Wangel. Do you know what you are saying? Go with him--give your
whole life into his hands!
Ellida. Didn't I give my life into your hands, and without any ado?
Wangel. Maybe. But he! He! an absolute stranger! A man of whom
you know so little!
Ellida. Ah! but after all I knew you even less; and yet I went
Wangel. Then you knew to some extent what life lay before you.
But now? Think! What do you know? You know absolutely nothing.
Not even who or what he is.
Ellida (looking in front of her). That is true; but that is the
Wangel. Yes, indeed, it is terrible!
Ellida. That is why I feel I must plunge into it.
Wangel (looking at her). Because it seems terrible?
Ellida. Yes; because of that.
Wangel (coming closer). Listen, Ellida. What do you really mean
Ellida (reflectively). The terrible is that which repels and
Wangel. Attracts, you say?
Ellida. Attracts most of all, I think.
Wangel (slowly). You are one with the sea.
Ellida. That, too, is a terror.
Wangel. And that terror is in you. You both repel and attract.
Ellida. Do you think so, Wangel?
Wangel. After all, I have never really known you--never really.
Now I am beginning to understand.
Ellida. And that is why you must set me free! Free me from every
bond to you--and yours. I am not what you took me for. Now you
see it yourself. Now we can part as friends--and freely.
Wangel (sadly). Perhaps it would be better for us both if we parted--
And yet, I cannot! You are the terror to me, Ellida; the attraction
is what is strongest in you.
Ellida. Do you say that?
Wangel. Let us try and live through this day wisely--in perfect
quiet of mind. I dare not set you free, and release you today. I
have no right to. No right for your own sake, Ellida. I exercise
my right and my duty to protect you.
Ellida. Protect? What is there to protect me from? I am not
threatened by any outward power. The terror lies deeper, Wangel.
The terror is--the attraction in my own mind. And what can you do
Wangel. I can strengthen and urge you to fight against it.
Ellida. Yes; if I wished to fight against it.
Wangel. Then you do not wish to?
Ellida. Oh! I don't know myself.
Wangel. Tonight all will be decided, dear Ellida-
Ellida (bursting out). Yes, think! The decision so near--the
decision for one's whole life!
Wangel. And then tomorrow--Ellida. Tomorrow! Perhaps my real
future will have been ruined.
Wangel. Your real--Ellida. The whole, full life of freedom lost--
lost for me, and perhaps for him also.
Wangel (in a lower tone, seizing her wrist). Ellida, do you love
Ellida. Do I? Oh, how can I tell! I only know that to me he is a
terror, and that--
Wangel. And that--
Ellida (tearing herself away). And that it is to him I think I belong.
Wangel (bowing his head). I begin to understand better.
Ellida. And what remedy have you for that? What advice to give me?
Wangel (looking sadly at her). Tomorrow he will be gone, then the
misfortune will be averted from your head; and then I will consent
to set you free. We will cry off the bargain tomorrow, Ellida.
Ellida. Ah, Wangel, tomorrow! That is too late.
Wangel (looking towards garden). The children--the children!
Let us spare them, at least for the present.
(ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, HILDE, and LYNGSTRAND come into the garden.
LYNGSTRAND says goodbye in the garden, and goes out. The rest
come into the room.)
Arnholm. You must know we have been making plans.
Hilde. We're going out to the fjord tonight and--
Bolette. No; you mustn't tell.
Wangel. We two, also, have been making plans.
Wangel. Tomorrow Ellida is going away to Skjoldviken for a time.
Bolette. Going away?
Arnholm. Now, look here, that's very sensible, Mrs. Wangel.