"Halvor," he cried, with a voice that shook with emotion, "I have brought her."
There was presently a vague movement under the horse-blankets, and after a minute's struggle a pale yellowish face became visible. It was a young face--the face of a boy of fifteen or sixteen. But, oh, what suffering was depicted in those sunken eyes, those bloodless, cracked lips, and the shrunken yellow skin which clung in premature wrinkles about the emaciated features! An old and worn fur cap was pulled down over his ears, but from under its rim a few strands of blond hair were hanging upon his forehead.
Atle had just disentangled Carina from her wrappings, and was about to descend the stairs to the water when a heavy hand seized him by the shoulder, and a panting voice shouted in his ear:
He paused, and turned his pathetically bewildered face toward the pastor. "You wouldn't take him from me, parson," he stammered, helplessly; "no, you wouldn't. He's the only one I've got."
"I don't take him from you," the parson thundered, wrathfully. "But what right have you to come and steal my child, because yours is ill?"
"When life is at stake, parson," said the pilot, imploringly, "one gets muddled about right and wrong. I'll do your little girl no harm. Only let her lay her blessed hands upon my poor boy's head, and he will be well."
"I have told you no, man, and I must put a stop to this stupid idolatry, which will ruin my child, and do you no good. Give her back to me, I say, at once."
The pastor held out his hand to receive Carina, who stared at him with large pleading eyes out of the grizzly wolf-skin coat.