Ellida. Can you remember that late in the autumn a large American
ship once put into Skjoldviken for repairs?
Wangel. Yes, I remember it very well. It was on board that ship
that the captain was found one morning in his cabin--murdered. I
myself went out to make the post-mortem.
Ellida. Yes, it was you.
Wangel. It was the second mate who had murdered him.
Ellida. No one can say that. For it was never proved.
Wangel. There was enough against him anyhow, or why should he
have drowned himself as he did?
Ellida. He did not drown himself. He sailed in a ship to the
Wangel (startled). How do you know?
Ellida (with an effort). Well, Wangel--it was this second mate to
whom I was--betrothed.
Wangel (springing up). What! Is it possible!
Ellida. Yes, it is so. It was to him!
Wangel. But how on earth, Ellida! How did you come to betroth
yourself to such a man? To an absolute stranger! What is his
Ellida. At that time he called himself Friman. Later, in his
letters he signed himself Alfred Johnston.
Wangel. And where did he come from?
Ellida. From Finmark, he said. For the rest, he was born in
Finland, had come to Norway there as a child with his father, I
Wangel. A Finlander, then?
Ellida. Yes, so he called himself.
Wangel. What else do you know about him?
Ellida. Only that he went to sea very young. And that he had been
on long voyages.
Wangel. Nothing more?
Ellida. No. We never spoke of such things.
Wangel. Of what did you speak, then?
Ellida. We spoke mostly about the sea.
Wangel. Ah! About the sea--
Ellida. About storms and calm. Of dark nights at sea. And of the
sea in the glittering sunshiny days we spoke also. But we spoke
most of the whales, and the dolphins, and the seals who lie out
there on the rocks in the midday sun. And then we spoke of the
gulls, and the eagles, and all the other sea birds. I think--
isn't it wonderful?--when we talked of such things it seemed to
me as if both the sea beasts and sea birds were one with him.
Wangel. And with you?
Ellida. Yes; I almost thought I belonged to them all, too.
Wangel. Well, well! And so it was that you betrothed yourself to
Ellida. Yes. He said I must.
Wangel. You must? Had you no will of your own, then?
Ellida. Not when he was near. Ah! afterwards I thought it all so
Wangel. Were you often together?
Ellida. No; not very often. One day he came out to our place, and
looked over the lighthouse. After that I got to know him, and we
met now and again. But then that happened about the captain, and
so he had to go away.
Wangel. Yes, yes. Tell me more about that.
Ellida. It was just daybreak when I had a note from him. He said
in it I was to go out to him at the Bratthammer. You know the
headland there between the lighthouse and Skjoldviken?
Wangel. I know, I know!
Ellida. I was to go out there at once, he wrote, because he
wanted to speak to me.
Wangel. And you went?
Ellida. Yes. I could not do otherwise. Well, then he told me he
had stabbed the captain in the night.
Wangel. He said that himself! Actually said so!
Ellida. Yes. But he had only acted rightly and justly, he said.
Wangel. Rightly and justly! Why did he stab him then?
Ellida. He wouldn't speak out about that. He said it was
not fit for me to hear.
Wangel. And you believed his naked, bare word?
Ellida. Yes. It never occurred to me to do otherwise. Well,
anyhow, he had to go away. But now, when he was to bid me
farewell--. No; you never could imagine what he thought of--
Wangel. Well? Tell me.
Ellida. He took from his pocket a key-ring--and drew a ring that
he always wore from his finger, and he took a small ring I had.
These two he put on the key-ring. And then he said we should wed
ourselves to the sea.