Edmund Gosse.

The collected works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume 1 online

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Lady Ingeb.
Aiid from all this you conclude ?

Olaf Skaktavl.

From all this I chiefly conclude that, as you know
Nils Lykke and the name he bears, especially in all that
touches women

Lady Ixger.
-I should be right glad to know him outside my



gates?

Olaf Skaktavl.
Ay; and that as soon as may be.

Lady L^ger,

[Smiling.] Nay — the case is just the contrary, Olaf
Skaktavl!



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Acrivl LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 127

Olaf Skaktavl.
How mean you ?

Ladt Ixger.

If things be as we both think, NUs Lykke must in
nowise depart from Ostr&t yet awhile.

Olaf Skaktavl.

[Looks at her with disapproval.] Are you again em-
barked on crooked courses, Lady Inger? What guile
are you now devising? Something that may increase
your own power at the cost of our

Lady Inger.

Oh this blindness, that makes you all do me such
wrong! I see well you think I purpose to make Nils
Lykke my daughter's husband. Were such a thought
in my mind, why had I refused to take part in what is
afoot in Sweden, when Nils Lykke and all the Danish
crew seem willing to support it ?

Olaf Skaktavl.

Then if it be not your wish to win him and bind him
to you — what would you with him ?

Lady Inger.

I will tell you in few words. In a letter to me, Nils
Lykke has spoken of the high fortune it were to be allied
to our house; and I do not say but, for a moment, I let
myself think of the matter.

Olaf Skaktavl.
Ay, see you!



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1«8 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT Uct iv

Lady Inoer.

/ To wed NUs Lykke to one of my house were doubt-
(less a great step towards stanching many discords in
I our land.

Olap Skaktavl.

Meseems your daughter M erete's marriage with Via-
zents Lunge might have taught you what comes of such
a step. Scarce had my lord gained firm footing among
us, when he began to make free with both our goods
and our rights

Lady Ixger.

I know it even too well, Olaf Skaktavl! But times
there be when my thoughts are manifold and strange. I
cannot impart them fully either to you or to any one else.
Often I know not the right course to choose. And yet
— ^a second time to make a Danish lord my son-in-law,
— nought but the uttermost need could drive me to that
resource; and Heaven be praised — things have not yet
come to that!

Olaf Skaktavl.

I am no wiser than before. Lady Inger; — why would
you keep Nils Lykke at Ostrat?

Lady Inoer.

[In a low voice,] Because I owe him an undying hate.
Nils Lykke his done me deadlier wrong than any other
man. I cannot tell you wherein it lies; but never shall
I rest till I am avenged on him. See you not now?
Say that Nils Lykke were to love my daughter — as me-
seems were like enough. I will persuade him to tarry



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ACT IV] LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 129

here; he shall learn to know Elma well. She is both
fair and wise. — Ah, if he should one day come before
me, with hot love in his heart, to beg for her hand!
Then — to chase him away like a dog; to drive him oflF
with jibes and scorn; to make it known over all the land
that Nils Lykke had come a-wooing to Ostr&t in vain — !
I tell you I would give ten years of my life but to see
that day!

Olaf Skaktavl.

In faith and truth, Inger Gyldenlove — is this your
purpose towards him ?

Lady Inger.

This and nought else, as sure as God lives! Trust
me, Olaf Skaktavl, I mean honestly by my countrymen;
but I am in nowise my own mistress. Things there be
that must be kept hidden, or 'twere my death-blow.
But let me once be secure on that side, and you shall
see if I have forgotten the oath I swore by Knut Alfson's
bier.

Olaf Skaktavl.

[Shakes her by the hand,] Thanks for those words!
I am loath inda^ to think evil of you. — Yet, touching
your design towards this knight, methinks 'tis a vent-
uresome game you would play. What if you had mis-
reckoned? What if your daughter — ? *Tis said no
woman can stand against this subtle devil.-

Lady Ingeb.

My daughter? Think you that she — ? Nay, have
no fear of that; I know Elina better. All she has heard



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130 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act iv

of his renown has but made her hate hun the more.
You saw with your own eyes

Olap Skaktavl.

Ay, but — a woman's mind is shifting ground to build
on. *Twere best you looked well before you.

Lady Inger.

That will I, be sure; I will watch them narrowly. But
even were he to succeed in luring her into his toils, I
have but to whisper two words in her ear, and

Olaf Skaktavl.
What then ?

Lady Inger. '

She will shrink from him as though he came

straight from the foul Tempter himself.

Hist, Olaf Skaktavl! Here he comes. Now be cau-
tious.

[NiiB Lykke enters by the foremost door on the right.

Nils Lykke.

[Approaches Lady Inger courteously.] My noble
hostess has summoned me.

Lady Inger.

I have learned through my daughter that you are
minded to leave us to-night.

Niu3 Lykke.

Even so, to my sorrow; — since my business at Ostrit
is over.



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ACT IV] I^ADY INGER OF OSTRAT 131

Olaf Skaktavl.
Not before I have the papers.

NiiB Lykke.

True, true. I had well-nigh forgot the weightiest
part of my errand. 'Twas the fault of our noble host-
ess. With such gracious skill did she keep her guests
in talk at table

Ladt Inoeb.

That you no longer remembered what had brought
you hither? I rejoice to hear it; for that was my de-
sign. Methought that if my guest, Nils Lykke» were to
feel at his ease in Ostr&t, he must forget

Nils Ltkke.
What, lady?

Lady Inoer.

First of all his errand — and then all that had gone

before it.

Niiis Ltkke.

[To OiAF Skaktavl, as he takes out the packet and
hands U to him,] The papers from Peter Kanzler. You
will find in them a full account of our partizans in Sweden.

Olap Skaktavl.

It is well.

[Sits dovm by the table on the lefty where he opens
the packet and examines its contents.

NiiB Lykke.

And now. Lady Inger Gyldenlove, — I know not that
there is aught else for me to do here.



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132 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act iv

Ladt Inger.

Ebid it been things of state alone that brought us
together, you might be right. But I should be loath
to think so

Niu3 Lykkw>
You would say ?

Ladt Inoeb.

I would say that 'twas not alone as a Danish Coun-
cillor or as the ally of Peter Kanzler that Nils Lykke
came to be my guest. — Do I err in fancying that some-
what you may have heard down in Denmark may have
made you curious to know more of the Lady of Ostr&t ?

NiU9 Ltkke.
Par be it from me to deny

Olaf Skaktavl.
[Turning over the papers,] Strange. No letter.

Nius Ltkke.

Lady Inger Gyldenlove's fame is all too widely

spread that I should not long have been eager to see her
face to face.

Ladt Inger.

So I thought. But what, then, is an hour's jesting
talk at the supper-table ? Let us try to sweep away ail
that has till now lain between us; it may well come to
pass that the Nils Lykke I know may wipe out the
grudge I bore the one I knew not. Prolong your stay



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ACT IV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 13S

here but a few days. Sir Councillor! I dare not per-
suade Olaf Skaktavl thereto, since his secret charge in
Sweden calls him hence. But as for you, doubtless your
sagacity has placed all things beforehand in such train
that your presence can scarce be needed. Trust me»
your time shall not pass tediously with us; at least you
will find both me and my daughter heartily disposed to
do all in our power to pleasure you.

Nius Ltkkb.

I doubt neither your goodwill towards me nor your
daughter's; of that I have had ample proof. And I trust
you will not doubt that my presence elsewhere must be
vitally needful, since, despite of all, I must declare my
longer stay at Ostr&t impossible.

Ladt Ingeb.

Is it even so! — Know you. Sir Councillor, were I
evilly minded, I might fancy you had come to Ostr&t to
try a fall with me, and that, having lost, you cared not
to linger on the battle-field among the witnesses of your
defeat.

Niiis Lykke.

[Smiling.] There might be some show of reason for
such a reading of the case; but sure it is that as yet I
hold not the battle lost.

Lady Ingeb.

However that may be, it might at any rate be retrieved,
if you would tarry some days with us. You see your-
setf, I am still halting and wavering at the parting of the
ways, — ^persuading my redoubtable assailant not to quit



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134 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [AC?r tv

the fiild. — ^Well, to speak plainly, the thing is this: your
alliance with the disaffected in Sweden still seems to me
somewhat — ^how shall I call it? — ^somewhat miraculous.
Sir Councillor! I tell you this frankly, dear Sir! The
thought that has moved the King's Council to this se-
cret step is in truth most politic; but 'tis strangely at
variance with the deeds of certain of your countrymen
in bygone years. Be not offended, then, if my trust in
your fair promises needs to be somewhat strengthened
ere I can place my whole welfare in your hands.

Nils Lykke.

A longer stay at Ostrat would scarce help towards
that end; since I purpose not to make any further effort
to shake your resolve.

Lady I*iger,

Then must I pity you from my heart. Ay, Sir Coun-
cillor — 'tis true I stand here an unfriended widow; yet
may you trust my word when I foretell that this visit to
Ostrat will strew your future path with thorns.

NiiB Lykke.
[JViih a smile.] Is that your forecast. Lady Inger ?

Lady Inger.

Truly it is! What can one say, dear Sir? 'Tis an
age of tattling tongues. Many a scurril knave will make
jeering rhymes at your expense. Ere half a year is out,
you will be all men's fable; people will stop and gaze
after you on the high-roads; 'twill be: "Look, look;
there rides Sir Nils Lykke, that fared north to Ostrat to



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Acrnr] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 135

trap Inger Gyldenlove, and was caught in his own nets."
— Softly, softly. Sir Knight, why so impatient! 'Tis not
that / think so; I do but forecast the thoughts of the
malicious and evil-minded; and of them, alas! there are
many. — Ay, 'tis shame; but so it is — ^you will reap nought
but mockery — mockery, because a woman was craftier
than you. "Like a cunning fox," men will say, "he
crept into Ostrat; like a beaten hound he slunk away."
— And one thing more: think you not that Peter Kanz-
ler and his friends will forswear your alliance, when 'tis
known that / venture not to fight under a standard borne
by you ?

Nils Lykke.

You speak wisely, lady! Wherefore to secure me
from mockery — and not to endanger the alliance with
all our dear friends in Sweden — I must needs

Lady Inger.
[Hastily.] ^prolong your stay at Ostrdt.

Olaf Skaktavl.
[Who has been listening.] He is in the trap!

Nils Lykke.

No, my noble lady; — I must needs bring you to terms
within this hour.

Lady Inger.
But what if you should fail ?

Nils Lykke.
I shall not fail.



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136 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act iv

Lady Inger.
You lack not confidence, it seems.

Nils Ltkke.

What shall be the wager that you make not common
cause with myself and Peter Kanzler?

Lady Inoeb.
Ostr&t Castle against your knee-buckles!

Nius Lykke.

[Slaps his breast and cries:] Olaf Skaktavl — ^here
stands the master of Ostr&t!

Lady Ingeb.
Sir Councillor !

Olaf Skaktavl,
[Rises from the table.] What now?

Niiis Lykke.

[To Lady Ingeb.] I accept not the wager; for in a
moment you will gladly give Ostr&t Castle, and more to
boot, to be freed from the snare wherein not I but you
are tangled.

Lady Ingeb.
Your jest, Sir, grows a vastly merry one.

NiiA Lykke.

*Twill be merrier yet — ^at least for me. You boast
that you have overreached me. You threaten to heap



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ACTiv] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 137

on me all men's scorn and mockery. Ah, beware that
you stir not up my vengefulness; for with two words I
can bring you to your knees at my feet.

Lady Inoeb.

Ha-ha ! [Stops suddenly, as if struck by a forS'

boding.] And these two words. Nils Lykke ? — ^tiiese two
words ?

Niiis Lykke.

^The secret of Sten Sture's son and yours.

Lady Ingeb.
[With a shriek.] Oh, God in heaven !

Olaf Skaktavl.
Inger Gyldenlove's son ! What say you ?

Lady Inoeb.

[Ha^ kneeling to Nils Lykke.] Mercy! oh, be mer-
ciful !

Niiis Lykke.

[Raises her up.] Collect yourself, and let us talk
together calmly.

Lady Ingeb.

[In a low voice, as though bewildered.] Did you hear
it, Olaf Skaktavl? Or was it but a dream? Heard
you what he said ?

Nits Lykke.
It was no dream. Lady Inger!



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1S8 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act nr

Ladt Inger.

[Clasping her hands.] And you know it! You, —
you! — Where is he then? Where have you got him?
What would you do with him? [Screams.] Do not
kill him, Nils Lykke! Give him back to me! Do not
kill my child!

Olat Skaktavl.
Ah, I begin to understand

Lady Ingeb.

And this fear — this torturing dread! Through all

these weary years it has been ever with me and then

all fails at last, and I must bear this agony! — Oh Lord
my God, is it right of thee ? Was it for this thou gavest
him to me ?

[Controls herself and says with forced composure:

Nils Lykke — tell me one thing. Where have you
got him ? Where is he ?

Nils Lykke.
With his foster-father.

Lady Ingeb.

Still with his foster-father. Oh, that merciless
man — ! For ever to deny me — . But it must not
go on thus! Help me, Olaf Skaktavl!

Olaf Skaktavl.
I?

Nils Lykke.
There will be no need, if only you



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ACT IV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 139

Ladt Ingeb.

Hearken, Sir Councillor! What you know you shall
know thoroughly. And you too, my old and faithful
friend !

Listen then. To-night you bade me call to mind
that fatal day when Knut Alfson was slain at Oslo.
You bade me remember the promise I made as I stood
by his corpse amid the bravest men in Norway. I was
scarce full-grown then; but I felt God's strength in me,
and methought, as many have thought since, that the
Lord himself had set his mark on me and chosen me to
fight in the forefront for my country's cause.

Was it pride of heart? Or was it a calling from on
high? That I have never clearly known. But woe to
whoso is charged with a mighty task.

For seven years I fear not to say that I kept my prom-
ise faithfully. I stood by my countrymen in all their
sufferings and their need. Playmates of mine, all over
the land, were wives and mothers now. I alone could
give ear to no wooer — not to one. That you know best,
Olaf Skaktavl!

Then I saw Sten Sture for the first time. Fairer man
had never met my sight.

Nils Lykke.

Ah, now it grows clear to me! Sten Sture was then
in Norway on a secret enand. We Danes were not to
know that he wished your friends well.

Lady Inoer.

In the guise of a mean serving-man he lived a whole
winter under one roof with me.



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140 LADY INGER OP OSTRAT [act ir

That winter I thought less and less of the country's

weal. So fair a man had I never seen — and I had

lived well-nigh five-and-twenty years.

Next autumn Sten Sture came once more; and when
he departed again he took with him, in all secrecy, a little
child. 'Twas not folks' evil tongues I feared; but our
cause would have suffered had it got abroad that Stea
Sture stood so near to me.

The child was given to Peter Kanzler to rear. I
waited for better times, that were soon to come. They
never came. Sten Sture took a wife two years later in
Sweden, and, when he died, he left a widow

Olap Skaktavl.
And with her a lawful heir to his name and



rights.

Lady Inger.

Time after time I wrote to Peter Kanzler beseeching
him to give me back my child. But he was ever deaf
to my prayers. " Cast in your lot with us once for all,"
he said, ""and I send your son back to Norway; not be-
fore." But 'twas even that I dared not do. We of the
disaffected party were then ill regarded by many tim-
orous folk in the land. Had these learnt how things
stood — oh, I know it! — to cripple the mother they had
gladly meted to the child the fate that would have been
King Christiem's had he not saved himself by flight.^

* King Christian II. of Denmark (the perpetrator of the massacre
at Stockholm known as the Blood-Bath) fled to Holland in 1523,
five yesLTs before the date assigned to this play, in order to escape
death or imprisonment at the hands of his rebellious nobles, who
summoned his imde, Frederick I., to the throne. Returning to
Denmark in 1532, Christian was thrown into prison, where he spent
the last twenty-seven years of his life.



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ACT IV] LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 141

But, besides that, the Danes, too, were active. They
spared neither threats nor promises to force me to join
them.

Olaf Skaktavl.

*Twas but reason. The eyes of all men were fixed
on you as on the vane that should show them how to
shape their course.

Lady Inoeb.

Then came Herlof Hyttefad's rising. Do you remem-
ber that time, Olaf Skaktavl ? Was it not as though a
new spring had dawned over the whole land! Mighty
voices summoned me to come forth; — ^yet I dared not. I
stood doubting — far from the strife — in my lonely castle.
At times it seemed as though the Lord God himself were
calling me; but then would come the killing dread again
to benumb my will. "Who will win?" — that was
the question that was ever ringing in my ears.

'Twas but a short spring that had come to Norway.
Herlof Hyttefad, and many more with him, were broken
on the wheel during the months that followed. None
could call me to account; yet there lacked not covert
threats from Denmark. What if they knew the secret ?
At last methought they must know; I knew not how
else to understand their words.

'Twas even in that time of agony that Gyldenlove,
the High Steward, came hither and sought me in mar-
riage. Let any mother anguished for her child think
herself in my place! — ^A month after, I was the High
Steward's wife — and homeless in the hearts of my coun-
trymen.

Then came the quiet years. No one raised his head
any more. Our masters might grind us down even as



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142 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act iv

heavily as they listed. There were times when I loathed
myself; for what had I to do? Nought but to endure
terror and scorn and bring forth daughters into the world.
My daughters! God must forgive me if I have had no
mother's heart towards them. My wifely duties were
as serfdom to me; how then could I love my daughters?
Oh, how different with my son! He was the child of
my very soul. He was the one thing that brought to
mind the time when I was a woman and nought but a
woman. — And him they had taken from me! He was
growing up among strangers, who might, mayhap, be
sowing in him the seed of corruption! Olaf Skaktavl
— ^had I wandered, like you, on the lonely hills, hunted
and forsaken,ln winter and storm — if I had but held my
child in my arms, — ^trust me, I had not sorrowed and
wept so sore as I have sorrowed and wept for him from
hb birth even to this hour!

Olaf Skaktavl.

There is my hand. I have judged you too hardly.
Lady Inger! Command me even as before; I will obey.
1— Ay, by all the saints, I know what it is to sorrow for
A child.

Ladt Inoeb.

Yours was slain by men of blood. But what is death
to the restless terror of all these long years ?

Nils Lykke.

Mark, then — 'tis in your power to end this terror.
You have but to make peace between the jarring fac-
tions, and neither will think of seizing on your child as
a pledge of your faith.



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ACTO] LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 143

Ladt Inger.

[To herself,] This is the vengeance of Heaven.
[Looks at him.] In one word, what do you demand ?

Nils Lykke.

I demand first that you shall call the people of the
northern districts to arms, in support of the disaffected
in Sweden.

Lady Ingeb.
And next ?

Nils Ltkke.

that you do your best to advance young Count

Sture's ancestral claim to the throne of Sweden.

Ladt Ingeb.
His? You demand that I

Olaf Skaktavl.

[Softly.] It is the wish of many Swedes, and 'twould
serve our turn too.

Nils Lykke.

You hesitate, lady? You tremble for your son's
safety. What better can you wish than to see his half-
brother on the throne ?

Lady Ingeb.
[In thought.] True — true

Nius Lykke.

[Looks at her sharply.] Unless there be other plans
afoot



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144 LADY INGEB OF OSTBAT Ucr nr

Ladt Ingeb.



What mean you ?



Nils Ltkkb.



Inger Gyldenlove might have a mind to be — ^a king's
mother.

Ladt Inoer.

No, no! Give me back my child, and let who will
have the crowns.

But know you so surely that Count Sture is wil«
ling ?

Nils Ltkke.
Of that he will himself assure you.

Ladt Ingeb.
Himself? And when?

Nils Ltkke.
Even now.

Olap Skaktavl.
How now ?

Ladt Inger.
What say you ?

Nils Ltkke.
In one word, Count Sture is in Ostr&L

Olaf Skaktavl.
Here?



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ACTivl LADY INGER OF OSTRAT 145

Nils Ltkke.

[To Ladt Inoer.] You have doubtless heard that
another rode through the gate along with me? The
Count was my attendant.

Lady Inger.

[Softly.] I am in his power. I have no longer any
choice. [Looks cU him and says:] 'Tis well. Sir Coun-
cillor — ^you shall have full assurance of my support.

NiUB Lykke.
In writing?

Lady Inoer.
As you will.

[Ooes to the table on the left, sits down^ and takes wnt-
ing materials from the drawer.

Nils Lykke.

[Aside^ standing by the table on the right.] At last,
then, I win!

Lady Inger.

[After a moments thought, turns suddenly in her chair
to Olap Skaktavl and whispers.] Olaf Skaktavl — I
am certain of it now — Nils Lykke is a traitor!

Olap Skaktavl.
[SofUy.] What? You thmk ?

Lady Inger.

He has treachery in his heart.

[Lays the paper before Iter and dips the pen in the ink.



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146 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act iv

Olap Skaktavl.

And yet you would give him a written promise that
may be your ruin ?

Lady Inoeb.

Hush; leave me to act. Nay, wait and listen first — ^
[Talks with him in a whisper.

Nils Ltkke.

[Softly f vxUching them,] Ah, take counsel together as
much as ye list! All danger is over now. With her
written consent in my pocket, I can denounce her when-
ever I please. A secret message to Jens Bielke this very
night — . I tell him but the truth — that the young Count
Sture is not at Ostrat. And then to-morrow, when the
road is open — ^to Trondhiem with my young friend, and
thence by ship to Copenhagen with him as my pris-
oner. Once we have him safe in the castle-tower, we
can dictate to Lady Inger what terms we will. And
I — ? After this, methinks, the King will scarce place the
French mission in other hands than mine.

Lady Inger.

[Still whispering to Olap Skaktavl.] Well, you un-
derstand me?

Olap Skaktavl.

Ay, fully. Let us make the venture, even as you will.

[Ooes out by the ha>ck, to the right.

[Nils Stensson comes in by the first door on the right,

unseen by Lady Inger, who has begun to write.

Nils Stensson.
[In a low voice.] Sir Knight, — Sir Knight!



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ACT IV] LADY INGER OP OSTRAT 147

Niu9 Ltkke.

[Moves towards him.] Rash boy! What would you
here ? Said I not you should wait within until I called
you?

Nils Stensson.

How could I? Now you have told me that Inger
Gyldcnlove is my mother, I thirst more than ever to see
her face to face

Oh, it is she! How proud and high her mien! Even
thus did I ever picture her. Pear not, dear Sir, — ^I shall
do nought rashly. Since I have learnt this secret, I feel,
as it were, older and wiser. I will no longer be wild
and heedless; I will be even as other well-bom youths. —
Tell me, — knows she that I am here ? Surely you have
prepared her?

NiiA Ltkke.
Ay, sure enough; but

Nius Stensson.
WcU?

Nils Ltkke.
She will not own you for her son.

Nils Stensson.

Will not own me ? But she i s my mother. — Oh, if
it be that she doubts t h a t — [tfxkes out a ring which he
wears on a cord round his neck] — show her this ring. I
have worn it since my eariiest childhood; she must surely
know its history.



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148 LADY INGER OF OSTRAT [act tv

Niiis Lykke.

Hide the ring, man! Hide it, I say!

You mistake me. Lady Liger doubts not at all that
you are her child; but — ay, look about you; look at all


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Online LibraryEdmund GosseThe collected works of Henrik Ibsen, Volume 1 → online text (page 7 of 21)