him day and night, as he lay down

ALLMERS. With great, open eyes.

RITA. [Shuddering.] Yes, with great, open eyes. I see them! I see
them now!

ALLMERS. [Rises slowly and looks with quiet menace at her.] Were
they evil, those eyes, Rita?

RITA. [Turning pale.] Evil--!

ALLMERS. [Going close up to her.] Were they evil eyes that stared
up? Up from the depths?

RITA. [Shrinking from him.] Alfred--!

ALLMERS. [Following her.] Answer me! Were they a child's evil eyes?

RITA. [Shrieks.] Alfred! Alfred!

ALLMERS. Now things have come about--just as you wished, Rita.

RITA. I! What did I wish?

ALLMERS. That Eyolf were not here.

RITA. Never for a moment have I wished that! That Eyolf should not
stand between us--that was what I wished.

ALLMERS. Well, well--he does not stand between us any more.

RITA. [Softly, gazing straight before her.] Perhaps now more than
ever. [With a sudden shudder.] Oh, that horrible sight!

ALLMERS. [Nods.] The child's evil eyes.

RITA. [In dread, recoiling from him.] Let me be, Alfred! I am
afraid of you. I have never seen you like this before.

ALLMERS. [Looks harshly and coldly at her.] Sorrow makes us wicked
and hateful.

RITA. [Terrified, and yet defiant.] That is what I feel, too.

[ALLMERS goes towards the right and looks out over the fiord. RITA
seats herself at the table. A short pause.]

ALLMERS. [Turning his head towards her.] You never really and truly
loved him--never!

RITA. [With cold self-control.] Eyolf would never let me take him
really and truly to my heart.

ALLMERS. Because you did not want to.

RITA. Oh yes, I did. I did want to. But some one stood in the way--
even from the first.

ALLMERS. [Turning right round.] Do you mean that _I_ stood in the

RITA. Oh, no--not at first.

ALLMERS. [Coming nearer her.] Who, then?

RITA. His aunt.


RITA. Yes. Asta stood and barred the way for me.

ALLMERS. Can you say that, Rita?

RITA. Yes. Asta--she took him to her heart--from the moment that
happened--that miserable fall.

ALLMERS. If she did so, she did it in love.

RITA. [Vehemently.] That is just it! I cannot endure to share
anything with any one! Not in love.

ALLMERS. We two should have shared him between us in love.

RITA. [Looking scornfully at him.] We? Oh, the truth is you have
never had any real love for him either.

ALLMERS. [Looks at her in astonishment.] _I_ have not--!

RITA. No, you have not. At first you were so utterly taken up by
that book of yours--about Responsibility.

ALLMERS. [Forcibly.] Yes, I was. But my very book--I sacrificed for
Eyolf's sake.

RITA. Not out of love for him.

ALLMERS. Why then, do you suppose?

RITA. Because you were consumed with mistrust of yourself. Because
you had begun to doubt whether you had any great vocation to live
for in the world.

ALLMERS. [Observing her closely.] Could you see that in me?

RITA. Oh, yes--little by little. And then you needed something new
to fill up your life.--It seems _I_ was not enough for you any

ALLMERS. That is the law of change, Rita.

RITA. And that was why you wanted to make a prodigy of poor little

ALLMERS. That was not what I wanted. I wanted to make a happy human
being of him.--That, and nothing more.

RITA. But not out of love for him. Look into yourself! [With a
certain shyness of expression.] Search out all that lies under--and
behind your action.

ALLMERS. [Avoiding her eyes.] There is something you shrink from

RITA. And you too.

ALLMERS. [Looks thoughtfully at her.] If it is as you say, then we
two have never really possessed our own child.

RITA. No. Not in perfect love.

ALLMERS. And yet we are sorrowing so bitterly for him.

RITA. [With sarcasm.] Yes, isn't it curious that we should grieve
like this over a little stranger boy?

ALLMERS. [With an outburst.] Oh, don't call him a stranger!

RITA. [Sadly shaking her head.] We never won the boy, Alfred. Not
I--nor you either.

ALLMERS. [Wringing his hands.] And now it is too late! Too late!

RITA. And no consolation anywhere--in anything.

ALLMERS. [With sudden passion.] You are the guilty one in this!

RITA. [Rising.] I!

ALLMERS. Yes, you! It was your fault that he became--what he was!
It was your fault that he could not save himself when he fell into
the water.

RITA. [With a gesture of repulsion.] Alfred--you shall not throw
the blame upon me!

ALLMERS. [More and more beside himself.] Yes, yes, I do! It was you
that left the helpless child unwatched upon the table.

RITA. He was lying so comfortably among the cushions, and sleeping
so soundly. And you had promised to look after him.

ALLMERS. Yes, I had. [Lowering his voice.] But then you came--you,
you, you--and lured me to you.

RITA. [Looking defiantly at him.] Oh, better own at once that you
forgot the child and everything else.

ALLMERS. [In suppressed desperation.] Yes, that is true. [Lower.] I
forgot the child--in your arms!

RITA. [Exasperated.] Alfred! Alfred--this is intolerable of you!

ALLMERS. [In a low voice, clenching his fists before her face.] In
that hour you condemned little Eyolf to death.

RITA. [Wildly.] You, too! You, too--if it is as you say!

ALLMERS. Oh yes--call me to account, too--if you will. We have
sinned, both of us. And so, after all, there was retribution in
Eyolf's death.

RITA. Retribution?

ALLMERS. [With more self-control.] Yes. Judgment upon you and me.
Now, as we stand here, we have our deserts. While he lived, we let
ourselves shrink away from him in secret, abject remorse. We could
not bear to see it--the thing he had to drag with him--

RITA. [Whispers.] The crutch.

ALLMERS. Yes, that. And now, what we now call sorrow and heartache--
is really the gnawing of conscience, Rita. Nothing else.

RITA. [Gazing helplessly at him.] I feel as if all this must end in
despair--in madness for both of us. For we can never--never make it
good again.

ALLMERS. [Passing into a calmer mood.] I dreamed about Eyolf last
night. I thought I saw him coming up from the pier. He could run
like other boys. So nothing had happened to him--neither the one
thing nor the other. And the torturing reality was nothing but a
dream, I thought. Oh, how I thanked and blessed-- [Checking
himself.] H'm!

RITA. [Looking at him.] Whom?

ALLMERS. [Evasively.] Whom--?

RITA. Yes; whom did you thank and bless?

ALLMERS. [Putting aside the question.] I was only dreaming, you

RITA. One whom you yourself do not believe in?

ALLMERS. That was how I felt, all the same. Of course, I was

RITA. [Reproachfully.] You should not have taught me to doubt,

ALLMERS. Would it leave been right of me to let you go through
life with your mind full of empty fictions?

RITA. It would have been better for me; for then I should have had
something to take refuge in. Now I am utterly at sea.

ALLMERS. [Observing her closely.] If you had the choice now--. If
you could follow Eyolf to where he is--?

RITA. Yes? What then?

ALLMERS. If you were fully assured that you would find him again--
know him--understand him--?

RITA. Yes, yes; what then?

ALLMERS. Would you, of your own free will, take the leap over to
him? Of your own free will leave everything behind you? Renounce
your whole earthly life? Would you, Rita?

RITA. [Softly.] Now, at once?

ALLMERS. Yes; to-day. This very hour. Answer me--would you?

RITA. [Hesitating.] Oh, I don't know, Alfred. No! I think I should
have to stay here with you, a little while.

ALLMERS. For my sake?

RITA. Yes. only for your sake.

ALLMERS. And afterwards? Would you then--? Answer!

RITA. Oh, what can I answer? I could not go away from you. Never!

ALLMERS. But suppose now _I_ went to Eyolf? And you had the fullest
assurance that you would meet both him and me there. Then would you
come over to us?

RITA. I should want to--so much! so much! But--


RITA. [Moaning softly.] I could not--I feel it. No, no, I never
could! Not for all the glory of heaven!


RITA. No, you feel it so, too, don't you, Alfred! You could not
either, could you?

ALLMERS. No. For it is here, in the life of earth, that we living
beings are at home.

RITA. Yes, here lies the kind of happiness that we can understand.

ALLMERS. [Darkly.] Oh, happiness--happiness--

RITA. You mean that happiness--that we can never find it again?
[Looks inquiringly at him.] But if--? [Vehemently.] No, no; I dare
not say it! Nor even think it!

ALLMERS. Yes, say it--say it, Rita.

RITA. [Hesitatingly.] Could we not try to--? Would it not be
possible to forget him?

ALLMERS. Forget Eyolf?

RITA. Forget the anguish and remorse, I mean.

ALLMERS. Can you wish it?

RITA. Yes,--if it were possible. [With an outburst.] For this--I
cannot bear this for ever! Oh, can we not think of something that
will bring its forgetfulness!

ALLMERS. [Shakes his head.] What could that be?

RITA. Could we not see what travelling would do--far away from

ALLMERS. From home? When you know you are never really well
anywhere but here.

RITA. Well, then, let us have crowds of people about us! Keep open
house! Plunge into something that can deaden and dull our thoughts!

ALLMERS. Such it life would be impossible for me.--No,--rather than
that, I would try to take up my work again.

RITA. [Bitingly.] Your work--the work that has always stood like a
dead wall between us!

ALLMERS. [Slowly, looking fixedly at her.] There must always be a
dead wall between us two, from this time forth.

RITA. Why must there--?

ALLMERS. Who knows but that a child's great, open eyes are watching
us day and night.

RITA. [Softly, shuddering.] Alfred--how terrible to think of!

ALLMERS. Our love has been like a consuming fire. Now it must be

RITA. [With a movement towards him.] Quenched!

ALLMERS. [Hardly.] It is quenched--in one of us.

RITA. [As if petrified.] And you dare say that to me!

ALLMERS. [More gently.] It is dead, Rita. But in what I now feel
for you--in our common guilt and need of atonement--I seem to
foresee a sort of resurrection--

RITA. [Vehemently.] I don't care a bit about any resurrection!


RITA. I am a warm-blooded being! I don't go drowsing about--with
fishes' blood in my veins. [Wringing her hands.] And now to be
imprisoned for life--in anguish and remorse! Imprisoned with one
who is no longer mine, mine, mine!

ALLMERS. It must have ended so, sometime, Rita.

RITA. Must have ended so! The love that in the beginning rushed
forth so eagerly to meet with love!

ALLMERS. My love did not rush forth to you in the beginning.

RITA. What did you feel for me, first of all?


RITA. That I can understand. How was it, then, that I won you after

ALLMERS. [In a low voice.] You were so entrancingly beautiful,

RITA. [Looks searchingly at him.] Then that was the only reason?
Say it, Alfred! The only reason?

ALLMERS. [Conquering himself.] No, there was another as well.

RITA. [With an outburst.] I can guess what that was! It was "my
gold, and my green forests," as you call it. Was it not so, Alfred?


RITA. [Looks at him with deep reproach.] How could you--how could

ALLMERS. I had Asta to think of.

RITA. [Angrily.] Yes, Asta! [Bitterly.] Then it was really Asta
that brought us two together?

ALLMERS. She knew nothing about it. She has no suspicion of it,
even to this day.

RITA. [Rejecting the plea.] It was Asta, nevertheless! [Smiling,
with a sidelong glance of scorn. ] Or, no--it was little Eyolf.
Little Eyolf, my dear!

ALLMERS. Eyolf--?

RITA. Yes, you used to call her Eyolf, did you not? I seem to
remember your telling me so--once, in a moment of confidence.
[Coming up to him.] Do you remember it--that entrancingly beautiful
hour, Alfred?

ALLMERS. [Recoiling, as if in horror.] I remember nothing! I will
not remember!

RITA. [Following him.] It was in that hour--when your other little
Eyolf was crippled for life!

ALLMERS. [In a hollow voice, supporting himself against the table.]

RITA. [Menacingly.] Yes, retribution!

[ASTA and BORGHEIM return by way of the boat-shed. She is carrying
some water-lilies in her hand.]

RITA. [With self-control.] Well, Asta, have you and Mr. Borgheim
talked things thoroughly over?

ASTA. Oh, yes--pretty well.

[She puts down her umbrella and lays the flowers upon a chair.]

BORGHEIM. Miss Allmers has been very silent during our walk.

RITA. Indeed, has she? Well, Alfred and I have talked things out
thoroughly enough--

ASTA. [Looking eagerly at both of them.] What is this--?

RITA. Enough to last all our lifetime, I say. [Breaking off.] Come
now, let us go up to the house, all four of us. We must have
company about us in future. It will never do for Alfred and me to
be alone.

ALLMERS. Yes, do you go ahead, you two. [Turning.] I must speak a
word to you before we go, Asta.

RITA. [Looking at him.] Indeed? Well then, you come with me, Mr.

[RITA and BORGHEIM go up the wood-path.]

ASTA. [Anxiously.] Alfred, what is the matter?

ALLMERS. [Darkly.] Only that I cannot endure to be here any more.

ASTA. Here! With Rita, do you mean?

ALLMERS. Yes. Rita and I cannot go on living together.

ASTA. [Seizes his arm and shakes it.] Oh, Alfred--don't say
anything so terrible!

ALLMERS. It is the truth. I am telling you. We are making each
other wicked and hateful.

ASTA. [With painful emotion.] I had never--never dreamt of anything
like this!

ALLMERS. I did not realise it either, till to-day.

ASTA. And now you want to--! What is it you really want, Alfred?

ALLMERS. I want to get away from everything here--far, far away
from it all.

ASTA. And to stand quite alone in the world?

ALLMERS. [Nods.] As I used to, before, yes.

ASTA. But you are not fitted for living alone!

ALLMERS. Oh, yes. I was so in the old days, at any rate.

ASTA. In the old days, yes; for then you had me with you.

ALLMERS. [Trying to take her hand.] Yes. And it is to you, Asta,
that I now want to come home again.

ASTA. [Eluding him.] To me! No, no, Alfred! That is quite

ALLMERS. [Looks sadly at her.] Then Borgheim stands in the way
after all?

ASTA. [Earnestly.] No, no; he does not! That is quite a mistake!

ALLMERS. Good. Then I will come to you--my dear, dear sister. I
must come to you again--home to you, to be purified and ennobled
after my life with--

ASTA. [Shocked.] Alfred,--you are doing Rita a great wrong!

ALLMERS. I have done her a great wrong. But not in this. Oh, think
of it, Asta--think of our life together, yours and mine. Was it not
like one long holy-day from first to last?

ASTA. Yes, it was, Alfred. But we can never live it over again.

ALLMERS. [Bitterly.] Do you mean that marriage has so irreparably
ruined me?

ASTA. [Quietly.] No, that is not what I mean.

ALLMERS. Well, then we two will live our old life over again.

ASTA. [With decision.] We cannot, Alfred.

ALLMERS. Yes, we can. For the love of a brother and sister--

ASTA. [Eagerly.] What of it?

ALLMERS. That is the only relation in life that is not subject to
the law of change.

ASTA. [Softly and tremblingly.] But if that relation were not--


ASTA. --not our relation?

ALLMERS. [Stares at her in astonishment.] Not ours? Why, what can
you mean by that?

ASTA. It is best I should tell you at once, Alfred.

ALLMERS. Yes, yes; tell me!

ASTA. The letters to mother--. Those in my portfolio--


ASTA. You must read them--when I am gone.

ALLMERS. Why must I?

ASTA. [Struggling with herself.] For then you will see that--


ASTA. --that I have no right to bear your father's name.

ALLMERS. [Staggering backwards.] Asta! What is this you say!

ASTA. Read the letters. Then you will see--and understand. And
perhaps have some forgiveness--for mother, too.

ALLMERS. [Clutching at his forehead.] I cannot grasp this--I cannot
realise the thought. You, Asta--you are not--

ASTA. You are not my brother, Alfred.

ALLMERS. [Quickly, half defiantly, looking at her.] Well, but what
difference does that really make in our relation? Practically none
at all.

ASTA. [Shaking her head.] It makes all the difference, Alfred. Our
relation is not that of brother and sister.

ALLMERS. No, no. But it is none the less sacred for that--it will
always be equally sacred.

ASTA. Do not forget--that it is subject to the law of change, as
you said just now.

ALLMERS. [Looks inquiringly at her.] Do you mean that--

ASTA. [Quietly, but with rearm emotion.] Not a word more--my dear,
dear Alfred. [Takes up the flowers from the chair.] Do you see
these water-lilies?

ALLMERS. [Nodding slowly.] They are the sort that shoot up--from
the very depth.

ASTA. I pulled them in the tarn--where it flows out into the fiord.
[Holds them out to him.] Will you take them, Alfred?

ALLMERS. [Taking them.] Thanks.

ASTA. [With tears in her eyes.] They are a last greeting to you,
from--from little Eyolf.

ALLMERS. [Looking at her.] From Eyolf out yonder? Or from you?

ASTA. [Softly.] From both of us. [Taking up her umbrella.] Now come
with me to Rita.

[She goes up the wood-path.]

ALLMERS. [Takes up his hat from the table, and whispers sadly.]
Asta. Eyolf. Little Eyolf--!

[He follows her up the path.]


[An elevation, overgrown with shrubs, in ALLMERS'S garden. At the
back a sheer cliff, with a railing along its edge, and with steps
on the left leading downwards. An extensive view over the fiord,
which lies deep below. A flagstaff with lines, but no flag, stands
by the railing. In front, on the right, a summer-house, covered
with creepers and wild vines. Outside it, a bench. It is a late
summer evening, with clear sky. Deepening twilight.]

[ASTA is sitting on the bench, with her hands in her lap. She is
wearing her outdoor dress and a hat, has her parasol at her side,
and a little travelling-bag on a strap over her shoulder.]

[BORGHEIM comes up from the back on the left. He, too, has a
travelling-bag over his shoulder. He is carrying a rolled-up flag.]

BORGHEIM. [Catching sight of ASTA.] Oh, so you are up here!

ASTA. Yes, I am taking my last look out over the fiord.

BORGHEIM. Then I am glad I happened to come up.

ASTA. Have you been searching for me?

BORGHEIM. Yes, I have. I wanted to say good-bye to you for the
present. Not for good and all, I hope.

ASTA. [With a faint smile.] You are persevering.

BORGHEIM. A road-maker has got to be.

ASTA. Have you seen anything of Alfred? Or of Rita?

BORGHEIM. Yes, I saw them both.

ASTA. Together?

BORGHEIM. No--apart.

ASTA. What are you going to do with that flag?

BORGHEIM. Mrs. Allmers asked me to come up and hoist it.

ASTA. Hoist a flag just now?

BORGHEIM. Half-mast high. She wants it to fly both night and day,
she says.

ASTA. [Sighing.] Poor Rita! And poor Alfred!

BORGHEIM. [Busied with the flag.] Have you the heart to leave them?
I ask, because I see you are in travelling-dress.

ASTA. [In a low voice.] I must go.

BORGHEIM. Well, if you must, then--

ASTA. And you are going, too, to-night?

BORGHEIM. I must, too. I am going by the train. Are you going that

ASTA. No. I shall take the steamer.

BORGHEIM. [Glancing at her.] We each take our own way, then?

ASTA. Yes.

[She sits and looks on while he hoists the flag half-mast high.
When he has done he goes up to her.]

BORGHEIM. Miss Asta--you can't think how grieved I am about little

ASTA. [Looks up at him.] Yes, I am sure you feel it deeply.

BORGHEIM. And the feeling tortures me. For the fact is, grief is
not much in my way.

ASTA. [Raising her eyes to the flag.] It will pass over in time--
all of it. All our sorrow.

BORGHEIM. All? Do you believe that?

ASTA. Like a squall at sea. When once you have got far away from
here, then--

BORGHEIM. It will have to be very far away indeed.

ASTA. And then you have this great new road-work, too.

BORGHEIM. But no one to help me in it.

ASTA. Oh yes, surely you have.

BORGHEIM. [Shaking his head.] No one. No one to share the gladness
with. For it is gladness that most needs sharing.

ASTA. Not the labour and trouble?

BORGHEIM. Pooh--that sort of thing one can always get through

ASTA. But the gladness--that must be shared with some one, you

BORGHEIM. Yes; for if not, where would be the pleasure in being

ASTA. Ah yes--perhaps there is something in that.

BORGHEIM. Oh, of course, for a certain time you can go on feeling
glad in your own heart. But it won't do in the long run. No, it
takes two to be glad.

ASTA. Always two? Never more? Never many?

BORGHEIM. Well, you see--then it becomes a quite different matter.
Miss Asta--are you sure you can never make up your mind to share
gladness and success and--and labour and trouble, with one--with
one alone in all the world?

ASTA. I have tried it--once.

BORGHEIM. Have you?

ASTA. Yes, all the time that my brother--that Alfred and I lived

BORGHEIM. Oh, with your brother, yes. But that is altogether
different. That ought rather to be called peace than happiness, I
should say.

ASTA. It was delightful, all the same.

BORGHEIM. There now--you see even that seemed to you delightful.
But just think now--if he had not been your brother!

ASTA. [Makes a movement to rise, but remains sitting.] Then we
should never have been together. For I was a child then--and he
wasn't much more.

BORGHEIM. [After a pause.] Was it so delightful--that time?

ASTA. Oh yes, indeed it was.

BORGHEIM. Was there much that was really bright and happy in your
life then?

ASTA. Oh yes, so much. You cannot think how much.

BORGHEIM. Tell me a little about it, Miss Asta.

ASTA. Oh, there are only trifles to tell.

BORGHEIM. Such as--? Well?

ASTA. Such as the time when Alfred had passed his examination--and
had distinguished himself. And then, from time, to time, when he
got a post in some school or other. Or when he would sit at home
working at an article--and would read it aloud to me. And then when
it would appear in some magazine.

BORGHEIM. Yes, I can quite see that it must have been a peaceful,
delightful life--a brother and sister sharing all their joys.
[Shaking his head.] What I cannot understand is that your brother
could ever give you up, Asta.

ASTA. [With suppressed emotion.] Alfred married, you know.

BORGHEIM. Was not that very hard for you?

ASTA. Yes, at first. It seemed as though I had utterly lost him all
at once.

BORGHEIM. Well, luckily it was not so bad as that.


BORGHEIM. But, all the same--how could he! Go and marry, I mean--
when he could have kept you with him, alone!

ASTA. [Looking straight in front of her.] He was subject to the
law of change, I suppose.

BORGHEIM. The law of change?

ASTA. So Alfred calls it.

BORGHEIM. Pooh--what a stupid law that must be! I don't believe a
bit in that law.

ASTA. [Rising.] You may come to believe in it, in time.

BORGHEIM. Never in all my life! [Insistently.] But listen now, Miss
Asta! Do be reasonable for once in a way--in this matter, I mean--

ASTA. [Interrupting him.] Oh, no, no--don't let us begin upon that

BORGHEIM. [Continuing as before.] Yes, Asta--I can't possibly give
you up so easily. Now your brother has everything as he wishes it.
He can live his life quite contentedly without you. He doesn't
require you at all. Then this--this--that at one blow has changed
your whole position here--

ASTA. [With a start.] What do you mean by that?

BORGHEIM. The loss of the child. What else should I mean?

ASTA. [Recovering her self-control.] Little Eyolf is gone, yes.

BORGHEIM. And what more does that leave you to do here? You have
not the poor little boy to take care of now. You have no duties--no
claims upon you of any sort.

ASTA. Oh, please, Mr. Borgheim--don't make it so hard for me.

BORGHEIM. I must; I should be mad if I did not try my uttermost. I
shall be leaving town before very long, rind perhaps I shall have
no opportunity of meeting you there. Perhaps I shall not see you
again for a long, long time. And who knows what may happen in the

ASTA. [With a grave smile.] So you are afraid of the law of change,
after all?

BORGHEIM. No, not in the least. [Laughing bitterly.] And there is
nothing to be changed, either--not in you. I mean. For I can see
you don't care much about me.

ASTA. You know very well that I do.

BORGHEIM. Perhaps, but not nearly enough. Not as I want you to.
[More forcibly.] By Heaven, Asta--Miss Asta--I cannot tell you how
strongly I feel that you are wrong in this! A little onward,
perhaps, from to-day and to-morrow, all life's happiness may be
awaiting us. And we must needs pass it by! Do you think we will not
come to repent of it, Asta?

ASTA. [Quietly.] I don't know. I only know that they are not for
us--all these bright possibilities.

BORGHEIM. [Looks at her with self-control.] Then I must make my
roads alone?

ASTA. [Warmly.] Oh, how I wish I could stand by you in it all!
Help you in the labour--share the gladness with you--

BORGHEIM. Would you--if you could?

ASTA. Yes, that I would.

BORGHEIM. But you cannot?

ASTA. [Looking down.] Would you be content to have only half of me?

BORGHEIM. No. You must be utterly and entirely mine.

ASTA. [Looks at him, and says quietly.] Then I cannot.

BORGHEIM. Good-bye then, Miss Asta.

[He is on the point of going. ALLMERS comes up from the left at the
back. BORGHEIM stops.]

ALLMERS. [The moment he has reached the top of the steps, points,
and says in a low voice.] Is Rita in there--in the summer-house?

BORGHEIM. No; there is no one here but Miss Asta.

[ALLMERS comes forward.]

ASTA. [Going towards him.] Shall I go down and look for her?
Shall I get her to come up here?

ALLMERS. [With a negative gesture.] No, no, no--let it alone. [To
BORGHEIM.] Is it you that have hoisted the flag?

BORGHEIM. Yes. Mrs. Allmers asked me to. That was what brought me
up here.

ALLMERS. And you are going to start to-night?

BORGHEIM. Yes. To-night I go away in good earnest.

ALLMERS. [With a glance at ASTA.] And you have made sure of
pleasant company, I daresay.

BORGHEIM. [Shaking his head.] I am going alone.

ALLMERS. [With surprise.] Alone!

BORGHEIM. Utterly alone.

ALLMERS. [Absently.] Indeed?

BORGHEIM. And I shall have to remain alone, too.

ALLMERS. There is something horrible in being alone. The thought of
it runs like ice through my blood--

ASTA. Oh, but, Alfred, you are not alone.

ALLMERS. There may be something horrible in that too, Asta.

ASTA. [Oppressed.] Oh, don't talk like that! Don't think like that!

ALLMERS. [Not listening to her.] But since you are not going with
him--? Since there is nothing to bind you--? Why will you not
remain out here with me--and with Rita?

ASTA. [Uneasily.] No, no, I cannot. I must go back to town now.

ALLMERS. But only in to town, Asta. Do you hear!

ASTA. Yes.

ALLMERS. And you must promise me that you will soon come out again.

ASTA. [Quickly.] No, no, I dare not promise you that, for the

ALLMERS. Well as you will. We shall soon meet in town, then.

ASTA. [Imploringly.] But, Alfred, you must stay at home here with
Rita now.

ALLMERS. [Without answering, turns to BORGHEIM.] You may find it a
good thing, after all, that you have to take your journey alone.

BORGHEIM. [Annoyed.] Oh, how can you say such a thing?

ALLMERS. You see, you can never tell whom you might happen to meet
afterwards--on the way.

ASTA. [Involuntarily.] Alfred!

ALLMERS. The right fellow-traveller--when it is too late--too late.

ASTA. [Softly, quivering.] Alfred! Alfred!

BORGHEIM. [Looking front one to the other.] What is the meaning of
this? I don't understand--

[RITA comes up from the left at the back.]

RITA. [Plaintively.] Oh, don't go away from me, all of you!

ASTA. [Going towards her.] You said you preferred to be alone.

RITA. Yes, but I dare not. It is getting so horribly dark. I seem
to see great, open eyes fixed upon me!

ASTA. [Tenderly and sympathetically.] What if it were so, Rita?
You ought not to be afraid of those eyes.

RITA. How can you say so! Not afraid!

ALLMERS. [Insistently.] Asta, I beg you--for Heaven's sake--remain
here with Rita!

RITA. Yes! And with Alfred, too. Do! Do, Asta!

ASTA. [Struggling with herself.] Oh, I want to so much--

RITA. Well, then, do it! For Alfred and I cannot go alone through
the sorrow and heartache.

ALLMERS. [Darkly.] Say, rather--through the ranklings of remorse.

RITA. Oh, whatever you like to call it--we cannot bear it alone, we
two. Oh, Asta, I beg and implore you! Stay here and help us! Take
Eyolf's place for us--

ASTA. [Shrinking.] Eyolf's--

RITA. Yes, would you not have it so, Alfred?

ALLMERS. If she can and will.

RITA. You used to call her your little Eyolf. [Seizes her hand.]
Henceforth you shall be our Eyolf, Asta! Eyolf, as you were before.

ALLMERS. [With concealed emotion.] Remain--and share our life with
us, Asta. With Rita. With me. With me--your brother!

ASTA. [With decision, snatches her hand away.] No. I cannot.
[Turning.] Mr. Borgheim--what time does the steamer start?

BORGHEIM. Now--at once.

ASTA. Then I must go on board. Will you go with me?

BORGHEIM. [With a suppressed outburst of joy.] Will I? Yes, yes!

ASTA. Then come!

RITA. [Slowly.] Ah! That is how it is. Well, then, you cannot stay
with us.

ASTA. [Throwing her arms round her neck.] Thanks for everything,
Rita! (Goes up to ALLMERS and grasps his hand.) Alfred-good-bye! A
thousand times, good-bye!

ALLMERS. [oftly and eagerly.] What is this, Asta? It seems as
though you were taking flight.

ASTA. [In subdued anguish.] Yes, Alfred--I am taking flight.

ALLMERS. Flight--from me!

ASTA. [Whispering.] From you--and from myself.

ALLMERS. [Shrinking back.] Ah--!

[ASTA rushes down the steps at the back. BORGHEIM waves his hat and
follows her. RITA leans against the entrance to the summer-house.
ALLMERS goes, in strong inward emotion, up to the railing, and
stands there gazing downwards. A pause.]

ALLMERS. [Turns, and says with hard-won composure.] There comes the
steamer. Look, Rita.

RITA. I dare not look at it.

ALLMERS. You dare not?

RITA. No. For it has a red eye--and a green one, too. Great,
glowing eyes.

ALLMERS. Oh, those are only the lights, you know.

RITA. Henceforth they are eyes--for me. They stare and stare out
of the darkness--and into the darkness.

ALLMERS. Now she is putting in to shore.

RITA. Where are they mooring her this evening, then?

ALLMERS. [Coming forward.] At the pier, as usual--

RITA. [Drawing herself up.] How can they moor her there!

ALLMERS. They must.

RITA. But it was there that Eyolf--! How can they moor her there!

ALLMERS. Yes, life is pitiless, Rita.

RITA. Men are heartless. They take no thought--whether for the
living or for the dead.

ALLMERS. There you are right. Life goes its own way--just as if
nothing in the world had happened.

RITA. [Gazing straight before her.] And nothing has happened,
either. Not to others. Only to us two.

ALLMERS. [The pain re-awakening.] Yes, Rita--so it was to no
purpose that you bore him in sorrow and anguish. For now he is gone
again--and has left no trace behind him.

RITA. Only the crutch was saved.

ALLMERS. [Angrily.] Be silent! Do not let me hear that word!

RITA. [Plaintively.] Oh, I cannot bear the thought that he is gone
from us.

ALLMERS. [Coldly and bitterly.] You could very well do without him
while he was with us. Half the day would often pass without your
setting eyes on him.

RITA. Yes, for I knew that I could see him whenever I wanted to.

ALLMERS. Yes, that is how we have gone and squandered the short
time we had with Little Eyolf.

RITA. [Listening, in dread.] Do you hear, Alfred! Now it is
ringing again!

ALLMERS. [Looking over the fiord.] It is the steamer's bell that is
ringing. She is just starting.

RITA. Oh, it's not that bell I mean. All day I have heard it
ringing in my ears.--Now it is ringing again!

ALLMERS. [Going up to her.] You are mistaken, Rita.

RITA. No, I hear it so plainly. It sounds like a knell. Slow. Slow.
And always the same words.

ALLMERS. Words? What words?

RITA. [Nodding her head in the rhythm.] "The crutch is--floating. The
crutch is--floating." Oh, surely you must hear it, too!

ALLMERS. [Shaking his head.] I hear nothing. And there is nothing
to hear.

RITA. Oh, you may say what you will--I hear it so plainly.

ALLMERS. [Looking out over the railing.] Now they are on board,
Rita. Now the steamer is on her way to the town.

RITA. Is it possible you do not hear it? "The crutch is--floating.
The crutch is-- ---"

ALLMERS. [Coming forward.] You shall not stand there listening to a
sound that does not exist. I tell You, Asta and Borgheim are on
board. They have started already. Asta is gone.

RITA. [Looks timidly at him.] Then I suppose you will soon be gone,
too, Alfred?

ALLMERS. [Quickly.] What do you mean by that?

RITA. That you will follow your sister.

ALLMERS. Has Asta told you anything?

RITA. No. But you said yourself it was for Asta's sake that--that
we came together.

ALLMERS. Yes, but you, you yourself, have bound me to you--by our
life together.

RITA. Oh, in your eyes I am not--I am not--entrancingly beautiful
any more.

ALLMERS. The law of change may perhaps keep us together, none the

RITA. [Nodding slowly.] There is a change in me now--I feel the
anguish of it.

ALLMERS. Anguish?

RITA. Yes, for change, too, is a sort of birth.

ALLMERS. It is--or a resurrection. Transition to a higher life.

RITA. [Gazing sadly before her.] Yes--with the loss of all, all
life's happiness.

ALLMERS. That loss is just the gain.

RITA. [Vehemently.] Oh, phrases! Good God, we are creatures of
earth after all.

ALLMERS. But something akin to the sea and the heavens too, Rita.

RITA. You perhaps. Not I.

ALLMERS. Oh, yes--you too, more than you yourself suspect.

RITA. [Advancing a pace towards him.] Tell me, Alfred--could you
think of taking up your work again?

ALLMERS. The work that you have hated so?

RITA. I am easier to please now. I am willing to share you with the


RITA. Only to keep you here with me--to have you near me.

ALLMERS. Oh, it is so little I can do to help you, Rita.

RITA. But perhaps I could help you.

ALLMERS. With my book, do you mean?

RITA. No; but to live your life.

ALLMERS. [Shaking his head.] I seem to have no life to live.

RITA. Well then, to endure your life.

ALLMERS. [Darkly, looking away from her.] I think it would be best
for both of us that we should part.

RITA. [Looking curiously at him.] Then where would you go? Perhaps
to Asta, after all?

ALLMERS. No--never again to Asta.

RITA. Where then?

ALLMERS. Up into the solitudes.

RITA. Up among the mountains? Is that what you mean?


RITA. But all that is mere dreaming, Alfred! You could not live up

ALLMERS. And yet I feel myself drawn to them.

RITA. Why? Tell me!

ALLMERS. Sit down--and I will tell you something.

RITA. Something that happened to you up there?


RITA. And that you never told Asta and me?


RITA. Oh, you are so silent about everything. You ought not to be.

ALLMERS. Sit down there--and I will tell you about it.

RITA. Yes, yes--tell me!

[She sits on the bench beside the summer-house.]

ALLMERS. I was alone up there, in the heart of the great mountains.
I came to a wide, dreary mountain lake; and that lake I had to
cross. But I could not--for there was neither a boat nor any one

RITA. Well? And then?

ALLMERS. Then I went without any guidance into a side valley. I
thought that by that way I could push on over the heights and
between the peaks--and then down again on the other side of the

RITA. Oh, and you lost yourself, Alfred!

ALLMERS. Yes; I mistook the direction--for there was no path or
track. And all day I went on--and all the next night. And at last I
thought I should never see the face of man again.

RITA. Not come home to us? Oh, then, I am sure your thoughts were
with us here.

ALLMERS. No--they were not.

RITA. Not?

ALLMERS. No. It was so strange. Both you and Eyolf seemed to have
drifted far, far away from me--and Asta, too.

RITA. Then what did you think of?

ALLMERS. I did not think. I dragged myself along among the
precipices--and revelled in the peace and luxury of death.

RITA. [Springing up.] Oh, don't speak in that way of that horror!

ALLMERS. I did not feel it so. I had no fear. Here went death and
I, it seemed to me, like two good fellow-travellers. It all seemed
so natural--so simple, I thought. In my family, we don't live to be

RITA. Oh, don't say such things, Alfred! You see you came safely
out of it, after all.

ALLMERS. Yes; all of a sudden, I found myself where I wanted to be--
on the other side of the lake.

RITA. It must have been a night of terror for you, Alfred. But now
that it is over, you will not admit it to yourself.

ALLMERS. That night sealed my resolution. And it was then that I
turned about and came straight homewards. To Eyolf.

RITA. [Softly.] Too late.

ALLMERS. Yes. And then when--my fellow-traveller came and took him--
then I felt the horror of it; of it all; of all that, in spite of
everything, we dare not tear ourselves away from. So earthbound are
we, both of us, Rita.

RITA. [With a gleam of joy.] Yes, you are, too, are you not!
[Coming close to him.] Oh, let us live our life together as long as
we can!

ALLMERS. [Shrugging his shoulders.] Live our life, yes! And have
nothing to fill life with. An empty void on all sides--wherever I

RITA. [In fear.] Oh, sooner or later you will go away from me,
Alfred! I feel it! I can see it in your face! You will go away
from me.

ALLMERS. With my fellow-traveller, do you mean?

RITA. No, I mean worse than that. Of your own free will--you will
leave me--for you think it's only here, with me, that you have
nothing to live for. Is not that what is in your thoughts?

ALLMERS. [Looking steadfastly at her.] What if it were--?

[A disturbance, and the noise of angry, quarrelling voices is heard
from down below, in the distance. ALLMERS goes to the railing.]

RITA. What is that? [With an outburst.] Oh, you'll see, they have
found him!

ALLMERS. He will never be found.

RITA. But what is it then?

ALLMERS. [Coming forward.] Only fighting--as usual.

RITA. Down on the beach?

ALLMERS. Yes. The whole village down there ought to be swept away.
Now the men have come home--drunk, as they always are. They are
beating the children--do you hear the boys crying! The women are
shrieking for help for them--

RITA. Should we not get some one to go down and help them?

ALLMERS. [Harshly and angrily.] Help them, who did not help Eyolf!
Let them go--as they let Eyolf go.

RITA. Oh, you must not talk like that, Alfred! Nor think like that!

ALLMERS. I cannot think otherwise. All the old hovels ought to be
torn down.

RITA. And then what is to become of all the poor people?

ALLMERS. They must go somewhere else.

RITA. And the children, too?

ALLMERS. Does it make much difference where they go to the dogs?

RITA. [Quietly and reproachfully.] You are forcing yourself into
this harshness, Alfred.

ALLMERS. [Vehemently.] I have a right to be harsh now! It is my

RITA. Your duty?

ALLMERS. My duty to Eyolf. He must not lie unavenged. Once for all,
Rita--it is as I tell you! Think it over! Have the whole place down
there razed to the ground--when I am gone.

RITA. [Looks intently at him.] When you are gone?

ALLMERS. Yes. For that will at least give you something to fill
your life with--and something you must have.

RITA. [Firmly and decidedly.] There you are right---I must. But can
you guess what I will set about--when you are gone?

ALLMERS. Well, what?

RITA. [Slowly and with resolution.] As soon as you are gone from
me, I will go down to the beach, and bring all the poor neglected
children home with me. All the mischievous boys--

ALLMERS. What will you do with them here?

RITA. I will take them to my heart.


RITA. Yes, I will. From the day you leave me, they shall all be
here, all of them, as if they were mine.

ALLMERS. [Shocked.] In our little Eyolf's place!

RITA. Yes, in our little Eyolf's place. They shall live in Eyolf's
rooms. They shall read his books. They shall play with his toys.
They shall take it in turns to sit in his chair at table.

ALLMERS. But this is sheer madness in you! I do not know a creature
in the world that is less fitted than you for anything of that

RITA. Then I shall have to educate myself for it; to train myself;
to discipline myself.

ALLMERS. If you are really in earnest about this--about all you
say--then there must indeed be a change in you.

RITA. Yes, there is, Alfred--and for that I have you to thank. You
have made an empty place within me; and I must try to fill it up
with something--with something that is a little like love.

ALLMERS. [Stands for a moment lost in thought; then looks at her.]
The truth is, we have not done much for the poor people down there.

RITA. We have done nothing for them.

ALLMERS. Scarcely even thought of them.

RITA. Never thought of them in sympathy.

ALLMERS. We, who had "the gold, and the green forests"--

RITA. Our hands were closed to them. And our hearts too.

ALLMERS. [Nods.] Then it was perhaps natural enough, after all,
that they should not risk their lives to save little Eyolf.

RITA. [Softly.] Think, Alfred! Are you so certain that--that we
would have risked ours?

ALLMERS. [With an uneasy gesture of repulsion.] You must never
doubt that.

RITA. Oh, we are children of earth.

ALLMERS. What do you really think you can do with all these
neglected children?

RITA. I suppose I must try if I cannot lighten and--and ennoble
their lot in life.

ALLMERS. If you can do that--then Eyolf was not born in vain.

RITA. Nor taken from us in vain, either.

ALLMERS. [Looking steadfastly at her.] Be quite clear about one
thing, Rita--it is not love that is driving you to this.

RITA. No, it is not--at any rate, not yet.

ALLMERS. Well, then what is it?

RITA. [Half-evasively.] You have so often talked to Asta of human

ALLMERS. Of the book that you hated.

RITA. I hate that book still. But I used to sit and listen to what
you told her. And now I will try to continue it--in my own way.

ALLMERS. [Shaking his head.] It is not for the sake of that
unfinished book--

RITA. No, I have another reason as well.

ALLMERS. What is that?

RITA. [Softly, with a melancholy smile.] I want to make my peace
with the great, open eyes, you see.

ALLMERS. [Struck, fixing his eyes upon her.] Perhaps, I could join
you in that? And help you, Rita?

RITA. Would you?

ALLMERS. Yes--if I were only sure I could.

RITA. [Hesitatingly.] But then you would have to remain here.

ALLMERS. [Softly.] Let us try if it could not be so.

RITA. [Almost inaudibly.] Yes, let us, Alfred.

[Both are silent. Then ALLMERS goes up to the flagstaff and hoists
the flag to the top. RITA stands beside the summer-house and looks
at him in silence.]

ALLMERS. [Coming forward again.] We have a heavy day of work before
us, Rita.

RITA. You will see--that now and then a Sabbath peace will descend
on us.

ALLMERS. [Quietly, with emotion.] Then, perhaps, we shall know that
the spirits are with us.

RITA. [Whispering.] The spirits?

ALLMERS. [As before.] Yes, they will perhaps be around us--those
whom we have lost.

RITA. [Nods slowly.] Our little Eyolf. And your big Eyolf, too.

ALLMERS. [Gazing straight before him.] Now and then, perhaps, we
may still--on the way through life--have a little, passing glimpse
of them.

RITA. When, shall we look for them, Alfred?

ALLMERS. [Fixing his eyes upon her.] Upwards.

RITA. [Nods in approval.] Yes, yes--upwards.

ALLMERS. Upwards--towards the peaks. Towards the stars. And towards
the great silence.

RITA. [Giving him her hand.] Thanks!

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