They remained that day in the fishing hamlet; and when Salve had made his declaration before the authorities, and had paid the crew what he owed them with the greater part of the money he had saved, he and Elizabeth took passage for Christiansand in a corn ship from Harboere.
He was very silent on the way, thinking about his future; and the prospect was not a bright one: he knew that there prevailed but one opinion among the crew about the loss of the brig, that he had his own folly only to thank for it; and as this, of course, would get about, his chance of being employed as a skipper by any shipowner would be very small. Elizabeth’s popularity in Tonsberg might probably be of service to him, but he would sooner starve than help himself to a situation by means of it; and in her present circumstances she should not even return to Tonsberg.
One only course remained open to him if he was not to begin again from the very beginning—he would become an uncertificated pilot for the Arendal district. No one knew the coast there better than he did; he had always had the idea in his mind, ever since the night when he brought the Juno into Merdoe; and out there, or in some other spot along the coast, he reflected gloomily that he could have Elizabeth all to himself.
When he announced his decision to Elizabeth, she entered with animation into the project; and when he went on to add, that she would have to be content now with being only a common man’s wife, she replied, intrepidly—
“If he is only called Salve Kristiansen, I require nothing more.”
It was so arranged then; and though Elizabeth was rather disappointed to hear that she was not to see her tidy house at Tonsberg again, she allowed no indication of the feeling to escape her, and Salve went by himself to arrange their affairs there.
When he had sold what property they had, and bought his pilot-boat, they had still a small sum left with which to begin housekeeping afresh, and Merdoe was chosen for their future residence.
From the outside this island looks only like one of the desolate series which form the outworks of the coast for miles here in either direction, with many a spot of angry white marking the sunken rocks between. But the inner side forms the well-known Merdoe harbour of refuge, with its little hamlet of fishermen’s and pilots’ houses on the strand; and it was in one of these, a little red painted house with a small porch in front and a flagged yard and garden behind, and which presently became their own, that they eventually settled.