Arnholm. And after all you will be my wife?
Bolette. Yes; if you still think that--that you will have me.
Arnholm. Think! (Seizing her hand.) Oh, thanks, thanks, Bolette.
All else that you said--your former doubts--these do not frighten
me. If I do not yet possess your whole heart, I shall know how to
conquer it. Oh, Bolette, I will wait upon you hand and foot!
Bolette. And then I shall see something of the world? Shall live!
You have promised me that?
Arnholm. And will keep my promise.
Bolette. And I may learn everything I want to?
Arnholm. I, myself, will be your teacher as formerly, Bolette. Do
you remember the last school year?
Bolette (quietly and absently). To think--to know--one's self
free, and to get out into the strange world, and then, not to
need to be anxious for the future--not to be harassed about one's
Arnholm. No, you will never need to waste a thought upon such
matters. And that's a good thing, too, in its way, dear Bolette,
isn't it? Eh?
Bolette. Indeed it is. That is certain.
Arnholm (putting his arms about her). Oh, you will see how
comfortably and easily we shall settle down together! And how
well and safely and trustfully we two shall get on with one
Bolette. Yes. I also begin to--I believe really--it will answer.
(Looks out to the right, and hurriedly frees herself.) Oh, don't
say anything about this.
Arnholm. What is it, dear?
Bolette. Oh! it's that poor (pointing}--see out there.
Arnholm. Is it your father?
Bolette. No. It's the young sculptor. He's down there with Hilde.
Arnholm. Oh, Lyngstrand! What's really the matter with him?
Bolette. Why, you know how weak and delicate he is.
Arnholm. Yes. Unless it's simply imaginary.
Bolette. No, it's real enough! He'll not last long. But perhaps
that's best for him.
Arnholm. Dear, why should that be best?
Bolette. Because--because--nothing would come of his art anyhow.
Let's go before they come.
Arnholm. Gladly, my dear Bolette.
(HILDE and LYNGSTRAND appear by the pond.)
Hilde. Hi, hi! Won't your honours wait for us?
Arnholm. Bolette and I would rather go on a little in advance.
(He and BOLETTE go out to the Left.)
Lyngstrand (laughs quietly). It's very delightful here now.
Everybody goes about in pairs--always two and two together.
Hilde (looking after them). I could almost swear he's proposing
Lyngstrand. Really? Have you noticed anything?
Hilde. Yes. It's not very difficult--if you keep your eyes open.
Lyngstrand. But Miss Bolette won't have him. I'm certain of that.
Hilde. No. For she thinks he's got so dreadfully old-looking, and
she thinks he'll soon get bald.
Lyngstrand. It's not only because of that. She'd not have him
Hilde. How can you know?
Lyngstrand. Well, because there's someone else she's promised to
Hilde. Only to think of?
Lyngstrand. While he is away, yes.
Hilde. Oh! then I suppose it's you she's to think of.
Lyngstrand. Perhaps it might be.
Hilde. She promised you that?
Lyngstrand. Yes--think--she promised me that! But mind you don't
tell her you know.
Hilde. Oh! I'll be mum! I'm as secret as the grave.
Lyngstrand. I think it's awfully kind of her.
Hilde. And when you come home again--are you going to be engaged
to her, and then marry her?
Lyngstrand. No, that wouldn't very well do. For I daren't think
of such a thing during the first years. And when I shall be able
to, she'll be rather too old for me, I fancy.
Hilde. And yet you wish her to think of you?
Lyngstrand. Yes; that's so useful to me. You see, I'm an artist.
And she can very well do it, because she herself has no real
calling. But all the same, it's kind of her.
Hilde. Do you think you'll be able to get on more quickly with
your work if you know that Bolette is here thinking of you?
Lyngstrand. Yes, I fancy so. To know there is a spot on earth
where a young, gentle, reserved woman is quietly dreaming about
you--I fancy it must be so--so-well, I really don't exactly know
what to call it.
Hilde. Perhaps you mean--fascinating?
Lyngstrand. Fascinating! Oh, yes! Fascinating was what I meant,
or something like it. (Looks at her for a moment.) You are so
clever, Miss Hilde. Really you are very clever. When I come home
again you'll be about the same age as your sister is now.
Perhaps, too, you'll look like your sister looks now. And
perhaps, too, you'll be of the same mind she is now. Then,
perhaps, you'll be both yourself and your sister--in one form, so