The Road Leads On, by Knut Hamsun

Chapter Twenty-Eight

All was going swimmingly.

August had taken a grip on himself and was busy again; no one should say of him that he was not master of his tender feelings. The day he saw the rowboat carted up to the lake he could feel he had accomplished no small matter. And in the evening, to be sure, he did snatch an opportunity to stroll out to South Parish, but that didn’t mean anything; it was really something in the nature of a mistake. He suddenly found himself standing outside Tobias’ house, but, as he met no one, saw no one in the window, he returned home. The devil and all if he would go seeking people out! If they had no need for him, he had no need for them — after all, a man is a man!

He happened to remember that Boldemand and his comrades were idle, so he sent for them and put them to work drilling holes and cementing into place the iron pickets at the two danger points along the new road. This meant another strenuous day for him, obliged as he was to lay out the lines to be followed and to remain the whole time with the men — though at the end of the day they had no more than made a beginning at the place up near the lodge. August was weary when quitting time came, but even so, he indulged in a little trip out to South Parish. With him he carried a package — only ten yards of edging lace such as ladies sew on their nightgowns — so in truth he was on urgent business. This time both Tobias and his wife came out to greet him and to invite him into the house, but, as Cornelia was not at home, August merely handed over the package with a word or two and left. A man is a man.

However, Hendrik was already dashing hither and yon on that new bicycle of his and had done no end of showing off for the neighbours. It was likewise a matter of common knowledge by this time that he was buying up sheep on August’s account and, with that, his star had shot so far into the ascendancy that Benjamin’s was left wholly in shadow. A regular little toiler, that Hendrik! He bought sheep and kept a level head on his shoulders, used up one thousand after another and in the end, August could see no reason for believing that the Gypsy had been a more efficient purchasing agent.

And, whatever could be the cause, Sunday came and in church no banns were uttered for Cornelia and Benjamin.

Yes, in truth it must be said that all was going swimmingly, unless one were to except the misfortune of Lawyer Pettersen, who had lost his mind, for in all other respects fate was kind indeed to the people of Segelfoss. August was a rich and highly respected man, the Consul had received a tremendous order from that keen little traveler of his down in Helgeland, Gammelmoderen was well again and was sitting up in bed, and the mountain was crawling with sheep. There was only that disaster to Lawyer Pettersen’s mind.

When Druggist Holm stepped ashore from his journey south, he was alone. The fresh sea air had failed to cure the lawyer of his mental condition and he had simply grown queerer in the head as the ship sailed on. At Folia he expressed a desire to turn back — it seemed he had failed to bring with him the correct measurements for those armour plates he would need. They would have to be twice as large. The druggist suggested getting them twice as thick instead, but the lawyer would not hear of such a thing. And upon their arrival in Trondhjem the druggist had been obliged to leave him in good hands.

No sweeping changes came about in the community, however, as the result of this unhappy circumstance; the man’s wife was well provided for and his legal practice could just as well be taken over by the aged sheriff. Moreover, there was the guiding mind of the magistrate forever ready with sage advice. No, the lawyer’s desuetude left no ill-effects other than an embarrassing situation with regard to that half-finished foundation for a new residence — what did Fru Pettersen want with a new house now, to say nothing of a bank with an armour-plate vault? It was immediately clear to her mind that she would have to move south to be near her husband. So the lot was put up for sale.

Of late the druggist had taken to visiting this lot; at all hours he was there, inspecting the cellar, the foundation walls as they stood, and every other feature — a noteworthy interest on his part. And when Gammelmoderen was up and about again, he even brought her there to see and together they would talk and nod, as though they had something in common. At length Vendt of the hotel joined them, and then there were three in the party. Vendt of the hotel was so blessed with ideas; without him the two others would have come to a sound agreement at the very start and thus been deprived of their delightfully frequent walks out to see the lot.

But there was another who was also displaying something of an interest in the lot — namely, Postmaster Hagen. But the visits of this gentleman were wholly secret in nature and he never brought his wife along. He might come late of an evening, measure the wall and take full stock of the surroundings, the background, the setting, note down a few figures and at length quit the place as surreptitiously as he had arrived. Now what in the world did the postmaster have in mind? He couldn’t purchase the lot and put up a house there, could he? Hm, what could a postmaster at Segelfoss buy! Possibly later, were he to land a better position and earn a better income. But now —? The truth must have been that the artist in him had suddenly discovered right there beneath his very nose a most fitting subject for his talent and he had lost no time in availing himself of the opportunity. For here were five lovely aspens and a brook. In the course of a dry summer, the brook would shrivel up until it was no more than a demure little trickle of water — a very infant of a brook — but the point was, it never dried up completely. And that meant that the five aspens might in time increase to many times their number — there might even be a little grove to sit in! And there was nothing in all the world more beautiful than aspens, bursting into bud in the springtime and continuing as objects of unfailing beauty throughout the summer with a mantle of silver upon them and a silken rustle to their foliage. There was no other tree in all Nordland which gave forth that silken sound and this came about from the fact that each leaf was as though fastened to the head of a pin and, on the slightest current of air, would tremble and brush its fellows. It was a miracle how these aspen leaves could vibrate and dance on the breeze without falling off, for it was really late autumn before they would begin turning yellow and falling to the ground, one leaf or many at a time, some spinning straight down, others fluttering hither and yon like dancing butterflies before coming to rest. . . . It was clear that Postmaster Hagen could have had no more than an esthetic interest in sketching the landscape, with a house and outbuildings there simply for effect. . . .

Druggist Holm had not been visiting the place much of late; it was as though he had pushed all thought of it from his mind. As it had been the intention of the Pettersens to put up a two-storey house, and as the cellar, already complete, covered quite some area, any building erected upon these foundations would necessarily have to be something of a mansion, as possibly the druggist had feared.

However, that was not the postmaster’s conception: his house was simply one long flowing storey, a masterpiece of beauty and proportion. But so secretively had he been working the whole time on his idea, it was amazing that on a certain evening he permitted himself to be surprised and caught with the dangerous sketch in his hand. And it was the druggist himself who had caught him.

“Good evening, Postmaster!” he said in greeting. “Glad to see some one who thinks he can afford to buy and build here! I had thought something of it myself, but I’ve given that up.”

There was a solution to the problem in the opinion of the postmaster.

“You think so? A house of this width would have to be a two-storey affair, don’t you think?”

They fell into conversation about the matter, and dashed if that stamp pedlar Hagen didn’t really have an idea! He suggested a three-foot concrete “half-deck” over the cellar along the entire rear wall which would lie outside the floor plan of the house and which could serve very well as a terrace. The house would thus be a whole yard narrower and could consist of a single storey.

“The devil you say!” exclaimed the druggist.

Possibly he could understand it better from this ground plan, the postmaster suggested, and apologized for its general inadequacy. It was merely a thing he had been fussing about with to entertain himself.

Holm was unable to make out much from the ground plan. It was clear enough, but it was on such a wretchedly reduced scale. “But I’m obliged to figure on the drugstore and those who will live in the house,” he said. “And here you have but one storey?”

Plenty of room! The postmaster had laid out the entire house, figured out the dimensions of each room, both large and small. And the druggist would see that he had not been stingy with space.

“Eight rooms!” cried Holm.

“Seven plus the kitchen. Is that too many? Two for your business and five for the occupants of the house. Or whatever you wish to use them for. The occupants will consist of, let us say, yourself, your pharmacist, your apprentice, your maid —”

“Phew! I didn’t realize I had such a large family! I say, Postmaster, you’re a magician! And do you even know what the house will look like when it’s finished?”

“Old and familiar, un-modern and un-American in style. A home to dwell in — comfort! Built for comfort! A broad entrance in the middle of the house, rich mouldings on both sides of and above the double door. Stone slab steps. Tile roof and a fan light as wide as the door below. . . . Everything ancient and familiar and pleasing to the eye!”

“But the drugstore?” asked Holm. “I have a little business, you know.”

“Gabled entrance here facing the town. Slab steps here, as well. A large porcelain sign plate announcing your business. I have here a little sketch,” said the postmaster.

Druggist Holm gasped for air. “My, what a beautiful house! Do you know, it’s charming. The aspens there, too — and the brook! Right in old style — beautiful! — yes, perfectly gorgeous!”

“But extremely sketchy. Just did it for fun, you know. I’m neither an architect nor a draughtsman, you understand.”

“Yes, by Heaven, you are both!” vowed the druggist. “It wouldn’t take so much to build, did you say?”

The postmaster produced a little estimate covering house and out-building. The devil of a fellow, that Hagen! He had thought of everything, even a conduit to bring water from the brook!

“With pleasure” he loaned the druggist his plans.

“There’s someone I’d like to show them to,” said the druggist. “To my pharmacist,” he said. . . .

It appeared as though there were something pretty definite between Gammelmoderen and the druggist. They were less and less careful to conceal the moments they spent together and had again taken to visiting the building lot in each other’s company, and there they now stood, pointing about in the plans and agreeing heartily over one thing or another. Possibly Holm was the less confident of the two. “The day will come when we’ll have to explain our position,” he said.

Gammelmoderen smiled at this. “I’ve already told Juliet,” she said.

“You have? What did she say?”

“Juliet? Oh, she’s so sensible.”

“But what do you suppose the Consul will say?”

“He won’t say anything. We are really so close, he and I. You may be certain that Gordon will be the first one to drink a glass with us when we return.”

“I could use that glass right now — that one or another! Suppose you go down to the hotel and wait for me there!” Holm had so many matters to arrange before their departure. He called on the pastor to pick up a few papers and he called on the magistrate to offer a reasonable price for Pettersen’s lot. On his way back he met August and halted him with a cry of joy: “Hey, there, the very man I wanted to see!”

Oh yes, August is always in great demand. . . .

He was just returning home after a most enjoyable visit with the doctor and his wife. He had been in high feather and had given free play to his tongue, for none other than little Esther had been his audience; moreover, he was now rich and no longer bowed down and he could afford to swagger a bit and spin a yarn or two. The doctor, as was to be expected, had inquired about his sheep business and August had reported an enormous upswing — he had already worn out one purchasing agent and had taken on a new one to fill his place and he was at that very moment in need of help in that office of his in town — such a mighty mass of sheep as he had — both mutton sheep and shear sheep — no laughing matter! But he was not alone interested in these paltry few thousands of sheep, he said; he was likewise interested in a few farms he found he would have to buy — not many, only a few small estates, ten in all, in the event that things were to turn out as he hoped where a certain person was concerned —

“Where are the boys?” asked the doctor, softly.

“I don’t know,” replied his wife.

“Yes, that’s a mighty enterprise of yours there, August!” said the doctor. “And here I’ve just crippled myself buying a mere motorcycle.”

“But there’s quite a difference between that and science and medicine and doctoring and all that!”

“But ten farms!”

“I’ve promised them,” said August. — After all, they didn’t amount to so much; landed estates thereabouts had no great worth. The eye was deceptive. He had been accustomed to other things abroad — fruit farms and cattle ranges like nothing this part of the world had ever seen. —“They are like those you read about in fairy tales,” he added.

“I can’t understand what’s become of the boys, can you, Esther?”

“No,” Fru Esther replies. Oh, her first thought is no longer for those boys of hers now — she is interested in what August is saying and is anxious to hear more.

The doctor turns to August again. He must have got rid of a devil of a lot of money by this time, he supposed?

Oh yes. He had paid out some money, and that was not to be denied. But he had got value in return for it. There now, for example, was a mountain literally loaded down with sheep.

But then the day would come when he’d have to borrow on that value?

August felt himself compelled to smile at such a puerile question. Yes, of course. But what else did the world in general do but borrow and loan on recognized value? It was this which constituted business enterprise and capital turnover.

No, the doctor was unable to comprehend. It was too deep for him.

“But why must you always understand everything, Karsten?” asked his wife, somewhat impatiently.

August is off at a gallop: No, this little business of his was nothing when compared with the enterprises with which such magnates as that Rockefeller and that Rothschild were wrestling. The doctor ought to have seen the sheep farms, the seining outfits and the fisheries operated by those two gentlemen! Pardon him if they didn’t have private graveyards just for their own families and servants and office secretaries! August had once called upon that Rothschild and there was one interview he’d never forget. —“Why, Lord bless your soul!” he said. “There were a hundred and fifty men with revolvers in their hands standing there to guard the doors!”

“But you got past them all right, I suppose?”

“No, they didn’t bother me any,” said August. “I had seen more dangerous warriors and brigands than those lads, and, you see, I had a revolver myself. So if any of them had started in shooting they wouldn’t have lived to grow old. No, they were honest fellows, and it was only that they had a lot of gold and were trying to show off. But I had met both big admirals and generals before, so I wasn’t impressed by the likes of them. What was my business? they asked me. ‘I’ll tell that to that chief of yours,’ I said. Ay, so they took me to their chief and he was fixed up even grander than they were, with feathers and pearls all over him. But I had seen both presidents and kings before and I didn’t think much of him. ‘What do you want with that Rothschild?’ he asked me. ‘I want to sell him a big diamond I got down in a country called Peru,’ I said.”

“Was that true?” asked the doctor.

August, with a trace of annoyance: “Was it true! Say, I’m always pretty sure before I make a statement! And besides, I couldn’t very well go to that Rothschild with stuff I had made up, could I!”

“Did they let you in?”

“Naturally. I walked right in to see the man, bowed and told him what I wanted. And a stately fellow he was to talk to, too, just like any other officer of the crown. ‘Let me see that diamond!’ he said to me. Ay, and he bought it right there on the spot. He wasn’t a fellow to beat me down on my price, he just took out his wallet and paid me. And you can imagine what kind of a wallet he had, too! If we took and stuffed our own wallets with newspapers along with five or six decks of cards, even then they wouldn’t be as thick as the one that Rothschild had.”

“But I suppose it shrank considerably after he had paid you for the diamond?”

August bit at this: “Ay, that it did. It shriveled up to nothing at all. For it was a thumping sum of money he paid me.”

“How much could such a diamond be worth?”

“Oh,” said August, slowly. “Oh, to tell the truth, I couldn’t exactly say. All I know is that the money I got for that diamond is enough to take care of me in my old age.”

“Oh, so this isn’t the money you won in a lottery?”

“Certainly not!” said August, spurning the notion. “What would that be to take up in the mountains and start a tremendous sheep ranch with?”

At this point the doctor gets up and goes to the door to see if he can locate his sons. “I’m beginning to feel a bit anxious,” he said. “How about you, Esther?”

“Yes,” answered Fru Esther, absently.

There sat Esther from Polden listening to one of August’s cock-and-bull stories. She, too, might have been longing for her sons to be present to hear it, but she was too deeply interested herself and refused to go out and look for them lest she miss a word. Was she such a human nonentity then, so utterly fatuous? No, she was by no means a nonentity. She was beautiful and charming and these were positive qualities. And she was capable in so many ways — capable in the kitchen and in the house and in the cellar, and capable she was in the bedroom. Esther? Blind, sweet and wild in a bedroom. But there she now sat. No one in the world could tell such fabulous stories as that landsman of hers from Polden. It is possible that she didn’t believe a word he uttered, but isn’t it true that folk also read fairy tales without having to believe them? August’s words were different from others she had to listen to. What did she hear from the girls in the kitchen? What did even the doctor have to entertain her with? Compared with August’s magnificent untruths, mere truth was dry and tedious.

As for August himself, there he sat with plenty of wind in his sails. He had been in excellent spirits all day; the air was bright and invigorating and all was going swimmingly: much money had gone out and many sheep had come in, he had the best of hopes for a certain young lady in South Parish, he enjoyed the respect of one and all, and his clothes were lined with silk. And it was Esther for whom his tongue was wagging; he would not have opened his mouth for another, for no other person could listen as she did, her face tense with excitement, her breast held high. A story was a story for her; never did her mind demand less exaggeration, less use of the miraculous — in the huts back home in Polden folk knew about such things as Bilcal’s Comet and the girl who jumped in the sea. Oh, on those long winter evenings, how full those huts in Polden had been of tales and songs of mystery. . . .

“Ay, and it’s all the world you’ve seen, you August!” said little Esther. “And such fun as it is to listen to you. I mind the day when you were home in Polden, how much you found to do, how much you started and arranged for.”

“Polden?” said August. “No, that wasn’t anything. But it was too bad about the lawyer here losing his wits and all. He was after me to form a company with him and open up a bank here in town. That would have been easy for me, too, for I know all about banks and the like.”

“Ay, but August, you’ve already so much in your hands! I can’t make out how you can take care of as many things as you do!”

“I’m used to it,” he said.

There they sat alone, those two, with no one to look out for, with no one to watch their speech. Fru Esther became talkative at once. She had long since had nothing to complain about, but August was so pleasant to talk with, and they were two old friends from Polden.

“Ay, and everything is well with you now, I suppose?” he asked.

Yes, she supposed that was true. Not exactly as well as right after the doctor had come home from Trondhjem, but that was not to be expected.

August surmised from her tone that their great joy and passion had cooled considerably, whatever the reason might be. He said: “So I hear the doctor’s got him a motorcycle?”

Yes, so he had. But there was nothing grand about that; no great blessing had been visited upon the house as a result of that. And in thus wise were things tending, more and more. He never spoke of that blemish of his any more now, he never repeated that it was strange she still wanted him for her husband even though he had a glass eye in his head. But then, what other remark could she have made, aside from that already tiresome one that she’d have had him even if he were blind? No, he had grown accustomed to having but one eye now and had come to regard himself as perfect as ever before.

“Ay, isn’t that the way things go!” said August, simply to put in a word.

And now he had got that motorcycle of his and his desire was that she should be anxious about him whenever he went out with it. But was there anything dangerous about riding a motorcycle?

“I should say not!” snorted August. “It’s only that he’s a coward.”

Yes, but was that any reason why she should sit up and worry about him? But that was what he wanted, it seemed. And then she had been told she was not to go to the Segelfoss Store and trade with a certain clerk — the one with the curly hair. No, he simply wouldn’t stand for it. And then on another occasion she had met the magistrate’s new secretary on the street, and he had put his foot down on that, as well.

“Isn’t it just as I say!” exclaimed August. “I know a lot of people put together like that. But that’s nothing for you to worry about.”

You see, she didn’t have many to talk to and visit with, God knew, so he really might have forgiven her these incidents, but he was so quick to judge. They hadn’t gone off into any bushes together or put their arms around each other, for such would have been both a sin and an act of shame and such had never happened. But that was the way he was. And even though he had that glass eye which he had to take out and wash, she had always taken pains to praise it and say that it was in every way as pretty as his own eye. For he had always said that it was her fault he had got it and thus become disfigured for the rest of his days, so the least thing she could do would be to regret it. And yes, it was true what he said, for it had been she herself who had sent for Aase that time, so the fault was really hers. And it was the same thing with the motorcycle: he would keep on repeating that she didn’t care what happened to him out on the roads and that she would even be glad if he were to lose the other eye as well. Now hadn’t that been an abominable thing to say?

“You wouldn’t want me to talk to him, would you?” asked August.

“No no no!” she cried in alarm. “No, you must never mention a word to him or even give out that you have noticed anything!”

“For that would be the least of my tricks!”

“Yes, but that would be quite out of the question, for that would only make things worse afterward. And things really aren’t so bad, after all. He’s good to me, too, sometimes, and says: ‘You and me, Esther, you know!’ Oh, if only he’d let me get in a family way and have a little girl, I’d never say a word!”

“He won’t let you, did you say? As though he could stop you!”

“Hm, that’s what you say! For some years ago he refused to have any children and now he doesn’t want us to have more. It would be such fun for me to have a little girl or even two, beside the boys. But he doesn’t want me to. Ay, and I’ve always done everything to please him just as I’m supposed to do.”

August can stand to hear no more. “You’re not supposed to do anything!” he shouts. “There’s just one thing you’re supposed to do and that’s to get in a family way! Who ever heard of such a thing! Isn’t it the way of the world and the Lord’s own commandment that we shall multiply and replenish the earth! What was that thing He said to the Jews and the rest of us anyway! . . . Don’t you know how to work it?” he asked, more quietly.

“Oh yes, I know!” said Fru Esther, taking heart. “And I’ve thought so often of disobeying him, but I’ve never dared. He ought to know that.”

“Know what? What of it? It’ll be too late when he knows it, won’t it? Let him jabber away all day long, it’ll all be just too late.”

“Do you know what, August —” says Fru Esther suddenly —“now that you mention it, it doesn’t seem to me to be such a serious matter, after all, and that’s just what I’m going to do next time.”

They sat there talking the matter over pleasantly together when the doctor returned. He had not found the boys.

“That’s too bad,” said August, rising from his chair. “Then I won’t be seeing the little fellows this time.”

“What’s your hurry? Can’t you sit a while longer?”

“I’ve been sitting here too long as it is. I really just stopped in on my way to the telegraph office. It’s about that sloop of the Consul’s — I’m getting an engine for it.”

“For the sloop?”

“Ay, one of the same kind of engines as that Vanderbilt uses on those fish sloops of his.”

He was pleased with himself upon leaving the doctor’s house, pleased because he had been ready with a word of advice for Fru Esther in her hour of need. Such a husband as she had! He’d better have a care!

It is at this point that Druggist Holm captures him.

“It just so happens,” says the druggist, “that I have become the owner of that building lot of the lawyer’s. What do you say to that?”

“Glad to hear it. Are you going to build?”

“Yes, if I can get those masons of yours to complete the foundation for me. What do you think?”

“There might be a way for that.”

“Ah,” said Holm, “if you aren’t the man to have on one’s side! Have you time to step down to the hotel with me? There’s some one there who will be more than pleased to see you.”

They arrived at the hotel together and August was warmly received — Gammelmoderen cried out as soon as she saw him: “How splendid of you to come, Altmulig!”

“Well, I bought the lot!” said Hohn.

“Skoal!” said Vendt.

“And August is going to lend me those masons of his!”

“Of course he is,” said Gammelmoderen. “He’s always so splendid to ask a favour of!”

There she sat with something special about the way she was dressed. August realized from one thing or another that something was afoot. However, he asked no questions. He glanced over the postmaster’s plans, nodded to the general idea but shook his head when he came to the question of that so-called “half-deck.” Oh, August was no tyro in the field of building houses; he had both poured walls and built houses long years before, and he regarded this “half-deck” arrangement as anything but a practical solution to the problem at hand, for there would have to be a row of pillars to support it.

“What shall we do, then?” asked Holm.

“Knock down the rear cellar wall and set up another three feet further in. The materials are there; the only cost will be labour. But you’d also have to figure on labour cost to lay on that half deck supported by pillars. It’s as broad as it is long, when it comes to that.”

“I see. However, I shouldn’t like to change anything and run the risk of offending the postmaster.”

Ho, August had a way out of that situation: it would take the men only a few hours to knock out the rear wall and then, when the postmaster arrived on the scene, it could be said that the masons had been stupid and had misunderstood the plans! August did not smile; he was practical enough to desire not to tread on anyone’s toes. The postmaster’s plans for a one-storey house would be unaffected, all the dimensions would be his, the other three cellar walls would remain intact.

Hohm bowed to August’s superior knowledge and Gammelmoderen simply sat there and was proud of Altmulig.

“We won’t go down till we hear the whistle —” said Vendt. “Oh, the devil, why didn’t I say it before —! But even so we’ll have plenty of time to finish our drinks.”

On their way down to the pier it became clear to August that they were not merely to meet the steamer — they were actually taking the ship! Still he asked no questions, did not even inquire after the wound in Gammelmoderen’s breast, as she appeared to have recovered entirely. When Holm hinted about being somewhat nervous and uneasy, she laughingly replied: “No, why so? Let them be shocked! And if there are signs of consternation after we have left, you can be sure that Altmulig will explain the situation.”

Fru Juliet has come down to the steamer and has stationed herself some distance off to one side. She did not come by motor down to the pier; without regard for her condition, she had come all the way from the Manor on foot lest she arouse any undue suspicion. When the two ladies spy each other, Gammelmoderen clasps her hands over her breast and appears quite overcome. Then both smile at each other and nod back and forth many times.

The Consul makes his routine appearance. “What’s this!” he exclaims. “You here, Juliet?”

“Yes, the weather seemed so fine.”

“Exceedingly incautious of you, my dear. Mother’s here too, I observe. Are you down here with someone that’s leaving?”

“Yes, your mother is by all means with someone that’s leaving.”

The ship threw off the mail and was ready to cast off at once. No incoming freight from the north and no shipments of salmon for the south this time. Suddenly Gammelmoderen is seen to step aboard and disappear down into the saloon. In a few moments two gentlemen follow her aboard.

The Consul becomes aware of August’s presence and signals to him. Offering the excuse that he is frightfully busy, he asks August to drive the ladies home. Oh, but the Consul could hardly be said to be really busy; it was only that he had wished to let those aboard hear that he had a chauffeur. “I say, Altmulig!” he called out. “You may drive the ladies home! Hm — where did mother disappear to?”

“She went aboard, I believe,” replies Fru Juliet.

“Aboard? Yes, but they’ve taken in the gangplank, haven’t they? Is she sailing?”

“I believe so.”

“Altmulig, did she say anything to you about this?”

August mumbles: “Just for a little trip — it wasn’t anything —”

“All right, then. Come, Juliet,” said the Consul. “I believe I’ll drive you home myself. Coming along, Altmulig?”

“Thanks, I’ve a matter of business. I must take a run out to South Parish. I’ve a man to see.”

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55