Then he proceeded to tell—for Karin’s special benefit—of various farms that had gone to waste after falling into the hands of corporations.
Once or twice Karin glanced up at the pastor. He wondered whether he had finally succeeded in making some impression upon her. “There must surely be a little of the pride of the old peasant matron still left in her,” he thought as he went on telling of tumbledown farmhouses and underfed cattle.
He finally ended with these words: “I know perfectly well that if the corporation is fully determined to buy the Ingmar Farm, it can go on bidding against the farmers until they are forced to give up; but if Karin and Halvor want to prevent this old place from becoming a ruined corporation property, they will have to settle on a price, so that the farmers may know what to be guided by.”
When the pastor made that proposition, Halvor, uneasy, glanced over at Karin, who slowly raised her eyelids.
“Certainly Halvor and I would rather sell the place to some one of our own kind. Then we could go away from here knowing that everything would continue in the old way.”
“If some person outside the Company wants to give forty thousand for the property, we will be satisfied to accept that sum for it,” said Halvor, knowing at last what his wife’s wishes were.
When that was said, Strong Ingmar walked over to Sven Persson and whispered to him.
Judge Persson immediately arose and went up to Halvor. “Since you say you are willing to take forty thousand kroner for the farm, I’ll buy it at that figure,” he said.
Halvor’s face began to twitch, and a lump seemed to rise in his throat; he had to swallow before he could speak. “Thank you, judge,” he finally stammered. “I’m glad that I can leave the farm in such good hands!”
Judge Persson then shook hands with Karin, who was so moved that she could hardly keep back the tears.
“You may be sure, Karin, that everything here will be as of old,” he said.
“Are you going to live at the farm yourself?” Karin inquired.
“No,” said he, then added with great solemnity: “My youngest daughter is to be married in the summer, and she and her husband are to have the farm as a gift from me.” He then turned to the pastor and thanked him.
“Well, Parson, you’ll have it your own way,” he said. “I never dreamed in the days when I was a poor goose boy on this place that some time it would be in my power to arrange for an Ingmar Ingmarsson to come back to the Ingmar Farm!”
The pastor and the other men all stood staring at the judge in dumb amazement, not grasping at first what was meant.
Karin left the room at once. While passing through the living-room to the yard, she drew herself up, retied her headkerchief, and smoothed out her apron. Then, with an air of solemn dignity, she went straight up to Ingmar and grasped his hand.