In winter he wore a long coat lined with fur, a fur cap, and a pair of deerskin gloves; and there were some people who confidently maintained that he carried an open umbrella when the weather was wet. In the little room on the north side, there was a cupboard in which a bottle of Burgundy was always kept standing. When the old gentleman got to this point he would pause, drink a glass of the wine, and look thoughtfully in the large mirror. He then shook his head and continued his wanderings.
No change took place in Miss Cordsen. The well-starched cap-strings and the odour of dry lavender still followed her wherever she went; while all the secrets of the family lay carefully preserved, together with her own, to both of which the closely pressed mouth, with its innumerable wrinkles, formed a lock of the safest description.
Thus passed six years. According to Martens’s prediction, Dean Sparre had been made a bishop. His predecessor in office had been a strict and haughty prelate, and there was, therefore, no little disturbance in the camp when he departed. But from the moment Dean Sparre mounted the vacant seat, all friction ceased, and everything went on evenly and smoothly. It was like covering the hammers of an old piano with new felt. The hitherto sharp tone gives place to a soft and agreeable sound; and after Dean Sparre’s patent felt had been introduced into the mechanism, it all worked silently and noiselessly, and gave the greatest pleasure to all parties concerned.
The bishop did not forget his young friend, Inspector Johnsen, of whom he had always had such “good hopes.” He obtained for Johnsen a chaplaincy in his cathedral town; and some people were so mischievous as to assert that the bishop’s “good hopes” were now fulfilled, for Pastor Johnsen was shortly after engaged to Miss Barbara Sparre.
A great change had taken place in the ci-devant school inspector. When the turning-point was once reached, he set to work in his new line in real earnest, as was only to be expected from one of his energetic character. He never dabbled any more in advanced philosophy, and had but little to do with grand society; on the contrary, he grew to be a clergyman to whom the women were particularly attracted. His sermons were always severe, very severe; and those who cared to listen closely, might remark that he never repeated the prayer for the arms of the country by land and by sea.
Down at Mrs. Worse’s shop, in the dark corner of the lane, trade went on regularly and well. Little Pitter Nilken had arrived at that stage of shriveldom, at which both fruits and people cannot hold out much longer without a change. He still managed to swing himself over the counter as lightly as a cork when the enemy became too troublesome, and the redoubtable iron ruler had lost none of its gruesome terrors.
Mrs. Worse, on the contrary, had become rather stout in the course of years. Her legs would no longer “balance” her properly, as she said. But still she refused to buy a carriage until all had “come right,” which she thought could not be long now.