Emperor of Portugallia
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143 pages

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Many critics and fans have drawn parallels between The Emperor of Portugallia and Shakespeare's masterpiece of father-daughter dysfunction, King Lear. In the novel, the teenage daughter of a small-town Swedish farmer strikes out on her own and heads for the big city. Increasingly distraught by her absence and lack of communication, her father begins to weave a fantastical tale explaining her whereabouts. As he slips further into despair, the line between fantasy and reality blurs.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781776580255
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0134€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


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The Emperor of Portugallia First published in 1916 Epub ISBN 978-1-77658-025-5 Also available: PDF ISBN 978-1-77658-026-2 © 2014 The Floating Press and its licensors. All rights reserved. While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Many suitcases look alike. Visit www.thefloatingpress.com
BOOK ONE The Beating Heart Glory Goldie Sunnycastle The Christening The Vaccination Bee The Birthday Christmas Morn Glory Goldie's Illness Calling on Relatives The School Examination The Contest Fishing Agrippa Forbidden Fruit BOOK TWO Lars Gunnarson The Red Dress The New Master On the Mountain-Top The Eve of Departure At the Pier The Letter August Där Nol October the First The Dream Begins Heirlooms Clothed in Satin Stars Waiting The Empress The Emperor BOOK THREE The Emperor's Song The Seventeenth of August Katrina and Jan Björn Hindrickson's Funeral The Dying Heart Deposed The Catechetical Meeting An Old Troll The Sunday After Midsummer Summernight The Emperor's Consort BOOK FOUR The Welcome Greeting The Flight Held! Jan's Last Words The Passing of Katrina The Burial of the Emperor
The Beating Heart
Jan of Ruffluck Croft never tired of telling about the day when hislittle girl came into the world. In the early morning he had beento fetch the midwife, and other helpers; all the forenoon and agood part of the afternoon he had sat on the chopping-block, in thewoodshed, with nothing to do but to wait.
Outside it rained in torrents and he came in for his share of thedownpour, although he was said to be under cover. The rain reachedhim in the guise of dampness through cracks in the walls and asdrops from a leaky roof, then all at once, through the doorlessopening of the shed, the wind swept a regular deluge in upon him.
"I just wonder if anybody thinks I'm glad to have that young onecoming?" he muttered, impatiently kicking at a small stick of woodand sending it flying across the yard. "This is about the worstluck that could come to me! When we got married, Katrina and I, itwas because we were tired of drudging as hired girl and farmhandfor Eric of Falla, and wanted to plant our feet under our owntable; but certainly not to raise children!"
He buried his face in his hands and sighed heavily. It was plainthat the chilly dampness and the long dreary wait had somewhat todo with putting him in a bad humour, but they were by no means theonly cause. The real reason for his lament was something far moreserious.
"I've got to work every day," he reminded himself, "work from earlymorning till late in the evening; but so far I've at least had somepeace nights. Now I suppose that young one will be squalling thewhole night long, and I'll get no rest then, either."
Whereupon an even worse fear seized him. Taking his hands frombefore his face he wrung them so hard that the knuckles fairlycracked. "Up to this we've managed to scratch along pretty well,because Katrina, has been free to go out and work, the same asmyself, but now she'll have to sit at home and take care of thatyoung one."
He sat staring in front of him as hopelessly as if he had beheldFamine itself stalking across the yard and making straight forhis hut.
"Well!" said he, bringing his two fists down on the chopping-blockby way of emphasis. "I just want to say that if I'd only known atthe time when Eric of Falla came to me and offered to let me buildon his ground, and gave me some old timber for a little shack, if Ihad only known then that this would happen, I'd have said no to thewhole business, and gone on living in the stable-loft at Falla forthe rest of my days."
He knew these were strong words, but felt no inclination to takethem back.
"Supposing something were to happen—?" he began—for by that timematters had reached such a pass with him he would not have mindedit if the child had met with some mishap before coming into theworld—but he never finished what he wished to say as he wasinterrupted by a faint cry from the other side of the wall.
The woodshed was attached to the house itself. As he listened, heheard one peep after the other from within, and knew, of course,what that meant. Then, for a long while he sat very still, feelingneither glad nor sorry. Finally he said, with a little shrug:
"So it's here at last! And now, for the love of God, they might letme slip in to warm myself!"
But that comfort was not to be his so soon! There were more hoursof waiting ahead of him.
The rain still came down in sheets and the wind increased. Thoughonly the latter part of August, it was as disagreeable as aNovember day. To cap the climax, he fell to brooding over somethingthat made him even more wretched. He felt that he was beingslighted and set aside.
"There are three womenfolk, beside the midwife, in there withKatrina," he murmured. "One of them, at least, might have taken thetrouble to come and tell me whether it's a boy or a girl."
He could hear them bustling about, as they made up a fire, and sawthem run out to the well to fetch water, but of his existence noone seemed to be aware.
Of a sudden he clapped his hands to his eyes and began to rockhimself backward and forward. "My dear Jan Anderson," he said inhis mind, "what's wrong with you? Why does everything go againstyou? Why must you always have such a dull time of it? And whycouldn't you have married some good-looking young girl, instead ofthat ugly old Katrina from Falla?"
He was so unspeakably wretched! Even a few tears trickled downbetween his fingers. "Why are you made so little of in the parish,my good Jan Anderson? Why should you always be pushed back forothers? You know there are those who are just as poor as yourselfand whose work is no better than yours; but no one gets put downthe way you do. What can be the matter with you, my dear JanAnderson?"
These were queries he had often put to himself, though in vain, andhe had no hope of finding the answer to them now, either. Afterall, perhaps there was nothing wrong with him? Perhaps the onlyexplanation was that both God and his fellowmen were unfair to him?
When that thought came to him, he took his hands from before hiseyes and tried to put on a bold face.
"If you're ever again allowed inside your own house, my good JanAnderson, you mustn't so much as glance toward the young one, butmarch yourself straight over to the fireplace and sit down, withoutsaying a word. Or, suppose you get right up and walk away! Youdon't have to sit here any longer now that you know it's over with.Suppose you show Katrina and the rest of the womenfolk that you'renot a man to be trifled with.... "
He was just on the point of rising, when the mistress of Fallaappeared in the doorway of the woodshed, and, with a charmingcurtsy, bade him come inside to have a peep at the infant.
Had it been any one else than the mistress of Falla herself thathad invited him in, it is doubtful whether he would have gone atall, angry as he was. Her he had to follow, of course, but he tookhis own time about it. He tried to assume the air and bearing ofEric of Falla, when the latter strode across the floor of the townhall to deposit his vote in the ballot-box, and succeededremarkably well in looking quite as solemn and important.
"Please walk in," said the mistress of Falla, opening the doorfor him, then stepping aside to let him go first.
One glance at the room told him that everything had been cleanedand tidied up in there. The coffeepot, newly polished and full andsteaming, stood at the edge of the hearth, to cool; the table, overby the window, was spread with a snow-white cover, on which werearranged dainty flowered cups and saucers belonging to the mistressof Falla. Katrina lay on the bed and two of the women, who had cometo lend a hand, stood pressed against the wall so that he shouldhave a free and unobstructed view of all the preparations. Directlyin front of the table stood the midwife, with a bundle on her arm.
Jan could not help thinking that for once in his life he appearedto be the centre of attraction. Katrina glanced up at himappealingly, as if wanting to ask whether he was pleased with her.The other women, too, all turned their eyes toward him, expectantlywaiting for some word of praise from him for all the trouble theyhad been to on his account.
However, it is not so easy to appear jubilant when one has beenhalf frozen and out of sorts all day! Jan could not clear his faceof that Eric-of-Falla expression, and stood there without saying aword.
Then the midwife took a step forward. The hut was so tiny that thatone stride put her square in front of him, so that she could placethe child in his arms.
"Now Jan shall have a peek at the li'l' lassie She's what I'd calla real baby !" said the midwife.
And there stood Jan, holding in his two hands something soft andwarm done up in a big shawl, a corner of which had been turned backthat he might see the little wrinkled face and the tiny wizzenedhands. He was wondering what the womenfolk expected him to do withthat which had been thrust upon him, when he felt a sudden shockthat shook both him and the child. It had not come from any of thewomen and whether it had passed through the child to him or throughhim to the child, he could not tell.
Immediately after, the heart of him began to beat in his breast asit had never done before. Now he was no longer cold, or sad, orworried. Nor did he feel angry. All was well with him. But he couldnot comprehend why there was a thumping and a beating in hisbreast, when he had not been dancing,

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