Jacob Worse protested against this digression; but Martens, whose voice was just as calm as when he began, maintained that this lay at the bottom of the whole question, and that modern unbelief formed, as it were, a background to all the questions they had been discussing, and that all the arguments that were adduced from a “certain point of view” had their roots in this very principle.
The magistrate and Aalbom were agreed on this point, but Jacob Worse, with a pale face and excited gestures, began, “Gentlemen—!”
The Consul here made a sign to Miss Cordsen, who opened the doors into the dining-room, from whence the bright light shone suddenly into the room. The disputants only now remarked that it had become quite dark as they were talking. The company then adjourned to the dining-room, thankful enough to have a little breathing-time, but the voices still retained traces of the excitement.
“Where did you get those splendid lobsters, mother?” asked Morten, who had suddenly turned up, no one knew from whence. He never missed his meals.
“Uncle Richard brought them,” answered Mrs. Garman. “I think he has a fisherman at Bratvold, who always brings him the finest lobsters that are to be got.” She had taken care to help herself to some of the coral, which looked most appetizing in its contrast to the white meat.
Madeleine got almost as red as the lobster, and bent down over her teacup. Per, and everything connected with her old home, now seemed so distant, that when she thought upon her original intention of making an open confession, the idea seemed mere folly. She was indeed thankful that none of those around her guessed how near she had been to such an absurd engagement.
The two brothers, when they were going to bed that evening, had a chat over the events of the day. Richard’s room opened into the Consul’s, and notwithstanding that his habit of smoking cigarettes was an abomination to his brother, the door between the rooms always remained open at night. Each had his own particular method of undressing. The Consul took off each garment in due order, folded it up, and laid it in its appointed place. Richard, on the other hand, tore off his things and threw them about anyhow. He then wrapped himself in his dressing-gown, and sat down and smoked till his brother was ready.
“He is the very devil, that Worse!” said the attache, leaning back in the armchair; “but it does me good to hear any one speak out his mind so plainly.”
“He is too violent; he forgets conventionalities.”
“It is possible to have too much conventionality. It is well for young people to air their views; it does them good.”
“What nonsense you are talking, Dick!” cried the Consul, entering his brother’s room. “What the deuce would become of the world if youngsters were allowed to jabber like that on every possible occasion?”