SCENE SECOND(A room in ASE's house. Everything in disorder; boxes standing open;
wearing apparel strewn around. A cat is lying on the bed.
ASE and the COTTAR's WIFE are hard at work packing things
together and putting them straight.)
Kari, come here!
Come here-! Where is-? Where shall I find-? Tell me where-? What am I seeking? I'm out of my wits! Where is the key of the chest?
In the key-hole.
What is that rumbling?
The last cart-load they're driving to Hegstad.
How glad I'd be
in the black chest myself to be driven away!
Oh, what must a mortal abide and live through!
God help me in mercy! The whole house is bare!
What the Hegstad-churl left now the bailiff has taken.
Not even the clothes on my back have they spared.
Fie! Shame on them all that have judged so hardly!
(Seats herself on the edge of the bed.)
Both the land and the farm-place are lost to our line;
the old man was hard, but the law was still harder;-
there was no one to help me, and none would show mercy;
Peer was away; not a soul to give counsel.
But here, in this house, you may dwell till you die.
Ay, the cat and I live on charity.
God help you, mother; your Peer's cost you dear.
Peer? Why, you're out of your senses, sure! Ingrid came home none the worse in the end. The right thing had been to hold Satan to reckoning;- he was the sinner, ay, he and none other; the ugly beast tempted my poor boy astray!
Had I not better send word to the parson? Mayhap you're worse than you think you are.
To the parson? Truly I almost think so.
But, oh God, I can't! I'm the boy's own mother;
and help him I must; it's no more than my duty;
I must do what I can when the rest forsake him.
They've left him this coat; I must patch it up.
I wish I dared snap up the fur-rug as well!
What's come of the hose?
They are there, 'mid that rubbish.
Why, what have we here? I declare it's an old
casting-ladle, Kari! With this he would play
button-moulder, would melt, and then shape, and then stamp
One day-there was company-in the boy came,
and begged of his father a lump of tin.
"No tin," says Jon, "but King Christian's coin;
silver; to show you're the son of Jon Gynt."
God pardon him, Jon; he was drunk, you see,
and then he cared neither for tin nor for gold.
Here are the hose. Oh, they're nothing but holes;
they want darning, Kari!
Indeed but they do.
When that is done, I must get to bed;
I feel so broken, and frail, and ill-
Two woollen-shirts, Kari;-they've passed them by!
So they have indeed.
It's a bit of luck.
One of the two you may put aside;
or rather, I think we'll e'en take them both;-
the one he has on is so worn and thin.
But oh, Mother Ase, I fear it's a sin!
Maybe; but remember, the priest holds out
pardon for this and our other sinnings.