Second Flight from Home
HERR FORSBERG had been delighted that Jenny's return to the Linds' home in the summer of 1836 had apparently worked out so well. But Jenny was developing very rapidly, her perceptions were quickening and deepening. Though she retained her childhood fondness for Papa Niklas for a long time, she could not help but see him more and more clearly. Niklas's waist had thickened, his hair had thinned. He had the red-veined nose and eyes of the habitual hard drinker, he dressed carelessly and sloppily, he no longer made any pretense of working. Anna Marie's attitude toward him was half indulgent, half scornful. His attitude toward her was fawning and anxious. With Jenny, he was embarrassingly doting, and boasted of her successes endlessly. But he would never stand up to Anna Marie in Jenny's behalf. When there was trouble at home, Niklas sneaked out and made the rounds of his favorite taverns, staying away until he thought it was safe to return, or until somebody brought him back, reeling and singing.
Jenny was also becoming uncomfortably aware of the difference between her mother's standards of conduct for herself, and the harsh, suspicious judgments she made of other people. But what was most disconcerting was to discover the ways in which she herself resembled Anna Marie. Jenny undoubtedly had inherited her strength from her mother, since Niklas had none to impart, and she had not entirely escaped Anna Marie's faults--the quick temper, the moods, the tendency to imagine slights where none were intended.