Bolette. Poor fellow!
Hilde. If Lyngstrand were to propose, would you accept him?
Bolette. Are you quite mad?
Hilde. Of course, I mean if he weren't troubled with that
"weakness." And if he weren't to die so soon, would you have him
Bolette. I think you'd better have him yourself!
Hilde. No, that I wouldn't! Why, he hasn't a farthing. He hasn't
enough even to keep himself.
Bolette. Then why are you always going about with him?
Hilde. Oh, I only do that because of the weakness.
Bolette. I've never noticed that you in the least pity him for
Hilde. No, I don't. But I think it so interesting.
Bolette. What is?
Hilde. To look at him and make him tell you it isn't dangerous;
and that he's going abroad, and is to be an artist. He really
believes it all, and is so thoroughly happy about it. And yet
nothing will ever come of it; nothing whatever. For he won't live
long enough. I feel that's so fascinating to think of.
Hilde. Yes, I think it's most fascinating. I take that liberty.
Bolette. Hilde, you really are a dreadful child!
Hilde. That's just what I want to be--out of spite. (Looking
down.) At last! I shouldn't think Arnholm liked coming up-hill.
(Turns round.) By the way, do you know what I noticed about
Arnholm at dinner?
Hilde. Just think--his hair's beginning to come off--right on the
top of his head.
Bolette. Nonsense! I'm sure that's not true.
Hilde. It is! And then he has wrinkles round both his eyes. Good
gracious, Bolette, how could you be so much in love with him when
he used to read with you?
Bolette (smiling). Yes. Can you believe it? I remember I once
shed bitter tears because he thought Bolette was an ugly name.
Hilde. Only to think! (Looking down.) No! I say, do just look
down here! There's the "Mermaid" walking along and chatting with
him. Not with father. I wonder if those two aren't making eyes at
Bolette. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! How can you stand
there and say such a thing of her? Now, when everything was
beginning to be so pleasant between us.
Hilde. Of course--just try and persuade yourself of that, my
child! Oh, no! It will never be pleasant between us and her. For
she doesn't belong to us at all. And we don't belong to her
either. Goodness knows what father dragged her into the house
for! I shouldn't wonder if some fine day she went mad under our
Bolette. Mad! How can you think such a thing?
Hilde. Oh! it wouldn't be so extraordinary. Her mother went mad,
too. She died mad--I know that.
Bolette. Yes, heaven only knows what you don't poke your nose
into. But now don't go chattering about this. Do be good--for
father's sake. Do you hear, Hilde?
(WANGEL, ELLIDA, ARNHOLM and LYNGSTRAND come up from the right.)
Ellida (pointing to the background). Out there it lies.
Arnholm. Quite right. It must be in that direction.
Ellida. Out there is the sea.
Bolette (to ARNHOLM). Don't you think it is delightful up here?
Arnholm. It's magnificent, I think. Glorious view!
Wangel. I suppose you never used to come up here?
Arnholm. No, never. In my time I think it was hardly accessible;
there wasn't any path even.
Wangel. And no grounds. All this has been done during the last
Bolette. And there, at the "Pilot's Mount," it's even grander
Wangel. Shall we go there, Ellida?
Ellida (sitting down on one of the stones). Thanks, not I; but
you others can. I'll sit here meanwhile.
Wangel. Then I'll stay with you. The girls can show Arnholm
Bolette. Would you like to go with us, Mr. Arnholm?
Arnholm. I should like to, very much. Does a path lead up there too?
Bolette. Oh yes. There's a nice broad path.
Hilde. The path is so broad that two people can walk along it
comfortably, arm in arm.
Arnholm (jestingly). Is that really so, little Missie? (To
BOLETTE.) Shall we two see if she is right?
Bolette (suppressing a smile). Very well, let's go. (They go out
to the left, arm in arm.)
Hilde (to LYNGSTRAND). Shall we go too?
Lyngstrand. Arm in arm?
Hilde. Oh, why not? For aught I care!
Lyngstrand (taking her arm, laughing contentedly). This is a