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Title: The Home in the Valley
Author: Flygare-Carlén, Emilie, 1807-1892
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Home in the Valley" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Some words which appear to be typos or misspelled
are printed thus in the original book.]



THE
HOME IN THE VALLEY.

By
EMILIE F. CARLÉN,

Author of "One Year Of Wedlock," "The Whimsical Woman,"
"Gustavus Lindorm," etc. etc.

From the original Swedish by
ELBERT PERCE.


New York
Charles Scribner, 145 Nassau-street.

1854.


  Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1854, by
                    CHARLES SCRIBNER,
  in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
  for the Southern District of New York.



Tobitt's Combination-Type,
181 William St.



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE


A few years ago, Mrs. Carlén was comparatively unknown to readers in
this country; but the marked success which followed the publication of
"One Year of Wedlock" encouraged the translator in the endeavor to
present that lady's works to the American public.

In her writings Mrs. Carlén exhibits a versatility which may be
considered remarkable. While in one book she revels in descriptions of
home-scenes and characters, in another she presents her readers with
events and incidents that bear a strong resemblance to the startling
and melo-dramatic productions of many of the modern romance writers of
France.

This peculiarity, however, may be accounted for by the fact that she
writes--as she herself confesses--entirely from impulse.

When her mind is clouded by sorrow--and she has been oppressed with many
bitter griefs--she seeks to remove the cause of her despondency by
creating a hero or heroine, afflicted like herself, and following this
individual through a train of circumstances which, she imagines, would
naturally occur during a life of continued gloom and sorrow.

On the other hand, when life appears bright and beautiful to her, then
she tells a tale of joy; a story of domestic life, for where does pure
happiness exist except at the fireside at home?

It must have been during one of these bright intervals of her life that
Mrs. Carlén wrote "The Home in the Valley," for the work is a continued
description of the delights of home, which, although occasionally
obscured by grief, and in some instances, by folly, are rendered still
more precious by their brief absence.

_New York_, August 15th, 1854.



CHAPTER I.

THE VALLEY.


In one of father La Fontaine's books, may be found a description of a
lovely valley, the residence of a beautiful and modest maiden, and of
the heroine of this Arcadia he writes:

"There stands our heroine, as lovely as the valley, her home, and as
virtuous and good as her mother, who has devoted a lifetime to the
education of her daughter."

But with the history of this maiden he weaves the workings of an evil
genius, which in the end is triumphant; for even the pure are
contaminated after they arrive at that period when they consider that
vice has its virtues.

Our story is located near the beautiful Lake Wenner, in a valley which
much resembles that described by La Fontaine. As we enter this valley,
the first object that meets our view is a small red-colored cottage. A
vine twines itself gracefully over one of the windows, the glass panes
of which glisten through the green leaves, which slightly parted,
disclose the sober visage of an ancient black cat, that is demurely
looking forth upon the door yard. She has chosen a sunny spot on the
window sill, for the cheering beams of the sun are as grateful to a cat,
as is the genial warmth of the stove to an old man, when winter has
resumed his sway upon earth. If we should enter the cottage, we would in
all probability find the proprietor of the little estate seated in his
old arm-chair, while his daughter-in-law--but more of this anon.

From the cottage the ground descended in a slight slope, which
terminated in a white sandy beach at the margin of the lake. Near the
beach were fastened the small skiffs, which swayed to and fro amongst
the rushes, where the children delighted to sail their miniature ships.
From the rear of the house the little valley extended itself in
undulating fields and meadows, interspersed with barren hillocks and
thrifty potato patches. In the fields could be heard the tinkling of the
cow-bells, the bleating of lambs, and the barking of a dog as he
gathered together his little flock. Carlo was a fortunate dog, for the
farm was so small that he could keep his entire charge within sight at
all times.

Near the centre of the valley stood a large tree, the widely spread
branches of which shaded a spring, which gushed forth from beneath a
huge moss-covered stone. This was the favorite place of resort of a
beautiful maiden, who might be seen almost every summer evening
reclining upon the moss that bordered the verge of the spring.

"There stands our heroine, as lovely as the valley, her home, and as
virtuous and good as her mother, who has devoted a lifetime to the
education of her daughter."

But many years before the date of our story, Nanna had lost the
protection of her beloved mother; yet the loss had been partially
supplied by her sister-in-law, who occupied the places of a kind mother,
a gentle sister, and a faithful friend.

Nanna was now in her sixteenth year; but to all appearances she was much
younger. Unlike others of her years, her cheeks did not display the
bloom of maidenhood, and her countenance lacked the vivacity natural to
her age. Her features wore an expression of melancholy, which was
perfectly in keeping with the pallor of her cheeks, the pearly whiteness
of which vied in brilliancy with the hue of a lily.

Nanna was the child of poverty, and belonged to that class of beings,
who, situated between riches and nobility on the one hand, and poverty
on the other, are considered as upstarts by the wealthy as well as the
poor.

Nanna's father, when young, was placed in an entirely different position
of life than that in which we now find him. An illegitimate son, he
entered the world with a borrowed title, but with fair prospects for the
future; for his father, a man of consequence and wealth, intended to
marry his mother, and thus the son would bear no longer the stigma of
his father's crime. But death, who in this case had been forgotten,
suddenly cut the thread of his father's life, and the mother and son
were driven forth from the house of their protector, deprived of honor,
wealth, and station.

This is an old, very old and thread-bare story, and not more novel is
that which generally follows. First comes melancholy, then great
exertions on the part of the injured party; next dashed hope, and
finally gloomy resignation.

The mother died, the son lived to pass through the life we have above
described, but which was ended, however, by matrimony. He married after
he had passed his fortieth year.

Before his marriage, Carl Lonner passed through the various gradations
in society, from the nobleman to the simple gentleman. He supported
himself by revenues he derived from a small business, and by drawing up
legal papers for the surrounding peasantry and fishermen. For a wife he
had chosen the daughter of a half pay sergeant, and in this case his
fortunate star was in the ascendant, for she not only brought him a
loving heart, but also the little farm on which he resided at the date
of our story.

We will now, however, turn our attentions to Nanna, who is sitting
beneath the tree near the spring, in which she has been bathing her
feet.

       *       *       *       *       *

As Nanna glanced into the clear water of the spring, she shuddered
convulsively, although the air was warm, for it was a June evening, but
it was a shudder from within that shook her slight form. Nanna had
lately perceived that her dear sister-in-law, Magde, when she thought
herself unseen, had shed tears, and the poor girl's heart beat with a
sensation of undefined fear, for when Magde weeps, thought she, there
must have been a great cause.

"Why is the world so formed as it is? Some flowers are so modest and
little that they would be trodden under foot unless great care is taken,
while others elevate their great and gaudy heads above the grass. The
latter are the rich, while the little down-trodden blossoms are the
poor. And so it is with even the birds! one is greater than the other,
and mankind is not behind them. We belong to the poor; there," she
continued, turning her deep eyes towards a distant point in the horizon,
on the other side of the lake, "there lives the rich; they take no
notice of us. Even the poor fishermen and peasants say, 'Our children
cannot be the play-fellows of Mademoiselle Nanna.' Mademoiselle,
Mademoiselle," she repeated slowly, "it is shameful to call me so! and
how much better it would be to call Magde good mother, than to give her
the title of My Lady! To be poor is not so bad, but to be friendless is
bitter indeed."

As she thus sat, with her eyes fixed mournfully upon the distant object
which was the roof of an elegant house, which was barely visible over
the brow of a hill, she was startled by the noise of approaching
footsteps. She had scarcely cast her mantle over her white shoulders,
which she had uncovered during her ablutions, when, to her great
astonishment, she discovered a stranger rapidly approaching towards her.
He was clothed in a light frock coat; a knapsack was fastened upon his
shoulders, and in his hand he swung a knotted stick. Nanna had never
before beheld a personage who resembled the stranger. His face, browned
in the sun, until it resembled that of a gipsy, wore an honest and frank
expression, and his dark curling hair, which fell in thick clusters from
his black felt hat, added to the pleasing aspect of his countenance.

Nanna, who at her first glance at the youth, had thought him a gipsy,
which wild tribe she greatly feared, was reassured by a second look.

The stranger, on his side, appeared greatly astonished at the sudden
appearance of the beautiful water nymph, for such a goddess Nanna much
resembled, as she stood, with her garments flowing gracefully around her
slight figure; her tiny white feet playing with the moist grass, and her
pale and mournful face, encircled with golden locks, that fell
negligently upon her white and well rounded shoulders.

The youth thus addressed her:

"Pardon me, lovely naiad. It appears that I have taken the wrong path,
although I supposed that I had chosen the right direction."

"Whither are you going?" inquired Nanna, in a voice sweet and melodious.

"To Almvik," replied the stranger.

"Alas!" said the maid, casting a peculiar glance at his knapsack, "I
hoped that you were not a member of the aristocracy."

"Oh, my little sylph, for I know not what else to call you, is my face
so poor a recommendation, that I cannot be considered a man because I
carry a pack on my back?"

"Are those of noble birth the only men?" inquired Nanna, and a gloomy
expression fell upon her lips, which a moment before had been illumined
with a sunny smile.

"Ah," replied the youth, "the longer I gaze upon your dear face, the
more I esteem you. Far be it from me to wound your sensitive nature. If
it will comfort you, I will say that no man can long more earnestly
than I do for the time when all mankind shall be equal."

"Do you speak from your heart?"

"I do, earnestly; but tell me your name."

"Nanna, Nanna of the Valley, I am called."

"That is poetical; but have you no other name?"

"I am sometimes called Mademoiselle Nanna; but that grieves me, for we
are poor people."

"Ah! I thought that you were something more than a peasant girl. Pardon
me, I have spoken too familiarly. I knew not your station."

"Familiarly!"

"I addressed you too warmly."

"Your words sounded well when you thus spoke."

"Possibly; but henceforth I shall address you as Mademoiselle Nanna."

"Shall we then see each other again?"

"Yes, yes, quite probably--we are to be neighbors."

"You intend, then, to reside at Almvik?"

"Yes, for a few weeks, perhaps during the whole summer; but I pray you
come with me a few steps on my road, I need your guidance."

Nanna sprang to her feet, and as she stood before the young man, her
eyes sparkling with unusual brilliancy, her garments falling in graceful
folds over her sylph-like limbs, he gazed at her as if enchained by her
almost superhuman beauty. To the youthful stranger's request she
answered by putting her little white feet in such active motion, that
they seemed to tread upon the air instead of the green sward.



CHAPTER II.

THE COTTAGE.


The interior of the little building to which we now turn, was thus
arranged: The ground floor was divided into a kitchen and three other
apartments, viz:--a middle sized room, by favor called the parlor, in
which was generally the dwelling place of the family, and a small
chamber on either side of the parlor. One of these was the bed-chamber
of Carl Lonner, and the other was occupied by his eldest son and his
wife.

The upper story, that is, the attic, contained two divisions, and the
sole dominion of these airy apartments was granted to two younger
members of the family; the front room belonging to Nanna, and the other
to her brother Carl, known in the neighborhood by the nick-name of
"Wiseacre," and under certain circumstances as "Crazy Carl," although it
would have been difficult to find throughout the entire neighborhood a
personage wiser than honest Carl.

Throughout the entire building the marks of poverty were plainly
evident; but at the same time each object presented a tidy and cleanly
appearance and although the cottage lacked many luxuries, still comfort
seemed to reign supreme. The rush covered floor; the table, polished to
brightness; and the flower vases, filled with odorous boquets of lilacs,
the neat window curtains, the handicraft of Nanna, the crimson sofa
curtain, embroidered by the thrifty Magde, all combined, proved that the
inmates of the cottage, had not only the taste, but also the inclination
to render home pleasant even under the most adverse circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the time that Nanna had started forth as a guide to the youthful
stranger, old Mr. Lonner was seated near the side of his bed in his
private apartment. Although weighed down by age and the grief that had
oppressed his early life, he nevertheless possessed that gentleness and
sociability, which had ever been the characteristic traits of his life.
His flowing white locks fell around his countenance, from which the
traces of manly beauty had not been entirely eradicated, and as he
smoked his pipe with an air of dignified pleasure, he would occasionally
glance towards a young matron, who, seated in a large arm chair, was
reading aloud a letter to him.

The letter bore the postmark of Goteborg, and was written by the old
man's eldest son, Ragnar Lonner, the husband of the matron. He was mate
of a trading vessel, and three months before had bidden farewell to his
wife and family. As she continued reading the letter, three children who
had been playing, commenced a little dispute about the proprietorship of
a large apple. In an opposite corner Carl had stationed himself. He was
a full grown youth with a face bearing an expression of mingled
silliness and wisdom.--As he glanced from under his long hair, first at
the bed-quilt, then at the quarrelling children, he paid close attention
to all that his sister-in-law was reading aloud. Carl was not the
simpleton people considered him, although his highest ambition appeared
to consist in erecting dirt houses and making mud-pies.

"Magde," said the old man, casting a glance of affection upon the
vivacious Magdalena. "You had better read that letter again. Ragnar is a
son who has his heart in the right place."

"And a husband too!" added Magde, and a flush of joyful pride overspread
her blooming cheeks.

"Yes, and a brother also; read the letter once more, it will be none
the less pleasant to read it a third time when Nanna returns."

Magde, who had not refolded the letter, commenced reading again, and her
voice trembled with pride and emotion as she read as follows:--

     "Beloved Magde:

     "When you shall break the seal of this letter, I feel assured that
     you will wish you possessed wings that you might be enabled to fly
     to your loving husband. And as I think I see you approaching me
     through the air, surrounded by our little angels,--may God protect
     them,--the tears start to my eyes, tears which no man should be
     ashamed to shed, and I feel an inward desire to hasten to meet you.

     "But now, dear Magde, I must control my thoughts, and so direct
     them to you, that they shall prove intelligible. I arrived, on the
     eighth day of this month, at Goteborg, in safety and in good
     health. I hope our father is well and capable of enjoying as usual,
     the balmy air and bright verdure of summer.

     "Our little cottage is a pleasant residence, in spite of all its
     disadvantages, and I feel assured that both yourself and Nanna do
     all that lies in your power to cheer our mutual parent, when he is
     sick and dispirited.

     "One night while our vessel was lying in the canal, I was visited
     by an evil dream, but dreams are empty and meaningless, and I hope
     that no more of my disagreeable fancies will be realized than that
     you at home, may experience a little anxiety and solicitude
     concerning the welfare of the absent one.

     "The Spring of the year is always the most severe season, for
     winter consumes the harvest of the preceding summer.

     "Well, we have many mouths to feed--God protect our children.--When
     they are older they will work for us. It was my intention to send
     you a small sum of money in this letter; but I was obliged to wait
     until Jon Jonson, who is here at present with his sloop, shall
     commence his homeward voyage, for I can place no dependence upon
     young Rask to whom I am obliged to entrust this letter, as he might
     be tempted on his way to the post office to enter a beer-house, and
     there lose the money. I am forced to send Rask to the office, as I
     am obliged to remain on the vessel until it is unloaded.

     "I will tell you in advance that I shall not be able to send you a
     large amount of money; but instead of that, I shall forward you
     when Jonson returns, a quantity of foreign goods which I have been
     fortunate enough to purchase and to place on board his sloop
     without paying the duty, which you know is heavy. It consists of
     sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton yarn, and a package of silks.

     "You, my dear wife, must select the best, a silk shawl which you
     will find in the package. Nanna may have the next best shawl, and
     you may give Carl the blue handkerchief which is at the bottom of
     the parcel. I have not forgotten father. I shall send him a small
     cask of liquor, and in the parcel of silks you will find a bundle
     of toys for the children.

     "You cannot imagine--but still you must--how pleasant it is to
     deprive oneself of luxuries that you may provide for the wants of
     those whom you have left at home.

     "My ship-mates frequently say that I am severe towards them when at
     sea, perhaps I am; but it grieves me when I see those noble men, so
     skillful in the management of our vessel, lavish their money when
     on shore in foolish pleasures. They have as great reason to be
     economical as I have myself, and I cannot resist from occasionally
     censuring them, and therefore I may not appear so kind to them as I
     am to you when at home, or while I am writing this letter. Although
     all my efforts may be fruitless, still I feel assured that there is
     not one man amongst them who would not peril his existence to
     rescue 'the tiger,' as they call me, from any danger. They well
     know that I would not stop to think, but would spring into the
     ocean at once, if it was necessary, to rescue them.

     "But, my dear Magde, a word in confidence. I am neither as wise or
     as well educated as my father was in his younger days, yet I would
     not wound your feelings either by word or action; but I must inform
     you that a rumor has reached my ears about a certain man, whose
     neck I once would have twisted willingly, because, when in church,
     he looked at you oftener than he did at the minister.

     "But if, when I return, I discover that that villain from Almvik
     has been poaching on my grounds, he must look to safety. In you,
     Magde, I can place all confidence, and shall therefore say nothing
     further. And now farewell. Remember me firstly to my father, and
     then to my sister, and my children.

     "Your faithful husband,
     "RAGNAR LONNER.

     "P.S. During the soft moonlight nights, when on my watch, I see
     your form, dear Magde, bright and beautiful, as I look over the
     wake of the vessel. And when the night is dark and cloudy, I see
     you sitting by my side, the binnacle light shining upon your
     pleasant face, which is illumined with smiles as I gaze upon little
     Conrad, whom I imagine a fine full grown lad, climbing the shrouds
     with all the eagerness of a competent sailor. But, belay, otherwise
     my letter will be under sail again."

When Magde read the portion of her husband's letter which he had
intended as confidential, her voice trembled as it did when she had
first read the letter.

"It would have been my desire," said she, "that Ragnar had sent the
money in the letter. It has been more than three weeks, dear father,
since you have partaken of other food than fish, bread and potatoes.
Ah! I wish we had a quarter of beef!"

"O, stop your prating, child! Fish is very good food indeed."

"But not strengthening. How delicious it would be if we only had a
partridge, or even a rabbit. Certainly they would not cost much! But who
dare think of such luxuries? All delicacies must be sent to Almvik."

"God grant that we may have nothing worse to expect from Almvik, than
that they should prevent us from enjoying luxuries that poor people
cannot expect to procure."

"O, that is not my opinion. In winter-time, when Ragnar is at home, he
procures us many a savory dish with his gun."

"Yes, but I think that if Ragnar has disturbed the hunting grounds of
Almvik, he may consider himself fortunate if the proprietor has not
poached upon his own premises in return. The affairs of Almvik are far
differently conducted than they were formerly, under the sway of the
ancient proprietor."

During their conversation the old man and Magde had taken no notice of
Carl, who, while he listened to their words, contorted his face in such
a manner that it would have been difficult to decide whether he was
laughing or crying. He placed his hands over his face; but between his
fingers his eyes could be seen peering out with a peculiar expression at
Magde.

"I will no longer feign ignorance of your meaning, father," replied
Magde, with a visible effort to suppress her anger. "It is true that in
words, and even in actions, he has conducted himself with more
presumption than he would have dared to assume last winter; but fear
not, I well know how to protect the honor of my name."

"And as you thus speak you vainly endeavor to conceal your emotions,"
said the old man suspiciously.

"Do not think that he has endeavored to plant his snare for a simple
dove. When he would snatch his prize, he may learn that I possess both
beak and talons."

"Well, my child," replied Mr. Lonner, with a laugh, "it is a fortunate
chance that you are the daughter of a father who was a man of the world;
but your birth entitled you to a higher position in life than that which
you now occupy."

"You speak strangely, father."

"Why, you might have married Mr. Trystedt who possessed riches and
lands, while now you live in absolute poverty."

"Why should you think of that? Is it not better to live in poverty with
love, than to possess untold riches without love? Does the whole earth
contain a better husband than my Ragnar? Is he not a skillful sailor? I
have no doubt but that had he not been married he would long ago have
been promoted to a captaincy. He is a thousand times more of a
gentleman, at any time, than that old Trystedt, who was a torment to all
he whom he met."

"Thank God! If you are satisfied, then all is right, and even if we are
at present in straightened circumstances all will be made right when
Jonson arrives. I hope that he will be careful of the goods entrusted to
him."

A slight noise in an adjoining room, notified the mother that her infant
child had awakened. She instantly arose and left the apartment. Magde
was a dignified and elegant woman, although her countenance was pleasing
rather than beautiful, and as she moved towards the door the old man's
eyes followed her with a gaze of admiration and love.



CHAPTER III.

HUSBAND AND WIFE.


About a half a mile from the valley--the name of which we shall conceal,
as many personages who are to play a part in our little story are still
living--was situated the estate of Almvik, which the present proprietor
Fabian H----, had purchased one year before, and had immediately removed
thither with his family.

Mr. H----, and above all his puissant wife Mistress Ulrica Eugenia, her
proper name, but which she had afterwards tortured into the more refined
patronymic, Ulrique Eugenie--were individuals who moved in the higher
classes of society, at least he who should endeavor to prove to the
contrary would find the task a thankless one.

Mr. Fabian H----, imagined himself a second Brutus, that is to say; he
was fully convinced that the time would certainly arrive when he should
arouse himself from his present listlessness; when he should be released
from the thraldom of his wife, and awaken to renewed strength and vigor.
But it was much to be feared that poor Brutus never would realize his
bright anticipations of liberty.

Mistress Ulrica Eugenia was characterized by a strong desire to assist
in the work of emancipating women from the tyranny of men, and that she
might forward the good work she had entirely set at naught the command
that a wife should obey her husband; she openly declared that the
ancient law which compelled the woman to subserve to the man, was but a
concoction of man himself, that the Bible itself never contained such an
absurd command, but that the translators, who she triumphantly affirmed
were men, had placed that law in the scripture, merely to suit their own
selfish ends. She also affirmed that she would stake her life upon the
issue that she would not find, even if she should search the scriptures
through, such an absurd command. And she was right. _She_ would not find
it.

In the immediate neighborhood of Almvik, Mr. H---- was reverenced as a
wealthy nobleman, and a man of power. He wished to be considered a
hospitable man, and frequently rejoiced his neighbors with invitations
to visit his beautiful estate. To him strangers were godsends. He
entertained them to the best of his ability, invited the neighbors to
see them, and although his little soirees were very pleasant, still, as
the guests were drawn from all classes of society, many amusing scenes
were enacted, in all of which, Mistress Ulrica Eugenia performed a
prominent and independent part.

Although Mrs. Ulrica had liberated herself from all obedience to her
legal master, and had in fact assumed the reins of government herself,
she nevertheless possessed some, if not a great deal of affection for
the rosy cheeks and sleepy eyes of her husband, and at the same time she
kept a watchful eye upon those whom she suspected of partaking with her
in this sentiment. Not only was Mrs. H---- occasionally aggravated by
the pangs of jealousy, but she was also tormented by the thought that
her husband entirely confided in her own fidelity, thus at once cutting
off the possibility of a love quarrel and a reconciliation.

Upon the evening when we first made the personal acquaintance of the
inmates of Almvik, Mr. H---- and his wife were riding out in their gig;
for in the morning they rode in a light hunting wagon, and at noon they
used the large family coach.

Mr. H----, immediately before starting forth on the ride had received a
severe lecture from his spouse, because he indulged in an afternoon's
nap, instead of devising means for the amusement of the family, that
is, of the worthy dame herself, and their only treasure, the little
Eugene Ulrich, and Mr. H----, we say, never felt inclined for sprightly
conversation after such a lecture.

He well knew that he would be obliged to succumb in everything; but like
a stubborn boy, who is punished by being compelled to stand in a corner
until shame forces him to submit, Mr. H---- determined, to speak
figuratively--to stand silently in that corner the entire day rather
than to acknowledge himself conquered.

That was, at least, one point gained, towards his emancipation. It
cannot but be supposed, however, that, if the lecture had been upon any
other subject less trivial than the mere act of sleeping, Mr. H----
would have undoubtedly acted in an entirely different manner. At least
that is the only excuse we can find for his conduct on this occasion.

"Well," said Mistress Ulrica, straightening herself up in her seat with
the utmost dignity, "upon my honor, Mr. H----, you are a _very_
agreeable companion."

"I am obliged to be careful while driving."

"Is it necessary that you should sit there as dumb as a fence post?"

No reply.

"Well, I must say that your sulkiness is not to be envied. Suppose some
one should see us--I mean you--why they would readily believe that your
wife was an old woman."

"Now, now, my dear Ulrique Eugenie, don't--"

"Your dear Ulrique Eugenie is not yet thirty eight years old, and even
though you are two years younger, I do not think that should make any
difference."

"On the contrary, on the contrary," grumbled her husband, chuckling
inwardly.

"I do not know but what your words have a double meaning; but Fabian,
_we_ must not quarrel, let us become reconciled, there is my hand."

"Your heart ever overflows with the milk of human kindness, my dear,"
said he.

"Thank you, my dear husband,--but can you imagine what I really intended
to say?"

"Indeed I cannot."

"I intended to say, should you ever cast your eyes upon another--"

"God forbid!"

"You may well say God forbid, am I not your wife, who will not allow her
rights to be trodden under foot?"

"Am I not aware of that?"

"Even if you are, my dear, there is no harm in my saying that if I
should discover the slightest cause which would arouse my suspicion I
would scratch out your eyes!"

"Sweet _Ulgenie_!"

_Ulgenie_, a word which the reader will observe, is compounded from the
words Ulrica and Eugenie, was one of those contorted terms of
endearment, which Mrs. H---- permitted her husband to use during their
moments of tenderness. Should he wish to address her in an extremely
affectionate manner, he would term her his "pet Ulte," an expression
which had also originated in the fertile mind of the loving wife!

On this occasion the husband considered the first expression
sufficiently affectionate, and in all probability many tender
recollections were associated with those three syllables, for no sooner
had he uttered the name "Ulgenie," than she cast her eyes downward with
an unusual gentle expression, and in a changed tone of voice, she
whispered:--

"Never again my dearest husband shall we differ in our opinions.
Equality in marriage renders it a useful institution; but to change the
subject, it is long since you have made any hunting excursions, dear
Fabian, to-morrow you must go."

As Mistress Ulrica was determined that her husband should become a
skillful sportsman, she gave him rest neither night nor day, unless he
devoted at least two days of the week to hunting or fishing excursions.
Not that Mr. H---- was a sportsman; but that it afforded his wife great
pleasure to inform her guests, that a certain moorcock was killed by her
dear Fabian, or that he had caught the pike which then graced their
table, for, she would add complacently, her Fabian was well aware that
she took great delight in eating the game taken by his skillful hand.

Therefore there were no means of escape for him, he must by force become
a sportsman, for a wife who is laboring for the emancipation of
womankind, never will permit her desires to remain ungratified. During
the conversation the vehicle approached the mansion. Mr. Fabian H----,
during the entire ride, had thought upon the pipe and sofa which awaited
him upon his return, for he smoked like a Turk, and loved the ease of
oriental life. There was one pursuit, however, which afforded him still
greater pleasure, and that was to ogle other men's wives, for he was an
unfortunate son of Adam, never being able to discover beauties which his
wife might have possessed.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Who can that be!" exclaimed Mistress Ulrica Eugenia as the gig entered
the court-yard, "who is that elegant young man descending the door
steps? is it possible that he is my nephew little Gottlieb?"

"Yes he is, my dear Aunt Ulrica, I was little Gottlieb, but I have grown
up to be big Gottlieb," answered a cheerful voice, and the next moment
the young man whose acquaintance we have before made, embraced the lady
warmly, and then heartily shook his uncle's extended hand. Uncle Fabian
however, was not overjoyed at his wife's determination of introducing
into his house a stripling who might perhaps become a spy upon his
actions and make reports that would call forth the entire vigor of his
wife's tongue.

After the first torrent of welcomings, questions and answers,--for Mr.
H---- did not dare do otherwise than to cordially welcome his guest--had
subsided, and the family had entered the dining room, and the hostess
had pressed the acceptance of a third cup of tea upon the young man, who
was already sufficiently heated without undergoing this ordeal; she thus
addressed him:--

"Now, my dear little Gottlieb, you look remarkably well, you little
rogue. Is it really true that you have made this long journey to see us
on foot?"

"It is indeed true; this green coat is my usual costume when I do not
wear a blouse, which is my favorite garment. My better apparel is
contained within my knapsack, and thus I have given you an invoice of my
wardrobe, which you see, my dear aunt, is not very extensive."

"But your under-clothes, my child?"

"What, under-clothes, do you think I could give my dear uncle so much
trouble as to bring linen clothes with me?"

"What a careless fellow you are!"

"'You have now,' said my mother, when I took my leave, 'you have now
four rare pieces of linen, styled shirts; but when you return, you must
travel by steam, for you will undoubtedly possess twenty-four!'"

"Ah!" replied his aunt, with a smile, "I understand you now."

"How do you understand me?" inquired Gottlieb.

"As belonging to that class of persons, sir, who never find themselves
at a loss," replied uncle Fabian, in a tone of voice which he intended
should be overwhelming.

Gottlieb, however, was not inclined to be thus easily driven from the
field. "You have hit the nail upon the head," said he, with an assumed
expression of respect for the decision of his uncle, "and it is by the
means of that very trait of character which you have mentioned, that I
hope to work myself through the world, although I am only the son of a
poor secretary in a government office, who is embarrassed by debt and a
large family, thus you perceive I cannot depend solely upon the whims of
fortune."

"What then are your prospects for the future?" inquired the lady
seriously.

"I have but one," replied Gottlieb.

"And what is that?"

"My plan is very simple, I have thoroughly studied financial matters,
and in the fall intend to help my father in his office, so that he can
spare the services of his two assistants. He will then have only one
salary to pay; but I think that I can do the work of three, and as I
intend to become a model of order, capability and energy, I hope to be
able to win the favor of the head of the treasury department, so that
when my father, who at present is in a very feeble state of health,
shall be obliged to resign, I may be appointed in his stead. This is my
plan."

"You are a shrewd young man," said Mistress Ulrica.

"It is not necessary to be shrewd when the high road is plain before
you."

"But at least you must possess sufficient knowledge of the world to
prevent you, in your youth, from leaving the high road, and wasting your
time in useless dreaming."

"Of dreaming, he who has nothing but his head and hands to depend on,
must not be afraid. If one wishes to enjoy pleasant dreams, he must not
trouble his head about that which he is to eat when he awakes."

"Good! good!" exclaimed Ulrica, "I hope that your wise plans will
succeed, and I do not doubt but what they will, they are so well laid,
and aside from that you are not striving for yourself alone, but for
your parents, to whom I am sure you will always prove a dutiful and
grateful child."

"That is why I should become my father's successor, dear aunt. Had I not
thought of this plan, I would undoubtedly have formed some other; but
with this I am satisfied."

"And do you intend to afford us the pleasure of your company this
summer?" inquired uncle Fabian, abruptly.

"With your permission, dear uncle, your invitation arrived at a lucky
moment, as it came during my vacation."

"Well, well, nephew," said Mrs. Ulrica, "we will go and prepare a
chamber for you."

"Nephew, nephew," exclaimed Gottlieb, merrily, "why we look more like
cousins!"

"You are a little wag!"

"O, I must say more. My mother might have been your mother also, from
all appearances."

"Ah, I was a mere girl when she was married. She was the eldest while I
was the youngest of the family, and the fourteen years discrepancy
between our ages accounts for the differences in our appearance."

"And riches and fortune also," added Gottlieb; "poor mother, misfortune
has always been her lot; and although she has much trouble, she has
nevertheless an angel's forbearance."

"Her disposition resembles mine more than her person does," said Mrs.
H----, casting a glance of tender inquiry upon her husband.

"Yes, my dear," replied he, "your angelic disposition and patience are
well known."

He well understood the smile with which his wife had accompanied her
words.

"Good Fabian, you know how to appreciate your wife!"

"Sweet Ulgenie!"

Gottlieb glanced from his aunt to his uncle.

"Strange people these," thought he. "I think they are playing bo-peep
with each other, or perhaps they are blinding me; well, I care not; so
long as they do not disturb me, I will not meddle with their affairs."



CHAPTER IV.

THE ATTIC-ROOMS.


As we have before stated, Nanna had supreme control over one of the
attic-rooms of the cottage, and for a long time it had been a sanctuary
in which she stored her precious things.

Old Mr. Lonner loved Nanna as the apple of his eye. She was not only the
youngest child, and consequently the favorite, but she also possessed
strong perceptive qualities, and a heart susceptible of the tenderest
emotions. She was, so to speak, a living emblem of those harmonious
dreams that her father in his youth had hoped to see realized.

The pale and delicate countenance of Nanna, who he thought was destined
in all probability to droop and die like a water lily, which she so much
resembled, carried the old man's mind back to the time when his father
had promised to wed his mother, and he sighed as he thought how
different Nanna's station in life would have been had that promise been
fulfilled. Instead of neglect and insult, homage from all would have
been her portion.

Yet Nanna was the pride and joy of her father's heart, for Ragnar, who
at an early age was obliged to labor for his own support, had preferred
to become a sailor, rather than to acquire a refined education, and Carl
could scarcely comprehend more than that which was necessary for the
performance of family worship. Nanna, on the contrary, would listen to
her father with the utmost pleasure and interest as he related and
explained matters and things which were entirely novel to one placed in
her position of life.

And then, with what eagerness would Nanna read those few books with
which her father's little library was supplied! She fully comprehended
all she read, and she could not resist from becoming gently interested
in the characters described in her books. She sympathised with the
unhappy and oppressed, and although she rejoiced with those happy heroes
and heroines who had passed safely through the ordeals of their loves,
yet when she read of the fortunate conclusion of all their troubles,
she would sigh deeply.

But after sighing for those who _had_ lived, she sighed also for the
_living_.

She looked forward, with terror, to the day when she should lose her
father, whom she worshipped almost as a supreme being.

Her innocent heart shrunk within her as she thought of the time when a
man,--for these thoughts had already entered her little head--should
look into her eyes in search of a wife. Who shall that man be? she
thought. Is it possible that he can be any other than a peasant or a
fisherman? Perhaps he may be even worse; a common day-laborer of the
parish.

O, that would be impossible!

Such a rude uncouth husband would prove her death. How could she
entertain the same thoughts, after her marriage with such a boor, as she
had before? He could never sympathise with her. No, she would be obliged
to remain unmarried for ever. Perhaps not even a laborer would wed her!
On St. John's eve, when she had ventured to attend the ball, did any
body request her to dance? No, not one, no, they only gazed at
Mademoiselle Nanna, with a stupid and imbecile stare--_she_ did not
belong to their class.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next evening after Nanna had encountered the young stranger near the
spring, she was seated alone in her bed-chamber. During the entire day
she had endeavored to assist her sister-in law, in the various domestic
duties, with her usual activity; which however it must be confessed, was
mingled with much pensive abstraction. But after the tea service was
removed, she had retired to her chamber, that she might in solitude
commune with her own thoughts.

The silence of her apartment was soothing to Nanna's mind.

Besides a small sofa, which was her sleeping place, her little dominions
contained a book shelf; three or four flower vases; a bureau, and a
small work table. The two latter articles of furniture were specimens of
Carl's workmanship.

Carl, when he _chose_ to display his ability, was a skillful carpenter,
and formerly Nanna was his special favorite. Of late, however, it could
readily be perceived that Magde possessed his affections. She, had she
so chosen, could have abused him as if he had been a dog, and like a cur
he would have crept back to kiss the hand which had maltreated him.
Magde, however, was soft-hearted, and did not abuse her power over the
singular boy; but she compelled him to labor with much more assiduity
than he had formerly. When at home, Carl generally performed the duties
of a nursery maid. The children remained with him willingly, for he
tenderly loved them; in fact every child in the neighborhood loved the
"Wiseacre," for he would play with them, and upon all occasions take
them under his special protection. When he saw his little nephews and
nieces, subjected to the discipline of their mother, he would fly into a
frenzy of passion, and then he was called, "Crazy Carl." He was an
inveterate enemy to corporeal punishment, and he could invent no better
method of explaining his doctrine, than by administering to those, who
differed with him, a practical illustration of the cruelty of personal
castigation. Therefore he would fly around among the parents and the
straggling children, preventing their punishment of his favorites by
means of his own stalwart arm, and then after the tumult had subsided he
would repent and tearfully sue for pardon.

Crazy Carl was laughed at for his exertions in behalf of the children,
yet to spare his feelings the necessary punishment of the children was
deferred till he was out of sight. None of the neighboring peasant
women would leave their homes, to go to the market, to a wedding, or to
a funeral, without requesting Carl to remain with the children, and upon
his compliance they would go forth untroubled, for they were well aware
of the unbounded influence "Wiseacre" possessed over the young people.

Carl's bed-room, which adjoined Nanna's apartment, contained a bedstead,
a well whittled table, and a chair mutilated in a like manner. In this
chair Carl would rock backward and forward, for hours, and with half
closed eyes would look as if by stealth, at a striped woolen waistcoat,
which was suspended against the wall, or some other little gift from
Magde.

At the same time that Nanna was seated in her room looking towards the
large tree near the spring, Carl was rocking in his chair, gazing with
his peculiar expression at a brown earthen vase, which was standing upon
the table before him. The vase contained two freshly plucked lilacs, one
blue and the other white, which emitted a fragrant odor. After Carl had
sufficiently regarded these objects, he slowly jerked his chair towards
the table, and at each pause his mouth widened into a simple simper. At
length he arrived so near the table that by bending forward he could
have easily touched the flowers with his nostrils. To accomplish this
movement, which was his evident intention, he proceeded with as much
gravity and carefulness as he had evinced in approaching the table. He
bowed down his head inch by inch, until he could no longer withstand the
desire of his senses. With one plunge he thrust his nostrils amidst the
fresh leaves of the fragrant flowers.

Suddenly, however, he raised his head, a thought struck his mind--his
face lengthened and his brow became cloudy.

And yet a few moments ago he appeared supremely happy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nanna's pretty face was pressed against the window pane. Her little
world had never before appeared so fresh and beautiful. So great was her
abstraction that she did not hear the door open, as Carl with his
peculiar lofty strides entered the room.

"Thank you, Nanna," said Carl. Nanna did not hear him. His voice was
lost in her recollection of the words of the strange youth, she had met
the day before.

"Thank you, Nanna," repeated Carl.

Nanna started. "What for?" said she.

"Do you not know?" replied Carl, "why for the flowers!"

"Flowers?"

"O," said Carl smiling imbecilely and gazing vacantly around the room.

"If you found lilacs in your room, I did not place them there," said
Nanna.

"Ah! then perhaps little Christine sent them to me."

"No, dear Carl," replied Nanna, "the flowers were sent by one who is
better than even myself or Christine."

"Who can it be?"

"Magde, of course."

"Ah!" Carl slowly stepped towards the door. "Magde, yes, I ought to have
known that!"

"Ask her, and then you will know certainly," said Nanna.

"O, no, but they are beautiful flowers. I hope I will not break them,
they smell so sweetly!"

Thus saying Carl strode across the floor to his own chamber where he
again seated himself upon his chair and resumed his former occupation;
but he did not profane them with his nostrils, for now he regarded them
in a holier light. They were Magde's gift.

While he was thus happily engaged, a messenger arrived at the cottage to
disturb him. A peasant's wife, who wished to attend a funeral desired
his services, and the obliging Carl, although he protested that he had a
great deal to engage his attention at home, willingly promised to go to
the woman's cottage and take care of her children until her return. In
order that his arrival at the cottage might be joyfully welcomed, he
returned to his room, and commenced the manufacture of sundry whistles
and as he whittled and sung verses of his own composition--for Carl was
a poet--he occasionally cast loving glances towards the brown earthen
vase.

But how was Nanna employed? Was she reading some of her favorite books,
an amusement to which she often devoted her leisure hours? or perhaps
she was proceeding over the path which conducted to the spring in the
meadow. Neither. She at present appeared perfectly satisfied with her
unaccustomed listlessness, from which however she was soon aroused.

From between the trees that bordered the side of the hill, she saw a
green coat emerge, which when it reached the plain made its way towards
the little fountain beneath the tree.

The wearer of the coat, who was the young man who had carried the
knapsack and had called Nanna his little naiad, a term which he supposed
she did not understand, cast himself upon the grass near the trunk of
the tree. Perhaps he was expecting some one.

For a few moments Nanna stood undecidedly upon the threshold of the
door. Her inclinations drew her towards the spring; but her modesty
cautioned her to remain.

Why had she so long postponed her usual walk on this particular
occasion? She had not expected any one. Certainly not!

At length, however, she seized her bonnet and hastened from the room.



CHAPTER V.

THE FIRST DISAPPOINTMENT.


Nanna had arrived at the bottom step of the flight of stairs, when she
encountered Magde who was returning from a visit at a neighbor's house.
She had walked fast, and her face was crimson with heat and vexation.
When Magde first saw the young girl, she drew her bonnet close around
her face, intending to enter the house as quickly as Nanna wished to
depart; but when Nanna had reached the threshold she exclaimed:

"Where are you going?"

"To take a little walk," replied Nanna.

"Be careful, Nanna," said Magde seriously, "you will soon be a young
woman."

"And why should that affect you so?" replied Nanna, astonished at
Magde's caution.

"O, only that poor women who wish to preserve their fair fame, are not
allowed to go out when they choose."

"What did you say?"

"I say that the sun, earth, water, trees, and flowers, are made only for
the rich, who can admire them from their fine carriages and pleasure
yachts."

"But, dear Magde, you have always--"

"Silence, child," interrupted Magde, "you do not know the insults to
which we females of humble birth are exposed."

"We are not born that we should thus be insulted," said Nanna.

"True, true; but then we should have been born as deformed and ugly as
those sins, which even our modesty will not preserve us from being
suspected of."

"Can that be possible!" thought Nanna. Magde, who as she spoke had
passed her hand upon her forehead, now removed it, and from the
expression of her dark eyes, which beamed with her accustomed
cheerfulness, and from her proud and lofty bearing, it could be
perceived that she had regained her usual self-possession.

"I grieve you, dear Nanna," said she in a softened tone of voice, "I do
not imagine you to be more than a dove which is still fostered within
the dovecote. But I was troubled, as I am sometimes, without really
knowing the cause."

"Is there no cause, then?" inquired Nanna.

"I can say that there is or is not a cause, and therefore shall remain
silent."

"Then remain silent, dear Magde, let us speak no further on the
subject," said Nanna quickly, for she was burning with impatience to
visit the spring.

She longed to discover by experience whether it was really so dangerous
for a woman to walk out alone.

Until the day before, it had not been dangerous, for no one had
forbidden her the free enjoyment of God's beautiful earth, and neither
had her modesty ever been insulted. On any other occasion, Nanna would
have been influenced not only by curiosity, but by a far purer feeling,
namely, sympathy for Magde's sorrows,--for she dearly loved her
sister-in-law,--and would have asked an explanation of matters which she
at present was anxious to avoid.

Magde was silent.

Nanna stepped over the door sill.

But stern fate compelled her to turn back a second time, for the moment
that Magde turned to pass into the house, old Mr. Lonner advanced to the
door.

"Nanna my child," said he, "bring my chair out into the door-yard. The
evening air is so cool and pleasant that it will invigorate my old body;
but it would be better I think, if my rheumatism will permit it, to
take a little stroll in the fields, with the aid of my walking cane on
one side, and with you as a staff to support me on the other."

Nanna blushed so deeply that she felt the blood burning her cheeks, as
she advanced the opinion that the exercise might prove injurious to him.

"Poor child, you are grieved on account of your old father. I will take
your advice. Bring my arm-chair out, and we will sit here and have a
little chat together."

Hitherto, when her father had chatted to her of all that he had seen and
experienced, Nanna had considered herself amply rewarded for her days of
labor, but on this occasion, she not only went after the chair
reluctantly, but also, when she as usual seated herself with her
knitting work on her little bench at his side she sighed deeply. Her
father did not observe her dejection, perhaps he considered it an
impossibility for his precious jewel to sigh when she was with him.

"Well, Nanna," said he stroking his long beard which gave a venerable
appearance to his benevolent features, "are you thinking of the fine
shawl that Ragnar is to send you by his friend Jon Jonson?"

"Not at all, dear father," replied Nanna.

"True," continued the old man, "your disposition in that respect does
not resemble Magde's. She is pleased, as every young woman should be,
when she has an opportunity of decorating her person with elegant
clothing."

"I think, that hereafter," said Nanna, slightly confused, "I shall also
cultivate a taste for such things; but thus far I have had but little
opportunity."

"I hope so," replied her father, "I have frequently been much troubled
in mind, when I have observed your indifference to dress, so unnatural
to one of your age; but which is only a result of the romantic notions
that you have always indulged in."

"But dear father, is it not wrong to strive to make ourselves beautiful
when we are only poor people?"

"Beautiful!" exclaimed the old man, "what put that into your little
head?"

"Magde told me that all poor women ought to be born ugly, that their
reputation might not be suspected."

"Magde was a little out of humor, when she said that, and she who wishes
to please her husband so much, could not have really intended what she
said."

"Yes, but when a woman is married, it alters the case entirely."

"But why should not an unmarried girl wish herself handsome for the sake
of her father, her brother, and above all for her own sake? That is a
good wish so long as it continues innocent."

"When then, is it not innocent?" inquired Nanna.

"It is no longer innocent when the love of fine apparel, and the desire
to be beautiful, changes the heart, and the girl neglects her duties,
and gives her sole attention to that which should only serve as a
simple recreation; but that I am sure will never be the case with you."

Nanna was silent. She drooped her head. "There is no danger of that,"
thought she, "for who will care to witness the change?"

"On next St. John's day," continued her father, "you must wear that
elegant silk shawl which belonged to your poor mother."

As Nanna heard these words, a smile of peculiar meaning passed over her
lips. It was the smile of a woman who anticipates a future triumph.

"Thank God," said the old man, turning the conversation in another
channel, "for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us. Although we may
now be in trouble, when Ragnar's packages arrive, we shall be in better
circumstances. Poverty has many blessings of which the rich man cannot
even dream. The poor man's gratitude and joy for even the slightest
piece of fortune is too great to describe. The rich man has not that
relish for the good things of life that the poor man has."

While honest Lonner was thus losing himself in his meditations, Nanna
moved in her seat uneasily, and dropped stitch after stitch of her
knitting-work. The former topic of conversation was endurable, but
this--

Meanwhile, however, she did not dare to express her desire to be
liberated from her irksome position. Why was she afraid to do so? She
asked herself the question; the only reply she could make was, that
yesterday it would have been easy for her to say, "Father, I want to
take a little walk in the meadow;" but to-day, oh! that was different!

"I see you have your bonnet on!" said her father, "were you about taking
a walk?"

"I have not been out of the house before, to-day," replied Nanna.

"Well, then run away, my child; take all the enjoyment you can. You have
but little here."

Perhaps it was by expressions of this description from her father, that
mournful thoughts were engendered within the mind of the young girl,
causing her to fancy that something was wanting to complete her
happiness, and that she stood beyond the pale of those who should have
been her companions.

It is certainly plausible to suppose that these moments which the old
man had set apart for familiar conversation with his daughter, whom he
loved above all earthly things, for she reminded him of past days, might
have proved highly detrimental to Nanna's sensitive and susceptible
mind.

As matters now stood, it was plainly evident that, however economical,
industrious and thrifty she might be, Nanna would be compelled to be
content with her lot, should she wed an honest mechanic or a sloop
captain, which were the highest prizes which she, or any of the
neighboring maidens, might expect to win.

Like a captive bird which, after many fruitless struggles, finally
regains its liberty, Nanna quickly made use of her restored freedom, and
hastened from the door-yard. She was fully convinced that the young man
was no longer in the meadow, and now she suddenly remembered that she
had said nothing to her father or Magde about the stranger whom she had
encountered the previous evening. How strange it was that she had
forgotten to tell them! Yes, it was the strangest thing that ever had
occurred during her whole life, and how greatly astonished they would be
when she should tell them of her little adventure! Thus thought Nanna,
as she proceeded towards the meadow.



CHAPTER VI

THE AGREEMENT.


"It was just as I thought!" exclaimed our heroine, as she looked, with
pouting lips at the reflection of her pretty figure in the clear waters
of the spring. Never before had her hair been so nicely arranged, and
her neat white apron, which she had kept concealed beneath her cloak
during her entire conversation with Magde and her father, and which she
had carefully tied about her waist as soon as she had entered the
meadows, how pretty it looked! But how was she repaid for all her
trouble? She was about disencumbering herself both of her apron and a
little scarf which she had thrown over her shoulders, when she heard a
voice that she had already learned to distinguish, calling to her in the
distance.

With pleased astonishment she lifted her eyes, and saw an individual
whom we need scarcely inform our readers was the owner of the knapsack.
He was descending a hill, holding to his lips a blade of grass, upon
which he would occasionally blow a vigorous and ear-piercing blast.

"Have you come at last, my naiad queen?" said the youth. "We were such
pleasant companions last evening, that I came hither in the hope of
finding you at your bath again."

"A naiad queen might bathe her feet before you; but I--" She ceased
speaking, and a deep blush suffused her cheeks.

"Ah! then you know something about the naiads, my child?"

"Yes, and about the sylphs, too," replied Nanna, nodding her head, proud
at having an opportunity of displaying her knowledge before one whom,
besides her father, was the only person that she had ever cared to
interest.

"You surprise me! What have you read?"

"O, a little of everything. My father has a large book case, and I have
a small collection of books, myself."

"Hm, hm," said the embryo secretary, "but enumerate to me some of the
books you have read."

"Do you really wish to know?"

"Yes, dear Nanna,--pardon me--Mademoiselle Nanna I should have said.
Now Mademoiselle, please be seated, the grass is quite soft. I wish to
catechise you a little."

"But I shall not answer you, sir, if you call me Mademoiselle; it sounds
so cold and disagreeable."

"Well, I will be careful not to do so; but let us make a commencement."

"With my qualifications?"

"Certainly; but why do you sit at such a distance?"

"We are not so far from each other."

"That proves you to be no mathematician. Now, tell me, how many yards
distance are there between us?"

"Three, I think."

"Poor child, you have not reached your A B C's in arithmetic; but I will
be your instructor."

"How so?"

"You shall soon see." He quickly unloosed his neckcloth. "This," he
continued, "is precisely one yard in length. Now, I will measure the
ground, and when I have measured three yards, then--"

"What then?"

"Then I will seat myself; for you have yourself chosen the distance."

The unsuspecting Nanna had not the slightest idea of the little plot the
young man had arranged to entrap her. The poor child was unaccustomed to
mirth; for although Magde, Ragnar, and Carl, often indulged in
boisterous sports, still Nanna never could feel an inclination to
mingle with them, but had merely smiled at their ridiculous jokes. Never
had the clear ringing laugh of gleeful childhood issued over her lips;
but upon the present occasion her innocent heart entered into the spirit
of her gay companion, and when he deliberately measured three lengths of
his neckcloth from the spot where he was sitting, and then gravely
seated himself at her very side, a merry laugh broke from her lips, in
which the youth joined.

"Well," said he, assuming a comfortable position, "I can touch you, at
least, now."

"Yes," replied Nanna seriously, for she was musing on Magde's words of
caution, "yes, you can; but I do not wish you to."

"You do not?"

"I do not," replied she firmly.

"What an obstinate little creature you are!"

"You desired to know what I have read," said Nanna, wishing to change
the subject of conversation.

"True, but why do you hide your little hand under your apron, I shall
not touch it without your permission?"

Nanna smiled as she slowly withdrew her hands from their place of
concealment and folded them upon her lap.

"Now, my child," said the young man with an assumed air of dignity,
"first of all, you may commence at the beginning."

"When I was a little girl, my father bought for me some picture books,
which as I read, he explained to me. Next as I progressed further--"

"Well, what happened?"

"Next I studied the catechism, which I liked very much, then I commenced
reading the bible, a book which I love above all others, the new
testament especially. All that I do not understand my father explains to
me, and after he has finished, I go alone to my room, and as I read I
cannot refrain from weeping--But my tears are not sorrowful, I think
only of--"

"Of what?"

"I know not whether I should tell you that."

"Certainly you should; am I not your friend?"

"Well then--but do not speak about it to any one--I cannot help thinking
that if I had lived when our Saviour was upon earth, I should have been
one of the holy women."

"Who ever heard of such ambition! Why perhaps you would like to have
been the virgin Mary, herself?"

"Oh," exclaimed Nanna, turning her face, that she might conceal the
blush, which his words of ridicule, as she esteemed them, had called
forth.

"But, my child," continued her companion, "we will dwell no longer upon
your holy thoughts, so different from others of your age; proceed if you
please."

"Aside from the books I have mentioned, at my father's request, I
studied history, geography, natural philosophy, and finally ancient
mythology."

"You surprise me! Your education has not been neglected; but you can
write, can you not?"

"Certainly, and I have also practised drawing a little."

"Indeed! upon my honor, Mademoiselle Nanna you frighten me!"

"Why?"

"Because I cannot comprehend how you can use all your knowledge in this
valley."

"I have often thought of that," replied Nanna, sighing deeply.

"Perhaps, it is not such a terrible matter after all," said Gottlieb, "I
must thoroughly convince myself."

Gottlieb now commenced to examine and cross-question Nanna in the
various departments of learning that she had mentioned, and was pleased
to discover by her accurate replies that she comprehended thoroughly all
that she had studied. In fact, Nanna was quite his equal in her
knowledge of Ancient Mythology, which had always been her favorite
study.

"But how is it possible that your father should be so well educated?
Yesterday, when we were walking together, you told me that he had
resided in this valley nearly half his lifetime, with scarcely
sufficient means to support himself and family."

"Alas! a sorrowful story is connected with my father's younger days;
but he never speaks of it. He had high hopes, when young, and had they
been realized, he would have been a man of consequence; but the death of
his patron crushed everything."

"I must call upon your father some pleasant evening. Do you think he
would be pleased to see me?"

"Of course, and Magde would also."

"Your sister-in-law? Well, well, I will soon visit them both; but listen
now--"

"I will."

"As the error has already been committed--"

"What error?"

"That you should have been taught more than you ought to know; but
still, it is now too late to repent as you have already learned a
little, and I do not think there will be any harm in teaching you more."

"Who will teach me?"

"I shall of course.--I have an idea."

Nanna glanced inquiringly towards her companion. "You might be able," he
continued, "to earn a little competency for yourself; would you be
willing to become a school-teacher?"

"O, yes, nothing could be better! Then I would not be obliged to think
of--of--"

"Of marriage?"

"Yes, of marriage."

"And I am of your opinion, for to speak candidly, whom could you
marry?"

"I do not know; there is the parish tailor, who has already spoken to
Magde about it--"

"The parish tailor!--Aha!"

"And Captain Larsson who owns a sloop, offered Ragnar two barrels of rye
flour if he would speak a good word to me about him."

"Two barrels of rye flour as a bribe! And your brother's reply?"

"O, Ragnar is not to be played with," replied Nanna; "'if you wish to
purchase my sister,' said he, 'you had better speak to her yourself, she
has not authorized me to sell her.'"

"So you have two lovers!"

"Yes, and the sexton, an old widower, is the third. He has considerable
wealth, and therefore applied to my father, himself."

"Without success?"

"Yes, father told him I was too young."

"Do you not prefer either of your suitors?"

"I would rather throw myself into lake Wenner, than to marry either of
them."

"Then let us speak of the school. It will give you a little income, and
is, as far as I can see, the only method of using your accomplishments
to advantage."

"You are right. It is my only choice."

"I fear so too, for a lover suitable for you would not in all
probability find his way hither; but in me you have found a friend at
least."

"Thank God, for that."

"But it is necessary that we should make one agreement--"

"What is it?"

"That we shall not fall in love with each other."

"Oh, there is no danger!"

"Ah! who can be sure of that? You possess beauties beyond your personal
charms, Miss Nanna, that may conquer me in spite of myself."

"You are also beautiful; but I do not believe that--that--"

"You do not believe that you would ever fall in love with me, you were
about saying. Upon my word that is so much the better, for to speak
truly I am placed in as bad circumstances as you are yourself."

"You are!"

"Yes, yes, I speak the truth. My only ambition is to become an assistant
in my father's office."

"If that is the case," said Nanna, "you must fall in love with a rich
girl only."

"I shall be careful of my own interests I assure you," replied Gottlieb,
"but now this perplexing point is rightly settled--is it not?"

"Yes, you are to marry a wealthy girl, and I am to keep a school, is
that the agreement?"

"Yes, and now we must make another arrangement, which is that we must agree
to meet each other during the evening hours at this spot. I own many
books that will be useful to you, and if you can sing--"

"I can sing a little, and the old sexton says my voice is beautiful."

"Allow me to hear you sing."

"To-morrow, I cannot this evening."

"O, you should not refuse a friend in that manner. It would be quite
different if I was your lover."

Without further words, Nanna commenced singing an old ballad, and her
sweet voice, as she trilled forth the beautiful words of her song, fell
upon the ear of her young companion like the soft music of a bird.

"You sing excellently, Nanna, and I think your voice would be improved
if you could play upon the guitar. I have one at home, and might bring
it with me."

"But the guitar would not benefit my future pupils."

"It will serve for your amusement after your scholars have left you in
the afternoon. You will find such a relaxation quite necessary, and when
you play upon it, and sing one of your beautiful ballads, you will think
of your friend."

"And drive away the tedium of the long hours.--O, sir, you are too
kind!"

"Stop, Nanna! Call me Gottlieb, not sir. You know friends should--"

"Thanks, Sir Gottlieb! What a beautiful name! But it is quite late!"

Nanna, who was fearful that Magde, anxious at her long absence, would
come in search of her, arose from her seat upon the grass, and hastily
departed.



CHAPTER VII.

THE CHASE.


The next morning, a few hours before Carl, whistling a ballad of which
he was the author, commenced his journey over ditches and stiles, to
fulfill his engagement to watch with the children of the peasant woman,
Mr. Fabian H---- was awakened by his affectionate wife, who informed him
that it was time for him to prepare himself for his hunting expedition.

Sleepy, and unwilling to leave his cozy bed, for the sake of enjoying
the damp morning air, Mr. Fabian addressed his spouse with all the
tenderness which his state of mind would permit:

"Dear Ulgenie, you--"

Mistress Ulrica, however, did not permit herself to be moved by this
gentle epithet.

"Fabian," said she, shaking his shoulder roughly, "you are going to
sleep again. Quick! get up! I have had your top boots nicely greased,
and on the chair you will find your hunting coat and game-bag.
Everything is made as comfortable as possible."

"Sweet Ulgenie," expostulated Mr. Fabian.

The amiable lady smiled as she heard him speak, and had not an
unfortunate yawn accompanied those two tender words, in all probability
they would have terminated this chapter. But the word yawn is not found
in Love's dictionary, and consequently the unlucky husband was forced to
rise from his bed preparatory to going forth to perform deeds of valor
in obedience to the commands of his mistress.

"Do not neglect to awaken Gottlieb. He also must learn the noble art of
hunting."

"I will, my dear, I will," said her husband, perspiring with his
exertions, as he forced himself into his hunting garments which Mistress
Ulrica had made from a pattern of her own invention. But when Mr. Fabian
had completed his toilette, he hastened from the house, intentionally
forgetting to awaken Gottlieb, for, as we shall soon discover, he had
urgent reasons for wishing to perform his hunting exploits without the
hindrance of a companion. As Sir Fabian was, so to speak, his wife's
butler, he had provided himself with a deputy butler, who generally
received a hint of the day and the hour, when stern fate would compel
his master to encase his feet in heavy hunting boots.

We now see this martyr to the holy cause of matrimony, puffing and
blowing beneath the weight of his heavy gun, as he wends his way across
the fields towards a certain spot in the forest at which he finally
arrives. He looks around him with searching eyes; his brow is clouded
with anxiety and impatience. Suddenly his eyes gleam with an expression
of joy; but he instantly recovers himself and assumes an air of
dignified composure, while he gazes angrily upon the form of a man, who
is approaching him through the trees.

"Fool! you have kept me waiting!" said he harshly as the man advanced.

Humbly but with a humility which was more assumed than natural, the
"Butler," presented Mr. Fabian with two hares, and two partridges; which
would fill his game-bag uncommonly well and ensure a loving welcome upon
his return home. After this ceremony was performed Mr. H---- threw his
accomplice a few pieces of silver, and when the last named performer in
this little scene had vanished, our huntsman fatigued by his arduous
exertions cast himself upon a moss-covered bank and was soon continuing
the dream which had been so unpleasantly interrupted by his sweet
Ulgenie.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In the woods, near the sea I have lived
     Many a day!
     Ho, ho, ho,
     Ha, ha, ha,
     It is so lovely on the earth!"

Thus sang or hummed Carl as he proceeded on his way.

Suddenly he experienced a strong desire to rush into the woods to listen
to the sighing of the wind as it swept through the high branches of the
trees. In this music Carl took such delight that he would listen to it,
for hours, while great tears of pleasure and excitement would roll down
his sun-burnt cheeks. But it was the pleasure and excitement of a
religious enthusiast in the house of the God he worshipped. Carl never
spoke of these sentiments, and how would it have been possible for him
to do so. He never thought from whence they originated. He followed his
inclination only.

While Carl was thus engaged he suddenly saw an object which caused him
instantly to neglect the sound of his favorite music. In the grass near
the fence over which Carl was about climbing, he saw the slumbering
huntsman, with the freshly killed game reposing at his side.

Carl, without knowing why, had conceived the idea that Magde disliked
Mr. Fabian H----, and as for himself, he instinctively hated that
worthy gentleman. And another thought entered his head as he looked upon
the game. He remembered that Magde had once said: "Ah! had we but a hare
or a partridge, how delicious it would be! But such things are too good
for us, they must be sent to the manor house."

Carl laughed silently. He extended his hand towards the sleeping man,
and then withdrew it undecidedly. Our friend Carl possessed a few
indistinct ideas concerning the law of _meum and teum_. By dint of great
exertion, his father had implanted in his mind the great necessity of
observing the eighth commandment, and upon the present occasion the
lesson of his younger days interfered in a great degree with the
accomplishment of his present designs; for as he gazed upon the objects
of his envy, he muttered to himself:

"_The Eighth Commandment:_ Thou shalt not steal!"

His brain was not only troubled with the eighth, but the words of the
tenth commandment came to his memory, "Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor's wife, nor his servant, nor his maid, nor his ox, nor his
ass."

As he thus spoke, and thought first of the commandments and then of
Magde, he continued to advance and retreat, wavering in his decision,
and he might have remained in this state until Mr. Fabian awoke, had not
a bright idea forced itself upon his mind.

"O," exclaimed he, "the commandments say nothing about _game_!" and as
even the veriest simpleton has it in his power to convince himself of
the purity of an action, however wrong, Carl soon satisfied himself with
the excuse which he had so ingeniously invented. He entirely forgot the
closing line of the commandment, "nor anything that is his," which,
however, would not bear consideration on that occasion. He therefore
seized the two hares that were nearest him, and by the assistance of a
long stick he gained possession of the partridges also.

In the meantime, Mr. Fabian's assistant, who had not yet left the
forest, having been attracted by Carl's movements, had been an
eye-witness to his proceedings. But instead of warning the lad of his
crime, the spectator seemed rather to rejoice at his patron's
misfortune. He might safely do this, for after the crime had been
committed, he could easily disclose the name of the thief, and thus
avert suspicion from himself. He thought that Mr. H---- would not injure
a person of Carl's character, and that at all events he would be likely
to receive a proper reward for any zeal he should exert to promote the
interest of his employer. Carl had discovered that his actions had been
observed; but as the spectator, by sundry winks and nods, seemed rather
to encourage than to prevent him, Carl proceeded without fear.

And now, having won the victory, he hastened to Magde.

But here trouble awaited him.

When Carl presented Magde the game, she was delighted; but after her
outburst of admiration had subsided, her first question naturally was as
to where he had procured his prize.

"Is it not enough that it is here?" said Carl, as he stood on the
threshold, twirling his hat in his hand.

"Heavens! I trust you have not procured it in an unlawful way?"

"No, I got it while going the right way," replied Carl, mischievously.

"My dear Carl," said Magde, seriously, "you must not think to deceive me
by your cunning words."

"You should not say so," answered Carl, sulkily.

"No, I should not, Carl, I spoke foolishly; but if you are a good boy,
and love me, you will tell me who has given you this game, or whether
you have promised to pay for it by working by-and-bye."

"I have already worked for it," said Carl, with a laugh, "but I must go
now, or else I will be too late at Sunnangaarden."

Thus saying, Carl was about putting his long legs in active motion, when
Magde exclaimed:

"Carl! Carl! a word more! stop, Carl!"

"I have staid too long already," said Carl; but still he remained.

"Tell me frankly, Carl, did you procure the game honestly?"

Carl, who rested upon the tenth commandment, in which neither hares nor
partridges were mentioned, answered shrewdly:

"If you doubt my honor, I will refer you to the catechism. Do you
believe in the catechism?"

"Is it true then that you have done nothing contrary to its precepts?"

"It is indeed true," replied Carl, gravely.

"Then I am satisfied," said Magde, "and I am grateful to you, my good
Carl, for the welcome present."

"Good? Yes, can I really believe you, Magde?"

"Yes, I so consider you, and therefore I am good to you."

Carl commenced laughing, and assumed a crane-like position, as he
balanced himself upon one leg. This was his usual custom when pleased.

"Well, well, then you love poor Carl a little. That's good!"

"Carl is my good boy," replied Magde, who during the conversation had
been engaged in spreading out a number of skeins of knitting yarn that
had been placed out to bleach upon the grass plot.

"Listen," said Carl, approaching nigher to Magde, "would Magde shed a
tear upon my grave if God should call me from earth?"

There reposed in these words a tone of mingled fear and humility, and
Magde, much moved by the peculiar expression of Carl's countenance,
replied:

"Certainly, Carl, I would shed many, many tears, for I believe there are
none who love you as I do."

"I am grateful, Magde," said Carl, violently scraping the ground with
the sole of his hob-nailed shoe, an action which could scarcely be
called a bow--"your words shall be remembered. I am Magde's servant, and
shall be so as long as I live."

With these words, he turned on his heel, and trotted towards his place
of destination.

"The poor lad has a good heart," thought Magde, as she concluded her
labors in the yard; but she little imagined the true state of Carl's
heart.

Magde now entered the house to prepare breakfast. Her three children
crowded around her, loudly testifying their admiration of the partridges
and hares. She commenced dressing the game with that placidity of
countenance, and with that dexterity which proved she was well versed in
that most important branch of a housekeeper's duties--cookery.



CHAPTER VIII.

CONCERNING THE HUNTER IN THE WOODS, AND HIS HOMEWARD WALK.


We now return to our friend the sportsman, who soon awoke from his sound
slumber, quite refreshed. He yawned, stretched himself, and mechanically
extended his hand towards the spot where he had placed his game-bag.

Although his hand touched nothing but the grass and his gun, he
nevertheless was not troubled, for he thought that he had miscalculated
the distance. He searched still further; but to his surprise the
game-bag was still missing. He now raised himself up in a sitting
posture, and rubbing his eyes vigorously, he searched the ground
closely. But his eyes, usually so good, must have been dimmed by some
enchantment, for he could perceive neither the hares nor the partridges,
which he could not but think were there.

Determined, however, not to believe in such marvels, for honest Fabian
was a man of intelligence, he arose and peered through the bushes in the
grass; he looked in the air, and he closely scanned the tops of the
trees; but his efforts were fruitless. The game was not to be found.

"It is astonishing!" said he to himself. "I can not believe it! They
must be here! But where the devil are they then!"

The trees retained a stubborn silence, and their example was followed by
the earth, the air, and the water. Although the heat of the day was
rendered still more insufferable by Mr. Fabian's thick hunting suit, yet
his flesh chilled with fear when he discovered the actual loss of his
partridges and hares.

To return home without his game, was a misfortune, which under ordinary
circumstances he could have endured; but on this occasion he had reason
to expect a more than usually severe lecture from his wife whose command
he had stubbornly disobeyed by not awakening Gottlieb. While the
unfortunate sportsman was bewailing his fate he discovered the face of
his "butler," who was peering out from between the bushes with an
expression of mingled humility and mirthfulness.

"Where are my partridges, you rascal?" shouted Mr. Fabian, his face
glowing with anger.

"Do you think, Mr. H----, that I have taken them?"

"Such a jest would be but natural. What are you doing here? Have I not
paid you enough?"

"I never do anything without orders, and if you do not wish me to
remain, I will go instantly. I thought, however, that you would be
pleased if I should tell you what had become of your game."

"That is just what I wish to know! Has any one presumed to steal it?"

"Very likely."

"Who? Quick! Tell me!"

But the butler answered only with a long drawn. "Ah!"

"Can you substantiate what you are about to say?"

"I can swear to it, if it is necessary. I waited here only that I might
be able to explain everything to my employer, after he should awake."

"You are a fine fellow, now tell me what evil being has entered the
woods, and committed this depredation?"

"If you wish to have a full account of the matter, you should tender
full payment," said the butler, who considered this play of words
exceedingly apt and forcible.

"Yes, yes, I will not be ungenerous," replied Mr. Fabian taking a
bank-note from his pocket.

"Carl,--the fool of the valley--purloined the hares and partridges."

"What! that cur!--the son of old Lonner!"

"The same."

"Are you certain?"

"Yes, as certain as I am that I live."

"Good," said Mr. Fabian, and he repeated the same word several times,
each time appearing better satisfied, and certainly the thoughts that
occupied his mind must have afforded him great pleasure, for he not only
forgot the trouble that awaited his return home, but also the question,
which in truth should have been the first one--why the Butler had not
stopped the thief and rescued the booty. The Butler, however, thought it
expedient not to await further questions, and therefore soon found an
opportunity of retreating.

Our readers may be assured that when the sportsman returned home his
wife was not in the best of humor. She awaited his coming in the parlor;
but when she heard his footsteps in the court-yard, she could no longer
restrain her impatience, but hastened to the window and exclaimed:

"Where were your silly thoughts wandering, when you left the house
without calling Gottlieb. I must say that you conduct yourself friendly
towards _my_ relations, and I do think it is equally astonishing that
you have come home without him. I sent him to look for you a long time
ago. What! can I believe my eyes! Where is the game that I was to have
for dinner?"

"Dear Ulrique Eugenie, can you not wait until I have changed my clothes?
I have travelled so far through the woods, that I can scarcely breathe,
I am so weary."

"Where is the game?"

"Whew!" ejaculated her husband, "I can stand these clothes no longer."
Thus saying, he hastened into the house, and proceeded to his apartment.

But this respite was of short duration. Mistress Ulrica Eugenie was
familiar with the road to the chamber, and her rage reached its highest
point, when she heard that the game which was intended for her dinner,
had been stolen while her husband, overcome by his arduous exertions,
had fallen asleep.

"O, if I only knew who did this, yes, if I only knew, I would have the
rascal put in the stocks. But you, you dormouse, yes you, you call
yourself a man! you! Don't you wish to borrow my petticoat! To sleep
when engaged in the noble art of hunting! To complain of fatigue! Fie
upon such men! But can you not discover the thief?"

"No, my dear, I assure you. I cannot, how could I know what happened
while I was sleeping?"

"That is the reason why you never knew anything in your life," replied
the exasperated woman. "But see there comes Gottlieb with a partridge in
his hand. He is a pattern. _He_ never allows _his_ game to be stolen,"
and Mistress Ulrica composed her features, and assumed an expression of
motherly benevolence, while she descended the stairs to receive her
nephew.

"Thank you, good Gottlieb," said she meeting him at the door, "thank
you, your uncle has been unfortunate this morning; but come with me to
the dairy, and you shall have the cream of an entire pan of milk."

"The milk also, if you please, aunty, I feel myself able to devour every
thing, pan and all."

"Well, satisfy yourself. By and by we will go to my bleachery and you
may select a piece of linen.--Do you understand?"

"Not a word. It is all a mystery. But I do know that there is not a
nephew on the entire Scandinavian peninsula, who possesses an aunt with
such an affectionate disposition."

"Ah, you flatterer, it is well that you are my nephew or else Fabian
might be jealous."

"Well I am not sure but that he may yet have an occasion, for, I am not
aware that nephews are forbidden to love their aunts."

From that day forward Gottlieb was taken under the especial protection
of his aunt, and as her favorite he was certain of a comfortable and
pleasant life. When she became acquainted with his manners, virtues and
accomplishments, her esteem for him was, if possible, doubly increased.

What could he not do, the dear boy? Not to speak of his wonderful
success in amusing little Jean Ulrick, Mr. Fabian's sole heir, he was
able to read aloud to his aunt from her favorite volume, and to repeat
with almost sublime patience, all those tender passages to which she in
a plaintive tone would sigh _de capo_. More than all this. He could
sing--the model nephew--and accompany his voice with the guitar not only
to the tune of "my love and I," but also to his aunt's favorite ballad,
"In the shadows of the wood; in the cavern hid away." And finally there
was not a female domestic in the house who dared to compete with
Gottlieb in the art of chopping string beans. In short, he was a nephew
whose peer could not be found in all Sweden, and who knows whether the
piece of linen he chose from the bleachery was the last he received from
his indulgent aunt.

Poor Gottlieb, while you are thus the prime favorite of your strong
minded aunt, having free access to the pantries and dairy-rooms, have
you no misgivings that the day will arrive when the doors of this house
shall be closed against you? Relentless fate who ever demands a
sacrifice. How true are the words of the wise Solomon, "All is vanity
and vexation of spirit; and there is no profit under the sun." But it is
not to be believed that Mr. Fabian's slumbers were disturbed because his
wife had deserted him. No, he even preferred the company of hunger and
thirst rather than that of his Ulgenie. Not that this state of mind
originated from the many lectures he had received from his wife. Ah,
no, there were far more powerful reasons; but it is certain that if
Mistress Ulrica had suspected that her husband's indifference arose from
any other motive than the wish to escape a deserved punishment she would
have, undoubtedly, increased the vigor of her tongue to such a pitch
that his house would have been uncomfortably warm to him.

After dining upon Gottlieb's partridge which had done much to smoothe
her ruffled temper, Mrs. Ulrica was thus insinuatingly addressed by her
husband:

"Have you any errands for me to perform at the parsonage, dear Ulgenie?
I wish to ride down there to talk over the parish matters with the
parson."

"That's right, dear Fabian. Take Gottlieb along with you. He would like
to see the young ladies, each of whom are worth a ton of gold."

At this proposal Mr. Fabian's brow darkened; but the gloom was soon
dispelled as Gottlieb declined the pleasure of going, and the first
smile which the young man had received from his uncle was when he
replied: "Excuse me to-day, my dear aunt, I wish to write to my mother."

He had no desire to disappoint his young pupil of the valley.

"Excellent youth!" exclaimed his aunt, "pleasure cannot wile you from
your duties. God forbid that I should attempt to do so; and you Fabian,"
she added extending her arms towards her husband, "kiss me before you
go. Your Ulgenie has no desire to deprive you of any reasonable
enjoyments."



CHAPTER IX.

MR. FABIAN AND MAGDE LONNER.


"O, how thankful I am that you can come out here on the green, dear
father." Thus said Magde, as she gave old Mr. Lonner his hat and cane,
after Nanna had filled and lighted his pipe.

It was a beautiful scene to behold the two sisters thus employed. Ragnar
was right. Without waiting for a request, they were apparently striving
to outvie each other in performing little services for the old man. In
short, Mr. Lonner had not a wish which was not gratified. They
anticipated his every desire.

"There, that will do, my daughters; I thank you. I feel so young
to-day, that I am quite happy. My rheumatism has left me almost
entirely; so give me your arm, Nanna, and we will go."

"Where are you going?" inquired Magde.

"O, after we have taken a short walk," replied Nanna, "I have proposed
that we should go to the spring in the meadow, and sit down awhile. It
used to be one of papa's favorite spots."

"Perhaps you had better take a book with you," said Magde, "and then you
can read to him."

Nanna blushed. Her object was to afford to her father another and much
greater pleasure. She hoped in this manner to introduce Gottlieb to him
before the youth should visit the cottage, because she feared that Magde
in that case would wonder at her familiarity with the new comer.

Many times during the day, Nanna had endeavored to say to Magde, "last
evening, and the evening before, I met an elegant young man near the
spring in the meadow;" but for some unknown reason, the words never
passed over her lips. She imagined that if she was alone with her
father, she would not fear to tell him, and she also thought that when
Gottlieb would see her with the old man, he would know that she had not
agreed to meet him alone.

Her father would also converse with them about the time when she should
commence her school, about which she had already erected many castles in
the air. A little house she had thought should be erected in the valley.
Here she should dwell alone with her cat, her little goldfinch with his
elegant green cage, and she would also have a shed for her cow. She also
wished to take a dog with her; but finally she thought she would not do
so, for he would eat too much, and aside from that, would not be of the
slightest benefit to her, for Carl would certainly assume the entire
control of him.

There was no doubt, she had thought, but that good Carl would help her
with her heavy work. That is, he would come to her little house on
Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, to scrub her floors and bring the wood,
while she was engaged in making cakes and pies for her father and Magde,
who should visit her on those evenings. Of course this plan was to be
followed during the summer only. During the winter, she would spend
those afternoons and evenings in the large house.

What true happiness did the girl experience as she thus innocently
dreamed of her future life! Her joy was increased as she fancied herself
seated in her little school-room after the close of her labors for the
day. That little room was to be a bright place in her memory forever for
was it not he, her friend, who had told her that she would require some
recreation after school hours, and was he not also to teach her the
means for doing so?

We will not describe Nanna's blushing confusion as she told her father
of her acquaintance with Gottlieb, neither will we paint at length, the
mingled sentiments of fear and hope which filled the old man's heart as
he heard his daughter's story; but will simply remark that the meeting
between old Mr. Lonner and Gottlieb was mutually gratifying, and that as
is naturally the case under such circumstances, they each wished to
continue the acquaintance thus pleasingly commenced.

Upon the sand in front of the cottage Magde's children were playing in
the sun, while Christine, the servant girl, was dividing her attention
between her sewing work, and the baby which was reposing in a kneading
trough, upon a little bed of rushes. She would also occasionally cast
her eyes towards the other children, as they dug little ditches which
they filled with water brought from the house in an old kettle, and then
sailed their little bark boats in these miniature canals.

In the meantime, Magde, as usual, was sitting in the parlor, weaving at
her loom with such violence that the window panes rattled in their
sashes. As she was thus engaged she hummed a little song, which Ragnar
during their courtship had frequently sung beneath her window as a
signal that he wished to see her alone. As Magde loved her husband above
all other earthly things, his favorite song had never become discordant
to her. This song she took most pleasure in singing when she was alone,
for then she could give full rein to her fancy, and look forward to the
time when her loved husband should become a captain, and command an
elegant schooner in which he could receive his wife, for she hoped that
she might be able to take one voyage at least to Goteborg, to preside at
the table in Captain Ragnar's cabin.

Then thought she, what a great stir her appearance in the vessel would
create! "Heavens," one would say, "what a beautiful wife our captain
has!" Yes, the captain is a man of taste. "The captain, always the
captain. O, how grand it sounded! The captain loves her so much," the
sailors would also say, "that he scarcely takes his eyes from her, and
how affectionately she looks at him! O, it must be a happy life, to be
thus married!"

While Magde was thus engaged in her pleasant reveries, the latch was
lifted and the door swung open slowly.

"Mercy! What can be Mr. H----'s business here!" she exclaimed.

"O, do not disturb yourself," said Mr. Fabian, for it was our valorous
huntsman who thus disturbed Magde's dreams, "I hope everything may be
arranged without trouble. I am not the man who would injure his
neighbor, even if I had it in my power."

"What do you mean!" exclaimed Magde dropping her shuttle in her terror.

In the meantime the worthy gentleman had gradually approached Magde,
but so softly and cautiously that he resembled a cat about pouncing upon
a trembling mouse.

"Heaven forbid," replied Mr. Fabian, "that I should think that you knew
anything about it. A woman so virtuous as you are, would not engage in
any wrong action; but I do think that a man's property should be
respected."

"Mr. H----, if you have any evil tidings speak them out at once. Perhaps
Jon Jonson has arrived, and the goods that Ragnar--"

"With a deep blush Magde suddenly ceased speaking; but her visitor
required nothing further. He pretended, however, not to have understood
her words; but as he well knew that Jon Jonson's vessel was still at
Goteborg for he expected some merchandise in it himself, it did not
require much penetration for him to surmise that the mate Lonner had
taken an opportunity of sending home some smuggled goods by his friend
Jonson.

"I know nothing about Jon Jonson's vessel," said Mr. H---- after a
moment's pause, "but, I can readily perceive that you expect some
compliments from your husband."

"Yes, not only compliments; but also a quantity of merchandise," replied
Magde, who, after a moment's reflection had concluded that it was better
not to make a secret of it, "as Ragnar had a little overplus he
concluded to send us a few necessary articles from Goteborg. We are
poor, and cannot demand credit until he returns."

"It is better not to do so," replied her visitor, "but at present we
have neither Jon Jonson nor Ragnar to speak about. A certain person in
this neighborhood has placed himself in an unpleasant position."

"Who can it be?" exclaimed Magde, terrified by Mr. Fabian's imposing
aspect, "I will run and call father!"

"If the old man is not at home," replied her visitor concealing his joy
by assuming a frown of vexation, "it will be better not to call him as
it will only cause the venerable man much pain."

"Tell me, do tell me, what has been done?" stammered the frightened
woman.

"I refer to your brother Carl!"

"Carl, the half-witted Carl."

"O, he is in no want of wit, and his weak mind shall not serve him as a
protection when he stands before the justice. Theft is theft, no matter
who commits it. At least so the law considers it."

"The game!" cried Magde clasping her hands in despair and terror.

"You are right, the game that he stole from me this morning while I was
sleeping. I knew full well that the proud and conscientious Magde, would
not deny that he had brought it home."

"But who could have--have--"

"Right, who could have believed that he would have done so, and that is
the very point, and an unlucky one, for it proves that he must have been
seen while committing the theft."

"How terrible this is! A few days ago I happened to say that I wished we
had some game for our old father, and now--now--"

"Calm yourself," interrupted Mr. Fabian, extending his hand and
enforcing his consolation by a love-tap upon Magde's shoulder. In her
affliction Magde did not withdraw from this salute, and Mr. Fabian had
an opportunity of gazing upon her lovely neck for a full moment, to
prolong which he would have given the value of a hundred hares and
partridges. But Magde arousing herself from her stupor, looked her guest
full in the face, and there read an expression which displeased her.

With a blush she replaced the handkerchief around her neck, and suddenly
enquired:

"What then, sir, is the real intention of your visit? You said you would
not disturb us, and as the game is untouched we can return it
immediately."

"The game is not the object of my visit."

"What is then?"

"The theft. Carl will be brought before the justice, I told you there
was a witness to his crime."

"But how can that happen unless you enter a complaint?"

"Have I not the right to enforce the law which is made to protect our
property? but it is possible that I might hush the matter up if I chose;
and when I fancy that I see the poor fellow under arrest, when I behold
him in the culprit's box, in the court-room; when I--"

"May God protect him!" interrupted Magde, "you have said enough, Mr.
H----. I am but the wife of a poor sailor; but if my humble prayers will
be of the least avail--" and Magde, the proud Magde, who before had
often dismissed Mr. Fabian with disdainful gestures, now clasped her
hands, and looked into his face with an expression of tearful entreaty.

"O, do not despair, my dear Magde," said he, "such tender prayers and
looks, have a wonderful influence upon me. Aside from that your present
attitude is perfectly charming."

Overpowered by a sudden revulsion of feelings, Magde closed her eyes,
and sank her head upon her bosom.

"I see," said she, "that you do not intend to assist us from our present
trouble."

"On the contrary," replied Mr. Fabian with much animation, "I will do
everything for you, if you will only conduct yourself towards me, in a
manner different from that which you have done heretofore."

"If Mr. H---- demands nothing more than friendship," replied Magde, with
difficulty repressing her anger, "that shall not be wanting."

"Nothing more, upon my honor," said Mr. H----, joyfully, "if you, dear
Magde, will promise that when you meet me you will favor me with a look
of kindness, I assure you by my honor, that nothing more shall be heard
about this unpleasant affair; and as a proof that we shall hereafter be
friends, I demand the slight favor of a kiss."

"That cannot be," replied Magde, with the coolness of despair, "I love
Carl as my brother, and will give anything to preserve him from
disgrace, except that which does not belong to me."

"What do you mean, my little piece of stubbornness, do not your lips
belong to yourself?"

"From the moment that I entered my bridal chamber, I considered myself
as belonging to my husband alone, and Mr. H----, you can be assured that
you are not the person who can cause me to forget my husband's rights."

"Look you," shouted a harsh voice from the door, "before Magde should
kiss your wrinkled old lips, I would run into the prison of my own
accord;" and first Carl's head, and then his uncouth form appeared, as
he entered the room. His face was convulsed with passion, and his eyes
glanced irefully upon the surprised Fabian.

"Simpleton! you trespass upon my good nature!" exclaimed Mr. Fabian,
foaming with rage.

"Do I?" replied Carl, "perhaps I shall trespass upon something else. Do
you know, sir, what I shall say when the justice questions me?"

"What would you say, good Carl?" inquired Magde, encouragingly.

"I would say, for I know exactly how it will come to pass, I would
humbly say to the justice, that I did take the hares and partridges from
the proprietor of Almvik."

"Yes," interrupted Mr. Fabian, "you will be obliged to show your hand."

"'Now,' the judge will reply," continued Carl, without noticing the
interruption, "'My lad, why did you do so?' Then I will answer, because
it is not forbidden in my catechism; if the game had been an ox or an
ass, I would not have taken it. Then I would say to the justice, at the
same time looking at him in this way"--and Carl made such a ridiculous
grimace that Magde nearly laughed outright--"that there was no danger
that Mr. Fabian H---- would frighten such fierce animals as the ox and
the ass, for it is his custom to charm the hares and partridges by the
sweet sound of his snores, for your Honor must know that this huntsman
pursues his game while comfortably snoring in the grass."

"What do you say, clown?"

"And then I can call as a witness the very man whom you intend to use
against me, and finally I think that the justice will smile a little
when I tell him that Mr. Fabian H---- was willing to forget all harsh
measures for a kiss from Magde."

"Ha! ha! ha!" exclaimed Mr. Fabian, with a forced laugh, with which he
attempted to conceal his uneasiness, "you are a waggish rogue! Your last
words have afforded me so much amusement that I have not the heart to
injure you for such a trifle. But listen, you little simpleton; you must
not suppose that the justice would allow you to say all that. No, he
would have sent you away long before you could have had time to utter a
word about it."

Carl made no further reply than by applying his thumb to his nasal
organ; and gyrating his fingers in a manner so significant that we will
not endeavor to interpret his meaning. Having executed this manoeuver,
he hastily left the room, but remained at such a distance that he could
keep a watchful eye through the open door upon the unwelcome guest.

Mr. Fabian, who did not wish to appear vanquished, was at a loss how to
change the conversation to such a theme as would afford him a suitable
opportunity to take his leave in a dignified manner. But good Magde, who
had now entirely recovered her usual equanimity, soon assisted him--by
means of that instinct which sometimes puts superior knowledge to the
blush--out of his dilemma by saying:

"I am grateful to you, Mr. H----, for having forgiven Carl because his
words amused you; but what a simpleton the boy is!"

"It was because he was a simpleton that I forgave him; but now as my
visit is at an end, I will release you from your unwelcome guest. As for
the game, Carl can keep it. It would at all events create suspicion if
it was sent to Almvik."

"And you, Mr. H----, you will not be angry with us?"

"I, God forbid. When I forgive I forget everything."

Magde arose and courtesied as her visitor took his departure. She
accompanied him a short distance from the house, and waited till he
unfastened the horse's halter.

After mounting his animal, he drove his horse near the spot where Magde
was standing, and as he passed her he bowed deeply, but his face wore an
expression that caused her entire form to tremble with an undefined
fear.



CHAPTER X.

THE TRUANT.


Fourteen days elapsed. Gottlieb had fully learned the road from Almvik
to the cottage in the valley. It had never entered the mind of any one
of the inmates of the cottage to consider him a dangerous guest. Magde,
who possessed a quick eye, soon discovered that Nanna was the cause of
his visits; but she also perceived that Gottlieb was no dissembler.
Magde did not look further than this, for she did not suppose Nanna
would ever love one who did not return her affection. Unrequited love
she did not believe in, and she thought that Nanna was of her opinion in
this respect.

And in truth thus it appeared, for neither Nanna nor Gottlieb
experienced the slightest degree of restraint when in each other's
society. The change that had taken place in Nanna's appearance was
marvellous; the blossoms of buoyant and happy girlhood had usurped the
place formerly occupied by lilies on her cheeks, and our young hero had
more than once laughingly said:

"It is fortunate, Miss Nanna, that we made our agreement when we first
met, for if we had not I do not know what would have happened. You
become lovelier every day, Nanna."

Yet in spite of these words Gottlieb would blush with displeasure when
their meetings at the spring were disturbed by a third person.

The youthful teacher and pupil continued their meetings at the little
fountain, and Gottlieb at this spot gave Nanna her first instructions
upon the guitar. To his great pleasure she learned quickly, and soon she
was able to sing her beautiful songs to her own accompaniment on his
favorite instrument.

Words are inadequate to describe Gottlieb's pride and elation when this
was accomplished, and he was none the less rejoiced when he discovered
how readily Nanna comprehended him when he read to her the writings of
his favorite bards.

On her part Nanna replied to her kind teacher, by confiding to him all
of her little plans, among the first of which she mentioned the
school-room, the cat and the singing bird which he was to have, and
Gottlieb gave her his advice concerning the arrangement of the benches
in the school-room; the position which the black-board should occupy,
and what little presents she should make her pupils as rewards of merit.
He concluded by promising to send her every year a letter of advice;
possibly he might come himself, occasionally, who knew?

"I am sure of that," said Nanna, one afternoon in reply to Gottlieb, as
he thus expressed himself, "for when you are married you will be obliged
to visit Almvik to show your rich wife to your uncle and aunt."

"Perhaps," replied Gottlieb, with a laugh, "that journey will not be
necessary, for if my aunt could only have her own way, she would
certainly find me a wife in this neighborhood."

"Who could you possibly marry in this neighborhood?" inquired Nanna
curiously.

"Ah! Mademoiselle Nanna," replied Gottlieb, "I easily perceive that you
are not in the least danger, for you can hear that your friend Gottlieb
is to be married and betray not the slightest emotion."

"Why should I be moved, Mr. Gottlieb? It will have to occur sometime,"
said Nanna innocently.

"And yet--"

"What yet!"

"You are a good girl."

"Ah, but don't you remember the agreement?"

"Yes, and I only intended to remark that it would not be difficult for
you to adhere to it."

"Does that displease you, sir?" inquired Nanna in a tone of displeasure
which was the more pertinent as it was foreign to her usual manner.

"Certainly not, Miss Nanna, on the contrary I am delighted that you
should follow my advice so faithfully--either of the young ladies at the
parsonage are suitable."

"Did you refer to one of those?" inquired Nanna, her countenance
assuming a deathly paleness, "O they are so beautiful."

"Yes, perfectly angelic--especially Miss--Miss--what is her name?"

"You probably allude to Miss Charlotte."

"Right, Miss Charlotte, whose hair is so black and beautiful."

"O, no, that is Sophia!" exclaimed Nanna.

"Well then, Miss Sophia, I prefer her."

"But why is it that you changed their names?" inquired Nanna.

"Why, you heard that I did not confound her black hair with her sister's
brown ringlets."

"How strange! Charlotte's hair is quite light!"

"Of what earthly difference is it," replied Gottlieb, "whether
Charlotte's hair is brown or white, I think only of the roguish and
pretty Miss Sophia."

"I think you are jesting with me, sir," said Nanna laughing so heartily
that the roses instantly returned to her cheeks.

"I jest with you!"

"Of course. Miss Sophia is so serious and thoughtful that no person
would call her roguish."

"Were you not as quiet as an old prayer-book the first time I saw you?"
replied Gottlieb.

"And even if it was so--"

"Just look into the water, my little miss, and tell me whether you look
as you used to."

"Then you would say, Mr. Gottlieb, that by some magic spell you have
driven away Miss Sophia's gloominess?"

"Yes, I can say Miss Sophia's also."

"_Also?_--that is a bold speech!"

"Are you angry?"

"Oh, Gottlieb!"

"Ah, Miss Nanna. Are you weeping?"

"Mr. Gottlieb may be mischievous and tantalizing enough to compel me to
do so; but this time he has not succeeded."

"Well, as I cannot force you to weep, I must confess the truth, and that
is--"

"That you have seen neither of them," interrupted Nanna.

"Not that, there you are mistaken, for I called at the parsonage one
evening with my aunt, and I was so much pleased with the young ladies,
that now I am here with you, while they are at Almvik, where they
arrived this morning. What do you think of that?"

       *       *       *       *       *

What Nanna thought Gottlieb did not learn; but he soon was made
acquainted with his aunt Ulrica's opinion concerning his absence.
Gottlieb arrived at the latticed gate of the court-yard at Almvik, just
in time to salute the young ladies from the parsonage as they drove
forth from the yard on their return home. They appeared somewhat
displeased, and returned Gottlieb's bow with a stiff and cold salute.

Mr. Fabian observed with pleasure, the cloud which shadowed the brow of
his beloved Ulrica, foretelling the storm that was to burst forth; but
not on himself.

"Nephew Gottlieb," said Aunt Ulrica drawing the young man aside, "you
have to-day for the first time afforded me an unpleasant surprise."

"In what manner, dear aunt," replied Gottlieb.

"Is it your custom when in your father's house to remain away all day
when young ladies are visiting your parents?"

"Nothing would have been thought about it if such had been the case. My
mother is not overfond of such strict principles of etiquette."

"That is to be regretted, for boys who have not been carefully guided,
rarely become gallant and well behaved young men; but we will say no
more on that subject."

"In that I concur."

"We will therefore confine ourselves to that subject to which an innate
knowledge guides us."

"That leads us back upon the same road."

"On the contrary, my young friend, if you will permit me to follow my
own course I will place you on the road to heaven."

"Are you sure, my dear Aunt, that you have discovered the right road?"

"Certainly, only think, a ton and a half of gold; beauty, amiability,
and a knowledge of cookery which excels that of Miss Nylander [The
author of a celebrated Swedish cook book.] herself!"

"But love, my dear aunt, is that not to be found in heaven?"

"O, yes, and it might have already made rapid progress if you had
assisted me in my first step towards the completion of my designs, by
remaining at home instead of running away."

"Which proves that nothing existed before in which love could take
root."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Mrs. Ulrica, "if you wish to succeed your father
you ought to improve your situation by some good marriage. Miss
Charlotte is a lovely blonde, and Miss Sophia, a beautiful brunette, a
perfect Spanish donna."

"Yes, she has a remarkable resemblance to a donna; but unfortunately I
do not prefer Spanish ladies."

"Well, then Charlotte possesses an affectionate disposition. You cannot
but admire her fine sensitive nature, which should kindle a love
equalling Werther's love of Lotta."

"That is precisely what I fear. How would I look imitating Werther?"

"I do not wish you to follow his example. Charlotte is a girl for whose
sake a man might act foolishly, and still be pardoned--then you prefer
Charlotte?"

"No, above all things in the world I detest preferences."

"That is to say, you will cheerfully take the one of the two sisters you
most admire after you have had an opportunity of visiting them a few
weeks, and judging of their good qualities for yourself."

"Nothing of the kind, dear Aunt."

"Then, what do you mean?"

"That I have a great desire to look out for myself in this matter; and
that taking all things into consideration, I am much too young to think
of marriage."

"Then you despise your aunt's assistance?"

"God forbid that such a sentiment should ever enter my heart. I honor
and love God. I am grateful to Him that He has given me a heart, and I
pray Him not to send me a bride which that heart cannot love."

"Your words sound well; but I shall not have my little plot marred by
them. Will you or will you not, accompany me to the parsonage, and
conduct yourself as you should before the young ladies?"

"I will behave politely towards any young lady; but, aunt, if you have
any other meaning concealed beneath those words then--I will say no!"

"You wish to quarrel with me, then. Do you understand what that means,
my dear nephew?"

"I dare not think of such a misfortune."

"Yet that misfortune will certainly come. God knows I would do much for
you; but consider upon your words while you have yet time--you need not
trouble yourself to be present at the fishing excursion this evening."

"Why so, aunt, am I outlawed?"

Mrs. Ulrica Eugenia assumed an air of haughtiness.

"Then I have fallen into disgrace," continued Gottlieb.

"I will not deny," replied Mistress Ulrica, coldly, "that you are on the
road to disgrace; but I hope this wholesome lesson will cause you to
think better of my exertions in your behalf."

"Of that I have my doubts," thought Gottlieb as his aunt majestically
left the room; "and yet perhaps it is foolish on my part not to take her
advice.--Oh, why is not my little nymph of the fountain the possessor of
a ton and a half of gold?--The little creature--hm--She is really too
beautiful!"



CHAPTER XI.

THE FISHERMAN.


The usually turbulent lake Wenner, presented, on the evening of which we
are about to write, an unruffled and mirror-like appearance. In its
clear bosom was reflected the lofty cliffs of mount Kinnekulle, and
sloop after sloop passed over this gigantic image until a puffing
steamboat dashed over it and the picture was lost in the foaming spray
in her wake.

Almvik was situated on a truly romantic spot near the margin of the
lake, of which a magnificent view could be obtained from the mansion.
The surface of the lake this evening presented a pleasing spectacle.
Fishes were leaping out of the water near little boats which were
swinging at anchor, or were being pulled by sturdy fishermen who were
going forth to ensnare the subjects of the water Queen; but the proud
Queen, who, from her crystal palace beheld the danger, commanded her
subjects to retreat, and quickly the sportive fishes hastened to the
depths of the water that afforded them a barrier through which their
enemies could not break.

In consequence of these manoeuvers on the part of the water Queen, our
friend Mr. Fabian, who frequently endeavored to capture her subjects,
was invariably unsuccessful. Undoubtedly this must have been a source of
much misery to the poor man, for he was situated between two iron wills,
namely that of his wife and that of the water Queen; the latter would
not pay tribute, while the former demanded with all the firmness of an
absolute monarch, that the tribute should be forced from the water Queen
at all hazards.

After the above explanation our readers can well imagine Mr. Fabian's
feelings when after having congratulated himself that his wife's anger
with her nephew would occupy her mind for the entire evening, he
received a summons from her that the boat and fishing tackle were ready
for use.

Fishing was one of Mistress Ulrica's favorite pastimes, and although she
did not generally participate in it, yet when she observed her husband's
unskillfulness, she would indignantly cast aside her parasol, and grasp
the fishing rod. However it may be, whether the water queen below wished
to compliment the earthly queen above,--we know that ladies are prone to
be polite to each other--or that some truant fish remained behind to
become an easy prey to the enemy, suffice it to say that Mistress Ulrica
was generally fortunate; but she did not--as she might have done--make
use of her advantage, as she herself would say, "to cause her husband to
blush with shame."

When the dutiful husband arrived at the landing, he found his tender
wife, standing near the boat, clasping her child's hand in her own, and
our friend was obliged to see that his jewels were safely seated in the
boat. After he had rowed the skiff out as far as Ulrica thought was
proper, he with many misgivings threw out his line.

"How strange it is my dear Fabian, that every time you fish you sit
still there on your seat like a perfect automaton!"

With this preamble, Mistress Ulrica opened the floodgates of her
ill-humor, to which on occasions like the present especially she gave
perfect freedom.

"An automaton, my dear!"

"A post, a perfect post. You do not even turn your head; just as though
the company of your wife and child was the most wearisome thing of your
life."

But dearest Ulrique Eugenie, I must keep watch for a bite. If I turn
around--"

"You would not lose the sense of feeling if you should; but you hope, I
suppose, that persons on the shore will think you master of the boat.
Simpleton! What folly to think that!"

"Dear Ulrique Eugenie, shall I ask if you have spared my nephew your
ill-humor that you may vent it on me. It is my opinion--"

"What is your opinion, sir?"

"O nothing further than that I am sufficiently burdened with your
natural bad-temper already, without having it increased by the aid of
another."

"Burdened!--ill-humor--bad temper!--is the man mad? Do you thus speak to
me, your wedded wife, who bears your stupid indifference; your want of
tenderness and love with angelic forbearance? O, this is too much! It is
shameful! It is undeserved!"

"Now, now, Ulgenie, do not be so hasty. You know how patient I am."

"And what am I, then, to be married to such a musty husband? Your wife
is courted before your very eyes; you see nothing! you hear nothing!--I
could be unfaithful to you, and even then you would close your eyes. O,
fate! O bitter life! such a husband can drive a wife to desperation, and
from thence it is but one step to madness."

"Who is again playing the gallant to you?"

And in this "again," reposed an expression which displayed that such
scenes were not new to him. Mistress Ulrica, like other women, possessed
her weak points, one of which was that if a gentleman happened to
converse with her pleasantly, she immediately imagined that he was
desperately in love with her. But to her great sorrow, Mrs. Ulrica,
although she possessed entire control over her husband's actions, never
could make an Othello of him. Had Mr. Fabian but known her desire in
this respect, he could have deprived his wife of her sceptre, and taken
up the reins of matrimonial government himself.

A tyrannical husband would have been able to bend Mrs. Ulrica like a
reed, and to have trodden her under his feet which she would willingly
have kissed; but now Mr. Fabian kissed her feet, and therefore she
crushed him to the dust, and although she did not merit the reproach
that Desdemona received, it was, nevertheless, no fault of his. But of
what use would it have been even should she have merited it? Othello was
a fanciful creation which her husband of all men would have been least
willing to personate.

"My Fabian," she would say to herself, "my Fabian can never prove
unfaithful to me. He is too much of an idler, and thinks only of his
sofa, pipe and tobacco."

But we will resume the thread of the worthy couple's conversation.

"Who is again making love to you?" inquired Mr. Fabian again.

Mrs. Ulrica uplifted her reproachful eyes to Heaven. "He asks who! he
has not even observed it!"

"No, my dear wife, I have not."

"And yet he has this entire day--," she turned her face aside, feigning
to conceal a blush.

"To-day! Why we have had no gentlemen guests to-day, except the pastor's
assistant who came with the young ladies, and took his departure before
they did."

"No gentlemen guests! As if he, the accomplished scholar, and
entertaining gentleman, was nobody! and it was nothing that--"

"Well, what further?"

"That he, carried away by those charms, that you have so long observed
with indifference, should become deeply smitten with me."

"What! Do you think he entertains a secret affection for you?"

"Affection, I will not say affection; but passion, which word your dull
brain cannot comprehend, you virtuous and modest Joseph!" the lady
laughed at her own joke, and then continued, "I am not certain whether I
had better tell the young man that I have discovered his hope; but I
shall be forced to forbid his visiting me, which will be the same as
telling the whole world how this delicate affair stands."

"Will you permit me to give you a little advice?" said Mr. Fabian.

"Why not, Fabian, you are my husband, and as such you have the right to
do so."

"Then I would say, drop the subject where it stands."

"Are you not fearful! Do you not shudder at the possibility of an
unpleasant event?"

"O, my dearest Ulgenie, can I for a moment doubt your strength of soul,
your virtue?"

"It is true I am thus strongly armed, and I thank you, my dear Fabian,
for confiding in my faithfulness."--As was usual a few cheering
sun-beams followed the cooling shower.--"Forgive me, my dear husband,
for harrowing your feelings; but there are times when even the strongest
minded are weak."

"You are an exception, my love."

These confident words had nearly renewed the vexation within Mistress
Ulrica's bosom; but suddenly she was struck with an idea that caused her
to assume a still more affectionate expression of countenance.

"We will trouble ourselves no more concerning that deeply to be pitied
young man. I have something else which I wish to confide to you."

"Another lover?" inquired Mr. Fabian, widening his eyes.

"I refer to a youth, for whose welfare I am deeply concerned."

"Explain yourself, my dear."

"Fabian, you must not hate him, for the young man does not understand
himself, this I will answer for with my life, and perhaps he only
indulges a platonic affection for one who realizes the romantic ideas
which his youthful imagination had formerly brought forth."

"You do not mean Gottlieb, do you?" inquired Fabian, unsuccessfully
endeavoring to conceal a laugh.

"Fabian, why do you speak so sardonically? If in spite of your
watchfulness, his has, unobserved by you, paid a tribute to your wife's
beauty, you must remember that he did not know he was sinning. It was
merely an accident that made me acquainted with the secret of his
heart."

"Will you permit me to inquire what that accident was?"

"With pleasure. I had--I tell you this in confidence--I had chosen one
of the pastor's daughters as his wife; I invited her to Almvik to-day,
but he avoided her presence. He retired to that solitude which he seeks
every evening either before or after we go out on our drive. A certain
instinctive sentiment causes him to leave the house when you are absent,
and more than all, when I reproached him for his faults, and pointed to
the advantageous match I had in view for him, he had the boldness to say
that he would retain to himself the right of disposing of his own
heart."

"And do you believe, my dear, that you are the first cause of this
trouble?"

"I have felt grieved at the thought that it might be so, nothing
further."

"Well, well, dear Ulgenie, I will release you from this burden on your
conscience."

Mr. Fabian, who always found it a difficult matter to converse long upon
a serious matter, spoke the above words in a tone of voice especially
lively, for his heart was rejoiced at the thought that now he had an
opportunity of ridding himself of an unwelcome guest, without giving
cause for any one to believe that it was his own desire to do so.

"What are you babbling about?" inquired Mistress Ulrica, sharply, "what
do you know about my nephew's affairs?"

"Nothing further than that he has had a little love affair of his own,
which occupies his attention during those solitary walks you referred to
a moment ago."

"He! Gottlieb! Has he dared to fall in love!"

"Certainly."

"Impossible!"

"But I assure you that it is true, and if you will ask him why he so
frequently visits the valley, he certainly will not deny that he goes
there for the purpose of meeting handsome Nanna, the daughter of old Mr.
Lonner. He reads poetry to her, and under the pretence of teaching her
the guitar, he finds an opportunity of pressing her pretty little white
hands."

"If that is true. If he, while he remains under my roof, enters into
such a miserable intrigue, I will--for I consider it my duty as
occupying the place of his mother--I will to-morrow morning mar his
plans. But how did you learn this?"

This was a question which Mr. Fabian could not truthfully answer, for if
he should do so, he would have been obliged to state that he, after his
disagreeable parting with Magde, had taken a roundabout path towards
Almvik, which conducted him so near the valley that he discovered two
persons sitting beneath the tree near the fountain, and that from that
day forward he had closely watched Gottlieb's movements, so that he
might be enabled to hold a weapon over the one who might perhaps be a
spy upon his own actions.

It was therefore an accident which opened Mr. Fabian's eyes to
Gottlieb's crime; but he had not wished to play the part of an accuser,
O, no, for such love affairs were common to all young men, at least he
thus assured his wife.

"Make no excuse for him, sir," interrupted Mistress Ulrica sharply,
"this indeed is excellent, and will become still richer if not prevented
in time. The reproaches of a mother on the one hand, and the curses of a
father on the other; a seduced girl, perhaps something worse; a criminal
investigation, and a scandal in which our house, and possibly
ourselves, will figure largely; all this we must expect. As true as my
name is Ulrique Eugenie, this matter shall have an end, and a speedy
end, too."

"But how will you accomplish that?" inquired Fabian.

"That I shall attend to myself. Gottlieb has said that he should like to
travel over the mountains into Norway. Now then he can go to Amal, and
from thence he may commence his journey. He shall have money, but must
obey me."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following morning, after Mistress Ulrica had convinced herself by
her own eyes of the truth of her husband's report, for she followed
Gottlieb to the meadow that morning instead of taking her usual ride,
Gottlieb was summoned to her apartment, and underwent an examination
that nearly exhausted his entire stock of patience. The interview
resulted in his determination to accept his aunt's proposal, that he
should take a journey into Norway. He did not inform Nanna, however, of
the cause of his sudden departure, for he feared that it would grieve
her.

Their last interview was cheered by bright anticipations of the day when
Gottlieb should return and observe the improvement which Nanna should
make, both in her performance on the guitar, and in her education; for
when his aunt had made a contract of peace with him, Gottlieb had
insisted that Nanna should have the guitar, to which clause the old lady
consented.

The young couple parted in the hope of a joyful meeting, and Gottlieb's
farewell kiss did not assist Nanna to forget him.

The next day after Gottlieb had taken his departure, Jon Jonson's sloop
arrived in the bay opposite the little cottage in the valley.



CHAPTER XII.

GRIEF.


Nearly two months had elapsed since those remarkable days on which Nanna
had received her first kiss, and Magde had heard from her husband by the
arrival of Jon Jonson's sloop.

Great had been her joy when Ragnar's gifts arrived in safety.--She then
thought that everything had come to a good conclusion. But greatly was
she deceived! There was a man to whom Magde had invariably conducted
herself with cool indifference, and who, after having been defeated by
her in the manner which we have before described bestowed upon her a
parting glance which had caused her to shudder as if she had trodden
upon a serpent. And he was indeed a serpent in human guise, for soon she
felt the delayed sting of the venomous reptile.

Until Ragnar had received his appointment as mate, old Mr. Lonner had
invariably purchased his supplies of the merchants at Goteborg; but as
Ragnar thought that foreign goods could be obtained much cheaper by
procuring them himself, and sending them home without paying the duty,
he soon persuaded the old man to adopt his opinion on the subject.

Until now no unpleasant consequence had resulted from Ragnar's
occasionally smuggling a few articles for the use of the family; but the
old adage says "a pitcher which goes oft to the fountain is soon
broken," and in Ragnar's case this proverb was verified.

Yet, for this accident, the custom house officers were not so much to
blame, for not one in that service would have thought for a moment of
searching the cottage in the valley, unless positive information was
received, nay more, unless that information was accompanied with threats
of exposure, for dereliction of duty. Unfortunately, the custom house
stamp was wanting upon the handkerchiefs, shawls, and other goods sent
by Ragnar, and the family not only were deprived of them, but were
menaced with fines and penalties, which to pay, was entirely out of
their power. To add to their misfortune their protector, Ragnar, who
would have soon put an end to their troubles, had started a few days
before the catastrophe, upon a voyage to Brazil.

Magde and Nanna wept only when they were alone, or at least when they
were with each other. They concealed their tears from the old man, his
life should not be further embittered; it was bitter enough already. The
little fortune on which they had hoped to subsist for many months was
entirely swept away. Old Mr. Lonner, however, observed the secret grief
of his daughters, and said to himself:

"Poor children, you do not know what is yet to come."

The smuggled goods were marked with old Mr. Lonner's name only, and he
well knew that a heavy penalty was yet to follow.

"We have enjoyed so much happiness, and peace, since Ragnar and Magde
were married," said he encouragingly to his daughter, "that we should
bravely endure a little misfortune. It is not allotted to man that he
should enjoy a constant season of prosperity."

But Nanna and Magde smiled sorrowfully as he thus spoke. The inmates of
the cottage now exerted themselves to the utmost to better their sad
condition. Our friend Carl exerted himself beyond all the others. He who
had neglected the affairs of his own relations for those of his
neighbors, now scarcely had leisure to step beyond the boundary line of
his father's estate. He was everything, and did everything so willingly
and skilfully, that it was not necessary for the family to hire any
servant to assist them as they had formerly done, and although latterly
he had been somewhat feeble in health, he cared not for himself, but
worked manfully in wet as well as dry weather. His troubles and toil
were all forgotten, when Magde would reward him for his efforts with a
friendly nod of her head.

And when she would say, "You will work yourself to death, my Carl," he
would laugh pleasantly, and immediately renew his efforts ten fold. He
now determined that after his duties at home were performed, to go among
the neighbors; not to be a nurse for their children, as before, but to
work for wages, and after this when he returned and placed the money on
Magde's weaving loom, a bright object might have been discovered
glistening upon the crumpled bank-note. It was a tear of joy which Carl
had shed.

Magde after the first occurrence of this incident, dared to praise Carl
no further. She already perceived the consequence of so doing, but after
the lilacs and lilies had faded, the tulips, roses and lavender bushes,
bloomed, and however weary Magde might find herself after a day of toil,
she would each evening place elegant boquets in Carl's flower vases.

At length, and too soon, the decision in regard to the smuggled goods
arrived, and as Mr. Lonner was unable to pay the penalty imposed upon
him, he was doomed to imprisonment. In this their day of trouble, Mr.
Lonner alone retained his courage.

He well knew in truth to whom they were indebted for their distress, but
he feared nothing. He trusted in the belief that Magde would do all that
was in her power to raise the sum of money necessary to pay the fine. It
was unfortunate, however, that Magde, without the old man's knowledge,
had expended their small stock of money to pay a few debts that they had
contracted the previous spring.

We will not attempt to depict the misery of the moment when old Mr.
Lonner stepped into the boat which was to conduct him to the prison at
Harad which was located on the opposite side of the lake, and where he
was to be confined for the time being. Both of his daughters wished to
accompany him to the opposite shore; but he forbade them so seriously
that they dared not press their desires further.

It was touching to observe these sorrow stricken females, amidst their
terror search high and low in the cottage for various articles of
comfort for their beloved father. At length, with a slight degree of
sorrowful impatience old Mr. Lonner ordered the boatmen to push off from
the shore, and then it was piteous in the extreme to behold both Magde
and Nanna, as they clung to the gunwale, to whisper their tearful
adieu's, and to promise that they would pay him a visit in his prison in
a few days.

Finally the bitter moment was over; the boat rapidly proceeded from the
land; but so long as they could discern the old man's white locks
fluttering in the breeze and even until the boat appeared a speck in the
distance, Nanna and Magde remained on the shore gazing out upon the
water.

In the meantime Carl without the knowledge of the family had proceeded
to the opposite shore of the lake, and when the boat which contained his
father touched the shore, Carl greeted him tenderly and presented him
with a ten dollar bank note. This was a treasure indeed, and Carl had
obtained it by selling the only article of value which he possessed. It
was a silver watch, which his mother had given him before she died.

On his return home that evening he remarked:--"Father need not fear. He
can live in his prison rolling in riches; a gentleman met him on the
other shore and loaned him ten dollars."

How Magde and Nanna blessed the kind hearted gentleman; but their joy
was but momentary. What should they do now? How should they provide for
themselves in this unexpected trouble. Their poor neighbors like
themselves, were moneyless, and their wealthy neighbors would
undoubtedly require some security before they would loan them money.

Nanna often looked towards the spot in the meadow, so full of pleasant
memories. If her kind friend would only return. He certainly, would be
able to advise them how to act in their present strait.

Three days elapsed after the old man's departure, and many were the
plans formed by Magde, but the only apparently feasible one, was that
which she would most unwillingly undertake to carry into effect. She was
perfectly convinced that the proprietor of Almvik would willingly assist
her; but he would do it _too_ willingly, for afterwards he would cause
her to feel that she was in his debt.

"But," thought she in a maze of doubt and fear, "what shall I do? Is it
better to remain as we are and allow the poor old man to languish in
prison, or to go to Almvik, and thus receive the only boon our father
wishes, liberty? But what would Ragnar advise me to do. He loves his
father as he does the apple of his eye; but his wife he loves as he does
his own heart--And then if he should imagine that Mr. Fabian H---- --Oh!
my God! what trouble would then arise!--but again I shall not be able to
assist the old man--no, no, that will not do, I can hold out no longer."

Magde had no person with whom to consult, for what advice could poor
Carl give? Nanna was a mere child, and Magde felt that she could not
consult her upon such an intricate question.

She had conversed with the parson concerning her trouble, yet although
he was not backward in giving her good advice, he nevertheless refused
to assist her with his purse, for he was as miserly as he was wealthy.

The time had now arrived when Magde could no longer postpone the
promised visit to her father, and all the members of the family wished
to go upon this little pilgrimage. Great were the preparations that were
made to supply themselves with a sufficient quantity of provisions which
they were to take to the old man. Magde baked pan-cakes, and Nanna made
pies, and if a smile did appear on Magde's lips it was when they spoke
of the pleasant surprise they were preparing for their father.

At length the moment for their departure arrived. Even little Christine
and the favorite dog Carlo, were to form a portion of the company, that
they might be able to see their old friend. The children leaped with
joy.

They thought only of the pleasant trip over the swelling billows of the
lake. Magde finished lading the skiff; but her heart was overflowing
with grief, for she had no glad tidings with which to gladden the heart
of the old man.

Nanna who during the busy activity of the morning had successfully
endeavored to suppress her sorrow, was so much overcome as she was about
stepping into the boat that she nearly fainted. She saw in her
imagination the pale and suffering countenance of her father; who was
however smiling patiently as he stood ready to greet his children, that
were to leave him again in his dreary and lonely prison.

The poor child in anticipation suffered all the pangs of a second
farewell with her imprisoned parent.

"It will not do for you to accompany us," said Magde in a firm and
motherly tone, "you are ill, and therefore had better return."

"I am afraid," replied Nanna trembling violently, "that I shall be
obliged to do so. Give my love to him, and tell him--" and now her long
suppressed tears burst forth in torrents--"tell him if I do not come, it
is not because I do not love him."

"Silence, silence my poor sister, I know myself what I have to say--Go
and may God be with you--here is the key--Lock the door--Carl take the
oars."



CHAPTER XIII.

THE BANISHMENT--THE RE-UNION.


When Magde's boat passed the mansion at Almvik, two persons were walking
on the verge of the shore near the lake. The one was Mistress Ulrica,
and her companion was Gottlieb, who had returned a few days before, from
his trip through Norway.

As the boat shot round a rocky point of land, Gottlieb exclaimed, as he
recognized its occupants, and bowed friendly to them: "Where are they
all going! They look so sorrowful and dejected!"

"Sorrowful!" repeated Mrs. Ulrica, "you may thank God that it is not
necessary for you to participate in the sorrows of the lower classes."

"If they are in trouble, I do not see why I should not sympathise with
them."

Aunt Ulrica shook her head with a dissatisfied expression of
countenance.

"You may certainly boast of your firmness of mind, and your knowledge of
human nature; I have shown you the danger of associating with such
persons. I sent you away--I--"

"I beg your pardon," interrupted Gottlieb, hastily, "I was not _sent_
away. I took a journey which I had decided on myself, and returned as I
departed, with a heart ever ready to sympathise with the afflicted."

"Then go, and participate in the sorrows of your beggar friends. I
suppose, from your liberal words, that you are well supplied with
money."

"What has happened to them?"

"The old man, in connection with his son, has been detected in smuggling
foreign goods, and of course his property was confiscated. The old
gentleman in whose name the business was transacted, was sent to prison
because he had no money to pay the penalty, and there he will remain
until you go to his release."

"And he shall not wait long," replied Gottlieb. "I have accomplished
greater undertakings than that in my time."

"Ah, ha," sneered Mrs. Ulrica, "you speak boldly, boy. I am
astonished."

"If any one should be astonished, I am the person."

"Indeed!"

"I come to relatives who at first welcomed me cordially. My affections
attached themselves to my kind friends, for it is a necessary quality
for me to be grateful; but suddenly everything is changed, and I am
treated like a school boy, whom you must curb, or else fear that he
might commit some folly. To this description of guardianship I have not
been accustomed, and as it is not my desire to submit to your control, I
must beg you, Aunt Ulrica, not to attempt to govern me in this manner,
for I assure you that your efforts will always be fruitless."

"Foolish boy! You forget that I could be useful to you; could smooth
your path by my wealth and influence."

"I do not forget it, and I should have been very happy to have been able
to retain your good will; but at the price of my liberty of thought and
action, I do not desire your favor."

"Then you will return to the valley, to Miss Nanna."

"Undoubtedly. She requires my presence, and I long to see her."

"Then you still love the young girl?" inquired Mrs. Ulrica.

"I do not know whether I loved her when I departed from Almvik; but
this much I do know, that her image has been with me constantly during
my absence; and that I shall see her again to-day."

"To tell her of this folly?"

"O, no, that would be unjust, as I can tell her nothing more."

"Thank Heaven for that! You, yourself, see that it would be impossible
to--"

"What?" inquired Gottlieb, as his aunt paused.

"To marry her."

"I do not at all consider it impossible; but as it is uncertain whether
I ought to wed Nanna when the time arrives for me to marry, it is better
for both of us that we should rest satisfied with friendship alone."

"Listen to me, Gottlieb. Sometimes you speak so wisely that I am not
certain but that it would repay me to make a proposal to you."

"Well, I am all attention."

"If I am not much mistaken, pity is the only sentiment that you feel for
that girl, Nanna. If I was to take it upon myself to pay the old man's
fine; if I should further promise you to provide for Nanna's future
maintenance--you know I would not break my word--will you bind yourself
not to see her again?"

"No, I will never do that. She would be oppressed with sorrow throughout
her whole life, if I should be capable of making such an unworthy
promise."

"Obstinate youth! you force me to perform my duty to your mother my
sister, and command you to visit Almvik no longer. I will not burden my
conscience by abetting you in your misconduct."

"I will remain a few days longer," replied Gottlieb without evincing the
slightest emotion, "to rest myself after my journey, and then I shall be
ready to obey your command."

"Right," muttered Mrs. Ulrica hotly, as she hastily left the young man,
"you shall repent this."

Without wasting time by thinking upon this conversation with his aunt,
Gottlieb hastened on the road towards the little cottage. He had
observed Nanna was not in the boat, and after proceeding to the spring,
and fruitlessly searching for her, he hurried to the cottage, his heart
beating with such rapidity as he stood before the door, that he was
astonished at his great emotion.

"Illness could not have prevented her from going with them," thought he,
"certainly not, or they would have remained with her."

Thus thinking he knocked at the door; but he was obliged to repeat the
summons several times before he heard the sound of slow footsteps
approaching.

"Who is there?" inquired a soft voice from within.

"'Tis I, Nanna!"

An exclamation of joyful surprise was the only reply. The bolt was
quickly thrown back; the door opened, and Nanna appeared upon the
threshold, pale and careworn. She was clothed in her only holiday dress,
a black merino frock which fitted closely around her neck, thereby
disclosing her graceful bust to its best advantage.

Without speaking, but overwhelmed with her joyful emotions, she cast
herself in Gottlieb's arms, and never was there a purer embrace given or
returned than on this occasion. With tender gentleness Gottlieb
imprinted his second kiss upon her lips, and then said softly:--

"Poor Nanna, poor child, you have at least one friend in your
adversity."

"Then Gottlieb is acquainted with--" She blushingly withdrew herself
from his embrace. She had not thought that her greeting had been
contrary to customary usage.

"Yes, I know your sorrow; and you may rest assured that I will give
myself no rest, during the few days that I remain here, until I see your
father at liberty and safely in his own house again."

"O, if that were but possible!" she clasped her hands and lifted her
eyes, confidingly, to the face of her youthful friend.

"It shall be possible, Nanna. You have my word for it. If I had been
here it would not have happened."

"I thought so. An inner voice told me that if _he_ would only come to us
all would be well again."

"I am grateful for your confidence and shall always remember it with
pleasure."

"Remember it!" exclaimed Nanna, "are you going to leave us again?"

Nanna again clasped her hands, and this action and the mournful
expression of her countenance spoke more than words could have
expressed.

"Will you miss me, Nanna?"

"Always."

"And perhaps wish we had never met?" inquired Gottlieb earnestly.

"Ah, no," replied Nanna warmly, "the remembrance of you will perhaps
work a happier future for me than I would have had without it."

"But tell me," said Gottlieb changing the subject to one less dangerous,
"why did not your sister apply to the proprietor of Almvik."

"O, she would never apply to him. She would rather allow things to take
their own course."

"Why so?"

"I know not whether I dare tell you. Papa and Magde, consider me a mere
child, yet I can understand that Mr. H---- has sought her with wrong
motives, and if I can believe my brother, Carl--"

"What then?" interrupted Gottlieb eagerly.

"Then I can believe that all of our troubles have originated in the fact
that Magde refused to give that gentleman a kiss when he requested it."

"What, did he wish to purchase a kiss?"

"Yes, for Carl's pardon," and now Nanna related every circumstance
connected with the theft of the game, in nearly the same words in which
she had heard it from Carl.

After a short season of reflection, during which he compared the
different circumstances, Gottlieb arrived at the same conclusion that
Carl had expressed to his sister; and at the same time he also fancied
that he had discovered a method for old Mr. Lonner's release, which
could not fail of success. In the meantime he merely inquired whether
Mr. Fabian H---- had visited the cottage since his discomfiture.

"I have several times observed him prowling about the premises," replied
Nanna; "he probably hoped to have an opportunity of seeing Magde alone,
which however he has never had, for even should he offer his assistance,
she would not have dared to accept it, for if she did, Ragnar would be
very angry."

When Gottlieb returned to Almvik, he learned that his worthy uncle, whom
as he before knew had left the house early that morning, was not
expected to return until late in the evening. In consequence of this
unfortunate circumstance, Gottlieb saw nothing before him except a
vexatious delay in his intended operations; but it soon entered his mind
that Mr. Fabian's absence might be connected in some degree with his
wayward love. The day on which he had visited Magde, in order to take
advantage of Carl's theft, he had also departed from Almvik in the
morning, for during the evening hours his wife was invariably on the
watch.

The more Gottlieb considered this circumstance the more he was convinced
that if his uncle had sown the seed it was done for his own benefit, and
undoubtedly the time was now at hand when he should reap the harvest.

"Ah!" thought Gottlieb, "if I should only be so fortunate as to obtain a
power over my uncle, my suspicions and conjectures would exert a
powerful influence upon his yielding disposition, especially, if I
should place his wife in the back-ground. But to surprise him, with my
own eyes in forbidden grounds, would be as good as to have old Mr.
Lonner safe back in his cottage again."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE PRISONER.


While the incidents last narrated were transpiring on the one side of
the lake, Magde's boat had reached the other, and the occupants of the
boat were about landing, yes, Carl had even secured the boat to the
stake, when one of the little ones in attempting to reach the landing,
fell overboard with a loud cry.

The young and always self-possessed mother, answered the boy's cry, not
by crying out herself, but by springing into the water after him, and
when Carl turned to learn the cause of the confusion, she had already
reached her little boy, and was holding him up at arm's length out of
the water. It was all done in a moment, without the least unnecessary
confusion.

"Carl," said she quietly, "take the boy."

But Carl had lost his self-possession entirely. After he had literally
thrown the boy on the landing, he inquired with a trembling voice:--

"Could you not wait for me? The boy would not have sunk immediately."

"You must not scold me, Carl, I am only a little wet."

She then quietly drew herself to the shore.

"How will you dry yourself now?" inquired Carl in a tone of uneasiness
and vexation.

"O, easily, I will call on Mother Larsson and borrow a dress to wear
while we visit our father, and my clothing will be dry by the time we
return."

Carl was silent. He was displeased because Magde had not called him to
her assistance. Meanwhile he proceeded with the children to the prison,
that he might prepare the old man for the visit. Magde did not tarry
long at Mother Larsson's. As soon as she had obtained the necessary
garments, she hurried on, clothed in a neat peasant's frock which fitted
her fine form gracefully.

The prison at Harad was located in the ruins of an old castle. Its
outward appearance presented a dark and forbidding aspect. The heart of
the beholder would contract within him as he gazed upon those ruins of
fallen greatness, as they reposed before him, dark and deserted, like
an evil omen in his path.

But the interior of the prison, with its tottering weather beaten
projections, apparently ready to fall from their resting places,
presented an appearance still more gloomy and forbidding. Dampness, and
mould of a hundred years growth had obliterated all traces of the fresco
paintings that had formerly ornamented the ceiling, on which the
moisture had gathered and fell at regular intervals with a hollow patter
upon the stone pavement below.

The places once occupied by glittering chandeliers were now shrouded
with immense spider webs, in which a whole colony of spiders lived
subsisting on the noisome vapors of this gloomy charnel like abode.

Aside from these poisonous insects, an occasional rat, and a few
unfortunate prisoners, there were no other inhabitants in this dark
prison. A flock of jackdaws had built their nest beneath the eaves of
the old castle, and as they received good treatment from the prisoners
they would pay them a passing visit at their grated windows to look in
upon them or to receive a few crumbs of bread. Old Mr. Lonner had
already made their acquaintance and derived much pleasure from attending
to their little wants, while he anxiously awaited the arrival of his
children.

When Magde arrived she found Carl had prepared the way for her so that
she, without hindrance, proceeded directly to the old man's cell. Mr.
Lonner was deeply moved by the visit of his children; but he appeared
perfectly resigned. Magde's two children were seated upon his knees,
while Carl was standing before him relating all that had transpired
during his imprisonment. The cloud which had rested upon the old man's
brow changed instantly to an expression of joy when he beheld Magde the
wife of his beloved son, enter the room. His arms trembled as he
embraced her, and his heart throbbed painfully when she described her
sorrows and troubles, and told him that Nanna had nearly fainted as they
were about entering the boat, at the mere thought of the second parting.

"It was right to leave her behind," said Mr. Lonner, "and if we can only
find some means whereby I may be released before the autumn, that the
cold may not increase my feebleness, then--"

"Means must be found, father, I think, of immediately going to the city,
to take our cow and the two sheep with me, aside from those I will also
take the piece of linen which I have made for Ragnar's shirts. By adding
all these together I--"

"But, dear daughter, if you sell the cow, how will these little ones
prosper?" He clasped his hands upon the two little white heads of the
children who were sitting in his lap.

"O, I can borrow some milk of our neighbors, and we can repay them in
the fall, after Ragnar returns, for then we shall have another cow."

"That will never do, my child. We must discover some other method."

"I had an idea, also," said Carl, advancing from a corner into which he
had withdrawn when Magde entered.

"What is it, my good boy?" inquired his father.

"I was thinking about that which Ragnar has so often told us, about the
people in England who procured money by pawning themselves--what was it
he called it?" continued he, scratching his head to arouse his memory.

"Life Insurance, was it not?" replied his father.

"That's it, father, and Ragnar also told me that even here in Sweden,
gold might be obtained from England on such terms. Now, if we could find
some one who understood this matter, and would undertake to draw up the
proper writings, I would willingly give my life as security, and then
you see, father, I should be just the same as so much ready money."

"My good son, your words are well intended; but it is not as you think
in relation to Life Insurance."

"O, that is too bad, father, or you might have received a large sum of
money when I am dead."

"My life, I hope, will be finished before yours," said his father, "I am
old, and you are young."

"True, I am young in years; but lately, yes, last Friday, while I
passed through the church yard, I heard a voice, and that voice I
believed."

"What ideas you invent!" exclaimed Magde, frightened for the first time,
as she observed Carl's hollow cheeks and sunken eye, "but what did the
voice say?"

"'Carl, Carl, Carl,' it said, calling my name three times, 'you will not
live long.'"

"Your brain is weak, my boy, because you have worked too hard. When your
body has received rest, and rest it must have, you will feel much
better. But tell me, Carl, what you thought when you imagined you heard
the voice."

"I did not think, but merely replied, 'indeed.'"

"But, Carl, with this superstition you will make your father sorrowful."

"Sorrowful? I do not think so. Should he be sorrowful because our
Saviour in his grace is willing to call me to his fold? Instead of being
sorrowful, the day of my departure should be a festive day. How many
troubles do we escape after we are placed in the earth!"

"But if you think in that manner, you will become mournful yourself, you
will not be able to laugh any more."

"Not laugh," replied Carl, and without an effort he commenced laughing
merrily. His face glowed with mirthfulness, and his melancholy humor
seemed to have vanished as if by magic. It appeared so strange to him
that Magde should desire him to laugh, that he forgot all about the
life insurance or the warning voice, and once thus engaged, he took no
farther part in the consultation.

An hour elapsed, and Magde, after having emptied the basket of its
contents, experienced a return from the hope that had sustained her
during the interview, to her former despondency, as the moment of
parting approached. Carl proceeded in advance to prepare the boat.

"In four days, at the furtherest, I shall return," said Magde, pausing
upon the threshold of her father's cell, "and then, as I hope for
Ragnar's continued love, I shall bring you good tidings."

"Thank you, my dear Magde. Ragnar shall learn all that you have done for
his old father. Kiss Nanna, poor little innocent, for me, and tell her
that she must not come here, for it will only make her heart more heavy
and sad."

A moment later, and the creaking doors resounded throughout the ruins,
the prisoner was again alone.

But once more did he hear a dear voice, for when Magde arrived at the
outside, she remembered with a feeling of uneasiness, that her youngest
child had not been blessed by its grandfather. In the haste of
departure, the little one had been entirely forgotten; but as it was
impossible for her to leave the prison with the dear child unblessed,
she stood beneath the grated window, and exclaimed:

"Father, dear father, please look through the window, and I will hold
up the baby for you, that you may give it your blessing."

Immediately the old man's white head appeared at the window, and Magde
held the child aloft in her hands towards him.

And now everything was performed rightly; the last farewell glances were
exchanged, and then Magde and her children disappeared from the old
man's sight.



CHAPTER XV.

GOTTLIEB ON THE WATCH.


The heat of the day had been followed by the pleasant coolness of an
August evening. The hands of the clock pointed to the hour of ten, and
Gottlieb, who had been walking during the entire evening in the
neighborhood of the little red cottage, began to think that his uncle
Fabian had in all comfort reached his home by another road.

"It is so quiet in the cottage," thought he, "that I think they have all
retired."

He glanced stealthily over the lilac hedge towards Magde's window. The
entire valley was bathed in moonlight, and the moonbeams glanced
directly through the window panes of Magde's apartment, with such vivid
brightness that Gottlieb was undecided how to act.

Soon, however, he resolved to convince himself of the true state of
affairs, that he might be prepared if his uncle should arrive.

He gradually made an opening in the hedge and having found his way clear
before him he advanced to the window which, as the weather was warm, was
secured only by a small cord. He glanced through the window, and a
beautiful picture met his gaze. In this chamber, the husband and wife's
little temple, the moonlight was brilliantly reflected from Ragnar's
brightly polished hunting and fishing implements which, neatly arranged,
were hung against the walls.

At the opposite side of the room, a much worn sailor's hat, commonly
called a tarpaulin, was balanced upon the point of a fishing rod, and
beneath this trophy was placed a small side board, the open doors of
which disclosed a number of shelves laden with gilt edged drinking
vessels of white and blue china; a set of rose colored tea-cups, and
several polished silver plated mugs. A few uncommonly excellent
specimens of carving in wood, decorated one of the shelves, and another
shelf contained several articles of jewelry which Magde had received
both before and after she was married. All these little valuables Magde
had gathered together, after she had put the children to bed, in the
hope that she might find some few articles among them that would save
her from disposing of the cow.

But her search, undoubtedly, had proved fruitless, for Magde's ornaments
were made almost entirely of bronze.

Seated in a chair with her hand resting upon the cradle, Magde was now
sleeping soundly.

She had been called, probably, while she was engaged in assorting her
little treasures, to attend to the wants of her infant, and overcome by
fatigue had unwillingly submitted to the power of that consoler of human
grief, sleep. Her face was turned towards the window, and the moonlight
illumined her entire figure, which was rendered more prominent by the
fact that the cradle stood in the centre of the room. She was still
attired in the garments she had borrowed, and her brown hair, fell in
two long braids over her loose white sleeves, from whence they dropped
upon the face of the sleeping child, while Magde's elbow was resting
upon the little pillow.

"What a picture for a painter!" thought Gottlieb. "Young Lonner is not
the most miserable of men, by my faith; but I know one who at some
future time will look much prettier in that position!"

The dull sound of a horse's hoofs, aroused him from his reveries.

"Ah, ha," thought he as a smile of triumph played upon his lips, "I was
right. We shall now see what is to happen."

Gottlieb returned to his hiding place in the hedge with noiseless
rapidity. He had not remained long in his somewhat tiresome position,
when the sound of the horse's hoofs ceased, and from the noise which
proceeded from the other side of the hedge he concluded that the owner
of the horse had dismounted and was securing his animal to a tree.

He soon heard the sound of light footsteps proceeding over the grass,
and then he discovered the familiar form of Mr. Fabian approaching the
cottage. After the new comer had assured himself that the door was
fastened he advanced to the window near which Gottlieb had been standing
a moment before. Instead of spending time in useless watchfulness he
immediately tapped upon the window; but Magde slept so soundly that the
noise did not disturb her.

Mr. Fabian flatted his nose against the window pane and suddenly
discovered the picture that Gottlieb had so much admired. Yet it was not
an expression of love which passed his lips as he gazed upon her.

"Confound that woman!" he exclaimed, "she drives me mad, and I believe
she would look on, if I was parching with thirst in the torments of
hell, and not give me a single drop of water."

He again tapped upon the pane so loudly, that a person less fatigued
than Magde would have awakened. At this moment Mr. Fabian was struck
with fear at his own temerity.

"Only think," thought he, "suppose I should awaken some one else! What
if an account of this should come to my wife's ear!"--the thought was
terrible, and the guilty husband's knees trembled violently. So much did
he respect his "dear Ulgenie," that he felt it even at his present
distance from her, and perhaps he would have relinquished all his plans
in relation to his beautiful Magde, had he not discovered that the
window was fastened only with a small cord.

To break off a small twig from a neighboring bush, and to thrust it
through the crevice of the window and remove the cord from the hook, was
the work of an instant, and before Gottlieb could fully understand the
nature of his uncle's movements he saw him suddenly disappear through
the window.

Of course Magde was now awakened by the noise of Mr. Fabian's abrupt
entrance, and she quickly sprang from the chair. When she recognized the
intruder she was seized with a deathly fear; which was however but of
momentary continuance. With flashing eyes, and haughtily curling lips
she advanced towards him with a bearing so threatening that Mr. H----
retreated in fear.

"Why do you visit me at this hour?" she inquired.

"I was unable to come earlier. I have been to see the justice and made
such arrangements that I think Mr. Lonner can be released as early as
to-morrow."

"And to speak these words--undoubtedly well intended--you have crawled
through my window."

"Upon my honor it was not my fault. I knocked several times, and not
wishing to go home without telling you this good news, which I thought
would cause you to sleep better--and observing you had not retired--I
seized the only opportunity remaining."

"Well," replied she, "I do not think harm will result from your friendly
visit, but as it is out of the order of things that you should remain
here, I must request you to leave the room in the manner you entered,
and then I can converse with you through the window."

"Cruel Magde!" exclaimed Mr. Fabian entreatingly, and even dared to
extend his hand towards her. But Magde repulsed him with a look of scorn
and anger.

"Travel no further upon this crooked path, and call me Magde no longer,
I bear the name of my husband, and wish to be called by that title
alone."

Gottlieb who could observe and overhear all that occurred, or was said
in Magde's chamber, could scarcely refrain from laughter as he saw his
good uncle retreating before the virtuous woman until he arrived at the
window from which he somewhat clumsily descended. Gottlieb was on the
point of rushing forward to receive his loved relative in his arms and
thus preventing him from injuring his precious limbs, when the sound of
Magde's voice prevented him from rendering this important service to his
uncle.

"There, that will do," said she, "we can now converse without
inconvenience to either of us. I hope Mr. H---- has not hurt himself."

"O, never mind me," replied he, "your heart is too hard to be moved at
my sufferings."

"I wish to say a word to you, Mr. H----. Your labor is entirely thrown
away upon me. I can pity the folly of a man if his folly is not evil;
but--"

"Am I evil? Try me," interrupted Mr. Fabian hastily.

"I will," replied Magde. "If you will bind yourself to release my father
I shall ever be grateful for the service."

"And nothing further?"

"Nothing."

"Then, at least give me your hand that I may with it wipe away the tears
that scald my eyes. I am a weak, a tender hearted man, and must weep
when I am scoffed at. But never mind, give me your hand, a moment."

"It is impossible."

"Give me but your little finger."

In lieu of a reply, Magde endeavored to close the window; but her
admirer prevented her from doing so.

"Ah!" exclaimed he furious at his defeat. "You wish to enjoy a boon, and
not reward the donor. Then listen, the old man shall remain where he
is. If I do not interest myself for him no one else will."

"That remains to be seen. Mr. Gottlieb has returned--"

"Ah! then, he has returned. Well, what can he do?"

"Not much, my dear uncle," exclaimed Gottlieb advancing towards Mr.
Fabian, "except to give my dear aunt Ulrica, a full account of the
interesting conversation I have accidentally overheard."

"Without replying Mr. Fabian stared a moment in bewildered surprise, at
the intruder, and then rushing wildly to his horse, he mounted and urged
the animal to a furious speed.

"Well, well," exclaimed Magde, "we can well compare Mr. H---- to a hare.
But Mr. Gottlieb, whatever chance brought you here, do not bring sorrow
upon him, by speaking to his wife of this adventure."

"Fear not, Mrs. Lonner, I have not been on the watch here to become an
informer; but as I heard certain things from Nanna to-day, and as I from
the first have suspected my uncle, and as I wished to have him in my
power--"

"I understand you Mr. Gottlieb. You are an honest and faithful friend,
and we shall never forget--"

"And I, Mrs. Lonner," interrupted Gottlieb, "I shall not forget this
valley I assure you, and now good night; in a short time everything will
be as it was before."

"Thank you, a thousand times! When Ragnar returns, through God's
assistance we will repay you."

       *       *       *       *       *

Gottlieb's heart bounded with joy, as he proceeded on his road towards
Almvik, but the heart of another traveller in the same direction was
oppressed with gloomy forebodings. It is almost unnecessary to say that
the latter traveller was Mr. Fabian H----. On his arrival at Almvik he
entered his wife's chamber trembling with anxiety, lest Gottlieb had
been there before him.

"What is the matter with you?" inquired his wife, who had already
retired to her bed; "has the horse been balky, or have you met with an
accident?"

"Nothing, nothing, darling Ulgenie; but my head has been heavy all the
afternoon."

"That is caused by your excessive sleeping," said Mrs. Ulrica.

"Perhaps it is. Hereafter I shall sleep less, and after this, my dear
wife, I will follow your advice in everything."

"Then, my dear, you will be a good husband. If I should always find you
so, I would not have so many causes for complaint."

"Have you any complaint to make now?" inquired Mr. Fabian, anxiously.

Mr. Fabian was in a state of fearful suspense. The air to him appeared
populated with evil spirits.

"I did not speak thus for the purpose of troubling you, dear Fabian, it
would not be just for me to choose this moment, when you feel so
repentant, to remind you of other moments when you do not seem impressed
with the worth of your wife."

"Yes, yes, that would indeed be cruel, for it is true, really true,
that--that--"

"What, Fabian, good Fabian?"

"That I never before have so much esteemed and adored you, my dear,
dear--" He was unable to proceed.

"Ah! Fabian, that is the true spirit. You at last understand how happy
you are."

"Yes, as happy as the condemned sinner," sighed Fabian; but in such a
manner that his wife heard the first word only.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE FESTIVAL.


The next morning, when Gottlieb awoke, he discovered that he had a
visitor even at that early hour of the day. His uncle Fabian was pacing
backward and forward at the side of his nephew's bed, with a countenance
so wretched and woe begone, that Gottlieb could not but pity him.

"Good morning, uncle," said Gottlieb, cheerfully, "how is your health?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Your voice sounds just as if I was a robber demanding your purse or
your life. What is the matter?"

"That which you told me yesterday makes your comparison very apt."

"You are mistaken. It is not my intention to play the part of the famous
Rinaldo Rinaldini. I am the most peaceable person in the world, and if
you wish to remain at peace at home--which is very natural, you know--I
have no desire to prevent you from doing so."

"But, perhaps, you intend to demand from me three times the sum of money
necessary to fee a lawyer, to bribe you to secrecy."

"Shame upon you. I have not demanded anything. I only expect--"

"What?" inquired his uncle.

"That you will of your own free will and accord loan me the money
necessary to pay old Mr. Lonner's fine. In a few months, when Ragnar
Lonner returns and repays me, I will settle with you. If he does not
repay me, why it is but a small sum to lose."

"And what will you require for yourself?" inquired Mr. Fabian.

"Shall I peddle out my secret like a Jew? I swear by my honor that I
will not divulge to my aunt one word of all that has passed."

Mr. Fabian thrust his hand into his capacious pocket, and withdrawing
his purse, with a sigh counted the money into Gottlieb's hand.

"I shall not give you my note for this, for if I am not repaid I do not
expect to repay you."

His uncle did not immediately reply, but after opening and closing his
purse several times, he addressed his nephew in a tone which displayed
deep and true emotion.

"Gottlieb," said he, "I am not miserly. You have spared me when you
might have prepared a place of torment for me. I am grateful. Have you
any debts? Your father is not rich."

"That is spoken like a man of honor and a true relation," said Gottlieb,
warmly, "but fortunately I have always been obliged to live
economically, and therefore have escaped from falling into the foolish
habit of contracting debts."

"Well, then, if you have no debts, you at least have a future to prepare
for. You must not therefore refuse my offer."

"I do not wish to make use of it at present. Yet I do not wish you to
consider it refused entirely. At this moment I do not require anything,
unless indeed you wish to spare my feet and my boots, by giving me a
little money to pay my travelling expenses. When the time comes, and I
find myself fully engaged in my father's office, I will consider your
proposal with the greatest pleasure."

"Do so, and I will have a good memory, I assure you."

"One word more, uncle. You must promise me to trouble the worthy Mrs.
Lonner no longer. She will never submit to your desires."

As he thus spoke, an ashy paleness o'erspread Mr. Fabian's countenance,
and with a shudder he glanced fearfully around the room.

"O, the walls have no ears," said Gottlieb; "but uncle you will promise
me this, will you not."

"Most assuredly," replied his uncle. "That woman has driven me almost
mad; but I think that last night's fright has entirely cured me. I shall
not go there again under any circumstances."

       *       *       *       *       *

The songs of the birds of the valley were more melodious than ever
before, the perfume of the roses and lilacs were sweeter than formerly,
at least so thought the occupants of the little cottage when Gottlieb
visited them that afternoon. Certainly, however, the feast which was
given on that day had never been equalled before, except perhaps on the
day of the arrival of Ragnar after a long absence from his wife and
home.

It was a splendid dinner--roasted spare ribs, and fish, and cakes. The
old man occupied the seat at the head of the table. Gottlieb, who had
provided this repast from the money he had received from his uncle for
travelling expenses, was seated beside Nanna. The children ate so
rapidly and heartily that it appeared as though they intended to swallow
a sufficient supply to last them for a year to come. Carl, wearing his
Sunday vest, a vest that Magde had made, and with a rose in his jacket
button-hole, a rose that Magde had plucked, was seated in his usual
place at the table, cheerful and contented. Magde attended almost solely
to the old man's wants, filling his plate, and replenishing his cup. And
lastly, little Christine, who trotted from place to place, taking care
of the cow, dog, sheep, goats, and the ancient cat, was as happy and
cheerful as the others. Altogether the scene was beautiful and
harmonious.

"And for all this happiness," said the old man, looking tearfully upon
the youth, "for all this happiness, Mr. Gottlieb, next to God, we are
indebted to you. Happy must be the parents of such a son!"

"Father Lonner," said Gottlieb glancing around the table, with a
friendly smile, "you have no reason to be envious."

"That is true," replied the old man nodding his head pleasantly to the
circle of beloved ones.

In the afternoon, after the old man had retired to his comfortable bed,
now doubly comfortable to him, to rest himself awhile, and Magde was
seated by his bedside pleasantly chatting with him, while Carl was busy
making little boats for the children, Nanna and Gottlieb were seated
near the spring beneath the tree, in the meadow.

It could easily be believed that the young couple were not very
talkative, for Nanna was busily engaged in searching in the grass for a
four leaved clover, and Gottlieb was amusing himself, according to his
childish custom, by blowing shrill blasts upon a thick blade of grass.

It was sunset. The glowing reflection of the sun fell upon Nanna's pale
neck and face, illumining them with a golden blush.

"I am sorry," said Gottlieb, at length, throwing aside the blade of
grass, and assuming a serious cast of countenance, "I am sorry that our
lessons must have an end; but all is for the best, for, my child, you
know enough already."

"More than enough," replied Nanna, softly.

"Especially for a school teacher," said Gottlieb.

"Yes, especially for a school teacher," repeated Nanna.

"But you speak so abstractedly. You are not so lively as usual."

"I did not know it; but if Gottlieb says so, it must be true. When one
has been so glad as I have been to-day, and then as sorrowful, it takes
much courage to meet the change indifferently."

"But, dear Nanna, you were aware that I should be forced to go away
soon."

"I did not know that you were going so soon as to-morrow morning."

"Neither did I, myself, when I saw you yesterday; but when I determined
to go by the steamboat, you perceive that--"

"Yes, yes."

"And then again what difference will a day or two more or less make,
when we part--"

"Never again to meet," interrupted Nanna.

"You will do right in the meantime not to hope too much."

Nanna glanced inquiringly towards Gottlieb.

"Do you not think it strange, Nanna, that we who have been acquainted
but so short a season, should think so much of each other?"

"It is perfectly natural that we should. Persons in fashionable society
cannot become so well acquainted with each other as we could in one
hour. At first we met each other every evening, then every morning and
evening, and at length--"

"And at length morning, noon and night!" interrupted Gottlieb, with a
smile. "In truth, Nanna, you are right, for if our every meeting was so
divided that we should be together but once each week, our acquaintance
would have been prolonged for an entire year."

"O, much longer than that even," said Nanna, joining in Gottlieb's
laugh.

"And as we have remained by our agreement not to fall in love with each
other, we part as friends, and not in despair, and what is still better,
not with reproaches, which, had the case been different, we would have
been obliged to make and listen to."

"Yes, it is fortunate, very fortunate, that--that--" stammered Nanna,
unable to finish the sentence.

"We need not conceal from ourselves that in making that arrangement we
ran a great risk. For my part, I am not too proud to say that it has
been very difficult for me to keep it."

"But Gottlieb," replied Nanna, "as you have kept it, it is better as it
is."

"Certainly; but then it is not so good as I wish to have it."

"How do you wish it to be then?" inquired Nanna innocently.

"Upon my honor I can hardly say; but if I was placed in better
circumstances--" Nanna dropped her eyelids over their soft tell-tale
orbits; but not so quickly but that Gottlieb detected a ray of hope
gleaming from their deep wells.

"Will you advise me what course to take, when I have obtained a
competency?" continued Gottlieb.

"No, that would be of no use; but Mr. Gottlieb, when I hear that you
have wedded the rich wife of whom you have spoken, I will rejoice at
your good fortune."

"And does not the thought of that rich wife cost you even half a sigh?"

"Not if that wife will render you happy."

"Nanna, you speak as though you did not love me at all!" exclaimed
Gottlieb hastily, forgetting entirely the part he had determined to play
during this interview.

"And should I love you?" inquired Nanna blushing deeply. "I think I am
not such a foolish girl as that."

"But I believe that you love me," replied Gottlieb. "Can you deny that
your heart is mine?"

"I do not deny it; but I shall not allow it to be so," said Nanna with a
glance that immediately cooled Gottlieb's sudden ardor. "My heart is my
own, and should not be an object of trouble to you; and I assure you Mr.
Gottlieb that I shall not allow any weakness on my part to cause you to
break the judicious contract we have made."

"Ah! Nanna, you are both wise and charitable. I shall not endeavor to
wrest the secret from you; but you are so much esteemed by me, that at
some future day, when I can follow my own inclinations I will return to
you."

"I will forget these last words, Mr. Gottlieb, for I think them the
saddest you have ever uttered."

"You are right; but I spoke as I thought. It is not my fault if I
thought that you were above all others most suitable to become my wife."

As he thus spoke Nanna trembled violently and she looked upon him with
a gaze which contained more bitterness than words could have expressed.

"I believe I am mad indeed. I have endeavored to speak in a better
spirit, and instead of so doing--I had better go immediately--or--"

"Or what?"

"Or I will, yes, I will, hold you to my heart, and swear to you, as true
as I am an honest man, that I love you, and you alone, come what may, I
can withhold myself no longer." Gottlieb suited the action to the word,
and enfolded the blushing girl in his warm embrace.

"O, Gottlieb!" cried Nanna, weeping and laughing, "this is madness
indeed!"

"No, on the contrary it is happiness!"

"But to-morrow you will repent it!"

"Never, Nanna, I sincerely believe that all is for the best. We can work
hard; we have only a few needs, and it is such happiness to love each
other."

"But--"

"You must accustom yourself to omit that disagreeable word. When my mind
is once made up, I permit of no _ifs_ nor _buts_. And as we do not
require a great amount of money to defray our little domestic expenses,
I think it would be wrong for us to waste the best part of our lives in
useless delay. After one year has elapsed, the parson shall unite us as
man and wife, and I shall take you from this valley, and we will look
forward to all the joys and sorrows, which our Heavenly Father in his
wisdom shall send us."

Nanna, who for a long season had battled against the intoxicating desire
which had filled her heart, gradually assented to Gottlieb's words, and
the interview terminated with a second agreement, which was directly
contrary to the first one, for by it they bound themselves to love each
other forever.

They agreed that this change from their former agreement should be
concealed from all others. They alone should know the secret.



CHAPTER XVII.

RAGNAR.


Autumn arrived.

The valley was strewn with yellow leaves. The birds had ceased their
songs. The grass had withered. Rains and storms had discolored the
fountain. Yet, although Nature seemed to have been engaged in
contentious strife, still joy reigned supreme within the little cottage.
Ragnar, the beloved husband, the darling son, had returned. Seated in
the midst of his children beside his lovely wife, and with his arm
encircling her waist, he listened with a countenance changing from
cheerfulness to solemnity to a recital of all that had transpired during
his absence.

As soon as Mr. Lonner, for he was the narrator, had concluded, Ragnar
advanced and enfolded the old man in his arms.

"What viper did this? I have a strong suspicion--to cast such an old man
into prison--and I was away from you, unable to protect you and these
weak and deserted women."

As he thus spoke, his countenance glowed with indignation.

A slight cough at the other side of the room attracted Ragnar's
attention. It was Carl.

"I understand you, Carl," said he, "you must pardon me. I forgot myself
when I said the women were deserted."

And the frank and honest Ragnar, whose ruddy brown countenance bespoke
his health, advanced and extended his hand to Carl, who with a face as
sickly and yellow as the seared leaves without, was reclining upon the
sofa, watching the family group with a restless eye.

Poor Carl, each day he gradually faded, and his belief in the warning
voice he had heard in the church yard became firm and unwavering. He
accepted Ragnar's proffered hand with a grateful smile.

"How hot you are!" exclaimed Ragnar, "I will hasten to the village and
speak to the physician."

As Ragnar thus spoke, Carl laughed in his peculiar manner. "That will be
profitable indeed!" said he.

"Certainly it will, dear Carl," said Magde, approaching the sick youth,
"Ragnar is right."

"Ragnar is always right," said Carl, in an unusually sharp tone, "so
long as you please him you do not care if you neglect my wishes."

"What, Carl, do you not love your brother?" said Ragnar, in a tone of
reproach, at the same time pressing a kiss unobserved, as he thought,
upon his wife's lips. Ragnar always felt an inclination to conceal from
the observation of others the fact that he still loved his wife as he
had when he first wedded her, and therefore rarely caressed her when in
the presence of witnesses; but on this occasion, his affection was so
great that he could not resist the pleasure of stealing a kiss.

"Is not the entire room large enough for you to kiss in without my
seeing you?" said Carl, harshly, "I do not wish you to do so right
before me."

"Perhaps you envy me," said Ragnar, with a laugh. He had not given
Carl's expression a serious thought.

Carl lifted himself upon his elbow, and gazing full in his brother's
eyes, he replied slowly and firmly, "Yes."

"Why do you, Carl?" inquired Ragnar.

"Because I do not wish any body to kiss Magde--is it not so, Magde? You
well know how I behaved myself when Mr. Fabian H---- wanted to buy a
kiss of you."

"What! I believe the poor boy is mad! What! Buy a kiss of Magde! Poor
Carl!"

"Am I speaking false, Magde? Answer me."

"O, Carl, how strangely you tell your story!" exclaimed Magde, "you
ought first to have related how it happened, and--"

Magde flushed and paled alternately, and in her excitement could
scarcely express herself.

"Can there be any truth in this?" said Ragnar, and his eyes sparkled.

Magde had now recovered her presence of mind, and related, without
concealing a single fact, all that had happened between herself and Mr.
Fabian.

"I am now firmly convinced that this--this--no matter, that Mr. H----
was the prime cause of our father's imprisonment."

"He was," interrupted old Mr. Lonner. "I am as firmly convinced of it,
as I am that the young man of whom I have spoken was the cause of my
release. I wish you were acquainted with Mr. Gottlieb. He is a worthy
young man."

"I will tell him so in the letter I shall write him; but what if he
entertained the same desire that influenced Mr. H----."

"Fear not for me, at least," replied Magde, casting a roguish look
towards Nanna.

"Ah! that is singular indeed; but after all Nanna will bear a pretty
close inspection--but I cannot drive that Mr. Fabian from my mind."

"First you must tell us some of your adventures," and Magde's
countenance wore such an entreating expression that her husband
understood her immediately; and therefore as long as he remained in the
presence of his father, and his sister and brother, he continued
speaking of all the singular things he had seen and heard, which was
listened to by a pleased and expectant audience.

At length the time arrived when the husband and wife were at liberty to
interchange their thoughts freely; the children had been nicely tucked
in their little beds, and Ragnar and Magde alone occupied their private
apartment.

"Now, dear Magde, now you must give me a good kiss. God bless you for
this happy moment. After tossing six months upon the ocean, it is a joy
indeed to return to one's own home and wife."

"Is it true indeed, dear Ragnar, that you love me now as you did when we
were married?"

"Did you find no four-leaved clover last summer, that you ask me this
question?"

Without replying, Magde hastily opened a clothes press, and produced an
old compass box, from which she took a handful of withered clover
leaves.

"See here," said she.

"And do these not convince you?" inquired Ragnar.

In this old box, Magde preserved, so to speak, the tokens of her wedded
joys. From the first year of her marriage, she, whenever her husband
was absent, would seek in the meadow for four-leaved clovers, under the
conviction that so long as she continued to find them, she might rely
upon the continued love and fidelity of her husband. And she was
invariably successful, and each year she deposited the clover leaves in
the old compass box. As Ragnar uttered his last question, Magde cast
herself upon his breast, and gazed tenderly into his face.

"O don't look at me too closely, to-morrow I will look better, after I
am washed and dressed," said Ragnar, arranging his shirt bosom, and
smoothing down his jacket collar.

"You are so good already, that if you should be better it would be
dangerous; but Ragnar, you have forgotten to measure the children to see
how much they have grown since your departure. You used to do that as
soon as you entered the house after a return from a long voyage."

"This time," replied Ragnar, "you greeted me with such strange news that
I quite forgot all my usual habits. It grieves me to observe that Carl
is upon the verge of the grave. True, he was ill last winter; but he
soon recovered."

"He exerted himself too much during our troubles," said Magde, "then he
has taken no care of himself, and then--yes, yes, there is something
very strange about Carl."

"What do you mean by strange, Magde?" inquired her husband. "Do you
think that he is really insane?"

"Oh no, I did not mean that; but--"

"Speak on, speak your mind."

"Now, do not laugh at my fancy--or be vexed with poor Carl. I think
that--he loves me too much, and his passion has weighed heavily upon
him, although he does not, himself, understand it."

"Your words are worthy of reflection, Magde; now I remember, his conduct
did appear peculiar when he said he envied me the privilege of kissing
you. Poor fellow, how could I be vexed with him? He, probably, never
desired to vex either you or myself."

"Never. Frequently during the summer I have placed flowers in his room,
and in them he took his greatest delight. Even now he loves to hear me
sing to him, or to read a chapter in the Bible, above all other things."

"Such love," said Ragnar, "is a beautiful rose, the perfume of which
cheers a drooping spirit. He may continue his love; it will sustain him
in his last trial. Hereafter, I will not even take your hand in his
presence."

"How kind you are, dear Ragnar. Now I can be to him as I was before your
return." Magde wiped the tears from her long eyelashes, and before
Ragnar could question her, she continued: "You may depend upon my
fidelity. I only wish to afford him a slight ray of joy while he is
still on earth. Without me he stands alone."

"Act your own pleasure, my dear Magde, you are aware that I confide in
you as in my own heart. Although I shall act gently towards Carl, who
with his own desire, would not injure me, still I will not be so
submissive with an individual like Mr. H----, who has conducted himself
most wrongfully."

From these words Magde became aware that she would be obliged to relate
all that had occurred between Mr. Fabian and herself, and this she did
accordingly.

She feared more from Ragnar's silence than she would if he had given
vent to his rage in words. Ragnar possessed a faculty of controlling his
anger by a silence which was much more impressive than furious speech.

"Ah, then he entered your window, after he had first removed the old
man. Well, well, worse things have been done before."

This was all he said; and as not only the following, but also the second
day passed, without Mr. Fabian's name being mentioned, Magde thought
that Ragnar had looked at the affair with sensible eyes. She even felt
somewhat annoyed at the thought that Mr. Fabian's punishment should be
so light.



CHAPTER XVIII.

AN HOUR IN MISTRESS ULRICA'S CHAMBER.


Throughout the entire fall, Mr. Fabian had been his "sweet Ulgenie's"
humblest slave, and therefore had been trod deeper into the dust. Since
he had learned of the return of Ragnar Lonner, he had suffered a
feverish anxiety. Even his easy chair no longer afforded him rest, for
sleeping or waking, one object alone was constantly before his eyes:
Ragnar Lonner's wrathful countenance peering through the door.

He was suddenly seized with as strong a desire for active life, as he
formerly possessed for easy rest, and he felt himself in no safety
except when at a distance from the mansion, for he knew that Ragnar
possessed too much honor to entrap him in an ambuscade.

One morning, when he, as had been his custom for the previous week, went
to his wife with the information that he was compelled to take a short
journey, she sharply accosted him:

"Man, what does all this restlessness mean? Are you insane? Am I always
to be left at home alone?"

"Ah, my dear," replied Mr. Fabian, "you are aware that I must attend to
my business."

"I know that not long since you found it difficult to take care of
yourself. This sudden change in your disposition will never do."

"Dear Ulgenie, I acknowledge your superior judgment; but to-day I really
must attend the auction at Rorby, there is to be a sale of some genuine
Spanish sheep."

"Ah! as that is really some business, you may go; but come home early."

"I hope to return before eleven o'clock."

Mrs. Ulrica presented him her hand to kiss, and after he had pressed it
to his lips with all the gallantry which was still left him, he quickly
turned away from her.

Mrs. Ulrica during the entire day was filled with wonder at the sudden
change that had taken place in her husband, and if she could have for a
moment entertained such a thought, she would have believed that her
husband had become acquainted with some intriguing female.

But among her female acquaintances in the neighborhood, there was not
one whom Fabian had not seen at least twenty times, and he had undergone
each new ordeal with a firmness which proved that he was out of all
danger.

This point once settled, Mistress Ulrica was more composed, and after
having spent the day in attending to her domestic duties, she retired to
her bed at an early hour, for she always felt weary and ill-humored when
her Fabian, whom she really loved, was not at home to hear her tender
words and reproaches.

About an hour had elapsed after Mrs. Ulrica had fallen asleep. The
servant also slept soundly, for, although she had been told to wait for
her master, she had satisfied her conscience by leaving the hall door
unlocked--contrary to her mistress' strict command--and then retired to
her bed.

As before said, Mrs. Ulrica had been asleep about an hour, when she was
disturbed by a singular noise which resembled the shuffling of feet near
the bed. She opened one eye that she might warn her husband that one of
his first duties should be not to disturb his wife's slumbers. But the
warning produced no effect. This being the case, Mistress Ulrica found
it necessary to open the other eye, that by the aid of the night light
she might discover Fabian's true condition.

She first glanced towards the sofa; it was empty. Then she looked
towards the easy chair; but as this stood partially in the shadow of the
large bed curtains, she was able only to perceive a pair of feet, and it
was these very feet that had the impertinence to shuffle in her room,
without asking her permission.

"Fabian," she exclaimed, "are you not ashamed of yourself? What are you
doing?"

But Fabian did not reply.

"Ah, you foolish man, I see now that you have been made drunk, you could
not withstand their entreaties, poor man; please prepare for bed."

And yet no answer.

"He is as drunk as possible. Go to your own room, Fabian; be careful, do
not take a light with you, and do not fall down stairs and hurt
yourself. Are you going to move to-night? Shall I ring the bell for the
servants, that they may carry you to bed?"

Not receiving a reply, Mrs. Ulrica tore aside the bed curtains, and
extending her hand, placed it upon a strange head of hair.

"Heavens!" she exclaimed, "that is not my husband!"

"What of that, it is the husband of another," replied a calm voice.

Terror prevented Mrs. Ulrica from crying aloud. "A thief!" she gasped.

"I do not think so," replied the voice.

"Who are you then?" stammered she.

"Sleep quietly, you shall not be disturbed."

Mistress Ulrica continued to feel for the bell cord. "I believe," said
she, "he wishes to murder me when I am asleep."

"Sleep quietly, I neither wish to steal nor to murder. I only wish to--"

The unfortunate cramp, which at her first terror had attacked Mrs.
Ulrica's throat, now suddenly disappeared, and she emitted a long and
loud scream; but no sooner had this been accomplished, than a large
brawny hand was placed roughly over her mouth.

"Please do that no more," said the voice, "or I shall be forced to be
troublesome, and do not look for the bell-rope, it would only be
disagreeable for you if the servants should enter the room now."

"What do you want then, fearful man?"

"To remain where I am. At present I want nothing further."

Suddenly a new light dawned in Mrs. Ulrica's brain. What if he should be
an unfortunate suitor for her love.

"How?" said she, forcing all her pride and dignity into her words, "how?
remain here? Sir, this is my bed-room."

"I am aware of the fact."

"And here no man has a right to enter except my husband."

"And myself," added the voice.

At this unexpected reply, the lady summoned courage to examine the
unabashed visitor more closely. He was an elegantly formed man, and as
he gazed at her with his expressive eyes, interest and repugnance were
both created within her heart. The repugnance was caused by the fact
that the man wore a blue frieze coat, which unfortunate garment at once
dispelled her romantic dreams.

"Will you explain the cause of this unheard of impertinence?"

"That cause will very soon arrive."

"Very soon? You did not seek me then?"

"Not precisely."

"Then probably you wish to see my husband?"

"Yes."

"Am I at all concerned, then?"

"Slightly."

"Ah!" exclaimed Mrs. Ulrica, who now remembered her strange visitor's
first observation, "there must be a mystery about this which I do not
understand. You remarked that you were the husband of another."

"True."

"And furthermore you said you had a right to seek my husband in this
room?"

"You certainly know your alphabet."

"Then you have--O, what will become of us!--you have--a demand to make
of my husband."

"No, he has a claim on me, and this I will pay back, principal and
interest."

"O, the monster! The crocodile! He has been untrue to me."

"Yes, both in heart and desire; but my wife is not one who cries out, or
attempts to pull the bell-rope. She commands respect without so much
trouble."

"And do I not, also?"

"I do not know what you would do, if you should see a man, at this time
of night, crawl through your window, and attempt to bring you to
disgrace by the promise that he would release an old father from prison;
but I do know you have nothing to fear at present."

"You are then Mr. Ragnar Lonner?"

"I am."

"And for such a miserable reward--that woman--"

"What! Miserable reward!--that woman!--Well, that night lamp is not very
brilliant, but I can easily perceive that I have before me an old dutch
galleon, so badly rigged and managed, that I would prefer to crowd sail
and make my escape rather than to take her in tow. And you call my wife
that woman! Miserable reward!"

"I do not understand your gibberish, my good man: but that you are
unrefined and uneducated I can easily see, and I command you to quit my
room immediately."

"You would then force me to retreat, as my Magde drove back your
husband. Please try the experiment."

"Monster! Unfeeling wretch!" exclaimed she, "is this the manner to speak
to a lady, to an injured wife who is obliged to bemoan the infidelity of
her husband. O, the villain! I will overpower him with my wrath!"

"My turn comes first," interrupted Ragnar.

"Ah, ha, I understand. My cup is filled to the brim--blood must
flow--Lonner do you wish to kill my husband, then?"

"To fight with him. God forbid. Such things I leave to people of rank. I
have another method of doing my business."

"And what is that?"

"O, it is very simple. I thought that nothing would be more unpleasant
to him than to be placed in a disgraceful position before his wife, and
perhaps a greater punishment for such a miserable man could not be
devised than to--but no matter, your husband knows why he leaves his
house every day."

Mrs. Ulrica clapped her hands together violently. Now the riddle was
solved. She now knew the cause of the sudden change in her husband's
conduct.

"And, as it has been impossible to find him at home in the daytime,"
continued Ragnar, "I have come this evening to settle with him in this
place, and at this hour."

Ragnar had scarcely ceased speaking, when heavy and slow footsteps were
heard ascending the stairs.

Like an infuriated tigress waiting for her prey, Mrs. Ulrica, enveloped
in her crimson shawl, sat up in her bed; her eyes flashing with rage,
and her face flushed to a redness which outvied the crimson of her
shawl. She was awaiting the approach of her husband.

Ragnar arose, and as silent and unmoved as a statue awaited the entrance
of Mr. Fabian. Ragnar had not produced a dagger or sword; but he drew
forth from under his loose jacket a cow-hide of the greatest elasticity,
and the best quality.

Without dreaming of the terrible storm that had gathered, and was about
to pour down upon his devoted head, Mr. Fabian entered the apartment.
But the moment his eyes fell upon the forms of his wife, the doom
pronouncer, and Lonner the genius of revenge, he staggered back towards
the door, and had not his legs refused their office he would have sought
safety in flight; but at two stern glances, one from Lonner, the other
from his wife, he sank powerless to the floor.

And yet, if ever, this was the time for him to assume the character of
Brutus. And what better cause had he to arouse himself from his stupor,
than that Lucretia had received a male visitor in her bed-chamber. True,
Mrs. Ulrica had not received an insult, neither did she appear prepared
sacrifice herself, like Lucretia, as an atonement for the outrage. All
in all, present appearances were well calculated to arouse sterner
sentiments within Mr. Fabian's heart; but he was so frightened that he
would have forgiven everything if he could have assured himself that the
horrible spectacle was but a dream which would vanish at the coming of
the morning.

"Perjured traitor!" screamed Mrs. Ulrica, "you hide yourself like Adam
after his fall. But come forth, this Lucifer will teach you that you no
longer dwell in paradise."

"Mr. Lonner," stammered Mr. Fabian, "I am an innocent, unhappy man, and
I swear to you that Mrs. Magde has never--"

As he heard these words Ragnar trembled violently.

"Silence, reprobate," said he, "the name of my virtuous wife shall not
pass your lips. She needs none of your recommendations; but _your_ wife,
you pitiful coward, she shall learn from me, now, what your true
character is."

Thus saying Lonner with one hand seized the unlucky Fabian by the
coat-collar, and brandished the horse-whip over his head with the other.

But as Mr. Fabian made no resistance, but wept and begged for mercy in
loud and wailing tones, Ragnar released him, and, confused at the
singularity of his own sentiments, he glanced towards Mrs. Ulrica, and
said:

"He is so cowardly, that it seems almost as bad to whip him, as it
would be to beat a hare. In giving him over to you I am fully revenged."

The cow-hide disappeared beneath his coat, and Lonner departed.

But Ragnar Lonner had made a miscalculation, when he thought that Mr.
Fabian would fall into the hands of the Medusa within the bed-curtains.
The very thought of the humiliation he had undergone, and the fear of
what was yet in store for him, inspired Mr. Fabian with an unusual
degree of courage or rather drove him to desperation.

Brutus aroused himself. He could see no other method of escape than by
crushing the tigress before she pounced upon him. He therefore at once
attacked her with passionate actions and wild expressions.

"O, you miserable woman! You faithless wife! Do you think that I shall
allow myself to be blinded by the farce you have just played with your
lover? I will leave you alone in your house. I cast you from my heart.
The whole world shall know you as I know you now."

"Fabian! Fabian! are you mad?"

Mistress Ulrica was both frightened and pleased. This was a scene she
had long desired.

"If I am mad, who has driven me to madness?" shouted Mr. Fabian,
determined to retain the advantage he had already won. Then assuming an
imposing position he gazed sternly into the face of his trembling wife.
"How long I have closed my eyes to your little indiscretions! How many
bitter tears I have shed, when I observed how you encouraged that shark
who made love to my wife while he feasted at my table."

Mistress Ulrica, who was suddenly changed from a tigress into a lamb,
assured her husband that she was innocent; that she had not even
entertained a guilty thought. But as she humbled herself, Mr. Fabian's
wrath increased, and astonished that he had not long before discovered
this method of taming his wife, he played the tyrant _con amore_. He
accused his wife of so many things, that she, humiliated and crushed,
fell on her knees before him, and entreated him to restrain his rage
until he had ample proofs of her guilt. This boon Mr. Fabian H----
finally condescendingly granted, and like an indulgent pascha, entreated
by his favorite slave, he at length permitted her to slumber at his
side.

This entire change of government was effected in the short space of one
hour.

The sun was high in the heavens when Mistress Ulrica awoke. At first she
could not distinctly remember the drama which had been performed the
preceding night; but when all the events were brought clear to her mind,
she sighed deeply. Her destiny was entirely changed; but after a few
moments' reflection, she determined to submit to her fate, and become
the one who should obey, not command.

While she was meditating in what manner she should refute the charges
brought against her by her husband, she was interrupted by a truly soft
and persuasive voice, which said:--

"Sweet Ulgenie, dearest wife, can your heart be touched? I dreamed last
night that I might dare approach it."

"Oh, so you have noticed me," said Mrs. Ulrica, immediately assuming her
former authority, when she found herself thus entreated. "Have you slept
out your debauch?"

"Was I--is it possible that I was inebriated? I have quite forgotten
what happened last night."

"You fool, when were you able to remember anything unless _I_ reminded
you?"

The perusal of a continuance of this scene will scarcely repay our
readers. Suffice it to say that Mr. Fabian's reign of one hour remained
thereafter a legend only. Like all other unsuccessful revolutions, it
was followed by a government still more exacting and severe.



CHAPTER XIX.

CARL.


Winter had departed. Ragnar, the bold seaman, had left his home, and his
ship was ploughing the broad ocean. The grass in the valley waved
gracefully in the light winds of spring. The children once more launched
their miniature boats, and the occupants of the cottage all labored for
the good of the little commonwealth.

But there was one of the family who could not mingle in their labors,
and who sat quietly in his corner, gazing cheerfully upon the operations
of the others. It was Carl.

During the winter Carl had been confined to his bed, but at the present
time he occupied his father's arm-chair, which the old man had
relinquished to him. He usually sat in a corner near Magde's spinning
wheel and his father's bed-room door.

When the children returned from their out of doors sports, they would
sit on the floor near Carl's chair, and listen to the many tales of
fairies, nymphs, and sea gods, that he told them in a pleasant but weak
voice, while he as formerly made willow whistles and repaired their
little boats.

The neighbors' children also visited the cottage that they might hear
his last stories, and they all brought with them many little gifts that
their mothers had prepared for poor Carl. At a later period the mothers
came themselves, bringing their own presents, which they carried in
large baskets, for there was not one in the entire neighborhood for whom
Carl had not performed a service, and without a solitary exception they
all loved him.

Then who was to take his place, after he should be taken from his
friends. In fact perfect pilgrimages were made to Carl, who always
received the pilgrims with pleasant words and cheerful smiles. Carl was
not insensible to the pleasure he derived from being able in turn to
present to Magde the gifts he received from his friends.

"Ah," Nanna often said, "how pleasant it is to be beloved," and she
would sigh as she thought of the absent one who had vowed to love her
forever, and whose word was her creed of life. How much happiness Nanna
derived from this creed! It solaced her in many lonely hours, and
produced a favorable effect upon her every action and thought. She no
longer was oppressed, as formerly, with dreaming indolence. Her cheeks
were roses now.

Old Mr. Lonner and Magde were much gratified at this unexpected change
in Nanna's deportment, and they could account for it only by supposing
that she was much wiser than other girls of her age.

Carl, however, had peculiar views upon this subject, and when Nanna
would exclaim, "O, how pleasant it is to be beloved!" he would reply:

"You know right well that there is some one who loves you, or else you
would not be so light hearted."

When Carl thus spoke Nanna would blush with confusion.

"You must not speak so when any one can hear you," she would reply.

Carl would then nod his head pleasantly, and one day he learned the
secret, for he felt he could not remain long on this earth, and he
wished to know all, and aside from that Nanna was anxious to discover
whether he believed as firmly as she did in Gottlieb's vows.

"Do you think, Carl," said she, as she concluded her recital, "do you
think he will return?"

"As certainly as I shall never see the sun rise on St. John's day, for
I saw that in his eye, which assured me he would not break his
promises."

"Why do you use such an ominous comparison, Carl? Why do you think you
will not see the sunrise on St. John's day?"

The pain caused by the beginning of Carl's remark, clouded the pure joy
which his concluding words would have otherwise created.

"I am waiting," said he, "only that I may see the lilacs bloom once
more. In those beautiful flowers I have found my greatest joy."

Old Mr. Lonner occasionally attempted to prepare his son's mind for the
future which awaited him; but he ceased when one day Carl innocently
addressed him:

"Father," said he, "I wish you would not talk with me thus. I believe in
our Saviour and his love for us sinners, and as I do not think I have
done much harm--except perhaps when I stole the game--I fear not for the
future. I shall wait patiently until my Saviour chooses to take me to
himself. I can well imagine that there is not much space in heaven; but
I believe that there is a small place for one so insignificant as me,
where I can wait the coming of Magde, Nanna, Father, Ragnar, and all the
little ones, that is if they do not hold me in contempt."

"How strangely you talk, dear Carl!" said Magde, entering into the
conversation. "You well know that I would like to be near you in
heaven, for you are aware that next to Ragnar I love you more than any
other being on earth."

"You say so only to make me happy; but I am not so vain as to believe
your words."

"Is there any one here who displays more love for you than I?" inquired
Magde.

Carl smiled, and glanced at the wall. There hung a new vest, the pattern
of which Carl examined as carefully as though each thread had been a
painting in itself.

"Do you think," said he, after a pause, during which his father left the
room, "do you think that Ragnar is vexed with me? He certainly must have
observed that I love you more than, perhaps, I should--I speak frankly
to you, Magde, for I know you are different from others, and I could not
die in peace if I thought that my brother Ragnar was offended with me."

"Be convinced, my dear Carl, that Ragnar loves you as a brother should.
He saw undoubtedly that no one could please you so well as I; but he
often told me, and especially before his last departure--"

"What did he say?" inquired Carl, eagerly.

"'Magde,' said he, 'never desert Carl. He is an honest and faithful
soul, who can find no joy unless with you; but Carl is not the one who
would seek to injure me by word or thought, and therefore I shall not
interfere with his sentiments, but allow him to entertain them freely,
and,' he added, 'you may tell him this at some future time when he may
feel troubled on my account.'"

"Did he speak thus, assuredly?"

"He did, I swear it by my hopes of meeting him again."

"And you have obeyed him, and not deserted me; but will you do so as
long as I am with you here?"

"Never shall I desert you, Carl."

"And when the last moment approaches," said he in a soft tone, "you will
moisten my lips, you will smooth my pillow, and when the struggle of
death comes upon me, I wish you to hold my hand in yours, as you now do,
that I may feel that you are with me. Then you must--will you do so,
Magde?--close my eyes with your own hands, and sing a psalm to me."

To all these touching requests, which were rendered still more affecting
by the tender expression of his eyes, Magde replied tearfully:

"My dear Carl, your words shall be obeyed."

Carl smiled. He was now happier at the thought of his approaching death,
which would bring such proofs of Magde's affection, than one who might
have possessed a prospect of a long and luxurious life.

The lilac bushes blossomed, and Magde placed the first flowers in his
hands while he yet could inhale their fragrance. The last flowers she
strewed upon his grave.



CHAPTER XX.

CONCLUSION.


A long season of gloom and despondency succeeded the death of Carl.

It was fortunate that Ragnar returned home at an earlier period than
usually; the flowers on Carl's grave had not withered when Magde piously
conducted him to his brother's final resting-place.

"Rest in peace, poor brother," said Ragnar, brushing away a tear, "God
saw best to take you from us--but, dear Magde, you must not grieve too
much for his death, or you will not be able to rejoice at the news I
have for you."

"What news, Ragnar?"

"Captain Hanson, who has been master of the brig Sarah Christiana ever
since I have been her mate, has latterly become very much reduced in
health, and he has concluded not to go to sea again."

"Well, that cannot be joyful news. He was a better captain than perhaps
you will ever sail under again."

"I shall never sail under another captain. I shall be captain myself,
hereafter. The owners of the vessel have tendered the captaincy to me."

"Is it possible?"

"It will soon be more than possible, for my old captain has so well
recommended me, that Mr. Lund has advanced me a sufficient sum of money
to pay the charges of my examination, and as soon as Christmas is
over--for until then I shall study at home--I will take a journey to
prepare myself, and after the examination you will be the wife of a
captain. Then you and Nanna can go with me to Goteborg, that you may see
the vessel before I go to sea."

Magde quietly clasped her hands. Her pious gratitude was evinced in her
every expression. She thanked her God for having thus favored them with
fortune.

Ragnar silently embraced her. "I did not say anything about it
yesterday, for I wished to tell you here near Carl, who always placed
his pleasures aside that they might not interfere with yours."

"Bless you, bless you, Ragnar! I now know why I found so many four
leaved clovers last summer--only think, a captain's wife!--and still you
love me as before?"

"Now and forever, my Magde. You shall have a bonnet as magnificent as
any other lady; you shall have a cashmere shawl, and a black silk dress.
Yes, I promise you all this, and more."

"Let us return home quickly, that I may rejoice father and Nanna."

And Nanna and her father were as much rejoiced at the glad tidings as
was Magde herself.

A few days afterwards, Magde and her father were seated together in the
parlor consulting about the future.

"The Lord thus distributes joys and sorrows. One year ago our prospects
were much different."

"Have I forgotten that time? No! And if I should live a hundred years, I
would never forget the day you were taken from us to prison, nor the day
you were released by Mr. Gottlieb. This year Ragnar must send him the
balance still due him."

"We can repay him the money; but we can never reward him for his
kindness and love. He has not returned to Almvik, and perhaps it is for
the best, and as Nanna under any circumstance--"

The old man was suddenly interrupted by a shrill blast from the outside,
which blast was produced by some one blowing upon a blade of grass.

"Well, well," exclaimed Magde glancing through the window, and then
rushing to the door, "the old proverb is true, 'talk of--'"

"A certain gentleman and he is here," interrupted Gottlieb, entering the
door with his face beaming with his usual cheerfulness. He presented one
hand to Magde, and the other to old Mr. Lonner, who exclaimed with
glistening eyes:

"Welcome, welcome, Mr. Gottlieb. Ragnar intended to write you to-day,
and I just told Magde we are able to discharge one part of our debt, but
the other can never be repaid."

"Enough, enough, good father Lonner, I too was influenced by a selfish
motive--but pardon me, where is Nanna?"

"She has gone to fish with Ragnar and little Conrad," said Magde, who
had already manufactured an urn of coffee, "but they will soon return."

"Aha! is Mate Lonner at home. Then I can become acquainted with him."

"_Captain_ Lonner, next spring at least, Mr. Gottlieb," said Magde,
proudly.

"Crown Secretary, now, instead of Mr. Gottlieb, if you please, Mrs.
Lonner."

"So soon?"

"Yes, eight days ago I received the appointment; but my _great_ fortune
will come next spring, for then I hope to have a little house of my
own."

"Yes, and perhaps a housekeeper too," added Magde.

"Possibly."

At this reply Magde cast a secret glance towards her father, which he
returned. Gottlieb, however, changed the conversation, and commenced
speaking of the death of poor Carl of which he had before been informed.
During the next half hour, Gottlieb evinced the utmost impatience. He
would walk to the window and gaze anxiously towards the lake, not
observing that Magde and her father were exchanging significant glances
and smiles behind his back.

At length he spied the boat, and he hastened down to the beach. The
skiff contained the brother and sister, and their little companion.

A sympathetic sentiment seemed to have pervaded the entire family, for
during their excursion Nanna and Ragnar conversed almost entirely about
her young friend Gottlieb. So nicely had Ragnar probed his sister's
heart that he knew almost as much about its true condition as Carl had
previously learned. Although Ragnar would have desired to have believed
as Carl did, he did not think it proper to offer Nanna any further
consolation, than by saying that since he had received a captaincy she
was placed on a more equal footing with Gottlieb and that he would do
everything in his power to render her happy.

"I know you will, Ragnar," replied Nanna, "but only one thing can ever
afford me happiness."

After these words the conversation ceased, and the brother and sister
commenced their homeward ride.

In his great haste Gottlieb nearly ran into the water, in which Ragnar
was standing fastening the boat; but so much was he astonished by the
marvellous change which taken place in Nanna's appearance that he was
forced to start back and gaze silently upon her. Nanna in the meantime
appeared abstracted. She had not observed Gottlieb's approach; but sat
in the boat slowly moving one of the oars, apparently in the deepest
thought.

But how can we describe Nanna's joyful surprise when she discovered
Gottlieb. Ragnar's presence prevented her from giving vent to her joy in
words; but the joyful expression of her eyes was a more than sufficient
welcome.

We will not describe the first interview between Ragnar and
Gottlieb--suffice it to say it was the meeting of two brothers; not of
two strangers. Neither will we describe the first hour of _mutual_
congratulations; but we will at once draw the reader's attention to a
pleasing picture near the fountain in the meadow. Here the two lovers
had proceeded that they might confer with each other uninterrupted.

"You see, my little nymph, I have come back. Do you think that I have an
honorable spirit and a true heart? Now tell me, have you grown so
beautiful, for me; yes so beautiful that I can well be proud of you as
my own little wife?"

"Wife! are you then serious?"

"Serious we shall never be, we will make a third agreement, which is
that we shall live henceforth without a gloomy thought or serious
foreboding. Although we shall marry, as it is said, for 'love in a
cottage,' yet we are both so familiar with the reality of the cottage,
that our romantic dreams, if we have any, will be fully realized."

"True, very true," said Nanna smiling, and her countenance radiant with
joy, appeared still more beautiful, "and now I am--"

"--Betrothed," said Gottlieb joyfully embracing her.

How happy were the inmates of the little cottage that evening!

       *       *       *       *       *

When the news of Gottlieb's betrothal reached Almvik, Mrs. Ulrica
foretold that nothing but evil would result from the wedding.

Mr. Fabian, however, who secretly esteemed Gottlieb, was silent; but
afterwards when the young couple were firmly united he would hold them
up as examples and say that some men could be happy with a wife who did
not possess riches and station.

"But that," insisted Mrs. Ulrica, "is no reason why a poor man should
not know to prize the happiness which a wealthy wife could procure for
him."





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