Then came grief and longing. He saw them as dark shadows in among the trees. He opened his arms to them, a smile of happiness lighting his face.
“Welcome! Welcome!” he cried.
When the steamer Anders Fryxell pulled out from the pier at Borg Point with Glory Goldie of Ruffluck on board, Jan and Katrina stood gazing after it until they could no longer see the faintest outline of either the girl or the boat. Every one else had left the pier, the watchman had hauled down the flag and locked the freight shed, but they still tarried.
It was only natural that the parents should stand there as long as they could see anything of the boat, but why they did not go their ways afterward they hardly knew themselves. Perhaps they dreaded the thought of going home again, of stepping into the lonely but in each other’s company.
“I’ve got no one but him to cook for now!” mused Katrina, “no one but him to wait for! But what do I care for him? He could just as well have gone, too. It was the girl who understood him and all his silly talk, not I. I’d be better off alone.”
“It would be easier to go home with my grief if I didn’t have that sour-faced old Katrina sitting round the house,” thought Jan. “The girl knew so well how to get on with her, and could make her happy and content; but now I suppose I’ll never get another civil word from that quarter.”
Of a sudden Jan gave a start. Bending forward he clapped his hands to his knees. His eyes kindled with new-found hope and his whole face shone. He kept his gaze on the water and Katrina thought something extraordinary must have riveted his attention, although she, who stood beside him, saw nothing save the ceaseless play of the gray-green waves, chasing each other across the surface of the lake, with never a stop.
Jan ran to the far end of the pier and bent down over the water, with the look on his face which he always wore whenever Glory Goldie approached him, but which he could never put on when talking to any one else. His mouth opened and his lips moved as though he were speaking, but not a word was heard by Katrina. Smile after smile crossed his face, just as when the girl used to stand and rail at him.
“Why, Jan!” said Katrina, “what has come over you?”
He did not reply, but motioned to her to be still. Then he straightened himself a little. His gaze seemed to be following something that glided away over the gray-green waves. Whatever it was, it moved quickly in the direction the boat had taken. Now Jan no longer bent forward but stood quite upright, shading his eyes with his hand that he might see the better. Thus he remained standing till there was nothing more to be seen, apparently. Then, turning to Katrina, he said:
“You didn’t see anything, perhaps?”
“What can one see here but the lake and its waves?”