Henrik Ibsen.

Ibsen's prose dramas (Volume 3) online

. (page 5 of 22)
Online LibraryHenrik IbsenIbsen's prose dramas (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

green and budding, at this hour, mayhap, you had

But forgive me, noble lady ! Our speech of these
past few moments has made me forget how we stand
one to another. 'Twas as though a secret voice had
told me from the first that to you I could speak
openly, without flattery or dissimulation.

Elina. That can you.

Nils LYKKE. 'Tis well ; — and it may be that this
openness has already in part reconciled us. Ay — my
hope is yet bolder. The time may yet come when,
you will think of the stranger knight without hate or-
bitterness in your soul. Nay, — mistake me not !
mean not now — but some time, in the days to com<
And that this may be the less hard for you — and ak
I have begun once for all to speak to you plainly anc
openly — let me tell you

Elina. Sir Knight- — -!

Nils Lykke {smiling). Ah, I see the thought of
my letter still affrights you. Fear nought on that
score. I would from my heart it were unwritten, fori
— I know 'twill concern you little enough, so I may
even say it right out — for I love you not, and shall
never come to love you. Fear nothing, therefore, as
I said before ; I shall in no wise seek to

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 6i

But what ails you ?

Elina. Me? Nothing, nothing. — Tell me but
one thing. Why do you still wear those flowers?
What would you with them ?

NILS Lykke. These? Are they not a gage of
battle you have thrown down to the wicked Nils
Lykke on behalf of all womankind ? What could I
do but take it up?

You asked what I would with them. {Softly.) When
I stand again amidst the fair ladies of Denmark —
when the music of the strings is hushed and there is
silence in the hall — then will I bring forth these
flowers and tell a tale of a young maiden sitting alone
in a gloomy black-beamed hall, far to the north in

. Norway __ „ ■■ —

^ "" "X^reaks off and bows respectfully?)
But I fear I keep the noble daughter of the house
too long. We shall meet no more ; for before day-
break I shall be gone. So now I bid you farewell.

ELINA. Fare you well, Sir Knight !
(A short silence?)

Nils Lykke. Again you are deep in thought,
Elina Gyldenlove ! Is it the fate of your fatherland
that weighs upon you still ?

ELINA {shakes her head, absently gazing straight in
front of her). My fatherland ? — I think not of my

Nils Lykke. Then 'tis the strife and misery of
the time that cause you dread.

Elina. The time ? I have forgotten time

You go to Denmark ? Said you not so?

Nils Lykke. I go to Denmark.


62 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

ELINA. Can I see towards Denmark from this

Nils Lykke {points to the window on the left).
Ay, from this window. Denmark lies there, to the

Elina. And is it far from here? More than a
hundred miles?

Nils Lykke. Much more. The sea lies between
you and Denmark.

Elina {to herself). The sea? Thought has sea-
gull's wings. The sea cannot stay it
{Goes out to the left.)

Nils Lykke {looks after her awhile ; then says:)
If I could but spare two days now — or even one — I
would have her in my power, even as the others.
And yet is there rare stuff in this maiden. JShe is

proud. Might I not after all ? No ; rather

humble her

{Paces the room.)
Verily, I believe she has set my blood on fire. Who
would have thought it possible after all these years ?
— Enough of this ! I must get out of the tangle I
am entwined in here.

{Sits in a chair on the right.)
What is the meaning of it ? Both Olaf Skaktavl and
Inger Gyldenlove seem blind to the mistrust 'twill
waken, when 'tis rumoured that I am in their league.
— Or can Lady Inger have seen through my
purpose? Can she have seen that all my promises
were but designed to lure Nils Sture forth from his

{Springs up.)

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 63

Damnation ! Is it I that have been fooled ? 'Tis
like enough that Count Sture is not at Ostrat at
all ? It may be the rumour of his flight was but a
feint. He may be safe and sound among his friends

in Sweden, while I

{Walks restlessly tip and down.) ■ ...

And to think I was so sure of success ! If I
should effect nothing ? If Lady Inger should pene- ]

trate all my designs — and publish my discomfiture

To be a laughing-stock both here and in Denmark !
To have sought to lure Lady Inger into a trap — and /
given her cause the help it most needed — strengthened
I her in the people's favour— -^t Ah, I could well-nigh
sell myself to the Evil One, would he but help me to
lay hands on Count Sture.

{The window in the background is pushed open.
NILS STENSSON is seen outside.)

NILS Lykke (clutches at his sword). What now?

NILS STENSSON {jumps down on to the floor). Ah ;
here I am at last then !

NILS Lykke {aside). What means this ?

NILS STENSSON. God's peace, master !

NILS Lykke. Thanks, good Sir ! Methinks you
have chosen a strange mode of entrance.

NILS STENSSON. Ay, what the devil was I to
do? The gate was shut. Folk must sleep in this
house like bears at Yuletide.

NILS Lykke. God be thanked ! Know you not
that a good conscience is the best pillow ?

Nils STENSSON. Ay, it must be even so ; for
all my rattling and thundering, I

Nils Lykke. You won not in ?

64 Lady Inger of Ostrat. [Act III.

NILS STENSSON. You have hit it. So I said to
myself: As you are bidden to be in Ostrat to-
night, if you have to go through fire and water, you
may surely make free to creep through a window.

NILS Lykke (aside). Ah, if it should be !

{Moves a step or two nearer?)
Was it, then, of the last necessity that you should
reach Ostrat to-night ?

NILS STENSSON. Was it? Ay, faith but it was.
I love not to keep folk waiting, I can tell you.

NILS Lykke. Aha, — then Lady Inger Gylden-
love looks for your coming ?

NILS STENSSON. Lady Inger Gyldenlove ? Nay,
that I can scarce say for certain ; (with a sly smile)
but there might be some one else

Nils LYKKE [smiles in answer). Ah, so there
might be some one else ?

Nils Stensson. Tell me — are you of the house ?

NILS LYKKE. I ? Well, in so far that I am Lady
Inger's guest this evening.

Nils Stensson. A guest? — Is not to-night the
third night after Martinmas ?

NILS LYKKE. The third night after ? Ay,

right enough. — Would you seek the lady of the house
at once? I think she is not yet gone to rest
But might you not sit down and rest awhile, dear
young Sir?. See, here is yet a flagon of wine
remaining, and doubtless you will find some food.
Come, fall to ; you will do wisely to refresh your

Nils STENSSON. You are right, Sir ; 'twere not

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 65

{Sits down by the table and eats and drinks?)
Both roast meat and sweet cakes ! Why, you live
like lords here ! When one has slept, as I have, on
the naked ground, and lived on bread and water for
four or five days

Nils Lykke {looks at him with a smile). Ay,
such a life must be hard for one that is wont to sit
at the high-table in noble halls

Nils STENSSON. Noble halls ?

NILS Lykke. But now can you take your rest
at Ostrat, as long as it likes you.

NILS STENSSON {pleased). Ay? Can I truly?
Then I am not to begone again so soon ?

NILS Lykke. Nay, that I know not. Sure you
yourself can best say that.

Nils STENSSON {softly). Oh, the devil ! {Stretches
himself in the chair?) Well, you see — 'tis not yet
certain. I, for my part, were nothing loath to stay
quiet here awhile ; but

NILS LYKKE. But you are not in all points

your own master ? There be other duties and other
circumstances ?

Nils STENSSON. Ay, that is just the rub. Were
I to choose, I would rest me at Ostrat at least the
winter through; I have seldom led aught but a

soldier's life

{Interrupts himself suddenly, fills a goblet, and
Your health, Sir !

Nils Lykke. A soldier's life? Hm!

NILS STENSSON. Nay, what I would have said is
this: I have long been eager to sec Lady Inger


66 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

Gyldenlove, whose fame has spread so wide. She
must be a queenly woman, — is't not so ? — The one
thing I like not in her, is that she shrinks so cursedly
from open action.

NILS LYKKE. From open action ?

Nils STENSSON. Ay ay, you understand me; I
mean she is so loath to take a hand in driving the
foreign rulers out of the land.

NILS Lykke. Ay, you are right. But if you do
your best now, you will doubtless work her to your

NILS STENSSON. I ? God knows it would but
little serve if /

Nils Lykke. Yet 'tis strange you should seek
her here if you have so little hope.

Nils STENSSON. What mean you ? — Tell me,
know you Lady Inger?

NILS Lykke. Surely; I am her guest, and

NILS STENSSON. Ay, but it does not at all follow
that you know her. I too am her guest, yet have I
never seen so much as her shadow.

Nils Lykke. Yet did you speak of her

Nils Stensson. As all folk speak. Why

should I not ? And besides, I have often enough

heard from Peter Kanzler

{Stops in confusion, and begins eating again?)

Nils Lykke. You would have said ?

Nils Stensson {eating). I ? Nay, 'tis all

(Nils Lykke laughs?)

Nils Stensson. Why laugh you, Sir ?

Nils Lykke. 'Tis nought, Sir !

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 67

NILS STENSSON (drinks). A pretty vintage ye
have in this house.

Nils LYKKE {approaches him confidentially}) Lis-
ten — were it not time now to throw off the
mask ?

NILS STENSSON {smiling). The mask ? Why, do
as seems best to you.

Nils Lykke. Then off with all disguise. You
are known, Count Sture !

Nils STENSSON (with a laugh). Count Sture?
Do you too take me for Count Sture ?

(Rises from the tabled)
You mistake, Sir; I am not Count Sture.

Nils Lykke. You are not? Then who are you?

NILS STENSSON. My name is Nils Stensson.

Nils Lykke (looks at him with a smile). Hm !
Nils Stensson ? But you are not Sten Sture's son
Nils ? The name chimes at least.

Nils Stensson. True enough; but God knows
what right I have to bear it. My father I never
knew; my mother was a poor peasant-woman, that
was robbed and murdered in one of the old feuds.
Peter Kanzler chanced to be on the spot; he took
me into his care, brought me up, and taught me the
trade of arms. As you know, King Gustav has been
hunting him this many a year ; and I have followed
him faithfully, wherever he went.

Nils Lykke. Peter Kanzler has taught you more

than the trade of arms, meseems Well,

\ well; then you are not Nils Sture. ' But at least you
come from Sweden. Peter Kanzler has sent you
here to find a stranger, who

68 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

NILS STENSSON {nods cunningly). Who is

found already.

NILS Lykke (somewhat uncertain). And whom
you do not know ?

NILS STENSSON. As little as you know me ; for I
swear to you by God himself: I am not Count
Sture !

Nils Lykke. In sober earnest, Sir?

NILS STENSSON. As truly as I live ! Wherefore
should I deny it, if I were ?

Nils Lykke. Then where is Count Sture ?

Nils STENSSON (in a low voice). Ay, that is just
the secret.

Nils Lykke (whispers). Which is known to you,
is it not ?

NILS STENSSON (nods). And which I have to tell
to you.

Nils Lykke. To me ? Well then, — where is he ?
(Nils STENSSON points upwards?)

Nils Lykke. Up there ? Lady Inger holds him
hidden in the loft-room ?

NILS STENSSON. Nay, nay; you mistake me.
(Looks round cautiously.)
Nils Sture is in Heaven !

Nils Lykke. Dead ? And where ?

Nils STENSSON. In his mother's castle, — three
weeks since.

Nils LYKKE. Ah, you are deceiving me ! 'Tis but
five or six days since he crossed the frontier into

Nils STENSSON. Oh, that was I.

Nils Lykke. But just before that the Count had

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 69

appeared in the Dales. (The people were restless ,
already, and on his coming they broke out openly
and would have chosen him for king.

Nils Stensson. Ha-ha-ha ; that was me too !

Nils Lykke. You?

Nils Stensson. I will tell you how it came
about. One day Peter Kanzler called me to him and
gave me to know that great things were preparing.
He bade me set out for Norway and go to Ostrat,
where I must be on a certain fixed day

Nils Lykke {nods). The third night after Martin-

Nils Stensson. I was to meet a stranger

Nils LYKKE. Ay, right; I am he.

Nils Stensson. He was to tell me what more I
had to do. Moreover, I was to let him know that the
Count was dead of a sudden, but that as yet 'twas
known to no one save to his mother the Countess,
together with Peter Kanzler and a few old servants
of the Stures.

Nils Lykke. I understand. The Count was the
peasants' rallying-point. Were the tidings of his
death to spread, they would fall asunder, — and the
whole project would come to nought.

Nils Stensson. Ay, maybe so ; I know little of
such matters.

NILS LYKKE. But how came you to give yourself
out for the Count ?

Nils Stensson. How came I to ? Nay,

what know I ? Many's the mad prank I've hit on in
my day. And yet 'twas not I hit on it neither ;

70 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

wherever I appeared in the Dales, the people crowded
round me and greeted me as Count Sture. Deny it
as I pleased, 'twas wasted breath. The Count had
been there two years before, they said — and the
veriest child knew me again. Well, be it so, thought
I ; never again will you be a Count in this life ; why
not try what 'tis like for once ?

NILS Lykke. Well, — and what did you more ?

NILS STENSSON. I ? I ate and drank and took
my ease. Pity 'twas that I must away again so soon.
But when I set forth across the frontier — ha-ha-ha — I
promised them I would soon be back with three or
four thousand men — I know not how many I said —
and then we would lay on in earnest.

Nils LYKKE. And you did not bethink you that
you were acting rashly ?

Nils STENSSON. Ay, afterwards ; but then, to be
sure, 'twas too late.

Nils Lykke. It grieves me for you, my young
friend ; but you will soon come to feel the effects of
your folly. Let me tell you that you are pursued.
A troop of Swedish men-at-arms is out after you.

Nils STENSSON. After me? Ha-ha-ha. Nay,
that is rare ! And when they come and think they
have Count Sture in their clutches — ha-ha-ha !

Nils Lykke {gravely). Then farewell to your


Nils Stensson. My ? But I am not Count


Nils Lykke. You have called the people to arms.
You have given seditious promises, and raised troubles
in the land.

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 71

NILS STENSSON. Ay, but 'twas only in jest !
Nils LYKKE. King Gustav will scarce look on

the matter in that lights—

Nils Stensson. Truly, there is something in
what you say. To think I could be such a mad-
man Well well, I'm not a dead man yet !

You will protect me ; and besides — the men-at-arms

can scarce be at my heels.

Nils Lykke. But what else" have you txTtell meJ
Nils Stensson. I ? Nothing. When once I

have given you the packet

Nils Lykke {unguardedly). The packet ?

Nils Stensson. Ay, sure you know

NILS LYKKE. t Ah, right, right ; the papers from

Peter Kanzler

NILS STENSSON. See, here they all are.

{Takes out a packet from inside his doublet, and
hands it to Nils Lykke.)
Nils Lykke {aside). Letters and papers for Olaf

{To Nils Stensson.)
The packet is open, I see. 'Tis like you know
what it contains ?

Nils Stensson. No, good sir ; I am ill at read-
ing writing ; and for reason good.

Nils Lykke. I understand ; you have given
most care to the trade of arms.

{Sits down by the table on the right, and runs
through the papers.)
Aha ! Here is light enough and to spare on what is

This small letter tied with a silken thread

72 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

(Examines the address) This too for Olaf Skaktavl.
(Opens the letter, and glances tlirougJi its contents)
From Peter Kanzler. I thought as much. (Reads

under his breath) " I am hard bested, for " ; ay,

sure enough ; here it stands, — " Young Count Sture
has been gathered to his fathers, even at the time
fixed for the revolt to break forth " — " — but all may-
yet be made good " What now ? (Reads on in

astonishment.) " You must know, then, Olaf Skaktavl,
that the young man who brings you this letter is a^
son o f -" Heaven and e arth — can it be soj jP^Ayr
by Christ's blood, even so 'tis written ! (Glances at

Nils STENSSON.) Can he be ? Ah, if it were

so ! (Reads on) " I have nurtured him since he was
a year old ; but up to this day I have ever refused to
give him back, trusting to have in him a sure hostage
for Inger Gyldenlove's faithfulness to us and to our
friends. Yet in that respect he has been of but little
service to us. You may marvel that I told you not
this secret when you were with me here of late ;
therefore will I confess freely that I feared you might
seize upon him, even as I had done. But now,
when you have seen Lady Inger, and have doubtless
assured yourself how loath she is to have a hand in our
undertaking, you will see that 'tis wisest to give her
back her own as soon as may be. Well might it
come to pass that in her joy and security and thank-
fulness — " " — that is now our last hope."

(Sits for awhile as though struck dumb with sur-
prise ; tlien exclaims in a low voice :)
Aha, — what a letter ! Gold would not buy it !

NILS STENSSON. Tis plain I have brought you

Act III.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 73

weighty tidings. Ay, ay, — Peter Kanzler has many
irons in the fire, folk say.

Nils Lykke (to himself). What to do with all
this ? A thousand paths are open to me Sup-
pose I ? No, 'twere to risk too much. But if —

ah, if I ? I will venture it !

( Tears the letter across, crumples up the pieces, and
hides them inside his doublet ; puts back the
other papers into the packet, which he sticks
inside his belt ; rises and says :)
A word, my young friend !

NILS STENSSON. Well — your looks say that the
game goes bravely.

NILS LYKKE. Ay, by my soul it does. You
have given me a hand of nought but court cards, —
queens and knaves and

NILS STENSSON. But what of me, that have
brought all these good tidings ? Have I nought
more to do ?

NILS Lykke. You? Ay, that have you. You
belong to the game. You are a king — and king of
trumps too.

NILS STENSSON. I a king ? Oh, now I understand ;
you are thinking of my exaltation

NILS LYKKE. Your exaltation ?

Nils STENSSON. Ay; that which you foretold for

me, if King Gustav's men got me in their clutches

(Makes a motion to indicate hanging!)

NILS LYKKE. True enough ; — but let that trouble
you no more. It now lies with yourself alone whether
within a month you shall have the hempen noose or a
chain of gold about your neck.

74 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act I IT.

Nils Stensson. A chain of gold? And it lies
with me ?

(Nils Lykke nods.)

Nils Stensson. Why then, the devil take
musing ! Do you tell me what I am to do.

Nils Lykke 4 -will.- -^Bt^- first you must swear
me a solemn oath that no living creature in the wide
world shall know what I am to tell you.

Nils Stensson. Is that all? You shall have
ten oaths, if you will.

Nils Lykke. Not so lightly, young Sir ! It is no
jesting matter.

Nils Stensson. Well well ; I am grave enough.

Nils Lykke. In the Dales you called yourself a
Count's son ; — is't not so ?

NILS STENSSON. Nay — begin you now on that
again ? Have I not made free confession- •

NILS Lykke. You mistake me. What you
said in the Dales was the truth.

NILS STENSSON. The truth? What mean you
by that ? Tell me but !

Nils Lykke. First your oath ! The holiest, the
most inviolable you can swear.

NILS STENSSON. That you shall have. Yonder
on the wall hangs the picture of the Holy Virgin —

NILS LYKKE. The Holy Virgin has grown im-
potent of late. Know you not what the monk of
Wittenberg maintains ?

Nils Stensson. Fie ! how can you heed the
monk of Wittenberg? Peter Kanzler says he is a

NILS Lykke. Nay, let us not wrangle concerning

Act III.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 75

him. Here can I show you a saint will serve full
well to make oath to.

{Points to a picture hanging on one of the panels.)
Come hither, — swear that you will be silent till I
myself release your tongue — silent, as you hope for
Heaven's salvation for yourself and for the man
whose picture hangs there.

Nils Stensson (approaching the picture). I swear
it — so help me God's holy word !

(Falls back a step in amazement?)
But — Christ save me !

Nils Lykke. What now?

Nils Stensson. The picture ! Sure 'tis


Nils Lykke. Tis old Sten Sture, even, as he
lived and moved in his youthful years.

Nils Stensson. Sten Sture! — And the like-
ness ? And — said you not I spoke the truth,

when I called myself a Count's son ? Was't not so ?

Nils Lykke. So it was.

Nils Stensson. Ah, I have it, I have it! I

Nils Lykke. You are Sten Sture's son, good Sir.

NILS STENSSON (with the quiet of amazement). I
Sten Sture's son !

NILS LYKKE. On the mother's side too your
blood is noble. Peter Kanzler spoke not the truth, if
he said that a poor peasant woman was your mother.

Nils STENSSON. Oh strange, oh marvellous ! —
But can I believe ?

Nils Lykke. You may believe all I tell you.
But remember, all this will be merely your ruin, if

76 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act III.

you should forget what you swore to me by your
father's salvation.

NILS STENSSON. Forget it ? Nay, that you may
be sure I never shall. — But you to whom I have
given my word, — tell me — who are you ?

Nils Lykke. My name is Nils Lykkc.

Nils Stensson {surprised). Nils Lykke? Surely
not the Danish Councillor?

Nils Lykke. Even so.

Nils Stensson. And it was you ? Tis

strange. How come you ?

Nils Lykke. To be receiving missives from

Peter Kanzler ? You marvel at that ?

Nils STENSSON. I cannot deny it. He has ever
named you as our bitterest foe

Nils Lykke. And therefore you mistrust me ?

Nils Stensson. Nay, not wholly that ; but-
well, the devil take musing!

Nils LYKKE. Well said. Go but your own way,
and you are as sure of the halter as you are of a
Count's title and a chain of gold if you trust to me.

Nils Stensson. That will I. My hand upon
it, dear Sir ! Do you but help me with good counsel
as long as there is need ; when counsel gives place
to blows I shall look to myself.

Nils Lykke. It is well. Come with me now
into yonder chamber, and I will tell you how all these
matters stand, and what you have still to do.
{Goes out to the right.)

Nils Stensson {with a glance at the picture). I
Sten Sture's son ! Oh, marvellous as a dream — !
{Goes out after Nils Lykke.) (\^.

Lady 1

Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 77

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryHenrik IbsenIbsen's prose dramas (Volume 3) → online text (page 5 of 22)