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- The Lady From The Sea - 6/24 -

thought he must be the man to do it.

Ellida. Don't you know anything about--what became of the man?

Lyngstrand. Oh! madam, he's certainly not living now.

Ellida (quickly). Why do you think that?

Lyngstrand. Why? Because we were shipwrecked afterwards in the Channel. I had got into the longboat with the captain and five others. The mate got into the stern-boat; and the American was in that too, and another man.

Ellida. And nothing has been heard of them since?

Lyngstrand. Not a word. The friend who looks after me said so quite recently in a letter. But it's just because of this I was so anxious to make it into a work of art. I see the faithless sailor-wife so life-like before me, and the avenger who is drowned, and who nevertheless comes home from the sea. I can see them both so distinctly.

Ellida. I, too. (Rises.) Come; let us go in--or, rather, go down to Wangel. I think it is so suffocatingly hot. (She goes out of the arbour.)

Lyngstrand (who has also risen). I, for my part, must ask you to excuse me. This was only to be a short visit because of the birthday.

Ellida. As you wish. (Holds out her hand to him.) Goodbye, and thank you for the flowers.

(LYNGSTRAND bows, and goes off through the garden gate.)

Arnholm (rises, and goes up to ELLIDA). I see well enough that this has gone to your heart, Mrs. Wangel.

Ellida. Yes; you may well say so. Although-

Arnholm. But still--after all, it's no more than you were bound to expect.

Ellida (looks at him surprised). Expect!

Arnholm. Well, so it seems to me.

Ellida. Expect that anyone should come back again!--come to life again like that!

Arnholm. But what on earth!--is it that mad sculptor's sea story, then?

Ellida. Oh, dear Arnholm, perhaps it isn't so mad after all!

Arnholm. Is it that nonsense about the dead man that has moved you so? And I who thought that--

Ellida. What did you think?

Arnholm. I naturally thought that was only a make-believe of yours. And that you were sitting here grieving because you had found out a family feast was being kept secret; because your husband and his children live a life of remembrances in which you have no part.

Ellida. Oh! no, no! That may be as it may. I have no right to claim my husband wholly and solely for myself.

Arnholm. I should say you had.

Ellida. Yes. Yet, all the same, I have not. That is it. Why, I, too, live in something from which they are shut out.

Arnholm. You! (In lower tone.) Do you mean?--you, you do not really love your husband!

Ellida. Oh! yes, yes! I have learnt to love him with all my heart! And that's why it is so terrible-so inexplicable--so absolutely inconceivable!

Arnholm. Now you must and shall confide all your troubles to me. Will you, Mrs. Wangel?

Ellida. I cannot, dear friend. Not now, in any case. Later, perhaps.

(BOLETTE comes out into the verandah, and goes down into the garden.)

Bolette. Father's coming up from the office. Hadn't we better all of us go into the sitting-room?

Ellida. Yes, let us.

(WANGEL, in other clothes, comes with HILDE from behind the house.)

Wangel. Now, then, here I am at your service. And now we shall enjoy a good glass of something cool.

Ellida. Wait a moment. (She goes into the arbour and fetches the bouquet.)

Hilde. I say! All those lovely flowers! Where did you get them?

Ellida. From the sculptor, Lyngstrand, my dear Hilde.

Hilde (starts). From Lyngstrand?

Bolette (uneasily). Has Lyngstrand been here again?

Ellida (with a half-smile). Yes. He came here with these. Because of the birthday, you understand.

Bolette (looks at HILDE). Oh!

Hilde (mutters). The idiot!

Wangel (in painful confusion to ELLIDA). Hm!--yes, well you see-I must tell you, my dear, good, beloved Ellida--

Ellida (interrupting). Come, girls! Let us go and put my flowers in the water together with the others. (Goes up to the verandah.)

Bolette (to HILDE). Oh! After all she is good at heart.

Hilde (in a low tone with angry look). Fiddlesticks! She only does it to take in father.

Wangel (on the verandah, presses ELLIDA'S hand). Thanks-thanks! My heartfelt thanks for that, dear Ellida.

Ellida (arranging the flowers). Nonsense! Should not I, too, be in it, and take part in--in mother's birthday?

Arnholm. Hm!

(He goes up to WANGEL, and ELLIDA, BOLETTE, and HILDE remain in the garden below.)


(SCENE.--At the "View," a shrub-covered hill behind the town. A little in the background, a beacon and a vane. Great stones arranged as seats around the beacon, and in the foreground. Farther back the outer fjord is seen, with islands and outstanding headlands. The open sea is not visible. It is a summer's evening, and twilight. A golden-red shimmer is in the airand over the mountain-tops in the far distance. A quartette is faintly heard singing below in the background. Young townsfolk, ladies and gentlemen, come up in pairs, from the right, and, talking familiarly, pass out beyond the beacon. A little after, BALLESTED enters, as guide to a party of foreign tourists with their ladies. He is laden with shawls and travelling bags.)

Ballested (pointing upwards with a stick). Sehen Sie, meine Herrschaften, dort, out there, liegt eine andere mountain, That wollen wir also besteigen, and so herunter. (He goes on with the conversation in French, and leads the party off to the left. HILDE comes quickly along the uphill path, stands still, and looks back. Soon after BOLETTE comes up the same way.)

Bolette. But, dear, why should we run away from Lyngstrand?

Hilde. Because I can't bear going uphill so slowly. Look--look at him crawling up!

Bolette. Ah! But you know how delicate he is.

Hilde. Do you think it's very--dangerous?

Bolette. I certainly do.

Hilde. He went to consult father this afternoon. I should like to know what father thinks about him.

Bolette. Father told me it was a thickening of the lungs, or something of the sort. He won't live to be old, father says.

Hilde. No! Did he say it? Fancy--that's exactly what I thought.

Bolette. For heaven's sake don't show it!

Hilde. How can you imagine such a thing? (In an undertone.) Look, here comes Hans crawling up. Don't you think you can see by the look of him that he's called Hans?

Bolette (whispering). Now do behave! You'd better!

(LYNGSTRAND comes in from the right, a parasol in his hand.)

Lyngstrand. I must beg the young ladies to excuse me for not getting along as quickly as they did.

Hilde. Have you got a parasol too, now?

Lyngstrand. It's your mother's. She said I was to use it as a stick. I hadn't mine with me.

Bolette. Are they down there still--father and the others?

The Lady From The Sea - 6/24

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