Written By August Strindberg


Then I began to run, bursting through the raspberry bushes, and across a strawberry patch, until I arrived at the rose-garden. There I saw a pink dress and a pair of white stockings—it was you. I lay down under a pile of weeds, under—can you imagine it? – under thistles which pricked me, and wet earth that stank, and I thought: if it’s true that a thief can enter heaven and dwell with the angels, then it’s strange that a labourer’s child here on God’s earth cannot enter the Hall park and play with the Count’s daughter…. Oh, Miss Julie! Oh! – A dog may lie on the Countess’s sofa, a horse may have its nose stroked by a young lady’s hand, but a common drudge! – [He changes tack] Oh, all right, now and then a man has what it take to hoist himself up in the world, but how often is that? – Do you know what I did then, though? – I ran down into the millstream with all my clothes on, got dragged out, and was given a thrashing. But the following Sunday, when father and all the others went to call on my grandmother, I saw to it that I was left at home.

Then I washed myself in soap and water, put on my best clothes, and went to church—to see you. And when I’d seen you I returned home, determined to die. But I wanted to die beautifully and pleasantly, without pain. I remembered it was dangerous to sleep under an elder bush. We had a big one, just then in flower. I stripped it of everything it held, and made up a bed for myself in the oat-bin. Have you ever noticed how smooth oats are; soft to the touch like human skin? —– Anyway, I shut the lid, closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When they woke me up I really was very ill. But as you see, I didn’t die. I don’t know what I was after, really. There was no hope of winning you, of course, but you stood for how hopeless it was to ever escape from the class in which I was born.