SCENE: The distant part of DOCTOR WANGEL'S garden, and the carp
pond. The summer night gradually darkens.
ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, LYNGSTRAND and HILDE are in a boat, punting
along the shore to the left.
Hilde. See! We can jump ashore easily here.
Arnholm. No, no; don't!
Lyngstrand. I can't jump, Miss Hilde.
Hilde. Can't you jump either, Arnholm?
Arnholm. I'd rather not try.
Bolette. Then let's land down there, by the bathing steps.
(They push off. At the same moment BALLESTED comes along the
footpath, carrying music-books and a French horn. He bows to
those in the boat, turns and speaks to them. The answers are
heard farther and farther away.)
Ballested. What do you say? Yes, of course it's on account of the
English steamer; for this is her last visit here this year. But
if you want to enjoy the pleasures of melody, you mustn't wait
too long. (Calling out.) What? (Shaking his head.) Can't hear
what you say!
(ELLIDA, with a shawl over her head, enters, followed by DOCTOR
Wangel. But, dear Ellida, I assure you there's plenty of time.
Ellida. No, no, there is not! He may come any moment.
Ballested (outside the fence). Hallo! Good-evening, doctor. Good-
evening, Mrs. Wangel.
Wangel (noticing him). Oh! is it you? Is there to be music
Ballested. Yes; the Wind Band Society thought of making
heard. We've no dearth of festive occasions nowadays. Tonight
in honour of the English ship.
Ellida. The English ship! Is she in sight already?
Ballested. Not yet. But you know she comes from between the
islands. You can't see anything of her, and then she's alongside
Ellida. Yes, that is so.
Wangel (half to ELLIDA). Tonight is the last voyage, then she
will not come again.
Ballested. A sad thought, doctor, and that's why we're going to
give them an ovation, as the saying is. Ah! Yes--ah! yes. The
glad summertime will soon be over now. Soon all ways will be
barred, as they say in the tragedy.
Ellida. All ways barred--yes!
Ballested. It's sad to think of. We have been the joyous children
of summer for weeks and months now. It's hard to reconcile
yourself to the dark days--just at first, I mean. For men can
accli--a--acclimatise themselves, Mrs. Wangel. Ay, indeed they
can. (Bows, and goes off to the left.)
Ellida (looking out at the fjord). Oh, this terrible suspense!
This torturing last half-hour before the decision!
Wangel. You are determined, then, to speak to him yourself?
Ellida. I must speak to him myself; for it is freely that I must
make my choice.
Wangel. You have no choice, Ellida. You have no right to choose--
no right without my permission.
Ellida. You can never prevent the choice, neither you nor anyone.
You can forbid me to go away with him--to follow him--in case I
should choose to do that. You can keep me here by force--against
my will. That you can do. But that I should choose, choose from
my very soul--choose him, and not you--in case I would and did
choose thus--this you cannot prevent.
Wangel. No; you are right. I cannot prevent that.
Ellida. And so I have nothing to help me to resist. Here, at
home, there is no single thing that attracts me and binds me.
I am so absolutely rootless in your house, Wangel. The children
are not mine--their hearts, I mean--never have been. When I go,
if I do go, either with him tonight, or to Skjoldviken tomorrow,
I haven't a key to give up, an order to give about anything
whatsoever. I am absolutely rootless in your house--I have
been absolutely outside everything from the very first.
Wangel. You yourself wished it.
Ellida. No, no, I did not. I neither wished nor did not wish it.
I simply left things just as I found them the day I came here. It
is you, and no one else, who wished it.
Wangel. I thought to do all for the best for you.
Ellida. Yes, Wangel, I know it so well! But there is retribution
in that, a something that avenges itself. For now I find no
binding power here-nothing to strengthen me--nothing to help
me--nothing to draw me towards what should have been the
strongest possession of us both.
Wangel. I see it, Ellida. And that is why from t-morrow you
shall have back your freedom. Henceforth, you shall live your own