[With authority.] And me?
I shall keep my word; be sure of that. The secret
shall not pass my lips till you yourself release me. But
she is my mother!
[Aside.] And Jens Bielke in wait on the road ! Dam-
nation! He will snatch the prize out of my fingers
[To Lady Inger.] Wait till to-morrow!
[To Nils Stensson.] Count Sture — do you obey me
or not ?
To horse! [Goes up toicards the background..
[Aside.] Unhappy boy! He knows not what he does.
[To Lady Ingeu.
Well, since so it must be, — farewell!
[Bows hastily, and begins to move away.
ACT IV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 153
[Detains him.] Nay, stay! Not so, Sir Knight, —
What mean you ?
[In a loio voice.'] Nils Lykke — you are a traitor!
Hush! Let no one see there is discord in the camp of
the leaders. You have won Peter Kanzler's trust by
some devilish wile that as yet is dark to me. 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 know how to make you
[Lays his hand involuntarily on his sword^ Lady
Be calm, Sir Councillor! Your life is safe. But you
come not outside the gates of Ostrat before victory is
Death and destruction!
It boots not to resist. You come not from this place.
So rest you quiet; 'tis your wisest course.
154 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act iv
[To himself.] Ah, — I am overreached. She has been
craftier than I. [A thought strikes him.] But if I yet ?
[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,
he is my son.
By all the saints, you shall have him!
Thanks, — thanks, my faithful friend!
[To Finn, whom he has beckoned to him unobserved,
and with whom, he has been ivhispering .] Good — now
contrive to slip out. Let none see you. The Swedes
are in ambush half a league hence. Tell the commander
that Count Sture is dead. The young man you see there
must on no account be touched. Tell the commander
so. Tell him the boy's life is worth thousands to me.
It shall be done.
[Who has meanwhile been watching Nils Lykke.]
And now go, all of you, and God be with you ! [Points
ACT IV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 155'
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.
[To himself.] Devil!
\Seizes his hand.] Trust me — you shall not have long-
It is well; it is well! [Aside.] All may yet be saved.
If only my message reach Jens Bielke in time
[To EiNAR HuK, the bailiff, pointing to Finn.] And
let that man be placed under close guard in the castle
The Bailiff and the Servants.
[Aside.] My last anchor gone!
[Imperatively.] To the dungeon with him!
[Einar Huk, Biorn, a7id a couple of tlie house'
servants lead Finn out to the left.
156 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act iv
All the Rest.
[Except Nils Lykke, rushing oid to the right.'] Away!
To horse, — to horse! Hail to Lady Inger Gyldenlove!
[Passing close to Nils Lykke as she goes out after the
others.] Who wins ?
[Remaijis alo7ie.] Who.' Ay, woe to you; — your vic-
tory 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 here taken in hand ! [Listens at the
windoiv.] There they ride clattering out through the
gateway. — Now 'tis closed after them — and I am left here
No way of escape! Within half-an-hour the Swedes
will be upon him. He has thirty Avell-armed horsemen
with him. 'Twill be life or death.
But if, after all, they should take him alive .'' — W'ere I
but free, I could overtake the Swedes ere they reach the
frontier, and make them deliver him up. [Goes towards
tlie window in the background and looks out.] Damna-
tion! Guards outside on every hand. Can there be no
way of escape ?
[Comes quickly forward again; suddenly stops and
What is that ? Music and singing. It seems to come
from Elina's chamber. Ay, 'tis she that is singing.
Then she is still awake [A thought seems to strike
ACT iv] LADY IXGER OF OSTRAT 157
him.] Elina! — Ah, if that could be! Were it possi-
ble to — And why should I not ? Am I not still mv-
self? Says not the song: —
Fair maidens a-many they sigh and they pine:
"Ah God, that Nils Lykke were mine, mine, mine."
And she — ? Elina Gyldenlove shall set me free I
[Goes quickly but stealthily towards the first door on
The Banquet Hall. It is still night. The hall is hut
dimly lighted by a branch-candlestick on the table, in
front, on the right.
Lady Inger is sitting by the table, deep in thought.
[After a pause.] They call me keen-witted beyond all
others in the land. I believe they are right. The keen-
est-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
Mv wits ? Where have thev flown to-night ? What
has become of my forethought ? There is a ringing and
rushing in my ears. I see shapes before me, so lifelike
that methinks I could lay hold on them. [Springs up.]
Lord Jesus— what is this.'' Am I no longer mistress of
my reason ? Is it to come to that .'' [Presses her
clasped hands over Iter head; sits down again, and says
more calmly:] Nay, 'tis nought. 'Twill pass. There is
no fear; — it will pass.
How peaceful it is in the hall to-night! No threaten-
ing looks from forefathers or kinsfolk. No need to turn
their faces to the wall. [Rises again.] Ay, 'twas well
that I took heart at last. We shall conquer; — and then
am I at the goal of all my longings. I shall have my
ACTV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 159
child again. [Takes up the light as if to go, but stops
and says musingly:] At the goal ? The goal ? To have
him back ? Is that all ? — is there nought further ? [Sets
the light down on the table.] 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 — And
why not ? Have not my fathers before me 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
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 content 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 slowly out at the back, to tlw left.
[After a short pause. Nils Lykke and Elina
Gyldenlove enter noiselessly by the first door on
the left. Nils Lykke has a sm^all lantern in his
[Throws the light from his lantern around, so as to
search the room,.] All is still. I must begone.
160 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
Oh, let me look but once more into your eyes, before
you leave me.
[Embraces her.] Elina I
[After a short pause.] Will you come nevermore to
How can you doubt that I will come ? Are you not
henceforth my betrothed ? — But wull you be true to
m e , Elina ? Will you not forget me ere we meet again ?
Do you ask if I will 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 me. What was it
you said ? You gazed in my eyes. What was the mys-
tic might that turned my brain, and lured me as into a
magic net.^ [Hides Iter 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.
Now, by my knightly honour, ere the year be past, you
shall sit as my wife in the hall of my fathers!
ACTV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 161
No vows, Nils Lykke! No oaths to me.
What ails you? Why do you shake your head so
Because I know that the same soft w^ords wherewith
you turned my brain, you have whispered to so many a
one before. Nay, nay, be not angry, my beloved! In
nowise 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 y o u but a
pastime, or woman but a toy .''
Elina, — hear me!
As I grew up, your name was ever in my ears. I
hated the name, for meseemed that all women were dis-
honoured 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. What was it that I felt? It was a
foreboding, a mysterious longing for you, you only one
— for you that were one day to come and reveal to me
all the glory of life.
[Aside, putting down the lantern on the table."] How is
it with me ? This dizzy fascination — . If this it be to
162 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
love, then have I never known it till this hour. — Is there
not yet time — ? Oh horror — Lucia!
[Sinks into the chair.
What is amiss with you ? So heavy a sigh
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
Hush! No more of that. My love is no exchange for
that you give me. No, no; I love you because your
every glance commands it like a king's decree. [Lies
dotvn at his feet.] Oh, let me once more stamp that
kingly mandate 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 now my pride ? Is it to know my country-
men free, or my house 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.
ACTV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 163
[Raises her up on his lap.] Nay, nay — not at my feet,
but at my side is your place, — how high soever fate may
exalt me. Ay, Elina — you have led me into a better
path; and should it one day be granted me to atone by
a deed of fame for the sins of my reckless youth, then
shall the honour be yours and mine together.
Ah, you speak as though I were still that Elina who
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 wrist.
Even so do you go your way through life; — your name
rings out before you whithersoever you fare. — All that
/ desire of the glory, is to rest like the falcon on your
arm. Like him was I, too, blind to light and life, till
you loosed the hood from my eyes and set me soaring
high over the tree-tops. — But trust me — bold as my
flight may be, yet shall I ever turn back to my cage.
[Rises.] Then will I bid defiance to the past! See
now; — take this ring, and be mine before God and
men — m i n e , — ay, though it should trouble the dreams
of the dead.
You make me tremble. What is it that ?
'Tis nought. Come, let me place the ring on your
finger. — Even so — now are you my betrothed !
164 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
/ 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 where I
And give her consent to our bond.
That will she. Oh, I am sure she will. My mother is
kind; all the world is kind; — I can no longer feel hatred
for any living soul — save one.
Ah, 'tis a mournful history. I had a sister
Did you know Lucia?
No, no; I have but heard her name.
She too gave her heart to a knight. He betrayed her;
— now she is in Heaven.
ACT V] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 165
I hate him.
Hate him not! If there be mercy in your heart, for-
give him his sin. Trust me, he bears his punishment in
his own breast.
Him will I never forgive ! I cannot, even if I
would; for I have sworn so dear an oath [Listen-
ing.] Hush! Can you hear ?
What ? Where ?
Without; far off. The noise of many horsemen on the
Ah, 'tis they ! And I had forgotten — ! They are
coming hither. Then is the danger great! I must be-
But whither? Oh, Nils Lykke, what are you hid-
To-morrow, Elina — ; for as God lives, I will return
to-morrow. — Quickly now — where is the secret passage
whereof you told me ?
166 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
Through the grave- vault. See, — here is the trap-
The grave- vault ! [To himself.] No matter, he m u s t
[By the windoiv.] The horsemen have reached the
gate [Hands him the lantern.
Oh, then [Begins to descend.
Go forward along the passage till you reach the cof-
fin with the death's-head and the black cross; it is
[Clim,bs back hastily and shuts the trap-door.] Lucia's!
What said you ?
Nay, nothing. 'Twas the air of the graves that made
Hark; they are hammering at the gate!
ACT V] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 167
[Lets the lantern fall.] Ah! too late !
[BioRN enters hurriedly from the right, carrying a
[Goes towards him.] What is amiss, Biorn? What
An ambuscade! Count Sture
Count Sture ? What of him ?
Have they killed him ?
[To Elina.] Where is your mother ?
[Rushing in from the right.] Lady Inger! Lady
[Lady Inger Gyldenlove enters by the furthest
back door on the left, with a branch-candlestick,
lighted, in her hand, and says quickly:
I know all. Down with you to the courtyard! Keep
the gate open for our friends, but closed against all
168 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
[Puts down the candlestick on the table to the left.
BioRN and the two Retainers go out again to the
\To Nils Lykke.] So that was the trap, Sir
Inger Gyldenlove, believe me !
An ambuscade that was to snap him up as soon as
you had secured the promise that should destroy me!
[Takes out tJie paper and tears it to pieces.] There is
your promise, I keep nothing that can bear witness
What is this ?
From this hour will I put your thoughts of me to shame.
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 for-
gotten! Be generous — and silent! Trust me, ere dawn
of day you shall owe me a life's gratitude.
[Goes out quickly to the right.
ACT V] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 169
[Looks after him ivith exultation,] 'Tis well! I un-
derstand him. [Turns to Elina.
Nils Lykke— ? Well ?
He knocked upon my door, and set this ring upon my
And from his soul he holds you dear ?
He has said so, and I believe him.
Bravely done, Elina! Ha-ha, Sir Knight, now is it my
My mother — you are so strange. Ah, yes — I know —
'tis my unloving ways that have angered you.
Not so, dear Elina! You are an 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
But, my mother
170 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
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 asunder his perjured heart within his
Woe is me — what is it you say?
Let not your courage fail you. Hearken to me. I
know a word that will keep you firm. Know then —
[Listening.] They are fighting before the gate. Cour-
age! Now comes the pinch! [Ttirns again to Elina.]
Know then : Nils Lykke was the man that brought your
sister to her grave.
[With a shriek.] Lucia!
He it was, as truly as there is an Avenger above us!
Then Heaven be with me!
[Appalled.] Elina ? !
I am his bride in the sight of God.
ACTV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 171
Unhappy child, — what have you done?
[In a toneless voice.] Made shipwreck of my soul. —
Good-night, my mother! [She goes out to tJie left.
Ha-ha-ha ! It goes down-hill apace with Inger Gylden-
love's house. There went the last of my daughters.
Why could I not keep silence "^ Had she known
nought, it may be she had been happy — after a kind.
It w a s to be so. It is written up yonder 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 shall 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. — T hat comes not
[Calling from outside on the right.] Ho — shut the gate!
Count Sture's voice !
[Rushes in, unarmed, and with his clothes torn, and
shouts with a laugh of desperation.] Well met again,
172 LADY IXGER OF OSTRAT [act v
What have you lost ?
My kingdom and my hfe!
And the peasants ? My servants ? — where are they ?
You will find the carcasses along the highway. Who
has the rest, I cannot tell you.
[Outside on the right.] Count Sture! Where are you ?
[Olaf Skaktavl comes in with his right hand
wrapped in a clout.
Alas, Olaf Skaktavl, you too !
'Twas impossible to break through.
You are wounded, I see!
A finger the less; that is all.
ACT V] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 173
Where are the Swedes ?
At our heels. They are breaking open the gate
Oh, God ! No, no ! I c a n n o t — I will not die.
A hiding-place, Lady Inger! Is there no corner where
we can hide him ?
But if they search the castle ?
Ay, ay; they will find me! And then to be dragged
away to prison, or be strung up ! No, no, Inger
Gyldenlove, — I know full well, — you will never suffer
that to be!
[Listening.] There burst the lock.
[At the vnndow.] Many men rush in at the gateway.
And to lose my life now! Now, when my true
life was but beginning! Now, when I have so lately
174 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
learnt that I have aught to live for. No, no, no ! — Think
not I am a coward, Inger Gyldenlove! Might I but
have time to show
I hear them now in the hall below.
[Firmly to Olaf Skaktavl,
He must be saved — cost what it will !
[Seizes her hand.] Oh, I knew it; — you are noble and
But how ? Since we cannot hide him
Ah, I have it! I have it! The secret !
The secret ?
Even so; yours and mine!
Merciful Heaven — you know it ?
Nils Stensson. .
From first to last. And now when 'tis life or death —
Where is Nils Lykke ?
ACT V] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 175
Fled? Then God help me; for he alone can unseal
my lips. — But what is a promise against a life! ^Yhen
the Swedish captain comes
What then ? What will vou do ?
Purchase life and freedom; — tell him all.
Oh no, no; — be merciful I
Nought else can save me. When I have told him
what I know
[Looks at him with suppressed agitation.] You will be
Ay, safe! Nils Lykke will speak for me. You see, 'tis
the last resource.
[Composedly, icith emphasis.] The last resource.'^
Right, right — the last resource all are free to try. [Points
to the left.] See, meanwhile you can hide in there.
[In a loiv voice.] Trust me — you will never repent of
176 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act v
[Half to herself.] God grant that you speak the truth !
[Nils Stensson goes out hastily by the furthest door
on the left. Olaf Skaktavl is folloioing; hut
Lady Inger detains him.
Did you understand his meaning ?
The dastard ! He would betray your secret. He would
sacrifice your son to save himself.
When life is at stake, he said, we must try the last re-
source. — 'Tis well, Olaf Skaktavl, — let it be as he has
What mean you ?
Life against life! One of them must perish.
Ah — you would ?
If we close not the lips of him that is within ere he
come to speech with the Swedish captain, then is my
son lost to me. But if, on the other hand, he he swept
from my path, when the time comes I can claim all his
ACTV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 177
rights for my own child. Then shall you see that Inger
Ottisdaughter has metal in her yet. Of this be assured
— you shall not have long to wait for the vengeance you
have thirsted after for twenty years. — Hark! They are
coming up the stairs! Olaf Skaktavl, — it lies with you
whether to-morrow I shall be no more than a childless
So be it! I have yet one sound hand left. [Gives her
his hand.] Inger Gyldenlove — your name shall not die
out through me.
[Follows Nils Stensson into the inner room.
[Pale and trembling.] But dare I ?
[A noise is heard in the room; she rushes with a
scream towards the door.
No, no, — it must not be!
[A heavy fall is heard within; she covers her ears
with her hands and hurries back across the hall
with a wild look. After a pause she takes her hands
cautiously away, listens again, and says softly:
Now it is over. All is still within
Thou sawest it, God — I repented me! But Olaf
Skaktavl was too swift of hand.
[Olaf Skaktavl comes silently into tlie hall.