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Miss Julie (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback) by August Strindberg 978-0486272818
SparkNotes : Plot Overview * Character List * Analysis of Major Characters * Themes, Motifs, and Symbols * Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part IV Part VI Part VII * Important Quotations Explained * Key Facts * Study Questions and Essay Topics * Quiz * Suggestions for Further Reading
translation -- English adaptation by Craig Lucas. (where?) + Miss Julie * August Strindberg, adaptation by David French Talonbooks Paperback (96 pages) September 2006
French scenes --
Monologues -- acting pages
acting2 class : World of the Play (IV. 5 Approaches to Acting by David Kaplan) -- analysis homework (starting -- lessons 9, 10 + )
Methods of Analysis : methods page (script.vtheatre.net)
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Sophocles * Oedipus
Shakespeare * Hamlet
Chekhov * 3 Sisters
Wilde * The Importance of Being Earnest
Beckett * Godot
... Klimt [ symbolism ] flickr.com/photos/vtheatre *
... script.vtheatre.net/doc/julie analysis pages
Like art in general, the theatre has long seemed to me a Biblia pauperum,* a Bible in pictures for those who cannot read what is written or printed, and the dramatist a lay preacher who peddles the ideas of the day in a popular form, so popular that the middle classes which form the bulk of the audience can, without too much mental effort, understand what is going on. That is why the theatre has always been an elementary school for the young, the semi-educated, and women, who still retain the primitive capacity for deceiving themselves or for letting themselves be deceived, that is, for succumbing to illusions and to the hypnotic suggestions of the author. Nowadays, therefore, when the rudimentary and undeveloped kind of thinking that takes the form of fantasy appears to be evolving into reflection, investigation, and analysis, it seems to me that the theatre, like religion, is about to be discarded as a dying form of art, which we lack the necessary preconditions to enjoy. This supposition is supported by the serious theatrical crisis now prevailing throughout Europe, and especially by the fact that in England and Germany, those cultural heartlands which have nurtured the greatest thinkers of our age, the drama is dead, along with most of the other fine arts.comments : work in (directing/acting) class the last page!
Again, in other countries people have believed in the possibility of creating a new drama by filling the old forms with new contents; but this approach has failed, partly because there has not yet been time to popularize the new ideas, so the public has not been able to understand what was involved; partly because party differences have so inflamed emotions that pure, dispassionate enjoyment has become impossible in a situation where people's innermost thoughts have been challenged and an applauding or whistling majority has brought pressure to bear on them as openly as it can do in a theatre; and partly because we have not yet found the new form for the new content, and the new wine has burst the old bottles.
In the following play I have not tried to accomplish anything new, for that is impossible, but merely to modernize the form according to what I believe are the demands a contemporary audience would make of this art. To that end I have chosen, or let myself be moved by, a theme that may be said to lie outside current party strife, for the problem of rising or falling on the social ladder, of higher or lower, better or worse, man or woman is, has been, and always will be of lasting interest. When I took this theme from a real incident* that I heard about some years ago, it seemed to me a suitable subject for a tragedy, not least because of the deep impression it made on me; for it still strikes us as tragic to see someone favoured by fortune go under, and even more to see a whole family die out. But the time may come when we shall have become so highly developed, so enlightened, that we shall be able to look with indifference at the brutal, cynical, heartless drama that life presents, when we shall have laid aside those inferior, unreliable instruments of thought called feelings, which will become superfluous and harmful once our organs of judgement have matured. The fact that the heroine arouses our pity merely depends on our weakness in not being able to resist the fear that the same fate might overtake us. A highly sensitive spectator may still not feel that such pity is enough, while the man with faith in the future will probably insist on some positive proposals to remedy the evil, some kind of programme, in other words. But in the first place there is no such thing as absolute evil, for after all, if one family falls another now has the good fortune to rise, and this alternate rising and falling is one of life's greatest pleasures, since happiness is only relative. And of the man with a programme who wants to remedy the unpleasant fact that the bird of prey eats the dove and lice eat the bird of prey, I would ask: why should it be remedied? Life is not so idiotically mathematical that only the big eat the small; it is just as common for a bee to kill a lion or at least to drive it mad.
If my tragedy makes a tragic impression on many people, that is their fault. When we become as strong as the first French revolutionaries, we shall feel as much unqualified pleasure and relief at seeing the thinning out in our royal parks of rotten, superannuated trees, which have stood too long in the way of others with just as much right to their time in the sun, as it does to see an incurably ill man finally die. Recently, my tragedy The Father was criticized for being so tragic, as though tragedies were supposed to be merry.* One also hears pretentious talk about the joy of life,* and theatre managers commission farces as though this joy of life lay in behaving stupidly and depicting people as if they were all afflicted with St Vitus' dance or congenital idiocy.* I find the joy of life in its cruel and powerful struggles, and my enjoyment comes from getting to know something, from learning something. That is why I have chosen an unusual case, but an instructive one, an exception, in other words, but an important exception that proves the rule, even though it may offend those who love the commonplace. What will also bother simple minds is that my motivation of the action is not simple, and that there is not a single point of view. Every event in life--and this is a fairly new discovery!--is usually the result of a whole series of more or less deepseated motives, but the spectator usually selects the one that he most easily understands or that best flatters his powers of judgement. Someone commits suicide. 'Business worries', says the business man. 'Unrequited love', say the ladies. 'Physical illness', says the sick man, 'Shattered hopes', says the failure. But it may well be that the motive lay in all of these things, or in none of them, and that the dead man concealed his real motive by emphasizing quite a different one that shed the best possible light on his memory.
I have motivated Miss Julie's tragic fate with an abundance of circumstances: her mother's 'bad' basic instincts; her father's improper bringing-up of the girl; her own nature and the influence her fianc§Ű's suggestions had on her weak, degenerate brain; also, and more immediately: the festive atmosphere of Midsummer Night; her father's absence; her period; her preoccupation with animals; the intoxicating effect of the dance; the light summer night; the powerful aphrodisiac influence of the flowers; and finally chance that drives these two people together in a room apart, plus the boldness of the aroused man.
So my treatment has not been one-sidedly physiological nor obsessively psychological. I have not attributed everything to what she inherited from her mother nor put the whole blame on her period, nor just settled for 'immorality', nor merely preached morality--lacking a priest, I've left that to the cook!
I flatter myself that this multiplicity of motives is in tune with the times. And if others have anticipated me in this, then I flatter myself that I am not alone in my paradoxes, as all discoveries are called.
As regards characterization, I have made my figures fairly 'characterless' for the following reasons:
Over the years the word 'character' has taken on many meanings. Originally it no doubt meant the dominant trait in a person's soulcomplex, and was confused with temperament. Later it became the middle-class expression for an automaton, so that an individual whose nature had once and for all set firm or adapted to a certain role in life, who had stopped growing, in short, was called a character, whereas someone who goes on developing, the skilful navigator on the river of life who does not sail with cleated sheets but tacks with every change in the wind in order to luff again, was called characterless. In a derogatory sense, of course, because he was so hard to catch, classify, and keep track of. This bourgeois concept of the immobility of the soul was transferred to the stage, which has always been dominated by the bourgeoisie. There a character became a man who was fixed and set, who invariably appeared drunk or comical or sad; and all that was needed to characterize him was to give him a physical defect, a club-foot, a wooden leg, a red nose, or some continually repeated phrase such as 'That's capital'* or ' Barkis is wilfin',* etc. This elementary way of viewing people is still to be found in the great Moli§Úre. Harpagon* is merely a miser, although he could have been both a miser and an excellent financier, a splendid father, and a good citizen; and even worse, his 'defect' is extremely advantageous to his daughter and his son-in-law, who are his heirs and therefore ought not to criticize him even if they do have to wait a while before jumping into bed together. So I do not believe in simple stage characters, and the summary judgements that authors pass on people--this one is stupid, that one brutal, this one jealous, that one mean--ought to be challenged by naturalists, who know how richly complicated the soul is, and who are aware that 'vice' has a reverse side, which is very much like virtue.
As modern characters, living in an age of transition more urgently hysterical at any rate than the one that preceded it, I have depicted the figures in my play as more split and vacillating, a mixture of the old and the new, and it seems to me not improbable that modern ideas may also have permeated down by way of newspapers and kitchen talk to the level of the servants. That is why the valet belches forth certain modern ideas from within his inherited slave's soul. And I would remind those who take exception to the characters in our modern plays talking Darwinism,* while holding up Shakespeare to our attention as a model, that the gravedigger in Hamlet talks the then-fashionable philosophy of Giordano Bruno* ( Bacon),* which is even more improbable since the means of disseminating ideas were fewer then than now. Besides, the fact of the matter is, 'Darwinism' has existed in every age, ever since Moses's successive history of creation from the lower animals up to man; it is just that we have discovered and formulated it now!
My souls (characters) are conglomerates of past and present stages of culture, bits out of books and newspapers, scraps of humanity, torn shreds of once fine clothing now turned to rags, exactly as the human soul is patched together, and I have also provided a little evolutionary history by letting the weaker repeat words stolen from the stronger, and allowed these souls to get 'ideas', or suggestions as they are called, from one another, from the milieu (the death of the siskin), and from objects (the razor). I have also facilitated Gedanken§îbertragung* via an inanimate medium (the Count's boots, the bell). Finally, I have made use of 'waking suggestion',* a variation of hypnotic suggestion, which is now so well known and popularized that it cannot arouse the ridicule or scepticism it would have done in Mesmer's time.*
Miss Julie is a modern character which does not mean that the man-hating half-woman has not existed in every age, just that she has now been discovered, has come out into the open and made herself heard. Victim of a superstition (one that has seized even stronger minds) that woman, this stunted form of human being who stands between man, the lord of creation, the creator of culture, [and the child],* is meant to be the equal of man or could ever be, she involves herself in an absurd struggle in which she falls. Absurd because a stunted form, governed by the laws of propagation, will always be born stunted and can never catch up with the one in the lead, according to the formula: A (the man) and B (the woman) start from the same point C; A (the man) with a speed of, let us say, 100 and B (the woman) with a speed of 60. Now, the question is, when will B catch up with A?--Answer: Never! Neither with the help of equal education, equal voting rights, disarmament, or temperance--no more than two parallel lines can ever meet and cross.
The half-woman is a type who thrusts herself forward and sells herself nowadays for power, decorations, honours, or diplomas as formerly she used to do for money. She is synonymous with degeneration. It is not a sound species for it does not last, but unfortunately it can propagate itself and its misery in the following generation; and degenerate men seem unconsciously to select their mates among them so that they increase in number and produce creatures of uncertain sex for whom life is a torment. Fortunately, however, they succumb, either because they are out of harmony with reality or because their repressed instincts erupt uncontrollably or because their hopes of attaining equality with men are crushed. The type is tragic, offering the spectacle of a desperate struggle against nature, a tragic legacy of Romanticism which is now being dissipated by Naturalism, the only aim of which is happiness. And happiness means strong and sound species. But Miss Julie is also a relic of the old warrior nobility that is now giving way to the new aristocracy of nerve and brain; a victim of the discord which a mother's 'crime' has implanted in a family; a victim of the errors of an age, of circumstances, and of her own deficient constitution, which together form the equivalent of the old-fashioned concept of Fate or Universal Law. The naturalist has erased guilt along with God, but he cannot erase the consequences of an action--punishment, prison, or the fear of it--for the simple reason that these consequences remain, whether or not he acquits the individual. For an injured party is less forbearing than those who have not been harmed may be, and even if her father found compelling reasons not to seek his revenge, his daughter would wreak vengeance on herself, as she does here, because of her innate or acquired sense of honour which the upper classes inherit-from where? From barbarism, from their original Aryan home,* from the chivalry of the Middle Ages, all of which is very beautiful, but a real disadvantage nowadays where the preservation of the species is concerned. It is the nobleman's harakiri, the inner law of conscience which makes a Japanese slit open his own stomach when someone insults him, and which survives in modified form in that privilege of the nobility, the duel. That is why Jean, the servant, lives, but Miss Julie, who cannot five without honour, does not. The slave has this advantage over the earl, he lacks this fatal preoccupation with honour, and there is in all of us Aryans a little of the nobleman or Don Quixote,* which means that we sympathize with the suicide who has committed a dishonourable act and thereby lost his honour, and we are noblemen enough to suffer when we see the mighty fallen and reduced to a useless corpse, yes, even if the fallen should rise again and make amends through an honourable act. The servant Jean is the type who founds a species, someone in whom the process of differentiation may be observed. He was a poor tied-worker's son* and has now brought himself up to be a future nobleman. He has been quick to learn, has finely developed senses (smell, taste, sight) and an eye for beauty. He has already come up in the world, and is strong enough not to be concerned about exploiting other people. He is already a stranger in his environment, which he despises as stages in a past he has put behind him, and which he fears and flees, because people there know his secrets, spy out his intentions, regard his rise with envy, and look forward to his fall with pleasure. Hence his divided, indecisive character, wavering between sympathy for those in high positions and hatred for those who occupy them. He calls himself an aristocrat and has learnt the secrets of good society, is polished on the surface but coarse underneath, and already wears a frock coat with style, although there is no guarantee that the body beneath it is clean.
He respects Miss Julie but is afraid of Kristin because she knows his dangerous secrets, and he is sufficiently callous not to allow the events of the night to interfere with his future plans. With the brutality of a slave and the indifference of a master he can look at blood without fainting, and shake off misfortune without further, ado. That is why he escapes from the struggle unscathed and will probably end up the proprietor of a hotel; and even if he does not become a Romanian count, his son will probably go to university and possibly become a government official.
Moreover, the information he gives about life as the lower classes see it from below is quite important--when he speaks the truth, that is, which he does not often do, for he tends to say what is to his own advantage rather than what is true. When Miss Julie supposes that everyone in the lower classes finds the pressure from above oppressive, Jean naturally agrees since his intention is to gain sympathy, but he immediately corrects himself when he sees the advantage of distinguishing himself from the common herd.
Apart from the fact that Jean is rising in the world, he is also superior to Miss Julie in that he is a man. Sexually he is the aristoctat because of his masculine strength, his more finely developed senses, and his ability to take the initiative. His inferiority arises mainly from the social milieu in which he temporarily finds himself and which he will probably discard along with his livery.
His slave mentality expresses itself in his respect for the Count (the boots) and his religious superstition; but he respects the Count mainly as the occupant of the high position that he covets; and this respect remains even when he has conquered the daughter of the house and seen how empty that pretty shell is.
I do not believe there can be any love in a 'higher' sense between two such different natures, so I let Miss Julie imagine she loves him as a means of protecting or excusing herself; and I let Jean suppose he could fall in love with her if his social circumstances were different. I suspect that love is rather like the hyacinth, which has to put its roots down into the darkness before it can produce a strong flower. Here it shoots up, blooms, and goes to seed all in a moment, and that is why it dies so quickly.
Kristin, finally, is a female slave. Standing over the stove all day has made her subservient and dull; like an animal her hypocrisy is unconscious and she overflows with morality and religion, which serve as cloaks and scapegoats for her sins whereas a stronger character would have no need of them because he could bear his guilt himself or explain it away. She goes to church to unload her household thefts onto Jesus casually and deftly, and to recharge herself with a new dose of innocence.
Moreover, she is a minor character, and therefore my intention was only to sketch her in as I did the Pastor and the Doctor in The Father, where I just wanted to depict ordinary people as country parsons and provincial doctors usually are. And if some people have found my minor characters abstract,* that is because ordinary people are to some extent abstract when working; which is to say, they lack individuality and show only one side of themselves while performing their tasks, and as long as the spectator feels no need to see them from several sides, my abstract depiction will probably suffice.
Finally, where the dialogue is concerned I have somewhat broken with tradition by not making my characters catechists who sit around asking stupid questions in order to elicit a witty reply. I have avoided the symmetrical, mathematical artificiality of French dialogue and allowed my characters' brains to work irregularly as they do in real life, where no subject is ever entirely exhausted before one mind discovers by chance in another mind a cog in which to engage. For that reason the dialogue also wanders, providing itself in the opening scenes with material that is later reworked, taken up, repeated, expanded, and developed, like the theme in a musical composition.
The action is sufficiently fecund, and since it really concerns only two people I have restricted myself to them, introducing only one minor character, the cook, and letting the father's unhappy spirit hover above and behind it all. I have done this because it seems to me that what most interests people today is the psychological process; our inquiring minds are no longer satisfied with simply seeing something happen, we want to know how it happened. We want to see the strings, look at the machinery, examine the double-bottomed box, try the magic ring to find the seam, and examine the cards to discover how they are marked.
In this regard I have had in mind the monographic novels of the Goncourt brothers,* which have attracted me more than anything else in contemporary literature.
As for the technical aspects of the composition, I have, by way of experiment, eliminated all act divisions. I have done this because it seems to me that our declining susceptibility to illusion would possibly be disturbed by intervals, during which the spectator has time to reflect and thereby escape from the suggestive influence of the dramatist-hypnotist. My play probably runs for about an hour and a half, and since people can listen to a lecture, a sermon, or a conference session for that length of time or even longer, I imagine that a ninety-minute play should not exhaust them. I attempted this concentrated form as long ago as 1872, in one of my first attempts at drama, The Outlaw,* but with scant success. I had written the piece in five acts, but when it was finished I noticed what a disjointed and disturbing effect it had. I burned it and from the ashes arose a single, long, carefully worked-out act of fifty printed pages, which played for a full hour. Consequently the form is not new, though it seems to be my speciality, and current changes in taste may well have made it timely. In due course I would hope to have an audience so educated that it could sit through a single act lasting an entire evening, but this will require some preliminary experimentation. Meanwhile, in order to provide resting places for the audience and the actors without breaking the illusion for the audience I have used three art forms that belong to the drama, namely the monologue, mime,* and ballet, all of which were part of classical tragedy, monody* having become monologue and the chorus, ballet.
Nowadays our realists have banished the monologue as implausible, but given appropriate motivation it becomes plausible, and I can therefore use it to advantage. It is perfectly plausible for a speaker to walk up and down alone in his room reading his speech aloud, that an actor should run through his role aloud, a servant girl talk to her cat, a mother prattle to her child, an old maid chatter to her parrot, or a sleeper talk in his sleep. And in order to give the actor a chance, for once, to work on his own and to escape for a moment from the hectoring of an author, I have not written out the monologues in detail but simply suggested them. For, in so far as it does not influence the action, it is quite immaterial what is said while asleep or to the cat, and a talented actor who is absorbed in the situation and mood of the play can probably improvise better than the author, who cannot calculate in advance just how much needs to be said, or for how long, before the theatrical illusion is broken.
As we know, some Italian theatres have returned to improvisation,* producing actors who are creative in their own right, although in accordance with the author's intentions. This could really be a step forward or a fertile, new form of art that may well deserve the name creative.
Where a monologue would be implausible, I have resorted to mime, and here I leave the actor even greater freedom to create-and so win independent acclaim. But in order not to try the audience beyond its limits, I have let the music--well-motivated by the Midsummer dance, of course--exert its beguiling power during the silent action, and I would ask the musical director to select this music with great care so that the wrong associations are not aroused by recollections of the latest operettas or dance tunes or by the use of ultra-ethnographic folk music.
I could not have substituted a so-called crowd scene for the ballet I have introduced because crowd scenes are always badly acted, with a pack of simpering idiots seeking to use the occasion to show off and so destroy the illusion. Since ordinary people do not improvise their malicious remarks but use ready-made material that can be given a double meaning, I have not composed a malicious song but taken a little-known singing game* which I noted down myself in the neighbourhood of Stockholm. The words do not hit home precisely, but that is the intention, for the cunning (weakness) of the slave does not permit him to attack directly. So: no speaking buffoons in a serious play, no coarse smirking over a situation that puts the lid on a family's coffin.
As for the scenery, I have borrowed the asymmetry and cropped framing of impressionist painting,* and believe I have thereby succeeded in strengthening the illusion; for not being able to see the whole room or all the furniture leaves us free to conjecture, that is, our imagination is set in motion and we complete the picture ourselves. This also means that I have avoided those tiresome exits through doors, particularly stage doors that are made of canvas and sway at the slightest touch; they do not even permit an angry father to express his anger after a bad dinner by going out and slamming the door behind him 'so the whole house shakes'. (In the theatre it sways!) I have likewise restricted myself to a single set, both to allow the characters time to merge with their milieu and to break with the custom of expensive scenery. But when there is only a single set, one is entitled to demand that it be realistic. Yet nothing is more difficult than to get a room on stage to resemble a real room, no matter how easy the scene-painter finds erupting volcanoes and waterfalls. Even if the walls do have to be of canvas, it is surely time to stop painting shelves and kitchen utensils on them. There are so many other stage conventions in which we are asked to believe that we might be spared the effort of believing in painted saucepans.*
I have placed the rear wall and the table at an angle so that the actors have to play face on or in half profile when they are seated opposite each other at the table. In a production of Aida* I have seen an angled backdrop which led the eye out into an unknown perspective, nor did it give the impression of having been put there simply to protest the boredom of straight lines.
Another perhaps desirable innovation would be the removal of the footlights. I understand that the purpose of lighting from below is to make the actors' faces fatter, but I would like to ask: why all actors have to have fat faces? Does not this underlighting obliterate a great many features in the lower parts of the face, especially around the jaws, distort the shape of the nose, and cast shadows over the eyes? Even if this is not the case, one thing is certain: it hurts the actors' eyes, so that their full expressiveness is lost, for footlights strike the retina in places that are normally protected (except in sailors, who cannot avoid seeing the sun reflected in water), and therefore we seldom see any other play of the eyes except crude glances either to the side or up to the balcony, when the white of the eye is visible. This probably also accounts for the tiresome way that actresses in particular have of fluttering their eyelashes. And when anyone on stage wants to speak with the eyes, the actor has sadly no alternative but to look straight at the audience, with which he or she then enters into direct contact outside the frame of the set--a bad habit rightly or wrongly called 'counting the house'.
Would not sufficiently strong side lighting (using parabolic reflectors or something similar) give the actor this new resource, of strengthening his facial expression by means of the face's greatest asset: the play of the eyes?
I have hardly any illusions about getting the actor to play for the audience and not with it, although this would be desirable. Nor do I dream of seeing the full back of an actor* throughout an important scene, but I do fervently wish that vital scenes should not be performed next to the prompter's box, as duets designed to elicit applause, but rather located to that part of the stage the action dictates. So, no revolutions, simply some small modifications, for to turn the stage into a room with the fourth wall removed and some of the furniture consequently facing away from the audience, would probably have a distracting effect, at least for the present.
When it comes to a word about make-up I dare not hope to be heard by the ladies, who would rather be beautiful than truthful. But the actor really might consider whether it is to his advantage to paint his face with an abstract character that will sit there like a mask. Picture an actor who gives himself a pronounced choleric expression by drawing a line with soot between his eyes, and suppose that, in spite of being in so permanently enraged a state, he needs to smile on a certain line. What a horrible grimace that would be! And how can the old man get the false forehead of his wig to wrinkle with anger when it is as smooth as a billiard ball?
In a modern psychological drama, where the subtlest movements of the soul should be mirrored more in the face than in gestures and sounds, it would probably be best to experiment with strong side lighting on a small stage and with actors wearing no make-up, or at least a bare minimum.
If we could then dispense with the visible orchestra* with its distracting lights and faces turned towards the audience; if we could have the stalls raised so that the spectator's eyes were on a line higher than the actor's knees; if we could get rid of the private proscenium boxes with their giggling drinkers and diners; if we could have complete darkness in the auditorium;* and finally, and most importantly, if we had a small stage and a small auditorium, then perhaps a new drama might arise, and the theatre would at least be a place where educated people might once again enjoy themselves. While waiting for such a theatre, we shall just have to go on writing for our desk drawers, preparing the repertoire whose time will come.
I have made an attempt! If it fails, there will surely be time to try again!
Miss Julie,* 25
Jean, a servant, 30
Kristin, a cook, 35
The action takes place in the Count's kitchen, on Midsummer Night.
A large kitchen, the ceiling and side walls of which are masked by draperies and top borders. The rear wall is slanted inwards and upstage from the left; on it, to the left, are two shelves with utensils of copper, bronze, iron, and pewter. The shelves are lined with goffered paper. Some way to the right three-quarters of the large, arched exit with two glass doors, through which is seen a fountain decorated with a cupid, lilac bushes in bloom, and some tall Lombardy poplars.
Stage left the corner of a big tiled stove with a section of its hood.
Stage right there protrudes one end of the servants' dining-table, of white pine, with some chairs.
The stove is decorated with bunches of birch leaves;* the floor is strewn with juniper.
On the end of the table a large Japanese spice-jar containing lilacs in flower.
An ice-box, a scullery table, a sink.
Above the door there is a big, old-fashioned bell, and emerging to the left of this a speaking-tube.
KRISTIN is standing at the stove, frying something in a frying pan; she is wearing a light-coloured cotton dress, covered before with an apron; JEAN enters, dressed in livery and carrying a pair of large riding boots, with spurs, which he puts down on the floor where they remain clearly visible.
JEAN. Miss Julie's quite crazy again tonight; absolutely crazy!*
KRISTIN. Oh, so you're back then, are you?*
JEAN. I went with the Count to the station and on my way back past the barn I just stopped by for a dance. And who do I see but her ladyship with the gamekeeper, leading the dance? But as soon as she claps eyes on me, she comes rushing straight on over and invites me to join her in the ladies' waltz. And how she waltzed!--I've never known the like. She's crazy!
KRISTIN. She always has been, but nothing like these last two weeks, since her engagement ended.
JEAN. Yes, what about all that? He was a fine enough fellow after all, even though he wasn't rich. But they've got so many airs and graces, her sort. [He sits down at the end of the table] All the same, ies odd that a young lady like her should want to stay at home with the servants, eh? Rather than visit her relations with her father. At midsummer, too!
KRISTIN. She's maybe a bit embarrassed after that to-do with her young man.
JEAN. Could be. But he knew how to stand up for himself, at any rate. Do you know what happened, Kristin? I saw it, even though I took care not to let on.
KRISTIN. No, you never?
JEAN. Didn't I just.--They were down at the stables one evening, and Miss Julie was training him--that's what she called it. Do you know how? She made him leap over her riding crop, the way you teach a dog to jump. Twice he jumped, and got a cut each time; but the third time, he snatched the whip out of her hand, broke it into a thousand pieces;* and off he went.
KRISTIN. Is that what happened? No! You don't say!*
JEAN. That was it, all right!--But what have you got for me now, Kristin, something tasty?
KRISTIN [serves from the pan and sets a place for JEAN]. Oh, just a bit of kidney, off the veal roast!
JEAN [smells the food]. Lovely! That's my great d§Űlice!* [Feels the plate] You might have warmed the plate, though!
KRISTIN. You're worse than his Lordship, once you start.
Rumples his hair affectionately.
JEAN [crossly]. Stop mussing my hair! You know how sensitive I am!
KRISTIN. Now, now, you know it's only love.
JEAN eats. KRISTIN opens a bottle of beer.
JEAN. Beer? On Midsummer Eve? No thank you! I can do better than that. [He opens a drawer in the table and takes out a bottle of red wine, sealed with yellow wax] Yellow seal, see*--the best!--Now get me a glass. A wine glass, of course, when I'm drinking pur!*
KRISTIN [returns to the stove, and puts on a small saucepan]. Heaven help whoever gets you for a husband. What a fusspot!
JEAN. Rubbish! You'd be glad enough to get a fine fellow like me; and it's done you no harm people calling me your fianc§Ű. [Tastes the wine] Good! Very good! A little more chambr§Ű,* perhaps. [Warms the glass with his hands] We bought this in Dijon. Four francs a litre it was, before bottling; and then there was the duty. What's that you're cooking? It smells foul.
KRISTIN. Oh, just some filthy muck Miss Julie wants for Diana.*
JEAN. You should watch your language, Kristin. Why are you cooking for that little cur on a holiday, though? Is it ill, or what?
KRISTIN. Oh it's ill, all right! She slunk off with the gatekeeper's mutt--now she's up the spout--and Miss Julie won't have it!
JEAN. She's so stuck-up about some things, and not proud enough about others, just like her Ladyship when she was alive. She was more at home in the kitchen and around the barn, but always demanded a carriage and pair. She went around with dirty cuffs, but had to have the Count's crest on every button.--And talking of Miss Julie, she takes no care of herself or her person. To my mind she's no lady. Just now, dancing in the barn, she grabbed the gamekeeper away from Anna and made him dance with her. We'd not behave like that; but that's how it is when the gentry try to act common--they become common. What a splendid creature, though! Quite magnificent! Oh! What shoulders and-etcetera!
KRISTIN. All right, don't go on. I've heard what Klara says, and she dresses her.
JEAN. Oh, Klara! You women are always jealous of one another. I've been out riding with her . . . And then, the way she dances!
KRISTIN. Listen, Jean; don't you want to dance with me when I'm done. . .
JEAN. I said so, didn't I?
JEAN. Promise? When I say I'll do a thing, I do it. But thanks for dinner now. It was very nice. [Recorks the bottle
MISS JULIE [in the doorway, talking to someone outside]. I'll be back right away. You carry on now.
JEAN hides the bottle away in the drawer of the table; gets up respectfully.
MISS JULIE [enters; approaches KRISTIN at the stove]. Well, is it ready?
KRISTIN indicates that JEAN is present.
JEAN [gallantly]. You ladies have your secrets, perhaps?
MISS JULIE [flips him in the face with her handkerchief]. Nosey!
JEAN. Oh, what a lovely smell of violets!
MISS JULIE [coquettishly]. Cheeky! So you know about perfumes, too! You certainly know how to dance. . . no looking now. Go away!
JEAN [impertinently, yet respectfully]. Some magic potion* you ladies are cooking up this Midsummer Eve, is that it? Foretell the future? Like those cards which show you who you'll marry?* MISS JULIE [sharply]. You'd need good eyes to see that. [To KRISTIN] Pour it into a half-bottle, and cork it well.--Come and dance a schottische* with me, Jean. . .
JEAN [hesitating]. I don't wish to appear impolite, but I'd promised this dance to Kristin. . .
MISS JULIE. Well, she can have another, can't you Kristin? You'll lend me Jean, won't you?
KRISTIN. That's hardly up to me. If your Ladyship condescends, it's not for him to refuse. Go on, you, and be grateful for the honour.
JEAN. To be frank, and without wishing to offend, I wonder if it would be wise for your Ladyship to dance twice running with the same partner, especially as these people aren't slow to jump to conclusions. . .
MISS JULIE [flaring up]. What? What conclusions? What do you mean?
JEAN [politely]. If your Ladyship doesn't wish to understand, I must speak more plainly. It doesn't look right to prefer one of your retainers before others awaiting the same rare honour .
MISS JULIE. Prefer! What an idea! I'm astonished! I, the lady of the house, honour this dance of yours with my presence, and now, when I really feel like dancing, I want someone who knows how to lead, and who won't make me look ridiculous.
JEAN. As your Ladyship commands. I am at your service.
MISS JULIE [softly]. Don't take it as a command. This evening we are all just enjoying ourselves together, and any rank is laid aside. So, give me your arm.--Don't worry, Kristin! I shan't run off with your fiancé!
[JEAN offers MISS JULIE his arm, and conducts her out]
This should be played as if the actress were really alone; when necessary she should turn her back on the audience; she does not look towards the auditorium nor hurry, as if afraid the audience might become impatient.
KRISTIN alone. The faint sound of a violin at a distance, playing a schottische.
KRISTIN humming to the music; clears up after JEAN, washes the plate at the sink, dries it, and puts it away in a cupboard.
Then she removes her apron, takes out a small mirror from a drawer in the table, places it against the pot of lilac on the table, lights a candle, and heats a hairpin, with which she crisps the hair on her forehead.
Then she goes to the door and listens. Returns to the table. Finds MISS JULIE'S forgotten handkerchief, which she picks up and sniffs; then she spreads it out, as though wrapped in thought, stretches it, smooths it out, and folds it into quarters, etc.
JEAN [enters, alone]. But she really is crazy! What a way to dance! And everyone guffawing at her from behind the doors. What do you make of it, Kristin?
KRISTIN. Well, she's got her monthly now; then she always acts this strange. Now, are you going to dance with me?
JEAN. You're not mad at me for going off like that, are you?
KRISTIN. No!--Not for a little thing like that; besides, I know my place. . .
JEAN [putting his arm about her waist]. You're a sensible girl, Kristin, you'd make a good wife. . .
MISS JULIE [enters; is disagreeably surprised; with forced jocularity). Charming partner you are, running away from your lady like that.
JEAN. On the contrary, Miss Julie, as you see, I've hurried to find the one I just left.
MISS JULIE [changing her tone]. You know, you're an incomparable dancer.--But why are you wearing livery? It's a holiday! Take it off at once!
JEAN. Then I must ask you to withdraw for a moment, Miss Julie, my black coat is right here. . . [Gestures as he moves to the right
MISS JULIE. Do I embarrass you? It's just a coat. Go into your room, then, and be quick about it. Or you can stay and I'll turn my back.
JEAN. With your permission, then. [Goes to the right; his arm is visible as he changes his coat
MISS JULIE [to KRISTIN]. Well, Kristin; he's very familiar, are you and Jean engaged?
KRISTIN. Engaged? If you like. We call it that.
MISS JULIE. Call?
KRISTIN. Well, your Ladyship, you've been engaged yourself, and. . .
MISS JULIE. We were properly engaged. . .
KRISTIN. But it still didn't come to anything. . .
JEAN enters in black tail coat and a black derby hat.
MISS JULIE. Très gentil, monsieur Jean! Très gentil!
JEAN. Vous voulez plaisanter, madame!
MISS JULIE. Et vous voulez parler français!* Where did you learn that?
JEAN. In Switzerland while I was a sommelier!* at one of the biggest hotels in Lucerne.*
MISS JULIE. You look quite the gentleman in that frock-coat. Charmant!* [She sits at the table
JEAN. Oh, you're flattering me.
MISS JULIE [offended]. Flattering you?
JEAN. My natural modesty forbids me to believe that you would pay som myself to suppose that you were exaggerating, or as it is called, 'flattering'.
MISS JULIE. Where did you learn to speak like that? You've spent a lot of time at the theatre, is that it?
JEAN. Among other things. I've been around, you know!
MISS JULIE. But you come from round here, don't you?
JEAN. My father was a labourer* on the next estate, the attorney's place. I used to see you as a child, though you never noticed me.
MISS JULIE. No, really?
JEAN. Yes, I remember one time especially. . . but I can't tell you that.
MISS JULIE. Oh yes! Do! Why not? Just this once!
JEAN. No, I really couldn't, not now. Another time, perhaps.
MISS JULIE. Another time means never. Is now so dangerous?
JEAN. Dangerous, no, but I'd rather not.--Just look at that! He indicates KRISTIN, who has fallen asleep in a chair by the stove.
MISS JULIE. She'll make a delightful wife, that one! Perhaps she snores, too?
JEAN. No, she doesn't, but she talks in her sleep.
MISS JULIE [indelicately]. How do you know?
JEAN [coolly]. I've heard her! Pause, while they look at each other.
MISS JULIE. Why don't you sit down?
JEAN. Not in your presence. I wouldn't take the liberty.
MISS JULIE. But if I were to order you to?
JEAN. Then I'd obey.
MISS JULIE. Then sit.--But wait! Can you get me something to drink first?
JEAN. I don't know what we've got in the ice-box here. Just beer, I think.
MISS JULIE. What do you mean, 'just'? I've simple tastes; I prefer it to wine.
JEAN [takes a bottle of beer from the ice-box; finds a glass and plate from the cupboard, and serves her]. My compliments! MISS JULIE. Thank you. Won't you have something to drink yourself?
JEAN. I'm not really a beer drinker; but if it's an order.
MISS JULIE. Order?--As a gentleman you should keep your lady company, I think.
JEAN. You're right, of course. [Opens another bottle, takes a glass
MISS JULIE. Now drink my health! [JEAN hesitates] I do believe you're shy!
JEAN [kneeling, in a humorous parody; raises his glass]. My mistress's health!
MISS JULIE. Bravo!--Now finish things off properly and kiss my shoe as well!
JEAN hesitates, but then boldly grasps her foot, which he kisses lightly.
MISS JULIE. Excellent! You should have been an actor.
JEAN [getting up]. This can't go on, Miss Julie; someone might come in and see us.
MISS JULIE. So what?
JEAN. People would talk, that's what! And if you knew how their tongues were wagging up there just now, then. . .
MISS JULIE. What were they saying? Tell me!--Sit down!
JEAN [sits]. I don't want to hurt you, but they were using expressions which suggested that. . . well, you can guess yourself. You're no child, and when a woman's seen drinking alone at night with a man--a servant or not--then. . .
MISS JULIE. Then what? Besides, we're not alone. Kristin's here.
MISS JULIE. Then I'll wake her. [Gets up] Kristin! Are you asleep?
KRISTIN babbles in her sleep.
MISS JULIE. Kristin!--She's well away!
KRISTIN [in her Sleep]. His Lordship's boots are brushed--put on the coffee--right away, right away, right. . . [Mumbles incoherently
MISS JULIE [takes her by the nose]. Will you wake up?
JEAN [sharply]. Let her alone, she's sleeping!
MISS JULIE [sharply]. What?
JEAN. Someone who's been standing over a stove all day has the right to be tired when night comes. Sleep should be respected. . .
MISS JULIE [changes her tone]. That's nobly put, it does you credit-thank you! [Holds out her hand to JEAN] Come outside now and pick me some lilac.
JEAN. With you?
MISS JULIE. With me.
JEAN. That's impossible! We can't!
MISS JULIE. I don't understand what you mean. You surely don't imagine that. . .
JEAN. Me, no, but the others.
MISS JULIE. What? That I should be verliebt* with my servant?
JEAN. I'm not given to conceit, but it's been known to happen--and nothing's sacred to these people.
MISS JULIE. I do believe you're an aristocrat!
JEAN. Yes, I am!
MISS JULIE. I step down. . .
JEAN. Don't step down, Miss Julie, take my advice. No one will believe you did so freely; people will always say you fell.
MISS JULIE. I've a higher opinion of people than you. Come and see.--Come on! [She gives him a long, steady look
JEAN. You know, you're strange.
MISS JULIE. Perhaps. But then so are you.--Besides, everything's strange. Life, people, everything's a scum that drifts, drifts on across the water, until it sinks, sinks. There's a dream I have from time to time; I'm reminded of it now.--I'm sitting on top of a pillar that I've climbed, and can see no way of getting down; when I look down, I get dizzy, but down I must, though I haven't the courage to jump; I can't stay where I am and I long to fall; but I don't; and yet I'll get no peace until I come down, no rest until I come down, down to the ground, and were I to reach the ground I'd want to bury myself in the earth. . . Have you ever felt anything like that?
JEAN. No! I usually dream I'm lying under a tall tree in a dark wood. I want to climb up, up to the top, and look around over the bright landscape where the sun is shining, plunder the bird's nest up there where the gold eggs lie. I climb and climb, but the trunk is so thick, and so slippery, and it's so far to the first branch. But I know that if I could only reach that first branch I'd get to the top like on a ladder. I haven't reached it yet, but I will do one day, even if it's just a dream.
MISS JULIE. Here I am swapping dreams with you. Come on! Just into the park! [She offers him her arm, and they go
JEAN. If we sleep on nine Midsummer flowers tonight, Miss Julie, our dreams will come true.*
JULIE and JEAN turn in the doorway. JEAN puts a hand to one of his eyes.
MISS JULIE. Something in your eye? Let me see.
JEAN. It's nothing--only a speck of dust--it'll be all right.
MISS JULIE. My sleeve must have caught you; sit down and I'll help you. [She takes him by the arm and sits him down; takes his head and pushes it backwards; with the tip of her handkerchief she tries to remove the speck of dust] Sit still now; absolutely still!--[Slaps his hand] There! Will you obey me!--I do believe you're trembling, a big strong fellow like you! [Feels his upper arm] With arms like that!
JEAN [warning her]. Miss Julie!
KRISTIN has woken up, walks heavy with sleep to the right, to go to bed.
MISS JULIE. Yes, Monsieur Jean?
JEAN. Attention! Je ne suis qu'un homme!*
MISS JULIE. Will you sit still!--There! Now it's gone. Kiss my hand, and say thank you!
JEAN [gets up]. Miss Julie, listen to me.--Kristin's gone to bed now.--Will you listen to me!
MISS JULIE. Kiss my hand first.
JEAN. Listen to me!
MISS JULIE. Kiss my hand first!
JEAN. All right. But blame yourself.
MISS JULIE. For what?
JEAN. For what? Are you a child? At twenty-five? Don't you know it's dangerous to play with fire?
MISS JULIE. Not for me; I'm insured.
JEAN [boldly]. No, you're not. And even if you are, there's more inflammable material around.
MISS JULIE. Meaning you?
JEAN. Yes! Not because I'm me, but because I'm a young man--
MISS JULIE. With a prepossessing appearance--what incredible conceit! A Don Juan, perhaps? Or a Joseph! Yes, upon my soul, I do believe you're a Joseph!*
JEAN. Do you?
MISS JULIE. I almost fear it!
JEAN boldly forward and tries to take her round the waist to kiss her.
MISS JULIE [slaps him]. Cheek!
JEAN. Are you joking or serious?
MISS JULIE. Serious!
JEAN. Then you were serious just now, too. You play far too seriously--that's dangerous. Now I'm tired of this game, and with your permission I'll get back to my work. The Count'll be needing his boots, and it's long past midnight.
MISS JULIE. Put those boots down!
JEAN. No. They're one of my duties, which don't include being your plaything. And I never shall be. I hold myself too good for that.
MISS JULIE. Aren't we the proud one!
JEAN. In some respects, yes; in others, no.
MISS JULIE. Have you ever been in love?
JEAN. That's not a word we use, though I've fancied lots of girls, and was once quite sick when I couldn't get the one I wanted. Sick, you know, like those princes in the Arabian Nights, who couldn't eat or drink for love.
MISS JULIE. Who was she? [JEAN remains silent] Who was she?
JEAN. You can't make me tell you.
MISS JULIE. Suppose I ask you as an equal, as a--friend? Who was she?
MISS JULIE [sits]. How priceless!
JEAN. Yes, if you like. It was ridiculous.--You see, this is the story I didn't want to tell you just now, but now I'm going to. Do you know what the world looks like from down below?--No, you don't. Like hawks and falcons, whose backs we seldom see because they mostly soar on high. I lived in a hovel with seven brothers and sisters, and a pig out in the grey fields, where there wasn't a single tree. But from the window I could see the wall of his Lordship's park, overhung with apple trees. It was the garden of paradise, surrounded by angry angels who watched over it with flaming swords. All the same, along with the other boys I found a way to the tree of life*--now you despise me--
MISS JULIE. Oh! All boys steal apples.
JEAN. You say that now, but you still despise me. Never mind. One day I went into this paradise, along with my mother, to weed the onion beds. Alongside this patch of garden there was a Turkish pavilion,* shaded by jasmines, and overgrown with honeysuckle. I'd never seen such a beautiful building, and had no idea what it was for. People used to go in and come out, and one day the door was left ajar. I stole in. The walls were all covered with portraits of kings and emperors, and over the windows there were red curtains with tassles on them--now you know what I'm talking about. I [he breaks off a spray of lilac and holds it under MISS JULIE's nose], I'd never been inside the Hall, never seen anything except the church--but this was more beautiful; and wherever my thoughts strayed, they always came back--there. Gradually I was overcome by a longing just once to experience the full delight of--enfin,* I crept inside, saw, and marvelled. But then I heard someone coming! There was only one way out for the gentry, but for me there was another, and I had no choice but to take it.
MISS JULIE, who has taken the lilac blossom, lets it fall on the table.
JEAN. Then I began to run, bursting through the raspberry bushes, and across a strawberry patch, until I arrived at the rose-garden. There I saw a pink dress and a pair of white stockings--it was you. I lay down under a pile of weeds, under--can you imagine it?-under thistles which pricked me, and wet earth that stank, and I thought: if it's true that a thief can enter heaven and dwell with the angels, then it's strange that a labourer's child here on God's earth cannot enter the Hall park and play with the Count's daughter.
MISS JULIE [sentimentally]. Do you suppose all poor children feel the way you did on that occasion?
JEAN [at first hesitant, then with conviction]. If all poor--yes--of course. Of course!
MISS JULIE. It must be a tremendous misfortune to be poor.
JEAN [with deep pain, and powerful emotion]. Oh, Miss Julie! Oh!--A dog may lie on the Countess's sofa, a horse may have its nose stroked by a young lady's hand, but a common drudge!--[He changes tack ] Oh, all right, now and then a man has what it takes to hoist himself up in the world, but how often is that?--Do you know what I did then, though?--I ran down into the millstream with all my clothes on, got dragged out, and was given a thrashing. But the following Sunday, when father and all the others went to call on my grandmother, I saw to it that I was left at home. Then I washed myself in soap and warm water, put on my best clothes, and went to church--to see you. And when I'd seen you I returned home, determined to die. But I wanted to die beautifully and pleasantly, without pain. I remembered it was dangerous to sleep under an elder bush. We had a big one, just then in flower. I stripped it of everything it held, and made up a bed for myself in the oat-bin. Have you ever noticed how smooth oats are; soft to the touch like human skin?-- -- --Anyway, I shut the lid, closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When they woke me up I really was very ill. But as you see, I didn't die. I don't know what I was after, really. There was no hope of winning you, of course, but you stood for how hopeless it was ever to escape from the class in which I was born.
MISS JULIE. You're a charming storyteller, you know. Did you go to school?
JEAN. A bit. But I've read lots of novels and been to the theatre. Besides, I've heard posh people talk. That's what's taught me most.
MISS JULIE. Do you listen to what we say?
JEAN. Of course! And I've heard plenty too, sitting on the coachman's box or rowing the boat. Once I heard you and a girlfriend. . .
MISS JULIE. Indeed?--What did you hear?
JEAN. Really, it wouldn't bear repeating. All the same, I was a bit surprised. I couldn't understand where you'd learned all those words. Maybe at bottom there isn't such a big difference as they say there is between people and--well, people.
MISS JULIE. Shame on you! We don't behave like you when we're engaged.
JEAN [stares at her]. Is that so?--It's no good playing the innocent with me, you know. . .
MISS JULIE. That man was a swine. And I loved him!
JEAN. That's what you always say--afterwards.
MISS JULIE. Always?
JEAN. Always, yes, I'd say so. I've heard the expression several times before, on similar occasions.
MISS JULIE. What occasions?
JEAN. Like the one in question. The last time-- -- --
MISS JULIE [gets up]. Be quiet! I don't wish to hear any more.
JEAN. She didn't wish to, either--it's strange. Well, in that case, have I your permission to go to bed?
MISS JULIE [softly]. To bed! On Midsummer Night?
JEAN. Yes! Dancing with that lot up there doesn't exactly amuse me.
MISS JULIE. Get the key to the boat and row me out on the lake; I want to see the sunrise.
JEAN. Is that wise?
MISS JULIE. You sound as though you're worried about your reputation.
JEAN. Why shouldn't I be? I don't want to become a laughingstock nor be dismissed without a reference, not now that I'm beginning to get on in the world. And I've a certain duty to Kristin, I believe.
MISS JULIE. Oh, so it's Kristin now-- -- --
JEAN. Yes, but you too.--Take my advice, and go back up to bed.
MISS JULIE. Me? Take your advice?
JEAN. Just this once; for your own sake! I beg you! It's late, you're tired and therefore drunk and hot-headed. Go to bed! Besides--if my ears don't deceive me--they're coming here to look for me. And if they find us here together, you're lost!
Voices singing in unison are heard approaching.There came two women from out the wood Tridiridi-ralla tridiridi-ra. One with her feet both bare and cold Tridiridi-ralla-la. And money it seems was all their game Tridiridi-ralla tridiridi-ra. Though neither had a sou to her name. Tridiridi-ralla-la. The bridal wreath I'll give to you, Tridiridi-ralla tridiridi-ra. But to another I'll be true. Tridiridi-ralla-la.*MISS JULIE. I know these people, and I love them, just as they love me. Let them come, you'll see!
JEAN. No, Miss Julie, they don't love you. They eat your food, but afterwards they spit. Believe me! Listen to them, just listen to what they're singing!--No, don't!
MISS JULIE [listens]. What are they singing?
JEAN. It's an obscene song! About you and me!
MISS JULIE. How horrible! Oh, how two-faced!--
JEAN. That's the rabble for you, they're all cowards! You can't fight them. Better run away.
MISS JULIE. Run away? But where? We can't get out! Or go in to Kristin!
JEAN. Into my room, then? Necessity knows no law; and you can trust me, I'm your true, loyal, and respectful friend.
MISS JULIE. But suppose--suppose they were to look for you there?
JEAN. I'll bolt the door, and if anyone tries to break in, I'll shoot!-Come! [Kneeling] Come on!
MISS JULIE [significantly]. You promise-- -- --
JEAN. I swear!
[MISS JULIE exits rapidly stage right. JEAN quickly after her
The peasants enter, dressed in their best clothes, with flowers in their hats; a fiddler at their head; a cask of small beer and a small keg of acquavit, garlanded with leaves, are placed on the table; glasses are produced. They drink. Then a circle is formed and they sing and dance the dancing game, 'There came two women from out the wood'. When this is finished, they exit again, still singing.
MISS JULIE enters alone; sees the havoc in the kitchen; clasps her hands together; then takes out a powder puff and powders her face.
JEAN [enters, excited]. There, you see! And heard! Do you think it's possible to stay here now?
MISS JULIE. No. I don't. But what can we do?
JEAN. Leave, travel. Far away from here.
MISS JULIE. Travel? Yes, but where?
JEAN. To Switzerland, to the Italian lakes;--have you never been there?
MISS JULIE. No. Is it beautiful there?
JEAN. Eternal summer, oranges, laurel trees, ah!
MISS JULIE. But what would we do there?
JEAN. I'll start a hotel--tip-top service and a first-class clientele.
MISS JULIE. Hotel?
JEAN. That's the life, believe you me; a never-ending stream of new faces, new languages; no time for worry or nerves; no wondering what to do, when there's always work to be done; bells ringing night and day, trains whistling, the bus coming and going; and all the while the money just rolling in! That's the life!
MISS JULIE. That's as may be. But what about me?
JEAN. The mistress of the house; the jewel of the establishment. With your looks, and your style--why--we've got it made! Tremendous! You'll sit in the office like a queen, setting your slaves in motion at the push of a bell; and the guests will file past your throne and humbly leave their tribute on your table--you've no idea how people tremble when they're handed a bill.--I'll salt them all right, and you'll sugar them with your sweetest smile.-Oh! let's get away from here [Takes a timetable from his pocket] at 1f once, by the next train!--We'll be in Malmö at six-thirty; Hamburg at eight-forty tomorrow morning; Frankfurt to Basel takes a day, and Como* via the Gotthard Pass,* let me see, three days. Three days!
MISS JULIE. That's all very well. But Jean--you must give me courage.--Tell me you love me! Come and take me in your arms!
JEAN [hesitating]. I'd like to--but I daren't! Not in this house, not again! I love you--of course I do--you don't doubt that, do you, Miss Julie?
MISS JULIE [shyly, with genuine femininity]. Miss! Call me Julie.* There are no barriers between us now. Call me Julie!
JEAN [tormented]. I can't!--There are still barriers between us, as long as we remain in this house--there's the past, there's his Lordship--I've never met anyone I respected as much as him-I only have to see his gloves lying on a chair, and I feel so small--I only have to hear that bell up there, and I start like a frightened horse--and now, when I see his boots standing there so high and mighty, it sends a shiver down my spine! [Kicks the boots] Superstition, prejudices, dinned into us from childhood--but they can easily be forgotten, too. Some other country, as long as it's a republic, and people will bow down before my porter's livery.-bow down, you'll see. But I shan't! I wasn't born to bow and scrape, there's something to me, I've got character, just let me get hold of that first branch, and you'll soon see me climb! I may be a servant today, but next year I'll have my own place, and in ten years I'll be a landed gentleman. Then I'll go to Romania and get myself a decoration; why I might--only might, mind you--end up a count!
MISS JULIE. Gently does it!
JEAN. In Romania you can buy a title, so you'd be a countess all the same. My countess!
MISS JULIE. What do I care about all that? That's what I'm leaving behind.--Say you love me, otherwise--yes, what am I otherwise?
JEAN. I'll say it a thousand times--but later--not here! And above all, no scenes or we're lost. We must approach things coolly, like sensible people. [Takes a cigar, cuts and lights it] Now you sit there and I'll sit here, and we'll talk, as if nothing had happened.
MISS JULIE [desperately]. Oh, my God! Have you no feelings?*
JEAN. Me? No one's got more feelings than I have; but I can control mine.
MISS JULIE. A moment ago you could kiss my shoe--and now!
JEAN [harshly]. That was a moment ago. We've other things to think about now.
MISS JULIE. Don't speak so harshly to me!
JEAN. I'm not, just sensibly. One folly's enough, don't commit any more. The Count may return at any moment and by then we've got to have this sorted. What do you think of my plans for the future? Do you approve?
MISS JULIE. They seem quite sensible to me. Just one question, though: a big project like that requires a lot of capital. Have you got it?
JEAN [chewing his cigar]. Me? Sure! I've my professional expertise, my vast experience, my knowledge of languages. That's capital enough, I'd say.
MISS JULIE. But that won't even buy you a railway ticket. JEAN. True enough! That's why I'm looking for a backer, someone who'll advance me the money.
MISS JULIE. Where will you find one in such a hurry? JEAN. That's up to you, if you want to be my partner. MISS JULIE. I can't, and I've nothing myself
JEAN. Then you can forget the whole thing-- -- --
MISS JULIE. And-- -- --
JEAN. Things will stay as they are.
MISS JULIE. Do you think I'll stay under this roof as your easy lay? Do you think I'll let people point their fingers at me; that I can look my father in the face after this? No! Take me away from here, from the shame and the dishonour!--Oh, what have I done? My God, my God! [Weeps
JEAN. So that's your tune now, is it?--What've you done? The same as many another before you!
MISS JULIE [screams convulsively]. And now you despise me!--I'm falling, I'm failing!
JEAN. Fall down to me, and I'll lift you up again.
MISS JULIE. What terrible power drew me to you? Was it the lure of the weak to the strong? Or of someone falling to someone rising! Or was it love? Was that love? Do you know what love is?
JEAN. Me? You bet I do! Do you think this was my first time?
MISS JULIE. You say and think such awful things.
JEAN. It's what I've learnt; that's the way I am. Don't be nervous now, and stop acting the lady, we're birds of a feather now!-There, there, my girl, come here and I'll give you a glass of something special.
Opens the table drawer and takes out the bottle of wine; fills two used glasses.
MISS JULIE. Where did you get that wine from?
JEAN. The cellar.
MISS JULIE. My father's burgundy!
JEAN. Isn't it good enough for his son-in-law?
MISS JULIE. And I drink beer!
JEAN. That only goes to show your taste is worse than mine.
MISS JULIE. Thief!
JEAN. Are you going to tell?
MISS JULIE. Oh, my God! Accomplice to a sneak-thief! Was I drunk? Or have I spent the whole night dreaming? Midsummer Night! The night of innocent games. . .
JEAN. Innocent? Hm!
MISS JULIE [paces up and down]. Is there anyone anywhere as miserable as I am just now?
JEAN. Miserable? You? After such a conquest? Think of Kristin in there. Don't you' think she's got feelings, too?
MISS JULIE. I thought so just now, but not any more. No, a servant's a servant. . .
JEAN. And a whore's a whore!
MISS JULIE [on her knees, with her hands clasped]. Oh, God in heaven, take my miserable life! Take me away from this filth into which I'm sinking. Save me! Save me!
JEAN. I can't deny I feel sorry for you. When I lay in the onion bed and saw you in the rose garden, then-- -- --I'll say it now-- -- -I had the same dirty thoughts that all boys have.
MISS JULIE. And you, who wanted to die for me!
JEAN. In the oat-bin? That was just talk.
MISS JULIE. A lie, you mean!
JEAN [beginning to get sleepy]. More or less! I read it in the paper once about a chimney-sweep who lay down in a wood-chest with some lilacs, because he'd had a paternity order brought against him-- -- --
MISS JULIE. So, that's your type. . .
JEAN. Well, what was I supposed to say? Women always fall for pretty stories!
MISS JULIE. Swine!
MISS JULIE. And now you've seen the hawk's back-- --- --
JEAN. Not its back, exactly-- -- --
MISS JULIE. And I was to be the first branch-- -- --
JEAN. But the branch was rotten-- -- --
MISS JULIE. I was to he the signboard of your hotel-- -- --
JEAN. And I the hotel-- -- -MISS JULIE. Sit behind your desk, attract your customers, fiddle your bills-- -- --
JEAN. I'd do that myself-- -- --
MISS JULIE. That any human soul can be so foul!
JEAN. Wash it, then!
MISS JULIE. Lackey, servant, stand up when I speak to you!
JEAN. Lackey's whore, servant's tart, shut your mouth and get out of here! How dare you go and call me crude? No one of my sort has ever behaved as crudely as you have this evening. Do you think any of the girls around here would approach a man the way you did? Have you ever seen a girl of my class offer herself like that? I've only seen the like among animals and prostitutes.*
MISS JULIE [crushed]. That's right; hit me; trample on me; I've deserved no better. I'm a miserable wretch; but help me! Help me out of this, if there is a way.
JEAN [more gently]. I'll not deny myself a share in the honour of having seduced you; but do you believe a man like me would've dared to even look at you if you'd not extended the invitation yourself? I'm still amazed-- -- --
MISS JULIE. And proud-- -- --
JEAN. Why not? Though I must confess the conquest was altogether too easy to be really intoxicating.
MISS JULIE. Hit me again!
JEAN [gets up]. No. Forgive me for what I've just said. I don't hit someone who's down, least of all a woman. I can't deny the pleasure I took in seeing that what had us blinded down there was only fool's gold, that the hawk's back was also only grey, that fine cheek merely powder, those polished nails had black edges, and your handkerchief was dirty even though it smelt of perfume. All the same, I'm sorry that what I was myself aspiring towards wasn't something higher or more worthwhile; I'm sorry to see you sunk so low that you're far beneath your cook. It's as if I was watching the flowers being lashed to pieces by the autumn rain and turning into mud.
MISS JULIE. You speak as though you were already above me. JEAN. I am, too. You see, I could turn you into a countess, but you can never make me a count.
MISS JULIE. But I'm a count's child--that's something you can never be.
JEAN. True. But my children could be counts--if-- -- --
MISS JULIE. But you're a thief; I'm not.
JEAN. There are worse things than being a thief. A lot worse! And besides, when I serve in a house I consider myself part of the family, like one of the children, and nobody calls it stealing when they take the odd berry from a heavily laden bush. [He starts to feel passionate again] Miss Julie, you're a fine woman, far too good for the likes of me. You've been the victim of an intoxication, and you want to cover it up by pretending you love me. You don't, apart, perhaps, from falling for my looks--and in that case, your love's no better than mine.--But I can never be satisfied with just being your creature, and I can never win your love.
MISS JULIE. Are you so sure?
JEAN. You'd like to think there was a chance.--That I could truly love you, yes, without a doubt: you're beautiful, you're refined [he approaches her and takes her hand], educated, charming when you want to be, and once you've aroused a man the flame will surely never die. [Puts his arm around her waist] You're like mulled wine, strongly spiced, and a kiss from you-- -- --
He tries to lead her out; but she slowly frees herself.
MISS JULIE. Let me go!--You won't win me like that!
JEAN. How, then, if not like that? Not by caresses and fine words; not by giving careful thought to our future, rescuing you from degradation! How, then?
MISS JULIE. How? How? I don't know.--I've no idea.--I detest you as I do rats, but I can't run away from you!
JEAN. Run away with me!
MISS JULIE [straightens herself]. Run away? Yes, we'll run away.-But I'm so tired. Give me some wine. [JEAN pours the wine. MISS JULIE looks at her watch] But first we must talk, we've still got a little time. [Drains the glass; holds it out for more
JEAN. Don't drink so much, you'll get drunk.
MISS JULIE. So what?
JEAN. So what? It's vulgar.--What were you going to say to me just now?
MISS JULIE. We'll run away. But first we'll talk, that's to say, I'll talk, for up to now, you've done all the talking. You've told me about your life, now I want to tell you about mine. Then we'll know all about each other before we set off together.
JEAN. Wait a moment. Forgive me, but you might come to regret telling me all your intimate secrets.
MISS JULIE. Aren't you my friend?
JEAN. Yes, sometimes. But don't rely on me.
MISS JULIE. You're only saying that.--Besides, everyone knows my secrets.--My mother was a commoner, from a very humble background, you see. She was brought up according to contemporary theories about equality, women's emancipation, and all that; and she had a decided aversion to marriage. When, therefore, my father proposed to her she maintained she'd never become his wife, though he might become her lover. He told her he had no desire to see the woman he loved enjoy less respect than himself. But consumed by passion and believing that she didn't care what the world thought, he accepted her conditions. Though now he was cut off from his social circle, and thrown back upon his domestic life, which could hardly satisfy him. Then I came into the world--against my mother's wishes, as far as I can tell. My mother decided to bring me up as a child of nature and, what's more, I was to learn everything a boy has to learn, so that I might serve to demonstrate that a woman was just as good as any man. I had to wear boy's clothes, and learn to handle horses, but not to go into the barn; I had to groom and harness them, learn about farming, and go hunting, even how to slaughter the animals. Ugh, that was horrible! And on the estate the men were put to women's work, and the women to men's--so that everything went to the dogs, and we became the laughing-stock of the neighbourhood. Finally, my father must have woken up from his bewitchment and fought back, for everything was now done his way. After that my parents got married, quietly. My mother fell ill--with what, I don't know--but she often had convulsions, and hid herself in the attic or the garden. Sometimes she stayed out all night. Then came the great fire which you've heard about. The house, the stables, and the barn burnt down, in very peculiar circumstances that gave rise to suspicions of arson, for the accident happened the day after the quarterly insurance expired, and the premiums, which my father had sent, were delayed by the negligence of the bearer, and therefore didn't arrive in time.
She fills her glass and drinks.
JEAN. Don't drink any more!
MISS JULIE. Oh, what does it matter!--We were left penniless and had to sleep in the carriages. My father didn't know where to find the money to rebuild the house, for he'd had to neglect his old friends. Then mother advised him to ask for a loan from one of her old friends, a brick merchant who lived nearby. Father borrowed the money, but wasn't allowed to pay any interest, which surprised him. And so the house was rebuilt. [Drinks again] Do you know who burned it down?
JEAN. Your mother.
MISS JULIE. Do you know who the brick merchant was?
JEAN. Your mother's lover?
MISS JULIE. Do you know whose the money was?
JEAN. Wait a moment--no, I don't.
MISS JULIE. My mother's!
JEAN. The Count's too, then, or was there a settlement?*
MISS JULIE. There was no settlement.--My mother had a little capital of her own, which she didn't want my father to administer. Therefore she invested it with her--friend.
JEAN. Who pinched it.
MISS JULIE. Exactly! He kept it.--All this came to my father's notice, but he was unable to open proceedings, repay his wife's lover, or prove that the money was his wife's.--He was on the verge of shooting himself.--They said he tried but failed. But he got back on his feet, and my mother was forced to pay for her actions. Just imagine what those five years were like for me. I loved my father, but I sided with my mother, because I didn't know the real circumstances. She taught me how to hate men--I'm sure you've heard how she hated men--and I swore to her I'd never be a slave to any man.
JEAN. But then you got engaged to that lawyer.
MISS JULIE. Just so he'd be my slave.
JEAN. And I suppose he didn't fancy that?
MISS JULIE. Oh, he was willing enough, but he didn't get the chance. I tired of him.
JEAN. I saw--in the stable.
MISS JULIE. What did you see?
JEAN. What I saw.--How he broke off the engagement.*
MISS JULIE. That's a lie! I was the one who broke it off! Did he tell you that? The little swine!
JEAN. Hardly a swine, I imagine. Do you hate men, Miss Julie?
MISS JULIE. Yes.--Most of the time. But sometimes--when this weakness comes over me--ugh!
JEAN. Then you hate me, too?
MISS JULIE. More than I can say! I'd like to have you put down like an animal. . .
JEAN. 'The offender shall be sentenced to two years' penal servitude and the animal is killed.'* Isn't that right?
MISS JULIE. Right!
JEAN. But there's no prosecuter here--and no animal. So what shall we do?
MISS JULIE. Leave.
JEAN. And torment each other to death?
MISS JULIE. No. Enjoy ourselves, for a couple of days, a week, for as long as it lasts, and then--die.
JEAN. Die? That's daft! Better the hotel than that!
MISS JULIE [without hearing JEAN].--by Lake Como, where the sun always shines, where the laurel trees are in flower at Christmas and the oranges glow like fire-- JEAN. Lake Como's a rainy hole, and the only oranges I saw were at the grocer's. But it's a good spot for tourists, full of villas for hire to loving couples--and that's a paying game. Know why?--Because they lease them for six months--and then leave after three weeks.
MISS JULIE [naively]. Three weeks? Why?
JEAN. They quarrel, of course. But they have to pay the rent all the same! Meanwhile, you can hire it out again. And so it goes on, over and over again. You can always bank on love--even though it doesn't last long!
MISS JULIE. You don't want to die with me?
JEAN. I don't want to die at all! For one thing, I like life; for another, I consider suicide a crime against the providence that gave us life.
MISS JULIE. You believe in God?
JEAN. Of course I do. And I go to church every other Sunday.-Frankly, I'm fed up with all this. I'm going to bed.
MISS JULIE. I see, and you think I'll rest content with that? Don't you know what a man owes a woman he's dishonoured?
JEAN [opening his purse and throwing a silver coin on the table]. Here! I always like to pay my debts!
MISS JULIE [pretending not to notice the insult]. Do you know what the law says. . .
JEAN. Unfortunately the law says nothing about a woman who seduces a man.
MISS JULIE. What else can we do but leave, get married, and part?
JEAN. And if I refuse to enter into this mésalliance?*
MISS JULIE. Mésalliance. . .
JEAN. Yes, on my part. I come from a finer line than you, remember. None of my ancestors committed arson.
MISS JULIE. How do you know?
JEAN. You can't prove otherwise. We've no family records--except with the police. But I've read up on your pedigree in that Peerage book.* Do you know who your earliest ancestor was? A miller who let the king spend the night with his wife during the Danish war. I've no such pedigree. I've no pedigree at all, in fact, but I could sire one!
MISS JULIE. This is what I get for opening my heart to a wretch like you, for sacrificing my family's honour. . .
JEAN. Dishonour! You see, I told you not to drink, it sets one talking. And one shouldn't talk!
MISS JULIE. Oh, how I regret it! How I regret it!--If you only loved me!
JEAN. For the last time--what do you want me to do? Start crying, jump over your riding whip, kiss you, lure you down to Lake Como for three weeks, and then. . . what am I supposed to do? What do you want? This is getting tiresome! But that's what happens when you get involved with women. Miss Julie! I can see you're miserable, I know you're suffering, but I simply can't understand you. We don't carry on like this. We don't hate each other. For us love's a game, when work allows; but we don't have all day and all night for it, like you do. I believe you're sick, and your mother was certainly mad. We've whole parishes gone mad with pietism, of course, but this is a kind of pietism* run wild.
MISS JULIE. Be kind to me, Jean. Treat me like a human being.
JEAN. All right, then behave like one! You spit on me, and won't let me wipe it off--on you.
MISS JULIE. Help me! Help me! Just tell me what I'm to do. Where am I to go?
JEAN. Jesus, if only I knew!
MISS JULIE. I've been mad, I've been crazy, but does that mean there's no way out?
JEAN. Stay here, and say nothing. No one knows.
MISS JULIE. Impossible! The servants know. And Kristin.
JEAN. Not for sure, and anyway, they'd never believe it.
MISS JULIE [hesitating]. But--it could happen again!
JEAN. That's true!
MISS JULIE. And the consequences?
JEAN [frightened]. Consequences!--What on earth have I been thinking of?--All right, there's only one solution.--You must leave! At once!--I can't come with you, for then all really would be lost. You must travel alone--away from here--anywhere!
MISS JULIE. Alone? Where?--I can't!
JEAN. You must! And before his Lordship returns, too. If you stay, we know what'll happen. Once you've erred the harm's already done and so you go on--then you grow bolder and bolder--and finally get found out. So go! Then write to his Lordship and tell him everything, except that it was me. He'll never guess that. He won't be all that keen to know either, I imagine.
MISS JULIE. I'll go, if you'll come with me!
JEAN. Are you mad, woman? Miss Julie run away with her servant! The day after tomorrow it'd be in all the papers, and his Lordship'd never survive that.
MISS JULIE. I can't go. I can't stay. Help me! I'm so tired, so dreadfully tired! Order me! Just set me in motion--I can't think on my own any more, I can't act!
JEAN. Now you see what a pathetic creature you are! Why do you puff yourselves up so, and stick your noses in the air as if you were the lords of creation? All right, I'll give you your orders. Go upstairs and get dressed. Get some money for the journey, and then come back down again!
MISS JULIE [half aloud]. Come with me!
JEAN. To your room?--Now you're being crazy* again. [Hesitates a moment] No. Go! At once! [Takes her hand and leads her out
MISS JULIE [as she leaves]. Speak kindly to me, Jean!
JEAN. An order always sounds unkind. Now you know what they sound like.
JEAN alone, heaves a sigh of relief; sits at the table; takes out a notebook and pen; does some sums aloud now and then; dumb mime, until KRISTIN enters, dressed for church; holding a starched white shirt front and a white tie.
KRISTIN. Lord Jesus, what a mess! What on earth have you been up to?
JEAN. Oh, it was Miss Julie brought the servants in. You must've been right out. Didn't you hear anything?
KRISTIN. I've slept like a log.
JEAN. Dressed for church already?
KRISTIN. Of course! And you promised to come with me to communion today!
JEAN. So I did, yes. And you've the outfit there, I see. Come along, then!
Sits down; KRISTIN begins to dress him in his white shirt-front and white tie.
JEAN [sleepily]. What's the lesson today?
KRISTIN. The beheading of John the Baptist, I suppose.*
JEAN. Oh my God, that's a long one.--Ouch, you're strangling me!--Oh, I'm so sleepy, so sleepy!
KRISTIN. Yes, what've you been doing, up all night? You're quite green in the face?
JEAN. I've been sitting here, talking with Miss Julie.
KRISTIN. She doesn't know what's proper, that one!
JEAN. I say, Kristin.
JEAN. It's pretty strange when you think about it.--Her, I mean.
KRISTIN. What's so strange?
JEAN. All of it!
KRISTIN [sees the half-empty glasses on the table]. Have you been drinking together, too?
KRISTIN. For shame!--Look me in the eye!
KRISTIN. Is it possible? Is it possible?
JEAN [after thinking a moment]. Yes. It is.
KRISTIN. Ugh! I'd never have thought it! No, for shame! Shame on you!
JEAN. You're not jealous of her, are you?
KRISTIN. Not of her, no. If it'd been Klara or Sophie, I'd have scratched your eyes out!--But her now--no--I don't know why.--Oh, but it's disgusting!
JEAN. Are you angry with her, then?
KRISTIN. No, with you! That was wicked, really wicked! Poor girl!--No matter who knows, I'm not stopping here a moment longer, not in a house where we can't respect our masters.
JEAN. Why should we respect them?
KRISTIN. Yes, you're such a know-all, you tell me! You don't want to work for people who behave vulgar, do you? Well? That's disgracing yourself, if you ask me.
JEAN. Yes, but surely it helps to know they're no better than we are.
KRISTIN. Not to my mind, it doesn't. If they're no better than we are, there's no point us trying to be like them.--And think of the Count. Just think of him and all the misery he's had in his days. Lord Jesus! No, I'll not stay in this house a moment longer! And with someone like you! If it'd been that lawyer, now--someone better. . .
JEAN. And who might that be?
KRISTIN. Oh, yes! You're not bad in your way, but all the same, there's a difference between man and beast.--No, I'll not forget this! Miss Julie, who was so proud, so down on men, you'd never have believed she'd go and give herself like that; and to someone like you! She who nearly had that bitch of hers shot for running after the gatekeeper's mutt.--Yes, I'll say my piece!--But I'll stay here no longer. Come the 24th of October* and I'll be on my way!
JEAN. And then?
KRISTIN. Yes, since you've raised the subject, it's about time you looked around for something, seeing as we're going to get married.
JEAN. And what might that be? I can't get a position like this once I'm married.
KRISTIN. No, that's plain. You might well get a job as a doorkeeper, though, or look for a post as a caretaker in some government office or other. It might not pay very well, but it's secure, and there's a pension for wife and child. . .
JEAN [grimaces]. That's all very well, but dying for a wife and child is hardly my style, not yet awhile. I have to confess I was setting my sights a little higher.
KRISTIN. Your sights?--You've responsibilities, too. You think of them!
JEAN. Don't you start on about my responsibilities, I know what I have to do all right. [Listens to sounds from without] We've time enough to think about all this, though.--Go in now and get yourself ready, then we'll go to church.
KRISTIN. Who's that walking about upstairs?
JEAN. How should I know, unless it's Klara.
KRISTIN. Surely it can't be his Lordship, come home without anyone hearing?
JEAN [afraid]. The Count? No, that's impossible, he'd have rung by now!
KRISTIN [leaving]. Well, God help us! I've never known the like!
The sun has now risen and is lighting up the tops of the trees in the park; its rays move gradually until they fall at an angle through the window. JEAN goes to the door and makes a sign.
MISS JULIE [enters in travelling clothes with a small birdcage covered with a cloth, which she places on a chair]. I'm ready now.
JEAN. Quiet! Kristin's awake.
MISS JULIE. [extremely nervous throughout what follows]. Does she suspect anything?
JEAN. Not a thing. My God, what a sight you look!
MISS JULIE. What do you mean?
JEAN. You're as white as a corpse and--forgive me, but your face is dirty.
MISS JULIE. Let me wash, then. [She goes to the wash basin and washes her face and hands] There. Give me a towel!--Oh, there's the sun.
JEAN. Which breaks the troll's spell.*
MISS JULIE. Yes, we've been spellbound tonight, that's for sure.-But Jean, listen. Come with me, I've got the money now!
JEAN [doubtfully]. Enough?
MISS JULIE. Enough to begin with. Come with me, I can't go alone, not today. Just think--Midsummer day, on a stuffy train packed in with crowds of people, all gaping at me; standing about on station platforms when one simply longs to fly away--no, I can't, I can't! And then all those memories, childhood memories of Midsummer days with the church garlanded with birch leaves and lilac, dinner laid out on the great table, with relatives and friends; the afternoon in the park, with dancing and music, flowers and games. Oh, no matter how far you run, a whole baggage-waggon full of memories, remorse, and guilt follows on behind!
JEAN. I'll come with you. But now, at once, before it's too late. Now, this minute!
MISS JULIE. Right! Get dressed, then! [Picks up the birdcage
JEAN. But no luggage. That would give us away.
MISS JULIE. No, nothing. Only what we can take in the compartment.
JEAN [has taken his hat]. What have you got there? What is it?
MISS JULIE. Only my siskin. I can't leave her!
JEAN. Oh God, look at that! Take a birdcage along with us? You're mad! Put that cage down!
MISS JULIE. My one memory from home; the only living creature that loves me now Diana's betrayed me! Don't be cruel! Let me take her with me!
JEAN. Put that cage down, I tell you!--And don't talk so loud.-Kristin'll hear us.
MISS JULIE. I won't leave it in anyone else's hands. I'd rather you killed her!
JEAN. Bring the little beast here, then, I'll soon wring its neck!
MISS JULIE. All right, but don't hurt her. Don't-- -- --no, I can't!
JEAN. Bring it here; I can!
MISS JULIE [takes the bird out of the cage and kisses it]. Oh, my little Serine, are you going to die now, and leave your mistress behind?
JEAN. Please don't make a scene; it's your life and happiness that are at stake. Here, quickly! [Snatches the bird away from her; takes it to the chopping block and picks up the kitchen axe. MISS JULIE turns away] You should have learnt how to slaughter chickens instead of pistol-shooting [brings down the axe], then you wouldn't faint at a drop of blood.
MISS JULIE [screams]. Kill me too! Kill me! You, who can slaughter an innocent creature without turning a hair. Oh, I hate and despise you; there's blood between us! I curse the moment I set eyes on you, I curse the moment I was conceived in my mother's womb!
JEAN. What's the good of cursing? Get going now!
MISS JULIE [approaches the chopping block, as though drawn there against her will]. No, I don't want to go just yet; I can't-- -- -I must see-- -- --Quiet! There's a carriage outside--[Listens to the sounds outside while keeping her eyes fixed on the block and the axe] Do you think I can't bear the sight of blood? Do you think I'm so weak?-- -- --Oh--I'd like to see your blood, your brains, on a chopping block--I'd like to see your sex,* swimming in a sea of blood, like that bird there--I do believe I could drink from your skull, I'd like to paddle my feet in your breast, I'd roast your heart and eat it whole!--You think I'm weak; you think I love you because my womb desired your seed; you think I want to carry your brood beneath my heart and nourish it with my blood--to bear your child and take your name--by the way, what is your surname?--I've never heard it--you probably haven't got one. I'd become 'Mrs Gatekeeper'--or 'Madame Rubbish Dump'--You dog, who wears my collar, you drudge with my crest upon your buttons--I share with my cook? Compete with my maid?--Oh! oh! oh!--You think I'm a coward and want to run away. No, I'm staying now--and let the storm break! My father'll come home-find his desk broken open--his money gone--Then he'll ring--on that bell--twice for his lackey--And then he'll send for the police--and I'll tell them everything. Everything! Oh, it'll be so good to end it all--if only it is the end--And then he'll have a stroke and die--And it'll be all up with us--quiet--peace--eternal rest--And then our coat of arms will be broken upon the coffin;* the Count's line will be extinguished and the lackey's race will continue in an orphanage--winning its laurels in the gutter and ending its days in gaol.
JEAN. There's your blue blood talking! Bravo, Miss Julie! Now just put a sock in that miller, will you?
KRISTIN enters, dressed for church, carrying a hymn-book.
MISS JULIE [hastens across to her and falls into her arms, as though seeking protection]. Help me, Kristin! That man--help me!
KRISTIN [motionless and cold]. What kind of a spectacle is this on a Sunday morning? [Looks at the chopping block] And what a mess! It's like a pigsty!--What's going on? Why all this screaming and shouting?
MISS JULIE. Kristin! You're a woman and my friend. Don't trust this swine!
JEAN [crestfallen]. While you ladies are talking, I'll go in and shave. [Slips out to the right
MISS JULIE. You'll understand me; you'll listen to me!
KRISTIN. No, I don't and I won't. Such sluttishness is quite beyond me. Where are you going dressed like that? And him with his hat on?--Well?--
MISS JULIE. Listen to me, Kristin, just listen to me and I'll tell you everything-- -- --
KRISTIN. I don't want to know anything-- -- --
MISS JULIE. You must listen to me-- -- --
KRISTIN. What about? That nonsense with Jean? I don't care a jot about that; it's of no concern to me. But if you're thinking of fooling him into bunking off we'll soon put a stop to that!
MISS JULIE [extremely nervous]. Try and be calm now, Kristin, and listen to me. I can't stay here and nor can Jean--so we simply have to go. . .
KRISTIN. Hm, hm!
MISS JULIE [brightening up]. But look, I've just had an idea.--What if all three of us were to go-abroad--to Switzerland, and start a hotel together?--I've money, look--and Jean and I could run everything--and you, I thought, might look after the kitchen.-Wouldn't that be fun? Oh, do say yes!
Embraces KRISTIN, and caresses her.
KRISTIN [coldly and thoughtfully]. Hm, hm!
MISS JULIE [tempo presto]. You've never been abroad, Kristin--you should get away and see the world.--You've no idea what fun it is to travel by train--new people all the time--new countries--we'll pass through Hamburg and see the Zoo--you'll like that--and we'll go to the theatre and hear the opera--and when we get to Munich there'll be the museums--you know, with Rubens and Raphael* and all the great painters--you've heard of Munich, haven't you, where King Ludwig* used to live--you know, the mad one--and then we'll see his castles--some of them are just like the ones in fairy-tales--and from there it's not far to Switzerland--and the Alps, Kristin--just fancy the Alps, with snow on in the middle of the summer--oranges grow there, and laurel trees that are green all the year round-- -- --
JEAN can be seen in the wings to the right, whetting his razor on a strop, which he is holding between his teeth and left hand; he listens with satisfaction to the conversation and now and then nods approvingly.
MISS JULIE [tempo prestissimo].--and there we'll take over a hotel-and I'll sit in the office while Jean welcomes the guests--I'll go out shopping--write letters--oh, what a life it'll be, Kristin--trains whistling, buses arriving, bells ringing on every floor and in the restaurant--and I'll make out the bills--I can salt them, yes I can--you've no idea how timid tourists are when it comes to paying the bill!--And you--you'll sit like a queen in the kitchen.--You won't have to stand over the stove yourself, of course--and you'll be nicely and neatly dressed when you appear before the guests--and with your looks--I'm not flattering you, Kristin--one day you'll get hold of a husband, a rich Englishman, you'll see--they're so easy to [slowing down]--catch--and then we'll get rich--and build ourselves a villa on Lake Como--it rains a little there now and then, of course--but [subsiding] the sun must shine there too, sometimes-- -- --though it looks dark-- -- -and--then--otherwise, we can always come home again--back to [pause]-- -- --here--or somewhere else-- -- --
KRISTIN. Listen, Miss Julie, do you really believe all this?
MISS JULIE [crushed]. Believe it?
MISS JULIE [tired]. I don't know; I don't believe in anything any more. [Collapses on to the bench; puts her head on the table between her arms] Nothing! Nothing at all!
KRISTIN [turns to the right, where JEAN is standing]. So, you were thinking of running away!
JEAN [crestfallen, puts his razor down on the table]. Running away? That's a bit strong. You heard Miss Julie's plan, though. She may be tired now after a long night, but it might well work.
KRISTIN. Hark at him! Do you really think I'd cook for that. . .
JEAN [sharply]. Kindly speak with a little more respect; she's still your mistress. Understand?
KRISTEN. Oh, listen to him! Just listen to him!
JEAN. Yes, listen, you might learn something, if you talked a little less! Miss Julie's your mistress, and what you despise in her, you ought to despise in yourself!
KRISTIN. I've always had a proper respect for myself so-- -- --
JEAN.--that you could despise others!--
KRISTIN.--so that I've never sunk below my own station. You tell me when his Lordship's cook has been with the groom or the pig man! Just you tell me!
JEAN. You're all right, you've got yourself a fine man.
KRISTIN. Oh yes, so fine he sells his lordship's oats from the stables-- -- --
JEAN. You can talk, you take a slice on the groceries and bribes from the butcher!
KRISTIN. What's that?
JEAN. And you say you've no respect for your masters any more! You, you, you!
KRISTIN. Are you coming to church, or aren't you? You could do with a good sermon after your exploits!
JEAN. No, I'm not going to church today; you can go alone and confess your own doings!
KRISTIN. Yes, I will, and I'll bring back enough forgiveness for you, too! Our saviour suffered and died on the cross for all our sins, and if we approach him in faith and with a penitent heart, he'll take all our sins upon himself.
JEAN. Even the groceries?*
MISS JULIE. Do you believe that, Kristin?
KRISTIN. It's my living faith, as sure as I stand here. My childhood faith, to which I've kept ever since, Miss Julie. And where there's sin in abundance, there His mercy abounds.
MISS JULIE. Ah, if only I had your faith! Oh, if. . .
KRISTIN. But you can't, you see, not without God's special grace, and that's not given to everyone-- -- --
MISS JULIE. To whom is it given, then?
KRISTIN. That's the great secret of grace, Miss Julie, God's no respecter of persons. There the last shall be first*--
MISS JULIE. Yes, but then He does respect the last?
KRISTIN [continues].--and it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.* That's how it is, Miss Julie. Well, now I'm going-alone. And on the way past I'll tell the groom not to let any of the horses out in case someone should think of leaving before the Count comes home.--Goodbye! [Leaves
JEAN. Damned bitch!--And all this for a siskin!--
MISS JULIE [dully]. Oh, never mind the siskin!--Do you see any way out of this? Any end to it all?
JEAN [ponders]. No!
MISS JULIE. What would you do in my place?
JEAN. In yours? Wait, now.--A woman of noble birth who'd-sunk? I don't know--or yes, maybe I do.
MISS JULIE [takes the razor and makes a gesture]. Like this?
JEAN. Yes.--But I wouldn't do it--mind, for there's a difference between us!
MISS JULIE. Because you're a man and I'm a woman? What difference does that make?
JEAN. Precisely that--the difference between a man and a woman.
MISS JULIE. I want to. But I can't.--My father couldn't either, that time he should have done it.
JEAN. No, he was right not to. He had to be revenged first.
MISS JULIE. And now my mother's taking her revenge again, through me.
JEAN. Have you never loved your father, Miss Julie?
MISS JULIE. Yes, very much. But I've hated him, too. I must have done so without realizing it. It was he who brought me up to feel contempt for my own sex, as a half-woman and half-man. Who's to blame for all this? My father, my mother, myself? Myself? But I have no self of my own? I haven't a thought I didn't get from my father, not an emotion I didn't get from my mother, and this last idea--that everyone's equal--I got from him, my fianc¨¦--which is why I called him a swine! How can it be my own fault, then? Shift all the blame on to Jesus, as Kristin did?--No, I'm too proud for that, and too intelligent--thanks to my father's teachings--and all that about a rich man not getting into heaven, that's a lie-Kristin's got money in the savings-bank, she won't get in at any rate! Whose fault is it?--What's it matter to us whose fault it is; I'm still the one who'll have to bear the blame, suffer the consequences.
JEAN. Yes, but-- -- --
There are two shrill rings on the bell; MISS JULIE jumps to her feet; JEAN changes his coat.
JEAN. His Lordship's home!--What if Kristin-- -- --
Goes to the speaking tube; knocks and listens.
MISS JULIE. Has he been to his desk yet?
JEAN. This is Jean, sir! [Listens. Note that the audience cannot hear what the COUNT says] Yes, sir! [Listens] Yes, sir! At once! [Listens] At once, sir! [Listens]--Yes, sir, in half an hour!
MISS JULIE [extremely anxious]. What did he say? For God's sake, what did he say?
JEAN. He wants his boots and his coffee in half an hour.
MISS JULIE. In half an hour, then!--Oh, I'm so tired; I can't bring myself to do anything, I can't repent, can't run away, can't stay, can't live--can't die! Help me, now! Order me, and I'll obey like a dog! Do me this last service, save my honour, save his name! You know what I ought to do, but can't, just will me to do it. Order me!
JEAN. I don't know why--but now I can't either--I don't understand--it's just as if this coat made me--I can't order you--and now, since his Lordship spoke to me--then--I can't explain it properly--but--oh, it's this damned lackey sitting on my back!-I believe if his lordship came down now and ordered me to cut my throat, I'd do it on the spot.
MISS JULIE. Then let's pretend you're him, and I'm you!--You acted so well just now, when you went down on your knees-then you were the aristocrat--or--have you never been to the theatre and seen a hypnotist? [Jean gestures assent] He says to his subject, 'Take this broom!', and he takes it; he says, 'Sweep!', and it sweeps*-- -- --
JEAN. But then the subject has to be asleep.
MISS JULIE [ecstatically]. I'm already asleep--it's as if the whole room were full of smoke; you look like an iron stove, dressed all in black with a top hat--your eyes glow like coals in a dying fire--and your face is a white spot, like ashes--[The sunlight has now fallen upon the floor, and is shining on JEAN]--it's so nice and warm-[She rubs her hands as though warming them before a fire]--and so light--and so peaceful!
JEAN [takes the razor and places it in her hand]. Here's the broom! Go now, while it's still fight--out to the barn--and. . . [Whispers in her ear
MISS JULIE [awake]. Thank you. Now I'm going to rest. But just tell me one thing--that the first may also receive the gift of grace. Tell me, even if you don't believe it.
JEAN. The first? No, I can't!--But wait--Miss Julie--now I know!--You're no longer among the first--you're among--the last.
MISS JULIE. That's true--I'm among the very last; I am the last. Oh!--But now I can't go--Tell me to go, just one more time!
JEAN. No, I can't now either. I can't!
MISS JULIE. And the first shall be last.
JEAN. Don't think, don't think! You're taking all my strength away too, and making me a coward--What's that? I thought the bell moved!--No! Shall we stop it with paper?-- --To be so afraid of a bell!--Yes, but it's not just a bell--there's somebody behind it-a hand sets it in motion--and something else sets that hand in motion--but if you stop your ears--just stop your ears! Yes, but then he'll go on ringing even louder--and keep on ringing until someone answers--and then it's too late! Then the police will come--and then. . .
Two loud rings on the bell.
JEAN [cringes, then straightens himself up]. It's horrible! But there is no other way!--Go! [MISS JULIE walks resolutely out through the door]
Do we see her die? ...
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin
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