thoughts must follow him wherever he went, and she
must waste away with sorrow.
I have heard that tale. — Moreover, 'tis no tale you are
telling, for the knight you speak of is Nils Lykke, who
sits even now in the Council of Denmark
Well, let it pass — go on!
Now it happened once on a time
[Rises suddenly.] Hush; be still!
What now ? What is the matter ?
32 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
[Listening.] Do you hear ?
It is there! Yes, by the cross of Christ, it is there!
[Rises.] What is there ? Where ?
She herself — in the hall
[Goes hastily toioards the hall.
[Folloioing^ How can you think — ? Mistress Elina,
— go to your chamber!
Hush; stand still! Do not move; do not let her see
you! Wait — the moon is coming out. Can you not
see the black-robed figure ^
By all the saints !
Do you see — she turns Knut Alfson's picture to the
wall. Ha-ha; be sure it looks her too straight in the eyes!
Mistress Elina, hear me!
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 33
[Going hack towards the fire place. '\ Now I know what
[To himself. "l Then it is true!
Who was it, Biorn ? Who w^as it ?
You saw as plainly as I.
Well ? Whom did I see ?
You saw your mother.
[Half to herself] Night after night I have heard her
steps in there. I have heard her whispering and moan-
ing like a soul in pain. And what says the song — ?
Ah, now I know! Now I know that
[Lady Inger Gyldenlove enters rapidly from the
hall, without noticing the others; she goes to tJie
window, draivs the curtain, and gazes out as if
ivatching for some one on the high road; after a
while, she turns and goes slowly back into the hall.
34 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
[Softly, following Iter with lier eyes.] White, white as
the dead !
[An uproar of many voices is heard outside the door
on tJie right.
What can this be ?
Go out and see what is amiss.
[EiNAR HuK, the bailiff, appears in the anteroom,
with a crowd of Retainers and Peasants.
[In the doorway.] Straight in to her! And be not
What seek you ?
Lady Inger herself.
Lady Inger .'' So late ?
Late, but time enough, I wot.
Yes, yes; she must hear us now!
[TJie whole rabble crowds into the room. At the same
moment Lady Inger appears in the doorway oftlie
hall. A sudden silence.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 35
What would you with me ?
We sought you, noble lady, to
Well — say on!
Why, we are not ashamed of our errand. In one word
— we come to pray you for weapons and leave
Weapons and leave — ? And for what ?
There has come a rumour from Sweden that the people
of the Dales have risen against King Gustav
The people of the Dales ?
Ay, so the tidings run, and they seem sure enough.
Well — if it were so — what have you to do with the
Dale-folk's rising ?
We will join them! We will help! We will free
36 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
[To herself.] Can the time be come?
From all our borderlands the peasants are pouring
across to the Dales. Even outlaws that have wandered
for years in the mountains are venturing down to the
homesteads again, and drawing men together, and whet-
ting their rusty swords.
[After a pause.] Tell me, men — have you thought well
of this ? Have you counted the cost, if King Gustav's
men should win .''
[Softly and imploringly to Lady Inger.] Count the
cost to the Danes if King Gustav's men should lose.
[Evasively.] That reckoning is not for me to make.
[Turns to the people.
You know that King Gustav is sure of help from Den-
mark. King Frederick is his friend, and will never leave
him in the lurch
But if the people were now to rise all over Norway's
land ? — if we all rose as one man, nobles and peasants
together ? — Ay, Lady Inger Gyldenlove, the time we have
waited for is surely come. We have but to rise now to
drive the strangers from the land.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 37
Ay, out with the Danish sheriffs! Out with the for-
eign masters! Out with the Councillors' lackeys!
[To herself.] Ah, there is metal in them; and vet,
[To himself.] She is of two minds. [To Elixa.]
What say you now. Mistress Elina — have you not sinned
in misjudging your mother.''
Biorn — if my eyes have lied to me, I could tear them
out of mv head!
See you not, my noble lady. King Gustav must be
dealt with first. Were h i s power once gone, the Danes
cannot long hold this land
Then we shall be free. We shall have no more for-
eign masters, and can choose ourselves a king, as the
Swedes have done before us.
[With animation.] A king for ourselves! Arc you
^ stock ?
thinking of the Sture^ stock ?
38 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
King Christiern and others after him have swept bare
our ancient houses. The best of our nobles are outlaws
on the mountain paths, if so be they still live. Never-
theless, it might still be possible to find one or other
shoot of the old stems
[Hastily.] Enough, Einar Huk, enough! [To her-
self.] Ah, my dearest hope!
[Turns to the Peasants and Retainers.
I have warned you, now, as well as I can. I have told
you how great is the risk you run. But if you are fixed
in your purpose, 'twere folly in me to forbid what I have
no power to prevent.
Then we have your leave to ?
You have your own firm will; take counsel with that.
If it be as you say, that you are daily harassed and op-
pressed I know but little of these matters. I will
not know more ! What can I, a lonely woman — ? Even
if you were to plunder the Banquet Hall — and there's
many a good weapon on the walls — you are the masters
at Ostrat to-night. You must do as seems good to you.
[Loud cries of joy from the midtitude. Candles are
lighted; tJie Retainers hring out iveapons of dif-
ferent kinds from the Iiall.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 39
[Seizes Lady Inger's hand as she is going.] Thanks,
my noble and high-souled mistress! I, that have known
you from childhood up — I have never doubted you.
Hush, Biorn — 'tis a dangerous game I have ventured
this night. The others stake only their lives; but I, trust
me, a thousandfold more!
How mean you ? Do you fear for your power and
your favour with ?
My power? O God in Heaven!
[Comes from the hall with a large sword.] See, here's
a real good wolf's-tooth ! With this will I flay the blood-
[To another^ What is that you have found?
The breastplate they call Herlof Hyttefad's.
'Tis too good for such as you. Look, here is the shaft
of Sten Sture's^ lance; hang the breastplate upon it, and
we shall have the noblest standard heart can desire.
* Pronounce Stayn Stoore.
40 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
[Comes from the door on tJie left, with a letter in his
hand, and goes towards Lady Inger.] I have sought you
through all the house
What would you ?
[Hands Jier the letter.] A messenger is come from
Trondhiem^ with a letter for you.
Let me see ! [Opening the letter.] From Trondhiem ?
What can it be? [Runs through the letter.] O God!
From him! And here in Norway
[Reads on with strong emotion, while tlie men go on
bringing out arms from the JmU.
[To herself] He is coming here. He is coming here
to-night! — Ay, then 'tis with our wits we must fight, not
with the sword.
Enough, enough, good fellows; we are well armed
now. Set we forth now on our way!
[With a sudden change of to7ie.] No man shall leave
my house to-night!
' Pronounce Tronyem.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 41
But the wind is fair, noble lady; 'twill take us quickly
up the fiord, and
It shall be as I have said.
Are we to wait till to-morrow, then ?
Till to-morrow, and longer still. No armed man shall
go forth from Ostrat yet awhile.
[Signs of displeasure among the croicd.
Some of the Peasants.
We will go all the same, Lady Inger!
The Cry Spreads.
Ay, ay; we will go!
[Advancing a step towards them.] Who dares to move ?
[A silence. After a moment's pause, sJie adds:
I have thought for you. What do you common folk
know of the country's needs ? How dare you judge of
such things ? You must e'en bear your oppressions and
burdens yet awhile. Why murmur at that, when you
see that we, your leaders, are as ill bested as you ?
Take all the weapons back to the hall. You shall know
my further will hereafter. Go!
[The Retainers take hack the arms, and the whole
crowd then withdraws by the door on the right.
42 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
[Softly to BioRN.] Say you still that I have sinned in
misjudging — the Lady of Ostrat ?
[Beckons *,o Biorn, and says.] Have a guest-chamber
It is well. Lady Inger!
And let the gate be open to whoever shall knock.
The gate open!
The gate open. [Goes out to the right.
[To Elina, ivho has already reached the door on the
left.] Stay here! Elina — my child — I have some-
thing to say to you alone.
I hear you.
Elina you think evil of your mother.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 43
I think, to my sorrow, what your deeds have forced
me to think.
And you answer as your bitter spirit bids you.
Who has filled my spirit with bitterness ? From my
childhood I had been wont to look up to you as a great
and high-souled woman. 'Twas in your likeness that I
pictured the women of the chronicles and the Book of
Heroes. I thought the Lord God himself had set his
seal on your brow, and marked you out as the leader
of the helpless and the oppressed. Knights and nobles
sang your praise in the feast-hall; and even the peasants,
far and near, called you the country's pillar and its hope.
All thought that through you the good times were to
come again! All thought that through you a new day
was to dawn over the land! The night is still here;
and I scarce know if through you I dare look for any
'Tis easy to see whence you have learnt such venom-
ous words. You have let yourself give ear to what the
thoughtless rabble mutters and murmurs about things it
can little judge of.
"Truth is in the people's mouth," was your word when
they praised you in speech and song.
44 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
Maybe so. But if indeed I chose to sit here idle,
though it was my part to act — think you not that such
a choice were burden enough for me, without your add-
ing to its weight ?
The weight I add to your burden crushes me no less
than you. Lightly and freely I drew the breath of life,
so long as I had you to believe in. For my pride is my
life; and well might I have been proud, had you remained
what once you were.
And what proves to you that I have not .' Elina —
how know you so surely that you are not doing your
mother wrong "^
\y ehemently \ Oh, that I were!
Peace! You have no right to call your mother to ac-
count. — With a single word I could ; but 'twould be
an ill word for you to hear; you must await what time
shall bring; maybe that
\Turns to go.^ Sleep well, my mother f
[Hesitates^ Nay — stay with me; I have still some-
what Come nearer; — you must hear me, Elina!
\Sits down by the table in front of the windoiv.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 45
I hear you.
For as silent as you are, I know well that you often
long to be gone from here. Ostrat is too lonely and life-
less for you.
Do you wonder at that, my mother ?
It rests with you whether all this shall henceforth be
Listen. — I look for a guest to-night.
[Comes nearer.] A guest ?
A guest, who must remain a stranger to all. None
must know whence he comes or whither he goes.
[Throivs herself, with a cry of joy, at her mother's feet,
and seizes her hands.] My mother! My mother! For-
give me, if you can, all the wrong I have done you!
46 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [acti
What do you mean ? Elina, I do not understand
Then they were all deceived! You are still true at
Rise, rise and tell me
Think you I do not know who the stranger is?
You know ? And yet ?
Think you the gates of Ostrat shut so close that never
a whisper of the country's woe can slip through them ?
Think you I do not know that the heir of many a noble
line wanders outlawed, without rest or shelter, while
Danish masters lord it in the home of his fathers ?
And what then ?
I know well that many a high-born knight is hunted
through the woods like a hungry wolf. No hearth has
he to rest by, no bread to eat
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 47
[Coldly.] Enough! Now I understand you.
[Continuing.] And that is why the gates of Ostrat
must stand open by night! That is why he must remain
a stranger to all, this guest of whom none must know
whence he comes or whither he goes! You are setting
at naught the harsh decree that forbids you to harbour
or succour the outlaw
Enough, I say!
[After a short silence, adds with an effort:
You mistake, Elina — 'tis no outlaw I look for.
[Rises.] Then I have understood you ill indeed.
Listen to me, my child; but think as you listen; if
indeed you can tame that wild spirit of yours.
I am tame, till you have spoken.
Attend, then, to what I have to tell you. — I have
sought, so far as lay in my power, to keep you in igno-
rance of all our griefs and miseries. What could it avail
48 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
to fill your young heart with wrath and care ? 'Tis not
women's weeping and wailing that can deliver us; we
need the courage and strength of men.
Who has told you that, when courage and strength
are needed, I shall be found wanting ?
Hush, child; — I might take you at your word.
How mean you, my mother.''
I might call on you for both; I might ; but let me
say my say out first.
Know then that the time seems now to be drawing
nigh, towards which the Danish Council have been work-
ing for many a year — the time, I mean, for them to
strike the last blow at our rights and our freedom.
Therefore must we now
[Eagerly.] Openly rebel, my mother?
No; we must gain breathing-time. The Council is
now assembled at Copenhagen, considering how best to
go to work. Most of them hold, 'tis said, that there can
be no end to dissensions till Norway and Denmark are
one; for should we still possess our rights as a free land
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 49
when the time comes to choose the next king, 'tis most
like that the feud will break out openly. Now the Danish
councillors would hinder this
Ay, they would hinder it—! But are we to endure
such things ? Are we to look on quietly while ?
No, we will not endure it. But to take up arms — to
declare open w^ar — what would come of that, so long as
we are not united ? And were we ever less united in
this land than we are even now ? — No, if aught is to be
accomplished, it must be secretly and in silence. Even
as I said, we must have time to draw breath. In the
South, a good part of the nobles are for the Dane; but
here in the North they are still in doubt. Therefore has
King Frederick sent hither one of his most trusted coun-
cillors, to assure himself with his own eyes how we stand
[In suspense.] Well — and then ?
He is the guest I look for to-night.
He comes hither.' And to-night?
A trading ship brought him to Trondhiem yesterday.
News has just reached me of his approach; he may be
here within the hour.
50 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [acti
And you do not bethink you, my mother, how 'twill
endanger your fame thus to receive the Danish envoy?
Do not the people already look on you with distrustful
eyes ? How can you hope that, when the time comes,
they will let you rule and guide them, if it be known
Fear not. All this I have fully weighed; but there is
no danger. His errand in Norway is a secret; he has
come unknown to Trondhiem, and unknown shall he be
our guest at Ostrat.
And the name of this Danish lord ?
It sounds well, Elina; Denmark has scarce a nobler
But what then do you purpose ? I cannot yet grasp
You will soon understand. — Since we cannot trample
on the serpent, we must bind it.
Take heed that it burst not your bonds.
It rests with you to tighten them as you will.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 51
With me ?
I have long seen that Ostrat is as a cage to you. The
young falcon chafes behind the iron bars.
My wings are clipped. Even if you set me free —
'twould avail me little.
Your wings are not clipped, save by your own will.
Will ? My will is in your hands. Be what you once
were, and I too
Enough, enough. Hear me further. — It would scarce
break your heart to leave Ostrat ?
Maybe not, my mother!
You told me once, that you lived your happiest life in
your tales and histories. What if that life were to be
yours once more ?
What mean you ?
52 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
Elina — if a mighty noble were to come and lead you to
his castle, where you should find damsels and squires,
silken robes and lofty halls awaiting you ?
A noble, you say ?
[More softly.] And the Danish envoy comes hither
If so be, then I fear to read the meaning of your words.
There is naught to fear if you misread them not. It
is far from my thought to put force upon you. You shall
choose for yourself in this matter, and follow your own
[Comes a step nearer.] Know you the tale of the
mother who drove across the hills by night, with her
little children in the sledge ? The wolves were on her
track; 'twas life or death with her; — and one by one she
cast out her little ones, to win time and save herself.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 53
Nursery tales! A mother would tear the heart from
her breast before she would cast her child to the wolves!
Were I not my mother's daughter, I would say you
were right. But you are like that mother; one by one
have you cast out your daughters to the wolves. The
eldest went first. Five years ago Merete^ went forth
from Ostrat; now she dwells in Bergen, and is Vinzents
Lunge's" wife. But think you she is happy as the
Danish noble's ladv "^ Vinzents Lung-e is mightv, well-
nigh as a king; Merete has damsels and squires, silken
robes and lofty halls; but the day has no sunshine for
her, and the night no rest; for she has never loved him.
He came hither and he wooed her, for she was the great-
est heiress in Norway, and 'twas then needful for him
to gain a footing in the land. I know it; I know it well!
Merete bowed to your will; she went with the stranger
lord. — But what has it cost her.? More tears than a
mother should wish to answer for at the day of reck-
I know my reckoning, and I fear it not.
Your reckoning ends not here. Where is Lucia, your
second child ?
Ask God, who took her.
^ Pronounce Mayrayte. ^ Pronounce LoongJii.
54 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
'Tis you I ask; 'tis you must answer for her young life.
She was glad as a bird in spring when she sailed from
Ostrat to be Merete's guest. A year passed, and she
stood in this room once more; but her cheeks were white,
and death had gnawed deep into her breast. Ah, I
startle you, my mother! You thought the ugly secret
was buried with her; — but she told me all. A courtly
knight had won her heart. He would have wedded her.
You knew that her honour was at stake; yet your will
never bent — and your child had to die. You see, I know
All ? Then she told you his name ?
His name? No; his name she did not tell me. She
shrank from his name as though it stung her; — she never
[Relieved, to herself.] Ah, then you do not know all
Elina — 'tis true that the whole of this matter was well
known to me. But there is one thing it seems you have
overlooked. The lord whom Lucia met in Bergen was
That, too, I know.
And his love was a lie. With guile and soft speeches
he had ensnared her.
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 55
I know it; but nevertheless she loved him; and had
you had a mother's heart, your daughter's honour had
been more to you than all.
Not more than her happiness. Think you that, with
Merete's lot before my eyes, I could sacrifice my second
child to a man that loved her not ?
Cunning words may beguile many, but they beguile
Think not I know nothing of all that is passing in
our land ? I understand your counsels but too well. I
know that in you the Danish lords have no true friend.
It may be that you hate them; but you fear them too.
When you gave Merete to Vinzents Lunge, the Danes
held the mastery on all sides throughout our land. Three
years later, when you forbade Lucia to wed the man to
whom, though he had deceived her, she had given her
life — things were far different then. The King's Danish
governors had shamefully misused the common people,
and you deemed it not wise to link yourself still more
closely to the foreign tyrants.
And what have you done to avenge her that was sent
so young to her grave ? You have done nothing. Well
then, I will act in your stead; I will avenge all the shame
they have brought upon our, people and our house!
You ? What will you do ?
56 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i
I will go my way, even as you go yours. What I
shall do I myself know not; but I feel within me the
strength to dare all for our righteous cause.
Then have you a hard fight before you. I once
promised as you do now — and my hair has grown grey
under the burden of that promise.
Good-night! Your guest will soon be here, and at
that meeting I should be one too many.
It may be there is yet time for you ; well, God
strengthen and guide you on your path! Forget not
that the eyes of many thousands are fixed on you.
Think on Merete, weeping late and early over her wasted
life. Think on Lucia, sleeping in her black coffin.
And one thing more. Forget not that in the game
you play this night, your stake is your last child.
[Goes out to the left.
[Looks after her aichile.] My last child ? You know
not how true was that word But the stake is not
my child only. God help me, I am playing to-night for
the whole of Norway's land.
Ah — is not that some one riding through the gateway .''
[Listens at the window.
No; not yet. Only the wind; it blows cold as the
Has God a right to do this ? — To make me a woman
— and then to lay on my shoulders a man's work.'
ACT I] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 57
For I h a V e the welfare of the country in my hands.
It i s in my power to make tliem rise as one man. They
look to m e for the signal ; and if I give it not now —
it may never be given.
To delay ? To sacrifice the many for the sake of one ?
Were it not better if I could ? No, no, no — I will
not! I cannot!
\Steals a glance totvards the Banquet Hall, but turns