(The farm-place at Hegstad. In the background, the dwelling-house. A THRONG OF GUESTS. A lively dance in progress on the green. THE FIDDLER sits on a table. THE MASTER-COOK is standing in the doorway. COOKMAIDS are going to and fro between the different buildings. Groups of ELDERLY PEOPLE sit here and there, talking.)
(joins a group that is seated on some logs of wood).
The bride? Oh yes, she is crying a bit;
but that, you know, isn't worth heeding.
(in another group).
Now then, good folk, you must empty the barrel.
Thanks to you, friend; but you fill up too quick.
(to the FIDDLER as he flies past, holding A GIRL by the hand).
To it now, Guttorm, and don't spare the fiddlestrings!
Scrape till it echoes out over the meadows!
(standing in a ring round a lad who is dancing).
That's a rare fling!
He has legs that can lift him!
. The roof here is high, and the walls wide asunder!
(comes whimpering up to his FATHER, who is standing talking with some other men, and twitches his jacket).
Father, she will not; she is so proud!
What won't she do?
She has locked herself in.
Well, you must manage to find the key.
I don't know how.
You're a nincompoop!
(Turns away to the others. The BRIDEGROOM drifts across the yard.)
(comes from behind the house).
Wait a bit, girls! Things 'll soon be lively!
Here comes Peer Gynt.
(who has just come up)
Who invited him?
(Goes towards the house.)
(to the girls).
If he should speak to you, never take notice!
(to the others).
No, we'll pretend that we don't even see him.
(comes in heated and full of animation, stops right in front of the group, and claps his hands).
Which is the liveliest girl of the lot of you?
(as he approaches her).
I am not.
I am not.
No; nor I either.
(to a fourth).
You come along, then, for want of a better.
Haven't got time.
(to a fifth).
Well then, you!
I'm for home.
To-night? are you utterly out of your senses?
(after a moment, in a low voice). See, Peer, she's taken a greybeard for partner.
(turns sharply to an elderly man).
Where are the unbespoke girls?
Find them out.
(Goes away from him.)
(PEER GYNT has suddenly become subdued. He glances shyly and furtively at the group. All look at him, but no one speaks. He approaches other groups. Wherever he goes there is silence; when he moves away, they look after him and smile.)
Mocking looks; needle-keen whispers and smiles.
They grate like a sawblade under the file!
(He slinks along close to the fence. SOLVEIG, leading little HELGA by the hand, comes into the yard, along with her PARENTS.)
(to another, close to PEER GYNT).
Look, here are the new folk.
The ones from the west?
THE FIRST MAN
Ay, the people from Hedal.
Ah yes, so they are.
(places himself in the path of the new-comers, points to SOLVEIG, and asks the FATHER:)
May I dance with your daughter?
You may so; but first
we must go to the farm-house and greet the good people.
(They go in.)
(Talking to PEER GYNT, offering him drink).
Since you are here, you'd best take a pull at the liquor.
(looking fixedly after the new-comers).
Thanks; I'm for dancing; I am not athirst.
(The MASTER-COOK goes away from him. PEER GYNT gazes towards the house and laughs.)
How fair! Did ever you see the like?
Looked down at her shoes and her snow-white-apron-!
And then she held on to her mother's skirt-folds,
and carried a psalm-book wrapped up in a kerchief-!
I must look at that girl.
(Going into the house.)
(coming out of the house, with several others).
Are you off so soon, Peer,
from the dance?
Then you're heading amiss!
(Takes hold of his shoulder to turn him round.)
Let me pass!
I believe you're afraid of the smith.
You remember what happened at Lunde?
(They go off, laughing, to the dancing-green.)
(in the doorway of the house).
Are you not the lad that was wanting to dance?
Of course it was me; don't you know me again?
(Takes her hand.)
We mustn't go far, mother said.
Mother said! Mother said! Were you born yesterday?
Now you're laughing-!
Why sure, you are almost a child.
Are you grown up?
I read with the pastor last spring.
Tell me your name, lass, and then we'll talk easier.
My name is Solveig. And what are you called?
(withdrawing her hand).
Why, what is it now?
My garter is loose; I must tie it up tighter. (Goes away from him.)
(pulling at his MOTHER'S gown).
Mother, she will not-!
She will not? What?
She won't, mother-
Unlock the door.
(angrily, below his breath). Oh, you're only fit to be tied in a stall!
Don't scold him. Poor dear, he'll be all right yet.
(They move away.)
(coming with a whole crowd of others from the dancing-green).
Peer, have some brandy?
Only a drain?
(looking darkly at him).
Well, I won't say but I have.PEER
(Pulls out a pocket-flask and drinks.)
Ah! How it stings your throat!-Well?
Let me try it.
Now you must try mine as well, you know.
Oh, nonsense; now don't be a fool. Take a pull, Peer!
Well then, give me a drop.
Come, let's be going.
Afraid of me, wench?
A THIRD LAD
Who isn't afraid of you?
you showed us clearly what tricks you could play.
I can do more than that, when once I get started!
THE FIRST LAD
Now he's getting into swing!
(forming a circle around him).
Tell away! Tell away!
What can you-?
No, now, to-night!
Can you conjure, Peer?
I can call up the devil!
My grandam could do that before I was born!
Liar! What I can do, that no one else can.
I one day conjured him into a nut.
It was worm-bored, you see!
Ay, that's easily guessed!
He cursed, and he wept, and he wanted to bribe me
with all sorts of things-
ONE OF THE CROWD
But he had to go in?
Of course. I stopped up the hole with a peg.
Hei! If you'd heard him rumbling and grumbling!
It was just like a humble-bee buzzing.
Have you got him still in the nut?
by this time that devil has flown on his way.
The grudge the smith bears me is all his doing.
I went to the smithy, and begged
that he would crack that same nutshell for me.
He promised he would!-laid it down on his anvil;
but Aslak, you know, is so heavy of hand;-
for ever swinging that great sledge-hammer-
A VOICE FROM THE CROWD
Did he kill the foul fiend?
He laid on like a man.
But the devil showed fight, and tore off in a flame
through the roof, and shattered the wall asunder.
And the smith-?
Stood there with his hands all scorched.
And from that day onwards, we've never been friends.
SOME OF THE CROWD
That yarn is a good one.
About his best.
Do you think I am making it up?
that you're certainly not; for I've heard the most on't
from my grandfather-
Liar! It happened to me!
Yes, like everything else.
(with a fling)
I can ride, I can,
clean through the air, on the bravest of steeds!
Oh, many's the thing I can do, I tell you!
(Another roar of laughter.)
ONE OF THE GROUP
Peer, ride through the air a bit!
Do, dear Peer Gynt-!
You may spare you the trouble of begging so hard.
I will ride like a hurricane over you all!
Every man in the parish shall fall at my feet!
AN ELDERLY MAN
Now he is clean off his head.
Ay, wait till you see!
Ay, wait; you'll soon get your jacket dusted!
Your back beaten tender! Your eyes painted blue!
(The crowd disperses, the elder men angry, the younger laughing and jeering.)
(close to PEER GYNT).
Peer, is it true you can ride through the air?
It's all true, Mads! You must know I'm a rare one!
Then have you got the Invisible Cloak too?
The Invisible Hat, do you mean? Yes, I have.
(Turns away from him. SOLVEIG crosses the yard, leading little HELGA.)
(goes towards them; his face lights up).
Solveig! Oh, it is well you have come!
(Takes hold of her wrist.)
Now will I swing you round fast and fine!
You are so wild.
The reindeer is wild, too, when summer is dawning.
Come then, lass; do not be wayward now!
(withdrawing her arm).
No, you've been drinking.
(Moves off with HELGA.)
Oh, if I had but my knife-blade driven
clean through the heart of them,-one and all!
(nudging him with his elbow).
Peer, can't you help me to get at the bride?
The bride? Where is she?
In the store-house.
Oh, dear Peer Gynt, you must try at least!
No, you must get on without my help.
(A thought strikes him; he says softly but sharply:)
Ingrid! The store-house!
(Goes Up tO SOLVEIG.)
Have you thought better on't?
(SOLVEIG tries to go; he blocks her path.)
You're ashamed to, because I've the look of a tramp.
No, that you haven't; that's not true at all!
Yes! And I've taken a drop as well;
but that was to spite you, because you had hurt me.
Even if I would now, I daren't.
Who are you frightened of?
Father? Ay, ay; he is one of the quiet ones!
One of the godly, eh?-Answer, come!
What shall I say?
Is your father a psalm-singer?
And you and your mother as well, no doubt?
Come, will you speak?
Let me go in peace.
(In a low but sharp and threatening tone.)
I can turn myself into a troll!
I'll come to your bedside at midnight to-night.
If you should hear some one hissing and spitting,
you mustn't imagine it's only the cat.
It's me, lass! I'll drain out your blood in a cup,
and your little sister, I'll eat her up;
ay, you must know I'm a werewolf at night;-
I'll bite you all over the loins and the back-
(Suddenly changes his tone, and entreats, as if in dread:)
Dance with me, Solveig!
(looking darkly at him).
Then you were grim.
(Goes into the house.)
(comes sidling up again).
I'll give you an ox if you'll help me!
(They go out behind the house. At the same moment a crowd of men come up from the dancing-green; most of them are drunk. Noise and hubbub. SOLVEIG, HELGA, and their PARENTS appear among a number of elderly people in the doorway.)
(to the SMITH, who is the foremost of the crowd).
Keep peace now!
(pulling off his jacket).
No, we must fight it out here.
Peer Gynt or I must be taught a lesson.
Ay, let them fight for it!
No, only wrangle!
Fists must decide; for the case is past words.
Control yourself, man!
Will they beat him, mother?
Let us rather tease him with all his lies!
Kick him out of the company!
Spit in his eyes!
(to the SMITH)
You're not backing out, smith?
(flinging away his jacket)
The jade shall be slaughtered!
There, you can see how that windbag is thought of.
(coming up with a stick in her hand)
Is that son of mine here? Now he's in for a drubbing!
Oh! how heartily I will dang him!
(rolling up his shirt-sleeves)
That switch is too light for a carcass like his.
The smith will dang him!
(spits on his hands and nods to ÅSE).
What? Hang my Peer? Ay, just try if you dare;-
ÅSE and I, we have teeth and claws!-
Where is he?
(Calls across the yard:)
(comes running up)
Oh, God's death on the cross!
Come father, come mother, and-!
What is the matter?
Just fancy, Peer Gynt-!
Have they taken his life?
No, but Peer Gynt-! Look, there on the hillside-!
With the bride!
(lets her stick sink).
Oh, the beast!
(as if thunderstruck).
Where the slope rises sheerest
he's clambering upwards, by God, like a goat!
He's shouldered her, mother, as I might a pig!
(shaking her fist up at him)
Would God you might fall, and-!
(Screams out in terror.)
Take care of your footing!
THE HEGSTAD FARMER
(comes in, bare-headed and white with rage)
I'll have his life for this bride-rape yet!
Oh no, God punish me if I let you!
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