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Three Dramas

Berent. I shall not leave the town until the worst is over.-- Remember, night or day, if
you need me, send word to me.
Tjaelde. Thank you.
Berent. And now will you unlock the door for me?
Tjaelde (getting up). Ah, of course. Excuse me!
Berent (taking his hat and coat). Won't you call your wife now?
Tjaelde. No. I must have a little time first. I have the worst part of it before me now.
Berent. I believe you have, and that is just why--. (Takes hold of the bell-pull and rings
the bell.)
Tjaelde. What are you doing?
Berent. I want, before I go, to be sure of your wife's coming to you.
Tjaelde. You should not have done that! (An office-boy comes in. BERENT looks at
TJAELDE.) Ask your mistress--ask my wife to come to me.
Berent. At once, please. (The boy goes out.) Good-bye! (Goes out. TJAELDE sinks
down on to a chair by the door.)
[The Curtain falls.]
(SCENE.-The same as in the preceding act. TJAELDE is sitting alone, on the chair by the
door, in the position he was in when the curtain fell on the last act. After sitting
motionless for a considerable time, he suddenly gets up.)
Tjaelde. How am I to begin? After her, there are the children; after them, all my work-
people--and then all the others! If only I could get away! But the Receiver's men will be
here.--I must have some air! (Goes to the nearest window.) What a beautiful day!--but not
for me. (Opens the window and looks out.) My horse! No, I daren't look at it. Why is it
saddled? Oh, of course I meant, after my talk with Berent, to--. But now everything is
different! (Walks up and down once or twice, thinking; then says suddenly:) Yes, on that
horse I might reach the outer harbour before the foreign boat sails! (Looks at his watch.) I
can do it! And I shall be able to put behind me all--. (Stops, with a start, as he hears
footsteps on the stair.) Who is there? What is it? (MRS. TJAELDE comes down the stair
into the room.)
Mrs. Tjaelde. You sent for me?