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

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[chapter 27]

  [p. 82]  

27

The night wore on and the master of Teliranta waited for his wife to come home. He was not in the least anxious, but sleep was out of the question and he did not even go to bed. He was sure that nothing extraordinary could have happened to her; the delay must be due to some external factor. But she had been gone a long time if it was merely a matter of helping a cow. He walked up and down, waiting. Once it occurred to him how pleasant this kind of waiting was, since he so seldom had to do it; only when he himself had gone to bed and lay wondering how long she would take over her evening inspection before joining him in the bedroom — and even there she would go to the window and look through a gap between the curtains at the front yard and the part of the road visible from the house. The master of Teliranta was filled with a strong, manly feeling of happiness. He was a vigorous, healthy man who had never met with any serious humiliation. It was the same with his wife, whose physical bloom, even temper, and frank, sunny nature were — in her husband's eyes — just the same today as twenty years ago.

The master of the house waited. The moon was already setting.

Suddenly the telephone rang. What could it be? No doubt the young people calling from the town and playing a joke.

  [p. 83]  

But no, it was the village doctor's servant girl. By questioning her, he could piece together from her rambling account that the doctor was here in these parts seeing to a man who had been knifed — if he wasn't already dead, in fact — the raftsmen had been brawling —

"Yes, what else?"

"If you please, sir, he's needed on the other side of the lake at Syrjä- something . . . Syrjämäki; the farmer there can't get hold of the midwife and —"

"I can guess the rest. I'll intercept the doctor here and get him across the lake to Syrjämäki."

The master of Teliranta brightened, as though he were setting off with his men to perform some good deed. When his mother, Helka's grandmother, appeared in her night attire on the steps of her house and gave voice to her mounting anxiety, he merely said to her:

"Go to sleep now; you'll hear all about it in the morning."

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