’Twas told me as I entered your homestead.
Aye, ’tis three years to-day since I became—
[Interrupting.] My kinsman has already heard it. [To GUDMUND.] Will you not lay aside your cloak?
I thank you, Dame Margit; but it seems to me cold here—colder than I had foreseen.
For my part, I am warm enough; but then I have a hundred things to do and to take order for. [To MARGIT.] Let not the time seem long to our guest while I am absent. You can talk together of the old days.
[Hesitating.] Are you going? Will you not rather—?
[Laughing, to GUDMUND, as he comes forward again.] See you well— Sir Bengt of Solhoug is the man to make the women fain of him. How short so e’er the space, my wife cannot abide to be without me. [To MARGIT, caressing her.] Content you; I shall soon be with you again.
[He goes out to the back.
[To herself.] Oh, torture, to have to endure it all.
[A short silence.
How goes it, I pray, with your sister dear?
Right well, I thank you.
They said she was here
She has been here ever since
She came, now three years since, to Solhoug with me.
[After a pause.
Ere long she’ll be here, her friend to greet.
Well I mind me of Signe’s nature sweet.
No guile she dreamed of, no evil knew.
When I call to remembrance her eyes so blue
I must think of the angels in heaven.
But of years there have passed no fewer than seven;
In that time much may have altered. Oh, say
If she, too, has changed so while I’ve been away?
She too? Is it, pray, in the halls of kings
That you learn such courtly ways, Sir Knight?
To remind me thus of the change time brings—
Nay, Margit, my meaning you read aright!
You were kind to me, both, in those far-away years—
Your eyes, when we parted were wet with tears.
We swore like brother and sister still
To hold together in good hap or ill.
’Mid the other maids like a sun you shone,
Far, far and wide was your beauty known.
You are no less fair than you were, I wot;
But Solhoug’s mistress, I see, has forgot
The penniless kinsman. So hard is your mind
That ever of old was gentle and kind.