INGOLF. I won’t tell any one.
HADDA PADDA [looking at him with wide-opened eyes]. I’d like it even more if you would do it before I left. If you looked for them to-morrow morning while I am getting ready to go. Then you’d spare me the anxiety. Take Steindor with you, will you?
INGOLF [gets up. All doubt leaves his mind as he looks into her face and he is ashamed of the unworthy suspicion that had touched his soul]. Yes, Hrafnhild, don’t be distressed. We shall find your pearls.—Aren’t you coming with me?
HADDA. PADDA. No, I will wait for the children.
INGOLF. Good-night, Hrafnhild. [Goes.]
HADDA PADDA. Good-night. [Looks after him for a long time. Her eyes fill with tears, and she throws herself down weeping violently. Soon the voices of children, laughing, are heard near by. She looks up, passes her hand over her eyes, hears the children’s footsteps and lies down again as if asleep.]
THE CHILDREN [enter. In addition to the berries, each of them carries a bouquet of flowers].
LITTLE SKULI. She’s asleep. [He takes his bouquet, and those of the others, placing them around her head.]
The children sit down quietly, eating their berries.
(A deep gorge viewed from the side, its walls running obliquely down from right to left. The upper end of the outer edge merges into the mountain slope, which shuts out the view to the left. It is foggy. On the left, as the fog lifts, a waterfall glistens in the distance, like a broad white streak in the air. The sides of the gorge are abruptly terminated by a cliff, the top of which is grass-grown. Here, Ingolf and Steindor are sitting. Beside them is a long rope.)
STEINDOR. Just look how it is drizzling! ... I can write on my clothes. [Forms letters on his sleeve.]
INGOLF [strokes his finger along his sleeve]. My suit just matches the drizzle.
STEINDOR [is silent].
INGOLF [is aroused, as from a reverie]. Are you rested?
STEINDOR. Oh, very nearly.
INGOLF. You should have let me pull you up. It is too tiring to raise oneself.
STEINDOR. I have been lowering myself into this gorge for fourteen years now, to get angelica, and always without help. This is no height at all.
INGOLF. How high do you think it is?
STEINDOR. Only half a rope-length.
INGOLF. How long is a rope-length?
STEINDOR. A hundred and twenty feet.
INGOLF. Have you lowered yourself that far?
STEINDOR. I guess even a little more. One summer on the Westmen Isles, I went down three rope-lengths, for fowl; but then, I tied the rope around my waist, and took a stick along, to push myself off from the rock, so that the rope wouldn’t turn.
INGOLF. The rope turned round with me before.