HADDA PADDA. True, I wouldn’t be as nervous, if I knew you were holding the rope. [Puts the spade aside, and looks down into the gorge.]
INGOLF [unties the rope from the stone].
HADDA PADDA. I don’t know whether I dare go down, Ingolf.
INGOLF. Don’t go—give it up.
HADDA PADDA. I never saw the gorge so hushed. How it stretches its cold, greedy stone-fingers into the air!—But imagine my finding the pearls! [Determined.] I must go down. Is the rope safe?
STEINDOR [standing near them]. Even if there
were three Hadda
HADDA PADDA. Ingolf! I am not afraid to be lowered down by your hands. [Lies down with her feet over the edge.]
STEINDOR. There are others beside Ingolf, to be sure, who could hold up one woman.
INGOLF. I hate to see you go down.
HADDA PADDA [is silent for an instant, turns abruptly around, looks down the gorge, gets up and takes the spade]. You aren’t sitting safely, Ingolf. I will deepen the hole, so that you can have something to push your feet against. [Digs.]
STEINDOR. [with an amused smile]. You believe you are heavier than you are, Hadda Padda.
INGOLF. I ask you once again, to give up the idea.
HADDA PADDA. Are you afraid you will lose me?
INGOLF. You can spare your scoffing.
HADDA PADDA. I am not scoffing. I’m the one who is afraid. You are not so strong as you pretend. Steindor, will you hold the rope with him?
INGOLF. You don’t have to sneer at me. [At his glance, Steindor turns away.]
HADDA PADDA. Now set your feet securely, Ingolf, and both of you hold the rope. Do that for me, and I’ll go down quite fearlessly.
INGOLF. Well, we will both hold the rope. [Steindor sits down, catching the rope too.]
HADDA PADDA. Now I am safe. [Disappears below the edge. The rope is seen sliding slowly and firmly through their hands.]
INGOLF [pushing Steindor away]. Get up! I won’t accept an affront like this—not to let me hold the rope alone! Get up and keep an eye on her,—but don’t let her see you. [Steindor gets up. The rope slides down for a time.]
THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Ingolf!
INGOLF. Well? [Stops the rope.]
THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Are you both holding the rope?
THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Tell me the truth, Ingolf.
INGOLF. We are both holding the rope.
THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Tell me the truth. Is Steindor holding the rope?
INGOLF [to Steindor]. You have let her see you.
STEINDOR. No, no!
THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Why did you deceive me, Ingolf! Pull me up! [Ingolf pulls up the rope.]
HADDA PADDA [reappears over the edge]. Why did you deceive me?
INGOLF. I felt ashamed to hold the rope with some one else.