If the folk in the dales and woodlands below had turned their eyes toward the peak just then, they would have seen her standing there in her shining raiment.
Glorv Goldie looked out over miles and miles of country. She saw steep hills crowned with white churches on the shores of the lake, manors and founderies surrounded by parks and gardens, rows of farmhouses along the skirt of the woods, stretches of field and meadow land, winding roads and endless tracts of forest.
At first she sang. But presently she hushed her singing and thought only of gazing out over the wide, open world before her. Suddenly she flung out her arms as if wanting to take it all into her embrace—all this wealth and power and bigness from which she had been shut out until that day.
Jan did not return until far into the night, and when he reached home he could give no coherent account of his movements. He declared he had seen and talked with the senator, but what the senator had advised him to do he could not remember.
“It’s no good trying to do anything,” he said again and again. That was all the satisfaction Katrina got.
Jan walked all bent over, and looked ill. Earth and moss clung to his coat, and Katrina asked him if he had fallen and hurt himself.
“No,” he told her, but he may have lain on the ground a while.
Then he must be ill, thought Katrina.
It was not that either. It was just that something had stopped the instant it dawned on him that his little girl had offered to save the home for her parents not out of love for them, but because she longed to get away and go out in tine world. But this he would not speak of.
THE EVE OF DEPARTURE
The evening before Glory Goldie of Ruffluck left for Stockholm Jan discovered no end of things that had to be attended to all at once. He had no sooner got home from his work than he must betake himself to the forest to gather firewood, whereupon he set about fixing a broken board in the gate that had been hanging loose a whole year. When he had finished with that he dragged out his fishing tackle and began to overhaul it.
All this time he was thinking how strange it seemed not to feel any actual regret. Now he was the same as he had been seventeen years before; he felt neither glad nor sad. His heart had stopped like a watch that has received a hard blow when he had seen Glory Goldie on the mountain-top, opening her arms to the whole world.
It had been like this with him once before. Then folks had wanted him to be glad of the little girl’s coming, but he had not cared a bit about it; now they all expected him to be sad and disconsolate over her departure, and he was not that, either.
The hut was full of people who had come to say good-bye to Glory Goldie. Jan had not the face to go in and let them see that he neither wept nor wailed; so he thought it best to stop outside.