The doctor came into the room.
“I really cannot permit your brother to lie so close to you—it will interfere with your breathing; and if you don’t wish—”
“My brother,” said the young Consul, interrupting him in a voice which bore some resemblance to his business voice. “I wish my brother, Mr. Richard Garman, to remain exactly where he is.” He then added with an effort, “Will you summon my family?”
The doctor left the room, and a few minutes afterwards the invalid drew a long breath, and said, “Good-bye, Dick! How many happy days we have had together since our childhood! You shall have all the Burgundy. I have arranged it all. I should have wished to have left you better off, but—” A movement came over the features, which feebly reminded Richard of the gesture he used when adjusting his chin in his neckcloth, and he said slowly and almost noiselessly, “The house is no longer what it has been.”
These were the last words he spoke, for before the doctor had got the family assembled in the sick-chamber, the young Consul was dead; calm and precise as he had lived.
The same morning Torpander was seen, going along the road which led to Sandsgaard. Contrary to his usual custom, he had taken a holiday that Monday. On his head he wore a grey felt hat of the particular shape which was called in the trade “the mercantile.” The hatter had assured him that it had been originally made for Mr. Morten Garman, but that it was unfortunately just a trifle too small. The hat, however, exactly fitted Torpander, and dear as it was, he bought it; and he could not help noticing the coincidence, that he was that day wearing a hat which Morten Garman had rejected. He had also bought a coat for the occasion, not quite new, it is true, but of a most unusual light-brown hue. The trousers were the worst part of the costume, but the coat was long enough, in a great measure, to hide them. Torpander could well enough have bought trousers as well, but he did not wish to trench too deeply on his savings, before he saw how it fared with him that day. If all went well she should have everything he possessed, and if it went badly he would return at once to Sweden, for he could bear the suspense no longer. He had not, truth to say, great hopes as to his ultimate success. He had heard a report that Marianne was unwell, but perhaps she was upset by the disgrace which Martin had brought upon the family. The fact that he was making his proposal at that particular time might be a point in his favour; but no, he could not help feeling that such happiness was almost bewildering.