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Halla. I know all that.
Kari (sits down). When I come home to-night, I shall say that I have seen the tracks of a flock of sheep farther up in the hills than we usually go to look for them. I shall ask you for two horses. You won't refuse me them? (Halla shakes her head.) I shall say that I must start at once, this very night, before the tracks disappear. When I don't come back, they will think I have come across outlaws or have met with an accident.
Halla. And where shall you go?
Kari. To the mountain plain where the warm springs are. I lived there before I came to you.
Halla. How long will it take you to reach it?
Kari. Three days. It is about in the middle of the country.
Halla. And there you will build your hut?
Kari. No; last time I lived in a lava cave. I had brought with me some tools that my brother gave me, and I left them there. Something told me that I might need them again. (He is silent.)
Halla (taking his hand). You must tell me more, much more. I want to see the place where you will live (with a strange smile), so that I can come and visit you in my thoughts..
Kari. I forget what I have told you and what I have not told you. You may think that the hills are wild and forbidding, but that is not so at all. In the summer, when the sun is shining, they are beautiful. The glaciers lie like white untrodden land in a sea of sand, their lower rim flashing green and blue in the sunlight. When you come nearer, you see a chain of jagged sandhills like a dark surf, where the glacier and the sand waste meet. (He is silent again.
Halla has picked a flower and is pulling its petals.) Why are you doing that? What are you asking about?
Halla. You love me!
Kari. Do you need to ask a flower about that? (Rising.) Are you not the least bit sorry that we must part?
Halla (rising). Would it make it easier for you, if I were to whine and weep like a child ?
Kari. I don't know. (He is silent.) Yet you need not pity me. I am rich—I am king of the hills! The fire on my hearth never dies, day or night. The country is mine, as far as my eyes can reach. Mine are the glaciers that make the streams! When I get angry, they swell, and the stones gnash their teeth against the current. And I own a whole lake with a fleet of ice-ships and a choir of swans.
Halla. I never said that I pitied you.
Kari. But one thing you must promise me. You must not marry the bailiff.
Halla. But, dear man—
Kari. If you do, I shall come some night and kill you both, first him and then you.
Halla. Are you really jealous of the bailiff? He hates me.
Kari, Why should he be hounding me like a wild beast, if - it were not for your sake? I have never done him any harm.
Halla. I promise you that I shall never marry the bailiff. (Puts her arms around his neck and tries to draw him to her.) Kiss me, Kari!
Kari (gently pushing her away). My name is not Kari. From this day on my name is Eyvind—“Eyvind of the Hills,” they call me in the southland, my brother told me.
Halla. From my lips you shall never hear any other name than Kari. By that name I learned to love you. A man who is not loved has no name. (Takes his hands.)
Kari (in a sudden outburst, drawing her to him and kissing her forehead). God bless you, Halla! (With difficulty mastering his voice.) Now I am going to the fold. (Turns away from Halla.)
Halla (calling). Kari! (Kari turns back.) Must I ask you to marry me a second time? I thought we two were married.
Kari. So we are before God.
Halla. So far as I know, it is the custom that when a man moves from one place to another, he takes his wife with him.
Kari. Do you think there is anything in the world I would rather do than live with you? · Halla. Then ask me if I am willing.
Kari. Will you be my beloved wife and go with me through all suffering?
Halla. I will!
Kari. Will you take upon yourself half of my guilt and become an outcast like me?
Halla (exultantly). I will!
Kari. Will you face hunger and cold and all terrors for my sake?
Halla. Have you not always known that I would go with you? Could you believe me so low that I would keep you here with this dread hanging over you, if I had not meant to go with you? Every night I thought: To-morrow he will ask if you will go with him.
Kari. How beautiful you are! All the days we have had together live in your face!
Halla. Did you believe I could rest satisfied in thinking of you with the mountains between us? Then you don't know me yet. I will live! I will sail with you in your
white ships !
Enter Bjørn. Bjørn. Good day to you, Halla. I looked for you at the fold. It is a long time since we two neighbors have met.
Halla (confused). Yes, it is a long time.
Bjørn. Who sees to it that your sheep are taken out of the fold? Your cots seem to be standing empty.
Halla. Kari attends to that.
Bjørn (to Halla). I should like to have a few words with you.
Halla. We were just starting for the fold. Perhaps we could have our talk on the way up.
Bjørn. If it is the same to you, I prefer to stay here. It is a matter of some weight, which I do not care to discuss in the presence of your overseer or any one but yourself.
Halla (to Kari). Then you had better go up to the fold.
Kari. Don't forget to ask the bailiff if it is true that he has been rubbing his knee-joints with fat every night the whole summer through.
[Exit. Bjørn. He's bold enough, that fellow. It is well we shall soon be rid of him.
Halla (roused). And what was it you wanted to see me about?
Bjørn. We were both somewhat angry when we met last. Shall we let it be forgotten?
Halla (relieved). I thought perhaps you had got your letter from the southland with the proofs that you had been wrong in your suspicions.
Bjørn. Everything in good time. Did you say anything to him?
Halla. I told you I would n’t.
Bjørn. I might have known that, since he is still here. Do you think I am beginning to look old?
Halla (amazed). To me you look as you have always looked. (Watches him keenly.)
Bjørn. I admit you were right in some of the things you said to me when we met last, but we all have our failings, and since my mother died I have had no one who dared to speak plainly to me except you.
Halla. You may not often have wished to listen to others.
Bjørn. Perhaps you are right, but somehow there must be two different souls in every one of us.
Halla. Have you had a good hay crop this summer ?
Bjørn. Fairly good. At least I have enough for myself. Don't you understand what I want to say to you, or don't you want to understand?
Halla. You said that it was a matter of weight. That is all I know.
Bjørn. I am not skilled in fine words. Could you think of becoming my wife? (Halla laughs. Bjørn flushes.) Is that so laughable?
Halla. You can't be in earnest.
Bjørn. In dead earnest. I shall soon be forty-eight years old, but you are not a child any longer either, and we are of equal standing. If we two marry and make our farms into one, I think we should have to look outside of this parish for a finer property.
Halla. So we two should marry in order to join our farms?
Bjørn. I will not deny that I should like to see the boundary line gone between the two farms, but that is not the reason why I have made up my mind to ask you to marry me. It is not good for a man to be alone, and you are the only woman in this parish whom I could think of taking