Hilde. Oh! I see. (She puts the stool in front of the rocking-
Bolette (interrupting). Didn't you see anything of father's boat
out on the fjord?
Lyngstrand. Yes; I thought I saw a sailing-boat that was steering
Bolette. I'm sure that was father. He's been to visit patients on
the islands. (She is arranging things on the table.)
Lyngstrand (taking a step up the stairs to the verandah). Why,
how everything's decorated here with flowers!
Bolette. Yes; doesn't it look nice?
Lyngstrand. It looks lovely! It looks as if it were some festival
day in the house.
Hilde. That's exactly what it is.
Lyngstrand. I might have guessed it! I'm sure it's your father's
Bolette (warningly to HILDE). Hm--hm!
Hilde (taking no notice of her). No, mother's.
Lyngstrand. Oh! Your mother's!
Bolette (in low voice, angrily). Really, Hilde!
Hilde (the same). Let me be! (To LYNGSTRAND.) I suppose you're
going home to breakfast now?
Lyngstrand (going down steps). Yes, I suppose I must go and get
something to eat.
Hilde. I'm sure you find the living very good at the hotel!
Lyngstrand. I'm not staying at the hotel now. It was too
expensive for me.
Hilde. Where are you staying, then?
Lyngstrand. I'm staying up at Mrs. Jensen's.
Hilde. What Mrs. Jensen's?
Lyngstrand. The midwife.
Hilde. Excuse me, Mr. Lyngstrand, but I really have other matters
to attend to-
Lyngstrand. Oh! I'm sure I ought not to have said that.
Hilde. Said what?
Lyngstrand. What I said.
Hilde (looking contemptuously at him). I don't understand you in
Lyngstrand. No, no. But I must say goodbye for the present.
Bolette (comes forward to the steps). Good-bye, good-bye, Mr.
Lyngstrand. You must excuse us now. But another day--when you've
plenty of time--and inclination--you really must come in and see
father and the rest of us.
Lyngstrand. Yes; thanks, very much. I shall be delighted. (Bows,
and goes out through the garden gate. As he goes along the road
he bows again towards the verandah.)
Hilde (in low voice). Adieu, Monsieur! Please remember me to
Bolette (in a low voice, shaking her arm). Hilde! You naughty
child! Are you quite crazy? He might have heard you.
Hilde. Pshaw! Do you think I care about that?
Bolette (looking out to the right). Here's father!
(WANGEL, in travelling dress and carrying a small bag, comes from the
Wangel. See! I'm back again, little girls! (He enters through the
Bolette (going towards him at the bottom of the garden). Oh! It
is delightful that you've come!
Hilde (also going up to him). Now have you got off for the whole
Wangel. Oh! no. I must go down to the office for a little while
presently. I say--do you know if Arnholm has come?
Bolette. Yes; he arrived in the night. We sent to the hotel to
Wangel. Then you've not seen him yet?
Bolette. No; but he's sure to come here this morning.
Wangel. Yes; he's sure to do that.
Hilde (pulling him). Father, now you must look round.
Wangel (looking towards the verandah). Yes, I see well enough,
child. It's quite festive.
Bolette. Now, don't you think we've arranged it nicely?
Wangel. I must say you have. Are--are we alone at home now?
Hilde. Yes; she's gone to--
Bolette (interrupting quickly). Mother has gone to bathe.
Wangel (looks lovingly at BOLETTE, and pats her head. Then he
says, hesitating). Look here, little ones. Do you want to keep
this up all day? And the flag hoisted, too?
Hilde. Surely you understand that, father!
Wangel. Hm! Yes; but you see--
Bolette (looks at him and nods). Surely you can understand we've
been doing all this in honour of Mr. Arnholm. When such a good
friend comes to see you for the first time-
Hilde (smiling, and shaking him). Think! he who used to be
Bolette's tutor, father!
Wangel (with a half-smile). You're a pair of sly minxes. Well--
good heavens--after all, it's but natural we should remember her
who is no more with us. Here, Hilde (Gives her his bag), take
that down to the office. No, children. I don't like this--the
way, I mean. This habit of every year--well--what can one say? I
suppose it can't be managed any other way.
Hilde (about to go out of garden, and, with the bag, stops short,
turns, and points out). Look at that gentleman coming up here.
I'm sure it's your tutor.
Bolette (looks in that direction). He? (Laughs.) That is good! Do
you think that middle-aged fellow is Arnholm?
Wangel. Wait a moment, child. Why, by Jove, I do believe it is
he. Yes, it certainly is.