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Act First
[A spacious garden-room, with one door to the left, and two doors to the right. In
the middle of the room a round table, with chairs about it. On the table lie books,
periodicals, and newspapers. In the foreground to the left a window, and by it a
small sofa, with a worktable in front of it. In the background, the room is
continued into a somewhat narrower conservatory, the walls of which are formed
by large panes of glass. In the right-hand wall of the conservatory is a door
leading down into the garden. Through the glass wall a gloomy fjord landscape is
faintly visible, veiled by steady rain.]
[ENGSTRAND, the carpenter, stands by the garden door. His left leg is
somewhat bent; he has a clump of wood under the sole of his boot. REGINA,
with an empty garden syringe in her hand, hinders him from advancing.]
REGINA. [In a low voice.] What do you want? Stop where you are. You're
positively dripping.
ENGSTRAND. It's the Lord's own rain, my girl.
REGINA. It's the devil's rain, I say.
ENGSTRAND. Lord, how you talk, Regina. [Limps a step or two forward into the
room.] It's just this as I wanted to say--
REGINA. Don't clatter so with that foot of yours, I tell you! The young master's
asleep upstairs.
ENGSTRAND. Asleep? In the middle of the day?
REGINA. It's no business of yours.
ENGSTRAND. I was out on the loose last night--
REGINA. I can quite believe that.
ENGSTRAND. Yes, we're weak vessels, we poor mortals, my girl--
REGINA. So it seems.
ENGSTRAND. --and temptations are manifold in this world, you see. But all the
same, I was hard at work, God knows, at half-past five this morning.