[A little narrow glen by the side of the fiord, on ALLMERS'S property. On the left,
lofty old trees overarch the spot. Down the slope in the background a brook
comes leaping, and loses itself among the stones on the margin of the wood. A
path winds along by the brook-side. To the right there are only a few single trees,
between which the fiord is visible. In front is seen the corner of a boat-shed with
a boat drawn up. Under the old trees on the left stands a table with a bench and
one or two chairs, all made of thin birch-staves. It is a heavy, damp day, with
driving mist wreaths.]
[ALFRED ALLMERS, dressed as before, sits on the bench, leaning his arms on
the table. His hat lies before him. He gazes absently and immovably out over the
[Presently ASTA ALLMERS comes down the woodpath. She is carrying an open
ASTA. [Goes quietly and cautiously up to him.] You ought not to sit down here in
this gloomy weather, Alfred.
ALLMERS. [Nods slowly without answering.]
ASTA. [Closing her umbrella.] I have been searching for you such a long time.
ALLMERS. [Without expression.] Thank you.
ASTA. [Moves a chair and seats herself close to him.] Have you been sitting
here long? All the time?
ALLMERS. [Does not answer at first. Presently he says.] No, I cannot grasp it. It
seems so utterly impossible.
ASTA. [Laying her hand compassionately on his arm.] Poor Alfred!
ALLMERS. [Gazing at her.] Is it really true then, Asta? Or have I gone mad? Or
am I only dreaming? Oh, if it were only a dream! Just think, if I were to waken
ASTA. Oh, if I could only waken you!
ALLMERS. [Looking out over the water.] How pitiless the fiord looks to-day, lying
so heavy and drowsy--leaden-grey--with splashes of yellow--and reflecting the
ASTA. [Imploringly.] Oh, Alfred, don't sit staring out over the fiord!