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The Emperor of Portugalia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Emperor of Portugalia.

HELD!

It seemed extraordinary to many that Glory Goldie of Ruffluck should have to stand at the Borg pier day after day, watching for one who never came.

Glory Goldie did not stand there waiting on fine light summer days either!  She was on the pier in bleak and stormy November and in dark and cold December.  Nor did she have any sweet and solacing dreams about travellers from a far country who would step ashore here in pomp and state.  She had eyes and thoughts only for a boat that was being rowed back and forth on the lake, just beyond the pier, dragging for the body of a drowned man.

In the beginning she had thought that the one for whom she waited would be found immediately the dragging was begun.  But such was not the case.  Day after day a couple of patient old fishermen worked with grappling hooks and dragnets, without finding a trace of the body.

There were said to be two deep holes at the bottom of the lake, close to the Borg pier, and some folks thought Jan had gone down into one of them.  Others maintained there was a strong under-tow here at the point which ran farther in, toward Big Church Inlet, and that he had been carried over there.  Then Glory Goldie had the draglines lengthened, so that they would reach down to the lowest depths of the lake, and she ordered every foot of Big Church Inlet dragged; yet she did not succeed in bringing her father back into the light of day.

On the morning following the tragic end of her father Glory Goldie ordered a coffin made.  When it was ready she had it brought down to the pier, that she might lay the dead man in it the moment he was found.  Night and day it had to stand out there.  She would not even have it put into the freight shed.  The guard locked the shed whenever he left the pier, and the coffin had to be at hand always so that Jan would not be compelled to wait for it.

The old Emperor used to have kind friends around him at the pier, to enliven his long waiting hours.  But Glory Goldie nearly always tramped there alone.  She spoke to no one, and folks were glad to leave her in peace, for they felt that there was something uncanny about her which had been the cause of her father’s death.

In December navigation closed.  Then Glory Goldie had the pier all to herself.  No one disturbed her.  The fishermen who were conducting the search on the lake wanted to quit now.  But that put Glory Goldie in despair.  She felt that her only hope of salvation lay in the finding of her father.  She told the men they must go on with the search while the lake was still unfrozen, that they must search for him down by Nygard Point; by Storvik Point—­they must search the length and breadth of all Lake Loeven.

For each day that passed Glory Goldie became more desperately determined to find the body.  She had taken lodgings in a cotter’s but at Borg.  In the beginning she remained indoors at least some moments during the day, but after a time her mind became prey to such intense fear that she could scarcely eat or sleep.  Now she paced the pier all the while—­not only during the short hours of daylight but all through the long, dark evenings, until bedtime.

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