“I was just about to go my way, when it came to me to ask her where the wedding was going to be held—here or at her home. ’We’re thinking of having it here, where there is plenty of room.’ ’Then see to it that the wedding day isn’t put off too long,’ I warned. ‘We are to be married in a month,’ she answered.
“But before Brita and I parted company, it struck me that the Ingmarssons had had a poor harvest, so I said it was not likely that they would have a wedding that year. ’In that case I shall have to jump into the river,’ she declared.
“A month later I was told that the wedding had been put off and, fearing that this would not end well, I went straight to Bergskog and had a talk with Brita’s mother. ’They are certainly making a stupid blunder down at the Ingmar Farm,’ I told her. ’We are satisfied with their way of doing things,’ she said. ’Every day we thank God that our daughter has been so well provided for.’”
“Mother needn’t have given herself all this bother,” Ingmar was thinking, “for no one from this farm is going to fetch Brita. There was no reason for her being so upset at the sight of the arch: that is only one of those things a man does so that he can turn to our Lord and say: ’I wanted to do it. Surely you must see that I meant to do it.’ But doing it is another matter.”
“The last time I saw Brita,” Kaisa vent on, “was in the middle of the winter after a big snowfall. I had come to a narrow path in the wild forest, where it was heavy walking. Soon I came upon some one who was sitting in the snow, resting. It was Brita. ’Are you all by yourself up here?’ I asked. ‘Yes, I’m out for a walk.’ she said. I stood stockstill and stared at her; I couldn’t imagine what she was doing there. ’I’m looking round to see if there are any steep hills hereabout,’ she then said. ’Dear heart! are you thinking of casting yourself from a cliff?’ I gasped, for she looked as if she was tired of life.
“‘Yes,’ she said. ’If I could only find a hill that was high and steep I’d certainly throw myself down.’ ’You ought to be ashamed to talk like that, and you so well cared for.’ ’You see, Kaisa, I’m a bad lot.’ ‘I’m afraid you are.’ ’I am likely to do something dreadful, therefore I might better be dead.’ ’That’s only silly gabble, child.’ ’I turned bad as soon as I went to live with those people.’ Then, coming quite close to me, with the wildest look in her eyes, she shrieked: ’All they think about is how they can torture me, and I think only of how I can torture them in return.’