That morning there was not a wife who had the heart to find fault with her husband because he had had a little drop too much. Eating and drinking went on merrily, combined with gossiping and running from house to house. The children sat up in bed, blinking at the sunlight, and stuffing themselves with sausages, still half in doubt whether it was real tangible sausage they were eating, or whether it was not one of those lovely dreams which sometimes visit the hungry.
The sun was shining over the bay of Sandsgaard, where the new ship now lay securely moored with hawsers both ahead and astern. The sounds of activity from West End could be heard far out into the fjord.
In Begmand’s cottage Marianne lay raving in delirium, and the neighbour who attended her said she had the fever. Anders, who had burnt himself on the side of the face at the fire, was sitting with her, a handkerchief tied round his head.
The townspeople managed to get home by degrees. Some pretended that they did not see the sun, and went to bed. Others stayed up, and went yawning about all day. More than half the town had been at Sandsgaard that night, or else on the heights above the house, looking on the fire.
One of the few people who had not been at the fire was our friend Woodlouse. When he and the Swede parted, after the fight between Martin and Robson, he went straight off to his home in the town. As he passed the first house, he met some people who were running, and deaf as he was, he heard the two cannon-shots which gave warning of a fire. When he got to the church, he saw that the door was open, and that there was a light in the place from whence the bells were pulled. Woodlouse looked in and saw a pair of legs, now bending, now straightening again, now going up, and now down. From what he saw, he drew the conclusion that some one was tolling the big bell. He observed carefully what time it was by the church clock, and as he went along, he was already making up his mind how he should answer the inquiries of the police, for he fully expected the cause of the fire would be the subject for investigation.
Consul Garman was in bed, now three days after the fire. The left side was almost powerless; but the doctor said there was still a chance of recovery, since the patient had managed to get through the first few days. The Consul had not hitherto spoken a word, but the eyes moved occasionally, and especially the right one, for the left was half closed, and the mouth remained crooked.
Uncle Richard sat constantly by the bed, watching his brother, until their eyes happened to meet, when he would look away with an expression that was meant to be unconcerned, for the doctor had particularly said that the patient was not to be excited.
When the attache was alone with his brother, he was always anxious lest he should begin to speak, and it so happened that he began to do so one day just after the doctor had been, as if he had been waiting for him to leave the room.