Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/127

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Detdiar sidj as efterluket wurden.


127

REMORSE.

reached once more the room of the dead. The lamp
was nearly burned out, and threw only a faint glimmer
into the darkness. His rapid footsteps struck one of
the coffins, the dry boards gave forth a hollow sound,
and the living sank unconsciously down by the side of
the dead.
  After such a night the day following must naturally
be a most trying one to Godber. The complete ex-
haustion of his physical strength gave his imagination
entire mastery over him. He saw and heard in every
thing only allusions to his faithlessness. In this church
had Maria prayed for his happy return ; hither had she
thought to walk the first time by his side. This whole
congregation knew of his betrothal ; every look ex-
pressed the deepest contempt. Every whisper was an
imprecation upon him ; every step was turned away
from him. The very letters of the psalm-book shrunk
from his eyes, and the tones of music forsook his poi-
soned breath. At the pastor's question, "Where are
the nine ?" the pale faces of the dead seemed to greet
him, and say, with a grimace, "The nine are again to-
gether." That these words were connected with the
sermon he could not comprehend ; he saw and heard
only the dead, who were always pressing nearer to him,
and whose icy breath penetrated to his very bones,
while hot drops fell from his forehead.
  In this state, after the conclusion of the church service,
was he drawn unconsciously into the funeral procession,
as the bearer of the mourning flag. But the flag of the
ship, which had been intrusted to him, seemed trans-
formed into a huge wave that was rolling on before him,
and dragging him after it. He grasped the staff with a