The Rattrap

by

Selma Lagerlöf

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The man who owns Ramsjö Ironworks, and Edla Wilmansson’s father. Described as a “very prominent ironmaster,” he stops by to watch the work at his forge every day and night and inspect the quality of his products. The ironmaster was in the military in his younger days, as he mistakes the peddler for his “old regimental comrade,” Captain von Stahle.

The Ironmaster Quotes in The Rattrap

The The Rattrap quotes below are all either spoken by The Ironmaster or refer to The Ironmaster. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Kindness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of The Rattrap published in 2014.
The Rattrap Quotes

The ironmaster did not follow the example of the blacksmiths, who had hardly deigned to look at the stranger. He walked close up to him, looked him over carefully, then tore off his slouch hat to get a better view of his face.

“But of course it is you, Nils Olof!” he said. “How you do look!”

The man with the rattraps had never before seen the ironmaster at Ramsjö and did not even know what his name was. But it occurred to him that if the fine gentleman thought he was an old acquaintance, he might perhaps throw him a couple of kronor. Therefore he did not want to undeceive him all at once.

“Yes, God knows things have gone downhill with me”, he said.

Related Characters: The Peddler / The Stranger (speaker), The Ironmaster (speaker)
Related Symbols: Rattraps
Explanation and Analysis:

“I am thinking of this stranger here,” said the young girl. “He walks and walks the whole year long, and there is probably not a single place in the whole country where he is welcome and can feel at home. Wherever he turns he is chased away. Always he is afraid of being arrested and cross-examined. I should like to have him enjoy a day of peace with us here—just one in the whole year.”

The ironmaster mumbled something in his beard. He could not bring himself to oppose her.

“It was all a mistake, of course,” she continued. “But anyway I don’t think we ought to chase away a human being whom we have asked to come here, and to whom we have promised Christmas cheer.”

Explanation and Analysis:

As soon as they got up from the table he went around to each one present and said thank you and good night, but when he came to the young girl she gave him to understand that it was her father’s intention that the suit which he wore was to be a Christmas present—he did not have to return it; and if he wanted to spend next Christmas Eve in a place where he could rest in peace, and be sure that no evil would befall him, he would be welcomed back again.

The man with the rattraps did not answer anything to this. He only stared at the young girl in boundless amazement.

Related Symbols: Rattraps
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Rattrap LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Rattrap PDF

The Ironmaster Character Timeline in The Rattrap

The timeline below shows where the character The Ironmaster appears in The Rattrap. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Rattrap
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
At the ironworks, the master smith and his young apprentice are working hard at the forge. Outside, it starts to storm,... (full context)
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The Ramsjö Ironworks are owned by a “very prominent” ironmaster, who comes to his forge every day and night to check on how the work... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The peddler knows that the ironmaster is mistaken, but thinks that he might be able to get some money out of... (full context)
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...money would be like “throwing himself voluntarily into the lion’s den,” so he refuses the ironmaster’s offer. The ironmaster insists, saying that only his daughter is at home, and they would... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Half an hour later, a carriage arrives at the forge and a woman enters—the ironmaster has sent his daughter to persuade the peddler to come stay with them. The young... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
...is won over by the woman’s friendliness, and he agrees to join her and the ironmaster. (full context)
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The next morning, which is Christmas Eve, the ironmaster comes into the dining room and discusses the peddler with his daughter. Edla says that... (full context)
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The ironmaster is angry, and the peddler makes no attempt to prolong his charade. He reminds the... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
This amuses the ironmaster and defuses his anger, but he still tells the peddler to leave immediately. Edla stops... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
Loneliness and Companionship Theme Icon
The ironmaster grumbles to himself, and Edla continues, saying she doesn’t think it’s right to “chase away... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
The next morning, Edla and the ironmaster wake up early and go to the Christmas service at church, leaving the peddler still... (full context)
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Trust vs. Cynicism Theme Icon
When Edla and the ironmaster return to their house, they learn that the peddler has left, but he didn’t take... (full context)