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.