Henrik Ibsen.

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this young man is ?

NILS Lykke. Ay, Lady Inger, he is Count Sture.

Lady Inger {aside, looks at him stealthily). Feature
for feature; — ay, by God, — it is Sten Sture's son !
{Approaches him and says with cold courtesy!)



96 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

I bid you welcome under my roof, Count ! It rests
with you whether or not we shall bless this meeting a
year hence.

Nils Stensson. With me ? Oh, do but tell me
what I must do ! Trust me, I have courage and
good-wilLenough

Nils LYKKE {listens uneasily). What is this noise
and uproar, Lady Inger? There are people pressing
hitherward. What does this mean ?

Lady Inger {in a loud voice). 'Tis the spirits
awaking !

(Olaf Skaktavl, Einar Huk, Biorn, Finn,
A\Ayf^2^- an d a number of Peasants and Retainers come in
from the back, on the right.)

The Peasants and Retainers. Hail to Lady
Inger Gyldenlove !

Lady Inger {to Olaf Skaktavl). Have you
told them what is in hand ?

Olaf Skaktavl. I have told them all they need
to know.

LADY Inger {to the Crowd). Ay, now, my faithful
house-folk and peasants, now must ye arm you as
best you can and will. What I forbade you to-night
you have now my fullest leave to do. And here I
present to you the young Count Sture, the coming
ruler of Sweden — and Norway too, if God will it so.

The Whole Crowd. Hail to him ! Hail to
Count Sture !

{General excitement. The Peasants and Retainers
choose out weapons and put on breastplates and
helmets, amid great noise.)

NILS LYKKE {softly and uneasily). The spirits



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 97

awaking, she said ? I but feigned to conjure up the
devil of revohV^fewefe a cursed spite if he got the
upper haflxfof us.

Lady Inger {to Nils Stensson). Here I give
you the first earnest of our service — thirty mounted
men, to follow you as a bodyguard. Trust me — ere you
reach the frontier many hundreds will have ranged
themselves under my banner and yours. Go, then,
and God be with you ! '

NILS STENSSON. Thanks, — Inger Gyldenlove !
Thanks — and be sure that you shall never have cause
to shame you for — for Count Sture ! If you see me
again I shall have won my father's kingdom.

NILS Lykke {to himself). Ay, if she see you
again !

Olaf Skaktavl. The horses wait, good fellows !
Are ye ready ?

The Peasants. Ay, ay, ay !

Nils Lykke {uneasily, to Lady Inger). What?
You mean not to-night, even now ?

Lady INGER. This very moment, Sir Knight !

NILS LYKKE. Nay, nay, impossible !

Lady Inger. I have said it.

Nils Lykke {softly, to Nils Stensson). Obey
her not !

Nils Stensson. How can I otherwise? I will;
I must !

NILS Lykke. But 'tis your certain ruin

Nils Stensson. What then ! Her must I obey
in all things

Nils Lykke {with authority). And me!

NILS STENSSON. I shall keep my word ; be sure

7



98 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

of that. The secret shall not pass my lips till you
yourself release me. But she is my mother !

Nils Lykke (aside). And Jens Bielke in wait on
the road ! Damnation ! He will snatch the prize

out of my fingers

(To Lady Inger.)
Wait till to-morrow !

Lady Inger (to Nils Stensson). Count Sture —
do you obey me or not ?

Nils Stensson. To horse ! (Goes up toivards
the background).

Nils Lykke (aside). Unhappy boy ! He knows
not what he does.

(To Lady Inger.)

Well, since so it must be, — farewell !
(Bows hastily, and begins to move away.)

Lady Inger (detains him). Nay, stay ! Not so,
Sir Knight, — not so !

NILS LYKKE. What mean you ?

Lady Inger {in a low voice). Nils Lykke — you
are a traitor ! Hush ! Let no one see there is dis-
sension in the camp of the leaders> (You have won
Peter Kanzler's trust by some devilish cunning that
as yet I see not through. |You have forced me to
rebellious acts — not to help our cause, but to further
your own plots, whatever they may be. I can draw
back no more.' But think not therefore that you
have conquered ! I shall contrive to make you harm-
less

NILS Lykke {lays his hand involuntarily on his
sword). Lady Inger !

Lady Inger. Be calm, Sir Councillor ! Your



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 99

life is safe. But you come not outside the gates of
Ostrat before victory is ours.

Nils Lykke. Death and destruction !

Lady Inger. It boots not to resist. You come
not from this place. So rest you quiet ; 'tis your
wisest course.

Nils Lykke {to himself ). Ah, — I am overreached.
She has been craftier than I. {A thought strikes him.)
But if I yet ?

Lady Inger {to Olaf Skaktavl). Ride with
Count Sture's troops to the frontier ; then without
pause to Peter Kanzler, and bring me back my
child. Now has he no longer any plea for keeping
from me what is my own.

{Adds, as Olaf SKAKTAVL is going :)

Wait ; a token. — He that wears Sten Sture's ring
is my son.

Olaf Skaktavl. By all the saints, you shall have
him !

Lady Inger. Thanks, — thanks, my faithful
friend !

Nils Lykke {to Finn, whom he has beckoned to
him unobserved, and with whom he has been whis-
pering). Good — now manage to slip out. Let none
see you. The Swedes are in ambush two miles
hence. Tell the commander that Count Sture is
dead. The young man you see there must not be
touched. Tell the commander so. Tell him the
boy's life is worth thousands to me.

Finn. It shall be done.

LADY INGER {who has meanwhile been watching
Nils LYKKE). And now go, all of you ; go with



ioo Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act IV.

God ! ( Points to NILS Lykke.) This noble knight
cannot find it in his heart to leave his friends at
Ostrat so hastily. He will abide here with me till the
tidings of your victory arrive.

Nils Lykke (to himself). Devil !

Nils Stensson (seizes his hand). Trust me — -
you shall not have long to wait !

Nils Lykke. It is well ; it is well ! {Aside.) All
may yet be saved. If only my message reach Jens
Bielke in time

Lady Inger {to Einar Huk, the bailiff, pointing
to Finn). And let that man be placed under close
guard in the castle dungeon.

Finn. Me?

The Bailiff and the Servants. Finn!

Nils LYKKE (aside). My last anchor gone !

Lady Inger (imperatively). To the dungeon with
him!

(ElNAR HUK, BlORN, and a couple of the house-
servants lead Finn out to the left.)

All the rest (except Nils Lykke, rushing- out
to the right). Away ! To horse, — to horse ! Hail
to Lady Inger Gyldenlove !

Lady Inger (passes close to Nils Lykke as she
follows the others). Who wins ?

Nils LYKKE (remains alone). Who? Ay, woe
to you ; — your victory will cost you dear. / wash
my hands of it. 'Tis not / that am murdering him.

But my prey is escaping me none the less ; and the
revolt will grow and spread ! — Ah, 'tis a foolhardy,
a frantic game I have been playing here !
(Listens at the window.)



Act IV.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. ioi

There they go clattering out through the gateway. —
Now 'tis closed after them — and I am left here a
prisoner.

No way of escape ! Within half-an-hour the
Swedes will be upon him. He has thirty well-armed
horsemen with him. 'Twill be life or death.

But if they should take him alive after all ? — Were
I but free, I could overtake the Swedes ere they
reach the frontier, and make them deliver him up.
{Goes tozvards the window in the background and looks
out.) Damnation ! Guards outside on every hand.
Can there be no way out of this? {Comes quickly
forward again ; suddenly stops and listens?)

What is that? Music and singing. It seems to
come from Elina's chamber. Ay, it is she that is

singing. Then she is still awake

(A thought seems to strike him.)

Elina! — Ah, if that could be! If it could but

And why should I not? Am I not still myself?
Says not the song : —

Fair maidens a-many they sigh a?id they pine :

" Ah God, that Nils Lykke were mine, mine, mine."

And she ? Elina Gyldenlove shall set

me free !

(Goes quickly but stealthily towards the first door
on the left.)



102 Lady" Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.




Act Fifth.

{The Banquet Hall. It is still night. The hall is but dimly
lighted by a branch-candlestick on the table, in front, on the
right)

(Lady Inger is sitting by the table, deep in thought)

Lady Inger {after a pause). They call me keen-
witted beyond all others in the land. I believe they

are right. The keenest-witted No one knows

how I became so. For more than twenty years I
have fought to save my child. That is the key to the
riddle. Ay, that sharpens the wits !

My wits ? Where have they flown to-night ? What
has become of my forethought ? There is a ringing
and rushing in my ears. I see shapes before me,
so life-like that methinks I could lay hold on them.

(Springs tip.)
Lord Jesus — what is this ? Am I no longer mistress

of my reason ? Is it to come to that ?

(Presses her clasped hands over her head ; sits
down again, and says more calmly :)
Nay, 'tis nought. It will pass. There is no fear ; —
it will pass.

How peaceful it is in the hall to-night ! No
threatening looks from forefathers or kinsfolk. No
need to turn their faces to the wall.
(Rises again.)



Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 103

Ay, 'twas well that I took heart at last. We shall
conquer ; — and then I am at the end of my longings.
I shall have my child again.

( Takes up the light as if to go, but stops and says
musingly :)
At the end ? The end ? To get him back ? Is that
all ? — is there nought further ?

(Sets the light down on the tabled)
That heedless word that Nils Lykke threw forth at

random How could he see my unborn thought ?

(More softly)

A king's mother ? A king's mother, he said

Why not ? Have not my forefathers ruled as kings,
even though they bore not the kingly name ? Has
not my son as good a title as the other to the rights
of the house of Sture ? In the sight of God he has —
if so be there is justice in Heaven.

And in an hour of terror I have signed away his
rights. I have recklessly squandered them, as a
ransom for his freedom.

If they could be recovered ? — Would Heaven be

angered, if I ? Would it call down fresh troubles

on my head if I were to ? Who knows ; — who

knows! It may be safest to refrain. (Takes up the
light again) I shall have my child again. That
must suffice me. I will try to rest. All these
desperate thoughts, — I will sleep them away.

(Goes towards the back, but stops in the middle of
the hall, and says broodingly :)
A king's mother !

(Goes slozvly out at the back, to the left.)

(After a short pause, Nils Lykke and ELINA



104 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

NV GYLDENLOVE enter noiselessly by the first door
on the left Nils Lykke has a small lantern
in his hand.')

NILS Lykke {throws the light from his lantern
around, so as to search the room). All is still. I must
begone.

ELINA. Oh, let me look but once more into your
eyes, before you leave me.

Nils Lykke {embraces her). Elina!

ELINA {after a short pause). Will you come never-
more to Ostrat ?

Nils Lykke. How can you doubt that I will
come ? Are you not henceforth my betrothed ? —
But will you be true to vie, Elina ? Will you not
forget me ere we meet again ?

Elina. Do you ask if I ivill be true ? Have I
any will left then ? Have I power to be untrue to
you, even if I would ?— You came by night ; you
knocked upon my door ; — and I opened to you.
You spoke to inc. What was it you said? You
gazed in my eyes. What was the mystic might that
turned my brain and lured me, as it were, within a
magic net ? {Hides her face on his shoulder?) Oh,
look not on me, Nils Lykke ! You must not look upon

me after this True, say you ? Do you not own

me ? I am yours ; — I must be yours — to all eternity.

Nils Lykke. Now, by my knightly honour, ere
the year be past, you shall sit as my wife in the hall
of my fathers.

Elixa. No vows , Nils Lykke ! No oaths to me.

NILS LYKKE. What mean you ? Why do you
shake your head so mournfully?



Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 105

Elina. Because I know that the same soft words
wherewith you turned my brain, you have whispered
to so many a one before. Nay nay, be not angry,
my beloved ! In nought do I reproach you, as I did
while yet I knew you not Now I understand how
high above all others is your goal. How can love
be aught to you but a pastime, or woman but a
toy?

Nils Lykke. Elina, — hear me !

ELINA. As I grew up, your name was ever in my
ears. I hated the name, for meseemed that all
women were dishonoured by your life. And yet, —
how strange ! — when I built up in my dreams the life
that should be mine, you were ever my hero, though
I knew it not. Now I understand it all — now know
I what it was I felt. It was a foreboding, a mysterious
longing for you, you only one — for you that were one
day to come and glorify my life.

Nils Lykke (aside, putting dozvn the lantern on
the table). How is it with me ? This dizzy fascina-
tion If this it be to love, then have I never

known it till this hour. — Is there not yet time ?

Oh horror — Lucia !

{Sinks into the chair.)

Elina. What ails you ? So heavy a sigh

NILS Lykke. O, 'tis nought, — nought! Elina, —
now will I confess all to you. I have beguiled many
with both words and glances ; I have said to many a
one what I whispered to you this night. But trust
me

Elina. Hush ! No more of that. My love is no
exchange for that you give me. No, no ; I love you



Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

because your every glance commands it like a king's
decree

{Lies doivn at his feet.)
Oh, let me once more stamp that kingly message
deep into my soul, though well I know it stands
imprinted there for all time and eternity.

Dear God — how little I have known myself ! 'Twas
but to-night I said to my mother : " My pride is my
life." And what is my pride? Is it to know that
my countrymen are free, or that my house is held in
honour throughout many lands ? Oh, no, no ! My
love is my pride. The little dog is proud when he
may sit by his master's feet and eat bread-crumbs
from his hand. Even so am I proud, so long as I
may sit at your feet, while your looks and your words
nourish me with the bread of life. See, therefore, I
say to you, even as I said but now to my mother :
" My love is my life;" for therein lies all my pride,
now and evermore.

Nils Lykke {raises her up on his lap). Nay, nay —
not at my feet, but at my side is your place, — should
fate set me never so high. Ay, Elina — you have led
me into a better path ; and if it be granted me some
day to atone by a deed of fame for the sins of my
reckless youth, the honour shall be yours as well as
mine.

ELINA. Ah, you speak as though I were still the
Elina that but this evening flung down the flowers at
your feet.

I have read in my books of the many-coloured life
in far-off lands. To the winding of horns the knight
rides forth into the greenwood, with his falcon on his



Act V.] Lady Inger of Ostrat. 107

wrist. Even so do you go your way through life ; —
your name rings out before you whithersoever you
fare. — All that I desire of your glory, is to rest like
the falcon on your arm. I too was blind as he to light
and life, till you loosed the hood from my eyes and
set me soaring high over the leafy tree-tops. — But,
trust me — bold as my flight may be, yet shall I ever
turn back to my cage.

Nils Lykke (rises). Then I bid defiance to the
past ! See now ; — take this ring, and be mine before
God and men — mine, — ay, though it should trouble
the dreams of the dead.

Elina. You make me afraid. What is it that ?

Nils Lykke. It is nought. Come, let me place
the ring on your finger. — Even so — now are you my
betrothed !

Elina. / Nils Lykke's bride ! It seems but a
dream, all that has befallen this night Oh, but so
fair a dream ! My breast is so light No longer is
there bitterness and hatred in my soul. I will atone
to all whom I have wronged. I have been unloving
to my mother. To-morrow will I go to her; she
must forgive me my offence.

NILS Lykke. And give her consent to our bond.

ELINA. That will she. Oh, I am sure she will.
My mother is kind; all the world is kind; — I can feci
hatred no more for any living soul — save one.

Nils Lykke. Save one?

ELINA Ah, it is a mournful history. I had a
sister

Nils Lykke. Lucia?

ELINA Have you known Lucia ?



io8 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

NILS Lykke. No, no ; I have but heard her name.

ELINA. She too gave her heart to a knight. He
betrayed her; — and now she is in Heaven.

Nils Lykke. And you ?

ELINA. I hate him.

Nils Lykke. Hate him not ! If there be mercy
in your heart, forgive him his sin. Trust me, he
bears his punishment in his own breast.

ELINA. Him I will never forgive ! I cannot, even

if I would ; for I have sworn so dear an oath

(Listening?)
Hush ! Can you hear ?

Nils Lykke. What? Where?

Elina. Without; far off. The noise of many
horsemen on the high-road.

Nils Lykke. Ah, it is they ! And I had for-
gotten ! They are coming hither. Then is the

danger great; — I must begone!

Elina. But whither ? Oh, Nils Lykke, what are
you hiding ?

Nils LYKKE. To-morrow, Elina ; for as God

lives, I will return then. — Quickly now — where is the
secret passage you told me of?

Elina. Through the grave-vault. See, — here is
the trap-door.

Nils Lykke. The grave-vault! {To himself.) No
matter, he must be saved !

Elina {by the window). The horsemen have

reached the gate

{Hands him the lantern?)

Nils Lykke. Well, now I go

{Begins to descend?)



Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. 109

ELINA. Go forward along the passage till you
reach the coffin with the death's-head and the black

cross ; it is Lucia's

Nils Lykke {climbs back hastily and shuts the

trap-door to). Lucia's ! Pah !

ELINA. What said you ?

Nils Lykke. Nay, nought. It was the scent of
the grave that made me dizzy.

ELINA. Hark ; they are hammering at the gate !
NILS LYKKE (lets the lantern fall). Ah! too

late !

(BlORN enters hurriedly from the right, carrying
a light.)
ELINA (goes towards him). What is amiss, Biorn ?
What is it ?

BlORN. An ambuscade ! Count Sture

ELINA. Count Sture ? What of him ?
Nils Lykke. Have they killed him ?
BlORN (to Elina). Where is your mother ?
Two House-Servants (rushing in from the
right). Lady Inger! Lady Inger!

(Lady Inger Gyldenlove enters by the first

door on the left, with a branch-candlestick,

lighted, in her Jiand, and says quickly:)

Lady INGER. I know all. Down with you to

the courtyard ! Keep the gate open for our friends,

but closed against all others !

(Puts down the candlestick on the table to the left.
BlORN and the two House-Servants go out
again to the right.)
Lady Inger (to Nils Lykke). So that was the
trap, Sir Councillor !




no Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

NILS LYKKE. Inger Gyldenlove, trust me !

Lady Inger. An ambuscade that was to snap
him up, as soon as you had got the promise that'
should destroy me !

NILS LYKKE {takes out the paper and tears it to
pieces'). There is your promise. I keep nothing that
can bear witness against you.

Lady Inger. What will you do?

Nils Lykke. From this hour I am your champion.
If I have sinned against you, — by Heaven I will
strive to repair my crime. But now I must out, if I
have to hew my way through the gate ! — Elina — tell
your mother all ! — And you, Lady Inger, let our
reckoning be forgotten ! Be generous — and silent !
Trust me, ere the day dawns you shall owe me a life's
gratitude.

{Goes out quickly to the right.)

Lady Inger {looks after him with exultation). It
is well ! I understand him !
{Turns to Elina.)

Nils Lykke ? Well ?

ELINA. He knocked upon my door, and set this
ring upon my finger.

Lady Inger. And he loves you with all his
heart ?

Elina. He has said so, and I believe him.

Lady Inger. Bravely done, Elina! Ha-ha, Sir
Knight, now is it my turn !

Elina. My mother — you are so strange. Oh, ay
— I know — it is my unloving ways that have angered
you.

Lady Inger. Not so, dear Elina! You are an




Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt. hi

obedient child. You have opened your door to him;
you have hearkened to his soft words. I know full
well what it must have cost you; for I know your
hatred

Elina. But, my mother

Lady Inger. Hush ! We have played into each
other's hands. What wiles did you use, my subtle
daughter ? I saw the love shine out of his eyes.
Hold him fast now ! Draw the net closer and closer

about him, and then Ah, Elina, if we could but

rend his perjured heart within his breast !

ELINA. Woe is me — what is it you say ?

Lady Inger. Let not your courage
Hearken to me. I know aworxU+fcraT will keep you
firm. Know then-^^-~-~(Tastening.) They are fighting
outside the gate. Courage ! Now comes the pinch !
{Turns again to Elina.) Know then, Nils Lykke
was the man that brought your sister to her grave.

Elina (with a shriek). Lucia !

Lady Inger. He it was, as truly as there is an
Avenger above us !

Elina. Then Heaven be with me !

Lady Inger (appalled). Elina ? !

ELINA. I am his bride in the sight of God.

LADY INGER. Unhappy child, — what have you
done ?

Elina (in a toneless voice). Made shipwreck of my
soul. — Good-night, my mother !
(She goes out to the left.)

Lady INGER. Ha-ha-ha! It goes down-hill now
with Inger Gyldenlove's house. There went the last
of my daughters.



Sm[



ii2 Lady [nger of Ostkat. [Act V.

Why could I not keep silence ? Had she known
nought, it may be she had been happy — after a
kind.

It was to be so. It is written up there in the
stars that I am to break off one green branch after
another, till the trunk stand leafless at last.

Tis well, 'tis well ! I am to have my son again.
Of the others, of my daughters, I will not think.

My reckoning? To face my reckoning? — It falls
not due till the last great day of wrath. — That comes
not yet awhile.

Nils Stensson {calling from outside on the right).
Ho — shut the gate !

Lady Inger. Count Sture's voice !

NILS STENSSON {rushes in, unarmed, and with his
clotJies torn, and shouts zvith a desperate laugh). Well
met again, Inger Gyldenlove !

Lady Inger. What have you lost ?

Nils Stensson. My kingdom and my life !

Lady Inger. And the peasants ? My servants ?
— where are they ?

Nils Stensson. You will find the carcasses along
the highway. Who has the rest, I know not.

Olaf Skaktavl {outside on the right). Count
Sture ! Where are you ?

Nils Stensson. Here, here !

(Olaf Skaktavl comes in with his right hand
wrapped in a cloth).

Lady Inger Alas, Olaf Skaktavl, you too !

Olaf Skaktavl. It was impossible to break
through.

Lady Inger. You are wounded, I see !




Act V.] Lady Inger of OstrAt.

Olaf Skaktavl. A finger the less ; that is all

Nils STENSSON. Where are the Swedes ?

Olaf SKAKTAVL. At our heels. They are break-
ing open the gate

Nils STENSSON. Oh, Jesus ! No, no ! I cannot
— I will not die.

Olaf Skaktavl. A hiding-place, Lady Inger !
Is there no corner where we can hide him ?

Lady Inger. But if they search the castle ?

NILS STENSSON. Ay, ay ; they will find me !
And then to be dragged away to prison, or be strung

up ! Oh no, Inger Gyldenlove, — I know full

well, — you will never suffer that to be ! —

Olaf Skaktavl {listening). There burst the
lock.

Lady Inger {at the zvindow). Many men rush in
at the gateway.

Nils Stensson. And to lose my life now I Now,
when my true life was but beginning ! Now, when
I have so lately learnt that I have aught to live for.
No, no, no ! — Think not I am a coward. Might I
but have time to show

Lady Inger. I hear them now in the hall below.
{Firmly to Olaf SKAKTAVL.)

He must be saved — cost what it will !

Nils Stensson {seizes her hand). Oh, I knew
it ; — you are noble and good !

Olaf Skaktavl. But how? Since we cannot
hide him

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

Lady Inger. The secret?



ii4 Lady Inger of OstrAt. [Act V.

Nils Stensson. Even so ; yours and mine !

Lady Inger. Christ in Heaven — you know it ?

Nils Stensson. From first to last. And now
when 'tis life or death Where is Nils Lykke ?

Lady Inger. Fled.

Nils Stensson. Fled? Then God help me;
for he only can unseal my lips. — But what is a
promise against a life ! When the Swedish captain
comes

LADY INGER. What then ? What will you do ?

Nils STENSSON. Purchase life and freedom ; —
tell him all.

Lady Inger. Oh no, no ; — be merciful !

Nils Stensson, Nought else can save me. When
I have told him what I know

Lady Inger {looks at him with suppressed excite-
ment). You will be safe ?

Nils Stensson. Ay, safe! Nils Lykke will
speak for me. You see, 'tis the last resource.


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Online LibraryHenrik IbsenIbsen's prose dramas (Volume 3) → online text (page 7 of 22)