When it became known that two of his relations who were conversant with the subject, together with a distinguished geologist and a superintendent of mines, had been down to Hellebergene with Rafael, and had found that his statements were well grounded, he was captured and borne off in triumph twenty times a day. It was trying work, but he was always in the vein, and ready to take the rough with the smooth. In all respects the young madcap was up to the standard, so that day and night passed in a ceaseless whirl, which left every one but himself breathless. The glorious month at Hellebergene had done good. He was drawn into endless jovial adventures, so strange, so audacious, that one would have staked one’s existence that such things were impossible in Christiania. But great dryness begets thirst. He was in the humour of a boy who has got possession of a jam-pot, whose mouth, nose, and hands are all besmirched. It is thus that ladies like children best; then they are the sweetest things in the world.
Like a tall, full-grown mountain-ash covered by a flock of starlings, he was the centre of a fluttering crowd. It only remained for him to be deified, and this too came to pass. One day he visited several factories, giving a hint here, another there (he had great practical knowledge and a quick eye) and every hint was of value.
At last in a factory of something the same description as the one in France where he had been the means of economising half the motive power, he suggested a similar plan; he saw on the spot how it could be effected. This became the subject of much conversation. It grew and grew, it rose like the sea after days of westerly gales. This new genius, but little over twenty, would surely some day be the wonder of the country. It soon became the fashion for every manufacturer to invite him to visit his factory, and it was only after they were convinced that they had a god among them that it became serious, for enthusiasm in a manufacturer strikes every one. The ladies only waited for this important moment to go at a bound from the lowest degree of sense to the fifth degree of madness. Their eyes danced on him like sunlight on polished metal. He himself paid little heed to degree or temperature; he was too happy in his genial contentment, and too indifferent as well. One thing which greatly helped to bring him to the right pitch was the family temperament, for it was so like his own. He was a Ravn through and through, with perhaps a little grain of Kaas added. He was what they called pure Ravn, quite unalloyed. He seemed to them to have come straight from the fountain-head of their race, endowed with its primitive strength. This strong physical attribute had perhaps made his abilities more fertile, but the family claimed the abilities, too, as their own.