Ellida (wringing her hands). To decide--decide for one's whole
life! Never to be able to undo it again!
The Stranger. Never. In half an hour it will be too late.
Ellida (looking shyly and searchingly at him). Why is it you hold
to me so resolutely?
The Stranger. Don't you feel, as I do, that we two belong
Ellida. Do you mean because of the vow?
The Stranger. Vows bind no one, neither man nor woman. If I hold
so steadfastly to you, it is because I cannot do otherwise.
Ellida (in a low, trembling voice). Why didn't you come before?
Ellida (bursting out). Ah! All that attracts, and tempts, and
lures into the unknown! All the strength of the sea concentrated
in this one thing!
(The STRANGER climbs over the fence.)
Ellida (stepping back to WANGEL). What is it? What do you want?
The Stranger. I see it and I hear it in you, Ellida. After all,
you will choose me in the end.
Wangel (going towards him). My wife has no choice here, I am here
both to choose for her and to defend her. Yes, defend! If you do
go away from here--away from this land--and never come back
Do you know to what you are exposing yourself?
Ellida. No, no, Wangel, not that!
The Stranger. What will you do to me?
Wangel. I will have you arrested as a criminal, at once, before
go on board; for I know all about the murder at Skjoldviken.
Ellida. Ah! Wangel, how can you?
The Stranger. I was prepared for that, and so--(takes a revolver
from his breast pocket)--I provided myself with this.
Ellida (throwing herself in front of him). No, no; do not kill
him! Better kill me!
The Stranger. Neither you nor him, don't fear that. This is for
myself, for I will live and die a free man.
Ellida (with growing excitement). Wangel, let me tell you this--
tell it you so that he may hear it. You can indeed keep me here!
You have the means and the power to do it. And you intend to do
it. But my mind--all my thoughts, all the longings and desires of
my soul--these you cannot bind! These will rush and press out
into the unknown that I was created for, and that you have kept
Wangel (in quiet sorrow). I see it, Ellida. Step by step you are
slipping from me. The craving for the boundless, the infinite,
the unattainable will drive your soul into the darkness of night
Ellida. Yes! I feel it hovering over me like black noiseless
Wangel. It shall not come to that. No other deliverance is
possible for you. I at least can see no other. And so--so I cry
off our bargain at once. Now you can choose your own path in
Ellida (stares at him a while as if stricken dumb). Is it true--
true what you say? Do you mean that--mean it with all your heart?
Wangel. Yes--with all my sorrowing heart--I mean it.
Ellida. And can you do it? Can you let it be so?
Wangel. Yes, I can. Because I love you so dearly.
Ellida (in a low, trembling voice). And have I come so near--so
close to you?
Wangel. The years and the living together have done that.
Ellida (clasping her hands together). And I--who so little
Wangel. Your thoughts went elsewhere. And now--now you are
completely free of me and mine--and--and mine. Now your own true
life may resume its real bent again, for now you can choose in
freedom, and on your own responsibility, Ellida.
Ellida (clasps her head with her hands, and stares at WANGEL). In
freedom, and on my own responsibility! Responsibility, too? That
(The ship bell rings again.)
The Stranger. Do you hear, Ellida? It has rung now for the last
Ellida (turns towards him, looks firmly at him, and speaks in a
resolute voice). I shall never go with you after this!
The Stranger. You will not!
Ellida (clinging to WANGEL). I shall never go away from you after