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?

Olaf Skaktavl. From all this I chiefly con-
clude that, as you know Nils Lykke and the name he
bears, especially as concerns women ■

Lady INGER. 1 should be right glad to know

him outside my gates ?

Olaf SKAKTAVL. Ay; and that as soon as may
be.

LADY INGER {smiling). Nay — the case is just the
contrary, Olaf Skaktavl !

Olaf Skaktavl. How mean you ?

Lady Inger. If things be as we both think, Nils
Lykke must in nowise depart from Ostrat yet awhile.



Act IV.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 79

Olaf Skaktavl {looks at her with disapproval}.
Are you beginning on crooked courses again, Lady
Inger? What scheme have you now in your mind?
Something that may increase your own power at the
cost of our

LADY INGER. Oh this blindness, that makes you
all unjust to me ! I see well you think I purpose to
make Nils Lykke my daughter's husband. Were
such a thought in my mind, why had I refused to
take part in what is afoot in Sweden, when Nils
Lykke and all the Danish crew seem willing to
support it ?

Olaf Skaktavl. Then if it be not your wish to
win him and bind him to you — what would you with
him ?

LADY INGER. I will tell you in few words. In a
letter to me, Nils Lykke has spoken of the high for-
tune it were to be allied to our house; and I do not
say but, for a moment, I let myself think of the
matter.

Olaf Skaktavl. Ay, see you !

Lady Inger. To wed Nils Lykke to one of my
house were doubtless a great step toward reconciling
many jarring forces in our land.

Olaf Skaktavl. Meseems your daughter Me-
rete's marriage with Vinzents Lunge might have
taught you the cost of such a step as this. Scarce
had my lord gained a firm footing in our midst, when
he began to make free with both our goods and our
rights

Lady Inger. I know it even too well, Olaf
Skaktavl ! But times there be when my thoughts



So Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

are manifold and strange. I cannot impart them
fully either to you or to any one else. Often I know
not what were best for me. And yet — a second
time to choose a Danish lord for a son-in-law, —
nought but the uttermost need could drive me to that
resource; and heaven be praised — things have not
yet come to that !

OLAF SKAKTAVL. I am no wiser than before,
Lad} r Inger; — why would you keep Nils Lykke
at Ostrat ?

Lady Inger (softly^). Because I owe him an
undying hate. Nils Lykke has done me deadlier
wrong than any other man. I cannot tell you where-
in it lies; but I shall never rest till I am avenged on
him. See you not now ? Say that Nils Lykke were
to love my daughter — as meseems were like enough.
I will persuade him to remain here; he shall learn to
know Elina well. She is both fair and wise. — Ah, if
he should one day come before me, with hot love in
his heart, to beg for her hand ! Then — to chase him
away like a hound; to drive him off with jibes and
scorn; to make it known over all the land that Nils
Lykke had come a-wooing to Ostrat in vain ! I tell
you I would give ten years of my life but to see that
day !

OLAF SKAKTAVL. In faith and truth, Inger
Gyldenlove — is this your purpose towards him ?

Lady Inger. This and nought else, as sure as
God lives ! Trust me, Olaf Skaktavl, I mean honestly
by my countrymen; but I am in no way my own
master. Things there be that must be kept hidden,
or 'twere my death-blow. But let me once be safe on



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 8i

that side, and you shall see if I have forgotten the
oath I swore by Knut Alfson's corpse.

Olaf SKAKTAVL {shakes her by the hand). Thanks
for those words ! I am loath indeed to think evil
of you. — Yet, touching your design towards this
knight, mcthinks 'tis a dangerous game you would
play. What if you had misreckoned ? What if your

daughter ? Tis said no woman can stand

against this subtle devil.

Lady Inger. My daughter? Think you that

she ? Nay, have no fear of that; I know Elina

better. All she has heard of his renown has but
made her hate him the more. You saw with your
own eyes

Olaf Skaktavl. Ay, but — a woman's mind is
shifting ground to build on. 'Twere best you looked
well before you.

LADY Inger. That will I, be sure; I will watch
them narrowly. But even were he to succeed in
luring her into his toils, I have but to whisper two
words in her ear, and

Olaf Skaktavl. What then ?

Lady Inger. She will shrink from him as

though he were sent by the foul Tempter himself.
Hist, Olaf Skaktavl ! Here he comes. Now be
cautious.

(NILS Lykke enters by the foremost door on die
right. )

Nils Lykke {approaches Lady Inger cotirteous/y).
My noble hostess has summoned me.

Lady INGER. I have learned through my daughter
that vou are minded to leave us to-night

C



82 Lady Inger of Ostrat. [Act IV.

NILS Lykke. Even so, to my sorrow; — since my
business at Ostrat is over.

Olaf Skaktavl. Not before I have the papers.

Nils Lykke. True, true. I had well-nigh for-
gotten the weightiest part of my errand. 'Twas the
fault of our noble hostess. With such pleasant skill
did she keep her guests in talk at table

Lady INGER. That you no longer remembered
what had brought you hither ? I rejoice to hear it ;
for that was my design. Methought that if my guest,
Nils Lykke, were to feel at ease in Ostrat, he must
forget

Nils Lykke. What, lady ?

Lady Inger. First of all his errand — and

then all that had gone before it.

Nils Lykke (to Olaf Skaktavl, while he takes
out the packet and hands it to him). The papers from
Peter Kanzler. You will find in them a full account
of our partizans in Sweden.

Olaf Skaktavl. It is well.

(Sits down by the table on the left, where he opens
the packet and examines its contents?)

Nils Lykke. And now, Lady Inger Gyldenlove,
— I know not that aught remains to keep me here.

Lady Inger. Were it things of state alone that
had brought us together, you might be right. But I
should be loath to think so.

Nils Lykke. You would say ?

LADY INGER. I would say that 'twas not alone as
a Danish Councillor or as the ally of Peter Kanzler
that Nils Lykke came to be my guest. — Do I err in
fancying that somewhat you may have heard down in



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 8s

Denmark may have made you desirous of closer
acquaintance with the Lady of Ostrat.

Nils Lykke. Far be it from me to deny

Olaf Skaktavl {turning over the papers).
Strange. No letter.

Nils Lykke. Lady Inger Gyldenlove's fame

is all too widely spread that I should not long have
been eager to see her face to face.

Lady Inger. So I thought. But what, then, is
an hour's jesting talk at the supper-table? Let us
try to sweep away all that has separated us till now;
f it may well happen that the Nils Lykke I know may
wipe out the grudge I bore the one I knew not.
Prolong your stay here but a few days, Sir Councillor !
I dare not persuade Olaf Skaktavl thereto, since his
secret charge in Sweden calls him hence. But as for
you, doubtless your sagacity has placed all things
beforehand in such train, that your presence can
scarce be needed. ) Trust me, your time shall not pass
tediously with us ; at least you will find me and my
daughter heartily desirous to do all we may to
pleasure you.

Nils Lykke. I doubt neither your goodwill
toward me nor your daughter's ; of that I have
had full proof. ' And you will doubtless allow
that the necessity which calls for my presence
elsewhere must be most vital, since, despite your
kindness, I must declare my longer stay at Ostrat
impossible.

Lady Inger. Is it even so! — Know you, Sir
Councillor, were I evilly disposed, I might fancy you
had come to Ostrat to try a fall with me, and that,






84 Lady Inger of Ostrat. [Act IV.

having lost, you like not to linger on the battlefield
among the witnesses of your defeat.

NILS Lykke {smiling). There might be some
show of reason for such a reading of the case ; but
sure it is that as yet / hold not the battle lost

Lady Inger. Be that as it may, it might at any
rate be retrieved, if you would tarry some days
with us. You see yourself, I am still doubting and
wavering at the parting of the ways, — persuading
my redoubtable assailant not to quit the field. — Well,
to speak plainly, the thing is this : your alliance with
the disaffected in Sweden still seems to me somewhat
— ay, what shall I call it ? — somewhat miraculous, Sir
Councillor ! I tell you this frankly, dear Sir ! The
thought that has moved the King's Council to this
secret step is in truth most politic ; but it is strangely
at variance with the deeds of certain of your
countrymen in bygone years. Be not offended, then,
if my trust in your fair promises needs to be some-
what strengthened ere I can place my whole welfare
in your hands.

Nils Lykke. A longer stay at Ostrat would
scarce help towards that end ; since I purpose not to
make any further effort to shake your resolution.

Lady Inger. Then must I pity you from my
heart. Ay, Sir Councillor — 'tis true I stand here an
unfriended widow ; yet may you trust my word when
I prophesy that this visit to Ostrat will strew your
future path with thorns.

NILS LYKKE {with a smile). Is that your prophecy,
Lady Inger ?

Lady Inger. Truly it is ! What can one say



Act IV.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 85

dear Sir ? 'Tis a calumnious age. Many a scurril
knave will make scornful rhymes concerning you. Ere
half a year is out, you will be all men's fable ; people
will stop and gaze after you on the high roads ; 'twill
be: " Look, look; there rides Sir Nils Lykke, that fared
north to Ostrat to trap Inger Gyldenlove, and was
caught in his own nets." — Nay nay, why so impa-
tient, Sir Knight ! 'Tis not that I think so ; I do
but forecast the thoughts of the malicious and evil-
minded ; and of them, alas ! there are many. — Ay, 'tis
shame ; but so it is — you will reap nought but
mockery — mockery, because a woman was craftier,
than you. / " Like a cunning fox," men will say, " he
crept into Ostrat ; like a beaten hound he slunk
away." — And one thing more : think you not that
Peter Kanzler and his friends will forswear your
alliance, when 'tis known that I venture not to fight
under a standard borne by you?},



NILS Lykke. You speak wisely, lady! And so,
to save myself from mockery — and further, to avoid
breaking with all our dear friends in Sweden — I must
needs

Lady Inger {hastily). prolong your stay at

Ostrat ?

Olaf Skaktavl (tvko has been listening). He is
in the trap !

NILS Lykke. No, my noble lady ; — I must needs
bring you to terms within this hour.

Lady Inger. But what if you should fail ?

Nils Lykke. I shall not fail.

Lady Inger. You lack not confidence, it seems.

NILS Lykke. What shall we wager that you



86 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

make not common cause with myself and Peter
Kanzlcr ?

Lady Inger. Ostrat Castle against your knee-
buckles !

NILS Lykke {points to himself and cries i) Olaf
Skaktavl — here stands the master of Ostrat !

Lady Inger. Sir Councillor !

Olaf Skaktavl {rises from the table). What
now ?

Nils Lykke {to Lady Inger). I accept not the
wager ; for in a moment you will gladly give Ostrat
Castle, and more to boot, to be freed from the snare
wherein not I but you are tangled.

Lady Inger. Your jest, Sir, grows a vastly merry
one.

Nils Lykke. 'Twill be merrier yet — at least for
me.) You boast that you have overreached me. You
threaten to heap on me all men's scorn and mockery.
Ah, beware that you stir not up my vengefulness ;
for with two words I can bring you to your knees at
my feet.

Lady Inger. Ha-ha !

{Stops suddenly, as if struck by a foreboding^)
And the two words, Nils Lykke ? — the two
words ?

Nils Lykke. 'The secret of Sten Sture's son

and yours.

Lady INGER {with a shriek). Oh, Jesus Christ !

Olaf Skaktavl. Inger Gyldenlove's son ! What
say you ?

Lady Inger {half kneeling to Nils Lykke).
Mercy ! oh, be merciful !



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 87

Nils Lykke {raises her up). Collect yourself, and
let us talk calmly.

Lady Inger (in a low voice, as though bewildered).
Did your hear it, Olaf Skaktavl ? or was it but a
dream ? Heard you what he said ?

Nils Lykke. It was no dream, Lady Inger !

LADY INGER. And you know it ! You, — you ! —
Where is he then ? Where have you got him ?, What
would you do with him ? (Screams) Do not kill
him, Nils Lykke! Give him back to me! Do not
kill my child ! )

Olaf Skaktavl. Ah, I begin to understand

Lady Inger. And this fear this torturing

dread ! Through all these years it has been ever with

me and then all fails at last, and I must bear

this agony ! — Oh Lord my God, is it right of thee ?
Was it for this thou gavest him to me?

(Controls herself and says with forced composure:)

Nils Lykke — tell me one thing. Where have you
got him ? Where is he ?

Nils Lykke. With his foster-father.

Lady Inger. Still with his foster-father. Oh,

that merciless man ! For ever to deny my

prayers. — But it must not go on thus ! Help me,
Olaf Skaktavl !

Olaf Skaktavl. I ?

Nils Lykke. There will be no need, if only
you

Lady Inger. Hearken, Sir Councillor! What
you know you shall know thoroughly. And you too,
my old and faithful friend !

Listen then. To-night you bade me call to mind



88 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

that fatal day when Knut Alfson was slain at Oslo.
You bade me remember the promise I made as I
stood by his corpse amid the bravest men in
Norway. I was scarce full-grown then;/ but I felt
God's strength in me, and methought, as many have
thought since, that the Lord himself had set his mark
on me and chosen me to fight in the forefront for my
country's cause.

Was it vanity ? Or was it a calling from on high?
That I have never clearly known. J But woe to him
that has a great mission laid upon him.

For seven years I fear not to say that I kept my
promise faithfully. I stood by my countrymen in all
their miseries. All my playmates were now wives
and mothers. I alone could give ear to no wooer —
not to one. That you know best, Olaf Skaktavl !

Then I saw Sten Sture for the first time. Fairer
man had never met my sight.

NILS Lykke. Ah, now it grows clear to me!
Sten Sture was then in Norway on a secret errand.
We Danes were not to know that he wished your
friends well.

Lady Inger. Disguised as a mean serving-man
he lived a whole winter under one roof with me.

That winter I thought less and less of the country's

weal . So fair a man had I never seen,

and I had lived well-nigh five-and-twenty years.

Next autumn Sten Sture came once more ; and
when he departed again he took with him, in all
secrecy, a little child. 'Twas not folk's evil tongues
I feared ; but our cause would have suffered had it
got about that Sten Sture stood so near to me.



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 89

The child was given to Peter Kanzlcr to rear. T
waited for better times, that were soon to come.
They never came. Sten Sture took a wife two years
later in Sweden, and, dying, left a widow

Olaf Skaktavl. And with her a lawful heir

to his name and rights.

Lady Inger. Time after time I wrote to
Peter Kanzlcr and besought him to give me back
my child. (But he was ever deaf to my prayers.
" Cast in your lot with us once for all," he said, " and
I send your son back to Norway ; not before." But
'twas even that I dared not do. We of the dis-
affected party were then ill regarded by many
timorous folk. If these had got tidings of how
things stood — oh, I know it ! — to cripple the mother '■
they had gladly meted to the child the fate that
would have been King Christiern's had he not saved
himself by flight. 1

But, besides that, the Danes were active. They
spared neither threats nor promises to force me to
join them.

Olaf Skaktavl. 'Twas but reason. The eyes
of all men were fixed on you as the vane that should
show them how to shape their course.

Lady Inger. Then came Herlof Hyttefad's
revolt. Do you remember that time, Olaf Skaktavl ?

1 King Christian II. of Denmark (the perpetrator of the massacre at
Stockholm known as the Blood-Bath) fled to Holland in 1523, five
years before the date assigned to this play, in order to escape death or
imprisonment at the hands of his rebellious nobles, who summoned his
uncle, Frederick I., to the throne. Returning to Denmark in 1532,
Christian was thrown into prison, where he spent the last twenty-seven
years of his life.



90 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

Was it not as though the whole land was filled with
the sunlight of a new spring. Mighty voices sum-
moned me to come forth ; — yet I dared not. I stood
doubting — far from the strife — in my lonely castle.
At times it seemed as though the Lord God himself
were calling me ; but then would come the killing
dread again to paralyse my will. "Who will win?"
that was the question that was ever ringing in my
ears.

'Twas but a short spring that had come to Norway.
Herlof Hyttefad, and many more with him, were
broken on the wheel during the months that followed.
None could call me to account ; yet there lacked not
covert threats from Denmark. What if they knew
the secret ? At last methought they must know ; I
knew not how else to understand their words.

'Twas even in that time of agony that Gyldenlove,
the High Steward, came hither and sought me in
marriage. Let any mother that has feared for her
child think herself in my place ! — A month after,
I was the High Steward's wife — and homeless in the
hearts of my countrymen.

Then came the quiet years. There was now no
whisper of revolt. Our masters might grind us
down even as heavily as they listed. There were
times when I loathed myself. What had I to do ?
Nought but to endure terror and scorn and bring forth
daughters into the world. My daughters ! God
forgive me if I have had no mother's heart towards
them. My wifely duties were as serfdom to me ;
how then could I love my daughters ? Oh, how
different with my son ! He was the child of my very



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 91

soul. He was the one thing that brought to mind the
time when I was a woman and nought but awoman.
— And him they had taken from me ! He was
growing up among strangers, who might sow in him
the seed of destruction ! Olaf Skaktavl — had I
wandered like you on the lonely hills, hunted and
forsaken, in winter and storm — if I had but held my
child in my arms, — trust me, I had not sorrowed and
wept so sore as I have sorrowed and wept for him
from his birth even to this hour.

Olaf Skaktavl. There is my hand. I have
judged you too hardly, Lady Inger ! Command me
even as before ; I will obey. — Ay, by all the saints, I
know what it is to sorrow for a child.

Lady Inger. Yours was slain by bloody men.
But what is death to the restless terror of all these
long years ?

Nils Lykke. Mark, then — 'tis in your power to
end this terror. You have but to reconcile the
opposing parties, and neither will think of seizing
on your child as a pledge of your faith.

Lady Inger {to herself). This is the vengeance
of Heaven. {Looks at him.) In one word, what do
you demand ?

Nils Lykke. I demand first that you shall call
the people of the northern districts to arms, in support
of the disaffected in Sweden.

Lady Inger. And next ?

Nils Lykke. that you do your best to

advance young Count Sture's ancestral claim to the
throne of Sweden.

LADY Inger. His? You demand that I- -?



92 Lady Tnger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

Olaf SKAKTAVL {softly). It is the wish of many-
Swedes, and 'twould serve our turn too.

Nils LYKKE. You hesitate, lady ? You tremble
for your son's safety. What better can you wish than
to see his half-brother on the throne ?

Lady INGER (in thought). True — true

NILS LYKKE {looks at her sharply'). Unless there
be other plans afoot

Lady Inger. What mean you ?

NILS Lykke. Inger Gyldenlove might have a mind
to be — a king's mother.

LADY Inger. No, no ! Give me back my child,
and let who will have the crowns.

But know you so surely that Count Sture is
willing ?

Nils Lykke. Of that he will himself assure you.

Lady Inger. Himself?

Nils Lykke. Even now.

Olaf Skaktavl. How now ?

Lady Inger. What say you ?

Nils Lykke. In one word, Count Sture is in
Ostrat.

Olaf Skaktavl. Here ?

Nils Lykke (to Lady Inger). You have doubt-
less been told that another rode through the gate
along with me ? The Count was my attendant.

Lady Inger (softly). I am in his power. I have
no longer any choice.

(Looks at him and says :)
'Tis well, Sir Councillor — I will assure you of my
support.

Nils Lykke. In writing?



Act IV.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 93

Lady Inger. As you will.

( Goes to the table on the left, sits down, and takes
writing materials from the drawer.)

Nils Lykke (aside, standing by the table on the
right). At last, then, I win !

Lady Inger {after a moment's thought, turns
suddenly in her chair to OLAF SKAKTAVL and
whispers). Olaf Skaktavl — I am certain of it now —
Nils Lykke is a traitor !

Olaf Skaktavl {softly). What? You think
?

LADY INGER. He has treachery in his heart.
{Lays the paper before her and dips the pen i7i the
ink.)

Olaf Skaktavl. And yet you would give him a
written promise that may be your ruin ?

Lady Inger. Hush; leave me to act. Nay, wait

and listen first

(Talks with him in a whisper.)

NILS Lykke (softly, watching them). Ah, take
counsel together as much as ye list ! All danger is
over now. With her written consent in my pocket, I
can denounce her when I please. ~K secret message
to Jens Bielke this very night. — I tell him but the
truth — that the young Count Sture is not at Ostrat.
And then to-morrow, when the road is open — to
Trondhiem with my young friend, and thence by ship
to Copenhagen with him as my prisoner. \ Once we
have him safe in the castle-tower, we can dictate to

Lady Inger what terms we will. And I ? Me-

thinks after this the King will scarce place the French
mission in other hands than mine.



94 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

Lady Inger {still whispering to Olaf Skak-
TAVl). Well, you understand me ?

Olaf Skaktavl. Ay, fully. Let us risk it.
{Goes out by the back, to the right. Nils STENS-
SON comes in by the first door on the right, un-
seen by LADY INGER, who has begun to write.)

Nils STENSSON {in a low voice). Sir Knight, —
Sir Knight !

Nils Lykke {moves towards him). Rash boy !
What would you here ? Said I not you were to
wait within until I called you ?

Nils STENSSON. How could I ? Now you have
told me that Inger Gyldenlove is my mother, I thirst
more than ever to see her face to face

Oh, it is she ! How proud and lofty she seems !
Even thus did I ever picture her. Fear not, dear Sir,
I shall do nought rashly. Since I have learnt this
secret, I feel, as it were, older and wiser. I will no
longer be wild and heedless; I will be even as other
well-born youths. — Tell me, — knows she that I am
here ? Surely you have prepared her ?

Nils Lykke. Ay, sure enough ; but .

Nils Stensson. Well?

Nils Lykke. She will not own you for her

son.

Nils Stensson. Will not own me ? But she is
my mother. — Oh, if there be no other way — {takes
out a ring which he wears on a cord round his neck)
— show her this ring. I have worn it since my
earliest childhood ; she must surely know its history.

NILS LYKKE. Hide the ring, man ! Hide it, I
say !



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 95

You mistake me. Lady Inger doubts not at all
that you are her child; but — ay, look about you;
look at all this wealth; look at these mighty ancestors
and kinsmen whose pictures deck the walls both high
and low; look lastly at herself, the haughty dame,
used to bear sway as the first noblewoman in the
kingdom. Think you it can be to her mind to take
a poor ignorant youth by the hand before all men's
eyes and say : Behold my son !

Nils STENSSON. Ay, you are right, I am poor
and ignorant. I have nought to offer her in return
for what I crave. Oh, never have I felt my poverty
weigh on me till this hour ! But tell me — what think
you I should do to win her love? Tell me, dear Sir;
sure you must know !

NILS Lykke. You must win your father's king-
dom. But— until that may be, look well that you
wound not her ears by hinting at kinship or the like.
She will bear her as though she believed you to be
the real Count Sture, until you have made yourself
worthy to be called her son.

Nils Stensson. Oh, but tell mc !

Nils Lykke. Hush; hush!

Lady Inger {rises and hands him a paper). Sir
Knight — here is my promise.

Nils Lykke. I thank you.

Lady Inger {notices Nils Stensson). Ah, —


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