Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

the others smile at the word, as if Tove were speaking through him, but then the door opens and a maid enters with more coffee, refills their cups, adds to their cognac glasses; she’s young, moves lithely, like a herb in water, never looks up, they don’t get to see her eyes properly, those blue stones, and she doesn’t let it perturb her though they all look, watch her as the fire works its way up their stiff cigars, with a low hiss, but she’s glad to get out of there. A fine piece of work, mutters Lárus; to say the least, agrees Sigurður, while Þorvaldur says nothing, having simply watched like the others, that was his praise, and then Friðrik says, at first waving his hand as if to brush the girl aside, her youth, the agitation that they all felt, dogs have to be allowed to bark, then there’s less chance they’ll bite. But Skúli hit the nail precisely on the head, albeit in reverse; most people spend more than they have, as witnessed clearly in the trading companies’ ledgers, far too many die in debt, which is why we must keep a firm hand on things, otherwise all of society will resemble the ledgers of its people— full of nothing but debt. But never mind Skúli, he’s no threat; it’s Geirþrúður we need to worry about. Skúli hides nothing, is plain for all to see, but she’s underhanded, shrewder, causes a stir, and is corruptive to good morals, no less. You remember how she got her hands on Kolbeinn’s share when he lost his vision, acquired a substantial majority in one of the Village’s best ships by inviting him to live with her? It doesn’t cost much to feed blind wretches, wretches who also have plenty of their own money; where’s it supposed to go when they breathe their


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