On the way back from the altar Hans stopped just outside the church-door; he said something; the bride, in her superhuman happiness, did not hear it; but she felt what it was. He wished her to look at Ole Haugen’s grave, how richly clad in flowers it lay to-day. She looked, and they passed out almost touching his headstone; the parents following them.
The other incident in their life that must be recalled is the visit of Endrid and Randi as grandparents. Hans had carried out his determination that they were to live at Haugen, although he had to promise that he would take Tingvold when the old people either could or would no longer manage it, and when the old grandmother was dead. But in their whole visit there is only one single thing that concerns us here, and that is that Randi, after a kind reception and good entertainment, when she was sitting with her daughter’s child on her knee, began rocking it and crooning something—and what she crooned was the Bridal March. Her daughter clasped her hands in wonder and delight, but controlled herself at once and kept silence; Hans offered Endrid more to drink, which he declined; but this was on both sides only an excuse for exchanging a look.
[Footnote 1: The old superstition that every man is followed by a “Vardoeger” (an invisible animal, resembling him in character) is still common among the peasants.]
Ella was generally known as the girl with the plait. But, thick as the plait was, if it had belonged to any one less shapely, less blonde, less sprightly, hardly any one would have noticed it; the merry life which it led behind her would have passed unobserved, and that, although it was the thickest plait which any one in the little town had ever boasted. Perhaps it looked even thicker than it really was, because Ella herself was little. It is not necessary to give its exact length, but it reached below her waist; a long way below it. Its colour was doubtful but inclined a little to red, though people in the town generally called it light, and we will accept their dictum without going into the question of half-tones. Her face was noticeable for its white skin, pretty shape, and classic profile; she had a small, full mouth, and eyes of unusual frankness, a trim little figure, but with rather short legs, so that in order to get over the ground as fast as it was her nature to do, her feet had to move very quickly. She was quick, indeed, in everything which she undertook, and that no doubt was why the plait was busier than plaits are wont to be.