The side of the ship which was towards the fire became so hot that the steam rose from it every time the thin stream of water swept over it. And now all at once a large part became covered with small sparkling flames, just as if sheets of gold leaf had been thrown against it, which crackled in the wind, and at last got fast hold in the oakum seams between the planking. The hose played upon them and swept them away; in another moment they were there again. They broke out in other places, ever gaining ground, taking fast hold with their thousand tiny feet until they got up to the gold band, and even beyond it; and see! the flames now seemed to take a spring, and seize upon the name-board, and the shining letters stood out amidst the flames. It could be read by all. The Consul saw it. There it stood: Morten W. Garman. It was the old Consul’s name—his ship—and now what was its fate?
“Look at the young Consul; how pale he is!” said one of the spectators to his neighbour.
“Where? Where is he? I don’t see him.”
“He was standing close by the corner window. He looked as pale as death. I wonder if he was insured?”
But the young Consul lay stretched upon the floor, and had pulled down the heavy damask curtains with him in his fall.
Miss Cordsen came into the room. When she saw the Consul, she pressed her hand to her heart, but not a sound escaped her lips. For a moment she stood collecting her thoughts, then she knelt down, freed the curtain from his grasp, and lifted him in her long bony arms.
He was not heavy, and she managed to raise herself with her burden. At this moment her glance fell on the mirror opposite. A shudder passed through her, and it was with difficulty she kept herself from falling. A whirlwind of recollections swept through her brain as he lay on her shoulder; and she bore him along, an aged and withered man. But she pressed her lips together, and drawing herself up, she carried him along like a child; and, as all the doors were open, she was able to get as far as the staircase. There she called to one of the maids, who came to her assistance.
After Uncle Richard had been driven from the roof of the storehouse, and could see that all hope was over, he went off to take his turn at the engines. He worked at the pumps with all his-might and main, as if to deaden his sorrow; but now and again he looked towards the house and thought, “Poor Christian Frederick!”
Jacob Worse was directing the operations, and had had the planking, which surrounded the building-yard on the side where the warehouses lay, pulled down in order to get room for the engines. He managed to get some order among the men who were handing the water, and drove the idle spectators up into the yard near the house. As he happened to pass Uncle Richard, the latter asked him, “Do you think there is any hope, Worse?”