ACT III
 

(SCENE-The sitting-room at Rosmersholm. The window and the hall- door are open. The morning sun is seen shining outside. REBECCA, dressed as in ACT I., is standing by the window, watering and arranging the flowers. Her work is lying on the armchair. Mrs HELSETH is going round the room with a feather brush, dusting the furniture.)

Rebecca (after a short pause)
I wonder why Mr. Rosmer is so late in coming down to-day?

MRS HELSETH
Oh, he is often as late as this, miss. He is sure to be down directly.

REBECCA
Have you seen anything of him?

MRS HELSETH
No, miss, except that as I took his coffee into his study he went into his bedroom to finish dressing.

REBECCA
The reason I ask is that he was not very well yesterday.

MRS HELSETH
No, he did not look well. It made me wonder whether something had gone amiss between him and his brother-in-law.

REBECCA
What do you suppose could go amiss between them?

MRS HELSETH
I can't say, miss. Perhaps it was that fellow Mortensgaard set them at loggerheads.

REBECCA
It is quite possible. Do you know anything of this Peter Mortensgaard?

MRS HELSETH
Not I! How could you think so, miss--a man like that!

REBECCA
Because of that horrid paper he edits, you mean?

MRS HELSETH
Not only because of that, miss. I suppose you have heard that a certain married woman, whose husband had deserted her, had a child by him?

REBECCA
I have heard it; but of course that was long before I came here.

MRS HELSETH
Bless me, yes--he was quite a young man then. But she might have had more sense than he had. He wanted to marry her, too, but that could not be done; and so he had to pay heavily for it. But since then--my word!--Mortensgaard has risen in the world. There are lots of people who run after him now.

REBECCA
I believe most of the poor people turn to him first when they are in any trouble.

MRS HELSETH
Oh, not only the poor people, miss--

REBECCA (glancing at her unobserved)
Indeed?

MRS HELSETH (standing at the sofa, dusting vigorously)
People you would least expect, sometimes, miss.

REBECCA (arranging the flowers)
Yes, but that is only an idea of yours, Mrs Helseth. You cannot know that for certain.

MRS HELSETH
You think I don't know anything about that for certain, do you, miss? Indeed I do. Because--if I must let out the secret at last--I carried a letter to Mortensgaard myself once.

REBECCA (turns round)
No--did you!

MRS HELSETH
Yes, that I did. And that letter, let me tell you, was written here--at Rosmersholm.

REBECCA
Really, Mrs Helseth?

MRS HELSETH
I give you my word it was, miss. And it was written on good note-paper--and sealed with beautiful red sealing-wax.

REBECCA
And you were entrusted with the delivery of it? Dear Mrs Helseth, it is not very difficult to guess whom it was from.

MRS HELSETH
Who, then?

REBECCA
Naturally, it was something that poor Mrs Rosmer in her invalid state

MRS HELSETH
Well, you have mentioned her name, miss--not I.

REBECCA
But what was in the letter?--No, of course, you cannot know that.

MRS HELSETH
Hm!--it is just possible I may know, all the same.

REBECCA
Did she tell you what she was writing about, then?

MRS HELSETH
No, she did not do that. But when Mortensgaard had read it, he set to work and cross-questioned me, so that I got a very good idea of what was in it.

REBECCA
What do you think was in it, then? Oh, dear, good Mrs Helseth, do tell me!

MRS HELSETH
Certainly not, miss. Not for worlds.

REBECCA
Oh, you can tell me. You and I are such friends, you know.

MRS HELSETH
Heaven forbid I should tell you anything about that, miss. I shall not tell you anything, except that it was some dreadful idea that they had gone and put into my poor sick mistress's head.

REBECCA
Who had put it into her head?

MRS HELSETH
Wicked people, miss. Wicked people.

REBECCA
Wicked--?

MRS HELSETH
Yes, I say it again--very wicked people, they must have been.

REBECCA
And what do you think it could be?

MRS HELSETH
Oh, I know what I think--but, please Heaven, I'll keep my mouth shut. At the same time, there is a certain lady in the town--hm!

REBECCA
I can see you mean Mrs Kroll.

MRS HELSETH
Yes, she is a queer one, she is. She has always been very much on the high horse with me. And she has never looked with any friendly eye on you, either, miss.

REBECCA
Do you think Mrs Rosmer was quite in her right mind when she wrote that letter to Mortensgaard?

MRS HELSETH
It is so difficult to tell, miss. I certainly don't think she was quite out of her mind.

REBECCA
But you know she seemed to go quite distracted when she learnt that she would never be able to have a child. That was when her madness first showed itself.

MRS HELSETH
Yes, that had a terrible effect on her, poor lady.

REBECCA (taking up her work, and sitting down on a chair by the window)
But, in other respects, do you not think that was really a good thing for Mr. Rosmer, Mrs Helseth?

MRS HELSETH
What, miss?

REBECCA
That there were no children?

MRS HELSETH
Hm!--I really do not know what to say to that.

REBECCA
Believe me, it was best for him. Mr. Rosmer was never meant to be surrounded by crying children.

MRS HELSETH
Little children do not cry at Rosmersholm, Miss West.

REBECCA (looking at her)
Not cry?

MRS HELSETH
No. In this house, little children have never been known to cry, as long as any one can remember.

REBECCA
That is very strange.

MRS HELSETH
Yes, isn't it, miss? But it runs in the family. And there is another thing that is just as strange; when they grow up they never laugh--never laugh, all their lives.

REBECCA
But that would be extraordinary

MRS HELSETH
Have you ever once heard or seen Mr. Rosmer laugh, miss?

REBECCA
No--now that I think of it, I almost believe you are right. But I fancy most of the folk hereabouts laugh very little.

MRS HELSETH
That is quite true. People say it began at Rosmersholm, and I expect it spread like a sort of infection.

REBECCA
You are a sagacious woman, Mrs Helseth!

MRS HELSETH
Oh, you mustn't sit there and make game of me, miss. (Listens.) Hush, hush--Mr. Rosmer is coming down. He doesn't like to see brooms about. (Goes out by the door on the right. ROSMER, with his stick and hat in his hand, comes in from the lobby.)

ROSMER
Good-morning, Rebecca.

REBECCA
Good-morning, dear. (She goes on working for a little while in silence.) Are you going out?

ROSMER
Yes.

REBECCA
It is such a lovely day.

ROSMER
You did not come up to see me this morning.

REBECCA
No--I didn't. Not to-day.

ROSMER
Don't you mean to do so in future, either? Rebecca. I cannot say yet, dear.

ROSMER
Has anything come for me?

REBECCA
The "County News" has come.

ROSMER
The "County News"!

REBECCA
There it is, on the table.

ROSMER (putting down his hat and stick)
Is there anything--?

REBECCA
Yes.

ROSMER
And you did not send it up to me

REBECCA
You will read it quite soon enough.

ROSMER
Well, let us see. (Takes up the paper and stands by the table reading it.) What!--"cannot pronounce too emphatic a warning against unprincipled deserters." (Looks at her.) They call me a deserter, Rebecca.

REBECCA
They mention no names at all.

ROSMER
It comes to the same thing. (Goes on reading.) "Secret traitors to the good cause."--"Judas-like creatures, who shamelessly confess their apostasy as soon as they think the most opportune and most profitable moment has arrived."--"A reckless outrage on the fair fame of honoured ancestors"--"in the expectation that those who are enjoying a brief spell of authority will not disappoint them of a suitable reward." (Lays the paper down on the table.) And they write that of me--these men who have known me so long and so intimately--write a thing that they do not even believe themselves! They know there is not a single word of truth in it--and yet they write it.

REBECCA
There is more of it yet.

ROSMER (taking up the paper again)
"Make some allowance for inexperience and want of judgment"--"a pernicious influence which, very possibly, has extended even to matters which for the present we will refrain from publicly discussing or condemning." (Looks at her.) What does that mean?

REBECCA
That is a hit at me, obviously.

ROSMER (laying down the paper)
Rebecca, this is the conduct of dishonourable men.

REBECCA
Yes, it seems to me they have no right to talk about Mortensgaard.

ROSMER (walking up and down the room)
They must be saved from this sort of thing. All the good that is in men is destroyed, if it is allowed to go on. But it shall not be so! How happy--how happy I should feel if I could succeed in bringing a little light into all this murky ugliness.

REBECCA (getting up)
I am sure of it. There is something great, something splendid, for you to live for!

ROSMER
Just think of it--if I could wake them to a real knowledge of themselves--bring them to be angry with and ashamed of themselves--induce them to be at one with each other in toleration, in love, Rebecca!

REBECCA
Yes! Give yourself up entirely to that task, and you will see that you will succeed.

ROSMER
I think it might be done. What happiness it would be to live one's life, then! No more hateful strife--only emulation; every eye fixed on the same goal; every man's will, every man's thoughts moving forward-upward--each in its own inevitable path Happiness for all--and through the efforts of all! (Looks out of the window as he speaks, then gives a start and says gloomily:) Ah! not through me.

REBECCA
Not--not through you?

ROSMER
Nor for me, either.

REBECCA
Oh, John, have no such doubts.

ROSMER
Happiness, dear Rebecca, means first and foremost the calm, joyous sense of innocence.

REBECCA (staring in front of her)
Ah, innocence--

ROSMER
You need fear nothing on that score. But I--

REBECCA
You least of all men!

ROSMER (pointing out of the window)
The mill-race.

REBECCA
Oh, John!--(Mrs HELSETH looks in in through the door on the left.)

MRS HELSETH
Miss West!

REBECCA
Presently, presently. Not now.

MRS HELSETH
Just a word, miss! (REBECCA goes to the door. Mrs HELSETH tells her something, and they whisper together for a moment; then Mrs HELSETH nods and goes away.)

ROSMER (uneasily)
Was it anything for me?

REBECCA
No, only something about the housekeeping. You ought to go out into the open air now, John dear. You should go for a good long walk.

ROSMER (taking up his hat)
Yes, come along; we will go together.

REBECCA
No, dear, I can't just now. You must go by yourself. But shake off all these gloomy thoughts--promise me that!

ROSMER
I shall never be able to shake them quite off, I am afraid.

REBECCA
Oh, but how can you let such groundless fancies take such a hold on you!

ROSMER
Unfortunately they are not so groundless as you think, dear. I have lain, thinking them over, all night. Perhaps Beata saw things truly after all.

REBECCA
In what way do you mean?

ROSMER
Saw things truly when she believed I loved you, Rebecca.

REBECCA
Truly in THAT respect?

ROSMER (laying his hat down on the table)
This is the question I have been wrestling with--whether we two have deluded ourselves the whole time, when we have been calling the tie between us merely friendship.

REBECCA
Do you mean, then, that the right name for it would have been--?

ROSMER
Love. Yes, dear, that is what I mean. Even while Beata was alive, it was you that I gave all my thoughts to. It was you alone I yearned for. It was with you that I experienced peaceful, joyful, passionless happiness. When we consider it rightly, Rebecca, our life together began like the sweet, mysterious love of two children for one another--free from desire or any thought of anything more. Did you not feel it in that way too? Tell me.

REBECCA (struggling with herself)
Oh, I do not know what to answer.

ROSMER
And it was this life of intimacy, with one another and for one another, that we took to be friendship. No, dear--the tie between us has been a spiritual marriage--perhaps from the very first day. That is why I am guilty. I had no right to it--no right to it for Beata's sake.

REBECCA
No right to a happy life? Do you believe that, John?

ROSMER
She looked at the relations between us through the eyes of HER love--judged them after the nature of HER love. And it was only natural. She could not have judged them otherwise than she did.

REBECCA
But how can you so accuse yourself for Beata's delusions?

ROSMER
It was for love of me--in her own way that--she threw herself into the mill-race. That fact is certain, Rebecca. I can never get beyond that.

REBECCA
Oh, do not think of anything else but the great, splendid task that you are going to devote your life to!

ROSMER (shaking his head)
It can never be carried through. Not by me. Not after what I know now.

REBECCA
Why not by you?

ROSMER
Because no cause can ever triumph which has its beginnings in guilt.

REBECCA (impetuously)
Oh, these are nothing but prejudices you have inherited--these doubts, these fears, these scruples! You have a legend here that your dead return to haunt you in the form of white horses. This seems to me to be something of that sort.

ROSMER
Be that as it may, what difference does it make if I cannot shake it off? Believe me, Rebecca, it is as I say--any cause which is to win a lasting victory must be championed by a man who is joyous and innocent.

REBECCA
But is joy so absolutely indispensable to you, John?

ROSMER
Joy? Yes, indeed it is.

REBECCA
To you, who never laugh?

ROSMER
Yes, in spite of that. Believe me, I have a great capacity for joy.

REBECCA
Now you really must go out, dear--for a long walk--a really long one, do you hear? There is your hat, and there is your stick.

ROSMER (taking them from her)
Thank you. And you won't come too?

REBECCA
No, no, I can't come now.

ROSMER
Very well. You are none the less always with me now. (Goes out by the entrance hall. After a moment REBECCA peeps out from behind the door which he has left open. Then she goes to the door on the right, which she opens.)

REBECCA (in a whisper)
Now, Mrs Helseth. You can let him come in now. (Crosses to the window. A moment later, KROLL comes in from the right. He bows to her silently and formally and keeps his hat in his hand.)

KROLL
Has he gone, then?

REBECCA
Yes.

KROLL
Does he generally stay out long?

REBECCA
Yes. But to-day he is in a very uncertain mood--so, if you do not want to meet him--

KROLL
Certainly not. It is you I wish to speak to--and quite alone.

REBECCA
Then we had better make the best of our time. Please sit down. (She sits down in an easy-chair by the window. KROLL takes a chair beside her.)

KROLL
Miss West, you can scarcely have any idea how deeply pained and unhappy I am over this revolution that has taken place in John Rosmer's ideas.

REBECCA
We were prepared for that being so--at first.

KROLL
Only at first?

ROSMER
Mr. Rosmer hoped confidently that sooner or later you would take your place beside him.

KROLL
I?

REBECCA
You and all his other friends.

KROLL
That should convince you how feeble his judgment is on any matter concerning his fellow-creatures and the affairs of real life.

REBECCA
In any case, now that he feels the absolute necessity of cutting himself free on all sides

KROLL
Yes; but, let me tell you, that is exactly what I do not believe.

REBECCA
What do you believe, then?

KROLL
I believe it is you that are at the bottom of the whole thing.

REBECCA
Your wife put that into your head, Mr. Kroll.

KROLL
It does not matter who put it into my head. The point is this, that I feel grave doubts--exceedingly grave doubts--when I recall and think over the whole of your behaviour since you came here.

REBECCA (looking at him)
I have a notion that there was a time when you had an exceedingly strong BELIEF in me, dear Mr. Kroll--I might almost say, a warm belief.

KROLL (in a subdued voice)
I believe you could bewitch any one-- if you set yourself to do it.

REBECCA
And you say I set myself to do it!

KROLL
Yes, you did. I am no longer such a simpleton as to suppose that sentiment entered into your little game at all. You simply wanted to secure yourself admission to Rosmersholm--to establish yourself here. That was what I was to help you to. I see it now.

REBECCA
Then you have completely forgotten that it was Beata that begged and entreated me to come and live here.

KROLL
Yes, because you had bewitched her too. Are you going to pretend that friendship is the name for what she came to feel towards you? It was idolatry--adoration. It degenerated into a-- what shall I call, it?--a sort of desperate passion. Yes, that is just the word for it.

REBECCA
Have the goodness to remember the condition your sister was in. As far as I am concerned I do not think I can be said to be particularly emotional in any way.

KROLL
No, you certainly are not. But that makes you all the more dangerous to those whom you wish to get into your power. It comes easy to you to act with deliberation and careful calculation, just because you have a cold heart.

REBECCA
Cold? Are you so sure of that?

KROLL
I am certain of it now. Otherwise you could not have pursued your object here so unswervingly, year after year. Yes, yes--you have gained what you wanted. You have got him and everything else here into your power. But, to carry out your schemes, you have not scrupled to make him unhappy.

REBECCA
That is not true. It is not I; it is you yourself that have made him unhappy.

KROLL
I!

REBECCA
Yes, by leading him to imagine that he was responsible for the terrible end that overtook Beata.

KROLL
Did that affect him so deeply, then?

REBECCA
Of course. A man of such gentle disposition as he--

KROLL
I imagined that one of your so-called "emancipated" men would know how to overcome any scruples. But there it is! Oh, yes--as a matter of fact it turned out just as I expected. The descendant of the men who are looking at us from these walls need not think he can break loose from what has been handed down as an inviolable inheritance from generation to generation.

REBECCA (looking thoughtfully in front of her)
John Rosmer's nature is deeply rooted in his ancestors. That is certainly very true.

KROLL
Yes, and you ought to have taken that into consideration, if you had had any sympathy for him. But I dare say you were incapable of that sort of consideration. Your starting-point is so very widely-removed from his, you see.

REBECCA
What do you mean by my starting-point?

KROLL
I mean the starting-point of origin--of parentage, Miss West.

REBECCA
I see. Yes, it is quite true that my origin is very humble. But nevertheless--

KROLL
I am not alluding to rank or position. I am thinking of the moral aspect of your origin.

REBECCA
Of my origin? In what respect?

KROLL
In respect of your birth generally.

REBECCA
What are you saying!

KROLL
I am only saying it because it explains the whole of your conduct.

REBECCA
I do not understand. Be so good as to tell me exactly what you mean.

KROLL
I really thought you did not need telling. Otherwise it would seem a very strange thing that you let yourself be adopted by Dr. West.

REBECCA (getting up)
Oh, that is it! Now I understand.

KROLL
And took his name. Your mother's name was Gamvik.

REBECCA (crossing the room)
My father's name was Gamvik, Mr. Kroll.

KROLL
Your mother's occupation must, of course, have brought her continually into contact with the district physician.

REBECCA
You are quite right.

KROLL
And then he takes you to live with him, immediately upon your mother's death. He treats you harshly, and yet you stay with him. You know that he will not leave you a single penny--as a matter of fact you only got a box of books--and yet you endure living with him, put up with his behaviour, and nurse him to the end.

REBECCA (comes to the table and looks at him scornfully)
And my doing all that makes it clear to you that there was something immoral--something criminal about my birth!

KROLL
What you did for him, I attributed to an unconscious filial instinct. And, as far as the rest of it goes, I consider that the whole of your conduct has been the outcome of your origin.

REBECCA (hotly)
But there is not a single word of truth in what you say! And I can prove it! Dr. West had not come to Finmark when I was born.

KROLL
Excuse me, Miss West. He went there a year before you were born. I have ascertained that.

REBECCA
You are mistaken, I tell you! You are absolutely mistaken!

KROLL
You said here, the day before yesterday, that you were twenty-nine--going on for thirty.

REBECCA
Really? Did I say that?

KROLL
Yes, you did. And from that I can calculate--

REBECCA
Stop! That will not help you to calculate. For, I may as well tell you at once, I am a year older than I give myself out to be.

KROLL (smiling incredulously)
Really? That is something new. How is that?

REBECCA
When I had passed my twenty-fifth birthday, I thought I was getting altogether too old for an unmarried girl, so I resolved to tell a lie and take a year off my age.

KROLL
You--an emancipated woman--cherishing prejudices as to the marriageable age!

REBECCA
I know it was a silly thing to do--and ridiculous, too. But every one has some prejudice or another that they cannot get quite rid of. We are like that.

KROLL
Maybe. But my calculation may be quite correct, all the same; because Dr. West was up in Finmark for a flying visit the year before he was appointed.

REBECCA (impetuously)
That is not true

KROLL
Isn't it?

REBECCA
No. My mother never mentioned it.

KROLL
Didn't she, really!

REBECCA
No, never. Nor Dr. West, either. Never a word of it.

KROLL
Might that not be because they both had good reason to jump over a year?--@just as you have done yourself, Miss West? Perhaps it is a family failing.

REBECCA (walking about, wringing her hands)
It is impossible. It is only something you want to make me believe. Nothing in the world will make me believe it. It cannot be true! Nothing in the world--

KROLL (getting up)
But, my dear Miss West, why in Heaven's name do you take it in this way? You quite alarm me! What am I to believe and think?

REBECCA
Nothing. Neither believe nor think anything.

KROLL
Then you really must give me some explanation of your taking this matter--this possibility--so much to heart.

REBECCA (controlling herself)
It is quite obvious, I should think, Mr. Kroll. I have no desire for people here to think me an illegitimate child.

KROLL
Quite so. Well, well, let us be content with your explanation, for the present. But you see that is another point on which you have cherished a certain prejudice.

REBECCA
Yes, that is quite true.

KROLL
And it seems to me that very much the same applies to most of this "emancipation" of yours, as you call it. Your reading has introduced you to a hotch-potch of new ideas and opinions; you have made a certain acquaintance with researches that are going on in various directions--researches that seem to you to upset a good many ideas that people have hitherto considered incontrovertible and unassailable. But all this has never gone any further than knowledge in your case, Miss West--a mere matter of the intellect. It has not got into your blood.

REBECCA (thoughtfully)
Perhaps you are right.

KROLL
Yes, only test yourself, and you will see! And if it is true in your case, it is easy to recognise how true it must be in John Rosmer's. Of course it is madness, pure and simple. He will be running headlong to his ruin if he persists in coming openly forward and proclaiming himself an apostate! Just think of it--he, with his shy disposition! Think of HIM disowned--hounded out of the circle to which he has always belonged--exposed to the uncompromising attacks of all the best people in the place. Nothing would ever make him the man to endure that.

REBECCA
He MUST endure it! It is too late now for him to draw back.

KROLL
Not a bit too late--not by any means too late. What has happened can be hushed up--or at any rate can be explained away as a purely temporary, though regrettable, aberration. But--there is one step that it is absolutely essential he should take.

REBECCA
And that is?

KROLL
You must get him to legalise his position, Miss West.

REBECCA
The position in which he stands to me?

KROLL
Yes. You must see that you get him to do that.

REBECCA
Then you can't rid yourself of the conviction that the relations between us need "legalising," as you say?

KROLL
I do not wish to go any more precisely into the question. But I certainly have observed that the conditions under which it always seems easiest for people to abandon all their so-called prejudices are when--ahem!

REBECCA
When it is a question of the relations between a man and a woman, I suppose you mean?

KROLL
Yes--to speak candidly--that is what I mean.

REBECCA (walks across the room and looks out of the window)
I was on the point of saying that I wish you had been right, Mr. Kroll.

KROLL
What do you mean by that? You say it so strangely!

REBECCA
Oh, nothing! Do not let us talk any more about it. Ah, there he is!

KROLL
Already! I will go, then.

REBECCA (turning to him)
No--stay here, and you will hear something.

KROLL
Not now. I do not think I could bear to see him.

REBECCA
I beg you to stay. Please do, or you will regret it later. It is the last time I shall ever ask you to do anything.

KROLL (looks at her in surprise, and lays his hat down)
Very well, Miss West. It shall be as you wish. (A short pause. Then ROSMER comes in from the hall.)

ROSMER (stops at the door, as he sees KROLL)
What! you here?

REBECCA
He wanted to avoid meeting you, John.

KROLL (involuntarily)
"John?"

REBECCA
Yes, Mr. Kroll. John and I call each other by our Christian names. That is a natural consequence of the relations between us.

KROLL
Was that what I was to hear if I stayed?

REBECCA
Yes, that and something else.

ROSMER (coming into the room)
What is the object of your visit here to-day?

KROLL
I wanted to make one more effort to stop you, and win you back.

ROSMER (pointing to the newspaper)
After that?

KROLL
I did not write it.

ROSMER
Did you take any steps to prevent its appearing?

KROLL
That would have been acting unjustifiably towards the cause I serve. And, besides that, I had no power to prevent it.

REBECCA (tears the newspaper into pieces, which she crumples up and throws into the back of the stove)
There! Now it is out of sight; let it be out of mind too. Because there will be no more of that sort of thing, John.

KROLL
Indeed, I wish you could ensure that.

REBECCA
Come, and let us sit down, dear--all three of us. Then I will tell you all about it.

ROSMER (sitting down involuntarily)
What has come over you, Rebecca? You are so unnaturally calm--What is it?

REBECCA
The calmness of determination. (Sits down.) Please sit down too, Mr. Kroll. (He takes a seat on the couch.)

ROSMER
Determination, you say. Determination to do what?

REBECCA
I want to give you back what you need in order to live your life. You shall have your happy innocence back, dear friend.

ROSMER
But what do you mean?

REBECCA
I will just tell you what happened. That is all that is necessary.

ROSMER
Well?

REBECCA
When I came down here from Finmark with Dr. West, it seemed to me that a new, great, wide world was opened to me. Dr. West had given me an erratic sort of education--had taught me all the odds and ends that I knew about life then. (Has an evident struggle with herself, and speaks in barely audible tones.) And then--

KROLL
And then?

ROSMER
But, Rebecca--I know all this.

REBECCA (collecting herself)
Yes--that is true enough. You know it only too well.

KROLL (looking fixedly at her)
Perhaps it would be better if I left you.

REBECCA
No, stay where you are, dear Mr. Kroll. (To ROSMER.) Well, this was how it was. I wanted to play my part in the new day that was dawning--to have a share in all the new ideas. Mr. Kroll told me one day that Ulrik Brendel had had a great influence over you once, when you were a boy. I thought it might be possible for me to resume that influence here.

ROSMER
Did you come here with a covert design?

REBECCA
What I wanted was that we two should go forward together on the road towards freedom--always forward, and further forward! But there was that gloomy, insurmountable barrier between you and a full, complete emancipation.

ROSMER
What barrier do you mean?

REBECCA
I mean, John, that you could never have attained freedom except in the full glory of the sunshine. And, instead of that, here you were--ailing and languishing in the gloom of such a marriage as yours.

ROSMER
You have never spoken to me of my marriage in that way, before to-day.

REBECCA
No, I did not dare, for fear of frightening you.

KROLL (nodding to ROSMER)
You hear that!

REBECCA (resuming)
But I saw quite well where your salvation lay--your only salvation. And so I acted.

ROSMER
How do you mean--you acted?

KROLL
Do you mean that?

REBECCA
Yes, John. (Gets up.) No, do not get up. Nor you either, Mr. Kroll. But we must let in. the daylight now. It was not you, John. You are innocent. It was I that lured--that ended by luring-- Beata into the tortuous path--

ROSMER (springing up)
Rebecca!

KROLL (getting up)
Into the tortuous path!

REBECCA
Into the path that--led to the mill-race. Now you know it, both of you.

ROSMER (as if stunned)
But I do not understand--What is she standing there saying? I do not understand a word--

KROLL
Yes, yes. I begin to understand.

ROSMER
But what did you do? What did you find to tell her? Because there was nothing--absolutely nothing!

REBECCA
She got to know that you were determined to emancipate yourself from all your old prejudices.

ROSMER
Yes, but at that time I had come to no decision.

REBECCA
I knew that you soon would come to one.

KROLL (nodding to ROSMER)
Aha!

ROSMER
Well--and what more? I want to know everything now.

REBECCA
Some time afterwards, I begged and implored her to let me leave Rosmersholm.

ROSMER
Why did you want to leave here--then?

REBECCA
I did not want to. I wanted to remain where I was. But I told her that it would be best for us all if I went away in time. I let her infer that if I remained here any longer I could not tell what-what-might happen.

ROSMER
That is what you said and did, then?

REBECCA
Yes, John.

ROSMER
That is what you referred to when you said that you "acted"?

REBECCA (in a broken voice)
Yes, that was it.

ROSMER (after a pause)
Have you confessed everything now, Rebecca?

REBECCA
Yes.

KROLL
Not everything.

REBECCA (looking at him in terror)
What else can there be?

KROLL
Did you not eventually lead Beata to believe that it was necessary--not merely that it should be best--but that it was necessary, both for your own sake and for John's, that you should go away somewhere else as soon as possible?--Well?

REBECCA (speaking low and indistinctly)
Perhaps I did say something of the sort.

ROSMER (sinking into a chair by the window)
And she, poor sick creature, believed in this tissue of lies and deceit! Believed in it so completely--so absolutely! (Looks up at REBECCA.) And she never came to me about it--never said a word! Ah, Rebecca--I see it in your face--YOU dissuaded her from doing so.

REBECCA
You know she had taken it into her head that she, a childless wife, had no right to be here. And so she persuaded herself that her duty to you was to give place to another.

ROSMER
And you--you did nothing to rid her mind of such an idea?

REBECCA
No.

KROLL
Perhaps you encouraged her in the idea? Answer! Did you not do so?

REBECCA
That was how she understood me, I believe.

ROSMER
Yes, yes--and she bowed to your will in everything. And so she gave place. (Springs up.) How could you--how could you go on with this terrible tragedy!

REBECCA
I thought there were two lives here to choose between, John.

KROLL (severely and with authority)
You had no right to make any such choice.

REBECCA (impetuously)
Surely you do not think I acted with cold and calculating composure! I am a different woman now, when I am telling you this, from what I was then. And I believe two different kinds of will can exist at the same time in one person. I wanted Beata away--in one way or the other; but I never thought it would happen, all the same. At every step I ventured and risked, I seemed to hear a voice in me crying: "No further! Not a step further!" And yet, at the same time, I COULD not stop. I HAD to venture a little bit further--just one step. And then another--and always another--and at last it happened. That is how such things go of themselves. (A short silence.)

ROSMER (to REBECCA)
And how do you think it will go with YOU in the future?--after this?

REBECCA
Things must go with me as they can. It is of very little consequence.

KROLL
Not a word suggestive of remorse! Perhaps you feel none?

REBECCA (dismissing his remark coldly)
Excuse me, Mr. Kroll, that is a matter that is no concern of any one else's. That is an account I must settle with myself.

KROLL (to ROSMER)
And this is the woman you have been living under the same roof with--in relations of the completest confidence. (Looks up at the portraits on the walls.) If only those that are gone could look down now!

ROSMER
Are you going into the town?

KROLL (taking up his hat)
Yes. The sooner the better.

ROSMER (taking his hat also)
Then I will go with you.

KROLL
You will! Ah, I thought we had not quite lost you.

ROSMER
Come, then, Kroll. Come! (They both go out into the hall without looking at REBECCA. After a minute REBECCA goes cautiously to the window and peeps out between the flowers.)

REBECCA (speaking to herself, half aloud)
Not over the bridge to-day either. He is going round. Never over the millrace--never. (Comes away from the window.) As I thought! (She goes over to the bell, and rings it. Soon afterwards Mrs HELSETH comes in from the right.)

MRS HELSETH
What is it, miss?

REBECCA
Mrs Helseth, will you be so good as to fetch my travelling trunk down from the loft?

MRS HELSETH
Your trunk?

REBECCA
Yes, the brown hair-trunk, you know.

MRS HELSETH
Certainly, miss. But, bless my soul, are you going away on a journey, miss?

REBECCA
Yes--I am going away on a journey, Mrs Helseth.

MRS HELSETH
And immediately!

REBECCA
As soon as I have packed.

MRS HELSETH
I never heard of such a thing! But you are coming back again soon, I suppose, miss?

REBECCA
I am never coming back again.

MRS HELSETH
Never! But, my goodness, what is to become of us at Rosmersholm if Miss West is not here any longer? Just as everything was making poor Mr. Rosmer so happy and comfortable!

REBECCA
Yes, but to-day I have had a fright, Mrs Helseth.

MRS HELSETH
A fright! Good heavens-how?

REBECCA
I fancy I have had a glimpse of the White Horse.

MRS HELSETH
Of the White Horse! In broad daylight!

REBECCA
Ah! they are out both early and late, the White Horses of Rosmersholm. (Crosses the room.) Well--we were speaking of my trunk, Mrs Helseth.

MRS HELSETH
Yes, miss. Your trunk.

(They both go out to the right.)