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Rosmersholm - ACT III Post by :betterprofits4u Category :Plays Author :Henrik Ibsen Date :June 2011 Read :2375

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Rosmersholm - ACT III


(SCENE-The sitting-room at Rosmersholm. The window and the hall-
door are open. The morning sun is seen shining outside. REBECCA,
dressed as in ACT I., is standing by the window, watering and
arranging the flowers. Her work is lying on the armchair. MRS.
HELSETH is going round the room with a feather brush, dusting the

Rebecca (after a short pause). I wonder why Mr. Rosmer is so late
in coming down to-day?

Mrs. Helseth. Oh, he is often as late as this, miss. He is sure
to be down directly.

Rebecca. Have you seen anything of him?

Mrs. Helseth. No, miss, except that as I took his coffee into his
study he went into his bedroom to finish dressing.

Rebecca. The reason I ask is that he was not very well yesterday.

Mrs. Helseth. No, he did not look well. It made me wonder whether
something had gone amiss between him and his brother-in-law.

Rebecca. What do you suppose could go amiss between them?

Mrs. Helseth. I can't say, miss. Perhaps it was that fellow
Mortensgaard set them at loggerheads.

Rebecca. It is quite possible. Do you know anything of this Peter

Mrs. Helseth. Not I! How could you think so, miss--a man like

Rebecca. Because of that horrid paper he edits, you mean?

Mrs. Helseth. Not only because of that, miss. I suppose you have
heard that a certain married woman, whose husband had deserted
her, had a child by him?

Rebecca. I have heard it; but of course that was long before I
came here.

Mrs. Helseth. Bless me, yes--he was quite a young man then. But
she might have had more sense than he had. He wanted to marry
her, too, but that could not be done; and so he had to pay
heavily for it. But since then--my word!--Mortensgaard has risen in
the world. There are lots of people who run after him now.

Rebecca. I believe most of the poor people turn to him first when
they are in any trouble.

Mrs. Helseth. Oh, not only the poor people, miss--

Rebecca (glancing at her unobserved). Indeed?

Mrs. Helseth (standing at the sofa, dusting vigorously). People
you would least expect, sometimes, miss.

Rebecca (arranging the flowers). Yes, but that is only an idea of
yours, Mrs. Helseth. You cannot know that for certain.

Mrs. Helseth. You think I don't know anything about that for
certain, do you, miss? Indeed I do. Because--if I must let out the
secret at last--I carried a letter to Mortensgaard myself once.

Rebecca (turns round). No--did you!

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, that I did. And that letter, let me tell you,
was written here--at Rosmersholm.

Rebecca. Really, Mrs. Helseth?

Mrs. Helseth. I give you my word it was, miss. And it was written
on good note-paper--and sealed with beautiful red sealing-wax.

Rebecca. And you were entrusted with the delivery of it? Dear
Mrs. Helseth, it is not very difficult to guess whom it was from.

Mrs. Helseth. Who, then?

Rebecca. Naturally, it was something that poor Mrs. Rosmer in her
invalid state

Mrs. Helseth. Well, you have mentioned her name, miss--not I.

Rebecca. But what was in the letter?--No, of course, you cannot
know that.

Mrs. Helseth. Hm!--it is just possible I may know, all the same.

Rebecca. Did she tell you what she was writing about, then?

Mrs. Helseth. No, she did not do that. But when Mortensgaard had
read it, he set to work and cross-questioned me, so that I got a
very good idea of what was in it.

Rebecca. What do you think was in it, then? Oh, dear, good Mrs.
Helseth, do tell me!

Mrs. Helseth. Certainly not, miss. Not for worlds.

Rebecca. Oh, you can tell me. You and I are such friends, you

Mrs. Helseth. Heaven forbid I should tell you anything about
that, miss. I shall not tell you anything, except that it was
some dreadful idea that they had gone and put into my poor sick
mistress's head.

Rebecca. Who had put it into her head?

Mrs. Helseth. Wicked people, miss. Wicked people.

Rebecca. Wicked--?

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, I say it again--very wicked people, they must
have been.

Rebecca. And what do you think it could be?

Mrs. Helseth. Oh, I know what I think--but, please Heaven, I'll
keep my mouth shut. At the same time, there is a certain lady in
the town--hm!

Rebecca. I can see you mean Mrs. Kroll.

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, she is a queer one, she is. She has always
been very much on the high horse with me. And she has never
looked with any friendly eye on you, either, miss.

Rebecca. Do you think Mrs. Rosmer was quite in her right mind
when she wrote that letter to Mortensgaard?

Mrs. Helseth. It is so difficult to tell, miss. I certainly don't
think she was quite out of her mind.

Rebecca. But you know she seemed to go quite distracted when she
learnt that she would never be able to have a child. That was
when her madness first showed itself.

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, that had a terrible effect on her, poor lady.

Rebecca (taking up her work, and sitting down on a chair by the
window). But, in other respects, do you not think that was really
a good thing for Mr. Rosmer, Mrs. Helseth?

Mrs. Helseth. What, miss?

Rebecca. That there were no children?

Mrs. Helseth. Hm!--I really do not know what to say to that.

Rebecca. Believe me, it was best for him. Mr. Rosmer was never
meant to be surrounded by crying children.

Mrs. Helseth. Little children do not cry at Rosmersholm, Miss

Rebecca (looking at her). Not cry?

Mrs. Helseth. No. In this house, little children have never been
known to cry, as long as any one can remember.

Rebecca. That is very strange.

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, isn't it, miss? But it runs in the family. And
there is another thing that is just as strange; when they grow up
they never laugh--never laugh, all their lives.

Rebecca. But that would be extraordinary

Mrs. Helseth. Have you ever once heard or seen Mr. Rosmer laugh,

Rebecca. No--now that I think of it, I almost believe you are
right. But I fancy most of the folk hereabouts laugh very little.

Mrs. Helseth. That is quite true. People say it began at
Rosmersholm, and I expect it spread like a sort of infection.

Rebecca. You are a sagacious woman, Mrs. Helseth!

Mrs. Helseth. Oh, you mustn't sit there and make game of me,
miss. (Listens.) Hush, hush--Mr. Rosmer is coming down. He doesn't
like to see brooms about. (Goes out by the door on the right.
ROSMER, with his stick and hat in his hand, comes in from the

Rosmer. Good-morning, Rebecca.

Rebecca. Good-morning, dear. (She goes on working for a little
while in silence.) Are you going out?

Rosmer. Yes.

Rebecca. It is such a lovely day.

Rosmer. You did not come up to see me this morning.

Rebecca. No--I didn't. Not to-day.

Rosmer. Don't you mean to do so in future, either? Rebecca. I
cannot say yet, dear.

Rosmer. Has anything come for me?

Rebecca. The "County News" has come.

Rosmer. The "County News"!

Rebecca. There it is, on the table.

Rosmer (putting down his hat and stick). Is there anything--?

Rebecca. Yes.

Rosmer. And you did not send it up to me

Rebecca. You will read it quite soon enough.

Rosmer. Well, let us see. (Takes up the paper and stands by the
table reading it.) What!--"cannot pronounce too emphatic a warning
against unprincipled deserters." (Looks at her.) They call me a
deserter, Rebecca.

Rebecca. They mention no names at all.

Rosmer. It comes to the same thing. (Goes on reading.) "Secret
traitors to the good cause."--"Judas-like creatures, who
shamelessly confess their apostasy as soon as they think the most
opportune and most profitable moment has arrived."--"A reckless
outrage on the fair fame of honoured ancestors"--"in the
expectation that those who are enjoying a brief spell of
authority will not disappoint them of a suitable reward." (Lays
the paper down on the table.) And they write that of me--these men
who have known me so long and so intimately--write a thing that
they do not even believe themselves! They know there is not a
single word of truth in it--and yet they write it.

Rebecca. There is more of it yet.

Rosmer (taking up the paper again). "Make some allowance for
inexperience and want of judgment"--"a pernicious influence which,
very possibly, has extended even to matters which for the present
we will refrain from publicly discussing or condemning." (Looks
at her.) What does that mean?

Rebecca. That is a hit at me, obviously.

Rosmer (laying down the paper). Rebecca, this is the conduct of
dishonourable men.

Rebecca. Yes, it seems to me they have no right to talk about

Rosmer (walking up and down the room). They must be saved from
this sort of thing. All the good that is in men is destroyed, if
it is allowed to go on. But it shall not be so! How happy--how
happy I should feel if I could succeed in bringing a little light
into all this murky ugliness.

Rebecca (getting up). I am sure of it. There is something great,
something splendid, for you to live for!

Rosmer. Just think of it--if I could wake them to a real knowledge
of themselves--bring them to be angry with and ashamed of
themselves--induce them to be at one with each other in
toleration, in love, Rebecca!

Rebecca. Yes! Give yourself up entirely to that task, and you
will see that you will succeed.

Rosmer. I think it might be done. What happiness it would be to
live one's life, then! No more hateful strife--only emulation;
every eye fixed on the same goal; every man's will, every man's
thoughts moving forward-upward--each in its own inevitable path
Happiness for all--and through the efforts of all! (Looks out of
the window as he speaks, then gives a start and says gloomily:)
Ah! not through me.

Rebecca. Not--not through you?

Rosmer. Nor for me, either.

Rebecca. Oh, John, have no such doubts.

Rosmer. Happiness, dear Rebecca, means first and foremost the
calm, joyous sense of innocence.

Rebecca (staring in front of her). Ah, innocence--

Rosmer. You need fear nothing on that score. But I--

Rebecca. You least of all men!

Rosmer (pointing out of the window). The mill-race.

Rebecca. Oh, John!--(MRS. HELSETH looks in in through the door
on the left.)

Mrs. Helseth. Miss West!

Rebecca. Presently, presently. Not now.

Mrs. Helseth. Just a word, miss! (REBECCA goes to the door. MRS.
HELSETH tells her something, and they whisper together for a
moment; then MRS. HELSETH nods and goes away.)

Rosmer (uneasily). Was it anything for me?

Rebecca. No, only something about the housekeeping. You ought to
go out into the open air now, John dear. You should go for a good
long walk.

Rosmer (taking up his hat). Yes, come along; we will go together.

Rebecca. No, dear, I can't just now. You must go by yourself. But
shake off all these gloomy thoughts--promise me that!

Rosmer. I shall never be able to shake them quite off, I am

Rebecca. Oh, but how can you let such groundless fancies take
such a hold on you!

Rosmer. Unfortunately they are not so groundless as you think,
dear. I have lain, thinking them over, all night. Perhaps Beata
saw things truly after all.

Rebecca. In what way do you mean?

Rosmer. Saw things truly when she believed I loved you, Rebecca.

Rebecca. Truly in THAT respect?

Rosmer (laying his hat down on the table). This is the question I
have been wrestling with--whether we two have deluded ourselves
the whole time, when we have been calling the tie between us
merely friendship.

Rebecca. Do you mean, then, that the right name for it would have

Rosmer. Love. Yes, dear, that is what I mean. Even while Beata
was alive, it was you that I gave all my thoughts to. It was you
alone I yearned for. It was with you that I experienced peaceful,
joyful, passionless happiness. When we consider it rightly,
Rebecca, our life together began like the sweet, mysterious love
of two children for one another--free from desire or any thought
of anything more. Did you not feel it in that way too? Tell me.

Rebecca (struggling with herself). Oh, I do not know what to

Rosmer. And it was this life of intimacy, with one another and
for one another, that we took to be friendship. No, dear--the tie
between us has been a spiritual marriage--perhaps from the very
first day. That is why I am guilty. I had no right to it--no right
to it for Beata's sake.

Rebecca. No right to a happy life? Do you believe that, John?

Rosmer. She looked at the relations between us through the eyes
of HER love--judged them after the nature of HER love. And it was
only natural. She could not have judged them otherwise than she

Rebecca. But how can you so accuse yourself for Beata's

Rosmer. It was for love of me--in her own way that--she threw
herself into the mill-race. That fact is certain, Rebecca. I can
never get beyond that.

Rebecca. Oh, do not think of anything else but the great,
splendid task that you are going to devote your life to!

Rosmer (shaking his head). It can never be carried through. Not
by me. Not after what I know now.

Rebecca. Why not by you?

Rosmer. Because no cause can ever triumph which has its
beginnings in guilt.

Rebecca (impetuously). Oh, these are nothing but prejudices you
have inherited--these doubts, these fears, these scruples! You
have a legend here that your dead return to haunt you in the form
of white horses. This seems to me to be something of that sort.

Rosmer. Be that as it may, what difference does it make if I
cannot shake it off? Believe me, Rebecca, it is as I say--any
cause which is to win a lasting victory must be championed by a
man who is joyous and innocent.

Rebecca. But is joy so absolutely indispensable to you, John?

Rosmer. Joy? Yes, indeed it is.

Rebecca. To you, who never laugh?

Rosmer. Yes, in spite of that. Believe me, I have a great
capacity for joy.

Rebecca. Now you really must go out, dear--for a long walk--a
really long one, do you hear? There is your hat, and there is
your stick.

Rosmer (taking them from her). Thank you. And you won't come too?

Rebecca. No, no, I can't come now.

Rosmer. Very well. You are none the less always with me now.
(Goes out by the entrance hall. After a moment REBECCA peeps out
from behind the door which he has left open. Then she goes to the
door on the right, which she opens.)

Rebecca (in a whisper). Now, Mrs. Helseth. You can let him come
in now. (Crosses to the window. A moment later, KROLL comes in
from the right. He bows to her silently and formally and keeps
his hat in his hand.)

Kroll. Has he gone, then?

Rebecca. Yes.

Kroll. Does he generally stay out long?

Rebecca. Yes. But to-day he is in a very uncertain mood--so, if
you do not want to meet him--

Kroll. Certainly not. It is you I wish to speak to--and quite

Rebecca. Then we had better make the best of our time. Please sit
down. (She sits down in an easy-chair by the window. KROLL takes
a chair beside her.)

Kroll. Miss West, you can scarcely have any idea how deeply
pained and unhappy I am over this revolution that has taken place
in John Rosmer's ideas.

Rebecca. We were prepared for that being so--at first.

Kroll. Only at first?

Rosmer. Mr. Rosmer hoped confidently that sooner or later you
would take your place beside him.

Kroll. I?

Rebecca. You and all his other friends.

Kroll. That should convince you how feeble his judgment is on any
matter concerning his fellow-creatures and the affairs of real

Rebecca. In any case, now that he feels the absolute necessity of
cutting himself free on all sides

Kroll. Yes; but, let me tell you, that is exactly what I do not

Rebecca. What do you believe, then?

Kroll. I believe it is you that are at the bottom of the whole

Rebecca. Your wife put that into your head, Mr. Kroll.

Kroll. It does not matter who put it into my head. The point is
this, that I feel grave doubts--exceedingly grave doubts--when I
recall and think over the whole of your behaviour since you came

Rebecca (looking at him). I have a notion that there was a time
when you had an exceedingly strong BELIEF in me, dear Mr. Kroll--I
might almost say, a warm belief.

Kroll (in a subdued voice). I believe you could bewitch any one--
if you set yourself to do it.

Rebecca. And you say I set myself to do it!

Kroll. Yes, you did. I am no longer such a simpleton as to
suppose that sentiment entered into your little game at all. You
simply wanted to secure yourself admission to Rosmersholm--to
establish yourself here. That was what I was to help you to. I
see it now.

Rebecca. Then you have completely forgotten that it was Beata
that begged and entreated me to come and live here.

Kroll. Yes, because you had bewitched her too. Are you going to
pretend that friendship is the name for what she came to feel
towards you? It was idolatry--adoration. It degenerated into a--
what shall I call, it?--a sort of desperate passion. Yes, that is
just the word for it.

Rebecca. Have the goodness to remember the condition your sister
was in. As far as I am concerned I do not think I can be said to
be particularly emotional in any way.

Kroll. No, you certainly are not. But that makes you all the more
dangerous to those whom you wish to get into your power.
It comes easy to you to act with deliberation and careful
calculation, just because you have a cold heart.

Rebecca. Cold? Are you so sure of that?

Kroll. I am certain of it now. Otherwise you could not have
pursued your object here so unswervingly, year after year. Yes,
yes--you have gained what you wanted. You have got him and
everything else here into your power. But, to carry out your
schemes, you have not scrupled to make him unhappy.

Rebecca. That is not true. It is not I; it is you yourself that
have made him unhappy.

Kroll. I!

Rebecca. Yes, by leading him to imagine that he was responsible
for the terrible end that overtook Beata.

Kroll. Did that affect him so deeply, then?

Rebecca. Of course. A man of such gentle disposition as he--

Kroll. I imagined that one of your so-called "emancipated" men
would know how to overcome any scruples. But there it is! Oh,
yes--as a matter of fact it turned out just as I expected. The
descendant of the men who are looking at us from these walls need
not think he can break loose from what has been handed down as an
inviolable inheritance from generation to generation.

Rebecca (looking thoughtfully in front of her). John Rosmer's
nature is deeply rooted in his ancestors. That is certainly very

Kroll. Yes, and you ought to have taken that into consideration,
if you had had any sympathy for him. But I dare say you were
incapable of that sort of consideration. Your starting-point is
so very widely-removed from his, you see.

Rebecca. What do you mean by my starting-point?

Kroll. I mean the starting-point of origin--of parentage, Miss

Rebecca. I see. Yes, it is quite true that my origin is very
humble. But nevertheless--

Kroll. I am not alluding to rank or position. I am thinking of
the moral aspect of your origin.

Rebecca. Of my origin? In what respect?

Kroll. In respect of your birth generally.

Rebecca. What are you saying!

Kroll. I am only saying it because it explains the whole of your

Rebecca. I do not understand. Be so good as to tell me exactly
what you mean.

Kroll. I really thought you did not need telling. Otherwise it
would seem a very strange thing that you let yourself be adopted
by Dr. West.

Rebecca (getting up). Oh, that is it! Now I understand.

Kroll. And took his name. Your mother's name was Gamvik.

Rebecca (crossing the room). My father's name was Gamvik, Mr.

Kroll. Your mother's occupation must, of course, have brought her
continually into contact with the district physician.

Rebecca. You are quite right.

Kroll. And then he takes you to live with him, immediately upon
your mother's death. He treats you harshly, and yet you stay with
him. You know that he will not leave you a single penny--as a
matter of fact you only got a box of books--and yet you endure
living with him, put up with his behaviour, and nurse him to the

Rebecca (comes to the table and looks at him scornfully). And my
doing all that makes it clear to you that there was something
immoral--something criminal about my birth!

Kroll. What you did for him, I attributed to an unconscious
filial instinct. And, as far as the rest of it goes, I consider
that the whole of your conduct has been the outcome of your

Rebecca (hotly). But there is not a single word of truth in what
you say! And I can prove it! Dr. West had not come to Finmark
when I was born.

Kroll. Excuse me, Miss West. He went there a year before you were
born. I have ascertained that.

Rebecca. You are mistaken, I tell you! You are absolutely

Kroll. You said here, the day before yesterday, that you were
twenty-nine--going on for thirty.

Rebecca. Really? Did I say that?

Kroll. Yes, you did. And from that I can calculate--

Rebecca. Stop! That will not help you to calculate. For, I may as
well tell you at once, I am a year older than I give myself out
to be.

Kroll (smiling incredulously). Really? That is something new. How
is that?

Rebecca. When I had passed my twenty-fifth birthday, I thought I
was getting altogether too old for an unmarried girl, so I
resolved to tell a lie and take a year off my age.

Kroll. You--an emancipated woman--cherishing prejudices as to the
marriageable age!

Rebecca. I know it was a silly thing to do--and ridiculous, too.
But every one has some prejudice or another that they cannot get
quite rid of. We are like that.

Kroll. Maybe. But my calculation may be quite correct, all the
same; because Dr. West was up in Finmark for a flying visit the
year before he was appointed.

Rebecca (impetuously). That is not true

Kroll. Isn't it?

Rebecca. No. My mother never mentioned it.

Kroll. Didn't she, really!

Rebecca. No, never. Nor Dr. West, either. Never a word of it.

Kroll. Might that not be because they both had good reason to
jump over a year?--@just as you have done yourself, Miss West?
Perhaps it is a family failing.

Rebecca (walking about, wringing her hands). It is impossible. It
is only something you want to make me believe. Nothing in the
world will make me believe it. It cannot be true! Nothing in the

Kroll (getting up). But, my dear Miss West, why in Heaven's name
do you take it in this way? You quite alarm me! What am I to
believe and think?

Rebecca. Nothing. Neither believe nor think anything.

Kroll. Then you really must give me some explanation of your
taking this matter--this possibility--so much to heart.

Rebecca (controlling herself). It is quite obvious, I should
think, Mr. Kroll. I have no desire for people here to think me an
illegitimate child.

Kroll. Quite so. Well, well, let us be content with your
explanation, for the present. But you see that is another point
on which you have cherished a certain prejudice.

Rebecca. Yes, that is quite true.

Kroll. And it seems to me that very much the same applies to most
of this "emancipation" of yours, as you call it. Your reading
has introduced you to a hotch-potch of new ideas and opinions;
you have made a certain acquaintance with researches that are
going on in various directions--researches that seem to you to
upset a good many ideas that people have hitherto considered
incontrovertible and unassailable. But all this has never gone
any further than knowledge in your case, Miss West--a mere matter
of the intellect. It has not got into your blood.

Rebecca (thoughtfully). Perhaps you are right.

Kroll. Yes, only test yourself, and you will see! And if it is
true in your case, it is easy to recognise how true it must be in
John Rosmer's. Of course it is madness, pure and simple. He will
be running headlong to his ruin if he persists in coming openly
forward and proclaiming himself an apostate! Just think of it--he,
with his shy disposition! Think of HIM disowned--hounded out of
the circle to which he has always belonged--exposed to the
uncompromising attacks of all the best people in the place.
Nothing would ever make him the man to endure that.

Rebecca. He MUST endure it! It is too late now for him to draw

Kroll. Not a bit too late--not by any means too late. What has
happened can be hushed up--or at any rate can be explained away as
a purely temporary, though regrettable, aberration. But--there is
one step that it is absolutely essential he should take.

Rebecca. And that is?

Kroll. You must get him to legalise his position, Miss West.

Rebecca. The position in which he stands to me?

Kroll. Yes. You must see that you get him to do that.

Rebecca. Then you can't rid yourself of the conviction that the
relations between us need "legalising," as you say?

Kroll. I do not wish to go any more precisely into the question.
But I certainly have observed that the conditions under which it
always seems easiest for people to abandon all their so-called
prejudices are when--ahem!

Rebecca. When it is a question of the relations between a man and
a woman, I suppose you mean?

Kroll. Yes--to speak candidly--that is what I mean.

Rebecca (walks across the room and looks out of the window). I
was on the point of saying that I wish you had been right, Mr.

Kroll. What do you mean by that? You say it so strangely!

Rebecca. Oh, nothing! Do not let us talk any more about it. Ah,
there he is!

Kroll. Already! I will go, then.

Rebecca (turning to him). No--stay here, and you will hear

Kroll. Not now. I do not think I could bear to see him.

Rebecca. I beg you to stay. Please do, or you will regret it
later. It is the last time I shall ever ask you to do anything.

Kroll (looks at her in surprise, and lays his hat down). Very
well, Miss West. It shall be as you wish. (A short pause. Then
ROSMER comes in from the hall.)

Rosmer (stops at the door, as he sees KROLL). What! you here?

Rebecca. He wanted to avoid meeting you, John.

Kroll (involuntarily). "John?"

Rebecca. Yes, Mr. Kroll. John and I call each other by our
Christian names. That is a natural consequence of the relations
between us.

Kroll. Was that what I was to hear if I stayed?

Rebecca. Yes, that and something else.

Rosmer (coming into the room). What is the object of your visit
here to-day?

Kroll. I wanted to make one more effort to stop you, and win you

Rosmer (pointing to the newspaper). After that?

Kroll. I did not write it.

Rosmer. Did you take any steps to prevent its appearing?

Kroll. That would have been acting unjustifiably towards the
cause I serve. And, besides that, I had no power to prevent it.

Rebecca (tears the newspaper into pieces, which she crumples up
and throws into the back of the stove). There! Now it is out of
sight; let it be out of mind too. Because there will be no more
of that sort of thing, John.

Kroll. Indeed, I wish you could ensure that.

Rebecca. Come, and let us sit down, dear--all three of us. Then I
will tell you all about it.

Rosmer (sitting down involuntarily). What has come over you,
Rebecca? You are so unnaturally calm--What is it?

Rebecca. The calmness of determination. (Sits down.) Please sit
down too, Mr. Kroll. (He takes a seat on the couch.)

Rosmer. Determination, you say. Determination to do what?

Rebecca. I want to give you back what you need in order to live
your life. You shall have your happy innocence back, dear friend.

Rosmer. But what do you mean?

Rebecca. I will just tell you what happened. That is all that is

Rosmer. Well?

Rebecca. When I came down here from Finmark with Dr. West, it
seemed to me that a new, great, wide world was opened to me. Dr.
West had given me an erratic sort of education--had taught me all
the odds and ends that I knew about life then. (Has an evident
struggle with herself, and speaks in barely audible tones.) And

Kroll. And then?

Rosmer. But, Rebecca--I know all this.

Rebecca (collecting herself). Yes--that is true enough. You know
it only too well.

Kroll (looking fixedly at her). Perhaps it would be better if I
left you.

Rebecca. No, stay where you are, dear Mr. Kroll. (To ROSMER.)
Well, this was how it was. I wanted to play my part in the new
day that was dawning--to have a share in all the new ideas. Mr.
Kroll told me one day that Ulrik Brendel had had a great
influence over you once, when you were a boy. I thought it might
be possible for me to resume that influence here.

Rosmer. Did you come here with a covert design?

Rebecca. What I wanted was that we two should go forward together
on the road towards freedom--always forward, and further forward!
But there was that gloomy, insurmountable barrier between you and
a full, complete emancipation.

Rosmer. What barrier do you mean?

Rebecca. I mean, John, that you could never have attained freedom
except in the full glory of the sunshine. And, instead of that,
here you were--ailing and languishing in the gloom of such a
marriage as yours.

Rosmer. You have never spoken to me of my marriage in that way,
before to-day.

Rebecca. No, I did not dare, for fear of frightening you.

Kroll (nodding to ROSMER). You hear that!

Rebecca (resuming). But I saw quite well where your salvation
lay--your only salvation. And so I acted.

Rosmer. How do you mean--you acted?

Kroll. Do you mean that?

Rebecca. Yes, John. (Gets up.) No, do not get up. Nor you either,
Mr. Kroll. But we must let in. the daylight now. It was not you,
John. You are innocent. It was I that lured--that ended by luring--
Beata into the tortuous path--

Rosmer (springing up). Rebecca!

Kroll (getting up). Into the tortuous path!

Rebecca. Into the path that--led to the mill-race. Now you know
it, both of you.

Rosmer (as if stunned). But I do not understand--What is she
standing there saying? I do not understand a word--

Kroll. Yes, yes. I begin to understand.

Rosmer. But what did you do? What did you find to tell her?
Because there was nothing--absolutely nothing!

Rebecca. She got to know that you were determined to emancipate
yourself from all your old prejudices.

Rosmer. Yes, but at that time I had come to no decision.

Rebecca. I knew that you soon would come to one.

Kroll (nodding to ROSMER). Aha!

Rosmer. Well--and what more? I want to know everything now.

Rebecca. Some time afterwards, I begged and implored her to let
me leave Rosmersholm.

Rosmer. Why did you want to leave here--then?

Rebecca. I did not want to. I wanted to remain where I was. But I
told her that it would be best for us all if I went away in time.
I let her infer that if I remained here any longer I could not
tell what-what-might happen.

Rosmer. That is what you said and did, then?

Rebecca. Yes, John.

Rosmer. That is what you referred to when you said that you

Rebecca (in a broken voice). Yes, that was it.

Rosmer (after a pause). Have you confessed everything now,

Rebecca. Yes.

Kroll. Not everything.

Rebecca (looking at him in terror). What else can there be?

Kroll. Did you not eventually lead Beata to believe that it was
necessary--not merely that it should be best--but that it was
necessary, both for your own sake and for John's, that you should
go away somewhere else as soon as possible?--Well?

Rebecca (speaking low and indistinctly). Perhaps I did say
something of the sort.

Rosmer (sinking into a chair by the window). And she, poor sick
creature, believed in this tissue of lies and deceit! Believed in
it so completely--so absolutely! (Looks up at REBECCA.) And she
never came to me about it--never said a word! Ah, Rebecca--I see it
in your face--YOU dissuaded her from doing so.

Rebecca. You know she had taken it into her head that she, a
childless wife, had no right to be here. And so she persuaded
herself that her duty to you was to give place to another.

Rosmer. And you--you did nothing to rid her mind of such an idea?

Rebecca. No.

Kroll. Perhaps you encouraged her in the idea? Answer! Did you
not do so?

Rebecca. That was how she understood me, I believe.

Rosmer. Yes, yes--and she bowed to your will in everything. And so
she gave place. (Springs up.) How could you--how could you go on
with this terrible tragedy!

Rebecca. I thought there were two lives here to choose between,

Kroll (severely and with authority). You had no right to make any
such choice.

Rebecca (impetuously). Surely you do not think I acted with cold
and calculating composure! I am a different woman now, when I am
telling you this, from what I was then. And I believe two
different kinds of will can exist at the same time in one person.
I wanted Beata away--in one way or the other; but I never thought
it would happen, all the same. At every step I ventured and
risked, I seemed to hear a voice in me crying: "No further! Not
a step further!" And yet, at the same time, I COULD not stop. I
HAD to venture a little bit further--just one step. And then
another--and always another--and at last it happened. That is how
such things go of themselves. (A short silence.)

Rosmer (to REBECCA). And how do you think it will go with YOU in
the future?--after this?

Rebecca. Things must go with me as they can. It is of very little

Kroll. Not a word suggestive of remorse! Perhaps you feel none?

Rebecca (dismissing his remark coldly). Excuse me, Mr. Kroll,
that is a matter that is no concern of any one else's. That is an
account I must settle with myself.

Kroll (to ROSMER). And this is the woman you have been living
under the same roof with--in relations of the completest
confidence. (Looks up at the portraits on the walls.) If only
those that are gone could look down now!

Rosmer. Are you going into the town?

Kroll (taking up his hat). Yes. The sooner the better.

Rosmer (taking his hat also). Then I will go with you.

Kroll. You will! Ah, I thought we had not quite lost you.

Rosmer. Come, then, Kroll. Come! (They both go out into the hall
without looking at REBECCA. After a minute REBECCA goes
cautiously to the window and peeps out between the flowers.)

Rebecca (speaking to herself, half aloud). Not over the bridge
to-day either. He is going round. Never over the millrace--never.
(Comes away from the window.) As I thought! (She goes over to the
bell, and rings it. Soon afterwards MRS. HELSETH comes in from
the right.)

Mrs. Helseth. What is it, miss?

Rebecca. Mrs. Helseth, will you be so good as to fetch my
travelling trunk down from the loft?

Mrs. Helseth. Your trunk?

Rebecca. Yes, the brown hair-trunk, you know.

Mrs. Helseth. Certainly, miss. But, bless my soul, are you going
away on a journey, miss?

Rebecca. Yes--I am going away on a journey, Mrs. Helseth.

Mrs. Helseth. And immediately!

Rebecca. As soon as I have packed.

Mrs. Helseth. I never heard of such a thing! But you are coming
back again soon, I suppose, miss?

Rebecca. I am never coming back again.

Mrs. Helseth. Never! But, my goodness, what is to become of us at
Rosmersholm if Miss West is not here any longer? Just as
everything was making poor Mr. Rosmer so happy and comfortable!

Rebecca. Yes, but to-day I have had a fright, Mrs. Helseth.

Mrs. Helseth. A fright! Good heavens-how?

Rebecca. I fancy I have had a glimpse of the White Horse.

Mrs. Helseth. Of the White Horse! In broad daylight!

Rebecca. Ah! they are out both early and late, the White Horses
of Rosmersholm. (Crosses the room.) Well--we were speaking of my
trunk, Mrs. Helseth.

Mrs. Helseth. Yes, miss. Your trunk.

(They both go out to the right.)

Content of ACT III (Henrik Ibsen's play/drama: Rosmersholm)

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Rosmersholm - ACT IV Rosmersholm - ACT IV

Rosmersholm - ACT IV
ACT IV(SCENE.-The same room in the late evening. The lamp, with a shadeon it, is burning on the table. REBECCA is standing by the table,packing some small articles in a travelling-bag. Her cloak, hat,and the white crochetted shawl are hanging on the back of thecouch. MRS. HELSETH comes in from the right.)Mrs. Helseth (speaking in low tones and with a reserved manner).Yes, all your things have been taken down, miss. They are in thekitchen passage.Rebecca. Thank you. You have ordered the carriage?Mrs. Helseth. Yes, miss. The coachman wants to know what time heshall bring it round.Rebecca. I think at about eleven

Rosmersholm - ACT II Rosmersholm - ACT II

Rosmersholm - ACT II
ACT II(SCENE. ROSMER'S study. The door into it is in the left-handwall. At the back of the room is a doorway with a curtain drawnback from it, leading to his bedroom. On the right, a window, infront of which is a writing-table strewn with books and papers.Bookshelves and cupboards on the walls. Homely furniture. On theleft, an old-fashioned sofa with a table in front of it. ROSMER,wearing a smoking-jacket, is sitting at the writing-table on ahigh-backed chair. He is cutting and turning over the leaves of amagazine, and dipping into it here and there. A knock is heard atthe door on