Ellida. And you call that my own life! No! My own true life lost
its bearings when I agreed to live with you. (Clenches her hand
in fear and unrest.) And now--tonight--in half an hour, he whom
I forsook is coming--he to whom I should have cleaved forever,
even as he has cleaved to me! Now he is coming to offer me--for
the last and only time--the chance of living my life over again,
of living my own true life--the life that terrifies and attracts-
and I can not forgo that--not freely.
Wangel. That is why it is necessary your husband--and your
should take the power of acting from you, and act on your behalf.
Ellida. Yes, Wangel, I quite understand. Believe me, there are
times when I think it would be peace and deliverance if with all
my soul I could be bound to you--and try to brave all that
and attracts. But I cannot! No, no, I cannot do that!
Wangel. Come, Ellida, let us walk up and down together for
Ellida. I would gladly--but I dare not. For he said I was to wait
for him here.
Wangel. Come! There is time enough.
Ellida. Do you think so?
Wangel. Plenty of time, I tell you.
Ellida. Then let us go, for a little while.
(They pass out in the foreground. At the same time ARNHOLM and
BOLETTE appear by the upper bank of the pond.)
Bolette (noticing the two as they go out). See there--
Arnholm (in low voice). Hush! Let them go. Bolette. Can you
understand what has been going on between them these last few
Arnholm. Have you noticed anything?
Bolette. Have I not!
Arnholm. Anything peculiar?
Bolette. Yes, one thing and another. Haven't you?
Arnholm. Well--I don't exactly know.
Bolette. Yes, you have; only you won't speak out about it.
Arnholm. I think it will do your stepmother good to go on this
Bolette. Do you think so?
Arnholm. I should say it would be well for all parties that she
should get away every now and then.
Bolette. If she does go home to Skjoldviken tomorrow, she will
never come back here again!
Arnholm. My dear Bolette, whatever makes you think that?
Bolette. I am quite convinced of it. Just you wait; you'll see
that she'll not come back again; not anyhow as long as I and
Hilde are in the house here.
Arnholm. Hilde, too?
Bolette. Well, it might perhaps be all right with Hilde. For she
is scarcely more than a child. And I believe that at bottom she
worships Ellida. But, you see, it's different with me--a
who isn't so very much older than oneself!
Arnholm. Dear Bolette, perhaps it might, after all, not be so
very long before you left.
Bolette (eagerly). Really! Have you spoken to father about it?
Arnholm. Yes, I have.
Bolette. Well, what does he say?
Arnholm. Hm! Well, your father's so thoroughly taken up with
other matters just now--
Bolette. Yes, yes! that's how I knew it would be.
Arnholm. But I got this much out of him. You mustn't reckon upon
any help from him.
Arnholm. He explained his circumstances to me clearly; he thought
that such a thing was absolutely out of the question, impossible
Bolette (reproachfully). And you had the heart to come and mock
Arnholm. I've certainly not done that, dear Bolette. It depends
wholly and solely upon yourself whether you go away or not.
Bolette. What depends upon me?
Arnholm. Whether you are to go out into the world--learn all you
most care for--take part in all you are hungering after here at
home--live your life under brighter conditions, Bolette.
Bolette (clasping her hands together). Good God! But it's
If father neither can nor will--and I have no one else on earth
whom I could turn--Arnholm. Couldn't you make up your mind to
accept a little help from your old--from your former teacher?
Bolette. From you, Mr. Arnholm! Would you be willing to--
Arnholm. Stand by you! Yes--with all my heart. Both with word and
in deed. You may count upon it. Then you accept? Well? Do you
Bolette. Do I agree! To get away--to see the world--to learn
something thoroughly! All that seemed to be a great, beautiful
Arnholm. All that may now become a reality to you, if only you
yourself wish it.
Bolette. And to all this unspeakable happiness you will help me!
Oh, no! Tell me, can I accept such an offer from a stranger?
Arnholm. You can from me, Bolette. From me you can accept