He had been looking forward to Inger's delight when she saw it; now, Eleseus and Sivert played with it, and it was a joy to them. And Isak, watching them, forgot his trouble for the moment. Moreover, Oline had a message from the Lensmand; the State had at last given its decision in the matter of the land at Sellanraa. Isak had only to go down to the office and pay the amount.
But this this mowing-machine of his 'twas a crawling nest of steel springs and hooks and apparatus, and hundreds of screws Inger's sewing-machine was a bookmarker compared with this! Isak harnessed himself to the shafts and tried the thing. Here was the wonderful moment. And that was why he kept out of sight and was his own horse.
An hour later the sun goes down, and it grows colder. Inger gets down to walk. Together they tuck the rug closer about Leopoldine, and smile to see how soundly she can sleep. Man and wife talk together again on their way. A pleasure it is to hear Inger's voice; none could speak clearer than Inger now. "Wasn't it four cows we had?" she asks. "'Tis more than that," says he proudly. "We've eight."
He kept old Oline because there was no one else he could get. And Oline was, after all, of use in a way. Carding and spinning, knitting stockings and mittens, and making cheese she could do all these things, but she lacked Inger's happy touch, and had no heart in her work; nothing of all she handled was her own.
"You might ask him what he says." The father made an end of the matter thus: "Well, there's another day, and we haven't found that door-slab yet, either." Next day was Saturday, and they had to be off early to get across the hills with the child. Jensine, the servant-girl, was to go with them; that was one godmother, the rest they would have to find from among Inger's folk on the other side.
He was getting on in years, slow to think, but weighty when he did come to anything. Conscience must be something pretty strong if it could turn Inger all upside down like that. And however it might be, Inger's conversion made a change in him also; he caught it from her, grew tame, and given to pondering. Life was all heavy-like and stern that winter; he sought for loneliness, for a hiding-place.
Nothing could have suited Inger at Sellanraa better than this; Inger was beginning to grow dissatisfied with her maid. Strange; she had nothing to say against her, but the sight of the girl annoyed her, she could hardly endure to have her about the place. It all arose, no doubt, from Inger's state of mind; she had been heavy and religious all that winter, and it would not pass off.
Oline starts up in surprise: "What, you back already!" She is making coffee on the stove. Coffee? Coffee! Isak has noticed the same thing before. When Os-Anders or any of the other Lapps have been there, Oline makes coffee in Inger's little pot for a long time after. She does it while Isak is out in the woods or in the fields, and when he comes in unexpectedly and sees it, she says nothing.
One day rolling in a bed of roses and licking his lips and remembering things; next day with a thorn in his foot, desperately trying to get it out. Die of it? Never a bit, he's as well as ever. A nice look-out it would be if he were to die! And Inger's trouble passed off too; she got over it, but she keeps on with her hours of devotion, and finds a merciful refuge there.
Why, nothing very much, 'tis only Andresen, the chief clerk from Storborg, come up for a bit of a walk this way his master having sent him. Nothing more. And no great excitement among the folk at Sellanraa over that 'twas not as in the old days, when a stranger was a rare sight on their new land, and Inger made a great to-do. No, Inger's grown quieter now, and keeps to herself these days.