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Marie grubbe


MARIEGRUBBE

(1876)

ByJensPeterJacobsen
(1847-1885)

TranslatedfromtheDanishby
HannaAstrupLarsen

NewYork:Boni-Liveright,1917


CHAPTERI
THEairbeneaththelindencrownshadflowninacrossbrownheathand
parchedmeadow.Itbroughttheheatofthesunandwasladenwithdust
fromtheroad,butinthecool,thickfoliageithadbeencleansedand
freshened,whiletheyellowlindenflowershadgivenitmoistureand
fragrance.Intheblissfulhavenofthegreenvaultitlayquivering
inlightwaves,caressedbythesoftlystirringleavesandtheflutter

ofwhite-goldbutterflywings.

Thehumanlipsthatbreathedthisairwerefullandfresh;thebosom
itswelledwasyoungandslight.Thebosomwasslight,andthefoot
wasslight,thewaistsmall,theshapeslim,andtherewasacertain
leanstrengthaboutthewholefigure.Nothingwasluxuriantexceptthe
partlyloosenedhairofdullgold,fromwhichthelittledarkbluecap
hadslippeduntilithungonherbacklikeatinycowl.Otherwise
therewasnosuggestionoftheconventinherdress.Awide,
square-cutcollarwasturneddownoverafrockoflavenderhomespun,
andfromitsshort,slashedsleevesbillowedrufflesoffineHolland.
Abowofredribbonwasonherbreast,andhershoeshadredrosettes.



Herhandsbehindherback,herheadbentforward,shewentslowlyup
thepath,pickingherstepsdaintily.Shedidnotwalkinastraight
linebutmeandered,sometimesalmostrunningintoatreeatherleft,
thenagainseemingonthepointofstrollingoutamongthebushesto
herright.Nowandthenshewouldstop,shakethehairfromher
cheeks,andlookuptothelight.Thesoftenedglowgaveher
child-whitefaceafaintgoldensheenandmadetheblueshadowsunder
theeyeslessmarked.Thescarletofherlipsdeepenedtored-brown,
andthegreatblueeyesseemedalmostblack.Shewas
lovely—lovely!—astraightforehead,faintlyarchednose,short,
clean-cutupperlip,astrong,roundchinandfinelycurvedcheeks,
tinyears,anddelicatelypencilledeyebrows….

Shesmiledasshewalked,lightlyandcarelessly,thoughtofnothing,
andsmiledinharmonywitheverythingaroundher.Attheendofthe
path,shestoppedandbegantorockonherheel,firsttotheright,
thentotheleft,stillwithherhandsbehindherback,headheld
straight,andeyesturnedupward,asshehummedfitfullyintimewith
herswaying.

Twoflagstonesleddownintothegarden,whichlayglaringunderthe


cloudless,whitishbluesky.Theonlybitofshadehuggedthefeetof
theclippedboxhedge.Theheatstungtheeyes,andeventhehedge


seemedtoflashlightfromtheburnishedleaves.Theamberbush
traileditswhitegarlandsinandoutamongthirstybalsamines,
nightshade,gillyflowers,andpinks,whichstoodhuddlinglikesheep
intheopen.Thepeasandbeansflankingthelavenderborderwere
readytofallfromtheirtrelliswithheat.Themarigoldshadgivenup
thestruggleandstaredthesunstraightintheface,butthepoppies
hadshedtheirlargeredpetalsandstoodwithbaredstalks.

Thechildinthelindenlanejumpeddownthesteps,ranthroughthe
sun-heatedgardenwithheadloweredasonecrossesacourtinthe
rain,madeforatriangleofdarkyew-trees,slippedbehindthem,and
enteredalargearbor,arelicfromthedaysoftheBelows.Awide
circleofelmshadbeenwoventogetheratthetopasfarasthe
brancheswouldreach,andaframeworkofwithesclosedtheround
openinginthecentre.ClimbingrosesandItalianhoneysuckle,growing
wildinthefoliage,madeadensewall,butononesidetheyhad
failed,andthehopvinesplantedinsteadhadbutstrangledtheelms
withoutfillingthegap.



Twowhiteseahorsesweremountedatthedoor.Withinthearborstooda
longbenchandtablemadeofastoneslabwhichhadoncebeenlarge
andovalbutnowlayinthreefragmentsonthegroundwhileonlyone
smallpiecewasunsteadilypoisedonacorneroftheframe.Thechild
satdownbeforeit,pulledherfeetupunderheronthebench,leaned
back,andcrossedherarms.Sheclosedhereyesandsatquitestill.
Twofinelinesappearedonherforehead,andsometimesshewouldlift
hereyebrows,smilingslightly.

“Intheroomwiththepurplecarpetsandthegildedalcove,Griselda
liesatthefeetofthemargrave,buthespurnsher.Hehasjusttorn
herfromherwarmbed.Nowheopensthenarrow,round-archeddoor,and
thecoldairblowsinonpoorGriselda,wholiesonthefloorweeping,
andthereisnothingbetweenthecoldnightairandherwarm,white
bodyexceptthethin,thinlinen.Butheturnsheroutandlocksthe
dooronher.Andshepresseshernakedshoulderagainstthecold,
smoothdoorandsobs,andshehearshimwalkinginsideonthesoft
carpet,andthroughthekeyholethelightfromthescentedtaperfalls
andmakesalittlesunonherbarebreast.Andshestealsaway,and
goesdownthedarkstaircase,anditisquitestill,andshehears
nothingbutthesoftpatterofherownfeetontheice-coldsteps.


Thenshegoesoutintothesnow—no,it’srain,pouringrain,andthe
heavycoldwatersplashesonhershoulders.Hershiftclingstoher
body,andthewaterrunsdownherbarelegs,andhertenderfeetpress
thesoft,chillymudwhichoozesoutbesidethem.Andthewind—the
bushesscratchherandtearherfrock—butno,shehasn’tanyfrock
on—justastheytoremybrownpetticoat!Thenutsmustberipein
FastrupGrove—suchheapsofnutstherewereatViborgmarket!God
knowsifAnne’steethhavestoppedaching…No,No,Brynhild!—the
wildsteedcomesgalloping…BrynhildandGrimhild—QueenGrimhild
beckonstothemen,thenturns,andwalksaway.TheydraginQueen
Brynhild,andasquat,blackyokelwithlongarms—somethinglike
Bertelintheturnpikehouse—catchesherbeltandtearsitintwo,
andhepullsoffherrobeandherunderkirtle,andhishugeblack
handsbrushtheringsfromhersoftwhitearms,andanotherbig,
half-naked,brownandshaggychurlputshishairyarmaroundher
waist,andhekicksoffhersandalswithhisclumsyfeet,andBertel
windsherlongblacklocksaroundhishandsanddragsheralong,and
shefollowswithbodybentforward,andthebigfellowputshissweaty
palmsonhernakedbackandshovesherovertotheblack,fiery
stallion,andtheythrowherdowninthegraydustintheroad,and
theytiethelongtailofthehorsearoundherankles—



Thelinescameintoherforeheadagainandstayedtherealongtime.
Sheshookherheadandlookedmoreandmorevexed.Atlastsheopened
hereyes,halfrose,andglancedaroundherwearilyand
discontentedly.

Mosquitoesswarmedinthegapbetweenthehopvines,andfromthe
gardencamepuffsoffragrancefrommintandcommonbalm,mingling
sometimeswithawhiffofsow-thistleoranise.Adizzylittleyellow
spiderranacrossherhand,ticklingher,andmadeherjumpup.She
wenttothedoorandtriedtopickarosegrowinghighamongthe
leaves,butcouldnotreachit.Thenshebegantogathertheblossoms
oftheclimbingroseoutsideand,gettingmoreandmoreeager,soon
filledherskirtwithflowerswhichshecarriedintothearbor.She
satdownbythetable,tookthemfromherlap,andlaidoneuponthe
otheruntilthestonewashiddenunderafragrantcoverofpalerose.

Whenthelastflowerhadbeenputinitsplace,shesmoothedthefolds
ofherfrock,brushedofftheloosepetalsandgreenleavesthathad
caughtinthenap,andsatwithhandsinherlapgazingatthe
blossomingmass.



Thisbloomofcolor,curlinginsheenandshadow,whiteflushingto
redandredpalingtoblue,moistpinkthatisalmostheavy,and
lavenderlightaswaftedonair,eachpetalroundedlikeatinyvault,
softintheshadow,butgleaminginthesunwiththousandsoffine
lightpoints,withallitsfairblood-of-roseflowingintheveins,
spreadingthroughtheskin—andthesweet,heavyfragrancerisinglike
vaporfromthatrednectarthatseethesintheflower-cup….

Suddenlysheturnedbackhersleevesandlaidherbarearmsinthe
soft,moistcoolnessoftheflowers.Sheturnedthemroundandround
undertherosesuntiltheloosenedpetalsflutteredtotheground,
thenjumpedupandwithonemotionswepteverythingfromthetableand
wentoutintothegarden,pullingdownhersleevesasshewalked.With
flushedcheeksandquickenedstepshefollowedthepathtotheend,
thenskirtedthegardentowardtheturnpike.Aloadofhayhadjust
beenoverturnedandwasblockingthewaytothegate.Severalother
wagonshaltedbehindit,andshecouldseethebrownpolishedstickof
theoverseergleaminginthesunashebeattheunluckydriver.

Sheputherfingersinherearstoshutoutthesickeningsoundofthe


blows,rantowardthehouse,dartedwithintheopencellardoorand
slammeditafterher.

ThechildwasMarieGrubbe,thefourteen-year-olddaughterofSquire
ErikGrubbeofTjeleManor.

ThebluehazeoftwilightrestedoverTjele.Thefallingdewhadputa
stoptothehaymaking.Themaidswereinthestablemilkingwhilethe
menbusiedthemselvesaboutthewagonsandharnessintheshed.The
tenantfarmers,afterdoingtheirstintofworkforthesquire,were
standinginagroupoutsidethegate,waitingforthecalltosupper.

ErikGrubbestoodatanopenwindow,lookingoutintothecourt.The
horses,freedfromharnessandhalter,cameslowly,onebyone,from
thestableandwentuptothewateringtrough.Ared-cappedboywas
hardatworkputtingnewtinesinarake,andtwogreyhoundsplayed
aroundthewoodenhorseandthelargegrindstoneinonecornerofthe
yard.

Itwasgrowinglate.Everyfewminutesthemenwouldcomeoutofthe
stabledooranddrawback,whistlingorhummingatune.Amaid


carryingafullbucketofmilktrippedwithquick,firmstepsacross
theyard,andthefarmerswerestragglingin,asthoughtohastenthe
supperbell.Therattlingofplatesandtrenchersgrewlouderinthe
kitchen,andpresentlysomeonepulledthebellviolently,lettingout
twogroupsofrustynoteswhichsoondiedawayintheclatterof
woodenshoesandthecreakingofdoors.Inamomenttheyardwas
empty,exceptforthetwodogsbarkingloudlyoutthroughthegate.

ErikGrubbedrewinthewindowandsatdownthoughtfully.Theroomwas
knownasthewinterparlor,thoughitwasinfactusedalltheyear
roundfordiningroomandsittingroom,andwaspracticallytheonly
inhabitedpartofthehouse.Itwasalargeroomwithtwowindowsand
ahighoakpanelling.GlazedDutchtilescoveredthewallswitha
designofbluenosegaysonawhiteground.Thefireplacewassetwith
burnedbricks,andachestofdrawershadbeenplacedbeforeitasa
screenagainstthedraughtthatcameinwheneverthedoorwasopened.
Apolishedoaktablewithtworoundedleaveshangingalmosttothe
floor,afewhigh-backedchairswithseatsofleatherwornshiny,and
asmallgreencupboardsethighonthewall—thatwasalltherewasin
theparlor.



AsErikGrubbesatthereinthedusk,hishousekeeper,Anne
Jensdaughter,entered,carryinginonehandalightedcandleandin
theotheramugofmilkwarmfromtheudder.Placingthemugbefore
him,sheseatedherselfatthetable.Onelargeredhandstillheld
thecandlestick,andassheturneditroundandround,numerousrings
andlargebrilliantsglitteredonherfingers.

“Alack-a-day!”shegroaned.

“Whatnow?”askedErikGrubbeglancingup.

“Sure,Imaywellbetiredafterstewing‘roun’tillI’veneither
stren’thnorwitleft.”

“Well,‘tisbusytimes.Folkshavetoworkupheatinsummertositin
allwinter.”

“Busy—ay,butthere’sreasonineverythin’.Wheelsinditchan’coach
insplinters’snoking’sdrivin’,sayI.Nonebutmetodoathing!
Theindoorwenches’renothin’butdraggle-tails—sweetheartsan’town
talk’salltheythinkof.Eftheydoabito’work,theyboggleit,


an’it’sfermetodoover.Walbor’ssick,an’Stinaan’Bo’l—the
sluts—theypotheran’pothertillthesweatcomes,butnaughtelse
comeso’t.Imightha’somehelpfromM’reeefyou’dspeaktoher,
butyouwon’tletherputafingertoanything.”

“Hold,hold!Yourunonsofastyouloseyourbreath
andtheKing’sDanishtoo.Don’tblameme;blameyourself.Ifyou’d
beenpatientwithMarielastwinter,ifyou’dtaughthergentlythe
rightknackofthings,youmighthavehadsomehelpfromhernow,but
youwereroughandcross-grained,shewassulky,andthetwoofyou
camenightosplittingeachotheralive.‘Tistobemorethanthankful
forthere’sanendon‘t.”

“Ay,standupferM’ree!You’refreetodoit,butefyoustandupfer
yours,Istandupfermine,andwhetheryoutakeitbadornot,Itell
youM’ree’smoresperritthanshecancarrythroughtheworld.Let
thatbeferthefaultitis,butshe’sbad.Youmaysay‘No,’butI
saysheis.ShecanneverletlittleAnnebe—never.She’sa-pinchin’
anda-naggin’heralldaylonganda-castin’foulwordsafterhertill
thepoorchildmightwishshe’dneverbeenborn—andIwishshe
hadn’t,thoughitbreaksmyheart.Alack-a-day,mayGodhavemercyupon


us!Ye’renotthesamefathertothetwochildren,butsureit’sright
thatthesinsofthefathersshouldbevisiteduponthechildrenunto
thethirdandfourthgeneration—andthesinsofthemothertoo,and
littleAnne’snothin’butawhore’sbrat—ay,Itellyetoyerface,
she’snothin’butawhore’sbrat,awhore’sbratinthesightofGod
andman.Butyou,herfather!—shameonye,shame!—yes,Itellye,
even‘fyelayhandsonme,asyedidtwoyearsagocomeMichaelmas,
shameonye!Fieonyethatyeletyerownchildfeelshe’sconceived
insin!Yedoletherfeelit,youandM’reebothofyeletherfeel
it—evenefyehitme,Isayyeletherfeelit—”

ErikGrubbesprangupandstampedthefloor.

“Gallowsandwheel!Areyouspital-mad,woman?You’redrunk,that’s
whatyouare.Goandliedownonyourbedandsleepoffyourboozeand
yourspleentoo!‘TwouldserveyourightifIboxedyourears,you
shrew!No—notanotherword!Marieshallbegonefromherebefore
tomorrowisover.Iwantpeace—intimesofpeace.”

Annesobbedaloud.



“OLord,OLord,thatsuchathingshouldcometopass—aneverlastin’
shame!TellmeI’mtipsy!Inallthetimewe’vebentogetherorall
thetimebefore,haveyeseenmeinthescullerywithafuddledhead?
Havey’everheardmetalkin’drivel?Showmethespotwhereye’ve
seenmeo’ercomewithdrink!That’sthethanksIget.Sleepoffmy
booze!WouldtoGodImightsleep!WouldtoGodImightsinkdowndead
beforeyou,sinceyeputshameuponme—”

Thedogsbegantobarkoutside,andthebeatofhorses’hoofssounded
beneaththewindows.

Annedriedhereyeshastily,andErikGrubbeopenedthewindowtoask
whohadcome.

“AmessengerridingfromFovsing,”answeredoneofthemenaboutthe
house.

“Thentakehishorseandsendhimin,”andwiththesewordsthewindow
wasclosed.

Annestraightenedherselfinherchairandhelduponehandtoshade


hereyes,redwithweeping.

ThemessengerpresentedthecomplimentsofChristianSkeelofFovsing
andOdden,GovernoroftheDiocese,whosenttoappriseErikGrubbeof
thenoticehehadthatdayreceivedbyroyalcourier,sayingthatwar
hadbeendeclaredonJunefirst.Sinceitbecamenecessarythathe
shouldtraveltoAarhusandpossiblyeventoCopenhagen,hemade
inquiryofErikGrubbewhetherhewouldaccompanyhimontheroadso
farasservedhisconvenience,fortheymightatleastendthesuit
theywerebringingagainstcertaincitizensofAarhus.Withregardto
Copenhagen,theGovernorwellknewthatErikGrubbehadplentyof
reasonsforgoingthither.Atallevents,ChristianSkeelwouldarrive
atTjeleaboutfourhoursafterhighnoononthefollowingday.

ErikGrubberepliedthathewouldbereadyforthejourney,andthe
messengerdepartedwiththisanswer.

AnneandErikGrubbethendiscussedatlengthallthatmustbedone
whilehewasawayanddecidedthatMarieshouldgowithhimto
CopenhagenandremainforayearortwowithherAuntRigitze.



Theimpendingfarewellshadcalmedthemboth,thoughthequarrelwason
thepointofblazingoutagainwhenitcametothequestionofletting
Marietakewithhersundrydressesandjewelsthathadbelongedtoher
deadmother.ThematterwassettledamicablyatlastandAnnewentto
bedearly,forthenextdaywouldbealongone.

Againthedogsannouncedvisitors,butthistimeitwasonlythe
pastorofTjeleandVingeparish,JensJensenPaludan.

“Goodeventothehouse!”hesaidashesteppedin.

Hewasalarge-boned,long-limbedmanwithastoopinhisbroad
shoulders.Hishairwasroughasacrow’snest,grayishandtangled,
buthisfacewasofadeepyetclearpink,seeminglyoutofkeeping
withhiscoarse,ruggedfeaturesandbushyeyebrows.

ErikGrubbeinvitedhimtoaseatandaskedabouthishaymaking.The
conversationdweltonthechieflaborsofthefarmatthatseasonand
diedawayinasighoverthepoorharvestoflastyear.Meanwhilethe
pastorwascastingsidelongglancesatthemugandfinallysaid:“Your
honorisalwaystemperate—keepingtothenaturaldrinks.Nodoubt


theyarethehealthiest.Newmilkisablessedgiftofheaven,good
bothforaweakstomachandasorechest.”

“IndeedthegiftsofGodareallgood,whethertheycomefromthe
udderorthetap.Butyoumusttasteakegofgenuinemumthatwe
broughthomefromViborgtheotherday.She’sbothgoodandGerman,
thoughIcan’tseethatthecustomshaveputtheirmarkonher.”

Gobletsandalargeebonytankardornamentedwithsilverringswere
broughtinandsetbeforethem.

Theydranktoeachother.

“Heydenkamper!Genuine,peerlessHeydenkamper!”exclaimedthepastor
inavoicethattrembledwithemotion.Heleanedbackblissfullyin
hischairandverynearlyshedtearsofenthusiasm.

“Youareaconnoisseur,”smirkedErikGrubbe.

“Ah,connoisseur!Wearebutofyesterdayandknownothing,”murmured
thepastorabsentmindedly,“thoughI’mwondering,”hewentonina


loudervoice,“whetheritbetruewhatIhavebeentoldaboutthebrew
houseoftheHeydenkampers.‘Twasafree-masterwhorelateditin
HanoverthetimeItravelledwithyoungMasterJorgen.Hesaidthey
wouldalwaysbeginthebrewonaFridaynight,butbeforeanyonewas
allowedtoputafingertoit,hehadtogototheoldestjourneyman
andlayhishandonthegreatscalesandswearbyfireandbloodand
waterthatheharborednospitefulorevilthoughts,forsuchmight
harmthebeer.ThemenalsotoldmethatonSundays,whenthechurch
bellssounded,theywouldopenallthedoorsandwindowstoletthe
ringingpassoverthebeer.Butthemostimportantofallwaswhat
tookplacewhentheysetthebrewasidetoferment,forthenthe
masterhimselfwouldbringasplendidchestfromwhichhewouldtake
heavygoldringsandchainsandpreciousstonesinscribedwithstrange
signs,andallthesewouldbeputintothebeer.Intruth,onemay
wellbelievethatthesenobletreasureswouldimparttoitsomething
oftheirownsecretpotencygiventhembynature.”

“Thatisnotforustosay,”declaredErikGrubbe.“Ihavemorefaith,
Iown,intheBrunswickhopsandtheotherherbstheymix.”

“Nay,”saidthepastor,“itwerewrongtothinkso,forthereismuch


thatishiddenfromusintherealmofnature—ofthattherecanbeno
doubt.Everything,livingordead,hasitsmiraculumwithinit,andwe
needbutpatiencetoseekandopeneyestofind.Alas,intheolddays
whenitwasnotsolongsincetheLordhadtakenhishandsfromthe
earth,thenallthingswerestillsoengirdedwithhispowerthatthey
exhaledhealingandallthatwasgoodfortimeandeternity.Butnow
theearthisnolongernewnorfine:itisdefiledwiththesinsof
manygenerations.Nowitisonlyatparticulartimesthatthesepowers
manifestthemselves,atcertainplacesandcertainseasonswhen
strangesignsmaybeseenintheheavens—asIwassayingtothe
blacksmithwhenwespokeoftheawfulnaminglightthathasbeen
visibleinhalftheheavensforseveralnightsrecently….That
remindsme,amountedcourierpassedusjustthen;hewasboundthis
way,Ithink.”

“Sohewas,PastorJens.”

“Ihopeherodewithnonebutgoodtidings?”

“Herodewiththetidingsthatwarhasbeendeclared.”



“LordJesu!Alastheday!Yetithadtocomesometime.”

“Ay,butwhenthey’dwaitedsolong,theymightaswellhavewaited
tillfolkshadtheirharvestin.”

“‘TistheSkaaningswhoarebackofit,Imakenodoubt.Theystill
feelthesmartofthelastwarandwouldseekbalminthis.”

“Oh,it’snotonlytheSkaanings.TheSjaellandpeopleareever
spoilingforwar.Theyknowitwillpassthembyasusual.Well,it’s
agoodtimeforneatsandfoolswhentheCouncillorsoftheRealmhave
gonemadoneandall!”

“‘TissaidtheLordHighConstabledidnotdesirewar.”

“Maythedevilbelievethat!Perhapsnot—butthere’slittletobe
madeofpreachingquietinananthill.Well,thewar’shere,andnow
it’severymanforhimself.Weshallhaveourhandsfull.”

Theconversationturnedtothejourneyofthemorrow,passedontothe
badroads,lingeredonfattedoxenandstall-feeding,andagain


revertedtothejourney.Meanwhiletheyhadnotneglectedthetankard.
Thebeerhadgonetotheirheads,andErikGrubbe,whowasjust
tellingabouthisvoyagetoCeylonandtheEastIndiesinthe“Pearl,”
haddifficultyinmakingheadwaythroughhisownlaughterwhenevera
newjokecametohismind.

Thepastorwasgettingserious.Hehadcollapsedinhischair,but
onceinawhilehewouldturnhishead,lookfiercelyaroundandmove
hislipsasthoughtospeak.Hewasgesticulatingwithonehand,
growingmoreandmoreexcited,untilatlasthehappenedtostrikethe
tablewithhisfist,andsankdownagainwithafrightenedlookat
ErikGrubbe.Finally,whenthesquirehadgothimselfquitetangledup
inastoryofanexcessivelystupidscullerylad,thepastorroseand
begantospeakinahollow,solemnvoice.

“Verily,”hesaid,“verily,Iwillbearwitnesswithmymouth—withmy
mouth—thatyouareanoffenceandonebywhomoffencecometh,thatit
werebetterforyouthatyouwerecastintothesea—verily,witha
millstoneandtwobarrelsofmalt,thetwobarrelsofmaltthatyou
oweme,asIbearwitnesssolemnlywithmymouth—twoheapingfull
barrelsofmaltinmyownnewsacks.Fortheywerenotmysacks,never


kingdomwithoutend,‘twasyourownoldsacks,andmynewonesyou
kept—anditwasrottenmalt—verily!Seetheabominationof
desolation,andthesacksaremine,andIwillrepay—vengeanceis
mine,Isay.Doyoutrembleinyouroldbones,youoldwhoremonger?
YoushouldlivelikeaChristian,butyoulivewithAnneJensdaughter
andmakehercheataChristianpastor.You’rea—you’rea—Christian
whoremonger—yes—”

Duringthefirstpartofthepastor’sspeech,ErikGrubbesatsmiling
fatuouslyandholdingouthishandtohimacrossthetable.Hethrust
outhiselbowasthoughtopokeaninvisibleauditorintheribsand
callhisattentiontohowdelightfullydrunktheparsonwas.Butat
lastsomesenseofwhatwasbeingsaidappearedtopiercehismind.
Hisfacesuddenlybecamechalkywhite;heseizedthetankardandthrew
itatthepastor,whofellbackwardfromhischairandslippedtothe
floor.Itwasnothingbutfrightthatcausedit,forthetankard
failedtoreachitsmark.Itmerelyrolledtotheedgeofthetable
andlaytherewhilethebeerflowedinrivuletsdownonthefloorand
thepastor.

Thecandlehadburnedlowandwasflaringfitfully,sometimeslighting


theroombrightlyforamoment,thenleavingitalmostindarkness,
whilethebluedawnpeepedinthroughthewindows.

Thepastorwasstilltalking,hisvoicefirstdeepandthreatening,
thenfeeble,almostwhining.

“Thereyousitingoldandpurple,andI’mlaidhere,andthedogs
lickmysores—andwhatdidyoudropinAbraham’sbosom?Whatdidyou
putonthecontributionplate?Youdidn’tgivesomuchasasilver
eightpennybitinChristianAbraham’sbosom.Andnowyouarein
torments—butnooneshalldipthetipofhisfingerinwaterfor
you,”—andhestruckoutwithhishandinthespilledbeer,“butI
washmyhands—bothhands.Ihavewarnedyou—hi!thereyougo—yes,
thereyougoinsackclothandashes—mytwonewsacks—malt—”

Hemumbledyetawhile,thendroppedasleep.MeanwhileErikGrubbe
triedtotakerevenge.Hecaughtthearmofhischairfirmly,
stretchedtohisfulllength,andkickedthelegofthechairwithall
hismight,inthehopethatitwasthepastor.

Presentlyallwasstill.Therewasnosoundbutthesnoringofthetwo


oldgentlemenandthemonotonousdrip,dripofthebeerrunningoff
thetable.


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