Mrs. Alving (walking across the room). The sins of the fathers--!
Oswald (smiling sadly). Yes, just imagine! Naturally I assured him that what he thought was impossible. But do you think he paid any heed to me? No, he persisted in his opinion; and it was only when I got out your letters and translated to him all the passages that referred to my father--
Oswald. Well, then of course he had to admit that he was on the wrong track; and then I learned the truth-- the incomprehensible truth! I ought to have had nothing to do with the joyous happy life I had lived with my comrades. It had been too much for my strength. So it was my own fault!
Mrs. Alving. No, no, Oswald! Don't believe that--
Oswald. There was no other explanation of it possible, he said. That is the most horrible part of it. My whole life incurably ruined--just because of my own imprudence. All that I wanted to do in the world-=not to dare to think of it any more--not to be able to think of it! Oh! if only I could live my life over again--if only I could undo what I have done! (Throws himself on his face on the couch. MRS. ALVING wrings her hands, and walks up and down silently fighting with herself.)
Oswald (looks up after a while, raising himself on his elbows). If only it had been something I had inherited--something I could not help. But, instead of that, to have disgracefully, stupidly, thoughtlessly thrown away one's happiness, one's health, everything in the world--one's future, one's life!
Mrs. Alving. No, no, my darling boy; that is impossible! (Bending over him.) Things are not so desperate as you think.
Oswald. Ah, you don't know--(Springs up.) And to think, mother, that I should bring all this sorrow upon you! Many a time I have almost wished and hoped that you really did not care so very much for me.