Edmund Gosse.

The collected works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume 1 online

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56 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act i

EUNA.

I will go my way, even as you go yours. What I
shall do I myself Imow not; but I feel within me the
strength to dare all for our righteous cause.

Ladt Inqer.

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.

Elina.

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.

[Ooes oiU to the left.

Lady Inger.

[Looks, after her awhile.] 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
grave

Has God a right to do this ? — ^To make me a woman
• — and then to lay on my shoulders a man's work ?



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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 them 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!

[Steeds a ghnee towards the Banquet Hall, btU turns
away again as if in dread, and whispers:
I can see them in there now. Pale spectres — dead
ancestors — ^fallen kinsfolk. — Ah, those eyes that pierce
me from every comer!

[Makes a gesture of repulsion, and cries:
Sten Sture! Knut Alfson! Olaf Skaktavl! Back—
back! — 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 lambskin tunic; his weapons
are rusty.

The Stranger.

[Stops in the doorway, and says in a low voice.] Hail
to you, Inger Gyldenlove!

Lady Inger.

[Turns with a scream,] Ah, Christ in heaven save
me!

[FaUs back into a chair. The Stranger stands gaz^
ing at her, m^otionless, leaning on his sword.



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ACT SECOND

The room at Ostrat, as in the first Act.

Ladt Inger Gtldenl5ve is sealed at the table on the
rights by the window. Olaf Skaktavl is standing
a litUe way from her. Their faces show "that they
have been engaged in a heated discussion.

OiiAF Skaktavl.

For the last time, Inger Gyldenlove — ^you are not to
be moved from your purpose ?

Lady Inger.

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.

Olaf Skaktavl.

And 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. — Once and again
have folk whispered of my death; but this I believe,

58



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Acrn] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 59

that they shall not lay me beneath the sod before I have
jeen my vengeance.

Lady Inger.

Then is there a long life before you. What have you
in mind to do ?

Olap Skaktavl.

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.

Lady Inger.

Your sword is rusted, Olaf Skaktavl! All the swords
in Norway are rusted.

Olaf Skaktavl.

That is doubtless why some folk fight only with their
tongues. — Inger Gyldenlove — great is the change in you.
Time^was when the heart of a man beat in your breast.

Lady Inger.
Put me not in mind of what was.

Olaf Skaktavl.

*Tis for that very purpose I am here. You shall
hear me, even if

Lady Inger.

Be it so then; but be brief; for — I must say it — ^this is
no place of safety for you.



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60 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act n

Olaf Skaktavl.

Ostrat is no place of safety for an outlaw? That I
have long known. But you forget that an outlaw is
unsafe wheresoever he may wander.

Lady Ingeb.
Speak then; I wOl not hinder you.

Olap Skaktavl.

*Tis nigh 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 — 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.

Lady Inger.

I counted but fifteen summers then — remember that!
And was it not as though a frenzy had seized us all in
those days ?

Olap Skaktavl.

(^M it what you will; but one thing I know — 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
we did.

^ Pronounce Ahken-hooa.



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Acrnl LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 61

Lady Inqer.

Twas a sinful thought, Olaf Skaktavl. Twas my
proud hearty and not the Lord's call, that spoke in me.

Olaf Skaktavl.

You could have been the chosen one had you but
willed it. You came of the noblest blood in Norway;
power and riches were soon to be yours; and you had an
ear for the cries of anguish — 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
castle gate

Ladt Inqeb.

A corpse; a corpse!

Olaf Skaktavl.

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
safely say that the boldest men in Norway 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. — Inger Gyldenlove, — ^who was it that
burst through the circle of men ? A maiden — almost a



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62 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [agtii

child — with fire in her eyes and her voice half choked
with tears. — What was it she swore? Shall I repeat
your words ?

Lady Inger.

I swore what the rest of you swore; neither more
nor less.

Olaf Skaktavl.

You remember your oath — ^and yet you have for-
gotten it.

Lady Inger.

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.

Olap Skaktavl.

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 — who
knows what then might have been? And you could
have held them together, for before you all had bowed.

Lady Inger.

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
Ostrat. Do you need harbour? Well, I will try to
hide you. If you would have aught else, speak out; you
shall find me ready



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^CTii] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 63

Olaf Skaktavl.

For twenty years have I been homeless. In the moun-
tains of Jsemteland my hair has grown grey. My dwell-
ing has been with wolves and bears. — You see, Lady
Inger — I need you not; but both nobles and people stand
in sore need of you.

Lady Inger.
The old burden.

Olap Skaktavl.

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
rise.

Ladt Inger.
I know it.

Olaf Skaktavl.
Peter Kanzler^ is with us — secretly, you understand.

Lady Inger.
[StarHng.] Peter Kanzler ?

Olap Skaktavl.
Tis he that has sent me to Ostrat.

Lady Inger.
[Rises.] Peter Kanzler, say you ?

Olap Skaktavl.

He himself; — but mayhap you no longer know him ?
' ' That is, Peter the Chancellor.



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64 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act 4

Lady Inger.

[Half to hersey".] Only too well !— But tell me, I pray
you, — ^what message do you bring ?

Olaf Skaktavl.

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; — he knew me of old, as you know, and
knew that he could trust me; so he has sent me hither.

Lady Inger.
[ImpatienUy.] Yes, yes,— he sent you hither to ?



Olap Skaktavl.

[With secrecy.] Lady Inger — a stranger comes to
Ostr&t to-night.

Lady Inoer.
[Surprised.] What? Know you that ?

Olaf Skaktavl.

Assuredly I know it. I know all. TTwas to meet
him that Peter Kanzler sent me hither.

Lady Inger.

To meet him ? Impossible, Olaf Skaktavl, — impos-
sible.

Olap Skaktavl.

'Tis as I tell you. If he be not already come, he will
soon



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ACT n] LADY INGER OF OSTEAT 65

Ladt Inobb.
Doubtless, doubtless; but

Olaf Skaktavl.
Then you knew of his commg ?

Ladt Ingeb.

Ay, surely. He sent me a message. *Twas therefore
they opened to you as soon as you knocked.

Olap Skaktavl.

[Listens.] Hush! — ^some one is riding along the road.
[Ooes to the window.] They are opening the gate.

Ladt Inger.

[Looks out.] It is a knight and his attendant. They
are dismounting in the courtyard.

Olaf Skaktavl.
'Tis he, then. His name?

Ladt Ingeb.
You know not his name ?

Olaf Skaktavl.

Peter Kanzler refused to tell it me. He would say no
more than that I should find him at Ostrit the Uiird
evening after Martinmas

Ladt Ingeb.
Ay; even to-night.



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66 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act n

Olap Skaktavl.

He was to bring letters with him; and from them, and
from you» I was to learn who he is.

Lady Inger.

Then let me lead you to your chamber. You havfe
need of rest and refreshment. You shall soon have
speech with the stranger.

Olap Skaktavl.

Well, be it as you will. [Both go otUto the left.

[After a short pattse, Finn enters cautUmsly by the
door on the right, looks round the room, and peeps
into the Banquet Halt; he then goes back to the
door, and makes a sign to some one outside. Im^
mediately aftery enter Councillor Nils Ltkke
and the Swedish Commander, Jens Bielke.

Nils Lykke.
[SofUy.] No one?

Finn.
[In the same tone.] No one, master!

Nils Lykke.
And we may depend on you in all things?

Finn.

The commandant in Trondhiem has ever given me
a name for trustiness.



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ACT u] lADY INGER OF OSTRAT W

Nu^ Ltkk£.

Tis well; he has said as much to me. First of all,
then — ^has there come any stranger to Ostrat to-night»
before us?

Finn.
Aj; a stranger came an hour since.

Nils Ltkke.

[Softly y to Jens Bielke.] He is here. [Turns* again
to Finn.] Would you know him again? Have you
seen him?

Finn.

Nay, none has seen him, that I know, but the gate-
keeper. He was brought at once to Lady Inger, and
she

Niu3 Ltkke.

Well ? What of her ? He is not gone again already ?

Finn.

No; but it seems she holds him hidden in one of her
own rooms; for

Nils Ltkke.
It is well.

Jens Bielke.

[Whispers.] Then the first thing is to put a guard on
the gate; so are we sure of him.



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68 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act u

Nub Ltkke.

[With a smile.] H'm! [To Finn.] Tell me— is there
any way of leaving the castle, save by the gate ? Gape
not at me so! I mean — can one escape from Ostrat un-
seen, though the castle gate be barred ?

Finn.

Nay, that I know not. *Tis true they talk of secret
ways in the vaults beneath; but no one knows them save
Lady Inger — ^and mayhap Mistress Elina.

Jens Bielke.
The devil!

Nub Ltkke.

It is well. You may go.

Finn.

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.

Niia Lykke.
Good. [Points to the entrance-door. Finn goes oiU.

Jens Bielke.

Now, by my soul, dear friend and brother — ^this cam-
paign is like to end but scurvily for both of us.

Nils Lykke.
[With a smile.] Oh — ^not for me, I hope.



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ACTTu] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT W

Jens Bielke.

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; — and then, when it comes to the pinch, oflf he runs
to hide behind a petticoatl

Moreover, to say truth, I repent that I followed your
counsel and went not my own way.

Nils Ltkke.

[To himself.] Your repentance comes somewhat late,
my brother!

Jens Bielke.

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 Jsemteland 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

Nils Lykke.
He is here! He is here, I tell you!

Jens Bielke.

.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



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70 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act ii

Nils Ltkke.

But instead, the gate is very courteously thrown open
to us. Mark now — if Inger Gyldenlove's fame belie her
not, I warrant she will not let her guests lack for either
meat or drink.

Jens Bielke.

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 I Had we come in force

Nils Lykke.

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 — ^and with that, look you, we were ill served.

Jens Bielke.

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!

Nils Lykke.

Well, then, my friend — if you like not the turn your
errand has taken, you have but to leave the field to me.

Jens Bielke.
To you ? What will you do ?



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Acrn] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 71

Nils Lykke.

CautioD and cunning may in this matter prove of
more avail than force of arms. — And to say truth. Cap-
tain Jens Bielke — something of the sort has been in my
mind ever since we met in Trondhiem yesterday.

Jens Bielke.

Was that why you persuaded me to leave the men-at-
arms?

Nils Lykke.

Both your purpose at Ostr&t and mine could best be
served without them; and so

Jens Bielke.

The foul fiend seize you — I had almost said* And
me to boot! Might I not have known that there is guile
in all your dealings ?

NiiA Lykke.

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
ticklish charge.

Jens Bielke.

That you may safely boast. God and all men know
you for the craftiest devil in all the three kingdoms.



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72 LADY INGER OF OSTEAT Uct ii

NiiB Lykke.

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

Jens Bielke.

Ha-ha-ha! In that art you have long since given
crowning proofs of your skill, dear brother. Think you
we in Sweden know not the song —

Fair maidens a-many they sigh and they pine:
"Ah God, that Nils Lykke were mine, mine, mine!"

Nii^ Lykke.

Alas, 'tis women of twenty and thereabouts that ditty
speaks of. Lady Inger Gyldenldve 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 — ^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. — Well, then — is it
agreed — do you leave Lady Inger to me ? Remember —
when you were last at Court in Copenhagen, I made way
for you with more than one fair lady

Jens Bielke.

Nay, truly now — that generosity cost you little; one
and all of them were at your beck and call. Biit let that



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ACT n] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 78

pass; ncrvF that I have begun amiss in this matter, I had
as lief tnat you should take it on your shoulders. Yet
one thing you must promise — if the young Count Sture
be in Ostrat, you will deliver him into my hands, dead
or alive!

Nils Lykke.

You shall have him all alive. Ir-ftt any rate, mean
not to kiD 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.

Jens Bielke.
Good, good. But how am I to get out ?

Nils Ltkke.

The fellow that brought us in will show the way. But
go quietly

Jens Bielke.

Of course, of course. Well — good fortune to you!

Nii£ Lykke.

Fortune has never failed me in a war with women.
Haste you now! [Jens Bielke goes atU to the right.

Nils Ltkke.

[Stands still for awhile; then walks aboiU the room^
looking round him; then he says sofUy:] At last, then, I
am at Ostrat — the ancient hall whereof a child, two
years ago, told me so much.



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74 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act u

Lucia. Ay, two years ago she was still a child. And
now — now she is dead. [Hums with a half'8mile.]

*^ Blossoms plucked are blossoms withered **

[Looks round him again.

Ostr&t. 'Tis as though I had seen it all before; as

though I were at home here. — In there is the Banquet

Hall. And underneath is — ^the grave-vault. It must be

there that Lucia lies.

[In a lower voice^ hatf-seriously^ half with forced
gaiety.
Were I timorous, I might well find myself fancying
that when I set foot within Ostr&t 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. — 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 — and

you have helped me to while away many a tedious

hour

[Passes his hand over his forehead, and takes one or
two turns up and down.
Ah, there! — 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 — [looks towards the door
on the left] — somewhere in there is Sister Elina's cham-
ber. Elina? Ay, Elina is he/name.



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ACT II] LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 75

Can it be that she is so rare a being — so wise and so
brave as Lucia fancied her? Pair, too, they say. But
for a wedded wife — ? I should not have written so

plainly.

[Lost in thought f he is on the point of sitting down by

the table, bid stands up again.

How will Lady Inger receive me? — She will scarce

bum the castle over our heads, or slip me through a

trap-door. A stab from behind — ? No, not that way

either [Listens towards the hall.

Aha!

[Lady Inger Gyldenl5ve enters from the hall.

Lady Inger.
[Coldly.] My greeting to you, Sir Councillor



Nius Lykke.
[Bows deeply.] Ah — the Lady of Ostr&t!

Lady Inger.

^and my thanks that you have forewarned me of

your visit.

NiiA Lykke.

I could do no less. I had reason to think that my
coming might surprise you

Lady Inger.

Truly, Sir Councillor, therein you judged aright.
Nils Lykke was indeed the last guest I looked to see
at Ostr&t.



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76 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act n

Nils Lykke.

And still less, mayhap, did you think to see him come
as a friend ?

Lady Inger.

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

Nils Lykke.

With your leave,- Lady Inger Gyldenlove — 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

Lady Inger.

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

NiiA Lykke.

You threaten me. Lady Inger? I have offered yo\i
my hand in amity; you refuse to take it. Henceforth,
then, it is to be open war between us?

Lady Inger.
I knew not there had ever been aught else ?



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Acrn] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 77

Nius Ltkke.

Not on your side, mayhap. / have never been
your enemy, — ^though, as a subject of the King of Den-
mark, I lacked not good cause.

Ladt Inger.

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. — ^Yet methinks you have nought
to complain of. My daughter Merete's husband is your
countryman — further I cannot go. My position is no
easy one. Nils Lykke!

Nils Lykke.

That I can well believe. Both nobles and people
here in Norway think they have an ancient claim on
you — a claim, 'tis said, you have but half fulfilled.

Ladt Inger.

Your pardon. Sir Councillor, — I account for my do-
ings to none but God and myself. If it please you, then,
let me understand what brings you hither.

Nils Ltkke.

Gladly, Lady Inger! The purpose of my mission to
this country can scarce be unknown to you ?

Ladt Inger.

I know the mission that report assigns you. Our
King would fain know how the Norwegian nobles stand
affected towards him.



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78 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act n

Nils Lykke.
Assuredly.

Lady Inger.
Then that is why you visit Ostr&t?

Nils Lykke.

In part. But it is far from my purpose to demand
any profession of loyalty from you

Lady Inger.
What then?

NiM Lykke.

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 — ^who knows ?
— ^mayhap by some secret tie as well.

Lady Inger.


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Online LibraryEdmund GosseThe collected works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume 1 → online text (page 4 of 21)