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173

(1913) [MARC] Author: August Strindberg Translator: Claud Field
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churchyard, to greet the dead. The bells begin to ring.
Then, without a warning, without even one cloud
appearing as precursor in the pale blue sky, a
storm breaks loose. The banners flap violently
against the poles, the festal robes of the men
and women are a prey of the winds. Dust-clouds
rise and whirl; trees bend. It is a real
wonder.

I feel afraid of the next night, and my mother-in-law
knows it. She has given me a charm to
wear round my neck. It is a Madonna and a
cross made out of consecrated wood—the timber
of a church which is more than a thousand years
old. I accepted it as a valuable present offered
in good will, but a lingering respect for the
religion of my fathers prevents my wearing it
round my neck.

It is about eight o’clock, and we are having
our evening meal; the lamp burns and a weird
stillness reigns in our little circle. Outside it
is dark; there is no wind in the trees; all is
quiet. All at once a single gust of wind blows
through the crevices of the window with a
curious humming noise like that of a Jew’s-harp.
Then it is past. My mother-in-law throws a
look of alarm at me and folds the child in her
arms. In a second I interpret what her look

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