A STORY FROM THE SAND-DUNES 733
councillors of Skagen ; the pulpit was of carved work. The sun shone brightly into the church, and its radiance fell on the polished brass chandelier and on the little ship that hung from the vaulted roof.
Jurgen felt as if overcome by a holy, childlike feeling, like that which possessed him when, as a boy, he had stood in the splendid Spanish cathedral; but here the feeling was different, for he felt conscious of being one of the congregation.
After the sermon followed the Holy Communion. He partook of the bread and wine, and it happened that he knelt beside Clara ; but his thoughts were so fixed upon Heaven and the holy service, that he did not notice his neighbour until he rose from his knees, and then he saw tears rolling down her cheeks.
Two days later she left Skagen and went to Norway. He stayed behind, and made himself useful in the house and in the business. He went out fishing, and at that time fish were more plentiful than now. Every Sunday when he sat in the church, and his eye rested on the statue of the Virgin on the altar, his glance rested for a time on the spot where Clara had knelt beside him, and he thought of her, how pleasant and kind she had been to him.
And so the autumn and the winter time passed away. There was wealth here, and a real family life ; even down to the domestic animals, who were all well kept. The kitchen glittered with copper and tin and white plates, and from the roof hung hams and beef and winter stores in plenty. All this is still to be seen in many rich farms of the west coast of Jutland : plenty to eat and drink, clean decorated rooms, clever heads, happy tempers, and hospitality, prevail there as in an Arab tent.
Never since the famous burial feast had Jurgen spent such a happy time ; and yet Clara was absent, except in the thoughts and memory of all.
In April a ship was to start for Norway, and Jurgen was to sail in it. He was full of life and spirits, and looked so stout and jovial that Dame Bronne declared it did her good to see him.
1 And it's a pleasure to see you too,' said the old merchant. ' Jurgen has brought life into our winter evenings, and