I shall give you many books to read, that you may see how much
tribulation they have borne who have truly loved each other, and that they would rather die of grief than forsake each other. And that is what we would do, and do it with the greatest joy. True, it will be nearly two years before we see each other, and still longer before we get each other; but with every day that passes there is one day less to wait; we must think of this while we are working.
My next letter shall be about many things; but this evening I have
no more paper, and the others are asleep. Now I will go to bed and think of you, and I will do so until I fall asleep.
One Saturday, in midsummer, Thore Pladsen rowed across the lake to meet his son, who was expected to arrive that afternoon from the agricultural school, where he had finished his course. The mother had hired women several days beforehand, and everything was scoured and clean. The bedroom had been put in order some time before, a stove had been set up, and there Oyvind was to be. To-day the mother carried in fresh greens, laid out clean linen, made up the bed, and all the while kept looking out to see if, perchance, any boat were coming across the lake. A plentiful table was spread in the house, and there was always something wanting, or flies to chase away, and the bedroom was dusty,—continually dusty. Still no boat came. The mother leaned against the window and looked across the waters; then she heard a step near at hand on the road, and turned her head. It was the school-master, who was coming slowly down the hill, supporting himself on a staff, for his hip troubled him. His intelligent eyes looked calm. He paused to rest, and nodded to her:—
“Not come yet?”
“No; I expect them every moment.”
“Fine weather for haymaking, to-day.”
“But warm for old folks to be walking.”
The school-master looked at her, smiling,—
“Have any young folks been out to-day?”
“Yes; but are gone again.”
“Yes, yes, to be sure; there will most likely be a meeting somewhere this evening.”
“I presume there will be. Thore says they shall not meet in his house until they have the old man’s consent.”
“Right, quite right.”
Presently the mother cried,—
“There! I think they are coming.”
The school-master looked long in the distance.
“Yes, indeed! it is they.”
The mother left the window, and he went into the house. After he had rested a little and taken something to drink, they proceeded down to the shore, while the boat darted toward them, making rapid headway, for both father and son were rowing. The oarsmen had thrown off their jackets, the waters whitened beneath their strokes; and so the boat soon drew near those who were waiting. Oyvind turned his head and looked up; he saw the two at the landing-place, and resting his oars, he shouted,—