August Strindberg.

Plays by August Strindberg: Creditors. Pariah online

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punishment on this side.

MR. Y. How can you imagine anything of the kind?

MR. X. Wait until the sheriff gets here, and you'll learn all about it.

(MR. Y. gets up.)

ME. X. There you see! The first time I mentioned the sheriff, in
connection with the storm, you wanted also to run away. And when a
person has served out his time he doesn't care to visit an old mill
every day just to look at a prison, or to stand by the window - in a
word, you are at once punished and unpunished. And that's why it was so
hard to make you out. [Pause.]

MR. Y. [Completely beaten] May I go now?

MR. X. Now you can go.

MR. Y. [Putting his things together] Are you angry at me?

MR. X. Yes - would you prefer me to pity you?

MR. Y. [Sulkily] Pity? Do you think you're any better than I?

MR. X. Of course I do, as I AM better than you. I am wiser, and I am
less of a menace to prevailing property rights.

MR. Y. You think you are clever, but perhaps I am as clever as you. For
the moment you have me checked, but in the next move I can mate you - all
the same!

MR. X. [Looking hard at MR. Y.] So we have to have another bout! What
kind of mischief are you up to now?

MR. Y. That's my secret.

MR. X. Just look at me - oh, you mean to write my wife an anonymous
letter giving away MY secret!

MR. Y. Well, how are you going to prevent it? You don't dare to have me
arrested. So you'll have to let me go. And when I am gone, I can do what
I please.

MR. X. You devil! So you have found my vulnerable spot! Do you want to
make a real murderer out of me?

MR. Y. That's more than you'll ever become - coward!

MR. X. There you see how different people are. You have a feeling that I
cannot become guilty of the same kind of acts as you. And that gives you
the upper hand. But suppose you forced me to treat you as I treated that

[He lifts his hand as if ready to hit MR. Y.]

MR. Y. [Staring MR. X. straight in the face] You can't! It's too much
for one who couldn't save himself by means of the box over there.

ME. X. So you don't think I have taken anything out of the box?

MR. Y. You were too cowardly - just as you were too cowardly to tell your
wife that she had married a murderer.

MR. X. You are a different man from what I took you to be - if stronger
or weaker, I cannot tell - if more criminal or less, that's none of my
concern - but decidedly more stupid; that much is quite plain. For stupid
you were when you wrote another person's name instead of begging - as
I have had to do. Stupid you were when you stole things out of my
book - could you not guess that I might have read my own books? Stupid
you were when you thought yourself cleverer than me, and when you
thought that I could be lured into becoming a thief. Stupid you were
when you thought balance could be restored by giving the world two
thieves instead of one. But most stupid of all you were when you thought
I had failed to provide a safe corner-stone for my happiness. Go ahead
and write my wife as many anonymous letters as you please about
her husband having killed a man - she knew that long before we were
married! - Have you had enough now?

MR. Y. May I go?

MR. X. Now you HAVE to go! And at once! I'll send your things after
you! - Get out of here!


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Online LibraryAugust StrindbergPlays by August Strindberg: Creditors. Pariah → online text (page 6 of 6)