Title: The Pilot and his Wife
Author: Jonas Lie
Release Date: April 8, 2005 [EBook #15588]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK the pilot and his wife ***
Produced by Clare Boothby, Jim Wiborg and the Online
THE PILOT AND HIS WIFE
TRANSLATED FROM THE NORWEGIAN OF
William Blackwood and sons
Edinburgh and London
THE PILOT AND HIS WIFE.
On the stern, pine-clad southern coast of Norway, off the picturesquely-situated town of Arendal, stand planted far out into the sea the white walls of the Great and Little Torungen Lighthouses, each on its bare rock-island of corresponding name, the lesser of which seems, as you sail past, to have only just room for the lighthouse and the attendant’s residence by the side. It is a wild and lonely situation,—the spray, in stormy weather, driving in sheets against the walls, and eagles and sea-birds not unfrequently dashing themselves to death against the thick glass panes at night; while in winter all communication with the land is very often cut off, either by drift or patchy ice, which is impassable either on foot or by boat.
These, however, and others of the now numerous lights along that dangerous coast, are of comparatively recent erection. Many persons now living can remember the time when for long reaches the only lighting was the gleam of the white breakers themselves. And the captain who had passed the Oxoe light off Christiansand might think himself lucky if he sighted the distant Jomfruland up by Krageroe.
About a score of years before the lighthouse was placed on Little Torungen there was, however, already a house there, if it could be dignified by that name, with its back and one side almost up to the eave of the roof stuck into a heap of stones, so that it had the appearance of bending forward to let the storm sweep over it. The low entrance-door opened to the land, and two small windows looked out upon the sea, and upon the boat, which was usually drawn up in a cleft above the sea-weed outside.
When you entered, or, more properly speaking, descended into it, there was more room than might have been expected; and it contained sundry articles of furniture, such as a handsome press and sideboard, which no one would have dreamt of finding under such a roof. In one corner there stood an old spinning-wheel covered with dust, and with a smoke-blackened tuft of wool still hanging from its reel; from which, and from other small indications, it might be surmised that there had once been a woman in the house, and that tuft of wool had probably been her last spin.