“Why, of course she did; and while we sat waiting for you to appear, she sent out one messenger after the other to look for you.”
Kaisa kept up a steady stream of talk, but Ingmar no longer heard what she said. His thoughts were far away. “I come into the living-room, where father sits with all the old Ingmars. ’Good-day to you, Big Ingmar Ingmarsson,’ says father, rising and coming toward me. ’The same to you, father,’ says I, ‘and thank you for your help.’ ’Now you’ll be well married,’ says father, ’and then the other matters will all right themselves.’ ’But, father, it could never have turned out so well if you hadn’t stood by me.’ ‘That was nothing,’ says father. ’All we Ingmars need do is to walk in the ways of God.’”
AT THE SCHOOLMASTER’S
In the early eighties there was no one in the parish where the old Ingmarsson family lived who would have thought of embracing any new kind of faith or attending any new form of sacred service. That new sects had sprung up, here and there, in other Dalecarlian parishes, and that people went out into rivers and lakes to be immersed in accordance with the new rites of the Baptists, was known; but folks only laughed at it all and said: “That sort of thing may suit those who live at Applebo and in Gagnef, but it can never touch our parish.”
The people of that parish clung to their old customs and habits, one of which was a regular attendance at church on Sundays; every one that could go went, even in the severest winter weather. Then, of all times, it was almost a necessity; with the thermometer at twenty below zero outside, it would have been beyond human endurance to sit in the unheated church had it not been packed to the doors with people.
It could not be said of the parishioners that they turned out in such great numbers because they had a particularly brilliant pastor or one who had any special gift for expounding the Scriptures. In those days folks went to church to praise God and not to be entertained by fine sermons. On the way home, when fighting against the cutting wind on an open country road, one thought: “Our Lord must have noticed that you were at church this cold morning.” That was the main thing. It was no fault of theirs if the preacher had said nothing more than he had been heard to say every Sunday since his appointment to the pastorate.
As a matter of fact, the majority seemed perfectly satisfied with what they got. They knew that what the pastor read to them was the Word of God, and therefore they found it altogether beautiful. Only the schoolmaster and one or two of the more intelligent farmers occasionally said among themselves: “The parson seems to have only one sermon; he talks of nothing but God’s wisdom and God’s government. All that is well enough so long as the Dissenters keep away. But this stronghold is poorly defended and would fall at the first attack.”