The Fin servant-maid who was alone in the house, had thought for a few hours that she heard cries of distress, and as they continued she climbed the hill to look out. There she saw Bernt upon the rock, and the boat, bottom upwards, rocking up and down against it. She immediately ran down to the boat-house, launched the old four-oared boat, and rowed it along the shore, round the island, out to him.
Bernt lay ill under her care the whole winter, and did not go fishing that year. People thought, too, after this that he was now and then a little strange.
He had a horror of the sea, and would never go on it again. He married the Fin girl and moved up to Malangen, where he bought a clearing, and is now doing well.
AMONG THE VAETTE ROCKS
It was summer. Susanna and I were now in our seventeenth year, and it was settled that we should be confirmed in the autumn.
It was this year that my father was involved in his unequal struggle with the authorities—among whom were the sheriff and the minister—as to whether our trading-place should be a permanent stopping-place for the Nordland steamer. This was a matter of vital importance to my father, and the dispute about it, which also interested the whole district, had already begun to be rather warm.
This was, in fact, not the least important object that the sheriff had in view when he came that summer on a visit to the minister, who was a very influential man.
Outwardly there was as yet no rupture between my father and the minister, and it must have been for the purpose of manifesting this publicly that during the sheriff’s visit my father was invited over to the minister’s two or three times.
It was thus that my father and I were one day asked to go on a sailing-trip out to the Vaette Rocks, which lay half a mile away. We were first to fish, and then to eat milk-rings [The thick sour cream off the pans in which milk has been set up.] on land at Gunnar’s Place, a house rented from the parsonage.
There was always a certain solemnity about the occasion when the minister’s white house-boat with four men at the oars glided out of the bay, and a considerable number of spectators generally stood on shore to watch it. That day, father, too, stood out on the steps, with a telescope. He had excused himself from going, but with good tact had let me go.
In the cabin, which was open on account of the heat, sat the minister’s wife and the sheriff’s two ladies, and outside, one on each side, the minister and the sheriff, smoking their silver-mounted meerschaum pipes, and chatting comfortably: they were college-friends. Susanna and I, together with the housemaid from Trondhjem, who was adorned for the occasion, had a place in the roomy bow. The minister’s wife wanted to keep that part of the boat in which she had an immense provision basket—a regular portable larder—under her own eye. The big basket and the little lady entirely occupied one bench, while the two other ladies, with their starched dresses, quite filled up the rest of the narrow cabin.