Martens again looked up at the dean as he pronounced these words, and for the first time he now perceived what it was that made his manner so irresistible. It was the smile, that changing and varying smile, which yet never entirely left the noble features. It seemed to mingle in all he said, like a warm and soothing sunbeam; and as the chaplain constrained himself to alter his opinion under its influence, he felt that the muscles of his mouth involuntarily assumed the dean’s expression.
Madame Rasmussen could not conceal her astonishment at the moderation with which the chaplain spoke of Johnsen’s sermon. She was herself in the highest degree shocked, and when Mr. Martens told her that, in his opinion, Mr. Johnsen would be likely to become a clergyman of considerable note in Christiania some day, she almost thought that he was carrying his forbearance too far. Still she could not but like Pastor Martens, who had now lived with her for two years without a single ill word having passed between them. Madame Rasmussen was a young widow, plump, good-looking, and light-hearted. She had no children, and it was quite a pleasure to her to manage for the chaplain—to prepare his little dishes, and to keep his things in order. She was the only person in the whole town who really knew that Martens wore a wig. This was not, however, a thing to be spoken about, and nobody else was admitted into the secret.
As Mrs. Garman drove home from church with Rachel and Madeleine, she spoke disapprovingly of Johnsen’s sermon. She considered that it was highly improper for a young man to be so forward and daring; but it was quite in accordance with the spirit of the times, as Pastor Martens had explained on the previous Sunday.
“Ah, Pastor Martens is quite a different man, is he not?” asked Mrs. Garman, addressing Madeleine, as Rachel made no reply.
“Yes—oh yes!” answered Madeleine, abstractedly. She was wondering all the time where Delphin could have come from so suddenly, when he appeared close to her and Fanny in the crowd at the church door He had greeted her in a most friendly way, but when they got to the carriage they found that both he and Fanny had vanished without saying good-bye.
Rachel let her mother talk away, as was her wont. She was all the time meditating on the importance of the event which had just taken place, and was wondering how Johnsen would come out of it all. It was quite clear that her mother’s was the prevailing opinion, and it was but too probable that with most people the ill feeling would take a still more bitter form. She could picture him to herself calm and steadfast in the midst of it all. Here at length she had found a truly courageous man.