After musing for some time, he got up and went to the window. Outside, the snow covered everything—the fields, the roads, the frozen lake and river. The houses were half hidden, and the pines on the hill bore up great banks of snow. From the window the view was beautiful in its solemn whiteness. From the white level of the distant frozen lake, broken patches of brown protruded. These were the islands on one of which Signe Dahl had lived. Henrik wondered what had become of her, and where in the big America she had taken up her abode. He had heard that she was well and happy, but further than that he had not set himself to learn. Long ago he had put behind him philosophically his affair with Signe. He had ceased to think of her as anything more than a sweet, yet strange girl who could resist such an offer as he had extended to her.
As Henrik was looking out of the window, he saw the young stranger who had visited him less then an hour ago, returning down the road. Just as he was about to pass, Henrik hailed him and asked him to come in again, meeting him at the door.
“Come in,” he said; “I want to talk with you.”
The missionary placed his grip on a chair and seated himself on another.
“I was somewhat cross with you when you called,” said Henrik. “I don’t want you to think that I am rude, especially to strangers.”
“I was not the least offended,” smiled the other.
“I’m glad to hear it. Now I want you to tell me something about America. I’ve never been there, though I expect to go some day. I have some friends and a good many relatives over there. From what part do you come?”
“I am from Wyoming.”
“That’s away out west, isn’t it?”
“Two uncles of mine live in Minnesota, but that’s a long way from Wyoming. Where are you staying here, for the night?”
“I am a traveling minister of the gospel and I stay wherever there is an opportunity.”
“Then you’ll stay with me tonight. I am not much on religion, but if you will mix a little information about America with your preaching, I shall be pleased to listen to you.”
These conditions were easily agreed to. So, after a good supper, the two young men seated themselves comfortably by the shaded lamp on the library table. The missionary spread out his book of views and explained each of the pictures. He told of the great stretch of arid land in western America, of the ranches, of the high mountains, of the fertile valleys made fruitful by irrigation, and of the wonders of the great Salt Lake.
“This is the Temple.”
“Yes; and what is that for?”
The purposes of temples were explained.
“You say you baptize for the dead?” enquired Henrik, “How is that?”
“Well, as I was telling you when I called on you some time ago—”
“Pardon me, but I must confess that I did not pay enough attention to what you said to remember. I was thinking about those quarreling tenants of mine. Tell me again.”