“How forced?” cried the advocate.
“I have proved to you that the vessel was an American one, and that she was lost off the Faroe Islands, that is to say, near the coast of Norway, precisely at the time which corresponds to the arrival of the infant, and still you are not convinced of your error.”
“Not in the least, my dear friend. I do not dispute the value or your document. You have discovered what I have found it impossible to do—the true ‘Cynthia,’ which was lost at a little distance from our coast, and at a specified epoch; but permit me to say, that this only confirms precisely my theory, for the vessel was a Canadian one, or in other words, English, and the Irish element is very strong in some parts of Canada, and I have therefore more reason than ever for being sure that the child is of Irish origin.”
“Ah, is that what you find in my letter?” said Mr. Bredejord, more vexed than he was willing to appear to be. “Then without doubt you persist in believing that you have not lost your Pliny?”
“Perhaps you think you have a right to my Quintilian?”
“I hope in any case to be able to prove my right, thanks to your discovery, if you will only give me time by renewing the bet.”
“I am willing. I ask nothing better. How much time do you want?”
“Let us take two more years, and wait until the second Christmas after this one.”
“It is agreed,” answered Mr. Bredejord. “But be assured, doctor, that you will finally see me in possession of your Pliny!”
“By my faith no. It will make a fine appearance in my book-case beside your Quintilian.”
In the beginning, Erik burning with zeal at the sacrifice which he had made, devoted all his energies to a fisherman’s life, and tried to forget that he had ever known any other. He was always the first to rise and prepare the boat for his adopted father, who found every morning all the arrangements completed, and he had only to step on board. If the wind failed, then Erik took the heavy oars, and rowed with all his strength, seeming to choose the hardest and most fatiguing duties. Nothing discouraged him, neither the long waiting for the fish to seize the bait, nor the various preparations to which the captive was subjected—first, the removal of the tongue, which is a most delicate morsel; then the head, then the bones, before placing them in the reservoir, where they receive their first salting. Whatever their work was, Erik did his part not only conscientiously, but eagerly. He astonished the placid Otto by his extreme application to the smallest details of their business.
“How you must have suffered, when you were shut up in the town,” said the lad to him, naively. “You only seem to be in your element when you are on the borders of the fiord or on the open sea.”