The volume containing the translation of "There Are Crimes and
Crimes" had barely reached the public when word came across the
ocean that August Strindberg had ended his long fight with life.
His family had long suspected some serious organic trouble. Early
in the year, when lie had just recovered from an illness of
temporary character, their worst fears became confirmed. An
examination disclosed a case of cancer in the stomach, and the
disease progressed so rapidly that soon all hope of recovery was
out of the question. On May 14, 1912, Strindberg died.

With his death peace came in more senses than one. All the fear and
hatred which he had incurred by what was best as well as worst in
him seemed to be laid at rest with his own worn-out body. The love
and the admiration which he had son in far greater measure were
granted unchecked expression. His burial, otherwise as simple as he
himself had prescribed, was a truly national event. At the grave of
the arch-rebel appeared a royal prince as official representative
of the reigning house, the entire cabinet, and numerous members of
the Riksdag. Thousands of men and women representing the best of
Sweden's intellectual and artistic life went to the cemetery,
though the hour of the funeral was eight o'clock in the morning. It
was an event in which the masses and the classes shared a common
sorrow, the standards of student organizations mingling with the
banners of labour unions. And not only the capital, but the whole
country, observed the day as one of mourning.

A thought frequently recurring in the comment passed on Strindberg's
death by the European press was that, in some mysterious manner,
he, more than any other writer, appeared to be the incarnation of
the past century, with its nervous striving after truth, its fear
of being duped, and its fretting dread that evolution and progress
might prove antagonistic terms. And at that simple grave in
Stockholm more than one bareheaded spectator must have heard the
gravel rattle on the coffin-lid with a feeling that not only a
great individual, but a whole human period--great in spite of all
its weaknesses--was being laid away for ever.

Among more than half a hundred plays produced by Strindberg during
his lifetime, none has won such widespread attention as "Miss
Julia," both on account of its masterful construction and its
gripping theme. Whether liking or disliking it, critics have
repeatedly compared it with Ibsen's "Ghosts," and not always to the
advantage of the latter work. It represents, first of all, its
author's most determined and most daring endeavour to win the
modern stage for Naturalism. If he failed in this effort, it must
be recalled to his honour that he was among the first to proclaim
his own failure and to advocate the seeking of new paths. When the
work was still hot from his hands, however, he believed in it with
all the fervour of which his spirit was capable, and to bring home
its lesson the more forcibly, he added a preface, a sort of
dramatic creed, explaining just what he had tried to do, and why.
This preface, which has become hardly less famous than the play
itself, is here, as I believe, for the first time rendered into
English. The acuteness and exhaustiveness of its analysis serves
not only to make it a psychological document of rare value, but
also to save me much of the comment which without it might be
deemed needful.

Years later, while engaged in conducting a theatre for the exclusive
performance of his own plays at Stockholm, Strindberg formulated a
new dramatic creed--that of his mystical period, in which he was
wont to sign himself "the author of 'Gustavus Vasa,' 'The Dream
Play,' 'The Last Knight,' etc." It took the form of a pamphlet
entitled "A Memorandum to the Members of the Intimate Theatre from
the Stage Director" (Stockholm, 1908). There he gave the following
data concerning "Miss Julia," and the movement which that play
helped to start:

"In the '80's the new time began to extend its demands for reform
to the stage also. Zola declared war against the French comedy,
with its Brussels carpets, its patent-leather shoes and
patent-leather themes, and its dialogue reminding one of the
questions and answers of the Catechism. In 1887 Antoine opened his
Théâtre Libre at Paris, and 'Thérèse Raquin,' although nothing but
an adapted novel, became the dominant model. It was the powerful
theme and the concentrated form that showed innovation, although
the unity of time was not yet observed, and curtain falls were
retained. It was then I wrote my dramas: 'Miss Julia,' 'The
Father,' and 'Creditors.'

"'Miss Julia,' which was equipped with a now well-known preface,
was staged by Antoine, but not until 1892 or 1893, having previously
been played by the Students' Association of the Copenhagen
University in 1888 or 1889. In the spring of 1893 'Creditors' was
put on at the Théâtre L'OEuvre, in Paris, and in the fall of the
same year 'The Father' was given at the same theatre, with Philippe
Garnier in the title part.

"But as early as 1889 the Freie Bühne had been started at Berlin,
and before 1893 all three of my dramas had been performed. 'Miss
Julia' was preceded by a lecture given by Paul Schlenther, now
director of the Hofburg Theater at Vienna. The principal parts were
played by Rosa Bertens, Emanuel Reicher, Rittner and Jarno. And
Sigismund Lautenburg, director of the Residenz Theater, gave more
than one hundred performances of 'Creditors.'

"Then followed a period of comparative silence, and the drama sank
back into the old ruts, until, with the beginning of the new
century, Reinhardt opened his Kleines Theater. There I was played
from the start, being represented by the long one-act drama 'The
Link,' as well as by 'Miss Julia' (with Eysoldt in the title part),
and 'There Are Crimes and Crimes.'"

He went on to tell how one European city after another had got its
"Little," or "Free," or "Intimate" theatre. And had he known of it,
he might have added that the promising venture started by Mr.
Winthrop Ames at New York comes as near as any one of its earlier
rivals in the faithful embodiment of those theories which, with
Promethean rashness, he had flung at the head of a startled world in
1888. For the usual thing has happened: what a quarter-century ago
seemed almost ludicrous in its radicalism belongs to-day to the
established traditions of every progressive stage.

Had Strindberg been content with his position of 1888, many honours
now withheld might have fallen to his share. But like Ibsen, he was
first and last--and to the very last!--an innovator, a leader of
human thought and human endeavour. And so it happened that when the
rest thought to have overtaken him, he had already hurried on to a
more advanced position, heedless of the scorn poured on him by
those to whom "consistency" is the foremost of all human virtues.
Three years before his death we find him writing as follows in
another pamphlet "An Open Letter to the Intimate Theatre,"
Stockholm, 1909--of the position once assumed so proudly and so
confidently by himself:

"As the Intimate Theatre counts its inception from the successful
performance of 'Miss Julia' in 1900, it was quite natural that the
young director (August Falck) should feel the influence of the
Preface, which recommended a search for actuality. But that was
twenty years ago, and although I do not feel the need of attacking
myself in this connection, I cannot but regard all that pottering
with stage properties as useless."

It has been customary in this country to speak of the play now
presented to the public as "Countess Julie." The noble title is, of
course, picturesque, but incorrect and unwarranted. It is, I fear,
another outcome of that tendency to exploit the most sensational
elements in Strindberg's art which has caused somebody to translate
the name of his first great novel as "The Scarlet Room,"--instead
of simply "The Red Room,"--thus hoping to connect it in the reader's
mind with the scarlet woman of the Bible.

In Sweden, a countess is the wife or widow of a count. His daughter
is no more a countess than is the daughter of an English earl. Her
title is that of "Fröken," which corresponds exactly to the German
"Fräulein" and the English "Miss." Once it was reserved for the
young women of the nobility. By an agitation which shook all Sweden
with mingled fury and mirth, it became extended to all unmarried

The French form of _Miss Julia's_ Christian name is, on the other
hand, in keeping with the author's intention, aiming at an
expression of the foreign sympathies and manners which began to
characterize the Swedish nobility in the eighteenth century, and
which continued to assert themselves almost to the end of the
nineteenth. But in English that form would not have the same
significance, and nothing in the play makes its use imperative. The
valet, on the other hand, would most appropriately be named _Jean_
both in England and here, and for that reason I have retained this
form of his name.

Almost every one translating from the Scandinavian languages
insists on creating a difficulty out of the fact that the three
northern nations--like the Germans and the French--still use the
second person singular of the personal pronoun to indicate a closer
degree of familiarity. But to translate the Swedish "du" with the
English "thou" is as erroneous as it is awkward. Tytler laid down
his "Principles of Translation" in 1791--and a majority of
translators are still unaware of their existence. Yet it ought to
seem self-evident to every thinking mind that idiomatic
equivalence, not verbal identity, must form the basis of a good and
faithful translation. When an English mother uses "you" to her
child, she establishes thereby the only rational equivalent for the
"du" used under similar circumstances by her Swedish sister.

Nobody familiar with the English language as it actually springs
from the lips of living men and women can doubt that it offers ways
of expressing varying shades of intimacy no less effective than any
found in the Swedish tongue. Let me give an illustration from the
play immediately under discussion. Returning to the stage after the
ballet scene, _Jean_ says to _Miss Julia_: "I love you--can you
doubt it?" And her reply, literally, is: "You?--Say thou!" I have
merely made him say: "Can you doubt it, Miss Julia?" and her
answer: "Miss?--Call me Julia!" As that is just what would happen
under similar circumstances among English-speaking people, I
contend that not a whit of the author's meaning or spirit has been
lost in this translation.

If ever a play was written for the stage, it is this one. And on
the stage there is nothing to take the place of the notes and
introductory explanations that so frequently encumber the printed
volume. On the stage all explanations must lie within the play
itself, and so they should in the book also, I believe. The
translator is either an artist or a man unfit for his work. As an
artist he must have a courage that cannot even be cowed by his
reverence for the work of a great creative genius. If, mistakenly,
he revere the letter of that work instead of its spirit, then he
will reduce his own task to mere literary carpentry, and from his
pen will spring not a living form, like the one he has been set to
transplant, but only a death mask!


Like almost all other art, that of the stage has long seemed to me
a sort of _Biblia Pauperum_, or a Bible in pictures for those who
cannot read what is written or printed. And in the same way the
playwright has seemed to me a lay preacher spreading the thoughts
of his time in a form so popular that the middle classes, from
which theatrical audiences are mainly drawn, can know what is being
talked about without troubling their brains too much. For this
reason the theatre has always served as a grammar-school to young
people, women, and those who have acquired a little knowledge, all
of whom retain the capacity for deceiving themselves and being
deceived--which means again that they are susceptible to illusions
produced by the suggestions of the author. And for the same reason
I have had a feeling that, in our time, when the rudimentary,
incomplete thought processes operating through our fancy seem to be
developing into reflection, research, and analysis, the theatre
might stand on the verge of being abandoned as a decaying form, for
the enjoyment of which we lack the requisite conditions. The
prolonged theatrical crisis now prevailing throughout Europe speaks
in favour of such a supposition, as well as the fact that, in the
civilised countries producing the greatest thinkers of the age,
namely, England and Germany, the drama is as dead as are most of
the other fine arts.

In some other countries it has, however, been thought possible to
create a new drama by filling the old forms with the contents of a
new time. But, for one thing, there has not been time for the new
thoughts to become so popularized that the public might grasp the
questions raised; secondly, minds have been so inflamed by party
conflicts that pure and disinterested enjoyment has been excluded
from places where one's innermost feelings are violated and the
tyranny of an applauding or hissing majority is exercised with the
openness for which the theatre gives a chance; and, finally, there
has been no new form devised for the new contents, and the new wine
has burst the old bottles.

In the following drama I have not tried to do anything new--for
that cannot be done--but I have tried to modernize the form in
accordance with the demands which I thought the new men of a new
time might be likely to make on this art. And with such a purpose
in view, I have chosen, or surrendered myself to, a theme that
might well be said to lie outside the partisan strife of the day:
for the problem of social ascendancy or decline, of higher or
lower, of better or worse, of men or women, is, has been, and will
be of lasting interest. In selecting this theme from real life, as
it was related to me a number of years ago, when the incident
impressed me very deeply, I found it suited to a tragedy, because
it can only make us sad to see a fortunately placed individual
perish, and this must be the case in still higher degree when we
see an entire family die out. But perhaps a time will arrive when
we have become so developed, so enlightened, that we can remain
indifferent before the spectacle of life, which now seems so
brutal, so cynical, so heartless; when we have closed up those
lower, unreliable instruments of thought which we call feelings,
and which have been rendered not only superfluous but harmful by
the final growth of our reflective organs.

The fact that the heroine arouses our pity depends only on our
weakness in not being able to resist the sense of fear that the
same fate could befall ourselves. And yet it is possible that a
very sensitive spectator might fail to find satisfaction in this
kind of pity, while the man believing in the future might demand
some positive suggestion for the abolition of evil, or, in other
words, some kind of programme. But, first of all, there is no
absolute evil. That one family perishes is the fortune of another
family, which thereby gets a chance to rise. And the alternation of
ascent and descent constitutes one of life's main charms, as
fortune is solely determined by comparison. And to the man with a
programme, who wants to remedy the sad circumstance that the hawk
eats the dove, and the flea eats the hawk, I have this question to
put: why should it be remedied? Life is not so mathematically
idiotic that it lets only the big eat the small, but it happens
just as often that the bee kills the lion, or drives it to madness
at least.

That my tragedy makes a sad impression on many is their own fault.
When we grow strong as were the men of the first French revolution,
then we shall receive an unconditionally good and joyful impression
from seeing the national forests rid of rotting and superannuated
trees that have stood too long in the way of others with equal
right to a period of free growth--an impression good in the same
way as that received from the death of one incurably diseased.

Not long ago they reproached my tragedy "The Father" with being too
sad--just as if they wanted merry tragedies. Everybody is clamouring
arrogantly for "the joy of life," and all theatrical managers are
giving orders for farces, as if the joy of life consisted in being
silly and picturing all human beings as so many sufferers from St.
Vitus' dance or idiocy. I find the joy of life in its violent and
cruel struggles, and my pleasure lies in knowing something and
learning something. And for this reason I have selected an unusual
but instructive case--an exception, in a word--but a great
exception, proving the rule, which, of course, will provoke all
lovers of the commonplace. And what also will offend simple brains
is that my action cannot be traced back to a single motive, that
the view-point is not always the same. An event in real life--and
this discovery is quite recent--springs generally from a whole
series of more or less deep-lying motives, but of these the
spectator chooses as a rule the one his reason can master most
easily, or else the one reflecting most favourably on his power of
reasoning. A suicide is committed. Bad business, says the merchant.
Unrequited love, say the ladies. Sickness, says the sick man.
Crushed hopes, says the shipwrecked. But now it may be that the
motive lay in all or none of these directions. It is possible that
the one who is dead may have hid the main motive by pushing forward
another meant to place his memory in a better light.

In explanation of _Miss Julia's_ sad fate I have suggested many
factors: her mother's fundamental instincts; her father's mistaken
upbringing of the girl; her own nature, and the suggestive influence
of her fiancé on a weak and degenerate brain; furthermore, and more
directly: the festive mood of the Midsummer Eve; the absence of her
father; her physical condition; her preoccupation with the animals;
the excitation of the dance; the dusk of the night; the strongly
aphrodisiacal influence of the flowers; and lastly the chance
forcing the two of them together in a secluded room, to which must
be added the aggressiveness of the excited man.

Thus I have neither been one-sidedly physiological nor one-sidedly
psychological in my procedure. Nor have I merely delivered a moral
preachment. This multiplicity of motives I regard as praiseworthy
because it is in keeping with the views of our own time. And if
others have done the same thing before me, I may boast of not being
the sole inventor of my paradoxes--as all discoveries are named.

In regard to the character-drawing I may say that I have tried to
make my figures rather "characterless," and I have done so for
reasons I shall now state.

In the course of the ages the word character has assumed many
meanings. Originally it signified probably the dominant ground-note
in the complex mass of the self, and as such it was confused with
temperament. Afterward it became the middle-class term for an
automaton, so that an individual whose nature had come to a stand
still, or who had adapted himself to a certain part in life--who
had ceased to grow, in a word--was named a character; while one
remaining in a state of development--a skilful navigator on life's
river, who did not sail with close-tied sheets, but knew when to
fall off before the wind and when to luff again--was called lacking
in character. And he was called so in a depreciatory sense, of
course, because he was so hard to catch, to classify, and to keep
track of. This middle-class notion about the immobility of the soul
was transplanted to the stage, where the middle-class element has
always held sway. There a character became synonymous with a
gentleman fixed and finished once for all--one who invariably
appeared drunk, jolly, sad. And for the purpose of characterisation
nothing more was needed than some physical deformity like a
clubfoot, a wooden leg, a red nose; or the person concerned was
made to repeat some phrase like "That's capital!" or "Barkis is
willin'," or something of that kind. This manner of regarding human
beings as homogeneous is preserved even by the great Molière.
_Harpagon_ is nothing but miserly, although _Harpagon_ might as
well have been at once miserly and a financial genius, a fine
father, and a public-spirited citizen. What is worse yet, his
"defect" is of distinct advantage to his son-in-law and daughter,
who are his heirs, and for that reason should not find fault with
him, even if they have to wait a little for their wedding. I do not
believe, therefore, in simple characters on the stage. And the
summary judgments of the author upon men--this one stupid, and that
one brutal, this one jealous, and that one stingy--should be
challenged by the naturalists, who know the fertility of the
soul-complex, and who realise that "vice" has a reverse very much
resembling virtue.

Because they are modern characters, living in a period of transition
more hysterically hurried than its immediate predecessor at least,
I have made my figures vacillating, out of joint, torn between the
old and the new. And I do not think it unlikely that, through
newspaper reading and overheard conversations, modern ideas may
have leaked down to the strata where domestic servants belong.

My souls (or characters) are conglomerates, made up of past and
present stages of civilisation, scraps of humanity, torn-off pieces
of Sunday clothing turned into rags--all patched together as is the
human soul itself. And I have furthermore offered a touch of
evolutionary history by letting the weaker repeat words stolen from
the stronger, and by letting different souls accept "ideas"--or
suggestions, as they are called--from each other.

_Miss Julia_ is a modern character, not because the man-hating
half-woman may not have existed in all ages, but because now, after
her discovery, she has stepped to the front and begun to make a
noise. The half-woman is a type coming more and more into
prominence, selling herself nowadays for power, decorations,
distinctions, diplomas, as formerly for money, and the type
indicates degeneration. It is not a good type, for it does not
last, but unfortunately it has the power of reproducing itself and
its misery through one more generation. And degenerate men seem
instinctively to make their selection from this kind of women, so
that they multiply and produce indeterminate sexes to whom life is
a torture. Fortunately, however, they perish in the end, either
from discord with real life, or from the irresistible revolt of
their suppressed instincts, or from foiled hopes of possessing the
man. The type is tragical, offering us the spectacle of a desperate
struggle against nature. It is also tragical as a Romantic
inheritance dispersed by the prevailing Naturalism, which wants
nothing but happiness: and for happiness strong and sound races are

But _Miss Julia_ is also a remnant of the old military nobility
which is now giving way to the new nobility of nerves and brain.
She is a victim of the discord which a mother's "crime" produces in
a family, and also a victim of the day's delusions, of the
circumstances, of her defective constitution--all of which may be
held equivalent to the old-fashioned fate or universal law. The
naturalist has wiped out the idea of guilt, but he cannot wipe out
the results of an action--punishment, prison, or fear--and for the
simple reason that they remain without regard to his verdict. For
fellow-beings that have been wronged are not so good-natured as
those on the outside, who have not been wronged at all, can be
without cost to themselves.

Even if, for reasons over which he could have no control, the
father should forego his vengeance, the daughter would take
vengeance upon herself, just as she does in the play, and she would
be moved to it by that innate or acquired sense of honour which the
upper classes inherit--whence? From the days of barbarism, from the
original home of the Aryans, from the chivalry of the Middle Ages?
It is beautiful, but it has become disadvantageous to the
preservation of the race. It is this, the nobleman's _harakiri_--or
the law of the inner conscience compelling the Japanese to cut open
his own abdomen at the insult of another--which survives, though
somewhat modified, in the duel, also a privilege of the nobility.
For this reason the valet, _Jean_, continues to live, but _Miss
Julia_ cannot live on without honour. In so far as he lacks this
life—endangering superstition about honour, the serf takes
precedence of the earl, and in all of us Aryans there is something
of the nobleman, or of Don Quixote, which makes us sympathise with
the man who takes his own life because he has committed a
dishonourable deed and thus lost his honour. And we are noblemen to
the extent of suffering from seeing the earth littered with the
living corpse of one who was once great--yes, even if the one thus
fallen should rise again and make restitution by honourable deeds.

_Jean_, the valet, is of the kind that builds new stock--one in
whom the differentiation is clearly noticeable. He was a cotter's
child, and he has trained himself up to the point where the future
gentleman has become visible. He has found it easy to learn, having
finely developed senses (smell, taste, vision) and an instinct for
beauty besides. He has already risen in the world, and is strong
enough not to be sensitive about using other people's services. He
has already become a stranger to his equals, despising them as so
many outlived stages, but also fearing and fleeing them because
they know his secrets, pry into his plans, watch his rise with
envy, and look forward to his fall with pleasure. From this
relationship springs his dual, indeterminate character, oscillating
between love of distinction and hatred of those who have already
achieved it. He says himself that he is an aristocrat, and has
learned the secrets of good company. He is polished on the outside
and coarse within. He knows already how to wear the frock-coat with
ease, but the cleanliness of his body cannot be guaranteed.

He feels respect for the young lady, but he is afraid of _Christine_,
who has his dangerous secrets in her keeping. His emotional
callousness is sufficient to prevent the night's happenings from
exercising a disturbing influence on his plans for the future.
Having at once the slave's brutality and the master's lack of
squeamishness, he can see blood without fainting, and he can also
bend his back under a mishap until able to throw it off. For this
reason he will emerge unharmed from the battle, and will probably
end his days as the owner of a hotel. And if he does not become a
Roumanian count, his son will probably go to a university, and may
even become a county attorney.

Otherwise, he furnishes us with rather significant information as
to the way in which the lower classes look at life from beneath—-
that is, when he speaks the truth, which is not often, as he
prefers what seems favourable to himself to what is true. When
_Miss Julia_ suggests that the lower classes must feel the pressure
from above very heavily, _Jean_ agrees with her, of course, because
he wants to gain her sympathy. But he corrects himself at once, the
moment he realises the advantage of standing apart from the herd.

And _Jean_ stands above _Miss Julia_ not only because his fate is in
ascendancy, but because he is a man. Sexually he is the aristocrat
because of his male strength, his more finely developed senses, and
his capacity for taking the initiative. His inferiority depends
mainly on the temporary social environment in which he has to live,
and which he probably can shed together with the valet's livery.

The mind of the slave speaks through his reverence for the count
(as shown in the incident with the boots) and through his religious
superstition. But he reveres the count principally as a possessor
of that higher position toward which he himself is striving. And
this reverence remains even when he has won the daughter of the
house, and seen that the beautiful shell covered nothing but

I don't believe that any love relation in a "higher" sense can
spring up between two souls of such different quality. And for this
reason I let _Miss Julia_ imagine her love to be protective or
commiserative in its origin. And I let _Jean_ suppose that, under
different social conditions, he might feel something like real love
for her. I believe love to be like the hyacinth, which has to
strike roots in darkness _before_ it can bring forth a vigorous
flower. In this case it shoots up quickly, bringing forth blossom
and seed at once, and for that reason the plant withers so soon.

_Christine_, finally, is a female slave, full of servility and
sluggishness acquired in front of the kitchen fire, and stuffed
full of morality and religion that are meant to serve her at once
as cloak and scapegoat. Her church-going has for its purpose to
bring her quick and easy riddance of all responsibility for her
domestic thieveries and to equip her with a new stock of
guiltlessness. Otherwise she is a subordinate figure, and therefore
purposely sketched in the same manner as the minister and the
doctor in "The Father," whom I designed as ordinary human beings,
like the common run of country ministers and country doctors. And
if these accessory characters have seemed mere abstractions to some
people, it depends on the fact that ordinary men are to a certain
extent impersonal in the exercise of their callings. This means
that they are without individuality, showing only one side of
themselves while at work. And as long as the spectator does not
feel the need of seeing them from other sides, my abstract
presentation of them remains on the whole correct.

In regard to the dialogue, I want to point out that I have departed
somewhat from prevailing traditions by not turning my figures into
catechists who make stupid questions in order to call forth witty
answers. I have avoided the symmetrical and mathematical
construction of the French dialogue, and have instead permitted the
minds to work irregularly as they do in reality, where, during
conversation, the cogs of one mind seem more or less haphazardly to
engage those of another one, and where no topic is fully exhausted.
Naturally enough, therefore, the dialogue strays a good deal as, in
the opening scenes, it acquires a material that later on is worked
over, picked up again, repeated, expounded, and built up like the
theme in a musical composition.

The plot is pregnant enough, and as, at bottom, it is concerned
only with two persons, I have concentrated my attention on these,
introducing only one subordinate figure, the cook, and keeping the
unfortunate spirit of the father hovering above and beyond the
action. I have done this because I believe I have noticed that the
psychological processes are what interest the people of our own day
more than anything else. Our souls, so eager for knowledge, cannot
rest satisfied with seeing what happens, but must also learn how it
comes to happen! What we want to see are just the wires, the
machinery. We want to investigate the box with the false bottom,
touch the magic ring in order to find the suture, and look into the
cards to discover how they are marked.

In this I have taken for models the monographic novels of the
brothers de Goncourt, which have appealed more to me than any other
modern literature.

Turning to the technical side of the composition, I have tried to
abolish the division into acts. And I have done so because I have
come to fear that our decreasing capacity for illusion might be
unfavourably affected by intermissions during which the spectator
would have time to reflect and to get away from the suggestive
influence of the author-hypnotist. My play will probably last an
hour and a half, and as it is possible to listen that length of
time, or longer, to a lecture, a sermon, or a debate, I have
imagined that a theatrical performance could not become fatiguing
in the same time. As early as 1872, in one of my first dramatic
experiments, "The Outlaw," I tried the same concentrated form, but
with scant success. The play was written in five acts and wholly
completed when I became aware of the restless, scattered effect it
produced. Then I burned it, and out of the ashes rose a single,
well-built act, covering fifty printed pages, and taking hour for
its performance. Thus the form of the present play is not new, but
it seems to be my own, and changing aesthetical conventions may
possibly make it timely.

My hope is still for a public educated to the point where it can
sit through a whole-evening performance in a single act. But that
point cannot be reached without a great deal of experimentation. In
the meantime I have resorted to three art forms that are to provide
resting-places for the public and the actors, without letting the
public escape from the illusion induced. All these forms are
subsidiary to the drama. They are the monologue, the pantomime, and
the dance, all of them belonging originally to the tragedy of
classical antiquity. For the monologue has sprung from the monody,
and the chorus has developed into the ballet.

Our realists have excommunicated the monologue as improbable, but
if I can lay a proper basis for it, I can also make it seem
probable, and then I can use it to good advantage. It is probable,
for instance, that a speaker may walk back and forth in his room
practising his speech aloud; it is probable that an actor may read
through his part aloud, that a servant-girl may talk to her cat,
that a mother may prattle to her child, that an old spinster may
chatter to her parrot, that a person may talk in his sleep. And in
order that the actor for once may have a chance to work independently,
and to be free for a moment from the author's pointer, it is better
that the monologues be not written out, but just indicated. As it
matters comparatively little what is said to the parrot or the cat,
or in one's sleep--because it cannot influence the action--it is
possible that a gifted actor, carried away by the situation and the
mood of the occasion, may improvise such matters better than they
could be written by the author, who cannot figure out in advance
how much may be said, and how long the talk may last, without
waking the public out of their illusions.

It is well known that, on certain stages, the Italian theatre has
returned to improvisation and thereby produced creative actors—
who, however, must follow the author's suggestions--and this may be
counted a step forward, or even the beginning of a new art form
that might well be called _productive_.

Where, on the other hand, the monologue would seem unreal, I have
used the pantomime, and there I have left still greater scope for
the actor's imagination--and for his desire to gain independent
honours. But in order that the public may not be tried beyond
endurance, I have permitted the music--which is amply warranted by
the Midsummer Eve's dance--to exercise its illusory power while the
dumb show lasts. And I ask the musical director to make careful
selection of the music used for this purpose, so that incompatible
moods are not induced by reminiscences from the last musical comedy
or topical song, or by folk-tunes of too markedly ethnographical

The mere introduction of a scene with a lot of "people" could not
have taken the place of the dance, for such scenes are poorly acted
and tempt a number of grinning idiots into displaying their own
smartness, whereby the illusion is disturbed. As the common people
do not improvise their gibes, but use ready-made phrases in which
stick some double meaning, I have not composed their lampooning
song, but have appropriated a little known folk-dance which I
personally noted down in a district near Stockholm. The words don't
quite hit the point, but hint vaguely at it, and this is
intentional, for the cunning (i. e., weakness) of the slave keeps
him from any direct attack. There must, then, be no chattering
clowns in a serious action, and no coarse flouting at a situation
that puts the lid on the coffin of a whole family.

As far as the scenery is concerned, I have borrowed from
impressionistic painting its asymmetry, its quality of abruptness,
and have thereby in my opinion strengthened the illusion. Because
the whole room and all its contents are not shown, there is a
chance to guess at things--that is, our imagination is stirred into
complementing our vision. I have made a further gain in getting rid
of those tiresome exits by means of doors, especially as stage
doors are made of canvas and swing back and forth at the lightest
touch. They are not even capable of expressing the anger of an
irate _pater familias_ who, on leaving his home after a poor
dinner, slams the door behind him "so that it shakes the whole
house." (On the stage the house sways.) I have also contented
myself with a single setting, and for the double purpose of making
the figures become parts of their surroundings, and of breaking
with the tendency toward luxurious scenery. But having only a
single setting, one may demand to have it real. Yet nothing is more
difficult than to get a room that looks something like a room,
although the painter can easily enough produce waterfalls and
flaming volcanoes. Let it go at canvas for the walls, but we might
be done with the painting of shelves and kitchen utensils on the
canvas. We have so much else on the stage that is conventional, and
in which we are asked to believe, that we might at least be spared
the too great effort of believing in painted pans and kettles.

I have placed the rear wall and the table diagonally across the
stage in order to make the actors show full face and half profile
to the audience when they sit opposite each other at the table. In
the opera "Aïda" I noticed an oblique background, which led the eye
out into unseen prospects. And it did not appear to be the result
of any reaction against the fatiguing right angle.

Another novelty well needed would be the abolition of the foot-lights.
The light from below is said to have for its purpose to make the
faces of the actors look fatter. But I cannot help asking: why must
all actors be fat in the face? Does not this light from below tend
to wipe out the subtler lineaments in the lower part of the face,
and especially around the jaws? Does it not give a false appearance
to the nose and cast shadows upward over the eyes? If this be not
so, another thing is certain: namely, that the eyes of the actors
suffer from the light, so that the effective play of their glances
is precluded. Coming from below, the light strikes the retina in
places generally protected (except in sailors, who have to see the
sun reflected in the water), and for this reason one observes
hardly anything but a vulgar rolling of the eyes, either sideways
or upwards, toward the galleries, so that nothing but the white of
the eye shows. Perhaps the same cause may account for the tedious
blinking of which especially the actresses are guilty. And when
anybody on the stage wants to use his eyes to speak with, no other
way is left him but the poor one of staring straight at the public,
with whom he or she then gets into direct communication outside of
the frame provided by the setting. This vicious habit has, rightly
or wrongly, been named "to meet friends." Would it not be possible
by means of strong side-lights (obtained by the employment of
reflectors, for instance) to add to the resources already possessed
by the actor? Could not his mimicry be still further strengthened
by use of the greatest asset possessed by the face: the play of the

Of course, I have no illusions about getting the actors to play
_for_ the public and not _at_ it, although such a change would be
highly desirable. I dare not even dream of beholding the actor's
back throughout an important scene, but I wish with all my heart
that crucial scenes might not be played in the centre of the
proscenium, like duets meant to bring forth applause. Instead, I
should like to have them laid in the place indicated by the
situation. Thus I ask for no revolutions, but only for a few minor
modifications. To make a real room of the stage, with the fourth
wall missing, and a part of the furniture placed back toward the
audience, would probably produce a disturbing effect at present.

In wishing to speak of the facial make-up, I have no hope that the
ladies will listen to me, as they would rather look beautiful than
lifelike. But the actor might consider whether it be to his
advantage to paint his face so that it shows some abstract type
which covers it like a mask. Suppose that a man puts a markedly
choleric line between the eyes, and imagine further that some
remark demands a smile of this face fixed in a state of continuous
wrath. What a horrible grimace will be the result? And how can the
wrathful old man produce a frown on his false forehead, which is
smooth as a billiard ball?

In modern psychological dramas, where the subtlest movements of the
soul are to be reflected on the face rather than by gestures and
noise, it would probably be well to experiment with strong side-light
on a small stage, and with unpainted faces, or at least with a
minimum of make-up.

If, in additon, we might escape the visible orchestra, with its
disturbing lamps and its faces turned toward the public; if we
could have the seats on the main floor (the orchestra or the pit)
raised so that the eyes of the spectators would be above the knees
of the actors; if we could get rid of the boxes with their
tittering parties of diners; if we could also have the auditorium
completely darkened during the performance; and if, first and last,
we could have a small stage and a small house: then a new dramatic
art might rise, and the theatre might at least become an
institution for the entertainment of people with culture. While
waiting for this kind of theatre, I suppose we shall have to write
for the "ice-box," and thus prepare the repertory that is to come.

I have made an attempt. If it prove a failure, there is plenty of
time to try over again.



MISS JULIA, aged twenty-five
JEAN, a valet, aged thirty
CHRISTINE, a cook, aged thirty-five

The action takes place on Midsummer Eve, in the kitchen of the
count's country house.



(A large kitchen: the ceiling and the side walls are hidden by
draperies and hangings. The rear wall runs diagonally across the
stage, from the left side and away from the spectators. On this
wall, to the left, there are two shelves full of utensils made of
copper, iron, and tin. The shelves are trimmed with scalloped

(A little to the right may be seen three fourths of the big arched
doorway leading to the outside. It has double glass doors, through
which are seen a fountain with a cupid, lilac shrubs in bloom, and
the tops of some Lombardy poplars.)

(On the left side of the stage is seen the corner of a big cook
stove built of glazed bricks; also a part of the smoke-hood above

(From the right protrudes one end of the servants' dining-table
of white pine, with a few chairs about it.)

(The stove is dressed with bundled branches of birch. Twigs of
juniper are scattered on the floor.)

(On the table end stands a big Japanese spice pot full of lilac

(An icebox, a kitchen-table, and a wash-stand.)

(Above the door hangs a big old-fashioned bell on a steel spring,
and the mouthpiece of a speaking-tube appears at the left of the

(CHRISTINE is standing by the stove, frying something in a pan. She
has on a dress of light-coloured cotton, which she has covered up
with a big kitchen apron.)

(JEAN enters, dressed in livery and carrying a pair of big, spurred
riding boots, which he places on the floor in such manner that they
remain visible to the spectators.)

JEAN. To-night Miss Julia is crazy again; absolutely crazy.

CHRISTINE. So you're back again?

JEAN. I took the count to the station, and when I came back by the
barn, I went in and had a dance, and there I saw the young lady
leading the dance with the gamekeeper. But when she caught sight of
me, she rushed right up to me and asked me to dance the ladies'
waltz with her. And ever since she's been waltzing like--well, I
never saw the like of it. She's crazy!

CHRISTINE. And has always been, but never the way it's been this
last fortnight, since her engagement was broken.

JEAN. Well, what kind of a story was that anyhow? He's a fine
fellow, isn't he, although he isn't rich? Ugh, but they're so full
of notions. [Sits down at the end of the table] It's peculiar
anyhow, that a young lady--hm!--would rather stay at home with the
servants--don't you think?--than go with her father to their

CHRISTINE. Oh, I guess she feels sort of embarrassed by that rumpus
with her fellow.

JEAN. Quite likely. But there was some backbone to that man just
the same. Do you know how it happened, Christine? I saw it,
although I didn't care to let on.

CHRISTINE. No, did you?

JEAN. Sure, I did. They were in the stable-yard one evening, and
the young lady was training him, as she called it. Do you know what
that meant? She made him leap over her horse-whip the way you teach
a dog to jump. Twice he jumped and got a cut each time. The third
time he took the whip out of her hand and broke it into a thousand
bits. And then he got out.

CHRISTINE. So that's the way it happened! You don't say!

JEAN. Yes, that's how that thing happened. Well, Christine, what
have you got that's tasty?

CHRISTINE. [Serves from the pan and puts the plate before Jean] Oh,
just some kidney which I cut out of the veal roast.

JEAN. [Smelling the food] Fine! That's my great _délice_. [Feeling
the plate] But you might have warmed the plate.

CHRISTINE. Well, if you ain't harder to please than the count
himself! [Pulls his hair playfully.]

JEAN. [Irritated] Don't pull my hair! You know how sensitive I am.

CHRISTINE. Well, well, it was nothing but a love pull, you know.

[JEAN eats.]

[CHRISTINE opens a bottle of beer.]

JEAN. Beer-on Midsummer Eve? No, thank you! Then I have something
better myself. [Opens a table-drawer and takes out a bottle of
claret with yellow cap] Yellow seal, mind you! Give me a glass—-and
you use those with stems when you drink it _pure_.

CHRISTINE. [Returns to the stove and puts a small pan on the fire]
Heaven preserve her that gets you for a husband, Mr. Finicky!

JEAN. Oh, rot! You'd be glad enough to get a smart fellow like me.
And I guess it hasn't hurt you that they call me your beau.
[Tasting the wine] Good! Pretty good! Just a tiny bit too cold. [He
warms the glass with his hand.] We got this at Dijon. It cost us
four francs per litre, not counting the bottle. And there was the
duty besides. What is it you're cooking--with that infernal smell?

CHRISTINE. Oh, it's some deviltry the young lady is going to give

JEAN. You should choose your words with more care, Christine. But
why should you be cooking for a bitch on a holiday eve like this?
Is she sick?

CHRISTINE. Ye-es, she is sick. She's been running around with the
gate-keeper's pug--and now's there's trouble--and the young lady
just won't hear of it.

JEAN. The young lady is too stuck up in some ways and not proud
enough in others--just as was the countess while she lived. She was
most at home in the kitchen and among the cows, but she would never
drive with only one horse. She wore her cuffs till they were dirty,
but she had to have cuff buttons with a coronet on them. And
speaking of the young lady, she doesn't take proper care of herself
and her person. I might even say that she's lacking in refinement.
Just now, when she was dancing in the barn, she pulled the
gamekeeper away from Anna and asked him herself to come and dance
with her. We wouldn't act in that way. But that's just how it is:
when upper-class people want to demean themselves, then they grow—-
mean! But she's splendid! Magnificent! Oh, such shoulders! And--and
so on!

CHRISTINE. Oh, well, don't brag too much! I've heard Clara talking,
who tends to her dressing.

JEAN. Pooh, Clara! You're always jealous of each other. I, who have
been out riding with her--And then the way she dances!

CHRISTINE. Say, Jean, won't you dance with me when I'm done?

JEAN. Of course I will.

CHRISTINE. Do you promise?

JEAN. Promise? When I say so, I'll do it. Well, here's thanks for
the good food. It tasted fine! [Puts the cork back into the bottle.]

JULIA. [Appears in the doorway, speaking to somebody on the
outside] I'll be back in a minute. You go right on in the meantime.

[JEAN slips the bottle into the table-drawer and rises

JULIA.[Enters and goes over to CHRISTINE by the wash-stand] Well,
is it done yet?

[CHRISTINE signs to her that JEAN is present.]

JEAN. [Gallantly] The ladies are having secrets, I believe.

JULIA. [Strikes him in the face with her handkerchief] That's for
you, Mr. Pry!

JEAN. Oh, what a delicious odor that violet has!

JULIA. [With coquetry] Impudent! So you know something about
perfumes also? And know pretty well how to dance--Now don't peep!
Go away!

JEAN. [With polite impudence] Is it some kind of witches' broth the
ladies are cooking on Midsummer Eve--something to tell fortunes by
and bring out the lucky star in which one's future love is seen?

JULIA. [Sharply] If you can see that, you'll have good eyes,
indeed! [To CHRISTINE] Put it in a pint bottle and cork it well.
Come and dance a _schottische_ with me now, Jean.

JEAN. [Hesitatingly] I don't want to be impolite, but I had
promised to dance with Christine this time—-

JULIA. Well, she can get somebody else--can't you, Christine? Won't
you let me borrow Jean from you?

CHRISTINE. That isn't for me to say. When Miss Julia is so
gracious, it isn't for him to say no. You just go along, and be
thankful for the honour, too!

JEAN. Frankly speaking, but not wishing to offend in any way, I
cannot help wondering if it's wise for Miss Julia to dance twice in
succession with the same partner, especially as the people here are
not slow in throwing out hints--

JULIA. [Flaring up] What is that? What kind of hints? What do you

JEAN. [Submissively] As you don't want to understand, I have to
speak more plainly. It don't look well to prefer one servant to all
the rest who are expecting to be honoured in the same unusual way--

JULIA. Prefer! What ideas! I'm surprised! I, the mistress of the
house, deign to honour this dance with my presence, and when it so
happens that I actually want to dance, I want to dance with one who
knows how to lead, so that I am not made ridiculous.

JEAN. As you command, Miss Julia! I am at your service!

JULIA. [Softened] Don't take it as a command. To-night we should
enjoy ourselves as a lot of happy people, and all rank should be
forgotten. Now give me your arm. Don't be afraid, Christine! I'll
return your beau to you!

[JEAN offers his arm to MISS JULIA and leads her out.]



Must be acted as if the actress were really alone in the place.
When necessary she turns her back to the public. She should not
look in the direction of the spectators, and she should not hurry
as if fearful that they might become impatient.

CHRISTINE is alone. A _schottische_ tune played on a violin is
heard faintly in the distance.

While humming the tune, CHRISTINE clears o$ the table after JEAN,
washes the plate at the kitchen table, wipes it, and puts it away
in a cupboard.

Then she takes of her apron, pulls out a small mirror from one of
the table-drawers and leans it against the flower jar on the table;
lights a tallow candle and heats a hairpin, which she uses to curl
her front hair.

Then she goes to the door and stands there listening. Returns to
the table. Discovers the handkerchief which MISS JULIA has left
behind, picks it up, and smells it, spreads it out absent-mindedly
and begins to stretch it, smooth it, fold it up, and so forth.


JEAN. [Enters alone] Crazy, that's what she is! The way she dances!
And the people stand behind the doors and grill at her. What do you
think of it, Christine?

CHRISTINE. Oh, she has her time now, and then she is always a
little queer like that. But are you going to dance with me now?

JEAN. You are not mad at me because I disappointed you?

CHRISTINE. No!--Not for a little thing like that, you know! And
also, I know my place--

JEAN. [Putting his arm around her waist] You are a, sensible girl,
Christine, and I think you'll make a good wife--

JULIA. [Enters and is unpleasantly surprised; speaks with forced
gayety] Yes, you are a fine partner--running away from your lady!

JEAN. On the contrary, Miss Julia. I have, as you see, looked up
the one I deserted.

JULIA. [Changing tone] Do you know, there is nobody that dances
like you!--But why do you wear your livery on an evening like this?
Take it off at once!

JEAN. Then I must ask you to step outside for a moment, as my black
coat is hanging right here. [Points toward the right and goes in
that direction.]

JULIA. Are you bashful on my account? Just to change a coat? Why
don't you go into your own room and come back again? Or, you can
stay right here, and I'll turn my back on you.

JEAN. With your permission, Miss Julia. [Goes further over to the
right; one of his arms can be seen as he changes his coat.]

JULIA [To CHRISTINE] Are you and Jean engaged, that he's so
familiar with you?

CHRISTINE. Engaged? Well, in a way. We call it that.

JULIA. Call it?

CHRISTINE. Well, Miss Julia, you have had a fellow of your own, and--

JULIA. We were really engaged--

CHRISTINE. But it didn't come to anything just the same--

[JEAN enters, dressed in black frock coat and black derby.]

JULIA. _Très gentil, Monsieur Jean! Très gentil!_

JEAN. _Vous voulez plaisanter, Madame!_

JULIA. _Et vous voulez parler français!_ Where did you learn it?

JEAN. In Switzerland, while I worked as _sommelier_ in one of the
big hotels at Lucerne.

JULIA. But you look like a real gentleman in your frock coat!
Charming! [Sits down at the table.]

JEAN. Oh, you flatter me.

JULIA. [Offended] Flatter--you!

JEAN. My natural modesty does not allow me to believe that you
could be paying genuine compliments to one like me, and so I dare
to assume that you are exaggerating, or, as we call it, flattering.

JULIA. Where did you learn to use your words like that? You must
have been to the theatre a great deal?

JEAN. That, too. I have been to a lot of places.

JULIA. But you were born in this neighbourhood?

JEAN. My father was a cotter on the county attorney's property
right by here, and I can recall seeing you as a child, although
you, of course, didn't notice me.

JULIA. No, really!

JEAN. Yes, and I remember one time in particular--but of that I
can't speak.

JULIA. Oh, yes, do! Why--just for once.

JEAN. No, really, I cannot do it now. Another time, perhaps.

JULIA. Another time is no time. Is it as bad as that?

JEAN. It isn't bad, but it comes a little hard. Look at that one!
[Points to CHRISTINE, who has fallen asleep on a chair by the stove.]

JULIA. She'll make a pleasant wife. And perhaps she snores, too.

JEAN. No, she doesn't, but she talks in her sleep.

JULIA. [Cynically] How do you know?

JEAN. [Insolently] I have heard it.

[Pause during which they study each other.]

JULIA. Why don't you sit down?

JEAN. It wouldn't be proper in your presence.

JULIA. But if I order you to do it?

JEAN. Then I obey.

JULIA. Sit down, then!--But wait a moment! Can you give me
something to drink first?

JEAN. I don't know what we have got in the icebox. I fear it is
nothing but beer.

JULIA. And you call that nothing? My taste is so simple that I
prefer it to wine.

JEAN. [Takes a bottle of beer from the icebox and opens it; gets a
glass and a plate from the cupboard, and serves the beer] Allow me!

JULIA. Thank you. Don't you want some yourself?

JEAN. I don't care very much for beer, but if it is a command, of

JULIA. Command?--I should think a polite gentleman might keep his
lady company.

JEAN. Yes, that's the way it should be. [Opens another bottle and
takes out a glass.]

JULIA. Drink my health now!

[JEAN hesitates.]

JULIA. Are you bashful--a big, grown-up man?

JEAN. [Kneels with mock solemnity and raises his glass] To the
health of my liege lady!

JULIA. Bravo!--And now you must also kiss my shoe in order to get
it just right.

[JEAN hesitates a moment; then he takes hold of her foot and
touches it lightly with his lips.]

JULIA. Excellent! You should have been on the stage.

JEAN. [Rising to his feet] This won't do any longer, Miss Julia.
Somebody might see us.

JULIA. What would that matter?

JEAN. Oh, it would set the people talking--that's all! And if you
only knew how their tongues were wagging up there a while ago—-

JULIA. What did they have to say? Tell me--Sit down now!

JEAN. [Sits down] I don't want to hurt you, but they were using
expressions--which cast reflections of a kind that--oh, you know it
yourself! You are not a child, and when a lady is seen alone with a
man, drinking--no matter if he's only a servant--and at night-—then--

JULIA. Then what? And besides, we are not alone. Isn't Christine
with us?

JEAN. Yes--asleep!

JULIA. Then I'll wake her. [Rising] Christine, are you asleep?

CHRISTINE. [In her sleep] Blub-blub-blub-blub!

JULIA. Christine!--Did you ever see such a sleeper.

CHRISTINE. [In her sleep] The count's boots are polished--put on
the coffee--yes, yes, yes--my-my--pooh!

JULIA. [Pinches her nose] Can't you wake up?

JEAN. [Sternly] You shouldn't bother those that sleep.

JULIA. [Sharply] What's that?

JEAN. One who has stood by the stove all day has a right to be
tired at night. And sleep should be respected.

JULIA. [Changing tone] It is fine to think like that, and it does
you honour--I thank you for it. [Gives JEAN her hand] Come now and
pick some lilacs for me.

[During the following scene CHRISTINE wakes up. She moves as if
still asleep and goes out to the right in order to go to bed.]

JEAN. With you, Miss Julia?

JULIA. With me!

JEAN. But it won't do! Absolutely not!

JULIA. I can't understand what you are thinking of. You couldn't
possibly imagine--

JEAN. No, not I, but the people.

JULIA. What? That I am fond of the valet?

JEAN. I am not at all conceited, but such things have happened--and
to the people nothing is sacred.

JULIA. You are an aristocrat, I think.

JEAN. Yes, I am.

JULIA. And I am stepping down--

JEAN. Take my advice, Miss Julia, don't step down. Nobody will
believe you did it on purpose. The people will always say that you
fell down.

JULIA. I think better of the people than you do. Come and see if I
am not right. Come along! [She ogles him.]

JEAN. You're mighty queer, do you know!

JULIA. Perhaps. But so are you. And for that matter, everything is
queer. Life, men, everything--just a mush that floats on top of the
water until it sinks, sinks down! I have a dream that comes back to
me ever so often. And just now I am reminded of it. I have climbed
to the top of a column and sit there without being able to tell how
to get down again. I get dizzy when I look down, and I must get
down, but I haven't the courage to jump off. I cannot hold on, and
I am longing to fall, and yet I don't fall. But there will be no
rest for me until I get down, no rest until I get down, down on the
ground. And if I did reach the ground, I should want to get still
further down, into the ground itself--Have you ever felt like that?

JEAN. No, my dream is that I am lying under a tall tree in a dark
wood. I want to get up, up to the top, so that I can look out over
the smiling landscape, where the sun is shining, and so that I can
rob the nest in which lie the golden eggs. And I climb and climb,
but the trunk is so thick and smooth, and it is so far to the first
branch. But I know that if I could only reach that first branch,
then I should go right on to the top as on a ladder. I have not
reached it yet, but I am going to, if it only be in my dreams.

JULIA. Here I am chattering to you about dreams! Come along! Only
into the park! [She offers her arm to him, and they go toward the

JEAN. We must sleep on nine midsummer flowers to-night, Miss Julia—-
then our dreams will come true.

[They turn around in the doorway, and JEAN puts one hand up to his

JULIA. Let me see what you have got in your eye.

JEAN. Oh, nothing--just some dirt--it will soon be gone.

JULIA. It was my sleeve that rubbed against it. Sit down and let me
help you. [Takes him by the arm and makes him sit down; takes hold
of his head and bends it backwards; tries to get out the dirt with
a corner of her handkerchief] Sit still now, absolutely still!
[Slaps him on the hand] Well, can't you do as I say? I think you
are shaking—-a big, strong fellow like you! [Feels his biceps] And
with such arms!

JEAN. [Ominously] Miss Julia!

JULIA. Yes, Monsieur Jean.

JEAN. _Attention! Je ne suis qu'un homme._

JULIA. Can't you sit still!--There now! Now it's gone. Kiss my hand
now, and thank me.

JEAN. [Rising] Miss Julia, listen to me. Christine has gone to bed
now--Won't you listen to me?

JULIA. Kiss my hand first.

JEAN. Listen to me!

JULIA. Kiss my hand first!

JEAN. All right, but blame nobody but yourself!

JULIA. For what?

JEAN. For what? Are you still a mere child at twenty-five? Don't
you know that it is dangerous to play with fire?

JULIA. Not for me. I am insured.

JEAN. [Boldly] No, you are not. And even if you were, there are
inflammable surroundings to be counted with.

JULIA. That's you, I suppose?

JEAN. Yes. Not because I am I, but because I am a young man--

JULIA. Of handsome appearance--what an incredible conceit! A Don
Juan, perhaps. Or a Joseph? On my soul, I think you are a Joseph!

JEAN. Do you?

JULIA. I fear it almost.

[JEAN goes boldly up to her and takes her around the waist in order
to kiss her.]

JULIA. [Gives him a cuff on the ear] Shame!

JEAN. Was that in play or in earnest?

JULIA. In earnest.

JEAN. Then you were in earnest a moment ago also. Your playing is
too serious, and that's the dangerous thing about it. Now I am
tired of playing, and I ask to be excused in order to resume my
work. The count wants his boots to be ready for him, and it is
after midnight already.

JULIA. Put away the boots.

JEAN. No, it's my work, which I am bound to do. But I have not
undertaken to be your playmate. It's something I can never become—-
I hold myself too good for it.

JULIA. You're proud!

JEAN. In some ways, and not in others.

JULIA. Have you ever been in love?

JEAN. We don't use that word. But I have been fond of a lot of
girls, and once I was taken sick because I couldn't have the one I
wanted: sick, you know, like those princes in the Arabian Nights
who cannot eat or drink for sheer love.

JULIA. Who was it?

[JEAN remains silent.]

JULIA. Who was it?

JEAN. You cannot make me tell you.

JULIA. If I ask you as an equal, ask you as--a friend: who was it?

JEAN. It was you.

JULIA. [Sits down] How funny!

JEAN. Yes, as you say--it was ludicrous. That was the story, you
see, which I didn't want to tell you a while ago. But now I am
going to tell it. Do you know how the world looks from below--no,
you don't. No more than do hawks and falcons, of whom we never see
the back because they are always floating about high up in the sky.
I lived in the cotter's hovel, together with seven other children,
and a pig--out there on the grey plain, where there isn't a single
tree. But from our windows I could see the wall around the count's
park, and apple-trees above it. That was the Garden of Eden, and
many fierce angels were guarding it with flaming swords.
Nevertheless I and some other boys found our way to the Tree of
Life--now you despise me?

JULIA. Oh, stealing apples is something all boys do.

JEAN. You may say so now, but you despise me nevertheless. However—-
once I got into the Garden of Eden with my mother to weed the onion
beds. Near by stood a Turkish pavillion, shaded by trees and
covered with honeysuckle. I didn't know what it was used for, but I
had never seen a more beautiful building. People went in and came
out again, and one day the door was left wide open. I stole up and
saw the walls covered with pictures of kings and emperors, and the
windows were hung with red, fringed curtains--now you know what I
mean. I--[breaks off a lilac sprig and holds it under MISS JULIA's
nose]--I had never been inside the manor, and I had never seen
anything but the church--and this was much finer. No matter where
my thoughts ran, they returned always--to that place. And gradually
a longing arose within me to taste the full pleasure of--_enfin_! I
sneaked in, looked and admired. Then I heard somebody coming. There
was only one way out for fine people, but for me there was another,
and I could do nothing else but choose it.

[JULIA, who has taken the lilac sprig, lets it drop on the table.]

JEAN. Then I started to run, plunged through a hedge of raspberry
bushes, chased right across a strawberry plantation, and came out
on the terrace where the roses grow. There I caught sight of a pink
dress and pair of white stockings--that was you! I crawled under a
pile of weeds--right into it, you know--into stinging thistles and
wet, ill-smelling dirt. And I saw you walking among the roses, and
I thought: if it be possible for a robber to get into heaven and
dwell with the angels, then it is strange that a cotter's child,
here on God's own earth, cannot get into the park and play with the
count's daughter.

JULIA. [Sentimentally] Do you think all poor children have the same
thoughts as you had in this case?

JEAN. [Hesitatingly at first; then with conviction] If _all_ poor—-
yes—-of course. Of course!

JULIA. It must be a dreadful misfortune to be poor.

JEAN. [In a tone of deep distress and with rather exaggerated
emphasis] Oh, Miss Julia! Oh!--A dog may lie on her ladyship's
sofa; a horse may have his nose patted by the young lady's hand,
but a servant--[changing his tone]--oh well, here and there you
meet one made of different stuff, and he makes a way for himself in
the world, but how often does it happen?--However, do you know what
I did? I jumped into the mill brook with my clothes on, and was
pulled out, and got a licking. But the next Sunday, when my father
and the rest of the people were going over to my grandmother's, I
fixed it so that I could stay at home. And then I washed myself
with soap and hot water, and put on my best clothes, and went to
church, where I could see you. I did see you, and went home
determined to die. But I wanted to die beautifully and pleasantly,
without any pain. And then I recalled that it was dangerous to
sleep under an elder bush. We had a big one that was in full bloom.
I robbed it of all its flowers, and then I put them in the big box
where the oats were kept and lay down in them. Did you ever notice
the smoothness of oats? Soft to the touch as the skin of the human
body! However, I pulled down the lid and closed my eyes--fell
asleep and was waked up a very sick boy. But I didn't die, as you
can see. What I wanted--that's more than I can tell. Of course,
there was not the least hope of winning you—-but you symbolised the
hopelessness of trying to get out of the class into which I was

JULIA. You narrate splendidly, do you know! Did you ever go to

JEAN. A little. But I have read a lot of novels and gone to the
theatre a good deal. And besides, I have listened to the talk of
better-class people, and from that I have learned most of all.

JULIA. Do you stand around and listen to what we are saying?

JEAN. Of course! And I have heard a lot, too, when I was on the box
of the carriage, or rowing the boat. Once I heard you, Miss Julia,
and one of your girl friends--

JULIA. Oh!--What was it you heard then?

JEAN. Well, it wouldn't be easy to repeat. But I was rather
surprised, and I couldn't understand where you had learned all
those words. Perhaps, at bottom, there isn't quite so much
difference as they think between one kind of people and another.

JULIA. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! We don't live as you do
when we are engaged.

JEAN. [Looking hard at her] Is it so certain?--Well, Miss Julia, it
won't pay to make yourself out so very innocent to me—-

JULIA. The man on whom I bestowed my love was a scoundrel.

JEAN. That's what you always say--afterwards.

JULIA. Always?

JEAN. Always, I believe, for I have heard the same words used
several times before, on similar occasions.

JULIA. What occasions?

JEAN. Like the one of which we were speaking. The last time--

JULIA. [Rising] Stop! I don't want to hear any more!

JEAN. Nor did _she_--curiously enough! Well, then I ask permission
to go to bed.

JULIA. [Gently] Go to bed on Midsummer Eve?

JEAN. Yes, for dancing with that mob out there has really no
attraction for me.

JULIA. Get the key to the boat and take me out on the lake--I want
to watch the sunrise.

JEAN. Would that be wise?

JULIA. It sounds as if you were afraid of your reputation.

JEAN. Why not? I don't care to be made ridiculous, and I don't care
to be discharged without a recommendation, for I am trying to get
on in the world. And then I feel myself under a certain obligation
to Christine.

JULIA. So it's Christine now

JEAN. Yes, but it's you also--Take my advice and go to bed!

JULIA. Am I to obey you?

JEAN. For once--and for your own sake! The night is far gone.
Sleepiness makes us drunk, and the head grows hot. Go to bed! And
besides--if I am not mistaken—-I can hear the crowd coming this way
to look for me. And if we are found together here, you are lost!

CHORUS. [Is heard approaching]:
      Through the fields come two ladies a-walking,
      Treederee-derallah, treederee-derah.
      And one has her shoes full of water,

      They're talking of hundreds of dollars,
      Treederee-derallah, treederee-derah.
      But have not between them a dollar

      This wreath I give you gladly,
      Treederee-derallah, treederee-derah.
      But love another madly,

JULIA. I know the people, and I love them, just as they love me.
Let them come, and you'll see.

JEAN. No, Miss Julia, they don't love you. They take your food and
spit at your back. Believe me. Listen to me--can't you hear what
they are singing?--No, don't pay any attention to it!

JULIA. [Listening] What is it they are singing?

JEAN. Oh, something scurrilous. About you and me.

JULIA. How infamous! They ought to be ashamed! And the treachery of

JEAN. The mob is always cowardly. And in such a fight as this there
is nothing to do but to run away.

JULIA. Run away? Where to? We cannot get out. And we cannot go into
Christine's room.

JEAN. Oh, we cannot? Well, into my room, then! Necessity knows no
law. And you can trust me, for I am your true and frank and
respectful friend.

JULIA. But think only-think if they should look for you in there!

JEAN. I shall bolt the door. And if they try to break it I open,
I'll shoot!--Come! [Kneeling before her] Come!

JULIA. [Meaningly] And you promise me--?

JEAN. I swear!

[MISS JULIA goes quickly out to the right. JEAN follows her



The peasants enter. They are decked out in their best and carry
flowers in their hats. A fiddler leads them. On the table they
place a barrel of small-beer and a keg of "brännvin," or white
Swedish whiskey, both of them decorated with wreathes woven out of
leaves. First they drink. Then they form in ring and sing and dance
to the melody heard before:

      "Through the fields come two ladies a-walking."

The dance finished, they leave singing.


JULIA. [Enters alone. On seeing the disorder in the kitchen, she
claps her hands together. Then she takes out a powder-puff and
begins to powder her face.]

JEAN. [Enters in a state of exaltation] There you see! And you
heard, didn't you? Do you think it possible to stay here?

JULIA. No, I don't think so. But what are we to do?

JEAN. Run away, travel, far away from here.

JULIA. Travel? Yes-but where?

JEAN. To Switzerland, the Italian lakes--you have never been there?

JULIA. No. Is the country beautiful?

JEAN. Oh! Eternal summer! Orange trees! Laurels! Oh!

JULIA. But then-what are we to do down there?

JEAN. I'll start a hotel, everything first class, including the

JULIA. Hotel?

JEAN. That's the life, I tell you! Constantly new faces and new
languages. Never a minute free for nerves or brooding. No trouble
about what to do--for the work is calling to be done: night and
day, bells that ring, trains that whistle, 'busses that come and
go; and gold pieces raining on the counter all the time. That's the
life for you!

JULIA. Yes, that is life. And I?

JEAN. The mistress of everything, the chief ornament of the house.
With your looks--and your manners--oh, success will be assured!
Enormous! You'll sit like a queen in the office and keep the slaves
going by the touch of an electric button. The guests will pass in
review before your throne and timidly deposit their treasures on
your table. You cannot imagine how people tremble when a bill is
presented to them--I'll salt the items, and you'll sugar them with
your sweetest smiles. Oh, let us get away from here--[pulling a
time-table from his pocket]--at once, with the next train! We'll be
in Malmö at 6.30; in Hamburg at 8.40 to-morrow morning; in Frankfort
and Basel a day later. And to reach Como by way of the St. Gotthard
it will take us--let me see--three days. Three days!

JULIA. All that is all right. But you must give me some courage—
Jean. Tell me that you love me. Come and take me in your arms.

JEAN. [Reluctantly] I should like to--but I don't dare. Not in this
house again. I love you--beyond doubt--or, can you doubt it, Miss

JULIA. [With modesty and true womanly feeling] Miss? Call me Julia.
Between us there can be no barriers here after. Call me Julia!

JEAN. [Disturbed] I cannot! There will be barriers between us as
long as we stay in this house--there is the past, and there is the
count-—and I have never met another person for whom I felt such
respect. If I only catch sight of his gloves on a chair I feel
small. If I only hear that bell up there, I jump like a shy horse.
And even now, when I see his boots standing there so stiff and
perky, it is as if something made my back bend. [Kicking at the
boots] It's nothing but superstition and tradition hammered into us
from childhood--but it can be as easily forgotten again. Let us
only get to another country, where they have a republic, and you'll
see them bend their backs double before my liveried porter. You
see, backs have to be bent, but not mine. I wasn't born to that
kind of thing. There's better stuff in me--character--and if I only
get hold of the first branch, you'll see me do some climbing.
To-day I am a valet, but next year I'll be a hotel owner. In ten
years I can live on the money I have made, and then I'll go to
Roumania and get myself an order. And I may--note well that I say
_may_--end my days as a count.

JULIA. Splendid, splendid!

JEAN. Yes, in Roumania the title of count can be had for cash, and
so you'll be a countess after all. My countess!

JULIA. What do I care about all I now cast behind me! Tell me that
you love me: otherwise--yes, what am I otherwise?

JEAN. I will tell you so a thousand times--later. But not here. And
above all, no sentimentality, or everything will be lost. We must
look at the matter in cold blood, like sensible people. [Takes out
a cigar, cuts of the point, and lights it] Sit down there now, and
I'll sit here, and then we'll talk as if nothing had happened.

JULIA. [In despair] Good Lord! Have you then no feelings at all?

JEAN. I? No one is more full of feeling than I am. But I know how
to control myself.

JULIA. A while ago you kissed my shoe--and now!

JEAN. [Severely] Yes, that was then. Now we have other things to
think of.

JULIA. Don't speak harshly to me!

JEAN. No, but sensibly. One folly has been committed--don't let us
commit any more! The count may be here at any moment, and before he
comes our fate must be settled. What do you think of my plans for
the future? Do you approve of them?

JULIA. They seem acceptable, on the whole. But there is one
question: a big undertaking of that kind will require a big capital
have you got it?

JEAN. [Chewing his cigar] I? Of course! I have my expert knowledge,
my vast experience, my familiarity with several languages. That's
the very best kind of capital, I should say.

JULIA. But it won't buy you a railroad ticket even.

JEAN. That's true enough. And that is just why I am looking for a
backer to advance the needful cash.

JULIA. Where could you get one all of a sudden?

JEAN. It's for you to find him if you want to become my partner.

JULIA. I cannot do it, and I have nothing myself. [Pause.]

JEAN. Well, then that's off--

JULIA. And—-

JEAN. Everything remains as before.

JULIA. Do you think I am going to stay under this roof as your
concubine? Do you think I'll let the people point their fingers at
me? Do you think I can look my father in the face after this? No,
take me away from here, from all this humiliation and disgrace!—
Oh, what have I done? My God, my God! [Breaks into tears.]

JEAN. So we have got around to that tune now!--What you have done?
Nothing but what many others have done before you.

JULIA. [Crying hysterically] And now you're despising me!--I'm
falling, I'm falling!

JEAN. Fall down to me, and I'll lift you up again afterwards.

JULIA. What horrible power drew me to you? Was it the attraction
which the strong exercises on the weak--the one who is rising on
one who is falling? Or was it love? This love! Do you know what
love is?

JEAN. I? Well, I should say so! Don't you think I have been there

JULIA. Oh, the language you use, and the thoughts you think!

JEAN. Well, that's the way I was brought up, and that's the way I
am. Don't get nerves now and play the exquisite, for now one of us
is just as good as the other. Look here, my girl, let me treat you
to a glass of something superfine. [He opens the table-drawer,
takes out the wine bottle and fills up two glasses that have
already been used.]

JULIA. Where did you get that wine?

JEAN. In the cellar.

JULIA. My father's Burgundy!

JEAN. Well, isn't it good enough for the son-in-law?

JULIA. And I am drinking beer--I!

JEAN. It shows merely that I have better taste than you.

JULIA. Thief!

JEAN. Do you mean to tell on me?

JULIA. Oh, oh! The accomplice of a house thief! Have I been drunk,
or have I been dreaming all this night? Midsummer Eve! The feast of
innocent games—-

JEAN. Innocent--hm!

JULIA. [Walking back and forth] Can there be another human being on
earth so unhappy as I am at this moment'

JEAN. But why should you be? After such a conquest? Think of
Christine in there. Don't you think she has feelings also?

JULIA. I thought so a while ago, but I don't think so any longer.
No, a menial is a menial--

JEAN. And a whore a whore!

JULIA. [On her knees, with folded hands] O God in heaven, make an
end of this wretched life! Take me out of the filth into which I am
sinking! Save me! Save me!

JEAN. I cannot deny that I feel sorry for you. When I was lying
among the onions and saw you up there among the roses--I'll tell
you now--I had the same nasty thoughts that all boys have.

JULIA. And you who wanted to die for my sake!

JEAN. Among the oats. That was nothing but talk.

JULIA. Lies in other words!

JEAN. [Beginning to feel sleepy] Just about. I think I read the
story in a paper, and it was about a chimney-sweep who crawled into
a wood-box full of lilacs because a girl had brought suit against
him for not supporting her kid—-

JULIA. So that's the sort you are--

JEAN. Well, I had to think of something--for it's the high-faluting
stuff that the women bite on.

JULIA. Scoundrel!

JEAN. Rot!

JULIA. And now you have seen the back of the hawk--

JEAN. Well, I don't know--

JULIA. And I was to be the first branch--

JEAN. But the branch was rotten--

JULIA. I was to be the sign in front of the hotel--

JEAN. And I the hotel--

JULIA. Sit at your counter, and lure your customers, and doctor
your bills--

JEAN. No, that I should have done myself--

JULIA. That a human soul can be so steeped in dirt!

JEAN. Well, wash it off!

JULIA. You lackey, you menial, stand up when I talk to you!

JEAN. You lackey-love, you mistress of a menial--shut up and get
out of here! You're the right one to come and tell me that I am
vulgar. People of my kind would never in their lives act as
vulgarly as you have acted to-night. Do you think any servant girl
would go for a man as you did? Did you ever see a girl of my class
throw herself at anybody in that way? I have never seen the like of
it except among beasts and prostitutes.

JULIA. [Crushed] That's right: strike me, step on me--I haven't
deserved any better! I am a wretched creature. But help me! Help
me out of this, if there be any way to do so!

JEAN. [In a milder tone] I don't want to lower myself by a denial
of my share in the honour of seducing. But do you think a person in
my place would have dared to raise his eyes to you, if the
invitation to do so had not come from yourself? I am still sitting
here in a state of utter surprise--

JULIA. And pride--

JEAN. Yes, why not? Although I must confess that the victory was
too easy to bring with it any real intoxication.

JULIA. Strike me some more!

JEAN. [Rising] No! Forgive me instead what I have been saying. I
don't want to strike one who is disarmed, and least of all a lady.
On one hand I cannot deny that it has given me pleasure to discover
that what has dazzled us below is nothing but cat-gold; that the
hawk is simply grey on the back also; that there is powder on the
tender cheek; that there may be black borders on the polished
nails; and that the handkerchief may be dirty, although it smells
of perfume. But on the other hand it hurts me to have discovered
that what I was striving to reach is neither better nor more
genuine. It hurts me to see you sinking so low that you are far
beneath your own cook--it hurts me as it hurts to see the Fall
flowers beaten down by the rain and turned into mud.

JULIA. You speak as if you were already above me?

JEAN. Well, so I am. Don't you see: I could have made a countess of
you, but you could never make me a count.

JULIA. But I am born of a count, and that's more than you can ever

JEAN. That's true. But I might be the father of counts—if--

JULIA. But you are a thief--and I am not.

JEAN. Thief is not the worst. There are other kinds still farther
down. And then, when I serve in a house, I regard myself in a sense
as a member of the family, as a child of the house, and you don't
call it theft when children pick a few of the berries that load
down the vines. [His passion is aroused once more] Miss Julia, you
are a magnificent woman, and far too good for one like me. You were
swept along by a spell of intoxication, and now you want to cover
up your mistake by making yourself believe that you are in love
with me. Well, you are not, unless possibly my looks might tempt
you-—in which case your love is no better than mine. I could never
rest satisfied with having you care for nothing in me but the mere
animal, and your love I can never win.

JULIA. Are you so sure of that?

JEAN. You mean to say that it might be possible? That I might love
you: yes, without doubt--for you are beautiful, refined, [goes up
to her and takes hold of her hand] educated, charming when you want
to be so, and it is not likely that the flame will ever burn out in
a man who has once been set of fire by you. [Puts his arm around
her waist] You are like burnt wine with strong spices in it, and
one of your kisses--

[He tries to lead her away, but she frees herself gently from his

JULIA. Leave me alone! In that way you cannot win me.

JEAN. How then?--Not in that way! Not by caresses and sweet words!
Not by thought for the future, by escape from disgrace! How then?

JULIA. How? How? I don't know--Not at all! I hate you as I hate
rats, but I cannot escape from you!

JEAN. Escape with me!

JULIA. [Straightening up] Escape? Yes, we must escape!--But I am so
tired. Give me a glass of wine.

[JEAN pours out wine.]

JULIA. [Looks at her watch] But we must have a talk first. We have
still some time left. [Empties her glass and holds it out for more.]

JEAN. Don't drink so much. It will go to your head.

JULIA. What difference would that make?

JEAN. What difference would it make? It's vulgar to get drunk--What
was it you wanted to tell me?

JULIA. We must get away. But first we must have a talk--that is, I
must talk, for so far you have done all the talking. You have told
me about your life. Now I must tell you about mine, so that we know
each other right to the bottom before we begin the journey together.

JEAN. One moment, pardon me! Think first, so that you don't regret
it afterwards, when you have already given up the secrets of your

JULIA. Are you not my friend?

JEAN. Yes, at times--but don't rely on me.

JULIA. You only talk like that--and besides, my secrets are known
to everybody. You see, my mother was not of noble birth, but came
of quite plain people. She was brought up in the ideas of her time
about equality, and woman's independence, and that kind of thing.
And she had a decided aversion to marriage. Therefore, when my
father proposed to her, she said she wouldn't marry him--and then
she did it just the same. I came into the world--against my
mother's wish, I have come to think. Then my mother wanted to bring
me up in a perfectly natural state, and at the same time I was to
learn everything that a boy is taught, so that I might prove that a
woman is just as good as a man. I was dressed as a boy, and was
taught how to handle a horse, but could have nothing to do with the
cows. I had to groom and harness and go hunting on horseback. I was
even forced to learn something about agriculture. And all over the
estate men were set to do women's work, and women to do men's--with
the result that everything went to pieces and we became the
laughing-stock of the whole neighbourhood. At last my father must
have recovered from the spell cast over him, for he rebelled, and
everything was changed to suit his own ideas. My mother was taken
sick--what kind of sickness it was I don't know, but she fell often
into convulsions, and she used to hide herself in the garret or in
the garden, and sometimes she stayed out all night. Then came the
big fire, of which you have heard. The house, the stable, and the
barn were burned down, and this under circumstances which made it
look as if the fire had been set on purpose. For the disaster
occurred the day after our insurance expired, and the money sent
for renewal of the policy had been delayed by the messenger's
carelessness, so that it came too late. [She fills her glass again
and drinks.]

JEAN. Don't drink any more.

JULIA. Oh, what does it matter!--We were without a roof over our
heads and had to sleep in the carriages. My father didn't know
where to get money for the rebuilding of the house. Then my mother
suggested that he try to borrow from a childhood friend of hers, a
brick manufacturer living not far from here. My father got the
loan, but was not permitted to pay any interest, which astonished
him. And so the house was built up again. [Drinks again] Do you
know who set fire to the house?

JEAN. Her ladyship, your mother!

JULIA. Do you know who the brick manufacturer was?

JEAN. Your mother's lover?

JULIA. Do you know to whom the money belonged?

JEAN. Wait a minute--no, that I don't know.

JULIA. To my mother.

JEAN. In other words, to the count, if there was no settlement.

JULIA. There was no settlement. My mother possessed a small fortune
of her own which she did not want to leave in my father's control,
so she invested it with--her friend.

JEAN. Who copped it.

JULIA. Exactly! He kept it. All this came to my father's knowledge.
He couldn't bring suit; he couldn't pay his wife's lover; he
couldn't prove that it was his wife's money. That was my mother's
revenge because he had made himself master in his own house. At
that time he came near shooting himself--it was even rumoured that
he had tried and failed. But he took a new lease of life, and my
mother had to pay for what she had done. I can tell you that those
were five years I'll never forget! My sympathies were with my
father, but I took my mother's side because I was not aware of the
true circumstances. From her I learned to suspect and hate men--for
she hated the whole sex, as you have probably heard--and I promised
her on my oath that I would never become a man's slave.

JEAN. And so you became engaged to the County Attorney.

JULIA. Yes, in order that he should be my slave.

JEAN. And he didn't want to?

JULIA. Oh, he wanted, but I wouldn't let him. I got tired of him.

JEAN. Yes, I saw it--in the stable-yard.

JULIA. What did you see?

JEAN. Just that--how he broke the engagement.

JULIA. That's a lie! It was I who broke it. Did he say he did it,
the scoundrel?

JEAN. Oh, he was no scoundrel, I guess. So you hate men, Miss

JULIA. Yes! Most of the time. But now and then--when the weakness
comes over me--oh, what shame!

JEAN. And you hate me too?

JULIA. Beyond measure! I should like to kill you like a wild beast--

JEAN. As you make haste to shoot a mad dog. Is that right?

JULIA. That's right!

JEAN. But now there is nothing to shoot with--and there is no dog.
What are we to do then?

JULIA. Go abroad.

JEAN. In order to plague each other to death?

JULIA. No-in order to enjoy ourselves: a couple of days, a week, as
long as enjoyment is possible. And then--die!

JEAN. Die? How silly! Then I think it's much better to start a

JULIA. [Without listening to JEAN]--At Lake Como, where the sun is
always shining, and the laurels stand green at Christmas, and the
oranges are glowing.

JEAN. Lake Como is a rainy hole, and I could see no oranges except
in the groceries. But it is a good place for tourists, as it has a
lot of villas that can be rented to loving couples, and that's a
profitable business--do you know why? Because they take a lease for
six months--and then they leave after three weeks.

JULIA. [Naïvely] Why after three weeks?

JEAN. Because they quarrel, of course. But the rent has to be paid
just the same. And then you can rent the house again. And that way
it goes on all the time, for there is plenty of love--even if it
doesn't last long.

JULIA. You don't want to die with me?

JEAN. I don't want to die at all. Both because I am fond of living,
and because I regard suicide as a crime against the Providence
which has bestowed life on us.

JULIA. Do you mean to say that you believe in God?

JEAN. Of course, I do. And I go to church every other Sunday.
Frankly speaking, now I am tired of all this, and now I am going to

JULIA. So! And you think that will be enough for me? Do you know
what you owe a woman that you have spoiled?

JEAN. [Takes out his purse and throws a silver coin on the table]
You're welcome! I don't want to be in anybody's debt.

JULIA. [Pretending not to notice the insult] Do you know what the
law provides--

JEAN. Unfortunately the law provides no punishment for a woman
who seduces a man.

JULIA. [As before] Can you think of any escape except by our
going abroad and getting married, and then getting a divorce?

JEAN. Suppose I refuse to enter into this _mésaillance_?

JULIA. _Mésaillance_--

JEAN. Yes, for me. You see, I have better ancestry than you, for
nobody in my family was ever guilty of arson.

JULIA. How do you know?

JEAN. Well, nothing is known to the contrary, for we keep no
Pedigrees--except in the police bureau. But I have read about your
pedigree in a book that was lying on the drawing-room table. Do you
know who was your first ancestor? A miller who let his wife sleep
with the king one night during the war with Denmark. I have no such
ancestry. I have none at all, but I can become an ancestor myself.

JULIA. That's what I get for unburdening my heart to one not worthy
of it; for sacrificing my family's honour--

JEAN. Dishonour! Well, what was it I told you? You shouldn't drink,
for then you talk. And you must not talk!

JULIA. Oh, how I regret what I have done! How I regret it! If at
least you loved me!

JEAN. For the last time: what do you mean? Am I to weep? Am I to
jump over your whip? Am I to kiss you, and lure you down to Lake
Como for three weeks, and so on? What am I to do? What do you
expect? This is getting to be rather painful! But that's what comes
from getting mixed up with women. Miss Julia! I see that you are
unhappy; I know that you are suffering; but I cannot understand
you. We never carry on like that. There is never any hatred between
us. Love is to us a play, and we play at it when our work leaves us
time to do so. But we have not the time to do so all day and all
night, as you have. I believe you are sick--I am sure you are sick.

JULIA. You should be good to me--and now you speak like a human

JEAN. All right, but be human yourself. You spit on me, and then
you won't let me wipe myself--on you!

JULIA. Help me, help me! Tell me only what I am to do--where I am
to turn?

JEAN. O Lord, if I only knew that myself!

JULIA. I have been exasperated, I have been mad, but there ought to
be some way of saving myself.

JEAN. Stay right here and keep quiet. Nobody knows anything.

JULIA. Impossible! The people know, and Christine knows.

JEAN. They don't know, and they would never believe it possible.

JULIA. [Hesitating] But-it might happen again.

JEAN. That's true.

JULIA. And the results?

JEAN. [Frightened] The results! Where was my head when I didn't
think of that! Well, then there is only one thing to do--you must
leave. At once! I can't go with you, for then everything would be
lost, so you must go alone--abroad--anywhere!

JULIA. Alone? Where?--I can't do it.

JEAN. You must! And before the count gets back. If you stay, then
you know what will happen. Once on the wrong path, one wants to
keep on, as the harm is done anyhow. Then one grows more and more
reckless--and at last it all comes out. So you must get away! Then
you can write to the count and tell him everything, except that it
was me. And he would never guess it. Nor do I think he would be
very anxious to find out.

JULIA. I'll go if you come with me.

JEAN. Are you stark mad, woman? Miss Julia to run away with her
valet! It would be in the papers in another day, and the count
could never survive it.

JULIA. I can't leave! I can't stay! Help me! I am so tired, so
fearfully tired. Give me orders! Set me going, for I can no longer
think, no longer act—-

JEAN. Do you see now what good-for-nothings you are! Why do you
strut and turn up your noses as if you were the lords of creation?
Well, I am going to give you orders. Go up and dress. Get some
travelling money, and then come back again.

JULIA: [In an undertone] Come up with me!

JEAN. To your room? Now you're crazy again! [Hesitates a moment]
No, you must go at once! [Takes her by the hand and leads her out.]

JULIA. [On her way out] Can't you speak kindly to me, Jean?

JEAN. An order must always sound unkind. Now you can find out how
it feels!

[JULIA goes out.]

[JEAN, alone, draws a sigh of relief; sits down at the table; takes
out a note-book and a pencil; figures aloud from time to time; dumb
play until CHRISTINE enters dressed for church; she has a false
shirt front and a white tie in one of her hands.]

CHRISTINE. Goodness gracious, how the place looks! What have you
been up to anyhow?

JEAN. Oh, it was Miss Julia who dragged in the people. Have you
been sleeping so hard that you didn't hear anything at all?

CHRISTINE. I have been sleeping like a log.

JEAN. And dressed for church already?

CHRISTINE. Yes, didn't you promise to come with me to communion

JEAN. Oh, yes, I remember now. And there you've got the finery.
Well, come on with it. [Sits down; CHRISTINE helps him to put on
the shirt front and the white tie.]


JEAN. [Sleepily] What's the text to-day?

CHRISTINE. Oh, about John the Baptist beheaded, I guess.

JEAN. That's going to be a long story, I'm sure. My, but you choke
me! Oh, I'm so sleepy, so sleepy!

CHRISTINE. Well, what has been keeping you up all night? Why, man,
you're just green in the face!

JEAN. I have been sitting here talking with Miss Julia.

CHRISTINE. She hasn't an idea of what's proper, that creature!


JEAN. Say, Christine.


JEAN. Isn't it funny anyhow, when you come to think of it? Her!

CHRISTINE. What is it that's funny?

JEAN. Everything!


CHRISTINE. [Seeing the glasses on the table that are only
half-emptied] So you've been drinking together also?

JEAN. Yes.

CHRISTINE. Shame on you! Look me in the eye!

JEAN. Yes.

CHRISTINE. Is it possible? Is it possible?

JEAN. [After a moment's thought] Yes, it is!

CHRISTINE. Ugh! That's worse than I could ever have believed. It's

JEAN. You are not jealous of her, are you?

CHRISTINE. No, not of her. Had it been Clara or Sophie, then I'd
have scratched your eyes out. Yes, that's the way I feel about it,
and I can't tell why. Oh my, but that was nasty!

JEAN. Are you mad at her then?

CHRISTINE. No, but at you! It was wrong of you, very wrong! Poor
girl! No, I tell you, I don't want to stay in this house any
longer, with people for whom it is impossible to have any respect.

JEAN. Why should you have any respect for them?

CHRISTINE. And you who are such a smarty can't tell that! You
wouldn't serve people who don't act decently, would you? It's to
lower oneself, I think.

JEAN. Yes, but it ought to be a consolation to us that they are not
a bit better than we.

CHRISTINE. No, I don't think so. For if they're no better, then
it's no use trying to get up to them. And just think of the count!
Think of him who has had so much sorrow in his day! No, I don't
want to stay any longer in this house--And with a fellow like you,
too. If it had been the county attorney--if it had only been some
one of her own sort--

JEAN. Now look here!

CHRISTINE. Yes, yes! You're all right in your way, but there's
after all some difference between one kind of people and another—-
No, but this is something I'll never get over!--And the young lady
who was so proud, and so tart to the men, that you couldn't believe
she would ever let one come near her--and such a one at that! And
she who wanted to have poor Diana shot because she had been running
around with the gate-keeper's pug!--Well, I declare!--But I won't
stay here any longer, and next October I get out of here.

JEAN. And then?

CHRISTINE. Well, as we've come to talk of that now, perhaps it
would be just as well if you looked for something, seeing that
we're going to get married after all.

JEAN. Well, what could I look for? As a married man I couldn't get
a place like this.

CHRISTINE. No, I understand that. But you could get a job as a
janitor, or maybe as a messenger in some government bureau. Of
course, the public loaf is always short in weight, but it comes
steady, and then there is a pension for the widow and the children--

JEAN. [Making a face] That's good and well, but it isn't my style
to think of dying all at once for the sake of wife and children. I
must say that my plans have been looking toward something better
than that kind of thing.

CHRISTINE. Your plans, yes--but you've got obligations also, and
those you had better keep in mind!

JEAN. Now don't you get my dander up by talking of obligations! I
know what I've got to do anyhow. [Listening for some sound on the
outside] However, we've plenty of time to think of all this. Go in
now and get ready, and then we'll go to church.

CHRISTINE. Who is walking around up there?

JEAN. I don't know, unless it be Clara.

CHRISTINE. [Going out] It can't be the count, do you think, who's
come home without anybody hearing him?

JEAN. [Scared] The count? No, that isn't possible, for then he
would have rung for me.

CHRISTINE. [As she goes out] Well, God help us all! Never have I
seen the like of it!

[The sun has risen and is shining on the tree tops in the park. The
light changes gradually until it comes slantingly in through the
windows. JEAN goes to the door and gives a signal.]

JULIA. [Enters in travelling dress and carrying a small birdcage
covered up with a towel; this she places on a chair] Now I am

JEAN. Hush! Christine is awake.

JULIA. [Showing extreme nervousness during the following scene] Did
she suspect anything?

JEAN. She knows nothing at all. But, my heavens, how you look!

JULIA. How do I look?

JEAN. You're as pale as a corpse, and--pardon me, but your face is

JULIA. Let me wash it then--Now! [She goes over to the washstand
and washes her face and hands] Give me a towel--Oh!--That's the sun

JEAN. And then the ogre bursts.

JULIA. Yes, ogres and trolls were abroad last night!—But listen,
Jean. Come with me, for now I have the money.

JEAN. [Doubtfully] Enough?

JULIA. Enough to start with. Come with me, for I cannot travel
alone to-day. Think of it--Midsummer Day, on a stuffy train, jammed
with people who stare at you--and standing still at stations when
you want to fly. No, I cannot! I cannot! And then the memories will
come: childhood memories of Midsummer Days, when the inside of the
church was turned into a green forest--birches and lilacs; the
dinner at the festive table with relatives and friends; the
afternoon in the park, with dancing and music, flowers and games!
Oh, you may run and run, but your memories are in the baggage-car,
and with them remorse and repentance!

JEAN. I'll go with you-but at once, before it's too late. This very

JULIA. Well, get dressed then. [Picks up the cage.]

JEAN. But no baggage! That would only give us away.

JULIA. No, nothing at all! Only what we can take with us in the

JEAN. [Has taken down his hat] What have you got there? What is it?

JULIA. It's only my finch. I can't leave it behind.

JEAN. Did you ever! Dragging a bird-cage along with us! You must be
raving mad! Drop the cage!

JULIA. The only thing I take with me from my home! The only living
creature that loves me since Diana deserted me! Don't be cruel! Let
me take it along!

JEAN. Drop the cage, I tell you! And don't talk so loud--Christine
can hear us.

JULIA. No, I won't let it fall into strange hands. I'd rather have
you kill it!

JEAN. Well, give it to me, and I'll wring its neck.

JULIA. Yes, but don't hurt it. Don't--no, I cannot!

JEAN. Let me--I can!

JULIA. [Takes the bird out of the cage and kisses it] Oh, my little
birdie, must it die and go away from its mistress!

JEAN. Don't make a scene, please. Don't you know it's a question of
your life, of your future? Come, quick! [Snatches the bird away
from her, carries it to the chopping block and picks up an axe.
MISS JULIA turns away.]

JEAN. You should have learned how to kill chickens instead of
shooting with a revolver--[brings down the axe]--then you wouldn't
have fainted for a drop of blood.

JULIA. [Screaming] Kill me too! Kill me! You who can take the life
of an innocent creature without turning a hair! Oh, I hate and
despise you! There is blood between us! Cursed be the hour when I
first met you! Cursed be the hour when I came to life in my
mother's womb!

JEAN. Well, what's the use of all that cursing? Come on!

JULIA. [Approaching the chopping-block as if drawn to it against
her will] No, I don't want to go yet. I cannot—-I must see--Hush!
There's a carriage coming up the road. [Listening without taking
her eyes of the block and the axe] You think I cannot stand the
sight of blood. You think I am as weak as that--oh, I should like
to see your blood, your brains, on that block there. I should like
to see your whole sex swimming in blood like that thing there. I
think I could drink out of your skull, and bathe my feet in your
open breast, and eat your heart from the spit!--You think I am
weak; you think I love you because the fruit of my womb was
yearning for your seed; you think I want to carry your offspring
under my heart and nourish it with my blood--bear your children and
take your name! Tell me, you, what are you called anyhow? I have
never heard your family name—-and maybe you haven't any. I should
become Mrs. "Hovel," or Mrs. "Backyard"--you dog there, that's
wearing my collar; you lackey with my coat of arms on your buttons--
and I should share with my cook, and be the rival of my own
servant. Oh! Oh! Oh!--You think I am a coward and want to run away!
No, now I'll stay--and let the lightning strike! My father will
come home--will find his chiffonier opened--the money gone! Then
he'll ring--twice for the valet--and then he'll send for the
sheriff--and then I shall tell everything! Everything! Oh, but it
will be good to get an end to it--if it only be the end! And then
his heart will break, and he dies!--So there will be an end to all
of us--and all will be quiet—peace--eternal rest!--And then the
coat of arms will be shattered on the coffin--and the count's line
will be wiped out--but the lackey's line goes on in the orphan
asylum--wins laurels in the gutter, and ends in jail.

JEAN. There spoke the royal blood! Bravo, Miss Julia! Now you put
the miller back in his sack!

[CHRISTINE enters dressed for church and carrying n hymn-book in
her hand.]

JULIA. [Hurries up to her and throws herself into her arms ax if
seeking protection] Help me, Christine! Help me against this man!

CHRISTINE. [Unmoved and cold] What kind of performance is this on
the Sabbath morning? [Catches sight of the chopping-block] My, what
a mess you have made!--What's the meaning of all this? And the way
you shout and carry on!

JULIA. You are a woman, Christine, and you are my friend. Beware of
that scoundrel!

JEAN. [A little shy and embarrassed] While the ladies are
discussing I'll get myself a shave. [Slinks out to the right.]

JULIA. You must understand me, and you must listen to me.

CHRISTINE. No, really, I don't understand this kind of trolloping.
Where are you going in your travelling-dress--and he with his hat

JULIA. Listen, Christine, listen, and I'll tell you everything--

CHRISTINE. I don't want to know anything--

JULIA. You must listen to me--

CHRISTINE. What is it about? Is it about this nonsense with Jean?
Well, I don't care about it at all, for it's none of my business.
But if you're planning to get him away with you, we'll put a stop
to that!

JULIA. [Extremely nervous] Please try to be quiet, Christine, and
listen to me. I cannot stay here, and Jean cannot stay here--and so
we must leave—-


JULIA. [Brightening. up] But now I have got an idea, you know.
Suppose all three of us should leave--go abroad--go to Switzerland
and start a hotel together--I have money, you know--and Jean and I
could run the whole thing--and you, I thought, could take charge of
the kitchen--Wouldn't that be fine!--Say yes, now! And come along
with us! Then everything is fixed!--Oh, say yes!

[She puts her arms around CHRISTINE and pats her.]

CHRISTINE. [Coldly and thoughtfully] Hm, hm!

JULIA. [Presto tempo] You have never travelled, Christine--you must
get out and have a look at the world. You cannot imagine what fun
it is to travel on a train--constantly new people--new countries—-
and then we get to Hamburg and take in the Zoological Gardens in
passing--that's what you like--and then we go to the theatres and
to the opera--and when we get to Munich, there, you know, we have a
lot of museums, where they keep Rubens and Raphael and all those
big painters, you know--Haven't you heard of Munich, where King
Louis used to live--the king, you know, that went mad--And then
we'll have a look at his castle--he has still some castles that are
furnished just as in a fairy tale--and from there it isn't very far
to Switzerland--and the Alps, you know--just think of the Alps,
with snow on top of them in the middle of the summer--and there you
have orange trees and laurels that are green all the year around--

[JEAN is seen in the right wing, sharpening his razor on a strop
which he holds between his teeth and his left hand; he listens to
the talk with a pleased mien and nods approval now and then.]

JULIA. [Tempo prestissimo] And then we get a hotel--and I sit in
the office, while Jean is outside receiving tourists--and goes out
marketing--and writes letters--That's a life for you--Then the
train whistles, and the 'bus drives up, and it rings upstairs, and
it rings in the restaurant--and then I make out the bills--and I am
going to salt them, too--You can never imagine how timid tourists
are when they come to pay their bills! And you--you will sit like a
queen in the kitchen. Of course, you are not going to stand at the
stove yourself. And you'll have to dress neatly and nicely in order
to show yourself to people--and with your looks--yes, I am not
flattering you--you'll catch a husband some fine day--some rich
Englishman, you know-—for those fellows are so easy [slowing down]
to catch--and then we grow rich--and we build us a villa at Lake
Como--of course, it is raining a little in that place now and then—-
but [limply] the sun must be shining sometimes--although it looks
dark--and--then--or else we can go home again--and come back--here—-
or some other place--

CHRISTINE. Tell me, Miss Julia, do you believe in all that

JULIA. [Crushed] Do I believe in it myself?


JULIA. [Exhausted] I don't know: I believe no longer in anything.
[She sinks down on the bench and drops her head between her arms on
the table] Nothing! Nothing at all!

CHRISTINE. [Turns to the right, where JEAN is standing] So you were
going to run away!

JEAN. [Abashed, puts the razor on the table] Run away? Well, that's
putting it rather strong. You have heard what the young lady
proposes, and though she is tired out now by being up all night,
it's a proposition that can be put through all right.

CHRISTINE. Now you tell me: did you mean me to act as cook for that
one there--?

JEAN. [Sharply] Will you please use decent language in speaking to
your mistress! Do you understand?

CHRISTINE. Mistress!

JEAN. Yes!

CHRISTINE. Well, well! Listen to him!

JEAN. Yes, it would be better for you to listen a little more and
talk a little less. Miss Julia is your mistress, and what makes you
disrespectful to her now should snake you feel the same way about

CHRISTINE. Oh, I have always had enough respect for myself--

JEAN. To have none for others!

CHRISTINE. --not to go below my own station. You can't say that the
count's cook has had anything to do with the groom or the
swineherd. You can't say anything of the kind!

JEAN. Yes, it's your luck that you have had to do with a gentleman.

CHRISTINE. Yes, a gentleman who sells the oats out of the count's

JEAN. What's that to you who get a commission on the groceries and
bribes from the butcher?

CHRISTINE. What's that?

JEAN. And so you can't respect your master and mistress any longer!

CHRISTINE. Are you coming with me to church? I think you need a
good sermon on top of such a deed.

JEAN. No, I am not going to church to-day. You can go by yourself
and confess your own deeds.

CHRISTINE. Yes, I'll do that, and I'll bring back enough
forgiveness to cover you also. The Saviour suffered and died on the
cross for all our sins, and if we go to him with a believing heart
and a repentant mind, he'll take all our guilt on himself.

JULIA. Do you believe that, Christine?

CHRISTINE. It is my living belief, as sure as I stand here, and the
faith of my childhood which I have kept since I was young, Miss
Julia. And where sin abounds, grace abounds too.

JULIA. Oh, if I had your faith! Oh, if—-

CHRISTINE. Yes, but you don't get it without the special grace of
God, and that is not bestowed on everybody--

JULIA. On whom is it bestowed then?

CHRISTINE. That's just the great secret of the work of grace, Miss
Julia, and the Lord has no regard for persons, but there those that
are last shall be the foremost--

JULIA. Yes, but that means he has regard for those that are last.

CHRISTINE. [Going right on] --and it is easier for a camel to go
through a needle's eye than for a rich man to get into heaven.
That's the way it is, Miss Julia. Now I am going, however-—alone—-
and as I pass by, I'll tell the stableman not to let out the horses
if anybody should like to get away before the count comes home.
Good-bye! [Goes out.]

JEAN. Well, ain't she a devil!--And all this for the sake of a

JULIA. [Apathetically] Never mind the finch!--Can you see any way
out of this, any way to end it?

JEAN. [Ponders] No!

JULIA. What would you do in my place?

JEAN. In your place? Let me see. As one of gentle birth, as a
woman, as one who has--fallen. I don't know--yes, I do know!

JULIA. [Picking up the razor with a significant gesture] Like this?

JEAN. Yes!--But please observe that I myself wouldn't do it, for
there is a difference between us.

JULIA. Because you are a man and I a woman? What is the difference?

JEAN. It is the same--as--that between man and woman.

JULIA. [With the razor in her hand] I want to, but I cannot!--My
father couldn't either, that time he should have done it.

JEAN. No, he should not have done it, for he had to get his revenge

JULIA. And now it is my mother's turn to revenge herself again,
through me.

JEAN. Have you not loved your father, Miss Julia?

JULIA. Yes, immensely, but I must have hated him, too. I think I
must have been doing so without being aware of it. But he was the
one who reared me in contempt for my own sex--half woman and half
man! Whose fault is it, this that has happened? My father's--my
mother's--my own? My own? Why, I have nothing that is my own. I
haven't a thought that didn't come from my father; not a passion
that didn't come from my mother; and now this last--this about all
human creatures being equal--I got that from him, my fiancé--whom I
call a scoundrel for that reason! How can it be my own fault? To
put the blame on Jesus, as Christine does--no, I am too proud for
that, and know too much--thanks to my father's teachings--And that
about a rich person not getting into heaven, it's just a lie, and
Christine, who has money in the savings-bank, wouldn't get in
anyhow. Whose is the fault?--What does it matter whose it is? For
just the same I am the one who must bear the guilt and the results--

JEAN. Yes, but--

[Two sharp strokes are rung on the bell. MISS JULIA leaps to her
feet. JEAN changes his coat.]

JEAN. The count is back. Think if Christine-- [Goes to the
speaking-tube, knocks on it, and listens.]

JULIA. Now he has been to the chiffonier!

JEAN. It is Jean, your lordship! [Listening again, the spectators
being unable to hear what the count says] Yes, your lordship!
[Listening] Yes, your lordship! At once! [Listening] In a minute,
your lordship! [Listening] Yes, yes! In half an hour!

JULIA. [With intense concern] What did he say? Lord Jesus, what did
he say?

JEAN. He called for his boots and wanted his coffee in half an

JULIA. In half an hour then! Oh, I am so tired. I can't do
anything; can't repent, can't run away, can't stay, can't live—-
can't die! Help me now! Command me, and I'll obey you like a dog!
Do me this last favour--save my honour, and save his name! You know
what my will ought to do, and what it cannot do--now give me your
will, and make me do it!

JEAN. I don't know why--but now I can't either--I don't understand—-
It is just as if this coat here made a--I cannot command you--and
now, since I've heard the count's voice--now--I can't quite explain
it-—but--Oh, that damned menial is back in my spine again. I
believe if the count should come down here, and if he should tell
me to cut my own throat--I'd do it on the spot!

JULIA. Make believe that you are he, and that I am you! You did
some fine acting when you were on your knees before me--then you
were the nobleman--or--have you ever been to a show and seen one
who could hypnotize people?

[JEAN makes a sign of assent.]

JULIA. He says to his subject: get the broom. And the man gets it.
He says: sweep. And the man sweeps.

JEAN. But then the other person must be asleep.

JULIA. [Ecstatically] I am asleep already--there is nothing in the
whole room but a lot of smoke--and you look like a stove--that
looks like a man in black clothes and a high hat--and your eyes
glow like coals when the fire is going out--and your face is a lump
of white ashes. [The sunlight has reached the floor and is now
falling on JEAN] How warm and nice it is! [She rubs her hands as if
warming them before a fire.] And so light--and so peaceful!

JEAN. [Takes the razor and puts it in her hand] There's the broom!
Go now, while it is light--to the barn--and-- [Whispers something
in her ear.]

JULIA. [Awake] Thank you! Now I shall have rest! But tell me first—-
that the foremost also receive the gift of grace. Say it, even if
you don't believe it.

JEAN. The foremost? No, I can't do that!--But wait--Miss Julia--I
know! You are no longer among the foremost--now when you are among

JULIA. That's right. I am among the last of all: I am the very
last. Oh!--But now I cannot go--Tell me once more that I must go!

JEAN. No, now I can't do it either. I cannot!

JULIA. And those that are foremost shall be the last.

JEAN. Don't think, don't think! Why, you are taking away my
strength, too, so that I become a coward--What? I thought I saw the
bell moving!--To be that scared of a bell! Yes, but it isn't only
the bell--there is somebody behind it--a hand that makes it move—-
and something else that makes the hand move-but if you cover up
your ears--just cover up your ears! Then it rings worse than ever!
Rings and rings, until you answer it--and then it's too late--then
comes the sheriff--and then--

[Two quick rings from the bell.]

JEAN. [Shrinks together; then he straightens himself up] It's
horrid! But there's no other end to it!--Go!

[JULIA goes firmly out through the door.]