book, where he had just been reading a catechu-
The mother was standing by the fire-place ;
she smiled, but did not say anything ; her
hands trembled, and she evidently expected
good news though she did not wish to betray
" I thought I must just come to give you the
good news, that he has answered every question
correctly, and that the pastor said, after Ovind
was gone, that he had not examined a more
" Oh no !" said the mother, and was much
" Well done !" said the father, and turned
After a long silence, the mother asked in a
low voice, " What number is he ?"
" Number 9 or 10," said the schoolmaster
The mother looked at the father, who looked
first at her and then at Ovind, " A peasant lad
cannot expect more," said he.
djuih Jair. 93
Ovind looked at him in return ; it was as if
something would stick in his throat, but he
forced it back by quickly thinking of one cheer-
ing thing after another.
" Now I must leave," said the schoolmaster,
nodded, and turned to go.
As usual both parents followed him out ; then
the schoolmaster taking a quid, said smiling,
" He will be Number One after all, but it is
better not to tell him till the day comes."
" No, no," said the father, and nodded. " No,
no," said the mother, and nodded too ; then
taking the schoolmaster's hand, " Thank you
for all you have done," said she. " Yes, thank
you," said the father, and the schoolmaster
went, but they stood long and looked after
A VOICE FROM THE RIDGE.
HE schoolmaster had judged well when
he asked the pastor to prove whether
Ovind could bear to stand Number
One. In the three weeks intervening between
this time and the confirmation he was with the
lad every day. It is one thing for a pure young
heart to yield to an impression, and another to
hold fast the good qualities he possesses. Many
dark hours came to the lad before he learnt to
build his future on better things than vanity and
pride. When sitting at his work he would
suddenly leave it, saying hopelessly, " What
is the use ? What do I gain ?" But then a
0oitt from the $tfcge. 95
minute after, he would remember the kind words
and goodness of the schoolmaster, and so each
time he lost sight of his higher duties, he was
enabled, by these human means, to bring them
into view again.
At the little farm they were preparing at the
same time, for his examination, and for his
journey to the Agricultural School, as the day
after the confirmation he was to set off. The
tailor and the shoemaker sat at work in the loft,
the mother was baking in the kitchen, and the
father was busy with a trunk. They were
querying as to how much it would cost them in
two years, and whether he could come home the
first Christmas, perhaps he could not even come
the second, and how hard it would be to be so
long separated. They spoke also of the love he
should bear to his parents, when they strove so
hard to put their child forward. Ovind sat as
one, who in his first trial at sea, had upset the
boat, and been picked up by kindly sailors.
Such a feeling brings humility, and with it
many other things. As the great day drew
near, he felt himself to be fully prepared for it,
and looked hopefully to the future. Every time
the image of Marit presented itself to his mind,
he strove carefully to put it aside, though it
always gave him pain to do it. By practice in
it he sought to strengthen himself, but instead
he felt only a deeper pain. Therefore he felt
weary the last evening, when, after a long self-
proving, he prayed to God that in this matter
He would not try him.
The schoolmaster came in in the evening.
They all sat together, after having prepared
themselves as it is customary to do, the evening
before taking the Sacrament. The mother was
much moved, and the father was unusually
silent ; separation lay behind the festival of the
morning, and it was uncertain when they could
all meet again. The schoolmaster took the
Psalm-book, they had a little service and sang,
1 floice from tfyt Jli&ge. 97
and then he prayed from the heart as words
came to him.
These four sat there until late in the evening ;
they gradually grew silent, each occupied with
his own thoughts ; then they separated with best
wishes for the coming day, and the influence it
Ovind thought when he went to rest that
night that he had never been so happy before,
and he gave his own special interpretation to it ;
never before, thought he, have I laid down so
desirous of fulfilling God's will and so trustful
in it. Marit's face soon presented itself again*
and the last he remembered was, that he lay and
proved himself: not quite happy, not quite ;
and that he replied : yes, quite ; but again :
not quite ; yes, quite ; no ; not quite.
When he awoke, he at once remembered what
day it was ; he prayed, and felt refreshed, as one
does in a morning. He rose in good time and
carefully tried on his new clothes, for he had
never had such fine ones before. There was a
round jacket especially that seemed strange to
him ; it was made of fine cloth, and he felt it
again and again before he got used to it. When
he had put his collar on, and for the fourth time
tried on the jacket, he got hold of a little look-
ing-glass, and, catching sight of the beautiful
hair encircling his own self-satisfied face, it
suddenly struck him that this again was vanity.
Yes ; but people may surely be well-dressed
and clean, he argued, as he turned away from
the glass as though it were sin to look in it.
Well, but not to think so much of themselves
for it. No, certainly, but the Lord must like
that one should care to be tidy. That may be,
but would He not like better that you should
look well without thinking so much about it.
Yes, but it's only because everything is so new.
Well then, by-and-bye you will forget it. Then
he began in the same way to prove himself
first upon one point and then upon another,
Q #oict front tju $ibge. 99
he felt so afraid lest any sin should blot that
When he came down his parents were all
ready and waiting breakfast for him. He went
up to them and thanked them for his new
clothes; they wished him the customary, "Health
to wear them and strength to tear them ;" then
they seated themselves at the table, said grace,
and began the meal. When they had finished,
the mother cleared the table and brought in the
lunch basket for the journey to church. The
father put on his jacket, and the mother her
shawl, they took the Psalm-books, locked up the
house and set off. On reaching the main road they
met with a great many going to church, some
driving and some on foot, a few of the candi-
dates for confirmation among them, and now
and then white-haired grand-parents, who tried
to get to church just this once again.
It was an Autumn day without sunshine as
if the weather were about to break. The clouds
met and parted again ; great masses broke into
small patches, chasing each other far away and
bearing with them orders for rain ; down on the
earth it was still quiet, the leaves hung dead and
motionless, the air was a little oppressive ; the
people carried cloaks but did not require to use
them. A large concourse of people had gathered
round the solitary church ; but the confirmation
candidates all went straight in, to be placed
before the service began. Then the school-
master in his blue dress coat and knickerbockers,
high boots, stiff neck-cloth, and pipe sticking
out of his pocket, walked about, nodding and
smiling, patting one on the shoulder, and telling
another to answer clearly and distinctly, until
he reached the lower end where Ovind stood
talking to his friend Hans, and answering all his
questions about the journey. " Good morning,
Ovind, you look very well to-day." He took hold
of him by the coat saying confidentially, " I
think a great deal of you ; I have been talking
gi $oue from ijje Hibgt. 101
to the pastor, and you are to have your right
place as Number One ; go up and take it and
Ovind looked up astonished at him ; the
schoolmaster nodded ; the lad went a few steps
forward, then stopped, then a few more steps,
then stopped again ; yes, it's true he has spoken
to the pastor for me, and the lad went straight
" You are Number One after all," whispered
" Yes," said Ovind in a low tone, but scarcely
knew yet whether he dare say it.
The placing being accomplished, and the
pastor having come, the bell rung and the people
streamed into the church. Ovind looked up and
saw Marit Heidegaard standing straight oppo-
site him. She also saw him, but they both of
them felt so awed by the sacredness of the place
that they dared not greet each other. He saw
only that she was bright and beautiful, and that
she wore nothing on her head. Ovind, who for
half-a-year had had so many pleasant dreams
of standing opposite to her, now that it was
really come to pass, forgot both the place and
When all was over, his relations and friends
came to offer their congratulations ; then his
companions having heard that he was to travel
next day came to say good-bye ; and many of
the younger ones, whom he had driven in the
sledges, and whom he had assisted at school,
cried a little at the thought of his departure.
At last Ovind and his parents left for home
accompanied by the schoolmaster. On the way
there were several more came to offer him their
good wishes and to take leave ; otherwise they
did not speak much till they sat again in the
quiet room at home.
The schoolmaster tried to help them to keep
their courage up, but now that it was come to
the point, they all three, never before having been
from tfyt $ibgt. 103
parted for a single day, dreaded the separation
for two whole years, but none of them wished
to shew their feelings. As the time passed on
Ovind grew worse and worse, and at last he went
out of doors to quiet himself.
It was growing dark, he stood upon the steps
and looked up listening to the gentle sighing of
the wind. Then he heard his own name called
down from the ridge, quite softly, yet there was
no mistaking it, it was repeated twice. He
looked up, and could just discern a woman's
figure looking down from among the trees.
" Who is that ?" he asked.
" I hear you are going away," she said in a
low tone, " so I thought I would come and say
good-bye to you, seeing you hadn't come to
" Dear, is that you, Marit ! I'll come up to
" No, don't, I've been here so long, and then I
should have to stay still longer, and no one
knows where I am, so I must be quick
" It was kind of you to come," said he.
" I couldn't bear that you should leave in that
way Ovind ; we have known each other since
we were children."
" Yes, we have."
" And now we haven't spoken to each other
" No we haven't."
" We were separated so strangely that time
" Yes, I think I must come up to you."
" Oh no, don't ! but tell me, I hope you are
not grieved with me ?"
" Dear, how could you think so ?"
" Good-bye then Ovind, and thank you for
all the pleasant times we have had together !"
" Marit !"
" Yes, but now I must go, they will miss
from'tfje $ibgc. 105
" Marit, Marit !"
" No, I daren't stay longer, Ovind ; fare-
" Farewell !"
The rest of the evening he was, as it were, in
a dream, answering absently when they spoke
to him. They attributed this to the thought of
his coming departure, which was quite a natural
thing, and which certainly did occupy his atten-
tion at the moment when the schoolmaster took
his leave, and slipped something into his hand,
which he afterwards found to be a five dollar
piece. Soon, however, it passed out of his mind,
and he thought only of the words that had come
down from the ridge and gone up again.
BE SURE THAT YOU BURN IT.
EAR PARENTS, We have a great
deal more to read now, but as I am
much more up to the others, it is
not such hard work. When I come home I
shall make great changes in father's farm, for
there is a great deal that is very bad, and it is a
wonder that things have hung together as they
have. But I shallput all to rights, for I have
learnt many things here. I should like to be in
a place where I can have things as I now know
they should be ; so when I am ready I must
seek for a good situation. All here say that Jon
I latlcn is not so clever as they think at home, but
ge Sure ttjat gou $urit |t. 107
he has his own farm, so that is no matter. Many
who come from here get a very high salary, and
they are so well paid because this is the best
agricultural school in the country. Some say
that there is a better in the next county, but
that is not true.
There are two words here, the one is called
Theory, and the other Practice ; one is nothing
without the other, but it is well to know them
both ; the last, however, is the best. Theory is
to know the reason why a thing should be done,
and practice is to be able to do it. Here we
learn both. The Principal is so clever that no-
body can come up to him. At the last General
Agricultural Meeting he brought forward two
subjects for discussion, while the principals from
the other schools had none of them more than
one, and in the discussions they found he was
always right. But the last meeting, when he
wasn't there, ended in nothing but talk. The
lieutenant, who teaches us surveying, was en-
gaged only because he is so very clever ; the
other schools have no lieutenant.
The schoolmaster asks if I go to church ; yes,
certainly I go to church, for now the pastor has
got a curate who preaches so that everybody is
terrified, and it is a pleasure to hear him. He
comes from the college in Christiania, and
people think he is too strict, but it is good for
At present we are reading history that we
have never read before, and it is wonderful to
see all that has happened in the world, especially
in our country, for we have constantly conquered
except when we have lost, and that has been only
when we haven't been equal. Now we have more
liberty than any other country except America,
but there they are not happy ; and our liberty
we must prize above all things.
Now I must conclude for this time, for I have
written a great deal. The schoolmaster will
read this letter, and when he answers for you,
$t Surr that $Jou Sum |t. 109
ask him to tell me some news about one or
another, for this he doesn't do.
With best love,
Your attached son,
OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
I must now tell you that we have had an
examination, and I stand very high in many
things. I am high in writing, and land measur-
ing, but not so good in composition. The prin-
cipal says this is because I have not read
enough, and he has given me some books by
Ole Vig, which are very easy to understand.
Everything here is so small to what it is in
other countries ; we understand next to nothing,
we learn everything from the Scotch and Swiss,
but gardening most from Holland.
I have now been here nearly a year, and I
thought I had learnt a great deal ; but when I
saw what those who left at the last examination
knew, and thought that not even they knew
anything in comparison to the foreigners, I felt
quite disheartened. I am now in the first class,
and must stay here another year before I am
ready. But most of my companions are gone,
and I long for home. It seems as if I stood
alone, though I certainly do not, but it feels so
strange when one has been long away.
What am I to do when I leave here ? I shall
naturally come home first, and then I must seek
for some situation, but it must not be far away.
Good-bye dear parents. Remember me kindly
to those who ask after me, and say I am well,
but I long to come home.
Your attached son,
OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
This is to ask you if you will be so good as to
send the enclosed letter, but be sure and say
nothing about it to anybody. If you will not,
then it must be burnt.
OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
Sure t^at Tou gurn |t.
To MARIT KNUDSDATTER HEIDEGAARD.
You will very likely be surprised to receive a
letter from me, but you need not be, for I will
only ask how you fare, and this you must let me
know as soon as possible and in every respect.
Respecting myself, I have only to say that I
shall be ready to leave here in one year.
To OVIND PLADSEN,
At the Agricultural School.
I duly received your letter from the school-
master, and will answer it as you ask me, though
I am rather afraid, because you are now so
learned ; I have a letter book but it doesn't suit.
However, I will do my best, and you must take
the will for the deed ; but you musn't show it,
or else you are not what I think you are ; and
you musn't hide it because any one might easily
get hold of it, but you must burn it, that you
must promise me. There are a great many
things that I wanted to write about, but I dare
not. We have had a good Autumn ; potatoes
are high, and here at Heidegaard we have plenty
of them. But the bears have made sad havoc
among the stock this Summer ; they killed two
of Ole Nedregaard's cows, and injured one of our
tenant's calves so that it was obliged to be killed.
I am weaving a very large web like the Scotch
plaid, and it is very difficult. And now I must
tell you that I am still at home, though there
are some who would have it otherwise.
I have nothing more to say this time, and so
You must be sure to burn this letter.
To OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
I have said to you Ovind, that he who walks
with God shall have a good inheritance. And
now listen to my advice : look not to the world
with too much longing and anxiety, but trust
in God and let not your heart be discouraged.
3e Sure that gou $nrn $t. 113
Your father and mother are both well, but I
suffer a good deal, for now I feel the effects of
the hardships I endured in the war. That which
you sow in your young days you reap in your
old, both in body and soul, and this is now my
experience. But the aged should not complain,
for sorrow teacheth wisdom, and affliction
worketh patience, and strengthens for the last
There are many reasons why I take the pen
to write to you to-day, but first and foremost on
Marit's account, for she has grown a good girl,
though she is light of foot as a reindeer and is
changeable. She would wish to keep to one,
but it is not in her nature. I have often ob-
served that with such tender hearts the Lord is
merciful and lenient, and does not suffer them to
be tempted above that they are able to bear.
I duly gave her the letter and she hid it from
all but her own heart. If the Lord will further
this matter I have nothing against it. That she
finds approbation in the eyes of the young men
can easily be seen, and she has abundance of
this world's goods and also of the heavenly, but
with the latter there is much unsettledness ; the
fear of God with her is like water in a shallow
dam, it is there when it rains but away when the
Now my eyes will not bear any more, for
though I can see pretty well at a distance, they
begin to water when I look closely at anything.
Finally, let me remind you, Ovind, whatsoever
you aspire to, take counsel of God, as it is
written : " Better is an handful with quietness,
than both the hands full, with travail and vexa-
tion of spirit." (Proverbs IV. 6.)
Your old schoolmaster,
BAARD ANDERSEN OPDAL.
To MARIT KNUDSDATTER HEIDEGAARD.
Thanks for your letter, which I have read, and
burnt as you told me to do. You write a great
deal, but you don't say anything about that I
fjc Sure tbat fjlou urn ft. 115
want you to, and I dare not write about a cer-
tain matter until I know how you fare in every
The schoolmaster says nothing to be depended
upon, he praises you, but he calls you wavering.
That you were before. Now I don't know what
to believe ; you must write, for I shall feel un-
easy until I have heard from you. Just now I
often think of that last evening when you came
to the ridge, and of what you then said.
I will not write more this time, so good-bye.
With all respect,
To OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
The schoolmaster has given me a fresh letter
from you, which I have now read, but I cannot
understand it, which must be because I am not
learned. You want to know how I fare in every
respect. I am quite well. I have a good appe-
tite and sleep at nights, and sometimes also in
the day. I have danced a great deal this
Winter, for there have been many delightful
parties here. I go to church when there is
not too much snow, but it has been very thick.
Now you must have heard everything, but, if
not, I don't know anything better than that you
should write to me again.
To MARIT KNUDSDATTER HEIDEGAARD.
I have received your letter, but you appear to
wish me to remain as wise as before. Perhaps
this is an answer after all, I don't know. I dare
not venture to write that which I wish to, be-
cause I don't feel to know you. Perhaps you
don't know me any better. You must not think
I am any longer the soft fellow that you crushed
the spirit out of, as I sat and watched you dance ;
I have had many provings since then. Neither
am I, as I used to be, like those long-haired
dogs that hang their ears and shun people ; but
enough of this now.
Yourletterwashumorousenough,but the joking
$t Sure i|jat gou $rn |t. 117
was just where it should not have been, for you
understood me quite well, and you should have
known that I did not ask in joke, but because
lately I have not been able to think of anything
else than that I asked you about. I waited
anxiously, and then there came nothing but
Farewell, Marit Heidegaard. I shall take
care not to look too much at you as I did at that
dance. Grant you may both eat well and sleep
well, and get your new web finished, and grant
above all, that you may shovel away the snow
lying before the church door.
With all respect,
OVIND THORESEN PLADSEN.
To OVIND THORESEN.
In spite of my age and the weakness of my
eyes, together with the pain in my hip, I must
yet give in to the entreaties of the young, for
they are glad to make use of the old people
when they stick fast themselves. They call and
cry till they are let loose, and then they run
away again and will not hear us any more.
This time it is Marit, who, with many coaxing
words, has begged me to write a letter to send
with hers, as she dare not trust herself to write
alone. She had thought she had Jon Hatlen
or another fool to deal with, and not one that
schoolmaster Baard had brought up, but now
the matter has come to a critical point. Yet
you have been a little too hard, for there are
some women who joke to keep from weeping.
I am glad, however, that you look at serious
things seriously, otherwise you could not laugh
at that which is laughable. The position in
which you stand to each other, is now apparent
from many things. I have often had my doubts
about Marit, for she is variable as the wind, but
now I know she has refused Jon Hatlen, and
greatly enraged her grandfather thereby. She
was pleased when she received your letter, and
it was not to repulse you that she wrote jokingly.
gc Sure t^at fJou $utn |t. 119
She has suffered much, and that in waiting for
the one she cared for, and now you will not
have her but set her aside as a foolish child.
This was what I had to say to you, and if you
take my advice you ought to be at one with
her, for you will find enough besides to trouble
you. I am like an old man who has seen three
generations ; I know folly and its reward.
Your father and mother send their best love
to you : they long to see you back. I have
always avoided speaking of this before, lest it
should make you home-sick. You do not know
your father, and when you really learn to know
him, you will marvel. He has been depressed
and silent in respect of his affairs, but your
mother made his mind easy, and now things
Now my eyes grow dim, and my hand is un-
steady, so I commend you to Him whose eye is
ever watchful and whose hand stayeth not.
BAAKD ANDERSEN OPDAL.
To OVIND PLADSEN.
I am grieved that you are vexed with me, for
I didn't mean it as you have taken it. I am