Act II

(Lea plays with dolls in a way reminiscent of the beginning of the play. The veil/sheet is also present. Toini enters and helps Lea stretch and fold the sheet.)

TOINI: I’ll travel everywhere. Rome, Paris, Berlin. Just think. That’s the life I was born for.
LEA: What about Aulis?
TOINI: He’s got his research, blood chemistry, forever and ever. What would I do at that villa? No thank you. Invite guests over, show them around the garden, check the air temperature, water temperature, ooh and aah at the sunshine, ooh and aah when the sun goes away. I despise all that. At the villa trivial things become the main thing. Just living day to day.
LEA: So what isn’t?
TOINI: It’s the lazy and lifeless life of sluggish people. I like speed.
SIIRI: (Enters carrying luggage; it’s Eero’s.) Now that I’m here applying for this job I thank my lucky stars that I’ve left that trash behind. The shopkeeper wasn’t bad, gave me a good recommendation, too, and the missus always warned me to act decent and everything’d be all right, I’ll be a real person someday.

(Lea hands Siiri the folded sheet, Siiri exits.)

LEA: So who’s this German of yours?
TOINI: He’s Polish.
LEA: What does he do? What’s he doing here?
TOINI: Why don’t you ask who his father is, how much he makes, how many brothers and sisters, are they good people, while you’re at it.
LEA: You have Aulis.
TOINI: Aulis has all humanity.
LEA: Are you traveling with him?
TOINI: With who? Lea, stay out of my private life.
SIIRI: (Enters dragging more luggage.) I could have had a husband in the country, a carpenter’s apprentice even, but no country boys for me. All the poverty and misery there, to add to it and lots of children to boot. And if you don’t love him, why marry him?
TOINI: Oh, Siiri, what do you know about love at your age?
SIIRI: I’ve been in love before. A university student who always came in to buy tobacco. A very handsome boy. Never even noticed me. But dreaming about him kept me from looking at anyone else. A healthy thing, really.
EERO: (entering) All right. Look after the house. Take the children out, but don’t take them far, the roads out there are full of rocks and gravel that will wear out your shoes. And don’t scuff your soles, set your foot down carefully, like this. Herring is the cheapest food, you can buy that now and again. And sunlight isn’t as healthy as people claim.
LEA: We’ll be fine here.

(Eero shakes Lea’s hand, punches Toini in the shoulder. Toini punches him back.)

TOINI: See, that’s the way to handle men. If they hit you, hit them back.
EERO: What a girl. (Exits.)
TOINI: Did you know that Aulis and Eero fought early in the summer? At our place; over you, I think.
LEA: (arranges the dolls on the bed) Impossible.
TOINI: I think Eero hit Aulis. And Eero shouted: “To hell with your morality!” I walked in and they were facing each other off. Eero was upset, and he left. Aulis was depressed for days, and I tried to tease him and shake him out of it, and then I teased him about you.
LEA: You make me ill. Don’t mess things up.

(A waltz begins to play. Eero enters and bows to Lea. Ester enters dancing with Aulis. Toini freezes out of the scene.)

EERO: I have always associated Midsummer with love.
LEA: And you believe that you can make it come by telling it to? What if when it comes it’s only a Midsummer night’s dream that makes you scream when you wake?

(The dancers exchange partners. Lea dances for a moment with Aulis.)

ESTER: It’s dangerous to withdraw from everything. You never know. To be alone, that’s to play your hand badly, let everything ride on a single card.

(Now Aulis dances with Toini, and Ester has gone to push her hatstand husband around. The waltz gradually crumbles away. But it remains with Lea, she goes on humming it as she climbs into bed with her children.)

LEA: We’ll be fine here. Just mom and the kids. Boy. Pious. Girl. The weeks will pass so wonderfully. Mommy will tell you a story. Once upon a time there came a man from faraway lands to visit mommy, a man, do you understand children, good. Boy understands. A man who mommy could have loved and who could have loved mommy. The man said to mommy: “Come away with me, I will fill your life with happiness, that true happiness that two people who were made for each other can attain.” “I won’t,” I say. “I will give you all the riches in the world, power and splendor.” “I won’t go,” I say. “I won’t trade my children for happiness or riches or power.” “Live your life.” “What is my life?” This is it. What is wealth? This is it. Yes, children, my destiny is you.

(Lea takes the children into her arms, spins around with them, arranges them in the doll closet. A light has appeared at Eero’s desk. Eero is back. Eero is bent over the light, writing something. Lea goes to Eero.)

LEA: What were you just writing, show me.
EERO: None of your business.
LEA: (recognizes the promissory note) Do we have to borrow money?
EERO: As if we hadn’t before.
LEA: What were you writing under the light? Whose name was that?
EERO: Shut up or I’ll hit you.
LEA: Hit me than. I want to know.
EERO: Why shouldn’t I tell you? It’s Aulis’s name. I have his permission.
LEA: I don’t believe it, you mustn’t. You’re forging his name.
EERO: Stop it. I’ve done it before.
LEA: Does Aulis know?
EERO: How could he not know? He’s paid, too. What does five or ten thousand mean to him?
LEA: Eero, I won’t let you do it.
EERO: I won’t let you interfere in my business.

(Eero yanks on Lea’s arm so that she goes careening into the doll closet. There is a noise like a cable being pulled too taut. Eero pulls her to her feet, twists her arms and then chokes her. A light has come on in the doll closet, it sways back and forth. Maybe a local rain shower could hit it now.)

LEA: Don’t strangle me, come to your senses. (Eero loosens his grip and stares at Lea as if waking from sleep, looks at her thoughtfully.) That’s right, Eero, no more. Not like this. For your own sake. This is dangerous.
EERO: I know it.
LEA: A button came off your coat. I’ll sew it back on.
EERO: You notice everything. (Takes off his coat.)
LEA: This won’t do. Give the promissory note away.
EERO: I won’t.
LEA: I’ll call Aulis. Hit me, but don’t forge other people’s signatures.
EERO: Listen, don’t take that tone with me, it’s dangerous. I’m warning you, stay out of my affairs.
LEA: I understand. But there are things that shouldn’t be affected by what’s in my best interest. This is about you and matters that are above us both.
EERO: Oh hell. (Takes the note and tears it up.) There.

(Eero puts on his coat, he’s wearing it when Lea breaks the thread. Eero exits. Siiri enters with a tea tray.)

SIIRI: The missus is already so old-fashioned. Nobody’s that petty in society any more. Honesty is a good thing, in a way, and I’ll all for it, but it’s for the lower orders. But communism’s another kettle of fish, where you say what’s yours is mine. Money has no owner. Not much else does either.
LEA: Where did you read that?
SIIRI: Oh, somewhere.
LEA: Eero’s behind this.

(Lea sees Eero and Siiri meeting and embracing.)

SIIRI: Look at me, what! A pretty young girl. Am I pretty?
EERO: You’re drunk.

(Eero exits.)

SIIRI: Here we stand at the threshold of a new era. We have new philosophies and new morals and the old customs and beliefs have become absurd. In the country when the hired hands and drifters talked about it I turned my back and refused to listen. But when a cultured person says something to me, I listen and believe.
LEA: How can he fall so quickly under those young girls’ spell?

(Siiri exits with her tea tray. Mother and Toini fade into view.)

MOTHER: My daughter, you have been abundantly blessed in this life. The Lord has given you a good man and fortunate circumstances that will protect you as few people are protected on this earth.
TOINI: Aulis fell in love with you at first sight, and when he told Eero about it, Eero began to pretend he was in love too. Aulis held back, for he was just breaking off his engagement. And you, sensing nothing and guessing nothing, took Eero. The mistake was yours.
MOTHER: Have you given thanks for all the good things you have received?
TOINI: Everything here is coming apart at the seams, and you pretend not to see it. You’re afraid to face up to the facts, to see that your house is tottering in the wind.

(Lea remains alone. She goes to the doll closet and stops its tottering. Eero passes her on his way to his desk.)

EERO: You just go ahead and work for the betterment of humanity in your nursery. You won’t change people. People are what they are. And how long do you think this life lasts? Forever? You’ve barely opened your eyes when they close again. You saw what you saw. The others stay here and live. And no one notices that you’re gone. No one. By the way, did you fill out that cremation form? Do it. I’m not going to stand around freezing my bare head at your grave, if you die in the winter.

(Eero goes to his desk and busies himself with a passion. Lea speaks to her children, as in a lullaby.)

LEA: Someone’s heart is beating. Maybe it’s mine. It beats like the rocking of a cradle. The world sleeps. My heart is open and empty, like a cradle that soothes the children. Nothing else. Surrender.

(Eero enters dragging Boy by the neck. The Boy-actor is in a body cast. It’s hard for Eero to get him to move. He picks up an iron exercise bar and begins to hit Boy with it. Boy screams. Lea hears the screaming, the dolls fall this way and that as she runs to Boy. Each blow of the bar breaks some of the cast away and gradually a person emerges — not a child, a person.)

EERO: Take that. (Has dragged Boy onto the bed.)
LEA: Stop it, stop it, he’s had a seizure. (Boy’s screaming has stopped.) He’s dying. He’s turning blue. (Lea hurls herself on top of Boy, who is now completely free of the cast. The blows land on Lea.)
EERO: I’ll teach him to be difficult.

(But he stops hitting Boy, throws the bar aside and stomps off to his desk. Lea picks up the sheet and wipes Boy’s face with it. Boy begins to come to.)

BOY: Mommy.
LEA: There, child, sleep now, mommy will stay right here, right here, right here. Everything will be all right. (Keeps caring for her patient. Boy sits up.) There, Boy. You have to learn to hold your tongue, don’t you? You can think, but you must hold your tongue.
BOY: Yes mommy.
LEA: Are you cold?
BOY: No.
LEA: And remember, Boy, we won’t bear a grudge over this, will we?
BOY: No.
LEA: We have to learn to forgive.
BOY: No. When his hand touches my hand, I shudder, and think of snakes and lizards.
LEA: You’re evil.
BOY: I must be evil. I despise him.
LEA: Can’t you even hold your tongue?
BOY: And lie? You want me to learn to lie. I won’t.
LEA: It’s not a lie.
BOY: Yes it is.
LEA: Listen, my father said to me, “patience.” You do understand that your little sisters, Pious and Girl, need their mother?
BOY: They do. And I do too.
LEA: Yes, you do understand. You’re still small and don’t need to understand everything yet. But you’d help me a lot even by not thinking bad thoughts about him.
BOY: Yes.
LEA: By holding back, by staying out of grownups’ affairs, that way you won’t hurt me. Now daddy thinks I put you up to it, and that’s bad. Daddy feels surrounded by enemies, and that’s not true, is it. We love him. He is ours. We’ll wait for him to realize that. There will come a time when we’ll belong together like a real family.
BOY: Do you promise?
LEA: My big boy, why talk so much?
BOY: Mommy, you can talk to me. Who else can you talk to? And I understand. Everything you and daddy talk about, I understand.
LEA: What is there to understand.
BOY: You think a child can’t understand. You’ve probably forgotten what you thought when you were little.
LEA: Sweetheart.
(Mother enters dragging a rug with something heavy in it. Toini enters behind the rug. Lea goes to meet Mother.)
LEA: You have to check a man out before you marry him.
MOTHER: Well do it then.
LEA: I will.
MOTHER: And once you’ve checked him out, be satisfied.
LEA: I will.

(The rug has come unrolled. There lies Father’s body, soaking wet.)

LEA: It’s father.
MOTHER: Maybe he fell into the water drunk.
LEA: Poor father. Maybe he jumped in, in despair.
TOINI: It doesn’t matter now.
MOTHER: He wouldn’t. He’s afraid of water. Believe me, Lea. He is a great coward.
TOINI: Father acts like one of the children.
MOTHER: Yes. And just as insensitive to others. Like the children.

(Mother, Father (who is lying on the rug), and Toini continue on their way. Lea gathers up the dolls, which had fallen on the floor when Boy’s cries had alarmed her and called her to his side.)

LEA: Is this all? (Puts the dolls in the closet, tucks Boy in.) My darling. (When she is finished she sees that Aulis and Toini have come.)
TOINI: Did you know what he did?
LEA: I knew.
TOINI: And still you defend him?
AULIS: I could have killed that man. I, who despise those who would lift their hand against their fellow man.
LEA: Dear friend.
AULIS: If Toini wants to come home, I will forgive her. If she wants a divorce, I’ll support her financially.
TOINI: Support me financially, what a way to put it. He supported me financially while I was still living there, and was that the epitome of bliss.
LEA: You’re doing Aulis an injustice.
AULIS: I trusted Toini.
LEA: (To Aulis) You spoiled her. (To Toini) Are you even sure you love this other man, are you sure he’ll even take you . . .
TOINI: Take me? Take? And will I be happy? True love is fate, it has nothing to do with happiness. When you’re in love you don’t dicker over happiness.
LEA: Toini, what will become of you? I can’t help you.
TOINI: You need help more than I do.
LEA: You are heartless when you speak of me.
TOINI: You’re heartless too when you take Aulis’s side.
LEA: I still need to talk to you.
TOINI: What good will it do? When the formalities have been seen to, I will marry Stanislaw and follow him. That’s all there is to it.

(Hugs Lea, then exits.)

AULIS: So that’s the way it’s going to be.
LEA: What I feel is more than grief.
AULIS: Toini’s right. What would I do with happiness? I wouldn’t have time to care for it. I’m not even a human being any longer, only a working machine, I carry myself around like a quantum of knowledge outside of life. I study blood, its chemical changes, and offer my services where they are needed. That’s my only life, and it’s not much.
LEA: It is.
AULIS: Well, this thing is outside the two of us. Let us put it aside, it’s all a mistake.
LEA: Everything here is a mistake.

(A hymn. Aulis exits. Lea opens the doll closet, gathers the children around her.)

LEA: No one comes here, no one comes to me. The only way to come here is downwards, down spiral stairs, sinking or stooping, no thought, no attitude, no will or feeling, only the mind’s surrender to total rest. No, Aulis, not upwards, not into the heights. The way here is down, still farther, at rest, without demands, without thought. There is nothing here, no disappointment, nothing. “Nothing” has here been heated into human form. What do you want here, where there is nothing?
SIIRI: (entering) That woman called again. I don’t know why people can’t leave one in peace.
LEA: What woman?
SIIRI: What woman, yes, not hard to guess what sort she is. Calling in the middle of the night. And he is putty in their hands. It makes me furious. Anyone can get him to do anything, so long as it is evil.
LEA: Siiri, Siiri. Leave it, not so the children hear.
SIIRI: The worthless scoundrel.
LEA: You mustn’t shout out everything for the children to hear.
SIIRI: Sorry ma’am. It just makes me angry.

(Eero enters. He has dressed for a performance and checks his appearance in the mirror.)

EERO: What a sour face.
LEA: Not at all.
EERO: I wouldn’t want to spend a moment of my time with a person whose face looked like that. Revolting.
LEA: You’re exaggerating again. I could be sociable.
EERO: You have no tastes.
LEA: Do you?
EERO: Me? I have taste. You are beautiful. Damned soulful. And slender and mournful. As if you were mourning. What, could it be I’ve not always treated you right? (Takes Lea’s face between his hands. Boy freezes in an anxious stare.) What if I’ve treated you badly, what?
LEA: Never mind.
EERO: Let me give you some money. (Takes his wallet from his pocket.)
LEA: Don’t.
EERO: If I give, you must take.
LEA: Put your money away. I’ll ask you some other time.
EERO: Do as you wish. But don’t judge me, and don’t call me tight-fisted.

(Exits. The money remains on the floor. Lea bends down to pick it up.)

LEA: Boy, you must look your father in the eye.
BOY: I’m afraid to.
LEA: You must.
BOY: I can’t. I despise him. I’m not going to start fawning on him.

(Exits angrily.)

LEA: You mustn’t shout out everything for the children to hear.
SIIRI: Sorry ma’am. It just makes me angry.
LEA: I’ve been wanting to tell you that I’ve decided to get along without a housekeeper.
SIIRI: You mean have me leave?
LEA: I don’t need you any more.
SIIRI: I can’t accept that. I won’t go that easily. I’m the one who has held this house together, and when I leave, the house comes crumbling down. All a woman has to do is crook her finger and he goes running after her. The scoundrel. He should be locked up in the penitentiary. Bigamist.
LEA: Control yourself. I won’t listen to this.
SIIRI: No. I won’t be thrown away like an old rag. Maybe others have something to say about this. And let me tell you, if you send me away, you’ll regret it.

(Siiri presses her apron to her face and exits. She has an outfit that can stand on its own. From under it Silja appears and runs into the next scene.

Summer comes. Eero walks the Pious doll and makes it jump gaily. Lea brings Girl, takes off some of her clothes, and sits down to play with her. Silja settles down to watch them play.)

LEA: Look, Girl, this pine cone’s a cow. Mommy’s giving it legs. Now the cow is walking in the meadow. See the cow walk? Here comes a wolf. The cow hides. Now the cow’s hiding. The wolf goes away. The cow comes out from hiding. Girl milks the cow.
BOY: (whom Eero is teaching to swim) Mommy look, I’m learning!
EERO: Look at what a little man you’re becoming. Don’t twist your body like that. Watch, like this. (Shows him.) Okay, try again. I’ll hold you. Don’t be afraid.
BOY: I’m not.
EERO: Good. Now it’s mommy’s turn. Come swim, Lea.
LEA: Don’t be silly. Let the children swim.
EERO: Mommy swim, mommy swim.
LEA: Well all right. (Comes to the edge of the water.)
EERO: Have you enjoyed this?
LEA: I have. You can see yourself what an adventure this has been for the children.
EERO: Good. Next summer, if we live that long, you and the children can come here.
LEA: And you?
EERO: If we live that long, I will be going on a trip, perhaps abroad. Remember that I am telling you this as if I had said nothing.
LEA: All right. Where would you go?
EERO: I already told you, remember, as if I had said nothing. If things so require it, but there will be no explanations.
LEA: Small and thin girl, that Silja.
EERO: Poor orphan. Cripple. Simple, retarded. But obedient.
SILJA: Back problem, who knows what. Mother beat me. Then mother died. I became a ward of the county.
LEA: And you’ve been keeping the doctor’s house all summer by yourself? Hard-working girl.
SILJA: I’ll be a real person someday, if only I get a good job.
LEA: Aren’t you lonely here?
SILJA: Only when the doctor is away on trips. But I’m not afraid to be alone.
LEA: Trips?
SILJA: If only the missus would stay here with the children. Then the doctor wouldn’t go into town so many times every week, and I could play with the children. I’m not a bad girl.
LEA: Many times every week?
(Suddenly Eero pushes Lea into the water and holds her head under water. The water turns dark. Boy sees this and runs to his mother. Eero pulls back. Lea rises to the surface.)
EERO: Did I frighten you?
LEA: Not much. Not that easily.

(Eero goes to Silja and the smaller children.)

BOY: Mommy. He tried to drown you.
LEA: I was careless, that’s all.
BOY: But I saw it.
LEA: (takes a tablecloth out of the picnic basket) Here, help me spread this. It’s more fun to eat on a tablecloth.

(Silja comes with Girl under her arm. Lea takes Girl.)

LEA: Mommy’s Girl, daddy’s Girl, whose Girl?
EERO: (returns to Lea) Listen, I have to go into town.
LEA: The children will be disappointed.
EERO: Is there any reason why we should take that into consideration, I ask you? (Leaps across the stage clapping his hands.) Hurry.
LEA: Boy, help clean up. (They gather up the picnic they have laid. Eero takes ahold of the summer play scene’s edge.)

(Eero exits, taking summer with him. Silja follows him. Lea carries the children, Boy the picnic basket. Lea begins to put the children in the doll closet. Eero goes to Siiri.)

BOY: Can’t be children, must change into air. (Mimics his father.) “Father? No thank you, I refuse to be a father.”
LEA: Boy, you make me ill.
BOY: “Must you really be alive, who asked you to? Life is sad, it’s all the invention of an evil spirit. I, I have created myself, answer me that. Ahaa. There is no morality, no love. Let this marriage therefore be null and void. Let it be as if it had never been.”
LEA: Boy. Go to bed immediately.
BOY: I was only playing.
LEA: Bad playing.
BOY: We live like criminals in jail. Others have fathers, I don’t.
LEA: This is no time to play around.
BOY: When is it time to play around?
LEA: Sometimes. Boy, it’s late.

(Puts Boy to bed. The Midsummer waltz begins to play. Aulis enters and seizes the bed on which Lea and Boy are sitting, carrying it around the room.)

LEA: Aulis, where are you taking us?
AULIS: We’ll fly to the ends of the earth.
LEA: Aulis, home.
BOY: We have a home right here now.
AULIS: Boy, shall we go to the ends of the earth?
BOY: We shall.
AULIS: You know the land where lemons bloom?
BOY: I do.
AULIS: Boy, there away, if we may. Children are your everything.
LEA: Everything.
AULIS: And that’s not wrong?
LEA: No.
AULIS: Boy, man, eleven o’clock Sunday morning. I’ll come and give the signal.

(Aulis parks the bed in its old spot.)

BOY: We’ll wait in the window, uncle. (Aulis exits.) Mommy, why isn’t Uncle Aulis our father?
LEA: That’s a naughty thing to say.
(Lea tucks Boy in, goes to the doll closet and turns off its light. Eero and Siiri, embracing. Siiri’s child visible.)
SIIRI: The boy is yours, looks like you too. No need for a blood test.
EERO: I’ll get money to you, I promised.
SIIRI: Look at me, what! A pretty young girl. Am I pretty?
EERO: You’re drunk.

(Siiri’s box fades into darkness. But in the dark we can see Eero stay there, and a small figure, Silja, crawling out from under Siiri’s free-standing outfit and gradually moving, bucket in hand, toward Lea, mopping the floor.)

LEA: Father, father, I demand that you stand beside me and support me. Father, where shall I go with my children?
MOTHER: Your father, may he rest in peace, was impractical. Whoever lacks initiative and practical skills is doomed to unhappiness.
LEA: Father. Do I see right? I exaggerate. I do possess that skill. Wasn’t it your weakness too, father?
MOTHER: You try to be practical too and cast your sorrows to the Lord. And see to your household and your husband.

(Mother and Father fade.)

SILJA: When someone else is a bride, everybody’s happy, but when I’m a bride, no one’s happy.
LEA: Whose bride are you?
SILJA: Can’t you guess?
LEA: If anyone said anything, they said it in jest. Don’t believe people when they say such things. Don’t let them make a fool of you.
SILJA: But you’ve let people make a fool of you.

(Silja exits with her bucket, giggling. Lea watches her go.)

LEA: Just like Eero, father. I’m exaggerating again.
EERO: (enters) Children. What are they to me? They’re your happiness. For them you’d hang on the cross. You would have left me ages ago, but because of the children you don’t dare, do you. You steal from me legally, the laws that allow me to steal are my own, what’s the difference? I repay my debts, I’ll give up my whole life if need be. That should do it. And when I die, I want no flowers on my coffin or in my hand. (Goes to his desk. Siiri enters and goes to him.) You’re drunk.
SIIRI: A trifle. The police boy pleased me greatly, young, fresh-baked, that I saw immediately. Pretty country boy, why be shy about it? In the end I told him my whole life story, and he me his own.
EERO: Did you mention my name?
SIIRI: Why not, of course I did. It was advertising for me, my stock rose.
EERO: (grabs Siiri by the hair) Don’t drag me into your affairs.
SIIRI: (Strikes Eero on the chest with her fist. Eero lets go.) Why should I save and protect you. Have you dragged me into your affairs, have you? Pay up and we’re quits.

(Siiri fades into darkness, Eero walks toward Lea.)

EERO: Watch your eyes, don’t look at me like that. Your face is as long as criminal law, full of judgments and paragraphs. You’re not my judge. Chained dogs, we’re chained dogs. Love, hah, I give it away free to anyone I choose, anyone who’ll take it, but not my soul. My soul is dirty, let it be. It will not be cleansed or polished, and it won’t be brought to you on a tray.
LEA: (Tries to protect her head from Eero’s blow, but in vain) Calm down.
EERO: A saint. I’ve been married to a saint. Ptui. This is how I treat sanctimony. (Kicks Lea in the stomach, Lea crumples.)
LEA: Eero.
EERO: I know your secret thoughts. Even through the walls I know them.
LEA: You may know them.
EERO: Your thoughts are a straitjacket, yes, a straitjacket. There’s your love. Do you think I can’t read your thoughts like a book? Press hard, press on your head so they don’t come out. If I feel like it I’ll file your head off and take it in my hands and read it like a book, what do you say to that?
LEA: It’s time you came to your senses.
EERO: Go, go out into the street looking like that and shout it out to the whole world that your husband beats you. Shout, go ahead and shout.
LEA: You hit me. I suppose you have to. You hit what’s yours.
EERO: Do you think that will make you mine?
LEA: No need, I already am yours. You wouldn’t hit a stranger.
EERO: You’re not even halfway miserable yet. That I promise you. You enjoy your torments, well sate yourself on them. But don’t start thinking I’ll give you a divorce. You’ll never be free of me. I need you. When I take sick or go insane, who’ll nurse me, who’ll beg for me? Just you wait, when I’m old and wretched I’ll call you to my side, and you’ll come.
LEA: Go lie down, I’ll make up your bed.
EERO: No, no. (Notices Boy watching them.) There’s the gawky kid now. What are you doing barging in here? I know what that look means. Quiet as a fish, but when I turn my back, he’ll work his mouth.
BOY: That’s not true. I hardly say anything bad about you.
EERO: Are you standing there guarding your mother? What a ladies’ hero you’ll be. You’ll be out seducing girls soon. When you do, remember your father.
BOY: I won’t. I’m not going to be like you.
LEA: Boy!

(Eero hits Boy.)

BOY: Hit me again, make it easier on mother. (Eero hits him again.) Tormentor.
LEA: Leave it alone.
BOY: Let him hit me. That’s what a father does, a real father.
EERO: Out, out, get out this instant.
BOY: Monster.
LEA: Eero, get ahold of yourself.
BOY: Let him fight, he’s no good at anything else.
LEA: You’re tearing up my heart.

(The fighting continues, Boy starts giving as good as he gets, but he loses, his nose starts bleeding, and that’s enough for Eero. On the other hand it’s clear that Eero won’t be able to beat up on Boy safely much longer; next time he will lose.)

EERO: You made him like this. I’ll never forgive you.

(Eero goes to his desk, loses a paper.)

LEA: You two will be the death of me.
BOY: He disgusts me. I won’t forgive him. He has no right to hit you.
LEA: What if I give him the right?
BOY: You have no right to give him the right.
LEA: What if he’s crazy?
BOY: He’s saner than all the rest of us put together. He’s just mean. He makes others unhappy.
LEA: Who says we have to be happy here on earth? And what is happiness, anyway?
BOY: Do you expect me to be as wise as Socrates?

(They realize that the children have been crying for some time, together go to the doll closet.)

(Eero has gone to Siiri.)

EERO: Don’t blackmail me. Let’s go back to being the way we were before.
SIIRI: Dream on.
EERO: At least give me my letters back.
SIIRI: No. Then you’ll cheat on me.

(The spotlight moves to Lea, who is playing with Girl.)

LEA: What, Girl, you want to come in my lap? Come. Is it time for Girl to be hungry? It is. Mommy will give her girl some food. What, Girl wants to read? No, Girl doesn’t know how to read yet. Girl must eat and grow big and strong, then Girl will go to school, run, run to school. Run, run to mommy, to daddy. Yes, Girl. Some day Girl will be a big girl like Pious. (Lea sees Silja coming out of Eero’s room.) You came out of the doctor’s room.
SILJA: I don’t go in there unless he orders me to.
LEA: He ordered you to?
SILJA: I don’t go without orders.
LEA: Are you afraid of me?
SILJA: No, I’m not afraid. Or, well, I guess I am.
LEA: What are you afraid of?
SILJA: If you make a fuss.
LEA: A fuss about what?
SILJA: Everything.
LEA: You know there’ll be no fuss. (Eero enters, Lea sees him give Silja a signal. Silja laughs.) What’s so funny?
SILJA: I see a cat without a tail playing outside.
LEA: Go now, wash your hands and dress Girl.

(Silja stifles laughter and exits.)

LEA: Silja is underage and your ward.
LEA: I’ll send her away.
EERO: We’ll see about that.
LEA: I will not let this house become a school for prostitutes.
EERO: Let me tell you a dream I had. I held a small child in my hands. I told Silja: “Saw its head off.” And then Silja and I sawed the child’s head off. It bled all over my arms and chest, and one of the eyes in the head stayed open and glared at me accusingly. “Where shall I put it,” I wondered, “so you won’t find it?” So I wrapped it in newspaper and stuck it behind the bookcase and left to give a lecture I’d been asked to give. “This’ll go to court,” I thought. “What if I have to flee the country?” I thought. Then they’ll notice that I’m a traitor and will think I’ve sold secrets to the enemy. Nothing for it but to put a bullet in my head, I decided. “If I flee, it’ll be the same wherever I go,” I thought. “However did I get mixed up in this sort of thing,” I wondered, “I’m a man of culture and so on,” I thought clearly and then woke up. Pretty obvious dream for a psychoanalyst.
LEA: Why do you dream about such things?
EERO: What’s a sex murderer, tell me what’s a sex murderer. (Lea says nothing.) A sex murderer’s a puzzle. People like you haven’t a clue. You know nothing of life. A man thinks he controls his own actions. No matter, no matter, I’ve had my day, no matter, I’ve lived a thing as fully as a person can. Why do people say His Majesty Death?
LEA: There are lots of words for it. Maybe they say it out of fear, or because death is the only true Majesty.
EERO: Now I cannot be disturbed, I have to finish my lecture, it’s over there waiting for its conclusion. (Exits.)
LEA: Have to reach the surface. Don’t panic down here in the depths, try to stay alive and not panic. Don’t make any rash decisions yet. Remember the children. Don’t take chances. Start over with the alphabet.

(A hymn. Ester has come to Lea.)

ESTER: I never imagined you might not know.
LEA: What did you say?
ESTER: They suspect Eero of being mixed up in some sort of treason thing. It’s not true, of course. It just never occurred to me that you might not know.
LEA: What kind of thing? Tell me everything.
ESTER: He’s been seen frequently with suspicious characters. The police have followed their trail. Don’t take it like that. The characters I mentioned have been arrested for treason . . . have been arrested for treason . . . arrested for treason . . . for treason. But Eero gets around a lot, meets all kinds of people, it doesn’t mean anything.
LEA: What shall I do? What shall I do?
ESTER: Stop it. Everybody’s short of money now and again.
LEA: But I don’t know when I’ll be able to pay it back.
ESTER: I doubt he’s in any danger . . . he’s in any danger . . . in any danger.
LEA: So do I.
ESTER: I thought Eero would have told you himself. Cheer up. If I was indiscreet, forgive me.
LEA: Thanks for the loan. (Ester exits.) Silja!
SILJA: (entering) You could be taken to court, I’ll press charges and you’ll be in jail.
LEA: Look, here’s your money. (Puts the money in Silja’s savings box.) There, that’s your salary.
SILJA: Lousy salary.
LEA: Then it’s a good thing you’re getting out.
SILJA: I’ve promised to keep my mouth shut.
LEA: Then keep it shut.
SILJA: Crafty old fox, cheats everyone and teaches them wicked ways. Shame on him for lying. Now I’ve told you everything, can’t I stay?
LEA: Don’t cry, it’s not worth it. Look, back in the country you’ll grow up to be a good girl, isn’t that so.
SILJA: Yes, but I’ll miss her.
LEA: Who?
SILJA: Girl. I’ll miss Girl so much.
LEA: But what if we agree that you can come back when it’s right for me. Shall we?
SILJA: We shall. Then I won’t drown myself.
LEA: What nonsense is this! You mustn’t think such things . . . think such things . . . such things . . . things.
SILJA: Can I take the candy with me?
LEA: Where did you get it?
SILJA: The master gave it to me. Money too.
LEA: How much?
SILJA: Five marks.
LEA: How many times?
SILJA: I don’t remember.
LEA: Why did he give it to you?
SILJA: Whenever I wrote a letter.
LEA: What did you write?
SILJA: All kinds of things. How much money he spent. And shameful things.
LEA: What shameful things?
SILJA: Just lies.
LEA: Why did you do it?
SILJA: He disciplined you and gave me candy and protected me.
LEA: Protected?
SILJA: Yes, took me in his arms. I thought he would notice that I was lying. And I just kept lying all the more. And once he hit you because of my lies.
LEA: What did you get out of it?
SILJA: He just liked to raise a ruckus.
LEA: Time to go.
SILJA: I won’t leave.
LEA: Don’t be silly.
SILJA: I won’t take you to court.
LEA: Don’t even talk about it.

(Boy goes to walk Silja off.)

(Lea starts to clean, but with contrary results. Things gradually get strewn here and there across the stage. She finds a photograph taken of Eero and her at their wedding, and leans it up against their bed. Then she finds the bridal veil/sheet/curtain in her hand, soiled with dusty footprints. She tries it on her head, walks about for a moment, then crumples it, tears at it, it gives way, faded old fabric, and it tears, becomes a cleaning rag. At the same time Lea says, as if praying:)

LEA: I won’t leave him.

(Eero enters, Lea notices him.)

LEA: It’s time we cleared things up. Hit me first, but then tell me what they suspect you of.
EERO: I will no longer stoop to such weakness as being good. I’m just a mad dog, I bite to the right and bite to the left, that’s the ticket. I stink of carrion like an old dog. Any hooker is cleaner than me. Bad father, bad husband, traitor. Fine. So be it. Forgive me for being your husband. Forgive me for being a father to your children. Forgive me. And give me back the ring.

(Lea pulls the ring off her finger and hands it to Eero, who flings it away.)

EERO: You won’t have a penny from me, not a penny. I may be wretched, but I have my pride too. My life has been so impoverished that the only thing I’ve ever had is you, only you.

(Eero takes something out of a desk drawer and puts it in his pocket; it’s a gun.)

LEA: Eero, what was it?
EERO: Stay out of my business. I’ll make people listen to me.
LEA: What did you put in your pocket? Eero.

(Lea tries to grab Eero, but he throws her to the floor and exits.)

(Eero with Siiri.)

SIIRI: Did you bring the money? Answer me. (Eero pulls the pistol out of his pocket and aims it at Siiri.)

(Lea sings a lullaby to the doll closet. Boy goes to his father’s desk.)

LEA: No more fear and no more heart for the game. No more heart for the game. My heart has betrayed me all these years. Let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will . . .

(The simultaneous situation with Siiri continues.)

SIIRI: You don’t have the guts, you coward. Put down the gun.

(Siiri grabs the hand holding the gun. The gun goes off. Siiri falls to the floor. Somewhere a child cries. Eero looks at the dead Siiri.)

EERO: Blood? What a word. Everything lives in blood. Lust, desire, evil, all hell. And that is life. (Backs off until he stands centerstage front, more in his own head than in any place.) Actually it has no beginning or end. You inherit the blood. There is no death, the individual is merely relieved of his burden. There they are again, the whole orchestra playing. Delirium. High blood pressure, that’s all. Even the veins give in. Agitation causes tension. Lymphatic action. They call it character. My blood is thicker now. Great thing those changes in blood chemistry. Inside a man there lives a desire to defend and to destroy. Their uneven movements mean life, a battle between two different drives. Man is but the ground on which the battle is fought. Maybe the soul is nothing more than chemistry too. Blood? If only we could read its history. What it doesn’t contain of what’s been and gone. Individuality, that is this blood’s might, the specialty of my own blood. Who can say whether it should destroy me? (Eero stands still for a moment, but no one answers him. Then he puts the gun to his temple and pulls the trigger.)

(Lea walks slowly to Eero, bends down, feels his hand and his cheek.Then she takes flowers, is about to put them in Eero’s hand, but lays them beside him instead. A child’s cry; she notices Siiri’s baby and takes it with her. When she stands up, Boy has come next to her.)

BOY: Mother, let’s go.

(Together they cover Eero with a cloth. Then exit.)

BOY: Mother, the sun is shining, even though it’s winter. A son must protect his mother.
LEA: Boy, my own Boy.
BOY: My own mother. I’ll never leave you.
LEA: That’s right, Boy, in your heart.
BOY: All this that has been will never come again. Never.

(A bell rings three times.)


(All the characters come onto the stage as if into church. A hymn.)

BOY: Your cheek is still bruised. My skin crawls when I think about it.

(Eero’s body is carried offstage. Siiri’s body is dragged off at the same time. The doll that is her child remains. Lea arranges the doll closet. Last of all she takes the doll that is Siiri’s child.)

LEA: Guy. You can be Guy. Father sent Guy as a reminder to be good.
BOY: That’s all I need. To see that boy always before my eyes.
LEA: He’s your brother.
BOY: No he isn’t. Is the same thing starting all over again? Our home is not a home. Mother, mother, you don’t know what you’re doing. Soon I’ll only be able to hate.
LEA: Your bitterness will pass. Would you let your brother beg, could you see him coming to your door begging?
BOY: I wouldn’t recognize him. It would be all the same to me. Let him beg. This is the only area where my heart is hard. And why shouldn’t it be hard, in a torturer’s son.
LEA: Hush. You’re tearing at my heart.
BOY: In a home like ours being afraid was a way of life. I always ran home from school, and when I saw you I was glad you were still alive. Childhood, what kind of a childhood did we ever have?
LEA: It’s been a bitter lesson, true. But one thing it’s taught us: to love life.
BOY: Say rather, to love torture. Lies, lies.
LEA: Do you have to shout at your mother, is that necessary, Boy my love?
BOY: Don’t say that word, I forbid it.
LEA: Patience.
BOY: Patience, patience. When I lay in my cradle, I’ll bet the first word you said to me was patience.
LEA: It was.
BOY: I hate, I seethe with hatred. You say love. I’ve learned to hate. I’ll never forgive him.
LEA: I’m not to blame.
BOY: I’m an emotional cripple. Can you understand that, mother. This is my fate.

(Lea walks around Boy and takes the dolls in the doll closet into her arms, gathering up Guy next to his sisters.)

LEA: When I get married, it’ll be to have a baby. Married. Strange thought. Not even knowing the man I’ll marry. He’s out there somewhere. You, to you I send my greetings. You will love me some day. We will raise our children and love them more than all the world.

(A waltz begins to play, Lea begins to spin around with the dolls in her arms. A man enters, Eero. He bows. Lea dances with Eero.)

EERO: I have always associated Midsummer with love.
LEA: But what if when it comes it’s only a Midsummer night’s dream that makes you scream when you wake?
EERO: It won’t.

(Aulis enters and cuts in to dance with Lea.)

AULIS: Did he frighten you?
LEA: I’m not easily frightened.
AULIS: It was written: “Descended into hell, rose again from the dead, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Isn’t that powerful?
LEA: Yes, powerful.
AULIS: If you judge, do you judge rightly?
LEA: I don’t judge.
AULIS: I should have stolen you first.
LEA: What I felt then forced me to go through what I did. (Aulis and Lea reach out to each other.) From now on you and I will suffer together.


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