By spring he had earned so much money



S o had then married Lars before the time of herring capture and moved to the new house. Now they drove out together into the howling autumn storms, Lars and Kords and Peter with Christian Matthies. The autumn was stormy, but he stayed warm for a long time. That’s why the fishermen from outside could not set their gillnets, and the fishermen in the bay had a good merit. But when the first frost came and the gillnets closed the bay again, the difference was palpable, and the fishermen needed angry words.

Lars had gone to the Tavern a couple of times with Kords instead of Mr Asmussen or the Linds. Peter did not say anything about it, but he walked around Lars with a scowl. In the Tavern, Lars usually sat with his immobile face between the thick tobacco clouds, almost as if he were asleep, and rarely said a word.

When they hit the table with their fists and loudly cursed at the fishermen from outside, he had once straightened himself up: “That is because you do not agree here can join us. Elsewhere the fishermen have associations, they make things out among themselves. ”

“Oh, what, unions,” said the Red Trollsen, “to be told that I must fish today, whether I like it or not, and no longer be my own master.”

“Such an unification would have to be that where everyone could go their own way calmly and they protected each other against the compulsion from the outside. Since they can probably together protect their own interests. ”

The red trollsen shook his head, but they did not dare say anything; for Lars’s quiet manner and his secure, quiet progress compelled them all respect.

By spring he had earned so much money that he could buy a piece of potato land behind the house. He now walked upright again and his eyes went straight ahead satisfied. People grew more and more confident about his joinery and woodwork, and he had to build fish boxes and repair the damaged boats. If he worked for them that way, they got to know him better over time and always got [p. 189]more respect for his steadily-powerful work. And when the year was up, the work had grown steadily. And for whom he had worked, they often talked him into coming to the tavern after working with them. And because he had persuaded her, and they had looked forward to his work, they thought they were entitled to him, and were as it were proud of his sensible speech. But her applause drew the others along. So it happened that many listened to Lars with great confidence this year. And Lars noticed it well, and it was as if all this gave him strength. And there was a joy in him, that the thoughts were easier and happier in him. He made plans from a great fishing union he wanted to start. Even though the thoughts and plans had no hand or foot so far,

But Lars had a sorrow; for as the months rolled by, grandfather seemed to take less and less share in his actions.

Grandfather’s deep eyes looked under the [p. 190] heavy, white brows out in Lars’ new ways, but he said nothing. He was almost silent now, and when he spoke, it was a half-murmur. Since he did not go out to sea anymore, he was sitting at the window of the back room, where Mother’s loom stood, and gazed silently out at the sea. He lowered his white bushy head to his chest, but there was still a waking, thoughtful life in his eyes. But it almost seemed as if all the new things that had come into Lars’s life had not penetrated into the almost indifferent silence in which Grandfather now lived.

Sometimes Lars squatted on the stool standing there with his grandfather and tried to tell him slowly and clearly. Then the old man let his thoughtful eyes glide over the long, serious fisherman. He wiped his mouth and beard with his heavy, big hand. But then, as was his custom, he looked out the window again and gave no answer. And Lars stood up, and when he turned, there was a deep crease between his eyebrows.

But then again it had come to pass that Grandfather woke up to something that concerned Lars.

As the green autumn light began to flood the world with clarity, Mother Stina entered the back room with a bright glow over her silent face. And she gently placed Lars’ little son in Grandfather’s arms. And it was as if it was wet in Grandfather’s old eyes, and he started muttering to himself, and it sounded like a blessing. Lars stood by and looked quietly at the two. He said nothing else, but from then on he wanted to bring the child to the old man frequently. And Grandfather held it in his arms, and sometimes he mumbled words to him. And little Klaus was quiet for a long time in grandfather’s arms and slept there almost quieter than his mother at home.

Lars also often sat thoughtfully in his old place. And from time to time he exchanged a word with Mother Stina, and on Mother Stina’s face was the rare, bright glow when she had him and little Klaus under the thatched roof.

Then it was a spring morning. There was a lot of cleaning in Lars’ house. Trina had brought the child over to Matron Stina early in the morning.

The sun was still low and sent [S. 192] sparkling bundles of rays out of the mighty clouds, over sea and land. The huge, swelling clouds were reddish, and from the land where a shadow fell over the sea, it was as if overcast with blue veils.

Grandfather sat at the window, his child in his arms, looking at Lars and Peter, their boats not far from the shore.

After a while, when mother Stina looked into the back of the room, she wondered how deeply her grandfather’s chin had sunk to the child. She looked attentively. –

The thoughtful light was gone in the old eyes.

In the morning sun, Grandfather’s steadfast soul had wandered across the sea into eternity. –

* *
*

When the place at the window was empty and the deep, thoughtful look never met him, Lars felt a great bleak all around. It pulled him back to Jakob Lind. Sometimes he sat there quietly and introspectively, and little Frau Lind did not quite know what to do with him.

But when he was alone with Jacob or with Karen, he spoke a little. And he told her about grandfather and his quiet way. How he always stayed the same and went his own way, without faltering, whether it was uphill or downhill.

“Such people should have them as guides, the workers,” Lars said, becoming more zealous. “Such people from their midst who know and respect them and who stand on firm, firm feet, people of the ordinary, who have already proven themselves. You must be running after somebody. Now she is the one who shouts the loudest; but here between our quiet people it would have to be different. ”

And Karen nodded, and her wide, bright eyes answered him.

Lars had found a substitute for grandfather’s silent understanding and was happier about his work.

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