Johnsen’s eyes fell before her clear and penetrating glance as he answered, “I have been quite enough troubled by doubts and anxieties, which are things none of us can escape; but if it now appears to you—and I must confess that it is the fact—that I have neglected certain points, I must plead that this negligence has been caused by my peculiar education. I come from a poor home, a very poor home”—he seemed to regain his confidence as he spoke—“and I have raised myself, without any special abilities, by sheer hard work. My time has, therefore, been fully occupied during my studies, and, as far as my opinion goes, a person who is working in real earnest has but little time for speculation. Besides, there is something about the subject itself, and about the men with whom one is brought into contact—something, what shall I call it?—something soothing, reassuring, which has the effect of making the doubts which from time to time appear bring, as it were, their own solution with them. But life’s experience, and even more, my aquaintance with you, Miss Garman, has caused me to waver on many points.”
“Do you remember our first conversation?” she asked.
“I don’t think I have forgotten a single word that has passed between us.”
“It was one of the first Sundays you were at Sandsgaard.”
“The conversation at dinner turned upon the subject of war. Was not that the day you mean?” asked he.
“Yes, exactly,” answered Rachel. “Mr. Delphin was maintaining, in his foolish, superficial way, that the spirit of the time would soon get rid of the evil of war, if we could only have done with kings and priests. You may remember Mr. Martens got quite excited, and insisted that priests were distinctly men of peace, and that their work was the work of peace. And then Mr. Delphin made the adroit answer, that any one who liked could go to church any Sunday, and hear how devoutly this man of peace, Mr. Martens, prays for the arms of the country by land and by sea.”
“I remember it very well,” answered Johnsen, with a smile; “it was just there I joined in the conversation.”
“Yes; you declared that you would never, if you were ordained, mention the arms of the country in your prayers.”
“Neither will I; nothing shall ever make me.”
Rachel looked at him: he was in just the humour she liked to see him.
“I bring this to your recollection,” she went on, “because I know now that there are many other duties which fall to the lot of a clergyman, that you will not be able altogether to reconcile with your convictions. In the course of our conversations you have expressed many decided opinions—for instance, about the Marriage Service, about Absolution, Confirmation, and several other matters; so that it now appears clear to me that you must either give up the idea of being ordained, or else be false to yourself.”