“My dear Mr. Malarius,—I thank you cordially for informing me of the disastrous consequences of the cyclone of the 3d of March to the worthy Mr. Hersebom. I am proud and happy to learn that Erik acted in these circumstances, as always before, like a brave boy and a devoted son. You will find a check in this letter for 500 kroners; and I beg you to give them to him from me. Tell him if it is not enough to buy at Bergen a first-class boat, he must let me know without delay. He must name this boat ‘Cynthia,’ and then present it to Mr. Hersebom as a souvenir of filial love. That done, if Erik wishes to please me he will return to Stockholm and resume his studies. His place is always ready for him at my fireside, and if he needs a motive to assist in this decision, I add that I have at length obtained some information, and hope yet to be able to solve the mystery enshrouding his birth.
“Believe me, my dear Malarius, your sincere and devoted friend,
“R.W. Schwaryencrona, M.D.”
You may imagine with what joy this letter was received. The doctor, by sending this gift to Erik, showed that he understood the character of the old fisherman. If he had offered it directly to him, it is hardly probable that Mr. Hersebom would have accepted it. But he could not refuse the boat from Erik’s hand, and bearing the name of “Cynthia,” which recalled how Erik had become a member of the family. Their only grief now, which already began to sadden all their countenances, was the thought that he must soon leave them again. Nobody dared to speak about it, although it was constantly in their thoughts. Erik himself, with his head bowed, was divided between the desire of satisfying the doctor, and realizing the secret wishes of his own heart, and the no less natural wish of giving no offense to his adopted parents.
It was Vanda who first broke the reserve, and spoke upon the subject.
“Erik,” she said, in her sweet grave voice, “you can not say ‘No’ to the doctor after receiving such a letter. You can not do it, because it would be treating him most ungratefully, and sinning against yourself. Your place is among scholars, and not among fishermen. I have thought so for a long time. Nobody has dared to tell you, therefore I tell you.”
“Vanda is right,” said Mr. Malarius, with a smile.
“Vanda is right,” repeated Dame Katrina, drying her eyes.
And in this manner, for the second time, Erik’s departure was decided.
The information which Dr. Schwaryencrona had received was not very important, but it sufficed to start his inquiries in a new direction.