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Title: Hadda Pada
Author: Guðmundur Kamban, 1888-1945
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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HADDA PADDA

By Godmunder Kamban



FOREWORD

The value of this play lies in the fact that, beneath the surface, it
vibrates with the quivering, intensely pulsating forces of life. The
speeches breathe. The leading characters not only have perspicuity, but
each has its own representative melodic theme. There is as music
under the text, a constant accompaniment of exquisite passion, rising,
sinking, and now rising once more, in a struggle with vacillating
sensual pleasure and base inclination to supersede others. Around the
simple action there is an atmosphere of poetry. The play opens with the
superstition of olden times, in the old nurse's tale about the life-egg,
suggested to her by a crystal ball, with which the sisters are playing.
Modern superstition is woven into the beautiful scene, where Hadda
Padda, with heroically mastered despair, meets the herborist who talks
of her plants in a calm poetic manner, reminiscent of the way Ophelia
speaks of the flowers she has picked and collected.

The drama stands or falls with Hadda Padda, that is to say, it STANDS.
She holds it with a firm hand, as the Saint in the old paintings bears
the church. In her, the Iceland of ancient and modern times meets. She
has more warmth, more kindness of heart, more womanly affection,
than any antique figure from a Saga. She gives herself completely,
resignedly. She is tender and she is mild, without being meek. In her
inmost self, however, she is proud. When first this pride is touched,
then hurt, and finally the very woman in her is mortally wounded, it
is at once perceptible that she descends from the strong, wild women of
olden times. The wildness has become resolution, the pride has become
poise, the strength has remained unchanged. She plays with life and
death like the heroes of a thousand years ago. She faces death without
flinching, and despite all her goodness, her delicacy, her kindly love
for the old and the young, for the humble and the poor, for animals
and plants, at the bottom of her nature she is heathen. In life's last
moments, with death and revenge in mind, she can still pretend, invent,
dupe. Such profound and exquisite womanhood, such inflexible masculine
will, have hardly ever been seen combined on the stage before.

GEORG BRANDES.



INTRODUCTION

Iceland has always been famous for the quality of her literature,
although nowadays but little of it comes to our shores. It is,
therefore, an especial pleasure to introduce the author of "Hadda
Padda."

Godmundur Kamban, son of a merchant of an old and well known Icelandic
family, was born near Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, on June 8,
1888. He was graduated twenty-two years later from the College of
Reykjavik, where he received honoris causa in literature and language,
the first and only time this prize has ever been awarded. While still
at college, he was made assistant editor of the best known newspaper in
Iceland, edited by Bjorn Jonsson, the late Prime Minister, in whose home
Mr. Kamban lived during his college career. In 1910, he proceeded to
the University of Copenhagen, where he specialized in literature and
received his Master's degree. In Copenhagen, Peter Jerndorff, the famous
Acteur Royal, practically regarded him as his own son. Under Jerndorff's
direction for five years, he obtained that thorough dramatic education
which is so essential to the fastidious Scandinavian Theatre, and to
which Ibsen also served an apprenticeship.

"Hadda Padda," Mr. Kamban's first dramatic work, was written in Denmark
in 1912, while he was still a student at the University of Copenhagen.
Originally written in Icelandic, it was translated into Danish and
submitted to the Royal Theatre, a fortress difficult of access to the
newcomer. This theatre did not even fully recognise such masters as
Ibsen and Bjornson until they stood on the heights of achievement. Our
author was but twenty-four years old, unknown, and offering his first
play.

From the outset "Hadda Padda" caused the directors unexpected trouble.
It took them four times as long as usual to come to a decision. They
finally accepted it "on account of its literary merit," but without any
obligation on their part to produce it, as the scenery of the last act
was of "such daring and dangerous character."

There was but one thing to do and Mr. Kamban did it. His play was
published by Gyldendal, the most distinguished of the Scandinavian
publishers. He sent a copy to Georg Brandes, as do thousands of authors
from all parts of the world. Next evening he received a letter from
the great critic, telling him that he had read the play, and asking Mr.
Kamban to call on him at his home. A few days later, when he spent
four hours with Brandes at and after table, the latter told him that he
received on an average twelve volumes a day from different authors of
every nationality, and were he to do nothing else, he could not read
even one twelfth of them. "But I am going to write an article about your
play," he concluded. Thus was Mr. Kamban's place as an artist assured.

In spite of the unanimous recognition the play received from the press,
the theatre still refused to produce it, as nearly all the authorities
agreed that it would be "hardly possible to stage." Finally, the new
chief of the theatre, Count F. Brockenhuus-Schack, determined to
carry the matter through. The author then undertook to stage the play,
designed the scenes, and arranged the mise-en-scene to the minutest
detail. On November 14, 1914, the first performance took place. He
sat in the latticed author's box. The first three acts went smoothly,
interrupted at times by applause. The fourth act, the one talked about
and difficult, was still to come. The fate of the play depended on this
act. The curtain rose, and with the slowness of life the act proceeded.
The silence of the audience was uncanny. Toward the end, the foremost
theatrical critic of the city rose to his feet and raised his hand as if
in horror. The curtain fell. Not a hand stirred. A whole minute elapsed
and Mr. Kamban left the box, refusing to himself to admit the failure.
Then suddenly a wild enthusiasm broke loose and lasted several minutes.
According to the regulations--unique in Europe--of the Royal Theatre,
the curtain may not be raised for any author or actor except at a
jubilee. The public, however, refused to leave the theatre till the
manager had escorted Mr. Kamban to the dais in front of the curtain, and
there he expressed his thanks to the audience.

After four months in Copenhagen, "Hadda Padda" toured the Scandinavian
Countries, and preparations were being made for its production
in Germany, when the war broke out, and the German theatres were
indefinitely closed to foreign dramatists. That is why, two years ago,
he came to America.

K.



CHARACTERS

     SKULI, the town judge.
     LADY ANNA, his wife.
     HRAFNHILD, called HADDA PADDA; KRISTRUN; their daughters.
     LITTLE SKULI, their grandson.
     RANNVEIG, Hadda Padda's nurse.
     THE SHERIFF OF BREIDABOL.
     LADY MARGARET, his wife.
     INGOLF, law student; OLOF; their children.
     STEINDOR, Olof's husband, the sheriff's secretary.
     SIGGA; DODDI; MAGGA; Steindor's and Olof's children.
     AN HERBORIST.
     NATIVE AND FOREIGN SUMMER TOURISTS.


There is an interval of a year between Acts I and II; of a week between
Acts II and III. One night elapses between Acts III and IV.


PLACE: Iceland. TIME: Present.



HADDA PADDA



ACT I


(A luxuriously furnished drawing-room in the house of the Town Judge. On
the right, in front, a door. In the middle rear an open door draped
with rich, heavy, deep-red curtains. On the left a large window. In the
corner, between the window and the door, a grand piano, behind which
stands a palm, the leaves spreading over the piano. In front, on the
left, a divan. Alongside of it is a pedestal with a black terra cotta
statue on it.)

(Hadda Padda and Kristrun are sitting toward the front, in large deep
arm-chairs, throwing a crystal ball to each other. Near by is a small
table, covered with a piece of velvet, on which the ball had lain. Hadda
Padda is very sunburnt.)

RANNVEIG [enters from behind. She is knitting, keeping the ball of yarn
under her arm. She is dressed in an Icelandic costume]. Take care!
Don't drop the ball! [Drops a stitch, takes it up again--smiles.] Who
knows--maybe it is your life-egg, children!

KRISTRUN. Life-egg!... Is that a fairy-tale?

RANNVEIG. Haven't you ever heard it? Come, let me tell you about it.
[Takes a chair and sits down beside them.] Once upon a time there lived
two giantesses who were sisters. One day, they lured a young prince to
them. They let the prince sleep under a coverlet woven of gold, while
they themselves slept under one woven of silver. When at last the prince
pledged himself in marriage to one of them, he made them tell him how
they spent the day in the forest. They went hunting deer and birds, and
when they rested, they sat down under an oak, and threw their life-egg
to each other. If they broke it they both would die. The next day, the
prince went to the forest, and saw the sisters sitting there, under the
oak. One of them was holding a golden egg in her hand, and just as she
tossed it into the air, he hurled his spear. It hit the egg, and broke
it--the giantesses fell down, dead.

KRISTRUN. Brave giantesses who dared to treat your sacred possession so
heedlessly!

RANNVEIG. One does not hear the footstep of vengeance. It came to them
unexpectedly.

KRISTRUN. How I wish my whole fate were held in this ball.

RANNVEIG. What would you do if it were?

KRISTRUN. I would lay it gently in the hand of the man I loved, saying:
Take it to a safe place!--and I would shut my eyes--while he were
searching for the place.

RANNVEIG. If my sister were here, perhaps she could read your fate
in the ball, both the past and the future... Who knows, but the whole
Universe may be mirrored in this one glass globe.

KRISTRUN. That's your favorite superstition. [Smiling surreptitiously.]
Tell me, Veiga--haven't you a life-egg? [Turns abruptly from her,
throwing the ball to Hadda.]

RANNVEIG [evasively]. I had one once....

KRISTRUN [catching the ball]. Then you haven't it any more?

RANNVEIG. No.

KRISTRUN. And you are still alive?

RANNVEIG. He who lived once in happiness dies twice. [Sees the sisters
throw the ball faster and faster.] Don't throw the ball so carelessly.

KRISTRUN. Be calm. The prince won't come. And even if he came--do you
think we have the same life-egg, I and Hrafnhild?

RANNVEIG. Now stop making fun of me! The ball may hit you in the
face--there now!--that's enough!--you nearly dazed my Hadda. It is
strange to like to do this. [Picks up the ball, and puts it back on the
velvet.]

KRISTRUN. Tell me, Veiga, perhaps your life-egg was a young man's
heart....

RANNVEIG. We won't talk about it any more.

KRISTRUN. And how did it break?

RANNVEIG [enraged]. At least I didn't play with it. _I_ never played
with anybody else's feelings.

KRISTRUN. There--there, don't snarl so, you're simply barking--bow, wow!

RANNVEIG [furious]. How many have you made fools of already?

KRISTRUN. Let me see--. [Counts on her fingers.] One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, [throws off one shoe, and counts
on her toes] eleven... twelve... thirteen--ah! here's a hole in my
stocking. Thirteen! Thirteen, Veiga dear! The unlucky number! Wonderful!
I'll never throw him over!

RANNVEIG. You're horribly flippant, Kristrun.

KRISTRUN [sits down at the small table, shades her face as she looks
into the ball]. Fancy, Veiga, I see your whole fate in the ball.

RANNVEIG. Leave the crystal alone, it won't hurt you.

KRISTRUN. As sure as I live--I can see the most trivial events in your
life. I see you by day, in this room here, when your nose begins to
itch, and you steal into the kitchen to take a pinch of snuff. I see....
[Looks up; Rannveig has come up to her, and is about to strike her.]

KRISTRUN [slipping away from her]. Look out, the snuff is dripping from
your nose! [Runs out, Rannveig shuts the door behind her, and turns
around. She passes her finger under her nose, looks at it, shakes her
head.]

HADDA PADDA. You and Runa don't seem to get on any better since I've
been away.

RANNVEIG. We have never gotten along together.... I don't understand the
young people nowadays. They are merely butterflies--all of them.

HADDA PADDA. You once told me, dear, that sometime in every one's life
there comes a wishing hour. Maybe Runa had hers when she wished for the
joy of living.

RANNVEIG. It's a strange joy then, to want to make other people
miserable! To use the beauty God has given her, against those who cannot
resist it.... Why do you suppose the new engineer has stopped coming
here since the son of the Chief Justice returned from Copenhagen--and he
seemed like such a sweet boy too! It is not the first or the second time
she has changed her mind.

HADDA PADDA. When a true and deep love comes to her, she will not change
her mind.

RANNVEIG. It's no use to stand up for her; she wheedles them all.

HADDA PADDA. But still you told me, dear, that you would be fonder of me
if I did not marry.

RANNVEIG. How can you say that, Hadda dear? I said that marriage doesn't
always bring happiness. HADDA PADDA. I know. You told me that only to
console me, because I am now twenty-six years old. Runa is nineteen,
prettier than most girls, and a wild little imp, surrounded by young
men all the time. And they play upon her vanity only to make her cruel.
[Stands up.]

RANNVEIG. At her age you were prettier, and are, still, but you were not
like that. No, she hasn't your character.

KRISTRUN [enters from behind]. The prince is coming! [Rannveig gathers
her knitting, and drops the yarn. Kristrun jumps at it like a cat, and
catches it.] Now I'll dance for you, Veiga dear. [She whirls around her,
singing, yarn in hand, twisting the thread around the old woman. They
listen for footsteps. Rannveig slips out, on the right, entangled in the
yarn, Kristrun following.]

INGOLF [enters. Like Hadda, he is sunburnt].

HADDA PADDA. How do you do! You promised to be here earlier, dear.
[Kisses him.]

INGOLF. What time is it? [About to take out his watch.]

HADDA PADDA [catching his hands]. I don't know. But I felt the moment
slipping by, when you should have been here.

INGOLF [kisses her again].

HADDA PADDA. While I was sitting there, in the arm-chair, waiting for
you, I closed my eyes, and do you know what I saw?

INGOLF. No.

HADDA PADDA [pointing to the crystal]. I saw the crystal ball through my
eyelashes.

INGOLF [smiling]. Then you did not close your eyes--

HADDA PADDA. No, I cheated. [They laugh.]... and then I began to throw
the crystal ball to Runa, do you know why?

INGOLF. No--?

HADDA PADDA. So as to lure back an old recollection.... Do you remember,
it was your last winter at the Latin school. One day you came home, and
we two were alone in the room here, you took the ball, threw it to
me, and called: WISHING--! I caught it, and said:--STONE! And so we
continued to play, till you called HADDA! I didn't quite follow your
trick at first, but caught the word: PADDA! Then you laughed and said:
From now on, you shall never be called anything but HADDA PADDA. Do you
remember?

INGOLF. I do.

HADDA PADDA. Everybody calls me that now, except my nurse.

RANNVEIG [peeping in through the curtain]. Don't let me hear that name.
Hf! Padda! That's an insect! [Disappears.]

HADDA PADDA [walks gently forth, and rolls the door back]. Then I asked
you what christening gift I was to have. You gave me your first kiss.

INGOLF [sits down on the divan, takes Hadda on his knee]. Hadda Padda!
You don't know how I love that name. You don't know how many times I
have wrapped you in it, as in some fantastic mantle. After you had left
Copenhagen last spring, and I sat reading all the live-long day, until
at last I went to bed, my lips did not close on your name, till my eyes
had closed on your picture.

HADDA PADDA. You must never call me anything but that. Each time you say
it, it brings back the joy of your first kiss.

INGOLF. Were you really in love with me then?

HADDA PADDA. You don't know?... Then I did succeed in hiding it?

INGOLF. Why did you hide it, Hadda? Why, I almost believed you bore me a
grudge. You seemed to hold more aloof each day.

HADDA PADDA. And even that did not betray me?

INGOLF. Why did you hide it, Hadda?

(Footsteps are heard outside.)

HADDA PADDA [kisses Ingolf hastily, gets up, and seats herself at his
side, takes his hand]. Don't you understand, dear, I was afraid of
knowing the certainty. The stronger my love grew, the more carefully
I had to hide it. I dared not risk those beautiful dream-children of
uncertainty for a disguised certainty. Whenever we talked together, and
you looked up at me, I was startled. I thought you understood, and your
hurried glance reached me only after the fear of seeing the answer in
it.

INGOLF. You, the most sincere of women, could cherish so strong a love
and seem so cold.

HADDA PADDA. Now I have made too great a virtue of my love. Some of
my reserve was pride. Just think, you lived with us during your entire
schooltime, and in the summer sister and I were by turns at your home.
We grew up, you, handsome and manly, and a lord of pleasures; and you
always seemed to be careful not to pay me greater attention than the
other girls, especially at parties. That was why I drew back.--I was
eighteen, you were twenty; you were graduated and went abroad. And poor,
proud little Hadda Padda was left alone.

INGOLF. Poor proud little Hadda Padda. [They laugh.]

HADDA PADDA. Then when you came back the next spring, it was Kristrun's
turn to go to the country. And since then, you have not been home during
the summer.

INGOLF. And when you went to Copenhagen the following winter, it just
happened to be the only year I stayed home.

HADDA PADDA. Then I thought it surely was the will of fate to separate
us. But I loved you even more. I could not give up hope. Not even when
you wrote home, the year before last, that you had decided to live
abroad. I got that news on the shortest day of the year. I watched the
twilight darken into night until the very blackness swam before my eyes
in blood-red spots. It was then I made up my mind to go.

INGOLF. Yes, you came in the autumn.

HADDA PADDA. And it was not before December, at a meeting of the
Icelandic Society--we sat alone, in an outer room. Then I placed my fate
in your hand.

INGOLF. Then you placed your hand in mine.

HADDA PADDA. Then I placed my life in your hand. I willed all my power
into my hand and placed it in yours. That instant, nothing but my hand
lived. Had you thrust it away, I would not now be living.

INGOLF. How silently happiness steals upon us. We sat alone in the room,
far from the din of the dance. Then it came. I heard its tread in the
quiver of your breath.... Then I felt it in my hand.

HADDA PADDA. And yet you sat there immovable, and made the very seconds
fight for my life. When I held your hand, I was afraid lest a single
finger tremble--till you closed your hand around my wrist, and drew me
to you. [She leans toward him.]

INGOLF. Do you know what attracted me most to you?

HADDA PADDA. You don't know yourself.

INGOLF. Why not...?

HADDA PADDA. Because you love me.

INGOLF. But I think I know now.

HADDA PADDA. Well, what is it?

INGOLF. The thing that kept us apart so long.

HADDA PADDA. And that is?...

INGOLF. Your reticence. That awaiting attitude you just called pride.
I have known other women. They came to me without first listening to my
heart... but you did not.

HADDA PADDA. I looked into your eyes. I saw the flame in them increase,
the longer they gazed at me.

INGOLF. The human heart is like the mountains: they give no echo if we
get too near.

HADDA PADDA [lets herself slide down at Ingolf's knees, so that he sits
bending over her]. Let me look at you for a long time.--How long your
eyelashes are! Each time you blink, it is as though invisible petals
were sprinkled upon me.

INGOLF [closing her hands in his]. Now you have no hands.... Shall I
give them to you again? [Lets go, but looks at her one hand lying in
his.] Your nails have a tinge like that of ice in sunshine.

HADDA PADDA [withdraws her hand, laughing, and gets up]. I am just
thinking...

INGOLF. What are you thinking?

HADDA PADDA [walks a few steps and stops behind him]. I was lying down
outside in the garden to-day. I could not keep awake. I dreamed I stood
outside the Cathedral. It was dark inside, but all along the church
floor, on either side, was a straight row of unlit candles. I remember
all the white soft wicks, peeping half out, waiting for light. Then a
sudden gust of wind swept through the whole church, and as it grazed the
wicks, all the candles were lighted.

INGOLF [keeps silent].

HADDA PADDA. What do you think the dream means? I think it means
happiness.

INGOLF. You must not deprive your dream of its beauty by interpreting
it.

HADDA PADDA. Happiness comes to us like a beautiful dream that we don't
dare to interpret.

INGOLF. You have promised to trust me as much as you love me.

HADDA PADDA. I see the future mirrored in those days we lived together.

INGOLF. I love you, Hadda Padda.

HADDA PADDA. Your words are the light, your caresses are the warmth.
Give me both, Ingolf. Kiss me.

INGOLF [kisses her].

HADDA PADDA. And I should not trust you? Has not a sacred hour welded
our hearts together? And have you not placed your life in my hands?--Do
you remember last summer, when I visited your home, how you lowered me
with a rope down the Angelica Gorge? I have not often lived so exquisite
an hour. Then I became quite foolhardy. When I came up again, I asked
you to go down and let me hold the rope for you.

INGOLF. I hardly believed you were as strong as you are.

HADDA PADDA. If you had not had courage to go down by my hands, I am
not quite sure that I could be so fond of you. I shall never forget that
moment. I saw you come up again with an angelica crown on your head. I
saw you rise up like a green-crowned sea-god from the deep.--

INGOLF. I can't bear the thought that I shall leave you in a few days.

HADDA PADDA [smiles].

INGOLF. You smile?

HADDA PADDA. I am thinking of something. Shall I tell you?

LITTLE SKULI [comes rushing in from the right]. Hadda Padda! Have you
seen--? Ah, Ingolf, are you here? [Runs straight up to Ingolf, catching
hold of both his hands]. Why did you leave home so soon, Ingolf?

INGOLF. Because I wanted to go to Copenhagen.

HADDA PADDA. Skuli dear, will you be a good boy and make me a ship?

LITTLE SKULI. Oh no, not now.

HADDA PADDA. Oh yes, your last ship was so well cut out, with great big
masts. [Pats him.] You're a dear.

INGOLF. Then you'll be allowed to come along with us to the country next
summer.

HADDA PADDA. And sit in front, on the Sheriff's horse, many, many times.

LITTLE SKULI. Then will the Sheriff give me a sheep again?

INGOLF. Yes, my little friend, father will give you a sheep, and I will
give you one too; I'll give you one with pretty rounded horns.

LITTLE SKULI. Does it butt?

INGOLF. O, of course not, it eats bread from your hand.

LITTLE SKULI. Then I'll saw its horns off, and give them to Sigga--she
has lots of horns she plays sheep with. [Laughter.]

INGOLF. Well, are you going to make that ship?

LITTLE SKULI. Are you the one who gets all Hadda Padda's ships?

INGOLF. Well, I daresay I get most of them.--What makes you think so?

LITTLE SKULI. Because, whenever she is with you, she always wants me to
make ships. [Ingolf and Hadda look at each other and laugh.]

INGOLF. Yes, she knows I am very fond of your ships.

LITTLE SKULI. Then I'll make ships for you often. [Runs out, Ingolf and
Hadda still laughing.]

INGOLF. What was it you were going to tell me before?

HADDA PADDA. Something that...

INGOLF. That..?

HADDA PADDA. That...

INGOLF. Are you teasing me?

RANNVEIG [enters from the back, knitting, sits down]. What a lovely day
it is.

HADDA PADDA. Veiga, dear, you promised to darn my lilac stockings for
me. I haven't any to wear to-morrow.

RANNVEIG [considering]. How about the yellow ones?

HADDA PADDA. Oh, Runa must have taken them; I couldn't find them.

RANNVEIG [gets up]. Well, I can't let you go barefooted. [Goes out.]

INGOLF. You are shrewd, Hadda Padda!--Now, tell it to me.

HADDA PADDA. First, kiss me!

INGOLF [kisses her].

HADDA PADDA. Do you think you will miss me very much when you are gone?

INGOLF. How can you ask?

RANNVEIG [enters from the back, with the stockings in her hand]. I knew
as much. I was right.--[Sees them embracing.]--I might have saved myself
the trouble of looking for the stockings. [Turns round, and goes out.]

HADDA PADDA. Ingolf!

INGOLF. Yes--

HADDA PADDA. Now listen:--

THE JUDGE [enters from the back].

INGOLF [looks impatiently at his watch, and walks toward the door on the
right.]

THE JUDGE. Are you going out, Ingolf?

INGOLF. I'm just going up to my room. I have a letter to answer. [Goes
out.]

THE JUDGE. Well, my dear, to-morrow is the great day. HADDA PADDA. How
good you are, father, to make me feel your gladness as you do.

THE JUDGE [takes her to his side, and sits down with her]. You happy
child! I can't believe that you are grown up. It is as if I were
beginning to realise it now, for the first time. But still, I shall have
you one year more.

HADDA PADDA. Father!

THE JUDGE. Yes, dear.

HADDA PADDA. Father....!

THE JUDGE. What is the matter, dear?

HADDA PADDA. There is something I want to ask you.

THE JUDGE. And that is?

HADDA PADDA. I want to ask you--[Stops abruptly.]

LADY ANNA [enters from the back].

THE JUDGE [to Hadda]. What did you want to ask me? [Smiles to his wife.]
Something mother may not hear?

HADDA PADDA. No, something I have to ask both of you.

THE JUDGE. Let us hear it, then.

HADDA PADDA. It is a very great favor, but you must not say no.

THE JUDGE. Ask it.

LADY ANNA. Well, what is it? [She has taken some work from the basket,
and sits down to sew.]

HADDA PADDA. I want you to let me go to Copenhagen again. I want to go
with Ingolf.

THE JUDGE. Now?

HADDA PADDA. Yes, now, Tuesday.

LADY ANNA. You are not in earnest, Hrafnhild. You know, Kristrun is
going to leave for England next month, your brother has written for her.
And she hasn't been abroad yet, while you have been twice.

HADDA PADDA. Nor do I want her to abandon her plan.

LADY ANNA. But do you want me to do without both of you at the same
time?

HADDA PADDA. Would that be hard for you, mother?

LADY ANNA. Hard--it would be impossible. With all the parties we have, I
must have one of you at home.

THE JUDGE. Of course, it would be difficult for mother to manage without
your assistance--since Kristrun is going away.

LADY ANNA. I never thought of that, Hrafnhild. Besides, I think it in
good taste, since your engagement will be announced to-morrow before
Ingolf leaves, for you to remain at home this year till he has passed
his examination and comes back.

HADDA PADDA. Yes, that would be in very good taste, if I could only bear
it.

LADY ANNA. You must also remember that you would disturb him in his
studies, if you were with him this winter.... Just when he wants to
concentrate on his work.

HADDA PADDA. I want to make his work easier--that's just what I want to
do.

LADY ANNA. I can't do without you, Hadda.

THE JUDGE [pats his wife on the cheek]. If our dear little Hadda Padda
were sick, we would have to get one girl more in the house. And then, if
she had to go away for a year to recover, and we were waiting for her to
come back strong and healthy--don't you think we would readily allow her
to go?

HADDA PADDA [throws her arms around his neck]. Father, I was sure that
you...

LADY ANNA. That would be quite another thing.

THE JUDGE. Then you would realise that you COULD do without her.

LADY ANNA. But you don't mean, that any one else can fill her place--

HADDA PADDA. Mother, you think so much of Helga. I have talked to her,
and she is willing to help you.

THE JUDGE. There you are! Can you imagine any one better?

LADY ANNA. It is not only that--If they were married, it would be quite
proper for them to go abroad together.

HADDA PADDA [looks angrily at her mother, but says nothing].

THE JUDGE [discovers it. Walks up to his wife, and lays his arm on her
shoulder]. We have not grown so old as you would have us. [_Heartily._]
Perhaps then, it is not proper for an old venerable judge to be as much
in love with his silver-haired wife as when they were engaged. But he
can't help it, and that's just the reason, he still understands love
in young people. [_To Hadda._] Ask your mother once more to let you go.
Maybe she will when she knows you have my consent.

LADY ANNA. Well, I see what this is leading to. You know I don't usually
oppose you.

HADDA PADDA. Father, you're always so good to me. [_Kisses him._]

THE JUDGE [_in a whisper to Hadda_]. Now kiss your mother too!

HADDA PADDA. Nice mother! I will be twice as much pleasure to you when I
come back. [_Kisses her._]

LITTLE SKULI [_enters_]. Hadda Padda, do you want the ship to have two
or three masts?

HADDA PADDA. Now let me see, my boy. [_Goes out with him._]

THE JUDGE. To-morrow--that will be a happy day. At last I shall see my
fondest wish fulfilled, mine and my dear old friend's--that our children
should belong to each other. I never suspected this would happen when
Hrafnhild went abroad last year.

LADY ANNA. And now she is to go with him again. She has much to thank
her father for.

THE JUDGE. I think time has kept them apart long enough.--I had a long
talk with Helga the other day--they are very good friends, you know, and
she was in Copenhagen at the same time as Hadda last year. She told me
that Ingolf had quite given up his studies, and it was Hadda Padda who
made him take them up again.... From Christmas on, last year, he studied
from morning to night,--and now he will pass his examination, and begin
here as an attorney. Then they will probably marry next autumn.

LADY ANNA [_nods_]. He must be kind to Hrafnhild--she is more than just
fond of him. Have you noticed that she is beginning to resemble him?

THE JUDGE. Now, in spite of everything, I think we are beginning to grow
old; our sight is failing us.

LADY ANNA. Not my sight. Listen to me. You should have seen her with
the flowers this summer while she was home. When she watered them,
she talked with them as if they could understand her. It was as if she
returned every rise of fragrance with a smile. And the flowers thrived
and blossomed, as if they absorbed her tenderness.

THE JUDGE. I have noticed something else lately: that every time she
comes into a room it is as though the air were filled with the beauty
of peace. I could have myself blindfolded, and all Reykavik could walk
through the room on soles of velvet--when SHE entered I could recognize
her by the delightful calm that accompanies her.

LADY ANNA. This excessive love... it is worrying me. Maybe it was mostly
on that account that I delayed agreeing to her departure.

THE JUDGE. There are so many things that worry you. Why doesn't Ingolf
come back? [Kisses her on the cheek.] I will talk to him about it. [Goes
out.]

RANNVEIG [enters]. The servants want to know how many places to lay for
dinner.

LADY ANNA [putting aside her needlework]. Well, I'm coming--[Goes out.]

RANNVEIG [walks slowly to the centre of the room, stands looking at the
terra cotta statue]. When you dream something, you don't want to come
true, you ought to tell it to some one--better to a stone than to no
one. [Hands folded, she walks slowly up to the statue, whispering in its
ear,] I dreamed of a beautiful and marvellous diamond palace. I walked
around it, but it had no doors. No one could get in. If any one were
inside, he could not get out. I heard weeping inside the palace. It
seemed to tear my heart. I recognised the weeping?--[She passes her
hand over her eyes, looks at the statue a long time, walks away from it,
looks back at it once more, and goes out. In the doorway she encounters
Hadda, looks at her, pats her cheek, and disappears.]

HADDA PADDA [enters with a water jug in her hand, walks up to a flower
in the window].

INGOLF [enters and steals up to her].

INGOLF. Now I know the secret. You are going with me to Copenhagen.
Hadda Padda, Hadda Padda, I love you! Let me sing to you. [He takes both
her hands and while he sings, wild with joy, she hums the tune.]

     You shall stand upon my skis,
     In a mad precipitation
     We, together, cleave the breeze:
     We will,
     My daffodil!

     To the place where we'll abide
     On my white horse you'll be riding:
     Clouds of dust the moon will hide--
     They will,
     My daffodil!

[He lifts her in his arms. The sun is shining through the window and
lights up the room.]

HADDA PADDA [stretches her arms toward the light]. It is as though I had
wings. [Turns round in his arms, and folds him in her embrace.] I will
fly to my happiness.

CURTAIN



ACT II


(The following summer. A drawing-room in the Sheriff's house. The
furniture old-fashioned and elaborate. On the left, a door leading to
the dining-room. Against the wall, in front, a piano. On the right,
under a window, a chaise-longue. In the back, an open window, through
which can be seen green meadows, rising to a plateau, over the edge of
which roars a water-fall. At the horizon, deep blue mountains. Bright
sunshine, a hot summer's day.)

(In the middle of the room, around a table, set for coffee, the Sheriff
and Lady Margaret, Olof and Steindor, Ingolf, Hrafnhild and Kristrun are
sitting. The children, Little Skuli, Sigga, Doddi and Magga are seated
at a small table near the window.)

OLOF [to the children]. You may go out now, children.

THE CHILDREN [rise].

SIGGA [To Olof]. Mother, when may we go berry-picking with Hadda Padda?

HADDA PADDA [smiles at the children]. We'll go next Sunday.

OLOF. Now go out and play! It's such lovely weather!

STEINDOR. And you may build your little play-house, but not in the part
that isn't mowed.

SKULI. Come along, children!

DODDI. Come along! [The children go out.]

HADDA PADDA. I had a letter from my friend Helga to-day. She writes she
is coming to see me for the week-end.

THE SHERIFF. We expect quite a few people over the week-end. I had a
letter from Arni, the tourist guide, who says he'll be here with six
tourists next Sunday.

STEINDOR. How are we going to accommodate all these people?

LADY MARGARET. Yes, it is true, every summer we have more and more
guests. But, what difference does it make--The rooms of Breidabol are
still large enough.

OLOF [to Steindor]. You can room with Ingolf for the present. [To
Hadda.] And I'll move in with you. Then we'll have an extra room.

THE SHERIFF. My, but will you really be here three weeks to-morrow? It's
so good to have both sisters at the same time. You haven't been here
together since you were tiny little tots--just so high!

KRISTRUN. I would have been here last year, if I hadn't been sick.

THE SHERIFF.... Well, let's not lose any more time, [Gets up] Steindor,
we are behind in our work. [They go out. Then all get up. Ingolf goes
over to the arm-chair near the window, and sits down.]

LADY MARGARET [going out]. Will you clear the table, Olla dear.

HADDA PADDA [assists Olof]. Shall we all go for a walk now? It's a
glorious day!

OLOF [taking the coffee things into the dining-room]. Yes, I just have
some time to spare.

KRISTRUN. I'm not going out again, I've just come in.

HADDA PADDA [taking Ingolf's hand]. You look so tired to-day.... Shall
we go?

INGOLF. It's cooler indoors.

HADDA PADDA [in the same tone, as if she had not addressed Ingolf].
Olof, shall we go?

OLOF. Yes, Hadda dear. [Takes her arm--they go. Ingolf leans back in the
arm-chair and closes his eyes.]

KRISTRUN [jumps on top of the chaise-longue, swings her arms crying].
Ingolf! Ride me pickaback! Right now! [Ingolf looks at her, smiling,
casts a glance at the door and through the window, as he approaches the
chaise-longue. Kristrun sits gracefully down on his shoulder. Her dress
is drawn rather tightly, so that one of her legs shows. He takes hold of
her leg to support her, and starts walking around the table.]

KRISTRUN [raises her head and looks into his eyes]. Will you be a good
boy and take hold above the dress. [Lets go, and raises herself.] You
silly boy, do you think you may hold me by my leg?

INGOLF. Well--I don't want to hold you by your leg!

KRISTRUN [grasps him around the shoulder]. You silly boy! Do you think
you can lower your shoulder! I'm falling, I'm falling, hold on to my
leg! [Ingolf walks on. They hear footsteps.]

KRISTRUN [about to spring down]. Somebody's coming! Oh, it's only the
children. [Doddi and Skuli appear in the doorway.]

DODDI. Isn't father here? [The boys begin to laugh.]

KRISTRUN [clicks with her tongue]. There!--Now my horse must run!--Now
run, my colt! [Strokes his hair.] If he is spirited, I'll call him
Goldmane!--Ge-yap! Ge-yap!... He doesn't want to be called Goldmane?
Skuli, hand me my whip, in the corner there, right by the sideboard.
[Points into the dining-room.]

LITTLE SKULI. To beat Ingolf! No indeed!

KRISTRUN. Doddi dear, you do it! [Doddi runs for the whip, and gives it
to her. She swings the whip around, so that it whizzes in the air.
As Ingolf passes the piano, she runs the knob of the whip along the
key-board.]

LITTLE SKULI. Let's go, Doddi. [They go out.]

KRISTRUN. Are you tired?

INGOLF. I seem to feel lighter, in holding you on my shoulder.

KRISTRUN. Hf--! Lighter?

INGOLF. Yes, certainly!

KRISTRUN. Hf--! In carrying me?

INGOLF. In feeling the weight of your body. In that way, I could bear
you to the end of the world.

KRISTRUN [hops down, looks straight into his eyes]. Really now, I refuse
to listen to such foolishness.... Only look kindly at me once, instead
of bearing me to the end of the world. [Sits down.]

INGOLF. Kindly!--Kristrun, do I deserve the cruelty you have shown
me these last days.--Every moment of the day you have felt my soul
streaming out to you, yet you choose the most common terms to describe
my feelings, and pretend not to recognize them. I have been inventing
new pet-names for you all the time, so that no one should have as pretty
a name as you, so that you should have a prettier name to-day than you
had yesterday. You pretend not to hear them. I have shown you every
tenderness, but by your pretence you keep it at sword's length from
you. You have been torturing me in this way now for three days.... Look
kindly at you! Why, every time I look at you, you see my eyes shine
through a tear-filled dimness...

KRISTRUN. Have you seen it in the glass?

INGOLF [keeps silent for a while, bites his lips, turns away from her].
Some women should not be allowed to be pretty.

KRISTRUN [laughs, dangling her foot]. Quite right. But men in turn,
ought to be obliged to be handsome--otherwise they are disgusting.

INGOLF. Kristrun! Is it quite impossible to talk seriously with you? Is
there nothing so sacred to you that you wouldn't ridicule it?

KRISTRUN. Well--?

INGOLF. No, I suppose there is not.

KRISTRUN.... Perhaps more than you think.

INGOLF. Why do you let me suffer, then? Haven't I confessed my love to
you?

KRISTRUN. No, you haven't.

INGOLF [sits down at her side. While he speaks she sits erect in the
chair, her hands folded in her lap, her head raised. A bright smile
plays on her half-open lips. It is as if she were listening to a
beautiful tale]. Are you waiting for me to say just the words: I love
you! Weren't there moments when I made a greater confession, when
one sigh, one glance, told you more than these words? But you are not
satisfied with hearing a love like the fluttering of wings in the dead
of night, you want to hear it sound like a clarion call in your ears: I
love you, I love you! ... To-day I saw you standing at the piano, there;
each feature in your face was in repose, each move blended softly into
fine lines. I saw you as one of those works of art of an ancient master,
which could lure the infidel to believe in the resurrection of the body.
What was my surprise, when I saw you move, and walk across the floor!...
Even your dress, altering its folds with the rhythm of your step,
becomes mysterious, like the sea--floating, as it were, with life
itself.... Only that fleeting sparkle from your eyes as you roll them
upward... Or when you are lying down, and you stretch your foot out--so
supple, that the tension on your arch makes your instep seem higher...
And then your everlasting vivacity: when you laugh, the air seems to
float with tiny fairies ... I love you, Kristrun, only you, you, you.
[Kristrun still gazes into space, dreamily. Ingolf reaches hesitatingly
for her hand; discreetly, she withdraws it.]

INGOLF [gets up]. Did you lie to me, Kristrun? The other night, when I
told you, without speaking, for the first time, just as plainly as now
with words, that I loved you: we heard footsteps, you ran away, you
turned around and kissed me, and disappeared--did this sweet kiss then
lie, was it only a moment's impulse that played with a sacred feeling?

KRISTRUN. It was not, Ingolf.

INGOLF. But--?

KRISTRUN. It was a moment's impulse that played with a moment's impulse.

INGOLF. Perhaps for you, but not for me.

KRISTRUN. I thought your silent confession that evening was sincere.
The next day, I overheard a conversation between you and Hrafnhild, you
didn't know I was there. Perhaps she has noticed the change in you. She
used her voice, her intelligence, her beauty, her whole appeal, to get
your caresses. And she got them, many and warm.

INGOLF. You yourself say that I have changed. You yourself say that I
love you.

KRISTRUN. I myself say that you must choose between us.

INGOLF. My heart has chosen, Kristrun. And now my hand chooses. [He
slowly takes the ring off his finger.] Are you satisfied now?

KRISTRUN. Why do you ask so sadly? Do you do this half-heartedly? ... I
don't know whether I can trust you. Only yesterday, when she called you
away from me, my heart throbbed with joy. The air about me sang: It is
you he loves! But after a while, when she came out, she passed me with a
look of supremacy in her eyes. I saw it, I saw it... you are completely
in her power.

INGOLF. Before the sun sets to-night, you will have to take back those
words.

KRISTRUN. I fear the strength of her words when she pleads her own
cause. It is as though she could charm you into her power by some magic.
Do you know what she did yesterday? She came up to me afterwards, and
tried to arouse my anger, and so sure was she of her victory, that she
gloried in it. She said that I could flirt with any one I wanted--she
held the love of the finest man in Iceland.

INGOLF. Now do you think she said it because she was so sure?

KRISTRUN [does not answer]. "SHE held the love of the finest man in
Iceland!..." Do you love me, Ingolf?

INGOLF. You don't need to ask, Kristrun.

KRISTRUN. Do you love me?

INGOLF. I love you.

KRISTRUN [runs to the chaise-longue, and throws herself upon it; she
sobs audibly].

INGOLF. What is the matter with you, Kristrun?

KRISTRUN. Why don't you take me in your arms?

INGOLF. Now I am--Do you still doubt? I lived behind a dark, dark wall.
Through a crack in the wall a streak of light came in. I loved this
streak. Then one day the wall tumbled down, and I bathed in a white sea
of sunshine. Now I see that I only cared for Hrafnhild because of the
natural likeness between you.

KRISTRUN. Do you think I would ever have let you suspect that I cared
for you, if I did not know that you had stopped loving Hrafnhild. I
began to care for you a long time ago, Ingolf. When I saw how happy
Hrafnhild was, it seemed to dawn upon me how splendid you are. Every one
envied her. You can imagine how I tried to crush my love. But it grew
stronger each day,--it grew like a thorn into my heart. Yet, that did
not matter. As long as I knew you loved Hrafnhild, I felt a greater
obligation to my sister than to my love. But not any longer. Even were I
to sacrifice all now, what would she gain, since you don't care for her?

INGOLF. I'll try to break off our engagement as gently as possible.

KRISTRUN. You promised to do it, before the sun sets to-night.

INGOLF. Surely, when I tell her I don't love her, she won't try to hold
me any longer.

KRISTRUN [looks at him suspiciously. In order to evade her glance, he
bends over and takes her in his arms].

INGOLF. I will raise you, slowly and carefully, like a cup brimful of
intoxicating wine. [Kisses her a long time. Raises her up. They hear
footsteps outside, and listen.]

INGOLF. It is Hrafnhild. [Loosens his embrace.]

KRISTRUN [throws her arms around his neck, and clings to him]. Why don't
you want her to see?

INGOLF [trying to free himself]. You are not so heartless, Kristrun!

HADDA PADDA [opens the door. In her hand, she has a bouquet of violets,
freshly gathered. A subdued smile lights up her face. As soon as she
looks in, her features become distorted with horror. She takes half a
step backwards, holding her hand before her eyes, as if to ward off
a blow. A feeble cry, filled with pain, as if torn by force from the
throat is expressed in the word No!]

KRISTRUN. It is I you love! It is I you love!

INGOLF [tears himself away]. Let me talk to Hrafnhild alone.

Hadda Padda stands motionless in the doorway, so that Kristrun has to
pass her.

INGOLF. May I close the door and talk to you? [Hadda Padda moves within
the door frame, and leans against it.]

INGOLF. Hadda, you have seen now that I am no longer worthy of your
love.

HADDA PADDA. I have seen nothing. [Throws the bouquet on the table, and
sits down on the chaise-longue, with her face turned toward the window.]

INGOLF. Don't say that, Hrafnhild. Even forgiveness demands return, and
I cannot return yours.

HADDA PADDA [_Her whole frame trembling_].

INGOLF. I didn't think you could mistake my attitude these last few
days. [_Both keep silent._]

INGOLF. But now-? from to-day on, you must try to forget me.

HADDA PADDA [_gets up_]. Forget--? why should I forget my lover?

INGOLF. Because he cannot be your lover any longer.

HADDA PADDA. Yes, he _can_; he promised. He promised to love me all my
life.

INGOLF. He did not know what he promised.

HADDA PADDA [_sees Ingolf's hand without the ring, grasps it with
horror, whispers_]. What have you done?--Ingolf, it cannot be true. It
is not she you love. I saw you push her from you, when she clung
about your neck. Say she told you a lie, when she cried. Only say
something--say that suddenly an earthquake came, and she threw herself
in your arms from fear. I'll believe you.

INGOLF [_shakes his head._]

HADDA PADDA. Ingolf, how could you be so hard? [_Hides her face._] Any
other, any other--but _she!_ [_Weeps bitterly._]

INGOLF. It is not that, Hrafnhild. Now let us talk calmly. Even if you
could, would you continue to be tied to a man who does not love you any
longer?

HADDA PADDA. She has separated us. _She_ has caught you in the net of
her wantonness. You, too, Ingolf, you, too.... When I looked at you, you
could see my love in my eyes. But she, she looked at you through a
veil of wantonness, so that your imagination might create what it liked
behind it--? was that what attracted you? I gave you all that I had. She
took back with the left hand what she had given with her right--was that
what attracted you? Ingolf, do you value such a character? Don't you
know how she is? I know you think she loves you. So she has told them
all. Her love is a remorseless beast of prey. She does not even spare
her sister, though she knows you are the only man I ever loved. But she
MUST have this triumph--this one, too. Are you going to yield to it?

INGOLF. You are mistaken, Hrafnhild. It is not she who parts us. I feel
that even if she did not exist, I could no longer love you as before.

HADDA PADDA. Haven't I seen you in each other's arms? Had it been any
one else, Ingolf, any one else, I might have tried to bear it; but SHE,
in YOUR arms, that thought I cannot endure... I have no enemy but her.
The blood that flows in her veins deceives. It understands the secrets
of kinship, and knows what weapons can beat me.... She was but a little
girl when I saw the smile of the conqueror in her look, if she felt that
young men who called on us paid her greater attentions than me. But it
did not touch me. I was no rival. In my heart, there was only place for
you. Don't you see what life would be for me, should she triumph now,
too.

INGOLF [keeps silent.]

HADDA PADDA [kneels down, grasping his knee]. Ingolf, for nine years
have I run up the stairs at home, just as you did, on the day you went
away--two steps at a time.

INGOLF. Get up, Hrafnhild. [He moves a step nearer to the door. Hadda is
dragged along on her knees.]

HADDA PADDA [strokes her hand over his knee]. Ingolf, Ingolf,--

INGOLF [takes a step back]. Get up, Hrafnhild.

HADDA PADDA. Ingolf, I laid bare my love, to clothe yours. I did it, so
that no one could take you from me. Do you remember when I gave you
all a woman can give? The past closed behind me, and I was a different
being. I took your head in both my hands. "Now you must always be kind
to me," I said. "Always," you said. You are not kind to me now, Ingolf.
Had you not stripped me of the only support which a woman must have
to bear life alone, I might have been able to endure it. But you have
awakened passions hidden in me, from the very depths of my nature.
Whenever you were away, they cried out for you with voices like
children.

INGOLF. Stop, Hrafnhild. I gave you my word, it is true; but since I no
longer care for you, will you still hold me to an old promise that was
made when I loved you? HADDA PADDA [gets up]. Not an old one, Ingolf.
You aren't telling the truth now. [Pointing out of the window.] Is it
old, the water that flows down the river? Hasn't every day we have lived
together been a renewal of this promise?

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].

CURTAIN



ACT III


(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.)

(A little before the song ends, Hadda Padda enters from the left,
accompanied by the children. She wears a light summer dress with a
chiffon scarf thrown over her shoulders. The children have come prepared
to gather berries. One has a wooden box, one a coloured glass bottle
half filled with berries, etc. They stop to listen until the song is
finished.)

MAGGA. Who was singing?

HADDA PADDA. The summer guests down at the falls.--Well, children, hurry
now and gather your berries. We'll be going home soon. [Pointing to the
right.] See that hollow? There must be lots of berries in there. [Sits
down on a stone.]

SIGGA. Aren't you coming along with us, Hadda Padda?

HADDA PADDA. No, you bring your berries back to me.

SIGGA [turning the bottle over in her palm]. Do you want some?

HADDA PADDA [staying her off]. No, no--not now.

DODDI. Oh, Hadda! I'll gather the bluest berries for you.

LITTLE SKULI. When _I_ come back I'll bring you berries and flowers too.

MAGGA. You won't wait for us, Hadda Padda.

HADDA PADDA [_nodding assent--hand under cheek_]. No--no.

ALL THE CHILDREN. Aren't you going to wait for us?

HADDA PADDA [_with a start, recovering herself_]. Wait for you,
yes--yes, of course--do you think I would run away from you? I will
wait here till you come back. [_The children go off to the right. Hadda
remains seated for a moment, rises absent-mindedly, walks to and fro
thoughtfully, sometimes stumbling. Then she sits down again, hiding her
face in her hands._]

AN HERBORIST [_enters from the right. On her shoulder she is carrying
a canvas bag, half filled with herbs. She wears a knitted shawl and a
parti-colored kerchief on her head. In her hand, she holds a large knife
in a leather sheath_]. Good evening, young lady!

HADDA PADDA [_startled_]. Good evening, Arngerd!

HERBORIST [_putting the bag aside_]. I seemed to recognise one of the
sisters. It is you they call Hadda Padda.

HADDA PADDA. I came berrying with the children.

HERBORIST. I saw them down in the hollow.--It is lucky to visit the
falls to-night.--I heard the song.--What a beautiful day! [_Sits
down_]--Just look at the evening glow on that rock! [_Smiles._] Its
furrows seem like ruddy smiling lips!

HADDA PADDA [_looking up_]. Like bleeding wounds.

HERBORIST. Is the young lady in low spirits?

HADDA PADDA [_keeps silent_].

HERBORIST [_looking at the slope_]. What a host of blessed flowers! I'll
soon get my bag filled here. There are some of the right kind among them
I'm sure.

HADDA PADDA. That is a pretty bag you have.

HERBORIST. I thought it an insult to the flowers to put them in a coarse
sack, so I took my pillow case.

HADDA PADDA. Are there only flowers in it?

HERBORIST. They are healing plants.

HADDA PADDA. That's true. You heal with herbs.... You believe in their
power?

HERBORIST. I believe in a fact that cannot be doubted. And I am quite
sure that there is no disease that could not be healed by herbs, if
people knew enough about their mysteries.

HADDA PADDA. There are wounds, I suppose, that only death can heal.

HERBORIST [looking down into the bag, she takes out an herb]. I think
the young lady is very depressed, Shall I show her an herb that can heal
many ills?

HADDA PADDA. A lady-slipper?

HERBORIST. It is also called the love flower.... If you would gain a
man's heart you slip it under his pillow.

HADDA PADDA. Don't you see the ring on my finger? Don't you know my
sweetheart?

HERBORIST. Yes, certainly.--He was a handsome boy. [Plays with the bag,
as she hums.]:

"When love is the strongest, it leads to your fall, A maid's happy
longest, who heeds no man's call."

HADDA PADDA [drawing her scarf more closely around her]. Do you hear the
flies buzzing?

HERBORIST [looking deep down into the bag]. Yes.

HADDA PADDA. It is like the sound of a burning wick.

HERBORIST [does not hear].

HADDA PADDA. Now there is only one left.--It is buzzing around my bead.
[Putting her hand on the arm of the herborist.] Say something to me,
good healer.

HERBORIST. Pretty are her hands! Were they chapped or sore I would heal
them with yarrow ointment. [Taking up a yarrow.]

HADDA PADDA. Can that be done?

HERBORIST. Oh, yes, with finely cut yarrow, boiled in fresh new butter.
[_Puts the plant aside, picks up a dandelion._]

HADDA PADDA. What do you use the dandelion for?

HERBORIST. If the young lady had warts on her hands, I would rub them
with the milk of the dandelion, and the warts would vanish. [_Takes up a
new plant._]

HADDA PADDA. What do you call this flower?

HERBORIST. Doesn't she know the sun-dew? It is a cure for freckles.

HADDA PADDA [_taking the flower_]. Ah! I know this.--You cruel pretty
little flower! With your beauty you lure the insects to you. Then you
close on them, and kill them. You cruel pretty little flower! Do you
know my sister? [_Puts the sun-dew aside._]

HERBORIST [_holding a new plant in her hand_]. This is the grass of
Parnassus. It makes a good hair-ointment.--Pretty is the young lady's
hair.

HADDA PADDA. You have dug up all the flowers by the roots.

HERBORIST [_pointing to the knife_]. I cut them up by the roots. They
must not lose their power. They are all alive.--Shall I tell you more?

HADDA PADDA. Not now, thank you.

HERBORIST [_puts the flowers into the bag; points to the sky_]. Look how
red the clouds are!--I think we'll have fine weather to-morrow.

HADDA PADDA. Do you think so?

HERBORIST. Evening-glow means warm, morning-glow means storm.

HADDA PADDA [_is silent_].

HERBORIST. Why do you look at me so long?

HADDA PADDA. You have such a peaceful smile on your face. Are you always
so contented?

HERBORIST. I have no reason not to be.

HADDA PADDA. Have you never been discontented with life?

HERBORIST. Yes, when I deserved it. But when one is kind to every one,
life brings peace and happiness.

HADDA PADDA. Has kindness never taken revenge?

HERBORIST. Kindness does not take revenge. It is only evil that takes
revenge.

HADDA PADDA. Then you have been obedient to your fate?

HERBORIST. What I say is true, my girl. Life treats us as we deserve. We
cannot get rid of our past. Nature is a righteous judge.

HADDA PADDA. Nature is heartless and blind.

HERBORIST. Nature IS a righteous judge. I shall never forget something
that happened thirty years ago. I lived at the sea-shore then. One day,
when I was washing fish with some other girls, we saw a woman from the
farm take her child by the hand and lead her out to a jutting rock--when
the flood tide came it took her....

HADDA PADDA [looking up].

HERBORIST.... The case was brought before the judge. The mother insisted
that she had left the child on the ridge, and that it must have walked
down to the shore while she was gathering some dulse. Each of us had to
point out the spot where she had left the child, but the mother pointed
to the ridge. As she raised her three fingers to swear that it was true,
a wave rose, and out of it shot a white column of foam. It stretched
like an arm into the air--like an arm with three swearing fingers. The
sea itself swore against her.

HADDA PADDA [A cold shiver runs through her. She draws her scarf more
closely around her]. It is so strangely cold here.

HERBORIST. The sun is going down. I had better be going. [The bag
upsets, and some plants slip out.]

HADDA PADDA. The dandelion is slipping out of the bag. Grant the
dandelion its life.

HERBORIST. I can't grant the dandelion its life. Perhaps to-morrow a
mother will come with her little girl. "Rid her of her warts," she will
say, "for her hands are so fine."...

HADDA PADDA [takes the dandelion in her hands]. Grant the dandelion its
life. Do you see how it stretches its thousand delicate fingers to the
fading light? If you plant it again, it will close up and be silent a
whole night with joy.

HERBORIST. You are silent and you don't smile--is it with joy?

HADDA PADDA. You must not ask me that.

HERBORIST. Smile, and I will grant the dandelion its life.

HADDA PADDA. Now I am smiling.

HERBORIST [thrusts her hand into the bag]. Tell me of your joy, young
woman. Each time you give an answer you grant a flower its life.--

Of all things,--what is the softest you have ever felt?

HADDA PADDA. The hair on my cheek when my lover stroked it.

HERBORIST [taking a plant from the bag]. Now you have granted the yarrow
its life.--Tell me of your joy, young woman. What made your hand so
pretty?

HADDA PADDA. Happiness made my hand so pretty. It has smoothed back the
hair from the most beautiful forehead.

HERBORIST [taking out another plant]. Now you have granted the catch-fly
its life.--What cast the shade of sorrow in your eyes?

HADDA PADDA. Now you are not asking me of joy. Now I will not answer.

HERBORIST [shows her a new plant, fondling the flower]. Why shall the
violet die?

HADDA PADDA. Do not ask me why the violet shall die.... I want to be
alone.

HERBORIST [gets up, puts the bag on her shoulder, takes the knife and
flowers]. God bless thee, young woman! The Lord be with thee, Hadda
Padda. [Disappears to the left.]

[The sun sets behind the mountains and twilight gradually descends.
Hadda Padda sits gazing into space. Suddenly she is startled by voices,
and she disappears into the bushes. Native and foreign tourists come
from behind the rock, two by two, crossing the stage, conversing. German
and French are heard. Behind them all, comes]

A YOUNG WOMAN [waiting till the others are gone, she calls]. Hadda
Padda!... Hadda!... Hrafnhild! [She shades her eyes with her hand.]
There they are! [Goes out to the right.]

[Ingolf and Kristrun enter from behind the rock.]

INGOLF [stops]. Look, there are the children gathering berries. ... Do
you see Hrafnhild?

KRISTRUN. No, but I see Helga walking toward them.

INGOLF. I wonder if Hrafnhild is down in the hollow?

KRISTRUN. Perhaps she is.

INGOLF. We won't pass there then. Let's rest here for a moment. [Sits
down.]

KRISTRUN. You act as if Hrafnhild were still your sweetheart.

INGOLF. What do you mean?

KRISTRUN. I thought you wanted to show me the greater consideration. But
it is quite the contrary. Sometimes you are positively hard to me, just
to spare Hrafnhild every conceivable annoyance.

INGOLF. Do you remember the day after--. When she walked around trying
to smile to every one. She was like a sick butterfly. You didn't
complain then that I was too considerate to her.

KRISTRUN [disregarding his remark]. You and she--you wear the rings--you
are the lovers in every one's opinion! And I have to endure it.

INGOLF. You gave your consent for us to wear the rings till we leave
here.

KRISTRUN. My consent, yes! If it is a consent that you made me pity her.
I don't think she needs any pity now.

INGOLF. Yes, it is very strange,--to-day, to-day and yesterday she has
been tingling with joy.

KRISTRUN [sitting down]. Now you can see how deeply her love touched
her. After ONE week she's as though nothing had ever happened.

INGOLF. Hrafnhild is proud by nature. She would never let it be seen
that an unfortunate love affair could make her miserable.

KRISTRUN. Yes, SHE is proud by nature, she is everything fine.--And I--I
am nothing. [Tears in her eyes.]

INGOLF. You are the loveliest woman in the world. [Embraces her.]

HADDA PADDA [appears between the bushes, seeing them she stops an
instant, then goes toward them]. I didn't know you were here.

INGOLF [gets up]. We have just come from the falls.

HADDA PADDA. And I was just gathering berries. Aren't my lips blue?...
Why are you so silent, Runa, dear?

KRISTRUN [does not answer].

HADDA PADDA [in a changed voice]. I am going away to-morrow.

INGOLF. Going away to-morrow?

KRISTRUN. Going away--?

HADDA PADDA. I leave to-morrow. I'm going with Helga.--Let us part
friends.--I have only one thing to say to you before I go.

INGOLF. What is that?

HADDA PADDA. You may feel safe now. I won't be the shadow in your sunny
path.... I don't love you any longer, Ingolf. [Ingolf and Kristrun look
at her amazed.]

HADDA PADDA. Nor do I bear you a grudge... that is why I can tell you
this.

INGOLF. I always knew you were high-minded, Hrafnhild, but--

HADDA PADDA. And Runa, dear, won't we be the same friendly sisters we
have always been? [Strokes her hair.] Do you want to see that I love you
as much as ever? [Takes her hand.] Come, let me take you in my arms.

KRISTRUN [bursting into tears, she throws herself into Hadda's arms].
Hadda, dear--

HADDA PADDA [presses Kristrun violently to her breast].

KRISTRUN [throwing her head back]. Hadda, Hadda, you are hurting me!

HADDA PADDA [lets go of her--turns to Ingolf]. And now I would like to
speak to you for a moment. May I?

INGOLF. Yes, certainly.

HADDA PADDA, Oh, there's Helga. She is looking for me, Runa, dear, may I
say a few words to Ingolf? You meet Helga, and start for home with her,
won't you?

KRISTRUN. I'll do that, Hadda. [Hurries away.]

HADDA PADDA [sits down]. I think I have discovered that you don't really
enjoy your new happiness. That is why I want to talk to you.

INGOLF. You have told me all I want to hear.

HADDA PADDA [involuntarily frowning a moment]. It is strange how proud
the imagination can be, pretending to be a strong reality. If I had
really loved you at all, I would still. I do not. So long as you were
free, I made myself believe I had a certain claim to you. But once you
were engaged to any one else, the same thing would have happened?--I
should have forgotten you in a week.

INGOLF. You need not tell me this, I know it.

HADDA PADDA. What do you know?

INGOLF. I know that you deny your own heart for the sake of others.

HADDA PADDA. Now you think too highly of both of us. I am not so good
as you would make me, and it is not so difficult to forget you as you
imagine.--You won't believe that I have succeeded in forgetting you.
Won't you believe, either, that I have made every effort to do it?
The day before yesterday I locked myself in my room, and took out your
letters to see whether I could bear to read them. I wanted to test
myself,--you know I like to get to the very heart of things. Well, I
read letter after letter. It is a remarkable power that is given to a
trivial matter. If I had not read the letters, I might still have felt
unhappy, but I read and read with ever increasing calmness. I don't
believe my feelings. I go walking, searching for all the places where
the earth must be scorched with burning pleasures, in order to know
whether they enkindle memories so sacred that they can again inflame
me. Everything, everything, is extinguished. What is the matter, little
Hadda? Does everything leave you cold? Is this death perhaps? And a
mixed feeling of joy and pain seizes me, for this came so unexpected--it
came so unexpected--it came so unexpected--

INGOLF. What is the matter, Hrafnhild? Are you ill? You are so excited.
Why are you so eager to tell me all this?

HADDA PADDA. Because I don't want you to think I am making any
sacrifice. You think so, but I am not.

INGOLF. I understand.

HADDA PADDA. No, you don't understand. There was still one place where I
was afraid to go, because it meant more to me than any other. I grasped
my heart with fear, and there I seemed to find the place. It was the
Angelica Gorge,--where you had put your life in my hands. I was afraid
that if I went there, I would instantly lose the peace of mind I had
gained. But if I could not bear that, then this peace was nothing but
an illusion. I wanted to be sincere with myself--so I went up there last
night.

INGOLF. We saw you walking up the mountain.

HADDA PADDA. I lay down on the edge of the cliff and looked down into
the depth from which I had seen you come up. "Little heart," I said,
"try to be calm while I am tormenting you: Here it was that he raised
himself up on the rope _I_ held. Here it was that he showed me how well
he loved me." But instead of feeling pain, my whole frame quivered with
trembling joy. Here, too, I had conquered. Tears of gratitude came into
my eyes, I stretched myself farther out on the edge to make my tears of
joy fall into the chasm, down to the very bottom.--Do you see now that
I am not going to make a sacrifice. Now tell all this to Runa, for she
should know it too.

INGOLF [very much moved, throws himself at her feet]. When you have
risen I will kiss the ground your feet have marked.

HADDA PADDA. Then I shall never rise.... Don't lie down like that. Get
up, Ingolf, INGOLF. I will lie down and forget. Let me dream of death
for one moment.

HADDA PADDA. Death! You who are happy!

INGOLF. Death is not unhappiness.

HADDA PADDA. Come, sit down again. I will tell you what death is. Last
night I was only a hair's breadth away from it.

INGOLF [starts, terror stricken, he half arises]. What are you saying?

HADDA PADDA. When I lay there on the edge of the gorge, looking down,
something dazzlingly white flashed before my eyes. Quite instinctively I
reached out for it. It was as if my hands perceived what it was, before
my eyes had had time to make it clear to me. It was the string of pearls
which bad loosened from my hair. I reached for it without considering
how unsafely I was lying there, when suddenly I felt myself slipping
down. The sensation cannot be described. While my right hand reached for
the pearls which were dropping down into the gorge, my left caught hold
of the turf on the brink. I was losing my balance and nothing held me
up but a few blades of grass. I felt my heart in my throat, and a cold
perspiration over my whole body. Now the grass was giving way, now I
clawed my fingers down into the earth and dug my feet into it, but it
was too hard; I tried to press my knees down into the turf--nothing
helped, I was slipping. Life or death! To the right there was a stone.
I let go of the grass, and blindly swung my body to the right, my feet
slipped beyond the edge,--but my hands had caught hold of the stone.
When I got to the edge again, I lay in a stupour for a long time, and
I did not know whether I was at the bottom of the gorge or at the
top.--Never have I loved life as I do to-day.

INGOLF. How horrible! But what made you wear the pearls?

HADDA PADDA. It was foolish, but I don't know whether you can blame me.
One day, when I was almost melancholy, and I could not talk to anybody,
I was seized with an unconquerable home-sick feeling. I yearned for
mother, and felt how much I loved her. I took the pearls out and looked
at this precious heirloom, which she had given me. I fastened it in my
hair,--and immediately I felt better. That was why I wore them the nest
day too.

INGOLF. And now they lie at the bottom of the gorge!

HADDA PADDA. Yes.

INGOLF. What are you going to tell your mother?

HADDA PADDA. I won't tell her anything before I know whether they will
be found.

INGOLF. Have you asked any one to search for them?

HADDA PADDA. I just thought of asking Steindor, but I can hardly bring
myself to tell him,--if afterwards they should not be found.

INGOLF [A vague disquietude takes possession of him. He is silent for an
instant, then stares at Hadda, trying to read the influence of his words
upon her]. Well, you are going to-morrow, and the very next day I will
go down into the gorge and look for them.

HADDA PADDA. Will you really, Ingolf? And not tell Runa that I lost
them? Mother must not know that I have treated the pearls so carelessly.

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.

CURTAIN



ACT IV


(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.

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.

INGOLF. Where?

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?

HADDA PADDA [is heard calling, almost out of breath]. I wanted to catch
you before you went down. [Enters.] There was nobody else at home to
bring the spade, so I offered to do it.

INGOLF. Did you tell mother we were coming here?

HADDA PADDA. She asked. She saw you walk up the mountain. I told her you
had lost your diamond ring in the gorge, and you and Steindor were going
down to look for it.

INGOLF. Did she send you with the spade?

HADDA PADDA. No, she said, that if she had known it, she would have
asked you to take a spade along, and get some angelicas for the garden.
That is why I followed you. [Walks out and drives the spade in the
ground.] Have you been down already?

INGOLF. Yes, we have.

HADDA PADDA. Did you find your diamond ring?

INGOLF. We did not find your pearls.--Yes, I had to tell Steindor. I
went down first and searched very carefully; then I asked Steindor to go
down,--I thought he might have better luck.

STEINDOR. They will never be found.

HADDA PADDA. They MUST be found; they SHALL be found.

INGOLF [looks questioningly into her eyes]. Are you sure they did not
fall beyond that lowest rock? [Points in the direction.]

HADDA PADDA [eagerly, and returning his glance calmly]. No, no. I saw
them fall, just by the big stone. You haven't looked carefully enough.
It has really taken you no time at all.

INGOLF. I hunted for them everywhere, as if I were searching for a
needle.

STEINDOR. I can't search any better than I have.

HADDA PADDA. Then it is due to the fog. Probably I have to wait till
later... No, I can't go home without them.

STEINDOR. The fog is not so dense, that they couldn't be found on its
account. You can see all around, down in the gorge. Just look!

HADDA PADDA [walks out to the edge, looks down, turns round abruptly].
Did you search in the pool near the big stone? It might have fallen
there.

STEINDOR. I took a look at it, but I didn't see anything.

INGOLF. I would have seen them glitter in the water, if they were there.

HADDA PADDA. Glitter in the water! And the pool covered with duck-weed!
So that's how you searched!--Did you look all through the duck-weed, did
you fish it out of the pond, to see if the pearls were hidden in it?

INGOLF. No, I didn't do that.

STEINDOR. No, it may be possible--

HADDA PADDA. Yes, it is possible, to be sure. Hundreds of women might
have lost their pearls down there, without your having found them.

STEINDOR. No, I think you are the only one...

HADDA PADDA [turns quickly toward Ingolf]. What do you think mother will
say when she hears that I have lost the heirloom?--[Resolutely.] Men
never can find anything, men do not understand how to search. [Tears the
rope from Steindor.] I had better go down myself.

INGOLF. You don't really intend to go down?

HADDA PADDA [ties one end around her waist]. I intend to do what I can
to find my lost treasure again. STEINDOR. You will not go far, I think,
before you ask us to pull you up.

HADDA PADDA. I have been lowered into this gorge before.

INGOLF [takes the loose end]. I forbid you to go down, Hrafnhild.

HADDA PADDA. You forbid me?... I forbid you to touch this rope. Or,
shall we see who is stronger? [pulls the rope.]

INGOLF [coming nearer to her, he lets the rope slip] I know what you are
thinking, Hrafnhild. You want us to go down again, and you know this is
the only way you can get us to do it.

HADDA PADDA. Do you think I am afraid to go down? It would only give
me joy. And if you didn't find the pearls, when you looked for them the
second time, I would go down, anyhow. I would never be at rest until
I had searched myself. (Ingolf lets go of the rope, takes Steindor
aside--he nods. They both look at Hrafnhild while she fastens the rope
around her waist more securely.)

INGOLF. What are you going to do now?

HADDA PADDA (having finished tying the knot, holds the rope out to
them). Will you hold the rope while I go down?

INGOLF. No, I won't.

STEINDOR. I won't either.

HADDA PADDA (bites her lips, stares at the men). Go on home! (Starts to
wind up the rope.) I don't need you. You think I can't do without you?
You think the mountain hasn't stones heavy enough to keep me up? (Runs
away, and disappears toward the mountain.)

INGOLF. I don't remember exactly--it's quite impossible to enter the
gorge from below, isn't it?

STEINDOR. So far, only the birds have that privilege. It's a headlong
precipice on three sides!

INGOLF. I won't let Hrafnhild go down.

STEINDOR. She says she has gone down in the gorge before. Is that true?

INGOLF (nods reluctantly). Yes.

STEINDOR. When was that?

INGOLF. Last summer.

STEINDOR. Did you hold the rope?

INGOLF. I did.

STEINDOR. Well, then I don't know what you are afraid of.

INGOLF. It seems strange that Hrafnhild should come up here.

STEINDOR. She came with the spade.

INGOLF. It seems strange we didn't find the pearls, if they were in the
gorge.

STEINDOR. She'll be lucky if they are ever found.

INGOLF. It seems strange that she dropped them. When I saw that she
herself was coming here, it flashed across my mind, that she hadn't
dropped the pearls in the gorge after all.

STEINDOR. I don't understand--what are you driving at? Do you think it
is something she invented? Why should she?

INGOLF. I am afraid to let her go down.

HADDA PADDA [enters with a large stone in her arms which she places on
the edge. She has the coil of rope thrown over her shoulder. Laughs].
So you haven't gone yet! [Takes the spade and starts to dig.] Don't you
think I can do without you now? I will dig a deep, deep hole. Then
I'll tie one end of the rope around the stone, and place it into the
hole.--Then I'll go and get more stones up in the mountain and pile them
up. You will see how well it will hold.

INGOLF [examining the stone]. So you think it will hold? Well--[Takes
the stone and flings it into the ravine.]

HADDA PADDA [smiling, she looks at Ingolf]. I shall take better care
next time. [Running away, Ingolf and Steindor look after her.]

STEINDOR. She is determined to go down.

INGOLF. I will offer to go down again. Let us both offer to go down.

STEINDOR. She said she would go down anyhow, if we didn't find the
pearls.

INGOLF. Just look how fast she is running! She is holding her hand to
her breast.

STEINDOR. Now she is stopping... She is lifting a stone... Now she has
thrown it away.

INGOLF. She runs without stopping.

STEINDOR. Now she has found a new stone.

INGOLF. She is bending over it. What is she doing?

STEINDOR. She is tying the rope around it. She won't let you hurl this
one over.

INGOLF. She is lifting the stone, and carrying it in her arms.

STEINDOR. She is strong, Hrafnhild is. Now she is running with it.

INGOLF. See how the earth is slipping from under her feet. See how the
pebbles pursue her! She is running away from them with the big stone.
She is holding it in her arms as if it were a child she were rescuing.

HADDA PADDA [enters, carrying the stone which she cautiously places
on the edge. Smiles]. You haven't gone yet! What are you waiting for?
[Takes the spade, and starts to deepen the hole.]

INGOLF. Steindor and I will go down for you. We will search as
thoroughly as possible.

HADDA PADDA. You are kind. But now I will let nothing prevent me from
going down. Had you offered to do so before, I would have accepted; but
when you say you forbid me to go down, I intend to go. [Steindor walks
restlessly near the edge.]

INGOLF. You know that we can prevent you from going down.

HADDA PADDA. You can--how?

INGOLF. We can take the rope from you and go home.

HADDA PADDA. Yes--you can do that. [Turns away.]

INGOLF. What would you do then?

HADDA PADDA [in same position]. Go home and get another rope.

INGOLF. Don't be so obstinate, Hrafnhild.

HADDA PADDA [in a low voice]. Why don't you call me by my pretty name
any more? We aren't enemies. Promise to call me Hadda Padda always. When
I leave to-day, when I mount my horse, and ride away, wave your hat to
me and call: Good-bye, Hadda Padda.

INGOLF. Are you determined to go to-day?

HADDA PADDA. Determined. [Rolls the stone into the hole, takes it up
again, and digs deeper.]

INGOLF. You won't accept our offer?

HADDA PADDA. No, I won't.

INGOLF. Then stop your digging. It is useless.

HADDA PADDA [looks at him, puzzled].

INGOLF. You must understand that we will not stand by, and let you go
down with only a loose stone to hold you up.

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 Paddas--

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?

INGOLF. Yes.

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.

HADDA PADDA. The idea flashed upon me. That is why I called. I knew your
pride. But suddenly I grew nervous. I seemed so far from all human life.
Since you don't want Steindor to hold the rope, he must stand some place
where I can always see him. Steindor, stand where I can see you. Now
and then you'll call to me. You'll just call: Hadda Padda! and I will
answer: Yes. Then we will get word from each other. Here, on the edge,
you can see me--[points to the farther edge]--down there on the ledge, I
can see you perfectly.

INGOLF. Yes, do that, Steindor.

STEINDOR. Alright. [Goes there.]

HADDA PADDA. Why don't you place your feet in the hole, so that you will
sit more securely?

INGOLF. Are you afraid I'm sitting too near the edge?

HADDA PADDA [takes the end of the rope]. There is no knot on the end.
Fancy, if the rope slipped out of your hands. [Ties a knot in it.]

INGOLF. Why are you so frightened?

HADDA PADDA. I don't know....It wasn't fair to prevent Steindor from
holding the rope with you.

INGOLF. If you are so afraid, of course we will both hold the rope.

HADDA PADDA. I don't know....Oh--no, hold it alone. I also want to see
some one, to see him stand there, and hear him call to me.

INGOLF. I prefer that.

HADDA PADDA. But now if it should slip from you--! If you open your hand
a hair's breadth too much, you will lose the rope! [She starts with a
shudder.]

INGOLF. I shall let the rope slide over my shoulder--will you be more at
ease then?



ACT V

HADDA PADDA. If you tie it around your waist, so that it will be
impossible for you to let go of me--then I will be at ease.

INGOLF (gazes intently at her, as if to penetrate the mysterious veil
which envelopes her manner, her words, and her actions. Suddenly he
grasps the end of the rope and ties it around his waist).

HADDA PADDA [sits down on the edge]. I nearly forgot the spade. I will
dig up an angelica, and take it along with me. (Disappears below the
edge. The rope slides for a time.)

INGOLF. You can see her, Steindor?

STEINDOR. She is like an expert rope-climber. She is keeping herself
from the rock with the spade.

INGOLF. Don't lose sight of her. Tell me how she is getting along.

STEINDOR. I am not anxious about her going down. Now she is about
passing the ledge. There, now you can let the rope slide quicker.

INGOLF. It is strange how the rope slides out of my hands. It is as if a
living worm were boring out through them.

STEINDOR (calls). Hadda Padda!

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Yes.

STEINDOR. She is flying down... Now the rope is turning... It is strange
to see some one else lowered down.

INGOLF. Is it still turning?

STEINDOR. Now it is turning to the other side.--Hadda Padda!

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA (just audible). Yes.

STEINDOR. Lower her faster, it amuses her. She waved her hand to me.

INGOLF. She waved her hand to you?

STEINDOR. Oh, she lost the spade.

INGOLF. She lost the spade! Didn't she throw it?

STEINDOR. I think she lost it.

Act IV

INGOLF. What is she doing now?

STEINDOR. I can't see.

INGOLF. Is she doing anything?--It isn't possible. Has she a long way
left? (Gives the rope as quickly as possible.)

STEINDOR. No.--Hadda Padda!

INGOLF. Now I don't hear her answer.

STEINDOR. Nor I. (Calls louder.) Hadda Padda! (Listens.)

INGOLF. Do you hear her answer?

STEINDOR. No... Yes, yes, now she has heard--she is waving--she is
waving with both hands.

INGOLF. Good--she is alright then.

STEINDOR. Now I think she is down!

INGOLF. The rope does not slacken--

STEINDOR. I don't see her moving any more.

INGOLF [as the rope slackens]. Well, now she is down! Do you see her?

STEINDOR. She just picked up the spade. Now she is going with it way
under the rock.

INGOLF (He holds the rope so loosely, that it runs freely through
his fingers). She evidently intends to dig up some angelica before
searching.

STEINDOR. The rope is dragging along with her, she has not untied it.

INGOLF. Do you see her?

STEINDOR. No.

INGOLF. Let us wait calmly. (Rests his chin in his palm.)

 INGOLF. Do you see her?

STEINDOR. No.

INGOLF. I wish she would come out soon.

INGOLF. Do you see her?

STEINDOR. No.

INGOLF. I can't understand what is keeping her so long.

STEINDOR. You couldn't expect her any sooner. (Peers down.) She has just
come from under the rock. She has an angelica with her.

INGOLF. She is jerking the rope--she jerked three times.

STEINDOR. She tied the spade and angelica to the rope. Pull it up!
(INGOLF pulls the rope up quickly.)

STEINDOR. Now she is going to look for the pearls.

INGOLF (The fear and anxiety seen on his face all this time give place
to a more cheerful expression). Now we can be at ease. Who knows, maybe
she will find the pearls!

STEINDOR. She is searching in the pool. She is pulling out the
duck-weed.

INGOLF (draws the spade and angelica up over the edge, loosens the rope,
coils it up, and throws it down again).

STEINDOR. She is walking around the pool. Now she has turned her back
to me. I can't see--I think she is looking around... she is bending over
the pool.

INGOLF. Now I am at ease--

STEINDOR. Now she jumped up! She is raising her arms--she is waving the
pearls at me!

INGOLF. Bravo, bravo!

STEINDOR. It was just a piece of luck!--Now she is tying the rope around
herself.--

INGOLF. She just pulled,--now I'll be quick about it. (Starts pulling.)

STEINDOR (after a while). It looks as if she were sleeping on the rope.

INGOLF. What?

STEINDOR. Her body is relaxed... Should I call to her?

INGOLF. No, don't disturb her. I know the pleasure of cleaving the air
with closed eyes.

STEINDOR. Now she starts... now she seems to be at rest again. She is
crouching like one who is cold in bed.

INGOLF. Tell me when we reach the ledge.

STEINDOR. There isn't much left now. Aren't you tired pulling?

INGOLF. Not very.

STEINDOR (smiling). You will show your sweetheart how strong you are.

INGOLF. Aren't we at the ledge yet?

STEINDOR. Not quite.

INGOLF (pulling on).

STEINDOR. She looks strange now. She is grasping the rope firmly--she is
cringing. She looks like a spider winding her way up.

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Ingolf!

INGOLF. Well!

THE VOICE OP HADDA PADDA. I will rest on the ledge.

INGOLF (continues pulling). You will be up soon!

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. No, no, Ingolf! The rope is too tight.--You
must not pull like that.--The rope hurts me so under my breast. (The
rope relaxed; Ingolf stops pulling.)

STEINDOR (motions to him). You must hold the rope tight, so that she can
raise herself up to the ledge.--Well, now she is there!

INGOLF. What is she doing?

STEINDOR. She is sitting down... she is adjusting the rope around her
waist... or, what... yes, she has untied it.

THE VOICE OP HADDA PADDA. You need not stay here any longer, Steindor. I
am not afraid any more.

STEINDOR. I am very comfortable here.

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA (She is heard laughing). Shall I stone the
raven away from his nest? Beware, you blackbird! (A small stone flies
through the air, and falls down near Steindor. He starts.)

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Were you afraid of the stone?

STEINDOR. I think it an unnecessary joke!

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. Ha! Ha! Did you think I would stone you? It is
fun to scare you! Shall I try to hit you with the rope?--Ingolf, let
the rope go, please. I will try to hit Steindor with it--he is deathly
afraid.

STEINDOR (who now wants to show that he understands the joke). I wager
you won't reach me.

INGOLF. I bet she hits you.

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. I would have hit before, if the rope hadn't
been too short.

STEINDOR. No, you never would have done it--you have to aim better than
that!

THE VOICE OF HADDA PADDA. The rope was too short.

STEINDOR. It's easy to lengthen it. Ingolf! Give her full rope. Let us
see if she can hit me!

INGOLF (laughing). You must take care, Steindor! (He holds the rope
loosely in his hands. Gradually it is pulled down entirely, till it is
in a straight line with Ingolf's waist. Soon after the rope-end is seen
hitting against the edge, touching Steindor's foot.) THE VOICE OF HADDA
PADDA. Didn't it hit?

STEINDOR. Well, we can call it that.

INGOLF. You have to be careful, next time, Steindor!

STEINDOR. What! Won't you try any more? Are you tying the rope around
you?

INGOLF. Is she rested?

STEINDOR. She is tying the rope around her and is lowering herself down
under the ledge.

INGOLF (looks at him in astonishment). What are you saying?

STEINDOR. But why has she made the rope so taut? (He is amazed.)

INGOLF. What is the matter?

STEINDOR. Hadda Padda is standing on her head in the air.

INGOLF...?

STEINDOR. She is bracing her feet against the rock. Look out! (Ingolf
braces his feet against the sides of the hole. Steindor gets up.)

INGOLF. Stay where you are, and tell me--I'll raise her up in a moment,
[He pulls the rope with all his strength. A moment later he is dragged
prostrate, out to the edge.]

STEINDOR (runs to him, catching hold of him). Great God! Is she insane?
I wouldn't have suspected this.

INGOLF (in a low voice). Where does she get that strength from?

(The rope is pulled still more violently than before; they are both
dragged forward. Ingolf rolls on his back, using all his power to draw
up the rope.)

INGOLF. Loosen the rope, quick! Ill try to hold on. (Steindor hurries
to loosen the rope. While he is doing it, Ingolf struggles to hold fast.
Now he is holding his arms high up in the air, rope in hand; now his
arms are pulled down. Each time Steindor thinks he is on the verge of
giving up, he lets go of the rope, and catches hold of Ingolf.)

STEINDOR. Now it is free! (Supports Ingolf. The rope is once more pulled
so violently, that it is drawn through Ingolf's hands right up to the
knot. He holds on to the rope beyond the knot as for life, while they
are both dragged further forward.)

STEINDOR (frightened). You must let go of the rope. That's all you can
do. It is better that she falls alone, than that she drag both of us
with her. You must let go. Or I'll let go.

INGOLF (looking directly at him). Let go, then, you coward!

STEINDOR. Why did you want me to untie the rope, if you intend to make
her drag you down?

INGOLF (with icy calmness). Have you courage to hold me while I try to
get up? (Gets up.)

STEINDOR (still supporting him). She is probably exhausted, now.

INGOLF (starts to pull the rope up. He is bare-headed, his hat is lying
on the edge; his hair is wet with perspiration, which trickles down on
his face. The very shape of his head seems strangely altered.) Leave me,
Steindor, I am through with you.

STEINDOR. I won't stand here idle, and see you dragged into the chasm.

INGOLF. Get out of my sight, do you hear? Or you'll see what's in store
for you.

STEINDOR. She's mad, I tell you--she's mad. (Takes a few steps and
stops.)

Ingolf pulls the rope up, quickly, and firmly, with caution in each
grasp. Hadda Padda's white and beautiful hand appears above the edge of
the gorge, holding a large, shining knife, which cuts the rope.

HADDA PADDA (in falling). Ingolf!

INGOLF (is thrown back as the resistance is cut off; he jumps up; rushes
to the edge, crying with horror): Hadda Padda!

He gazes down into the gorge for a moment; his knees give way under him;
he stretches up his arms, uttering a terrible cry of horror.

Steindor approaches.

Ingolf looks down into the gorge. Listlessly, he lifts the hand which
holds the fragment of rope. His eyes are dim with tears which do not
fall. Through the moisture of the tears, he looks at the newly cut wound
in the rope.

CURTAIN





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