Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 73
Publication Date: This translation by William Archer, 1899
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Henrik Ibsen's last play and his most confessional work, it is an examination of the problem that had obsessed him throughout his career: the struggle between art and life. Arnold Rubek, a famous sculptor, is vacationing at a mountain resort. There he meets Irene von Satow, a former model of his, whose love he had rejected years ago because of his plan to consecrate his life to his art.
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[Outside the Bath Hotel. A portion of the main building can be seen to the right. An open, park-like place with a fountain, groups of fine old trees, and shrubbery. To the left, a little pavilion almost covered with ivy and Virginia creeper. A table and chair outside it. At the back a view over the fjord, right out to sea, with headlands and small islands in the distance. It is a calm, warm and sunny summer morning.
[PROFESSOR RUBEK and MRS. MAIA RUBEK are sitting in basket chairs beside a covered table on the lawn outside the hotel, having just breakfasted. They have champagne and seltzer water on the table, and each has a newspaper. PROFESSOR RUBEK is an elderly man of distinguished appearance, wearing a black velvet jacket, and otherwise in light summer attire. MAIA is quite young, with a vivacious expression and lively, mocking eyes, yet with a suggestion of fatigue. She wears an elegant travelling dress.
MAIA: [Sits for some time as though waiting for the PROFESSOR to say something, then lets her paper drop with a deep sigh.] Oh dear, dear, dear--!
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [Looks up from his paper.] Well, Maia? What is the matter with you?
MAIA: Just listen how silent it is here.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [Smiles indulgently.] And you can hear that?
PROFESSOR RUBEK: The silence?
MAIA: Yes, indeed I can.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: Well, perhaps you are right, mein Kind. One can really hear the silence.
MAIA: Heaven knows you can--when it's so absolutely overpowering as it is here---
PROFESSOR RUBEK: Here at the Baths, you mean?
MAIA: Wherever you go at home here, it seems to me. Of course there was noise and bustle enough in the town. But I don't know how it is-- even the noise and bustle seemed to have something dead about it.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [With a searching glance.] You don't seem particularly glad to be at home again, Maia?
MAIA: [Looks at him.] Are you glad?
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [Evasively.] I---?
MAIA: Yes, you, who have been so much, much further away than I. Are you entirely happy, now that you are at home again?
PROFESSOR RUBEK: No--to be quite candid--perhaps not entirely happy---
MAIA: [With animation.] There, you see! Didn't I know it!
PROFESSOR RUBEK: I have been too long abroad. I have drifted quite away from all this --this home life.
MAIA: [Eagerly, drawing her chair nearer him.] There, you see, Rubek! We had much better get away again! As quickly as ever we can.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [Somewhat impatiently.] Well, well, that is what we intend to do, my dear Maia. You know that.
MAIA: But why not now--at once? Only think how cozy and comfortable we could be down there, in our lovely new house---
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [Smiles indulgently.] We ought by rights to say: our lovely new home.
MAIA: [Shortly.] I prefer to say house--let us keep to that.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: [His eyes dwelling on her.] You are really a strange little person.
MAIA: Am I so strange?
PROFESSOR RUBEK: Yes, I think so.
MAIA: But why, pray? Perhaps because I'm not desperately in love with mooning about up here---?
PROFESSOR RUBEK: Which of us was it that was absolutely bent on our coming north this summer?
MAIA: I admit, it was I.
PROFESSOR RUBEK: It was certainly not I, at any rate.
MAIA: But good heavens, who could have dreamt that everything would have altered so terribly at home here? And in so short a time, too! Why, it is only just four years since I went away---
PROFESSOR RUBEK: Since you were married, yes.
MAIA: Married? What has that to do with the matter?