All that resulted from this affair was the possession of the document, which legally proved the death of Patrick O’Donoghan.
Was this paper of any value? This was the question that Mr. Bredejord could not help doubting, in spite of the evidence of the British consul at Stockholm, whom he questioned, and who declared that the signatures and stamp were perfectly authentic. He also caused inquiries to be made at Edinburgh, but nobody knew Mr. Tudor Brown, which he thought looked suspicious.
But it was an undeniable fact that they obtained no further intelligence of Patrick O’Donoghan, and all their advertisements were ineffectual.
If Patrick O’Donoghan had disappeared for good, they had no hope of penetrating the mystery that surrounded Erik’s birth. He himself saw this, and was obliged to recognize the fact that, for the future, the inquiries would have to be based upon some other theory. He therefore made no opposition about commencing his medical studies the following autumn at the university at Upsal, according to the doctor’s wishes. He only desired, first, to pass his examination as a captain, but this sufficed to show that he had not renounced his project of traveling.
Besides, he had another trouble which lay heavy at his heart, and for which he saw no other remedy but absence.
Erik wished to find some pretext for leaving the doctor’s house as soon as his studies were completed; but he wished to do this without exciting any suspicion. The only pretext which he could think of was this plan of traveling. He desired to do this because of the aversion of Kajsa, the doctor’s niece. She lost no occasion of showing her dislike; but he would not at any price have had the excellent man suspect this state of affairs between them. His relations toward the young girl had always been most singular. In the eyes of Erik during these seven years as well as on the first day of his arrival at Stockholm, the pretty little fairy had always been a model of elegance and all earthly perfections. He had bestowed on her his unreserved admiration, and had made heroic efforts to overcome her dislike, and become her friend.
But Kajsa could not make up her mind calmly to see this “intruder,” as she called Erik, take his place in the doctor’s home, be treated as an adopted son, and become a favorite of her uncle and his friends. The scholastic success of Erik, his goodness and his gentleness, far from making him pleasing in her eyes, were only new motives of jealousy.
In her heart Kajsa could not pardon the young man for being only a fisherman and a peasant. It seemed to her that he brought discredit upon the doctor’s household and on herself, who, she liked to believe, occupied a very high position in the social scale.