INGOLF. Maybe, but one day the water stopped flowing.
HADDA PADDA. Now you have spoken the terrible truth. Your love was not rich enough, and you knew it from the first. You are not deceiving me to-day. You deceived me the day you made me believe that you loved me, but you were not strong enough to be sincere. You felt that the burning love of a devoted woman would give you a new spirit; that is why you betrayed me. [Sinks bending over the table, bursting into tears.]
INGOLF. You accuse yourself with these angry words. Why did you accept this insincerity for so long?
HADDA PADDA. Because I saw it too late. My soul was spirited up into the mountain, so that no disappointment could take me from you. But so it was. Often when you were satiated with pleasure, you failed to show me any regard. What could I do? Nothing but continue to believe that I would keep your love alive by the strength of my own. I know now, why you didn’t dare to meet my look openly. Ingolf, you knew from the beginning, that you might meet a woman you could love more, but meanwhile you took me, intending to turn from me when that time came. [Weeps.] If only I had never known you.
INGOLF. I remember a great many times—you said that you didn’t understand how rich life was before you knew me, and that whatever fate would be, you would never regret having given yourself to me. Now I know how sincerely you meant those words.
HADDA PADDA. You don’t hear how cruel your words are.—I know, Ingolf, I said it. I said it when I couldn’t control my tongue for gladness. But we never know ourselves until we stand on the edge between joy and sorrow, and now, having touched happiness, I cannot live without grasping it. I cannot, Ingolf, I cannot live without you.
INGOLF. Could you get any happiness out of life with a man who does not love you?
HADDA PADDA [silent, gets up, and walks up to the piano, leaning heavily against it].
INGOLF [takes out the ring, and puts it on the table].
HADDA PADDA [does not stir]. Ingolf, this is my last request. Don’t make our separation harder than necessary. I cannot remain in your home when they all know it. Do me the favor of wearing the ring till I leave for home. You won’t have to wait long. Will you promise me that?
INGOLF [holds the ring in his hand without answering].
HADDA PADDA. This is my last request.
INGOLF. I promise. [Puts the ring on his hand.]
HADDA PADDA [watches him as he puts it on].
(Slope of a valley overgrown with brush and heather and flowers. Toward the rear on the left, a beautiful cataract rushes down from a great height between steep cliffs. On the right, a rock shuts out the bottom of the falls, and part of the river. In the background is a mountainous landscape. It is an exquisite summer evening and the sun is playing on the water in ever changing colours. The stage is empty. From beneath the falls a song is heard, even before the rise of the curtain.)