[Exit Kristin. The sun has risen and lights up the scene. Presently
the sunshine comes in through windows at an angle. Jean goes
to door and motions. Enter Julie, dressed for travelling, carrying
a small bird cage covered with a cloth, which she places on
JULIE. I am ready!
JEAN. Hush, Kristin is stirring!
[Julie frightened and nervous throughout following scene.]
JULIE. Does she suspect anything?
JEAN. She knows nothing. But, good heavens, how you look!
JEAN. You are pale as a ghost.
JULIE [Sighs]. Am I? Oh, the sun is rising, the sun!
JEAN. And now the troll's spell is broken.
JULIE. The trolls have indeed been at work this night. But,
Jean, listen-come with me, I have money enough.
JULIE. Enough to start with. Go with me for I can't go alone-today,
midsummer day. Think of the stuffy train, packed in with the
crowds of people staring at one; the long stops at the stations
when one would be speeding away. No, I cannot, I cannot! And
then the memories, childhood's memories of midsummer day-the
church decorated with birch branches and syringa blossoms; the
festive dinner table with relations and friends, afternoon in
the park, music, dancing, flowers and games-oh, one may fly,
fly, but anguish and remorse follow in the pack wagon.
JEAN. I'll go with you-if we leave instantly-before it's too
JULIE. Go and dress then. [She takes up bird cage.]
JEAN. But no baggage! That would betray us.
JULIE. Nothing but what we can take in the coupÈ.
[Jean has picked up his hat.]
JEAN. What have you there?
JULIE. It's only my canary. I cannot, will not, leave it behind.
JEAN. So we are to lug a bird cage with us. Are you crazy? Let
go of it.
JULIE. It is all I take from home. The only living creature
that cares for me. Don't be hard-let me take it with me.
JEAN. Let go the cage and don't talk so loud. Kristin will hear
JULIE. No, I will not leave it to strange hands. I would rather
see it dead.
JEAN. Give me the creature. I'll fix it.
JULIE. Yes, but don't hurt it. Don't-no, I cannot.
JEAN. Let go. I can.
JULIE [Takes the canary from cage]. Oh, my little siren. Must
your mistress part with you?
JEAN. Be so good as not to make a scene. Your welfare, your
life, is at stake. So-quickly. [Snatches bird from her and goes
to chopping block and takes up meat chopper]. You should have
learned how to chop off a chicken's head instead of shooting
with a revolver. [He chops off the bird's head]. Then you wouldn't
swoon at a drop of blood.
JULIE [Shrieks]. Kill me, too. Kill me! You who can butcher
an innocent bird without a tremble. Oh, how I shrink from you.
I curse the moment I first saw you. I curse the moment I was
conceived in my mother's womb.
JEAN. Come now! What good is your cursing, let's be off.
JULIE [Looks toward chopping block as though obsessed by thought
of the slain bird]. No, I cannot. I must see- -hush, a carriage
is passing. Don't you think I can stand the sight of blood?
You think I am weak. Oh, I should like to see your blood flowing-to
see your brain on the chopping block, all your sex swimming
in a sea of blood. I believe I could drink out of your skull,
bathe my feet in your breast and eat your heart cooked whole.
You think I am weak; you believe that I love you because my
life has mingled with yours; you think that I would carry your
offspring under my heart, and nourish it with my blood-give
birth to your child and take your name! Hear, you, what are
you called, what is your family name? But I'm sure you have
none. I should be "Mrs. Gate-Keeper," perhaps, or
"Madame Dumpheap." You dog with my collar on, you
lackey with my father's hallmark on your buttons. I play rival
to my cook-oh-oh-oh! You believe that I am cowardly and want
to run away. No, now I shall stay. The thunder may roll. My
father will return-and find his desk broken into-his money gone!
Then he will ring-that bell. A scuffle with his servant-then
sends for the police-and then I tell all-everything! Oh, it
will be beautiful to have it all over with-if only that were
the end! And my father-he'll have a shock and die, and then
that will be the end. Then they will place his swords across
the coffin-and the Count's line is extinct. The serf's line
will continue in an orphanage, win honors in the gutter and
end in prison.
JEAN. Now it is the king's blood talking. Splendid, Miss Julie!
Only keep the miller in his sack.
[Enter Kristin with prayer-book in hand.]
JULIE [Hastening to Kristin and falls in her arms as though
seeking protection]. Help me, Kristin, help me against this
KRISTIN [Cold and unmoved]. What kind of performance is this
for a holy day morning? What does this mean-this noise and fuss?
From August Strindberg's MISS JULIE, written in 1888, first
performed in Stockholm in 1906