“Thanks, Ingeborg,” said Jan. “When the time comes that I shall have need of stars—which may be right soon—I don’t think I’ll ask you for them.”
Then at last Mad Ingeborg left.
It was some little time, however, before Jan went back to his threshing. To him this, too, was a finger-pointing. Not that a crack-brained person like Ingeborg could know anything of Glory Goldie’s movements; but she was one of the kind who sensed it in the air when something extraordinary was going to happen. She could see and hear things of which wise folk never had an inkling.
Engineer Boraeus of Borg was in the habit of strolling down to the pier mornings to meet the steamer. He had only a short distance to go, through his beautiful pine grove, and there was always some one on the boat with whom he could exchange a few words to vary the monotony of country life.
At the end of the grove, where the road began an abrupt descent to the pier, were some large bare rocks upon which folk who had come from a distance used to sit while waiting for the boat. And there were always many who waited at the Borg pier, as there was never any certainty as to when the boat would arrive. It seldom put in before twelve o’clock, and yet once in a while it reached the pier as early as eleven. Sometimes it did not come until one or two; so that prompt people, who were down at the landing by ten o’clock, often had to sit there for hours.
Engineer Boraeus had a good outlook over Lake Loeven from his chamber window at Borg. He could see when the steamer rounded the point and never appeared at the landing until just in the nick of time. Therefore he did not have to sit on the rocks and wait, and would only cast a glance, in passing, at those who were seated there. However, one summer, he noticed a meek-looking little man with a kindly face sitting there waiting day after day. The man always sat quite still, seemingly indifferent, until the boat hove in sight. Then he would jump to his feet, his face shining with joyous anticipation, and rush down the incline to the far end of the pier, where he would stand as if about to welcome some one. But nobody ever came for him. And when the boat pulled out he was as alone as before. Then, as he turned to go home, the light of happiness gone from his face, he looked old and worn; he seemed hardly able to drag himself up the hill.
Engineer Boreaus was not acquainted with the man. But one day when he again saw him sitting there gazing out upon the lake, he went up and spoke to him. He soon learned that the man’s daughter, who had been away for a time, was expected home that day.
“Are you quite certain she is coming to-day?” said the engineer. “I’ve seen you sitting here waiting ever day for the past two months. In that case she must have sent you wrong instructions before.”
“Oh, no,” replied the man quietly, “indeed she hasn’t given me any wrong instructions!”