“I tell you, girl, there shall be no more foolishness. You shall do as I want you, do you hear!”
Signe arose to go, but her father caught her forcibly by the arm.
“Sit down and listen to me,” he said.
The girl began to cry, and the mother interposed: “Never mind, father; you know it’s useless to talk to her now. Let her go and milk the cow. It’s getting late.”
So Signe escaped with her pail into the little stable where the cow had been awaiting her for over an hour. But she was a long time milking, that evening.
“Get thee out of thy country, and
from thy kindred, and from thy
father’s house, into a land that I will show thee.”—Gen. 12:1.
Signe Dahl sat in the little coupe of the railroad train which was carrying her to Christiania. She was the sole occupant of the compartment, her big valise resting on the opposite seat. Out through the lowered window she looked at the flying landscape, a mingling of pine hills, waters, and green meadows. An hour ago she had boarded the train at Holmen, the nearest station to Nordal. Early that morning she had tearfully kissed them all good-by and had begun her journey to that haven of rest from old country oppressions—America. She and her mother had planned it, and the father had at last given his consent. It was all the outcome of Hr. Bogstad’s persistent devotions to the family on the island in the lake.
Tiring of the scenery, Signe took from a bundle a letter. It had been handed her by the postmaster at Nordal that morning as she drove past, and was from Hr. Bogstad, who was in the North with a party of tourists. She opened it and read:
“I wrote you a letter about a week ago, describing our trip up to that time. I hope you have received it. You know I have no eye for the beautiful, but I did the best I could. You should have been along and seen it all yourself.
“And now I write you again, because, dear friend, I have heard a rumor from home that you are going to America. It is news to me if it is true. Dear Signe, don’t. Wait, at least, until I can see you again, because I have something to tell you whether you go or stay. I am coming home as fast as steam can carry me. Please, don’t run off like that. Why should you? I ask myself. But there, it’s only rumor. You’re not going, and I’ll see you again in a few days, when I shall tell you all about the rest of the trip.”
A smile played on Signe’s face, but it soon changed to a more sober expression. What was she to cause such a commotion in the life of a man like Hr. Bogstad? That he was in earnest she knew. And here she was running away from him. He would never see her again. How disappointed he would be! She could see him driving from the station, alighting at the ferry, springing into a boat, and skimming over to the island. Up the steep bank he climbs, and little Hakon runs down to meet him, for which he receives his usual bag of candy. Perhaps he gets to the house before he finds out. Then—?