Act First.
 

[Outside the Bath Hotel. A portion of the main building can be seen to the right. An open, park-like place with a fountain, groups of fine old trees, and shrubbery. To the left, a little pavilion almost covered with ivy and Virginia creeper. A table and chair outside it. At the back a view over the fjord, right out to sea, with headlands and small islands in the distance. It is a calm, warm and sunny summer morning.

[PROFESSOR RUBEK and MRS. MAIA RUBEK are sitting in basket chairs beside a covered table on the lawn outside the hotel, having just breakfasted. They have champagne and seltzer water on the table, and each has a newspaper. PROFESSOR RUBEK is an elderly man of distinguished appearance, wearing a black velvet jacket, and otherwise in light summer attire. MAIA is quite young, with a vivacious expression and lively, mocking eyes, yet with a suggestion of fatigue. She wears an elegant travelling dress.

MAIA
[Sits for some time as though waiting for the PROFESSOR to say something, then lets her paper drop with a deep sigh.] Oh dear, dear, dear---!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks up from his paper.] Well, Maia? What is the matter with you?

MAIA
Just listen how silent it is here.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Smiles indulgently.] And you can hear that?

MAIA
What?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
The silence?

MAIA
Yes, indeed I can.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Well, perhaps you are right, mein Kind. One can really hear the silence.

MAIA
Heaven knows you can--when it's so absolutely overpowering as it is here---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Here at the Baths, you mean?

MAIA
Wherever you go at home here, it seems to me. Of course there was noise and bustle enough in the town. But I don't know how it is-- even the noise and bustle seemed to have something dead about it.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With a searching glance.] You don't seem particularly glad to be at home again, Maia?

MAIA
[Looks at him.] Are you glad?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Evasively.] I---?

MAIA
Yes, you, who have been so much, much further away than I. Are you entirely happy, now that you are at home again?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
No--to be quite candid--perhaps not entirely happy---

MAIA
[With animation.] There, you see! Didn't I know it!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I have been too long abroad. I have drifted quite away from all this --this home life.

MAIA
[Eagerly, drawing her chair nearer him.] There, you see, Rubek! We had much better get away again! As quickly as ever we can.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Somewhat impatiently.] Well, well, that is what we intend to do, my dear Maia. You know that.

MAIA
But why not now--at once? Only think how cozy and comfortable we could be down there, in our lovely new house---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Smiles indulgently.] We ought by rights to say: our lovely new home.

MAIA
[Shortly.] I prefer to say house--let us keep to that.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[His eyes dwelling on her.] You are really a strange little person.

MAIA
Am I so strange?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes, I think so.

MAIA
But why, pray? Perhaps because I'm not desperately in love with mooning about up here---?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Which of us was it that was absolutely bent on our coming north this summer?

MAIA
I admit, it was I.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
It was certainly not I, at any rate.

MAIA
But good heavens, who could have dreamt that everything would have altered so terribly at home here? And in so short a time, too! Why, it is only just four years since I went away---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Since you were married, yes.

MAIA
Married? What has that to do with the matter?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Continuing.] --since you became the Frau Professor, and found yourself mistress of a charming home--I beg your pardon--a very handsome house, I ought to say. And a villa on the Lake of Taunitz, just at the point that has become most fashionable, too--. In fact it is all very handsome and distinguished, Maia, there's no denying that. And spacious too. We need not always be getting in each other's way---

MAIA
[Lightly.] No, no, no--there's certainly no lack of house-room, and that sort of thing---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Remember, too, that you have been living in altogether more spacious and distinguished surroundings--in more polished society than you were accustomed to at home.

MAIA
[Looking at him.] Ah, so you think it is I that have changed?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Indeed I do, Maia.

MAIA
I alone? Not the people here?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Oh yes, they too--a little, perhaps. And not at all in the direction of amiability. That I readily admit.

MAIA
I should think you must admit it, indeed.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Changing the subject.] Do you know how it affects me when I look at the life of the people around us here?

MAIA
No. Tell me.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
It makes me think of that night we spent in the train, when we were coming up here---

MAIA
Why, you were sound asleep all the time.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Not quite. I noticed how silent it became at all the little roadside stations. I heard the silence--like you, Maia---

MAIA
H'm,--like me, yes.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
--and that assured me that we had crossed the frontier--that we were really at home. For the train stopped at all the little stations-- although there was nothing doing at all.

MAIA
Then why did it stop--though there was nothing to be done?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Can't say. No one got out or in; but all the same the train stopped a long, endless time. And at every station I could make out that there were two railway men walking up and down the platform--one with a lantern in his hand--and they said things to each other in the night, low, and toneless, and meaningless.

MAIA
Yes, that is quite true. There are always two men walking up and down, and talking---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
--of nothing. [Changing to a livelier tone.] But just wait till to- morrow. Then we shall have the great luxurious steamer lying in the harbour. We'll go on board her, and sail all round the coast-- northward ho!--right to the polar sea.

MAIA
Yes, but then you will see nothing of the country--and of the people. And that was what you particularly wanted.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Shortly and snappishly.] I have seen more than enough.

MAIA
Do you think a sea voyage will be better for you?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
It is always a change.

MAIA
Well, well, if only it is the right thing for you---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
For me? The right thing? There is nothing in the world the matter with me.

MAIA
[Rises and goes to him.] Yes, there is, Rubek. I am sure you must feel it yourself.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Why my dearest Maia--what should be amiss with me?

MAIA
[Behind him, bending over the back of his chair.] That you must tell me. You have begun to wander about without a moment's peace. You cannot rest anywhere--neither at home nor abroad. You have become quite misanthropic of late.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With a touch of sarcasm.] Dear me--have you noticed that?

MAIA
No one that knows you can help noticing it. And then it seems to me so sad that you have lost all pleasure in your work.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
That too, eh?

MAIA
You that used to be so indefatigable--working from morning to night!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Gloomily.] Used to be, yes---

MAIA
But ever since you got your great masterpiece out of hand---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Nods thoughtfully.] "The Resurrection Day"---

MAIA
--the masterpiece that has gone round the whole world, and made you so famous---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Perhaps that is just the misfortune, Maia.

MAIA
How so?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
When I had finished this masterpiece of mine--[Makes a passionate movement with his hand]--for "The Resurrection Day" is a masterpiece! Or was one in the beginning. No, it is one still. It must, must, must be a masterpiece!

MAIA
[Looks at him in astonishment.] Why, Rubek--all the world knows that.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Short, repellently.] All the world knows nothing! Understands nothing!

MAIA
Well, at any rate it can divine something---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Something that isn't there at all, yes. Something that never was in my mind. Ah yes, that they can all go into ecstasies over! [Growling to himself.] What is the good of working oneself to death for the mob and the masses--for "all the world"!

MAIA
Do you think it is better, then--do you think it is worthy of you, to do nothing at all but portrait-bust now and then?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With a sly smile.] They are not exactly portrait-busts that I turn out, Maia.

MAIA
Yes, indeed they are--for the last two or three years--ever since you finished your great group and got it out of the house---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
All the same, they are no mere portrait-busts, I assure you.

MAIA
What are they, then?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
There is something equivocal, something cryptic, lurking in and behind these busts--a secret something, that the people themselves cannot see---

MAIA
Indeed?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Decisively.] I alone can see it. And it amuses me unspeakably.--On the surface I give them the "striking likeness," as they call it, that they all stand and gape at in astonishment--[Lowers his voice]--but at bottom they are all respectable, pompous horse-faces, and self- opinionated donkey-muzzles, and lop-eared, low-browed dog-skulls, and fatted swine-snouts--and sometimes dull, brutal bull-fronts as well---

MAIA
[Indifferently.] All the dear domestic animals, in fact.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Simply the dear domestic animals, Maia. All the animals which men have bedevilled in their own image--and which have bedevilled men in return. [Empties his champagne-glass and laughs.] And it is these double-faced works of art that our excellent plutocrats come and order of me. And pay for in all good faith--and in good round figures too--almost their weight in gold, as the saying goes.

MAIA
[Fills his glass.] Come, Rubek! Drink and be happy.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Passes his hand several times across his forehead and leans back in his chair.] I am happy, Maia. Really happy--in a way. [Short silence.] For after all there is a certain happiness in feeling oneself free and independent on every hand--in having at ones command everything one can possibly wish for--all outward things, that is to say. Do you not agree with me, Maia?

MAIA
Oh yes, I agree. All that is well enough in its way. [Looking at him.] But do you remember what you promised me the day we came to an understanding on--on that troublesome point---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Nods.] --on the subject of our marriage, yes. It was no easy matter for you, Maia.

MAIA
[Continuing unruffled.] --and agreed that I was to go abroad with you, and live there for good and all--and enjoy myself.--Do you remember what you promised me that day?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Shaking his head.] No, I can't say that I do. Well, what did I promise?

MAIA
You said you would take me up to a high mountain and show me all the glory of the world.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With a slight start.] Did I promise you that, too?

MAIA
Me too? Who else, pray?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Indifferently.] No, no, I only meant did I promise to show you---?

MAIA
--all the glory of the world? Yes, you did. And all that glory should be mine, you said.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
That is sort of figure of speech that I was in the habit of using once upon a time.

MAIA
Only a figure of speech?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes, a schoolboy phrase--the sort of thing I used to say when I wanted to lure the neighbours' children out to play with me, in the woods and on the mountains.

MAIA
[Looking hard at him.] Perhaps you only wanted to lure me out to play, as well?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Passing it off as a jest.] Well, has it not been a tolerable amusing game, Maia?

MAIA
[Coldly.] I did not go with you only to play.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
No, no, I daresay not.

MAIA
And you never took me up with you to any high mountain, or showed me---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With irritation.] --all the glory of the world? No, I did not. For, let me tell you something: you are not really born to be a mountain- climber, little Maia.

MAIA
[Trying to control herself.] Yet at one time you seemed to think I was.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Four or five years ago, yes. [Stretching himself in his chair.] Four or five years--it's a long, long time, Maia.

MAIA
[Looking at him with a bitter expression.] Has the time seemed so very long to you, Rubek?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I am beginning now to find it a trifle long. [Yawning.] Now and then, you know.

MAIA
[Returning to her place.] I shall not bore you any longer.

[She resumes her seat, takes up the newspaper, and begins turning over the leaves. Silence on both sides.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Leaning on his elbows across the table, and looking at her teasingly.] Is the Frau Professor offended?

MAIA
[Coldly, without looking up.] No, not at all.

[Visitors to the baths, most of them ladies, begin to pass, singly and in groups, through the park from the right, and out to the left.

[Waiters bring refreshments from the hotel, and go off behind the pavilion.

[The INSPECTOR, wearing gloves and carrying a stick, comes from his rounds in the park, meets visitors, bows politely, and exchanges a few words with some of them.

THE INSPECTOR
[Advancing to PROFESSOR RUBEK's table and politely taking off his hat.] I have the honour to wish you good morning, Mrs. Rubek.--Good morning, Professor Rubek.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Good morning, good morning Inspector.

THE INSPECTOR
[Addressing himself to MRS. RUBEK.] May I venture to ask if you have slept well?

MAIA
Yes, thank you; excellently--for my part. I always sleep like a stone.

THE INSPECTOR
I am delighted to hear it. The first night in a strange place is often rather trying.--And the Professor---?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Oh, my night's rest is never much to boast of--especially of late.

THE INSPECTOR
[With a show of sympathy.] Oh--that is a pity. But after a few weeks' stay at the Baths--you will quite get over that.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looking up at him.] Tell me, Inspector--are any of your patients in the habit of taking baths during the night?

THE INSPECTOR
[Astonished.] During the night? No, I have never heard of such a thing.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Have you not?

THE INSPECTOR
No, I don't know of any one so ill as to require such treatment.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Well, at any rate there is some one who is in the habit of walking about the park by night?

THE INSPECTOR
[Smiling and shaking his head.] No, Professor--that would be against the rules.

MAIA
[Impatiently.] Good Heavens, Rubek, I told you so this morning--you must have dreamt it.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Drily.] Indeed? Must I? Thank you! [Turning to the INSPECTOR.] The fact is, I got up last night--I couldn't sleep--and I wanted to see what sort of night it was---

THE INSPECTOR
[Attentively.] To be sure--and then---?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I looked out at the window--and caught sight of a white figure in there among the trees.

MAIA
[Smiling to the INSPECTOR.] And the Professor declares that the figure was dressed in a bathing costume---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
--or something like it, I said. Couldn't distinguish very clearly. But I am sure it was something white.

THE INSPECTOR
Most remarkable. Was it a gentleman or a lady?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I could almost have sworn it was a lady. But then after it came another figure. And that one was quite dark--like a shadow---.

THE INSPECTOR
[Starting.] A dark one? Quite black, perhaps?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes, I should almost have said so.

THE INSPECTOR
[A light breaking in upon him.] And behind the white figure? Following close upon her---?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes--at a little distance---

THE INSPECTOR
Aha! Then I think I can explain the mystery, Professor.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Well, what was it then?

MAIA
[Simultaneously.] Was the professor really not dreaming?

THE INSPECTOR
[Suddenly whispering, as he directs their attention towards the background on the right.] Hush, if you please! Look there--don't speak loud for a moment.

[A slender lady, dressed in fine, cream-white cashmere, and followed by a SISTER OF MERCY in black, with a silver cross hanging by a chain on her breast, comes forward from behind the hotel and crosses the park towards the pavilion in front on the left. Her face is pale, and its lines seem to have stiffened; the eyelids are drooped and the eyes appear as though they saw nothing. Her dress comes down to her feet and clings to the body in perpendicular folds. Over her head, neck, breast, shoulders and arms she wears a large shawl of white crape. She keeps her arms crossed upon her breast. She carries her body immovably, and her steps are stiff and measured. The SISTER's bearing is also measured, and she has the air of a servant. She keeps her brown piercing eyes incessantly fixed upon the lady. WAITERS, with napkins on their arms, come forward in the hotel doorway, and cast curious glances at the strangers, who take no notice of anything, and, without looking round, enter the pavilion.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Has risen slowly and involuntarily, and stands staring at the closed door of the pavilion.] Who was that lady?

THE INSPECTOR
She is a stranger who has rented the little pavilion there.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
A foreigner?

THE INSPECTOR
Presumably. At any rate they both came from abroad--about a week ago. They have never been here before.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Decidedly; looking at him.] It was she I saw in the park last night.

THE INSPECTOR
No doubt it must have been. I thought so from the first.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
What is this lady's name, Inspector?

THE INSPECTOR
She has registered herself as "Madame de Satow, with companion." We know nothing more.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Reflecting.] Satow? Satow---?

MAIA
[Laughing mockingly.] Do you know any one of that name, Rubek? Eh?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Shaking his head.] No, no one.--Satow? It sounds Russian--or in all events Slavonic. [To the INSPECTOR.] What language does she speak?

THE INSPECTOR
When the two ladies talk to each other, it is in a language I cannot make out at all. But at other times she speaks Norwegian like a native.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Exclaims with a start.] Norwegian? You are sure you are not mistaken?

THE INSPECTOR
No, how could I be mistaken in that?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks at him with eager interest.] You have heard her yourself?

THE INSPECTOR
Yes. I myself have spoken to her--several times.--Only a few words, however; she is far from communicative. But---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
But Norwegian it was?

THE INSPECTOR
Thoroughly good Norwegian--perhaps with a little north-country accent.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Gazing straight before him in amazement, whispers.] That too?

MAIA
[A little hurt and jarred.] Perhaps this lady has been one of your models, Rubek? Search your memory.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks cuttingly at her.] My models?

MAIA
[With a provoking smile.] In your younger days, I mean. You are said to have had innumerable models--long ago, of course.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[In the same tone.] Oh no, little Frau Maia. I have in reality had only one single model. One and only one--for everything I have done.

THE INSPECTOR
[Who has turned away and stands looking out to the left.] If you'll excuse me, I think I will take my leave. I see some one coming whom it is not particularly agreeable to meet. Especially in the presence of ladies.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looking in the same direction.] That sportsman there? Who is it?

THE INSPECTOR
It is a certain Mr. Ulfheim, from---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Oh, Mr. Ulfheim---

THE INSPECTOR
--the bear-killer, as they call him---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I know him.

THE INSPECTOR
Who does not know him?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Very slightly, however. Is he on your list of patients--at last?

THE INSPECTOR
No, strangely enough--not as yet. He comes here only once a year--on his way up to his hunting-grounds.--Excuse me for the moment---

[Makes a movement to go into the hotel.

ULFHEIM'S VOICE.
[Heard outside.] Stop a moment, man! Devil take it all, can't you stop? Why do you always scuttle away from me?

THE INSPECTOR
[Stops.] I am not scuttling at all, Mr. Ulfheim.

[ULFHEIM enters from the left followed by a servant with a couple of sporting dogs in leash. ULFHEIM is in shooting costume, with high boots and a felt hat with a feather in it. He is a long, lank, sinewy personage, with matted hair and beard, and a loud voice. His appearance gives no precise clue to his age, but he is no longer young.]

ULFHEIM
[Pounces upon the INSPECTOR.] Is this a way to receive strangers, hey? You scamper away with your tail between your legs--as if you had the devil at your heels.

THE INSPECTOR
[Calmly, without answering him.] Has Mr. Ulfheim arrived by the steamer?

ULFHEIM
[Growls.] Haven't had the honour of seeing any steamer. [With his arms akimbo.] Don't you know that I sail my own cutter? [To the SERVANT.] Look well after your fellow-creatures, Lars. But take care you keep them ravenous, all the same. Fresh meat-bones--but not too much meat on them, do you hear? And be sure it's reeking raw, and bloody. And get something in your own belly while you're about it. [Aiming a kick at him.] Now then, go to hell with you!

[The SERVANT goes out with the dogs, behind the corner of the hotel.]

THE INSPECTOR
Would not Mr. Ulfheim like to go into the dining-room in the meantime?

ULFHEIM
In among all the half-dead flies and people? No, thank you a thousand times, Mr. Inspector.

THE INSPECTOR
Well, well, as you please.

ULFHEIM
But get the housekeeper to prepare a hamper for me as usual. There must be plenty of provender in it--and lots of brandy--! You can tell her that I or Lars will come and play Old Harry with her if she doesn't---

THE INSPECTOR
[Interrupting.] We know your ways of old. [Turning.] Can I give the waiter any orders, Professor? Can I send Mrs. Rubek anything?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
No thank you; nothing for me.

MAIA
Nor for me.

[The INSPECTOR goes into the hotel.

ULFHEIM
[Stares at them for a moment; then lifts his hat.] Why, blast me if here isn't a country tyke that has strayed into regular tip-top society.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looking up.] What do you mean by that, Mr. Ulfheim?

ULFHEIM
[More quietly and politely.] I believe I have the honour of addressing no less a person than the great Sculptor Rubek.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Nods.] I remember meeting you once or twice--the autumn when I was last at home.

ULFHEIM
That's many years ago, now. And then you weren't so illustrious as I hear you've since become. At that time even a dirty bear-hunter might venture to come near you.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Smiling.] I don't bite even now.

MAIA
[Looks with interest at ULFHEIM.] Are you really and truly a bear- hunter?

ULFHEIM
[Seating himself at the next table, nearer the hotel.] A bear-hunter when I have the chance, madam. But I make the best of any sort of game that comes in my way--eagles, and wolves, and women, and elks, and reindeer--if only it's fresh and juicy and has plenty of blood in it.

[Drinks from his pocket-flask.

MAIA
[Regarding him fixedly.] But you like bear-hunting best?

ULFHEIM
I like it best, yes. For then one can have the knife handy at a pinch. [With a slight smile.] We both work in a hard material, madam--both your husband and I. He struggles with his marble blocks, I daresay; and I struggle with tense and quivering bear-sinews. And we both of us win the fight in the end--subdue and master our material. We never rest till we've got the upper hand of it, though it fight never so hard.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Deep in thought.] There's a great deal of truth in what you say.

ULFHEIM
Yes, for I take it the stone has something to fight for too. It is dead, and determined by no manner of means to let itself be hammered into life. Just like the bear when you come and prod him up in his lair.

MAIA
Are you going up into the forests now to hunt?

ULFHEIM
I am going right up into the high mountain.--I suppose you have never been in the high mountain, madam?

MAIA
No, never.

ULFHEIM
Confound it all then, you must be sure and come up there this very summer! I'll take you with me--both you and the Professor, with pleasure.

MAIA
Thanks. But Rubek is thinking of taking a sea trip this summer.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Round the coast--through the island channels.

ULFHEIM
Ugh--what the devil would you do in those damnable sickly gutters-- floundering about in the brackish ditchwater? Dishwater I should rather call it.

MAIA
There, you hear, Rubek!

ULFHEIM
No, much better come up with me to the mountain--away, clean away, from the trail and taint of men. You cant' think what that means for me. But such a little lady---

[He stops.

[The SISTER OF MERCY comes out of the pavilion and goes into the hotel.

ULFHEIM
[Following her with his eyes.] Just look at her, do! That night-crow there!--Who is it that's to be buried?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I have not heard of any one---

ULFHEIM
Well, there's some one on the point of giving up the ghost, then--in on corner or another.--People that are sickly and rickety should have the goodness to see about getting themselves buried--the sooner the better.

MAIA
Have you ever been ill yourself, Mr. Ulfheim.

ULFHEIM
Never. If I had, I shouldn't be here.--But my nearest friends--they have been ill, poor things.

MAIA
And what did you do for your nearest friends?

ULFHEIM
Shot them, of course.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looking at him.] Shot them?

MAIA
[Moving her chair back.] Shot them dead?

ULFHEIM
[Nods.] I never miss, madam.

MAIA
But how can you possibly shoot people!

ULFHEIM
I am not speaking of people---

MAIA
You said your nearest friends---

ULFHEIM
Well, who should they be but my dogs?

MAIA
Are your dogs your nearest friends?

ULFHEIM
I have none nearer. My honest, trusty, absolutely loyal comrades--. When one of them turns sick and miserable--bang!--and there's my friend sent packing--to the other world.

[The SISTER OF MERCY comes out of the hotel with a tray on which is bread and milk. She places it on the table outside the pavilion, which she enters.

ULFHEIM
[Laughs scornfully.] That stuff there--is that what you call food for human beings! Milk and water and soft, clammy bread. Ah, you should see my comrades feeding. Should you like to see it?

MAIA
[Smiling across to the PROFESSOR and rising.] Yes, very much.

ULFHEIM
[Also rising.] Spoken like a woman of spirit, madam! Come with me, then! They swallow whole great thumping meat-bones--gulp them up and then gulp them down again. Oh, it's a regular treat to see them. Come along and I'll show you--and while we're about it, we can talk over this trip to the mountains---

[He goes out by the corner of the hotel, MAIA following him.

[Almost at the same moment the STRANGE LADY comes out of the pavilion and seats herself at the table.

[The LADY raises her glass of milk and is about to drink, but stops and looks across at RUBEK with vacant, expressionless eyes.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Remains sitting at his table and gazes fixedly and earnestly at her. At last he rises, goes some steps towards her, stops, and says in a low voice.] I know you quite well, Irene.

THE LADY
[In a toneless voice, setting down her glass.] You can guess who I am, Arnold?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Without answering.] And you recognise me, too, I see.

THE LADY
With you it is quite another matter.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
With me?--How so?

THE LADY
Oh, you are still alive.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Not understanding.] Alive---?

THE LADY
[After a short pause.] Who was the other? The woman you had with you--there at the table?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[A little reluctantly.] She? That was my--my wife.

THE LADY
[Nods slowly.] Indeed. That is well, Arnold. Some one, then, who does not concern me---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Nods.] No, of course not---

THE LADY
--one whom you have taken to you after my lifetime.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Suddenly looking hard at her.] After your--? What do you mean by that, Irene?

IRENE
[Without answering.] And the child? I hear the child is prospering too. Our child survives me--and has come to honour and glory.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Smiles as at a far-off recollection.] Our child? Yes, we called it so--then.

IRENE
In my lifetime, yes.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Trying to take a lighter tone.] Yes, Irene.--I can assure you "our child" has become famous all the wide world over. I suppose you have read about it.

IRENE
[Nods.] And has made its father famous too.--That was your dream.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[More softly, with emotion.] It is to you I owe everything, everything, Irene--and I thank you.

IRENE
[Lost in thought for a moment.] If I had then done what I had a right to do, Arnold---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Well? What then?

IRENE
I should have killed that child.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Killed it, you say?

IRENE
[Whispering.] Killed it--before I went away from you. Crushed it-- crushed it to dust.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Shakes his head reproachfully.] You would never have been able to, Irene. You had not the heart to do it.

IRENE
No, in those days I had not that sort of heart.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
But since then? Afterwards?

IRENE
Since then I have killed it innumerable times. By daylight and in the dark. Killed it in hatred--and in revenge--and in anguish.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Goes close up to the table and asks softly.] Irene--tell me now at last--after all these years--why did you go away from me? You disappeared so utterly--left not a trace behind---

IRENE
[Shaking her head slowly.] Oh Arnold--why should I tell you that now-- from the world beyond the grave.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Was there some one else whom you had come to love?

IRENE
There was one who had no longer any use for my love--any use for my life.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Changing the subject.] H'm--don't let us talk any more of the past---

IRENE
No, no--by all means let us not talk of what is beyond the grave--what is now beyond the grave for me.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Where have you been, Irene? All my inquiries were fruitless--you seemed to have vanished away.

IRENE
I went into the darkness--when the child stood transfigured in the light.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Have you travelled much about the world?

IRENE
Yes. Travelled in many lands.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks compassionately at her.] And what have you found to do, Irene?

IRENE
[Turning her eyes upon him.] Wait a moment; let me see--. Yes, now I have it. I have posed on the turntable in variety-shows. Posed as a naked statue in living pictures. Raked in heaps of money. That was more than I could do with you; for you had none.--And then I turned the heads of all sorts of men. That too, was more than I could do with you, Arnold. You kept yourself better in hand.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Hastening to pass the subject by.] And then you have married, too?

IRENE
Yes; I married one of them.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Who is your husband?

IRENE
He was a South American. A distinguished diplomatist. [Looks straight in front of her with a stony smile.] Him I managed to drive quite out of his mind; mad--incurably mad; inexorably mad.--It was great sport, I can tell you--while it was in the doing. I could have laughed within me all the time--if I had anything within me.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
And where is he now?

IRENE
Oh, in a churchyard somewhere or other. With a fine handsome monument over him. And with a bullet rattling in his skull.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Did he kill himself?

IRENE
Yes, he was good enough to take that off my hands.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Do you not lament his loss, Irene?

IRENE
[Not understanding.] Lament? What loss?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Why, the loss of Herr von Satow, of course.

IRENE
His name was not Satow.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Was it not?

IRENE
My second husband is called Satow. He is a Russian---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
And where is he?

IRENE
Far away in the Ural Mountains. Among all his gold-mines.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
So he lives there?

IRENE
[Shrugs her shoulders.] Lives? Lives? In reality I have killed him---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Start.] Killed---!

IRENE
Killed him with a fine sharp dagger which I always have with me in bed---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Vehemently.] I don't believe you, Irene!

IRENE
[With a gentle smile.] Indeed you may believe it, Arnold.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks compassionately at her.] Have you never had a child?

IRENE
Yes, I have had many children.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
And where are your children now?

IRENE
I killed them.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Severely.] Now you are telling me lies again!

IRENE
I have killed them, I tell you--murdered them pitilessly. As soon as ever they came into the world. Oh, long, long before. One after the other.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Sadly and earnestly.] There is something hidden behind everything you say.

IRENE
How can I help that? Every word I say is whispered into my ear.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I believe I am the only one that can divine your meaning.

IRENE
Surely you ought to be the only one.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Rests his hands on the table and looks intently at her.] Some of the strings of your nature have broken.

IRENE
[Gently.] Does not that always happen when a young warm-blooded woman dies?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Oh Irene, have done with these wild imaginings--! You are living! Living--living!

IRENE
[Rises slowly from her chair and says, quivering.] I was dead for many years. They came and bound me--laced my arms together behind my back--. Then they lowered me into a grave-vault, with iron bars before the loop-hole. And with padded walls--so that no one on the earth above could hear the grave-shrieks--. But now I am beginning, in a way, to rise from the dead.

[She seats herself again.]

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[After a pause.] In all this, do you hold me guilty?

IRENE
Yes.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Guilty of that--your death, as you call it.

IRENE
Guilty of the fact that I had to die. [Changing her tone to one of indifference.] Why don't you sit down, Arnold?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
May I?

IRENE
Yes.--You need not be afraid of being frozen. I don't think I am quite turned to ice yet.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Moves a chair and seats himself at her table.] There, Irene. Now we two are sitting together as in the old days.

IRENE
A little way apart from each other--also as in the old days.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Moving nearer.] It had to be so, then.

IRENE
Had it?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Decisively.] There had to be a distance between us---

IRENE
Was it absolutely necessary, Arnold?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Continuing.] Do you remember what you answered when I asked if you would go with me out into the wide world?

IRENE
I held up three fingers in the air and swore that I would go with you to the world's end and to the end of life. And that I would serve you in all things---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
As the model for my art---

IRENE
--in frank, utter nakedness---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With emotion.] And you did serve me, Irene--so bravely--so gladly and ungrudgingly.

IRENE
Yes, with all the pulsing blood of my youth, I served you!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Nodding, with a look of gratitude.] That you have every right to say.

IRENE
I fell down at your feet and served you, Arnold! [Holding her clenched hand towards him.] But you, you,--you--!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Defensively.] I never did you any wrong! Never, Irene!

IRENE
Yes, you did! You did wrong to my innermost, inborn nature---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Starting back.] I--!

IRENE
Yes, you! I exposed myself wholly and unreservedly to your gaze-- [More softly.] And never once did you touch me.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Irene, did you not understand that many a time I was almost beside myself under the spell of all your loveliness?

IRENE
[Continuing undisturbed.] And yet--if you had touched me, I think I should have killed you on the spot. For I had a sharp needle always upon me--hidden in my hair-- [Strokes her forehead meditatively.] But after all--after all--that you could---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Looks impressively at her.] I was an artist, Irene.

IRENE
[Darkly.] That is just it. That is just it.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
An artist first of all. And I was sick with the desire to achieve the great work of my life. [Losing himself in recollection.] It was to be called "The Resurrection Day"--figured in the likeness of a young woman, awakening from the sleep of death---

IRENE
Our child, yes---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Continuing.] It was to be the awakening of the noblest, purest, most ideal woman the world ever saw. Then I found you. You were what I required in every respect. And you consented so willingly--so gladly. You renounced home and kindred--and went with me.

IRENE
To go with you meant for me the resurrection of my childhood.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
That was just why I found in you all that I required--in you and in no one else. I came to look on you as a thing hallowed, not to be touched save in adoring thoughts. In those days I was still young, Irene. And the superstition took hold of me that if I touched you, if I desired you with my senses, my soul would be profaned, so that I should be unable to accomplish what I was striving for.--And I still think there was some truth in that.

IRENE
[Nods with a touch of scorn.] The work of art first--then the human being.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
You must judge me as you will; but at that time I was utterly dominated by my great task--and exultantly happy in it.

IRENE
And you achieved your great task, Arnold.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Thanks and praise be to you, I achieved my great task. I wanted to embody the pure woman as I saw her awakening on the Resurrection Day. Not marvelling at anything new and unknown and undivined; but filled with a sacred joy at finding herself unchanged--she, the woman of earth --in the higher, freer, happier region--after the long, dreamless sleep of death. [More softly.] Thus did I fashion her.--I fashioned her in your image, Irene.

IRENE
[Laying her hands flat upon the table and leaning against the back of her chair.] And then you were done with me---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Reproachfully.] Irene!

IRENE
You had no longer any use for me---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
How can you say that!

IRENE
--and began to look about you for other ideals---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I found none, none after you.

IRENE
And no other models, Arnold?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
You were no model to me. You were the fountainhead of my achievement.

IRENE
[Is silent for a short time.] What poems have you made since? In marble I mean. Since the day I left you.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I have made no poems since that day--only frittered away my life in modelling.

IRENE
And that woman, whom you are now living with---?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Interrupting vehemently.] Do not speak of her now! It makes me tingle with shame.

IRENE
Where are you thinking of going with her?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Slack and weary.] Oh, on a tedious coasting-voyage to the North, I suppose.

IRENE
[Looks at him, smiles almost imperceptibly, and whispers.] You should rather go high up into the mountains. As high as ever you can. Higher, higher,--always higher, Arnold.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[With eager expectation.] Are you going up there?

IRENE
Have you the courage to meet me once again?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Struggling with himself, uncertainly.] If we could--oh, if only we could---!

IRENE
Why can we not do what we will? [Looks at him and whispers beseechingly with folded hands.] Come, come, Arnold! Oh, come up to me---!

[MAIA enters, glowing with pleasure, from behind the hotel, and goes quickly up to the table where they were previously sitting.]

MAIA
[Still at the corner of the hotel, without looking around.] Oh, you may say what you please, Rubek, but--[Stops, as she catches sight of IRENE]--Oh, I beg your pardon--I see you have made an acquaintance.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Curtly.] Renewed an acquaintance. [Rises.] What was it you wanted with me?

MAIA
I only wanted to say this: you may do whatever you please, but I am not going with you on that disgusting steamboat.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Why not?

MAIA
Because I want to go up on the mountains and into the forests--that's what I want. [Coaxingly.] Oh, you must let me do it, Rubek.--I shall be so good, so good afterwards!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Who is it that has put these ideas into your head?

MAIA
Why he--that horrid bear-killer. Oh you cannot conceive all the marvelous things he has to tell about the mountains. And about life up there! They're ugly, horrid, repulsive, most of the yarns he spins --for I almost believe he's lying--but wonderfully alluring all the same. Oh, won't you let me go with him? Only to see if what he says is true, you understand. May I, Rubek?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes, I have not the slightest objection. Off you go to the mountains-- as far and as long as you please. I shall perhaps be going the same way myself.

MAIA
[Quickly.] No, no, no, you needn't do that! Not on my account!

PROFESSOR RUBEK
I want to go to the mountains. I have made up my mind to go.

MAIA
Oh thanks, thanks! May I tell the bear-killer at once?

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Tell the bear-killer whatever you please.

MAIA
Oh thanks, thanks, thanks! [Is about to take his hand; he repels the movement.] Oh, how dear and good you are to-day, Rubek!

[She runs into the hotel.

[At the same time the door of the pavilion is softly and noiselessly set ajar. The SISTER OF MERCY stands in the opening, intently on the watch. No one sees her.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Decidedly, turning to IRENE.] Shall we meet up there then?

IRENE
[Rising slowly.] Yes, we shall certainly meet.--I have sought for you so long.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
When did you begin to seek for me, Irene?

IRENE
[With a touch of jesting bitterness.] From the moment I realised that I had given away to you something rather indispensable, Arnold. Something one ought never to part with.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Bowing his head.] Yes, that is bitterly true. You gave me three or four years of your youth.

IRENE
More, more than that I gave you--spend-thrift as I then was.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
Yes, you were prodigal, Irene. You gave me all your naked loveliness---

IRENE
--to gaze upon---

PROFESSOR RUBEK
--and to glorify---

IRENE
Yes, for your own glorification.--And the child's.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
And yours too, Irene.

IRENE
But you have forgotten the most precious gift.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
The most precious--? What gift was that?

IRENE
I gave you my young, living soul. And that gift left me empty within --soulless. [Looking at him with a fixed stare.] It was that I died of, Arnold.

[The SISTER OF MERCY opens the door wide and makes room for her. She goes into the pavilion.

PROFESSOR RUBEK
[Stands and looks after her; then whispers.] Irene!