Wangel. The horror?
Ellida. Yes, the horror. A horror so terrible--such as only the
sea could hold. For now you shall hear, Wangel.
(The young townsfolk come back, bow, and pass out to the right.
Together with them come ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, HILDE, and LYNGSTRAND.)
Bolette (as she passes by). Well, are you still walking about up
Ellida. Yes, it is so cool and pleasant up here on the heights.
Arnholm. We, for our part, are going down for a dance.
Wangel. All right. We'll soon come down--we also.
Hilde. Goodbye, for the present!
Ellida. Mr. Lyngstrand, will you wait one moment? (LYNGSTRAND
Stops. ARNHOLM, BOLETTE and HILDE go out. To LYNGSTRAND.) Are you
going to dance too?
Lyngstrand. No, Mrs. Wangel. I don't think I dare.
Ellida. No, you should be careful, you know--your chest. You're
not quite well yet, you see.
Lyngstrand. Not quite.
Ellida (with some hesitation). How long may it be now since you
went on that voyage?
Lyngstrand. That time when I contracted this weakness?
Ellida. Yes, that voyage you told me about this morning?
Lyngstrand. Oh! it's about--wait a moment--yes, it's a good three
Ellida. Three years, then.
Lyngstrand. Perhaps a little more. We left America in February,
and we were wrecked in March. It was the equinoctial gales we
came in for.
Ellida (looking at WANGEL). So it was at that time--
Wangel. But, dear Ellida--
Ellida. Well, don't let me detain you, Mr. Lyngstrand. Now go
down, but don't dance.
Lyngstrand. No, I'll only look on. (He goes out.)
Ellida. Johnston was on board too, I am quite certain of it.
Wangel. What makes you think so?
Ellida (without answering). He learnt on board that I had married
another while he was away. And so that very hour this came over
Wangel. The horror?
Ellida. Yes, all of a sudden I see him alive right in front of
me; or, rather a little in profile. He never looks at me, only he
Wangel. How do you think he looks?
Ellida. Exactly as when I saw him last.
Wangel. Ten years ago?
Ellida. Yes; out there at Bratthammeren. Most distinctly of all I
see his breastpin, with a large bluish-white pearl in it. The
pearl is like a dead fish's eye, and it seems to glare at me.
Wangel. Good God! You are more ill than I thought. More ill than
you yourself know, Ellida.
Ellida. Yes, yes! Help me if you can, for I feel how it is
drawing closer and more close.
Wangel. And you have gone about in this state three whole years,
bearing for yourself this secret suffering, without confiding in
Ellida. But I could not; not till it became necessary for your
own sake. If I had confided in you I should also have had to
confide to you the unutterable.
Ellida. No, no, no! Do not ask. Only one thing, nothing more.
Wangel, when shall we understand that mystery of the boy's eyes?
Wangel. My dear love, Ellida, I assure you it was only your own
fancy. The child had exactly the same eyes as other normal
Ellida. No, he had not. And you could not see it! The child's
eyes changed colour with the sea. When the fjord lay bathed in
sunshine, so were his eyes. And so in storm. Oh, I saw it, if you
Wangel (humouring her). Maybe. But even if it were true, what
Ellida (in lower voice, and coming nearer). I have seen such eyes
Wangel. Well? Where?
Ellida. Out at Bratthammeren, ten years ago.
Wangel (stepping back). What does it mean?
Ellida (whispers, trembling). The child had the strange man's
Wangel (cries out reluctantly). Ellida!
Ellida (clasps her hands despairingly about her head). Now you
understand why I would not, why I dared not, live with you as
your wife. (She turns suddenly and rushes off over the heights.)
Wangel (hurrying after her and calling). Ellida, Ellida! My poor