Part 2 out of 3
There's another! (Looks through the trees.) Out there. Now he's
coming to frighten him away!
Bolette (looking up). Who's coming?
Hilde. Your tutor, Miss!
Hilde. Yes. Goodness knows he never was mine.
(ARNHOLM enters from between the trees.)
Arnholm. Are there fish in the pond now?
Hilde. There are some very ancient carp.
Arnholm. No! Are the old carp still alive?
Hilde. Yes; they're pretty tough. But now we're going to try and
get rid of some of them.
Arnholm. You'd better try out there at the fjord.
Lyngstrand. No; the pond is--well--so to say--more mysterious.
Hilde. Yes; it's fascinating here. Have you been in the sea?
Arnholm. Yes; I've come straight from the baths.
Hilde. I suppose you kept in the enclosure?
Arnholm. Yes; I'm not much of a swimmer.
Hilde. Can you swim on your back?
Hilde. I can. (To LYNGSTRAND.) Let's try out there on the other
side. (They go off along the pond.)
Arnholm (coming closer to BOLETTE). Are you sitting all alone
Bolette. Yes; I generally do.
Arnholm. Isn't your mother down here in the garden?
Bolette. No--she's sure to be out with father.
Arnholm. How is she this afternoon?
Bolette. I don't quite know. I forgot to ask.
Arnholm. What books have you there?
Bolette. The one's something about botany. And the other's a
Arnholm. Do you care about such things?
Bolette. Yes, if only I had time for it. But, first of all, I've
to look after the housekeeping.
Arnholm. Doesn't your mother help you--your stepmother--doesn't
she help with that?
Bolette. No, that's my business. Why, I saw to that during the
two years father was alone. And so it has been since.
Arnholm. But you're as fond as ever of reading.
Bolette. Yes, I read all the useful books I can get hold of. One
wants to know something about the world. For here we live so
completely outside of all that's going on--or almost.
Arnholm. Now don't say that, dear Bolette.
Bolette. Yes! I think we live very much as the carp down there
in the pond. They have the fjord so near them, where the shoals
of wild fishes pass in and out. But the poor, tame house-fishes
know nothing, and they can take no part in that.
Arnholm. I don't think it would fare very well with them if they
could get out there.
Bolette. Oh! it would be much the same, I expect.
Arnholm. Moreover, you can't say that one is so completely out of the
world here--not in the summer anyhow. Why, nowadays this is quite
a rendezvous for the busy world--almost a terminus for the time
Bolette. Ah, yes! you who yourself are only here for the time
being--it is easy for you to make fun of us.
Arnholm. I make fun? How can you think that?
Bolette. Well, all that about this being a rendezvous, and a
terminus for the busy world--that's something you've heard the
townsfolk here saying. Yes--they're in the habit of saying that
sort of thing.
Arnholm. Well, frankly, I've noticed that, too.
Bolette. But really there's not an atom of truth in it. Not for
us who always live here. What good is it to us that the great
strange world comes hither for a time on its way North to see the
midnight sun? We ourselves have no part in that; we see nothing
of the midnight sun. No! We've got to be good, and live our lives
here in our carp pond.
Arnholm (sitting down by her). Now tell me, dear Bolette, isn't
there something or other--something definite you are longing for?
Arnholm. What is it, really? What is it you are longing for?
Bolette. Chiefly to get away.
Arnholm. That above all, then?
Bolette. Yes; and then to learn more. To really know something
Arnholm. When I used to teach you, your father often said he
would let you go to college.
Bolette. Yes, poor father! He says so many things. But when it
comes to the point he--there's no real stamina in father.
Arnholm. No, unfortunately you're right there. He has not exactly
stamina. But have you ever spoken to him about it--spoken really
earnestly and seriously?
Bolette. No, I've not quite done that.
Arnholm. But really you ought to. Before it is too late, Bolette,
why don't you?
Bolette. Oh! I suppose it's because there's no real stamina in me
either. I certainly take after father in that.
Arnholm. Hm--don't you think you're unjust to yourself there?
Bolette. No, unfortunately. Besides, father has so little time
for thinking of me and my future, and not much desire to either.
He prefers to put such things away from him whenever he can. He
is so completely taken up with Ellida.
Arnholm. With whom? What?
Bolette. I mean that he and my stepmother--(breaks off). Father
and mother suffice one another, as you see.
Arnholm. Well, so much the better if you were to get away from
Bolette. Yes; but I don't think I've a right to; not to forsake
Arnholm. But, dear Bolette, you'll have to do that sometime,
anyhow. So it seems to me the sooner the better.
Bolette. I suppose there is nothing else for it. After all, I
must think of myself, too. I must try and get occupation of some
sort. When once father's gone, I have no one to hold to. But,
poor father! I dread leaving him.
Bolette. Yes, for father's sake.
Arnholm. But, good heavens! Your stepmother? She is left to him.
Bolette. That's true. But she's not in the least fit to do all
that mother did so well. There is so much she doesn't see, or
that she won't see, or that she doesn't care about. I don't know
which it is.
Arnholm. Um, I think I understand what you mean.
Bolette. Poor father! He is weak in some things. Perhaps you've
noticed that yourself? He hasn't enough occupation, either, to
fill up his time. And then she is so thoroughly incapable of
helping him; however, that's to some extent his own fault.
Arnholm. In what way?
Bolette. Oh! father always likes to see happy faces about him.
There must be sunshine and joy in the house, he says. And so I'm
afraid he often gives her medicine which will do her little good
in the long run.
Arnholm. Do you really think that?
Bolette. Yes; I can't get rid of the thought. She is so odd at
times. (Passionately.) But isn't it unjust that I should have to
stay at home here? Really it's not of any earthly use to father.
Besides, I have a duty towards myself, too, I think.
Arnholm. Do you know what, Bolette? We two must talk these
matters over more carefully.
Bolette. Oh! That won't be much use. I suppose I was created to
stay here in the carp pond.
Arnholm. Not a bit of it. It depends entirely upon yourself.
Bolette (quickly). Do you think so?
Arnholm. Yes, believe me, it lies wholly and solely in your own
Bolette. If only that were true! Will you perhaps put in a good
word for me with father?
Arnholm. Certainly. But first of all I must speak frankly and
freely with you yourself, dear.
Bolette (looks out to the left). Hush! don't let them notice
anything. We'll speak of this later.
(ELLIDA enters from the left. She has no hat on, but a large
shawl is thrown over her head and shoulders.)
Ellida (with restless animation). How pleasant it is here! How
delightful it is here!
Arnholm (rising). Have you been for a walk?
Ellida. Yes, a long, long lovely walk up there with Wangel. And
now we're going for a sail.
Bolette. Won't you sit down?
Ellida. No, thanks; I won't sit down.
Bolette (making room on seat). Here's a pleasant seat.
Ellida (walking about). No, no, no! I'll not sit down--not sit
Arnholm. I'm sure your walk has done you good. You look quite
Ellida. Oh, I feel so thoroughly well--I feel so unspeakably
happy. So safe, so safe! (Looking out to the left.) What great
steamer is that coming along there?
Bolette (rising, and also looking out). It must be the large
Arnholm. It's passing the buoy. Does it usually stop here?
Bolette. Only for half an hour. It goes farther up the fjord.
Ellida. And then sails away again tomorrow--away over the great
open sea--right over the sea. Only think! to be with them. If one
could. If only one could!
Arnholm. Have you never been any long sea voyage, Mrs. Wangel?
Ellida. Never; only those little trips in the fjord here.
Bolette (with a sigh). Ah, no! I suppose we must put up with the
Arnholm. Well, after all, that really is our home.
Ellida. No; I don't think it is.
Arnholm. Not the land?
Ellida. No; I don't believe so. I think that if only men had from
the beginning accustomed themselves to live on the sea, or in the
sea perhaps, we should be more perfect than we are--both better
Arnholm. You really think that?
Ellida. Yes. I should like to know if we should not. I've often
spoken to Wangel about it.
Arnholm. Well, and he?
Ellida. He thinks it might be so.
Arnholm (jestingly). Well, perhaps! But it can't be helped. We've
once for- all entered upon the wrong path, and have become land
beasts instead of sea beasts. Anyhow, I suppose it's too late to
make good the mistake now.
Ellida. Yes, you've spoken a sad truth. And I think men
instinctively feel something of this themselves. And they bear it
about with them as a secret regret and sorrow. Believe me--herein
lies the deepest cause for the sadness of men. Yes, believe me,
Arnholm. But, my dearest Mrs. Wangel, I have not observed that
men are so extremely sad. It seems to me, on the contrary, that
most of them take life easily and pleasantly--and with a great,
quiet, unconscious joy.
Ellida. Oh! no, it is not so. The joy is, I suppose, something
like our joy at the long pleasant summer days--it has the
presentiment of the dark days coming. And it is this presentiment
that casts its shadows over the joy of men, just as the driving
clouds cast their shadow over the fjords. It lies there so bright
and blue--and of a sudden.
Arnholm. You shouldn't give way to such sad thoughts. Just now
you were so glad and so bright.
Ellida. Yes, yes, so I was. Oh, this--this is so stupid of me.
(Looking about her uneasily.) If only Wangel would come! He
promised me so faithfully he would. And yet he does not come.
Dear Mr. Arnholm, won't you try and find him for me?
Ellida. Tell him he must come here directly now. For now I can't
Arnholm. Not see him?
Ellida. Oh! you don't understand. When he is not by me I often
can't remember how he looks. And then it is as if I had quite
lost him. That is so terribly painful. But do go, please. (She
paces round the pond.)
Bolette (to ARNHOLM). I will go with you--you don't know the way.
Arnholm. Nonsense, I shall be all right.
Bolette (aside). No, no, no. I am anxious. I'm afraid he is on
board the steamer.
Bolette. Yes. He usually goes to see if there are any
acquaintances of his. And there's a restaurant on board.
Arnholm. Ah! Come then.
(He and BOLETTE go off. ELLIDA stands still awhile, staring down
at the pond. Now and again she speaks to herself in a low voice,
and breaks off. Along the footpath beyond the garden fence a
STRANGER in travelling dress comes from the left. His hair and
beard are bushy and red. He has a Scotch cap on, and a travelling
bag with strap across his shoulders.)
The Stranger (goes slowly along by the fence and peeps into the
garden. When he catches sight of ELLIDA he stands still, looks at
her fixedly and searchingly, and speaks in a low voice). Good-
Ellida (turns round with a cry). Oh dear! have you come at last!
The Stranger. Yes, at last.
Ellida (looking at him astonished and frightened). Who are you?
Do you seek anyone here?
The Stranger. You surely know that well enough, Ellida.
Ellida (starting). What is this! How do you address me? Whom are
you looking for?
The Stranger. Well, I suppose I'm looking for you.
Ellida (shuddering). Oh! (She stares at him, totters back,
uttering a half-suffocating cry.) The eyes!--the eyes!
The Stranger. Are you beginning to recognise me at last? I knew
you at once, Ellida.
Ellida. The eyes! Don't look at me like that! I shall cry for
The Stranger. Hush, hush! Do not fear. I shan't hurt you.
Ellida (covering her eyes with her hands). Do not look at me like
that, I say!
The Stranger (leaning with his arms on the garden fence). I came
with the English steamer.
Ellida (stealing a frightened look at him). What do you want with
The Stranger. I promised you to come as soon as I could--
Ellida. Go--go away! Never, never come here again! I wrote to you
that everything must be over between us--everything! Oh! you know
The Stranger (imperturbably, and not answering her). I would
gladly have come to you sooner; but I could not. Now, at last I
am able to, and I am here, Ellida.
Ellida. What is it you want with me? What do you mean? Why have
you come here?
The Stranger. Surely you know I've come to fetch you.
Ellida (recoils in terror). To fetch me! Is that what you mean?
The Stranger. Of course.
Ellida. But surely you know that I am married?
The Stranger. Yes, I know.
Ellida. And yet--and yet you have come to--to fetch me!
The Stranger. Certainly I have.
Ellida (seizing her head with both her hands). Oh! this misery--
this horror! This horror!
The Stranger. Perhaps you don't want to come?
Ellida (bewildered). Don't look at me like that.
The Stranger. I was asking you if you didn't want to come.
Ellida. No, no, no! Never in all eternity! I will not, I tell
you. I neither can nor will. (In lower tone.) I dare not.
The Stranger (climbs over the fence, and comes into the garden).
Well, Ellida, let me tell you one thing before I go.
Ellida (wishes to fly, but cannot. She stands as one paralysed
with terror, and leans for support against the trunk of a tree by
the pond). Don't touch me! Don't come near me! No nearer! Don't
touch me, I say!
The Stranger (cautiously coming a few steps nearer). You need not
be so afraid of me, Ellida.
Ellida (covering her eyes with her hands). Don't look at me like
The Stranger. Do not be afraid--not afraid.
(WANGEL comes through the garden, from the left.)
Wangel (still half-way between the trees). Well, you've had to
wait for me a long while.
Ellida (rushes towards him, clings fast to his arm, and cries
out). Oh! Wangel! Save me! You save me--if you can!
Wangel. Ellida! What in heaven's name!
Ellida. Save me, Wangel! Don't you see him there? Why, he is
Wangel (looking thither). That man? (Coming nearer.) May I ask
you who you are, and what you have come into this garden for?
The Stranger (motions with a nod towards ELLIDA). I want to talk
Wangel. Oh! indeed. So I suppose it was you. (To ELLIDA.) I hear
a stranger has been to the house and asked for you?
The Stranger. Yes, it was I.
Wangel. And what do you want with my wife? (Turning round.) Do
you know him, Ellida?
Ellida (in a low voice and wringing her hands). Do I know him!
Yes, yes, yes!
Wangel (quickly). Well!
Ellida. Why, it is he, Wangel!--he himself! He who you know!
Wangel. What! What is it you say? (Turning.) Are you the Johnston
The Stranger. You may call me Johnston for aught I care! However,
that's not my name,
Wangel. It is not?
The Stranger. It is--no longer. No!
Wangel. And what may you want with my wife? For I suppose you
know the lighthouse-keeper's daughter has been married this long
time, and whom she married, you of course also know.
The Stranger. I've known it over three years.
Ellida (eagerly). How did you come to know it?
The Stranger. I was on my way home to you, Ellida. I came across
an old newspaper. It was a paper from these parts, and in it
there was that about the marriage.
Ellida (looking straight in front of her). The marriage! So it
The Stranger. It seemed so wonderful to me. For the rings--why
that, too, was a marriage, Ellida.
Ellida (covering her face with her hands). Oh!--Wangel. How dare
The Stranger. Have you forgotten that?
Ellida (feeling his look, suddenly cries out). Don't stand there
and look at me like that!
Wangel (goes up to him). You must deal with me, and not with her.
In short--now that you know the circumstances--what is it you
really want here? Why do you seek my wife?
The Stranger. I promised Ellida to come to her as soon as I
Wangel. Ellida, again!--
The Stranger. And Ellida promised faithfully she would wait for
me until I came.
Wangel. I notice you call my wife by her first name. This kind of
familiarity is not customary with us here.
The Stranger. I know that perfectly. But as she first, and above
all, belongs to me--
Wangel. To you, still--
Ellida (draws back behind WANGEL). Oh! he will never release me!
Wangel. To you? You say she belongs to you?
The Stranger. Has she told you anything about the two rings--my
ring and Ellida's?
Wangel. Certainly. And what then? She put an end to that long
ago. You have had her letters, so you know this yourself.
The Stranger. Both Ellida and I agreed that what we did should
have all the strength and authority of a real and full marriage.
Ellida. But you hear, I will not! Never on earth do I wish to
know anything more of you. Do not look at me like that. I will
not, I tell you!
Wangel. You must be mad to think you can come here, and base any
claim upon such childish nonsense.
The Stranger. That's true. A claim, in your sense, I certainly
Wangel. What do you mean to do, then? You surely do not imagine
you can take her from me by force, against her own will?
The Stranger. No. What would be the good of that? If Ellida
wishes to be with me she must come freely.
Ellida (starts, crying out). Freely!
Wangel. And you actually believe that--
Ellida (to herself). Freely!
Wangel. You must have taken leave of your senses! Go your ways.
We have nothing more to do with you.
The Stranger (looking at his watch). It is almost time for me to
go on board again. (Coming nearer.) Yes, yes, Ellida, now I have
done my duty. (Coming still nearer.) I have kept the word I gave
Ellida (beseechingly drawing away). Oh! don't touch me!
The Stranger. And so now you must think it over till tomorrow
Wangel. There is nothing to think over here. See that you get
The Stranger (still to ELLIDA). Now I'm going with the steamer up
the fjord. Tomorrow night I will come again, and then I shall
look for you here. You must wait for me here in the garden, for I
prefer settling the matter with you alone; you understand?
Ellida (in low, trembling tone). Do you hear that, Wangel?
Wangel. Only keep calm. We shall know how to prevent this visit.
The Stranger. Goodbye for the present, Ellida. So tomorrow
Ellida (imploringly). Oh! no, no! Do not come tomorrow night!
Never come here again!
The Stranger. And should you then have a mind to follow me over
Ellida. Oh, don't look at me like that!
The Stranger. I only mean that you must then be ready to set out.
Wangel. Go up to the house, Ellida.
Ellida. I cannot! Oh, help me! Save me, Wangel!
The Stranger. For you must remember that if you do not go with me
tomorrow, all is at an end.
Ellida (looks tremblingly at him). Then all is at an end? Forever?
The Stranger (nodding). Nothing can change it then, Ellida. I
shall never again come to this land. You will never see me again,
nor hear from me either. Then I shall be as one dead and gone
from you forever.
Ellida (breathing with difficulty). Oh!
The Stranger. So think carefully what you do. Goodbye! (He goes
to the fence and climbs over it, stands still, and says.) Yes,
Ellida; be ready for the journey tomorrow night. For then I
shall come and fetch you. (He goes slowly and calmly down the
footpath to the right.)
Ellida (looking after him for a time). Freely, he said; think--he
said that I must go with him freely!
Wangel. Only keep calm. Why, he's gone now, and you'll never see
Ellida. Oh! how can you say that? He's coming again tomorrow
Wangel. Let him come. He shall not meet you again in any case.
Ellida (shaking her head). Ah, Wangel! Do not believe you can
Wangel. I can, dearest; only trust me.
Ellida (pondering, and not listening to him). Now when he's been
here tomorrow night--and then when he has gone over seas in the
Wangel. Yes; what then?
Ellida. I should like to know if he will never, never come back
Wangel. No, dear Ellida. You may be quite sure of that. What
should he do here after this? Now that he has learnt from your
own lips that you will have nothing more to do with him. With
that the whole thing is over.
Ellida (to herself). Tomorrow, then, or never!
Wangel. And should it ever occur to him to come here again--
Wangel. Why, then, it is in our power to make him harmless.
Ellida. Oh! do not think that!
Wangel. It is in our power, I tell you. If you can get rid of him
in no other way, he must expiate the murder of the captain.
Ellida (passionately). No, no, no! Never that! We know nothing
about the murder of the captain! Nothing whatever!
Wangel. Know nothing? Why, he himself confessed it to you!
Ellida. No, nothing of that. If you say anything of it I shall
deny it. He shall not be imprisoned. He belongs out there--to the
open sea. He belongs out there!
Wangel (looks at her and says slowly). Ah! Ellida--Ellida!
Ellida (clinging passionately to him). Oh! dear, faithful one--
save me from this man!
Wangel (disengaging himself gently). Come, come with me!
(LYNGSTRAND and HILDE, both with fishing tackle, come in from the
right, along the pond.)
Lyngstrand (going quickly up to ELLIDA). Now, Mrs. Wangel, you
must hear something wonderful.
Wangel. What is it?
Lyngstrand. Fancy! We've seen the American!
Wangel. The American?
Hilde. Yes, I saw him, too.
Lyngstrand. He was going round the back of the garden, and thence
on board the great English steamer.
Wangel. How do you know the man?
Lyngstrand. Why, I went to sea with him once. I felt so certain
he'd been drowned--and now he's very much alive!
Wangel. Do you know anything more about him?
Lyngstrand. No. But I'm sure he's come to revenge himself upon
his faithless sailor-wife.
Wangel. What do you mean?
Hilde. Lyngstrand's going to use him for a work of art.
Wangel. I don't understand one word.
Ellida. You shall hear afterwards.
(ARNHOLM and BOLETTE come from the left along the footpath
outside the garden.)
Bolette (to those in the garden). Do come and see! The great
English steamer's just going up the fjord.
(A large steamer glides slowly past in the distance.)
Lyngstrand (to HILDE behind the garden fence). Tonight he's sure
to come to her.
Hilde (nods). To the faithless sailor-wife--yes.
Lyngstrand. Fancy, at midnight!
Hilde. That must be so fascinating.
Ellida (looking after the ship). Tomorrow, then!
Wangel. And then never again.
Ellida (in a low, imploring tone). Oh! Wangel, save me from
Wangel (looks anxiously at her). Ellida--I feel there is
something behind this--
Ellida. There is--the temptation!
Ellida. The man is like the sea!
(She goes slowly and thoughtfully through the garden, and
out to the left. WANGEL walks uneasily by her side, watching
(SCENE.--DOCTOR WANGEL'S garden-room. Doors right and left. In
the background, between the windows, an open glass door leading
out on to the verandah. Below this, a portion of the garden is
visible. A sofa and table down left. To the right a piano, and
farther back a large flower-stand. In the middle of the room a
round table, with chairs. On the table is a rose-tree in bloom,
and other plants around it. Morning.
In the room, by the table, BOLETTE is sitting on the sofa, busy
with some embroidery. LYNGSTRAND is seated on a chair at the
upper end of the table. In the garden below BALLESTED sits
painting. HILDE stands by watching him.)
Lyngstrand (with his arms on the table, sits silent awhile,
looking at BOLETTE'S work). It must be awfully difficult to do a
border like that, Miss Wangel?
Bolette. Oh, no! It's not very difficult, if only you take care
to count right.
Lyngstrand. To count? Must you count, too?
Bolette. Yes, the stiches. See!
Lyngstrand. So you do! Just fancy! Why, it's almost a kind of
art. Can you design, too?
Bolette. Oh, yes! When I've a copy.
Lyngstrand. Not unless?
Lyngstrand. Well, then, after all, it's not a real art?
Bolette. No; it is rather only a sort of--handicraft.
Lyngstrand. But still, I think that perhaps you could learn art.
Bolette. If I haven't any talent?
Lyngstrand. Yes; if you could always be with a real true artist--
Bolette. Do you think, then, I could learn it from him?
Lyngstrand. Not exactly learn in the ordinary sense; but I think
it would grow upon you little by little--by a kind of miracle as
it were, Miss Wangel.
Bolette. That would be wonderful.
Lyngstrand (after a pause). Have you ever thought about--I mean,
have you ever thought deeply and earnestly about marriage, Miss
Bolette (looking quickly at him). About--no!
Lyngstrand. I have.
Bolette. Really? Have you?
Lyngstrand. Oh yes! I often think about things of that sort,
especially about marriage; and, besides, I've read several books
about it. I think marriage must be counted a sort of miracle--
that a woman should gradually change until she is like her
Bolette. You mean has like interests?
Lyngstrand. Yes, that's it.
Bolette. Well, but his abilities--his talents--and his skill?
Lyngstrand. Hm--well--I should like to know if all that too--
Bolette. Then, perhaps, you also believe that everything a man
has read for himself, and thought out for himself, that this,
too, can grow upon his wife?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I think it can. Little by little; as by a sort
of miracle. But, of course, I know such things can only happen in
a marriage that is faithful, and loving, and really happy.
Bolette. Has it never occurred to you that a man, too, might,
perhaps, be thus drawn over to his wife? Grow like her, I mean.
Lyngstrand. A man? No, I never thought of that.
Bolette. But why not one as well as the other?
Lyngstrand. No; for a man has a calling that he lives for; and
that's what makes a man so strong and firm, Miss Wangel. He has a
calling in life.
Bolette. Has every man?
Lyngstrand. Oh no! I am thinking more especially of artists.
Bolette. Do you think it right of an artist to get married?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I think so. If he can find one he can heartily
Bolette. Still, I think he should rather live for his art alone.
Lyngstrand. Of course he must; but he can do that just as well,
even if he marries.
Bolette. But how about her?
Lyngstrand. Her? Who?
Bolette. She whom he marries. What is she to live for?
Lyngstrand. She, too, is to live for his art. It seems to me a
woman must feel so thoroughly happy in that.
Bolette. Hm, I don't exactly know--
Lyngstrand. Yes, Miss Wangel, you may be sure of that. It is not
merely all the honour and respect she enjoys through him; for that
seems almost the least important to me. But it is this--that she can
help him to create, that she can lighten his work for him, be about
him and see to his comfort, and tend him well, and make his life
thoroughly pleasant. I should think that must be perfectly delightful
to a woman.
Bolette. Ah! You don't yourself know how selfish you are!
Lyngstrand. I, selfish! Good heavens! Oh, if only you knew me a
little better than you do! (Bending closer to her.) Miss Wangel,
when once I am gone--and that will be very soon now--
Bolette (looks pityingly at him). Oh, don't think of anything so sad!
Lyngstrand. But, really, I don't think it is so very sad.
Bolette. What do you mean?
Lyngstrand. Well, you know that I set out in a month. First from
here, and then, of course, I'm going south.
Bolette. Oh, I see! Of course.
Lyngstrand. Will you think of me sometimes, then, Miss Wangel?
Bolette. Yes, gladly.
Lyngstrand (pleased). No, promise!
Bolette. I promise.
Lyngstrand. By all that is sacred, Miss Bolette?
Bolette. By all that is sacred. (In a changed manner.) Oh, but
what can come of it all? Nothing on earth can come of it!
Lyngstrand. How can you say that! It would be so delightful for
me to know you were at home here thinking of me!
Bolette. Well, and what else?
Lyngstrand. I don't exactly know of anything else.
Bolette. Nor I either. There are so many things in the way.
Everything stands in the way, I think.
Lyngstrand. Oh, another miracle might come about. Some happy
dispensation of fortune, or something of the sort; for I really
believe I shall be lucky now.
Bolette (eagerly). Really? You do believe that?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I believe it thoroughly. And so--after a few
years--when I come home again as a celebrated sculptor, and well
off, and in perfect health!
Bolette. Yes, yes! Of course, we will hope so.
Lyngstrand. You may be perfectly certain about it. Only think
faithfully and kindly of me when I am down there in the south;
and now I have your word that you will.
Bolette. You have (shaking her head). But, all the same, nothing
will surely come of it.
Lyngstrand. Oh! yes, Miss Bolette. At least this will come of it.
I shall get on so much more easily and quickly with my art work.
Bolette. Do you believe that, too?
Lyngstrand. I have an inner conviction of it. And I fancy it will
be so cheering for you, too--here in this out-of-the-way place-to
know within yourself that you are, so to say, helping me to
Bolette (looking at him). Well; but you on your side?
Bolette (looking out into the garden). Hush! Let us speak of
something else. Here's Mr. Arnholm.
(ARNHOLM is seen in the garden below. He stops and talks to HILDE
Lyngstrand. Are you fond of your old teacher, Miss Bolette?
Bolette. Fond of him?
Lyngstrand. Yes; I mean do you care for him?
Bolette. Yes, indeed I do, for he is a true friend--and adviser,
too--and then he is always so ready to help when he can.
Lyngstrand. Isn't it extraordinary that he hasn't married!
Bolette. Do you think it is extraordinary?
Lyngstrand. Yes, for you say he's well-to-do.
Bolette. He is certainly said to be so. But probably it wasn't so
easy to find anyone who'd have him.
Bolette. Oh! He's been the teacher of nearly all the young girls
that he knows. He says that himself.
Lyngstrand. But what does that matter?
Bolette. Why, good heavens! One doesn't marry a man who's been
Lyngstrand. Don't you think a young girl might love her teacher?
Bolette. Not after she's really grown up.
Lyngstrand. No--fancy that!
Bolette (cautioning him). Sh! sh!
(Meanwhile BALLESTED has been gathering together his things, and
carries them out from the garden to the right. HILDE helps him.
ARNHOLM goes up the verandah, and comes into the room.)
Arnholm. Good-morning, my dear Bolette. Good-morning, Mr.--Mr.--
hm--(He looks displeased, and nods coldly to LYNGSTRAND, who
Bolette (rising up and going up to ARNHOLM). Good-morning, Mr.
Arnholm. Everything all right here today?
Bolette. Yes, thanks, quite.
Arnholm. Has your stepmother gone to bathe again today?
Bolette. No. She is upstairs in her room.
Arnholm. Not very bright?
Bolette. I don't know, for she has locked herself in.
Arnholm. Hm--has she?
Lyngstrand. I suppose Mrs. Wangel was very much frightened about
that American yesterday?
Arnholm. What do you know about that?
Lyngstrand. I told Mrs. Wangel that I had seen him in the flesh
behind the garden.
Arnholm. Oh! I see.
Bolette (to ARNHOLM). No doubt you and father sat up very late
last night, talking?
Arnholm. Yes, rather late. We were talking over serious matters.
Bolette. Did you put in a word for me, and my affairs, too?
Arnholm. No, dear Bolette, I couldn't manage it. He was so
completely taken up with something else.
Bolette (sighs). Ah! yes; he always is.
Arnholm (looks at her meaningly). But later on today we'll talk
more fully about--the matter. Where's your father now? Not at
Bolette. Yes, he is. He must be down in the office. I'll fetch
Arnholm. No, thanks. Don't do that. I'd rather go down to him.
Bolette (listening). Wait one moment, Mr. Arnholm; I believe
that's father on the stairs. Yes, I suppose he's been up to look
(WANGEL comes in from the door on the left.)
Wangel (shaking ARNHOLM'S hand). What, dear friend, are you here
already? It was good of you to come so early, for I should like
to talk a little further with you.
Bolette (to LYNGSTRAND). Hadn't we better go down to Hilde in the
Lyngstrand. I shall be delighted, Miss Wangel.
(He and BOLETTE go down into the garden, and pass out between the
trees in the background.)
Arnholm (following them with his eyes, turns to WANGEL). Do you
know anything about that young man?
Wangel. No, nothing at all.
Arnholm. But do you think it right he should knock about so much
with the girls?
Wangel. Does he? I really hadn't noticed it.
Arnholm. You ought to see to it, I think.
Wangel. Yes, I suppose you're right. But, good Lord! What's a man
to do? The girls are so accustomed to look after themselves now.
They won't listen to me, nor to Ellida.
Arnholm. Not to her either?
Wangel. No; and besides I really cannot expect Ellida to trouble
about such things. She's not fit for that (breaking off). But it
wasn't that which we were to talk of. Now tell me, have you
thought the matter over--thought over all I told you of?
Arnholm. I have thought of nothing else ever since we parted last
Wangel. And what do you think should be done?
Arnholm. Dear Wangel, I think you, as a doctor, must know that
better than I.
Wangel. Oh! if you only knew how difficult it is for a doctor to
judge rightly about a patient who is so dear to him! Besides,
this is no ordinary illness. No ordinary doctor and no ordinary
medicines can help her.
Arnholm. How is she today?
Wangel. I was upstairs with her just now, and then she seemed to
me quite calm; but behind all her moods something lies hidden
which it is impossible for me to fathom; and then she is so
changeable, so capricious--she varies so suddenly.
Arnholm. No doubt that is the result of her morbid state of mind.
Wangel. Not altogether. When you go down to the bedrock, it was
born in her. Ellida belongs to the sea-folk. That is the matter.
Arnholm. What do you really mean, my dear doctor?
Wangel. Haven't you noticed that the people from out there by the
open sea are, in a way, a people apart? It is almost as if they
themselves lived the life of the sea. There is the rush of waves,
and ebb and flow too, both in their thoughts and in their
feelings, and so they can never bear transplanting. Oh! I ought
to have remembered that. It was a sin against Ellida to take her
away from there, and bring her here.
Arnholm. You have come to that opinion?
Wangel. Yes, more and more. But I ought to have told myself this
beforehand. Oh! I knew it well enough at bottom! But I put it
from me. For, you see, I loved her so! Therefore, I thought of
myself first of all. I was inexcusably selfish at that time!
Arnholm. Hm. I suppose every man is a little selfish under such
circumstances. Moreover, I've never noticed that vice in you,
Wangel (walks uneasily about the room). Oh, yes! And I have been
since then, too. Why, I am so much, much older than she is. I
ought to have been at once as a father to her and a guide. I
ought to have done my best to develop and enlighten her mind.
Unfortunately nothing ever came of that. You see, I hadn't
stamina enough, for I preferred her just as she was. So things
went worse and worse with her, and then I didn't know what to do.
(In a lower voice.) That was why I wrote to you in my trouble,
and asked you to come here.
Arnholm (looks at him in astonishment). What, was it for this you
Wangel. Yes; but don't let anyone notice anything.
Arnholm. How on earth, dear doctor--what good did you expect me
to be? I don't understand it.
Wangel. No, naturally. For I was on an altogether false track. I
thought Ellida's heart had at one time gone out to you, and that
she still secretly cared for you a little--that perhaps it would
do her good to see you again, and talk of her home and the old
Arnholm. So it was your wife you meant when you wrote that she
expected me, and--and perhaps longed for me.
Wangel. Yes, who else?
Arnholm (hurriedly). No, no. You're right. But I didn't
Wangel. Naturally, as I said, for I was on an absolutely wrong
Arnholm. And you call yourself selfish!
Wangel. Ah! but I had such a great sin to atone for. I felt I
dared not neglect any means that might give the slightest relief
to her mind.
Arnholm. How do you really explain the power this stranger
exercises over her?
Wangel. Hm--dear friend--there may be sides to the matter that
cannot be explained.
Arnholm. Do you mean anything inexplicable in itself--absolutely
Wangel. In any case not explicable as far as we know.
Arnholm. Do you believe there is something in it, then?
Wangel. I neither believe nor deny; I simply don't know. That's
why I leave it alone.
Arnholm. Yes. But just one thing: her extraordinary, weird
assertion about the child's eyes--
Wangel (eagerly). I don't believe a word about the eyes. I will
not believe such a thing. It must be purely fancy on her part,
Arnholm. Did you notice the man's eyes when you saw him
Wangel. Of course I did.
Arnholm. And you saw no sort of resemblance?
Wangel (evasively). Hm--good heavens! What shall I say? It wasn't
quite light when I saw him; and, besides, Ellida had been saying
so much about this resemblance, I really don't know if I was
capable of observing quite impartially.
Arnholm. Well, well, may be. But that other matter? All this
terror and unrest coming upon her at the very time, as it seems,
this strange man was on his way home.
Wangel. That--oh! that's something she must have persuaded and
dreamed herself into since it happened. She was not seized with
this so suddenly--all at once--as she now maintains. But since
she heard from young Lyngstrand that Johnston--or Friman, or
whatever his name is--was on his way hither, three years ago, in
the month of March, she now evidently believes her unrest of mind
came upon her at that very time.
Arnholm. It was not so, then?
Wangel. By no means. There were signs and symptoms of it before
this time, though it did happen, by chance, that in that month of
March, three years ago, she had a rather severe attack.
Arnholm. After all, then--?
Wangel. Yes, but that is easily accounted for by the
circumstances--the condition she happened to be in at the time.
Arnholm. So, symptom for symptom, then.
Wangel (wringing his hands). And not to be able to help her! Not
to know how to counsel her! To see no way!
Arnholm. Now if you could make up your mind to leave this place,
to go somewhere else, so that she could live amid surroundings
that would seem more homelike to her?
Wangel. Ah, dear friend! Do you think I haven't offered her that,
too? I suggested moving out to Skjoldviken, but she will not.
Arnholm. Not that either?
Wangel. No, for she doesn't think it would be any good; and
perhaps she's right.
Arnholm. Hm. Do you say that?
Wangel. Moreover, when I think it all over carefully, I really
don't know how I could manage it. I don't think I should be
justified, for the sake of the girls, in going away to such a
desolate place. After all, they must live where there is at least
a prospect of their being provided for someday.
Arnholm. Provided for! Are you thinking about that already?
Wangel. Heaven knows, I must think of that too! But then, on the
other hand, again, my poor sick Ellida! Oh, dear Arnholm! in many
respects I seem to be standing between fire and water!
Arnholm. Perhaps you've no need to worry on Bolette's account.
(Breaking off.) I should like to know where she--where they have
gone. (Goes up to the open door and looks out.)
Wangel. Oh, I would so gladly make any sacrifice for all three of
them, if only I knew what!
(ELLIDA enters from the door on the left.)
Ellida (quickly to WANGEL). Be sure you don't go out this
Wangel. No, no! of course not. I will stay at home with you.
(Pointing to ARNHOLM, who is coming towards them.) But won't you
speak to our friend?
Ellida (turning). Oh, are you here, Mr. Arnholm? (Holding out her
hand to him.) Good-morning.
Arnholm. Good-morning, Mrs. Wangel. So you've not been bathing as
Ellida. No, no, no! That is out of the question today. But won't
you sit down a moment?
Arnholm. No, thanks, not now. (Looks at WANGEL.) I promised the
girls to go down to them in the garden.
Ellida. Goodness knows if you'll find them there. I never know
where they may be rambling.
Wangel. They're sure to be down by the pond.
Arnholm. Oh! I shall find them right enough. (Nods, and goes out
across the verandah into the garden.)
Ellida. What time is it, Wangel?
Wangel (looking at his watch). A little past eleven.
Ellida. A little past. And at eleven o'clock, or half-past eleven
tonight, the steamer is coming. If only that were over!
Wangel (going nearer to her). Dear Ellida, there is one thing I
should like to ask you.
Ellida. What is it?
Wangel. The evening before last--up at the "View"--you said that
during the last three years you had so often seen him bodily
Ellida. And so I have. You may believe that.
Wangel. But, how did you see him?
Ellida. How did I see him?
Wangel. I mean, how did he look when you thought you saw him?
Ellida. But, dear Wangel, why, you now know yourself how he
Wangel. Did he look exactly like that in your imagination?
Ellida. He did.
Wangel. Exactly the same as you saw him in reality yesterday
Ellida. Yes, exactly.
Wangel. Then how was it you did not at once recognise him?
Ellida. Did I not?
Wangel. No; you said yourself afterwards that at first you did
not at all know who the strange man was.
Ellida (perplexed). I really believe you are right. Don't you
think that strange, Wangel? Fancy my not knowing him at once!
Wangel. It was only the eyes, you said.
Ellida. Oh, yes! The eyes--the eyes.
Wangel. Well, but at the "View" you said that he always appeared
to you exactly as he was when you parted out there--ten years
Ellida. Did I?
Ellida. Then, I suppose he did look much as he does now.
Wangel. No. On our way home, the day before yesterday, you gave
quite another description of him. Ten years ago he had no beard,
you said. His dress, too, was quite different. And that breast-
pin with the pearl? That man yesterday wore nothing of the sort.
Ellida. No, he did not.
Wangel (looks searchingly at her). Now just think a little, dear
Ellida. Or perhaps you can't quite remember how he looked when he
stood by you at Bratthammer?
Ellida (thoughtfully closing her eyes for a moment). Not quite
distinctly. No, today I can't. Is it not strange?
Wangel. Not so very strange after all. You have now been
confronted by a new and real image, and that overshadows the old
one, so that you can no longer see it.
Ellida. Do you believe that, Wangel?
Wangel. Yes. And it overshadows your sick imaginings, too. That
is why it is good a reality has come.
Ellida. Good? Do you think it good?
Wangel. Yes. That it has come. It may restore you to health.
Ellida (sitting down on sofa). Wangel, come and sit down by me. I
must tell you all my thoughts.
Wangel. Yes, do, dear Ellida.
(He sits down on a chair on the other side of the table.)
Ellida. It was really a great misfortune--for us both--that we
two of all people should have come together.
Wangel (amazed). What are you saying?
Ellida. Oh, yes, it was. And it's so natural. It could bring
nothing but unhappiness, after the way in which we came together.
Wangel. What was there in that way?
Ellida. Listen, Wangel; it's no use going on, lying to ourselves
and to one another.
Wangel. Are we doing so? Lying, you say?
Ellida. Yes, we are; or, at least, we suppress the truth. For the
truth--the pure and simple truth is--that you came out there and
Wangel. Bought--you say bought!
Ellida. Oh! I wasn't a bit better than you. I accepted the
bargain. Sold myself to you!
Wangel (looks at her full of pain). Ellida, have you really the
heart to call it that?
Ellida. But is there any other name for it? You could no longer
bear the emptiness of your house. You were on the look-out for a
Wangel. And a new mother for the children, Ellida.
Ellida. That too, perhaps, by the way; although you didn't in the
least know if I were fit for the position. Why, you had only seen
me and spoken to me a few times. Then you wanted me, and so--
Wangel. Yes, you may call it as you will.
Ellida. And I, on my side--why, I was so helpless and bewildered,
and so absolutely alone. Oh! it was so natural I should accept
the bargain, when you came and proposed to provide for me all my
Wangel. Assuredly it did not seem to me a providing for you, dear
Ellida. I asked you honestly if you would share with me and the
children the little I could call my own.
Ellida. Yes, you did; but all the same, I should never have
accepted! Never have accepted that at any price! Not sold myself!
Better the meanest work--better the poorest life--after one's own
Wangel (rising). Then have the five--six years that we have lived
together been so utterly worthless to you?
Ellida. Oh! Don't think that, Wangel. I have been as well cared
for here as human being could desire. But I did not enter your
house freely. That is the thing.
Wangel (looking at her). Not freely!
Ellida. No. It was not freely that I went with you.
Wangel (in subdued tone). Ah! I remember your words of yesterday.
Ellida. It all lies in those words. They have enlightened me; and
so I see it all now.
Wangel. What do you see?
Ellida. I see that the life we two live together--is really no
Wangel (bitterly). You have spoken truly there. The life we now
live is not a marriage.
Ellida. Nor was it formerly. Never--not from the very first
(looks straight in front of her). The first--that might have been
a complete and real marriage.
Wangel. The first--what do you mean?
Ellida. Mine--with him.
Wangel (looks at her in astonishment). I do not in the least
Ellida. Ah! dear Wangel, let us not lie to one another, nor to
Wangel. Well--what more?
Ellida. You see--we can never get away from that one thing--that
a freely given promise is fully as binding as a marriage.
Wangel. But what on earth--
Ellida (rising impetuously). Set me free, Wangel!
Wangel. Ellida! Ellida!
Ellida. Yes, yes! Oh! grant me that! Believe me, it will come to
that all the same--after the way we two came together.
Wangel (conquering his pain). It has come to this, then?
Ellida. It has come to this. It could not be otherwise.
Wangel (looking gloomily at her). So I have not won you by our
living together. Never, never possessed you quite.
Ellida. Ah! Wangel--if only I could love you, how gladly I would-
-as dearly as you deserve. But I feel it so well-- that will never
Wangel. Divorce, then? It is a divorce, a complete, legal divorce
that you want?
Ellida. Dear, you understand me so little! I care nothing for
such formalities. Such outer things matter nothing, I think. What
I want is that we should, of our own free will, release each other.
Wangel (bitterly, nods slowly). To cry off the bargain again--yes.
Ellida (quickly). Exactly. To cry off the bargain.
Wangel. And then, Ellida? Afterwards? Have you reflected what life
would be to both of us? What life would be to both you and me?
Ellida. No matter. Things must turn out afterwards as they may.
What I beg and implore of you, Wangel, is the most important.
Only set me free! Give me back my complete freedom!
Wangel. Ellida, it is a fearful thing you ask of me. At least
give me time to collect myself before I come to a decision. Let
us talk it over more carefully. And you yourself--take time to
consider what you are doing.
Ellida. But we have no time to lose with such matters. I must
have my freedom again today.
Wangel. Why today?
Ellida. Because he is coming tonight.
Wangel (starts). Coming! He! What has this stranger to do with it?
Ellida. I want to face him in perfect freedom.
Wangel. And what--what else do you intend to do?
Ellida. I will not hide behind the fact that I am the wife of
another man; nor make the excuse that I have no choice, for then
it would be no decision.
Wangel, You speak of a choice. Choice, Ellida! A choice in such a
Ellida. Yes, I must be free to choose--to choose for either side.
I must be able to let him go away--alone, or to go with him.
Wangel. Do you know what you are saying? Go with him--give your
whole life into his hands!
Ellida. Didn't I give my life into your hands, and without any ado?
Wangel. Maybe. But he! He! an absolute stranger! A man of whom
you know so little!
Ellida. Ah! but after all I knew you even less; and yet I went
Wangel. Then you knew to some extent what life lay before you.
But now? Think! What do you know? You know absolutely nothing.
Not even who or what he is.
Ellida (looking in front of her). That is true; but that is the
Wangel. Yes, indeed, it is terrible!
Ellida. That is why I feel I must plunge into it.
Wangel (looking at her). Because it seems terrible?
Ellida. Yes; because of that.
Wangel (coming closer). Listen, Ellida. What do you really mean
Ellida (reflectively). The terrible is that which repels and
Wangel. Attracts, you say?
Ellida. Attracts most of all, I think.
Wangel (slowly). You are one with the sea.
Ellida. That, too, is a terror.
Wangel. And that terror is in you. You both repel and attract.
Ellida. Do you think so, Wangel?
Wangel. After all, I have never really known you--never really.
Now I am beginning to understand.
Ellida. And that is why you must set me free! Free me from every
bond to you--and yours. I am not what you took me for. Now you
see it yourself. Now we can part as friends--and freely.
Wangel (sadly). Perhaps it would be better for us both if we parted--
And yet, I cannot! You are the terror to me, Ellida; the attraction
is what is strongest in you.
Ellida. Do you say that?
Wangel. Let us try and live through this day wisely--in perfect
quiet of mind. I dare not set you free, and release you today. I
have no right to. No right for your own sake, Ellida. I exercise
my right and my duty to protect you.
Ellida. Protect? What is there to protect me from? I am not
threatened by any outward power. The terror lies deeper, Wangel.
The terror is--the attraction in my own mind. And what can you do
Wangel. I can strengthen and urge you to fight against it.
Ellida. Yes; if I wished to fight against it.
Wangel. Then you do not wish to?
Ellida. Oh! I don't know myself.
Wangel. Tonight all will be decided, dear Ellida-
Ellida (bursting out). Yes, think! The decision so near--the
decision for one's whole life!
Wangel. And then tomorrow--Ellida. Tomorrow! Perhaps my real
future will have been ruined.
Wangel. Your real--Ellida. The whole, full life of freedom lost--
lost for me, and perhaps for him also.
Wangel (in a lower tone, seizing her wrist). Ellida, do you love
Ellida. Do I? Oh, how can I tell! I only know that to me he is a
terror, and that--
Wangel. And that--
Ellida (tearing herself away). And that it is to him I think I belong.
Wangel (bowing his head). I begin to understand better.
Ellida. And what remedy have you for that? What advice to give me?
Wangel (looking sadly at her). Tomorrow he will be gone, then the
misfortune will be averted from your head; and then I will consent
to set you free. We will cry off the bargain tomorrow, Ellida.
Ellida. Ah, Wangel, tomorrow! That is too late.
Wangel (looking towards garden). The children--the children!
Let us spare them, at least for the present.
(ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, HILDE, and LYNGSTRAND come into the garden.
LYNGSTRAND says goodbye in the garden, and goes out. The rest
come into the room.)
Arnholm. You must know we have been making plans.
Hilde. We're going out to the fjord tonight and--
Bolette. No; you mustn't tell.
Wangel. We two, also, have been making plans.
Wangel. Tomorrow Ellida is going away to Skjoldviken for a time.
Bolette. Going away?
Arnholm. Now, look here, that's very sensible, Mrs. Wangel.
Wangel. Ellida wants to go home again--home to the sea.
Hilde (springing towards ELLIDA). You are going away--away from
Ellida (frightened). Hilde! What is the matter?
Hilde (controlling herself). Oh, it's nothing. (In a low voice,
turning from her.) Are only you going?
Bolette (anxiously). Father--I see it--you, too, are going--to
Wangel. No, no! Perhaps I shall run out there every now and
Bolette. And come here to us?
Wangel. I will--Bolette. Every now and again!
Wangel. Dear child, it must be. (He crosses the room.)
Arnholm (whispers). We will talk it over later, Bolette. (He
crosses to WANGEL. They speak in low tones up stage by the door.)
Ellida (aside to BOLETTE). What was the matter with Hilde? She
looked quite scared.
Bolette. Have you never noticed what Hilde goes about here, day
in, day out, hungering for?
Ellida. Hungering for?
Bolette. Ever since you came into the house?
Ellida. No, no. What is it?
Bolette. One loving word from you.
Ellida. Oh! If there should be something for me to do here!
(She clasps her hands together over her head, and looks fixedly
in front of her, as if torn by contending thoughts and emotions.
WANGEL and ARNHOLM come across the room whispering. BOLETTE goes
to the side room, and looks in. Then she throws open the door.)
Bolette. Father, dear--the table is laid--if you--
Wangel (with forced composure). Is it, child? That's well. Come,
Arnholm! We'll go in and drink a farewell cup--with the "Lady
from the Sea." (They go out through the right.)
(SCENE.--The distant part of DOCTOR WANGEL'S garden, and the carp
pond. The summer night gradually darkens.
ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, LYNGSTRAND and HILDE are in a boat, punting
along the shore to the left.)
Hilde. See! We can jump ashore easily here.
Arnholm. No, no; don't!
Lyngstrand. I can't jump, Miss Hilde.
Hilde. Can't you jump either, Arnholm?
Arnholm. I'd rather not try.
Bolette. Then let's land down there, by the bathing steps.
(They push off. At the same moment BALLESTED comes along the
footpath, carrying music-books and a French horn. He bows to
those in the boat, turns and speaks to them. The answers are
heard farther and farther away.)
Ballested. What do you say? Yes, of course it's on account of the
English steamer; for this is her last visit here this year. But
if you want to enjoy the pleasures of melody, you mustn't wait
too long. (Calling out.) What? (Shaking his head.) Can't hear
what you say!
(ELLIDA, with a shawl over her head, enters, followed by DOCTOR
Wangel. But, dear Ellida, I assure you there's plenty of time.
Ellida. No, no, there is not! He may come any moment.
Ballested (outside the fence). Hallo! Good-evening, doctor. Good-
evening, Mrs. Wangel.
Wangel (noticing him). Oh! is it you? Is there to be music
Ballested. Yes; the Wind Band Society thought of making
heard. We've no dearth of festive occasions nowadays. Tonight
in honour of the English ship.
Ellida. The English ship! Is she in sight already?
Ballested. Not yet. But you know she comes from between the
islands. You can't see anything of her, and then she's alongside
Ellida. Yes, that is so.
Wangel (half to ELLIDA). Tonight is the last voyage, then she
will not come again.
Ballested. A sad thought, doctor, and that's why we're going to
give them an ovation, as the saying is. Ah! Yes--ah! yes. The
glad summertime will soon be over now. Soon all ways will be
barred, as they say in the tragedy.
Ellida. All ways barred--yes!
Ballested. It's sad to think of. We have been the joyous children
of summer for weeks and months now. It's hard to reconcile
yourself to the dark days--just at first, I mean. For men can
accli--a--acclimatise themselves, Mrs. Wangel. Ay, indeed they
can. (Bows, and goes off to the left.)
Ellida (looking out at the fjord). Oh, this terrible suspense!
This torturing last half-hour before the decision!
Wangel. You are determined, then, to speak to him yourself?
Ellida. I must speak to him myself; for it is freely that I must
make my choice.
Wangel. You have no choice, Ellida. You have no right to choose--
no right without my permission.
Ellida. You can never prevent the choice, neither you nor anyone.
You can forbid me to go away with him--to follow him--in case I
should choose to do that. You can keep me here by force--against
my will. That you can do. But that I should choose, choose from
my very soul--choose him, and not you--in case I would and did
choose thus--this you cannot prevent.
Wangel. No; you are right. I cannot prevent that.
Ellida. And so I have nothing to help me to resist. Here, at
home, there is no single thing that attracts me and binds me.
I am so absolutely rootless in your house, Wangel. The children
are not mine--their hearts, I mean--never have been. When I go,
if I do go, either with him tonight, or to Skjoldviken tomorrow,
I haven't a key to give up, an order to give about anything
whatsoever. I am absolutely rootless in your house--I have
been absolutely outside everything from the very first.
Wangel. You yourself wished it.
Ellida. No, no, I did not. I neither wished nor did not wish it.
I simply left things just as I found them the day I came here. It
is you, and no one else, who wished it.
Wangel. I thought to do all for the best for you.
Ellida. Yes, Wangel, I know it so well! But there is retribution
in that, a something that avenges itself. For now I find no
binding power here-nothing to strengthen me--nothing to help
me--nothing to draw me towards what should have been the
strongest possession of us both.
Wangel. I see it, Ellida. And that is why from t-morrow you
shall have back your freedom. Henceforth, you shall live your own
Ellida. And you call that my own life! No! My own true life lost
its bearings when I agreed to live with you. (Clenches her hand
in fear and unrest.) And now--tonight--in half an hour, he whom
I forsook is coming--he to whom I should have cleaved forever,
even as he has cleaved to me! Now he is coming to offer me--for
the last and only time--the chance of living my life over again,
of living my own true life--the life that terrifies and attracts-
and I can not forgo that--not freely.
Wangel. That is why it is necessary your husband--and your
should take the power of acting from you, and act on your behalf.
Ellida. Yes, Wangel, I quite understand. Believe me, there are
times when I think it would be peace and deliverance if with all
my soul I could be bound to you--and try to brave all that
and attracts. But I cannot! No, no, I cannot do that!
Wangel. Come, Ellida, let us walk up and down together for
Ellida. I would gladly--but I dare not. For he said I was to wait
for him here.
Wangel. Come! There is time enough.
Ellida. Do you think so?
Wangel. Plenty of time, I tell you.
Ellida. Then let us go, for a little while.
(They pass out in the foreground. At the same time ARNHOLM and
BOLETTE appear by the upper bank of the pond.)
Bolette (noticing the two as they go out). See there--
Arnholm (in low voice). Hush! Let them go. Bolette. Can you
understand what has been going on between them these last few
Arnholm. Have you noticed anything?
Bolette. Have I not!
Arnholm. Anything peculiar?
Bolette. Yes, one thing and another. Haven't you?
Arnholm. Well--I don't exactly know.
Bolette. Yes, you have; only you won't speak out about it.
Arnholm. I think it will do your stepmother good to go on this
Bolette. Do you think so?
Arnholm. I should say it would be well for all parties that she
should get away every now and then.
Bolette. If she does go home to Skjoldviken tomorrow, she will
never come back here again!
Arnholm. My dear Bolette, whatever makes you think that?
Bolette. I am quite convinced of it. Just you wait; you'll see
that she'll not come back again; not anyhow as long as I and
Hilde are in the house here.
Arnholm. Hilde, too?
Bolette. Well, it might perhaps be all right with Hilde. For she
is scarcely more than a child. And I believe that at bottom she
worships Ellida. But, you see, it's different with me--a
who isn't so very much older than oneself!
Arnholm. Dear Bolette, perhaps it might, after all, not be so
very long before you left.
Bolette (eagerly). Really! Have you spoken to father about it?
Arnholm. Yes, I have.
Bolette. Well, what does he say?
Arnholm. Hm! Well, your father's so thoroughly taken up with
other matters just now--
Bolette. Yes, yes! that's how I knew it would be.
Arnholm. But I got this much out of him. You mustn't reckon upon
any help from him.
Arnholm. He explained his circumstances to me clearly; he thought
that such a thing was absolutely out of the question, impossible
Bolette (reproachfully). And you had the heart to come and mock
Arnholm. I've certainly not done that, dear Bolette. It depends
wholly and solely upon yourself whether you go away or not.
Bolette. What depends upon me?
Arnholm. Whether you are to go out into the world--learn all you
most care for--take part in all you are hungering after here at
home--live your life under brighter conditions, Bolette.
Bolette (clasping her hands together). Good God! But it's
If father neither can nor will--and I have no one else on earth
whom I could turn--Arnholm. Couldn't you make up your mind to
accept a little help from your old--from your former teacher?
Bolette. From you, Mr. Arnholm! Would you be willing to--
Arnholm. Stand by you! Yes--with all my heart. Both with word and
in deed. You may count upon it. Then you accept? Well? Do you