“So we’ll go to the wedding when the Icelanders return; eh, my dear children?”
Gaud hung her head. “Iceland,” the “Leopoldine”—so it was all real! while she had already forgotten the existence of those terrible things that arose in their way.
“When the Icelanders return.”
How long that anxious summer waiting would seem!
Yann drummed on the floor with his foot feverishly and rapidly. He seemed to be in a great hurry to be off and back, and was telling the days to know if, without losing time, they would be able to get married before his sailing. So many days to get the official papers filled and signed; so many for the banns: that would only bring them up to the twentieth or twenty-fifth of the month for the wedding, and if nothing rose in the way, they could have a whole honeymoon week together before he sailed.
“I’m going to start by telling my father,” said he, with as much haste as if each moment of their lives were now numbered and precious.
PART IV — YANN’S FIRST WEDDING
CHAPTER I—THE COURTING BY THE SEA
All sweethearts like to sit on the bench at their cottage door, when night falls.
Yann and Gaud did that likewise. Every evening they sat out together before the Moans’ cottage, on the old granite seat, and talked love.
Others have the spring-time, the soft shadow of the trees, balmy evenings, and flowering rosebushes; they had only the February twilight, which fell over the sea-beaten land, strewn with eel-grass and stones. There was no branch of verdure above their heads or around them; nothing but the immense sky, over which passed the slowly wandering mists. And their flowers were brown sea-weeds, drawn up from the beach by the fishers, as they dragged their nets along.
The winters are not very severe in this part of the country, being tempered by currents of the sea; but, notwithstanding that, the gloaming was often laden with invisible icy rain, which fell upon their shoulders as they sat together. But they remained there, feeling warm and happy. The bench, which was more than a hundred years old, did not seem in the least surprised at their love, having seen many other pairs in its time; it had listened to many soft words, which are always the same on the lips of the young, from generation to generation; and it had become used to seeing lovers sit upon it again, when they returned to it old and trembling; but in the broad day, this time, to warm themselves in the last sun they would see.
From time to time Granny Moan would put her head out at the door to have a look at them, and try to induce them to come in. “You’ll catch cold, my good children,” said she, “and then you’ll fall ill—Lord knows, it really isn’t sensible to remain out so late.”
Cold! they cold? Were they conscious of anything else besides the bliss of being together.