IB AND CHRISTINE
day the boatman came in to lb, and brought him a greeting from Christine. What he had further to say was brought out in somewhat hesitating fashion, but it was to the effect that Christine was almost more than prosperous, for she was a pretty girl, courted and loved. The son of the host had been home on a visit ; he was employed in the office of some great institution in Copenhagen ; and he was very much pleased with Christine, and she had taken a fancy to him : his parents were not unwilling, but it lay very much on Christine's mind that lb had such a fancy for her ; ' and so she had thought of refusing this great piece of good fortune,' said the boatman.
At first lb said not a word, but he became as white as the wall, and slightly shook his head. Then he said slowly,
' Christine must not thrust her good fortune away.'
' Then do you write a few words to her,' said the boatman.
And lb sat down to write ; but he could not manage it well: the words would not come as he wished them ; and first he altered, and then he tore up the page ; but the next morning a letter lay ready to be sent to Christine, and here it is :
I have read the letter you have sent to your father, and gather from it that you are prospering in all things, and that there is a prospect of higher fortune for you. Ask your heart, Christine, and think well over what you are going into, if you take me for your husband; what I possess is but little. Do not think of me, or my position, but think of your own welfare. You are bound to me by no promise, and if in your heart you have given me one, I release you from it. May all the joy of the world be yours, Christine. Heaven will have comfort for my heart.
Ever your sincere friend, Ib.
And the letter was dispatched, and Christine duly received it.
In the course of that November her banns were published in the church on the heath, and in Copenhagen, where her bridegroom lived ; and to Copenhagen she travelled, with her mistress, because the bridegroom could not undertake the journey into Jutland on account of his various occupations. On the journey, Christine met her father in a certain village, and here the two took leave of one another. A few words were mentioned concerning this fact, but Ib made no remark upon it : his mother said he had grown very