fashionable young ladies trying to do anything useful--never. I am only a little broken-
down tradesman travelling for a firm--a worthless sort of chap in many ways, and one
that very likely deserves what he has got--but anyway I wanted you to be spared. Indeed
thought it was my duty--absolutely my duty. But now when I see you sitting there before
me--well, now I only I feel miserably unhappy. So I won't trouble you at all (Gets up.)
Not at all.
Svava. I really cannot understand--
Hoff. Please don't bother about me! And please forgive my disturbing you.--No, you
really must not give me another thought! Just imagine that I have not been here--that is
all. (As he reaches the door, he meets ALFRED coming in. As soon as he sees that
SVAVA is watching them, he goes hurriedly out. SVAVA sees the meeting between the
two and gives a little scream, then rushes to meet ALFRED. But as soon as she is face to
face with him, she seems terrified. As he comes nearer to take her in his arms she cries
out: "Don't touch me!" and hurries out by the door on the left. She is heard locking and
bolting it on the inside. Then a violent outburst of weeping is heard, the sound being
somewhat deadened by the distance, but only for a few moments. Then the sound of
singing is heard outside, and a few seconds later RIIS comes into the room. The curtain
falls as he enters.)
(SCENE.--The same as in Act I. SVAVA is lying on the couch to the right, resting her
head on one hand, looking out towards the park. Her mother is sitting beside her.)
Mrs. Riis. Decisions as hasty as yours, Svava, are not really decisions at all. There is
always a great deal more to be taken into consideration than one realises at first. Take
time to think it over! I believe he is a fine fellow. Give him time to show it; don't break it
Svava. Why do you keep on saying that to me?
Mrs. Riis. Well, dear, you know I have never had the chance of saying anything to you
Svava. But you keep harping on that one string.
Mrs. Riis. What note do you want me to strike, then?
Svava. The note your dear good mother would have struck--quite a different one
Mrs. Riis. It is one thing to teach your child how to make a proper choice in life, but--
Svava. But quite another thing to put into practice what you teach?