[BENGT enters hastily from the back.
[Entering, calls loudly.] An unlooked-for guest my wife!
Your kinsman, Gudmund Alfson! [Calls through the doorway on the right.] Let the best guest-room be prepared—and that forthwith!
Is he, then, already here?
[Looking out through the passage-way.] Nay, not yet; but he cannot be far off. [Calls again to the right.] The carved oak bed, with the dragon-heads! [Advances to MARGIT.] His shield-bearer brings a message of greeting from him; and he himself is close behind.
His shield-bearer! Comes he hither with a shield-bearer!
Aye, by my faith he does. He has a shield-bearer and six armed men in his train. What would you? Gudmund Alfson is a far other man than he was when he set forth to seek his fortune. But I must ride forth to seek him. [Calls out.] The gilded saddle on my horse! And forget not the bridle with the serpents’ heads! [Looks out to the back.] Ha, there he is already at the gate! Well, then, my staff—my silver-headed staff! Such a lordly knight—Heaven save us!—we must receive him with honour, with all seemly honour!
[Goes hastily out to the back.
Alone he departed, a penniless swain;
With esquires and henchmen now comes he again.
What would he? Comes he, forsooth, to see
My bitter and gnawing misery?
Would he try how long, in my lot accurst,
I can writhe and moan, ere my heart-strings burst—
Thinks he that—? Ah, let him only try!
Full little joy shall he reap thereby.
[She beckons through the doorway on the right. Three
List, little maids, what I say to you:
Find me my silken mantle blue.
Go with me into my bower anon:
My richest of velvets and furs do on.
Two of you shall deck me in scarlet and vair,
The third shall wind pearl-strings into my hair.
All my jewels and gauds bear away with ye!
[The handmaids go out to the left, taking the ornaments
Since Margit the Hill-King’s bride must be,
Well! don we the queenly livery!
[She goes out to the
[BENGT ushers in GUDMUND ALFSON, through the pent-house
passage at the back.
And now once more—welcome under Solhoug’s roof, my wife’s kinsman.
I thank you. And how goes it with her? She thrives well in every way, I make no doubt?