Ellida. A little past. And at eleven o'clock, or half-past eleven
tonight, the steamer is coming. If only that were over!
Wangel (going nearer to her). Dear Ellida, there is one thing I
should like to ask you.
Ellida. What is it?
Wangel. The evening before last--up at the "View"--you said that
during the last three years you had so often seen him bodily
Ellida. And so I have. You may believe that.
Wangel. But, how did you see him?
Ellida. How did I see him?
Wangel. I mean, how did he look when you thought you saw him?
Ellida. But, dear Wangel, why, you now know yourself how he
Wangel. Did he look exactly like that in your imagination?
Ellida. He did.
Wangel. Exactly the same as you saw him in reality yesterday
Ellida. Yes, exactly.
Wangel. Then how was it you did not at once recognise him?
Ellida. Did I not?
Wangel. No; you said yourself afterwards that at first you did
not at all know who the strange man was.
Ellida (perplexed). I really believe you are right. Don't you
think that strange, Wangel? Fancy my not knowing him at once!
Wangel. It was only the eyes, you said.
Ellida. Oh, yes! The eyes--the eyes.
Wangel. Well, but at the "View" you said that he always appeared
to you exactly as he was when you parted out there--ten years
Ellida. Did I?
Ellida. Then, I suppose he did look much as he does now.
Wangel. No. On our way home, the day before yesterday, you gave
quite another description of him. Ten years ago he had no beard,
you said. His dress, too, was quite different. And that breast-
pin with the pearl? That man yesterday wore nothing of the sort.
Ellida. No, he did not.
Wangel (looks searchingly at her). Now just think a little, dear
Ellida. Or perhaps you can't quite remember how he looked when he
stood by you at Bratthammer?
Ellida (thoughtfully closing her eyes for a moment). Not quite
distinctly. No, today I can't. Is it not strange?
Wangel. Not so very strange after all. You have now been
confronted by a new and real image, and that overshadows the old
one, so that you can no longer see it.
Ellida. Do you believe that, Wangel?
Wangel. Yes. And it overshadows your sick imaginings, too. That
is why it is good a reality has come.
Ellida. Good? Do you think it good?
Wangel. Yes. That it has come. It may restore you to health.
Ellida (sitting down on sofa). Wangel, come and sit down by me. I
must tell you all my thoughts.
Wangel. Yes, do, dear Ellida.
(He sits down on a chair on the other side of the table.)
Ellida. It was really a great misfortune--for us both--that we
two of all people should have come together.
Wangel (amazed). What are you saying?
Ellida. Oh, yes, it was. And it's so natural. It could bring
nothing but unhappiness, after the way in which we came together.
Wangel. What was there in that way?
Ellida. Listen, Wangel; it's no use going on, lying to ourselves
and to one another.
Wangel. Are we doing so? Lying, you say?
Ellida. Yes, we are; or, at least, we suppress the truth. For the
truth--the pure and simple truth is--that you came out there and
Wangel. Bought--you say bought!
Ellida. Oh! I wasn't a bit better than you. I accepted the
bargain. Sold myself to you!
Wangel (looks at her full of pain). Ellida, have you really the
heart to call it that?
Ellida. But is there any other name for it? You could no longer
bear the emptiness of your house. You were on the look-out for a