Nay, that is our firm resolve.
[To MARGIT.] Have no fear.
And what we have firmly resolved stands fast.
That I like well, Sir Bengt Gauteson. I, too, say the same; and I have pledged myself at the feast-board to wed your kinswoman. You may be sure that my pledge, too, will stand fast.—God’s peace till to-night!
[He and ERIK, with their
men, go out at the back.
[BENGT accompanies them to the door. The sound of the bells
has in the meantime ceased.
[Returning.] Methought he seemed to threaten us as he departed.
[Absently.] Aye, so it seemed.
Knut Gesling is an ill man to fall out with. And when I bethink me, we gave him over many hard words. But come, let us not brood over that. To-day we must be merry, Margit!—as I trow we have both good reason to be.
[With a weary smile.] Aye, surely, surely.
Tis true I was no mere stripling when I courted you. But well I wot I was the richest man for many and many a mile. You were a fair maiden, and nobly born; but your dowry would have tempted no wooer.
[To herself.] Yet was I then so rich.
What said you, my wife?
Oh, nothing, nothing. [Crosses to the right.] I will deck me with pearls and rings. Is not to-night a time of rejoicing for me?
I am fain to hear you say it. Let me see that you deck you in your best attire, that our guests may say: Happy she who mated with Bengt Gauteson.—But now must I to the larder; there are many things to-day that must not be over-looked.
[He goes out to the left.
MARGIT. [Sinks down on a chair by the table on the right.]
’Twas well he departed. While here he
Meseems the blood freezes within my veins;
Meseems that a crushing mighty and cold
My heart in its clutches doth still enfold.
[With tears she cannot repress.
He is my husband! I am his wife!
How long, how long lasts a woman’s life?
Sixty years, mayhap—God pity me
Who am not yet full twenty-three!
[More calmly after a short silence.
Hard, so long in a gilded cage to pine;
Hard a hopeless prisoner’s lot—and mine.
[Absently fingering the ornaments on the table, and beginning
to put them on.