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- The Lady From The Sea - 2/24 -


Ballested. Do you know the family?

Lyngstrand. Not well. I've only met the young ladies now and again in company; and I had a chat with Mrs. Wangel the last time we had music up at the "View." She said I might come and see them.

Ballested. Now, do you know, you ought to cultivate their acquaintance.

Lyngstrand. Yes; I'd been thinking of paying a visit. Just a sort of call. If only I could find some excuse--

Ballested. Excuse! Nonsense! (Looking out to the left.) Damn it! (Gathering his things.) The steamer's by the pier already. I must get off to the hotel. Perhaps some of the new arrivals may want me. For I'm a hairdresser, too, don't you know.

Lyngstrand. You are certainly very many-sided, sir.

Ballested. In small towns one has to try to acclam--acclimatise Oneself in various branches. If you should require anything in the hair line--a little pomatum or such like--you've only to ask for Dancing-master Ballested.

Lyngstrand. Dancing master!

Ballested. President of the "Wind Band Society," by your leave. We've a concert on this evening up at the "View." Goodbye, goodbye!

(He goes out with his painting gear through the garden gate.

HILDE comes out with the footstool. BOLETTE brings more flowers. LYNGSTRAND bows to HILDE from the garden below.)

Hilde (by the balustrade, not returning his bow). Bolette said you had ventured in today.

Lyngstrand. Yes; I took the liberty of coming in for a moment.

Hilde. Have you been out for a morning walk?

Lyngstrand. Oh, no! nothing came of the walk this morning.

Hilde. Have you been bathing, then?

Lyngstrand. Yes; I've been in the water a little while. I saw your mother down there. She was going into her bathing-machine.

Hilde. Who was?

Lyngstrand. Your mother.

Hilde. Oh! I see. (She puts the stool in front of the rocking- chair.)

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 inland.

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 birthday.

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 the least.

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 Mother Jensen.

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 footpath.)

Wangel. See! I'm back again, little girls! (He enters through the garden gate.)

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 day, father?

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 enquire.

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.


The Lady From The Sea - 2/24

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