730 A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES
In the neighbourhood of Ringkjobing, at a beer-house, Niels, the thief, had met Martin on the afternoon before Jtirgen's departure from home and before the murder. A few glasses were drunk—not enough to cloud any one's brain, but yet enough to loosen Martin's tongue ; and he began to boast, and to say that he had obtained a house, and intended to marry; and when Niels asked where he intended to get the money, Martin slapped his pocket proudly, and said,
' The money is here, where it ought to be.'
This boast cost him his life, for when he went home, Niels went after him, and thrust a knife through his throat, to take the money from him.
This was circumstantially explained ; but for us it is enough to know that Jurgen was set at liberty. But what amends did he get for having been imprisoned a whole year, and shut out from all communion with men ? They told him he was fortunate in being proved innocent, and that he might go. The burgomaster gave him ten marks for travelling expenses, and many citizens offered him provisions and beer—there were still some good men, not all ' grind and flay '. But the best of all was, that the merchant Bronne of Skagen, the same into whose service Jurgen had intended to go a year since, was just at that time on business in the town of Ringkjobing. Bronne heard the whole story; and the man had a good heart, and understood what Jurgen must have felt and suffered. He therefore made up his mind to make amends to the poor lad, and convince him that there were still kind folks in the world.
So Jurgen went forth from the prison as if to Paradise, to find freedom, affection, and trust. He was to travel this road now ; for no goblet of life is all bitterness : no good man would pour out such measure to his fellow man, and how should God do it, who is love itself ?
1 Let all that be buried and forgotten,' said Bronne the merchant. ' Let us draw a thick line through last year ; and we will even burn the calendar. And in two days we'll start for dear, friendly, peaceful Skagen. They call it an out-of-the-way corner ; but it's a good warm chimney-corner, and its windows open towards every part of the world.'