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Title: Garman and Worse - A Norwegian Novel
Author: Kielland, Alexander Lange, 1849-1906
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Garman and Worse - A Norwegian Novel" ***

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GARMAN AND WORSE

A Norwegian Novel

by

ALEXANDER L. KIELLAND

Authorized Translation by W. W. Kettlewell

London, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1, Paternoster Square
Printed by William Clows and Sons, Limited, London and Beccles.

1885



CHAPTER I.


Nothing is so boundless as the sea, nothing so patient. On its broad
back it bears, like a good-natured elephant, the tiny mannikins which
tread the earth; and in its vast cool depths it has place for all mortal
woes. It is not true that the sea is faithless, for it has never
promised anything; without claim, without obligation, free, pure, and
genuine beats the mighty heart, the last sound one in an ailing world.
And while the mannikins strain their eyes over it, the sea sings its old
song. Many understand it scarce at all, but never two understand it in
the same manner, for the sea has a distinct word for each one that sets
himself face to face with it.

It smiles with green shining ripples to the barelegged urchin who
catches crabs; it breaks in blue billows against the ship, and sends the
fresh salt spray far in over the deck. Heavy leaden seas come rolling in
on the beach, and while the weary eye follows the long hoary breakers,
the stripes of foam wash up in sparkling curves over the even sand; and
in the hollow sound, when the billows roll over for the last time, there
is something of a hidden understanding--each thinks on his own life, and
bows his head towards the ocean as if it were a friend who knows it all
and keeps it fast.

But what the sea is for those who live along its strand none can ever
know, for they say nothing. They live all their life with face turned to
the ocean; the sea is their companion, their adviser, their friend and
their enemy, their inheritance and their churchyard. The relation
therefore remains a silent one, and the look which gazes over the sea
changes with its varying aspect, now comforting, now half fearful and
defiant. But take one of these shore-dwellers, and move him far landward
among the mountains, into the loveliest valley you can find; give him
the best food, and the softest bed. He will not touch your food, or
sleep in your bed, but without turning his head he will clamber from
hill to hill, until far off his eye catches something blue he knows, and
with swelling heart he gazes towards the little azure streak that shines
far away, until it grows into a blue glittering horizon; but he says
nothing.

People in the town often said to Richard Garman, "How can you endure
that lonely life out there in your lighthouse?" The old gentleman always
answered, "Well, you see, one never feels lonely by the sea when once
one has made its acquaintance; and besides, I have my little Madeleine."

And that was the feeling of his heart. The ten years he had passed out
there on the lonely coast were among the best of his life, and that life
had been wild and adventurous enough; so, whether he was now weary of
the world, or whether it was his little daughter, or whether it was the
sea that attracted him, or whether it was something of all three, he had
quieted down, and never once thought of leaving the lighthouse of
Bratvold. This was what no one could have credited; and when it was
rumoured that Richard Garman, the _attaché_, a son of the first
commercial family of the town, was seeking the simple post of
lighthouse-keeper, most people were inclined to laugh heartily at this
new fancy of "the mad student." "The mad student" was a nickname in the
town for Richard Garman, which was doubtless well earned; for although
he had been but little at home since he had grown to manhood, enough was
known of his wild and pleasure-seeking career to make folks regard him
with silent wonder.

To add to this, too, the visits he paid to his home were generally
coincident with some remarkable event or another. Thus it was when, as a
young student, he was present at his mother's funeral; and even more so
when he came at a break-neck pace from Paris to the death-bed of the old
Consul, in a costume and with an air which took away the breath of the
ladies, and caused confusion among the men. Since then Richard had been
but little seen. Rumour, however, was busy with him. At one time some
commercial traveller had seen him at Zinck's Hotel at Hamburg; now he
was living in a palace; and now the story was that he was existing in
the docks, and writing sailors' letters for a glass of beer.

One fine day Garman and Worse's heavy state carriage was seen on its way
to the quay. Inside sat the head of the firm, Consul C.F. Garman, and
his daughter Rachel, while little Gabriel, his younger son, was sitting
by the side of the coachman. An unbearable curiosity agitated the groups
on the quay.

The state carriage was seldom to be seen in the town, and now at this
very moment the Hamburg steamer was expected. At length an _employé_ of
the firm came to the carriage window, and, after a few irrelevant
remarks, ventured to ask who was coming.

"I am expecting my brother the _attaché_, and his daughter," answered
Consul Garman, while with a movement peculiar to himself he adjusted his
smoothly shaven chin in his stiff neckcloth.

This information increased the excitement. Richard Garman was coming,
"the mad student," "the _attaché_" as he was sometimes called; and with
a daughter, too! But how could they belong to each other? Could he ever
have been really married? It was hardly likely.

The steamer came. Consul Garman went on board, and returned shortly
after with his brother and a little dark-haired girl, who doubtless was
the daughter.

Richard Garman was soon recognized, although he had grown somewhat
stouter: but the upright, elegant bearing and the striking black
moustache were still the same; while the hair, though crisp and curling
as in the old days, was now slightly necked with grey at the temples. He
greeted them all with a friendly smile as he passed to the carriage, and
there was more than one lady who felt that the glance of his bright
brown eye rested smilingly on her for a moment.

The carriage rolled off through the town, and away down the long avenue
which led to the large family mansion of Sandsgaard.

The town gossipped itself nearly crazy, but without any satisfactory
result. The house of Garman took good care of its secrets.

So much was, however, clear: that Richard Garman had dissipated the
whole of his large fortune, or else he would never have consented to
come home and eat the bread of charity in his brother's house.

On the other hand, the relation between the brothers was, at least as
far as appearances went, a most cordial one. The Consul gave a grand
dinner, at which he drank his brother's health, adding at the same time
the hope that he might find himself happy in his old home.

There is nothing so irritating as a half-fulfilled scandal, and when
Richard Garman a short time afterwards calmly received the post of
lighthouse-keeper at Bratvold, and lived there year after year without a
sign of doing anything worthy of remark, each one in the little town
felt himself personally affronted, and it was a source of wonder to all
how little the Garmans seemed to realize what they owed to society.

As far as that went, Richard himself was not perfectly clear how it had
all come about; there was something about Christian Frederick he could
not understand. Whenever he met his brother, or even got a letter from
him, his whole nature seemed to change; things he would otherwise never
have thought of attempting appeared all at once quite easy, and he did
feats which afterwards caused him the greatest astonishment. When, in a
state of doubt and uncertainty, he wrote home for the last time, to beg
his brother to take charge of little Madeleine, his only thought was to
make an end of his wasted life, the sooner the better, directly his
daughter was placed in safety. But just then he happened to get a
remittance enclosed in an extraordinary letter, in which occurred
several puzzling business terms. There was something about
"liquidation," and closing up an account which required his presence,
and in the middle of it all there were certain expressions which seemed
to have stumbled accidentally into the commercial style. For instance,
in one place there was "brother of my boyhood;" and further on, "with
sincere wishes for brotherly companionship;" and finally, he read, in
the middle of a long involved sentence, "Dear Richard, don't lose
heart." This stirred Richard Garman into action: he made an effort, and
set off home. When he saw his brother come on board the steamer the
tears came to his eyes, and he was on the point of opening his arms to
embrace him. The Consul, however, held out his hand, and said quietly,
"Welcome, Richard! Where are your things?"

Since then nothing had been said about the letter; once only had Richard
Garman ventured to allude to it, when the Consul seemed to imagine that
he wished to settle up the accounts that were therein mentioned. Nothing
could have been further from the _attaché's_ thoughts, and he felt that
the bare idea was almost an injury. "Christian Frederick is a wonderful
man," thought Richard; "and what a man of business he is!"

One day Consul Garman said to his brother, "Shall we drive out to
Bratvold, and have a look at the new lighthouse?"

Richard was only too glad to go. From his earliest days he had loved the
lonely coast, with its long stretches of dark heather and sand, and the
vast open sea; the lighthouse also interested him greatly.

When the brothers got into the carriage again to drive back to the town,
the _attaché_ said, "Do you know, Christian Frederick, I can't imagine a
position more suitable to such a wreck as myself than that of
lighthouse-keeper out here."

"There is no reason you should not have it," answered his brother.

"Nonsense! How could it be managed?" answered Richard, as he knocked the
ashes off his cigar.

"Now listen, Richard," replied the Consul, quickly. "If there is a thing
I must find fault with you for, it is your want of self-reliance. Don't
you suppose that, with your gifts and attainments, you could get a far
higher post if you only chose to apply for it?"

"No; but, Christian Frederick--" exclaimed the _attaché_, regarding his
brother with astonishment.

"It's perfectly true," replied the Consul. "If you want the post, they
must give it to you; and if there should be any difficulty, I feel
pretty certain that a word from us to the authorities would soon settle
it."

The matter was thus concluded, and Richard Garman was appointed
lighthouse-keeper at Bratvold, either because of his gifts and
attainments or by reason of a timely word to the authorities. The very
sameness of his existence did the old cavalier good; the few duties he
had, he performed with the greatest diligence and exactitude.

He passed most of his spare time in smoking cigarettes, and looking out
to sea through the large telescope, which was mounted on a stand, and
which he had got as a present from Christian Frederick. He was truly
weary, and he could not but wonder how he had so long kept his taste for
the irregular life he had led in foreign lands. There was one thing that
even more excited his wonder, and that was how well he got on with his
income. To live on a hundred a year seemed to him nothing less than a
work of art, and yet he managed it. It must be acknowledged that he had
a small private income, but his brother always told him it was as good
as nothing; how much it was, and from what source it was really derived,
he never had an idea. It is true that there came each year a current
account from Garman and Worse, made out in the Consul's own hand, and he
also frequently got business letters from his brother; but neither the
one nor the other made things clearer to him. He signed his name to all
papers which were sent to him, in what appeared the proper place.
Sometimes he got a bill of exchange to execute, and this he did to the
best of his ability; but everything still remained to him in the same
state of darkness as before.

One thing, however, was certain: Richard got on capitally. He kept two
assistants for the lanterns; he had his riding horse Don Juan, and a
cart-horse as well. His cellar was well filled with wine; and he always
had a little ready money at hand, for which he had no immediate use.
Thus, when any one complained to him of the bad times, he recommended
them to come into the country; it was incredible how cheaply one could
live there.

In the ten years they had passed at Bratvold, Madeleine had grown to
womanhood, and had thriven beyond general expectation; and when she had
got quite at home in the language (her mother had been a Frenchwoman),
she soon got on the best of terms with all their neighbours. She did not
remain much in the house, but passed most of her time at the farmhouses,
or by the sea, or the little boat haven.

A whole regiment of governesses had attempted to teach Madeleine, but
the task was a difficult one; and when the governesses were ugly her
father could not abide them, and when one came who was pretty there were
other objections. Richard paid frequent visits to Sandsgaard, either on
Don Juan or in the Garmans' dogcart, which was sent to fetch him. The
chilly, old-fashioned house, and the reserved and polished manners of
its inmates, had made a repellant impression on Madeleine. For her
cousin Rachel, who was only a few years her elder, she had no liking.
She preferred, therefore, to remain at home, and her father was never
absent for more than a few days at a time. She spent most of her time on
the shore or in the neighbouring cottages, in the society of fishermen
and pilots. Merry and fearless as she was, these men were glad to take
her out in fine weather in their boats. She thus learnt to fish, to
handle a sail, or to distinguish the different craft by their rig.

Madeleine had one particular friend whose name was Per, who was three or
four years older than herself, and who lived in the cottage nearest to
the lighthouse. Per was tall and strongly built, with a crop of stiff,
sandy hair, and a big hand as hard as horn from constant rowing; his
eyes were small and keen, as is often seen among those who from their
childhood are in the habit of peering out to sea through rain and fog.

Per's father had been a widower, and Per his only child, but he managed
to get married again, and now the family increased year after year. The
neighbours were always urging Per to get his father to divide the
property with him, but Per preferred to wait the turn of events. The
longer he waited the more brothers and sisters he had to share with. His
friends laughed at him, and somebody one day called him "Wait Per," a
joke which caused great amusement at the time, and the nickname stuck to
him ever afterwards. Beyond this, Per was not a lad to be laughed at; he
was one of the most active boatmen of the community, and at the same
time the most peaceable creature on earth. He did not trouble to
distinguish himself, but he had a kind of natural love for work, and, as
he was afraid of nothing, the general feeling was that Per was a lad
that would get on.

The friendship between Per and Madeleine was very cordial on both sides.
At first some of the other young fellows tried to take her from him, but
one day it so happened that when she was out with Per, a fresh
north-westerly breeze sprang up. Per's boat and tackle were always of
the best, so that there was no real danger; but nevertheless her father,
who had seen the boat through the big telescope, came in all haste down
to the shore, and went out on to the little pier to meet them.

"There's father," said Madeleine; "I wonder if he is anxious about us?"

"I think he knows better than that," said Per, thoughtfully.

All the same the _attaché_ could not help feeling a little uneasy as he
stood watching the boat; but when Per with a steady hand steered her in
through the fairway, and swung her round the point of the pier, so that
she glided easily into the smooth water behind it, the old gentleman
could not help being impressed by his skill. "He knows what he's about,"
he muttered, as he helped up his daughter; and instead of the lecture he
had prepared, he only said, "You are a smart lad, Per; but I never gave
you permission to sail with her alone."

There was no one near enough to hear the old gentleman's words, but when
the spectators who were standing near saw that Per shook hands with both
Madeleine and her father in a friendly manner, they could all perceive
that Per was in the lighthouse-keeper's good books for the future, and
from that day it was taken for granted that Per alone had the right to
escort the young lady.

Per thought over and over whom he should take with him in the boat. He
saw well enough that the whole pleasure would be spoilt if one of his
friends came with them. At length he hit upon a poor half-witted lad,
who was also hard of hearing into the bargain. No one could make out
what Per wanted with "Silly Hans" in his boat; but there! Per always was
an obstinate fellow. Both he and Madeleine were well contented with his
choice; and when, a few days after, she put her head in at the door, and
called to her father, "I'm just going for a little sail with Per," she
was able to add with a good conscience, "Of course, he has got some one
with him, since you really make such a point of it." She could not help
laughing to herself as she ran down the slope.

Richard, in the mean time, betook himself to the big telescope. Right
enough: Per was sitting aft, and he saw Madeleine jump down into the
boat. On the forward thwart there sat a male creature, dressed in
homespun, with a yellow sou'wester on its head.

"_Bien!_" said the old gentleman, with a sigh of relief. "It is well
they have got some one with them--in every respect."



CHAPTER II.


The highest point on the seven miles of flat, sandy coast was the
headland of Bratvold, where the lighthouse was built just on the edge of
the slope, which here fell so steeply off towards the sea as to make the
descent difficult and almost dangerous, while in ascending it was
necessary to take a zigzag course. The sheep, which had grazed here from
time out of mind, had cut out a network of paths on the side of the
hill, so that from a distance these paths seemed to form a pattern of
curves and projections on its face.

From the highest and steepest point, on which the lighthouse was built,
the coast made a slight curve to the southward, and at the other end of
this curve was the large farm of Bratvold, which, with its numerous and
closely packed buildings, appeared like a small village.

On the shore below the farm lay the little boat harbour, sheltered by a
breakwater of heavy stone.

The harbour was commanded by the windows of the lighthouse, so that
Madeleine could always keep her eye on Per's boat, which was as familiar
to her as their own sitting-room. This was a large and cheerful room,
and into its corner was built the tower of the lighthouse itself, which
was not higher than the rest of the building. The room had thus two
windows, one of which looked out to sea, while from the other was a view
to the northward over the sandy dunes, which were dotted with patches of
heather and bent grass. In the sitting-room Madeleine's father had his
books and writing-table, and last, but not least, the large telescope.
This was made to turn on its stand, so that it commanded both the view
to the north and that out to sea. Here also Madeleine had her flowers
and her work-table; and the tasteful furniture which Uncle Garman had
ordered from Copenhagen, and which was always a miracle of cheapness to
her father, gave the room a bright and comfortable appearance.

In the long evenings when the winter storms came driving in on the
little lighthouse, father and daughter sat cosy and warm behind the
shelter of their thick walls and closed shutters, while the light fell
in regular and well-defined rays over the billows, which raged and
foamed on the shore below. The ever-changing ocean, which washed under
their very windows, seemed to give a freshness to their whole life,
while its never-ceasing murmur mingled in their conversation and their
laughter, and in her music.

Madeleine had inherited much of her father's lively nature; but she had
also a kind of impetuosity, which one of her governesses had called
defiance. When she grew up she showed, therefore, the stronger nature of
the two, and her father, as was his wont, gave way. He laughed at his
little tyrant, whose great delight was to ruffle his thick curling hair.
When, in his half-abstracted way, the old gentleman would tell her
stones which threatened to end unpleasantly, she would scold him well;
but when, from some cause or other, he was really displeased with her,
it affected her so much that the impression remained for a long time.
Her nature was bright and joyous, but she yearned for the sunshine, and
when her father was out of spirits she could not help fancying that it
was her fault, and became quite unhappy.

Madeleine had also her father's eyes, dark and sparkling, but otherwise
her only resemblance to him lay in her slight figure and graceful
carriage. Her mouth was rather large, and her complexion somewhat dark.
None could deny that she was an attractive girl, but no one would have
called her pretty; some of the young men had even decided that she was
plain.

One fine afternoon early in spring, Per lay waiting with his boat off
the point of the Mole. Silly Hans was not with him, for both he and
Madeleine had agreed that it was not necessary when they were going only
for a row; and to-day all there was to do was to provide the
lobster-pots with fresh bait for the night.

One after another the fishermen rowed out through the narrow entrance.
Each one had some mischievous joke to throw on board Per's boat, and
more than once the annoying "Wait" was heard. He began to lose his
temper as he lay on his oars, gazing expectantly up at the lighthouse.

But there all was still. The solid little building looked so quiet and
well cared for in the bright sunshine, which shone on the polished
window-panes and on the bright red top of the lantern, where he could
see the lamp-trimmer going round on his little gallery, polishing the
prisms.

At last, after what seemed endless waiting, she came out on to the
steps, and in another moment she was across the yard, over the enclosure
which belonged to the lighthouse, out through the little gate in the
fence, and now she came in full career down the slope. "Have you been
waiting?" she cried, as she came on to the extreme point of the
breakwater. He was just going to tell her not to jump, but it was too
late; without lessening her speed, she had already sprung from the pier
down into the boat. Her feet slipped from her, and she fell in a sitting
posture on the bottom of the boat, while part of her dress hung in the
water.

"Bother the women!" cried Per, who had told her at least a hundred times
not to jump; "now you have hurt yourself."

"No," answered she.

"Yes, you have."

"Well, just a little," she replied, looking stubbornly at him as the
tears came into her eyes; for she really had bruised her leg severely.

"Let me see," said Per.

"No, you shan't!" she answered, arranging her dress over her.

Per began to make for the shore.

"What are you going to do?"

"Going to get some brandy to rub your foot."

"That you certainly shan't."

"Well, then, you shan't go with me," answered Per.

"Very well, then; let me get out."

And before the boat quite touched the ground, she sprang on to the
shore, climbed on to the breakwater, and went hurriedly off homewards.
She clenched her teeth with the pain as she went, but still without
raising her eyes from the ground she followed the well-known path. As
she passed in front of the boat-houses, she had to step over oars,
tar-barrels, old swabs, and all sorts of rubbish, which was scattered
among the boats. All around lay the claws of crabs and the half-decayed
heads of codfish, in which the gorged and sleepy flies were crawling in
and out of the eye-sockets.

She reached the lighthouse without turning her head; she was determined
not to look back at him. At the top, however, she was obliged to pause
to get her breath; she surely might look and see how far he got.
Madeleine knew that the other fishermen had had a long start, and
expected, therefore, to find Per's boat far behind, between the others
and the shore. But it was not to be seen, neither there nor in the
harbour. All at once her eye caught the well-known craft, which was not,
however, far behind, but almost level with the others. Per must have
rowed like a madman. She was well able to estimate the distance, and
could appreciate such a feat of oarsmanship, and, entirely forgetting
her pain and that she was alone, she turned round as if to a crowd of
spectators, and pointing at the boats she said, with sparkling eyes,
"Look at him! that's the boy to row!"

Meanwhile Per sat in his boat, tearing at his oars till all cracked
again. It was as though he wished to punish himself by his gigantic
efforts. Her form grew smaller and smaller as he rowed out to sea, till
at length she was out of sight; but he had deserved it all. "Deuce take
the women!" and each time he repeated the words he sprang to his oars
and rowed as if for bare life.

The next day the same lovely weather continued, and the sea lay as
smooth as oil in the bright sunshine. An English lobster-cutter was in
the offing, with sails flapping against the mast, and the slack in the
taut rigging could be seen as the craft heaved lazily to and fro on the
gentle swell. Madeleine sat by the window; she did not care to go out.
Her eye followed the lobster-cutter, which she knew well: it was the
_Flying Fish_, Captain Crab, of Hull.

So Per must have been out with lobsters that morning: she wondered if he
had caught many. Perhaps he might have done himself harm by his efforts
of yesterday. She went out on to the slope, and looked down into the
harbour. Per's boat was there; it was quite likely he was not well.

Suddenly Madeleine made up her mind to run down and ask a man whom she
saw by the boat-houses, but half-way down the slope she met some one who
was coming upwards. She could not possibly have seen him sooner, because
he was below her at the steepest part of the hill, but now she
recognized him, and slackened her pace.

Per must also have seen her, although he was looking down, for at a few
paces from her he left the main path, and took one that was a little
lower. When therefore they were alongside each other, she was a little
above him. Per had a basket on his back, and Madeleine could see there
was seaweed in it.

Neither of them spoke, but both of them felt as if they were half
choking. When he had got a pace beyond her, she turned round and asked,
"What have you got in the basket, Per?"

"A lobster," answered he, as he swung the basket off his back and put it
down upon the path.

"Let me see it," said Madeleine.

He hastily drew aside the seaweed, and took out a gigantic lobster,
which was flapping its broad, scaly tail.

"That is a splendid great lobster!" she cried.

"Yes, it isn't a bad un!"

"What are you going to do with it?"

"Ask your father if he would like to have it."

"What do you want for it?" she asked, although she knew perfectly well
that it was a present.

"Nothing," answered Per, curtly.

"That is good of you, Per."

"Oh, it's nothing," he answered, as he laid the seaweed back in the
basket; and now, when the moment came to say good-bye, he said, "How's
your foot?"

"Thanks, all right. I got the brandy."

"Did it hurt much?" asked Per.

"No, not very much."

"I am glad you did that," he said, as he ventured to lift his eyes to
the level of her chin.

Now they really must separate, for there was nothing more to be said,
but Madeleine could not help thinking that Per was a helpless creature.

"Good-bye, Per."

"Good-bye," he answered, and both took a few steps apart.

"Per, where are you going when you have been up with the lobster?"

"Nowhere particular," answered Per.

He really was too stupid, but all the same she turned round and called
after him, "I am going to the sand-hills on the other side of the
lighthouse, the weather is so lovely;" and away she ran.

"All right," answered Per, springing like a cat up the slope.

As he ran he threw away the seaweed so as to have the lobster ready, and
when he got to the kitchen door he flung the monster down on the bench,
and cried, "This is for you!" as he disappeared. The maid had recognized
his voice, and ran after him to order fresh fish for Friday, but he was
already far away. She gazed after him in amazement, and muttered, "I
declare, I think Per is wrong in his head."

Northward stretched the yellow sand-hills with their tussocks of bent
grass as far as the eye could reach. The coast-line curved in bights and
promontories, with here and there a cluster of boats, while the gulls
and wild geese were busy on the shore, and the waves rolled in in small
curling ripples which glistened in the' clear sunshine. Per soon caught
up Madeleine, for she went slowly that day. She had pulled a few young
stalks of the grass, which, as she went, she was endeavouring to arrange
in her hat.

The difference of the preceding day hung heavily over both of them. It
was really the first time that anything of the sort had occurred between
them. Perhaps it was that they felt instinctively that they stood on the
brink of a precipice. They therefore took the greatest pains to avoid
the subject which really occupied their thoughts. The conversation was
thus carried on in a careless and desultory tone, and in short and
broken sentences. At last she made an effort to bring him to the point,
and asked him if he had caught many lobsters that night.

"Twenty-seven," answered Per.

That was neither many nor few, so there was no more to be said about
that.

"You did row hard yesterday," said she, looking down, for now she felt
that they were nearing the point.

"It was because--because I was alone in the boat," returned he,
stammering. He saw at once that it was a stupid remark, but it was said
and could not be mended.

"Perhaps you prefer to be alone in the boat?" she asked hastily, fixing
her eyes upon him. But when she saw the long helpless creature standing
before her in such a miserable state of confusion, strong and handsome
as he was, she sprang up, threw her arms round his neck, and said, half
laughing, half crying, "Oh, Per! Per!"

Per had not the faintest idea how he ought to behave when a lady had her
arms round his neck, and so stood perfectly still. He looked down upon
her long dark hair and slender figure, and, trembling at his own
audacity, he put his heavy arm limply round her.

They were now out on the dunes, and she sat down behind one of the
largest tussocks, on the warm sand. He ventured to place himself by her
side, and looked vacantly around him. Every now and then he cast his eye
upon her, but still doubtfully. It was clear that he did not grasp the
situation, and at length he appeared to her so absurd that she sprang
up, and cried, "Come, Per, let's have a run!"

Away they went, now running, now at a foot's pace. His heavy sea-boots
made a broad impression upon the sand, and the mark of her shoe looked
so tiny by the side of it that they could not help turning round and
laughing. They jested and laughed as if they knew not that they were no
longer children, and she made Per promise to give up chewing tobacco.

Away along the curving shore, with the salt breath of ocean fresh upon
them, went these young hearts, rejoicing in their existence, while the
sea danced in sparkling wavelets at their feet.

The _attaché_ had just finished a letter to his brother; it was one of
these wearisome business letters, enclosing some papers he had had to
sign. He never could make out where the proper place was for him to put
his name on these tiresome, long-winded documents. But, wonderful to
relate, his brother always told him that it was perfectly correct, and
Christian Frederick was most particular in such matters. The old
gentleman had just sent off the letter, and was beginning to breathe
more easily, when he went to the window and looked out. He discovered
two forms going in a northerly direction over the sand-hills.

Half abstractedly, he went to the other window and directed the large
telestope upon them.

"Humph!" said he, "I declare, they're there again."

Suddenly he took his eye from the telescope.

"Hulloa! the girl must be mad."

He put his eye down again to the telescope, and threw away his
cigarette. There was no doubt about it--there was his own Madeleine
hanging round Per's neck. He rubbed the glass excitedly with his
pocket-handkerchief. They were now going respectably enough side by
side; now they were among the grassy knolls, and behind one of them they
disappeared from his sight. He thoughtfully directed the telescope to
the other side of the hillock and waited. "What now?" muttered he,
giving the glass another rub. They had not yet come from behind the
hillock. For a few minutes the father was quite nervous. At last he saw
one form raise itself, and immediately after another.

The telescope was perfect, and the old gentleman took in the situation
just as well as if he had himself been sitting by their side.

"Ah! it's well it's no worse," he murmured; "but it's bad enough as it
is. I shall have to send her off to the town."

When they were at dinner, he said, "You know, Madeleine, we have long
been talking about your staying a little while at Sandsgaard."

"Oh no, father," broke in Madeleine, looking beseechingly at him.

"Yes, child; it's quite time now in my opinion." He spoke in an
unusually determined tone.

Madeleine could see that he knew everything, and all at once the events
of the morning stood in their true light before her. As she sat there,
in their well-appointed room, opposite her father, who looked so refined
and stately, Per and the shore, and everything that belonged to it, bore
quite a different aspect, and instead of the joyful confession she had
pictured to herself as she went homewards, she looked down in confusion
and blushed to the very roots of her hair.

The visit was thus arranged, and Madeleine was delighted that her father
had not observed her confusion; and he was glad enough to escape any
further explanation on the subject, for it was just in such matters that
the old gentleman showed his weakest point. The next day he rode into
the town.



CHAPTER III.


_"Avoir, avant, avu_--that's how it goes! That's right, my boy; _avoir,
avant_."

The whole class could see clearly that the master was lost in thought.
He was pacing up and down, with long steps and half-closed eyes,
gesticulating from time to time, as he kept repeating the ill-used
auxiliary. On the upper benches the boys began to titter, and those on
the lower ones, who had not such a fine ear for the French verbs, soon
caught the infection; while the unhappy wretch who was undergoing
examination, sat trembling lest the master should notice his wonderful
method of conjugating the verb. This unfortunate being was Gabriel
Garman, the Consul's younger son. He was a tall, slender boy of about
fifteen or sixteen, with a refined face, prominent nose, and upright
bearing.

Gabriel was sitting in the lower half of the class, which was, in the
opinion of the master, a great disgrace for a boy of his ability. He
was, however, a curious, wayward boy. In some things, such as arithmetic
and mathematics generally, he distinguished himself; but in Greek and
Latin, which were considered the most important part of his education,
he showed but little proficiency, although he was destined for a
university career.

At last the general mirth of the class burst out in sundry half-stifled
noises, which roused the master from his reverie, and he again resumed
the book, to continue the examination. As ill luck would have it, he
once more repeated, "_Avoir, avant_," and then half abstractedly,
"_avu_." "Ah, you young idiot!" cried he, in a discordant voice, "can't
you manage _avoir_ yet? Whatever is to become of you?"

"Merchant," answered Gabriel, bluntly.

"What do you say? You dare to answer your master? Are you going to be
impertinent? I'll teach you! Where's the persuader?" and the master
strode up to his seat, and, diving down into his desk, began routing
about in it.

At this moment the passage door opened, and an extraordinary and most
unscholarly looking head intruded itself into the room. The head had a
red nose, and wore a long American goat's-beard and a blue seaman's cap.
"Are you there?" said the head, addressing Master Gabriel in a
half-drunken voice. "Is that where you are, poor boy? Bah! what an
atmosphere! I only just came in to tell you to come down to the
ship-yard when you get out of school; we are just beginning the
planking."

He did not get any further, for at the sight of the long-legged master,
who stalked down from the desk, quite scandalized at this disturbance of
order, the head suddenly stopped in its harangue, and with a hearty,
"Well, I'm blest! what a ghost!" disappeared, closing the door after it.

It did not take very much to provoke the laughter of the boys, and when
at the same moment the bell rang to announce that the school-hour was
over, the class broke up in confusion, and the master hastened, fuming
with rage, to complain to the rector.

Gabriel hurried off as fast as he could, in hopes of catching up his
friend who had caused the disturbance, but he had already disappeared;
he had probably gone down to the town to continue his libations. This
friend was a foreman shipwright, who, since his return from America, had
borne the name of Tom Robson. His real name when he left home was Thomas
Robertsen, but it had got changed somehow in America, and he kept to it
as it was.

Tom Robson was the cleverest foreman on the whole west coast, but his
drinking propensities tried to the utmost both the patience and the
firmness of his employers. He had already built several vessels for
Garman and Worse, but he was determined that the one he was now
superintending at Sandsgaard should be his masterpiece.

This vessel was of about nine hundred tons burden, and was the largest
craft that had been built at that port up to the present time, and
Consul Garman had given orders that nothing should be spared to make it
a model of perfection.

Tom Robson was thus only able to get drunk by fits and starts, which he
did when they came to any important epoch in the building. On that day,
for instance, the time had just arrived for beginning to lay the
planking upon the timbers.

As Gabriel neither found his friend nor saw anything of the carriage
from Sandsgaard, which generally met him on his way from school, he set
off to walk homewards, down the long avenue which led to the family
property. It was a good half-hour's walk, and while he sauntered along,
swinging his heavy burden of the books he so cordially hated, he was
lost in gloomy thought. Every day, on his way from school, he met the
younger clerks going to their dinner in the town. They looked tired and
weary, it is true; still, he envied them their permission to sit working
the whole day in the office--a paradise with which he, although his
father's son, had no connection whatever. He was obliged to confine his
energy to the building-yard, where there were plenty of hiding-places,
and where the Consul was seldom seen of an afternoon. The ship on the
stocks was at once his joy and his pride; he crept all over her, inside
and out, above and below, scrutinizing every plank and every nail. At
length he had begun to have quite a knowledge of the art of
ship-building, and had gained the friendship of Tom Robson, Anders
Begmand, and the other shipwrights. The ship was to be the finest the
town had yet produced, and when this fact came into his thoughts it
almost enabled him to forget his burden of Greek and Latin.

From conversations he had partly overheard at home, Gabriel knew that
there had been a difference of opinion between his father and Morten,
the eldest son, who was a partner in the firm, ever since the building
of this ship was first mentioned.

Morten maintained that they ought to buy an iron steamer in England,
either on their own account or in partnership with some of the other
houses of the town. He insisted, particularly, that the time could not
be far distant when sailing ships would be entirely superseded by
steamers. But the father held by sailing ships on principle; and,
moreover, the idea that Garman and Worse should have anything in common
with the mushroom houses of the town was to him quite unbearable. In the
end, the will of the elder prevailed; the ship was built of their own
materials, in their own ship-yard, and by the workmen who from
generation to generation had worked for Garman and Worse.

When Gabriel reached the point from which he could see down into the bay
on which lay the property of Sandsgaard, the ship was the first thing
which caught his eye. She stood on the slip below the house, and he
could not help remarking the beauty of her bow, and the elegant rake of
her stern. It was the dinner-hour, and all the workmen were either at
home, in the cottages which stretched along the west side of the bay, or
lay asleep among the shavings. As he stood on the crest of the rising
ground, which sloped gradually down towards the buildings, and gazed at
all these dominions, which from time out of mind had belonged to Garman
and Worse, Gabriel became more and more out of spirits.

There lay the old-fashioned house, with white painted walls, and its
blue slate roof, which was adorned by dormers and gables. In front of
the house, on its southern side, lay the garden, with its paths and
clipped hedges, and the little pond half overgrown by sedge and thick
bushes. On the northern side, towards the sea, he could discern the
carriage drive, and the extensive level yard with the ancient lime tree
standing in the middle of it. Beyond that came four warehouses standing
in a row, all painted yellow, with brown doors; and further on still,
close down to the innermost curve of the bay, was the building-yard.
Higher up, on the road which led to the southward along the coast, lay
the farm, as it was called. This consisted of a byre, the bailiff's
house, and other buildings; for the property of Sandsgaard was
extensive, and comprised a mill, a dairy, and such like.

That part of the property had never had much interest for Gabriel, but
all the same, if he had only been allowed to be a farmer, he could have
turned his attention to agriculture, and still have been near the
counting-house, the ships, and the sea; but he was destined for the
university, and there was no possibility of escape.

It was not easy to persuade Consul Garman. His father had brought up his
elder son to the business, and sent the younger to the university, and
he was determined to do the same. The thought sometimes occurred to the
wilful Gabriel, that Uncle Richard had had but a poor return from his
university career, but he did not dare to express his thoughts openly.

Mrs. Garman believed firmly that it was most desirable, as a cure for
self-will, that a young man should battle against his inclinations;
nothing could be more baneful than pampering the flesh. No help, then,
was to be expected from any quarter.

Gabriel was sauntering down the alley, quite crestfallen under his heavy
burden of books, when at some distance his eye caught sight of some one
on horseback, whom he soon recognized, and who was coming along the road
behind the farm. It was Uncle Richard on Don Juan.

Gabriel started off at once, forgetting in a moment his heavy burden of
books and care, and thinking only on the merriment and good cheer which
Uncle Richard always brought with him. He determined to hasten off to
the kitchen to tell Miss Cordsen, and then to go in to his father; for
Gabriel knew well that the bearer of the news of his uncle's arrival was
always welcome.

"Lord save us!" cried Miss Cordsen. "Make up the fire, Martha;" and off
she ran to get a clean cap.

"All right, my boy!" said Consul Garman, giving Gabriel a friendly nod.

Gabriel was well pleased at the effect of his intelligence. He had
actually surprised Miss Cordsen into an impropriety, in which he seldom
succeeded; and his father, who was generally undemonstrative, had
greeted him with more than usual warmth.

The young Consul, as he was generally called from the time when his
father, the old Consul, was alive, was not so tall as his younger
brother, and while the latter had grown stouter in the course of years,
the former seemed to have got thinner and smaller. His hair was smooth,
thin, and slightly grey, carefully brushed so as to make the most of it.
His eyes were keen, and of a light blue colour; and his lower jaw was
somewhat prominent. Smoothly shaved and well brushed, with stiff white
neckcloth, shining boots, and silver-headed cane, there was something
about his whole appearance which told of prosperity. Every word, every
movement, even the peculiarly characteristic one with which he adjusted
his chin in his stiff neckcloth, was the picture of propriety and
precision. Precision was, in fact, a word which seemed made for the
young Consul; both his appearance and his career reflected it to the
uttermost fibre.

With his extensive business and large fortune, Consul Garman had also
inherited a boundless admiration and respect for his father, Morten W.
Garman, the old Consul, who had come into the property of Sandsgaard at
a time when it was of little value, and considerably encumbered by
debts, and when the business itself was in rather a confused condition.
In order to keep the business afloat during the disastrous years of the
war, Morten W. Garman took into partnership a rich old skipper, by name
Jacob Worse, from whence sprang the name of the firm. Thanks to old
Worse's money, life came again into the tottering business, and Garman's
great ability made the firm, in a few years, one of the most important
on the west coast. But when old Worse died, and his son took his place
in the firm, it was soon evident that Morten Garman and young Worse
would not be able to work together. Under a friendly arrangement,
therefore, Worse retired with a considerable fortune, while Garman
retained the business and the old family property of Sandsgaard.

It was from that time that the great wealth of the Garmans really dated,
while Worse in a few years squandered his money and died insolvent.

It was whispered that Worse had left the business rather hastily, just
as the good times were beginning, but that was the usual luck of the
Garmans.

At first it looked as if Worse's widow and son, who carried on a small
business in the town, would work themselves up again, and this was
especially the case in recent years. Whatever might be the opinion as to
the arrangement between Garman and Worse, no one could ever accuse
Morten Garman of any want of straightforwardness in his business
arrangements; and his son Christian Frederick followed closely in his
steps, observing always the maxim, "What would father have done under
the circumstances?"

All went on thus prosperously and uniformly, until the young Consul
began to get old, and his elder son Morten came home from abroad and
became a partner in the firm. From that time many changes showed
themselves. The son had his head full of new foreign ideas; he was all
for rushing about, writing and telegraphing, ordering and
counter-ordering--a course of action that was quite foreign to Garman
and Worse's mode of procedure.

"Let them come to us," said the Consul.

"No, my dear father," answered Morten. "Don't you see that the times are
leaving you behind? It's of no use in these days to sit still; you must
keep your eyes open, or else run the risk of losing the best of the
business, and get nothing but just the residue."

Morten so far prevailed that the Consul was at length obliged to let him
set up an office in the town, but under his own name; for Garman and
Worse were still to be found only at Sandsgaard, and there those who
wished to do business with the firm had to betake themselves.

Meanwhile a considerable amount of business passed through Morten's
office in the town. This did not altogether please the Consul, but he
felt bound to uphold his son, which was what his father had always done,
and the firm thus became mixed up in many transactions which the father
would never have cared to enter upon.

To the clerks the young Consul was a being of quite another sphere.
Every head was bowed to him whenever he passed through the office, and
each one seemed to feel that the cold blue eyes penetrated everything
and everywhere--books, accounts, and letters, even into their own
private secrets. It was believed that he knew every page in the ledger,
and that he could quote intricate accounts, column by column, and if
there was even the slightest irregularity to be found anywhere, they
would wager that it could not escape the young Consul's eye. The general
conviction was, that if every creditor of the firm, or even the devil
himself, should some day take it into his head to come into the office,
there would not be found even the slightest error in one of the
ponderous and well-bound account books.

There was, however, one account which was a sealed book to them all, and
that was the one of Richard Garman. No mortal eye had ever seen it. Some
thought it might possibly be in the Consul's own red book; others
thought that no such thing existed. True it was undoubtedly, that the
chief carried on personally all the correspondence with his brother;
and, wonderful to relate, these letters were never copied. This was food
for much speculation among the clerks, and at last they came to the
conclusion that the young Consul did not wish any one to know in what
relation Richard Garman stood to the firm.

One thing was plain, and confirmed by long experience, and that was,
that the Consul attached great importance to the letters that came from
his brother. He read them before the rest of the post, and if any one
happened to come in when he was thus engaged, he always covered the
correspondence with a sheet of paper. One of the younger clerks once
asserted that he had seen a bill of exchange in one of the aforesaid
letters, but the statement found but little credence in the office; for
it was a recognized fact that not one single paper existed which bore
Richard Garman's signature. Another story, which was even less worthy of
credit, was one told by the office messenger, who stated that one day he
had brought a letter from Bratvold, and that as he came in with the
portfolio he had found the young Consul standing by the key-drawer, with
a letter in one hand and two bills of exchange in the other, quite red
in the face, and apparently bent double, as if he was on the point of
choking. The messenger thought at first that it was a fit, but it was
plain to the meanest understanding that there was not a word of truth in
the story, for the messenger had the audacity to aver that he had heard
the young Consul give vent to a short but unmistakable laugh. There was
plainly a misapprehension somewhere; every one knew that the young
Consul was unable to laugh.



CHAPTER IV.


When Gabriel had shut the door after announcing his uncle's arrival, the
Consul got up and went off to the key-drawer, from whence he took a
gigantic key, to which was attached a wooden label black with age. He
then brushed his coat, and, after adjusting his chin in his neckcloth
and arranging his scanty locks, left the office.

The house was large and old fashioned, with long passages and broad
staircases. In the western wing were the offices, having a separate
entrance on the side towards the sea. On the southern side, and
overlooking the garden, were the bedrooms of the family, and the
apartments which were generally used as sitting-rooms.

The second floor consisted entirely of reception-rooms, which were so
arranged as to have the large ballroom in the middle, with _salons_ at
the side. In one of these rooms the family generally dined on Sunday, or
when they had guests, and it was the small _salon_ at the north-west
corner, looking over the building-yard and the sea, in which the dinner
was usually served.

On the third floor, or, more correctly, in the garrets, was an endless
number of spare rooms, whose windows looked out of the quaint dormers
which embellished the roof.

The furniture was mostly of mahogany, now dark with age, while chairs
and sofas were covered with horsehair. Against the walls stood tall dark
presses, and mirrors with the glass in two pieces, and having their
gilded frames adorned with urns and garlands. The rooms were lit by
old-fashioned chandeliers and girandoles.

The Consul met one of the servants in the passage. "Has Mr. Garman
arrived?"

"Yes, sir; and he has gone upstairs, to my mistress," answered the girl.

When the weather was warm, Mrs. Garman usually preferred one of the airy
rooms upstairs. She was a very fat lady, who lived in a continual state
of strife with dyspepsia. From whatever side you looked at her, she
presented a succession of smoothly rounded curves covered with shining
black silk.

It was wonderful that Mrs. Garman got so stout; it must have been, as
she herself said, "a cross" she had to bear. She seemed to eat very
little at her meals, and could not control her astonishment at the
appetites of the rest of the company. Only at times, when she was alone
in her room, she seemed to have a fancy for some little delicacy, and
Miss Cordsen used to bring her a little bit of just what happened to be
handy.

When the Consul entered her room, his wife was sitting on the sofa,
engaged in conversation with her brother-in-law.

"How are you? how are you, Christian Frederick?" said Richard, gaily.
"Here I am again!"

"You are welcome, Richard. I am charmed to see you," answered the
Consul, keeping his hands behind his back.

Richard seemed quite confused, as he generally was when he met his
brother, who sometimes could be as gay and cheerful as when they were
boys, and at others would put on his business manner, and be cold,
repellant, and so abominably precise.

"Is any one coming to dinner to-day, Caroline?" asked Consul Garman.

"Pastor Martens has announced his kind intention of introducing the new
school inspector to us," answered the lady.

"Yes, I dare say, another of your parson friends," said the Consul,
drily; "then, I'll just send the coachman with the carriage for Morten
and Fanny, and ask them to bring some young people with them: they might
find Jacob Worse, perhaps."

"What for?" answered the lady, in a tone which showed an inclination to
dispute the proposition.

"Because neither Richard nor I care to have our dinner with nothing but
a lot of parsons," answered the Consul, in a tone which brought his wife
to her senses. "And will you be so kind as to arrange with Miss Cordsen
about the dinner?"

"Oh! the dinner, the dinner!" sighed Mrs. Garman, as she left the room.
"I cannot understand how people can think so much about such trifles."

Uncle Richard followed his sister-in-law to the door, and when he turned
round after making his most polite bow, he saw his brother standing in
the middle of the room, with his legs far apart, and one hand behind his
back. With the other he held up the monster key like an eyeglass before
his eye, and through it he regarded his brother with a knowing look.

"Do you know that?" asked the Consul.

"_Mais oui_!" answered Richard, in a tone which showed his delight at
finding his brother in a mood which betokened a visit to the
wine-cellar.

The two old gentlemen went off arm-in-arm, until they reached the top of
the kitchen stairs. At the kitchen door they stopped, and the Consul
called for the lights. A commotion was heard inside, and in a few
seconds Miss Cordsen appeared with two ancient candlesticks.

Each took his own light--they never made any mistake as to which was
which--and descended the stairs which led to the dark cellar. They first
arrived at a large outer cellar, where it was comparatively light, in
which were stored the wines which were in ordinary use, such as St.
Julien, Rhine wine, Graves, and brandy. This was all under the charge of
Miss Cordsen, who, in accordance with the _régime_ which had come down
from the old Consul's time, produced the different wines according to
the number and importance of the guests. In the darkest corner of the
cellar there was an old keyhole, only known to the Consul, but he could
find it in the dark. All the same, both of them held out their lights to
look for it, and the young Consul never omitted to remark upon the
clever way in which his father had concealed the secret door.

The key turned twice in the lock with a rusty sound, which the brothers
could distinguish from any other sound in the world, and an atmosphere
redolent of wine and mould met them as they entered. The Consul shut the
door, and said, "There now, the world will have to get on without us for
a little while." The inner wine-cellar looked as if it were considerably
older than the house itself, and the groined roof had a resemblance to
the cloister of an old monastery. It was so low that Richard had to bend
his head a little, and even the Consul felt inclined to stoop when he
was down there.

In the old bins lay bottles of different shapes covered with dust and
cobwebs, and in the recess of what had been a grated window, but was now
walled up on the outside, there stood two old long-stemmed Dutch
glasses, while in one corner there lay a large wine-cask. In front of
the cask was placed an empty tub, between an armchair without a back,
and from the seat of which the horsehair was protruding, and an ancient
rocking-horse that had lost its rockers.

The brothers put down their lights on the bottom of the tub, and took
off their coats, which they hung each on their own peg.

"Well, what's it to be to-day?" said Christian Frederick, rubbing his
hands.

"Port wouldn't be bad," suggested Richard, examining the bin.

"Port wine would be first-rate," answered the Consul, holding out his
light. "But look, there's a row of bottles lying in here that we have
never tried. I should like to know what they are."

"I dare say it is some of my grandmother's raspberry vinegar," suggested
Richard.

"Nonsense! Do you suppose father would have hidden away raspberry
vinegar in this cellar?"

"Perhaps he was as fond of old things as some other people I know,"
answered Richard.

"You always are so sarcastic," muttered the Consul. "I wish we could get
at these bottles."

"You'll have to creep in after them, Christian Frederick. I am too
stout."

"All right," answered his brother, taking off his watch and heavy bunch
of seals. And the old gentleman crept into the bin with the utmost care.
"Now I've got one," he cried.

"Take two while you are about it."

"Yes; but you will have to take hold of my legs and pull me out."

"_Avec plaisir_!" answered Richard. "But won't you have a drop of
Burgundy before you come out?"

There must have been some joke hidden in the question, for the Consul
began to laugh; but before long he stammered out, "I am choking, Dick;
will you pull me out, you fiend?"

The joke about the Burgundy was as follows. Once when the young Consul
had crept in among the bottles, to look for something very particular,
he managed to knock his head against one which lay in the rack above so
hard that it broke, and the whole bottle of Burgundy ran down his neck.
Every time any allusion was made to this mishap, a meaning smile passed
between the brothers, and Richard was even so careless as sometimes to
allude to it when others were present. For instance, if they were
sitting at dinner, and the conversation turned upon red wines, he would
say, "Well, my brother has his own peculiar way of drinking Burgundy;"
and then would follow a series of mysterious allusions and laughter
between the two, which usually ended in a fit of coughing.

The young people had several times tried to get at this joke about the
Burgundy, but always in vain. Miss Cordsen, who had been obliged that
day to get a clean shirt for the Consul, was the only one in the secret;
but Miss Cordsen could hold her tongue about more serious matters than
that.

At last the Consul came out again, laughing and sputtering, his
waistcoat covered with dust, and his hair full of cobwebs. When they had
had a good laugh over their joke--it was well the walls were so
thick--Richard, on whom the duty always devolved, uncorked the first
bottle with the greatest care and skill.

"H'm! h'm!" said the Consul, "that is a curious bouquet."

"I declare, the wine has gone off," said Richard, spluttering.

"Bah! right you are, Dick," said Christian Frederick, spluttering in his
turn.

Uncle Richard opened the second bottle, put his nose to it, and said
approvingly, "Madeira!" and in a moment the golden wine was sparkling in
the old-fashioned Dutch glasses.

"Ah! that's quite another thing," said the young Consul, taking his
usual place astride of the old rocking-horse.

The rocking-horse was a relic of their childhood. "They used to make
everything more solid in those days," said Christian Frederick; and when
some years previously the horse had been found amongst a lot of rubbish,
the Consul had had it brought down to the cellar. For many a long year
he had sat on this horse, drinking the old wine out of the same old
glasses with his brother, who sat in the rickety armchair, which cracked
under his weight, laughing and telling anecdotes of their boyhood. He
never got such wine anywhere else, and no room ever appeared so
brilliant in his eyes as the low-vaulted cellar with its two smoky
lights.

"I declare, it's a shame," said the young Consul, "that you have never
had your half of that cask of port. However, I will send you some wine
out to Bratvold one of these days, so that you may have some, till we
can get it tapped."

"But you are always sending me wine, Christian Frederick. I am sure I
have had my half, and more too, long ago."

"Nonsense, Dick! I declare, I believe you keep a wine account."

"No, I am sure I don't."

"Well, if you don't, I do; and I dare say you've remarked that in your
account for last year--"

"Yes; that's enough of that. Here's to your health, Christian
Frederick," broke in Uncle Richard, hastily. He was always nervous when
his brother began about business.

"That's a great big cask."

"Yes, it is a very big one."

And the two old gentlemen held out their lights towards it, and each of
them thought, "I am glad my brother does not know that the cask is
nearly empty;" for it returned a most unpromising sound when it was
struck, and the patch of moisture beneath it showed that it had
evidently been leaking for many years.

At the end of the bottle, they got up and clinked their glasses
together. They then took each his bottle of Burgundy for dinner, hung
their coats on their arms, and went up into the daylight. It was
strictly forbidden for any one to meet them when they came out of the
cellar, and Miss Cordsen had trouble enough to keep the way clear. They
presented a most extraordinary spectacle, especially the precise
Christian Frederick, coming up red and beaming, in their shirtsleeves,
covered with dust, and each carrying his bottle and his light.

An hour later they met at the dinner-table--Richard, trim and smart as
usual, with his conventional diplomatic smile; the Consul precise,
haughty, and correct to the very tips of his fingers.



CHAPTER V.


Dinner was served in the small room on the north side of the house, and
the company assembled in the two so-called Sunday-rooms, which looked
over the garden.

Mrs. Garman always dressed in black silk, but to-day she was more
shining and ponderous than usual. She had been looking forward to a nice
quiet little dinner with Pastor Martens and the new school inspector;
and now here came a whole posse of worldly minded people. Mrs. Garman
was thus not in the best of tempers, and Miss Cordsen had to display all
her tact. But Miss Cordsen had had long practice, for Mrs. Garman had
always been difficult to manage, especially of late years since
"religion had come into fashion," as the careless Uncle Richard
declared.

Mrs Garman did not really manage her own house; everything went on
without change, according to the immutable rules which had come down
from the old Consul's time, and she very soon gave up the attempt to
bring in new ideas, according to her own pleasure. But now, since she
was as it were without any positive influence, she contented herself
with saying "No" to everything that she observed the others wished to
do. In this way she acquired a kind of negative authority, for although
her "No" did not always prevail, it still seemed to give her a right to
show her annoyance, by meeting it with an expression full of unmerited
suffering and Christian forbearance.

It was thus, with this expression, that Mrs. Garman was listening to Mr.
Aalbom, the tall assistant master, who was holding forth about the
delicacy and effeminacy of the rising generation. Mrs. Aalbom sat by the
window, pretending to listen to the Consul, who was describing with
great clearness, and in carefully chosen language, how the garden had
been arranged in his late father's time. But the lady was in reality
listening to her husband, for whom she had a most unbounded admiration.
Mrs. Aalbom was extremely tall, lean, bony, and angular; her lips were
thin, and her teeth long and yellow.

The pastor and the carriage from the town had not yet arrived. The
Consul's only daughter, Rachel, was standing by the old-fashioned stove,
talking merrily with Uncle Richard, and as the door opened, and the
pastor and the new inspector entered the room, she was laughing still
more gaily, and her mother gave her a reproving look.

As this was Mr. Johnsen's first visit to Sandsgaard, Mr. Martens took
him round and introduced him to each guest in succession, beginning with
the ladies. When they came to the fireplace, Uncle Richard received them
with his usual affability; but Rachel only gave a momentary glance at
the new acquaintance, and, almost without turning her head, continued
her conversation with her uncle. To her astonishment, however, she
remarked that the strange gentleman still remained standing by her side,
and, raising her calm blue eyes, she looked fixedly at him. What
followed was for her most unusual: she was obliged to withdraw her
glance, for, contrary to her expectation, she did not find Mr. Johnsen
shy, awkward, and impressed with the strange surroundings. It was plain,
however, that he was conscious that his behaviour was unconventional,
but he did not therefore desist. This caused Rachel to lose somewhat of
her usual self-possession.

"Have you been on the west coast before?" said Uncle Richard, coming to
her assistance.

"Never," replied the young man; "all I have as yet seen of the sea has
been Christiana Fjord."

"And what do you think of our scenery?" continued the old gentleman. "I
have no doubt that you have already seen some of the finest views in the
neighbourhood."

"It has made a deep impression on me," answered Mr. Johnsen; "but Nature
here is so grand and so impressive as to make one feel insignificant in
its presence."

"Perhaps you find it too dull here?" said Rachel, a little disappointed.

"Oh no, not exactly that," replied he, quietly. "The idea I wished to
convey is that Nature here has something--how shall I express
it?--something exacting about it, by which one seems, as it were,
impelled to activity, to perform some deed which will make a mark in the
world."

She looked at him with astonishment; but her uncle said
good-humouredly--

"For my part, I find our desolate and weather-beaten coast tends rather
to lead the mind to meditation and thought than to excite it to
activity."

"When I come to your years," answered Mr. Johnsen, "and have done
something in the world, I dare say I shall look upon life as you do."

"I hope not," sighed Uncle Richard, half smilingly and half sadly. "As
to having done anything, I--"

At that moment the door opened and young Mrs. Garman entered the room.
She looked so lovely that all eyes were turned upon her. Her French grey
silk with its pink trimmings had a cut quite foreign to those parts, and
it was difficult to look at her or her toilette without feeling that
both were out of the common in that society.

But the first glance told that the beautifully fitting dress, and the
graceful and bright-eyed woman who wore it, were well suited to each
other; and as she stepped lightly across the room and gave a sprightly
nod to her uncle, there was a natural ease about her gait and manner
which contrasted favourably with the self-consciousness with which young
ladies exhibit themselves and their smart dresses when first entering
into society.

"I declare, she has got another new one!" muttered Mrs. Aalbom.

_"Mais, mon Dieu, comme elle est belle!"_ whispered Uncle Richard,
enchanted.

After Fanny followed the short but active-looking Mr. Delphin, secretary
to the resident magistrate, then Jacob Worse, and lastly Morten Garman.

Morten was tall and stoutly built. It would appear that he had inherited
something of his mother's "cross," which did not, however, seem to
oppress him. He had a good-looking face, which was, however, rather
weak; and his eyes were too prominent and slightly bloodshot.

George Delphin had been about six months in the town, as secretary to
the magistrate, and since Fanny Garman was the magistrate's daughter,
Delphin soon got an _entrée_ into the Garmans' house, and was a frequent
guest at Sandsgaard. Morten had picked him up at his father-in-law's
office, when the carriage was sent to the town to find the young people;
they had met Jacob Worse accidentally, and Fanny had called to him when
they were already seated in the carriage.

Morten had no great liking for Jacob Worse, although they had been much
thrown together in their boyhood. Consul Garman, on the other hand, was
particularly well disposed towards him, and there were some who
maintained that the young Consul would gladly have the name of Worse
back in the firm, perhaps as his son-in-law; who could tell?

But those who had an opportunity of closer observation declared that
there was no truth in the story. Rachel herself appeared to dislike
Jacob Worse, and Mrs. Garman could not bear the sight of him, since
Pastor Martens had assured her that he was a freethinker.

The Consul took in Mrs. Aalbom, and George Delphin was so fortunate as
to get Fanny Garman. Rachel, to his astonishment, turned to her uncle
and said, "I beg pardon, but I am going to ask you to-day to give me up
to our new acquaintance. Mr. Johnsen, will you be so kind?"

He offered her his arm stiffly, but not awkwardly, and they followed the
others into the dining-room.

"What can be up with Rachel?" muttered Morten to Worse; "she generally
can't bear these parsons of mother's."

Jacob Worse made no reply, but, with a polite bow, gave his arm to Miss
Cordsen.

For the _habitués_ of the house, it was not difficult to foresee what
the _menu_ would be. It consisted of Julienne soup, ham, and pork
cutlets with _sauer kraut_; then roast lamb and roast veal, served with
chervil and beet-root; and lastly, meringues and Vanilla cream.

At the head of the table the conversation was mostly carried on between
Mr. Aalbom and Delphin, both of whom came from the neighbourhood of
Christiania, and Aalbom tried his best to induce the other to say
something disparaging of the west coast and its surroundings. This he
did in the hope that it would cause annoyance to the Consul and his
brother, and also that it would put the speaker, as a new guest at
Sandsgaard, in an unfavourable light. Delphin was, however, too quick
for him. Either he noticed his intention, or else he really meant what
he said. The scenery, he declared, was most interesting, and he was
particularly pleased with the acquaintances he had hitherto made in the
neighbourhood.

Richard Garman had his usual place on the left of the Consul, who sat at
the head of the table, and, leaning over beyond Rachel and Mr. Aalbom,
who sat next to him, and raising his glass to the new school inspector,
he said--

"As you are of the same opinion as Mr. Delphin with regard to our
scenery, I hope you will also receive the same favourable opinion of our
society. May I have the honour of drinking your health?"

The Consul regarded his brother with some astonishment. It was seldom
that he took much notice of the young people who came to the house,
especially if they belonged to the Church.

"Well, you see," whispered Uncle Richard, "I don't think this one's so
bad."

Fanny also noticed the attention that was shown to the new guest, who
sat opposite to her, and, glancing at him, thought he might prove not
interesting. True, he was not so refined as Delphin, nor so good looking
as Worse, but still her eyes often wandered in his direction. Neither
Worse, who sat on her right hand, nor Delphin, who was on her left, had
much attraction for her. Worse, although perfectly polite, paid her but
little attention; and that Delphin was at her feet was only natural--it
was a fate that, without exception, had befallen all her father's
secretaries since her girlhood.

Mr. Johnsen was now drawn into the conversation. Delphin met him at
first with an air of superiority, but after receiving a few cutting
answers, he was glad to draw in his horns and become more affable.
Aalbom, on the contrary, did not change his manner so readily. He was
annoyed that Delphin had not fallen into the trap he had laid for him,
and was now eager to break a lance with the new guest. He began his
attack on the inspector in a half-respectful, half-jesting tone, and
with the greater gusto because he knew the aversion which the two Mr.
Garmans had to the clergy generally, and Mrs. Carman was deep in
conversation with Pastor Martens, who was sitting beside her at the
other end of the table.

"I dare say you expect a rich harvest out here, now that there is so
much religious excitement," said Aalbom, with a grin to the others.

"Harvest?" asked Johnsen, shortly.

"Or draught of fishes; I don't know under which simile you prefer to
regard your calling," replied Aalbom.

"I regard my calling very much in the same light as you do yours. We are
both here to teach the young, and I prefer to see my duty plain before
my eyes without any simile," answered Johnsen, quietly; but there was
something in his voice which rather disconcerted his opponent.

Fanny and Delphin could not restrain a slight laugh; and Mrs. Aalbom
muttered, "To think of answering a man in my husband's position in that
way!"

The Consul now endeavoured to give a peaceable direction to the
conversation, by consulting Johnsen on several matters relating to the
National School. Mr. Garman had been for some years chairman of the
school committee; for Sandsgaard was included within the limits of the
town, although it was situated at a considerable distance from it.

Rachel heard with pleasure the terse and forcible answers which her
neighbour gave to the Consul's questions. She was especially pleased to
hear the new inspector insist upon certain changes being made in the
school, and upon an increase of expenditure, which her father thought
unnecessary and altogether too lavish.

It was not often Rachel had met a man who showed such power and energy
as their young guest, and each time he spoke as to the necessity of
something or another being done for the school, she could not help
looking half disdainfully at Delphin, who was now quite taken up with
teaching Fanny a trick with a piece of cork and two forks. But when her
eye fell on Jacob Worse, an inquiring expression seemed to come over her
face, to which, however, he appeared to pay little attention. He was
quite occupied in talking half jestingly with old Miss Cordsen.

Ever since Jacob Worse had begun to be a constant guest at Sandsgaard,
quite a friendship had sprung up between him and the old lady. She was
usually cold and reserved in her manner, but he had a particular knack
of getting her into conversation, so that he became quite a favourite of
hers.

Aalbom was so annoyed that he ate nearly all the beet-root, and Uncle
Richard was amusing himself by quietly working him up. Gabriel, too,
devoted all the time that he could spare from his dinner to staring at
the master; and every time the latter looked over to that part of the
table where Gabriel was sitting, by the side of Miss Corsden, the young
scapegrace took up his glass and emptied it with a careless, grown-up
air, which he knew would irritate his natural enemy.

Morten, who sat between Mr. Johnsen and Pastor Martens, amused himself
by keeping both their glasses well filled. He paid otherwise but little
attention to what went on at the table, especially as he had managed to
get one of the bottles of Burgundy close by his side.

It was a still, warm day in spring, and at dessert the sun, which shone
in obliquely through the two open windows, just reached as far as the
table. First it was reflected from Mrs. Garman's black silk, and then
shed a faint halo around Pastor Martens's blond head. The rays fell on
those of the company who were sitting with their backs to the light,
and, casting their shadows over the white cloth, sparkled in the
polished decanters. Morten held up his glass to the light, and enjoyed
its brilliancy.

"See how lovely your sister-in-law looks in the sunlight!" whispered
Delphin to Fanny.

"Oh! do you really think so?" she answered.

Shortly after she told one of the maid-servants, who was waiting, to
pull down the blind a little, as she did not like the glare in her eyes.

The conversation now became lively at the upper end of the table. The
subject on which it turned was education. Aalbom held forth on his
hobby, which was, that it was quite impossible for young people to get a
proper insight into learning without the use of corporal punishment, and
maintained that there would be an end of all intellectual cultivation if
a limit were not placed to modern humanitarianism, which he preferred to
call indulgence. His wife took the same side from conviction, and
Richard Garman from mischief, while the Consul was impartial. He set the
greatest store by the good old times, but still he could not help
thinking that they might get on with a little less of the stick than he
had experienced. Johnsen was very strong on the importance of religious
instruction and home influence.

"As to home influence," broke in Mrs. Aalbom, "school and home ought to
go hand-in-hand."

"Of course they ought," rejoined her husband. "If a boy is punished at
school, he ought to be punished also at home."

"But then, homes are so different," said Johnsen. This was the first
time he had made a remark that Rachel found rather feeble.

"Well, I don't know," cried Mrs. Aalbom, putting her head on one side
and looking up to the ceiling. "It is possible to have too much of
natural affection, mother's influence, home feeling, and that sort of
thing."

"It entirely depends what sort of home it is, Mrs. Aalbom," broke in
Jacob Worse, suddenly.

Every eye was turned upon him. He had drawn himself up, and his face was
red and his eyes gleaming.

There came a slight pause in the conversation, of which the Consul
availed himself, and, taking up his glass, he said, with a smile, "Now
we must mind what we are about. This is not the first time I have seen
Jacob Worse join in a conversation like this; and if we do not want him
to make it too warm for us, we had better change the scene of action to
another room, where we can carry on the conflict in the shade. So if the
ladies and gentlemen are of the same opinion as myself, we had better
retire."

The company broke up. Uncle Richard laughed heartily as he thanked
Worse, while they were going downstairs, for having joined in so
opportunely. Worse himself could not help a laugh, in which all joined,
except Aalbom and his wife, who were too much annoyed to do so.

Rachel was quite astonished at the anxiety displayed by her father when
Worse began to speak. She had herself once or twice heard him take part
in a discussion, and had been surprised at the way in which his feelings
suddenly seemed to get the better of him. There was, it is true, an
originality in his views; but for all that there was no reason why he
should be silent, and she thought it mean of Jacob Worse to allow
himself to be put down so easily.

During dinner Pastor Martens had made several attempts to state his
views on the subject, but hitherto without success. The others were too
much taken up with their new and interesting guest, and besides, his
neighbour fully engrossed his attention. After dinner was over, he had
again to take his place beside Mrs. Garman on the sofa, while the young
people went down to the croquet lawn, which was shaded by the dense
avenue of limes.

Mr. Aalbom was walking up and down the broad path in front of the house,
encircled by his wife's bony arm, as Mr. Delphin kindly put it, while
they were waiting for coffee. He was still annoyed at his failure, and
at the slights he had endured, and his wife was doing her utmost to
pacify him.

"How can a man of your standing bother about such nonsense? These young
upstarts will only be here for a time. They will soon make themselves
unwelcome in some way or another. There is no doubt that we are
considered superior to the rest. You must have noticed that the Consul
took me in to dinner."

"Nonsense!" answered her husband. "What have I in common with these
tradesmen and their moneybags? But for a man of my intelligence, and of
my attainments in literature and education, to have to put up with such
impertinent answers from a set of youngsters, from such--" and from his
rich _répertoire_ of abuse the master poured out a choice stream of
invective, which afforded some relief to his feelings.

The Aalboms lived about half-way between Sandsgaard and the town, which
had been the original cause of their being invited to the Garmans'
house.

Since then they had shown themselves such good neighbours that the
Garmans were generally glad to fall back upon them when they wanted to
get a few people together in a hurry. Mr. Garman had also assisted the
master in some unexpected difficulties he had encountered in writing a
short paper on the origin of the French language, and its connection
with history. The pamphlet was headed "For Use in Schools," but from
want of perception and appreciation on the part of the authorities, this
pearl of literature had not been taken into use in a single school in
the country.

Both the elder Garmans were in the habit of retiring to their rooms and
taking a short nap after dinner; but on this occasion they did not sleep
long, as they were engaged in talking over Madeleine's projected visit
to the town. It was arranged that she was to come in two or three days,
and have a room upstairs, close by Miss Cordsen's.

Gabriel, having annexed a cigar, had wandered off to the ship-yard, in a
happy and contented mood, to make an inspection of the vessel and talk
English with Mr. Robson.



CHAPTER VI.


The first acquaintance Madeleine made in her new home was with the
sewing-maid, for naturally there were a good many repairs of various
kinds to be seen to. She had already made some acquaintance with the
family by previous short visits to Sandsgaard, and the same impression
of coldness which she had hitherto received from her relations still
oppressed her. Not that Madeleine was of a timid nature--far from it;
but the change from a free and open-air life to the regularity of a
well-ordered house was too abrupt. She tried in vain to adapt herself to
her new surroundings, and during the first few weeks she fretted herself
quite out of health. For a reason she could scarcely define, she
concealed this fact from her father when writing to him.

Her cousin Gabriel was the only person who seemed to have a friendly
word for Madeleine; the others were so reserved that she could not help
thinking they were selfish. With Rachel she could never get on friendly
terms, and the two cousins had but little in common. Although Rachel was
only a few years the elder, she was greatly superior to her cousin in
knowledge and experience. Whilst Madeleine was bright and radiant as
sunshine, there was something in Rachel's cold and commanding nature
which betokened an uneasy longing for employment, and a desire to take
an active part in whatever she could find to occupy her.

Not long previously Rachel had had a sharp dispute with her father. She
came one day into the office, and desired him to give her some
employment in the business. Consul Garman never lost his self-command,
but on this occasion he was on the very point of doing so. The dispute
was short, it is true, and soon ended, like every other conflict that
was carried on against the father's principles, in a decided victory for
his side; but from that time the daughter became still more cold and
reserved in her manner.

It was a light task for Rachel to read her little country cousin through
and through, and when she made up her mind that Madeleine had nothing in
her except perhaps some undefined longings, but at the same time no real
desire for work, she let her go her own way, and the relation between
them became almost that of a child to a grown person--friendly, but
without intimacy.

Mrs. Garman was not particularly well disposed towards her new guest,
because she had not been originally consulted as to her visit; and even
the good-natured Miss Cordsen frightened Madeleine at first, with her
tall, spare figure and well-starched cap-strings.

The sewing-maid was a pale, weakly creature, with large wondering eyes
which wore a deprecatory expression. She was still pretty, but the first
look told that her face had once been still prettier, and there was
something stunted and faded about her appearance. Her cheeks were
somewhat sunken, and it could be seen that she had lost some of her
teeth.

During the first few days Madeleine had to spend much of her time with
the sewing-maid, for Mrs. Garman was anxious that her dress should be in
keeping with the rest of the establishment, and the Consul had given
Miss Cordsen strict orders on the subject. It was a great relief to
Madeleine, in her loneliness, to show herself kindly and almost
affectionately disposed towards the timid girl. One evening when she had
gone, Madeleine asked Miss Cordsen who she was, and the old lady, after
scrutinizing her sharply, answered, "that Marianne was a granddaughter
of old Anders Begmand, and that some years before she had had a baby.
Her sweetheart," said Miss Cordsen, fixing her eyes again sharply on
Madeleine, "had gone to America, and the child was dead, and as she had
been in service at Sandsgaard, the Garmans had had her taught
dressmaking, so that now she had constant employment in the house."

This was all Madeleine found out, and she did not ask any more questions
on the subject, which was a relief to Miss Cordsen.

The old lady's story was, however, not Strictly correct in its details;
a secret of the Garman family was hid in the sempstress's history--a
secret which Miss Cordsen concealed with the greatest jealousy.

As Marianne went home that evening this event came into her thoughts; it
was, in fact, never entirely absent from them. The bright and friendly
manner of Madeleine, who was so unlike the rest of her family, had awoke
in her many reminiscences. She felt quite sure that Madeleine did not as
yet know all her history; it was impossible that she could know it, for
she seemed so kindly disposed towards her, and Marianne dreaded that any
one should tell her. There were, indeed, plenty of people who could tell
her story, but none knew what she had suffered. As she went on her way
all the sad events of her life's misfortune seemed to pass in review
before her. Her first thought was, how handsome he looked when he came
home from abroad, before there was any talk about his marriage with the
magistrate's daughter! how long he had prayed and tormented her, and how
long she had striven against him; and then came the dreadful day, when
she had been called into the Consul's private office. She never could
imagine how any one had found it out; the only one who could know
anything was Miss Cordsen: but still less could she now understand how
she had allowed herself to be talked over, and compelled to agree to
what had since been arranged. There must be truth in what people said,
that it was impossible to resist the young Consul, and so she allowed
herself to be betrothed to Christian Kusk, one of the worst men she
knew, who shortly after went to America; then the child was born, and
was christened Christian. Then again she recalled that night when the
child died; but all further impressions became indistinct and hazy as
mist. She had hoped that her shame might kill her, but it had only
tortured her. To Sandsgaard, where she had vowed never again to set her
foot, she now went daily. Whenever she chanced to meet one of the
family, and especially Fanny, her heart seemed to cease beating; but
they passed her with as much unconcern as if they knew nothing, or as if
she had nothing to do with them.

Many a time also she had met him. At first they passed each other
hurriedly, but after a time he also seemed to have forgotten, and now he
greeted her with a friendly nod, and the well-known voice said, "How are
you, Marianne?"

It was as if these people lived surrounded by a thick wall of
indifference, against which her tiny existence was shattered like
fragile glass.

Marianne took a short cut through the ship-yard, where the carpenters
were busy dividing the shavings and putting them into sacks. She found
her grandfather, who had finished his work in the pitch-house, and they
set off homewards together.

Anders Begmand lived in the last of the little red-painted cottages
which lay below the steep slope on the western side of the bay of
Sandsgaard. The road along the shore was only a footpath leading to the
door of each cottage, and then on to the next. Seaweed and half-decayed
fish refuse lay on the shore, while at the back of the houses were heaps
of kitchen refuse, and other abominations. The path itself consisted of
a row of large stones, on which people had to walk if they wished to
keep out of the accumulation of dirt. The houses were mostly crowded,
but especially so in the winter, when the sailors were home from sea.

They were all in the employ of Garman and Worse, and the firm owned
everything they possessed, even to their boats, their houses, and the
very ground under their feet. When the boys grew old enough, they went
to sea in one of the vessels belonging to the firm, and the brightest of
the girls were taken into service, either at the house or at the farm.
Otherwise the cottagers were left pretty much to themselves. They paid
no rent, and there was no interference on the part of the firm with the
"West End," which was the name by which the little row of cottages was
generally known amongst the workpeople.

Anders Begmand's house was both the last and the smallest, but now that
he was alone with his two grandchildren, Marianne and Martin, he did not
require much room. Before, when his wife was alive, and they had three
grown-up sons at home, one of whom was married, it was often close work
enough; but now all were dead and gone. The wife lay in the churchyard,
and the sons in the deep sea.

Anders was an old man, bent by age. His curly white hair covered his
head like a mop, and stood out under his flat cap, which looked more
like the clot of pitch it really almost was, than anything else. In his
youth Anders had made one voyage to the Mediterranean, in the _Family
Hope_, but he had then been discharged; for he had a failing, and that
was--he stammered. Sometimes he could talk away without any hesitation,
but if the stammering once began, there was nothing for it but to give
up the attempt for that time. There he would stand, gasping and gasping,
till he got so enraged that he nearly had a fit. When he was young it
was dangerous to go near him at such times, for the angrier he got the
more he stammered, and the more he stammered the more his anger
increased. There was only one way out of it, and that was by singing;
and so whenever anything of more than usual importance refused to come
out, he was obliged to sing his intelligence, which he did to a merry
little air he always used on these occasions. It was said that he had to
sing when he proposed to his wife, but whether there was any truth in
the statement is not quite clear. It was certain, however, that he did
not often have to sing, and woe to any one who dared to say, "Sing,
Anders." This was, of course, when he was young; he was now so broken
down that any one could say what they liked to him. There was,
therefore, no longer any pleasure in teasing him, and he was allowed to
go in peace. Among the workmen he was held in the greatest respect, not
only because he had been in the shop for more than fifty years, but
because he had had so much sorrow in his old age, and especially because
of the misfortune of Marianne, who was the apple of his eye and the
light of his life. Martin, too, had brought him nothing but trouble: he
was quite hopeless, and the captain with whom he had returned on his
last voyage had complained of him, and refused to take him out again; so
now he stayed at home, drinking and getting into mischief.

The evening was dull and rainy, and a light already shone in the cottage
as Begmand and Marianne approached.

"There they are, drinking again," said she.

"I believe they are," answered Begmand.

She went to the window, the small panes of which were covered with dew,
but she knew one which had a crack in it, through which she could look.

"There they are, all four of them," whispered Marianne. "You'll have to
sit there, in front of the kitchen door, grandfather."

"Yes, child; yes!" answered the old man.

When they entered the room, there was a pause in the conversation, which
was carried on by four men who sat drinking round the table. They had
not long begun, and were only in the first stage of harmless elevation.


Martin greeted them in a cheerful tone, which he thought would hide his
guilty conscience. "Good evening, grandfather. Good evening, Marianne.
Come, let me offer you a drop of beer."

The thick smoke from the freshly lighted pipes still lay curling over
the table, and round the little paraffin lamp without a globe. On the
table were tobacco, glasses, matches, and half-empty bottles, while on
the bench stood several full ones awaiting their fate.

Tom Robson, who sat opposite the door, lifted the large mug which had
been standing between him and his friend Martin, and, with his hand on
his heart, began to sing--


     "Oh, my darling! are you here,
     Marianne I love so dear?"


He had composed this couplet himself, in honour of Marianne, to the
great annoyance of the hungry-looking journeyman printer who sat in the
corner close by him.

Gustaf Oscar Carl Johan Torpander was a most remarkable Swede, inasmuch
as he did not drink; but otherwise there was about him that exaggerated
air of politeness, and that imitation of French manners, which seems
generally to attach to the shady individuals of that nation. He had
risen when Marianne came into the room, and was now making a low bow,
with his shoulders, and especially the left one, well over his ears. His
head was on one side, and he kept his eyes the whole time fixed on the
young girl. While Tom Robson was singing his poetry, the Swede shook his
head with a sympathetic smile to Marianne, by which he meant to express
his regret that they met in such bad company.

The fourth person of the group was sitting with his back to the door,
and did not move, for he was deaf; but when at length the Swede, who was
still bowing, attracted his attention, he turned round heavily on his
chair and nodded deafly to the new-comers. This person's real name had
almost disappeared from the memory of man, for he had been nicknamed
"Woodlouse" among his acquaintance. Mr. Woodlouse passed his time in a
dingy den in the magistrate's office, where he either slept or occupied
himself in sorting documents and papers. But there he had grown to be
almost a necessity, for he had the special gift of knowing the contents
of every paper, and the name of every single person who for years had
sought information at the office. He could stand in the middle of the
room and point to the different shelves, and say, apparently without
effort, what each contained, and what was missing. He had thus gone down
as a kind of living inventory from magistrate to magistrate, and as his
special knowledge increased he endeavoured to get his salary raised, so
that he might give himself up recklessly to his two ruling passions,
which were drinking beer and reading novels at night.

As Marianne went through the room she moved her grandfather's chair
close to the kitchen door, and gave him a meaning look. He nodded to
show that he understood her wishes. She then said good night to the old
man, and went into the kitchen, from whence a little dark staircase led
upstairs to her room.

Marianne locked her door and went to bed. She was so tired every night
that she could scarcely keep her eyes open while she undressed, and she
fell asleep the moment she got into bed. Under her the noise of voices
continued, varied by quarrelling and cursing, which mingled with the
dreams of her heavy and broken slumber. In the morning her hair and
pillow were damp with perspiration; she was chilled with cold, and was
even more tired than when she went to rest.

The talking soon went on again as briskly as ever. Martin related how he
had been up to the office that morning, intending to speak to the young
Consul personally. He wished to complain of the captain who had told
tales about him.

He did not, however, get so far as the Consul, but one of the clerks, a
stupid lout with an eyeglass, had come out and told him that he would
get no employment on a ship belonging to the firm, until he had been to
the Seamen's school, and gave up drinking. As he told his story there
was an evil glare in his eyes, which were large and bright like
Marianne's, but piercing and cruel. In the pale face there was also the
same trace of weakness as in his sister's; but Martin was tall and bony,
and his arms were strong and powerful, and he gesticulated with them as
he talked, and gave force to his words by striking the table with his
fist. He became every moment more violent, as he got heated by drink and
argument.

He was not going to the school to please Garman and Worse; and as to his
drinking, what had the young Consul got to do with that? But they should
see what he would do. And with a mighty oath, he shook his clenched fist
in the direction of Sandsgaard.

"Right you are, my boy!" cried Tom Robson, laughing; "good again. Let us
see what you are made of."

Robson was never so happy as when he could get Martin to talk himself
into a fury, which was not a very difficult task.

Ever since his childhood Martin had shown himself of a worthless and
cross-grained nature. His character at school was, that he was one of
the cleverest and at the same time the most quarrelsome among the boys,
and since then he had done nothing but fall foul of everything and
everybody he came in contact with. Martin did most of the talking of the
four, who already began to be excited by drink. It would perhaps be more
correct to say, of the three, for Torpander was not there to drink, but
only to be near Marianne. Woodlouse did not say much, for he heard but
little; and when Mr. Robson, who had taken on himself the duty of
chairman, gave him an opportunity of speaking, Woodlouse used so many
strange expressions that the others did not understand him.

Neither did Torpander do much of the talking: for him the event of the
evening was Marianne's return, after which he preferred to sit in silent
rapture. This afternoon, however, Torpander joined Martin in his attack
on the Garmans, whom he also hated, and poured forth a lot of newspaper
tirade about the tyranny of capital, and such like.

"Oh, stop that infernal Swedish jargon!" cried the chairman, "and let us
hear what Woodlouse is mumbling about."

"You see, gentlemen," began Woodlouse, eagerly, "the right of the
proletariat--"

"What does he mean?" shouted Martin.

Woodlouse did not hear the remark, and paused in his speech, as his eyes
wandered inquiringly from one to another to see if they were listening.

But Martin could not keep silent any longer, and broke out into a volley
of oaths and curses against Garman and Worse, capital, captain, and the
whole world, only interrupting himself occasionally to take a drink or
light his pipe over the lamp.

Old Anders had at first taken his place by the kitchen door, but that
evening they seemed to be pretty quiet, and he was always anxious to
hear what they said when the conversation turned upon the firm. He
therefore left the door and came up to the table, where Tom Robson made
room for him, and at the same time offered him a drink from his mug.

"Thanks, Mr. Robson," said Begmand, as he put the mug to his lips.

Tom Robson was not only the chairman, but at the same time the host of
the company, for it was he who paid for the liquor. By his side on the
bench he kept a bottle of rum, from which he every now and then poured
out a glass for each. He generally put a good drop of rum into his own
beer, "to kill the insects," he said. He was now occupied in cutting up
some cake tobacco to fill his pipe.

"Beautiful tobacco that, Mr. Robson," said Begmand.

"Take a bit," answered Tom, good naturedly.

"Thanks, Mr. Robson," said the old man, overjoyed, as he took out his
pipe, the stem of which was not more than half an inch long, while the
whole was as black as everything else which belonged to Anders.

He pressed down the moist tobacco as hard as he could, in the hope of
getting as much as would last for a day or two; he then picked up a
burning ember from the turf fire, which he applied to the bowl.

It was no easy matter to get the tobacco to light, but the smoke, when
it began to draw, seemed warm and comforting to the old man. He sat
there, crouching on the edge of the bench, eagerly watching Tom each
time he passed him the mug, and not forgetting to say "Thank you, Mr.
Robson," before he took his drink.

Martin grew more and more violent. "Isn't it enough," he yelled, "for us
to work ourselves to death for these creatures? Are they going to watch
every bit we eat, and every drop we drink? Just look at their houses!
look how they live up there! Who has got all that for them? We, I tell
you, grandfather; we who have been toiling here fishing, and going to
sea year after year, son after father, in storm and tempest, watching
night after night in wind and snow, so as to bring back wealth for these
wretches! Just look what we get for it all! What a pig-stye we live in!
And even that does not belong to us. Nothing does! It all belongs to
them--clothes, food, and drink, body and soul, house and home, every
bit!"

Begmand sat rocking himself to and fro, and drawing hard at his pipe.
Woodlouse saw that there was a pause, and so began again.

"Property is robbery--"

But Martin would not let him continue. "There is no one in the whole
world," he shouted, "who puts up with what we do! Why don't we go up and
say, 'Share with us, we who have done all the work'? There has been
enough of this blood-sucking! But no; we are not a bit better than a lot
of old women; not one of us! They would never put up with that sort of
thing in America."

"Ha! ha! good again!" laughed Tom Robson. "I dare say you think people
are willing to share like brothers in America? No, my boy; you would
soon find out you were wrong."

"Do you mean to tell me that workmen in America live like we do?" asked
Martin, somewhat abashed.

"No; but they do what you can't do," answered Tom.

"What do they do?" asked Martin.

"They work; and that is what you and no one else does here!" shouted
Tom, bringing his fist down heavily on the table. He was beginning to
feel the effects of the rum.

"What's that about work? Do you mean to say--?" began the Swede.

"Hold your jaw!" cried Tom. "Let the old un have his say!"

"You are quite wrong, Martin," said Begmand, and this time without
stammering. The watery look of his old eyes told that the beer was
beginning to work. "It's shameful of you to talk like that about the
firm. They have given both your father and your grandfather certain
employment; and you might have had the same if you had behaved yourself.
The old Consul was the first man in the whole world, and the young
Consul is a glorious fellow too. Here's his health!"

"Oh!" broke in Martin, "I don't know what you are talking about,
grandfather. I don't see that you have got much to boast of. What about
my father, and Uncle Svend, and Uncle Reinert,--every one lost in the
Consul's ships; and what have you got by it all? Two empty hands, and
just as much food as will keep body and soul together. Or perhaps you
think," continued he, with a fiendish laugh, "that we have some
connection with the family because of Marianne!"

"Martin, it's--it's--" began the old man, his face crimsoning up to the
very roots of his hair, and struggling vainly with his infirmity.

"Have a drink, old un," said Tom, good naturedly, handing Begmand the
mug.

The old man paused for breath. "Thanks, Mr. Robson," said he, taking a
long breath.

Tom Robson made signs to the others to leave him alone. Begmand put his
pipe into his waistcoat pocket, got up, and went into the little room by
the kitchen, where he slept. The unwonted drink had roused again the
fire of his youth, and never had he felt his helplessness so keenly as
he did that evening.

The others still sat drinking till there was no more, and the lamp began
to grow dim as the oil gave out. Then they staggered off; Woodlouse away
through West End, while Tom clambered up a steep path that led over the
hill at the back of Begmand's cottage. He lived with a widow in a small
house near the farm buildings of Sandsgaard.

Torpander went with Robson, because he was afraid to go through West End
alone, and because he wanted to have a last glance at Marianne's window,
which looked on to the hillside.

Martin shut the door after them, and managed to lift up the lid of a
sort of locker in which he was going to sleep. He did not see that there
were some empty bottles on the locker, and they rolled down on the
floor, and one of them was broken against the spittoon. The lid slipped
out of his hand, and, without trying to undress, he let himself fall
just as he was into the bedclothes.

The last remaining drop of oil in the lamp was now gone, and the last
blue flame flickered up through the chimney and was quenched. Then
followed a thick grey smoke, which came curling up from the still
glowing wick, and wreathed itself in graceful spirals through the glass
and glided out into the room, until it looked like a maze of fairy
threads in the faint light from the window.

Nothing was heard but the sound of heavy breathing. The old man's
respiration was short and broken, while Martin, after turning over a few
times, lay quiet, and at length began to snore. Before long he started
up again uneasily, heated as he was by drink and passion.

Still a little longer smouldered the red glow of the wick, while the
smoke wreathed up thinner and thinner through the glass and spread
itself in the darkness.



CHAPTER VII.


Fanny Garman had from the first shown herself particularly well disposed
towards Madeleine, and had more than once invited her to come and pay
her a visit in the town. Nothing had hitherto come of the invitation,
for even Madeleine, unversed as she was in the ways of society, could
see that nothing more was meant than a compliment.

One Sunday, however, Madeleine was standing before the looking-glass,
only partially dressed, and with her thick dark hair hanging in curls
over her shoulders. Fanny happened to pass, and caught sight of her
reflection by the side of Madeleine's. She stopped and noticed the
contrast. The dark hair and slightly gipsy complexion of her cousin set
off her own fair skin and light hair most admirably. It is true that
Madeleine was taller, and her figure rather more stately, but the face
itself had only very slight pretensions to beauty. Fanny closely
observed the effect as she helped Madeleine to arrange her hair, and
when she had finished her observations she threw her arm round
Madeleine's waist, and they left the room together.

"Listen now, my dearest Madeleine," began she, arching her eyebrows. "I
am really very much annoyed with you, for never coming down to see us in
the town. As a punishment, I shall take you with me this afternoon.
Morten can sit on the box."

Madeleine looked into the small and delicate face, and could not help
thinking how lovely it was. The large blue eyes looked so charmingly out
through their lashes; the pose of the head was so elegant; while round
the mouth played so many changing expressions, which seemed to rivet the
attention when she was speaking.

"What are you staring at?" asked Fanny, mischievously.

"You really are too pretty," answered Madeleine, with sincerity.

"Well, that's a rustic compliment," laughed her cousin, turning colour a
little, but looking still more charming.

Madeleine went down with them to the town, and stayed a few days;
afterwards she paid short visits there more frequently. Fanny took her
to the few amusements the town offered, and occasionally there were
small _réunions_ either in their own house, or in those of some of their
acquaintances. Wherever they went the two seemed to set each other off
by the wonderful contrast in their appearance, or by some coquettish
similarity or difference in their toilets.

It was the rule in the Garmans' house, that any one who was staying
there could do exactly as they liked. They could come or go, ride or
drive, just as the fancy took them. The house was so large, and there
were so many guests, and so many business acquaintances who came either
to dinner or supper, that the absence of any particular person attracted
but little attention. Madeleine, therefore, soon perceived that no one
seemed to miss her very much if she was away. Mrs. Garman was as usual
more or less peevish; and Rachel kept to herself, which Fanny maintained
was because she had taken up with a new father confessor.

The Consul was the only person who seemed to care for her, and when she
came back from a visit in the town, he would pat her on the head and
say, "Well, my dear, I am glad to see you back again."

One day, just as she was getting into Fanny's carriage to drive down to
the town, the Consul happened to pass the door.

"Are you going to run away from us again?" said he, with a friendly
smile, as he passed.

Madeleine felt she had a guilty conscience, and, after much stammering
and hesitation, she at last managed to ask her uncle if he did not like
her to go.

"Oh no! I didn't mean that," said the Consul, as he patted her on the
cheek. "I wish you always to do exactly what you like best."

As Madeleine sat in the carriage she could not help thinking that she
was one of the dullest creatures on earth. How could she be so foolish
as to imagine that any one in the house cared whether she were there or
not? More probably she was only in the way. She could not help
regretting her defective education, and a few days after, when she
returned to Sandsgaard, she noticed that her uncle did not pat her on
the cheek. The fact was, she did not yet quite understand her new life;
everything had turned out so different to what she had expected.

When Madeleine and her friend Per had met for the last time, but few
words had passed between them, but when he went down the hill towards
Bratvold, she stood gazing after him till he was out of sight. She had
then made a vow to keep true to him, no matter what her relations might
say, and she knew well enough they would all be against her; but as she
looked over the sea, she felt herself so strong and so determined, that
she could not doubt her courage and her constancy to her first love.

But now, as it so turned out, her constancy was never called in
question. She felt certain that a rumour of her connection with Per must
have reached Sandsgaard, for she well knew that there were stories
enough about her free and unrestrained life at Bratvold, and so at first
she always dreaded the slightest allusion to it. She had at the same
time quite made up her mind to confess openly how matters stood, and to
say plainly that although he was nothing but a simple peasant and
fisherman, she, Madeleine Garman, would be true to him. But in the
course of conversation she could not discover even the most distant hint
at her adventure; it did not even appear that anything really was known
about it; her past life was, in fact, never mentioned in any way, and it
seemed to be taken for granted that she could never have conducted
herself otherwise than naturally became a Miss Garman. It was this very
assumption that seemed to shake her in her resolution.

Everything about Fanny's pretty and artistic house was always kept in
the best of order. Old mahogany and horsehair were here quite
inadmissible.

The furniture, which was mostly of carved walnut, and plush, had all
come from Hamburg. _Portières_ hung before the doors, and the windows
and the corners of the rooms were gay with _jardinières_, and vases
containing flowers and choice foliage plants; while small tables and
luxurious armchairs were grouped about the room. The rooms were not
large, but when all the doors stood open the general effect was very
pleasing, enhanced by its china, paintings, bright carpets, and gilded
mirrors.

Sandsgaard, with its large and lofty rooms, where the furniture was all
arranged round the walls, was so cold and stiff that Madeleine could not
help feeling she must move about noiselessly, or sit demurely in a
corner. At Fanny's her feelings were very different; everything seemed
so inviting; and the difficulty was to choose a seat among the many
comfortable armchairs and sofas.

Morten never seemed to be perfectly at home in his own house, where his
heavy form was quite out of place. Fanny took but little notice of him,
and his opinion was never consulted. However, he was easy-going, and
preferred to keep pretty much to himself.

Morten Garman had the reputation of being a good-natured fellow, but at
the same time of not being very easy to get on with. To do business with
him required the greatest circumspection; a single word might spoil
everything, and if once anything upset him, it was almost impossible to
get him right again. Old-fashioned people, therefore, preferred going
out to Sandsgaard, and dealing with the young Consul personally; it was
a slower process, but the result might be reckoned on with the greatest
certainty. The young man had a habit of suddenly looking at his watch,
breaking off the negotiations, getting into his carriage, and driving
off to Sandsgaard or elsewhere, leaving behind him nothing but loose
statements and half-concluded business.

Fanny had never troubled her husband with any demonstrative affection,
and certainly never with jealousy. She understood him well enough to
know that if at any time she should have occasion for his forbearance,
there were quite faults enough on his side to weigh down the balance in
her favour.

"There goes your admirer, Pastor Martens. Look, Madeleine, how he is
eyeing us, the worthy man! He is taking off his hat.--Good morning,"
said Fanny, bowing, and at the same time beckoning to him to come in.

The pastor was at the other side of the narrow street, and seemed to
consider a moment before he made up his mind to cross. In the mean time
Fanny rang the bell and ordered chocolate. She dearly loved these
morning visits, with a cup of chocolate or a glass of wine, and
accordingly always kept her eye upon the street. Martens, who was the
resident chaplain, was among her most frequent guests, especially since
she had taken it into her head that he admired Madeleine. There was
nothing remarkable that Fanny should have her attention taken up in
finding a suitable _parti_ for the chaplain. The whole congregation was,
in fact, busy in the same direction; for Martens was a man of about
thirty, not otherwise than prepossessing in appearance, and it was now
more than a year and a half since he had lost his first wife, so that
nothing could be more natural than that he should be thinking about
another.

"Good morning, ladies; good morning, Miss Garman. I hope you are both
well," said the chaplain, as he came into the room. "I could not resist
your kind invitation, although I knew by experience that a visit to you
is far too agreeable to be of very short duration."

"You are really too kind, Mr. Martens; and your complaisance to such a
child of the world as I am, always causes me great astonishment," said
Fanny, giving Madeleine a look.

"A great many people are astonished at it," answered the chaplain, not
understanding her meaning.

"No, really! Who? who?" cried Fanny, curiously.

"Ah, you can scarcely understand," Martens began to explain, "to what an
extent we poor clergymen are observed by the hundred eyes of our
congregation; and the fact is, there are several most respectable old
ladies who have taken offence at my frequent visits to Sandsgaard and to
yourself."


"No! How amusing! Do listen, Madeleine!" cried Fanny, beaming.

"It's all very well for you to laugh," said the chaplain, good
humouredly; "but it might be very embarrassing for me, were it not that
I can rely on the support of the good dean."

"So Dean Sparre and you get on now. I was under the impression that the
relation--"

"Yes, at first; only just at first. But I am not ashamed to confess that
the fault was on my side. You see, when I first came I took up with some
of our so-called Evangelical neighbours; respectable, worthy people,
too--I should be sorry to say otherwise--but still, not exactly
such--such--"

"_Comme il faut_?" suggested Fanny.

"Well," answered he, smiling, "that was not exactly the expression I was
looking for; but still, you understand what I mean."

"Perfectly!" said Fanny, laughing, as she took the cup of chocolate
which Madeleine had poured out for her.

"I am sorry to say I took up a false position with regard to the dean,
which led to many annoyances until I learnt to know him; then everything
smoothed itself down so nicely that, if I may venture to say so, the
relations between us became almost that of father and son. He is an
extraordinary man," repeated the chaplain several times.

"Yes, is he not?" said Fanny. "I think he is the nicest clergyman I have
ever seen; and if one did not understand a word of his sermon, it would
still be most edifying only to hear him read the service. Then the
charming poems he writes!"

"Yes. For my part, I consider his last poem, 'Peace and Reconciliation,'
the best thing of the kind that has appeared in our literature for the
last ten years. Can you imagine anything more charming than the lines--

     "'I sat, in silent peace of even,
     On humble bench before my cot'?"

"Was he poor once?" asked Madeleine, quickly.

Fanny laughed; but the chaplain explained, in a clear and good-natured
way, that the poem had been written after Sparre had become dean, and
that the cottage was merely a poetical way of expressing his great
simplicity.

Madeleine felt that she had asked a foolish question, and went to the
window and looked out into the street.

"Yes," continued the chaplain, "there is something about the dean I can
never quite understand. I never can quite make up my mind exactly where
it lies; but when you are face to face with him, you feel his power and
superiority. I might almost say he seems to fascinate you. When he is
made a bishop--"

"A bishop?" asked Fanny.

"Yes, indeed; there is no doubt that the dean will have the first
bishopric that becomes vacant. I have heard it publicly mentioned."

"No, really! I should never have thought of it," said Fanny. "But you
are quite right. Won't he look noble with his imposing figure and white
hair, and the gold cross shining on his breast? It is a pity ours is not
a cathedral town; a bishop is really so interesting. For instance, in
'Leonardo.' Madeleine, have you ever seen a bishop?"

Madeleine turned towards her with a deep blush on her face, as she
stammered out, "What were you asking, Fanny?"

But Fanny's quick eye had already caught sight of Delphin, who was
coming over from the other side of the street. She returned his bow,
and, observing Madeleine closely, said to her, "Will you be so good as
to go and get a cup for Mr. Delphin?"

"Is he coming in?" said the chaplain, looking for his hat.

"Yes. But I have not given you leave to go, Mr. Martens; we were getting
on so nicely."

Delphin came in, and Fanny gave him a friendly nod, and continued, "Now,
in your position as clergyman, you really must assist us to effect Mr.
Delphin's conversion."

"No necessity! no necessity, I assure you, Mrs. Garman," said Delphin,
gaily. "My conversion is already about as perfect as it can be. Mr.
Johnsen and I have been conversing on the subject in a most serious
manner for the last half-hour."

"We were also talking on religious subjects," said Fanny.

"Have you just left Mr. Johnsen?" asked the chaplain, who had got his
hat, and was on the point of taking his leave.

"I walked with him a little way on the road to Sandsgaard. It appears
that he had an invitation to go there," answered Delphin.

"To-day, again!" said Fanny.

"Good morning, ladies, good morning! No, you really must allow me. I
have already been here longer than I ought. Good morning, Miss Garman."

Madeleine was just coming into the room, and the chaplain took a step
towards her in order to shake her hand; but, as she was carrying the
tray with the cups upon it, he was obliged to content himself with
giving her a warm and respectful look. As he went downstairs, he thought
how unfortunate it was that Delphin should always be coming in his way.

Severin Martens was naturally very good-natured, but Delphin was a man
he could not bear. If the two got into conversation, everything seemed
to go wrong for the chaplain. The other had a particular way of taking
up his words, turning them into ridicule, and exciting laughter among
the hearers, which was most unpleasant. The chaplain did not care very
much, either, for Mr. Johnsen. That apparently helpless young man had
shown that he knew how to look after himself only too well. "Invited
nearly every day to Sandsgaard! Hum!" muttered Martens, as he went down
the street.

No sooner had Delphin taken the clergyman's place, than the conversation
changed its tone.

"Our worthy chaplain did not much like Johnsen's going to Sandsgaard,"
said Fanny.

"That was just the reason I mentioned it," said Delphin.

"Yes, I could see that very well. You are always so dreadfully
mischievous. But can you make out what is the matter with my learned
sister-in-law? Rachel, who is generally as cold and unsympathetic as an
iceberg, becomes all at once quite taken up with what appears to me the
most unlikely person."

"Your sister-in-law always appears attracted towards any one who shows
originality."

"Well," objected the lady, "I don't see much in him; at first I thought
he was rather interesting. He reminded me somewhat of Brand in Ibsen's
play, or something of that sort; but really, how tiresome he is, with
his short, cutting remarks, which come plump into the middle of a
conversation like so many stones!"

"I am a man of the people! my place is among the people!" said Delphin,
imitating Johnsen's voice and manner.

Fanny laughed, and clapped her hands. Madeleine laughed too; she could
not help it when Delphin said anything amusing. It is true she liked him
better when he was serious, as he was when they were alone; he had then
a frank, genuine manner that she found particularly attractive. She
could talk to Mr. Delphin on many subjects which she would never have
had the courage to mention to others. It was plain enough--that is to
Fanny, though not to Madeleine--that he always paid his visits, quite
accidentally, of course, whenever Madeleine was in the town.

As they sat chatting merrily on different subjects, Fanny, who always
kept her eye on passers-by, suddenly cried, "Just look! there is Jacob
Worse. I declare, he is passing the house without looking up; but I saw
him speak to some one at the door. I wonder who it could have been?"
and, with a woman's curiosity, she hurried over to the window.

"Ah!" said she, laughing, "I declare it was my little Frederick he was
talking to. Freddy," she cried, looking out of the window, "come up to
mother, and you shall have some chocolate."

Little Christian Frederick, a white-haired, sturdy little fellow of
between six and seven, came scrambling up the stairs. The maid opened
the door for him, and his mother asked, as she poured him out some
chocolate, "Who was it my Freddy was talking to downstairs there by the
door?"

"It was the big man," answered the child, looking at the cup with eager
eyes.

"The big man is Jacob Worse, and the little man is yourself, Mr.
Delphin," explained Fanny, laughing. "My son's manners are not yet quite
perfect. Did the big man ask who was up here with mother?"

"He asked if Aunt Rachel was in town," answered the child, putting out
his hand for the cup.

Madeleine did not exactly see what the others found so amusing, but she
joined in the laugh, because little Freddy was her darling.

"You are a dangerous woman," said George Delphin, as he took his leave;
"I must go and warn my friend Worse."

"Yes, you dare!" cried Fanny, holding up her taper finger threateningly
at him.

There was something which Madeleine could not exactly define, that she
did not quite like, about Fanny. She noticed it most when they were in
the society of men, but even when they were alone the same unpleasant
manner would sometimes appear. She was not accustomed to all these
questions, innuendoes, and allusions, which always seemed to take the
same direction; but at last she became so fascinated by her lively and
talkative friend, that she began to lose some of her self-possession,
and a feeling of anxiety which she could not comprehend, came over her
lest some fate was in store for her which she was unable to avert.

Fanny stood by the window, looking at Delphin as he left the house. He
was not such a little man, after all! He had a nice figure, and his
clothes fitted as if he had been melted into them. There was an air of
distinction about his black moustache and curly hair. He was, in fact, a
man that you would look twice at anywhere. It was wonderful she had
never remarked it before!

Fanny turned to Madeleine, who was clearing the table, and observed her
narrowly.



CHAPTER VIII.


"I notice, Mr. Johnsen," said Rachel, "that in almost all the
conversations we have had on serious subjects, we seem to come to some
point or another which all at once gives rise to a whole army of doubts
and questions in us both; or perhaps, to speak more correctly, in you
rather than in myself."

"The reason is that your extraordinary acuteness leads the conversation
into certain lines of thought," answered the inspector.

Rachel paused for a moment, and looked at him. At every turn of their
interesting acquaintance she had been on her guard against any word
which had the slightest resemblance to a compliment. But when she saw
before her the earnest and somewhat plain features of her friend, she
felt that her caution was unnecessary, and she answered, "It does not
require any extraordinary acuteness to perceive that when two people
make an attempt in common to thoroughly understand any subject, they are
more likely to be successful than if each were to work for himself. But
what appears to me most remarkable is really this, that you did not long
ago work out these problems for yourself."

"You have opened my eyes to many things which hitherto--"

"But hear what I have to say," broke in Rachel, with some impatience.
"We have been going backwards and forwards here certainly for half an
hour, talking about the many difficulties which must beset a clergyman,
who is at the same time the servant of both God and the State, and
continually, or at least several times, you have told me that I was
right, or that you had not thought of such and such things before, or
something of that sort." Rachel stopped in the broad path between the
hedges in front of the house, where they were walking, and, looking him
full in the face, said, "How is it possible, Mr. Johnsen, that you who
have studied theology, and intend in the course of time to take priest's
orders, have not already long ago made the subject clear to yourself,
and taken your line accordingly?"

Johnsen's eyes fell before her clear and penetrating glance as he
answered, "I have been quite enough troubled by doubts and anxieties,
which are things none of us can escape; but if it now appears to
you--and I must confess that it is the fact--that I have neglected
certain points, I must plead that this negligence has been caused by my
peculiar education. I come from a poor home, a very poor home"--he
seemed to regain his confidence as he spoke--"and I have raised myself,
without any special abilities, by sheer hard work. My time has,
therefore, been fully occupied during my studies, and, as far as my
opinion goes, a person who is working in real earnest has but little
time for speculation. Besides, there is something about the subject
itself, and about the men with whom one is brought into
contact--something, what shall I call it?--something soothing,
reassuring, which has the effect of making the doubts which from time to
time appear bring, as it were, their own solution with them. But life's
experience, and even more, my aquaintance with you, Miss Garman, has
caused me to waver on many points."

"Do you remember our first conversation?" she asked.

"I don't think I have forgotten a single word that has passed between
us."

"It was one of the first Sundays you were at Sandsgaard."

"The conversation at dinner turned upon the subject of war. Was not that
the day you mean?" asked he.

"Yes, exactly," answered Rachel. "Mr. Delphin was maintaining, in his
foolish, superficial way, that the spirit of the time would soon get rid
of the evil of war, if we could only have done with kings and priests.
You may remember Mr. Martens got quite excited, and insisted that
priests were distinctly men of peace, and that their work was the work
of peace. And then Mr. Delphin made the adroit answer, that any one who
liked could go to church any Sunday, and hear how devoutly this man of
peace, Mr. Martens, prays for the arms of the country by land and by
sea."

"I remember it very well," answered Johnsen, with a smile; "it was just
there I joined in the conversation."

"Yes; you declared that you would never, if you were ordained, mention
the arms of the country in your prayers."

"Neither will I; nothing shall ever make me."

Rachel looked at him: he was in just the humour she liked to see him.

"I bring this to your recollection," she went on, "because I know now
that there are many other duties which fall to the lot of a clergyman,
that you will not be able altogether to reconcile with your convictions.
In the course of our conversations you have expressed many decided
opinions--for instance, about the Marriage Service, about Absolution,
Confirmation, and several other matters; so that it now appears clear to
me that you must either give up the idea of being ordained, or else be
false to yourself."

"False to myself I cannot be," cried he; "I would rather give up my
future prospects."

"But is that sufficient?"

"I don't understand you, Miss Garman."

"Do you think that you would be doing yourself justice by thus evading
the responsibility that your convictions give rise to? If I were a
man"--Rachel drew herself up--"I would go and seek the conflict, and not
shirk it."

"Neither will I shirk it, Miss Garman," answered Johnsen.

"I hope you won't; there are quite enough who do." She looked towards
the house to which they were approaching, and through the open window
saw Fanny and Delphin carrying on a flirtation. Pastor Martens and
Madeleine were going towards the croquet lawn, and Jacob Worse stood
watching them with a cigar in his mouth.

Rachel turned quickly round to her companion and said, "I don't know
anything more despicable than when a man does not dare, either by word
or deed, to declare plainly what he feels in his inner consciousness to
be in opposition with generally received opinions. A man who sneaks
through life in this manner is, in my opinion, a coward."

She went towards the house, and Johnsen remained standing for a moment,
and then wandered down the path again, lost in deep thought.

Jacob Worse said to her as she passed him, "Would you like to join the
croquet? I hardly think it is right to leave your cousin to play alone
with the chaplain."

"I think you might have spared yourself that well-meant remark, Mr.
Worse," answered Rachel, in a tone which made him look at her with
astonishment. "It seems to me, on the contrary, that Madeleine is in
very good company--just the company that suits her."

"I beg your pardon," answered Worse, good humouredly. "I did not mean to
be indiscreet; but I cannot help feeling that your cousin is in reality
of such a lively nature, it is hard for her to find vent for her
spirits."

"I did not know that Madeleine had such a concealed fund of spirits. As
a general rule, I do not much care for people who are afraid to show
their feelings."

"Afraid?" asked he, in astonishment.

"Yes; I said afraid. What else is it but want of courage which makes a
man sit down quietly and hide his thoughts, conceal his convictions,
live a false life, and play a part from morning to night? It were better
to do like your friend out there"--and she gave a toss of her head
towards Delphin--"to talk so grandly about one's principles, and to
illustrate them by paradoxes and witticisms."

Jacob Worse now saw that he had found Rachel in a more earnest mood than
he had expected.

"I have often observed," said he, seriously, "that you always think that
it is a man's duty to speak out boldly when he finds his convictions are
in danger; but allow me to explain--"

"I don't want to hear any explanations," rejoined Rachel, "and you are
not bound to give me any; but I repeat what I said. It is cowardly."

She regretted the word the moment it was spoken. She said it because she
had just used the same expression in her conversation with Johnsen; but,
however, without saying anything further, she went into the house.

Jacob Worse remained thoughtfully contemplating his cigar. At last,
then, the storm had burst. The ill humour he had so long noticed in her
had found vent. He knew she meant what she said. She thought he was a
coward. There had hitherto been a kind of friendly comradeship between
them, which excluded any attempts at courtesy. She had told him that
their friendship must be on this footing, if he wished it to continue.
He had accepted his position, and they had often talked freely together,
but latterly less than had formerly been the case.

Jacob Worse turned round, and found himself face to face with Mr.
Johnsen, who was coming up the path with his eyes fixed on the ground.
He at once perceived that here was to be found the cause for Rachel's
extraordinary conduct, and the discovery did not tend to put him in a
better humour.

Mr. Hiorth the magistrate, and Mr. Aalbom the schoolmaster, were seated
together in the old summer-house near the pond. They were generally to
be found together on these Sunday afternoons at Sandsgaard. The
opportunity for talking scandal was one not to be neglected.

Hiorth's family had been for a long time in the service of the State, a
fact of which he was not a little proud; and after his daughter's
marriage with Morten Garman, who was one of the most eligible young men
of the district, his somewhat sensitive feelings began to revolt against
the self-satisfaction which the Garman family seemed to have inherited
with their solid prosperity.

Aalbom was, therefore, not afraid to give free play to his bitter
tongue, and after a good dinner he was just in the vein for so doing.

"They are asleep," said he. "I dare bet they are both of them fast
asleep. Have you not noticed that both the Consul and his brother
disappear after dinner every Sunday?"

"Yes, I have remarked that I don't generally see them when the coffee
comes; but it is only for about a quarter of an hour," answered the
magistrate, as he brushed some cigar-ash off his coat, just where his
new North Star Order hung.

"They are not treating you properly," continued Aalbom; "especially when
Richard calls himself an _attaché_, and has some pretensions to good
manners."

"Oh! well, as far as he is concerned," answered the other, "he means to
show his contempt for people in office. Richard Garman, like all people
who have led shady lives, is an ultra-Radical."

"No doubt, sir. And I am not very certain about the Consul either; he
has no respect for a cultivated intellect."

"But can you expect anything better from a man in trade?"

"A shopkeeper, you might say," whispered Aalbom, looking cautiously
around. "There, now," he added, "I declare if it is not raining! Just
what one might have expected. We had a little sunshine in the morning,
and so of course it must rain in the afternoon. What a climate! what a
country!" and, amid a torrent of ejaculations and anathemas, they both
went hurriedly round the pond, and reached the house just as the rain
began to fall in earnest.

The company generally sat downstairs when the weather was fine, in the
room with the French windows opening into the garden; but now, as it had
begun to rain, and the wind began to rustle through the flowers and the
Virginian creeper on the railings, they went upstairs.

Whether it was that the two Garmans had really wished to show their
contempt for people in office by taking a nap, or whether their absence
had been accidental, they had both returned to the company, and Richard
was standing with his back to the fireplace, and the Consul was under
the old clock, in conversation with Jacob Worse.

It was generally supposed that it was to these Sunday afternoon
conversations with Worse that the Consul owed his perfect knowledge of
every event that took place in the town.

Madeleine was sitting by the window, looking out at the rain. She was
quite astonished to find how agreeable Pastor Martens could be. Her
knowledge of clergymen had hitherto been confined to her father's
descriptions of them, which were amusing enough, but far from
flattering.

But Mr. Martens was quite lively, if not merry. He had not attempted to
say anything serious, and she had nothing against him except that he hit
very hard at croquet; but he played really well, and seemed to enjoy it.
It was a pity that the rain had come before they had finished their
game.

It was one of those evenings when it is not dark enough to light the
candles, but is still too dark for any one to see to work; and a wet
evening, even in summer, can become very tiresome before lights, cards,
and such like make their appearance.

Mrs. Garman and Mrs. Aalbom sat gossiping on the sofa; and Fanny, who in
the course of the day had received more than one reproving look from her
mother-in-law for flirting with Delphin, was now doing penance with the
old ladies, to whom Pastor Martens had also attached himself.

Quite a group had gathered round the fireplace by the _attaché_,
consisting of the magistrate, Mr. Aalbom, and Delphin. Morten had
disappeared, no one knew whither.

Delphin was anxious to slip away, so as to get an opportunity of having
a chat with Madeleine; but Richard would not let him go--he was just the
man after the _attaché's_ heart. He reminded him of his own youth, with
his polite assurance and ready wit. The old diplomatist had a weakness
for getting up little disputes among his acquaintances, while he
himself, by alternately assisting the two sides, took care to preserve
the balance between them, and maintain a good tone in the discussion.
From this point of view George Delphin was quite a treasure. He had just
that irritating manner which sometimes became very nearly offensive, but
was at the same time so polished, that it would indicate a want of good
breeding to be annoyed at it. It was thus a real treat for Uncle Richard
to see the magistrate, with all his aplomb, writhe under Delphin's
adroit and sarcastic rejoinders. Aalbom, on the other hand, was not so
well bred, and often, therefore, broke through conventionalities, to the
great delight of both the _attaché_ and the magistrate.

Uncle Richard had on this occasion led the conversation in a direction
which he knew would be at the same time entertaining and interesting.
The subject was the position of the country with regard to other
nations. Mr. Hiorth had been in Paris under Louis Philippe, and Delphin
had two years previously made a summer tour through Europe, while the
schoolmaster had been at the University of Copenhagen. Delphin's account
of his travels was most animated, and culminated in the greatest
admiration for Paris. The magistrate maintained that Paris was a
dangerous, restless, and vicious town. This was the result of his
observation in 1847, and it was generally allowed that since that time
it had become even worse. Aalbom vainly tried to get in something about
Thorwaldsen's museum.

The conversation began to get lively. The _attaché_ distributed his aid
with the greatest impartiality, and winked knowingly at Delphin, when to
all appearances he had quite gone over to the magistrate's side. Each
point as it arose was discussed with the greatest eagerness, until they
arrived at woman's position in society. The magistrate was very strong
on the subject of French immorality, but he was unluckily obliged to
curtail his remarks on account of the ladies. Aalbom, who was able to
take up a firm position on the ground of his acquaintance with "The
Origin and History of the French Language," came to the assistance of
his friend with a string of the most frightful quotations from Rabelais
to Zola. Both then began to compare the women of their own country with
those of Northern Europe generally, and managed to make the comparison a
very favourable one, holding up their countrywomen as veritable
heroines; and as both Richard Garman and Delphin were far too gallant to
dispute their theory, so the other two had full enjoyment of their
triumph.

Jacob Worse now got up and joined the group. He had not been able to
help partly overhearing the conversation, and ruffled as he was by
Rachel's accusations, he could no longer keep silence. The Consul smiled
as he joined the others, and said in a low tone, "I will keep my eye
upon you, and if it gets too hot, will come to your assistance."

From the moment Jacob Worse began to take part in the conversation, the
_attaché_ felt that the reins were slipping out of his hands. Worse went
at it hammer and tongs; not that he raised his voice, or used unbecoming
expressions, but his views were so subversive and so original, that the
others were forthwith reduced to silence. At the first onset he brushed
aside all the nonsense about Norwegian women, and that sort of thing,
and went on boldly to consider the position of woman generally with
regard to man. The magistrate asked him superciliously if he meant them
to understand that he was in favour of emancipation; and when Worse
answered that he was, the magistrate asked him with a smile how he
thought he would be treated by an "emancipated wife." Worse, however,
maintained that it was not a question how a man was treated, but what
the relation really was which existed between the two. The time must be
drawing to a close when the sole consideration was, what a man found
most agreeable, and it was to be hoped that the young men of the future
would be ashamed to argue from that basis. This was plainly a hit, not
only at the magistrate, but at all married men of his generation. Aalbom
protested warmly against Worse's theory, and his wife could be heard
ejaculating in the distance. Pastor Martens now came and joined the
disputants.

Jacob Worse was becoming excited; he spoke hurriedly, and his tone
showed that he only restrained himself by an effort. On what absurd
principles, he maintained, was the education of women generally
conducted! How many thousands ended their career, worn out by the
drudgery of household duties! Their intellect was wasted, and their
strength exhausted for nothing. It was quite easy to talk so glibly of
purity in a state of society where man was to know everything and have a
right to everything, while woman was to be debarred from all
intellectual knowledge.

At the first pause in the conversation, Aalbom came to the front as
woman's champion, and the magistrate and Martens joined him. The
conversation now waxed warmer, and Delphin wandered off to Madeleine,
leaving Worse struggling alone against the arguments which both sides
brought to bear on him. The disputants became heated and excited, and
all went on talking at once, without giving time for the others to
finish their sentences.

The _attaché_ stood with his hands behind his back, regarding with
apprehension the storm he had raised, and which was now out of his power
to quell.

Mr. Johnsen made several attempts to join in the conversation, which
had, however, become so warm that no one could be got to listen to his
measured and carefully worded remarks. Rachel followed the arguments
with the greatest interest, but she could not help feeling annoyed. She
was annoyed when the others said anything stupid, and even still more so
when she was obliged to confess that Worse was in the right. Everything
seemed to irritate her. She could not bear to hear these men discussing
her and her position as if she were some strange animal, and without
ever having the grace to ask her opinion. The conversation had now gone
far beyond woman's position, although Jacob Worse tried in vain to keep
them to the point. Off they went through recent literature, foreign
politics, home politics, ever with increasing earnestness, and with the
same division of parties. Latterly the pastor had come more to the
front. Aalbom's voice began to fail him, and the magistrate was unable
any longer to get beyond the beginning of his sentences, and could do
little else than point to his decorations and say, "For God and the
King!" And before they knew where they were, they found themselves on
the subject of modern scepticism.

Jacob Worse protested against this digression; but Martens, whose voice
was just as calm as when he began, maintained that this lay at the
bottom of the whole question, and that modern unbelief formed, as it
were, a background to all the questions they had been discussing, and
that all the arguments that were adduced from a "certain point of view"
had their roots in this very principle.

The magistrate and Aalbom were agreed on this point, but Jacob Worse,
with a pale face and excited gestures, began, "Gentlemen--!"

The Consul here made a sign to Miss Cordsen, who opened the doors into
the dining-room, from whence the bright light shone suddenly into the
room. The disputants only now remarked that it had become quite dark as
they were talking. The company then adjourned to the dining-room,
thankful enough to have a little breathing-time, but the voices still
retained traces of the excitement.

"Where did you get those splendid lobsters, mother?" asked Morten, who
had suddenly turned up, no one knew from whence. He never missed his
meals.

"Uncle Richard brought them," answered Mrs. Garman. "I think he has a
fisherman at Bratvold, who always brings him the finest lobsters that
are to be got." She had taken care to help herself to some of the coral,
which looked most appetizing in its contrast to the white meat.

Madeleine got almost as red as the lobster, and bent down over her
teacup. Per, and everything connected with her old home, now seemed so
distant, that when she thought upon her original intention of making an
open confession, the idea seemed mere folly. She was indeed thankful
that none of those around her guessed how near she had been to such an
absurd engagement.

The two brothers, when they were going to bed that evening, had a chat
over the events of the day. Richard's room opened into the Consul's, and
notwithstanding that his habit of smoking cigarettes was an abomination
to his brother, the door between the rooms always remained open at
night. Each had his own particular method of undressing. The Consul took
off each garment in due order, folded it up, and laid it in its
appointed place. Richard, on the other hand, tore off his things and
threw them about anyhow. He then wrapped himself in his dressing-gown,
and sat down and smoked till his brother was ready.

"He is the very devil, that Worse!" said the _attaché_, leaning back in
the armchair; "but it does me good to hear any one speak out his mind so
plainly."

"He is too violent; he forgets conventionalities."

"It is possible to have too much conventionality. It is well for young
people to air their views; it does them good."

"What nonsense you are talking, Dick!" cried the Consul, entering his
brother's room. "What the deuce would become of the world if youngsters
were allowed to jabber like that on every possible occasion?"

But Uncle Richard was not nervous when they were _tête-à-tête_. He got
slowly up from his chair, and let his dressing-gown slip off his
shoulders; and the two brothers now stood opposite each other, in very
different _déshabille_. The young Consul was in his night-shirt, and a
pair of flannel drawers tied at the knees with broad tape. His thin legs
were thrust into long grey stockings, which Miss Cordsen alone knew how
to knit. Richard had a pair of Turkish slippers, thread stockings, which
fitted closely to his well-formed leg, and a shirt of fine material
stiffly starched, in which he always slept. There were none of his
brother's failings which the Consul disliked more than this.

"I tell you what, Christian Frederick," said Uncle Richard, as he laid
his hand on his brother's shoulder, "I don't say that young people will
do the world a great deal of good by making a noise, but I am quite
certain that none of us have done it much good by holding our tongue."

"What do you mean? Nonsense, Richard!" said the Consul, contemptuously,
as he turned back into his room.

They both got into bed and put out their lights.

"Good night, Christian Frederick."

"Good night," answered the Consul, rather drily; but just as Uncle
Richard was on the point of falling asleep, he heard his brother say--

"Dick, Dick! are you asleep?"

"No, not quite," answered the other, sitting up in bed.

"Well, then, perhaps there was something in what you said just now. Good
night."

"Good night," said the _attaché_, lying down with a smile on his face. A
few minutes after the two old gentlemen were snoring peacefully in
unison.



CHAPTER IX.


Gustaf Torpander was still consumed by his silent passion. Every penny
he could save he devoted either to heightening his personal attractions
or to treating Marianne's brother; for hitherto he had never had the
courage to offer her any presents personally. The circuitous course he
was thus driven to follow in his courtship, was not altogether agreeable
to the Swede, and the drinking bouts at Begmand's cottage, in which he
was obliged to take part in order to get a glimpse of his sweetheart, he
found particularly distasteful.

At first Marianne was greatly annoyed by the attentions of the
journeyman printer. From her earliest childhood, the knowledge of her
exceptional beauty had made her careful to be on her guard against any
advances from the other sex; but since her misfortune, she had come to
regard every attention as a kind of persecution. But her shyness was
generally received with an incredulous smile or a coarse joke. What
shocked her most was, that men seemed no longer to believe that she
really meant to shun them in earnest, and she was therefore quite
nervous if any of them approached her. When, however, she saw that
Torpander did not presume on his acquaintance, and preserved his polite
and even respectful manner, she became at last used to his society, and
had even a kind of sympathetic feeling for him. For Tom Robson she had
always an unconquerable aversion. It is true that she saw Tom only from
his worst side, when he was drinking. In the morning, when Robson was
sober, there was something of the gentleman about him. He was always
neatly dressed in a blue serge suit, coloured shirt, and in dry weather
wore canvas shoes. It was a great pleasure for the young Consul to go
his morning round in the ship-yard with Mr. Robson. The work went on
bravely, and the ship bid fair to be both handsome and well built. Mr.
Garman knew Tom's weakness as well as any one, but as long as he
attended to his work he was free to use his leisure as he liked. The
firm had always worked on the principle that the less the workpeople
were interfered with the better. They worked all the better for it, and
gave far less trouble generally.

"I think she ought to be ready next spring," said the Consul one day in
the beginning of July.

"In about eight or nine months, if the winter is not too wet," answered
Tom.

"I should be very pleased if we could manage to launch her on the 15th
of May," said the Consul, in a low tone; "but you must not mention the
day to any one; you understand, Mr. Robson?"

"All right, sir," answered Tom.

Tom did not betray the day, even to his friend Master Gabriel; he only
said it was to be some time in the spring, and with that Gabriel had to
be content: but he still showed great curiosity as to what the name of
the ship was to be. Tom swore that he knew nothing about it, and Morten
answered that it was "a thing which did not concern schoolboys." From
which Gabriel inferred that neither of them knew much about it, and, at
all events, not Morten.

During the summer Gabriel got on but poorly at school; it seemed really
too hard that he should have to pore over his books, while the work was
going on with all its noise and bustle in the ship-yard. His
character-book showed a sad spectacle, and each month when he had to
take it in to his father, he made up his mind to make a little speech,
of which the burden was to be, that he did not wish to continue his
studies, but to be employed in the office, or be allowed to go to sea,
or anywhere his father chose to send him. But each time when he stood
before those cold blue eyes, every word seemed to vanish from his
memory, and he looked so helpless and confused that his father shook his
head as he left the room, and said--

"I can't make the boy out. I don't think he will ever grow into a man."

When first Madeleine came to Sandsgaard, Gabriel had found it a great
relief to confide his woes to her. But now she had got too clever for
him, and refused to be frightened by his threats of running away to sea,
or giving his master, Mr. Aalbom, some rat-poison in his toddy, and he
ended by feeling jealous of Delphin.

Fanny had for some time remarked that Delphin was openly paying his
attentions to Madeleine, and the more plainly her sharp eyes took in the
situation, the more clearly did she perceive that she had been relegated
to the unenviable position of third person. She knew that Delphin had
been used to the society of Christiania; he was neither so young nor so
green as most of her father's assistants, and she therefore found his
society agreeable. But when she found that, as usual, he began at once
to show his admiration for her, she thought to herself he was no
different to the rest. But now she began to take a little more notice of
him; perhaps it was hardly worth while to let him slip entirely out of
her hands; and when she looked at herself in the glass, she could not
help laughing and thinking how absurd it was for any one, with her
pretensions to beauty, to be contented to accept her present humiliating
position.

Fanny had arranged that Madeleine should take music lessons in the town,
and Delphin had got to know exactly when these music lessons took place.
Madeleine met him very frequently, and they generally managed to go a
little out of the way on her return, either in the streets, or in the
park. Madeleine found these meetings rather amusing, and talked gaily
and openly with her admirer.

"Now, Mr. Delphin," she said to him one day, "how is it you are so
sarcastic and critical when you are in society? When we are alone you
are much more agreeable."

"The reason is, Miss Madeleine, that when I am talking alone with you, I
show more of my natural character; when I am in conversation with other
people, I rather prefer to conceal my opinions."

"So you conceal your opinions?" said she, laughing.

"Yes. What I mean is, I don't care for every passer-by to pry into my
mind. I generally keep the blinds down."

"Yes, now I understand," she answered seriously; not that she remarked
the preference shown her, but she could not help thinking how much of
her own life was also concealed by a curtain.

In one of the small streets near the sea they had to pass through a
crowd of fishermen, who had been out all night, and were carrying home
their lines, tarpaulins, and large baskets full of fish.

"Bah!" said Delphin, when they had passed, "I can't bear that smell of
fish. But I forgot, Miss Garman; you must have had plenty of it when you
lived at Bratvold."

"Oh yes!" answered Madeleine, with some confusion.

"Well, for my part," he continued, in a merry tone, "I can say with
truth that I am a friend of the people, but I must confess that when the
dear creatures come too near my nose my affection for them somewhat
cools. There is something about that mixture of fish, tobacco, tar, and
wet woollen clothes that I can't get over."

Madeleine could not but feel what a vivid description this was of the
people among whom she had lived, and of him to whom she had so
nearly--Ah, it was well she had not betrayed the secret to any one.

As they were crossing the market Delphin pointed to some one going in
the direction of Sandsgaard.

"I declare, there is Mr. Johnsen going to Sandsgaard again to-day. Do
you know, Miss Garman, he has gone a little wrong in his head?" But
Madeleine had heard nothing about it.

"Yes, he is quite wrong in his head," continued her companion; "but it
is not yet perfectly clear whether he is in love or whether it is
religious mania. In favour of the first theory, that he is in love, we
have the fact that he rushes over to Sandsgaard nearly every day, and is
seen talking _tête-à-tête_ with Miss Rachel. In favour of the other
theory, that he has gone wrong on the subject of religion, it is said
that he intends to give us no end of a sermon one of these Sundays.
Won't you go to hear him?"

"Well, I don't know; but if the others go, I dare say I may go too."

"No! now promise me you will go to church that Sunday," said he, looking
at her imploringly.

There was no time for an answer; they were close to the door, and
Madeleine had caught a glimpse of Fanny behind the curtains of the
sitting-room.

In the mean time Mr. Johnsen went on his way. It was quite true that he
was going to Sandsgaard, but Delphin's statement that he was there every
day was an exaggeration. Since that Sunday, when the conversation had
waxed so warm, he had not been at Sandsgaard; but his thoughts had been
occupied ever since by the recollection of his last conversation with
Rachel in the garden.

Eric Johnsen came, as he often said, of a poor family. At the Garmans'
he was first brought into contact with that luxury which he had hitherto
despised, and he had made up his mind beforehand that he would not allow
himself to be dazzled by it, and therefore on his first introduction had
made his best endeavour to put on an air of severity, and to show
himself superior to its attractions. But now he was not only astonished
by the well-ordered and unpretentious comfort of the house, but he was
also shaken in his preconceived notions about the rich, when he came to
make the acquaintance of the Garmans. Johnsen had expected to find
something more ostentatious, especially at table; but the solid tone of
the household, and the easy and polished manners of the family, perhaps
most of all the presence of Rachel, finally caused him to change his
original ideas. He regarded with suspicion the satisfaction he felt,
after having been at Sandsgaard a few times. He was on his guard against
everything that tended to draw him away from his calling. There was one
point which he felt of the highest importance, which was, since he had
his origin from the poor and indigent, it was among them his work ought
to lie, among paupers and in pauper schools.

One day Johnsen actually found himself hesitating before the door of his
school, shrinking from going into its tainted atmosphere, when it was
not actually necessary for him to do so. The discovery caused him at
first the greatest uneasiness. Now, however, Rachel's society was
beginning to have more influence over him. It was no longer the comfort
of Sandsgaard which attracted him--of that he was quite certain; neither
had he any feeling for the young lady except interest, a deep, earnest
interest, after all the stirring impressions he had received through
her. She had a wonderful power over him. Her words seemed to shed a ray
of light over much which he had hitherto overlooked. He had, like the
rest of us, the germs of doubt in his heart, and he was still so young
and fresh that his aspirations were but loosely covered, and had not yet
had time to wither entirely in his heart. When, therefore, he was
suddenly thrown into the society of a woman of such intellectual power,
his mind seemed as it were to awake, and her influence and his own
reviving energies kindled within him a desire for action which increased
with each day that passed. The tiresome and uninteresting work of his
daily life seemed aimless to him. He must find some other means of
publishing his convictions--this was now clear to him. He went,
therefore, to his adviser, ready to engage in any combat into which she
might think fit to send him.

Rachel generally did at home pretty much as she liked. She disdained all
the hundred restraints which are generally considered so necessary for a
young girl; they plainly did not apply in her case--she was so different
to others. As soon, therefore, as Johnsen had exchanged a few words with
old Mrs. Garman, she said, without further ado, "Come, Mr. Johnsen, let
us take a turn in the garden," without her mother being in the least
astonished. Rachel had grown up quite beyond her power of restraint, and
if it came to the worst, thought Mrs. Garman, this unusual _penchant_
for a clergyman was not the worst one Rachel could have hit upon.

The two went down into the garden, where they walked as usual up and
down the central path. He found it rather difficult to lead the
conversation in the direction he wished. His tone was therefore somewhat
doubtful, as he said, "I have thought a great deal about our last
conversation; in fact, I have hardly thought of anything else since,
and, with your permission, I should like to say a few more words on the
same subject."

"I am always glad to talk with you," answered Rachel, fixing her eyes
upon him. Rachel had the same clear blue eyes as her father, to whom, in
fact, she bore considerable resemblance, even in the slight projection
of her under jaw. Her dark hair was faintly tinged with red, especially
at the temples, and her tall and well-built figure rendered her
appearance rather more imposing than attractive. The young men generally
were absolutely afraid of her, and she had the reputation of being
terribly learned and sarcastic, which was considered to be a great pity,
as in other respects she was a most desirable _parti_. Mr. Johnsen did
not notice any of these peculiarities: all he thought of was leading the
conversation into the direction he desired. At length he was successful.
He spoke with ever-increasing earnestness on the change that had taken
place in him; how that she had not only roused him to meditation, but
had also imparted to him a desire for work, for which he must now find
vent. He had come to her to be told how and where he was to begin.

Rachel seemed somewhat embarrassed. "It is not so easy for me," she
answered, "who as a woman am debarred from a life of action, if even I
had the wish for it, to advise you how you ought to begin."

"I am ready for anything," cried he, excitedly. "I am ready to write or
speak against the abuses I see everywhere around me. I am ready to cut
myself adrift from the calling I have adopted, if it must be. I will not
leave a single corner of my innermost heart concealed, but will lay open
my convictions as a man ought to do."

His young friend was too wary to allow herself to be carried away by
this sudden outburst, which she could not but regard with some
misgiving.

"I think you ought to consider," she began, "that what we have hitherto
been speaking of is a mere matter of scattered detail; there is scarcely
any irreconcilable want of agreement between your ideas and those of
Christianity in general."

"But Christianity requires either an entire belief or else none at all,
and I do not care to continue in my doubtful position any longer."

"Yes; and besides," she continued, "I am quite willing to confess that I
consider these forms and dogmas of but very slight importance. Our
conversation has only turned particularly on these points from the fact
that you hold a position in the Church."

"But that is not what we have been talking about," answered he,
excitedly; "the real gist of the matter is, that you have been trying to
rouse in me a consciousness of the personal responsibility which follows
conviction."

"Yes," answered she, "you are quite right; that is exactly what I was
aiming at."

"Whether I am in the Church or not, then, is not the question. What is
really important is to be a man--man enough to have a conviction, and
man enough to stand by it."

His vehemence and honesty overcame Rachel's scruples, and she answered
hastily, and almost with a feeling of relief, "Yes, that is the point;
it is exactly sincerity which is so rarely met with. This is the
principle which I can myself scarcely hope to carry out to its full
extent. What weight does the conviction of a woman carry with it, in a
society like ours? But my whole sympathy is excited whenever I see
sincerity struggling to the light. And that is why I believe that you
are on the right path now, that you have entered upon this combat with
falsehood. It is better to be utterly beaten in the battle than to lead
a peaceful but insincere life."

Her clear blue eyes sparkled as she spoke. He looked at her with
rapture, and with a sudden change of manner that was characteristic of
him, he said in a calm, quiet voice:

"I will live a life of falsehood no longer!" He took a few steps, and
said slowly and with emphasis, "I will ask the provost's permission to
preach in the church next Sunday; I have, in fact, already said
something to him about it. I want to tell the congregation--"

"It would, perhaps, be scarcely worth while," said Rachel, "to go too
much into details."

"No, that was not my intention. I wish to bring forward the importance
of sincerity. I will tell them plainly that I have my doubts, and that
God is to be found in truthfulness, and not in mere forms; and I wish
especially to examine the position of those of my own calling, who even
more than others are fettered by forms and ceremonies."

"It may cost you your future; and in any case you will make many
enemies."

"But perhaps I may make one friend."

"You shall have my friendship," said she, giving him her hand, "if you
find any support in that. You can count upon me, even if all others turn
their backs upon you."

"Thank you," said he, with solemnity, as he let go her hand. He left the
garden hastily, but without going through the house; he took a side
path, and went through the little wicket gate.

Rachel stood gazing after him as he went down the avenue. At last she
had met a man who dared to state his convictions. This was more than
ever Jacob Worse would have the courage to do.



CHAPTER X.


Jacob Worse's mother was regarded as quite a character in the town. When
her husband died, he was about as insolvent as a man could be. For
several years he had only kept his business going by means of unlimited
credit, but up to the very last he managed to keep one of the gayest
houses in the town. Nothing was left but a mass of bills and liabilities
when he was gone. People shook their heads, and went one and all to the
widow to condole with her. There were both friends and enemies among
them, but all alike were creditors. Some were for selling her up at
once, and others wished to keep the business going, while one wished to
buy the horses privately. The "Boston-parti"[A] to which the deceased
belonged, agreed to give the widow a monthly allowance. For a few days
Mrs. Worse was quite bewildered and broken down by the ruin she had so
little expected. She had never had the slightest knowledge of her
husband's affairs, but she was quite convinced that he was very rich. On
the evening after the funeral she was sitting alone with her son Jacob,
who was a boy of about seven or eight, when a little wizened,
grey-haired man came into the room, who, after respectfully wishing Mrs.
Worse good evening, laid on the table some account-books and papers. The
old man was well known to Mrs. Worse: it was Mr. Peter Samuelsen,
commonly known as Pitter Nilken, the manager of the small shop in the
back premises. Worse's property had consisted of an entire building, of
which the front looked out towards the sea and the quay where the
steamers were moored, and at the back was a little dark lane, where
Pitter Nilken had his shop. Worse never liked anybody to allude to the
shop; he considered that he was far too respectable a man of business
for anything of the sort. He used to say that it was mostly for old
Samuelsen's sake, that he kept the little shop going; it could have no
importance in a concern like his.

    [Footnote A: "Boston" is a game of cards, and the
     "Boston-parti" is a club, the members of which meet and play
     at each other's houses.]

Mrs. Worse had also believed this story; but that afternoon she learnt
to think otherwise. It was quite clear to her, after hearing Mr.
Samuelsen's figures and calculations, that the shop was not at all to be
despised, and she came at last to perceive that this was what had really
so long kept everything going.

The two sat over their figures far into the night. At first
comprehension seemed quite hopeless to Mrs. Worse. The explanations she
had heard from her husband's friends and creditors during the last few
days were so complicated, and couched in terms beyond her understanding;
but with Peter Samuelsen it was quite otherwise. He never went on until
he was quite sure that she comprehended what he said. At length it all
began to dawn upon her, and she kept on repeating, "I declare, it is all
as clear as daylight."

Next morning she ordered her carriage and drove off alone. The scandal
this excited in the town was beyond description. To think that she, who
scarcely owned the very clothes on her back, should have the audacity to
drive in a carriage and pair before the very noses of those whom her
husband had swindled! The general feeling towards her had hitherto been
favourable, and several people could not help feeling a mischievous
delight at the idea of seeing the haughty Mrs. Worse live on a monthly
allowance. But now all were as hard as stone. Mrs. Worse herself did not
seem to be so nervous as she was the day before, and when she entered
Consul Carman's office, with Pitter Nilken's papers under her arm, her
step was as firm and confident as a man's.

It was now several years since Worse had left the firm, but some
ill-feeling had long remained on both sides, and the deceased and Mr.
Garman had never got on well together. It was thus no light matter for
the widow to betake herself to Consul Garman; but Mr. Samuelsen had
assured her that it was quite out of the question to think of keeping
the business going without a guarantee from Garman and Worse.

When the Consul saw Mrs. Worse come into the room, he imagined that she
was bringing a subscription-list to raise the means for educating her
son, or something of that sort; and, as he offered her a chair on the
opposite side of the table, he turned over in his mind how much he
should subscribe. But when Mrs. Worse began to give an explanation of
her affairs, according to the calculations of Pitter Nilken, the
Consul's manner changed, and he got up, walked round the table, and
seated himself near her. He calmly and patiently examined each paper,
went through the calculations and figures, and at last read the draught
of a guarantee which Samuelsen had made, with the greatest attention.

"Who has assisted you with all this, Mrs. Worse?" he asked.

"Mr. Samuelsen," she answered, somewhat anxiously.

"Samuelsen? Samuelsen?" repeated the Consul.

"Yes, that is to say, Pitter Nilken. Perhaps you know him better by that
name."

"Ah yes! the little man in the shop. H'm! Does Mr. Samuelsen wish to go
into partnership with you?"

"No. I have asked him, but he prefers to remain in his present position,
and give me his assistance in the business."

The Consul got up with the guarantee in his hand. It was one of his
peculiarities that he could not write the signature of the firm except
when he was sitting in his usual place. But as soon as he had seated
himself in the old wooden armchair, he wrote in a large and bold hand,
"Garman and Worse," taking care to adorn the signature with several
flourishes, which he had inherited from his predecessors.

Armed with this document, Mrs. Worse and Mr. Samuelsen set to work at
the ruins. The first thing they did was to sell everything there was to
sell; but, with the assistance of Mr. Garman, they managed to save the
whole of the valuable premises. The front of the house was let, and the
old lady moved over to the back, where she took turns in the shop with
Mr. Samuelsen. She was at her post from early in the morning till late
in the evening, gossiping with her customers, and selling tobacco,
tallow candles, salt, coffee, tar-twine, herrings, train oil, paraffin,
tarpaulins, paint, and many other commodities.

In the course of a few years Mrs. Worse quite lost her manners. People
in polite society had never forgiven her her drive, but still less were
they willing to look over the fact that she, a lady, had not more
self-respect than to sink down into the position of a common shop-woman.
The lower orders, on the other hand, had quite a fellow-feeling for Mrs.
Worse, and the dingy little shop was just to their taste; and thus,
contrary to all expectation, Mrs. Worse's business, common little retail
affair as it was, went on capitally.

The trustworthy Mr, Samuelsen did the work of three. He was a little
grey shrivelled man, with a face like a dried fig. He might be forty, or
he might be sixty, it was not easy to tell. In his monotonous life there
had only been one single event which he particularly remembered, and
that was the afternoon when he had taken his books and calculations in
to Mrs. Worse, and since that time he had, with the greatest honesty,
helped her to overcome her many difficulties. Mr. Samuelsen had also his
own private enemies to contend against, and these consisted of nearly
all the school children in the town. It had always been, and was still,
a favourite amusement for the children to "Sing for Pitter Nilken." The
game was carried on in the following manner. Boys and girls all
assembled, the more the merrier, generally in the dusk of the evening,
and sneaked quietly down into the alley at the back of the Worses'
house, and when they got under Samuelsen's shop-window, they began
singing, to a well-known air--

     "Little Pitter Nilken,
     Sitting on his chair!
     He's always growing smaller,
     The longer he sits there."

This couplet was repeated again and again, each time in a louder tone,
until the tormented man seized his iron ruler and sprang over the
counter. Then off flew the crowd, screaming and shouting along the
narrow lane, for there was an old tradition that the iron ruler had a
rusty stain of blood on it. Samuelsen would then retire quietly to his
desk. In the course of years the episode had been of constant
occurrence, and he well knew that the only way of getting a little peace
was to make this sally with the ruler.

No one could blame Mrs. Worse for making an idol of her son; he was all
she had to care for. Although Jacob was a good son, and grew up strong
and healthy, he had cost his mother many tears when he came home from
school bruised and untidy after a fight. The boy had almost too much
spirit, as the principal said, and when he was roused he did not mind
tackling the biggest and strongest boys in the school. But he got better
as time went on, and when he came home from abroad to take his place in
the business, he was, and not only in his mother's opinion, one of the
best-looking and most agreeable young men in the town.

Jacob Worse took his father's old office in the front of the house,
which looked on to the market and the quay. He carried on a business
partly on commission and partly on his own account. He did a good deal
of trade, particularly in corn, which had hitherto been almost entirely
in the hands of Garman and Worse. The old firm had established itself so
securely on every side, that he seemed to meet them whichever way he
turned.

Morten wished that Garman and Worse should at once use their strength,
and crush their tiny rival before he had had time to become dangerous,
but Consul Garman would not hear of it. He seemed to have an
extraordinary liking for Worse, and even went out of his way to help
him, and latterly "the rival" had become a constant Sunday guest at
Sandsgaard.

At first Jacob Worse did not like leaving his mother on Sunday, but Mrs.
Worse said, "Go along, you great stupid! do you suppose that Samuelsen
and I care to have you sitting and laughing at us when we are playing
draughts; and besides," said she, giving him a sly poke with her finger,
"don't you know there is somebody out there that expects you?"

"Ah, mother, do stop those insinuations of yours; you know perfectly
well nothing will ever come of it."

"Now, Jacob," said Mrs. Worse, with her arms akimbo, "you think yourself
very clever, but I tell you you are as stupid as an owl, a barn-door
owl, when it is anything to do with women. You ought to see it must all
come right some day. I dare say Miss Rachel is a little bit singular,
but she is not quite cracked. You see, it will all get straight in the
end; it will still all come right some day."

This was the refrain of all Mrs. Worse's observations on this head, and
her son saw plainly it was of no use to contradict her. It was of no use
either to advise her to give up her shop, or, at any rate, to give up
the management to somebody else.

"Why, I should die of dropsy," said she, "and Samuelsen would dry up to
nothing in about a fortnight, if we had not got the shop to attend to."

"Yes," suggested Jacob, "but still you need not work any longer: you
have earned some rest for your old days; besides, your legs are not so
young as they were."

"As to my legs," cried Mrs. Worse, with a gesture of impatience, "my
legs are quite good enough for a shop-woman."

"Well, why not get a horse and carriage? You have every right to have
one."

"I took a drive once that made stir enough," answered his mother; "I
hope to take another some day, but that won't be before everything comes
right."

It was no use trying to persuade her, and so she and Samuelsen remained
in the back premises they were so fond of, and Jacob set up his
establishment in the front.

When Mrs. Worse was in her son's rooms, she used to play the fine lady
to her own great edification; but when she got him into her own
apartments, her behaviour entirely changed, and her laughter was coarse
and noisy. Her manners had really quite gone.

One Saturday afternoon Delphin came into Jacob Worse's office with some
books he had borrowed.

"Have you heard that I have bought a horse?" asked he, in a merry tone.

"No," answered Worse. "What new folly now?"

"Well, you see, I have got an idea that it will make a favourable
impression on Miss Madeleine if she sees me on horseback. Just fancy me
on a horse with a long mane and tail, like the picture of General Prim;
there!" and he went cantering round the room, and pulled up suddenly
before Worse--"there, like that: a good fierce expression. Is not that
it? I believe that will do the business."

Worse could not help laughing, although he did not think much of the
frivolous way Delphin had of paying his addresses to Madeleine.

"You are not going to ride up to Sandsgaard this morning?"

"No, not exactly; it would not do. I can't very well go up there dressed
for riding, and if I were to ride in these clothes I should look absurd.
But I thought of riding out there this evening, somewhere about seven
o'clock. Just fancy me coming in over the garden wall with a flying
salute, and lighted by the last rays of the evening sun! Why, it would
be irresistible."

"Well, I am afraid, or perhaps I ought rather to say I hope, that Miss
Madeleine will not fully appreciate your novel way of paying her your
addresses," said Worse, half-seriously.

"Ah, my most respected friend, you know very little of woman's heart;
and how should you, when your ideal is a woman who goes in for her
rights? a tall bony creature with a moustache under her nose, and
'Woman's wrongs' under her arm."

"Leave off, will you?" cried Worse. "You are just in your most
disagreeable vein. You had better go off to young Mrs. Garman. She will
find you most amusing to-day."

"A good idea, which I was already thinking of," answered Delphin, as he
took his hat; "and at the same time I will take a place for myself in
her carriage for to-morrow."

"Won't you drive with me?" cried Worse after him.

"No, thanks; I would rather go with Mrs. Garman, if for nothing else
than to have the pleasure of seeing her worthy husband on the box," said
he, as he went out of the door.

Jacob Worse stood watching him. At first he had been very glad to make
Delphin's acquaintance. There were not many young men in the town with
whom he could associate. Delphin was intelligent, well read on different
subjects, and when alone was good company enough. But by-and-by he
showed more of the frivolous side of his character, and Worse began to
get a little tired of his friend.

Fanny was sitting all this time in a state of absolute boredom. Little
Christian Frederick had gone out with his nurse, and the street was
uninteresting, dusty, hot, and thronged by country people making their
Saturday purchases. She did not care to look out of the window, but sat
leaning back in her most comfortable armchair, yawning in front of the
glass. Would it be better to send for Madeleine? it was several days
since she had paid her a visit. But then she would have to play the part
of go-between again. Or should she begin on her own account? Yes; why
not? But then he never came except when Madeleine was there. It really
was too tiresome.

When he now came unexpectedly into the room it gave her quite a start,
but she still remained leaning back in her armchair, and gave him her
left hand, which was the nearest, as she said, "I am glad to see you. I
was just thinking of you as I was sitting here all alone."

"It was very kind of you, I am sure," answered he, as he sat down in a
chair in front of her.

"Yes; all sorts of foolish things come into one's head when one is
sitting alone."

"I hope I was not the most foolish thing that could come into your
thoughts," answered Delphin, jestingly. "But it is quite true; you have
been left a great deal alone lately."

"Yes; but perhaps I have my own reasons for it."

"May I venture to ask what these reasons are?"

"Perhaps it would be better if I were to tell you," said she, regarding
attentively the point of her shoe, which projected from her dress as she
lay back in her chair. She had tiny pointed French shoes with straps
across the instep, through which appeared a blue silk stocking.

"I assure you I shall be very thankful, and at the same time most
discreet."

"Well, then, Madeleine is so young," said Fanny, as if following the
train of her own thoughts, "that I feel it to a certain extent my duty
to look after her, and--"

"I scarcely see that it is absolutely necessary," answered he.

"Yes; but when a girl so inexperienced as Madeleine is brought into
contact with gentlemen who are--well, who are so clever as, for
instance, yourself, Mr. Delphin, you see--" She looked at him as she
paused in her sentence.

"You are paying me too great a compliment," said he, laughing; "and
besides, you can never imagine that I would take advantage--"

"Nonsense!" rejoined Fanny; "I know all about that. You are just like
all the rest. You would never hesitate to take advantage of even the
slightest opportunity; would you, now? Tell me frankly."

"Well," answered he, rising, "if you really wish for an honest answer, I
must confess that when I see a strawberry that nobody else seems to
notice, I generally pick it."

"Yes; it is just that greediness that all men have, and which I find, at
the same time, so dangerous and incomprehensible."

"Yes; but, Mrs. Garman, strawberries are really so delicious."

"Yes, when they are ripe," answered Fanny.

The words fell from her lips as smoothly as butter. Delphin had taken a
few paces across the room, and just turned in time to see the last
glimpse of a look which must have been resting on him while she spoke.
It was not very often that he lost his self-possession in a conversation
of this kind, but the discovery he had made, or thought that he had
made, with all its uncertainty, and the feeling of pleased vanity it
brought with it, confused him, and he stood stammering and blushing
before her. She still lay stretched in the armchair, a position which
displayed to the best advantage the lines of her lovely form. Her beauty
was fully matured, and showed freedom and elegance in every movement.
She could see that she had said enough for the present, and she got up
without apparently taking any notice of his confusion.

"You must think," said she quickly, with a smile, "that it is absurd for
me to preach you a sermon. We all have to attend to our own affairs; and
if you will excuse me, I have to go and try on a dress. Good-bye, Mr.
Delphin; I hope you will find your strawberries to your taste."

Delphin was quite confounded; but before he had had time to get his hat
she put her head in at the door, still smiling, and cried, "You will
drive over with me to-morrow?" and, without waiting for an answer, she
nodded her head and disappeared.

Delphin had hardly recovered himself when he went for his ride to
Sandsgaard, and he quite forgot about the flying salute over the garden
wall, for there was no one to be seen either at the window or in front
of the house. The fact was, his adventure had made such an impression on
him that he did not take very much notice.

Fanny at first repelled his advances haughtily; but he accepted his fate
with resignation. George Delphin was not the man to lose his time or his
temper, in a hopeless pursuit. There are many respectable prizes in a
lottery without aiming at the first. But now here was the chance of
winning the great prize, the charming Fanny, the admiration of all. His
heart swelled with pride, and if Jacob Worse could have seen the look
with which he regarded the passers-by, it would certainly have reminded
him of General Prim.

The next day at Sandsgaard, Fanny and Madeleine were together during the
whole afternoon. Delphin could not manage to get an opportunity of
talking to either separately. Just once he came upon Fanny in the
morning-room at the piano, but she got up and went out hurriedly as he
entered. As they drove home that evening scarcely a word passed between
them. Fanny kept gazing the whole time over the fjord, of which they
caught glimpses from time to time through the trees of the avenue. It
was a still, peaceful autumn evening, and Delphin was in an excited
mood. Each time he moved he felt the rustle of her silk dress, the folds
of which nearly filled the carriage. Both sat quite silent to the end of
the drive.

During the next few days Madeleine was again staying with her cousin,
whom she found more gracious than ever. Delphin came even more
frequently than before; but she did not meet him during her walks, a
fact which she related to Fanny. Fanny said with a smile that Delphin
was perfectly right, and his conduct was only proper, now that people
had begun to talk about their frequent walks together.

Madeleine thought with regret upon how much there is to be careful of in
this world; but a short time afterwards she met Mr. Delphin, and during
the pleasant walk they had together he was most attentive, and in the
best of spirits.

Fanny was now more beaming than ever. Whenever she saw her own and
Madeleine's reflection in the glass, which, to tell the truth, was very
often the case, a smile of satisfaction would pass over her features.
Without Madeleine having a suspicion, the _rôles_ had been changed, and
the play was ready to begin, now that Fanny had made up her mind that
the parts were in the right hands.



CHAPTER XI.


All the Miss Sparres, of whom there were five, rushed to the window.

"It is Mr. Johnsen, the new school-inspector! No, it isn't! Yes, it is!
It _is_ Mr. Johnsen! Do you think I don't know him, although he has got
a new coat? I declare, he is coming in!"

"Clementine, you have taken my cuffs! Yes, you have! They were on the
piano. He is only going in to see father. Clara, Clara! you are standing
on my dress! Here he is! It is a visit! Who can have taken my cuffs?"

Mrs. Sparre was not long in getting them into order. The street door was
opened. There was a moment's breathless expectation in the room. It was
agreed that Miss Barbara, the eldest, was to say, "Come in," and as all
eyes were fixed upon her, she became quite pale with emotion. A knock at
the door was heard; but it was at the study door, and the dean said,
"Come in!" The door was heard to open, and a subdued conversation began
in the room.

"I told you he was only going to see father."

"Yes, and so did I," another said. "What was the good of rushing about
looking for your cuffs?"

"I didn't rush about!"

"Yes, you did!"

"Hush! I wonder what he wants with father?" said Mrs. Sparre. All were
silent, but they could not hear anything of the conversation which was
going on in the other room.

Mr. Johnsen had come to ask the dean to fulfil the promise he had made
to him some weeks previously, and to kindly give him permission to
preach in the church the next Sunday. The dean had not forgotten his
promise, and was only too glad to have an opportunity of fulfilling it.
He also begged to thank Mr. Johnsen for his goodness in offering to
assist him in his duties.

As far as that went, answered Mr. Johnsen, he would not conceal from him
that it was not so much consideration for the weight of his duties which
had impelled him to make the request. He must confess, that it was
rather that he wished to have an opportunity of addressing the
congregation on a personal matter.

The dean could quite feel that his connection with the school would lead
to the desire of speaking a few words to the parents of the children who
were entrusted to his care.

But this again was not exactly the subject on which Mr. Johnsen wished
to speak. There were many things which might weigh on the mind and
oppress the thoughts. It would be better, once for all, to disburden the
conscience by coming forward honestly and truthfully.

The dean allowed that the idea was only natural. It was the duty of
every Christian, and especially of a clergyman, to speak truthfully. But
sincerity was a rare virtue, and was often hidden under the changing
circumstances of life. But great care would be necessary. It was of the
first importance to examine closely both one's mind and one's
composition.

Johnsen was able to say honestly that he had arrived at his conclusions
after earnest thought and conscientious inquiry, and that his conviction
was the result of many lonely hours of self-examination.

The dean could assure him that he well knew these lonely hours of
thought, and great was the blessing that might be found in them; but he
would venture to suggest what he knew from his own experience, that the
problems which a man worked out alone were not always the most
trustworthy. He would, therefore, remind him of the passage where we are
recommended to confess to each other, which seemed to suggest working in
fellowship, and giving each other mutual assistance.

Johnsen answered that that was the very reason why he wished to speak to
the congregation.

The two sat on opposite sides of the dean's table, regarding each other
attentively. Johnsen was pale and had something nervous about his
manner, which seemed to betoken a wish to bring the interview to a
close.

Dean Sparre sat leaning back in his armchair, and in his hand he held a
large ivory paper-knife, which he used to emphasize his words; not,
indeed, for the purpose of gesticulating or striking on the table, but
every now and then, when he came to some particular point, he drew the
knife up and down on the sheets of paper which lay before him.

To speak the thoughts plainly before the congregation was certainly
desirable in itself, and entirely in accordance with Scripture. But it
was quite easy to imagine that a man might want to make other
confessions which should not be for every ear. The Church had,
therefore, another and more restricted form of confession, which was not
only just as much in accordance with Scripture, but might often be still
better adapted to ease the troubled heart.

Johnsen got up to take his leave. He felt a great wish to speak before
the congregation. It was, in his opinion, of the greatest importance
that he should have a perfectly clear idea of his own views, and that
there should be nothing obscure or insincere between him and his
hearers.

The dean also got up, and shook hands on wishing him good-bye. He gave
his young friend his best wishes for his undertaking, and hoped he would
bear in mind that he, as dean, was always ready to assist him in every
way, if he should at any time feel the need of his services.

"You will bear this in mind, my young friend, will you not?" said the
old dean, with a fatherly look.

Johnsen muttered something about thanks as he hurried out of the room.
He was no longer in the frame of mind in which he had been during the
last few weeks. The peaceful, genial air of the dean's study, with its
well-filled bookshelves, had had a wonderful effect upon him, as had
also the dean, with his manner, which was at the same time so mild and
so earnest. The mind of the young clergyman seemed, as it were, softened
by an influence which he did not clearly understand, and the power of
which he was not willing to recognize.

After a long walk, Johnsen at length arrived in the large field which
lay beyond Sandsgaard. From this position he could look down into the
garden and premises near the house. He could follow with his eye the
broad path where Rachel and he had so often walked together, and their
conversation seemed to come before him with the greatest distinctness.
For a long time he stood there gazing, until he felt strong again in his
resolve. What would he not have given to have seen her, if only for a
moment! But he felt he could not approach the house. He would not allow
any other feeling to mingle with the holy determination with which his
thoughts were filled, and with an heroic effort he turned away, and bent
his steps towards the town. His mind had now regained its former tone.

The church was filled to overflowing that Sunday on which Mr. Johnsen
was to preach his first sermon. There are always plenty of people who
are glad of the opportunity of hearing a new preacher, and this number
was increased by the interest which was felt in the earnest young man
who had attracted so much attention.

Mrs. Garman sat with her daughter in the family seat, in which were also
Fanny and Madeleine. Dean Sparre, with his wife and daughter Barbara,
were in the front row of the pew which belonged to them; while behind
were Pastor Martens with the other Miss Sparres; and behind, again, Mrs.
Rasmussen, the chaplain's housekeeper.

The congregation was so large that the voices swelled as when the
Christmas hymn is sung, and as the preacher wended his way towards the
pulpit, the heads of all the singers were turned as if to follow him.

As Johnsen ascended the narrow winding stair where no eye could see him,
he felt a momentary weakness, as if he must almost sink under his
burden, and he never afterwards clearly remembered how he had managed to
get up the last few steps which led to the pulpit; but when he at length
reached his place, and the hundred eyes were again fixed on him, he
forced himself, with that energy which was peculiar to him, to conquer
his feelings. He looked so calm that many people averred that they had
never seen a young clergyman more at home in the pulpit.

Johnsen had sharp eyes, and could recognize many of the faces below him;
but he was conscious of Rachel's presence, as she sat opposite to him in
the Garmans' pew, more by an instinctive feeling than because he
actually saw her. He was, in fact, obliged to avert his eyes from her
direction, lest the sight should unman him. The part of the church in
which the women sat was immediately under him, just below the pulpit,
while the private pews were in a kind of gallery opposite. As the
congregation sang the last verse of the psalm, he gazed deliberately
over all the upturned eyes. Some were piercing, some curious, some pious
and devotional, while some appeared as deep and unfathomable as if he
were looking into unknown depths.

After an introductory prayer, he read his text in a clear and composed
voice, after which he began a short and clear explanation of the
passage. It was only in the last part of the sermon that he really
intended to go into more personal matters, and the nearer he approached
them the less confidence he seemed to feel. When he had begun his
sermon, he had fixed his eyes on a certain point, which he sought every
time he lifted his eyes from his notes; and this point, although he had
not remarked it at first, was Dean Sparre's head. The snowy hair and the
white collar stood out in the sharpest contrast against the dark
background, and the more the speaker gazed at this noble face, the more
he seemed to dread the conclusion. He was already close upon the point
where he was first to begin to speak about sincerity, and the necessity
of a perfectly truthful existence, and although he could not exactly
tell the reason, he could not but feel that the stirring discourse he
had set himself to deliver, was but little in keeping with that bright
and peaceful smile, and with that commanding countenance so full of
earnestness and harmony.

His head seemed to go round, and not another word could he utter. There
was a deathlike stillness in the church, as he wiped his brow with his
handkerchief.

But when he again raised his head, he made an effort, and, looking
beyond the dean in his need, he sought her who was really the cause of
his standing where he did. He was not disappointed, for the moment his
eyes met the calm and determined face, a change seemed to come over him.
Her eye rested upon him with an inquiring and almost anxious expression,
which he well understood.

She should not be disappointed of her trust in him, and with renewed
strength, and without a tremor in his voice, he began upon the last part
of his discourse. Ever higher and fuller rang his voice, until its
sonorous tone filled the church, and was re-echoed from the vaulted
roof. The congregation followed him with attention, while some of the
old women were moved to tears. And now a sensation of uneasiness seemed
to pass through those who composed the great assembly. It was indeed an
extraordinary sermon, with its earnest entreaties to be thoroughly
upright and sincere, and with its reckless condemnation of all forms and
ceremonies, all of which were but of secondary consideration. It seemed
too bold, too exaggerated.

He seemed anxious to confess his sceptical opinions, in holding which he
did not stand alone. He was only alone in confessing them. He knew only
too well that fine web of soothing compromise, with which people were in
the habit of deadening their consciences. He knew it still better, too,
from his own point of view as a clergyman, who even more than others was
bound to live in the full glare of truth, even though he might be
despised, hated, and persecuted by an unreasoning world. If he followed
the beaten track, whither would it lead? To a position of comfort and
respectability, in which the first duty was to throw a veil over one's
own heart and those of others: to suppress all doubt and inquiry, and to
deaden all real life in the individual, so that the whole machine might
continue its regular movements without noise or friction. But truth was
a two-edged sword, sharp and shining as crystal. When the light of truth
broke into the heart of man, it caused an agony as piercing as when a
woman brings her child into the world.

But, instead of this, was a man to lead a life of slumber, shut in by
falsehood and form, without force or courage; giving no sign of firmness
or power, but stuffed and padded like the hammers of a piano?

He was so carried away by his thoughts that he forgot his notes and said
many things he would never have dared to write; and after the last
thundering outburst, he concluded with a short and burning prayer for
himself and for all, to have power to defy the falsehood by which man
was bound, and to live a life of sincerity.

He then went on in an entirely changed voice with the rest of the
service; but Rachel particularly noticed that he left out the prayer for
the arms of the country, by land and sea; and now, as he read the
prayers in a calm, quiet voice, the assembly seemed to breathe more
freely, as if after a storm.

Among the men could be heard whispers, and the prevailing idea seemed to
be that the sermon was a complete scandal; while those who had to do
with the law were of opinion that he would be cited before the
Consistorial Court. Among the women the feeling seemed rather undecided,
and many inquiring glances were thrown towards where the men were
sitting, in the hope of divining what the opinion would be, either of a
husband, or a brother, or, in fact, of that particular person of the
opposite sex, according to whose decision each woman was in the habit of
forming her own.

Most eyes, however, sought the dean, who sat as he had done during the
whole sermon, slightly leaning back on his seat, and holding a large
hymn-book, which was a gift from his previous congregation, between his
hands. From the upper windows on the other side of the church a subdued
light fell on his form. The face had the same exalted and peaceful
expression; not a sign of uneasiness or annoyance had passed over it
during the whole sermon, which was not without a soothing effect upon
the congregation. The feeling of restlessness and excitement was
universal, but most people seemed inclined to defer, their final
judgment.

Pastor Martens had left the pew immediately after the sermon, for he had
to conduct the Communion Service. While he performed it, his somewhat
unmusical voice trembled with inward emotion. There could be no doubt
whatever as to what were the inspector's real opinions.

The chaplain could not help being rather pleased at the satisfaction the
dean would now be obliged to render him, for it had been quite against
the chaplain's wish and advice, that Johnsen was allowed to preach at
the morning service. It would have been more advisable to have given him
a first trial either at a Bible-reading, or at most at the evening
service. But now the murder was out, and he had shown his feeling of
antagonism to the Church before the whole congregation. What would the
dean do? The affair would naturally have to be reported.

As soon as the service was over, Martens left the altar and hurried into
the sacristy, into which he had already seen the dean enter.

"What do you say to that, sir?" he cried breathlessly, as he shut the
door after him.

Dean Sparre was sitting in his armchair, reading the hymn-book he had in
his hand. At the chaplain's question he raised his head with an
expression of mild reproof at the disturbance, and said abstractedly,
"To what are you alluding?"

"Why, the sermon; of course I allude to the sermon; it is perfectly
scandalous!" cried the chaplain, excitedly.

"Well, certainly," answered the dean, "I cannot say that it was a good
sermon, taken as a whole, but if you take into consideration--"

"But really, sir--" interrupted the chaplain.

"It appears to me, and it is not the first time I have noticed it, my
dear Martens, that you do not quite get on with our new fellow-worker;
but is it not to us that he ought really to look for support?"

The chaplain cast down his eyes; there was some extraordinary power
about his superior. Not an instant before he had formed his opinion
quite clearly, but the moment he found himself face to face with the
dean's genial countenance, all his ideas seemed to change.

"It grieves me to be obliged to speak to you thus, my dear Martens, but
I do so with the best intentions; and, then, we are alone."

"But don't you think, sir, that he was far too bold?" asked the
chaplain.

"Yes, clearly, clearly so," assented the dean, in a friendly tone. "He
was unguarded, like all beginners; perhaps the most unguarded I have
heard. But then we know quite well that the same thing often occurred in
our own time. It would be quite unreasonable to expect the Spirit's full
maturity in the young."

This remark caused Martens involuntarily to think of his own first
attempt. He answered, however, "But he maintained that we ministers,
above all others, are living a life of falsehood, shut in by meaningless
forms."

"Exaggeration! a wild and dangerous exaggeration! In that I quite agree
with you, my dear Martens. But, on the other hand, which of us can deny
that a ceremonial, be it ever so beautiful and full of meaning, still in
the course of time, when it is frequently repeated, loses something of
its influence over us? But who will dare cast the first stone? Is it not
youth, as we see, who has not yet experienced the wear of that
continuous labour which strives to be true to the end? And then
naturally we get exaggeration--dangerous exaggeration. But," continued
the dean, "before everything, let us agree to look upon his sermon in
the right light, for the opinion of many will be formed upon ours, and
if we now allow this young man to slip out of our hands he will, likely
enough, be entirely lost for the good work; and I must say I have great
hopes of him. I feel sure that in his right place, which would be in a
large town--for instance, in Christiania--he will make a name for
himself in the Church, and I venture to think that his labours will bear
abundant fruit."

Martens again looked up at the dean as he pronounced these words, and
for the first time he now perceived what it was that made his manner so
irresistible. It was the smile, that changing and varying smile, which
yet never entirely left the noble features. It seemed to mingle in all
he said, like a warm and soothing sunbeam; and as the chaplain
constrained himself to alter his opinion under its influence, he felt
that the muscles of his mouth involuntarily assumed the dean's
expression.

Madame Rasmussen could not conceal her astonishment at the moderation
with which the chaplain spoke of Johnsen's sermon. She was herself in
the highest degree shocked, and when Mr. Martens told her that, in his
opinion, Mr. Johnsen would be likely to become a clergyman of
considerable note in Christiania some day, she almost thought that he
was carrying his forbearance too far. Still she could not but like
Pastor Martens, who had now lived with her for two years without a
single ill word having passed between them. Madame Rasmussen was a young
widow, plump, good-looking, and light-hearted. She had no children, and
it was quite a pleasure to her to manage for the chaplain--to prepare
his little dishes, and to keep his things in order. She was the only
person in the whole town who really knew that Martens wore a wig. This
was not, however, a thing to be spoken about, and nobody else was
admitted into the secret.

As Mrs. Garman drove home from church with Rachel and Madeleine, she
spoke disapprovingly of Johnsen's sermon. She considered that it was
highly improper for a young man to be so forward and daring; but it was
quite in accordance with the spirit of the times, as Pastor Martens had
explained on the previous Sunday.

"Ah, Pastor Martens is quite a different man, is he not?" asked Mrs.
Garman, addressing Madeleine, as Rachel made no reply.

"Yes--oh yes!" answered Madeleine, abstractedly. She was wondering all
the time where Delphin could have come from so suddenly, when he
appeared close to her and Fanny in the crowd at the church door He had
greeted her in a most friendly way, but when they got to the carriage
they found that both he and Fanny had vanished without saying good-bye.

Rachel let her mother talk away, as was her wont. She was all the time
meditating on the importance of the event which had just taken place,
and was wondering how Johnsen would come out of it all. It was quite
clear that her mother's was the prevailing opinion, and it was but too
probable that with most people the ill feeling would take a still more
bitter form. She could picture him to herself calm and steadfast in the
midst of it all. Here at length she had found a truly courageous man.

During dinner Delphin gave his own rendering of some extracts from the
sermon, with as much spirit as his fear of Mrs. Garman would allow, and
the performance afforded Uncle Richard great amusement. Rachel thought
it best to contain her feelings, for she knew that conversation with Mr.
Delphin on a serious subject was nothing else than an impossibility.
Madeleine, on the contrary, could not help laughing. She always found
Delphin very amusing, and at the same time so good-natured. She had
latterly been almost annoyed with Fanny because she treated Delphin
coolly and distantly. But Delphin seemed scarcely to notice her conduct;
on the contrary, he seemed even in better spirits than before. He really
was a good fellow.

Several people also thought that Morten Garman was a good fellow, to
allow Delphin to carry on with Fanny without interference. It was not
easy to know if Morten saw anything or not, and whether his confidence
in his wife, or his own bad conscience, caused his indifference.

Rachel passed the Monday and Tuesday in an anxious state of mind.
Something, she thought, must happen. The feeling against Johnsen was
strong, but it must surely take some more decided form. She knew that he
would come to see her, happen what might, and she expected him.



CHAPTER XII.


Fanny and Madeleine had accepted an invitation for the Wednesday in the
same week. Rachel had simply refused without giving a reason, but people
were now used to her manner.

"I have such a dreadful headache!" sighed Fanny, as she came into
Madeleine's room, who was getting ready to go out. Madeleine had come
into the town on the Sunday evening.

"Poor Fanny!" said Madeleine, feelingly; "have you got that headache
again?"

"Yes, it came just as if it were on purpose, at the very moment I was
going to change my dress. Oh, how bad it is!"

"I think you have had a great many of these headaches lately, Fanny; you
ought to speak to the doctor."

"It is no use," answered Fanny, endeavouring to cool her forehead by
pressing a little hand-glass against it. "The only thing that does me
any good is fresh air and perfect quiet. Oh, the noise here from the
street is dreadful! To think that I have to spend the whole evening in a
hot room! I can't bear it; it will be too much for me!"

"You shan't go out at all when you are so unwell," said Madeleine,
decidedly. "I will make such a nice excuse for you."

"Oh, if I could only stop at home, or, even better still, if I could get
to Sandsgaard; it is so quiet there!" said Fanny, with a sigh.

"Yes, that is just what you shall do," cried Madeleine. "You take the
carriage when it has left me, and drive out there. I believe it is
clearing up, and we shall have a lovely quiet moonlight evening."

"Yes; I don't much mind what the weather is," said Fanny, with a sickly
smile. "But do you think it will do for me--"

"You need not trouble about that. I will make such charming and
plausible excuses for you, that you will really feel quite rewarded for
all the trouble you have had in teaching me the ways of society. Look
now, I will begin like this;" and Madeleine, who had now got on her
dress, curtsied and smiled, and began a most pathetic story about dear
Fanny's dreadful headache. Fanny began to laugh, until it gave her head
so much pain that she could not help crying out. She, however, allowed
herself to be persuaded, and Madeleine drove off alone.

Madeleine now began to find herself at home in her new life. Fanny was
so good and kind to her, that the young girl at last got the better of
her shyness, and told her friend the whole story about Per, and the rest
of her doings at home.

Fanny did not laugh at her in the least; on the contrary, she said that
she quite envied Madeleine the romantic little episode, which would be a
sweet recollection for the rest of her life. But when Madeleine timidly
said that she considered it more than a recollection, and that she
regarded herself as really engaged, she met with such a determined
opposition that she did not know what to think. "Young girls, often have
these absurd adventures," said Fanny, "when they are not old enough to
know better." She had herself been madly in love with a chimney-sweep--a
common chimney-sweep, just think of that!

The more Madeleine became accustomed to town life the easier she found
it to deaden her recollections of the past. But however successful she
was in burying them out of sight for the time, they would recur whenever
she was alone. But she refused to listen to them; they could never
become realities. Still, she never cared to go home to Bratvold with her
father, even for a few days. She seemed to dread looking on the sea
again.

All that day Rachel had waited in vain; she was beginning to be uneasy.
Why did he not come to see her--she who had been so much the cause of
his enterprise? He must know how anxious she was to talk with him, and
to thank him. It was surely impossible for him to think that she also
believed that he had gone too far. Should he not come to-morrow, she
would write to him.

There was but little conversation that evening at dinner. The Consul was
as precise and polite as he generally was when he was alone with the
ladies. Fanny, who had come in hopes of curing her headache, was silent
and suffering. By ten o'clock the whole house was perfectly quiet, but
Rachel was still sitting in her room, lost in thought. She could not
read, but several times she took up a pen to write, she scarcely knew
what. She never accomplished her intention, and at last she put out the
light, and sat down and gazed over the fjord, which lay sparkling in the
moonlight. If, forsaken by every one, he now came to her and prayed for
even more than her friendship, for this too she was prepared, and had
finally decided on her answer. He was a man, and a courageous one, and
she was determined to follow him. What a joy it had been to her to meet
such a man! But why was she out of spirits now?

Rachel sat by the window till she heard the carriage which brought home
Madeleine, and then hurriedly undressed and went to bed.

As Madeleine was driving home the carriage stopped for a moment in front
of the club, while a boy spoke a few words to the coachman.

The driver that evening was old Per Karl, who many years ago had come
from Denmark with a pair of horses for the young Consul. Both he and the
horses were long past their work; but whenever he could get the
opportunity, he was only too pleased to get the old blacks into the
carriage, and himself upon the box. This had been the case this evening,
when it was only the good-natured Miss Madeleine for whom the carriage
was going, and she was always perfectly satisfied, as the old Jutlander
well knew, even if the pace was not very terrific.

Per Karl now turned round and said to Madeleine, "What shall we do,
miss? Now there will be a bother. Mr. Morten is going to drive out with
us, and when he sees we have got the old horses he will be angry."

A few moments afterwards Morten came out, and, after many apologies for
the delay, took his place by Madeleine's side. He said he thought he
would go out and see how Fanny was, she looked so very unwell; and
besides, what a lovely moonlight evening it was for a drive! He sat
himself down comfortably in the carriage, and had just taken a long
whiff of his cigar, when all at once he leant forward and said, "Stop!
what was that?"

One of the horses had made a slight stumble, and the jar was felt in the
carriage.

"I declare, it is those old horses and Per Karl!" cried Morten, partly
standing up. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Oh!" muttered Per Karl, who was quite ready to defend himself, "there
is nothing the matter with the old horses; but, of course, if we had
known we were going to have you in the carriage, sir--"

"Rubbish! You know perfectly well the old horses were not to be used any
more. I will tell my father, and have them shot to-morrow, as sure as
ever it comes."

Morten was very fond of horses; and besides, he was just in that excited
and obstinate mood in which people sometimes are, when they have been
dining at their club.

Madeleine tried to pacify her cousin, but it only made him all the
worse.

"Just look how lame that one is--the left-hand one!"

"You mean the near one, sir."

"Go to the devil with your near and off! I mean the left-hand one, the
mare; both her fore legs are as round as apples. Why, I saw that in the
spring."

"Not both of them," answered the old coachman, doggedly.

"Yes, they are; but I will have this looked to. I will have a stop put
to it, once for all," said Morten, decidedly. He was just in the humour
to take everything very much in earnest.

As soon as they arrived, he scarcely gave himself time to help Madeleine
out of the carriage, so anxious was he to examine the mare's fore legs;
and she heard the voices disputing and wrangling away in the direction
of the stable, as she went into the house.

Madeleine's window looked to the westward, and when she reached her room
she found it open. She was going to shut it, but the sea looked so
peaceful down below in the clear moonlight, that she knelt down on the
window-seat, and remained gazing at the lovely scene. The moon had just
reached the point at which it began to shine upon her window, and the
shadow fell obliquely from the corner of the house, just beyond the
hedge below, thus leaving a triangular space in darkness close
underneath. As Madeleine leant out she could see that Miss Cordsen's
window was also open. She was just going to call to the old lady, with
whom she was on the most friendly terms, but on consideration she
thought it would be nicer to enjoy the delightful moonlight evening
alone.

In that part of the garden the paths were to a great extent overgrown by
the spreading trees. The little pond, which had once been full of carp,
and where even now some remained, only no one seemed to notice them, was
fringed with tall rushes. On the other side was the old summer-house,
almost hidden among the shrubs, which were now never clipped. The fact
is, that part of the garden which was now most cared for was that which
lay just in front of the house, and the part we are now speaking of was
left pretty much to itself. Along the inside of the garden-wall there
stood a row of aspen trees, whose leaves were beginning to turn yellow
and strew themselves on the paths. Almost all the other trees still kept
their foliage, although it was already September. The mountain ash
berries were beginning to redden, and shone in heavy clusters among the
leaves, while here and there a leaf was to be seen turning from red to
yellow. The beech trees, which had been planted in the time of the young
Consul's grandfather, spread out their branches far and wide. The
shining dark green foliage hung in rich festoons nearly to the ground,
and the long shoots were fringed with masses of tufted beech-nuts.

A mysterious silence reigned in the garden, while the moonlight came
rippling noiselessly through the leaves and stealing down the trunks,
forming patches of radiance on the grass, which were sharply defined by
the edges of the dark shadows. Goldfinches, bullfinches, a few thrushes,
and other autumn birds, were sitting in the aspen trees. They were
mostly occupied in quietly pluming their feathers, and only some of the
young birds, which had been hatched that spring, were hopping about from
branch to branch. The parents sat watching them, thinking, doubtless,
how delightful it was to be young and innocent. All nature seemed to
have reached maturity, and the restless activity of spring was
forgotten. The birds were now calm and sober enough. The cocks and hens
sat peacefully side by side, no advances were made or encouraged.
Love-making, with all its follies, was at an end for that year. Only the
curious dragon-flies, with their four long wings and taper bodies, were
still busy with their love-dances over the pond. August had been so
rainy and windy that they seemed anxious to make the most of the still
autumn evening. The males were sitting dotted about among the reeds,
peering on every side with their prominent eyes, and when one approached
another too closely, the two would rush at each other till their
transparent wings, like delicate plates of silver, and their scaly
bodies, made a tiny rustling when they met in conflict. Then all was
still again among the rushes, until the arrival of a female dragon-fly.
She would come slowly and carelessly humming along from some other part
of the garden, and when she got near the pond would change her course,
turn off, and fly back again. Her little heart was doubtless beating
high; but casting aside her fears, she at length took courage, and sped
on over the pond. Away started five or six males, dashing at each other
like knights in helm and harness, and battling confusedly amid the clash
of tiny weapons. But the happy victor soon bid adieu to the conflict,
and sailed past the others to the side of his lovely prize. Their wings
met for a moment in mimic combat, and then away they glided in close
embrace far over the heads of the discomfited champions, each aiding
other with fairy wings, to seek a lonely spot far away among the rushes.

A plaintive air, sung by some shrill girlish voices in the West End, was
wafted over by the light evening breeze. It was so still that Madeleine
could follow every word:

     "I now myself must sever,
     My little friend, from thee.
     Let naught oppress thee ever;
     Soon home again I'll be."

She felt more than usually depressed, and now, just as it had happened
after church on Sunday, Delphin's image seemed suddenly to spring up
into her thoughts. Where he came from she knew not. A web of confused
reveries seemed to weave themselves in her soul, just as the moon shed
its mysterious network of shadows over the grass.

Her attention was all at once attracted by a noise in the garden. She
certainly fancied that she heard the door of the summer-house creak on
its rusty hinges. At the same moment she heard Morten's heavy tread on
the stone steps leading up to the front door: he must be returning from
the stable. It was time to go to bed, but still she remained at the
window, looking towards the summer-house. She now discovered two forms
that were going slowly down the path which led to the wicket in the
garden wall. This path was fringed on both sides by high overgrown
hedges, and she could only see the heads every now and then as they
passed. In the idea that it was one of the maids with her sweetheart,
she was just going to shut the window. It was surely nothing which
concerned her.

The pair had just reached the place at which two paths crossed each
other, which was illuminated by a broad patch of moonlight. Madeleine
could not help being curious to see who it might be, and still stood
leaning out of the window, holding on to the fastening of the sun-blind.
The lovers stood still for a moment, as if they felt that there was
danger in passing the place. At length they took courage, and sped
hastily by. But not hastily enough--Madeleine had recognized them both.
Her pulse seemed to stop and her heart to sink within her, and without
uttering a sound she slipped down on the floor under the window. In the
passage, outside her door, she heard Morten go grumbling back from the
bedroom which he and Fanny usually occupied, and in which she was not to
be found.

Madeleine's head became clear in a moment In another instant he would be
down the staircase, out in the garden, and then--They must be saved, but
why she did not know, nor how; but save them she must. Her first idea
was to close the window with a bang, but she did not dare to stand up.
In her need she saw the water-bottle on the table. She seized it, and,
without lifting her head, put it on the window-sill. She gave it a push,
and a second after she heard the crash of the glass, and the splash of
the water on the paving-stones with which the house was surrounded. She
lay still, crouched in a heap under the window.

A light hurried step and the rustle of a dress were heard over the lawn.
All was so still, and her nerves were in such a state of tension, that
Madeleine could hear one of the French windows carefully opened and
closed again. The step came upstairs, and as it passed her door she
heard Morten's voice say, "I am sure you never thought that I should
come out this evening;" and Fanny's answer, "Oh, one feels that sort of
thing instinctively!"

Madeleine breathed again. It was indeed Fanny's voice, in its most
insinuating and deceitful tones.

A short time afterwards she got up and closed her window, and
withdrawing into the farthest corner of the room, she hastily undressed
and crept into bed. Her tears flowed the whole time, but she was utterly
crushed, and soon fell into a heavy slumber.

A good hour after Madeleine had gone to sleep, her door opened
noiselessly, and a tall shadowy form glided into the chamber. The form
placed a water-bottle upon the table. The moon had reached the point at
which it shone obliquely into the window, and down upon the bed where
Madeleine was sleeping. The apparition drew the curtains more closely,
and the while a beam of moonlight passed over its features. They were
furrowed with innumerable small wrinkles, and a night-cap with starched
strings was knotted tightly under the chin.

Noiselessly as it had entered, the apparition glided out again, and the
door closed.



CHAPTER XIII.


The next day it rained in torrents. Morten drove into the town
immediately after breakfast. Madeleine lay in bed with a fever. Rachel
went in to see her, but she found her in such a curious state that she
wished to send for the doctor. Miss Cordsen, however, was of opinion
that it would be better to let her have perfect rest, and that with time
she would soon come round. Rachel would all the same have sent for the
doctor, if she had not forgotten it almost before she got downstairs;
she was so taken up with her own thoughts. Would another day pass
without his coming?

A carriage drove up to the door. Mrs. Garman, who had just finished a
little private breakfast in her own room, put down her paper and said,
"Is it possible? Can it be visitors in this weather?"

Rachel felt that she was blushing. She had recognized his voice in the
hall, and to conceal her emotion, she sat down at the piano and
aimlessly struck a few chords.

The door opened and in came Dean Sparre, followed by Mr. Johnsen. Rachel
turned round on the music-stool, bringing her hand down with a crash on
some of the bass notes of the piano. Her eye never wandered from
Johnsen, as if she expected every moment that he would begin to speak,
and give some explanation as to why he came in such company.

Dean Sparre gave a cordial greeting to the ladies, at the same time
mildly reproaching Rachel for not having paid them a visit at the
deanery. He had a great many messages for her from his "little girls."

Mrs. Garman became reconciled as soon as she saw who were the visitors.
There was nothing she enjoyed more than a gossip with clergymen.

The conversation first turned upon the disagreeable weather, but
Rachel's eyes never once moved from the inspector. He did not look in
her direction; his face was pale, and his lips closely pressed together.

"We particularly wished, my young friend and I," at last began the dean,
"to pay this visit at your house together. There are many things that
can be explained, and many misunderstandings which can be avoided, if
one only has an opportunity of talking a matter thoroughly over."

The dean paused and looked at Mr. Johnsen, who made a momentary effort
to speak, in which he signally failed.

"It would be most unfortunate," continued the dean, "if a few
ill-considered remarks should leave an impression on our congregation
that there was any want of agreement, or rather, I should say,
difference of opinion, among those who have to work together in the
service of the Church."

Rachel had left her seat, and was now standing before Mr. Johnsen. "Is
that your opinion?"

"My dear Rachel!" interrupted Mrs. Garman. Rachel's eccentricities
really exceeded all bounds.

"Is that your opinion?" repeated Rachel, with the severity of a judge
condemning a criminal.

Johnsen raised his head nervously and looked at her. "Allow me to
explain, Miss Garman," he began. But he could not withstand the
penetrating glance of those clear blue eyes, and hung down his head, and
stopped in the middle of his sentence. Rachel turned round, and without
saying another word left the room.

"I must really, gentlemen," said Mrs. Garman, "beg you to excuse my
daughter. Rachel's conduct is sometimes so very extraordinary; in fact,
I don't understand it at all."

"The behaviour of youth, my dear Mrs. Garman," said the dean, blandly,
"is undoubtedly somewhat strange in these days; but we ought to consider
how times have changed." And the pressure of his soft persuasive hand
was so soothing, that when they were gone, Mrs. Garman felt almost as
much edified as if she had been listening to a sermon.

That the dean, in the course of three or four days, had been able to
bring about this entire change in the inspector, was for Martens a new
source of wonder and admiration; and every one could not but feel
greatly relieved when they saw the two going about and paying their
visits together.

The whole of that memorable Sunday Johnsen had spent in pacing up and
down his room, repeating to himself different parts of his sermon. Some
of his thoughts he had managed to express clearly enough, while others
might have been a little more incisive; but on the whole he was
satisfied. He was not satisfied in the sense that he thought he had
accomplished a great work, but he was so far satisfied that he now felt
that he had room to breathe. Wind in one's sails, even if it is a storm,
is preferable to a dead calm. What emotions he must have stirred in many
a careless soul! How many of his hearers might not now be struggling
with the mighty thoughts which he had thrown amongst them? In the mean
time he looked out upon the street, and he felt almost inclined to
wonder that the town showed its usual Sunday calm. In the afternoon he
expected the dean; he felt certain he would come, and he had a speech
ready with which to receive him. Give way he would not, rather resign
his position; and besides, he knew of one who had promised him her
friendship, if all others should turn their backs on him. And now as the
day went on, and the shadows of evening began to fall, and no dean
appeared, she came more and more into the foreground of his thoughts. He
imagined her by his side, battling with him against the whole world, and
full of hope and courage he laid down to rest.

When he awoke the next morning, he heard the wind whistling, and the
rain pattering on the window-panes. Empty drays were driving at a trot
down the street under his windows, and the busy Monday was again alive,
on that dingy autumn morning. He had to be in the school before eight
o'clock, and begin the work of the day with a prayer and a hymn.
Yesterday his ordinary duties had scarcely entered his thoughts; but
when the faint odour of the children's clothes as they came wet to
school, their inharmonious singing, and that flagging indifference with
which the school week opens after Saturday and Sunday's holiday, rose in
his imagination, his everyday work appeared more than he could bear.

What was it to him? While he was sitting at his breakfast, and was just
thinking of sending the maid down to the school to say he was unwell, a
knock was heard at the door, and Dean Sparre entered the room. Johnsen
at once endeavoured to recollect what he had yesterday arranged to say
to the dean; but at that early hour, and in the presence of that
perplexing smile, he might just as well have tried to sing "Lohengrin"
without notes as to bring to his recollection his ideas of the day
before.

The dean went straight to the point without any parley, but quite from a
different point of view to which Johnsen had expected. He was of
opinion, in fact, without making any further assumption, that Johnsen
was in love with, and even perhaps engaged to, Rachel Garman, and that
in his sermon of yesterday he had been expressing her ideas, which,
although they were certainly original, were still somewhat distorted. At
the same time, he was quite ready to allow that Miss Garman was no doubt
a lady of first-rate ability.

All the efforts that Johnsen made to get the dean out of this line of
thought were entirely thrown away; neither could he make it clear to him
that his assumption of the possibility of his being engaged to Rachel
was incorrect.

The dean listened with much patience and with perfect good nature to
what he had to say, and took up the argument where he had left it. At
last he said, calmly and plainly, "Are you not in love with this woman?"

Johnsen's first idea was to answer no; but he failed in the effort,
hesitated, and said, "I don't know."

From that moment the dean had completed his task. Johnsen tried to break
off the conversation by looking at the clock, which was now nearly
eight.

"You are thinking of your school, like a conscientious man, are you
not?" said the dean. "But you need not be anxious about it. I have been
in and told them that you would be unable to attend. Mr. Pallesen will
take your place this morning."

Johnsen sat down again, entirely crestfallen. He felt that he had been
hopelessly outwitted and beaten. The dean's sonorous voice still rolled
on. He did not directly attack any particular point in the sermon--not
at all; but he showed how earthly love, although it was but the type of
a heavenly one, was often apt to lead us mortals into error. This he
knew of his own experience. He did not wish to make himself out better
than he was, but he felt that it was of the highest importance for all,
and especially for the young, to be constantly on their guard against
the danger. Johnsen could see for himself to what lengths he had allowed
himself to be carried yesterday.

"There is, however, one thing," continued the dean, "in which you show
very great merit, my dear young friend, and for this very reason I have
had, and I may say still have, great hopes of you. What I speak of is
your integrity, and the natural leaning towards truth and sincerity,
which seems to pervade your whole nature. But, my dear friend, how can a
man claim to be sincere when he comes forward and cries, 'I love truth
beyond everything, and my heart is full of love for what is elevated and
pure,' and then it appears all the time that the love with which his
heart was full is nothing more than an earthly love for the woman who
has put these thoughts into his mind? Now, can you deny that this was
your case yesterday?"

Johnsen could not exactly deny the accusation, and the dean seized upon
the half-confession he had made, and continued his homily, without
betraying a sign of weariness. And when he at last took his leave, which
was not till nearly twelve o'clock, he said, "I will look in again this
afternoon. Your thoughts are doubtless so much occupied that you will
not go out to-day, and perhaps it would look quite as well if you stayed
at home."

The next day also Johnsen remained in his room, and the dean paid him a
visit, both morning and afternoon. At length, all at once, his
conversion was accomplished. In a moment it seemed clear to him by how
little he had escaped getting on the wrong path, and now all the
apprehensions which he had felt on his first visit to Sandsgaard again
reappeared. He felt how near he had been to forgetting and abandoning
his mission--that mission among the poor, which was really his duty; but
now his eyes were opened, and that very affection, the strength of which
he had now only begun to recognize, he would bring as a peace-offering
for his shortcoming, and for having so nearly been untrue to himself and
to his calling.

He sprang up and grasped the dean's hand. "Thank you! thank you! You
have saved me!" His eyes flashed, and his broad, powerful bosom seemed
to swell. At that moment the dean might have sent him to certain death,
and he would have obeyed.

As they drove back from Sandsgaard, the dean narrowly observed his young
friend. The visit at the Garmans' had not passed off quite so
successfully as some of the others which they had paid, where the
inspector's calm and genuine manner had made a favourable impression.
The dean thought, however, that it was better not to carry things too
far, now that they seemed to have taken a good direction. They did not,
therefore, pay any more visits, but drove home to the dean's to get a
cup of chocolate, which Miss Barbara had prepared for them.

Miss Cordsen had now two patients to attend to, for Rachel had also kept
her room for some days. The old lady went to and fro between the two. It
was not easy to discover how much she comprehended of it all. Her mouth,
surrounded by its innumerable wrinkles, was so tightly closed that
gossip was, for her, out of the question. Calmly and methodically did
Miss Cordsen carry on her duties. Both upstairs and down were to be seen
her well-starched cap-strings, and the faint, old-fashioned smell of
lavender seemed to hang in her very clothes.

Rachel sat for hours looking before her, without caring to do anything.
To think that this should be the end of all her hopes! Was it, then,
impossible to find a man with courage in his heart, and blood in his
veins? She felt that she was precluded from any line of action that
would really satisfy her, condemned as she was to a life of daily
drudgery; but her thoughts became more and more embittered, first
against him who had deceived her, and finally against the whole human
race.

Madeleine, on the contrary, had no feelings of this nature; but she had
a feeling of dread, which seemed daily to increase. She felt that the
duplicity of her friend was so great, so enormous, that it quite passed
her imagination; and then the thought that it must be he--he, to whom
alone, among all this world of strangers, she felt herself attracted on
the very ground of his sincerity! Again and again these thoughts arose
within her and tortured her. She felt as if her foothold must be
insecure for evermore. A stain of impurity seemed to have passed over
her life, which made her timid and apprehensive of all these so-called
friends who had thus misunderstood and deceived her.

The morning after that night she was awakened by Fanny, who came into
her room in her dressing-gown before it was quite light. The truth was,
Fanny had not slept very soundly, tormented as she was the whole time by
her fears, and by wondering from whence the warning came. It was quite
certain that it must have proceeded either from Miss Cordsen or
Madeleine, for the windows of both rooms were open. If it were
Madeleine, the plot had become so involved that she did not dare to
think of it. If it were Miss Cordsen, it was bad enough, but still not
so desperate. From the sound she guessed that it must be a glass of
water, or something of that sort, and as soon as day began to dawn she
got up and left her room in the hope of clearing up the mystery.
Madeleine sat up as she heard Fanny come in.

"I beg pardon, Madeleine. I came to see if you could give me a glass of
water. There is a spider in our water-bottle."

She drew back the curtains, and there, sure enough, stood the
water-bottle with its glass. Fanny gave a sigh of relief, and left
Madeleine still gazing in astonishment. It was more than she could
understand.



CHAPTER XIV.


The autumn rains had now begun in earnest. Day after day the water came
down in streams, and at night it could be heard pattering on the
window-panes, and dripping from the eaves, every time one woke.

At first the rain came for a long time from the south-west, but there
was nothing wonderful in that, for the south-west is a rainy quarter.
But when it rained for a whole fortnight with a north wind, people who
were weatherwise maintained that if it once began to rain steadily from
the north, there would be no end to it.

One morning the wind ceased, but the clouds lay heavy and lowering
overhead; and now the weatherwise averred, with much shaking of heads,
that it would be worse than ever. The morning, however, actually passed
without rain, and the air grew lighter and clearer; but just as the
aspect began to improve, the drizzle again commenced.

The rain now set in with renewed vigour, with all its pleasing varieties
of shower and deluge; but the worst form it took was when it poured
persistently and unmercifully from morning to night.

The new moons came in with rain and went out with rain, and every day of
the calendar was alike wet. The wind veered about to every point of the
compass, and heaped up banks of fog out to sea, and heavy masses of
cloud up in the mountains, which finally drifted together, and poured
down their contents in torrents all along the west coast.

And now the storms began in earnest, and went soughing through the trees
in the avenue, and whistling in the rigging of the vessels that were
laid up for the winter.

In the old house at Sandsgaard each separate wind had its own pet
corner, to which it returned with delight every autumn. The north wind
came howling along between the warehouses; the south wind took the wet
leaves from the garden and hurled them in handfuls against the
window-panes; the east wind whirled down the chimneys till all the rooms
were full of smoke; while the pet amusement of the west wind was to make
a clatter with all the loose tiles on the roof, during the whole
livelong night.

The Consul kept going and looking at the barometer, and tapping it to
see if the quicksilver was rising or falling: but, to tell the truth, it
did not seem to make much matter which it did; for the sky, the clouds,
the rain, and the storm had all got into such a jumble, that the weather
continued equally abominable, week after week, during the whole winter.

In the ship-yard work went on but slowly, for Garman and Worse were not
so new-fangled as to build under cover; but Mr. Robson still thought
that he would be ready by the appointed day, although the weather
certainly was "the very devil!"

But the person who most of all anathematized the weather, and indeed the
whole west coast, and everything that belonged to it, was our friend Mr.
Aalbom. When he left his house in the morning, the wind and rain would
persist in beating in his face, and when he came out of school, they
were so obliging as to follow him right up again to his very door. When
he had gone part of the way down the avenue, the wind managed to blow
down on the top of his umbrella, which, after many struggles, it finally
pressed down until his hat got jammed in among the ribs. Then all at
once it began the same tactics from below, and blew up under the
umbrella, and between the master's long legs, filling out the closely
buttoned waterproof, until it bid fair to blow it away altogether.

All October and November went on much in the same fashion, and people
who were given to jokes began to say that they had quite forgotten the
sun's appearance.



CHAPTER XV.


At last, one day well on in December, the dreadful weather seemed to
have worn itself out for a time. The sky was perfectly clear, and not
even the smallest cloud was to be seen which could give rise to
apprehension. During the night there had been a few degrees of frost,
and the roads, which had for a long time been nearly impassable, became
all at once hard and dry. On the puddles lay the first ice, as thin and
clear as glass, and the meadows were hoary with frost.

The chaplain was on his way to Sandsgaard, with his newly acquired smile
on his features. The lovely weather enlivened him, and made his thoughts
cheerful and full of hope; for the chaplain was going a-wooing.

It was fully two years since Martens had lost his first wife; he had
really regretted his loss, but now it was a long time ago. It would have
been quite improper, and not at all in accordance with the views of the
congregation, for so young a widower to remain single longer than was
absolutely required by the ordinary rules of society. Now, the chaplain
knew just as well as any one that a particular charm attaches to an
unmarried clergyman--that is, for a time; and he also fully agreed with
Dean Sparre, when he said a short time previously, "If a congregation is
to have the peaceful, comforting feeling that their souls are well cared
for, they should have the example of a peaceful, homely life before
their eyes, in the form of a motherly wife at the rectory, and even
better still, a family of happy children."

And besides, Pastor Martens was really in love. Madeleine Garman had
long ago, in fact as soon as ever she left Bratvold, taken possession of
his heart by her modest and natural demeanour; and no worldly
expectations mingled in the chaplain's affections. He knew that Richard
Garman had not a shilling, and he was sufficiently free from prejudice
to disbelieve the general report that Madeleine's father had never been
properly married to her mother. In Madeleine he hoped to find the
retiring and simple-minded woman for whom he was seeking, and latterly,
since her manners had become even more quiet, he had paid her greater
attention, and it appeared to him that she met him in a modest and
womanly manner.

On his arrival at Sandsgaard, he met Mrs. Garman in her room, and to her
he entrusted his secret. At first she did not seem to take to the idea,
but on second thoughts she appeared more favourably disposed. She
considered that sooner or later something of the kind must happen, and
it was perhaps just as well that the chaplain, who was already so dear
to her should become a member of the family. She therefore said, when
she had made up her mind--

"Well, Mr. Martens, if you really think that Madeleine will make you a
good wife in the eyes of God and man, I have nothing to do but give you
my very best wishes on the choice you have made. You will find Madeleine
in the green-room."

Pastor Martens went off to the green-room, and returned after a quarter
of an hour had elapsed; but Mrs. Garman's astonishment defies
description, when she learnt that he had met with a refusal.

"Tell me," she groaned--"tell me every word. Oh, the poor misguided
child!"

"I am afraid I cannot tell you every word that passed, Mrs. Garman,"
answered Martens, pale with emotion; "I am too much shocked and--"

"And surprised too, I am sure," said Mrs. Garman, concluding his
sentence; "yes, that I can readily believe. What is the matter with the
child? What reason did she give?"

"She did not say much," answered the pastor; "she seemed to be almost
afraid of me. She went off to the door and began to cry, and said--"

"What--what did she say?"

"She simply kept repeating 'no,'" answered the chaplain, quite
crestfallen.

Mrs. Garman could not disguise her astonishment.

The bright sunshine had not the same enlivening effect upon the pastor
as he returned to his lodgings. He, however, managed to control both his
feelings and his countenance. This was a trial that he would have to
receive with humility. The only thing that annoyed him was, that he had
said anything about it to Mrs. Garman.

Mr. Martens's proposal was the only thing that was wanted to complete
the life of wretchedness, which Madeleine had passed ever since that
moonlight autumn evening; and yet the chaplain was to a certain extent
right, when he thought that Madeleine had met him with some degree of
warmth. There was, in fact, something in the almost fatherly manner with
which he treated her, something which seemed to soothe her affrighted
heart. She had a longing to be able to feel confidence in somebody, and
the calm, earnest clergyman seemed to her so different from all those
for whom she had such an abhorrence, since she had made her fatal
discovery. And now he, too, was to come to her with the same story;
told, certainly, in a different way--that she was quite willing to
allow; but still the gist of it was the same--the very same whichever
way she turned.

Mrs. Garman took her most severely to task for having so unreasonably
and foolishly rejected such a man as Pastor Martens; and at length, what
with one thing and another, the poor girl quite lost her health, and the
doctor had as much as he could do to pull her through an obstinate
attack of low fever.

George Delphin had soon got to know from Fanny that it was old Miss
Cordsen who had seen them in the garden, and given them the timely
warning. This was for him a greater relief than Fanny expected; for,
after the first feeling of pride and delight at having gained his lovely
prize, Delphin had felt more and more compunction in his inmost heart
every time he thought of Madeleine. He was not willing to break off with
Fanny--this was more than he dared to do; but, careless and clever as he
was, he thought that he would be able for the present to keep up the
double game with both.

He could make up his mind when the time came, and he would make up his
mind, too, if he could win Madeleine, and if he thought she was worth
the price of breaking off with the lovely Fanny. But within a few days
after that evening on which they had been so careless, his eyes began to
be opened. Fanny was not at Sandsgaard that day, for little Christian
Frederick had got the measles, and Delphin, therefore, attempted to talk
with Madeleine in the good-natured and patronizing way which he had
hitherto done. But a single look from her frightened eyes was enough for
him; he could not endure her glance, and became silent, and immediately
after dinner made an excuse for taking his leave. He had promised to
look in at Fanny's during the afternoon, and he found her expecting him,
as she came from the child's sick-room in a charming demi-toilette. When
he came in, she ran forwards with her hands stretched out to meet him.
Delphin did not take them, but said with a serious air--

"I know now who it was that saw us that evening; it was not Miss
Cordsen."

"That is what I have long suspected," answered Fanny, with a smile; "but
I did not wish to alarm you. Besides, Madeleine is far too stupid to
allow of her doing us any harm."

At that moment he was almost afraid of her. He felt he could not remain
with her any longer, although she besought him to do so.

Fanny stood watching him as he went down the street, biting her lips to
restrain her feelings; but the tears stood in her eyes, and she kept a
convulsive hold on the curtains, behind which she was concealing
herself. For the conquest she had made, which had also on her side been
at first only mere vanity, had ended by becoming a serious matter. She
really loved him, and could now see clearly exactly how the situation
lay.

Christmas came and passed. The ordinary festivities of the season went
on as usual at the Garmans'; but this year they were less merry than
usual. There were several members of the family who each had to bear his
own separate sorrow; and little Christian Frederick, the only hope of
the family, was lying at home, slowly recovering from the measles. Uncle
Richard never seemed to gain quite his usual Christmas spirits, for
Madeleine's appearance caused him considerable anxiety. Since he had no
longer been able to keep her under his eye by means of the big
telescope, she had quite got beyond his ken amongst all the others with
whom she constantly mixed, and whenever they happened by chance to find
themselves alone together, Madeleine did nothing but cry, and that was
more than her father could bear.

Morten was dreading the settling of the year's accounts with his father.
That part of the business which was carried on in the town, and which
was regarded as a kind of offshoot from Garman and Worse, had to be most
carefully examined on account of a large amount of private business and
debts, which the son had incurred during the past year. His housekeeping
account, which his father always wished to see, had also to be worked
out carefully by itself. But the worst of it all was, that when they
were sitting together in the Consul's office, Morten could never get rid
of the feeling, that however he might twist and wriggle, the clear blue
eyes still seemed to pierce through his every manoeuvre; and the part he
had to play was very painful to him. As soon as they had reckoned up the
result of the year, the Consul put his finger on the gross receipts and
said, "These are far too small."

"Times have been very bad," answered Morten. "I feel sure that by next
year--"

"The times have not been so bad," interrupted the father, "but that a
house with the capital with which we have to work ought to have managed
to earn double. In my father's time we earned twice as much with half
our present capital."

"Yes; but times were quite different in those days, father."

"And people were quite different too," answered the Consul, severely.
"In those days we were contented to move with caution and foresight,
without ruining our credit by mixing with a lot of speculators in all
kinds of doubtful undertakings."

Morten felt the rebuke, and answered, "I did not think Garman and Worse
set such store by its credit in those days."

"The house is no longer what it has been," said the young Consul dryly,
closing the thick ledger. He then held out his hand to Morten over the
table, and said, "Best wishes for the new year."

"The same to you, father," said Morten, as their eyes met for a moment.

The young Consul thought upon the time when he himself stood where
Morten was now standing, and when the old Consul sat in the armchair.
How utterly different everything was in the old days! However, the
year's account was over, and Morten was glad of it.

After Christmas there was a succession of balls and parties in the town.
At Sandsgaard only one large ball was given every year, and that was on
the old Consul's birthday, which fell on the 15th of May.

Madeleine did not go out that winter, neither did she pay any more
visits to Fanny. Rachel was, as usual, quite incomprehensible. Sometimes
she would answer her well-known "No, thanks," and sometimes she would
take it into her head to make herself smart, go to a dance, and be
either pleasant or the contrary, just as the fit took her.

The disappointment she had experienced at the hands of Mr. Johnsen made
her more bitter than ever; but she never gave him another thought. She
had done her best for him, as she said to herself, and now that it was
over, she heard with the greatest indifference that his Bible
explanations at the prayer-meeting were so wonderfully successful; but
in her innermost heart Rachel often felt a void, which sometimes made
her uneasy. It seemed as if she was indifferent to everything. She felt
no pleasure in anything; and it was generally when she was in this mood
that she felt most inclined to go to a ball.

In February there was a dance given at the Club, at which both Rachel
and Fanny were present. Fanny was dressed entirely in blue, even to her
shoes, fan, and blue flowers in her hair; but her eyes were bluer than
all.

     "Ein meer von blauen Gedanken
     Ergiesst sich über mein Herz,"

as Delphin said when he came into the room. The pleasure caused her by
this compliment had to suffice her for the whole evening. She could no
longer hide from herself that Delphin was in danger of slipping out of
her hands; but she never reproached him, for she felt instinctively that
as soon as anything of the kind arose between them, all would be over,
and part from him she could not.

Jacob Worse danced a waltz with Rachel, and during the pauses he tried
several times to lead the conversation on to the injustice she had done
him in calling him a coward. At first she avoided the subject, which
was, indeed, too serious a one for the ballroom; but Worse was
persistent--it was not very often that he had the opportunity of
speaking with her--and at last Rachel promised him half jestingly to
give him an answer when the dance was over.

As they were sitting by themselves in a corner of one of the rooms
leading off the ballroom, and while the dancing was still going on, she
said, "I must beg your pardon for what I said the other day. You are not
a bit more cowardly than the rest of them."

"If we could manage to define exactly what you mean by cowardice," said
Jacob Worse.

"But you know perfectly well."

"Well, then, is not this about your idea? When a man, either in
politics, or in religion, or in any other serious matter, is not at all
in accordance with the general tone of the society in which he
lives--then, if he holds his tongue, it can be from no other cause than
from what you are pleased to call cowardice."

"That is exactly my opinion, and I maintain it is correct."

"But, on the other hand, I am sure you must allow," continued Jacob
Worse, "that all opposition has not the same weight. In many cases it
might do more harm--"

"Oh, I know that miserable, cowardly excuse!" broke in Rachel, abruptly.
"'What is the good,' you say, 'of even my best endeavours when I work
alone?' and then you lie down and go to sleep. That is indeed cowardice
_par excellence_."

"I must, however, tell you, Miss Rachel," answered Jacob Worse, who was
beginning to lose his self-control, "that there is many a man who during
his whole life is painfully conscious that he has not the power of
making his views felt, or has even the opportunity of bringing them
before the world. But it is not in courage that such a man is
wanting--far from it."

"I could almost believe that you were speaking of yourself," said
Rachel, with indifference.

"Yes, and so I am!" answered he, hurriedly. "I have always been one of
those heavy, slow-thinking people, but I have a quality which that kind
of person would be better without. I am hasty. From my boyhood I have
known it, and have kept it under to the best of my ability. But,
notwithstanding my efforts, this hastiness sometimes gets the better of
me, just when I am most in want of a little cool reflection. I lose my
head, the words begin to flow like a torrent, and I listen to them
myself almost with terror. Yes, you have heard me yourself on one
memorable occasion, Miss Rachel," he added with a smile, "and I am sure
you will confess that a man of my nature is but little suited to engage
in a struggle with prejudice. For, for such a struggle, patience and
coolness are imperative."

"It is quite possible that the attributes of which you speak are most
desirable," answered Rachel, "but still it seems quite clear to me that
every man who has a conviction is bound to act up to it. How much he can
accomplish is not the question he must ask himself, but he is bound to
make the attempt."

"I will just tell you how my first attempt turned out," said Jacob
Worse. "When I came home, which is now about two or three years ago,
still breathing the comparative freedom of other lands, the first thing
in our own country which attracted my attention was the exceptionally
bad social condition of our labourers and mechanics. Their houses and
food, the bringing-up of their children, their teaching and education,
in fact, everything which belonged to them, fell far short of what I
thought it ought to be."

"I have often thought upon the same subject," rejoined Rachel. "But
father says it is the fault of the people themselves; they are so
greatly opposed to change."

"That is one of your most excellent father's worst prejudices. However,
I began by getting up a society, which with us is no easy matter. All
went well at first, and then a president had to be chosen. Some one
suggested myself, a proposition to which all the others agreed, which
was quite natural. I thus became president, and took no little trouble
in instructing the people as to what questions were important for them,
and what were their requirements. Then I began to hear a whisper here
and there that it was a curious thing that the president of the society
had never been properly elected. I did not take much notice of these
whispers, but still I suggested that there should be an election. The
day came, and some one else was chosen in my place."

"It was Mr. Martens, was it not?" asked Rachel.

"Yes; you are quite right. I was greatly astonished, and did not attempt
to conceal my feelings. Martens had not attended a single one of our
meetings before the afternoon on which he was elected. I found the whole
thing quite incomprehensible. However, in our state of society, it is
not difficult to get to know anything if you only give yourself the
trouble to make a few inquiries; and so I soon got a clear knowledge
that the person who had got up the whole thing was the dean. So one day
I called upon him."

"No! I never heard of that!" cried Rachel. "What did the dean say?"

"Nothing. The answer he gave me amounted to nothing. Not that I wish you
to understand that he held his tongue. On the contrary, he talked
incessantly in his best-modulated voice, and was smiling, friendly, in
fact, almost appreciative, but not a single word fell from his lips that
was really to the point. Do what I would, I could not get him to discuss
a single question, or to give me a reason as to why he had got me turned
out of the workman's society, and put his chaplain in my place. He
denied nothing and confessed nothing, and the end of it was--there,
again, my misfortune--I got so annoyed to see him leaning back in his
chair, with his white hair and everlasting smile, that I got into one of
my worst tempers and poured out a regular volley of thunder at him."

"Well, and the dean--did he lose his temper?" asked Rachel.

Worse laughed. "I might just as well have tried to get a spark out of
wood, as to get him to lose his temper. No; the dean was bland as ever,
and when I left he shook my hand, and hoped he might soon have the
pleasure of seeing me again. But afterwards I got well paid out for that
visit."

"How was that?" she asked.

"Well, you see, since then I seem to have been under a ban, which shows
itself in all sorts of little ways--in business, in society, everywhere.
My mother, poor thing, hears it in her shop from her customers, and it
always takes the same annoying form: regret about modern disbelief, and
free-thinking, and so on; and I am certain that most people regard it as
a stroke of wonderful good luck, that I was prevented in good time from
corrupting--yes, no less than corrupting--our noble workpeople. So I
said to myself, 'Since there is such a wide difference between my
opinions and those of the people whom I wish to assist, and since my
nature is what it is, there is nothing else to be done but for me to
keep myself thoroughly occupied with my work, and hold my peace.'"

"Peace! Yes, there it is again!" said Rachel. "But no, no! I am sure you
are not right."

"Well, let me speak to you about yourself, Miss Garman," said Jacob
Worse, becoming more courageous. "Neither I nor any one else of your
acquaintance will be able to comply fully with the conditions you lay
down. But I know one person who has the power, and that, Miss Garman, is
yourself. You have all the qualifications we others lack."

"I! a woman! and, worse than all, a lady!" said Rachel, looking at him
with the greatest astonishment. "And how, if I may ask?"

"You must write!"

Rachel hesitated, and looked at him suspiciously. "That is not the first
time I have heard this. More than one person has mentioned it to me
before. I suppose it is that authorship is reckoned as one of the bad
habits of an emancipated woman."

Jacob Worse again began to lose his self-command. "I don't mind your
calling me a coward, Miss Garman. But when you think, or pretend to
think, that I am not speaking more seriously than some of these--"

"No, no; sit down, I beg you," said Rachel, anxiously, putting her hand
on his arm. "I did not mean any harm, but I am so suspicious. I beg
pardon. There, now, don't think any more about it. You really do think,
then, that I ought to write?"

"I am quite sure you ought," answered Worse, who soon became quiet
again. "You have so much originality and so much energy, that you will
be able to overcome every difficulty, and in courage you are certainly
not wanting."

Amid the whirl of the dance around them, these encouraging words sounded
doubly strange in her ears, and seemed to open out new vistas before
her.

"But what have I got to write about? What do I know that the world does
not know already? No, you really must be wrong, Mr. Worse. It is beyond
me;" and she looked down at her dress, and could not help feeling that
Worse was becoming rather dull.

"It is not very easy to say beforehand what your subject ought to be,"
said he; "but it is clear that there are endless things that the world
can only learn from a woman, and which it seems to be expecting to hear.
For you it is but to have the will. You are now passing through a crisis
in your life, and you have such a fund of energy--"

"You seem to be treating me more like a chemical equivalent than like a
human being, not to say like a lady," said Rachel, laughing.

"Let us be thankful that you have so little of the lady about you," said
Jacob Worse, bluntly.

The dance now began for which Rachel was otherwise engaged, and her
partner came and carried her off.

Jacob Worse stood watching her for a few minutes. He then got his coat
and went home.

He perfectly understood that by awakening these thoughts in her, he
would make the fulfilment of what was really the dream of his life
become more distant than ever. But he felt convinced that Rachel's
splendid abilities would be entirely thrown away in her present narrow
sphere; and he felt, too, that he was perfectly honest to himself, when
he said that he would not hinder her from taking the path she ought to
follow, even if he thereby destroyed his own greatest happiness. But
when he got home and was alone in his own quiet room, he was even more
dispirited. He could not but see that when Rachel came to have a proper
estimate of her own powers, she would find her present home too narrow
for her, and a marriage such as he could offer would be quite unworthy
of her.

He saw a light in the rooms at the back of the house. It was not much
past eleven; so he went over to his mother, whom he found in her
dressing-gown, busied in arranging her small remnant of hair for the
night.

It was not astonishing that the worthy Mrs. Worse's eyes kindled with
pride when she saw her tall, handsome son come in, dressed as he had
been for the ball: but when he threw himself on the sofa, and hid his
face in his hands, and said, "Oh, mother! mother!" just as he had done
in his boyhood when he had done something foolish, Mrs. Worse shook her
clenched fist against some imaginary foe in the corner of the room, and
muttered, "Is it decent to send me home a son in such a plight?"

She did not, however, say the words aloud, but went over and took his
head upon her lap, and, as she passed her fingers through his hair, she
said with her unwavering constancy, "There, my dear boy, only keep
yourself calm, and it will all come right, somehow or another."

Rachel would also have been glad enough to have been taken home at once;
but Mrs. Garman had heard that the new cook had something new in
_filets_, and they therefore had to wait until after supper.



CHAPTER XVI.


At length winter went stealing off to the northward, like a weary
monster, leaving its long train of dirty white snow patches along the
hedges, and its neutral-tinted ice pitted all over with small holes,
upon the pools. The spring followed closely on its heels, and had work
enough to make the earth look green again, and deck it out in all its
finery for a little time, until the monster came creeping southward
again with its wreaths of new-fallen snow, and its dark-blue ice shining
like polished steel.

It was the 14th of May, and Uncle Richard was riding on Don Juan along
the road from Bratvold. To-morrow was the great day at Sandsgaard. The
ship was to be launched in the morning, and in the evening was to be
given the yearly ball.

The old gentleman was deep in thought, and Don Juan went pacing slowly
along, turning his well-shaped head on every side, while the south wind
that came swelling up along the coast persisted in lifting the locks of
his long mane and throwing them on the wrong side, and played with the
forelock on his brow.

The road led over swelling ground covered with heather, past
well-stocked farms, over moors, and desolate wastes thickly strewn with
boulders. Not a tree was to be seen as far as the eye could reach, and
it reached far, both out to sea and over the country, which sloped
gradually up to the mountains many a mile inland.

What a wealth of life seemed bursting from the thawing earth! How many
balmy odours seemed to rise; how many changing colours; how many wreaths
of mist were gliding over the pools, and hanging in the rushes, or
spreading themselves over the moorland; while the clear sunny air was
ringing with the song of larks singing in emulation! There were the
plovers racing after each other, the sandpipers, the snipes, starlings,
and ducks. A whole life of joyous bustle; while out to the westward
could be seen the line of bright yellow sand standing out against the
dark-blue sea.

Uncle Richard saw but little of all this as he went along. Things had
not gone well with him during the winter. While at home, Madeleine was
constantly in his thoughts; and when he went to Sandsgaard and saw her,
it did not tend to make him more cheerful.

She had told him about Pastor Martens's proposal to her; but there was
nothing to worry over in that, thought the _attaché_, especially as she
had refused the offer. There must be some other cause for her
depression, and to-day he had made up his mind to talk to Christian
Frederick, who always gave such good advice. He had also determined that
he would at length take courage, and ask his brother how money matters
stood between them. It was really too bad not to have a clear knowledge
of one's own affairs.

At Sandsgaard he found the whole house in an uproar. On the second floor
the furniture was being moved, dusting was going on, and candles were
being put in the chandeliers. Downstairs the table was already laid for
supper; only the old gentlemen's bedrooms and the offices were
respected; and in the window of the still-room he noticed jellies and
blancmanges, which had been put there to cool.

"Oh dear me! what a bustle it all is!" said Mrs. Garman, faintly.

She had had her armchair moved into a room at the side of the kitchen,
where the dishing-up was done.

Here she remained the whole day, and had samples of everything that was
cooked in the kitchen brought to her. The kitchen-maids were as nervous
as if they had been undergoing an examination.

Miss Cordsen was everywhere, prim and noiseless as usual, and without
wasting a word, she gave an eye to the vast amount of knives and forks,
lights and silver, glass and china. Everything was arranged in her
experienced head, from the ladies' cloak-room to the supper for the
musicians.

But if there was a busy stir in the house, it was even greater down at
the ship-yard. Tom Robson had kept his promise, and the ship stood trim
and ready, "as a bride," as he put it. And now the whole staff of
workmen were occupied in getting everything in order for the morrow, and
clearing out the yard, so that it might look tidy and neat when all the
visitors came to see the ship "go."

"What time will it be high water, Mr. Robson?" asked the young Consul,
as he and Uncle Richard were making an inspection of the ship-yard in
the afternoon.

"At half-past ten, sir," answered the foreman.

"Very well, then, let me see that you have everything ready to-morrow at
half-past ten, on the stroke, you understand--at half-past ten on the
stroke."

"All right, sir!" said Mr. Robson, touching his cap.

But Tom Robson was not going to leave anything till the morning. That
evening he had every intention of making a night of it, and Martin had
already got the money to make some extensive purchases. There would be
time enough to sleep it off before half-past ten. He was careful to have
everything ready that evening. The ways were carefully smeared with
tallow and soft soap, and put in their places; the props were all ready
to be removed; and everything that might get in the way in the harbour,
was hauled out of the way and secured to its moorings.

The ship lay with her stern towards the water, and her stem slightly
raised above it. Under her bows lay all the material for use the next
day. The spare pieces of timber that were to be put under her, and the
wedges which were to be driven in to raise her forward, were ready to
hand, as were the jacks and levers. Everything, in fact, down to the
long-handled mauls was in its place.

Gabriel followed at Tom's heels all day. He wanted to take in everything
clearly, and succeeded fully in so doing. Only one thing, the ship's
name, that he was so anxious to know, still remained a secret, which Tom
would not betray. And Tom himself it was who, in accordance with the
Consul's orders, had spiked on the name-board when it was nearly dark.

The company at Anders Begmand's had been busy that evening, especially
Tom Robson, and by the time it was about ten o'clock he was pretty well
tipsy. Woodlouse was no better; but Torpander kept as sober as usual,
looking towards the door every time he heard a noise. With the darkness
a fresh breeze began to blow up from the south-west, which swept over
the open ground above Sandsgaard and down on to the fjord. It made the
old cottage shake again when the wind came back in eddies from the hill
behind it, and Torpander got up every moment, thinking that the door was
opening, to the endless amusement of Mr. Robson.

Martin drank in silence, and looked even more gloomy than usual. The
whole winter he had been out of work. Tom Robson had lent him money, and
that made him even more morose, for he was proud after his own fashion,
and gratitude was not in his nature.

At last Marianne came. Torpander greeted her in his usual respectful
manner, to which she answered with a faint smile. She looked almost
ready to fall from weariness, as she passed hurriedly through the room.
"Hulloa!" cried Tom, who only saw her when she had reached the kitchen
door, "here comes my sweetheart! Marianne, my darling! the ship is ready
now, and Tom Robson has got some money. Let's have the wedding;
to-night, if you like! Come along!" cried he, struggling to get over the
bench.

Martin thrust him back. "Will you let my sister alone?"

"I suppose she is not good enough for an honest seaman, because of that
infernal young Gar----"

He did not get any farther, for Martin aimed a blow at him and struck
him behind the ear. Marianne hastily left the room. Torpander now threw
himself courageously on his ancient enemy from the other side, and a
frightful scuffle ensued.

Tom Robson put himself in position like an English boxer, drunk as he
was, and squared his arms and elbows for the fray.

At first he made a few feints at Martin, which were not meant to be
serious. But when he had received a few blows which were really painful,
he sprang away from the table so as to get more room. Torpander had not
the least idea of using his fists, but hammered away like a blacksmith
with his long skinny arms, either at Tom or else in the air, just as it
might happen. Mr. Robson gave him a tap every now and then which made
his bones rattle again, but on the whole he allowed the Swede to hammer
away at his back as much as he liked.

Woodlouse looked on for some time with the greatest satisfaction, until
the idea struck him that he would clear the room. He accomplished his
object with the greatest perseverance, and what with butting with his
head and pushing his heavy body between the combatants, he at length
managed to get the whole lot turned out of doors. Begmand threw their
hats after them, and shut the door.

The fresh wind had a cooling effect on them all, and on Woodlouse's
suggestion a truce was concluded. In order to ratify this, it was
arranged that they should go to Tom Robson's house, and have another
dram and a bit of English cheese.

They then clambered up the steep path at the back of Begmand's house,
Tom Robson leading, and as he was helping himself with his hands up the
steepest places, he chanced to get hold of a loose stone, which, in pure
drunken wantonness, he threw at Marianne's window, where he happened to
see a light. The stone struck with such force, just where the bars of
the window-frame crossed, that all the four panes were smashed, and the
glass came clattering down.

"That was Tom Robson!" yelled Martin, who was the last. "Let me get up
to him! Out of the way! Only let me get my hands on him!" and he worked
his way past the others, and got up to Tom, just as he had reached the
top of the slope where the flat meadow began.

Martin went at him with such violence that the other had not time to put
himself in position. Blow after blow rained down on him, until he fell
to the ground half stupefied. Martin threw himself upon him, put his
knees on his breast, and struck him in the face, and then continued
hitting and kicking at random until he could do so no longer.

The others now came up, but did not get between the combatants. Martin
was now perfectly wild, and went on in front, swinging his arms, cursing
and swearing horribly. Tom Robson came limping behind; but no sooner did
Martin catch sight of him, than he threw himself upon him a second time,
until he again lay apparently dead upon the meadow. They thus continued
their way over the field, but just as Martin was making a third attack
upon Tom, a tall, slender boy came springing over the field, and put
himself in front of Martin. It was Gabriel Garman.

"Will you leave him alone, Martin?" he cried, breathless from running.

"Oh!" cried Martin, "here is one of the bloodsuckers! You have just come
at the right time. I will wreak my vengeance on you, you infernal young
scoundrel!"

But just as he was on the point of attacking Gabriel his arms were
seized from behind.

"Are you mad, Martin? It's Gabriel, the Consul's son. You are out of
your senses, lad!" cried Woodlouse. Both he and the Swede threw
themselves upon Martin, and held him fast. Martin yelled and struggled,
until he at length fell back, wearied with his efforts, and lay still.

Tom Robson did not know much about what was going on, but managed,
however, to stumble up to his house, which was close by.

"You have no occasion to be afraid, Mr. Gabriel," said Woodlouse, in a
fawning tone; "we have got him tight."

"That is what you ought to have done before," answered Gabriel. "I
should have been able to look after myself."

He was so slight and slender that Martin could have crushed him, mad as
he was; but Woodlouse could not help saying, as he went down the slope,
"There is good blood in them."

Martin, whom they had now let go, raised his head. "Blood, do you say?
Yes, there's blood in them--the blood of the poor that they have sucked
from father to son. And all that blood have they turned to
gold--shining, blood-red gold; but," added he, mysteriously, "I will tap
the gold out of them--I will--till it shines as red as blood all over
Sandsgaard! Just wait a minute!" And off he rushed down the slope with
the activity of a deer. Woodlouse and the Swede looked at each other
meaningly, and each went his way without saying a word.

After the window had been broken, Marianne quickly put out the light.
She took her petticoat, and tried to stop up the window, but the wind
was blowing so hard that she could not manage to make it tight. She
shivered with the cold as she stood, and hurriedly got into bed. But
every time a blast came she felt the cold draught, and could not get
warm.

In the room below she heard her grandfather stumbling about, drinking up
what was left in the glasses. Marianne clasped her hands, and prayed
that she might die; but in the night she got up, and felt herself
throbbing with heat and shivering with fever. She thought she could hear
a tumult, and the sound of many voices.



CHAPTER XVII.


Mrs. Garman had already gone to bed after her long and tiring day.
Madeleine had also slipped out of the way, as she always tried to do
when Fanny came. Both Fanny and Morten were at Sandsgaard that evening.
The latter behaved to Madeleine just as before, and was so smiling and
kind that Madeleine had often to ask herself if she had not, after all,
been dreaming on that moonlight evening.

It was nearly eleven o'clock, and Gabriel had just returned from his
expedition to the field above the West End. He had heard a noise up
there when he had gone out to see how the wind was.

The Consul and Uncle Richard were playing chess. Morten, Fanny, and
Rachel were talking of to-morrow's ball, and they every now and then
addressed themselves to Miss Cordsen, who was sitting by the fireside
polishing the silver.

"It is a south wind, is it not, Gabriel?" said the Consul, as he
listened to the sough of the wind through the trees.

"South-west, and blowing fresh, father," answered Gabriel.

"Good!" said the Consul. "It won't do us any harm if only the wind
doesn't get round to the northward, because that drives the sea right in
on to the yard."

The ladies were getting up to say good night, and Morten was just
going to brew himself another glass of toddy, when excited voices
were heard below. Some one came hurriedly up the staircase, the door
opened, and in rushed Anders Begmand. His face was as white as it
could be for sweat and pitch, his stiff hair was standing on end,
while, hat in hand and with his eyes fixed on the young Consul, he
began--"The--the--the"--quicker and quicker. It was quite plain that
it was something of great importance, and his face grew as red as fire
with the effort. "The--the--the--"

"Sing, will you?" shouted the young Consul, stamping on the floor.

Begmand began singing to a merry little air, "A fire's broken out in the
pitch-house!"

At the same moment some one in the yard below shouted at the top of his
voice, "Fire! fire!"

Morten tore aside the blind, and the red glare could be seen on the dewy
panes. Every one sprang to the window.

"Silence!" cried the young Consul, while every one paused and looked at
him. The little man was standing as erect as an arrow, his eyes calm and
clear, and his lower jaw projecting as usual; and as if conscious that
he was the chief of the house, he said, "A fire has broken out in the
building-yard. You, Morten, go and get the two engines from the
warehouse. The keys are hanging in the men's bedroom. Take the
fire-buckets with you."

Morten dashed off.

"Dick, you must go up to the second floor in the same building. There's
a large sail there; put it in the sea, and stretch it over the roof of
the storehouse. You understand? The storehouse must be saved, or else--"

Uncle Richard was already out of the door with Anders Begmand.

"Gabriel! you run up to the farm! Gabriel!" cried the Consul. But there
was no Gabriel to be seen; he had already vanished through another door.

"Oh! what a wretched boy it is!" said the young Consul, in spite of
himself.

There was something uncanny about the black smoke, and the dark red
flame, which seemed every moment to get a surer foothold, and to gather
strength without a soul to oppose them. Gabriel noticed nothing: he saw
only the red glare on the ship, which loomed against the dark grey sky,
and off he ran like a madman over the field above the house. When he saw
the ship was in danger, Tom Robson was his first and only thought, and
he went straight into the house where he was so well known.

"Mr. Robson! Tom! Tom!" he shouted into the dark room, which smelt like
an old rum-cask. "She's on fire, Tom! The ship's on fire!"

He groped his way to the bed, and gave Mr. Robson a good shaking. The
landlady, a slatternly sailor's wife, now entered with a light. Only a
few minutes before, she had managed to get Tom undressed, somehow or
another.

"Oh no! can that be Mr. Gabriel?" said she, drawing her night-dress
closer to her. "Is it a fire? Mr. Robson!" she cried, and helped Gabriel
to shake him.

"What's the matter?" muttered he in English, turning round his face, all
bruised and bloody as he was.

"Oh no, no!" whined the woman, "how beastly drunk he is! Isn't it a
shame for such a fine fellow to make himself just like a pig? Tom! Tom!
Oh dear me, how tipsy he is!"

Without a moment's hesitation, Gabriel dashed the contents of the basin
in his face. Mr. Robson sputtered and blew, and raising himself on his
left arm, swung the right feebly over his head, and shouted, "Three
cheers for Morten Garman! Hip--hip---" But before he got to "Hurrah," he
fell back on his side and was snoring again. Gabriel left the room;
there was nothing to be done with Tom.

The wind was sweeping down over the meadow, and driving the thick smoke
from the pitch-house out over the fjord. All round the house it was as
light as day. Long tongues of flame were flying far away over the
fields, shedding their glare here and there on the front of a
whitewashed house, while up above on the level ground it was still dark,
under the shadow of the vessel. And now a glitter was seen, and a rumble
was heard in the direction of the town. The fire brigade was on its way.
And from the farmhouses which lay near, down over the fields, but
chiefly in the avenue leading from the town, people were to be seen
running, first singly, then two or three, then several together, until
the crowd in the avenue appeared like a close black mass, dotted here
and there with red-and-white specks. When Gabriel got down again to the
house he was at his wits' ends, and, leaning against the garden wall, he
sobbed aloud.

Some one came skirting along the wall; it was the schoolmaster, Aalbom.
He recognized Gabriel, and stopped. "Isn't it what I always said?" cried
he, triumphantly. "You are a regular Laban, standing here blubbering.
You might at any rate manage to lend a hand with the water, you lout!"

Gabriel sprang up, as if seized with a sudden inspiration, pushed the
master aside, and dashed down towards the building-yard.

"An ill-mannered cub," muttered Aalbom, as he continued his way to get a
good place from which to see the fire.

Rachel was naturally most anxious to make herself useful, but there was
nothing for her to do. She therefore stood on the steps in front of the
house, and watched the crowd streaming up from the town, while the fire
threw its ever-increasing glare down the highroad, which was now
thronged with people. Suddenly she heard a voice she recognized. "Out of
the way! Let the engines pass! Look out there--the engines! Out of the
way!" The crowd opened, and out of the throng came two rows of men,
dragging the red-painted fire-engine by a long rope. Jacob Worse was
running in front, shouting and giving his orders. He gave her a hurried
greeting as he passed, and away rumbled the engine towards the
ship-yard. It struck Rachel that his face was the only one that showed
any feeling of sympathy or sorrow; all the rest appeared indifferent,
and some showed, openly enough, that they thought the fire glorious
sport. Rachel turned away and went into the house.

All this time the young Consul was standing at the corner window, on the
north side of the small sitting-room. The pitch-house was now blazing
inside; the flames came bursting out of the door, and followed the line
of melted pitch which flowed along the ground. The thick wooden walls
were glowing with the heat, and he could see the people shrink back when
they got too near them. The wind was blowing so strongly, that it beat
down the smoke and shrouded the engines and spectators from his view,
but upon the roof of the storehouse he could see Uncle Richard, in
company with some other forms, working away with the wet sail. The
storehouse was only a few yards distant from the pitch-house, and was
thus so close under the stern of the ship that she was as good as lost,
if the fire once happened to catch the former building.

The Consul could see that they had got the sail drawn over the roof; but
at that instant the tiled roof of the pitch-house fell in, and the
flames suddenly shot high into the air, and were borne by the wind right
down on to the storehouse. The _attaché_, and those that were with him,
had to get down from the roof on the other side as best they might.

A step was heard running up the stairs and through the passage.

"Father! father!" It was Morten, who dashed in breathless and dripping.
"Father, we must have some powder; the storehouse must be blown up!"

"Nonsense!" answered the Consul, drily. "Why, it is right under the very
stern of the ship."

"Well, I don't know," answered Morten, "but something must be done. I
don't see much good in those old fire-engines."

The young Consul drew himself up; he seemed to hear an echo of all the
disagreements there had been between them. It was the old story, the new
against the old, and he answered shortly and coldly--

"I am still the head of the firm. Go back and do your duty, as I
directed."

Morten turned and left the room with an air of defiance. The idea of
using powder had taken his fancy, although it was not his own. An
engineer had been standing behind Morten with his hands in his pockets,
after the manner of engineers, and had said, as engineers do say, "If I
had my way, I'm blest if I wouldn't do different to this."

"What would you do?" asked Morten.

"Powder!" answered the engineer, curtly, as engineers have a habit of
answering.

It was hard for Morten to give up his powder, and he muttered many ugly
oaths as he went down the staircase.

When the Consul again looked out of the window after Morten had gone, he
involuntarily seized the damask curtains tightly in his grasp, for the
change which had taken place in these few minutes was only too apparent.
The wet sail had already turned black, and in another minute was
beginning to shrivel; while the whole of one side of the storehouse
burst into a bright yellow flame, which came streaming down over the
roof, flashing amid the thick smoke, and long fiery tongues began to
lick underneath the vessel.

The Consul knew what there was in the building--tow, paint, oil, tar.
The ship was hopelessly lost; the good ship of which he was even more
proud than any one suspected.

After the first feeling of despair, he began to calculate in his head.
The loss was heavy, very heavy. The business would be crippled for a
long time, and the firm would receive an ugly blow.

And yet it was not this which seemed to crush the determined little man,
until it almost made his knees quiver. This ship was to him more than a
mere sum of money. It was a work he had undertaken in honour of "the
old" against "the new;" against the advice of his son, and with his
father always in his thoughts, under whose eye he almost seemed to be
working. And now all was thus to come to such an untimely end.

The large engine belonging to the town managed to reach up just so high
as to keep the ship's side wet as far as the gold stripe which
surrounded her; but in under the stern the water could not get properly
to work, and small points of flame soon began to break out, and the
Consul could now see that the fire had caught the stern-post.

The side of the ship which was towards the fire became so hot that the
steam rose from it every time the thin stream of water swept over it.
And now all at once a large part became covered with small sparkling
flames, just as if sheets of gold leaf had been thrown against it, which
crackled in the wind, and at last got fast hold in the oakum seams
between the planking. The hose played upon them and swept them away; in
another moment they were there again. They broke out in other places,
ever gaining ground, taking fast hold with their thousand tiny feet
until they got up to the gold band, and even beyond it; and see! the
flames now seemed to take a spring, and seize upon the name-board, and
the shining letters stood out amidst the flames. It could be read by
all. The Consul saw it. There it stood: _Morten W. Garman_. It was the
old Consul's name--his ship--and now what was its fate?

"Look at the young Consul; how pale he is!" said one of the spectators
to his neighbour.

"Where? Where is he? I don't see him."

"He was standing close by the corner window. He looked as pale as death.
I wonder if he was insured?"

But the young Consul lay stretched upon the floor, and had pulled down
the heavy damask curtains with him in his fall.

Miss Cordsen came into the room. When she saw the Consul, she pressed
her hand to her heart, but not a sound escaped her lips. For a moment
she stood collecting her thoughts, then she knelt down, freed the
curtain from his grasp, and lifted him in her long bony arms.

He was not heavy, and she managed to raise herself with her burden. At
this moment her glance fell on the mirror opposite. A shudder passed
through her, and it was with difficulty she kept herself from falling. A
whirlwind of recollections swept through her brain as he lay on her
shoulder; and she bore him along, an aged and withered man. But she
pressed her lips together, and drawing herself up, she carried him along
like a child; and, as all the doors were open, she was able to get as
far as the staircase. There she called to one of the maids, who came to
her assistance.



CHAPTER XVIII.


After Uncle Richard had been driven from the roof of the storehouse, and
could see that all hope was over, he went off to take his turn at the
engines. He worked at the pumps with all his-might and main, as if to
deaden his sorrow; but now and again he looked towards the house and
thought, "Poor Christian Frederick!"

Jacob Worse was directing the operations, and had had the planking,
which surrounded the building-yard on the side where the warehouses lay,
pulled down in order to get room for the engines. He managed to get some
order among the men who were handing the water, and drove the idle
spectators up into the yard near the house. As he happened to pass Uncle
Richard, the latter asked him, "Do you think there is any hope, Worse?"

"No!" answered Worse, in a low tone; "I am working in sheer
desperation."

"So am I," said the _attaché_, with a nod; "but think of poor Christian
Frederick."

Just then a murmur went through the crowd, who could read the name of
the vessel--_Marten W. Garman._

"Why, that's the old Consul's name," said several voices.

Uncle Richard had already heard the name from his brother, and, looking
up, he saw the name of their father standing out in its gold letters
amidst the flames, which were curling up the vessel's side. Jacob Worse
seized the nozzle of the hose, and with one sweep forced the water to
such a height that the fire was quenched for the moment.

But now it was plain to all that the ship's fate was sealed, and even if
there were some among the spectators who might owe Garman and Worse a
grudge, still they could not but feel that it was a pity for the proud
ship to be thus doomed to destruction.

Morten had returned after his interview with his father, and was
standing close by Uncle Richard. Every eye was fixed on the ship. The
fire increased every second, and with a loud roar the flames burst out
above the roof of the storehouse, and at each blast of wind the
conflagration waxed higher and higher, until the heat by the engines
became almost intolerable. The more furiously the fire raged, the more
silent grew the crowd. No orders were heard, and the shouts of
encouragement from the seamen died away; while the strokes of the pump
no longer fell with the same determined regularity. Even Jacob Worse
lost heart.

But now a shout is heard from a small boy belonging to the West End, who
had climbed up into the rigging of a coaster which lay off one of the
warehouses. "She's giving way! She's off! Hurrah! She's off!"

A murmur of disapproval went through the crowd at this ill-timed joke.
But see! it almost seems as if the joke were a reality. The excitement
increases every moment, and with it are heard cries of hope and fear.
Yes!--no!--yes! she really is moving. She's off! The pumps are deserted
amidst breathless expectation, while the sound of voices waxes higher
and higher, not only in the yard itself, but among the crowd who
surround it, till it becomes a cheer, a joyous cry of hundreds; men,
women, boys, all shouting they know not what, till all is mingled in one
tumultuous roar.

For see! she's starting. The huge dark mass begins to move; and inch by
inch, with ever-increasing speed, the massive hull glides out through
the flames; her shining sides disappear foot by foot through the smoke;
the golden band flashes in the glare, and high as if in triumph does the
bow rear itself heavenwards, while the stern dives deep into the waves.
Then is heard a hissing and a crackling as if a hundred glowing irons
had been cast into the water, as the burning stern cleaves its way into
the billows, which come foaming up over the sides, and in under the
counter, while the tiny flames which were flickering along the seams are
quenched by the rush of air.

The wind, which got more power now that the ship was away, swept down on
to the still burning buildings, and, spreading out over the ground, hid
from view the vessel, which was gliding out into the harbour, by a
curtain of dark smoke fringed with flame; and in the midst of the place
where she had stood, which looked vast indeed now she was gone, stood a
little band of bent and tar-stained men, fanning their faces with their
caps. In the midst of the band was seen the form of a tall and slender
youth, his face glowing red in the light of the fire.

"Gabriel!" shouted Uncle Richard. "Gabriel!" was repeated by a hundred
voices. The _attaché_ elbowed his way towards him, followed by some of
the crowd, who, however, stopped and formed a respectful ring round the
hero of the day. Uncle Richard gave Gabriel a hearty embrace, and then
turning round to the crowd he cried, "Three cheers for Gabriel Garman!
Hurrah!" He was about to wave his hat, when he discovered that he was
bareheaded.

"Hurrah!" shouted the spectators with a mighty cheer; they were just in
the humour for cheering.

"Three cheers for the carpenters!" shouted Gabriel; but his boy's voice
broke into a discordant scream in the effort. But it did not matter; a
wild hurrah was given for the shipwrights, another for the ship, and
another for the firm. There was cheering and rejoicing without end.

"Come with me," said Gabriel to the workmen. "Father was going to give
you a breakfast, but now it will have to be a supper."

The shipwrights laughed heartily at this joke, but the laughter was even
louder when Uncle Richard added, "I think you have earned your breakfast
as well." They thought the remark so wonderfully witty, that they
laughed as if they would never stop, and the joke about "Uncle Richard's
breakfast" was a proverb both with them and their successors ever after.

In the mean time, the storehouse, and everything the yard contained
which was burnable, was on fire. The flames began stealing down the
ways, but no one took any notice of them. The ship was saved. Nothing
else was of much consequence, and fortunately the wind was blowing off
the land. Morten was busy setting a watch for the night, and the engines
were kept ready in case the wind might change.

As Uncle Richard and Gabriel were walking back arm-in-arm to the house,
the latter had to relate how it had all happened. Gabriel told his uncle
how he had found the shipwrights all beginning to assemble under the
ship, and so he had thought he had better take command.

"Take command!" cried Uncle Richard; "why, what a boy you are, Gabriel!"
And then Gabriel went on to explain how they got the ways in their
places, loosened the cradle, and wedged up the fore part of the vessel;
then the stays were hastily removed; it was Begmand who had taken away
the last from the stern amidst the fire and smoke, and so away went the
ship just in the nick of time. Tom Robson ought really to have all the
praise, since everything was ready to hand, and in the most perfect
order.

Rachel came to meet them on the steps; she went straight up to Uncle
Richard and whispered in his ear, "Be calm, uncle; don't let us spoil
Gabriel's evening. Father has had a stroke. He is in bed, and the doctor
is here."

The _attaché_ entered without saying a word, and Rachel threw her arms
round her brother's neck and said, "Who would have thought of your being
such a clever boy, Gabriel?"

"Boy!" said Gabriel.

"Or man, I shall have to say in future," answered Rachel, with a smile.
"But what have you done with your workmen?"

They were not far behind; and Rachel distributed among them beer, wine,
sausages, bacon, white bread, and other delicacies, until Gabriel
remarked, "You are much more liberal than Miss Cordsen; but had you not
got some chickens for the ball?"

Yes, indeed! She had forgotten the ball. Rachel's feelings were so
pained by seeing Gabriel in such high spirits, that she could not
contain them any longer, so she said quietly, "Gabriel, there will be no
ball to-morrow. Father is ill."

Gabriel had not to ask why. He saw it was something serious. The workmen
were standing by the steps, laden with the good things, and uncertain
where they should take them.

"Come, let us go back to the ship-yard," said Gabriel; "we shall be all
to ourselves there, and besides, it will be nice and warm."

Rachel could hear from his voice that there were tears in his eyes, and
the thought occurred to her, how he had grown from a boy to a man in the
last few hours.

The storehouse had now fallen in, and the ruins were still burning on
the ground. The yard, thanks to Mr. Robson, had been so well cleared,
that the watchmen had but little difficulty in keeping the fire
isolated. After midnight the wind lulled, and the thick clouds of smoke
soared up into the air, and were driven slowly over the fjord.

As the ship took the water, she drove across the wind a little way from
the shore, and fouled an old brig belonging to the firm; and for the
rest of the night was heard the shouting and singing of the numerous
volunteers, who were hard at work clearing the vessels, and mooring the
newly launched one.

The shipwrights sat comfortably in the yard, just near enough to the
fire to feel its warmth. They had got far more than they could fairly
take on board, and, every now and then, they treated one of the watchmen
to something as he passed.

The only flaw in their pleasure was that Gabriel could not be with them.
He had been obliged to tell them that the Consul was ill, and that he
must, therefore, remain in the house. No one thought of accusing Gabriel
of pride, and they all drank his health, and as many other healths as
they could find an excuse for, in bumpers of the wine to which they were
so little accustomed. Of the food which had been given to them, they ate
as much as they could, and when they could eat no more, they divided the
remainder by lot, just as they shared the shavings for their fires,
laughing the whole time heartily at the sport. Then away they all
wandered homewards to the West End, carrying sausages, chickens, bottles
of wine, and other delicacies. The sun was just rising over the corner
of the mountain to the east of the town, and lit up the window-panes of
the cottages, till it looked as if the whole West End was illuminated.

That morning there was not a wife who had the heart to find fault with
her husband because he had had a little drop too much. Eating and
drinking went on merrily, combined with gossiping and running from house
to house. The children sat up in bed, blinking at the sunlight, and
stuffing themselves with sausages, still half in doubt whether it was
real tangible sausage they were eating, or whether it was not one of
those lovely dreams which sometimes visit the hungry.

The sun was shining over the bay of Sandsgaard, where the new ship now
lay securely moored with hawsers both ahead and astern. The sounds of
activity from West End could be heard far out into the fjord.

In Begmand's cottage Marianne lay raving in delirium, and the neighbour
who attended her said she had the fever. Anders, who had burnt himself
on the side of the face at the fire, was sitting with her, a
handkerchief tied round his head.

The townspeople managed to get home by degrees. Some pretended that they
did not see the sun, and went to bed. Others stayed up, and went yawning
about all day. More than half the town had been at Sandsgaard that
night, or else on the heights above the house, looking on the fire.

One of the few people who had not been at the fire was our friend
Woodlouse. When he and the Swede parted, after the fight between Martin
and Robson, he went straight off to his home in the town. As he passed
the first house, he met some people who were running, and deaf as he
was, he heard the two cannon-shots which gave warning of a fire. When he
got to the church, he saw that the door was open, and that there was a
light in the place from whence the bells were pulled. Woodlouse looked
in and saw a pair of legs, now bending, now straightening again, now
going up, and now down. From what he saw, he drew the conclusion that
some one was tolling the big bell. He observed carefully what time it
was by the church clock, and as he went along, he was already making up
his mind how he should answer the inquiries of the police, for he fully
expected the cause of the fire would be the subject for investigation.



CHAPTER XIX.


Consul Garman was in bed, now three days after the fire. The left side
was almost powerless; but the doctor said there was still a chance of
recovery, since the patient had managed to get through the first few
days. The Consul had not hitherto spoken a word, but the eyes moved
occasionally, and especially the right one, for the left was half
closed, and the mouth remained crooked.

Uncle Richard sat constantly by the bed, watching his brother, until
their eyes happened to meet, when he would look away with an expression
that was meant to be unconcerned, for the doctor had particularly said
that the patient was not to be excited.

When the _attaché_ was alone with his brother, he was always anxious
lest he should begin to speak, and it so happened that he began to do so
one day just after the doctor had been, as if he had been waiting for
him to leave the room.

"Richard," said he all at once, "there will have to be a great many
changes."

"There, now he is off!" thought the _attaché_.

The Consul waited a little before he continued. "It was a heavy loss,
which will affect us all. The ship was not insured."

"Yes; but, you see," answered Uncle Richard, in a tone that was most
unbecoming in its frivolity, "it is extraordinary what may possibly
happen; in the case of a ship, for instance."

The Consul regarded him expectantly.

"How shall I get on?" thought his brother, looking round vainly for
assistance.

"What do you mean, Richard?"

"Yes, he is a wonderful boy, Gabriel is," said the _attaché_, trying to
smile. "I don't mean in school, but I mean--well, I hardly know; well,
he knows a good deal about ship-building."

"What's the matter with Gabriel?" asked the Consul, quickly.

"Oh, nothing is the matter with Gabriel; he is all right--quite right.
Did you think there was anything wrong?"

At this moment Rachel entered the room, and Uncle Richard gave a sigh of
relief.

Rachel saw in a moment that her father had begun to talk, and went over
to the bed.

"Tell me all about it, Rachel," said the invalid. "I should like to tell
you the whole story, father; everything has turned out so well. But I am
not sure that you could bear the surprise--and such a joyful surprise,
too." As she said these words she looked at him calmly.

The invalid began to get impatient, and Rachel took hold of his hand as
she continued her story. "You see, the ship was ready for launching,
quite ready, and so away she went just at the very nick of time--without
being burnt, you understand--out into the fjord; and now she is quite
safe, and everything is all right. Now, father, you know it all."

"But what about Gabriel?" said the Consul, looking at his brother.

"Oh, it was Gabriel who managed everything, because Tom Robson never
came," said Rachel.

"Drunk, you know; drunk as a lord. In bed all the time. Dead
drunk--don't you see?" said Uncle Richard, explaining his words with
signs and gestures.

"There, now, father, you mustn't ask any more questions," said Rachel,
decidedly. "Now we have told you the whole story."

Her father looked at her, and she could just feel the light pressure of
his hand on hers. She then took Uncle Richard with her out of the
sick-room, and gave him strict orders not to be there alone in future;
an injunction which he found most unreasonable.

Miss Cordsen's time was fully occupied, both with the invalid, who would
have none but her and Rachel near him, and also with getting everything
into order again after the preparation for the ball. In those few days,
however, the old lady formed a far higher opinion of Rachel than she had
hitherto done.

Pastor Martens had not had an opportunity of speaking to Madeleine by
herself since his proposal. But at this time of anxiety and excitement
he came very frequently to Sandsgaard. Mrs. Garman kept her bed, for
what reason it was not easy to know; and so it chanced that several
times, when he came, no one but Madeleine happened to be in the room. At
first she was very shy and timid, but when she found that he was not in
the least offended with her, she could not help appreciating his
conduct. Of all others, he was certainly the person who showed her the
most attention; for her father's thoughts were entirely engrossed with
her uncle's illness.

A few days after this, when the Consul had been quiet for some time, he
said to Rachel, "Send Gabriel in here."

Mr. Garman gave Gabriel his right hand, which he was now able to move a
little. "Thanks, my boy; you have saved us from a heavy loss, and shown
yourself a man. If what I hear from Rachel is true, that you would
prefer to give up your studies--"

"Not without you wish it, father," stammered the boy.

"I should wish you to go to the commercial school in Dresden, and then
take your place in the firm, when you have gained sufficient
instruction."

"Father! father!" cried Gabriel, bending down over the Consul's hand.

"There, my boy, let me see that you are able to work, and then you may
turn out good for something after all. And now will you do me the favour
of finding another name for the ship? For I wish her to have a new one,"
said the Consul, calmly.

This great honour was almost too much for Gabriel, but with a sudden
inspiration he cried, "_Phoenix_!"

A faint smile flitted over the right side of the Consul's face. "Very
well; we will call her _Phoenix_. And will you see the name painted on
her stern?"

As Gabriel left the room he met Miss Cordsen. He threw his arms round
her neck, and began hugging and kissing her, repeating all the time,
incoherently, the words, "_Phoenix_--Dresden--the firm."

Miss Cordsen scolded and struggled. She was afraid to scream; but he was
too strong for her, and the old lady had to resign herself to her fate.
At length he ran off, and Miss Cordsen was left, arranging her
cap-strings, and saying to herself, "They are all alike, one and all."
But when Gabriel ran across the yard, and, meeting the fat kitchen-maid
Bertha, gave her a friendly slap on the back, the old lady clapped her
hands together, and exclaimed, "Well, I declare, he is the worst of the
whole lot!"

The Consul had several long interviews with Morten, who put on an air of
importance before the clerks and workpeople. But his feelings, when he
took his father's place in the old armchair in the office, are not
easily described.

Fanny saw little of her husband, and noticed him even less. Her
connection with Delphin had obtained a power over her, which she could
not previously have believed possible, and she strove by every means at
her command to keep him fast. But since the day on which Delphin had
discovered that Madeleine knew of his intimacy with Fanny, his position
became almost unbearable. He would gladly have done with it, but had not
the will, and he lacked the courage to leave the place, and be quit of
it all for ever. And so deeper and deeper he fell into the snare. He was
weary of lying and living a life of shame, but the effort required was
more than he could command. And often, when conversation flagged, he
felt instinctively that she knew what was passing in his mind; as if
their secret was determined to make its voice heard, although Fanny
kissed him, and went on talking and laughing incessantly in order to
deafen it.

One thing was a source of wonder to every one, and that was, how
lukewarm the authorities were in endeavouring to discover how the fire
had arisen; for that it was malicious no one doubted for a moment. It is
true there were a few inquiries made at long intervals, but nothing came
to light. This was not, however, much to be wondered at, considering
that it was only a pack of old women and children from the West End who
were questioned, while those to whom suspicion really attached were
allowed to go unexamined.

Anders Begmand had been brought up, but the magistrate stated that his
evidence could not be received, on the ground of his mental deficiency
and general infirmity. So there the matter ended.

Woodlouse's expectation was not fulfilled; neither he, nor the Swede,
nor Martin were examined, and after a few ill-natured remarks in the
papers, the affair died out and was forgotten. But in the West End, and
indeed also in the town amongst the lower orders, people would smile and
shake their heads mysteriously when the matter was mentioned. They might
say what they liked about Garman and Worse in other ways, but the firm
must be allowed the credit generally of not placing their people in an
uncomfortable position. And since the ship had so fortunately been
saved, there was no more use in raking up the matter any further. Every
one knew the story about Marianne, so now the best thing for both
parties was to cry quits, and start fair for the future. It was all very
well for the police magistrate to sit there looking so serious, bullying
and questioning as if he meant to get at the point; but this was really
only for the sake of appearances. One thing was perfectly plain--that it
must all end as the grand folks chose it should; and when Garman and
Worse were determined that nothing should come out, the magistrate might
do whatever he liked, but he would certainly never discover anything.

This kind of thing might be unpleasant enough sometimes, but in this
particular instance it was most fortunate, and the lesson to be learnt
from it all was--if, indeed, there was any one who did not know it
already--that it is as well to be on good terms with grand folks, even
if it does cost something.

But no one would have anything to do with Martin. He had escaped
scot-free from those common enemies of mankind, the law and the police,
but he was a marked man, even among his own friends, and they did not
scruple to let him know plainly, that the sooner he packed himself off
out of the country the better.



CHAPTER XX.


There was no hope of the young Consul's recovery. For a fortnight he had
been wavering to and fro. Sometimes it appeared as if the right side
would prevail, but then the left got the upper hand again; and each time
the paralysis seemed to get a firmer hold.

Miss Cordsen heard the doctor say to Richard, "He may perhaps linger for
a few hours, but he cannot live through the night." The old lady
remained for a few minutes in the sick-room, and then went upstairs. Her
own apartment was a picture of old-fashioned neatness. Carpets and
chairs carefully covered, boxes locked, nothing lying about; everything
trim, well cared for, and shielded from prying eyes.

There arose an odour of clean linen and lavender she opened the press,
and in a little secret drawer behind a bundle of well-starched
nightcaps, there lay carefully wrapped up, a miniature portrait in a
black frame. It represented a young man dressed in a green frock-coat,
with a broad velvet collar. The hair was slightly red, and brushed back
in the fashion of the time, in two locks in front of the ears. The eyes
were blue and clear, and the under jaw was slightly projecting. Miss
Cordsen sat a long time gazing at the portrait, and tear after tear
dropped down among the other secrets which lay cherished in the old
press among the linen and dry lavender.

Uncle Richard sat gazing at his brother. The doctor's words had deprived
him of all hope, but even yet he could not bring himself to believe that
the end could be so near.

"It will soon be all over, Richard," said the invalid, in a feeble
voice.

The _attaché_ sat down by the side of the bed, and after a short
struggle broke into tears, and laid his head on the coverlid.

"Here am I, so strong and well," he sobbed, "and can't do even the
smallest thing to help you! I have never been anything to you but a
trouble and a burden."

"Nonsense, Dick!" answered the Consul; "you have been everything to
me--you and the business. But I have something for which to ask your
forgiveness before I die."

"My forgiveness?" Uncle Richard thought he was wandering, and looked up.

"Yes," said the Consul, as what was almost a smile passed over the
half-stiffened features. "I have made a fool of you. Your account does
not exist. It was only a joke. Are you angry with me?"

How could he possibly be angry? He laid his face down again on the
withered hand, and as he lay there in his sorrow, with his curly head
buried in the pillows, he looked almost like a great shaggy
Newfoundland.

The doctor came into the room.

"I really cannot permit your brother to lie so close to you--it will
interfere with your breathing; and if you don't wish--"

"My brother," said the young Consul, interrupting him in a voice which
bore some resemblance to his business voice. "I wish my brother, Mr.
Richard Garman, to remain exactly where he is." He then added with an
effort, "Will you summon my family?"

The doctor left the room, and a few minutes afterwards the invalid drew
a long breath, and said, "Good-bye, Dick! How many happy days we have
had together since our childhood! You shall have all the Burgundy. I
have arranged it all. I should have wished to have left you better off,
but--" A movement came over the features, which feebly reminded Richard
of the gesture he used when adjusting his chin in his neckcloth, and he
said slowly and almost noiselessly, "The house is no longer what it has
been."

These were the last words he spoke, for before the doctor had got the
family assembled in the sick-chamber, the young Consul was dead; calm
and precise as he had lived.



CHAPTER XXI.


The same morning Torpander was seen, going along the road which led to
Sandsgaard. Contrary to his usual custom, he had taken a holiday that
Monday. On his head he wore a grey felt hat of the particular shape
which was called in the trade "the mercantile." The hatter had assured
him that it had been originally made for Mr. Morten Garman, but that it
was unfortunately just a trifle too small. The hat, however, exactly
fitted Torpander, and dear as it was, he bought it; and he could not
help noticing the coincidence, that he was that day wearing a hat which
Morten Garman had rejected. He had also bought a coat for the occasion,
not quite new, it is true, but of a most unusual light-brown hue. The
trousers were the worst part of the costume, but the coat was long
enough, in a great measure, to hide them. Torpander could well enough
have bought trousers as well, but he did not wish to trench too deeply
on his savings, before he saw how it fared with him that day. If all
went well she should have everything he possessed, and if it went badly
he would return at once to Sweden, for he could bear the suspense no
longer. He had not, truth to say, great hopes as to his ultimate
success. He had heard a report that Marianne was unwell, but perhaps she
was upset by the disgrace which Martin had brought upon the family. The
fact that he was making his proposal at that particular time might be a
point in his favour; but no, he could not help feeling that such
happiness was almost bewildering.

It was a lovely sunshiny day, and the tall light-brown form went briskly
on its way, moving its arms unconsciously, as if rehearsing the scene
which was shortly to follow. In the left-hand pocket of his coat he had
a silk handkerchief, which had long been his dream, of a bright orange
colour with a light-blue border, and of which the corner was seen
protruding from his pocket. It was not at all his intention to put the
handkerchief to its legitimate use; for that purpose he had a red cotton
one, adorned with Abraham Lincoln's portrait. The silk handkerchief was
to be used only for effect, and every time he met any one in the avenue
before whom he thought it worth while to show off, and that was nearly
every passer-by, he drew the brilliant handkerchief from his pocket,
raised it carefully to his face, and let it fall again. He derived the
greatest satisfaction from feeling the rough surface of the silk cling
to the hard skin on the inside of his hands.

At the building-yard he met Martin, who was coming hastily along in the
opposite direction.

"Is your sister at home?" asked Torpander.

"Yes, you will find her at home," answered Martin, with an ominous
smile.

In the yard close to the house at Sandsgaard, Martin met Pastor Martens,
who was on his way from the town, dressed in cassock and ruff.

Martin touched his cap. "Will you come and see my sister, sir? She is at
the point of death."

"Who is your sister?" asked the pastor.

"Marianne, sir; Anders Begmand's granddaughter."

"Oh yes, I remember now," answered the pastor, who knew her history
perfectly well. "But I cannot come just now; I have to go in here first.
Consul Garman is also on his death-bed. But I will come afterwards."

"Oh yes, this is just what I might have expected," muttered Martin,
turning to go away.

"Wait a moment, young man," cried the pastor. "If you think that time
presses, I will go and see your sister. It's the last house, is it not?"
Upon which he went on past Sandsgaard, and on towards West End.

Martin was astonished, if not almost disappointed. The pastor meanwhile
continued his way, which he did not find very pleasant when he had to
pass among the cottages. Ragged urchins waylaid him, the girls and the
old women put their heads out of the doors and gaped after him, while a
group of children who were grovelling on the shore cheered him lustily.
Wherever he turned, all reeked of filth and poverty.

As Torpander could get nothing out of Anders Begmand, whom he found
huddled up in a corner of the room, he went upstairs and knocked at
Marianne's door. No one said "Come in," and he therefore ventured to
open the door slightly and look into the room.

Poor man! he was so appalled that he could scarcely keep his feet. There
she lay, his own beloved Marianne; her mouth half open, and moaning
incessantly. Her cheeks, which were sunken, were of an ashy white, and
in the dark hollows round her eyes were standing small drops of
perspiration. He had no idea that her state was so hopeless; and this
was the time he had chosen for making his proposal! Marianne lifted her
eyes. She knew him--of that he felt assured, for she smiled faintly with
her own heavenly smile; but he could not help remarking how conspicuous
her teeth appeared. She could no longer speak, but her large eyes moved
several times from him to the window, and he thought that she was asking
for something. Torpander went to the window, which was a new one Tom
Robson had had made, and laid his hand on the fastening. She smiled
again, and as he opened the window, he could see a look of thankfulness
pass over her features. The midday sun, which was shining over the hill
at the back of the house and falling obliquely on the window, threw a
ray of light for a short distance into the room. Away in the town the
bells were tolling for a funeral, and their sound, which was re-echoed
from the hill, was soft and subdued in its tone.

Marianne turned towards the light; her eyes were shining brilliantly,
and a delicate shade of red mantled her cheeks. Torpander thought he had
never seen her look so lovely.

When Pastor Martens entered the room, he was as much struck by the
appearance of the dying woman as Torpander had been, but in quite a
different manner. It was impossible she could be so near death; and he
could not help feeling annoyed with Martin, who had thus exaggerated his
sister's danger, and had perhaps been the cause of his arriving too late
at Consul Garman's death-bed. The extraordinary figure dressed in the
long light-brown coat, which kept ever and anon bowing to him, did not
tend to calm his feelings, and it is possible that something of his
annoyance showed itself in the words which he now addressed to Marianne.

The clergyman was standing by the bed in such a position as to shield
the light of the window from Marianne, who was gazing at him with her
large eyes. He did not wish to be severe, but it was well known that the
woman at whose death-bed he was standing, was fallen. At the close of
such a life, it was only his duty to speak of sin and its bitter
consequences. Marianne's eyes began to wander uneasily as she turned
them, now on the clergyman, and now on Torpander. At length she made an
effort, and turned her face in the other direction.

The pastor did not intend to finish his discourse without holding out a
hope of reconciliation with God, even after such a life of sin; but
while he continued speaking about repentance and forgiveness, the
neighbour, who had been at her dinner, entered the room.

The woman went to the foot of the bed, but when she looked at Marianne's
face she said quietly, "I beg your pardon, sir, but she is dead."

"Dead!" said the minister, rising hastily from his chair. "It is most
extraordinary!" He took up his hat, said good-bye, and left the room.

The woman took Marianne's hands and folded them decently across her
breast; she then put her arms under the bedclothes and straightened the
legs, so that the corpse should not stiffen with the knees bent. The
mouth was slightly open. She shut it, but the chin fell again. Torpander
could see what the woman was looking for, and handed her his silk
handkerchief. How rejoiced he was that he had not used it! The woman
regarded the handkerchief suspiciously, but when she saw that it was
perfectly clean, she folded it neatly and tied it round Marianne's head.

Torpander stood gazing at the little weary face, bound round with his
lovely silk handkerchief, and he felt at length as if he had some part
in her. He had received her last look, her last smile, and as a reward
she had accepted his first and last gift. After all, his courtship had
had the best ending he could possibly have hoped for. He bent his head,
and wept silently in Abraham Lincoln's portrait.

Begmand came upstairs, and sat gazing at the body. Since the fire he had
not been altogether himself.

"Shall I go to Zacharias the carpenter, and order the coffin?" asked the
woman. But as she did not get any answer, she went off and ordered the
coffin on her own account. It was not to be any more ornamental than was
usual in the West End.

Meanwhile Pastor Martens was continuing his journey. Marianne's death
had made a most disagreeable impression upon him, which probably added
to his former ill humour.

The women, both old and young, were again on the look-out for him. A
clergyman was not often to be seen in West End. The boys, who had found
a dead cat on the shore, and which the eldest was dragging after him,
came marching along like little soldiers. Behind them followed a tiny
little creature not higher than one's knee, with his mother's wooden
shoes on his feet, and wearing a paper cap on his head. The whole band
was in high spirits, and sang with a ringing voice a national air,
according to the comic version which was in use in West End:

     "Yes, we love our country;
       Yes, indeed we do!
     He who dares deny it,
       We will let him know!"

The pastor had to pass the children, whose song went through his head.
The cat, of which he just caught a glimpse, was half putrid, and its
skin was hanging in rags. Parson Martens pressed his handkerchief to his
mouth; he was afraid that the unhealthy atmosphere would be injurious to
his health.

He hurried out of West End and up to the house, as fast as his cassock,
and having to pick his way among the dirty puddles, would allow; but he
came too late. The Consul had already been dead half an hour, and so
Pastor Martens turned and went back to the town. It was very hot walking
in the long black garment, and already well past dinner-time.

Madame Rasmussen came running to meet him. "My dear Mr. Martens, dinner.
Why, it's half-past two! Why, how exhausted you look!"

"Let us rejoice, Madame Rasmussen," answered the clergyman, with a bland
smile, "when we are thought worthy to endure trials."

He was indeed a heavenly man, was the pastor. How pious and amiable he
looked as he sat at table! No one could ever have suspected that he wore
a wig.

Madame Rasmussen sat down to embroider some cushions to put in the
window, for the chaplain could not bear the slightest draught.



CHAPTER XXII.


Consul Garman's death caused a great sensation in the town. The
wonderful escape of the ship was already material enough for several
weeks' gossip; and now there came this death, with all its immediate
circumstances and possible consequences. The whole town was fairly
buzzing with stories and gossip.

The business men gave each other a knowing wink. The old man at
Sandsgaard had been a hard nut to crack, but now they would have more
elbow-room, and Morten was not so dangerous.

The preparations for the funeral were on the grandest scale. The body
was to be taken from Sandsgaard and laid in the church, where Dean
Sparre was to deliver a discourse, while the chaplain was to conduct the
funeral service at the cemetery.

All the different guilds were to follow with their banners, and the town
band was busy practising till late at night. A regular committee of
management was formed, and there was almost as much stir as if it was
the 17th of May.[B]

    [Footnote B: Anniversary of the declaration of the
     Norwegian Independence in 1814.]

Jacob Worse did not take any part in all this. He truly regretted the
Consul, who had always been almost like a father to him.

Mrs. Worse was more annoyed than sorry. "It was too bad, it was really
too bad," she grumbled, "of the Consul to go and die!" She was sure that
he would have arranged the match, such a sensible man as he was; but now
that there were nothing but a lot of women in the house--for the
_attaché_ was little better than an old woman himself--And so on, and so
on, thought the old lady, and she wondered that Rachel, who had such a
clever father, had not inherited a little more sense.

Sandsgaard was silent and desolate from top to bottom. The body lay
upstairs in the little room on the north side, and white curtains were
hanging in front of all the windows of the second story. Not a sound was
heard, except the monotonous step of one, who went pacing unceasingly to
and fro in the empty rooms. Thus had Uncle Richard been wandering every
day since his brother's death. Restlessly he passed in and out of one
room after another, then up and down the long ballroom; now and again
into the room where the body lay, ever to and fro, in and out, the whole
livelong day, and far into the night.

Rachel was more grieved at the loss of her father than she could have
believed possible during his lifetime. But a change had lately taken
place in her nature; she, who was so exacting towards others, was now
brought to examine herself, and could see how much there was in her own
nature which required reform. She could now see plainly enough, that it
was principally her own fault that she and her father had not understood
each other better. It was only during his illness, that they had both
come to know how many ideas they had in common, and what they might have
been to each other. Now it was too late, and she looked back on her
wasted life with regret; for Jacob Worse's idea seemed to her quite
impracticable.

The day before the funeral, Madeleine was sitting in the room which
looked on to the garden. It was a raw, cold spring morning, with a
drizzling rain from the south-west, and she had been obliged to close
the window. Upstairs she could hear her father's heavy footfall, which
came nearer, passed overhead, and then became lost in the distance.
Never had she felt so oppressed, sick at heart, and lonely as in that
house, in which there reigned the silence which always seems to
accompany death.

A knock was heard at the door, and Pastor Martens entered the room. Mrs.
Garman had particularly invited him to pay them a visit every day.

"Good morning, Miss Madeleine. How do you feel to-day?"

"Thanks," answered she, "I am pretty well; I mean about as well as I
usually am."

"That means, I am afraid, not particularly well," said the clergyman,
sympathetically. "If I were your doctor I should order you to go
somewhere for a change this summer."

He still kept his hat in his hand, and remained standing near the window
which led into the garden. Madeleine was sitting on the end of the sofa
at the other end of the room.

"This is a gloomy day for so late in the spring," observed Mr. Martens,
looking into the garden; "and a house like this, to which Death has
brought his sad tidings, is a mournful place."

She listened to him, keeping her eyes fixed on the ground, and without
returning a word.

"A house like this," he continued, "in which death is lying, is a
picture of the lives of many of us. How many of us carry death at our
hearts! Some hope or another that for us has long passed away, or some
bitter disappointment that we have buried in the depths of our soul."

He could see that she bent her head lower over the sofa, and he went on
speaking earnestly and soothingly, and almost to himself.

"Since it is a good thing for us not to be alone; since it is good for
us to have some one to cling to, when the bitter experiences of life
cast their shadows over us, so--"

Madeleine suddenly burst into tears, and her sobs reached his ears.

"I beg your pardon," said he, coming close to the sofa. "I was but
following the bent of my own thoughts, and I fear I have made you
unhappy, when my object ought rather to have been to endeavour to cheer
you. Poor child!"

Her sobbing had now become so violent that she did not any longer try to
conceal her emotion.

"Dear Miss Madeleine," said the pastor, seating himself on the sofa at a
little distance from her, "I am sure you are not well--I have observed
it for some time; and you may imagine how painful it is for me to see
you thus suffering, without having any right to offer you my
assistance."

"You have always been so good to me," sobbed Madeleine. "But no one can
help me, I am so wretched--so wretched!"

"Do not indulge such thoughts, my dear young lady; do not allow yourself
to think that any feeling of wretchedness is so great that it cannot be
mitigated. Intercourse with the friend who understands our nature has a
wonderfully soothing power over the sick heart. And for that very
reason," added he, with a sigh, "I feel it doubly painful that you will
not allow me to be such a friend to you."

"I cannot," stammered Madeleine in dismay. "Do not be angry with me. I
do not mean to be ungrateful. You are the only one--But I am so
nervous--I don't understand it all. But don't be angry with me;" and she
held her hand a little nearer to him.

Pastor Martens took the hand, and pressed it gently between his own.

"You know I mean to be kind to you, Miss Madeleine," said he, in an
earnest and soothing tone.

"Yes, yes, I know you do. But do you believe--" and her eye rested on
him with an earnest expression.

"I am afraid your mind is disturbed; but I hope that I may be able to be
a trustworthy guide for you through life. You have been unwilling to
accept me, and I will not importune you; but I must tell you that
everything I have is at your service."

"But if I am unable--but if it is too much for me. No, I cannot!" she
replied, hiding her face in her hands.

His voice was kind, almost fatherly in its tone, as he moved nearer to
her and said, "Tell me, Madeleine, do not you feel as if it was almost a
dispensation of Providence? When I asked you for your hand, you rejected
my offer hastily--without consideration, may I venture to say? That hand
now lies in mine." She made an attempt to withdraw it, but he held it
fast. "Here are we again brought together. Is it not as if you were
destined to be mine--you who are so lonely and forsaken amongst your own
relations? You do feel lonely, Madeleine, do you not?"

"Oh yes; I do feel lonely--so dreadfully lonely," said she,
disconsolately; and whether he now drew her to him, or whether she gave
way of herself, she now lay with her head on his shoulder, wearied and
helpless. And, as his voice sounded bland and soothing in her ears, she
seemed to recover her breath, as if after a long period of oppression.

In a moment she was on her feet: he had ventured to kiss her brow. He
also rose, but still retained his grasp of her hand.

"We will not tell any one about it to-day," he said reassuringly,
"because of the affliction which has come upon your family. But we had
better go to Mrs. Garman, and ask her blessing. With respect to your
father----"

"No! no!" she cried; "father must not know anything about it! Oh,
heavens! what have I done?" she murmured, holding her hand before her
eyes.

A bland smile passed over his face as he took her arm in his. "You are
still a little discomposed, child, but it will soon pass away." He then
led her to Mrs. Garman's room.

"Could not we wait till to-morrow? My head is so painful," entreated
Madeleine.

"We will only just show ourselves to your aunt," said he, quietly but
decidedly, as he opened the door.

They found Mrs. Garman in her room, sitting comfortably in her armchair.
Before her she had a tray, on which stood a bottle of water and a small
straw-covered flask of curaçoa. On a plate was some chicken, which had
been cut into small pieces and neatly arranged round the edge, and in
the middle was a little shape of asparagus butter, garnished with some
chopped parsley.

When Madeleine and the pastor entered the room, she was just in the act
of holding a piece of chicken on a fork and dipping it into the butter,
but when she saw them she put down her fork with an air of indifference,
and said, "I hope, Madeleine, you will not forget to thank the Lord for
thus changing your obstinate heart; and for you, Mr. Martens, I will
hope and pray that you will never have to repent the step you have
taken."

For a moment Madeleine's eyes seemed to flash, but Mr. Martens hastened
to observe, "My dear Madeleine is quite overcome. Would you not rather
go to your room? We shall meet again to-morrow."

Madeline felt really thankful for his suggestion, and gave him a feeble
smile as he followed her to the door.

When the pastor had gone, Mrs. Garman could not help thinking how
differently people behave as soon as they are engaged. She suspected
that she would not find the chaplain's society so agreeable for the
future.

Pastor Martens was so overjoyed that he could scarcely take his usual
midday nap. Later in the day it began to clear up; it was only a sea-fog
which had come up during the night, as is frequently the case in the
spring. Everything appeared radiant and bright to Martens as he came
along the street from the jeweller's, where he had been to order the
ring, but he took care not to show his feelings; it would not do to look
too pleased on the day before the funeral of his intended's uncle.

In the market-place he met Mr. Johnsen.

"You are coming to the funeral to-morrow?" said Martens, insensibly
leading the conversation into the direction of his own thoughts.

"No," answered Johnsen, drily; "I have to give an address at the Mission
Bazaar."

"What, between twelve and two? Why, the whole town will be following the
funeral."

"It is for the women, my address," said the inspector, as he continued
his way.

"Well," thought Martens, "he is indeed changed! Prayer-meetings,
missions, Bible-readings--quite a different kind of work!" said the
chaplain mysteriously to himself. His feelings were almost too much for
him.

A little farther up the street he met Delphin on horseback. There was
such an unusual expression on the clergyman's face, that Delphin pulled
up his horse and called out, "Good morning, Mr. Martens! Is it the
thought of the discourse you have to deliver to-morrow that makes you
look so pleased?"

"Discourse! discourse!" thought the chaplain. He had never prepared it.
It was well indeed he had been thus reminded. However, he answered, "If
notwithstanding my--or perhaps I ought to say our--sorrow, I do look
rather more cheerful than I ought under the circumstances, I only do so
from something which has happened to myself. It is purely on personal
grounds."

"And may I venture to ask what the circumstances are which make you look
so happy?" asked Delphin, carelessly.

"Well, it ought not really to be told to any one to-day, but I think I
may venture to tell you," said the pastor, in a calm voice. "I have
proposed to a lady, and have had the good fortune to be accepted."

"Indeed? I congratulate you!" cried the other gaily. "I think, too, I
can guess who it is." His thoughts turned on Madam Rasmussen.

"Yes, I dare say you can," answered Martens, quietly. "It is Miss
Garman--Madeleine, I mean."

"It's a lie!" shouted Delphin, grasping his riding-whip.

The pastor cautiously took two or three steps backwards on the footpath,
raised his hat, and continued his way.

But Delphin rode off rapidly down the road, and away past Sandsgaard,
ever faster and faster, till his steed was covered with foam. He had
ridden four miles without noticing where he was going. The coast became
flat and sandy, the patches of cultivation ceased, and the open sea lay
before him. The sun shone on the blue expanse, while far out lay the
mist like a wall, as if ready to return again at night.

Delphin put his horse up at a farmhouse, and went on foot over the sand.
The vast and peaceful ocean seemed to attract him. He felt a longing to
be alone with his thoughts, longer, indeed, than was his usual custom.
George Delphin was not often given to serious thought--his nature was
too frivolous and unstable; but to-day he felt that there must be a
reckoning, and on the very verge of the sea he threw himself on the
sand, which was now warmed by the afternoon sun. At first his thoughts
surged like the billows over which he gazed. He was furious with Pastor
Martens. Who could have believed that he, George Delphin, should have
suffered himself to be supplanted by a chaplain, and, more than that, a
widower? And Madeleine! how could she have accepted him? And the more
his thoughts turned upon her, the more he felt how truly he loved her.

How different it might have been! Yes, many things might have been
different in his life, when he came to review it fairly. His thoughts
then fell upon Jacob Worse, who had lately quite given him up. It had
often happened to Delphin that people did not remain friends with him
long. It was only Fanny who did not give him up. He made one more effort
to bring up her image in his thoughts, in all its most enchanting
beauty, but he failed in the effort. Madeleine seemed to overshadow
everything. Then his thoughts reverted to Martens, and his agony
returned. He seemed no longer to have any aim in life, which had been so
utterly wasted, useless and desolate, and he began to regard himself
with loathing, friendless as he was, and thus entangled in an intrigue
with one for whom he had no affection, and despised by her whose love he
really longed for.

All this time the mist was stealing in light wreaths over the shore; it
came gliding beyond the line of the waves, and on over the sand. It
paused for an instant at the man who was thus lying in despair, then
stole on further, and finally settled behind the sand-hills. The grey
wall of mist had now attained such a height that it obscured the evening
sun, so that the landscape became all at once cold and grey, whilst the
fog went scudding along, denser and denser every moment.

Delphin stretched himself on the sand, wearied with his long ride and
his bitter thoughts. The long white breakers came curling ever nearer
and nearer, as they broke on the beach with their subdued and monotonous
roar.

He could not but think how easy it would be to have done with the life
altogether, which now seemed to him of so little worth. He had but to
roll himself down the sandy slope, and the waves would take his body
into their embrace, and, after rocking him on their bosom, perhaps bear
him far away and leave him on a distant shore. But he felt full well
that he had not the courage; and as he lay there, thus pondering over
his past life, he fell into a reverie, while the breakers murmured their
monotonous song, and the mist, which was borne up on the light evening
breeze, breathed over him cold and chill.

The landscape assumed a general tone of grey. The mist stole on, still
more close and compact, and the form of him who lay by the waves became
more and more indistinct. At last he was gone; the sea raised her mantle
and wiped him out, while the fog drifted inland thick as a wall, and,
reaching the first dwellings, swept round the corners of the houses, and
sent cold gusts in at the open doors and windows.

But swifter than the mist, closer and ever more penetrating, swept the
report of the chaplain's engagement through the town. It crept in
through cracks and keyholes, filled houses from cellar to garret, and
stood so thick in the street that it stopped the traffic.

"Have you heard the news? They are engaged? Guess! where? who? Miss
Garman; I heard it an hour ago! Have you heard the news? It's the
chaplain who is engaged! Well, I am surprised! They might have waited
till after the funeral. Are you sure? He has been at the jeweller's!
Have you heard the news?"

Thus it spread, buzz, buzz, from house to house; and when at length the
weary town went to its bed, there was certainly not a soul who had not
heard of the engagement from at least five separate people. It was a
wonderful time, rich in important events.

But just as one sometimes sees a little brawling and muddy brook flowing
into a clear stream, and following along in its course, but ever keeping
its little band of dirty brown water separate from the translucent
river, even so there followed with the news of the great event, a little
whisper of uncomfortable gossip. It always accompanied the main story,
cropping up everywhere, whispered, muttered, doubted, but never
contradicted; and this little bit of intelligence was, that Pastor
Martens wore a wig. It was scarcely credible, but it was undeniable;
Madame Rasmussen herself was the authority.



CHAPTER XXIII.


Like all wise rulers, who feel that they ought to mark the epoch of
their arrival at power with certain merciful actions, Morten had given
permission to Per Karl to drive the hearse with the old blacks, which
were, however, condemned to be shot on the following day.

The old coachman had got them into "funeral trim," as he said, and for
three days had groomed them incessantly. The last night he had passed in
the stable, so that they should not lie down and spoil their coats. They
were therefore shining as they never shone before, when, at eleven
o'clock on Saturday morning, they drew up with the hearse at the door.

There are three kinds of hearses, so that one has the option of driving
to the churchyard just as one travels by rail--in a first, second, or
third class carriage. Unless, indeed, one manages to quit life in such
an abject state of poverty, that one has to get one's self carried on
foot by one's friends. Consul Garman drove first class, in a carriage
adorned with angels' heads and silver trappings. Per Karl sat under the
black canopy, with crape round his hat, and looking with pride and
sadness on his old blacks.

When the coffin, which was adorned with flowers and white drapery, was
carried down from upstairs, Miss Cordsen stood at the foot of the
staircase, with the servants assembled in a group behind her. The old
lady folded her hands on her breast, and bowed low as they bore him
past; she then went up to her room, and locked the door.

The ladies of the family followed in the close carriage with Uncle
Richard, so as to be present at the ceremony in the church. Morten and
Gabriel were in the open carriage. The whole staff of workmen belonging
to the firm, and many of the townspeople who were not contented with
following from the church to the grave, joined the procession on foot
when the hearse set itself in motion. The spring sunshine was reflected
from the silver trappings and angels' heads, and from the sleek and
well-groomed horses, who were going on their last drive with a step full
of pride and solemnity. It happened most awkwardly that Marianne had
also to be buried that day. Martin had tried his best to prevent the
_contretemps_, but the answer which he had received from the authorities
was, that it was impossible to make an exception on his account; that
the present arrangement would be most convenient for all parties, and
particularly so, because it would save the clergyman a double journey to
the cemetery; besides, there would be only the simple funeral service,
and no address would be given.

Very well, then; since there would be no address the funeral would take
place on Saturday, between twelve and two.

Outside Begmand's cottage a group of young seafaring men were
assembling. There were a few relations from the town, and some of
Marianne's acquaintances, such as Tom Robson, Torpander, and Woodlouse.
Anders Begmand was not there: no amount of persuasion could prevent him
from following the Consul's funeral.

At Marianne's funeral there was no undertaker to regulate the pace of
the procession, and the young sailors stepped out briskly with the
coffin. They thus managed to arrive at the town just as the Consul's
remains were being carried into the church. Now, it would scarcely do
for them to go through the town along the road leading to the cemetery,
which was strewn with green leaves, and with lilac and laburnum
blossoms, for Mr. Garman. There was, therefore, nothing for it but to
wait until the service was over. It was hot work carrying a coffin,
dressed in Sunday clothes, and they therefore put down their burden on
the steps of a cottage hard by, whilst several of them took off their
jackets in order to get a bit cooler.

On the opposite side of the street there was a small beerhouse. There
were several of them to whom a pint of beer would have been very
grateful, and who had the money in their pockets to pay for it; but
perhaps it would hardly do.

The sailors stood talking together, and turning their quids in their
mouths; dry in the throat were they, and opposite was the open door of
the beerhouse, with jugs and bottles on the counter. It looked so cool
and moist in there, and the street was perfectly empty, for all the
world was crowding to the cemetery. At length one slunk across the
street and sneaked in; two more followed. It seemed but too probable
that all the bearers would give way to the same temptation; so Tom
Robson went over to the group, and, putting a five-kroner note into the
hand of the eldest, said, "There! you can drink that, but on condition
that only two go in at a time."

The stipulation was agreed to without a murmur, and they took their
turns in the most orderly way. A great many pints of beer go to a
five-kroner note. Martin and Tom Robson resolutely turned their backs on
the temptation. Woodlouse resisted it for a long time, but in the end he
was obliged to give way. Torpander was sitting on a stone at the corner
of the cottage, gazing at the coffin. His silk handkerchief had, in
accordance with his earnest request, been allowed to follow Marianne to
the grave; and on the lid of the coffin, over her heart, lay a garland
which had cost him three kroner. This was the only adornment the coffin
possessed, for most of the flowers from the West End had been bought by
the townspeople for the Consul's funeral. Marianne would otherwise have
had plenty.

At length the people began to stream out of the church; those who were
with Marianne had to wait till the main procession arrived at the
cemetery. The seamen then, after moistening their palms in the usual
way, went on with their burden with renewed vigour. There was no change
from the five-kroner note.

No one could remember to have seen so long a funeral procession as that
which followed the young Consul. It reached almost from the church door,
to the gate of the cemetery, which lay in a distant part of the town. As
they began to move slowly along the road, a whole crowd of hats came
into view, hats of all kinds and shapes. There was Morten's new hat
fresh from Paris, and the well-known broad brim of Dean Sparre. There
were hats of the old chimney-pot shape, with scarcely any brim at all,
while others had brims which hung over almost like the roof of a Swiss
cottage. Some hats had a red tinge when they came into the glare of the
sunshine, while others were brushed as smooth as velvet. Twenty years'
changing fashions were blended together like a packet of "mixed drops."
Only old Anders was still constant to his cap, which was covered with
pitch as usual. A crowd of boys and children followed on both sides of
the road, and the cemetery, which lay on the slope of the hill, was
already thronged at the part near the Garmans' tomb.

At the entrance of the churchyard were planted two large flag-staves
decorated with wreaths; the flags, which were at half-mast, hung down to
the ground, waving gently in the light breeze. The town band was now
allowed a moment's rest. The whole way from the church it had played
incessantly an indescribable air; and it was only in the evening, when
an account appeared in the papers, that the air was recognized as
Chopin's Funeral March.

The precentor, with his choristers, "Satan's clerks," as he used to call
them when he was annoyed, begun to intone a psalm. The coffin was lifted
from the hearse, and carried through the cemetery, by the principal
merchants of the town.

It was a magnificent spectacle, as the long funeral procession, with
here and there a uniform, and its many flower-decorated banners, moved
majestically along through the seething crowd of women and children,
which stood closely packed on and among the graves on both sides of the
path.

The funeral party now assembled round the grave, into which the coffin
was lowered. The merchants who had carried it looked relieved when he
was laid to rest; he had been an equally heavy burden to them both in
death and in life. The singing ceased, and a silence ensued, as the
clergyman ascended the little heap of earth which had been thrown up at
the side of the grave.

During the latter part of the preparation of his discourse, the chaplain
had felt keenly in what a difficult position he was placed in regard to
the deceased. Since his engagement with Madeleine, his first duty was to
be strictly impartial, and not to allow himself to be led into any
flattering expressions, which would be quite out of place from the lips
of one who had, in point of fact, become one of the family.

The dean had, in his discourse in the church, dwelt entirely on the
merits of the deceased, as a fellow-citizen and as a good man of
business, who had, almost like a father, found daily bread for hundreds,
and who had shed happiness and prosperity all around him. The chaplain
began his address as follows:--

"My sorrowing friends, when we look into this grave--six feet long and
six feet deep, when we look at this dark coffin, when we think of this
body which is going to decay, we naturally, my dear friends, say to
ourselves, 'Here lies a man of riches, of great riches.' But let us
search the depths of our own hearts. For where is now the glitter of
that wealth which dazzles the eyes of so many? Where is now the
influence which to us, short-sighted mortals, appears to attach to
earthly prosperity? Here in this dark tomb, six feet long and six feet
deep, it is buried from our sight.

"Oh, my friends! let us learn the lesson which is taught by this silent
tomb. Here all is finished, here is the end of all inequality, which is,
after all, but the result of sin. Here, in the calm peace of the
churchyard, they rest side by side, rich and poor, high and low, all
alike before the majesty of death. All that is perishable on earth is
swept aside like a used garment. Six feet of earth, that is all; it is
the same for each one of us."

The gentle spring breeze breathed on the silk banners of the various
guilds, lifting the heavy folds out from the staff, and making a glad
rustle in the silk. And the same breeze also carried the words over the
cemetery, to the old crones who were sitting on the tombstones, and the
girls and women who were grouped along the slope. Yes, even to the far
distant edge of the cemetery did the wind bear the eloquent discourse,
so that the words could be distinctly heard at the grave in which
Marianne was about to be laid. And those words about equality and the
evanescence of worldly wealth, were indeed words of comfort for the
poor, as well as for the rich. But those who stood by Marianne's grave
scarcely listened to them--not even Torpander, who stood gazing intently
at his solitary wreath, which lay on the simple coffin.

Woodlouse was guiltless of inattention, for he could not hear; but
instead, he made his observations and gave vent to his philosophical
reflections as was his wont.

There lay, in the gravelly heap which had been thrown up from the grave,
a few bones and skulls. The story was, that that part of the churchyard,
which was especially devoted to the poor, had been a burying-place at
some former period, and the graves which had not been paid for for
twenty years were, after the lapse of that time, again made use of,
according to the rule and custom of the Church. It was thus no unusual
thing to find coffins while a new grave was being dug, which fell to
pieces under the spade. The bodies had been packed closely, and often
several had been placed in the same grave.

It was, however, a scandal that the bones should be allowed to lie out
in the light of day, until the new corpse came to be buried. Abraham the
sexton had his orders, to take such bones at once to the house which was
appointed for them, and which was a mere shed in one corner of the
cemetery, where it was left to each skull to discover the bones
belonging to it as best it might. But when any of the officials found
fault with Abraham for his neglect, he would stand leaning on his spade,
and cocking his red nose knowingly on one side, would answer with a
smile, "Well, you see, what are we to do? The poor are just as much
trouble in death as they are in life. They never will die like
respectable people, one by one, now and again; but they all die at the
same time, you see, and then come out here and want to get buried.
Particularly all through the winter, when the ground is hard, and then
in the early spring, what are we to do? It is really too bad. Yes, at
those seasons they bring such shoals of children--ah, preserve us from
the children!--yes, and grown-up people too, for that matter; and they
all want graves just at the wrong time of year! They always choose the
wrong time! It would not be so bad if one could only skimp the
measurements a bit; but, you see, no one is so particular as the poor
about the measurements. Six feet long and six feet deep--they will have
it, never an inch less. And so, you see, it is not always so easy to get
these bones out of sight in time for one of these pauper funerals. No,
no! it is quite true what I say. The poor are just as much trouble in
death as they are in life!"

There was once a new manager of the cemetery who wished to get rid of
Abraham, who caused general indignation when he went tumbling about
tipsy among the graves. But the dean said, "What is to become of the
poor man? He will remain as a burden either to you or to me; and
besides, he has been with us as long as I have been here, and I have
always been able to bear with his sad infirmity. It would really go to
my heart to drive him away." And so the public were content to keep
Abraham as an evidence of Dean Sparre's kindness of heart.

As Woodlouse stood looking at the bones, he was absorbed in
philosophical meditation, and he could not help thinking that there was
a sort of air of defiance in the grin, with which one of the skulls
returned his gaze. It struck him that this skull might perhaps be
thinking how peaceful it was to rest here in the sacred earth of the
churchyard. But surely it was just as peaceful over there in the house
in which the bones were placed; and if neither church nor provost,
chaplain nor sexton, gravedigger nor organist, bell-ringer nor acolyte,
no, not one of them had got his due, it was quite impossible that it
should be otherwise. And when he came to consider further, he thought
that he could discover in these bare bones and these bleached skulls, an
expression he knew only too well in life; a kind of cleared-out
expression, which seems to cling to those who have not paid their debts.

Meanwhile Pastor Martens's sonorous voice echoed over the cemetery as he
was approaching the end of his discourse. "The six feet of earth" was
repeated again and again, like the refrain upon which a good composer
will hang a whole symphony; and each time it seemed to make a deeper
impression. The account in the evening papers might perhaps be slightly
exaggerated, when it said that not an eye was dry; but certain is it
that many wept, and not only women, but men also. Some even of the
merchants, who had carried the coffin, were seen using their
pocket-handkerchiefs.

It was really an extraordinary address. Just at the commencement it had
caused an uneasy feeling, when Martens began to speak about the great
riches of the deceased. There was some apprehension lest he should make
some ill-timed application of the parable of the camel and the needle's
eye; but the speaker had just managed to say the right thing. There is
nothing which gives the poor so much pleasure, as to hear how little
power really belongs to earthly wealth, and how little there is to
grudge when it comes to the last. And so this allusion to "the six feet
of earth" had a good effect throughout.

When the funeral discourse was over, Abraham came forward with the box
which was to hold the earth to be thrown on the coffin.

Struggling with his inmost feelings, the pastor seized the box, filled
it with mould, and uncovered his head. Off in a moment came all the
various hats, and just as many various heads were disclosed to view.
Some were smooth, some were rough, some had long hair, and on others the
hair was clipped as close as the top of a hair trunk, while here and
there appeared a skull as smooth as a billiard ball.

The clergyman threw the earth into the grave, deeply moved, and almost
mechanically, as if the task were too much for him. The loose mould
could be heard rustling down on the flowers and silk ribbons. One more
short and thrilling prayer was heard; the service was over, and the hats
appeared again.

The bandsmen, who had been standing in a group among the mourners,
keeping their instruments under their coats, so that they might not get
cold, suddenly broke out into music, at a mysterious sign from the
bandmaster. The effect was striking. Just as when a stone is thrown into
the water, and the ripples roll outwards in an ever-widening circle, so
did the mighty waves of sound drive back the bystanders in all
directions, until there was quite an open place around the players. The
undertaker turned the opportunity to advantage, and took his place at
the head of the procession, which returned in the same order as it came.

At a short distance behind the musicians, came the precentor with his
choristers. He was terribly annoyed by the band, and in a great state of
anxiety, lest the sorrowing relatives of the deceased should not notice,
how much extra trouble he had taken with the singing.

The undertaker, on the contrary, was extremely pleased with the band,
which had made such a nice clear space for him, and when he got home to
his wife he said, "Even if the drums of my ears are nearly broken, I
must say I fully appreciate the effect of a brass band. Nothing can be
more opportune, when one has to lead a procession through a large crowd
at a respectable funeral."

At a short distance from the grave, the clergyman left the _cortége_ and
went in a different direction across the cemetery. As soon as he was out
of sight of the crowd, he took a short cut over the graves, which in
that part of the cemetery were low and overgrown with grass, and every
now and then he held up his cassock, and stepped over one which lay in
his path.

Abraham the sexton had got an extra lurch on, in honour of the grand
funeral, and came stumbling along after the pastor, carrying the black
box, which was the same that was used for all burials, without
distinction.

When the pastor arrived at Marianne's grave, he found Anders Begmand and
some others from the West End, who had already been in the Consul's
procession. The chaplain took off his hat and wiped his brow, as he
stood looking round for Abraham. The others also uncovered their heads.
At length Abraham came up, and the three handfuls of earth fell,
hurriedly and mechanically, on the simple coffin. "Of earth thou art, to
earth thou shalt return, and from the earth thou shalt rise again.
Amen."

The pastor went scrambling along farther over the graves. There were
still some other poor people to be buried, and it was getting late.



CHAPTER XXIV.


The young Consul's death did not bring with it any great changes, either
in the household or in the business. Everything was in such a solid and
well-regulated condition, that it kept on going like a good machine. The
new driver had as much as he could manage, and there were some who
thought that the more delicate parts of the complicated mechanism would
be likely to suffer under his hands.

At the same time, no one could say of Morten that he did not bring great
energy to bear on his new duties. Now, indeed, it was almost impossible
to find him; he was continually on the go between the town and
Sandsgaard. His carriage might be seen waiting at the most unlikely
corners, or all of a sudden he would pop up out of a boat at the quay,
tear off to the office, call out something to the bookkeeper, and flash
out of the door again. But when the bookkeeper hurried after him, to ask
what the instructions were, all he saw was a glimpse of the dogcart as
it turned the corner.

The business men in the town used to say, quietly among themselves, that
it was easier to work against Morten than with him. Garman and Worse's
predominance began to grow weaker, and what had been the central power
was now distributed in several hands. The year which followed was not a
prosperous one for shippers; most of the ships belonging to the firm had
been working either at a loss or at a very small profit. The most
successful was the _Phoenix_, which had been put on the guano trade. She
still continued to be a favourite, and her voyages were followed with
great interest in the newspapers. The poet of the town had written some
verses in her honour:--

     "Rock proud, thou fire's daughter,
     Thy flame-enshrouded helm!"

It was doubtless this allusion to the helm, which had been most in
danger at the time of the fire, which caused the success of the poem,
and insured it a permanent position in all the concerts.

In accordance with the express wishes of the deceased, Jacob Worse had
been chosen as guardian for Rachel and Gabriel. Mrs. Garman was still to
remain in the position of partner, with Morten as manager of the
business. For each of the younger children a considerable sum was set
apart; a sum, in fact, which was just about equal to that with which
Morten had entered the firm.

Rachel had thus to go to Jacob Worse for an explanation of her affairs,
for she wanted to have a clear idea of what she really possessed, and
what her exact position was. Worse answered her in a calm and measured
business tone.

"Well, then, this money," said she, one day, in Worse's office, "is my
own, and is entirely under my own control?"

"Yes, in addition to your share in the business," added Worse, in
explanation; "and if your mother should die, your part of her property
will come to you at the division which will follow. It will then depend
upon you or your future husband--"

"My future husband will surely allow me to manage my own property," said
Rachel.

"It is to be hoped he will; but, as you perhaps know, in the event of
your marrying, you will lose the entire control."

"Then I will never marry!"

"I am of opinion myself that you might do something better than
marriage," said Jacob Worse.

Rachel observed him closely, but failed to fathom his thoughts.

"How I envy you your clear intelligent head!" said she, somewhat
scornfully. "You lay out for yourself some plan or another in life, and
then your object is forthwith accomplished. You quietly follow your
plans, and in the same way you expect that those to whom you give your
advice, will follow it without wavering. You are just like father. You
really are too precise."

"I regard that as the greatest compliment I have ever received,"
answered Worse, smiling.

"But father was in many respects an old-fashioned and somewhat
prejudiced man. It was just these very modern ideas that you find so
attractive, which were to him strange or even positively distasteful."
She made this remark more for the purpose of drawing out Worse than
because she wished to disparage her father.

"Consul Garman," said Worse, rising from his chair, "was a dissatisfied
man. His whole life was an ill-concealed struggle between the old and
the new. He placed extraordinary confidence in me, and I found in him
ideas, which no one would have expected to meet with in such a precise
and old-fashioned man of business. But to reconcile the two incongruous
currents was beyond his power; the immature and impetuous want of
exactitude of modern times was repugnant to his nature; and when his
great sense of justice forced him to recognize certain fundamental
truths, it was still always a source of annoyance to him to be obliged
to do so. It appears to me that he sought a counteracting influence to
all this, in his boundless admiration for old Consul Garman."

"But was not my grandfather a remarkable man? Don't you think so?" asked
Rachel, with interest.

"I will tell you my opinion, Miss Garman. He was a man who lived in a
time to which he was suited, and in which, on the whole, existence was
far more easy."

"You mean to say, then, that existence was easier in those times than in
the present?"

"Yes, I am sure of it," continued Worse, pacing hurriedly up and down
the room, as was his custom when he was excited. "Do you not see how
existence becomes more difficult with each year as it passes? New
discoveries and experiences are springing up every hour, and doubts and
inquiry are burrowing under, and undermining the whole fabric. Revered
and well-grounded truths are falling to the ground, and those who are
too timid to advance with the times, are gathering confusedly about the
rotten framework, supporting, preserving, and terrified, denouncing
youth, and predicting the destruction of society. Your grandfather stood
on the very summit of the cultivation of his day, living as he did in a
state of society which was peaceful and conscious of its security, with
aristocratic intelligence above and aristocratic ignorance below. Your
father, on the other hand, had grown to manhood when the movement
reached us, and he had already a fixed understanding as to his own line
in life, when the new ideas came streaming in upon him. Then followed
the long and painful struggle. But we who are a generation younger, and
who enter upon life from school, with the old maxims only half rooted in
our minds, feel the whole fabric tottering. Doubt and uncertainty reign
on every side, and we find ourselves now in a state of eager
expectation, and now plunged in gloomy apprehension. Wheresoever we
place our foot, the ground gives way beneath us, and if we wish to sit
down and rest awhile, the chair is drawn from under us by some invisible
hand. Thus are we whirled to and fro in a struggle for which we were
never prepared, and in which numbers of us miserably perish. Fathers
scold and threaten, while mothers weep because we have forsaken the
traditions of our childhood. Bitter words and party names are caught up
in the continuous strife, and find their way into family life; the one
no longer understands the motives of the other; we stand railing at each
other in the pitchy darkness; no distinction is made between sincere
conviction and restless love of change. All strive blindly together,
whilst society becomes interwoven with a tissue of hostility, mistrust,
falsehood, and hypocrisy."

Rachel looked at him with open eyes, and at length she exclaimed, "I
cannot imagine how you can be content with your present existence, so
silent and so reserved, when such a tumult of thought is passing through
your brain."

Jacob Worse stopped, and his face grew calm as he said, "I have a simple
remedy, which I have learnt from my mother, and which your father also
employed--and that is, work. To keep at it from morning to evening; to
begin the day with a large packet of foreign letters here on my desk,
and to leave off in the evening, tired but content--content for that
day. That is my remedy--that keeps the life in me; so far it suffices;
higher I cannot attain."

"I said a short time ago that I envied you your calm and logical mind. I
now regret the tone in which the words were spoken. I often, somehow or
another, I don't know why, but I often find myself speaking to you
somewhat--" She faltered, and her face became suffused with blushes.

"Somewhat plainly, you mean," said Worse, smiling.

"May I hope it is because you think me worthy of your confidence?"

She looked at him again, but his eyes were now fixed on the map which
hung over her head.

"Well," said Rachel, "perhaps that is the reason; but what I really envy
you is your love of work, or, I should say, not so much the love of
work--for that I have myself--but your having discovered an employment
which keeps you calm. But you are able to work, that's where it is," she
added, meditatively.

"My opinion about you, Miss Garman, has always been, that the aimless
life a lady in your position is obliged to lead here at home, must
sooner or later become unbearable to you."

"I cannot work," said she in a crestfallen tone.

"Well, but at least you can try."

"How am I to begin? You remember that time when father would not receive
my offer of assistance."

"Your father did not understand you; nor will you find it easy to
discover satisfactory employment in your own country. But travel, look
around you. You are rich and independent, and there are other lands
where work is to be had, and in them you ought to find suitable
occupation."

"Do you really advise me to travel elsewhere, Mr. Worse?" said Rachel.

"Yes; that is to say--yes, I think it would be best for you. Here you
have little opportunity of development, and, to speak plainly, I think
you ought to travel." As he said the last words he regained his
self-possession, and could now look her in the face calmly, and without
flinching.

"But where shall I go--a lonely woman without friends? I am afraid you
over-estimate my powers," said Rachel, with a reluctant air. It was as
if she did not fancy his advising her to go away.

"I may as well tell you what I think now," he began, hurriedly. "I have
some acquaintances in Paris. In fact, an American firm--Barnett Brothers
they are called--who have a house in Paris; and Mr. Frederick Barnett is
a personal friend of mine."

"You seem to have been arranging to get rid of me for some time," said
Rachel; "why, you have the whole plan ready prepared."

He showed some signs of confusion, for it was a scheme he had carefully
considered, but which he had always hoped he would not have to put into
execution.

"Yes," answered he, endeavouring to laugh; "as your guardian, it is my
duty to assist you, to the best of my ability, to arrange for your
future."

"But are you going to send me to Paris alone?"

"No; I have been thinking of offering you Svendsen as an escort. You
surely know old Svendsen, my bookkeeper? He has been several times in
Paris, and is a most trustworthy man. I am sure you will be contented
with Mr. Barnett's house, which is more like an English one. And that, I
think, will suit you better than a purely French household."

"Does your friend take boarders?" asked Rachel, quickly.

"Not as a rule, as far as I know. You will thus find it more expensive
than at an ordinary _pension;_ but I am almost certain that both Mr. and
Mrs. Barnett, who is a French lady, are the sort of people you will
like. And it is exactly in the American society of Paris that you will
have the best opportunity of finding employment if you wish for it. At
any rate, you can stay some time in Mr. Barnett's house, until you find
something else you prefer."

His tone was deliberate and decided, as if he already regarded the
matter as finally settled; and when Rachel got up to take her leave she
found that her mind was already made up, without being conscious of how
she had arrived at her conclusion. She looked forward to a new and more
active life, with mingled feelings of expectation and pleasure. But at
the same time she was somewhat hurt--no, not hurt, but sad--no, not
exactly sad, either; but she could not help thinking it was
extraordinary, that he should show himself so eager to get her away.

Jacob Worse followed her to the door leading into the street, but when
she had gone he did not go back to the office, but crossed over the yard
to his mother's.

A month later, Gabriel and Rachel set off under the escort of old
Svendsen; Gabriel to Dresden, and Rachel to Paris. Madeleine also
quitted Sandsgaard. Her intended had arranged, with the assistance of
the doctor, that she should go to the baths of Modum, where Martens's
mother, who was the widow of a clergyman from the east coast, was to
take care of her.

Uncle Richard was utterly confounded when he heard Madeleine was going
to marry a clergyman, and he had a kind of dim feeling that he would
have done better to have kept her under the observation of the big
telescope. But the old gentleman, who had never been very strong-minded,
had become still more feeble in his sorrow, and now that he could no
longer go to Christian Frederick for advice, he gave way in everything.

As for Madeleine herself, the exhaustion which followed her illness had
produced a feeling of indifference; and now that the important step had
once been taken, she allowed herself to be led without offering any
opposition, and did not find it disagreeable, when the pastor took upon
himself to think and act for her in everything. But when it came to
saying good-bye to her father she gave way, and was carried senseless to
the carriage.

Martens soon found that if he wished to educate Madeleine to be a
pattern wife after his own heart, he must get her away from Sandsgaard.
With the same object in view, he sought, and standing as well as he did
with those in authority, soon obtained, a living at some distance in the
country; and, a year after his betrothal, he celebrated his marriage at
his mother's house.

After his ride along the shore, George Delphin suffered from a dangerous
attack of inflammation of the lungs. His illness lasted so long that a
substitute had to be provided for the time in the magistrate's office;
and as soon as he recovered sufficiently to write, he informed the
magistrate that he wished to resign his situation. The magistrate
accepted his resignation with alacrity, for George Delphin had never
been the kind of man he liked.

During the whole time of the illness, Fanny was in a state of nervous
excitement. To visit the invalid, or put herself in any sort of
communication with him, was quite out of the question. She had thus to
content herself with such news as she could pick up, either accidentally
or through Morten; but she dared not ask as many questions as she could
have wished. One day when she was standing before the glass, she
discovered three small wrinkles at the corner of her left eye. When she
laughed, they improved her; but when she was serious, they made her look
old. Nothing seemed to suit her any longer, not even mourning, in which
she had always looked her best. Fanny, in fact, suffered as much as she
was capable of suffering, and one day she received a note from him, in
which he said adieu.

"I start to-night, and say farewell thus to spare us both a painful
parting. Farewell!" This was all the note contained.

Her lovely complexion turned almost to an ashen grey, but only for a
moment. The whole night she lay awake, listening to her husband, who lay
breathing heavily by her side; but the next morning found her sitting by
her window, as calm and bright as ever. Many of her friends, as she had
expected, came to visit her, but she disappointed them all. Delphin's
sudden departure was a subject of conversation in which she joined,
jesting and laughing as usual. Her friends could perceive no change in
her, and yet how much scandal had been talked about her and Delphin! It
was a lesson to people to keep their tongues to themselves.

But Fanny herself noticed several changes in her appearance, and was
reminded of it every time she saw her reflection in the glass.

In small circles great events seem to come all at once, one after
another in startling succession. The worthy town had been quite upset by
all those remarkable events, of a joyful, mournful, or mixed nature,
which followed after the night of the fire at Sandsgaard; and while busy
tongues kept reverting to the materials for gossip thus provided, the
years rolled by without anything further taking place.

Tom Robson had taken Martin with him to America, where they disappeared.

Contrary to his intention, Torpander did not travel home to Sweden. He
put off his departure from time to time. _Her_ grave never seemed pretty
enough, and he never felt perfectly certain that it would be kept
properly in order. He thus remained where he was, and at last moved over
to old Anders Begmand's cottage. The old man's head had become somewhat
affected. He received his week's pay every Saturday, without, however,
doing any work to earn it. And now Torpander grew to be quite a fixture
in the cottage, and the two would sit for many a winter's evening over
the fire, repeating to each other the same stories, which never varied
year after year, about her who had been, and still continued for both,
the very sunshine of their lives.

Uncle Richard soon gave up the lighthouse at Bratvold, and he and Mrs.
Garman shared Sandsgaard between them. Downstairs the lady went about in
her wheel-chair, and she had had all the thresholds of the doors
removed, so that she might be able to have herself rolled into the
kitchen.

Upstairs Uncle Richard continued his ceaseless wanderings, in and out,
to and fro, just as he had begun on the day after his brother's death.
Once only he had had Don Juan saddled; but when he was brought round to
the door, the old gentleman, thought he was too fresh for him. He put
his hand before his eyes, and had Don Juan taken back again, to the
stable.

Summer and winter, day after day, the sound of his footfall overhead
never ceased. A long strip of soft carpet had been put down the whole
length of the house, partly for warmth, and partly to deaden the sound
of his step.

In winter he wore a long coat lined with fur, a fur cap, and a pair of
deerskin gloves; and there were some people who confidently maintained
that he carried an open umbrella when the weather was wet. In the little
room on the north side, there was a cupboard in which a bottle of
Burgundy was always kept standing. When the old gentleman got to this
point he would pause, drink a glass of the wine, and look thoughtfully
in the large mirror. He then shook his head and continued his
wanderings.

No change took place in Miss Cordsen. The well-starched cap-strings and
the odour of dry lavender still followed her wherever she went; while
all the secrets of the family lay carefully preserved, together with her
own, to both of which the closely pressed mouth, with its innumerable
wrinkles, formed a lock of the safest description.



CHAPTER XXV.


Thus passed six years. According to Martens's prediction, Dean Sparre
had been made a bishop. His predecessor in office had been a strict and
haughty prelate, and there was, therefore, no little disturbance in the
camp when he departed. But from the moment Dean Sparre mounted the
vacant seat, all friction ceased, and everything went on evenly and
smoothly. It was like covering the hammers of an old piano with new
felt. The hitherto sharp tone gives place to a soft and agreeable sound;
and after Dean Sparre's patent felt had been introduced into the
mechanism, it all worked silently and noiselessly, and gave the greatest
pleasure to all parties concerned.

The bishop did not forget his young friend, Inspector Johnsen, of whom
he had always had such "good hopes." He obtained for Johnsen a
chaplaincy in his cathedral town; and some people were so mischievous as
to assert that the bishop's "good hopes" were now fulfilled, for Pastor
Johnsen was shortly after engaged to Miss Barbara Sparre.

A great change had taken place in the _ci-devant_ school inspector. When
the turning-point was once reached, he set to work in his new line in
real earnest, as was only to be expected from one of his energetic
character. He never dabbled any more in advanced philosophy, and had but
little to do with grand society; on the contrary, he grew to be a
clergyman to whom the women were particularly attracted. His sermons
were always severe, very severe; and those who cared to listen closely,
might remark that he never repeated the prayer for the arms of the
country by land and by sea.

Down at Mrs. Worse's shop, in the dark corner of the lane, trade went on
regularly and well. Little Pitter Nilken had arrived at that stage of
shriveldom, at which both fruits and people cannot hold out much longer
without a change. He still managed to swing himself over the counter as
lightly as a cork when the enemy became too troublesome, and the
redoubtable iron ruler had lost none of its gruesome terrors.

Mrs. Worse, on the contrary, had become rather stout in the course of
years. Her legs would no longer "balance" her properly, as she said. But
still she refused to buy a carriage until all had "come right," which
she thought could not be long now.

When all had come right! It required a faith as blind as Mrs. Worse's to
reckon on such a possibility. Rachel had now been six years in Paris
without saying a word about coming home. What her occupation there
really was, Jacob Worse could never discover. Each time he sent her
money--and it was marvellous how much she used--he wrote her a few
lines. She always answered briefly and reservedly. Through his friend
Mr. Barnett he did not learn anything explicit. He only knew that Rachel
was still living in the house, and that they were much attached to her.
Mrs. Barnett's _salon_ was quite a place of assembly for the American
colony, among which were many rich and accomplished men. Any day might
bring the intelligence of her approaching marriage.

Worse was in the habit of reading the papers every morning as they sat
at breakfast in his mother's room. One day Mrs. Worse, who usually
occupied herself half the morning with her paper, read out to her son
that Pastor Martens had been nominated as clergyman in the town.

"Just fancy! So they are coming westward again!" ejaculated Mrs. Worse.
"I should like to know how little Madeleine has got on in married life,"
sighed the old woman, who knew but too well the uncertainty which
marriage brings with it. The news awoke many painful recollections in
Worse's breast, and he paced up and down in his office for a long time,
before he could bring himself to begin upon the foreign post, which lay
in a formidable packet on his desk.

Among the letters there was one from Barnett Brothers in Paris; he knew
the handwriting, but the office stamp was missing. As he opened it, it
struck him that it was longer than usual. He turned it over hastily.
What was this? Rachel Carman's signature stood at the foot of the
letter! Jacob Worse read as follows:--

"DEAR MR. WORSE,

"As I sit down to write to you, and thus carry out a long-formed
resolution, I feel so overcome by emotion, that I find it difficult to
control myself sufficiently, to express my thoughts _verbatim_. But now,
as I have made up my mind, I will endeavour to make my letter clear and
concise.

"I have, as you now perhaps perceive, carried on the Norwegian
correspondence of Messrs. Barnett Brothers for several years. In my
private letters to you I have disguised my handwriting, so as not to
betray my secret. I wished, in fact, to see first if I could make myself
useful, and am at length satisfied I that I can. I have learnt to adopt
your mother's homely maxim--remember me kindly to her--I can work.' In
your kind letters, for which receive my best thanks, I have sometimes
thought that I could perceive a feeling of astonishment, as to how I
could be employing all the money you have sent me. It is placed in our
business. I say our business, because Messrs. Barnett Brothers have
offered me a share in their Paris house. I have thus attained the object
of my ambition in that direction.

"You once gave me some advice. You see, I attack each point separately,
so as to prevent confusion, to avoid wasting words, or forgetting
anything important. But to return. When you advised me to come forward
as an authoress, I did not at that time think that your idea was
reasonable. Since then I have, however, thought the subject carefully
over, and have indeed made some small attempts that way, and now I beg
to thank you for the good advice you gave me. I have indeed much to
thank you for.

"Now that I am able to work, I no longer feel so apprehensive about the
future. It is true, as you said long ago, that there are many things
which a woman may have to write about, and this is more especially true
with us in our own country. I am fortunately in an independent position,
_bonheur oblige_, and I have courage, so I will make the attempt. But I
must first get home, not only because I am as homesick as a child--for I
know perfectly well that when I have been at home for a short time, I
shall be anxious to start again on my travels--but I feel that if I am
to accomplish anything, I must be among those I wish to help. I also
wish to be able to go abroad again, and thus make existence more
interesting; but I must at the same time have a _pied à terre_ at home,
so as to be able to return whenever I may desire to do so. And now comes
the great 'but' which is, in fact, the chief point in this letter--and
that, Mr. Worse, is yourself.

"I do not wish to return home before I know clearly in what position we
stand to each other. Of this I feel convinced, that you have no ill
feeling towards me on account of my former behaviour to you. But still I
know nothing further; and if there is nothing more to know, I hope we
may meet as good friends. If there should be anything further, kindly
let me have a few lines.

"There, now! you see how the matter lies; let us now understand each
other plainly, and I beg that you will be honourable and straightforward
towards me. On one thing you can count for a certainty, which is, that I
am, in any case,
                     Your very sincere friend,
                               RACHEL GARMAN."

When Jacob Worse had read this letter, he sprang up, seized his hat and
umbrella, and went into the clerk's office.

"Has the Hamburg steamer started?"

"No, sir, but the first bell has just rung," was the answer.

"Have you any gold?"

"Yes; that is to say, not very much," answered the cashier.

"Let me have what you have got, and send Thomas over to the bank for
some more. A couple of thousand kroner or so will do."

The boy ran off with a bundle of notes and a little canvas bag.

"I am going abroad, Svendsen, for a fortnight or so--I cannot say for
certain. Look, here is my address. And with that he snatched the pen
from behind Svendsen's ear and wrote across a large sheet of paper, on
which the unfortunate man had just begun a magnificent letter:

                 "_Pavilion Rohan_,
                     "_Paris_.

The second bell was now heard on board the steamer.

"All right, Svendsen. Now you must manage as well as you can; telegraph
if you want anything--my keys are in my desk." When he reached the door
he turned round and cried, "Yes, I forgot, Svendsen; run over to my
mother and tell her--yes, just tell her that it's all 'come right;'" and
with that away he ran.

Old Svendsen stood perfectly speechless, staring through the open door,
as he rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, which was a habit of his
when anything unusually perplexing occurred. Every door was open, a
chair upset in the inner office, and Mr. Worse on the road to Paris with
a hat and umbrella, Thomas after him in full career with the canvas bag.
The cashier was sitting with the coin and notes scattered on the table
in front of him, looking as if he had been robbed; and as old Svendsen's
eye rested on the ruined letter, he discovered that he had a smudge of
ink on one of his fingers. Now, it was thirty years since old Svendsen
had had any ink on his fingers. Mr. Worse must have made a splutter with
his pen when he snatched it so hurriedly; and as the old bookkeeper's
eye wandered from the smudge of ink, to the frightful confusion which
reigned in the office, and back again to the smudge, he repeated, slowly
and majestically, the magic words which were to awake him from this
horrible nightmare: "Tell my mother it has all come right." But matters
grew still worse when, a short time afterwards, he presented himself
before Mrs. Worse in the back room; for scarcely had he pronounced the
fatal words, "It has all come right!" than Mrs. Worse flew at him and
kissed him right on his lips.

This kiss, in connection with the smudge of ink, made this day a
memorable one for old Svendsen, and he used to reckon from it as an
epoch which he could never forget.

The same post brought, among other things, a note for Morten Garman. He
opened it, smiled in a singular manner, and sent it upstairs to his
wife. Fanny took the two enclosed cards, on one of which was written the
name of a lady, which she recognized as belonging to a wealthy family in
Christiania, and on the other was the name of George Delphin.

She stood before the looking-glass with his card in her hand, observing
narrowly the expression on her face, while the genuine sorrow she had
hitherto felt, now turned to mortification and bitterness. There was
scarce a shadow to be seen on her brow while these sensations passed
through her heart. She had accustomed herself to these exercises before
the glass; this was a grand rehearsal, and she bore it bravely. Only the
delicate wrinkles round her eyes quivered slightly; but when she smiled
again they made her as charming as ever. No emotion should spoil her
beauty; and while these six years of pain and sorrow seemed again to
burst forth, she stood as lovely and undisturbed as ever, without losing
anything of her self-command.

At this moment the doctor entered the room.

"Have you spoken to my husband, doctor?"

"No, Mrs. Garman. Is there anything the matter with him?"

"Has he anything the matter with him! I am really surprised that you
should ask such a question," replied Fanny, sharply. "Can you not see
that he is weary--overworked? He must go to Carlsbad this year, or his
health will suffer severely."

"Oh yes!" said the doctor, good-humouredly, "it might perhaps have a
good effect; but you know yourself that his answer always is that he has
no time, and so--"

"Bah!" answered Fanny; "as if a doctor ought to listen to rubbish of
that sort!"

The doctor went off straight to the office, and succeeded in frightening
Morten to such a degree that the journey was arranged for the next week.

Jacob Worse's "disappearance," as it was called, caused a great
sensation, and the astonishment did not diminish when a telegram
arrived, announcing his engagement to Rachel Garman. At the same time he
begged Morten to arrange everything for the wedding, as they intended to
be married shortly after their return home.

Morten, after consulting his wife, answered that the doctor had ordered
him off to Carlsbad at once; but he proposed to meet them both in
Copenhagen, where the wedding might take place. He received an answer
assenting to his proposal, and the day was fixed. Although he had not
been consulted, Morten was much pleased with the match.

During the last six years, he had often thought upon the advice his
father had given him before his death, when he had advised him to take
Jacob Worse into partnership. Morten had never mentioned the idea to any
one. He could not reconcile himself to such a humiliation. Now the
opportunity came of itself, and at a most fortunate time, when he was on
the point of starting for abroad. Worse would, therefore, be able to get
an insight into everything during his absence, and there were some weak
places in the business which were causing Morten much uneasiness.
Matters of this nature are more easily got over when they can be
explained by letter.

The wedding thus took place in Copenhagen. Gabriel was present at the
ceremony. He had been for some time in an office in England, whither
they had telegraphed to him from Paris, and he joined them at Cologne.
It was already more than half settled, that Gabriel should take Rachel's
place with Barnett Brothers in Paris, a prospect at which he was quite
overjoyed.

The wedding-breakfast was served at the Hôtel d'Angleterre, in one of
the large _salons_ looking out on the Kongen's Nytorv. Every one was in
the highest spirits, and Morten made a speech in which he remarked, that
Garman and Worse would now again become a reality.

"And my old enemy Aalbom?" asked Gabriel at dessert.

"Oh, he is the same as ever," answered Morten. "The other day he made a
virulent speech somewhere about the Garman dynasty. He is terribly
bitter since we have ceased inviting him to Sandsgaard."

"Poor Aalbom!" said Gabriel, thoughtfully. He was so happy himself, and
in such a forgiving mood, that he sat down at a table by the window, and
began sketching, with the greatest care and attention, the equestrian
statue on the Kongen's Nytorv. The sketch was intended as a present for
Mr. Aalbom.

A few days after each went to his own place; Morten and Fanny to
Carlsbad, Gabriel to England to arrange his change of quarters, and the
newly married couple home to Norway.

On the quay where the steamers landed their passengers was to be seen a
shining new carriage, with a new coachman and a new pair of horses. In
the carriage sat Mrs. Worse, wearing a new silk mantle and a new bonnet.
She had telegraphed for the whole set-out to Worse's agent in
Copenhagen, with whom the money had for some time been lying ready.

On the box of the carriage, huddled up in a heap, sat Mr. Samuelsen.
Mrs. Worse's efforts to make him take his place by her side had been
unavailing; he thought it was quite bad enough as it was.

A group of small boys were naturally standing round the carriage, partly
to see the horses, and partly to have a good look at the dreaded Pitter
Nilken. Suddenly one of the young rascals took it into his head to
repeat the well-known irritating verse--not exactly singing out loud,
but only barely moving his lips. The idea was soon caught up by his
comrades, and wherever the unhappy Mr. Samuelsen turned his head he
could read the couplet on the busy lips, and follow the song--

     "Little Pitter Nilken,
     Sitting on his chair"--

It was enough to drive one mad.

     "He's always growing smaller
     The longer he sits there."

The newly married couple got in, and the carriage rolled off through the
town. Mrs. Worse laughed boisterously with tears in her eyes the whole
way; she kept bowing in all directions, and her face was radiant with
smiles. As they turned into the yard, the new bonnet had slipped so far
over to one side that it fell off when the carriage stopped at the door;
and as the worthy Mr. Samuelsen jumped down, in his great anxiety to
help the ladies to alight, he came with both feet right on top of the
bonnet, notwithstanding that he had seen the danger when he was making
his spring.

It was quite a business to get Mrs. Worse "balanced" upstairs, she
laughed so immoderately. They all laughed; the coachman laughed; the
maids laughed; the newly married couple laughed; every one laughed
except the unfortunate Mr. Samuelsen, who followed the others upstairs,
carrying, with averted eyes, his mistress's bonnet by one string, and
dragging the other after him up the staircase. The lovely new bonnet,
which was scarcely recognizable as a bonnet any longer!

They had dinner in the young people's apartments, where Mrs. Worse did
the fine lady to her own intense satisfaction, and persisted in talking
something which she called French. In the evening, when Rachel and her
husband returned from a visit from Sandsgaard, the whole party moved
over to Mrs. Worse's room at the back of the house.

And there, there was laughing, story-telling, drinking of healths, and
rejoicing, until Pitter Nilken was quite overcome, and offered of his
own accord to sing "The Knife-Grinder's Courtship"--a song which had
been a great favourite in the days of his youth. He sang amidst rounds
of applause, in a curious thin voice, which sounded as if he had all at
once recovered his boy's treble, and which was high, squeaky, and
cracked. He, however, rendered the air with a great deal of feeling, and
his eye rested on Mrs. Worse as he sang--

     "Maiden, oh list! With those sweet winning glances,
     Thy looks nought but goodness and kindness betide!
     Oh, couldst thou but smile on my timid advances!
     Say, wilt thou be thine own knife-grinder's bride?"

Mrs. Worse beat time with her knitting as she joined in the chorus--

     "Whirr! whirr!
     Blithely we go. Never say no!
     My foot's on the treadle,
     which rocks to and fro!"



CHAPTER XXVI.


In the bright sunshine the yellow sand, dotted here and there with
patches of bent grass, stretched away to the northward as far as the eye
could reach. The coast-line, with its succession of bays and
promontories, was here and there enlivened by a cluster of boats, or a
flock of gulls, or wild geese, busily at work on the shore, while the
sea came curling in with its small crested ripples, which sparkled in
the clear sunshine. Over the heather-covered heights, which rolled away
far inland, came a carriage, in which were sitting a lady and a
gentleman. They had left the post-road, and were making their way along
the narrow sandy track which led down towards the village of Bratvold.

It had been much against Madeleine's wish, but as her husband happened
to hear from the coachman, that the _détour_ only made a difference of
about an hour, the order was given to drive down to Bratvold, where they
would be able to rest for a little time on the road.

The pastor and his wife were on their way westward, on a visit to the
new living, although they would not come into actual residence till
August. They wished to take a house, and visit their relations and old
acquaintances in the town. Pleased as Madeleine was at the prospect of
again seeing her father, she was still far from glad when she heard that
her husband was endeavouring to obtain the living. He did so, however,
in accordance with the express wish of Bishop Sparre, and it was
moreover looked upon as a great piece of advancement. Madeleine had, as
usual, made but little opposition to the project. Pastor Martens had at
length succeeded in educating her into a wife after his own heart.

As she sat there, somewhat crowded in one corner of the carriage, for
her husband had grown rather stout with the lapse of time, she resembled
but little that Madeleine whose home had once been among the
surroundings they were now approaching. She was not ill, but her look
suggested weariness--great weariness. In a large country rectory there
is much work to be done, and three children are pretty well to begin
with.

For the first few years she was almost in a state of despair, and
several times her old violent temper broke out. But her husband had his
own particular method of dealing with her. He never lost his temper, and
the more Madeleine flared up, the more gentle his answers became, as
with a quiet smile he gently placed his hand upon her shoulder.

But when Madeleine began to calm down, he would speak to her in an
admonishing tone, and by degrees he succeeded wonderfully in getting her
into the groove he desired, until at last she got accustomed to the
method.

Pastor Martens's genial and open countenance did not look its best that
day. He had, to tell the truth, been dreadfully sea-sick, and so for
that reason they had left the steamer, preferring to travel the last
part of the journey by land. His sleek face wore a decidedly green hue,
and he made a grimace ever and anon, as he looked out of the carriage
window towards the element they had quitted.

He was, however, a fortunate man, and he was thankful for it. Madeleine
had improved beyond all expectation under his hands. Her violent temper
now seldom appeared, and if it did, he was perfectly certain of his
method of dealing with it. Many a time he remembered with thankfulness
his dear Bishop Sparre, from whom he had learnt so much, and whose
fatherly kindness seemed to follow him wherever he went.

The nearer they approached the sea-shore, the broader grew the dark-blue
line out to the westward, where the sea lay glittering in the sunshine.
Madeleine gazed and gazed, and thoughts of the past came surging up in
her heart.

The plovers had their young, and followed after the carriage, swooping
down in front of the horses with their well-known cry. Larks in hundreds
filled the air with their joyous warble, which went straight to her
heart, and the breeze began to waft to her the fresh salt flavour of the
sea. There was something in it of seaweed, something of fish, but all
was so wonderfully rich in recollection. Madeleine leant towards the
breeze and drew in a deep breath; it seemed like a greeting from the sea
she knew so well, and which recognized her in return; it was a
reminiscence of her short day of love and happiness. She longed to fill
her lungs with the pure fresh sea air, so that it might purify all the
dark and dusty corners in her fettered soul. All the time she had been
away from Bratvold a taint of impurity seemed to have rested on her; and
now that she found herself once again face to face with the ocean, she
seemed almost ashamed thus to return. Oh that she were lying out there
in its cool depths, with the fresh salt billows dashing over her!

The carriage now approached the top of the last hill, and the village of
Bratvold, with its lighthouse, burst upon her view. She hid her face in
her hands and groaned aloud.

It was probable that her husband had not noticed this sudden outburst.
He had kept his eyes turned to the landward side, for he did not yet
feel sufficiently strong to bear the sight of the waves as they came
rolling in.

"Where shall we put up?" asked the driver. "Per Bratvold's is the best
house, but there are several others that will do well enough."

"Let us go to Per's," said the clergyman.

For a long time Madeleine had not been certain whether Martens knew of
her adventure with Per; but after a short time of married life, she
found that a story does not travel very far, without reaching the
clergyman, and without looking up she felt that his eye was resting upon
her, with the smile with which he used to bend her to his will.

Per was in the peat-shed when they drove up, and saw her as he peeped
through a chink in the boards. The moment he did so, he involuntarily
took the quid of tobacco out of his mouth and threw it from him. After
waiting a long time, he had begun again to chew tobacco, and after a
still longer time he had married. It was thus Per's wife who, with
numberless excuses, conducted the clergyman and his lady into the best
room. She repeated that it was not what such people were accustomed to.
While she went out to find Per, and introduce him to the strangers, the
pastor went round the room examining the curiosities it contained.
Madeleine sat gazing out of the window. The sight of Per's wife, looking
so fresh and happy, had pained her--she knew not why.

"Look here, Lena!" he cried, every time he found something of interest.

Lena was a name of his own invention, and which he had given her in
spite of all her entreaties. Lena sounded so homely, and was well suited
to a clergyman's wife; while Madeleine had a foreign, French ring, which
was quite out of place in a rectory.

In the room were several things worthy of his attention. In the first
place there were two pictures, representing Vesuvius by day, and
Vesuvius by night; then came a drawing of a coasting vessel called _The
Three Sisters of Farsund_; then Frederick VII. with his red uniform and
hook nose; and over the bed, which was heaped up with eider-downs as
high as one's head, hung a huge horn of plenty, made of white cardboard,
and on which was the motto, in gilt paper letters, "Be fruitful and
multiply," which had been given them as a wedding-present. On one end of
the chest of drawers stood a yellow canary on a red pear, and on the
other end a red bullfinch on a yellow pear. The floor was dazzlingly
clean and neatly sanded. The window-panes were small, and the glass of
different tints; while over one of the windows was nailed a board, on
which was painted in gold letters the words "_L'Espérance_," which was
the name of the vessel to which it had belonged. At length Per came in.
He held out his hand first to the pastor and then to Madeleine, and
said, "How do you do?" to both. As Madeleine touched the hard and
powerful hand, she involuntarily drew back her own, and turned away
without pronouncing the usual greeting. The words seemed to stick in her
throat.

At that moment Per's wife entered and asked him in a whisper to cut her
a few chips to make the peat fire burn more quickly, as she wished to
prepare some coffee. Per went out of the room, and the pastor followed
the prosperous little peasant woman to inspect the house.

Madeleine took a few steps to and fro in the room, and then went to the
door. As she stood on the stone steps under the porch, she could see
down into the little harbour, and her eye could follow the path which
led across the flat meadow, and up across the steep slope as far as the
lighthouse. There lay her old home, with its solid stone walls, and the
lantern with its red-painted cover. She turned away: the sight was more
than she could bear. Her ear now caught the sound of Per chopping the
wood in the peat-shed, and almost without knowing what she did, she
found herself in the shed, standing by his side. He ceased for a moment
from his work, raised himself up, and looked beyond her over the sea.
Per wore a stiff sailor's beard, and his face had grown older and
coarser with the lapse of time, but still every feature was familiar to
her. Madeleine made a step towards him and endeavoured to take his hand.
In this she was unsuccessful, for he drew it away from her. She could no
longer command her feelings, and, throwing her arms round his neck, she
laid her head on his breast.

Delphin's remark was perfectly true about the mixture of fish, tobacco,
and damp woollen clothing; but she felt that this was her place, and
here she ought to rest. At that moment, too, she perceived why the pang
had passed through her heart when she met Per's wife. She envied her
everything. Husband, home, even her very existence,--all belonged to
her. Here was her place, and here the man she loved and understood. Oh,
how all her so-called friends had mocked and deceived her! What a life
was hers!--a life which consisted only in being the wife of a man she
did not love, in keeping his house, and bearing his children, surrounded
on every side by an unwholesome atmosphere of form, ceremony, and
selfishness.

Closer and closer she clung to the broad breast whereon she lay, and
that heart, so well drilled and confined, ran over in one supreme moment
of mingled happiness and anguish, while the recollections of her
youthful love passed through her sobbing heart.

"It was not my fault--it was not my fault!" she repeated plaintively,
like a child who has had the misfortune to break something.

He lifted his hard heavy hand, and laying it on her head, passed it
gently over her hair. Now he understood it all, but not a word passed
his lips.

"Lena, Lena!" cried the pastor from the door, "you must come and see
what I have found. Here are twins. Lena, Lena! where are you? Make
haste! What a good wife! Just think, twins the first time!"

It was not easy to tell what Per's thoughts were as he stood again alone
looking over the sea. Thus had the billows rolled to and fro in storm
and sunshine, whilst he had waited and waited. And this was what he had
waited for! He drew a long breath, and his face seemed to grow clearer
again as he slowly nodded his head several times towards the ocean.

Per's wife made many apologies, as is but right and proper on such
occasions, for the repast, which, however, consisted of coffee, with
cream and sugar, bread and butter and cakes, and lastly a dish of small
lobsters. She insisted that it was a shame to offer such small lobsters
to her guests. It was a pity they had not some larger ones.

But now it was just one of the pastor's favourite theories, and which he
always defended with much energy and conviction, namely, that small
lobsters are really better and more delicate than large ones. He was,
therefore, in the best of humours, and made several innocent jokes with
the friendly peasant woman.

Per now came in and begged they would begin their meal, as everything
was ready. He then sat down by the side of the fireplace, with his
elbows resting on his knees.

The sun shone so brightly through the small window-panes, the room was
so clean and comfortable, the table-cloth so white, the cream so yellow,
and the small lobsters so red and appetizing, that the pastor felt
constrained to improve the occasion.

He chose as his text a fact which he had heard from the woman, namely,
that Per had built the house entirely of the wreckage of a French brig,
which had been stranded on the coast a little way to the northward. This
was the vessel to which the board over the window had belonged.

The pastor dwelt on the uncertainty of human affairs, how often we are
disappointed, but how there is a leading thread which seems to run
through our existence.

"And look," said he, "on that proud ship, fitted out in the sunny land
of France, and bearing a name which points to hope and expectation; for
_L'Espérance_, my friends, signifies hope, only to be lost on our
desolate coast. So it is with us mortals. How many a vain hope sails out
with flag and banner, only to be miserably wrecked in the storms of
life! But observe! that which has been dashed to pieces by the tempest,
has been refashioned by humble hands into a new dwelling-place. Thus
does life spring from death, comfort from desolation, and happiness from
shattered hopes, and thus our whole career may be but a patchwork of
mere wreckage!"

It was with the last remains of her old impetuosity that Madeleine
repeated the words, "Thus live we all!"

At this moment Per got up and went out. His wife could not understand
why his behaviour was so unseemly.

Pastor Martens saw it all; but explanations, if any were necessary,
might follow later on. It was not worth while to spoil the delightful
meal. He handed his wife the cream, as, with a friendly smile, he placed
his hand upon her shoulder.

He then set to work on his small lobsters, which he found excellent.





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