Pan, by Knut Hamsun

XXVII

The Baron is going away. Well and good: I will load my gun, go up into the hills, and fire a salvo in his honour and Edwarda’s. I will bore a deep hole in a rock and blow up a mountain in his honour and Edwarda’s. And a great boulder shall roll down the hillside and dash mightily into the sea just as his ship is passing by. I know a spot — a channel down the hillside — where rocks have rolled before and made a clean road to the sea. Far below there is a little boat-house.

“Two mining drills,” I say to the smith.

And the smith whets two drills . . .

Eva has been put to driving back and forth between the mill and the quay, with one of Herr Mack’s horses. She has to do a man’s work, transporting sacks of corn and flour. I meet her; her face is wonderfully fresh and glowing. Dear God, how tender and warm is her smile! Every evening I meet her.

“You look as if you had no troubles, Eva, my love.”

“You call me your love! I am an ignorant woman, but I will be true to you. I will be true to you if I should die for it. Herr Mack grows harsher and harsher every day, but I do not mind it; he is furious, but I do not answer him. He took hold of my arm and went grey with fury. One thing troubles me.”

“And what is it that troubles you?” “Herr Mack threatens you. He says to me: ‘Aha, it’s that lieutenant you’ve got in your head all the time!’ I answer: ‘Yes, I am his.’ Then he says: ‘Ah, you wait. I’ll soon get rid of him.’ He said that yesterday.”

“It doesn’t matter; let him threaten . . . ” And with closed eyes she throws her arms about my neck. A quiver passes through her. The horse stands waiting.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:38