SCENE: DOCTOR WANGEL'S garden-room. Doors right and left. In
the background, between the windows, an open glass door leading
out on to the verandah. Below this, a portion of the garden is
visible. A sofa and table down left. To the right a piano, and
farther back a large flower-stand. In the middle of the room a
round table, with chairs. On the table is a rose-tree in bloom,
and other plants around it. Morning.
In the room, by the table, BOLETTE is sitting on the sofa, busy
with some embroidery. LYNGSTRAND is seated on a chair at the
upper end of the table. In the garden below BALLESTED sits
painting. HILDE stands by watching him.
Lyngstrand (with his arms on the table, sits silent awhile,
looking at BOLETTE'S work). It must be awfully difficult to do a
border like that, Miss Wangel?
Bolette. Oh, no! It's not very difficult, if only you take care
to count right.
Lyngstrand. To count? Must you count, too?
Bolette. Yes, the stiches. See!
Lyngstrand. So you do! Just fancy! Why, it's almost a kind of
art. Can you design, too?
Bolette. Oh, yes! When I've a copy.
Lyngstrand. Not unless?
Lyngstrand. Well, then, after all, it's not a real art?
Bolette. No; it is rather only a sort of--handicraft.
Lyngstrand. But still, I think that perhaps you could learn art.
Bolette. If I haven't any talent?
Lyngstrand. Yes; if you could always be with a real true artist--
Bolette. Do you think, then, I could learn it from him?
Lyngstrand. Not exactly learn in the ordinary sense; but I think
it would grow upon you little by little--by a kind of miracle as
it were, Miss Wangel.
Bolette. That would be wonderful.
Lyngstrand (after a pause). Have you ever thought about--I mean,
have you ever thought deeply and earnestly about marriage, Miss
Bolette (looking quickly at him). About--no!
Lyngstrand. I have.
Bolette. Really? Have you?
Lyngstrand. Oh yes! I often think about things of that sort,
especially about marriage; and, besides, I've read several books
about it. I think marriage must be counted a sort of miracle--
that a woman should gradually change until she is like her
Bolette. You mean has like interests?
Lyngstrand. Yes, that's it.
Bolette. Well, but his abilities--his talents--and his skill?
Lyngstrand. Hm--well--I should like to know if all that too--
Bolette. Then, perhaps, you also believe that everything a man
has read for himself, and thought out for himself, that this,
too, can grow upon his wife?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I think it can. Little by little; as by a sort
of miracle. But, of course, I know such things can only happen in
a marriage that is faithful, and loving, and really happy.
Bolette. Has it never occurred to you that a man, too, might,
perhaps, be thus drawn over to his wife? Grow like her, I mean.
Lyngstrand. A man? No, I never thought of that.
Bolette. But why not one as well as the other?
Lyngstrand. No; for a man has a calling that he lives for; and
that's what makes a man so strong and firm, Miss Wangel. He has a
calling in life.
Bolette. Has every man?
Lyngstrand. Oh no! I am thinking more especially of artists.
Bolette. Do you think it right of an artist to get married?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I think so. If he can find one he can heartily
Bolette. Still, I think he should rather live for his art alone.
Lyngstrand. Of course he must; but he can do that just as well,
even if he marries.
Bolette. But how about her?
Lyngstrand. Her? Who?
Bolette. She whom he marries. What is she to live for?
Lyngstrand. She, too, is to live for his art. It seems to me a
woman must feel so thoroughly happy in that.
Bolette. Hm, I don't exactly know--
Lyngstrand. Yes, Miss Wangel, you may be sure of that. It is not
merely all the honour and respect she enjoys through him; for that
seems almost the least important to me. But it is this--that she can
help him to create, that she can lighten his work for him, be about
him and see to his comfort, and tend him well, and make his life
thoroughly pleasant. I should think that must be perfectly delightful
to a woman.