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Sillanpää, Frans Eemil, 1888-1964 / People in the summer night; an epic suite (1966)

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[chapter 13]

  [p. 44]  

13

The whole household was once more assembled in that disguising yet all-revealing fellowship. Helka seemed to take a lively part in the preparations for dinner, merely nodding gaily to Arvid, the guest, as though she had not seen him since they had all sat out on the steps the previous evening. Even Granny was dressed in her Sunday best. She began to talk of swallows.

"I don't know why, but there have always been the same nests on this farm for as long as I have lived here. Over sixty years at least I can remember them."

"They must be very old swallows then," the master said.

The farm was old and had always belonged to the same family. It cropped up again in conversation at dinner; they had all sat down here and there, in small groups. Helka explained that her family's property was not really here at all but over in the direction of Pahanoja; she went there every summer, but this time she had not yet paid it a visit. It was lovely weather today, and she might go after dinner.

"Won't you take me with you, Helka?"

Everyone noticed that Helka and Arvid, the guest, now called each other by their Christian names, although they had not done so when the good-nights had been said the previous evening — and no one had been a witness to this understanding. If anyone, especially among the younger members of the   [p. 45]   company, had at first thought of escorting Helka, he realized now, after the guest's question, that such a thing would be out of place.

"Yes, by all means," Helka replied.

The master, who had also noticed this little matter, thought it best to change the subject. He began to describe the remains of habitation still to be found in the spot Helka had mentioned.

"We have never really found out for certain, but in all probability there was a farm there once which at some time became part of this one. There is another farm by the name of Nunna which is worked in conjunction with Teliranta, and since Helka seems to look on it as her own — or at any rate the actual dwelling-site — well, here's luck to you, Miss Nunna."

Glasses were raised amidst laughter.

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