away again as if in dread, and whispers:
I can see them in there now. Pale spectres â dead
ancestors â fallen kinsfolk. â Ah, those eyes that pierce
me from every corner!
[Makes a gesture of repidsion, and cries:
Sten Sture! Knut Alfson! Olaf Skaktavl! Back â â¢
back! â I cannot do this!
[A Stranger, strongly built, and with grizzled hair
and beard, has entered from the Banquet Hall. He
is dressed in a torn laTnbskin tunic; his weapons
[Stops in the doorway, and says in a low voice.] Hail
to you, Inger Gyldenlove!
[Turns with a scream.] Ah, Christ in heaven save
[Falls back into a chair. The Stranger stands gaz-
ing at her, motionless, leaning on his sword.
The room at Ostrat, as in the first Act.
Lady Inger Gyldenlove is seated at the table on the
right, by the window. Olaf Skaktavl is standing
a little way from her. Their faces show that they
have been engaged in a heated discussion.
For the last time, Inger Gyldenlove â you are not to
be moved from your purpose ?
I can do nought else. And my counsel to you is: do
as I do. If it be Heaven's will that Norway perish utter-
ly, perish it must, for all we may do to save it.
x\nd think you I can content my heart with that be-
lief ? Shall I sit and look idly on, now that the hour is
come ? Do you forget the reckoning I have against
them ? They have robbed me of my lands, and par-
celled them out among themselves. My son, my only
child, the last of my race, they have slaughtered like a
dog. Myself they have outlawed and hunted through
forest and fell these twenty years. â Once and again
have folk whispered of my death; but this I believe,
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 59
that they shall not lay me beneath the sod before I have
seen my vengeance.
Then is there a long life before you. What have vou
in mind to do ?
Do ? How should I know what I will do ? It has
never been my part to plot and plan. That is where
you must help me. You have the wit for that. I have
but my sword and my two arms.
Your sword is rusted, Olaf Skaktavl! All the swords
in Norway are rusted.
That is doubtless why some folk fight only with their
tongues. â Inger Gyldenlove â great is the change in you.
Time was when the heart of a man beat in your breast.
Put me not in mind of what was.
'Tis for that very purpose I am here. You shall
hear me, even if
Be it so then; but be brief; for â I must say it â this is
no place of safety for you.
60 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
Ostrat is no place of safety for an outlaw ? That I
have long known. But you forget that an outlaw is
unsafe wheresoever he mav wander.
Speak then; I will not hinder you.
'Tis niffh on thirty years now since first I saw you. It
was at Akershus^ in the house of Knut Alfson and his
wife. You were little more than a child then; yet were
you bold as the soaring falcon, and wild and headstrong
too at times. Many were the wooers around you. I
too held you dear â dear as no woman before or since.
But you cared for nothing, thought of nothing, save your
country's evil case and its great need.
I counted but fifteen summers then â remember that!
And was it not as though a frenzy had seized us all in
those days .''
Call it what you will; but one thing I know â even
the old and sober men among us thought it written in
the counsels of the Lord on high that you were she
who should break our thraldom and win us all our
rights again. And more: you yourself then thought as
' Pronounce Ahkers-hoos.
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 61
'Twas a sinful thought, Olaf Skaktavl. 'Twas my
proud heart, and not the Lord's call, that spoke in me.
You could have been the chosen one had vou but
willed it. You came of the noblest blood in Norwav;
power and riches were soon to be yours; and you had an
ear for the cries of anguish â then!
Do you remember that afternoon when Henrik Krum-
medike and the Danish fleet anchored off Akershus?
The captains of the fleet offered terms of peace, and,
trusting to the safe-conduct, Knut Alfson rowed on
board. Three hours later, we bore him through the
A corpse; a corpse!
The best heart in Norway burst, when Krummedike's
hirelings struck him down. Methinks I still can see
the long procession that passed into the Banquet Hall,
heavily, two by two. There he lay on his bier, white
as a spring cloud, with the axe-cleft in his brow. I may
safelv sav that the boldest men in Norwav were gathered
there that night. Lady Margrete stood by her dead
husband's head, and we swore as one man to venture
lands and life to avenge this last misdeed and all that
had gone before. â Inger Gyldenlove, â who was it that
burst through the circle of men ? A maiden â almost a
62 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
child â with fire in her eyes and her voice half choked
with tears. â What was it she swore ? Shall I repeat
your words ? ^
I swore what the rest of you swore; neither more
You remember your oath â and yet you have for-
And how did the others keep their promise ? I speak
not of you, Olaf Skaktavl, but of your friends, all Nor-
way's nobles ? Not one of them, in all these years, has
had the courage to be a man ; yet they lay it to my charge
that I am a woman.
I know what you would say. Why have they bent
to the yoke, and not defied the tyrants to the last ? 'Tis
but too true; there is base metal enough in our noble
houses nowadays. But had they held together â who
knows what then might have been ? And you could
have held them together, for before you all had bowed.
My answer were easy enough, but 'twould scarce con-
tent you. So let us leave speaking of what cannot be
changed. Tell me rather what has brought you to
Ostrjit. Do you need harbour? Well, I will try to
hide you. If you would have aught else, speak out; you
shall find me ready
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 63
For twenty years have I been homeless. In the moun-
tains of Jaemteland my hair has grown grey. My dwell-
ing has been with wolves and bears. â You see, Lady
Inger â / need you not; but both nobles and people stand
in sore need of you.
The old burden.
Ay, it sounds but ill in your ears, I know; yet hear
it you must, for all that. In brief, then: I come from
Sweden: troubles are brewing: the Dales are ready to
I know it.
Peter Kanzler^ is with us â secretly, you understand.
[Starting.] Peter Kanzler.^
'Tis he that has sent me to Ostrat.
[Rises.] Peter Kanzler, say you ?
He himself; â but mayhap you no longer know him ?
* That is, Peter the Chancellor.
64 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
[Half to herself.] Only too well ! â But tell me, I pray
you, â what message do you bring?
When the rumour of the rising reached the border
mountains, where I then was, I set off at once into Swe-
den. 'Twas not hard to guess that Peter Kanzler had
a finger in the game. I sought him out and offered to
stand by him; â he knew me of old, as you know, and
knew that he could trust me; so he has sent me hither.
[Impatiently.'] Yes, yes, â he sent you hither to ?
\\\^it}i secrecy.] Lady Inger â a stranger comes to
[Surprised.] What.^ Know you that ?
Assuredly I know it. I know all. 'Twas to meet
him that Peter Kanzler sent me hither.
To meet him ? Impossible, Olaf Skaktavl, â impos-
'Tis as I tell you. If he be not already come, he will
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 65
Doubtless, doubtless; but
Then you knew of his coming ?
Ay, surely. He sent me a message. 'Twas therefore
they opened to you as soon as you knocked.
[Listeyis.] Hush! â some one is riding along the road.
[Goes to the window.] They are opening the gate.
[Looks out.] It is a knight and his attendant. They
are dismounting in the courtyard.
'Tis he, then. His name.?
You know not his name }
Peter Kanzler refused to tell it me. He would say no
more than that I should find him at Ostrat the third
evening after Martinmas
Ay; even to-night.
66 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
He was to bring letters with him; and from them, and
from you, I was to learn who he is.
Then let me lead you to your chamber. You have
need of rest and refreshment. You shall soon have
speech with the stranger.
Well, be it as you will, [Both go out to the left.
[After a short pause, Finn enters cautiously by the
door on the right, looks round the room, and -peeps
into the Banquet Hall; he tJien goes hack to the
door, and makes a sign to some one outside. Im-
mediately after, enter Councillor Nils Lykke
and the Swedish Commander, Jens Bielke.
[Softly.] No one ?
[In the same tone.] No one, master!
And we may depend on you in all things ?
The commandant in Trondhiem has ever given me
a name for trustiness. .
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 67
'Tis well; he has said as much to me. First of all,
then â has there come any stranger to Ostrat to-night,
before us ?
Ay; a stranger came an hour since.
[Softly, to Jens Bielke.] He is here. [Turns again
to Finn.] Would you know him again ? Have you
seen him ?
Nay, none has seen him, that I know, but the gate-
keeper. He was brought at once to Lady Inger, and
Well ? What of her ? He is not gone again already ?
No; but it seems she holds him hidden in one of her
own rooms; for
It is well.
[IF/mpers.] Then the first thing is to put a guard on
the gate; so are we sure of him.
68 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
[With a smile.] H'm! [To Finn.] Tell meâ is there
any way of leaving the castle, save by the gate ? Gape
not at me so ! I mean â can one escape from Ostrat un-
seen, though the castle gate be barred ?
Nay, that I know not. 'Tis true they talk of secret
ways in the vaults beneath; but no one knows them save
Lady Inger â and mayhap Mistress Elina.
It is well. You may go.
Should you need me in aught again, you have but to
open the second door on the right in the Banquet Hall,
and I shall presently be at hand.
Good. [Points to the entrance-door. Finn goes out.
Now, by my soul, dear friend and brother â this cam-
paign is like to end but scurvily for both of us.
[With a smile.] Oh â not for me, I hope.
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 69
Say you so? First of all, there is little honour to be
won in hunting an overgrown whelp like this Nils Sture.
Are we to think him mad or in his sober senses after the
pranks he has played ? First he breeds bad blood among
the peasants; promises them help and all their hearts can
desire;â and then, when it comes to the pinch, off he runs
to hide behind a petticoat!
Moreover, to say truth, I repent that I followed your
counsel and went not my own way.
[To himself.] Your repentance comes somewhat late,
For, let me tell you, I have never loved digging at a
badger's earth. I looked for quite other sport. Here
have I ridden all the way from Jaemteland with my
horsemen, and have got me a warrant from the Trond-
hiem commandant to search for the rebel wheresoever I
please. All his tracks point towards Ostrat
He is here! He is here, I tell you!
Were it not liker, in that case, that we had found the
gate barred and well guarded? Would that we had;
then could I have found use for my men-at-arms
70 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
But instead, the gate is very courteously thrown open
to us. Mark now â if Inger Gyldenlove's fame beUe her
not, I warrant she will not let her guests lack for either
meat or drink.
Ay, to turn aside from our errand! And what wild
whim was that of yours to have me leave my horsemen
half a league from the castle ! Had we come in force
She had made us none the less welcome for that.
But mark well that then our coming had made a stir.
The peasants round about had held it for an outrage
against Lady Inger; she had risen high in their favour
once more â and with that, look you, we were ill served.
Maybe so. But what am I to do now ? Count
Sture is in Ostrat, you say. Ay, but how does that profit
me ^ Be sure Lady Inger Gyldenlove has as many hid-
ing-places as the fox, and more than one outlet to them.
You and I, alone, may go snuffing about here as long as
we please. I would the devil had the whole affair!
Well, then, my friend â if you like not the turn your
errand has taken, you have but to leave the field to me.
To you ? What will you do ?
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 71
Caution and cunning may in this matter prove of
more avail than force of arms. â And to say truth, Cap-
tain Jens Bielke â something of the sort has been in my
mind ever since we met in Trondhiem yesterday.
Was that why you persuaded me to leave the men-at-
Both your purpose at Ostrat and mine could best be
served without them; and so
The foul fiend seize you â I had almost said! And
me to boot! Might I not have known that there is guile
in all your dealings.'^
Be sure I shall need all my guile here, if I am to face
my foe with even weapons. And let me tell you, 'tis
of the utmost moment to me that I acquit me of my
mission secretly and well. You must know that when I
set forth I was scarce in favour with my lord the King.
He held me in suspicion; though I dare swear I have
served him as well as any man could, in more than one
That you may safely boast. God and all men know
you for the craftiest devil in all the three kingdoms.
72 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
I thank you! Though, after all, 'tis not much to say.
But this present errand I count as indeed a crowning
test of my powers; for here I have to outwit a woman
Ha-ha-ha ! In t h a t art you have long since given
crowning proofs of your skill, dear brother. Think you
we in Sweden know not the song â
Fair maidens a-many they sigh and they pine:
"Ah God, that Nils Lykke were mine, mine, mine!"
Alas, 'tis women of twenty and thereabouts that ditty
speaks of. Lady Inger Gyldenlove is nigh on fifty, and
wily to boot beyond all women. 'Twill be no light mat-
ter to overmatch her. But it must be done â at any
cost. Should I contrive to win certain advantages over
her that the King has long desired, I can reckon on the
embassy to France next spring. You know that I spent
three years at the University in Paris ? My whole soul
is set on coming thither again, most of all if I can appear
in lofty place, a king's ambassador. â Well, then â is it
agreed â do you leave Lady Inger to me .'' Remember â
when you were last at Court in Copenhagen, I made way
for you with more than one fair lady
Nay, truly now â that generosity cost you little; one
and all of them were at your beck and call. But let that
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 73
pass; now that I have begun amiss in this matter, I had
as lief that you should take it on your shoulders. Yet
one thing you must promiseâ if the young Count Sture
be in Ostrat, you will deliver him into my hands, dead
You shall have him all alive. I, at any rate, mean
not to kill him. But now you must ride back and join
your people. Keep guard on the road. Should I mark
aught that mislikes me, you shall know it forthwith.
Good, good. But how am I to get out ?
The fellow that brought us in will show the way. But
Of course, of course. Wellâ good fortune to you !
Fortune has never failed me in a war with women.
Haste you now! [Jens Bielke goes out to the right.
[Stands still for awhile; then walks about the room,
looking rouyid him; then he says softly:] At last, then, I
am at Ostrat â the ancient hall whereof a child, two
years ago, told me so much.
74 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
Lucia. Ay, two years ago she was still a child. And
now â now she is dead. [Hums with a half -smile.]
"Blossoms plucked are blossoms withered "
[Looks round him again.
Ostrat. 'Tis as though I had seen it all before; as
though I were at home here. â In there is the Banquet
Hall. And underneath is â the grave-vault. It must be
there that Lucia lies.
[In a lower voice, half-seriously , half tvith forced
Were I timorous, I might well find myself fancying
that when I set foot within Ostrat gate she turned about
in her coffin; as I crossed the courtyard she lifted the
lid; and when I named her name but now, 'twas as
though a voice summoned her forth from the grave-
vault. â Maybe she is even now groping her way up the
stairs. The face-cloth blinds her, but she gropes on and
on in spite of it.
Now she has reached the Banquet Hall! She stands
watching me from behind the door!
[Turns his head backwards over one shoulder, nods,
and says aloud:
Come nearer, Lucia! Talk to me a little! Your
mother keeps me waiting. 'Tis tedious waiting â and
you have helped me to while away many a tedious
[Passes his hand over his forehead, and takes one or
two turns up and down.
Ah, there! â Right, right; there is the deep curtained
window. 'Tis there that Inger Gyldenlove is wont to
stand gazing out over the road, as though looking for
one that never comes. In there â [looks towards the door
on the left] â somewhere in there is Sister Elina's cham-
ber. Elina? Ay, Elina is her name.
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 75
Can it be that she Is so rare a being â so wise and so
brave as Lucia fancied her? Fair, too, they say. But
for a wedded wife â ? I should not have written so
[Lost in thought, he is on the 'point of sitting down by
the table, but stands up again.
How will Lady Inger receive me.^ â She will scarce
burn the castle over our heads, or slip me through a
trap-door. A stab from behind â ? No, not that way
either [Listens towards the hall.
[Lady Inger Gyldexlove enters from the hall.
[Coldly.] My greeting to you. Sir Councillor
[Bows deeply.] Ahâ the Lady of Ostrat!
and my thanks that you have forewarned me of
I could do no less. I had reason to think that ray
coming might surprise you
Trulv, Sir Councillor, therein you iud^ed aricrht.
Nils Lykke was indeed the last guest I looked to see
76 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
And still less, mayhap, did you think to see him come
as a friend ?
As a friend ? You add mockery to all the shame and
sorrow you have heaped upon my house ? After bring-
ing my child to the grave, you still dare
With your leave. Lady Inger Gyldenlove â on that
matter we should scarce agree; for you count as nothing
what / lost by that same unhappy chance. I purposed
nought but in honour. I was tired of my unbridled life;
my thirtieth year was already past; I longed to mate me
with a good and gentle wife. Add to all this the hope
of becoming your son-in-law
Beware, Sir Councillor! I have done all in my power
to hide my child's unhappy fate. But because it is out
of sight, think not it is out of mind. There may yet
come a time
You threaten me. Lady Inger? I have offered you
my hand in amity; you refuse to take it. Henceforth,
then, it is to be open war between us?
I knew not there had ever been aught else ?
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 77
Not on your side, mayhap. I have never been
your enemy, â though, as a subject of the King of Den-
mark, I lacked not good cause.
I understand you. I have not been pliant enough.
It has not proved so easy as some of you hoped to lure
me over into your camp. â Yet methinks you have nought
to complain of. My daughter Merete's husband is your
countryman â further I cannot go. My position is no
easy one. Nils Lykke!
That I can well believe. Both nobles and people
here in Norway think they have an ancient claim on
you â a claim, 'tis said, you have but half fulfilled.
Your pardon. Sir Councillor, â I account for my do-
ings to none but God and myself. If it please you, then,
let me understand what brings you hither.
Gladly, Lady Inger! The purpose of my mission to
this country can scarce be unknown to you ?
I know the mission that report assigns you. Our
King would fain know how the Norwegian nobles stand
affected towards him.
78 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
Then that is why you visit Ostrat?
In part. But it is far from my purpose to demand
any profession of loyalty from you
What then ?
Hearken to me, Lady Inger! You said yourself but
now that your position is no easy one. You stand half
way between two hostile camps, whereof neither dares
trust you fully. Your own interest must needs bind
you to u s. On the other hand, you are bound to the
disaffected by the bond of nationality, and â who knows }
â mayhap by some secret tie as well.
[To herself.] A secret tie! Oh God, can he ?
\Notices her emotion, hut makes no sign, and continues
without change of ma7iner.] You cannot but see that
such a position must ere long become impossible. â Sup-
pose, now, it lay in my power to free you from these
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 79
In your power, you say?
First of all, Lady Inger, I would beg you to lay no
stress on any careless words I may have used concerning
that which lies between us two. Think not that I have
forgotten for a moment the wrong I have done you. Sup-
pose, now, I had long purposed to make atonement, as
far as might be, where I had sinned. Suppose it were
for that reason I had contrived to have this mission
Speak your meaning more clearly. Sir Councillor; â
I cannot follow you.
I can scarce be mistaken in thinking that you, as well
as I, know of the threatened troubles in Sweden. You
know, or at least you can guess, that this rising is of far
wider aim than is commonly supposed, and you under-
stand therefore that our King cannot look on quietly
and let things take their course. Am I not right .'^
[Searchingly, after a short pause.] There is one
possible chance that might endanger Gustav Vasa's
80 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii
[To herself.] Whither is he tending?
-the chance, namely, that there should exist in
Sweden a man entitled bv his birth to claim election to
[Evasively.] The Swedish nobles have been even as
bloodily hewn down as our own, Sir Councillor. Where
would you seek for ?
[With a smile.] Seek ? The man is found already
[Starts violently.] Ah! He is found?
-and he is too closely akin to you, Lady Inger, to
be far from your thoughts at this moment.
[Looks fixedly at her.
The last Count Sture left a son
\With a cry^ Holy Saviour, how know you ?
[Surprised.] Be calm, Madam, and let me finish.
â This young man has till now lived quietly with his
mother, Sten Sture's widow.
ACT II] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 81
[Breathes more freely.] Withâ ? Ah, yesâ true, true!