Katrina saw August standing there and made a pretext of going to the well for water in order to speak to him; but the lad did not appear to see her, so Katrina immediately went back into the house.
Then in a little while Jan came down from the forest with an armful of wood, and when August saw him coming he stepped to one side until he, too, had gone in; then he went back to the gate.
Presently the window of the hut swung open, disclosing Jan seated at one side of the window-table smoking his pipe, and Katrina at the other side, knitting.
“Well, Katrina dear,” said Jan, “now we’re having a real cosy evening. There’s only one thing I wish for.”
“I wish for a hundred things!” sighed Katrina, “and if I could have them all I’d still be unsatisfied.”
“But I only wish the seine-maker, or somebody else who can read, would drop in and read us Glory Goldie’s letter.”
“You’ve had that letter read to you so many times since you got it that you ought to know it by heart.”
“That may be true enough,” returned Jan, “but still it always does me good to hear it read, for then I feel as though the little girl herself were standing and talking to me, and I seem to see her eyes beam on me as I listen to her words.”
“I wouldn’t mind hearing it again, myself,” said Katrina, glancing out through the open window. “But on a fine light evening like this we can’t expect folks to come to our hut.”
“It would be better to me than the taste of white bread with coffee to hear Glory Goldie’s letter read while I’m sitting here smoking,” declared Jan, “but I’m sure every one in the Ashdales has grown tired of being asked to read the letter over and over, and now I don’t know who to turn to.”
The words were hardly out of his mouth, when the door opened, and in walked August Daer Nol. Jan started in surprise.
“Bless me! Here you come, my dear August, just when wanted.” After Jan had shaken hands with the caller and pulled up a chair for him he said: “I’ve got a letter I’d like you to read to us. It’s from an old schoolmate of yours. Maybe you’d be interested to hear how she’s getting on?”
August Daer Nol took the letter and read it aloud, lingering over each word as if drinking it in. When he had finished, Jan remarked:
“How wonderfully well you read, my dear August! I’ve never heard Goldie’s words sound as beautiful as from your lips. Would you do me the favour to read the letter once more?”
Then the boy read the letter for the second time, with the same deep feeling. It was as if he had come with a thirst-parched throat to a spring of pure water. When he had read to the end he carefully folded the letter and smoothed it over with his hand. As he was about to return it to Jan, it occurred to him the letter had not been properly folded and he must do it over. That done, he sat very silent. Jan tried to start a conversation, but failed. Finally the boy rose to go.