He did what he had never done before: went straight up to her, drew her arms down, embraced and kissed her, first on the forehead, then on the cheeks, eyes, mouth, ears, neck, wherever he could; all without a word.
He was quite beside himself.
“Mad boy,” she gasped; “des egards, mais Rafael, donc!—Que—” And she threw herself on his breast with her arms round his neck.
“Now you will forsake me, Rafael,” she said, crying.
“Forsake you, mother! No one can unite the two wings like Helene.”
And now he began a panegyric on her, without measure, and unconscious that he said the same thing over and over again. When he became quieter, and she was permitted to breathe, she begged to be alone: she was used to being alone. In the evening she came down to him, and said that, first of all, they ought to go to Christiania, and find an expert to examine the cement-bed and learn what further should be done. Her cousin, the Government Secretary, would be able to advise them, and some of her other relations as well. Most of them were engineers and men of business. He was reluctant to leave Hellebergene just now, he said, she must understand that; besides, they had agreed not to go away until the autumn. But she maintained that this was the surest way to win Helene; only she begged that, with regard to her, things should remain as they were till they had been to Christiania. On this point she was inflexible, and it was so arranged.
As was their custom, they packed up at once. They drove over to the parsonage that same evening to say good-bye. They were all very merry there: on Fru Kaas’s side because she was uneasy, and wished to conceal the fact by an appearance of liveliness; on the Dean’s part because he really was in high spirits at the discovery which promised prosperity both to Hellebergene and the district; on his wife’s because she suspected something. The most hearty good wishes were therefore expressed for their journey.
Rafael had availed himself of the general preoccupation to exchange a few last words with Helene in a corner. He obtained a half-promise from her that when he wrote she would answer; but he was careful not to say that he had spoken to his mother. He felt that Helene would be startled by a proceeding which came quite naturally to him.
As they drove away, he waved his hat as long as they remained in sight. The waving was returned, first by all, but finally by only one.
The summer evening was light and warm, but not light enough, not warm enough, not wide enough; there did not seem room enough in it for him; it was not bright enough to reflect his happiness. He could not sleep, yet he did not wish to talk; companionship or solitude were alike distasteful to him. He thought seriously of walking or rowing over to the parsonage again and knocking at the window of Helene’s room. He actually went down to the boathouse