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.