Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Comprehensive Novel > Sophies World > Counterpoint
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
two or more melodies sounding together

Hilde sat up in bed. That was the end of the story of Sophie and Alberto. But what had actually happened?

Why had her father written that last chapter? Was it just to demonstrate his power over Sophie\'s world?

Deep in thought, she took a shower and got dressed. She ate a quick breakfast and then wandered down the garden and sat in the glider.

She agreed with Alberto that the only sensible thing that had happened at the garden party was his speech. Surely her father didn\'t think Hilde\'s world was as chaotic as Sophie\'s garden party? Or that her world would also dissolve eventually?

Then there was the matter of Sophie and Alberto. What had happened to the secret plan?

Was it up to Hilde herself to continue the story? Or had they really managed to sneak out of it?

And where were they now?

A thought suddenly struck her. If Alberto and Sophie really had managed to sneak out of the story, there wouldn\'t be anything about it in the ring binder. Everything that was there, unfortunately, was clear to her father.

Could there be anything written between the lines? There was more than a mere suggestion of it. Hilde realized that she would have to read the whole story again one or two more times.

*    *    *

As the white Mercedes drove into the garden, Alberto dragged Sophie with him into the den. Then they ran into the woods in the direction of the major\'s cabin.

"Quickly!" cried Alberto. "It\'s got to happen before he starts looking for us."

"Are we beyond the major\'s reach now?"

"We are in the borderland."

They rowed across the water and ran into the cabin. Alberto opened a trapdoor in the floor. He pushed Sophie down into the cellar. Then everything went black.

In the days that followed, Hilde worked on her plan. She sent several letters to Anne Kvamsdal in Copenhagen, and a couple of times she called her. She also enlisted the aid of friends and acquaintances, and recruited almost half of her class at school.

In between, she read Sophie\'s World. It was not a story one could be done with after a single reading. New thoughts about what could have happened to Sophie and Alberto when they left the garden party were constantly occurring to her.

On Saturday, June 23, she awoke with a start around nine o\'clock. She knew her father had already left the camp in Lebanon. Now it was just a question of waiting. The last part of his day was planned down to the smallest detail.

Later in the morning she began the preparations for Midsummer Eve with her mother. Hilde could not help thinking of how Sophie and her mother had arranged their Midsummer Eve party. But that was something they had done. It was over, finished. Or was it? Were they going around right now, decorating everywhere?

Sophie and Alberto seated themselves on a lawn in front of two large buildings with ugly air vents and ventilation canals on the outside. A young couple came walking out of one of the buildings. He was carrying a brown briefcase and she had a red handbag slung over one shoulder. A car drove along a narrow road in the background.

"What happened?" asked Sophie.

"We made it!"

 "But where are we?"

"This is Oslo."

"Are you quite sure?"

"Quite sure. One of these buildings is called Chateau Neuf, which means \'the new palace.\' People study music there. The other is the Congregation Faculty. It\'s a school of theology. Further up the hill they study science and up at the top they study literature and philosophy."

"Are we out of Hilde\'s book and beyond the major\'s control?"

"Yes, both. He\'ll never find us here."

"But where were we when we ran through the woods?"

"While the major was busy crashing the financial adviser\'s car into an apple tree, we seized the chance to hide in the den. We were then at the embryo stage. We were of the old as well as of the new world. But concealing ourselves there was something the major cannot possibly have envisaged."

"Why not?"

"He would never have let us go so easily. As it was, it went like a dream. Of course, there\'s always the chance that he was in on it himself."

"What do you mean?"

"It was he who started the white Mercedes. He may have exerted himself to the utmost to lose sight of us. He was probably utterly exhausted after everything that had been going on . . ."

By now the young couple were only a few yards away. Sophie felt a bit awkward, sitting on the grass with a man so much older than herself. Besides, she wanted someone to confirm what Alberto had said.

She got up and went over to them"Excuse me, would you mind telling me the name of this street?"

But they ignored her completely.

Sophie was so provoked that she asked them again.

"It\'s customary to answer a person, isn\'t it?"

The young man was clearly engrossed in explaining something to his companion:

"Contrapuntal form operates on two dimensions, horizontally, or melodically, and vertically, or harmonically.

There will always be two or more melodies sounding together . . ."

"Excuse me for interrupting, but. . ."

"The melodies combine in such a way that they develop as much as possible, independently of how they sound against each other. But they have to be concordant. Actually it\'s note against note."

How rude! They were neither deaf nor blind. Sophie tried a third time, standing ahead of them on the path blocking their way,She was simply brushed aside.

"There\'s a wind coming up," said the woman.

Sophie rushed back to Alberto.

\'They can\'t hear me!" she said desperately--and just as she said it, she recalled her dream about Hilde and the gold crucifix.

"It\'s the price we have to pay. Although we have sneaked out of a book, we can\'t expect to nave exactly the same status as its author. But we really are here. From now on, we will never be a day older than we were when we left the philosophical garden party."

"Does that mean we\'ll never have any real contact with me people around us?"

"A true philosopher never says \'never.\' What time is it?"

"Eight o\'clock."

"The same as when we left Captain\'s Bend, of course."

"This is the day Hilde\'s father gets back from Lebanon."

"That\'s why we must hurry."

"Why--what do you mean?"

"Aren\'t you anxious to know what happens when the major gets home to Bjerkely?"

"Naturally, but. . ."

"Come on, then!"

They began to walk down toward the city. Several people passed them on the way, but they all walked right on by as if Sophie and Alberto were invisible.

Cars were parked by the curbside all the way along the street. Alberto stopped by a small red convertible with the top down.

 "This will do," he said. "We must just make sure it\'s ours."

"I have no idea what you mean."

"I\'d better explain then. We can\'t just take an ordinary car that belongs to someone here in the city. What do you think would happen when people noticed the car driving along without a driver? And anyway, we probably wouldn\'t be able to start it."

"Then why the convertible?"

"I think I recognize it from an old movie."

"Look, I\'m sorry, but I\'m getting tired of all these cryptic remarks."

"It\'s a make-believe car, Sophie. It\'s just like us. People here only see a vacant space. That\'s all we have to confirm before we\'re on our way."

They stood by the car and waited. After a while, a boy came cycling along on the sidewalk. He turned suddenly and rode right through the red car and onto the road.

"There, you see? It\'s ours!"

Alberto opened the door to the passenger seat.

"Be my guest!" he said, and Sophie got in.

He got into the driver\'s seat. The key was in the ignition, he turned it, and the engine started.

They drove southward out of the city, past Lysaker, Sandvika, Drammen, and down toward Lillesand. As they drove they saw more and more Midsummer bonfires, especially after they had passed Drammen.

"It\'s Midsummer, Sophie. Isn\'t it wonderful?"

"And there\'s such a lovely fresh breeze in an open car. Is it true that no one can see us?"

"Only people of our own kind. We might meet some of them. What\'s the time now?"

"Half past eight."

"We\'ll have to take a few shortcuts. We can\'t stay behind this trailer, that\'s for sure."

They turned off into a large wheatfield. Sophie looked back and saw that they had left a broad trail of flattened stalks.

"Tomorrow they\'ll say a freak wind blew over the field," said Alberto.

*    *    *

Major Albert Knag had just landed at Kastrup Airport outside Copenhagen. It was half past four on Saturday, June 23. It had already been a long day. This penultimate lap had been by plane from Rome.

He went through passport control in his UN uniform, which he was proud to wear. He represented not only himself and his country. Albert Knag represented an international legal system--a century-old tradition that now embraced the entire planet.

He carried only a flight bag. He had checked the rest of his baggage through from Rome. He just needed to hold up his red passport.

"Nothing to declare."

Major Albert Knag had a nearly three-hour wait in the airport before his plane left for Kristiansand. He would have time to buy a few presents for his family. He had sent the present of his life to Hilde two weeks ago. Marit, his wife, had put it on her bedside table for her to discover when she woke up on her birthday. He had not spoken with Hilde since that late night birthday call.

Albert bought a couple of Norwegian newspapers, found himself a table in the bar, and ordered a cup of coffee. He had hardly had time to skim the headlines when he heard an announcement over the loudspeakers: "This is a personal call for Albert Knag. Albert Knag is requested to contact the SAS information desk."

What now? He felt a chill down his spine. Surely he was not being ordered back to Lebanon? Could something be wrong at home?

He quickly reached the SAS information desk.

"I\'m Albert Knag."

"Here is a message for you. It is urgent."

He opened the envelope at once. Inside lay a smaller envelope. It was addressed to Major Albert Knag, c/o SAS Information, Kastrup Airport, Copenhagen.

Albert opened the little envelope nervously. It contained a short note:

Dear Dad, Welcome home from Lebanon. As you can imagine, I can\'t even wait till you get home. Forgive me for having you paged over the loud-speakers. It was the easiest way.

P.S. Unfortunately a claim for damages has arrived from financial adviser Ingebrigtsen regarding a stolen and wrecked Mercedes.

P.S. P.S. I may be sitting in the garden when you get here. But you might also be hearing from me before that.

P.S. P.S. P.S. I\'m rather scared of staying in the garden too long at a time. It\'s so easy to sink into the ground in such places. Love from Hilde, who has had plenty of time to prepare your homecoming.

Major Albert Knag\'s first impulse was to smile. But he did not appreciate being manipulated in this manner. He had always liked to be in charge of his own life. Now this little vixen in Lillesand was directing his movements in Kastrup Airport! How had she managed that?

He put the envelope in his breast pocket and began to stroll toward the little shopping mall. He was just about to enter the Danish Food deli when he noticed a small envelope taped to the store window. It had MAJOR KNAG written on it with a thick marker pen. Albert took it down and opened it:

Personal message for Major Albert Knag, c/o Danish Food, Kastrup Airport. Dear Dad, please buy a large Danish salami, preferably a two-pound one, and Mom would probably like a cognac sausage. P. S. Danish caviar is not bad either. Love, Hilde.

Albert turned around. She wasn\'t here, was she? Had Mark given her a trip to Copenhagen so she could meet him here? It was Hilde\'s handwriting ...

Suddenly the UN observer began to feel himself observed. It was as if someone was in remote control of everything he did. He felt like a doll in the hands of a child.

He went into the shop and bought a two-pound salami, a cognac sausage, and three jars of Danish caviar. Then he continued down the row of stores. He had made up his mind to buy a proper present for Hilde. A calculator, maybe? Or a little radio--yes, that was what he would get.

When he got to the store that sold electrical appliances, he saw that there was an envelope taped to the window there too. This one was addressed to "Major Albert Knag, c/o the most interesting store in Kastrup." Inside was the following note:

Dear Dad, Sophie sends her greetings and thanks for the combined mini-TV and FM radio that she got for her birthday from her very generous father. It was great, but on the other hand it was a mere bagatelle. I must confess, though, that I share Sophie\'s liking for such bagatelles. P.S. In case you haven\'t been there yet, there are further instructions at the Danish Food store and the big Tax Free store that sells wines and tobacco. P.S. P.S. I got some money for my birthday, so I can contribute to the mini-TV with 350 crowns. Love, Hilde, who has already stuffed the turkey and made the Waldorf salad.

A mini-TV cost 985 Danish crowns. That could certainly be called a bagatelle in comparison with how Albert Knag felt about being directed hither and thither by his daughter\'s sneaky tricks. Was she here--or was she not?

From that moment on, he was constantly on guard wherever he went. He felt like a secret agent and a marionette rolled into one. Was he not being deprived of his basic human rights?

He felt obliged to go into the Tax Free store as well. There hung a new envelope with his name on it. The whole airport was becoming a computer game with him as the cursor. He read the message:

Major Knag, c/o the Tax Free store at Kastrup. All I need from here is a bag of gumdrops and some marzipan bars. Remember it\'s much more expensive in Norway. As far as I can recall, Mom is very fond of Campari. P.S. You must keep all your senses alert the whole way home. You wouldn\'t want to miss any important messages, would you? Love from your most teachable daughter, Hilde.

Albert sighed despairingly, but he went into the store and shopped as instructed. With three plastic carriers and his flight bag he walked toward Gate 28 to wait for his flight. If there were any more messages they would have to stay there.

However, at Gate 28 he caught sight of another white envelope taped to a pillar: "To Major Knag, c/o GATE 28, Kastrup Airport." This was also in Hilde\'s handwriting, but the gate number seemed to have been written by someone else. It was not easy to judge since there was no writing to compare it with, only block letters and digits. He took it down. This one said only "It won\'t be long now."

He sat down on a chair with his back against the wall. He kept the shopping bags on his knees. Thus the proud major sat stiffly, eyes straight ahead, like a small child traveling alone for the first time. If Hilde was here, she was certainly not going to have the satisfaction of dis-covering him first.

He glanced anxiously at each passenger that came in. For a while he felt like an enemy of the state under close surveillance. When the passengers were finally allowed to board the plane he breathed a sigh of relief. He was the last person to board. As he handed over his boarding pass he tore off another white envelope that had been taped to the check-in desk.

Sophie and Alberto had passed Brevik, and a little later the exit to Kragera.

"You\'re going awfully fasf," said Sophie.

"It\'s almost nine o\'clock. He\'ll soon be landing at Kjevik. But we won\'t be stopped for speeding."

"Suppose we smash into another car?"

"It makes no difference if it\'s just an ordinary car. But if it\'s one of our own . . ."

"Then what?"

"Then we\'ll have to be very careful. Didn\'t you notice that we passed the Bat Mobile."


"It was parked somewhere up in Vestfold."

"This tourist bus won\'t be easy to pass. There are dense woods on each side of the road."

"It makes no difference, Sophie. Can\'t you get it into your head?"

So saying, he swung the car into the woods and drove straight through the trees.

Sophie breathed a sigh of relief.

"You scared me."

"We wouldn\'t feel it if we drove into a brick wall."

"That only means we\'re spirits of the air compared to our surroundings."

"No, now you\'re putting the cart before the horse. It is the reality around us that\'s an airy adventure to us."

"I don\'t get it."

"Listen carefully, then. It is a widespread misunderstanding that spirit is a thing that is more \'airy\' than vapor. On the contrary. Spirit is more solid than ice."

"That never occurre............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved