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- The Lady From The Sea - 10/24 -

Wangel. But you have shaken it off--long since--when you broke with him. Why, all this is long past now.

Ellida (springing up). No; that it is not--it is not!

Wangel. Not past?

Ellida. No, Wangel, it is not past; and I fear it never will be-- never, in all our life.

Wangel (in a pained voice). Do you mean to say that in your innermost heart you have never been able to forget this strange man?

Ellida. I had forgotten him; but then it was as if he had suddenly come back again.

Wangel. How long ago is that?

Ellida. It's about three years ago, now, or a little longer. It was just when I expected the child.

Wangel. Ah! at that time? Yes, Ellida--now I begin to understand many things.

Ellida. You are mistaken, dear. What has come to me? Oh! I believe nothing on earth will ever make it clear.

Wangel (looking sadly at her). Only to think that all these three years you have cared for another man. Cared for another. Not for me--but for another!

Ellida. Oh! you are so utterly mistaken! I care for no one but you.

Wangel (in a subdued voice). Why, then, in all this time have you not lived with me as my wife?

Ellida. Because of the horror that comes from the strange man.

Wangel. The horror?

Ellida. Yes, the horror. A horror so terrible--such as only the sea could hold. For now you shall hear, Wangel.

(The young townsfolk come back, bow, and pass out to the right. Together with them come ARNHOLM, BOLETTE, HILDE, and LYNGSTRAND.)

Bolette (as she passes by). Well, are you still walking about up here?

Ellida. Yes, it is so cool and pleasant up here on the heights.

Arnholm. We, for our part, are going down for a dance.

Wangel. All right. We'll soon come down--we also.

Hilde. Goodbye, for the present!

Ellida. Mr. Lyngstrand, will you wait one moment? (LYNGSTRAND Stops. ARNHOLM, BOLETTE and HILDE go out. To LYNGSTRAND.) Are you going to dance too?

Lyngstrand. No, Mrs. Wangel. I don't think I dare.

Ellida. No, you should be careful, you know--your chest. You're not quite well yet, you see.

Lyngstrand. Not quite.

Ellida (with some hesitation). How long may it be now since you went on that voyage?

Lyngstrand. That time when I contracted this weakness?

Ellida. Yes, that voyage you told me about this morning?

Lyngstrand. Oh! it's about--wait a moment--yes, it's a good three years now.

Ellida. Three years, then.

Lyngstrand. Perhaps a little more. We left America in February, and we were wrecked in March. It was the equinoctial gales we came in for.

Ellida (looking at WANGEL). So it was at that time--

Wangel. But, dear Ellida--

Ellida. Well, don't let me detain you, Mr. Lyngstrand. Now go down, but don't dance.

Lyngstrand. No, I'll only look on. (He goes out.)

Ellida. Johnston was on board too, I am quite certain of it.

Wangel. What makes you think so?

Ellida (without answering). He learnt on board that I had married another while he was away. And so that very hour this came over me.

Wangel. The horror?

Ellida. Yes, all of a sudden I see him alive right in front of me; or, rather a little in profile. He never looks at me, only he is there.

Wangel. How do you think he looks?

Ellida. Exactly as when I saw him last.

Wangel. Ten years ago?

Ellida. Yes; out there at Bratthammeren. Most distinctly of all I see his breastpin, with a large bluish-white pearl in it. The pearl is like a dead fish's eye, and it seems to glare at me.

Wangel. Good God! You are more ill than I thought. More ill than you yourself know, Ellida.

Ellida. Yes, yes! Help me if you can, for I feel how it is drawing closer and more close.

Wangel. And you have gone about in this state three whole years, bearing for yourself this secret suffering, without confiding in me.

Ellida. But I could not; not till it became necessary for your own sake. If I had confided in you I should also have had to confide to you the unutterable.

Wangel. Unutterable?

Ellida. No, no, no! Do not ask. Only one thing, nothing more. Wangel, when shall we understand that mystery of the boy's eyes?

Wangel. My dear love, Ellida, I assure you it was only your own fancy. The child had exactly the same eyes as other normal children have.

Ellida. No, he had not. And you could not see it! The child's eyes changed colour with the sea. When the fjord lay bathed in sunshine, so were his eyes. And so in storm. Oh, I saw it, if you did not!

Wangel (humouring her). Maybe. But even if it were true, what then?

Ellida (in lower voice, and coming nearer). I have seen such eyes before.

Wangel. Well? Where?

Ellida. Out at Bratthammeren, ten years ago.

Wangel (stepping back). What does it mean?

Ellida (whispers, trembling). The child had the strange man's eyes.

Wangel (cries out reluctantly). Ellida!

Ellida (clasps her hands despairingly about her head). Now you understand why I would not, why I dared not, live with you as your wife. (She turns suddenly and rushes off over the heights.)

Wangel (hurrying after her and calling). Ellida, Ellida! My poor unhappy Ellida!


(SCENE.--A more remote part of DOCTOR WANGEL'S garden. It is boggy and overshadowed by large old trees. To the right is seen the margin of a dank pond. A low, open fence separates the garden from the footpath, and the fjord in the background. Beyond is the range of mountains, with its peaks. It is afternoon, almost evening. BOLETTE sits on a stone seat, and on the seat lie some books and a work-basket. HILDE and LYNGSTRAND, both with fishing- tackle, walk along the bank of the pond.)

Hilde (making a sign to LYNGSTRAND). I can see a large one.

Lyngstrand (looking). Where?

Hilde (pointing). Can't you see? He's down there. Good gracious! There's another! (Looks through the trees.) Out there. Now he's coming to frighten him away!

Bolette (looking up). Who's coming?

Hilde. Your tutor, Miss!

Bolette. Mine?

Hilde. Yes. Goodness knows he never was mine.

(ARNHOLM enters from between the trees.)

The Lady From The Sea - 10/24

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