Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Scandinavian).djvu/108

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100
THE RAILROAD AND THE CHURCHYARD.

When he stood by the church-wall on Sundays, and the community glided past, saluting and glancing sideways at him,—now and then one stepping up for the honor of exchanging a couple of words with him,—it could almost be said that, standing there, he controlled the whole parish with a straw, which, of course, hung in the cor- ner of his mouth.

He deserved his popularity; for he had opened a new road which led to the church; all this and much more resulted from the savings-bank, which he had instituted and now managed; and the parish, in its self-management and good order, was held up as an example to all others.

Canute, of his own accord, quite withdrew,—not entirely at first, for he had promised himself not thus to yield to pride. In the first proposal he made before the parish board, he became en- tangled by Lars, who would have it represented in all its details; and, somewhat hurt, he re- plied: "When Columbus discovered America he did not have it divided into counties and towns,—this came by degrees afterward;" upon which, Lars compared Canute's proposition (relating to stable improvements) to the discovery of America, and afterward by the commissioners he was called by no other name than "Discovery of America." Canute thought since his influence had ceased there, so, also, had his duty to work; and afterwards declined re-election.