468 UNDER THE WILLOW TREE
they were getting on very well in Copenhagen, and especially might Joanna look forward to a brilliant future on the strength of her fine voice. She had been engaged in the theatre in which people sing, and was already earning some money, out of which she sent her dear neighbours of Kjoge a dollar for the merry Christmas-eve. They were to drink her health, she had herself added in a postscript; and in the same postscript there stood further, ' A kind greeting to Knud.'
The whole family wept ; and yet all this was very pleasant—those were joyful tears that they shed. Knud's thoughts had been occupied every day with Joanna ; and now he knew that she also thought of him ; and the nearer the time came when his apprenticeship would be over, the more clearly did it appear to him that he was very fond of Joanna, and that she must be his wife; and when he thought of this, a smile came upon his lips, and he drew the thread twice as fast as before, and pressed his foot hard against the knee-strap. He ran the awl far into his finger, but he did not care for that. He determined not to play the dumb lover, as the two gingerbread cakes had done : the story should teach him a lesson.
And now he was a journeyman, and his knapsack was packed ready for his journey : at length, for the first time in his life, he was to go to Copenhagen, where a master was already waiting for him. How glad Joanna would be ! She was now seventeen years old, and he nineteen.
Already in Kjoge he had wanted to buy a gold ring for her ; but he recollected that such things were to be had far better in Copenhagen. And now he took leave of his parents, and on a rainy day, late in the autumn, went forth on foot out of the town of his birth. The leaves were falling down from the trees, and he arrived at his new master's in Copenhagen wet to the skin. Next Sunday he was to pay a visit to Joanna's father. The new journeyman's clothes were brought forth, and the new hat from Kjoge was put on, which became Knud very well, for till this time he had only worn a cap. And he found the house he sought, and mounted flight after flight of stairs until he became almost giddy. It was terrible to him to see how people lived piled up one over the other in the dreadful city.