Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 26

Christmas in Iceland - 15.12.1940, Blaðsíða 26
THE LONG JUMP Continued from page 13. “ ‘Tis a dirty night, parson”, said Brandur. “I dunno when I remember a like”. Just then the servant, GuSrun, came in; she had been outside. “I think there’s some one making his way into the village”, she said “but I didn't dare go out alone to see”. We all rushed to the windows and opened them. They opened on to the lee-side of the house, and we could see out into a whirling snowstorm; a few flakes blew in on to the floor. And in out of this storm came a man, tall and thin, all covered with snow. It was GuSmundur, the doctor. “Good evening”, he said, in a loud voice. “Someone had better come out and help me get him in”. “Where is Sveinbjorn?” asked the Arch- deacon. “He passed out on the way. I got him as far as a hollow just outside the village, but when I saw a light I left him. Lights don’t shine very far just now. Will someone come and help me bring him in?” We put our hats on and went out to look for Sveinbjorn. We found him, as the doctor had said, lying in a hollow by the side of the road, dead beat, and took him back home. “That terrible faintness came over me”, he said, when he had been revived. “The doctor must have carried me nearly all the way from Storhol”. The doctor stood with his back to the fire in the parlour, and asked: “Have you heard anything about the woman?” We told him that we hadn’t, and asked him to stay for a bit. 8 “No, I wan’t stay, or I’ll get all thawed out. If I could trouble you, Mr. Archdeacon, to let me have someone to show me the way, I’ll be all right”. He smiled. The Archdeacon hesitated a little. “With Sveinbjorn out of the running, I — er — I hardly know who could venture out in this storm”. The doctor glanced over the gathering, and his eyes fell on the sheriff. “Hullo, you here, Jon?” he said, in a pleased tone. “You’re born and bred here, and you must know every path. You’ll take me along, won’t you?” The sheriff was silent for some moments. “Well?” asked the doctor. “Of course I know them”, the sheriff ans- wered embarrassed, “but I don’t know if — I think you’d better come in and have a pick- me-up. Let’s see if it doesn’t get better this evening, or at any rate tonight”. The doctor looked at him and smiled re- miniscently. “All right”, he said. “You won’t try the jump?” Then he turned to the archdeacon. “Is there anyone in here who’s game to try? Speak up quickly — I can’t hang around here much longer. I’ve done the journey once before, so perhaps I can manage alone. I didn’t lose my bearings this evening, though it was really Sveinbjorn who led the way”. “Brandur?” said the arcdeacon, and look- ed inquiringly at the labourer. But Brandur stood and shifted his feet. “Dang it, parson, I dassen’t!” Solveig stepped forward. “Get me some men’s clothes”, she said. “I’ll go with him”. The doctor smiled at her. “No, my dear young lady, though I have no doubts that you could do it. I don’t want to take you out in tihs weather”. “If I was your age, Brandur”, said old As- mundur, the cowman, “I wouldn’t be stan- ding there like a fool”. At that moment the door was flung open, and a man burst in — the man who had sent for the doctor. “Has doctor come?” he cried. ”1 thought maybe he hadn’t bin able to come any furt- her than this. Gudrun says she’ll never hold out till morning if she don’t get help”. He turned to the doctor and clutched his wrist. “For God’s sake come quickly, mister. If you’re tired, I’ll carry you”. “I’m not tired”, answered the doctor, “but here’s my bag — you might carry that”. As he got to the door, he turned round. “Good gracious”, he said, “I’d almost for- gotten that it was Christmas Eve! A merry Christmas to you all!” He waved his hand cheerily and went out into the blizzard and the darkness. 24 GRISTMAS IN ICELAND


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