Book summary: The Outcast

1920 BY SELMA LAGERLÖF

Involuntarily she glanced across at the house. It was a good-sized place in itself, but in such a state of dilapidation as to be largely uninhabitable; the pair lived now in one small outbuilding, which the previous tenants, sea-captains all, had used for kitchen and larder.
"If only he'd had a liking for the sea," went on Mor Elversson to herself, "like his father and grandfather before him. He'd have laid by something now, and we'd be able to look forward to old age in ease and comfort. But he's always been set on farming and field work and such, and little enough it's brought us."
She did not move from her place while her husband was speaking, but her little head, that moved quickly and easily as a bird's, turned slightly as she glanced over the patches of cornfield and potato, little islands of growth among the barren rock that formed the greater part of the island.
Every little strip of cultivation was her husband's work; the very soil was, in a manner of speaking, his creation. He had brought endless boatloads of earth and manure to Grimon, in the firm conviction that he must one day reap a rich reward for his pains.
"All that trouble for so many bits of earth, and poor at that," thought his wife to herself. "Needs but one good northerly gale at Whitsuntide, and all the sowing and planting'd be nowhere Nay, 'tis to the sea we should look for our daily bread, living here as we do. There's neither right nor reason in it else."

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