Important Quotations Explained
GREGERS: Oh, indeed! Hialmar Ekdal is sick too, is he!
RELLING: Most people are, worse luck.
GREGERS: And what remedy are you applying in Hialmar's case?
RELLING: My usual one. I am cultivating the life-illusion* in him. ("Livslognen," literally "the life-lie.")
GREGERS: Life-illusion? I didn't catch what you said.
RELLING: Yes, I said illusion. For illusion, you know, is the stimulating principle.
EKDAL: It's Hakon Werle we have to thank for her, all the same, Gina. [To GREGERS] He was shooting from a boat, you see, and he brought her down. But your father's sight is not very good now. H'm; she was only wounded.
GREGERS: Ah! She got a couple of slugs in her body, I suppose.
HIALMAR: Yes, two or three.
HEDVIG: She was hit under the wing, so that she couldn't fly.
GREGERS: And I suppose she dived to the bottom, eh?
EKDAL: [sleepily, in a thick voice] Of course. Always do that, wild ducks do. They shoot to the bottom as deep as they can get, sir — and bite themselves fast in the tangle and seaweed — and all the devil's own mess that grows down there. And they never come up again.
GREGERS: But your wild duck came up again, Lieutenant Old Ekdal.
EKDAL: He had such an amazingly clever dog, your father had. And that dog — he dived in after the duck and fetched her up again.
HIALMAR: [comes in with some manuscript books and old loose papers, which he lays upon the table] That portmanteau is of no use! There are a thousand and one things I must drag with me.
GINA: [following with the portmanteau] Why not leave all the rest for the present, and only take a shirt and a pair of woolen drawers with you?
HIALMAR: Whew!—all these exhausting preparations—! [Pulls off his overcoat and throws it upon the sofa.]
GINA: And there's the coffee getting cold.
HIALMAR: H'm. [Drinks a mouthful without thinking of it, and then another.]
GINA: [dusting the backs of the chairs] A nice job you'll have to find such another big garret for the rabbits.
HEDVIG: And there's an old bureau with drawers and flaps, and a big clock with figures that go out and in. But the clock isn't going now.
GREGERS: So time has come to a standstill in there — in the wild duck's domain.
HEDVIG: Yes. And then there's an old paint-box and things of that sort; and all the books.
GREGERS: And you read the books, I suppose?
HEDVIG: Oh, yes, when I get the chance. Most of them are English though, and I don't understand English. But then I look at the pictures. — There is one great big book called Harrison's History of London. It must be a hundred years old; and there are such heaps of pictures in it. At the beginning there is Death with an hour-glass and a woman. I think that is horrid. But then there are all the other pictures of churches, and castles, and streets, and great ships sailing on the sea.
RELLING: Oh, life would be quite tolerable, after all, if only we could be rid of the confounded duns that keep on pestering us, in our poverty, with the claim of the ideal.
GREGERS: [looking straight before him] In that case, I am glad that my destiny is what is.
RELLING: May I inquire,—what is your destiny?
GREGERS: [going] To be the thirteenth at table.
RELLING: The devil it is.
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