While he sat thus absorbed in his meditations, he was startled at the sound of something resembling a sob. He arose to strike a light, but found that his match-safe was empty. But what was that? A step without, surely, and the groping of hands for the door-knob.
"Who is there?" cried the pastor, with a shivering uneasiness.
He sprang forward and opened the door. A broad figure, surmounted by a sou'wester, loomed up in the dark.
"What do you want?" asked Mr. Holt, with forced calmness.
"I want to know," answered a gruff, hoarse voice, "if you'll come to my son now, and help him into eternity?"
The pastor recognized Atle Pilot's voice, though it seemed harsher and hoarser than usual.
"Sail across the fjord on a night like this?" he exclaimed.
"And the boy is dying, you say?"