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Enter Indridi from the direction of the tent. Indridi. Einar and Ljot are coming now. We could see them from the tent.

Sveinungi. Are they coming? (Goes toward the background.) Yes, Ljot has seen us; she is running.

Forunn. She must have thought we were buried under the ruins.

Sveinungi (looking). There is a third person with them. Who can it be?

Rannveig. So there is.
Indridi. I believe it's Sølvi.
Sveinungi. What business has he out there at night?
Indridi. It's hard to tell!

Sveinungi. I do hope that Ljot has not been talking to that fellow.

Enter Helgi from the direction of the tent. (Silence.)

Enter Ljot, running. Ljot (puts her arms around her mother). I was so frightened!

Jorunn. Were you frightened? You are quite out of breath with running.

Sveinungi (smiling). And have you no greeting for your father?

Ljot. Dear, dear father! (Embraces him.)
Sveinungi. You were glad when you saw us?

Ljot. I was so glad that I don't know yet what I am saying. I was afraid you had been caught under the ruins. I thought that was to be my punishment.

Sveinungi (stroking her hair). Have you done anything you should be punished for?

Ljot (taking his hand). Be fond of me, father! Be very, very fond of me!

Enter Einar and Sølvi. Einar. Thank God, you are safe! Then you had time to get out?

Jorunn. No, we were in there.

Ljot. Were you in there? (Goes to the ruins.) How weird it looks!

Sveinungi (goes to the ruins). It is only the one post that holds it all. If that had snapped, you would never have laid eyes on us again.

Einar (looks into the ruins). It's a miracle it did n’t break.

Jorunn. Yes, if it had not been God's will, we should not be here now.

Einar (turns from the ruins). It was not any too cheerful out on the hraun either. The place seemed suddenly to have become alive.

Sveinungi. What in the world made you go out there?

Einar. There was a Aock of ducks Aying over the hraun, and I wanted to try a shot at them.

Sveinungi (to Ljot). And why did you go with him?
Ljot. I was not with him. Sølvi and I stayed behind.

Sveinungi. Do you sit alone with a stranger in the middle of the night? (To Sølvi.) And you, why are you here at this time? I will not have you go hunting on my land without asking my leave.

Sølvi. I was not hunting on your land.

Sveinungi. But you are picking up stones, and I forbid you to take as much as a single pebble from my land. Now you know that.

Ljot. Why do you say that, father?

Sveinungi. You can go into the tent, Ljot. You have nothing to do here.

Ljot. I have something to say to you.

Sveinungi. What is it? (Ljot is silent. To the Servants.) You can go. To-morrow I shall have a talk with you, Einar, which you will remember.

Einar. It was not my fault.

Sveinungi (to the Servants). Go! What are you waiting for?

[Exeunt Servants. Sveinungi (to Ljot). Now, what is it you have to say to me?

Sølvi. I have come here to ask for the hand of your daughter.

Sveinungi. Has not my daughter told you that she is be-. trothed?

Ljot. I have told him everything. I never cared for Halfdan—you know that, father, and I will not be his wife.

Jorunn. Ljot, it has never happened yet that one of my kin has broken faith. If you do it, you will be the first.

Sveinungi. And you have not reckoned with your father. It does not lie altogether with yourself to break your word. Do you think you can make a fool of me? (To Sølvi.) It does not make you my son-in-law that you have trifled with my daughter.

Sølvi. It was no mere chance that we two found each other. Only for Ljot's sake have I stayed so long in these parts. I came here to-night to find out how you had fared; I could not help it.

Sveinungi. You feel proud that you have coaxed a young girl to break her word. You think yourself very brave, and you have taken advantage of her when she was beside her

self with fear. You have come like a thief in the dead of night.

Sølvi. I love your daughter. There is nothing wrong in that, and I am proud and happy that she has given me her heart.

Sveinungi (to Ljot). So that is what you have done. I dare say you have met him before and more than once behind my back.

Ljot. Not once.

Sveinungi. And straightway you are ready to break your word. You knew that Halfdan's father is the best friend I have.

Ljot. You must forgive me, father!

Sveinungi. And you knew I had sent him word that everything was settled.

Ljot (takes his hand). Do you remember, father, when I was so little that I had to put my arms around your knee? Then you never said no when I asked you for anything. I am still your little girl.

Sveinungi. Let me go!

Ljot. You do care for me, father. I know of no one who has been so good to me as you. You have given me everything that I call my own. You must give me my happiness!

Sveinungi. Let go my hand!

Jorunn. I understand that Sølvi is very dear to you, my child, but this comes upon us unawares, and it has been a terrible night for us all. (To Sølvi.) Could you not have waited before speaking to Sveinungi?

Sølvi. I cannot help it that it has come in this way. I would have waited if I could.

Forunn. I might perhaps have seen my way to put in a good word for you two. (TO Sveinungi.) You won't be hard

on your daughter! If we had been lying under the ruins now, she would have had no need to ask us. To-night we must not be merciless.

Sveinungi. Who is this man? I don't know him, nor do I know his people.

Sølvi. My father was a farmer like yourself. Had he been living, you two might have become friends.

Sveinungi (interrupting). The only thing I know about you is that you go about picking up stones like the children.

Sølvi. You speak slightingly of my stones, but the knowledge I gain from them can bring me more money than you ever made on your farm, and it can bring me fame.

Sveinungi. What kind of knowledge is that?

Sølvi. Those stones teach me to know my country and how it has been built by fire and water and ice. They give me an opportunity of finding out new links in laws that are eternal and mightier than all mankind.

Sveinungi. Indeed! Since you are so passing wise, you ought to have told me days ago that a great earthquake would come to-night. That I could have understood; but it seems that you knew as little there as the rest of us. I believe old Jakobina is wiser than you.

Sølvi. I don't know how wise she is, but I do know of people who go through life as if they were blind. They may have been living in the same place all their lives, and yet they have never seen the landscape they live with — neither its beauty nor its peculiar character.

Sveinungi. They have n't? (Points toward the hraun.) I have been out there in a snowstorm so heavy that I could scarcely see a hand before me, and shall I tell you how I found my way? I knew where I was by feeling before me with my hands. (Laughs.) No, I have never seen the hraun!

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