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A monologue from the play by August Strindberg
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Plays by August Strindberg, vol. 3. Trans. Edwin Björkman. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913.
I thought I heard the “little steps”–those little steps that came tripping down the corridor when she was looking for me. — It was the child that was the best of all! To watch that fearless little creature,
whom nothing could frighten, who never suspected that life might be deceptive, who had no secrets! I recall her first experience of the malice that is in human beings.
She caught sight of a pretty child down in the park, and, though it was strange to her, she went up to it with open arms to kiss it–and the pretty child rewarded her friendliness by biting her on the cheek first and then making a face at her.
Then you should have seen my little Anne-Charlotte. She stood as if turned to stone. And it wasn’t pain that did it, but horror at the sight of that yawning abyss which is called the human heart.
I have been confronted with the same sight myself once, when out of two beautiful eyes suddenly shot strange glances as if some evil beast had appeared behind those eyes.
It scared me literally so that I had to see if some other person were standing behind that face, which looked like a mask. — But why do we sit here talking about such things? Is it the heat, or the storm, or what?