STEINDOR. Only practice can prevent it.
INGOLF [gets up, walks out to the brink, and looks down into the gorge]. Did you look everywhere possible?
STEINDOR. I did.
INGOLF. So did I. But it is very dark in some places, and there are so many holes. Did you look in the holes?
STEINDOR. Well, I wasn’t going to crawl into every pit—that would be an endless job. Besides, I think it serves these women right, once in a while, to have themselves to blame. It teaches them to take better care next time.
INGOLF. Don’t speak to any one about it. She asked me not to tell anybody. I wouldn’t have told you, if I’d had any luck in my search. But I thought perhaps you might be able to find them.
STEINDOR. You told the family that you had lost your diamond ring.
INGOLF. Yes, then we will say we have found it. [Looks down into the gorge.] How uncanny it looks down there! It is as if the fog were shunning the gully, so inky black! ... See how sombre the ravine looks!
STEINDOR [gets up, and walks out on the brink].
INGOLF. It looks uncanny down there! [Warning him.] Don’t go too near the edge.
STEINDOR [laughing]. Steindor can take care of himself!
INGOLF. Have you ever fallen, Steindor?
STEINDOR. Oh, well, I’ve had my share of that.
INGOLF. How did it affect you?
STEINDOR. I don’t wish myself a better death, if the fall is high enough. One winter I was going over a gully, clogged with a frozen snow-pile. I had to pass it; so I forced my stick down into the pile, and leaped over it. I tried to pull it out as I came over, but it stuck tight, and threw me backwards. I knew nothing more, until I woke up at the foot of the rocks, and saw the blood stains on the snow. I had scratched myself on the edge as I grazed over it.
INGOLF. And otherwise you got off alright?
STEINDOR. Quite alright. I landed on the soft snow. Had it been rocky below, I would have died instantly. Since that day, I say falling from a height isn’t the worst death. You lose all consciousness in falling.
INGOLF. To fall from here would be horrible.
STEINDOR. It’s more horrible thinking about it than anything else.
INGOLF. It would be quite a fall.
STEINDOR. Oh, yes—I think you would get your fill.
INGOLF. Here, take the rope, Steindor. Let us go.
STEINDOR [looking around]. Some one is coming up along the ravine.
STEINDOR. There—why, it’s Hrafnhild. She is nearly here now.
INGOLF. What is she carrying over her shoulder?
STEINDOR. It looks like a spade.
INGOLF. Come, let’s go and meet her. [They take a few steps.]
HANNA PADDA [is heard calling]. Wait!
INGOLF. What do you think she wants with a spade?