"What time is it?" inquired Dame Hansen, shaking the ashes from her
pipe, the last curling rings from which were slowly disappearing
between the stained rafters overhead.
"Eight o'clock, mother," replied Hulda.
"It isn't likely that any travelers will come to-night. The weather is
"I agree with you. At all events, the rooms are in readiness, and if
any one comes, I shall be sure to hear them."
"Has your brother returned?"
"Didn't he say he would be back to-night?"
"No, mother. Joel went to take a traveler to Lake Tinn, and as he
didn't start until very late, I do not think he can get back to Dal
"Then he will spend the night at Moel, probably."
"Yes; unless he should take it into his head to go on to Bamble to see
"And his daughter Siegfrid."
"Yes. Siegfrid, my best friend, whom I love like a sister!" replied
the young girl, smiling.
"All, well, Hulda, shut up the house, and let's go to bed."
"You are not ill, are you, mother?"
"No; but I want to be up bright and early to-morrow morning. I must go
"Why, we must be laying in our stock of provisions for the coming
"And I suppose the agent from Christiania has come down with his wagon
of wines and provisions."
"Yes; Lengling, the foreman at the saw-mill, met him this afternoon,
and informed me of the fact as he passed. We have very little left in
the way of ham and smoked salmon, and I don't want to run any risk of
being caught with an empty larder. Tourists are likely to begin their
excursions to the Telemark almost any day now; especially, if the
weather should become settled, and our establishment must be in a
condition to receive them. Do you realize that this is the fifteenth
"The fifteenth of April!" repeated the young girl, thoughtfully.
"Yes, so to-morrow I must attend to these matters," continued Dame
Hansen. "I can make all my purchases in two hours, and I will return
with Joel in the kariol."
"In case you should meet the postman, don't forget to ask him if there
is a letter for us--"
"And especially for you. That is quite likely, for it is a month since
you heard from Ole."
"Yes, a month--a whole month."
"Still, you should not worry, child. The delay is not at all
surprising. Besides, if the Moel postman has nothing for you, that
which didn't come by the way of Christiania may come by the way of
Bergen, may it not?"
"Yes, mother," replied Hulda. "But how can I help worrying, when I
think how far it is from here to the Newfoundland fishing banks. The
whole broad Atlantic to cross, while the weather continues so bad. It
is almost a year since my poor Ole left me, and who can say when we
shall see him again in Dal?"
"And whether we shall be here when he returns," sighed Dame Hansen,
but so softly that her daughter did not hear the words.
Hulda went to close the front door of the inn which stood on the
Vesfjorddal road; but she did not take the trouble to turn the key in
the lock. In hospitable Norway, such precautions are unnecessary. It
is customary for travelers to enter these country inns either by
night or by day without calling any one to open the door; and even
the loneliest habitations are safe from the depredations of thieves
or assassins, for no criminal attempts against life or property ever
disturb the peace of this primitive land.
The mother and daughter occupied two front rooms on the second story
of the inn--two neat and airy, though plainly furnished rooms. Above
them, directly under the sloping roof, was Joel's chamber, lighted by
a window incased in a tastefully carved frame-work of pine.
From this window, the eye, after roaming over the grand mountain
horizon, returned with delight to the narrow valley through which
flowed the Maan, which is half river, half torrent.
A wooden staircase, with heavy balusters and highly polished steps,
led from the lower hall to the floors above, and nothing could be more
neat and attractive than the whole aspect of this establishment, in
which the travelers found a comfort that is rare in Norwegian inns.
Hulda and her mother were in the habit of retiring early when they
were alone, and Dame Hansen had already lighted her candle, and was
on her way upstairs, when a loud knocking at the door made them both
"Dame Hansen! Dame Hansen!" cried a voice.
Dame Hansen paused on the stairs.
"Who can have come so late?" she exclaimed.
"Can it be that Joel has met with an accident?" returned Hulda,
And she hastened toward the door.
She found a lad there--one of the young rascals known as skydskarls,
that make a living by clinging to the back of kariols, and taking the
horse back when the journey is ended.
"What do you want here at this hour?" asked Hulda.
"First of all to bid you good-evening," replied the boy,
"Is that all?"
"No; that isn't all; but a boy oughtn't to forget his manners, ought
"You are right. But who sent you?"
"Your brother Joel."
"And what for?" asked Dame Hansen, advancing to the door with the
slow and measured tread that is a characteristic of the inhabitants of
Norway. There is quicksilver in the veins of their soil, but little or
none in the veins of their bodies.
The reply had evidently caused the mother some anxiety, however, for
she added hastily:
"Has anything happened to my son?"
"No, but the Christiania postman gave him a letter, and--"
"A letter from Drammen?" repeated Dame Hansen, in a lower tone.
"I don't know about that," replied the youth. "All I do know is, that
Joel can't get home before to-morrow, and he sent me here to deliver
"It is important then?"
"I should judge so."
"Hand it here," said Dame Hansen, in a tone that betrayed keen
"Here it is, clean and not wrinkled in the least. But the letter is
not for you."
Dame Hansen seemed to breathe more freely.
"Then who is it for?" she asked.
"For your daughter."
"For me!" cried Hulda. "It is a letter from Ole! I am sure it is--a
letter that came by way of Christiania. My brother did not want me to
be kept waiting."
Hulda had snatched the letter from the boy's hand, and now taking
it to the table upon which her mother had deposited the candle, she
examined the address.
"Yes, it is from him. It is certainly from him! Heaven grant that he
writes to announce the speedy return of the 'Viking'!"
"Won't you come in?" said Dame Hansen, turning to the boy.
"Only for a minute. I must get back home to-night, for I am to go with
a kariol to-morrow morning."
"Very well. Tell Joel, from me, that I expect to go to Moel to-morrow,
and that he must wait for me there."
"No; to-morrow morning, and he must not leave Moel until he sees me.
We will return to Dal together."
"Very well, Dame Hansen."
"Won't you take a drop of brandevin?"
The boy approached the table, and Dame Hansen handed him a glass of
the beverage which is such a powerful protection against the evening
fogs. It is needless to say that he drained the glass, then,
"God-aften!" he said.
"God-aften, my son!"
This is the Norwegian good-night. It was simply spoken, without even
an inclination of the head, and the lad instantly departed, without
seeming to mind in the least the long walk that he had before him. The
sound of his footsteps soon died away beneath the trees that border
the swiftly flowing river.
Hulda still stood gazing at Ole's letter. Think of it! This frail
envelope must have crossed the broad ocean to reach her, the broad
ocean in which the rivers of western Norway lose themselves. She
examined the different postmarks. Though mailed on the 15th of March,
the missive had not reached Dal until the 15th of April. Why! a month
had already elapsed since the letter was written! How many things
might have happened in a month on the shores of Newfoundland! Was it
not still winter, the dangerous season of equinoxes? Are not these
fishing banks the most dangerous in the world, swept by terrible gales
from the North Pole? A perilous and arduous vocation was this business
of fishing which Ole followed! And if he followed it was it not that
she, his betrothed, whom he was to marry on his return, might reap the
Poor Ole! What did he say in this letter? Doubtless that he loved
Hulda as faithfully and truly as Hulda loved him, that they were
united in thought, in spite of the distance that separated them, and
that he longed for the day of his return to Dal.
Yes, he said all this, Hulda was sure of it. But perhaps he might add
that the day of his return was near at hand--that the fishing cruise
which had enticed the inhabitants of Bergen so far from their native
land, was nearly at an end. Perhaps Ole would tell her that the
"Viking" had finished taking aboard her cargo, that she was about
to sail, and that the last days of April would not pass without a
blissful meeting in the pleasant home at Vesfjorddal. Perhaps, too, he
would assure her, at last, that she might safely appoint the day for
the pastor to come to Moel to unite them in the little chapel whose
steeple rose from a small grove not a hundred yards from Dame Hansen's
To learn all this, it might only be necessary to break the seal, draw
out Ole's letter, and read it, through the tears of joy or sorrow that
its contents would be sure to bring to Hulda's eyes, and doubtless
more than one impatient girl of the south, or even of Denmark or
Holland, would already have known all! But Hulda was in a sort of a
dream, and dreams terminate only when God chooses to end them, and how
often one regrets them, so bitter is the reality.
"Is it really a letter from Ole that your brother has sent you, my
daughter?" inquired Dame Hansen.
"Yes; I recognize the handwriting."
"Well, are you going to wait until to-morrow to read it?"
Hulda took one more look at the envelope, then, after slowly breaking
the seal, she drew out the carefully written letter, which read as
"Saint-Pierre-Miquelon, March 17th, 1862.
"My Dearest Hulda,--You will hear, with pleasure, that our
fishing venture has prospered, and that it will be concluded
in a few days. Yes; we are nearing the end of the season, and
after a year's absence how glad I shall be to return to Dal
and find myself in the midst of the only friends I have in the
world--yours and mine.
"My share in the profits of the expedition amounts to quite
a handsome sum, which will start us in housekeeping. Messrs.
Help Bros., the owners of the ship, have been informed that
the 'Viking' will probably return by the 15th or 20th of May;
so you may expect to see me at that time; that is to say, in a
few weeks at the very longest.
"My dear Hulda, I trust to find you looking even prettier
than at my departure, and in the best of health, you and your
mother as well, also that hardy, brave comrade, my cousin
Joel, your brother, who asks nothing better than to become
"On receipt of this, give my very best respects to Dame
Hansen--I can see her now, sitting in her wooden arm-chair by
the old stove in the big hall--and tell her I love her with a
twofold love, for she is my aunt as well as your mother.
"Above all, don't take the trouble to come to Bergen to meet
me, for it is quite possible that the 'Viking' will arrive at
an earlier date than I have mentioned. However that may be, my
dear Hulda can count upon seeing me at Dal twenty-four hours
after we land. Don't be too much surprised if I should arrive
considerably ahead of time.
"We have had a pretty rough time of it, this past winter, the
weather having been more severe than any our fishermen have
ever encountered; but fortunately fish have been plenty.
The 'Viking' brings back nearly five thousand quintals,
deliverable at Bergen, and already sold by the efforts of Help
Bros. And last, but not least, we have succeeded in selling
at a handsome profit, and I, who have a share in the venture,
will realize something quite handsome from it.
"Besides, even if I should not bring a small competence home
with me, I have an idea, or rather, I have a presentiment that
it is awaiting me on my return. Yes; comparative wealth, to
say nothing of happiness! In what way? That is my secret, my
dearest Hulda, and you will forgive me for having a secret
from you! It is the only one! Besides, I will tell you all
about it. When? Well, as soon as an opportunity offers--before
our marriage, if it should be delayed by some unforeseen
misfortune--afterward, if I return at the appointed time, and
you become my wife within a week after my arrival, as I trust
"A hundred fond kisses, my darling Hulda. Kiss Dame Hansen,
and Joel, too, for me. In fancy, I imprint another kiss upon
your brow, around which the shining crown of the brides of
the Telemark will cast a saint-like halo. Once more, farewell,
dearest Hulda, farewell!
"Your devoted lover,
Dal is a modest hamlet consisting of but a few houses; some on
either side of a road that is little more than a bridle-path, others
scattered over the surrounding hills. But they all face the narrow
valley of Vesfjorddal, with their backs to the line of hills to the
north, at the base of which flows the Maan.
A little church erected in 1855, whose chancel is pierced by two
narrow stained-glass windows, lifts its square belfry from out a leafy
grove hard by. Here and there rustic bridges cross the rivulets that
dance merrily along toward the river. In the distance are two or three
primitive saw-mills, run by water-power, with a wheel to move the
saw, as well as a wheel to move the beam or the tree; and seen from a
little distance, the chapel, saw-mills, houses, and cabins, all seem
to be enveloped in a soft olive haze that emanates from the dark-green
firs and the paler birches which either singly or in groups extend
from the winding banks of the Maan to the crests of the lofty
Such is the fresh and laughing hamlet of Dal, with its picturesque
dwellings, painted, some of them, in delicate green or pale pink
tints, others in such glaring colors as bright yellow and blood-red.
The roofs of birch bark, covered with turf, which is mown in the
autumn, are crowned with natural flowers. All this is indescribably
charming, and eminently characteristic of the most picturesque country
in the world. In short, Dal is in the Telemark, the Telemark is in
Norway, and Norway is in Switzerland, with thousands of fiords that
permit the sea to kiss the feet of its mountains.
The Telemark composes the broad portion of the immense horn that
Norway forms between Bergen and Christiania.
This dependency of the prefecture of Batsberg, has the mountains and
glaciers of Switzerland, but it is not Switzerland. It has gigantic
water-falls like North America, but it is not America. The landscape
is adorned with picturesque cottages, and processions of inhabitants,
clad in costumes of a former age, like Holland, but it is not Holland.
The Telemark is far better than any or all of these; it is the
Telemark, noted above all countries in the world for the beauty of
its scenery. The writer has had the pleasure of visiting it. He has
explored it thoroughly, in a kariol with relays of post-horses--when
he could get them--and he brought back with him such a vivid
recollection of its manifold charms that he would be glad to convey
some idea of it to the reader of this simple narrative.
At the date of this story, 1862, Norway was not yet traversed by the
railroad that now enables one to go from Stockholm to Drontheim, by
way of Christiania. Now, an extensive network of iron rails extends
entirely across these two Scandinavian countries, which are so averse
to a united existence. But imprisoned in a railroad-carriage, the
traveler, though he makes much more rapid progress than in a kariol,
misses all the originality that formerly pervaded the routes of
travel. He misses the journey through Southern Sweden on the curious
Gotha Canal, in which the steamboats, by rising from lock to lock,
manage to reach an elevation of three hundred feet. Nor does he have
an opportunity to visit the falls of Trolletann, nor Drammen, nor
Kongsberg, nor any of the beauties of the Telemark.
In those days the railroad existed only upon paper. Twenty years were
to elapse before one could traverse the Scandinavian kingdom from
one shore to the other in forty hours, and visit the North Cape on
excursion tickets to Spitzberg.
In those days Dal was, and may it long remain, the central point
for foreign or native tourists, these last being for the most part
students from Christiania. From Dal they could wander over the entire
Telemark and Hardanger region, explore the valley of Vesfjorddal
between Lakes Mjos and Tinn, and visit the wonderful cataracts of the
Rjukan Tun. The hamlet boasts of but one inn, but that is certainly
the most attractive and comfortable imaginable, and one of the
most important also, for it can offer four bed-chambers for the
accommodation of its guests. In a word, it is Dame Hansen's inn.
A few benches surround the base of its pink walls, which are separated
from the ground by a substantial granite foundation. The spruce
rafters and weather-boarding have acquired such hardness and toughness
with age that the sharpest hatchet can make little or no impression
upon them. Between the roughly hewn rafters, which are placed
horizontally one above the other, a mixture of clay and turf forms
a stanch roof, through which the hardest winter rains can not force
Upstairs, in the bedrooms, the ceilings are painted in dark red or
black tints to contrast with the more cheerful and delicate hues of
In one corner of the large hall stands a huge cylinder stove, the
pipe of which rises nearly to the ceiling, before it disappears in the
kitchen chimney. In another corner stands a tall clock which emits
a sonorous tick-tack, as its carved hands travel slowly around its
enameled face. Here is a secretary, black with age, side by side
with a massive iron tripod. Upon the mantel is an immense terra-cotta
candlestick which can be transformed into a three-branched candelabrum
by turning it upside down. The handsomest furniture in the house
adorns this spacious hall--the birch-root table, with its spreading
feet, the big chest with its richly wrought brass handles, in which
the Sunday and holiday clothing is kept, the tall arm-chair, hard
and uncomfortable as a church-pew, the painted wooden chairs, and
the spinning-wheel striped with green, to contrast with the scarlet
petticoat of the spinner.
Yonder stands the pot in which the butter is kept, and the paddle with
which it is worked, and here is the tobacco-box, and the grater of
elaborately carved bone.
And, finally, over the door which opens into the kitchen is a large
dresser, with long rows of brass and copper cooking-utensils and
bright-colored dishes, the little grindstone for sharpening knives,
half-buried in its varnished case, and the egg-dish, old enough to
serve as a chalice.
And how wonderful and amusing are the walls, hung with linen
tapestries representing scenes from the Bible, and brilliant with all
the gorgeous coloring of the pictures of Epinal.
As for the guests' rooms, though they are less pretentious, they are
no less comfortable, with their spotless neatness, their curtains of
hanging-vines that droop from the turf-covered roof, their huge beds,
sheeted with snowy and fragrant linen, and their hangings with verses
from the Old Testament, embroidered in yellow upon a red ground.
Nor must we forget that the floor of the main hall, and the floors of
all the rooms, both upstairs and down, are strewn with little twigs
of birch, pine, and juniper, whose leaves fill the house with their
healthful and exhilarating odor.
Can one imagine a more charming posada in Italy, or a more seductive
fonda in Spain? No. And the crowd of English tourists have not yet
raised the scale of prices as in Switzerland--at least, they had not
at the time of which I write. In Dal, the current coin is not the
pound sterling, the sovereign of which the travelers' purse is
soon emptied. It is a silver coin, worth about five francs, and its
subdivisions are the mark, equal in value to about a franc, and the
skilling, which must not be confounded with the English shilling, as
it is only equivalent to a French sou.
Nor will the tourist have any opportunity to use or abuse the
pretentious bank-note in the Telemark. One-mark notes are white;
five-mark notes are blue; ten-mark notes are yellow; fifty-mark notes,
green; one hundred mark notes, red. Two more, and we should have all
the colors of the rainbow.
Besides--and this is a point of very considerable importance--the
food one obtains at the Dal inn is excellent; a very unusual thing
at houses of public entertainment in this locality, for the Telemark
deserves only too well its surname of the Buttermilk Country. At
Tiness, Listhus, Tinoset, and many other places, no bread is to be
had, or if there be, it is of such poor quality as to be uneatable.
One finds there only an oaten cake, known as flat brod, dry, black,
and hard as pasteboard, or a coarse loaf composed of a mixture of
birch-bark, lichens, and chopped straw. Eggs are a luxury, and a most
stale and unprofitable one; but there is any quantity of poor beer to
be had, a profusion of buttermilk, either sweet or sour, and sometimes
a little coffee, so thick and muddy that it is much more like
distilled soot than the products of Mocha or Rio Nunez.
In Dame Hansen's establishment, on the contrary, cellar and larder
were alike well-stored. What more could the most exacting tourist
ask than salmon, either salt or smoked--fresh salmon that have never
tasted tainted waters, fish from the pure streams of the Telemark,
fowls, neither too fat nor too lean, eggs in every style, crisp
oaten and barley cakes, fruits, more especially strawberries,
bread--unleavened bread, it is here, but of the very best
quality--beer, and some old bottles of that Saint Julien that have
spread the fame of French vineyards even to this distant land?
And this being the case, it is not strange that the inn at Dal is well
and favorably known in all the countries of Northern Europe.
One can see this, too, by glancing over the register in which many
travelers have not only recorded their names, but paid glowing
tributes to Dame Hansen's merits as an inn-keeper. The names are
principally those of Swedes and Norwegians from every part of
Scandinavia; but the English make a very respectable showing; and one
of them, who had waited at least an hour for the summit of Gousta to
emerge from the morning mist that enveloped it, wrote upon one of the
"Patientia omnia vincit?"
Without being very deeply versed in ethnography, one may be strongly
inclined to believe, in common with many savants, that a close
relationship exists between the leading families of the English
aristocracy and the oldest families of Scandinavia. Numerous proofs
of this fact, indeed, are to be found in the ancestral names which
are identical in both countries. There is no aristocracy in Norway,
however; still, though the democracy everywhere rules, that does not
prevent it from being aristocratic to the highest degree. All are
equals upon an exalted plane instead of a low one. Even in the
humblest hut may be found a genealogical tree which has not
degenerated in the least because it has sprung up anew in humble soil;
and the walls are adorned with the proud blazons of the feudal lords
from whom these plain peasants are descended.
So it was with the Hansens of Dal, who were unquestionably related,
though rather remotely, to the English peers created after Rollo's
invasion of Normandy, and though rank and wealth had both departed
they had at least preserved the old pride, or rather dignity, which
becomes all social ranks.
It was a matter of very little consequence, however. Whether he had
ancestors of lofty lineage or not, Harald Hansen was simply a village
inn-keeper. The house had come down to him from his father and from
his grandfather, who were widely known and respected, and after
his death his widow continued the business in a way that elicited
Whether or not Harald had made a fortune in the business, no one
was able to say; but he had been able to rear his son Joel and his
daughter Hulda in comfort; and Ole Kamp, a son of his wife's sister,
had also been brought up like one of his own children. But for his
uncle Harald, this orphan child would doubtless have been one of those
poor creatures who come into the world only to leave it; and Ole
Kamp evinced a truly filial devotion toward his parents by adoption.
Nothing would ever sever the tie that bound him to the Hansen family,
to which his marriage with Hulda was about to bind him still more
Harald Hansen had died about eighteen months before, leaving his
wife, in addition to the inn, a small farm on the mountain, a piece
of property which yielded very meager returns, if any. This was
especially true of late, for the seasons had been remarkably
unpropitious, and agriculture of every kind had suffered greatly,
even the pastures. There had been many of those "iron nights," as the
Norwegian peasants call them--nights of north-easterly gales and ice
that kill the corn down to the very root--and that meant ruin to the
farmers of the Telemark and the Hardanger.
Still, whatever Dame Hansen might think of the situation of affairs,
she had never said a word to any living soul, not even to her
children. Naturally cold and reserved, she was very uncommunicative--a
fact that pained Hulda and Joel not a little. But with that respect
for the head of the family innate in Northern lands, they made no
attempt to break down a reserve which was eminently distasteful to
them. Besides, Dame Hansen never asked aid or counsel, being firmly
convinced of the infallibility of her own judgment, for she was a true
Norwegian in that respect.
Dame Hansen was now about fifty years old. Advancing age had not bowed
her tall form, though it had whitened her hair; nor had it dimmed the
brightness of her dark-blue eyes, whose azure was reflected in the
clear orbs of her daughter; but her complexion had taken on the yellow
hue of old parchment, and a few wrinkles were beginning to furrow her
The madame, as they say in Scandinavia, was invariably attired in a
full black skirt, for she had never laid aside her mourning since her
husband's death. Below the shoulder-straps of a brown bodice appeared
the long full sleeves of an unbleached cotton chemise. On her
shoulders she wore a small dark-colored fichu that crossed upon her
breast, which was also covered by the large bib of her apron. She
always wore as a head-dress a close-fitting black-silk cap that
covered almost her entire head, and tied behind, a kind of head-dress
that is rarely seen nowadays.
Seated stiffly erect in her wooden arm-chair, the grave hostess
neglected her spinning-wheel only to enjoy a small birchwood pipe,
whose smoke enveloped her in a faint cloud.
Really, the house would have seemed very gloomy had it not been for
the presence of the two children.
A worthy lad was Joel Hansen. Twenty-five years of age, well built,
tall, like all Norwegian mountaineers, proud in bearing, though not
in the least boastful or conceited. He had fine hair, verging upon
chestnut, with blue eyes so dark as to seem almost black. His garb
displayed to admirable advantage his powerful shoulders, his broad
chest, in which his lungs had full play, and stalwart limbs which
never failed him even in the most difficult mountain ascents. His
dark-blue jacket, fitting tightly at the waist, was adorned on the
shoulders with epaulets, and in the back with designs in colored
embroidery similar to those that embellish the vests of the Breton
peasantry. His yellow breeches were fastened at the knee by large
buckles. Upon his head he wore a broad-brimmed brown hat with a
red-and-black band, and his legs were usually incased either in coarse
cloth gaiters or in long stout boots without heels.
His vocation was that of a mountain guide in the district of the
Telemark, and even in the Hardanger. Always ready to start, and
untiring in his exertions, he was a worthy descendant of the Norwegian
hero Rollo, the walker, celebrated in the legends of that country.
Between times he accompanied English sportsmen who repair to that
region to shoot the riper, a species of ptarmigan, larger than that
found in the Hebrides, and the jerpir, a partridge much more delicate
in its flavor than the grouse of Scotland. When winter came, the
hunting of wolves engrossed his attention, for at that season of the
year these fierce animals, emboldened by hunger, not unfrequently
venture out upon the surface of the frozen lake. Then there was bear
hunting in summer, when that animal, accompanied by her young, comes
to secure its feast of fresh grass, and when one must pursue it over
plateaus at an altitude of from ten to twelve thousand feet. More than
once Joel had owed his life solely to the great strength that enabled
him to endure the embraces of these formidable animals, and to the
imperturbable coolness which enabled him to eventually dispatch them.
But when there was neither tourist nor hunter to be guided through the
valley of the Vesfjorddal, Joel devoted his attention to the soetur,
the little mountain farm where a young shepherd kept guard over half
a dozen cows and about thirty sheep--a soetur consisting exclusively
of pasture land.
Joel, being naturally very pleasant and obliging, was known and loved
in every village in the Telemark; but two persons for whom he felt a
boundless affection were his cousin Ole and his sister Hulda.
When Ole Kamp left Dal to embark for the last time, how deeply Joel
regretted his inability to dower Hulda and thus avert the necessity
for her lover's departure! In fact, if he had been accustomed to the
sea, he would certainly have gone in his cousin's place. But money was
needed to start them in housekeeping, and as Dame Hansen had offered
no assistance, Joel understood only too well that she did not feel
inclined to devote any portion of the estate to that purpose, so there
was nothing for Ole to do but cross the broad Atlantic.
Joel had accompanied him to the extreme end of the valley on his way
to Bergen, and there, after a long embrace, he wished him a pleasant
journey and a speedy return, and then returned to console his sister,
whom he loved with an affection which was at the same time fraternal
and paternal in its character.
Hulda at that time was exactly eighteen years of age. She was not the
piga, as the servant in a Norwegian inn is called, but rather the
froken, the young lady of the house, as her mother was the madame.
What a charming face was hers, framed in a wealth of pale golden hair,
under a thin linen cap projecting in the back to give room for the
long plaits of hair! What a lovely form incased in this tightly
fitting bodice of red stuff, ornamented with green shoulder-straps and
surmounted by a snowy chemisette, the sleeves of which were fastened
at the wrist by a ribbon bracelet! What grace and perfect symmetry
in the waist, encircled by a red belt with clasps of silver filigree
which held in place the dark-green skirt, below which appeared the
white stocking protected by the dainty pointed toed shoe of the
Yes, Ole's betrothed was certainly charming, with the slightly
melancholy expression of the daughters of the North softening her
smiling face; and on seeing her one instantly thought of Hulda the
Fair, whose name she bore, and who figures as the household fairy in
Nor did the reserve of a chaste and modest maiden mar the grace with
which she welcomed the guests who came to the inn. She was well
known to the world of tourists; and it was not one of the smallest
attractions of the inn to be greeted by that cordial shake of the
hand that Hulda bestowed on one and all. And after having said to her,
"Tack for mad" (Thanks for the meal), what could be more delightful
than to hear her reply in her fresh sonorous voice: "Wed bekomme!"
(May it do you good!)
Ole Kamp had been absent a year; and as he said in his letter, his
winter's experience on the fishing banks of Newfoundland had been
a severe one. When one makes money there one richly earns it. The
equinoctial storms that rage there not unfrequently destroy a whole
fishing fleet in a few hours; but fish abound, and vessels which
escape find ample compensation for the toil and dangers of this home
of the tempest.
Besides, Norwegians are excellent seamen, and shrink from no danger.
In the numberless fiords that extend from Christiansand to Cape North,
among the dangerous reefs of Finland, and in the channels of the
Loffoden Islands, opportunities to familiarize themselves with the
perils of ocean are not wanting; and from time immemorial they have
given abundant proofs of their courage. Their ancestors were intrepid
mariners at an epoch when the Hanse monopolized the commerce of
northern Europe. Possibly they were a trifle prone to indulge in
piracy in days gone by, but piracy was then quite common. Doubtless
commerce has reformed since then, though one may perhaps be pardoned
for thinking that there is still room for improvement.
However that may be, the Norwegians were certainly fearless seamen;
they are to-day, and so they will ever be. Ole Kamp was not the man to
belie his origin; besides, he had served his apprenticeship under his
father, who was the master of a Bergen coasting vessel. His childhood
had been spent in that port, which is one of the most frequented in
Scandinavia. Before he ventured out upon the open sea he had been an
untiring fisher in the fiords, and a fearless robber of the sea-birds'
nests, and when he became old enough to serve as cabin-boy he made a
voyage across the North Sea and even to the waters of the Polar Ocean.
Soon afterward his father died, and as he had lost his mother several
years before, his uncle Harald Hansen invited him to become a member
of his family, which he did, though he continued to follow the same
In the intervals between his voyages he invariably spent his time with
the friends he loved; but he made regular voyages upon large fishing
vessels, and rose to the rank of mate when he was but twenty-one. He
was now twenty-three years of age.
When he visited Dal, Joel found him a most congenial companion. He
accompanied him on his excursions to the mountains, and across the
highest table-lands of the Telemark. The young sailor seemed as much
at home in the fields as in the fiords, and never lagged behind unless
it was to keep his cousin Hulda company.
A close friendship gradually sprung up between Joel and Ole, and quite
naturally the same sentiment assumed a different form in respect to
the young girl. Joel, of course, encouraged it. Where would his sister
ever find a better fellow, a more sympathetic nature, a warmer and
more devoted heart? With Ole for a husband, Hulda's happiness was
assured. So it was with the entire approval of her mother and brother
that the young girl followed the natural promptings of her heart.
Though these people of the North are undemonstrative, they must not
be accused of a want of sensibility. No! It is only their way; and
perhaps their way is as good as any other, after all.
So it came to pass that one day, when all four of them were sitting
quietly together, Ole remarked, without any preamble whatever:
"An idea occurs to me, Hulda."
"What is it?"
"It seems to me that we ought to marry."
"I think so too."
"And so do I," added Dame Hansen as coolly as if the matter had been
under discussion for some time.
"I agree with you," remarked Joel, "and in that case I shall naturally
become your brother-in-law."
"Yes," said Ole; "but it is probable that I shall only love you the
better for it."
"That is very possible."
"We have your consent, then?"
"Upon my word! nothing would please me better," replied Joel.
"So it is decided, Hulda?" inquired Dame Hansen.
"Yes, mother," replied the girl, quietly.
"You are really willing?" asked Ole. "I have loved you a long time,
Hulda, without saying so."
"And I you, Ole."
"How it came about, I really do not know."
"But it was doubtless seeing you grow more beautiful and good day by
"That is saying a little too much, my dear Ole."
"No; I certainly ought to be able to say that without making you
blush, for it is only the truth. Didn't you see that I was beginning
to love Hulda, Dame Hansen?"
"I suspected as much."
"And you, Joel?"
"I was sure of it."
"Then I certainly think that you ought to have warned me," said Ole,
"But how about your voyages, Ole?" inquired Dame Hansen. "Won't they
seem intolerable to you after you are married?"
"So intolerable that I shall not follow the sea any more after my
"You will not go to sea any more?"
"No, Hulda. Do you think it would be possible for me to leave you for
months at a time?"
"So this is to be your last voyage?"
"Yes, and if we have tolerable luck, this voyage will yield me quite
a snug little sum of money, for Help Bros. have promised me a share in
"They are good men," remarked Joel.
"The best men living," replied Ole, "and well known and highly
respected by all the sailors of Bergen."
"But what do you expect to do after you cease to follow the sea, my
dear Ole?" inquired Hulda.
"I shall go into partnership with Joel in his business, I have pretty
good legs, and if they are not good enough, I will improve them by
going into regular training. Besides, I have thought of a plan which
will not prove a bad one perhaps. Why can't we establish a messenger
service between Drammen, Kongsberg and a few other towns in the
Telemark Communication now is neither easy nor regular, and there
might be money in the scheme. Besides, I have other plans, to say
"Never mind, now. I will tell you on my return. But I warn you that I
am firmly resolved to make my Hulda the happiest woman in the country.
Yes, I am."
"If you but knew how easy that will be!" replied Hulda, offering him
her hand. "Am I not that already, and is there a home in all Dal as
pleasant as ours?"
Dame Hansen hastily averted her head.
"So the matter is settled?" asked Ole, cheerfully.
"Yes," replied Joel.
"And settled beyond recall?"
"And you feel no regret, Hulda?"
"None whatever, my dear Ole."
"I think, however, that it would be better not to appoint the day for
your marriage until after your return," remarked Joel.
"Very well, but it will go hard with me if I do not return in less
than a year to lead Hulda to the church at Moel, where our friend,
Pastor Andersen, will not refuse to make his best prayer for us!"
And it was in this way that the marriage of Hulda Hansen and Ole Kamp
had been decided upon.
The young sailor was to go aboard his vessel a week later; but before
they parted the lovers were formally betrothed in accordance with the
touching custom of Scandinavian countries.
In simple and honest Norway lovers are almost invariably publicly
betrothed before marriage. Sometimes the marriage is not solemnized
until two or three years afterward, but one must not suppose that the
betrothal is simply an interchange of vows which depend only upon the
honesty of the parties interested. No, the obligation is much more
sacred, and even if this act of betrothal is not binding in the eyes
of the law, it is, at least, so regarded by that universal law called
So, in this case, it was necessary to make arrangements for a ceremony
over which Pastor Andersen should preside. There was no minister in
Dal, nor in any of the neighboring hamlets. In Norway they have what
they call Sunday towns, in which the minister resides, and where the
leading families of the parish assemble for worship. They even lease
apartments there, in which they take up their abode for twenty-four
hours or more--time to perform their religious duties--and people
return from the town as from a pilgrimage.
Dal, it is true, boasted of a chapel, but the pastor came only when he
After all, Moel was not far off, only about eight miles distant, at
the end of Lake Tinn, and Pastor Andersen was a very obliging man,
and a good walker; so the worthy minister was invited to attend the
betrothal in the twofold capacity of minister and family friend. The
acquaintance was one of long standing. He had seen Joel and Hulda grow
up, and loved them as well as he loved that young sea-dog, Ole Kamp,
so the news of the intended marriage was very pleasing to him.
So Pastor Andersen gathered together his robe, his collar, and his
prayer-book, and started off for Dal one misty, moisty morning. He
arrived there in the company of Joel, who had gone half-way to meet
him, and it is needless to say that his coming was hailed with delight
at Dame Hansen's inn, that he had the very best room in the house, and
that the floor was freshly strewn with twigs of juniper that perfumed
it like a chapel.
At one o'clock on the following day the little church was thrown
open, and there, in the presence of the pastor and a few friends and
neighbors, Ole and Hulda solemnly promised to wed each other when the
young sailor should return from the last voyage he intended to make.
A year is a long time to wait, but it passes all the same, nor is it
intolerable when two persons can trust each other.
And now Ole could not, without good cause, forsake her to whom he had
plighted his troth, nor could Hulda retract the promise she had given
to Ole; and if Ole had not left Norway a few days after the betrothal,
he might have profited by the incontestable right it gave him to visit
the young girl whenever he pleased, to write to her whenever he chose,
walk out with her arm in arm, unaccompanied by any member of the
family, and enjoy a preference over all others in the dances that form
a part of all fêtes and ceremonies.
But Ole Kamp had been obliged to return to Bergen, and one week
afterward the "Viking" set sail for the fishing banks of Newfoundland,
and Hulda could only look forward to the letters which her betrothed
had promised to send her by every mail.
And these impatiently expected letters never failed her, and always
brought a ray of happiness to the house which seemed so gloomy
after the departure of one of its inmates. The voyage was safely
accomplished; the fishing proved excellent, and the profits promised
to be large. Besides, at the end of each letter, Ole always referred
to a certain secret, and of the fortune it was sure to bring him. It
was a secret that Hulda would have been glad to know, and Dame Hansen,
too, for reasons one would not have been likely to suspect.
Dame Hansen seemed to have become even more gloomy and anxious and
reticent than ever, and a circumstance which she did not see fit to
mention to her children increased her anxiety very considerably.
Three days after the arrival of Ole's last letter, as Dame Hansen
was returning alone from the saw-mill, to which place she had gone to
order a bag of shavings from the foreman, Lengling, she was accosted
near her own door by a man who was a stranger in that part of the
"This is Dame Hansen, is it not?" he inquired.
"Yes; but I do not know you," was the reply.
"That doesn't matter," rejoined the man. "I arrived here only this
morning from Drammen, and am now on my way back."
"From Drammen?" repeated Dame Hansen, quickly.
"You are acquainted, I think, with a certain Monsieur Sandgoist, who
"Monsieur Sandgoist!" repeated Dame Hansen, whose face paled at the
name. "Yes, I know him."
"Ah, well! When Monsieur Sandgoist heard that I was coming to Dal, he
asked me to give his respects to you."
"Was that all?"
"And to say to you that it was more than probable that he would pay
you a visit next month. Good health to you, and good-evening, Dame
Hulda was considerably surprised at the persistency with which Ole
alluded in his letters to the fortune that was to be his on his
return. Upon what did the young man base his expectations? Hulda could
not imagine, and she was very anxious to know. Was this anxiety due
solely to an idle curiosity on her part? By no means, for the secret
certainly affected her deeply. Not that she was ambitious, this modest
and honest young girl; nor did she in looking forward to the future
ever aspire to what we call wealth. Ole's affection satisfied, and
would always satisfy her. If wealth came, she would welcome it with
joy. If it did not come, she would still be content.
This is precisely what Hulda and Joel said to each other the day
after Ole's last letter reached Dal. They agreed perfectly upon this
subject, as upon all others, by the way. And then Joel added:
"No; it is impossible, little sister. You certainly must be keeping
something from me."
"Keeping something from you!"
"Yes; for I can not believe that Ole went away without giving you some
clew to his secret."
"Did he say anything to you about it?"
"No; but you and I are not one and the same person."
"Yes, we are, brother."
"I am not Ole's betrothed, at all events."
"Almost," said the young girl; "and if any misfortune should befall
him, and he should not return from this voyage, you would be as
inconsolable as I would be, and your tears would flow quite as freely
"Really, little sister. I forbid you to even speak of such a thing,"
replied Joel. "Ole not return from his last voyage to the great
fishing banks! What can have put such an idea into your head? You
surely can not mean what you say, Hulda!"
"No, certainly not. And yet, I do not know. I can not drive away
certain presentiments--the result, perhaps, of bad dreams."
"Dreams are only dreams."
"True, brother, but where do they come from?"
"From ourselves, not from heaven. You are anxious, and so your fears
haunt you in your slumber. Besides, it is almost always so when one
has earnestly desired a thing and the time when one's desires are to
be realized is approaching."
"I know it, Joel."
"Really, I thought you were much more sensible, little sister. Yes,
and more energetic. Here you have just received a letter from Joel
saying that the 'Viking' will return before the end of the month, and
it is now the 19th of April, and consequently none too soon for you to
begin your preparations for the wedding."
"Do you really think so, Joel?"
"Certainly I think so, Hulda. I even think that we have delayed too
long already. Think of it. We must have a wedding that will not only
create a sensation in Dal, but in all the neighboring villages. I
intend it shall be the grandest one ever known in the district, so I
am going to set to work immediately."
An affair of this kind is always a momentous occasion in all the
country districts of Norway, particularly in the Telemark, so that
every day Joel had a conversation with his mother on the subject. It
was only a few moments after Dame Hansen's meeting with the stranger,
whose message had so deeply agitated her, and though she had seated
herself at her spinning-wheel as usual, it would have been plain to a
close observer that her thoughts were far away.
Even Joel noticed that his mother seemed even more despondent than
usual, but as she invariably replied that there was nothing the matter
with her when she was questioned on the subject, her son decided to
speak only of Hulda's marriage.
"Mother," he began, "you, of course, recollect that Ole announced in
his last letter that he should probably return to Dal in a few weeks."
"It is certainly to be hoped that he will," replied Dame Hansen, "and
that nothing will occur to occasion any further delay."
"Do you see any objection to our fixing upon the twenty-fifth of May
as the day of the marriage?"
"None, whatever, if Hulda is willing."
"Her consent is already given. And now I think I had better ask
you, mother, if you do not intend to do the handsome thing on that
"What do you mean by the handsome thing?" retorted Dame Hansen,
without raising her eyes from her spinning-wheel.
"Why, I am anxious, if you approve, of course, that the wedding should
correspond with the position we hold in the neighborhood. We ought to
invite all our friends to it, and if our own house is not large enough
to accommodate them, our neighbors, I am sure, will be glad to lodge
"Who will these guests be, Joel?"
"Why, I think we ought to invite all our friends from Moel, Tiness and
Bamble. I will attend to that. I think, too, that the presence of Help
Bros., the shipowners, would be an honor to the family, and with your
consent, I repeat, I will invite them to spend a day with us at Dal.
They are very fine men, and they think a great deal of Ole, so I am
almost sure that they will accept the invitation."
"Is it really necessary to make this marriage such an important
event?" inquired Dame Hansen, coldly.
"I think so, mother, if only for the sake of our inn, which I am sure
has maintained its old reputation since my father's death."
"Yes, Joel, yes."
"And it seems to me that it is our duty to at least keep it up to
the standard at which he left it; consequently, I think it would be
advisable to give considerable publicity to my sister's marriage."
"So be it, Joel."
"And do you not agree with me in thinking that it is quite time
for Hulda to begin her preparations, and what do you say to my
"I think that you and Hulda must do whatever you think necessary,"
replied Dame Hansen.
Perhaps the reader will think that Joel was in too much of a hurry,
and that it would have been much more sensible in him to have waited
until Ole's return before appointing the wedding-day, and beginning to
prepare for it, but as he said, what was once done would not have to
be done over again; besides, the countless details connected with a
ceremonial of this kind would serve to divert Hulda's mind from these
forebodings for which there seemed to be no foundation.
The first thing to be done was to select the bride's maid of honor.
That proved an easy matter, however, for Hulda's choice was already
made. The bride-maid, of course, must be Hulda's intimate friend,
Farmer Helmboe's daughter. Her father was a prominent man, and the
possessor of a very comfortable fortune. For a long time he had
fully appreciated Joel's sterling worth, and his daughter Siegfrid's
appreciation, though of a rather different nature, was certainly no
less profound; so it was quite probable that at no very distant day
after Siegfrid had served as Hulda's maid of honor, Hulda, in turn,
would act in the same capacity for her friend. This is the custom in
Norway, where these pleasant duties are generally reserved for married
women, so it was rather on Joel's account that Siegfrid Helmboe was to
serve Hulda Hansen in this capacity.
A question of vital importance to the bride-maid as well as to the
bride, is the toilet to be worn on the day of the wedding.
Siegfrid, a pretty blonde of eighteen summers, was firmly resolved
to appear to the best possible advantage on the occasion. Warned by
a short note from her friend Hulda--Joel had kindly made himself
responsible for its safe delivery--she immediately proceeded to devote
her closest attention to this important work.
In the first place, an elaborately embroidered bodice must be made to
incase Siegfrid's charming figure as if in a coat of enamel. There
was also much talk about a skirt composed of a series of jupons which
should correspond in number with the wearer's fortune, but in no way
detract from her charms of person. As for jewelry, it was no easy
matter to select the design of the collar of silver filigree, set with
pearls, the heart-shaped ear-rings, the double buttons to fasten the
neck of the chemisette, the belt of red silk or woolen stuff from
which depend four rows of small chains, the finger-rings studded
with tiny bangles that tinkle musically, the bracelets of fretted
silver--in short, all the wealth of country finery in which gold
appears only in the shape of the thinnest plating, silver in the guise
of tin and pearls, and diamonds in the shape of wax and crystal beads.
But what does that matter so long as the tout ensemble is pleasing
to the eye? Besides, if necessary, Siegfrid would not hesitate to
go to the elegant stores of M. Benett, in Christiania, to make her
purchases. Her father would not object--far from it! The kind-hearted
man allowed his daughter full liberty in such matters; besides,
Siegfrid was sensible enough not to draw too heavily upon her father's
purse, though everything else was of secondary importance provided
Joel would see her at her very best on that particular day.
As for Hulda, her anxiety on the subject was no less serious, for
fashions are pitiless, and give, besides, not a little trouble in the
selection of their wedding-toilet.
Hulda would now be obliged to abandon the long plaits tied with bright
ribbons, which had heretofore hung from under her coquettish cap, the
broad belt with fancy buckles that kept her apron in place upon
her scarlet skirt, the girdle to which were appended several small
embroidered leather cases containing a silver tea-spoon, knife, fork,
needle-case and scissors--articles which a woman makes constant use of
in the household.
No, on the fast approaching day of the nuptials, Hulda's hair would be
allowed to float down upon her shoulders, and it was so abundant
that it would not be necessary for her to have recourse to the jute
switches used by Norwegian girls less favored by nature. Indeed,
for her clothing, as well as for her ornaments, Hulda would only be
obliged to resort to her mother's big chest. In fact, these articles
of clothing are transmitted from marriage to marriage through all
the different generations of the same family. So one sees reappearing
again and again upon the scene the bodice embroidered in gold, the
velvet sash, the skirt of striped silk, the gold chain for the neck,
and the crown--the famous Scandinavian crown--carefully preserved in
the most secure of all the chests, and made of pasteboard covered
with embossed gilt paper, and studded with stars, or garlanded with
leaves--that takes the place of the wreath of orange-blossoms worn by
brides in other European countries.
In this case the crowned betrothed, as the bride is styled, would
certainly do honor to her husband; and he would be worthy of her in
his gay wedding suit: a short jacket trimmed with silver buttons,
silk-embroidered waistcoat, tight breeches fastened at the knee with a
bunch of bright ribbons, a soft felt hat, yellow top-boots, and in
his belt the Scandinavian knife--the dolknife--with which the true
Norwegian is always provided.
Consequently, there was plenty to occupy the attention of the young
ladies for some time to come. Two or three weeks would barely suffice
if they wished to have everything in readiness before Ole's return;
but even if Ole should arrive sooner than he expected, and Hulda
should not be quite ready, she would not be inconsolable, nor would
The last weeks of April and the first weeks of May were devoted
to these matters. Joel assumed charge of the invitations, taking
advantage of the fact that his vocation of guide gave him considerable
leisure at this season of the year. One would have supposed that he
had a large number of friends in Bamble, for he went there very often.
He had already written to Help Bros., inviting them to attend his
sister's wedding, and in accordance with his prediction, these worthy
shipowners had promptly accepted the invitation.
The fifteenth of May came, and any day now they might expect Ole to
alight from his kariol, throw open the door, and shout in his hearty,
"It is I! Here I am!"
A little patience was all that was needed now, for everything was in
readiness, and Siegfrid needed only a word to appear before them in
all her splendor.
The 16th and 17th passed, and still no Ole, nor did the postman bring
any letter from Newfoundland.
"There is no cause for anxiety, little sister," Joel said, again and
again. "A sailing-vessel is always subject to delays. It is a long
way from St. Pierre-Miquelon to Bergen. How I wish the 'Viking' were
a steamer and I the engine. How I would drive along against wind and
tide, even if I should burst my boiler on coming into port."
He said all this because he saw very plainly that Hulda's uneasiness
was increasing from day to day.
Just at this time, too, the weather was very bad in the Telemark.
Violent gales swept the high table-lands, and these winds, which blew
from the west, came from America.
"They ought to have hastened the arrival of the 'Viking,'" the young
girl repeated again and again.
"Yes, little sister," replied Joel; "but they are so strong that they
may have hindered its progress, and compelled it to face the gale.
People can't always do as they like upon the sea."
"So you are not uneasy, Joel?"
"No, Hulda, no. It is annoying, of course, but these delays are very
common. No; I am not uneasy, for there is really not the slightest
cause for anxiety."
On the 19th a traveler arrived at the inn, and asked for a guide to
conduct him over the mountains to the Hardanger, and though Joel did
not like the idea of leaving Hulda, he could not refuse his services.
He would only be absent forty-eight hours at the longest, and he felt
confident that he should find Ole at Dal on his return, though, to
tell the truth, the kind-hearted youth was beginning to feel very
uneasy. Still, he started off early the next morning, though with a
heavy heart, we must admit.
On the following day, at precisely one o'clock, a loud rap resounded
at the door of the inn.
"It is Ole!" cried Hulda.
She ran to the door.
There, in a kariol, sat a man enveloped in a traveling-cloak, a man
whose face was unknown to her.
"Is this Dame Hansen's inn?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," answered Hulda.
"Is Dame Hansen at home?"
"No; but she will soon return, and if you wish to speak to her--"
"I do not. There is nothing I want to say to her."
"Would you like a room?"
"Yes; the best in the house."
"Shall we prepare dinner for you?"
"As soon as possible, and see to it that everything is of the very
These remarks were exchanged between Hulda and the traveler before the
latter had alighted from the kariol, in which he had journeyed to
the heart of the Telemark across the forests, lakes, and valleys of
Every one who has visited Scandinavia is familiar with the kariol,
the means of locomotion so dear to the hearts of her people. Two long
shafts, between which trots a horse wearing a square wooden collar,
painted yellow and striped with black, and guided with a simple rope
passed, not through his mouth, but around his nose, two large,
slender wheels, whose springless axle supports a small gay-colored,
shell-shaped wagon-body, scarcely large enough to hold one person--no
covering, no dash-board, no step--but behind, a board upon which the
skydskarl perches himself. The whole vehicle strongly reminds one of
an enormous spider between two huge cobwebs represented by the wheels
of the vehicle.
At a sign from the traveler the skydskarl sprung to the horse's
head, and the stranger rose, straightened himself out, and finally
alighted, though not without some difficulty, judging from two or
three muttered curses.
"Will they put my kariol under shelter?" he asked, curtly, pausing
upon the threshold.
"Yes, sir," replied Hulda.
"And find my horse?"
"I will have him put in the stable immediately."
"Have him well cared for."
"Certainly, sir. May I ask if you intend to remain in Dal several
"I don't know yet."
The kariol and horse were taken to a small barn built under the
shelter of some trees at the foot of the mountain. It was the only
stable connected with the inn, but it sufficed for the requirements of
In a few moments the traveler was duly installed in the best chamber,
where, after removing his cloak, he proceeded to warm himself before
the fire he had ordered lighted. In the meantime, Hulda, to satisfy
this exacting guest, bade the piga (a sturdy peasant-girl, who
helped in the kitchen, and did the rough work of the inn during the
summer) prepare the best dinner possible.
A strong, hardy man was this new-comer, though he had already passed
his sixtieth year. Thin, slightly round-shouldered, of medium stature,
with an angular head, smoothly shaven face, thin, pointed nose, small
eyes that looked you through and through from behind large spectacles,
a forehead generally contracted by a frown, lips too thin for a
pleasant word ever to escape them, and long, crooked fingers, he was
the very personification of an avaricious usurer or miser, and Hulda
felt a presentiment that this stranger would bring no good fortune to
Dame Hansen's house.
He was a Norwegian unquestionably, but one of the very worst type.
His traveling costume consisted of a broad-brimmed, low-crowned hat,
a snuff-colored suit, the breeches fastened at the knee with a leather
strap, and over all a large brown cloak, lined with sheep-skin to
protect its wearer from the chilly night air.
Hulda did not ask him his name, but she would soon learn it, as he
would have to enter it upon the inn register.
Just then Dame Hansen returned, and her daughter announced the arrival
of a guest who demanded the best room and the best food that the inn
afforded, but who vouchsafed no information in regard to the probable
length of his stay.
"And he did not give his name?" asked Dame Hansen.
"Nor say whence he came?"
"If he is not a tourist, what can have brought him to Dal?" said Dame
Hansen to herself rather than to her daughter, and in a tone that
indicated some uneasiness.
But Hulda could not answer this question, as the new-comer had
acquainted her with none of his plans.
About an hour after his arrival the man came out into the main hall,
from which his door opened, but seeing Dame Hansen sitting there, he
paused upon the threshold.
Evidently he was as much of a stranger to his hostess as his hostess
was to him; but he finally walked toward her, and after a long look at
her from over his spectacles:
"You are Dame Hansen, I suppose?" he said, without even touching the
hat he had not yet removed from his head.
In the presence of this man the widow, strange to say, experienced,
like her daughter, an uneasiness for which she could not account, but
which her guest must have noticed.
"So you are really Dame Hansen, of Dal?" he continued.
"Certainly, sir. Have you anything particular to say to me?"
"Nothing; I only wished to make your acquaintance. Am I not your
guest? And now I should like you to see that I have my dinner as soon
"Your dinner is ready," interposed Hulda, "and if you will step into
As he spoke, the stranger directed his steps toward the door
indicated, and a moment afterward he was seated near the window in
front of a small, neatly spread table.
The dinner was certainly good. The most fastidious traveler could not
have found fault with it; nevertheless, this ill-tempered individual
was not sparing in his signs and words of dissatisfaction--especially
signs, for he did not appear to be very loquacious. One could hardly
help wondering whether this fault-finding was due to a poor digestion
or a bad temper. The soup of cherries and gooseberries did not suit
him, though it was excellent, and he scarcely tasted his salmon
and salt-herring. The cold ham, broiled chicken and nicely seasoned
vegetables did not seem to please him, and his bottle of claret and
his half bottle of champagne seemed to be equally unsatisfactory,
though they came from the best cellars in France; and when the repast
was concluded the guest had not even a "tack for mad" for his
After dinner the old curmudgeon lighted his pipe and went out for a
walk along the river bank.
On reaching the stream he turned and fixed his eyes upon the inn. He
seemed to be studying it under all its varied aspects, as if trying to
form a correct estimate of its value.
He counted every door and window, and finally on his return to the
inn he stuck his knife into the horizontal beams at its base, as if to
test the quality of the wood and its state of preservation. Could
it be that he was trying to find out how much Dame Hansen's inn was
really worth? Did he aspire to become the owner of it, though it was
not for sale? All this was certainly very strange, especially as
he afterward turned his attention to the little yard, the trees and
shrubs of which he counted carefully, and finally measured both sides
of the inclosure with regular strides, after which the movement of his
pencil over a page of his memorandum-book seemed to indicate that he
was multiplying one by the other.
All the while Dame Hansen and her daughter were watching him from one
of the windows of the inn. What strange creature was this, and what
could be the object of his visit? It was greatly to be regretted that
all this took place during Joel's absence, especially as the eccentric
individual was going to spend the night at the inn.
"What if he is a madman?" said Hulda.
"A madman? no," replied Dame Hansen. "But he is a very eccentric
person, to say the least."
"It is always unpleasant to be ignorant of the name of the person you
are entertaining," remarked the young girl.
"Before he re-enters the house, Hulda, be sure that you carry the
register into his room. Perhaps he will conclude to write his name in
Just at dusk a fine rain began to fall, so the stranger returned to
the inn. He asked for a small glass of brandy, then without saying
a word, or even bidding any one good-night, he took his wooden
candlestick, and entering his room bolted the door behind him, and
nothing further was heard from him that night.
The skydskarl had taken refuge in the barn, where he was already
sound asleep in company with the sorrel horse.
Dame Hansen and her daughter rose with the sun the next morning, but
no sound came from the room of their guest, who was probably still
sleeping. A little after nine o'clock he made his appearance even more
glum and ill-tempered than the evening before, complaining that his
bed had been hard, and that the noise in the house had kept, him
awake; then he opened the door and looked out at the sky.
The prospect was not very cheering, certainly, for the wind was
blowing a gale, and the stranger concluded not to venture out. Still
he did not waste his time. With his pipe in his mouth he walked about
the inn as if trying to familiarize himself with the arrangement
of the interior. He visited all the different rooms, examined the
furniture, and peered into cupboards and sideboards with as much
coolness as if he had been in his own house.
Though the man was singular in appearance, his actions were certainly
even more singular. Finally he seated himself in the big arm-chair,
and proceeded to question Dame Hansen in a curt, almost rude tone. How
long had the inn been built? Was it her husband that built it, or did
he inherit it? How much land was there around it, and what was the
extent of the adjoining souter? Was the inn well patronized, and
did it pay well? How many tourists came there on an average during the
summer? Did they usually spend one or several days there? etc., etc.
It was evident that the stranger had not looked at the register that
had been placed in his room, for that would have given him all the
information he desired upon this last point.
In fact, the book was still on the table where Hulda had placed it the
evening before, and the traveler's name was not in it.
"I do not understand how and why these matters can interest you, sir,"
said Dame Hansen at last; "but if you wish to know the state of
our business, nothing could be easier. You have only to examine the
register, in which you would greatly oblige me by entering your name
according to custom."
"My name? I will write my name in it, certainly. I will write it there
before I leave, which will be immediately after breakfast, as I am
anxious to get back to Drammen by to-morrow evening."
"Drammen!" repeated Dame Hansen, hastily.
"Yes. Will you give me my breakfast as soon as possible?"
"Do you live in Drammen?"
"Yes. May I ask if there is anything astonishing about the fact that I
reside in Drammen?"
So, after spending scarcely twenty-four hours in Dal, or rather at
the inn, the traveler left without making the slightest effort to see
anything of the surrounding country, Gousta, and Rjukanfos, and the
wonders of the valley of the Vesfjorddal were entirely ignored.
It certainly could not have been for pleasure that he left Drammen, so
he must have come on business, and the sole object of his visit seemed
to have been a careful examination of Dame Hansen's establishment.
It was plain to Hulda that her mother was deeply troubled, for
she seated herself in her big arm-chair, and pushing aside her
spinning-wheel, remained there silent and motionless.
In the meantime the traveler had gone into the dining-room and seated
himself at the table. Though the breakfast was as carefully prepared
as the dinner of the evening before, it seemed to give no better
satisfaction; and yet the guest eat and drank in the same leisurely
fashion. His attention seemed to be chiefly bestowed upon the
silver--a luxury highly prized among Norwegian peasants, where the
few forks and spoons which are handed down from father to son are
carefully preserved with the family jewels.
Meanwhile the skydskarl busied himself with his preparations for
departure; and by eleven o'clock the horse and kariol were standing
before the door of the inn.
The weather was still threatening; the sky was dull and overcast, and
now and then big drops of rain dashed against the window-panes; but
this traveler with his heavy cloak lined with sheep-skin was not a man
to worry about the weather.
Breakfast over, he called for one more glass of brandy, lighted his
pipe, and put on his coat, then stepping out into the hall he called
for his bill.
"I will make it out immediately," replied Hulda, seating herself at a
"Be quick about it," said the traveler. "And now," he added, "you had
better bring me your book so I can write my name in it."
Dame Hansen rose and left the room to get the register, which, on her
return, she placed upon the large table.
The stranger picked up a pen and took one more long look at Dame
Hansen over his spectacles; then he wrote his name in a large, round
hand, and closed the book.
Just at that moment Hulda handed him his bill. He took it, examined
each item separately, and then proceeded to add up the figures,
grumbling all the while.
"Hum!" he exclaimed. "This is very dear! Seven marks and a half for a
night's lodging and two meals!"
"You forget the skydskarl and the horse," remarked Hulda.
"Nevertheless, I think your charge very high. I really don't see how
you can expect to prosper if you are so exorbitant in your charges."
"You owe me nothing, sir," said Dame Hansen, in a voice that trembled
so that it was scarcely audible.
She had just opened the register and read the name inscribed upon it,
and now taking the bill and tearing it up, she repeated:
"You owe me nothing."
"That is exactly my opinion,'" replied the stranger.
And without bidding them good-bye on his departure any more than he
had bidden them good-day on his arrival, he climbed into his kariol,
and the skydskarl jumped upon the board behind him. A few seconds
later he had disappeared around a turn in the road. When Hulda opened
the book she found there only this name--
"Sandgoist, from Drammen."
It was on the afternoon of the following day that Joel was to return
home; and Hulda, who knew that her brother would come back by the
table-lands of the Gousta and along the left bank of the Maan, went to
meet him at the ferry across that impetuous stream. On arriving there
she seated herself on the little wharf which serves as a landing-place
for the ferry-boat, and abandoned herself to her thoughts.
To the deep uneasiness caused by the non-arrival of the "Viking"
was now added another great anxiety. This last was caused by the
mysterious visit of Sandgoist, and Dame Hansen's agitation in his
presence. Why had she destroyed the bill and declined to accept the
money due her as soon as she learned her guest's name? There must be
some secret concealed under all this--and a grave one.
Hulda was finally aroused from her reverie by the approach of Joel.
She first caught a glimpse of him as he was descending the topmost
slope; soon he reappeared in the midst of a narrow clearing between
the burned and fallen trees. Then he vanished from sight behind a
clump of pines, and at last reached the opposite bank and jumped
aboard the ferry-boat. With a few vigorous strokes of the oar he
propelled the boat swiftly through the rapids, and then leaped upon
the little pier beside his sister.
"Has Ole returned?" he asked, hastily.
It was of Ole that he thought first of all; but his question remained
"Have you received no letter from him?"
And Hulda burst into tears.
"Don't cry, little sister," exclaimed Joel, "don't cry. You make me
wretched. I can not bear to see you weep. Let me see! You say you have
received no letter. The matter is beginning to look a little serious,
I must admit, though there is no reason to despair as yet. If you
desire it, I will go to Bergen, and make inquiries there. I will call
on Help Bros. Possibly they may have some news from Newfoundland. It
is quite possible that the 'Viking' may have put into some port for
repairs, or on account of bad weather. The wind has been blowing
a hurricane for more than a week, and not unfrequently ships from
Newfoundland take refuge in Iceland, or at the Faroe Islands. This
very thing happened to Ole two years ago, when he was on board the
'Strenna,' you remember. I am only saying what I really think, little
sister. Dry your eyes. If you make me lose heart what will become of
"But I can't help it, Joel."
"Hulda! Hulda! do not lose courage. I assure you that I do not
despair, not by any means."
"Can I really believe you, Joel?"
"Yes, you can. Now, to reassure you, shall I start for Bergen
to-morrow morning, or this very evening?"
"No, no, you must not leave me! No, you must not!" sobbed Hulda,
clinging to her brother as if he was the only friend she had left in
They started toward the inn. Joel sheltered his sister from the rain
as well as he could, but the wind soon became so violent that they
were obliged to take refuge in the hut of the ferryman, which stood a
few hundred yards from the bank of the Maan.
There they were obliged to remain until the wind abated a little, and
Joel was glad of an opportunity to have a longer conversation with his
"How does mother seem?" he inquired.
"Even more depressed in spirits than usual," replied Hulda.
"Has any one been here during my absence?"
"Yes, one traveler, but he has gone away."
"So there is no tourist at the inn now, and no one has asked for a
"So much the better, for I would much rather not leave you. Besides,
if this unpleasant weather continues, it is not likely that many
tourists will visit the Telemark this season. But tell me, was it
yesterday that your guest left Dal?"
"Yes, yesterday morning."
"Who was he?"
"A man who resides in Drammen, and whose name is Sandgoist."
"Do you know him?"
Hulda had asked herself more than once if she should tell her brother
all that had occurred in his absence. When Joel heard how coolly their
guest had conducted himself, and how he seemed to have come merely to
appraise the house and its contents, what would he think? Would not
he, too, fear that his mother must have had grave reasons for acting
as she had? What were these reasons? What could there be in common
between her and Sandgoist? Joel would certainly desire to know, and
would be sure to question his mother, and as Dame Hansen, who was
always so uncommunicative, would doubtless persist in the silence she
had maintained hitherto, the relations between her and her children,
which were so unnatural and constrained now, would become still more
But would Hulda be able to keep anything from Joel? A secret from him!
Would it not be a violation of the close friendship that united them?
No, this friendship must never be broken! So Hulda suddenly resolved
to tell him all.
"Have you ever heard any one speak of this Sandgoist when you were in
Drammen?" she asked.
"But our mother knew him, Joel; at least by name."
"She knew Sandgoist?"
"I certainly never heard the name before."
"But she has, though she had never seen the man until day before
Then Hulda related all the incidents that had marked Sandgoist's
sojourn at the inn, not neglecting to mention Dame Hansen's singular
conduct at the moment of his departure. Then she hastened to add:
"I think, Joel, it would be best not to say anything to mother about
it at present. You know her disposition, and it would only make her
still more unhappy. The future will probably reveal what has been
concealed from us in the past. Heaven grant that Ole may be restored
to us, and then if any misfortune should befall the family there will
at least be three of us to share it."
Joel had listened to his sister with profound attention. Yes, it
was evident that Dame Hansen must be at this man's mercy, and it
was impossible to doubt that he had come to take an inventory of
the property. And the destruction of the bill at the time of his
departure--a destruction that seemed only right and proper to
him--what could be the meaning of that?
"You are right, Hulda," said Joel. "I had better not say anything to
mother about it. Perhaps she will feel sorry by and by that she has
not confided in us. Heaven grant that it may not be too late! She must
be wretched, poor woman! How strange it is that she can not understand
that her children were born to sympathize with her."
"She will find it out some day, Joel."
"Yes; so let us wait patiently, little sister. Still, there is no
reason why I should not try to find out who the man is. Perhaps Farmer
Helmboe knows him. I will ask him the first time I go to Bamble, and
if need be I will push on to Drammen. There it will not be difficult
for me to at least learn what the man does, and what people think of
"They do not think well of him, I am sure," replied Hulda. "His face
is very unprepossessing, and I shall be very much surprised if there
is a noble soul concealed under such a repulsive exterior."
"Come, come, little sister, it will not do to judge people by outward
appearances," exclaimed Joel. "Don't be so suspicious, Hulda, and
cheer up. Ole will soon be with us, and we will scold him roundly for
having kept us waiting."
The rain having ceased the pair left the hut and started up the path
leading to the inn.
"By the way, I must go away again to-morrow, little sister," said
"Go away again to-morrow!" repeated Hulda.
"Yes, early in the morning. On leaving the Hardanger I was informed
by a comrade that a traveler, coming from the north by way of the
Rjukanfos would arrive to-morrow."
"Who is this traveler?"
"I don't know his name, but I must be on hand to conduct him to Dal."
"Ah, well! go, then, as there is no help for it," replied Hulda, with
"Yes, I must start to-morrow at sunrise. Do you really feel so badly
about it, Hulda?"
"Yes, brother, I feel much more unhappy when you leave me, even if it
is only for a few hours."
"Ah, well, this time I shall not go alone."
"Why, who is to accompany you?"
"You, little sister. You need diversion, and I am going to take you
"Oh, thank you, Joel, thank you!"
The brother and sister left the inn at sunrise the next morning. The
fifteen mile walk from Dal to the celebrated falls of the Rjukan,
and back again, was a mere trifle for Joel, but it was necessary to
economize Hulda's strength, so Joel hired foreman Lengling's kariol.
This, like all kariols, had but one seat, but the worthy man was so
large that he had been obliged to have his kariol built to order, and
this being the case the vehicle was large enough to enable Hulda
and Joel to sit side by side quite comfortably; and if the expected
tourist was waiting for them at Rjukanfos as they anticipated, he
could take Joel's place and the latter could either return afoot or
mounted upon the step behind the kariol.
The road from Dal to the falls is very rough but indescribably
charming. It is really rather a footpath than a road. The bridges
across the countless streams that dance merrily along to the Maan are
all constructed of unhewn logs, but the Norwegian horse traverses them
with a sure step, and though the kariol has no springs, its long and
slightly elastic shafts soften the jolting at least to some extent.
The day was charming, and Hulda and Joel drove along at a brisk pace
through the flowery fields, bathed on the left by the clear waters of
the Maan. Clumps of birches here and there shaded the sunny road, and
the dew still glittered on the blades of grass. To the right of the
torrent towered the snow-clad summit of the Gousta, which rises to an
altitude of six thousand feet.
For nearly an hour, the vehicle moved on rapidly, the ascent being
comparatively slight; but soon the valley became narrower, the gay
rivulets were transformed into foaming torrents, and though the
road wound in and out it could not avoid all the inequalities of the
ground. Beyond came really dangerous passes, through which Joel guided
the vehicle with no little skill; besides, with him Hulda feared
nothing. When the road was very rough she clung to his arm, and the
freshness of the morning air brought a glow to the pretty face which
had been unusually pale for some time.
But it was necessary for them to ascend to still greater heights,
for the valley here contracted into merely a narrow channel for the
passage of the river, a channel inclosed on either side by massive
walls of rock. Over the neighboring fields were scattered a few
dilapidated farm-houses, the remains of soeters, which were now
abandoned, and a few shepherd's huts almost hidden from view by clumps
of birches and oaks. Soon it became impossible for them to see the
river, though they could distinctly hear it dashing along in its rocky
channel, and the country assumed an indescribably wild and imposing
A drive of two hours brought them to a rough saw-mill perched upon
the edge of a water-fall at least fifteen hundred feet in height.
Water-falls of this height are by no means rare in the Vesfjorddal,
but the volume of water is usually small. This is not the case with
the falls of the Rjukanfos however.
On reaching the saw-mill, Joel and Hulda both alighted.
"A half hour's walk will not be too much for you, will it, little
sister?" asked Joel.
"No, brother; I am not tired, and a little exercise will do me good."
"It will be a good deal instead of a little, for you will have some
pretty hard climbing to do."
"I can cling to your arm, Joel."
It was evident that the kariol must be abandoned at this point, for
it would be impossible for it to make its way through the rough paths,
the narrow passes, and over the big, fantastically shaped rocks that
heralded the close proximity of the great falls.
Already, they could see in the distance a thick mist, the spray from
the seething waters of Rjukan.
Hulda and Joel took a shady path which is well known to guides, and
which leads to the end of the valley. A few moments afterward they
found themselves upon a moss-covered rock almost in front of the fall.
In fact there was no chance of getting any nearer to it on that side.
The brother and sister would have had considerable difficulty in
making themselves heard if they had wished to speak; but their
thoughts were those that could be exchanged without the agency of the
The volume of the Rjukan fall is enormous, its height very
considerable, and its roar deafening. The earth makes an abrupt
descent of nine hundred feet to the bed of the Maan midway between
Lake Mjos and Lake Tinn, nine hundred feet, that is to say six times
the height of Niagara, though the width of this last water-fall from
the American to the Canadian shore is three miles.
The Rjukan is so grand and unique in its aspect that any description
falls far short of the reality, and even a painting can not do justice
to it. There are certain wonders of nature that must be seen if
one would form any adequate conception of their beauty; and this
water-fall, which is one of the most widely celebrated in Europe,
belongs to this category.
These were the very thoughts that were passing through the mind of a
tourist who was at that very moment sitting perched upon a rock on the
right bank of the Maan, from which spot he could command a nearer and
more extended view of the fall.
Neither Joel nor his sister had yet noticed him, though he was plainly
visible from the rock on which they were seated.
In a few minutes the traveler rose and very imprudently ventured out
upon the rocky slope that is rounded like a dome on the side next the
Maan. What the adventurous tourist wished to see was evidently the two
caverns under the fall, the one to the left, which is ever filled to
the top with a mass of seething foam, and the one to the right, which
is always enshrouded in a heavy mist. Possibly he was even trying to
ascertain if there were not a third cavern midway down the fall to
account for the fact that the Rjukan at intervals projects straight
outward into space a mass of water and spray, making it appear as
if the waters had suddenly been scattered in a fine spray over the
surrounding fields by some terrific explosion in the rear of the fall.
And now the daring tourist was slowly but persistently making his
way over the rough and slippery ledge of rock, destitute alike of
shrubbery or grass, know as the Passe de Marie, or the Maristien.
It is more than probable, however, that he was ignorant of the legend
that has made this pass so widely know. One day Eystein endeavored
to reach his betrothed, the beautiful Marie of Vesfjorddal, by this
dangerous path. His sweetheart was holding out her arms to him from
the other side of the gorge, when suddenly he lost his footing, fell,
slipped further and further down the ledge of rock which is as smooth
as glass, and disappeared forever in the seething rapids of the Maan.
Was this rash traveler about to meet a similar fate?
It seemed only too probable; and in fact he soon perceived the danger
of his position, though not until it was too late. Suddenly his foot
slipped, he uttered a cry, and after rolling nearly twenty feet, he
finally succeeded in securing a hold upon a projecting rock on the
very edge of the abyss.
Joel and Hulda, though they had not yet caught sight of him, heard his
"What is that?" exclaimed Joel, springing to his feet.
"A cry!" replied Hulda.
"Yes, a cry of distress."
"From what direction did it come?"
"Let us listen."
Both looked first to the right, and then to the left of the fall, but
they saw nothing, though they had certainly heard the words "Help!
help!" uttered during one of the intervals between each rebound of the
The cry was repeated.
"Joel, some one who is in danger is calling for help," cried Hulda.
"We must go to his aid."
"Yes, sister; and he can not be far off. But in what direction? Where
is he? I see no one."
Hulda hastily climbed a little knoll behind the mossy rock upon which
she had been sitting.
"Joel!" she cried, suddenly.
"Do you see him?"
As she spoke she pointed to the imprudent man whose body seemed to
be almost overhanging the abyss. If his foothold upon a tiny ledge of
rock failed him, or he was seized with dizziness, he was lost.
"We must save him!" said Hulda.
"Yes," replied Joel, "if we can keep our wits about us we shall
perhaps be able to reach him."
Joel gave a loud shout to attract the attention of the traveler,
who immediately turned his head toward the spot from which the sound
proceeded; then the worthy fellow devoted a few moments to deciding
how he could best rescue the stranger from his dangerous position.
"You are not afraid, are you, Hulda?" he asked.
"You know the Maristien well, do you not?"
"I have crossed it several times."
"Then walk along the brow of the cliff, gradually getting as near the
traveler as you possibly can; then allow yourself to slide down
gently toward him, and take him by the hand, so as to prevent him
from falling any further; but do not let him try to lift himself up,
because if he should be seized with vertigo he would certainly drag
you down with him, and you would both be lost."
"And you, Joel?"
"While you are traversing the brow of the cliff I will creep along the
edge of it on the river-side. I shall reach him about as soon as you
do, and if you should slip I shall perhaps be able to prevent you both
Then, taking advantage of another interval in the roaring of the
torrent, Joel shouted in stentorian tones:
"Don't move, sir. Wait; we will try to get to you!"
Hulda had already disappeared behind the trees that crowned the ledge,
in order to ascend the Maristien from the other side of the declivity,
and Joel soon caught a glimpse of the fast-receding form of the brave
girl at the turn in the path where the last trees grew.
He, in turn, at the peril of his life, had begun to creep slowly
along the shelving edge of the ledge that surrounds the Rjukan. What
wonderful coolness, what steadiness of foot and of hand were required
to thus advance in safety along the edge of an abyss whose borders
were drenched with the spray of the cataract!
In a parallel direction, but at least one hundred feet above his head,
Hulda was advancing obliquely in order to reach the traveler more
easily; but the position of the latter was such that she could not see
his face, that being turned toward the cataract.
Joel, on reaching a spot directly below the unfortunate man paused,
and after planting his foot firmly in a small crevice in the rock,
The traveler turned his head.
"Don't move, sir; don't move an inch, but hold fast!"
"I'll do that, my friend, never fear," replied the stranger in a tone
that reassured Joel. "If I hadn't a good grip, I should have gone to
the bottom of the Rjukan a quarter of an hour ago."
"My sister is also coming to help you," continued Joel. "She will take
hold of your hand, but don't attempt to get upon your feet until I
reach you. Don't even move."
"No more than a rock," replied the traveler.
Hulda had already begun to descend the ledge, carefully selecting
the less slippery parts of the slope with the clear head of a true
daughter of the Telemark.
And she, too, now called out as Joel had done:
"Yes; I am holding fast, and I assure you that I shall continue to do
so as long as I can."
"And above all don't be afraid!" added Hulda.
"I am not afraid."
"We'll save you yet!" cried Joel.
"I hope so, indeed; for by Saint Olaf I shall never succeed in getting
out of this scrape myself."
It was evident that the tourist had lost none of his presence of mind;
but his fall had probably disabled him, and all he could do now was to
keep himself upon the narrow shelf of rock that separated him from the
Meanwhile Hulda continued her descent, and in a few minutes reached
the traveler; then, bracing her foot against a projecting point in the
rock, she caught hold of his hand.
The traveler involuntarily attempted to raise himself a little.
"Don't move, sir, don't move," cried Hulda. "You will be sure to drag
me down with you, for I am not strong enough to keep you from falling!
You must wait until my brother reaches us. When he gets between us and
the fall you can then try to get up."
"That is more easily said than done I fear."
"Are you so much hurt, sir? I hope you have broken no bones."
"No; but one leg is badly cut and scratched."
Joel was about twenty yards from them, the rounded shape of the brow
of the cliff having prevented him from joining them at once. He was
now obliged to climb this rounded surface. This was, of course, the
most difficult and also the most dangerous part of his task.
"Don't make the slightest movement, Hulda!" he cried. "If you should
both slip while I am not in a position to break your fall you would
both be killed."
"You need not fear that, Joel!" replied Hulda. "Think only of
yourself, and may God help you!"
Joel began to crawl slowly up the rock, dragging himself along on his
belly like a veritable reptile. Two or three times he narrowly
escaped sliding down into the abyss below, but finally he succeeded in
reaching the traveler's side.
The latter proved to be an elderly but still vigorous-looking
man, with a handsome face, animated with a very genial and kindly
"You have been guilty of a very imprudent act, sir," remarked Joel as
soon as he recovered his breath.
"Imprudent!" repeated the traveler. "Yes, and as absurd as it was
"You have not only risked your life, but--"
"Made you risk yours."
"Oh! that is my business," replied Joel, lightly. Then he added, in
an entirely different tone: "The thing to be done now is to regain the
brow of the cliff, but the most difficult part of the task is already
"The most difficult?"
"Yes, sir. That was to reach you. Now we have only to ascend a much
more gradual slope.
"Still, you had better not place much dependence upon me, my boy. I
have a leg that isn't of much use to me just now, nor will it be for
some time to come I fear."
"Try to raise yourself a little."
"I will gladly do so if you will assist me."
"Then take hold of my sister's arm. I will steady you and push you
"Very well, my friends, I will be guided entirely by you; as you have
been so kind as to come to my assistance, I can not do less than yield
you implicit obedience."
Joel's plan was carried out in the most cautious manner, and though
the ascent was not made without considerable difficulty and danger,
all three accomplished it more easily and quickly than they had
thought possible. Besides, the injury from which the traveler was
suffering was neither a sprain nor dislocation, but simply a very bad
abrasion of the skin; consequently, he could use his limbs to much
better purpose than he had supposed, and ten minutes later he found
himself safe on the other side of the Maristien.
Once there, he would have been glad to rest awhile under the pines
that border the upper field of the Rjukanfos, but Joel persuaded
him to make one more effort. This was to reach a hut hidden among the
trees, a short distance from the rock, on which the brother and sister
had seated themselves on first arriving at the fall. The traveler
yielded to their solicitations, and supported on one side by Hulda,
and on the other by Joel, he finally succeeded in reaching the door of
the humble dwelling.
"Let us go in, sir," said Hulda. "You must want to rest a moment."
"The moment will probably be prolonged to a quarter of an hour."
"Very well, sir; but afterward you must consent to accompany us to
"To Dal? Why, that is the very place I was going to!"
"Can it be that you are the tourist who was expected from the north?"
"Had I foreseen what was going to happen, I should have gone to the
other side of the Rjukanfos to meet you."
"That would have been a good idea, my brave fellow. You would have
saved me from a foolhardy act unpardonable at my age."
"Or at any age," replied Hulda.
The three entered the hut which was occupied by a family of peasants,
a father and two daughters, who received their unexpected guests with
Joel was able to satisfy himself that the traveler had sustained no
injury beyond a severe abrasion of the skin a little below the knee;
but though the wound would necessitate a week's rest, the limb was
neither broken nor dislocated.
Some excellent milk, an abundance of strawberries, and a little black
bread were offered and accepted. Joel gave incontestable proofs of an
excellent appetite, and though Hulda eat almost nothing, the traveler
proved a match for her brother.
"My exertions have given me a famous appetite," he remarked; "but I
must admit that my attempt to traverse the Maristien was an act of the
grossest folly. To play the part of the unfortunate Eystein when one
is old enough to be his father--and even his grandfather--is absurd in
the highest degree."
"So you know the legend?" said Hulda.
"Of course. My nurse used to sing me to sleep with it in the happy
days when I still had a nurse. Yes, I know the story, my brave girl,
so I am all the more to blame for my imprudence. Now, my friends, Dal
seems a long way off to a cripple like myself. How do you propose to
get me there?"
"Don't worry about that, sir," replied Joel. "Our kariol is waiting
for us at the end of the road, about three hundred yards from here."
"Hum! three hundred yards!"
"But downhill all the way," added Hulda.
"Oh, in that case, I shall do very well if you will kindly lend me an
"Why not two, as we have four at your disposal?" responded Joel.
"We will say two then. It won't cost me any more, will it?"
"It will cost you nothing."
"Except my thanks; and that reminds me that I have not yet thanked
"For what, sir?" inquired Joel.
"Merely for saving my life at the risk of your own."
"Are you quite ready to start?" inquired Hulda, rising to escape any
further expression of gratitude.
"Certainly, certainly. I am more than willing to be guided by the
wishes of the other members of the party."
The traveler settled the modest charge made by the occupants of the
cottage; then, supported by Joel and Hulda, he began the descent of
the winding path leading to the river bank.
The descent was not effected without many exclamations of pain; but
these exclamations invariably terminated in a hearty laugh, and at
last they reached the saw-mill, where Joel immediately proceeded to
harness the horse into the kariol.
Five minutes later the traveler was installed in the vehicle, with
Hulda beside him.
"But I must have taken your seat," he remarked to Joel.
"A seat I relinquish to you with the utmost willingness."
"But perhaps by a little crowding we might make room for you?"
"No, no, I have my legs, sir--a guide's legs. They are as good as any
Joel placed himself at the horse's head, and the little party started
for Dal. The return trip was a gay one, at least on the part of the
traveler, who already seemed to consider himself an old friend of
the Hansen family. Before they reached their destination they found
themselves calling their companion M. Silvius; and that gentleman
unceremoniously called them Hulda and Joel, as if their acquaintance
had been one of long standing.
About four o'clock the little belfry of Dal became visible through the
trees, and a few minutes afterward the horse stopped in front of
the inn. The traveler alighted from the kariol, though not without
considerable difficulty. Dame Hansen hastened to the door to receive
him, and though he did not ask for the best room in the house, it was
given to him all the same.
Sylvius Hogg was the name that the stranger inscribed upon the
inn register, that same evening, directly underneath the name of
Sandgoist, and there was as great a contrast between the two names
as between the men that bore them. Between them there was nothing
whatever in common, either mentally, morally, or physically. One was
generous to a fault, the other was miserly and parsimonious; one was
genial and kind-hearted, in the arid soul of the other every noble and
humane sentiment seemed to have withered and died.
Sylvius Hogg was nearly sixty years of age, though he did not appear
nearly so old. Tall, erect, and well built, healthy alike in mind and
in body, he pleased at first sight with his handsome genial face, upon
which he wore no beard, but around which clustered curling locks of
silvery hair; eyes which were as smiling as his lips, a broad forehead
that bore the impress of noble thoughts, and a full chest in which
the heart beat untrammeled. To all these charms were added an
inexhaustible fund of good humor, a refined and liberal nature, and a
generous and self-sacrificing disposition.
Sylvius Hogg, of Christiania--no further recommendation was needed.
That told the whole story. And he was not only known, appreciated,
loved and honored in the Norwegian capital, but throughout the entire
country, though the sentiments he inspired in the other half of the
Scandinavian kingdom, that is to say in Sweden, were of an entirely
This fact can easily be explained.
Sylvius Hogg was a professor of law at Christiania. In some lands to
be a barrister, civil engineer, physician, or merchant, entitles one
to a place on the upper rounds of the social ladder. It is different
in Norway, however. To be a professor there is to be at the top of the
Though there are four distinct classes in Sweden, the nobility,
the clergy, the gentry, and the peasantry, there are but three
in Norway--the nobility being utterly wanting. No aristocracy is
acknowledged, not even that of the office-holder, for in this favored
country where privileged persons are unknown, the office-holder
is only the humble servant of the public. In fact, perfect social
equality prevails without any political distinctions whatever.
Sylvius Hogg being one of the most influential men in the country, the
reader will not be surprised to learn that he was also a member of the
Storthing; and in this august body, by the well-known probity of his
public and private life even more than by his mighty intellect, he
wielded a powerful influence even over the peasant deputies elected in
such large numbers in the rural districts.
Ever since the adoption of the Constitution of 1814, it may be
truly said that Norway is a republic with the King of Sweden for
its president; for Norway, ever jealous of her rights, has carefully
guarded her individuality. The Storthing will have nothing whatever to
do with the Swedish parliament; hence it is only natural that the most
prominent and patriotic members of the Storthing should be regarded
with distrust on the other side of the imaginary frontier that
separates Sweden from Norway.
This was the case with Sylvius Hogg. Being extremely independent in
character, and utterly devoid of ambition, he had repeatedly declined
a position in the Cabinet; and a stanch defender of all the rights
of his native land, he had constantly and unflinchingly opposed any
threatened encroachment on the part of Sweden.
Such is the moral and political gulf between the two countries that
the King of Sweden--then Oscar XV.--after being crowned at Stockholm,
was obliged to go through a similar ceremony at Drontheim, the ancient
capital of Norway. Such too is the suspicious reserve of Norwegian men
of business, that the Bank of Christiania is unwilling to accept the
notes of the Bank of Stockholm! Such too is the clearly defined line
of demarkation between the two nations that the Swedish flag floats
neither over the public buildings of Norway, nor from the masts of
Norwegian vessels. The one has its blue bunting, bearing a yellow
cross; the other a blue cross upon a crimson ground.
Sylvius Hogg was a thorough Norwegian in heart and in soul, and
stoutly defended her rights upon all occasions; so, when in 1854 the
Storthing was discussing the question of having neither a viceroy
nor even a governor at the head of the state, he was one of the most
enthusiastic champions of the measure.
Consequently, though he was by no means popular in the eastern part of
Scandinavia, he was adored in the western part of it, even in the most
remote hamlets. His name was a household word throughout Norway from
the dunes of Christiansand to the bleak rocks of the North Cape, and
so worthy was he of this universal respect that no breath of calumny
had ever sullied the reputation of either the deputy or the professor.
But though he was a Norwegian to the core he was a hot-blooded man,
with none of the traditional coldness and apathy of his compatriots;
but much more prompt and resolute in his thoughts and acts than most
Scandinavians, as was proved by the quickness of his movements, the
ardor of his words, and the vivacity of his gestures. Had he been born
in France, one would have unhesitatingly pronounced him a Southerner.
Sylvius Hogg's fortune had never exceeded a fair competence, for
he had not entered into politics for the purpose of making money.
Naturally unselfish, he never thought of himself, but continually of
others; nor was he tormented by a thirst for fame. To be a deputy was
enough for him; he craved no further advancement.
Just at this time Sylvius Hogg was taking advantage of a three months'
vacation to recuperate after a year of severe legislative toil. He
had left Christiania six weeks before, with the intention of traveling
through the country about Drontheim, the Hardanger, the Telemark, and
the districts of Kongsberg and Drammen. He had long been anxious
to visit these provinces of which he knew nothing; and his trip
was consequently one of improvement and of pleasure. He had already
explored a part of the region, and it was on his return from the
northern districts that the idea of visiting the famous falls of the
Rjukan--one of the wonders of the Telemark--first occurred to him. So,
after surveying the route of the new railroad--which as yet existed
only on paper--between the towns of Drontheim and Christiania, he sent
for a guide to conduct him to Dal. He was to meet this guide on the
left bank of the Maan; but lured on by the beauties of the Maristien,
he ventured upon the dangerous pass without waiting for his guide. An
unusual want of prudence in a man like him and one that nearly cost
him his life, for had it not been for the timely assistance rendered
by Joel and Hulda Hansen, the journey would have ended with the
traveler himself in the grim depths of the Rjukanfos.
The people of Scandinavia are very intelligent, not only the
inhabitants of the cities, but of the most remote rural districts.
Their education goes far beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic.
The peasant learns with avidity. His mental faculties are ever on the
alert. He takes a deep interest in the public welfare and no mean part
in all political and local affairs. More than half of the Storthing is
made up of members of this rank in life. Not unfrequently they attend
its sessions clad in the costume of their particular province; but
they are justly noted for their remarkable good sense, acute reasoning
powers, their clear though rather slow understanding, and above all,
for their incorruptibility.
Consequently it is not at all strange that the name of Sylvius Hogg
was a household word throughout Norway, and was uttered with respect
even in the wilds of the Telemark; so Dame Hansen on receiving such a
widely known and highly esteemed guest, thought it only proper to tell
him how highly honored she felt at having him under her roof, if only
for a few days.
"I don't know that I am doing you much honor, Dame Hansen," replied
Sylvius Hogg, "but I do know that it gives me great pleasure to be
here. I have heard my pupils talk of this hospitable inn for years.
Indeed, that is one reason I intended to stop here and rest for about
a week, but by Saint Olaf! I little expected to arrive here on one
And the good man shook the hand of his hostess most cordially.
"Wouldn't you like my brother to fetch a doctor from Bamble?" inquired
"A doctor! my little Hulda! Why! do you want me to lose the use of
both my legs?"
"Oh, Mr. Sylvius!"
"A doctor! Why not send for my friend, the famous Doctor Bork, of
Christiania? All this ado about a mere scratch, what nonsense!"
"But even a mere scratch may become a very serious thing if not
properly attended to," remarked Joel.
"Well, Joel, will you tell me why you are so very anxious for this to
"Indeed, I am not, sir; God forbid!"
"Oh, well, He will preserve you and me, and all Dame Hansen's
household, especially if pretty little Hulda here will be kind enough
to give me some attention."
"Certainly, Mr. Sylvius."
"All right, my friends. I shall be as well as ever in four or five
days. How could a man help getting well in such a pretty room? Where
could one hope for better care than in this excellent inn? This
comfortable bed, with its mottoes, is worth a great deal more than
all the nauseous prescriptions of the faculty. And that quaint window
overlooking the valley of the Maan! And the stream's soft, musical
murmur that penetrates to the remotest corner of my cozy nest! And the
fragrant, healthful scent of the pines that fills the whole house! And
the air, this pure exhilarating mountain air! Ah! is not that the very
best of physicians? When one needs him one has only to open the window
and in he comes and makes you well without cutting off your rations."
He said all this so gayly that it seemed as if a ray of sunshine had
entered the house with him. At least, this was the impression of the
brother and sister, who stood listening to him, hand in hand.
All this occurred in a chamber on the first floor, to which the
professor had been conducted immediately upon his arrival; and now,
half reclining in a large arm-chair, with his injured limb resting
upon a stool, he gratefully accepted the kindly attentions of Joel
and Hulda. A careful bathing of the wound with cold water was the only
remedy he would use, and in fact no other was needed.
"Thanks, my friends, thanks!" he exclaimed, "this is far better than
drugs. And now do you know that but for your timely arrival upon the
scene of action, I should have become much too well acquainted with
the wonders of the Rjukanfos! I should have rolled down into the
abyss like a big stone, and have added another legend to those already
associated with the Maristien. And there was no excuse for me. My
betrothed was not waiting for me upon the opposite bank as in the case
of poor Eystein!"
"And what a terrible thing it would have been to Madame Hogg!"
exclaimed Hulda. "She would never have got over it."
"Madame Hogg!" repeated the professor. "Oh! Madame Hogg wouldn't have
shed a tear--"
"Oh, Mister Sylvius."
"No, I tell you, for the very good reason that there is no Madame
Hogg. Nor can I ever imagine what Madame Hogg would be like, stout or
thin, tall or short."
"She would, of course, be amiable, intelligent and good, being your
wife," replied Hulda, naïvely.
"Do you really think so, mademoiselle? Well, well, I believe you! I
"But on hearing of such a calamity, Mister Sylvius," remarked Joel,
"your relatives and many friends--"
"I have no relatives to speak of, but I have quite a number of
friends, not counting those I have just made in Dame Hansen's house,
and you have spared them the trouble of weeping for me. But tell me,
children, you can keep me here a few days, can you not?"
"As long as you please, Mister Sylvius," replied Hulda. "This room
belongs to you."
"You see, I intended to stop awhile at Dal as all tourists do, and
radiate from here all over the Telemark district; but now, whether I
shall radiate, or I shall not radiate, remains to be seen."
"Oh, you will be on your feet again before the end of the week, I
hope, Mister Sylvius," remarked Joel.
"So do I, my boy."
"And then I will escort you anywhere in the district that you care to
"We'll see about that when Richard is himself again. I still have two
months leave before me, and even if I should be obliged to spend
the whole of it under Dame Hansen's roof I should have no cause
for complaint. Could I not explore that portion of the valley of
Vesfjorddal lying between the two lakes, make the ascent of Gousta,
and pay another visit to the Rjukanfos? for though I very narrowly
escaped falling head foremost into its depths I scarcely got a glimpse
of it, and am resolved to see it again."
"You shall do so, Mister Sylvius," replied Hulda.
"And we will visit it next time in company with good Dame Hansen
if she will be kind enough to go with us. And now I think of it, my
friends, I must drop a line to Kate, my old housekeeper, and Fink, my
faithful old servant in Christiania. They will be very uneasy if they
do not hear from me, and I shall get a terrible scolding. And now
I have a confession to make to you. The strawberries and milk were
delicious and extremely refreshing, but they scarcely satisfied my
hunger, and as I won't submit to being put upon short allowance may I
not ask if it is not nearly your dinner hour?"
"Oh! that makes no difference whatever, Mister Sylvius."
"On the contrary, it does make a great deal of difference. Do you
think that I am going to sit in solitary grandeur at the table, and in
my own room, all the time I stay at Dal? No, I want to take my meals
with you and your mother if Dame Hansen has no objections."
Of course Dame Hansen could but assent when she was apprised of the
professor's request, especially as it would be a great honor to her
and hers to have a member of the Storthing at her table.
"It is settled, then, that we are to eat together in the living room,"
remarked Sylvius Hogg.
"Yes, Mister Sylvius," replied Joel. "I shall only have to wheel you
out in your arm-chair when dinner is ready."
"Indeed, Mister Joel! Why don't you propose a kariol? No; with the aid
of a friendly arm, I shall be able to reach the table. I haven't had
my leg amputated yet, that I am aware of."
"As you please, Mister Sylvius," replied Hulda. "But don't be guilty
of any imprudence, I beg of you, or Joel will have to hurry off in
search of a doctor."
"More threats! Oh, well, I will be as prudent and docile as possible;
provided you do not put me on short allowance, you will find me the
most tractable of patient. Can it be that you are not hungry, my
"Give us only a quarter of an hour," replied Hulda; "and we will set
before you a nice trout from the Maan, a grouse that Joel shot in the
Hardanger yesterday, and a bottle of French wine."
"Thank you, my dear child, thank you!"
Hulda left the room to superintend the dinner and set the table, while
Joel took the kariol back to Lengling's stable. Sylvius Hogg was left
alone, and his thoughts very naturally reverted to the honest family
whose guest and debtor he was. What could he do to repay Hulda and
Joel for the inestimable service they had rendered him?
He had not much time for reflection, however, for scarcely ten minutes
had elapsed before he was seated in the place of honor at the family
table. The dinner was excellent. It corresponded with the reputation
of the inn, and the professor ate very heartily.
The rest of the evening was spent in conversation in which Sylvius
Hogg took the leading part. As Dame Hanson found it well-nigh
impossible to overcome her habitual reserve, Joel and Hulda were
obliged to respond to their genial host's advances, and the sincere
liking the professor had taken to them from the very first naturally
When night came, he returned to his room with the assistance of Joel
and Hulda, gave and received a friendly good-night, and had scarcely
stretched himself out upon the big bed before he was sound asleep.
The next morning he woke with the sun, and began to review the
"I really don't know how I shall get out of the scrape," he said to
himself. "One can not allow one's self to be saved from death, nursed
and cured without any other return than a mere thank you. I am under
deep obligations to Hulda and Joel, that is undeniable; but the
services they have rendered me are not of a kind that can be repaid
with money. On the other hand, these worthy people appear to be
perfectly happy, and I can do nothing to add to their happiness!
Still, we shall probably have many talks together, and while we are
During the three or four days the professor was obliged to keep his
leg upon a stool he and the young Hansens had many pleasant chats
together, but unfortunately it was with some reserve on the brother's
and sister's part. Neither of them had much to say about their mother,
whose cold and preoccupied manner had not escaped Sylvius Hogg's
notice, and from a feeling of prudence they hesitated to reveal to
their guest the uneasiness excited by Ole Kamp's delay, for might they
not impair his good humor by telling him their troubles?
"And yet we perhaps make a great mistake in not confiding in Mister
Sylvius," Joel remarked to her sister, one day. "He is a very clever
man, and through his influential acquaintances he might perhaps be
able to find out whether the Naval Department is making any effort to
ascertain what has become of the 'Viking.'"
"You are right, Joel," replied Hulda. "I think we had better tell him
all; but let us wait until he has entirely recovered from his hurt."
"That will be very soon," rejoined Joel.
By the end of the week Sylvius Hogg was able to leave his room without
assistance, though he still limped a little; and he now began to spend
hours on the benches in front of the house, gazing at the snow-clad
summit of Gousta, while the Maan dashed merrily along at his feet.
People were continually passing over the road that led from Dal to the
Rjukanfos now. Most of them were tourists who stopped an hour or two
at Dame Hanson's inn either to breakfast or dine. There were also
students in plenty with knapsacks on their backs, and the little
Norwegian cockade in their caps.
Many of them knew the professor, so interminable greetings were
exchanged, and cordial salutations, which showed how much Sylvius Hogg
was loved by these young people.
"What, you here, Mister Sylvius?" they would exclaim.
"Yes, my friend."
"You, who are generally supposed to be in the remotest depths of the
"People are mistaken, then. It was in the remotest depths of the
Rjukanfos that I came very near staying."
"Very well, we shall tell everybody that you are in Dal."
"Yes, in Dal, with a game leg."
"Fortunately you are at Dame Hansen's inn, where you will have the
best of food and care."
"Could one imagine a more comfortable place?"
"Most assuredly not."
"Or better people?"
"There are none in the world," responded the young travelers merrily.
Then they would all drink to the health of Hulda and Joel, who were so
well known throughout the Telemark.
And then the professor would tell them all about his adventure,
frankly admitting his unpardonable imprudence, and telling how his
life had been saved, and how grateful he felt to his preservers.
"And I shall remain here until I have paid my debt," he would add. "My
course of lectures on legislation will not be resumed for a long time,
I fear, and you can enjoy an extended holiday."
"Good! good! Mister Sylvius," cried the light-hearted band. "Oh, you
can't fool us! It is pretty Hulda that keeps you here at Dal."
"A sweet girl she is, my friends, and as pretty as a picture, besides;
and by Saint Olaf! I'm only sixty."
"Here's to the health of Mister Sylvius!"
"And to yours, my dear boys. Roam about the country, gather wisdom,
and yet be merry. Life is all sunshine at your age. But keep away from
the Maristien. Joel and Hulda may not be on hand to rescue such of you
as are imprudent enough to venture there."
Then they would resume their journey, making the whole valley ring
with their joyful God-aften.
Once or twice Joel was obliged to act as guide to some tourists who
wished to make the ascent of Gousta. Sylvius Hogg was anxious to
accompany them. He declared that he was all right again. In fact, the
wound on his leg was nearly healed; but Hulda positively forbade him
to undertake a trip which would certainly prove too fatiguing for him,
and Hulda's word was law.
A wonderful mountain, though, is this Gousta, whose lofty summit
traversed by deep snow-covered ravines, rises out of a forest of pines
that form a thick green ruff about its snowy throat! And what a superb
view one enjoys from its summit. To the east lies the bailiwick of
Numedal; On the west, the Hardanger and its magnificent glaciers; down
at the base of the mountain, the winding valley of Vesfjorddal between
Lakes Tinn and Mjos, Dal, and its miniature houses, and the bright
waters of the Maan leaping and dancing merrily along through the
verdant meadows to the music of its own voice.
To make the ascent Joel was obliged to leave Dal at five o'clock in
the morning. He usually returned about six o'clock in the evening,
and Sylvius Hogg and Hulda always went to meet him. As soon as the
primitive ferry-boat landed the tourists and their guide a cordial
greeting ensued, and the three spent yet another pleasant evening
together. The professor still limped a little, but he did not
complain. Indeed, one might almost have fancied that he was in no
haste to be cured, or rather to leave Dame Hansen's hospitable roof.
The time certainly passed swiftly and pleasantly there. He had written
to Christiania that he should probably spend some time at Dal. The
story of his adventure at the Rjukanfos was known throughout the
country. The newspapers had got hold of it, and embellished the
account after their fashion, so a host of letters came to the inn, to
say nothing of pamphlets and newspapers. All these had to be read
and answered, and the names of Joel and Hulda which were necessarily
mentioned in the correspondence, soon became known throughout Norway.
Nevertheless, this sojourn at Dame Hansen's inn could not be prolonged
indefinitely, though Sylvius Hogg was still as much in doubt as ever,
in regard to the manner in which he should pay his debt of gratitude.
Of late, however, he had begun to suspect that this family was not
as happy as he had at first supposed. The impatience with which
the brother and sister awaited the arrival of the daily mail from
Christiania and Bergen, their disappointment and even chagrin on
finding no letters for them, all this was only too significant.
It was already the ninth of June, and still no news from the "Viking!"
The vessel was now more than a fortnight overdue, and not a single
line from Ole! No news to assuage Hulda's anxiety. The poor girl was
beginning to despair, and Sylvius Hogg saw that her eyes were red with
weeping when he met her in the morning.
"What can be the matter?" he said to himself, more than once. "They
seem to be concealing some misfortunes from me. Is it a family secret,
I wonder, with which a stranger can not be allowed to meddle? But do
they still regard me as a stranger? No. Still, they must think so; but
when I announce my departure they will perhaps understand that it is a
true friend who is about to leave them."
So that very day he remarked:
"My friends, the hour is fast approaching when, to my great regret, I
shall be obliged to bid you good-bye."
"So soon, Mister Sylvius, so soon?" exclaimed Joel, with a dismay he
could not conceal.
"The time has passed very quickly in your company, but it is now
seventeen days since I came to Dal."
"What! seventeen days!" repeated Hulda.
"Yes, my dear child, and the end of my vacation is approaching. I have
only a week at my disposal if I should extend my journey to Drammen
and Kongsberg. And though the Storthing is indebted to you for not
being obliged to elect another deputy in my place, the Storthing will
know no better how to compensate you than I do."
"Oh! Mister Sylvius," cried Hulda, placing her little hand upon his
lips to silence him.
"Oh, I understand, Hulda. That is a forbidden subject, at least here."
"Here and everywhere," replied the girl, gayly.
"So be it! I am not my own master, and I must obey. But you and Joel
must come and pay me a visit at Christiania."
"Pay you a visit?"
"Yes, pay me a visit; spend several weeks at my house in company with
your mother, of course."
"And if we should leave the inn who will attend to things in our
absence?" replied Joel.
"But your presence here is not necessary after the excursion season is
over, I imagine; so I have fully made up my mind to come for you late
in the autumn."
"It will be impossible, my dear Mister Sylvius, for us to accept--"
"On the contrary, it will be perfectly possible. Don't say no. I shall
not be content with such an answer. Besides, when I get you there
in the very best room in my house, in the care of my old Kate and
faithful Fink, you will be my own children, and then you can certainly
tell me what I can do for you."
"What you can do for us?" repeated Joel, with a glance at his sister.
"Brother!" exclaimed Hulda, as if divining his intention.
"Speak, my boy, speak!"
"Ah, well, Mister Sylvius, you can do us a great honor."
"By consenting to be present at my sister Hulda's marriage, if it
would not inconvenience you too much."
"Hulda's marriage!" exclaimed Sylvius Hogg. "What! my little Hulda is
going to be married, and no one has said a word to me about it!"
"Oh, Mister Sylvius!" exclaimed the girl, her eyes filling with tears.
"And when is the marriage to take place?"
"As soon as it pleases God to bring her betrothed, Ole Kamp, back to
us," replied the girl.
Joel then proceeded to relate Ole Kamp's whole history. Sylvius Hogg,
deeply moved, listened to the recital with profound attention. He knew
all now. He even read Ole's letter announcing his speedy return. But
Ole had not returned, and there had been no tidings from the missing
one. What anxiety and anguish the whole Hansen family must have
"And I thought myself an inmate of a happy home!" he said to himself.
Still, after a little reflection, it seemed to him that the brother
and sister were yielding to despair while there was still some room
for hope. By counting these May and June days over and over again
their imaginations had doubled the number, as it were.
The professor, therefore, concluded to give them his reasons for this
belief, not feigned, but really sensible and plausible reasons that
would also account for the delay of the "Viking."
Nevertheless his face had become very grave, for the poor girl's
evident grief touched him deeply.
"Listen to me, my children," said he. "Sit down here by me, and let us
talk the matter over calmly."
"Ah! what can you say to comfort us?" cried Hulda, whose heart was
full to overflowing.
"I shall tell you only what I really and truly think," replied the
professor. "I have been thinking over all that Joel just told me, and
it seems to me that you are more anxious and despondent than you have
any real cause to be. I would not arouse any false hopes, but we must
view matters as they really are."
"Alas! Mister Sylvius," replied Hulda, "my poor Ole has gone down with
the 'Viking,' and I shall never see him again!"
"Sister, sister!" exclaimed Joel, "becalm, I beseech you, and hear
what Mister Sylvius has to say."
"Yes, be calm, my children, and let us talk the matter over quietly.
It was between the fifteenth and twentieth of May that Ole expected to
return to Bergen, was it not?"
"Yes; and it is now the ninth of June."
"So the vessel is only twenty days overdue, if we reckon from the
latest date appointed for the return of the 'Viking.' That is enough
to excite anxiety, I admit; still, we must not expect the same
punctuality from a sailing-vessel as from a steamer."
"I have told Hulda that again and again, and I tell her so yet,"
"And you are quite right, my boy. Besides, it is very possible
that the 'Viking' is an old vessel, and a slow sailer, like most
Newfoundland ships, especially when heavily laden. On the other hand,
we have had a great deal of bad weather during the past few weeks, and
very possibly the vessel did not sail at the date indicated in Ole's
letter. In that case a week's delay in sailing would be sufficient to
account for the non-arrival of the 'Viking' and for your failure to
receive a letter from your lover. What I say is the result of serious
reflection. Besides, how do you know but the instructions given to the
captain of the 'Viking' authorize him to take his cargo to some other
port, according to the state of the market?"
"In that case, Ole would have written," replied Hulda, who could not
even be cheered by this hope.
"What is there to prove that he did not write?" retorted the
professor. "If he did, it is not the 'Viking' that is behind time, but
the American mail. Suppose, for instance, that Ole's ship touched at
some port in the United States, that would explain why none of his
letters have yet reached Europe."
"The United States, Mister Sylvius!"
"That sometimes happens, and it is only necessary to miss one mail
to leave one's friends without news for a long time. There is, at all
events, one very easy thing for us to do; that is to make inquiries of
some of the Bergen shipowners. Are you acquainted with any of them?"
"Yes," replied Joel, "Messrs. Help Bros."
"Help Bros., the sons of old Help?"
"Why, I know them, too; at least, the younger brother, Help, Junior,
they call him, though he is not far from my own age, and one of my
particular friends. He has often dined with me in Christiania. Ah,
well, my children, I can soon learn through him all that can be
ascertained about the 'Viking.' I'll write him this very day, and if
need be I'll go and see him."
"How kind you are, Mister Sylvius!" cried Hulda and Joel in the same
"No thanks, if you please; I won't allow them. Did I ever thank you
for what you did for me up there? And now I find an opportunity to do
you a good turn, and here you are all in a flutter."
"But you were just talking of returning to Christiania," remarked
"Well, I shall go to Bergen instead, if I find it necessary to go to
"But you were about to leave us, Mister Sylvius," said Hulda.
"Well, I have changed my mind, that is all. I am master of my own
actions, I suppose; and I sha'n't go until I see you safely out
of this trouble, that is, unless you are disposed to turn me
"What can you be thinking of, Mister Sylvius?"
"I have decided to remain in Dal until Ole's return. I want to make
the acquaintance of my little Hulda's betrothed. He must be a brave,
honest fellow, of Joel's stamp, I am inclined to think."
"Yes, exactly like him," replied Hulda.
"I was sure of it!" exclaimed the professor, whose cheerfulness had
returned, at least apparently.
"Ole is Ole, Mister Sylvius," said Joel, "and that is equivalent to
saying that he is the best-hearted fellow in the world."
"I believe you, my dear Joel, and what you say only makes me the more
anxious to see him. I sha'n't have to wait long. Something tells me
that the 'Viking' will soon come safely into port."
"God grant it!"
"And why should He not hear your prayer? Yes, I shall certainly attend
Hulda's wedding, as you have been kind enough to invite me to it. The
Storthing will have to do without me a few weeks longer, that is all.
It would have been obliged to grant me a much longer leave of absence
if you had let me fall into the Rjukanfos as I deserved."
"How kind it is in you to say this, Mister Sylvius, and how happy you
"Not as happy as I could wish, my friends, as I owe my life to you,
and I don't know--"
"Oh! please, please say no more about that trifle."
"Yes, I shall. Come now, who drew me out of the frightful jaws of the
Maristien? Who risked their own lives to save me? Who brought me to
the inn at Dal, and cared for me, and nursed me without any assistance
from the Faculty? Oh! I am as stubborn as an old cart-horse, I assure
you, and I have made up my mind to attend the marriage of Hulda to Ole
Kamp, and attend it I shall!"
Hopefulness is contagious, and how could any one resist such
confidence as Sylvius Hogg displayed? A faint smile crept over poor
Hulda's face. She longed to believe him; she only asked to hope.
"But we must recollect that the days are passing very rapidly,"
continued Sylvius Hogg, "and that it is high time we began our
preparations for the wedding."
"They are already begun, Mister Sylvius," replied Hulda. "In fact,
they were begun more than three weeks ago."
"So much the better; but in that case, we must take good care not to
allow anything to interrupt them."
"Interrupt them!" repeated Joel. "Why, everything is in readiness."
"What, the wedding-dress, the bodice with its silver clasps, the belt
and its pendants?"
"Even the pendants."
"And the radiant crown that will make you look like a saint, my little
"And the invitations are written?"
"All written," replied Joel, "even the one to which we attach most
"And the bride-maid has been chosen from among the sweetest maidens of
"And the fairest, Mister Sylvius," added Joel, "for it is Mademoiselle
Siegfrid of Bamble."
"From the tone in which he uttered those words, and the way in which
he blushed as he uttered them, I judge that Mademoiselle Siegfrid
Helmboe is destined to become Madame Joel Hansen of Dal," said the
"Yes, Mr. Sylvius," replied Hulda.
"Good! so there is a fair prospect of yet another wedding," exclaimed
Sylvius Hogg. "And as I feel sure that I shall be honored with an
invitation, I can do no less than accept it here and now. It certainly
looks as if I should be obliged to resign my seat in the Storthing,
for I really don't see how I am to find time to attend its sessions.
But never mind, I will be your best man, Joel, after first serving in
that capacity at your sister's wedding. You certainly are making me do
just what you like, or rather what I like. Kiss me, little Hulda! Give
me your hand, my boy, and now let me write to my friend Help, Junior,
The brother and sister left the apartment of which the professor had
threatened to take permanent possession, and returned to their daily
tasks with rather more hopeful hearts.
Sylvius Hogg was left alone.
"Poor child! poor child!" he murmured. "Yes, I have made her forget
her sorrow for a few moments. But the delay has been a long one; and
the sea is very rough at this season of the year. What if the 'Viking'
has indeed gone down, and Ole should never return!"
A moment afterward the professor was busily engaged in writing to his
Bergen friend. He asked for the fullest possible particulars in regard
to everything connected with the "Viking" and her cruise, and inquired
if some event, unforeseen or otherwise, had made it necessary to send
the vessel to a different port from that for which it was originally
destined. He also expressed a strong desire to hear as soon as
possible how the shipping merchants and sailors of Bergen explained
the delay. In short, he begged his friend Help to give him all
possible information in regard to the matter by return mail.
This urgent letter also explained Sylvius Hogg's interest in the mate
of the "Viking," the invaluable service rendered him by the young
man's betrothed, and the pleasure it would afford him to be able to
give some encouragement to Dame Hansen's children.
As soon as this letter was finished Joel took it to Moel so it would
go on the following day. It would reach Bergen on the eleventh, so a
reply to it ought to be received on the evening of the twelfth or the
morning of the thirteenth at the very latest.
Nearly three days of dreary waiting! How interminable they seemed!
Still, by dint of reassuring words and encouraging arguments, the
professor contrived to alleviate the painful suspense. Now he knew
Hulda's secret, was there not a topic of conversation ever ready? And
what a consolation it was to Joel and his sister to be able to talk of
the absent one!
"I am one of the family now," Sylvius Hogg repeated again and again.
"Yes, I am like an uncle that has just arrived from America or some
And as he was one of the family, they must have no more secrets from
Of course he had not failed to notice the children's constrained
manner toward their mother, and he felt satisfied that the reserve the
parent displayed had its origin in something besides the uneasiness
she felt on Ole Kamp's account. He thought he might venture to
question Joel; but the latter was unable to give any satisfactory
reply. The professor than ventured to sound Dame Hansen on the
subject, but she was so uncommunicative that he was obliged to abandon
all hope of obtaining any knowledge of her secret until some future
As Sylvius Hogg had predicted, the letter from Help, Junior, reached
Dal on the morning of the thirteenth. Joel started out before daylight
to meet the postman, and it was he who brought the letter into the
large hall where the professor was sitting with Dame Hansen and her
There was a moment's silence. Hulda, who was as pale as death, was
unable to utter a word so violent was the throbbing of her heart, but
she seized the hand of her brother, who was equally agitated, and held
Sylvius Hogg opened the letter and read it aloud.
To his great regret the missive contained only some very
vague information; and the professor was unable to conceal his
disappointment from the young people who listened to the letter with
tears in their eyes.
The "Viking" had left Saint-Pierre-Miquelon on the date mentioned in
Ole Kamp's last letter. This fact had been established by the reports
received from other vessels which had reached Bergen since the
"Viking's" departure from Newfoundland. These vessels had seen nothing
of the missing ship on their homeward voyage, but they had encountered
very bad weather in the neighborhood of Iceland. Still they had
managed to weather the gales; so it was possible that the "Viking" had
been equally fortunate, and had merely been delayed somewhere, or had
put into some port for repairs. The "Viking" was a stanch craft, very
substantially built, and commanded by Captain Frikel, of Hammersfest,
a thoroughly competent officer. Still, this delay was alarming, and if
it continued much longer there would be good reason to fear that the
"Viking" had gone down with all on board.
The writer regretted that he had no better news to give the young
Hansens, and spoke of Ole Kamp in the most complimentary terms.
He concluded his letter by assuring the professor of his sincere
friendship, and that of his family, and by promising to send him
without delay any intelligence that might be received at any Norwegian
port, in relation to the "Viking."
Poor Hulda sunk half fainting into a chair while Sylvius Hogg was
reading this letter, and she was sobbing violently when he concluded
Joel, with his arms folded tightly upon his breast, listened in
silence, without daring to glance at his sister.
Dame Hansen, as soon as the reading was concluded, went up to her
room. She seemed to have been expecting the blow.
The professor beckoned Hulda and her brother to his side. He wanted to
talk with them calmly and sensibly on the subject, and he expressed a
confidence that was singular, to say the least, after Help, Junior's
letter. They had no reason to despair. Were there not countless
examples of protracted delays while navigating the seas that lie
between Norway and Newfoundland? Yes, unquestionably. And was not the
"Viking" a strong craft, well officered, and manned by an excellent
crew, and consequently in a much better condition than many of the
vessels that had come safely into port? Most assuredly.
"So let us continue to hope," he added, "and wait. If the 'Viking'
had been wrecked between Iceland and Newfoundland the numerous vessels
that follow the same route to reach Europe would certainly have seen
some trace of the disaster. But no, not a single floating plank
or spar did they meet on the whole of this route, which is so much
frequented at the conclusion of the fishing season. Still, we must
take measures to secure information of a more positive nature. If we
receive no further news of the 'Viking' during the coming week, nor
any letter from Ole, I shall return to Christiania and ask the Naval
Department to make careful inquiries, and I feel sure that the result
will prove eminently satisfactory to all concerned."
In spite of the hopeful manner assumed by the professor, Joel and
Hulda both felt that he did not speak as confidently as he had spoken
before the receipt of the letter from Bergen--a letter whose contents
gave them little if any grounds for hope. In fact, Sylvius Hogg no
longer dared to venture any allusion to the approaching marriage of
Hulda and Ole Kamp, though he said to himself again and again:
"No, no, it is impossible! Ole Kamp never cross the threshold of Dame
Hansen's house again? Ole not marry Hulda? Nothing will ever make me
believe such a misfortune possible."
He was perfectly sincere in this conviction. It was due to the energy
of his character, to a spirit of hopefulness that nothing could crush.
But how could he hope to convince others, especially those whom the
fate of the "Viking" affected so directly?
A few days were allowed to elapse. Sylvius Hogg, who was now entirely
well, took a long walk every day, and persuaded Hulda and her brother
to accompany him. One day all three of them went up the valley of
Vesfjorddal half-way to the falls of the Rjukan. The next day they
went to Moel and Lake Tinn. Once they were even absent twenty-four
hours. This time they prolonged their excursion to Bamble, where the
professor made the acquaintance of Farmer Helmboe and his daughter
Siegfrid. What a cordial welcome the latter gave to her friend Hulda,
and what words of tenderness she found to console her!
Here, too, Sylvius Hogg did all in his power to encourage these worthy
people. He had written to the Navy Department, and the government was
investigating the matter. Ole would certainly return at no distant
day. He might drop in upon them, indeed, at any moment. No; the
wedding would not have to be postponed more than six weeks! The good
man seemed so thoroughly convinced of all this, that his auditors were
influenced rather by his firm conviction than by his arguments.
This visit to the Helmboe family did the young Hansens good, and they
returned home much calmer than they went away.
At last the fifteenth of June came. The "Viking" was now exactly one
month overdue; and as the distance from Newfoundland to the coast of
Norway is comparatively short, this delay was beyond all reason, even
for a sailing-vessel.
Hulda seemed to have abandoned all hope; and her brother could not
find a single word to say by way of encouragement. In the presence
of these poor, unhappy creatures, the professor realized the utter
futility of any well-meant attempt at consolation. Hulda and Joel
crossed the threshold only to stand and gaze in the direction of Moel,
or to walk up the road leading to Rjukanfos. Ole Kamp would probably
come by the way of Bergen, but he might come by way of Christiania
if the destination of the "Viking" had been changed. The sound of an
approaching kariol, a hasty cry, the form of a man suddenly rounding
a curve in the road made their hearts beat wildly; but all for naught.
The good people of Dal were also eagerly watching. Not unfrequently
they went half-way to meet the postman. Everybody was deeply
interested, for the Hansen family was exceedingly popular in the
neighborhood; and poor Ole was almost a child of the Telemark. But no
letter came from Bergen or Christiania giving news of the absent one.
Nothing new occurred on the sixteenth. Sylvius Hogg could scarcely
restrain his restlessness. He began to understand that he must proceed
to act in person, so he announced to his friends that if no news was
received on the following day he should go to Christiania and satisfy
himself that nothing had been left undone. Of course, it was hard
for him to leave Hulda and Joel, but there was no help for it; and he
would return as soon as his task was accomplished.
On the seventeenth a greater part of the most wretched day they had
ever spent together passed without bringing any new developments. It
had rained incessantly since early morning; the wind was blowing a
gale, and the rain dashed fiercely against the window on the side of
the house nearest the Maan.
Seven o'clock came. They had just finished dinner, which had been
eaten in profound silence, as if in a house of mourning. Even Sylvius
Hogg had been unable to keep up the conversation. What could he say
that he had not already said a hundred times before?
"I shall start for Christiania to-morrow morning," he remarked at
last. "Joel, I wish you would procure a kariol and drive me to Moel."
"Very well, Mr. Sylvius. But wouldn't you like me to accompany you
The professor shook his head, with a meaning glance at Hulda, for he
did not want to see her separated from her brother.
Just then a sound, which was as yet scarcely audible, was heard on the
road in the direction of Moel. They all listened breathlessly. Soon
all doubts vanished. It was the sound of an approaching kariol coming
swiftly toward Dal. Was the occupant some traveler who intended to
spend the night at the inn? This was scarcely probable, as tourists
rarely arrived at so late an hour.
Hulda sprung up trembling in every limb. Joel went to the door, opened
it and looked out.
The noise grew louder It was certain the clatter of horse's hoofs
blended with, the roll of kariol wheels; but the storm without was so
violent that Joel was obliged to close the door.
Sylvius Hogg tramped up and down the room in a perfect fever of
impatience. Joel and his sister held each other tightly by the hand.
The kariol could not be more than twenty yards from the house now.
Would it pause or go by?
The hearts of all three throbbed to suffocation.
The kariol stopped. They heard a voice calling; but it was not the
voice of Ole Kamp!
Almost immediately some one rapped at the door.
Joel opened it.
A man stood upon the threshold.
"Is Mr. Sylvius Hogg here?" he asked.
"I am he," replied the professor. "Who are you, my friend?"
"A messenger sent to you by the Secretary of the Navy at Christiania."
"Have you a letter for me?"
"Yes, sir; here it is."
And the messenger handed him a large envelope sealed with the
Hulda's limbs tottered under her, and her brother sprung forward and
placed her in a chair. Neither of them dared to ask Sylvius Hogg to
open the letter.
At last he broke the seal and read the following:
"MR. PROFESSOR,--In reply to your last letter, I inclose a paper
picked up at sea on the 3d instant by a Danish vessel. Unfortunately
this discovery dispels any lingering doubt as to the fate of the
Sylvius Hogg, without taking time to read the rest of the letter, drew
the paper from the envelope. He looked at it; he turned it over.
It was a lottery ticket bearing the number 9672.
On the other side of the ticket were the following lines:
"DEAREST HULDA,--The 'Viking' is going down. I have only this ticket
left of all I hoped to bring back to you. I intrust it to God's hands,
hoping that it may reach you safely; and as I shall not be there, I
beseech you to be present at the drawing. Accept the ticket with
my last thought of you. Hulda, do not forget me in your prayers.
Farewell, my beloved, farewell!
So this was the young man's secret! This was the source from which he
expected to derive a fortune for his promised bride--a lottery ticket,
purchased before his departure. And as the "Viking" was going down,
he inclosed the ticket in a bottle and threw it into the sea with the
last farewell for Hulda.
This time Sylvius Hogg was completely disconcerted. He looked at the
letter, then at the ticket. He was speechless with dismay. Besides,
what could he say? How could any one doubt that the "Viking" had gone
down with all on board?
While Sylvius Hogg was reading the letter Hulda had nerved herself to
listen, but after the concluding words had been read, she fell back
unconscious in Joel's arms, and it became necessary to carry her to
her own little chamber, where her mother administered restoratives.
After she recovered consciousness she asked to be left alone for
awhile, and she was now kneeling by her bedside, praying for Ole
Dame Hansen returned to the hall. At first she started toward the
professor, as if with the intention of speaking to him, then suddenly
turning toward the staircase, she disappeared.
Joel, on returning from his sister's room, had hastily left the house.
He experienced a feeling of suffocation in the dwelling over which
such a dense cloud of misfortune seemed to be hanging. He longed for
the outer air, the fierce blast of the tempest, and spent a part of
the night in wandering aimlessly up and down the banks of the Maan.
Sylvius Hogg was therefore left alone. Stunned by the stroke at first,
he soon recovered his wonted energy. After tramping up and down the
hall two or three times, he paused and listened, in the hope that he
might hear a summons from the young girl, but disappointed in this,
he finally seated himself at the table, and abandoned himself to his
"Can it be possible that Hulda is never to see her betrothed
again?" he said to himself. "No; such a misfortune is inconceivable.
Everything that is within me revolts at the thought! Even admitting
that the 'Viking' has gone to the bottom of the ocean, what conclusive
proof have we of Ole's death? I can not believe it. In all cases of
shipwreck time alone can determine whether or not any one has survived
the catastrophe. Yes; I still have my doubts, and I shall continue
to have them, even if Hulda and Joel refuse to share them. If the
'Viking' really foundered, how does it happen that no floating
fragments of the wreck have been seen at sea--at least nothing except
the bottle in which poor Ole placed his last message, and with it all
he had left in the world."
Sylvius Hogg had the ticket still in his hand, and again he looked
at it, and turned it over and held it up between him and the waning
light--this scrap of paper upon which poor Ole had based his hopes of
But the professor, wishing to examine it still more carefully, rose,
listened again to satisfy himself that the poor girl upstairs was not
calling her mother or brother, and then entered his room.
The ticket proved to be a ticket in the Christiania Schools Lottery--a
very popular lottery in Norway at that time. The capital prize was one
hundred thousand marks; the total value of the other prizes, ninety
thousand marks, and the number of tickets issued, one million, all of
which had been sold.
Ole Kamp's ticket bore the number 9672; but whether this number proved
lucky or unlucky, whether the young sailor had any secret reason for
his confidence in it or not, he would not be present at the drawing,
which was to take place on the fifteenth of July, that is to say, in
twenty-eight days; but it was his last request that Hulda should take
his place on that occasion.
By the light of his candle, Sylvius Hogg carefully reread the
lines written upon the back of the ticket, as if with the hope of
discovering some hidden meaning.
The lines had been written with ink, and it was evident that Ole's
hand had not trembled while tracing them. This showed that the mate
of the 'Viking' retained all his presence of mind at the time of
the shipwreck, and that he was consequently in a condition to take
advantage of any means of escape that might offer, such as a floating
spar or plank, in case the raging waters had not swallowed up
everything when the vessel foundered.
Very often writings of this kind that are recovered from the sea state
the locality in which the catastrophe occurred; but in this neither
the latitude nor longitude were mentioned; nor was there anything
to indicate the nearest land. Hence one must conclude that no one on
board knew where the "Viking" was at the time of the disaster. Driven
on, doubtless, by a tempest of resistless power, the vessel must have
been carried far out of her course, and the clouded sky making a
solar observation impossible, there had been no way of determining the
ship's whereabouts for several days; so it was more than probable that
no one would ever know whether it was near the shores of North America
or of Iceland that the gallant crew had sunk to rise no more.
This was a circumstance calculated to destroy all hope, even in the
bosoms of the most sanguine.
With some clew, no matter how vague, a search for the missing vessel
would have been possible. A ship or steamer could be dispatched to the
scene of the catastrophe and perhaps find some trace of it. Besides,
was it not quite possible that one or more survivors had succeeded in
reaching some point on the shores of the Arctic continent, and that
they were still there, homeless, and destitute, and hopelessly exiled
from their native land?
Such was the theory that gradually assumed shape in Sylvius Hogg's
mind--a theory that it would scarcely do to advance to Joel and Hulda,
so painful would the disappointment prove if it should be without
"And though the writing gives no clew to the scene of the
catastrophe," he said to himself, "we at least know where the bottle
was picked up. This letter does not state, but they must know at the
Naval Department; and is it not an indication that might be used
to advantage? By studying the direction of the currents and of
the prevailing winds at the time of the shipwreck might it not be
possible? I am certainly going to write again. Search must be made, no
matter how small the chances of success. No; I will never desert poor
Hulda! And until I have positive proofs of it I will never credit the
death of her betrothed."
Sylvius Hogg reasoned thus; but at the same time he resolved to say
nothing about the measures he intended to adopt, or the search he
intended to urge on with all his influence. Hulda and her brother must
know nothing about his writing to Christiania; moreover, he resolved
to postpone indefinitely the departure which had been announced for
the next day, or rather he would leave in a few days, but only for a
trip to Bergen. There, he could learn from the Messrs. Help all the
particulars concerning the "Viking," ask the opinion of the most
experienced mariners, and decide upon the way in which search could
best be made.
In the meantime, from information furnished by the Navy Department,
the press of Christiania, then that of Norway, Sweden, and finally
all Europe, gradually got hold of this story of a lottery ticket
transformed into an important legal document. There was something very
touching about this gift from a shipwrecked mariner to his betrothed.
The oldest of the Norwegian journals, the "Morgen-Blad," was the
first to relate the story of the "Viking" and Ole Kamp; and of the
thirty-seven other papers published in that country at the time,
not one failed to allude to it in touching terms. The illustrated
"Nyhedsblad" published an ideal picture of the shipwreck. There
was the sinking "Viking," with tattered sails and hull partially
destroyed, about to disappear beneath the waves. Ole stood in the bow
throwing the bottle containing his last message into the sea, at the
same time commending his soul to God. In a luminous cloud in the dim
distance a wave deposited the bottle at the feet of his betrothed. The
whole picture was upon an enlarged representation of a lottery ticket
bearing the number 9672 in bold relief. An unpretending conception,
unquestionably, but one that could hardly fail to be regarded as a
masterpiece in the land which still clings to legends of the Undines
and Valkyries. Then the story was republished and commented upon in
France and England, and even in the United States. The story of Hulda
and Ole became familiar to every one through the medium of pencil and
pen. This young Norwegian girl, without knowing it, held a prominent
place in the sympathy and esteem of the public. The poor child little
suspected the interest she had aroused, however; besides, nothing
could have diverted her mind from the loss that engrossed her every
This being the case, no one will be surprised at the effect produced
upon both continents--an effect easily explained when we remember how
prone we all are to superstition. A lottery ticket so providentially
rescued from the waves could hardly fail to be the winning ticket. Was
it not miraculously designated as the winner of the capital prize? Was
it not worth a fortune--the fortune upon which Ole Kamp had counted?
Consequently it is not surprising that overtures for the purchase of
this ticket came from all parts of the country. At first, the prices
offered were small, but they increased from day to day; and it was
evident that they would continue to increase in proportion as the day
of the drawing approached.
These offers came not only from different parts of Scandinavia, which
is a firm believer in the active intervention of supernatural powers
in all mundane matters--but also from foreign lands, and even from
Even the phlegmatic English grew excited over the matter, and
subsequently the Americans, who are not prone to spend their money so
unpractically. A host of letters came to Dal, and the newspapers
did not fail to make mention of the large sums offered to the
Hansen family. A sort of minor stock exchange seemed to have been
established, in which values were constantly changing, but always for
Several hundred marks were, in fact, offered for this ticket, which
had only one chance in a million of winning the capital prize. This
was absurd, unquestionably, but superstitious people do not stop to
reason; and as their imaginations became more and more excited, they
were likely to bid much higher.
This proved to be the case. One week after the event the papers
announced that the amounts offered for the ticket exceeded one
thousand, fifteen hundred and even two thousand marks. A resident of
Manchester, England, had even offered one hundred pounds sterling, or
two thousand five hundred marks; while an American, and a Bostonian
at that, announced his willingness to give one thousand dollars for
ticket No. 9672 of the Christiania Schools Lottery.
It is needless to say that Hulda troubled herself very little about
the matter that was exciting the public to such an extent. She would
not even read the letters that were addressed to her on the subject;
but the professor insisted that she must not be left in ignorance of
these offers, as Ole Kamp had bequeathed his right and title in this
ticket to her.
Hulda refused all these offers. This ticket was the last letter of her
No one need suppose that this refusal was due to an expectation that
the ticket would win one of the prizes in the lottery. No. She saw
in it only the last farewell of her shipwrecked lover--a memento she
wished to reverently preserve. She cared nothing for a fortune that
Ole could not share with her. What could be more touching than this
worship of a souvenir?
On apprising her of these different offers, however, neither Sylvius
Hogg nor Joel made any attempt to influence Hulda. She was to be
guided entirely by her own wishes in the matter. They knew now what
her wishes were.
Joel, moreover, approved his sister's decision unreservedly. Ole
Kamp's ticket must not be sold to any person at any price.
Sylvius Hogg went even further. He not only approved Hulda's decision,
but he congratulated her upon it. Think of seeing this ticket sold
and resold, passing from hand to hand, transformed, as it were, into
a piece of merchandise, until the time appointed for the drawing
arrived, when it would very probably become a worthless scrap of
And Sylvius Hogg went even further. Was it, perhaps, because he was
slightly superstitious? No. Still, if Ole Kamp had been there, the
professor would probably have said to him:
"Keep your ticket, my boy, keep it! First, your ticket, and then you,
yourself, were saved from the wreck. You had better wait and see what
will come of it. One never knows; no, one never knows!"
And when Sylvius Hogg, professor of law, and; a member of the
Storthing, felt in this way, one can hardly wonder at the infatuation
of the public, nor that No. 9672 could be sold at an enormous premium.
So in Dame Hansen's household there was no one who protested against
the young girl's decision--at least no one except the mother.
She was often heard to censure it, especially in Hulda's absence, a
fact that caused poor Joel not a little mortification and chagrin, for
he was very much afraid that she would not always confine herself to
covert censure, and that she would urge Hulda to accept one of the
offers she had received.
"Five thousand marks for the ticket!" she repeated again and again.
"They offer five thousand marks for it!"
It was evident that Dame Hansen saw nothing either pathetic or
commendable in her daughter's refusal. She was thinking only of this
large sum of five thousand marks. A single word from Hulda would bring
it into the family. She had no faith either in the extraordinary
value of the ticket, Norwegian though she was; and to sacrifice fire
thousand marks for a millionth chance of winning one hundred thousand
was an idea too absurd to be entertained far a moment by her cool and
All superstition aside, it is undeniable that the sacrifice of a
certainty, under such conditions, was not an act of worldly wisdom;
but as we said before, the ticket was not a lottery ticket in Hulda's
eyes; it was Ole's last farewell, and it would have broken her heart
to part with it.
Nevertheless, Dame Hansen certainly disapproved her daughter's
resolve. It was evident, too, that her dissatisfaction was constantly
increasing, and it seemed more than likely that at no very distant day
she would endeavor to make Hulda change her decision. Indeed, she had
already intimated as much to Joel, who had promptly taken his sister's
Sylvius Hogg was, of course, kept informed of what was going on. Such
an attempt on the mother's part would only be another trial added to
those Hulda was already obliged to endure, and he was anxious to avert
it if possible. Joel mentioned the subject to him sometimes.
"Isn't my sister right in refusing?" he asked. "And am I not justified
in upholding her in her refusal?"
"Unquestionably," replied Sylvius Hogg. "And yet, from a mathematical
point of view, your mother is a million times right. But the science
of mathematics does not govern everything in this world. Calculation
has nothing to do with the promptings of the heart."
During the next two weeks they were obliged to watch Hulda very
closely, for the state of her health was such as to excite serious
anxiety. Fortunately loving care and attention were not wanting. At
Sylvius Hogg's request, the celebrated Dr. Bock, a personal friend,
came to Dal to see the young invalid. He could only prescribe rest,
and quiet of soul, if that were possible; but the only sure means of
curing her was Ole's return, and this means God only could provide.
Still, Sylvius Hogg was untiring in his efforts to console the young
girl. His words were ever words of hope, and strange as it may appear,
Sylvius Hogg did not despair.
Thirteen days had now elapsed since the arrival of the ticket
forwarded by the Navy Department. It was now the thirteenth of June.
A fortnight more, and the drawing of the lottery would take place with
great pomp in the main hall of the University of Christiania.
On the morning of the thirtieth day of June Sylvius Hogg received
another letter from the Navy Department. This letter advised him to
confer with the maritime authorities of Bergen, and authorized him to
immediately organize an expedition to search for the missing "Viking."
The professor did not want Joel or Hulda to know what he intended to
do, so he merely told them that he must leave them for a few days to
attend to some business matters.
"Pray do not desert us, Mister Sylvius," said the poor girl.
"Desert you--you, whom I regard as my own children!" replied Sylvius
Joel offered to accompany him, but not wishing him to know that he was
going to Bergen, the professor would only allow him to go as far as
Moel. Besides, it would not do for Hulda to be left alone with her
mother. After being confined to her bed several days, she was now
beginning to sit up a little, though she was still very weak and not
able to leave her room.
At eleven o'clock the kariol was at the door of the inn, and after
bidding Hulda good-bye, the professor took his seat in the vehicle
beside Joel. In another minute they had both disappeared behind a
large clump of birches at the turn in the road.
That same evening Joel returned to Dal.
END OF FIRST HALF.
Meanwhile, Sylvius Hogg was hastening toward Bergen. His tenacious
nature and energetic character, though daunted for a moment, were now
reasserting themselves. He refused to credit Ole's death, nor would
he admit that Hulda was doomed never to see her lover again. No, until
the fact was established beyond a doubt, he was determined to regard
the report as false.
But had he any information which would serve as a basis for the task
he was about to undertake in Bergen? Yes, though we must admit that
the clew was of a very vague nature.
He knew merely the date on which the bottle had been cast into the sea
by Ole Kamp, and the date and locality in which it had been recovered
from the waves. He had learned those facts through the letter just
received from the Naval Department, the letter which had decided him
to leave for Bergen immediately, in order that he might consult with
Help Bros., and with the most experienced seamen of that port.
The journey was made as quickly as possible. On reaching Moel, Sylvius
Hogg sent his companion back with the kariol, and took passage upon
one of the birch-bark canoes that are used in traversing the waters of
Lake Finn. Then, at Tinoset, instead of turning his steps toward the
south--that is to say, in the direction of Bamble--he hired another
kariol, and took the Hardanger route, in order to reach the gulf of
that name in the shortest possible time. From there, a little steamer
called the "Run" transported him to the mouth of the gulf, and
finally, after crossing a network of fiords and inlets, between the
islands and islets that stud the Norwegian coast, he landed at Bergen
on the morning of the second of July.
This old city, laved by the waters of both the Logne and Hardanger,
is delightfully situated in a picturesque region which would bear a
striking resemblance to Switzerland if an artificial arm of the sea
should ever conduct the waters of the blue Mediterranean to the foot
of the Alps.
A magnificent avenue of ash trees leads to the town.
The houses, with their fantastic, pointed gables, are as dazzling
in their whiteness as the habitations of Arabian cities, and are all
congregated in an irregular triangle that contains a population
of about thirty thousand souls. Its churches date from the twelfth
century. Its tall cathedral is visible from afar to vessels returning
from sea, and it is the capital of commercial Norway, though
situated off the regular lines of travel, and a long distance
from the two cities which rank first and second in the kingdom,
politically--Christiania and Drontheim.
Under any other circumstances the professor would have taken great
pleasure in studying this important city, which is Dutch rather than
Norwegian in its aspect and manners. It had been one of the cities
included in his original route, but since his adventure on the
Maristien and his subsequent sojourn at Dal, his plans had undergone
Sylvius Hogg was no longer the traveling deputy, anxious to ascertain
the exact condition of the country from a commercial as well as a
political point of view. He was the guest of the Hansens, the debtor
of Joel and Hulda, whose interests now outweighed all else in his
estimation--a debtor who was resolved to pay his debt of gratitude at
any cost, though he felt that what he was about to attempt for them
was but a trifle.
On his arrival in Bergen, Sylvius Hogg landed at the lower end of
the town, on the wharf used as a fish-market, but he lost no time in
repairing to the part of the town known as the Tyske Bodrone quarter,
where Help, Junior, of the house of Help Bros., resided.
It was raining, of course, for rain falls in Bergen on at least three
hundred and sixty days of every year; but it would be impossible
to find a house better protected against the wind and rain than the
hospitable mansion of Help, Junior, and nowhere could Sylvius Hogg
have received a warmer and more cordial welcome. His friend took
possession of him very much as if he had been some precious bale of
merchandise which had been consigned to his care, and which would be
delivered up only upon the presentation of a formal order.
Sylvius Hogg immediately made known the object of his visit to Help,
Junior. He inquired if any news had yet been received of the "Viking,"
and if Bergen mariners were really of the opinion that she had gone
down with all on board. He also inquired if this probable shipwreck,
which had plunged so many homes into mourning, had not led the
maritime authorities to make some search for the missing vessel.
"But where were they to begin?" replied Help, Junior. "They do not
even know where the shipwreck occurred."
"True, my dear Help, and for that very reason they should endeavor to
"Why, though they do not know where the 'Viking' foundered, they
certainly know where the bottle was picked up by the Danish vessel. So
we have one valuable clew which it would be very wrong to ignore."
"Where was it?"
"Listen, my dear Help, and I will tell you."
Sylvius Hogg then apprised his friend of the important information
which had just been received through the Naval Department, and the
full permission given him to utilize it.
The bottle containing Ole Kamp's lottery-ticket had been picked up on
the third of June, about two hundred miles south of Iceland, by the
schooner "Christian," of Elsineur, Captain Mosselman, and the wind was
blowing strong from the south-east at the time.
The captain had immediately examined the contents of the bottle, as it
was certainly his duty to do, inasmuch as he might-have rendered very
effectual aid to the survivors of the "Viking" had he known where
the catastrophe occurred; but the lines scrawled upon the back of the
lottery-ticket gave no clew, so the "Christian" could not direct her
course to the scene of the shipwreck.
This Captain Mosselman was an honest man. Very possibly some less
scrupulous person would have kept the ticket; but he had only one
thought--to transmit the ticket to the person to whom it was addressed
as soon as he entered port. Hulda Hansen, of Dal, that was enough. It
was not necessary to know any more.
But on reaching Copenhagen, Captain Mosselman said to himself that it
would perhaps be better to transmit the document through the hands of
the Danish authorities, instead of sending it straight to the person
for whom it was intended. This would be the safest, as well as
the regular way. He did so, and the Naval Department at Copenhagen
promptly notified the Naval Department at Christiania.
Sylvius Hogg's letter, asking for information in regard to the
"Viking," had already been received, and the deep interest he took in
the Hansen family was well known. It was known, too, that he intended
to remain in Dal some time longer, so it was there that the ticket
found by the Danish sea-captain was sent, to be delivered into Hulda
Hansen's hands by the famous deputy.
And ever since that time the public had taken a deep interest in the
affair, which had not been forgotten, thanks to the touching details
given by the newspapers of both continents.
Sylvius Hogg stated the case briefly to his friend Help, who listened
to him with the deepest interest, and without once interrupting him.
He concluded his recital by saying:
"There is certainly one point about which there can be no possible
doubt: this is, that on the third day of June, about one month after
the departure from Saint-Pierre-Miquelon, the ticket was picked up two
hundred miles south-west of Iceland."
"And that is all you know?"
"Yes, my dear Help, but by consulting some of the most experienced
mariners of Bergen, men who are familiar with that locality, with the
general direction of its winds, and, above-all, with its currents,
will it not be a comparatively easy matter to decide upon the route
followed by the bottle? Then, by calculating its probable speed, and
the time that elapsed before it was picked up, it certainly would not
be impossible to discover the spot at which it was cast into the sea
by Ole Kamp, that is to say, the scene of the shipwreck."
Help, Junior, shook his head with a doubting air. Would not any search
that was based upon such vague indications as these be sure to prove a
failure? The shipowner, being of a decided, cool and practical turn
of mind, certainly thought so, and felt it his duty to say as much to
"Perhaps it may prove a failure, friend Help," was the prompt
rejoinder; "but the fact that we have been able to secure only vague
information, is certainly no reason for abandoning the undertaking. I
am anxious that nothing shall be left undone for these poor people to
whom I am indebted for my life. Yes, if need be, I would not hesitate
to sacrifice all I possess to find Ole Kamp, and bring him safely back
to his betrothed, Hulda Hansen."
Then Sylvius Hogg proceeded to give a full account of his adventure
on the Rjukanfos. He related the intrepid manner in which Joel and his
sister had risked their own lives to save him, and how, but for their
timely assistance, he would not have had the pleasure of being the
guest of his friend Help that day.
His friend Help, as we said before, was an eminently practical man,
but he was not opposed to useless and even impossible efforts when
a question "of humanity was involved, and he finally approved what
Sylvius Hogg wished to attempt.
"Sylvius," he said, "I will assist you by every means in my power.
Yes, you are right. However small the chance of finding some survivor
of the 'Viking' may be, and especially of finding this brave Ole whose
betrothed saved your life, it must not be neglected."
"No, Help, no," interrupted the professor; "not if it were but one
chance in a hundred thousand."
"So this very day, Sylvius, I will assemble all the most experienced
seamen of Bergen in my office. I will send for all who have navigated
or who are now navigating the ocean between Iceland and Newfoundland,
and we will see what they advise us to do."
"And what they advise us to do we will do," added Sylvius Hogg,
without an instant's hesitation. "I have the approval of the
government. In fact, I am authorized to send one of its dispatch-boats
in search of the 'Viking,' and I feel sure that no one will hesitate
to take part in such a work."
"I will pay a visit to the marine bureau, and see what I can learn
there," remarked Help, Junior.
"Would you like me to accompany you?"
"It is not necessary, and you must be fatigued."
"Fatigued! I--at my age?"
"Nevertheless, you had better rest until my return, my dear and
That same day there was a large meeting of captains of merchant and
whaling vessels, as well as pilots, in the office of Help Bros.--an
assemblage of men who were still navigating the seas, as well as of
those who had retired from active service.
Sylvius Hogg explained the situation briefly but clearly. He told them
the date--May 3d--on which the bottle had been cast into the sea by
Ole Kamp, and the date--June 3d--on which it had been picked up by the
Danish captain, two hundred miles south-west of Iceland.
The discussion that followed was long and serious. There was not one
of these brave men who were not familiar with the currents of that
locality, and upon the direction of these currents they must, of
course, chiefly depend for a solution of the problem.
But it was an incontestable fact that at the time of the shipwreck,
and during the interval that elapsed between the sailing of the
"Viking" from Saint-Pierre-Miquelon, and the discovery of the bottle
by the Danish vessel, constant gales from the south-east had disturbed
that portion of the Atlantic. In fact, it was to one of these tempests
that the catastrophe must be attributed. Probably the "Viking," being
unable to carry sail in the teeth of the tempest, had been obliged to
scud before the windy and it being at this season of the year that the
ice from the polar seas begins to make its way down into the Atlantic,
it was more than likely that a collision had taken place, and that
the "Viking" had been crushed by a floating iceberg, which it was
impossible to avoid.
Still, in that case, was it not more than probable that the whole,
or a part, of the ship's crew had taken refuge upon one of these ice
fields after having placed a quantity of provisions upon it? If they
had really done so, the iceberg, having certainly been driven in a
north-westerly direction by the winds which were prevailing at the
time, it was not unlikely that the survivors had been able to reach
some point on the coast of Greenland, so it was in that direction, and
in those seas, that search should be made.
This was the unanimous opinion of these experienced mariners, and
there could be no doubt that this was the only feasible plan. But
would they find aught save a few fragments of the "Viking" in case the
vessel had been crushed by some enormous iceberg? Could they hope to
effect the rescue of any survivors?
This was more than doubtful, and the professor on putting the question
perceived that the more competent could not, or would not, reply.
Still, this was no cause for inaction--they were all agreed upon that
point--but action must be taken without delay.
There are always several government vessels at Bergen, and one of
the three dispatch-boats charged with the surveillance of the western
coast of Norway is attached to this port. As good luck would have it,
that very boat was now riding at anchor in the bay.
After making a note of the various suggestions advanced by the most
experienced seamen who had assembled at the office of Help, Junior,
Sylvius Hogg went aboard the dispatch-boat "Telegraph," and apprised
the commander of the special mission intrusted to him by the
The commander received him very cordially, and declared his
willingness to render all the assistance in his power. He had become
familiar with the navigation of the locality specified during several
long and dangerous voyages from the Loffoden Islands and Finmark to
the Iceland and Newfoundland fisheries; so he would have experience
to aid him in the humane work he was about to undertake, as he fully
agreed with the seamen already consulted that it was in the waters
between Iceland and Greenland that they must look for the survivors,
or at least for some trace of the "Viking." If he did not succeed
there, he would, however, explore the neighboring shores, and perhaps
the eastern part of Baffin's Bay.
"I am all ready to start, sir," he added. "My coal and provisions
are on board, my crew has been selected, and I can set sail this very
"Thank you, captain," replied the professor, "not only for your
promptness, but for the very kind reception you have given me. But one
question more: Can you tell me how long it will take you to reach the
shores of Greenland?"
"My vessel makes about eleven knots an hour, and as the distance from
Bergen to Greenland is only about twenty degrees, I can count upon
arriving there in less than a week."
"Make all possible haste, captain," replied Sylvius Hogg. "If any
of the shipwrecked crew did survive the catastrophe, two months have
already elapsed since the vessel went down, and they are perhaps in a
destitute and even famishing condition upon some desert coast."
"Yes, there is no time to lose, Monsieur Hogg. I will start this very
day, keep my vessel going at the top of her speed, and as soon as
I find any trace whatever I will inform the Naval Department at
Christiania by a telegram from Newfoundland."
"God-speed you, captain," replied Sylvius Hogg, "and may you succeed."
That same day the "Telegraph" set sail, followed by the sympathizing
cheers of the entire population of Bergen, and it was not without keen
emotion that the kind-hearted people watched the vessel make its way
down the channel, and finally disappear behind the islands of the
But Sylvius Hogg did not confine his efforts to the expedition
undertaken by the dispatch-boat "Telegraph." On the contrary, he was
resolved to multiply the chances of finding some trace of the missing
"Viking." Would it not be possible to excite a spirit of emulation in
the captains of merchant vessels and fishing-smacks that navigated the
waters of Iceland and the Faroe Islands? Unquestionably. So a reward
of two thousand marks was promised in the name of the government to
any vessel that would furnish any information in regard to the missing
"Viking," and one of five thousand marks to any vessel that would
bring one of the survivors of the shipwreck back to his native land.
So, during the two days spent in Bergen Sylvius Hogg did everything
in his power to insure the success of the enterprise, and he was
cheerfully seconded in his efforts by Help, Junior, and all the
maritime authorities. M. Help would have been glad to have the worthy
deputy as a guest some time longer, but though Sylvius Hogg thanked
him cordially he declined to prolong his stay. He was anxious to
rejoin Hulda and Joel, being afraid to leave them to themselves too
long, but Help, Junior, promised him that any news that might be
received should be promptly transmitted to Dal.
So, on the morning of the 4th, after taking leave of his friend
Help, Sylvius Hogg re-embarked on the "Run" to cross the fiord of the
Hardanger, and if nothing unforeseen occurred he counted on reaching
the Telemark by the evening of the 5th.
The day that Sylvius Hogg left Bergen proved an eventful one at the
After the professor's departure the house seemed deserted. It almost
seemed as if the kind friend of the young Hansens had taken away with
him, not only the last hope, but the life of the family, and left only
a charnel-house behind him.
During the two days that followed no guests presented themselves at
the inn. Joel had no occasion to absent himself, consequently, but
could remain with Hulda, whom he was very unwilling to leave alone
with her own thoughts.
Dame Hansen seemed to become more and more a prey to secret anxiety.
She seemed to feel no interest in anything connected with her
children, not even in the loss of the "Viking." She lived a life
apart, remaining shut up in her own room, and appearing only at
meal-time. When she did address a word to Hulda or Joel it was only
to reproach them directly or indirectly on the subject of the
lottery-ticket, which neither of them felt willing to dispose of
at any price. Offers for the ticket continued to pour in from every
corner of the globe. A positive mania seemed to have seized certain
brains. Such a ticket must certainly be predestined to win the prize
of one hundred thousand marks--there could be no doubt of it, so said
every one. A person would have supposed there was but one ticket in
the lottery, and that the number of it was 9672. The Manchester man
and the Bostonian were still at the head of the list. The Englishman
had outbid his rival by a few pounds, but he, in turn, was soon
distanced by an advance of several hundred dollars. The last bid was
one of eight thousand marks--and it could be explained only as the
result of positive madness, unless it was a question of national pride
on this part of an American and an Englishman.
However this may have been Hulda refused all these offers, and her
conduct excited the bitter disapproval of Dame Hansen.
"What if I should order you to sell this ticket? Yes, order you to
sell it," she said to her daughter one day.
"I should be very sorry, mother, but I should be obliged to refuse."
"But if it should become absolutely necessary, what then?"
"But how can that be possible?" asked Joel.
Dame Hansen made no reply. She had turned very pale on hearing this
straightforward question, and now withdrew, muttering some incoherent
"There is certainly something wrong," remarked Joel. "There must be
some difficulty between mother and Sandgoist."
"Yes, brother, we must be prepared for some serious complications in
"Have we not suffered enough during the past few weeks, my poor Hulda?
What fresh catastrophe threatens us?"
"How long Monsieur Sylvius stays!" exclaimed Hulda, without paying
any apparent heed to the question. "When he is here I feel less
"And yet, what can he do for us?" replied Joel.
What could there have been in Dame Hansen's past that she was
unwilling to confide to her children? What foolish pride prevented her
from revealing to them the cause of her disquietude? Had she any real
cause to reproach herself? And on the other hand, why did she endeavor
to influence her daughter in regard to Ole Kamp's ticket, and the
price that was to be set upon it? Why did she seem so eager to dispose
of it, or rather, to secure the money that had been offered for it?
Hulda and Joel were about to learn.
On the morning of the 4th Joel escorted his sister to the little
chapel where she went every morning to pray for the lost one. Her
brother always waited for her, and accompanied her back to the house.
That day, on returning, they both perceived Dame Hansen in the
distance, walking rapidly in the direction of the inn. She was not
alone. A man was walking beside her--a man who seemed to be talking in
a loud voice, and whose gestures were vehement and imperious.
Hulda and her brother both paused suddenly.
"Who is that man?" inquired Joel.
Hulda advanced a few steps.
"I know him," she said at last.
"You know him?"
"Yes, it is Sandgoist."
"Sandgoist, of Drammen, who came here during my absence?"
"And who acted in such a lordly way that he would seem to have mother,
and us, too, perhaps, in his power?"
"The same, brother; and he has probably come to make us feel his power
"What power? This time I will know the object of his visit."
Joel controlled himself, though not without an evident effort, and
followed his sister.
In a few moments Dame Hansen and Sandgoist reached the door of the
inn. Sandgoist crossed the threshold first; then the door closed upon
Dame Hansen and upon him, and both of them entered the large parlor.
As Joel and Hulda approached the house the threatening voice of
Sandgoist became distinctly audible. They paused and listened; Dame
Hansen was speaking now, but in entreating tones.
"Let us go in," remarked Joel.
Hulda entered with a heavy heart; Joel was trembling with suppressed
anger and impatience.
Sandgoist sat enthroned in the big arm-chair. He did not even take the
trouble to rise on the entrance of the brother and sister. He merely
turned his head and stared at them over his spectacles.
"Ah! here is the charming Hulda, if I'm not mistaken," he exclaimed in
a tone that incensed Joel even more deeply.
Dame Hansen was standing in front of the man in an humble almost
cringing attitude, but she instantly straightened herself up, and
seemed greatly annoyed at the sight of her children.
"And this is her brother, I suppose?" added Sandgoist.
"Yes, her brother," retorted Joel.
Then, advancing until within a few steps of the arm-chair, he asked,
"What do you want here?"
Sandgoist gave him a withering look; then, in a harsh voice, and
without rising, he replied:
"You will soon learn, young man. You happen in just at the right time.
I was anxious to see you, and if your sister is a sensible girl we
shall soon come to an understanding. But sit down, and you, too, young
woman, had better do the same."
Sandgoist seemed to be doing the honors of his own house, and Joel
instantly noted the fact.
"Ah, ha! you are displeased! What a touchy young man you seem to be!"
"I am not particularly touchy that I know of, but I don't feel
inclined to accept civilities from those who have no right to offer
"Joel!" cried Dame Hansen.
"Brother, brother!" exclaimed Hulda, with an imploring look.
Joel made a violent effort to control himself, and to prevent himself
from yielding to his desire to throw this coarse wretch out of the
window, he retired to a corner of the room.
"Can I speak now?" inquired Sandgoist.
An affirmative sign from Dame Hansen was all the answer he obtained,
but it seemed to be sufficient.
"What I have to say is this," he began, "and I would like all three of
you to listen attentively, for I don't fancy being obliged to repeat
That he spoke like a person who had an indisputable right to his own
way was only too evident to each and every member of the party.
"I have learned through the newspapers," he continued, "of the
misfortune which has befallen a certain Ole Kamp--a young seaman of
Bergen--and of a lottery-ticket that he bequeathed to his betrothed,
Hulda Hansen, just as his ship, the 'Viking,' was going down. I have
also learned that the public at large feels convinced that this will
prove the fortunate ticket by reason of the peculiar circumstances
under which it was found. I have also learned that some very liberal
offers for the purchase of this ticket have been received by Hulda
He was silent for a moment, then:
"Is this true?" he added.
He was obliged to wait some time for an answer to this question.
"Yes, it is true," replied Joel, at last. "And what of it, if you
"These offers are, in my opinion, the result of a most absurd and
senseless superstition," continued Sandgoist, "but for all that,
they will continue to be made, and to increase in amount, as the day
appointed for the drawing approaches. Now, I am a business man myself,
and I have taken it into my head that I should like to have a hand in
this little speculation myself, so I left Drammen yesterday to come to
Dal to arrange for the transfer of this ticket, and to beg Dame Hansen
to give me the preference over all other would-be purchasers."
Hulda was about to make Sandgoist the same answer she had given to
all offers of this kind, though his remarks had not been addressed
directly to her, when Joel checked her.
"Before replying, I should like to ask Monsieur Sandgoist if he knows
to whom this ticket belongs?" he said haughtily.
"To Hulda Hansen, I suppose."
"Very well; then it is to Hulda Hansen that this application should be
"My son!" hastily interposed Dame Hansen.
"Let me finish, mother," continued Joel. "This ticket belonged
originally to our cousin, Ole Kamp, and had not Ole Kamp a perfect
right to bequeath it to his betrothed?"
"Unquestionably," replied Sandgoist.
"Then it is to Hulda Hanson that you must apply, if you wish to
"So be it, Master Formality," retorted Sandgoist. "I now ask Hulda to
sell me this ticket Number 9672 that Ole Kamp bequeathed to her."
"Monsieur Sandgoist," the young girl answered in firm but quiet tones,
"I have received a great many offers for this ticket, but they have
been made in vain. I shall say to you exactly what I have said to
others. If my betrothed sent me this ticket with his last farewell
upon it it was because he wished me to keep it, so I will not part
with it at any price."
Having said this Hulda turned, as if to leave the room, evidently
supposing that the conversation so far as she was concerned had
been terminated by her refusal, but at a gesture from her mother she
An exclamation of annoyance had escaped Dame Hansen, and Sandgoist's
knitted brows and flashing eyes showed that anger was beginning to
take possession of him.
"Yes, remain, Hulda," said he. "This is not your final answer. If I
insist it is because I certainly have a right to do so. Besides,
I think I must have stated the case badly, or rather you must have
misunderstood me. It is certain that the chances of this ticket have
not increased because the hand of a shipwrecked seaman placed it in a
bottle and it was subsequently recovered; still, the public seldom or
never reasons, and there is not the slightest doubt that many persons
desire to become the owners of it. They have already offered to
purchase it, and other offers are sure to follow. It is simply a
business transaction, I repeat, and I have come to propose a good
trade to you."
"You will have some difficulty in coming to an understanding with my
sister, sir," replied Joel, ironically. "When you talk business to her
she replies with sentiment."
"That is all idle talk, young man," replied Sandgoist. "When my
explanation is concluded you will see that however advantageous the
transaction may be to me it will be equally so to her. I may also
add that it will be equally so to her mother, Dame Hansen, who is
personally interested in the matter."
Joel and Hulda exchanged glances. Were they about to learn the secret
Dame Hansen had so long concealed from them?
"I do not ask that this ticket shall be sold to me for what Ole
Kamp paid for it," continued Sandgoist. No! Right or wrong, it has
certainly acquired an increased financial value, and I am willing to
make a sacrifice to become the owner of it."
"You have already been told that Hulda has refused much better offers
than yours," replied Joel.
"Indeed!" exclaimed Sandgoist. "Much better offers, you say. How do
"Whatever your offer may be, my sister refuses it, and I approve of
"Ah! am I dealing with Joel or Hulda Hansen, pray?"
"My sister and I are one," retorted Joel. "It would be well for you to
become satisfied of this fact, as you seem to be ignorant of it."
Sandgoist shrugged his shoulders, but without being at all
disconcerted, for like a man who is sure of his arguments, he replied:
"When I spoke of the price I was willing to pay for the ticket, I
ought to have told you that I could offer inducements which Hulda
Hansen can hardly reject if she takes any interest in the welfare of
"Yes, and it would be well for you, young man, to understand, in your
turn, that I did not come to Dal to beg your sister to sell me this
ticket. No, a thousand times no."
"For what, then?"
"I do not ask for it, I demand it. I will have it."
"And by what right?" exclaimed Joel, "and how dare you, a stranger,
speak in this way in my mother's house?"
"By the right every man has to speak as he pleases, and when he
pleases, in his own house," retorted Sandgoist.
"In his own house?"
Joel, in his indignation, stepped threateningly toward Sandgoist, who,
though not easily frightened, sprung hastily out of his arm-chair. But
Hulda laid a detaining hand upon her brother's arm, while Dame Hansen,
burying her face in her hands, retreated to the other end of the room.
"Brother, look at her!" whispered the young girl.
Joel paused suddenly. A glance at his mother paralyzed him. Her very
attitude revealed how entirely Dame Hansen was in this scoundrel's
Sandgoist, seeing Joel's hesitation, recovered his self-possession,
and resumed his former seat.
"Yes, in his own house," he continued in a still more arrogant voice.
"Ever since her husband's death, Dame Hansen has been engaging in
unsuccessful speculations. After losing the small fortune your father
left at his death, she was obliged to borrow money of a Christiania
banker, offering this house as security for a loan of fifteen thousand
marks. About a year ago I purchased the mortgage, and this house will
consequently become my property--and very speedily--if I am not paid
when this mortgage becomes due."
"When is it due?" demanded Joel.
"On the 20th of July, or eighteen days from now," replied Sandgoist.
"Then, whether you like it or not, I shall be in my own house here."
"You will not be in your own house here until that date, even if you
are not paid at that time," retorted Joel, "and I forbid you to speak
as you have been doing in the presence of my mother and sister."
"He forbids me--me!" exclaimed Sandgoist. "But how about his
mother--what does she say?"
"Speak, mother!" cried Joel, approaching Dame Hansen, and endeavoring
to remove her hands from her face.
"Joel, my brother," exclaimed Hulda. "I entreat you, for my sake, to
Dame Hansen bowed her head upon her breast, not daring to meet
her son's searching eyes. It was only too true that she had been
endeavoring to increase her fortune by rash speculations for several
years past. The small sum of money at her disposal had soon melted
away, and she had been obliged to borrow at a high rate of interest.
And now the mortgage had passed into the hands of this Sandgoist--a
heartless and unprincipled man--a well-known usurer, who was heartily
despised throughout the country. Dame Hansen, however, had seen him
for the first time when he came to Dal to satisfy himself in regard to
the value of the property.
This was the secret that had weighed so heavily upon her. This,
too, explained her reserve, for she had not dared to confide in her
children. This was the secret she had sedulously kept from those whose
future she had blighted.
Hulda scarcely dared to think of what she had just heard. Yes,
Sandgoist was indeed a master who had the power to enforce his will!
The ticket he wished to purchase would probably be worth nothing a
fortnight hence, and if she did not consent to relinquish it certain
ruin would follow--their house would be sold over their heads, and the
Hansen family would be homeless and penniless.
Hulda dared not even glance at Joel, but Joel was too angry to pay any
heed to these threats. He could think only of Sandgoist, and if the
man continued to talk in this way the impetuous youth felt that he
should not be able to control himself much longer.
Sandgoist, seeing that he had once more become master of the
situation, grew even more arrogant and imperious in his manner.
"I want that ticket, and I intend to have it," he repeated. "In
exchange for it I offer no fixed price, but I promise to extend the
mortgage for one--two, or three years--Fix the date yourself, Hulda."
Hulda's heart was so deeply oppressed with anguish that she was unable
to reply, but her brother answered for her.
"Ole Kamp's ticket can not be sold by Hulda Hansen. My sister refuses
your offer, in spite of your threats. Now leave the house!"
"Leave the house," repeated Sandgoist. "I shall do nothing of the
kind. If the offer I have made does not satisfy you I will go even
further. In exchange for the ticket I offer you--I offer you--"
Sandgoist must certainly have felt an irresistible desire to possess
this ticket--or at least he most have been convinced that the purchase
would prove a most advantageous one to him, for he seated himself at
a table upon which lay pen, ink, and paper, and a moment afterward he
"Here is what I offer."
It was a receipt for the amount of Dame Hansen's indebtedness--a
receipt for the amount of the mortgage on the Dal property.
Dame Hansen cowered in her corner, with hands outstretched, and eyes
fixed imploringly on her daughter.
"And now give me the ticket," cried Sandgoist, "I want it to-day--this
very instant. I will not leave Dal without it"
As he spoke he stepped hastily toward the poor girl as if with the
intention of searching her pockets, and wresting the ticket from her.
This was more than Joel could endure, especially when he heard Hulda's
startled cry of "Brother! brother!"
"Get out of here!" he shouted, roughly. And seeing that Sandgoist
showed no intention of obeying, the young man was about to spring upon
him, when Hulda hastily interposed.
"Here is the ticket, mother," she cried.
Dame Hansen seized it, and as she exchanged it for Sandgoist's receipt
her daughter sunk, almost fainting, into an arm-chair.
"Hulda! Hulda! Oh, what have you done?" cried Joel.
"What has she done," replied Dame Hansen. "Yes, I am guilty--for
my children's sake I wished to increase the property left by their
father, but instead I have reduced them to poverty. But Hulda has
saved us all. That is what she has done. Thank you, Hulda, thank you."
Sandgoist still lingered. Joel perceived the fact.
"You are here still," he continued, roughly. And springing upon
Sandgoist he seized him by the shoulders and hustled him out-of-doors
in spite of his protests and resistance.
Sylvius Hogg reached Dal on the evening of the following day. He did
not say a word about his journey, and no one knew that he had been to
Bergen. As long as the search was productive of no results he wished
the Hansen family to remain in ignorance of it. Every letter or
telegram, whether from Bergen or Christiania, was to be addressed to
him, at the inn, where he intended to await further developments.
Did he still hope? Yes, though it must be admitted that he had some
As soon as he returned the professor became satisfied that some
important event had occurred in his absence. The altered manner of
Joel and Hulda showed conclusively that an explanation must have taken
place between their mother and themselves. Had some new misfortunes
befallen the Hansen household?
All this of course troubled Sylvius Hogg greatly. He felt such a
paternal affection for the brother and sister that he could not have
been more fond of them if they had been his own children. How much he
had missed them during his short absence.
"They will tell me all by and by," he said to himself. "They will have
to tell me all. Am I not a member of the family?"
Yes; Sylvius Hogg felt now that he had an undoubted right to be
consulted in regard to everything connected with the private life of
his young friends, and to know why Joel and Hulda seemed even more
unhappy than at the time of his departure. The mystery was soon
In fact both the young people were anxious to confide in the excellent
man whom they loved with a truly filial devotion, but they were
waiting for him to question them. During his absence they had felt
lonely and forsaken--the more so from the fact that Sylvius Hogg had
not seen fit to tell them where he was going. Never had the hours
seemed so long. It never once occurred to them that the journey was
in any way connected with a search for the "Viking," and that
Sylvius Hogg had concealed the fact from them in order to spare them
additional disappointment in case of failure.
And now how much more necessary his presence seemed to have become to
them! How glad they were to see him, to listen to his words of counsel
and hear his kind and encouraging voice. But would they ever dare to
tell him what had passed between them and the Drammen usurer, and
how Dame Hansen had marred the prospects of her children? What would
Sylvius Hogg say when he learned that the ticket was no longer in
Hulda's possession, and when he heard that Dame Hansen had used it to
free herself from her inexorable creditor?
He was sure to learn these facts, however. Whether it was Sylvius Hogg
or Hulda that first broached the subject, it would be hard to say, nor
does it matter much. This much is certain, however, the professor soon
became thoroughly acquainted with the situation of affairs. He was
told of the danger that had threatened Dame Hansen and her children,
and how the usurer would have driven them from their old home in
a fortnight if the debt had not been paid by the surrender of the
Sylvius Hogg listened attentively to this sad story.
"You should not have given up the ticket," he cried, vehemently; "no,
you should not have done it."
"How could I help it, Monsieur Sylvius?" replied the poor girl,
"You could not, of course, and yet--Ah, if I had only been here!"
And what would Professor Sylvius Hogg have done had he been there? He
did not say, however, but continued:
"Yes, my dear Hulda; yes, Joel, you did the best you could, under the
circumstances. But what enrages me almost beyond endurance is the
fact that this Sandgoist will profit greatly, no doubt, by this absurd
superstition on the part of the public. If poor Ole's ticket should
really prove to be the lucky one this unprincipled scoundrel will
reap all the benefit. And yet, to suppose that this number, 9672,
will necessarily prove the lucky one, is simply ridiculous and absurd.
Still, I would not have given up the ticket, I think. After once
refusing to surrender it to Sandgoist Hulda would have done better to
turn a deaf ear to her mother's entreaties."
The brother and sister could find nothing to say in reply. In giving
the ticket to Dame Hansen, Hulda had been prompted by a filial
sentiment that was certainly to be commended rather than censured. The
sacrifice she had made was not one of more or less probable chance,
but of Ole Kamp's last wishes and of her last memento of her lover.
But it was too late to think of this now. Sandgoist had the ticket.
It belonged to him, and he would sell it to the highest bidder. A
heartless usurer would thus coin money out of the touching farewell of
the shipwrecked mariner. Sylvius Hogg could not bear the thought. It
was intolerable to him.
He resolved to have a talk with Dame Hansen on the subject that very
day. This conversation could effect no change in the state of affairs,
but it had become almost necessary.
"So you think I did wrong, Monsieur Hogg?" she asked, after allowing
the professor to say all he had to say on the subject.
"Certainly, Dame Hansen."
"If you blame me for having engaged in rash speculations, and for
endangering the fortune of my children, you are perfectly right; but
if you blame me for having resorted to the means I did to free myself,
you are wrong. What have you to say in reply?"
"But seriously, do you think that I ought to have refused the offer of
Sandgoist, who really offered fifteen thousand marks for a ticket that
is probably worth nothing; I ask you again, do you think I ought to
have refused it?"
"Yes and no, Dame Hansen."
"It can not be both yes and no, professor; it is no. Under different
circumstances, and if the future had appeared less threatening--though
that was my own fault, I admit--I should have upheld Hulda in her
refusal to part with the ticket she had received from Ole Kamp. But
when there was a certainty of being driven in a few days from the
house in which my husband died, and in which my children first saw
the light, I could not understand such a refusal, and you yourself,
Monsieur Hogg, had you been in my place, would certainly have acted as
"No, Dame Hansen, no!"
"What would you have done, then?"
"I would have done anything rather than sacrifice a ticket my daughter
had received under such circumstances."
"Do these circumstances, in your opinion, enhance the value of the
"No one can say."
"On the contrary, every one does know. This ticket is simply one that
has nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine
chances of losing against one of winning. Do you consider it any more
valuable because it was found in a bottle that was picked up at sea?"
Sylvius Hogg hardly knew what to say in reply to this straightforward
question, so he reverted to the sentimental side of the question by
"The situation now seems to be briefly as follows: Ole Kamp, as the
ship went down, bequeathed to Hulda the sole earthly possession left
him, with the request that she should present it on the day of the
drawing, provided, of course, that the ticket reached her; and now
this ticket is no longer in Hulda's possession."
"If Ole Kamp had been here, he would not have hesitated to surrender
his ticket to Sandgoist," replied Dame Hansen.
"That is quite possible," replied Sylvius Hogg; "but certainly no
other person had a right to do it, and what will you say to him if he
has not perished and if he should return to-morrow, or this very day?"
"Ole will never return," replied Dame Hansen, gloomily. "Ole is dead,
Monsieur Hogg, dead, beyond a doubt."
"You can not be sure of that, Dame Hansen," exclaimed the professor.
"In fact, you know nothing at all about it. Careful search is being
made for some survivor of the shipwreck. It may prove successful; yes,
even before the time appointed for the drawing of this lottery. You
have no right to say that Ole Kamp is dead, so long as we have no
proof that he perished in the catastrophe. The reason I speak with
less apparent assurance before your children is that I do not want to
arouse hopes that may end in bitter disappointment. But to you, Dame
Hansen, I can say what I really think, and I can not, I will not
believe that Ole Kamp is dead! No, I will not believe it!"
Finding herself thus worsted, Dame Hansen ceased to argue the
question, and this Norwegian, being rather superstitious in her secret
heart, hung her head as if Ole Kamp was indeed about to appear before
"At all events, before parting with the ticket," continued Sylvius
Hogg, "there was one very simple thing that you neglected to do."
"You should first have applied to your personal friends or the friends
of your family. They would not have refused to assist you, either by
purchasing the mortgage of Sandgoist, or by loaning you the money to
"I have no friends of whom I could ask such a favor."
"Yes, you have, Dame Hansen. I know at least one person who would have
done it without the slightest hesitation."
"And who is that, if you please?"
"Sylvius Hogg, member of the Storthing."
Dame Hansen, too deeply moved to reply in words, bowed her thanks to
"But what's done can't be undone, unfortunately," added Sylvius Hogg,
"and I should be greatly obliged to you, Dame Hansen, if you
would refrain from saying anything to your children about this
And the two separated.
The professor had resumed his former habits, and his daily walks as
well. In company with Joel and Hulda, he spent several hours every
day in visiting the points of interest in and about Dal--not going too
far, however, for fear of wearying the young girl. Much of his time,
too, was devoted to his extensive correspondence. He wrote letter
after letter to Bergen and Christiania, stimulating the zeal all who
were engaged in the good work of searching for the "Viking." To find
Ole seemed to be his sole aim in life now.
He even felt it his duty to again absent himself for twenty-four
hours, doubtless for an object in some way connected with the affair
in which Dame Hansen's family was so deeply interested; but, as
before, he maintained absolute silence in regard to what he was doing
or having done in this matter.
In the meantime Hulda regained strength but slowly. The poor girl
lived only upon the recollection of Ole; and her hope of seeing him
again grew fainter from day to day. It is true, she had near her the
two beings she loved best in the world; and one of them never ceased
to encourage her; but would that suffice? Was it not necessary to
divert her mind at any cost? But how was her mind to be diverted from
the gloomy thoughts that bound her, as it were, to the shipwrecked
The 12th of July came. The drawing of the Christiania Schools Lottery
was to take place in four days.
It is needless to say that Sandgoist's purchase had come to the
knowledge of the public. The papers announced that the famous ticket
bearing the number 9672 was now in the possession of M. Sandgoist, of
Drammen, and that this ticket would be sold to the highest bidder;
so, if M. Sandgoist was now the owner of the aforesaid ticket, he must
have purchased it for a round sum of Hulda Hansen.
Of course this announcement lowered the young girl very decidedly in
public estimation. What! Hulda Hansen had consented to sell the ticket
belonging to her lost lover? She had turned this last memento of him
But a timely paragraph that appeared in the "Morgen-Blad" gave the
readers a true account of what had taken place. It described the real
nature of Sandgoist's interference, and how the ticket had come into
his hands. And now it was upon the Drammen usurer that public odium
fell; upon the heartless creditor who had not hesitated to take
advantage of the misfortunes of the Hansen family, and as if by common
consent the offers which had been made while Hulda held the ticket
were not renewed. The ticket seemed to have lost its supernatural
value since it had been defiled by Sandgoist's touch, so that worthy
had made but a bad bargain, after all, and the famous ticket, No.
9672, appeared likely to be left on his hands.
It is needless to say that neither Hulda nor Joel was aware of what
had been said, and this was fortunate, for it would have been very
painful to them to become publicly mixed up in an affair which had
assumed such a purely speculative character since it came into the
hands of the usurer.
Late on the afternoon of the 12th of July, a letter arrived, addressed
to Professor Sylvius Hogg.
This missive, which came from the Naval Department, contained another
which had been mailed at Christiansand, a small town situated at the
mouth of the Gulf of Christiania. It could hardly have contained any
news, however, for Sylvius Hogg put it in his pocket and said nothing
to Joel or his sister about its contents.
But when he bade them good-night on retiring to his chamber, he
"The drawing of the lottery is to take place in three days as you are,
of course, aware, my children. You intend to be present, do you not?"
"What is the use, Monsieur Sylvius?" responded Hulda.
"But Ole wished his betrothed to witness it. In fact, he particularly
requested it in the last lines he ever wrote, and I think his wishes
should be obeyed."
"But the ticket is no longer in Hulda's possession," remarked Joel,
"and we do not even know into whose hands it has passed."
"Nevertheless, I think you both ought to accompany me to Christiania
to attend the drawing," replied the professor.
"Do you really desire it, Monsieur Sylvius?" asked the young girl.
"It is not I, my dear Hulda, but Ole who desires it, and Ole's wishes
must be respected."
"Monsieur Sylvius is right, sister," replied Joel. "Yes; you must go.
When do you intend to start, Monsieur Sylvius?"
"To-morrow, at day-break, and may Saint Olaf protect us!"
The next morning Foreman Lengling's gayly painted kariol bore away
Sylvius Hogg and Hulda, seated comfortably side by side. There was not
room for Joel, as we know already, so the brave fellow trudged along
on foot at the horse's head.
The fourteen kilometers that lay between Dal and Moel had no terrors
for this untiring walker.
Their route lay along the left bank of the Maan, down the charming
valley of the Vesfjorddal--a narrow, heavily wooded valley, watered by
a thousand dashing cataracts. At each turn in the path, too, one saw
appearing or disappearing the lofty summit of Gousta, with its two
large patches of dazzling snow.
The sky was cloudless, the weather magnificent, the air not too cool,
nor the sun too warm.
Strange to say, Sylvius Hogg's face seemed to have become more serene
since his departure from the inn, though it is not improbable that
his cheerfulness was a trifle forced, so anxious was he that this trip
should divert Joel and Hulda from their sorrowful thoughts.
It took them only about two hours and a half to reach Moel, which is
situated at the end of Lake Tinn. Here they were obliged to leave the
kariol and take a small boat, for at this point a chain of small lakes
begins. The kariol paused near the little church, at the foot of a
water-fall at least five hundred feet in height. This water-fall,
which is visible for only about one fifth of its descent, loses itself
in a deep crevasse before being swallowed up by the lake.
Two boatmen were standing on the shore beside a birch-bark canoe, so
fragile and unstable that the slightest imprudence on the part of its
occupants would inevitably overturn it.
The lake was at its very best this beautiful morning. The sun had
absorbed all the mist of the previous night, and no one could not have
asked for a more superb summer's day.
"You are not tired, my good Joel?" inquired the professor, as he
alighted from the kariol.
"No, Monsieur Sylvius. You forget that I am accustomed to long tramps
through the Telemark."
"That is true. Tell me, do you know the most direct route from Moel to
"Perfectly, sir. But I fear when we reach Tinoset, at the further end
of the lake, we shall have some difficulty in procuring a kariol, as
we have not warned them of our intended arrival, as is customary in
"Have no fears, my boy," replied the professor: "I attended to that.
You needn't be afraid that I have any intention of making you foot it
from Dal to Christiania."
"I could easily do it if necessary," remarked Joel.
"But it will not be necessary, fortunately. Now suppose we go over our
"Well, once at Tinoset, Monsieur Sylvius, we for a time follow the
shores of Lake Fol, passing through Vik and Bolkesko, so as to reach
Mose, and afterward Kongsberg, Hangsund, and Drammen. If we travel
both night and day it will be possible for us to reach Christiania
"Very well, Joel. I see that you are familiar with the country, and
the route you propose is certainly a very pleasant one."
"It is also the shortest."
"But I am not at all particular about taking the shortest route,"
replied Sylvius Hogg, laughing. "I know another and even more
agreeable route that prolongs the journey only a few hours, and you,
too, are familiar with it, my boy, though you failed to mention it."
"What route do you refer to?"
"To the one that passes through Bamble."
"Yes, through Bamble. Don't feign ignorance. Yes, through Bamble,
where Farmer Helmboe and his daughter Siegfrid reside."
"Yes, and that is the route we are going to take, following the
northern shore of Lake Fol instead of the southern, but finally
reaching Kongsberg all the same."
"Yes, quite as well, and even better," answered Joel smiling.
"I must thank you in behalf of my brother, Monsieur Sylvius," said
"And for yourself as well, for I am sure that you too will be glad to
see your friend Siegfrid."
The boat being ready, all three seated themselves upon a pile of
leaves in the stern, and the vigorous strokes of the boatsmen soon
carried the frail bark a long way from the shore.
After passing Hackenoes, a tiny hamlet of two or three houses, built
upon a rocky promontory laved by the narrow fiord into which the Maan
empties, the lake begins to widen rapidly. At first it is walled in by
tall cliffs whose real height one can estimate accurately only when a
boat passes their base, appearing no larger than some aquatic bird in
comparison; but gradually the mountains retire into the background.
The lake is dotted here and there with small islands, some absolutely
devoid of vegetation, others covered with verdure through which peep
a few fishermen's huts. Upon the lake, too, may be seen floating
countless logs not yet sold to the saw-mills in the neighborhood.
This sight led Sylvius Hogg to jestingly remark--and he certainly must
have been in a mood for jesting:
"If our lakes are the eyes of Norway, as our poets pretend, it must
be admitted that poor Norway has more than one beam in her eye, as the
About four o'clock the boat reached Tinoset, one of the most primitive
of hamlets. Still that mattered little, as Sylvius Hogg had no
intention of remaining there even for an hour. As he had prophesied
to Joel, a vehicle was awaiting them on the shore, for having decided
upon this journey several weeks before, he had written to Mr. Benett,
of Christiania, requesting him to provide the means of making it with
the least possible fatigue and delay, which explains the fact that a
comfortable carriage was in attendance, with its box well stocked with
eatables, thus enabling the party to dispense with the stale eggs and
sour milk with which travelers are usually regaled in the hamlets of
Tinoset is situated near the end of Lake Tinn, and here the Maan
plunges majestically into the valley below, where it resumes its
The horses being already harnessed to the carriage, our friends
immediately started in the direction of Bamble. In those days this
was the only mode of travel in vogue throughout Central Norway, and
through the Telemark in particular, and perhaps modern railroads have
already caused the tourist to think with regret of the national kariol
and Mr. Benett's comfortable carriages.
It is needless to say that Joel was well acquainted with this region,
having traversed it repeatedly on his way from Dal to Bamble.
It was eight o'clock in the evening when Sylvius Hogg and his
protégées reached the latter village. They were not expected, but
Farmer Helmboe received them none the less cordially on that account.
Siegfrid tenderly embraced her friend, and the two young girls being
left alone together for a few moments, they had an opportunity to
discuss the subject that engrossed their every thought.
"Pray do not despair, my dearest Hulda," said Siegfrid; "I have not
ceased to hope, by any means. Why should you abandon all hope of
seeing your poor Ole again? We have learned, through the papers, that
search is being made for the 'Viking.' It will prove successful, I am
certain it will, and I am sure Monsieur Sylvius has not given up all
hope. Hulda, my darling, I entreat you not to despair."
Hulda's tears were her only reply, and Siegfrid pressed her friend
fondly to her heart.
Ah! what joy would have reigned in Farmer Helmboe's household if they
could but have heard of the safe return of the absent one, and have
felt that they really had a right to be happy.
"So you are going direct to Christiania?" inquired the farmer.
"Yes, Monsieur Helmboe."
"To be present at the drawing of the great lottery?"
"But what good will it do now that Ole's ticket is in the hands of
that wretch, Sandgoist?"
"It was Ole's wish, and it must be respected," replied the professor.
"I hear that the usurer has found no purchaser for the ticket for
which he paid so dearly."
"I too have heard so, friend Helmboe."
"Well, I must say that it serves the rascal right. The man is a
scoundrel, professor, a scoundrel, and it serves him right."
"Yes, friend Helmboe, it does, indeed, serve him right."
Of course they had to take supper at the farm-house. Neither Siegfrid
nor her father would allow their friends to depart without accepting
the invitation, but it would not do for them to tarry too long if they
wished to make up for the time lost by coming around by the way of
Bamble, so at nine o'clock the horses were put to the carriage.
"At my next visit I will spend six hours at the table with you, if you
desire it," said Sylvius Hogg to the farmer; "but to-day I must ask
your permission to allow a cordial shake of the hand from you and the
loving kiss your charming Siegfrid will give Hulda to take the place
of the dessert."
This done they started.
In this high latitude twilight would still last several hours. The
horizon, too, is distinctly visible for a long while after sunset, the
atmosphere is so pure.
It is a beautiful and varied drive from Bamble to Kongsberg. The road
passes through Hitterdal and to the south of Lake Fol, traversing the
southern part of the Telemark, and serving as an outlet to all the
small towns and hamlets of that locality.
An hour after their departure they passed the church of Hitterdal, an
old and quaint edifice, surmounted with gables and turrets rising
one above the other, without the slightest regard to anything like
regularity of outline. The structure is of wood--walls, roofs and
turrets--and though it strongly resembles a motley collection of
pepper-boxes, it is really a venerable and venerated relic of the
Scandinavian architecture of the thirteenth century.
Night came on very gradually--one of those nights still impregnated
with a dim light which about one o'clock begins to blend with that of
Joel, enthroned upon the front seat, was absorbed in his reflections.
Hulda sat silent and thoughtful in the interior of the carriage. But
few words were exchanged between Sylvius Hogg and the postilion, and
these were almost invariably requests to drive faster. No other sound
was heard save the bells on the harness, the cracking of the whip,
and the rumble of wheels over the stony road. They drove on all night,
without once changing horses. It was not necessary to stop at
Listhus, a dreary station, situated in a sort of natural amphitheater,
surrounded by pine-clad mountains. They passed swiftly by Tiness,
too, a picturesque little hamlet, perched on a rocky eminence. Their
progress was rapid in spite of the rather dilapidated condition of
their vehicle, whose bolts and springs rattled and creaked dolorously,
and certainly there was no just cause of complaint against the driver,
though he was half asleep most of the time. But for all that, he urged
his horses briskly on, whipping his jaded steeds mechanically, but
usually aiming his blows at the off horse, for the near one belonged
to him, while the other was the property of a neighbor.
About five o'clock in the morning Sylvius Hogg opened his eyes,
stretched out his arms, and drank in huge draughts of the pungent odor
of the pines.
They had now reached Kongsberg. The carriage was crossing the bridge
over the Laagen, and soon it stopped in front of a house near the
church, and not far from the water-fall of the Larbrö.
"If agreeable to you, my friends," remarked Sylvius Hogg, "we will
stop here only to change horses, for it is still too early for
breakfast. I think it would be much better not to make a real halt
until we reach Drammen. There we can obtain a good meal, and so spare
Monsieur Benett's stock of provisions."
This being decided the professor and Joel treated themselves to a
tiny glass of brandy at the Hotel des Mines, and a quarter of an
hour afterward, fresh horses being in readiness, they resumed their
On leaving the city they were obliged to ascend a very steep hill.
The road was roughly hewn in the side of the mountain, and from it
the tall towers at the mouth of the silver mines of Kongsberg were
distinctly visible. Then a dense pine forest suddenly hid everything
else from sight--a pine forest through which the sun's rays never
The town of Hangsund furnished fresh horses for the carriage. There
our friends again found themselves on smooth level roads, frequently
obstructed by turnpike gates, where they were obliged to pay a toll of
five or six shillings. This was a fertile region, abounding in trees
that looked like weeping willows, so heavily did the branches droop
under their burden of fruit.
As they neared Drammen, which is situated upon an arm of Christiania
Bay, the country became more hilly. About noon they reached the city
with its two interminable streets, lined with gayly painted houses,
and its wharves where the countless rafts left but a meager space for
the vessels that come here to load with the products of the Northland.
The carriage paused in front of the Scandinavian Hotel. The
proprietor, a dignified-looking personage, with a long, white beard,
and a decidedly professional air, promptly appeared in the door-way of
With that keenness of perception that characterizes inn-keepers in
every country on the globe, he remarked:
"I should not wonder if these gentlemen and this young lady would like
"Yes," replied Sylvius Hogg, "but let us have it as soon as possible."
"It shall be served immediately."
The repast was soon ready, and proved a most tempting one. Mention
should especially be made of a certain fish, stuffed with a savory
herb, of which the professor partook with evident delight.
At half past one o'clock the carriage, to which fresh horses had been
harnessed, was brought to the hotel door, and our friends started down
the principal street of Drammen at a brisk trot.
As they passed a small and dingy dwelling that contrasted strongly
with the gayly painted houses around it, Joel could not repress a
sudden movement of loathing.
"There is Sandgoist?" he exclaimed.
"So that is Sandgoist," remarked Sylvius Hogg. "He certainly has a bad
It was Sandgoist smoking on his door-step. Did he recognize Joel? It
is impossible to say, for the carriage passed swiftly on between the
huge piles of lumber and boards.
Next came a long stretch of level road, bordered with mountain
ash-trees, laden with coral berries, and then they entered the dense
pine forest that skirts a lovely tract of land known as Paradise
Afterward they found themselves confronted and surrounded by a host of
small hills, each of which was crowned with a villa or farm-house.
As twilight came on, and the carriage began to descend toward the
sea through a series of verdant meadows, the bright red roofs of neat
farm-houses peeped out here and there through the trees, and soon our
travelers reached Christiania Bay, surrounded by picturesque hills,
and with its innumerable creeks, its tiny ports and wooden piers,
where the steamers and ferry-boats land.
At nine o'clock in the evening, and while it was still light, the
old carriage drove noisily into the city through the already deserted
In obedience to orders previously given by Sylvius Hogg, the vehicle
drew up in front of the Hotel du Nord. It was there that Hulda and
Joel were to stay, rooms having been engaged for them in advance.
After bidding them an affectionate good-night the professor hastened
to his own home, where his faithful servants, Kate and Fink, were
impatiently awaiting him.
Christiania, though it is the largest city in Norway, would be
considered a small town in either England or France; and were it
not for frequent fires, the place would present very much the same
appearance that it did in the eleventh century. It was really rebuilt
in 1624, by King Christian, however; and its name was then changed
from Opsolo, as it had been previously called, to Christiania, in
honor of its royal architect.
It is symmetrically laid out with broad, straight streets: and the
houses are generally of gray stone or red brick. In the center of a
fine garden stands the royal palace, known as the Oscarlot, a large
quadrangular building, devoid of beauty, though built in the Ionic
style of architecture. There are a few churches, in which the
attention of worshipers is not distracted by any marvels of art;
several municipal and government buildings, and one immense bazaar,
constructed in the form of a rotunda, and stocked with both native and
There is nothing very remarkable about all this, but one thing the
traveler can certainly admire without stint, and that is the site
of the city, which is encircled by mountains so varied in shape and
aspect as to form a most superb frame for Christiania.
Though the city is nearly flat in the new and wealthy quarter, the
hilly portions, where the poorer classes live, are covered with brick
or wooden huts of gaudy tints that astonish rather than charm the
Like all cities situated upon the water's edge, and upon fertile
hills, Christiania is extremely picturesque, and it would not be
unjust to compare its fiord to the famous Bay of Naples. Its shores,
like those of Sorrento and Castellamare, are dotted with chalets
and villas, half hidden in the dark, rich verdure of the pines, and
enveloped in the light mist that imparts such a wonderful softness to
Sylvius Hogg had at last returned to Christiania, though under
conditions that he little dreamed of at the beginning of his
interrupted journey. Oh, well, he would try that again another year!
He could think only of Joel and Hulda Hansen now. Had there been time
to prepare for them, he would certainly have taken them to his own
home, where old Fink and old Kate would have made them heartily
welcome; but under the circumstances, the professor had thought it
advisable to take them to the Hotel du Nord, where, as protégées
of Sylvius Hogg, they were sure of every attention, though he had
carefully refrained from giving their names, for there had been so
much talk about the brother and sister, and especially about the young
girl, that it would be very embarrassing for her if her arrival in
Christiania should become known.
It had been decided that Sylvius Hogg should not see them again until
breakfast the next day, that is to say, between eleven and twelve
o'clock, as he had some business matters to attend to that would
engross his attention all the forenoon. He would then rejoin them
and remain with them until three o'clock, the hour appointed for the
drawing of the lottery.
Joel, as soon as he rose the next morning, tapped at the door of his
sister's room, and being anxious to divert her thoughts, which were
likely to be more melancholy than ever on such a day, he proposed that
they should walk about the town until breakfast-time, and Hulda, to
please her brother, consented.
It was Sunday, but though the streets of northern cities are usually
quiet and well-nigh deserted on that day, an air of unusual bustle
and animation pervaded the scene, for not only had the townspeople
refrained from going to the country, as usual, but people from the
surrounding towns and country was pouring in in such numbers that the
Lake Miosen Railroad had been obliged to run extra trains.
The number of disinterested persons anxious to attend the drawing of
the famous lottery was even greater than the number of ticket-holders,
consequently the streets were thronged with people. Whole families,
and even whole villages, had come to the city, in the hope that their
journey would not be in vain. Only to think of it! one million tickets
had been sold, and even if they should win a prize of only one or two
hundred marks, how many good people would return home rejoicing!
On leaving the hotel, Joel and Hulda first paid a visit to the wharves
that line the harbor. Here the crowd was not so great except about the
taverns, where huge tankards of beer were being continually called for
to moisten throats that seemed to be in a state of constant thirst.
As the brother and sister wandered about among the long rows of
barrels and boxes, the vessels which were anchored both near and far
from the shore came in for a liberal share of their attention, for
might there not be some from the port of Bergen where the "Viking"
would never more be seen?
"Ole! my poor Ole!" sighed Hulda, and hearing this pathetic
exclamation, Joel led her gently away from the wharves, and up into
the city proper.
There, from the crowds that filled the streets and the public squares,
they overheard more than one remark in relation to themselves.
"Yes," said one man; "I hear that ten thousand marks have been offered
for ticket 9672."
"Ten thousand!" exclaimed another. "Why, I hear that twenty thousand
marks, and even more, have been offered."
"Mr. Vanderbilt, of New York, has offered thirty thousand."
"And Messrs. Baring, of London, forty thousand."
"And the Rothschilds, sixty thousand."
So much for public exaggeration. At this rate the prices offered would
soon have exceeded the amount of the capital prize.
But if these gossips were not agreed upon the sum offered to Hulda
Hansen, they were all of one mind in regard to the usurer of Drammen.
"What an infernal scoundrel Sandgoist must be. That rascal who showed
those poor people no mercy."
"Yes; he is despised throughout the Telemark, and this is not the
first time he has been guilty of similar acts of rascality."
"They say that nobody will buy Ole Kamp's ticket of him, now he has
"No; nobody wants it now."
"That is not at all surprising. In Hulda Hansen's hands the ticket was
"And in Sandgoist's it seems worthless."
"I'm glad of it. He'll have it left on his hands, and I hope he'll
lose the fifteen thousand marks it cost him."
"But what if the scoundrel should win the grand prize?"
"He had better not come to the drawing."
"No. If he does he will be roughly handled. There is no question about
These and many other equally uncomplimentary remarks about the usurer
were freely bandied about.
It was evident that he did not intend to be present at the drawing,
as he was at his house in Drammen the night before; but feeling his
sister's arm tremble in his, Joel led her swiftly on, without trying
to hear any more.
As for Sylvius Hogg, they had hoped to meet him in the street; but
in this they were disappointed, though an occasional remark satisfied
them that the public was already aware of the professor's return, for
early in the morning he had been seen hurrying toward the wharves, and
afterward in the direction of the Naval Department.
Of course, Joel might have asked anybody where Professor Sylvius Hogg
lived. Any one would have been only too delighted to point out the
house or even to accompany him to it; but he did not ask, for fear of
being indiscreet, and as the professor had promised to meet them at
the hotel, it would be better to wait until the appointed hour.
After a time Hulda began to feel very tired, and requested her brother
to take her back to the hotel, especially as these discussions, in
which her name was frequently mentioned, were very trying to her, and
on reaching the house she went straight up to her own room to await
the arrival of Sylvius Hogg.
Joel remained in the reading-room, on the lower floor, where he spent
his time in mechanically looking over the Christiania papers. Suddenly
he turned pale, a mist obscured his vision, and the paper fell from
In the "Morgen-Blad," under the heading of Maritime Intelligence, he
had just seen the following cablegram from Newfoundland:
"The dispatch-boat 'Telegraph' has reached the locality where
the 'Viking' is supposed to have been lost, but has found no
trace of the wreck. The search on the coast of Greenland has
been equally unsuccessful, so it may be considered almost
certain that none of the unfortunate ship's crew survived the
"Good-morning, Mr. Benett. It is always a great pleasure to me when I
have an opportunity to shake hands with you."
"And for me, professor, it is a great honor."
"Honor, pleasure--pleasure, honor," laughed the professor. "One
balances the other."
"I am glad to see that your journey through Central Norway has been
"Not accomplished, only concluded, for this year."
"But tell me, pray, all about those good people you met at Dal."
"Excellent people they were, friend Benett, in every sense of the
"From what I can learn through the papers they are certainly very much
to be pitied."
"Unquestionably, Mr. Benett. I have never known misfortune to pursue
persons so relentlessly."
"It seems so, indeed, professor; for right after the loss of the
'Viking' came that miserable Sandgoist affair."
"True, Mr. Benett."
"Still, Mr. Hogg, I think Hulda Hansen did right to give up the ticket
under the circumstances."
"Indeed! and why, if you please?"
"Because it is better to secure fifteen thousand marks than to run a
very great risk of gaining nothing at all."
"You talk like the practical business man and merchant that you are;
but if you choose to look at the matter from another point of view, it
becomes a matter of sentiment, and money exerts very little influence
in such cases."
"Of course, Mr. Hogg, but permit me to remark that it is more than
likely that your protégée has profited greatly by the exchange."
"Why do you think so?"
"But think of it. What does this ticket represent? One chance in a
million of winning."
"Yes, one chance in a million. That is very small; it is true, Mr.
Benett, very small."
"Yes; and consequently such a reaction has followed the late madness
that it is said that this Sandgoist who purchased the ticket to
speculate upon it has been unable to find a purchaser."
"So I have heard."
"And yet, if that rascally usurer should win the grand prize, what a
shame it would be!"
"A shame, most assuredly, Mr. Benett; the word is not too strong--a
This conversation took place while Sylvius Hogg was walking through
the establishment of M. Benett--an establishment well known in
Christiania, and indeed throughout Norway. It is difficult to mention
an article that can not be found in this bazaar. Traveling-carriages,
kariols by the dozen, canned goods, baskets of wine, preserves of
every kind, clothing and utensils for tourists, and guides to conduct
them to the remotest villages of Finmark, Lapland, or even to the
North Pole. Nor is this all. M. Benett likewise offers to lovers of
natural history specimens of the different stones and metals found in
the earth, as well as of the birds, insects, and reptiles of Norway.
It is well, too, to know that one can nowhere find a more complete
assortment of the jewelry and bric-à-brac of the country than in his
This gentleman is consequently the good angel of all tourists desirous
of exploring the Scandinavian peninsula, and a man Christiania could
scarcely do without.
"By the way, you found the carriage you had ordered waiting for you at
Tinoset, did you not, professor?" he asked.
"Yes. Having ordered it through you, Monsieur Benett, I felt sure that
it would, be there at the appointed time."
"You are a sad flatterer, I fear, Monsieur Hogg. But I judged from
your letter that there were to be three of you in the party."
"There were three of us, as I told you."
"And the others?"
"They arrived here safe and sound last evening, and are now waiting
for me at the Hotel du Nord, where I am soon to join them."
"And these persons are--?"
"Precisely, Monsieur Benett, precisely; but I must beg you to say
nothing about it. I don't wish their arrival to be noised abroad yet."
"Yes, she has suffered terribly."
"And you wish her to be present at the drawing, though the ticket her
betrothed bequeathed to her is no longer in her possession?"
"It is not my wish, Monsieur Benett, but that of Ole Kamp, and I
say to you as I have said to others, Ole Kamp's last wishes would be
"Unquestionably. What you do is not only right, but always for the
"You are flattering me now, dear Monsieur Benett."
"Not at all. But it was a lucky day for them when the Hansen family
made your acquaintance."
"Nonsense! it was a much more fortunate thing for me that they crossed
"I see that you have the same kind heart still."
"Well, as one is obliged to have a heart it is best to have a good
one, isn't it?" retorted the professor, with a genial smile. "But you
needn't suppose that I came here merely in search of compliments," he
continued. "It was for an entirely different object, I assure you."
"Believe me, I am quite at your service."
"You are aware, I suppose, that but for the timely intervention of
Joel and Hulda Hansen, the Rjukanfos would never have yielded me up
alive, and I should not have the pleasure of seeing you to-day?"
"Yes, yes, I know," replied Mr. Benett. "The papers have published
full accounts of your adventure, and those courageous young people
really deserve to win the capital prize."
"That is my opinion," answered Sylvius Hogg, "but as that is quite out
of the question now, I am unwilling for my friend Hulda to return
to Dal without some little gift as a sort of memento of her visit to
"That is certainly an excellent idea, Mr. Hogg."
"So you must assist me in selecting something that would be likely to
please a young girl."
"Very willingly," responded Mr. Benett. And he forthwith invited the
professor to step into the jewelry department, for was not a Norwegian
ornament the most charming souvenir that one could take away with one
from Christiania and from Mr. Benett's wonderful establishment?
Such at least was the opinion of Sylvius Hogg when the genial merchant
exhibited the contents of his show-cases.
"As I am no connoisseur in such matters I must be guided by your
taste, Mr. Benett," he remarked.
They had before them a very large and complete assortment of
native jewelry, which is usually valuable rather by reason of the
elaborateness of its workmanship than any costliness of material.
"What is this?" inquired the professor.
"It is a ring with pendants which emit a very pleasant sound."
"It is certainly very pretty," replied Sylvius Hogg, trying the bauble
on the tip of his little finger. "Lay it aside, Mr. Benett, and let us
look at something else."
"Bracelets or necklaces?"
"At a little of everything, if you please, Mr. Benett--a little of
everything. What is this?"
"A set of ornaments for the corsage. Look at that delicate tracery of
copper upon a red worsted groundwork. It is all in excellent taste,
though not very expensive."
"The effect is certainly charming, Mr. Benett. Lay the ornaments aside
with the ring."
"But I must call your attention to the fact that these ornaments are
reserved for the adornment of youthful brides on their wedding-day,
"By Saint Olaf! you are right. Mr. Benett, you are quite right. Poor
Hulda! Unfortunately it is not Ole who is making her this present,
but myself, and it is not to a blushing bride that I am going to offer
"True, true, Mr. Hogg."
"Let me look then at some jewelry suitable for a young girl. How about
this cross, Mr. Benett?"
"It is to be worn as a pendant, and being cut in concave facets it
sparkles brilliantly with every movement of the wearer's throat."
"It is very pretty, very pretty, indeed, and you can lay it aside
with the other articles, Mr. Benett. When we have gone through all the
show-cases we will make our selection."
"What is the matter now?"
"This cross, too, is intended to be worn by Scandinavian brides on
"The deuce! friend Benett. I am certainly very unfortunate in my
"The fact is, professor, my stock is composed principally of bridal
jewelry, as that meets with the readiest sale. You can scarcely wonder
"The fact doesn't surprise me at all, Mr. Benett, though it places me
in a rather embarrassing position."
"Oh, well, you can still take the ring you asked me to put aside."
"Yes, but I should like some more showy ornament."
"Then take this necklace of silver filigree with its four rows of
chains which will have such a charming effect upon the neck of a young
girl. See! it is studded with gems of every hue, and it is certainly
one of the most quaint and curious productions of the Norwegian
"Yes, yes," replied Sylvius Hogg. "It is a pretty ornament, though
perhaps rather showy for my modest Hulda. Indeed, I much prefer the
corsage ornaments you showed me just now, and the pendant. Are they
so especially reserved for brides that they can not be presented to a
"I think the Storthing has as yet passed no law to that effect,"
replied Mr. Benett. "It is an unpardonable oversight, probably, but--"
"Well, well, it shall be attended to immediately, Mr. Benett. In the
meantime I will take the cross and corsage ornaments. My little
Hulda may marry some day after all. Good and charming as she is she
certainly will not want for an opportunity to utilize these ornaments,
so I will buy them and take them away with me."
"Very well, very well, professor."
"Shall we have the pleasure of seeing you at the drawing, friend
"I think it will be a very interesting affair."
"I am sure of it."
"But look here," exclaimed the professor, bending over a show-case,
"here are two very pretty rings I did not notice before."
"Oh, they wouldn't suit you, Mr. Hogg. These are the heavily chased
rings that the pastor places upon the finger of the bride and the
groom during the marriage ceremony."
"Indeed? Ah, well, I will take them all the same. And now I must bid
you good-bye, Mr. Benett, though I hope to see you again very soon."
Sylvius Hogg now left the establishment, and walked briskly in the
direction of the Hotel du Nord.
On entering the vestibule his eyes fell upon the words Fiat lux,
which are inscribed upon the hall lamp.
"Ah! these Latin words are certainly very appropriate," he said to
himself, "Yes. Fiat lux! Fiat lux!"
Hulda was still in her room, sitting by the window. The professor
rapped at the door, which was instantly opened.
"Oh. Monsieur Sylvius!" cried the girl, delightedly.
"Yes, here I am, here I am! But never mind about Monsieur Sylvius
now; our attention must be devoted to breakfast, which is ready and
waiting. I'm as hungry as a wolf. Where is Joel?"
"In the reading-room."
"Well, I will go in search of him. You, my dear child, must come right
down and join us."
Sylvius Hogg left the room and went to find Joel, who was also waiting
for him, but in a state of mind bordering upon despair. The poor
fellow immediately showed the professor the copy of the "Morgen-Blad,"
containing the discouraging telegram from the commander of the
"Hulda has not seen it, I hope?" inquired the professor, hastily.
"No, I thought it better to conceal from her as long as possible what
she will learn only too soon."
"You did quite right, my boy. Let us go to breakfast."
A moment afterward all three were seated at a table in a private
dining-room, and Sylvius Hogg began eating with great zest.
An excellent breakfast it was, equal in fact to any dinner, as you
can judge from the menu. Cold beer soup, salmon with egg sauce,
delicious veal cutlets, rare roast beef, a delicate salad, vanilla
ice, raspberry and cherry preserver--the whole moistened with some
very fine claret.
"Excellent, excellent!" exclaimed Sylvius Hogg. "Why, we can almost
imagine ourselves in Dame Hansen's inn at Dal."
And as his mouth was otherwise occupied his eyes smiled as much as it
is possible for eyes to smile.
Joel and Hulda endeavored to reply in the same strain, but they could
not, and the poor girl tasted scarcely anything. When the repast was
"My children," said Sylvius Hogg, "you certainly failed to do justice
to a very excellent breakfast. Still, I can not compel you to eat, and
if you go without breakfast you are likely to enjoy your dinner all
the more, while I very much doubt if I shall be able to compete with
you to-night. Now, it is quite time for us to leave the table."
The professor was already upon his feet, and he was about to take the
hat Joel handed him, when Hulda checked him by saying:
"Monsieur Sylvius, do you still insist that I shall accompany you?"
"To witness the drawing? Certainly I do, my dear girl."
"But it will be a very painful ordeal for me."
"I admit it, but Ole wished you to be present at the drawing, Hulda,
and Ole's wishes must be obeyed."
This phrase was certainly becoming a sort of refrain in Sylvius Hogg's
What a crowd filled the large hall of the University of Christiana in
which the drawing of the great lottery was to take place--a crowd that
overflowed into the very court-yards, as even the immense building
was not large enough to accommodate such a throng, and even into the
adjoining streets, as the court-yards, too, proved inadequate toward
On that Sunday, the 15th of July, it certainly was not by their
calmness and phlegm that one would have recognized these madly excited
people as Norwegians. Was this unwonted excitement due solely to
the interest excited by this drawing, or was it due, at least, in a
measure, to the unusually high temperature of the summer's day?
The drawing was to begin at three o'clock precisely. There were one
hundred prizes--divided into three classes: 1st, ninety prizes ranging
in value from one hundred to one thousand marks, and amounting in all
to forty-five thousand marks; 2d, nine prizes of from one thousand to
nine thousand marks, and amounting to forty-five thousand marks, and
3d, one prize of one hundred thousand marks.
Contrary to the rule that is generally observed in lotteries of this
kind, the drawing of the grand prize was reserved for the last. It was
not to the holder of the first ticket drawn that the grand prize would
be given, but to the last, that is to say, the one hundredth. Hence,
there would result a series of emotions and heart-throbbings of
constantly increasing violence, for it had been decided that no ticket
should be entitled to two prizes, but that having gained one prize,
the drawing should be considered null and void if the same number were
taken from the urns a second time.
All this was known to the public, and there was nothing for people
to do but await the appointed hour; but to while away the tedious
interval of waiting they all talked, and, chiefly, of the pathetic
situation of Hulda Hansen. Unquestionably, if she had still been the
possessor of Ole Kamp's ticket each individual present would have
wished her the next best luck to himself.
Several persons having seen the dispatch published in the
"Morgen-Blad," spoke of it to their neighbors, and the entire crowd
soon became aware that the search of the "Telegraph" had proved
futile. This being the case all felt that there was no longer any hope
of finding even a vestige of the lost "Viking." Not one of the crew
could have survived the shipwreck, and Hulda would never see her lover
Suddenly another report diverted the minds of the crowd. It was
rumored that Sandgoist had decided to leave Drammen, and several
persons pretended that they had seen him in the streets of
Christiania. Could it be that he had ventured into this hall? If
he had the wretch would certainly meet with a most unflattering
reception. How audacious in him to think of such a thing as being
present at this drawing! It was so improbable that it could not be
possible. It must certainly be a false alarm, and nothing more.
About quarter past two quite a commotion was apparent in the crowd.
It was caused by the sudden appearance of Sylvius Hogg at the gate of
the University. Every one knew the prominent part he had taken in the
whole affair, and how, after having been received by Dame Hansen's
children, he had endeavored to repay the obligation, so the crowd
instantly divided to make way for him, and there arose from every
side a flattering murmur, which Sylvius acknowledged by a series of
friendly bows, and this murmur soon changed into hearty applause.
But the professor was not alone. When those nearest him stepped back
to make way for him they saw that he had a young girl on his arm, and
that a young man was following them.
A young man! a young girl! The discovery had very much the effect of
an electric shock. The same thought flashed through every mind like a
spark from an electric battery.
"Hulda! Hulda Hansen!"
This was the name that burst from every lip.
Yes, it was Hulda, so deeply agitated that she could hardly walk.
Indeed, she certainly would have fallen had it not been for Sylvius
Hogg's supporting arm. But it upheld her firmly--her, the modest,
heart-broken little heroine of the fête to which Ole Kamp's presence
only was wanting. How greatly she would have preferred to remain in
her own little room at Dal! How she shrunk from this curiosity on the
part of those around her, sympathizing though it was! But Sylvius Hogg
had wished her to come, and she had done so.
"Room! room!" was heard on all sides.
And as Sylvius Hogg, and Hulda and Joel walked up the passage-way that
had been cleared for them, as if by magic, how many friendly hands
were outstretched to grasp theirs, how many kind and cordial words
were lavished upon them, and with what delight Sylvius Hogg listened
to these expressions of friendly feeling!
"Yes; it is she, my friends, my little Hulda, whom I have brought back
with me from Dal," said he. "And this is Joel, her noble brother; but
pray, my good friends, do not smother them!"
Though Joel returned every grasp with interest, the less vigorous
hands of the professor were fairly benumbed by such constant shaking,
but his eyes sparkled with joy, though a tear was stealing down his
cheek; but--and the phenomenon was certainly well worthy the attention
of ophthalmologists--the tear was a luminous one.
It took them fully a quarter of an hour to cross the court-yard, gain
the main hall, and reach the seats that had been reserved for
the professor. When this was at last accomplished, not without
considerable difficulty, Sylvius Hogg seated himself between Hulda and
At precisely half past two o'clock, the door at the rear of the
platform opened, and the president of the lottery appeared, calm
and dignified, and with the commanding mien befitting his exalted
position. Two directors followed, bearing themselves with equal
dignity. Then came six little blue-eyed girls, decked out in flowers
and ribbons, six little girls whose innocent hands were to draw the
Their entrance was greeted with a burst of loud applause that
testified both to the pleasure all experienced on beholding the
managers of the Christiania Lottery, and to the impatience with which
the crowd was awaiting the beginning of the drawing.
There were six little girls, as we have remarked before, and there
were also six urns upon a table that occupied the middle of the
platform. Each of these urns contained ten numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 0, representing the units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of
thousands, and hundreds of thousands of the number one million. There
was no seventh urn, for the million column, because it had been agreed
that six ciphers drawn simultaneously should represent one million, as
in this way the chances of success would be equally divided among all
It had also been settled that the numbers should be drawn in
succession from the urns, beginning with that to the left of the
audience. The winning number would thus be formed under the very eyes
of the spectators, first by the figure in the column of hundreds of
thousands, then in the columns of tens of thousands, and so on until
the column of units was reached, and the reader can judge with what
emotion each person watched his chances of success increase with the
drawing of each figure.
As the clock struck three, the president waved his hand, and declared
the drawing begun.
The prolonged murmur that greeted the announcement lasted several
minutes, after which quiet was gradually established.
The president rose, and though evidently much excited, made a short
speech suited to the occasion, in which he expressed regret that there
was not a prize for each ticket-holder; then he ordered the drawing
of the first series of prizes, which consisted, as we have before
remarked, of ninety prizes, and which would therefore consume a
considerable length of time.
The six little girls began to perform their duties with automaton-like
regularity, but the audience did not lose patience for an instant. It
is true, however, that as the value of the prizes increased with each
drawing, the excitement increased proportionately, and no one thought
of leaving his seat, not even those persons whose tickets had been
already drawn, and who had consequently nothing more to expect.
This went on for about an hour without producing any incident of
particular interest, though people noticed that number 9672 had not
been drawn, which would have taken away all chance of its winning the
"That is a good omen for Sandgoist!" remarked one of the professor's
"It would certainly be an extraordinary thing if a man like that
should meet with such a piece of good luck, even though he has the
famous ticket," remarked another.
"A famous ticket, indeed!" replied Sylvius Hogg; "but don't ask me
why, for I can't possibly tell you."
Then began the drawing of the second series of prizes, nine in number.
This promised to be very interesting--the ninety-first prize being one
of a thousand marks; the ninety-second, one of two thousand marks,
and so on, up to the ninety-ninth, which was one of nine thousand. The
third class, the reader must recollect, consisted of the capital prize
Number 72,521 won a prize of five thousand marks. This ticket belonged
to a worthy seaman of Christiania, who was loudly cheered and who
received with great dignity the congratulations lavished upon him.
Another number, 823,752, won a prize of six thousand marks, and how
great was Sylvius Hogg's delight when he learned from Joel that it
belonged to the charming Siegfrid of Bamble.
An incident that caused no little excitement followed. When the
ninety-seventh prize was drawn, the one consisting of seven thousand
marks, the audience feared for a moment that Sandgoist was the winner
of it. It was won, however, by ticket number 9627, which was within
only forty-five points of Ole Kamp's number.
The two drawings that followed were numbers very widely removed from
each other: 775 and 76,287.
The second series was now concluded, and the great prize of one
hundred thousand marks alone remained to be drawn.
The excitement of the assemblage at that moment beggars all
At first there was a long murmur that extended from the large hall
into the court-yards and even into the street. In fact, several
minutes elapsed before quiet was restored. A profound silence
followed, and in this calmness there was a certain amount of
stupor--the stupor one experiences on seeing a prisoner appear upon
the place of execution. But this time the still unknown victim was
only condemned to win a prize of one hundred thousand marks, not to
lose his head; that is, unless he lost it from ecstasy.
Joel sat with folded arms, gazing straight ahead of him, being the
least moved, probably, in all that large assembly. Hulda, her head
bowed upon her breast, was thinking only of her poor Ole. As for
Sylvius Hogg--but any attempt to describe the state of mind in which
Sylvius Hogg found himself would be worse than useless.
"We will now conclude with the drawing of the one hundred thousand
mark prize," announced the president.
What a voice! It seemed to proceed from the inmost depths of this
solemn-looking man, probably because he was the owner of several
tickets which, not having yet been drawn, might still win the capital
The first little girl drew a number from the left urn, and exhibited
it to the audience.
"Zero!" said the president.
The zero did not create much of a sensation, however. The audience
somehow seemed to have been expecting it.
"Zero!" said the president, announcing the figure drawn by the second
Two zeros. The chances were evidently increasing for all numbers
between one and nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine, and every
one recollected that Ole Kamp's ticket bore the number 9672.
Strange to say, Sylvius Hogg began to move restlessly about in his
chair, as if he had suddenly been stricken with palsy.
"Nine," said the president, stating the number the third little girl
had just extracted from the third urn.
Nine! That was the first figure on Ole Kamp's ticket.
"Six!" said the president.
For the fourth little girl was timidly displaying a six to all the
eyes riveted upon her.
The chances of winning were now one out of a hundred for all the
numbers from one to ninety-nine, inclusive.
Could it be that this ticket of Ole Kamp's was to be the means of
placing one hundred thousand marks in that villainous Sandgoist's
pocket. Really such a result would almost make one doubt the justice
The fifth little girl plunged her hand into the next urn, and drew out
the fifth figure.
"Seven!" said the president, in a voice that trembled so as to be
scarcely audible, even to those seated on the first row of benches.
But those who could not hear were able to see for themselves, for the
five little girls were now holding up the following figures to the
gaze of the audience:
The winning number consequently must be one between 9670 and 9679, so
there was now one chance out of ten for Ole Kamp's ticket to win the
The suspense was at its height.
Sylvius Hogg had risen to his feet, and seized Hulda Hansen's hand.
Every eye was riveted upon the young girl. In sacrificing this last
moment of her betrothed, had she also sacrificed the fortune Ole Kamp
had coveted for her and for himself?
The sixth little girl had some difficulty getting her hand into
the urn, she was trembling so, poor thing! but at last the figure
"Two!" exclaimed the president, sinking back in his chair, quite
breathless with emotion.
"Nine thousand six hundred and seventy two!" proclaimed one of the
directors, in a loud voice.
This was the number of Ole Kamp's ticket, now in Sandgoist's
possession. Everybody was aware of this fact, and of the manner in
which the usurer had obtained it; so there was a profound silence
instead of the tumultuous applause that would have filled the hall of
the University if the ticket had still been in Hulda Hansen's hands.
And now was this scoundrel Sandgoist about to step forward, ticket in
hand, to claim the prize?
"Number 9672 wins the prize of one hundred thousand marks!" repeated
the director. "Who claims it?"
Was it the usurer of Drammen who answered thus?
No. It was a young man--a young man with a pale face, whose features
and whole person bore marks of prolonged suffering, but alive, really
and truly alive.
On hearing this voice, Hulda sprung to her feet, uttering a cry that
penetrated every nook and corner of the large hall; then she fell back
But the young man had forced his way impetuously through the crowd,
and it was he who caught the unconscious girl in his arms.
It was Ole Kamp!
Yes; it was Ole Kamp! Ole Kamp, who, by a miracle, had survived the
shipwreck of the "Viking." The reason the "Telegraph" had not brought
him back to Europe can be easily explained. He was no longer in the
region visited by the dispatch-boat, for the very good reason that
he was already on his way to Christiania on board the vessel that had
This is what Sylvius Hogg was telling. This is what he repeated to all
who would listen to him. And what a crowd of listeners he had! This
is what he related with the triumphant accents of a conqueror! Those
around him repeated it to those who were not fortunate enough to be
near him, and the good news flew from group to group until it reached
the crowd that filled the court-yard and the neighboring streets.
In a few moments, all Christiania knew that the young mate of the
"Viking" had returned, and that he had won the grand prize of the
It was a fortunate thing that Sylvius Hogg was acquainted with the
whole story, as Ole certainly could not have told it, for Joel nearly
smothered him in his embrace while Hulda was regaining consciousness.
"Hulda! dearest Hulda!" said Ole. "Yes, it is I--your betrothed--soon
to be your husband!"
"Yes, soon, my children, very soon!" exclaimed Sylvius Hogg. "We will
leave this very evening for Dal. And if such a thing was never seen
before, it will be seen now. A professor of law, and a member of the
Storthing will be seen dancing at a wedding like the wildest youth in
But how had Sylvius Hogg become acquainted with Ole Kamp's history?
Simply through the last letter that the Naval Department had addressed
to him at Dal. In fact this letter--the last he had received, and
one whose receipt he had not mentioned to any one--contained another
letter, dated from Christiansand. This second letter stated that the
Danish brig "Genius" had just reached Christiansand, with several
survivors of the "Viking" on board, among them the young mate, Ole
Kamp, who would arrive in Christiania three days afterward.
The letter from the Naval Department added that these shipwrecked men
had suffered so much that they were still in a very weak condition,
and for this reason Sylvius Hogg had decided not to say anything to
Hulda about her lover's return. In his response he had also requested
the most profound secrecy in regard to this return--and in compliance
with this request the facts had been carefully kept from the public.
The fact that the "Telegraph" had found no traces nor survivors of the
"Viking" can also be easily explained.
During a violent tempest the vessel--which had become partially
disabled--being obliged to scud along before the wind in a
north-westerly direction, finally found herself about two hundred
miles from the southern coast of Iceland. During the nights of the
third and fourth of May the worst nights of the gale--it collided
with one of those enormous icebergs that drift down from the shores
of Greenland. The shock was terrible, so terrible, indeed, that the
"Viking" went to pieces five minutes afterward.
It was then that Ole hastily penned his farewell message to his
betrothed, and after inclosing it in a bottle, cast it into the sea.
Most of the "Viking's" crew, including the captain, perished at
the time of the catastrophe, but Ole Kamp and four of his comrades
succeeded in leaping upon the iceberg, just as the vessel went down;
but their death would have been none the less certain if the terrible
gale had not driven the mass of ice in a north-westerly direction. Two
days afterward, exhausted and nearly dead with hunger, these survivors
of the catastrophe were cast upon the southern coast of Greenland--a
barren and deserted region--but where they nevertheless managed to
keep themselves alive through the mercy of God.
If help had not reached them in a few days, it would have been all
over with them, however; for they had not strength to reach the
fisheries, or the Danish settlements on the other coast.
Fortunately the brig "Genius," which had been driven out of her course
by the tempest, happened to pass. The shipwrecked men made signals to
her. These signals were seen, and the men were saved.
The "Genius," delayed by head-winds, was a long time in making the
comparatively short voyage between Greenland and Norway, and did not
reach Christiansand until the 12th of July, nor Christiania until the
morning of the 15th.
That very morning Sylvius Hogg went aboard the vessel. There he found
Ole, who was still very weak, and told him all that had taken
place since the arrival of his last letter, written from
Saint-Pierre-Miquelon, after which he took the young sailor home with
him, though not without having requested the crew of the "Genius" to
keep the secret a few hours longer. The reader knows the rest.
It was then decided that Ole Kamp should attend the drawing of the
lottery. But would he be strong enough to do it?
Yes; his strength would be equal to the ordeal, for was not Hulda
to be there? But had he still any interest in this drawing? Yes, a
hundred times, yes; both on his own account and that of his
betrothed, for Sylvius Hogg had succeeded in getting the ticket out
of Sandgoist's hands, having repurchased it from him at the same
price the usurer had given for it, for Sandgoist was only too glad to
dispose of it at that price now there were no more bidders for it.
"It was not for the sake of an improbable chance of gain that I wished
to restore it to Hulda, my brave Ole," Sylvius Hogg remarked, as
he gave him the ticket; "but because it was a last farewell you had
addressed to her at the moment when you believed all was lost."
And now it seemed almost as if Professor Sylvius Hogg had been
inspired of Heaven, certainly much more so than Sandgoist, who was
strongly tempted to dash his brains out against the wall when he
learned the result of the drawing. And now there was a fortune of one
hundred thousand marks in the Hansen family. Yes, one hundred thousand
marks, for Sylvius Hogg absolutely refused to take back the money he
had paid to secure possession of Ole Kamp's ticket.
It was a dowry he was only too glad to offer little Hulda on her
Perhaps it will be considered rather astonishing that Ticket No. 9672,
which had attracted so much attention from the public, should have
happened to be the one that drew the grand prize.
Yes, it was astonishing, we must admit; but it was not impossible, and
at all events, such was the fact.
Sylvius Hogg, Joel, and Hulda left Christiania that same evening.
They returned to Dal by way of Bamble, as, of course, Siegfrid must
be informed of her good fortune. As they passed the little church of
Hitterdal, Hulda recollected the gloomy thoughts that beset her
two days before, but the sight of Ole, seated beside her, speedily
recalled her to the blissful reality.
By Saint Olaf! how beautiful Hulda looked under her bridal crown when
she left the little chapel at Dal, four days afterward, leaning on her
husband's arm. The brilliant festivities that followed were the talk
of the whole Telemark for days and days afterward. And how happy
everybody was! Siegfrid, the pretty bride-maid, her father, Farmer
Helmboe, Joel, her affianced husband, and even Dame Hansen, who was no
longer haunted by a fear of Sandgoist.
Perhaps the reader will ask whether all these friends and
guests--Messrs. Help Bros., and hosts of others--came to witness
the happiness of the newly married couple, or to see Sylvius Hogg,
professor of law and a member of the Storthing, dance. It is hard to
say. At all events he did dance, and very creditably, and after having
opened the ball with his beloved Hulda, he closed it with the charming
The next day, followed by the acclamations of the whole valley of
Vesjorddal, he departed, but not without having solemnly promised
to return for Joel's marriage, which was celebrated a few weeks
afterward, to the great delight of the contracting parties.
This time the professor opened the ball with the charming Siegfrid,
and closed it with his dear Hulda; and he has never given any display
of his proficiency in the terpsichorean art since that time.
What happiness now reigned in this household which had been so cruelly
tried! It was undoubtedly due in some measure, at least, to the
efforts of Sylvius Hogg; but he would not admit it, and always
"No, no; it is I who am still under obligations to Dame Hansen's
As for the famous ticket, it was returned to Ole Kamp after the
drawing; and now, in a neat wooden frame, it occupies the place of
honor in the hall of the inn at Dal. But what the visitor sees is not
the side of the ticket upon which the famous number 9672 is inscribed,
but the last farewell that the shipwrecked sailor, Ole Kamp, addressed
to Hulda Hansen, his betrothed.