A dead silence follows. The smoke scatters, breaks into drifting fragments, showing the black naked mountain-side.
The next morning, as the first glimmerings of the dawn pierced the cloud-veil in the east, the brig Queen Anne shot before a steady breeze out toward the western ocean. In the prow stood Maurice Fern, in a happy reverie; on a coil of rope at his feet sat Tharald Ormgrass, staring vacantly before him. His face was cold and hard; it had scarcely stirred from its dead apathy since the hour of the calamity. Then there was a patter of light footsteps on the deck, and Elsie, still with something of the child-like wonder of sleep in her eyes, emerged from behind the broad white sail.
Tharald saw her and the hardness died out of his face. He strove to speak once—twice, but could not.
“God pity me,” he broke out, with an emotion deeper than his words suggested. “I was wrong. I had no faith in you. She has. Take her, that the old wrong may at last be righted.”
And there, under God’s free sky, their hands were joined together, and the father whispered a blessing.
Victor Julien St. Denis Dannevig is a very aristocratic conglomeration of sound, as every one will admit, although the St. had a touch of irony in it unless placed before the Julien, where in the present case its suggestion was not wholly unappropriate. As he was when I first met him, his nature seemed to be made up of exquisite half-tints, in which the most antagonistic tastes might find something to admire. It presented no sharp angles to wound your self-esteem or your prejudices. Morally, intellectually, and physically, he was as smooth as velvet, and as agreeable to the touch. He never disagreed with you, whatever heterodox sentiments you might give vent to, and still no one could ever catch him in any positive inconsistency or self-contradiction. The extreme liberal who was on terms of intimacy with the nineteenth century, and passionately hostile to all temporal and spiritual rulers, put him down as a rising man, who might be confidently counted on when he should have shed his down and assume I his permanent colors; and the prosperous conservative who had access to the private ear of the government lauded his good sense and his moderate opinions, and resolved to press his name at the first vacancy that might occur in the diplomatic service. In fact, every one parted from him with the conviction that at heart he shared his sentiments; even though for prudential reasons he did not choose to express himself with emphasis.