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washed and shaved himself, and had a white
neckcloth on; so that really I hardly
recognised him.

At length the looked-for time arrived. Two
chair-waggons rolled into the yard, and from
their broad seats descended three or four portly
dames, and as many long-coated peasants,
near relatives of the suitor, whom they
accompanied in order to stand by him in the
important business of getting a wife. Claus
Tram headed the procession. He walked into
the kitchen with the look of a man who is
aware of his own importance. He proceeded
through the D├Ârnsk into the Pesel, the
company following him. In the Pesel they found
Johan and Mari, and some of their relatives;
decency forbid their going out to receive their
guestsit would look as if they were so set
upon the matchbut the reception was the
warmer within doors, for, as the guests
entered, two steaming tureens of soup were
placed upon the table, and having
interchanged but a very few words they sat down
to table.

Claus Tram took the lead in the conversation.
Now, he made an observation relative
to Johan's thirty heads of cattle; then, he
alluded to Niels Skytte's brick-kiln, which,
he said, "could draw silver out of clay;" and
then he laughed at his own wit. The
conversation turned mostly upon agriculture and
money; but it was kept up with difficulty.
It was evident that some other subject was
occupying the minds of the interlocutors.
The young people did not interchange a
word: they sat each at opposite sides of the
table, and hardly glanced at each other.
Otherwise the suitor was a rather pleasing
young fellow, with his fair hair cropped
round his head, and a red pocket-handkerchief,
that rarely disappeared entirely in his
large side pocket.

When they had eaten their soup, the men
rose and filled their pipes. Tram stretched
himself, and said, "We might take a little run
out into the stables." And while the men
were there the women took a survey of the
interior of the house, lifted the feather-beds,
looked narrowly at the linen, and tasted the
butter in the dairy.

After some time the cook called them to
table again. The meat on which the soup had
been boiled, was now served with potatoes
floating in butter; there were also on the table
sugar-bowls with white sugar, the contents of
which were indeed highly needed to sweeten
the dark-red fluid which was poured into the
glasses under the name of wine. The
conversation now became more animated, and
turned upon the farm and its stock. The
guests could not be accused of untimely
flattery; they only praised such things as
were evidently good, and did not hesitate to
find fault with the old dwelling-house, and to
calculate what it would cost to build, a
new one.

Then ensued another pause, another pipe,
and another walk, until a leg of mutton, richly
spiced with cloves, was put upon the table.
They were gradually approaching nearer to
their object, and now spoke freely of the state
of their fortunes. While the company was
taking coffee, which Mari forced them to
drink in no small doses, the parties had come
pretty near to a settlement; and when the
bridegroom placed his spoon across his cup,
to show that it would be impossible for him
to drink a seventh cup, he and my host were
agreed all to a couple of hundred dollars,
which he thought Johan ought to add to his
daughter's dowry. It seemed as if neither
side meant to yield, and Tram was obliged to
undertake several diplomatic missions from
the one side of the room to the other, to
negociate between the two parties, who had
grouped themselves in opposite corners, openly
discussing the matter.

At length a treaty was concluded, and
Johan said, drily, "All right! What do you
say, little Mari?" And Mari, who was
busy taking away the things from the table,
stopped a moment at the door, turned half
round, and said, "Ye-e-s."

This settled the matter. The indefatigable
Tram at once drew up the contract, which
was no sooner signed, than the swain drew
out his watch and said, "Methinks it's best
we go home now;" and away went the
company; neither bride nor bridegroom
interchanging one tender word, nor even pressing
each other's hand: but it would not be
proper to be so familiar in the presence of
others.

Eight days later, bride and bridegroom
were seen walking, each with an umbrella
under the arm and on opposite sides of the
road, towards the parsonage, where they were
going to be betrothed; and three weeks after
that there was a great to-do in the village
the rich Niels Skytte's son was married to
the rich Johan Lanesen's daughter. But I
saw nothing of that festivity. I had, in the
meanwhile, been removed; and when I
returned, I found my old host sitting on the
bench outside the "Abnahmet," with his pipe
in his mouth, watching his son-in-law, who
was busying himself about the farm as he
used to do in his time. Little Mari was in
the kitchen washing butter; her husband has
bought another cow, and as she is now able
to make a whole "Drittel" of butter every
week, she cannot but be a happy wife in a
country where domestic happiness is based
upon the solid foundation of wealth.

On the 20th of September will be published, price 5s. 6d.
neatly bound in Cloth,
THE FIFTH VOLUME
OF
HOUSEHOLD WORDS
Containing the Numbers issued during the half-year ending
on Saturday, September 11th, 1852.