And yet I could—’tis not yet too
[With an expression of mingled horror and rapture, whispers.
With what a magic resistless might
Sin masters us in our own despite!
Doubly alluring methinks is the goal
I must reach through blood, with the wreck of my soul.
[BENGT, with the empty
beaker in his hand, comes in from
the passageway; his face is red; he staggers slightly.
[Flinging the beaker upon the table on the left.] My faith, this has been a feast that will be the talk of the country. [Sees MARGIT.] Eh, are you there? You are well again. Good, good.
[Who in the meantime has concealed the phial.] Is the door barred?
[Seating himself at the table on the left.] I have seen to everything. I went with the last guests as far as the gates. But what became of Knut Gesling to-night?—Give me mead, Margit! I am thirsty Fill this cup.
[MARGIT fetches a flagon
of the mead from a cupboard, and
and fills the goblet which is on the table before him.
[Crossing to the right with the flagon.] You asked about Knut Gesling.
That I did. The boaster, the braggart! I have not forgot his threats of yester-morning.
He used worse words when he left to-night.
He did? So much the better. I will strike him dead.
[Smiling contemptuously.] H’m—
I will kill him, I say! I fear not to face ten such fellows as he. In the store-house hangs my grandfather’s axe; its shaft is inlaid with silver; with that axe in my hands, I tell you—! [Thumps the table and drinks.] To-morrow I shall arm myself, go forth with all my men, and slay Knut Gesling.
[Empties the beaker.
[To herself.] Oh, to have to live with him!
[Is in the act of leaving the room.
Margit, come here! Fill my cup again. [She approaches; he tries to draw her down on his knee.] Ha, ha, ha! You are right fair, Margit! I love thee well!
[Freeing herself.] Let me go!
[Crosses, with the goblet in her hand, to the left.
You are not in the humour to-night. Ha, ha, ha! That means no great matter, I know.
[Softly, as she fills the goblet.] Oh, that this might be the last beaker I should fill for you.