Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

Consequently, we don’t stand together; everyone lives for himself. And therewith, we nearly always fish using their hooks, not our own. Skúli owns a share in a schooner, his father-in-law is a wealthy farmer in a bountiful area south of the mountains, Skúli can afford to provoke us with his pen, having little to lose, which is different than us, who depend entirely on merchants and their goodwill. It not like it isn’t fun to read such things: it’s titillating, exciting, a bit like when children go off somewhere to say bad words. It’s good when someone gives others what for; it makes them tremble a bit. Dogs have to have the chance to bark now and then, says Friðrik; then there’s less chance they’ll bite. It’s evening, terribly windy, pelting rain, out of the question to open the windows, the cigar smoke hangs thickly in Friðrik’s master bedroom, so big it’s nearly a parlour. There are six of them: Friðrik, Reverend Þorvaldur, Dr. Sigurður, Jón, the factor of Léo’s Shop and Trading Company, the magistrate Lárus, and Högni, the head bookkeeper in Tryggvi’s Shop and Trading Company and director of the Savings Bank, which opened three years ago; it’s open for business an hour a day, five days a week. Lárus had started talking about one of Skúli’s articles; he’s becoming more and more aggressive, said the magistrate, before listing various other articles, and Friðrik simply let them talk, allowed them to worry, he’s grown dangerous, said Sigurður, who always sits so bloody straight, yes, says Jón, excitedly, sucking on his cigar, Skúli’s what you call in Danish a skadefugl — a curmudgeon— and


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