The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Home; Or, Life in Sweden

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Title: The Home; Or, Life in Sweden

Author: Fredrika Bremer

Translator: Mary Howitt

Release date: March 5, 2007 [eBook #20746]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stacy Brown, Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at








[Pg 1]





"My sweet friend," said Judge Frank, in a tone of vexation, "it is not worth while reading aloud to you if you keep yawning incessantly, and looking about, first to the right and then to the left;" and with these words he laid down a treatise of Jeremy Bentham, which he had been reading, and rose from his seat.

"Ah, forgive me, dear friend!" returned his wife, "but really these good things are all somewhat indigestible, and I was thinking about——Come here, dear Brigitta!" said Mrs. Elise Frank, beckoning an old servant to her, to whom she then spoke in an under tone.

Whilst this was going on, the Judge, a handsome strong-built man of probably forty, walked up and down the room, and then suddenly pausing as if in consideration, before one of the walls, he exclaimed to his wife, who by this time had finished her conversation with the old servant, "See, love, now if we were to have a door opened here—and it could very easily be done, for it is only a lath-and-plaster wall—we could then get so conveniently into our bedroom, without first going through the sitting-room and the nursery—it would indeed be capital!"

"But then, where could the sofa stand?" answered Elise, with some anxiety.

"The sofa?" returned her husband; "oh, the sofa could be wheeled a little aside; there is more than room enough for it."

"But, my best friend," replied she, "there would come a very dangerous draft from the door to every one who sat in the corner."[Pg 2]

"Ah! always difficulties and impediments!" said the husband. "But cannot you see, yourself, what a great advantage it would be if there were a door here?"

"No, candidly speaking," said she, "I think it is better as it is."

"Yes, that is always the way with ladies," returned he; "they will have nothing touched, nothing done, nothing changed, even to obtain improvement and convenience; everything is good and excellent as it is, till somebody makes the alteration for them, and then they can see at once how much better it is; and then they exclaim, 'Ah, see now that is charming!' Ladies, without doubt, belong to the stand-still party!"

"And the gentlemen," added she, "belong to the movement party; at least wherever building and molestation-making comes across them!"

The conversation, which had hitherto appeared perfectly good-humoured, seemed to assume a tone of bitterness from that word "molestation-making;" and in return the voice of the Judge was somewhat austere, as he replied to her taunt against the gentlemen. "Yes," said he, "they are not afraid of a little trouble whenever a great advantage is to be obtained. But——are we to have no breakfast to-day? It is twenty-two minutes after nine! It really is shocking, dear Elise, that you cannot teach your maids punctuality! There is nothing more intolerable than to lose one's time in waiting; nothing more useless; nothing more insupportable; nothing which more easily might be prevented, if people would only resolutely set about it! Life is really too short for one to be able to waste half of it in waiting! Five-and-twenty minutes after nine! and the children—are they not ready too? Dear Elise——"

"I'll go and see after them," said she; and went out quickly.

It was Sunday. The June sun shone into a large cheerful room, and upon a snow-white damask tablecloth, which in soft silken folds was spread over a long table, on which a handsome coffee-service was set out with considerable elegance. The disturbed countenance with which the Judge had approached the breakfast-table, cleared itself instantly as a person, whom young ladies would unquestionably have called "horribly ugly," but whom no reflective physiognomist could have observed without interest, entered the room.[Pg 3] This person was tall, extremely thin, and somewhat inclining to the left side; the complexion was dark, and the somewhat noble features wore a melancholy expression, which but seldom gave place to a smile of unusual beauty. The forehead elevated itself, with its deep lines, above the large brown extraordinary eyes, and above this a wood of black-brown hair erected itself, under whose thick stiff curls people said a multitude of ill-humours and paradoxes housed themselves; so also, indeed, might they in all those deep furrows with which his countenance was lined, not one of which certainly was without its own signification. Still, there was not a sharp angle of that face; there was nothing, either in word or voice, of the Assessor, Jeremias Munter, however severe they might seem to be, which at the same time did not conceal an expression of the deepest goodness of heart, and which stamped itself upon his whole being, in the same way as the sap clothes with green foliage the stiff resisting branches of the knotted oak.

"Good day, brother!" exclaimed the Judge, cordially offering him his hand, "how are you?"

"Bad!" answered the melancholy man; "how can it be otherwise? What weather we have! As cold as January! And what people we have in the world too: it is both a sin and shame! I am so angry to-day that——Have you read that malicious article against you in the——paper?"

"No, I don't take in that paper; but I have heard speak of the article," said Judge Frank. "It is directed against my writing on the condition of the poor in the province, is it not?"

"Yes; or more properly no," replied the Assessor, "for the extraordinary fact is, that it contains nothing about that affair. It is against yourself that it is aimed—the lowest insinuations, the coarsest abuse!"

"So I have heard," said the Judge; "and on that very account I do not trouble myself to read it."

"Have you heard who has written it?" asked the visitor.

"No," returned the other; "nor do I wish to know."

"But you should do so," argued the Assessor; "people ought to know who are their enemies. It is Mr. N. I should like to give the fellow three emetics, that he might know the taste of his own gall!"

"What!" exclaimed Judge Frank, at once interested in the Assessor's news—"N., who lives nearly opposite to us,[Pg 4] and who has so lately received from the Cape his child, the poor little motherless girl?"

"The very same!" returned he; "but you must read this piece, if it be only to give a relish to your coffee. See here; I have brought it with me. I have learned that it would be sent to your wife to-day. Yes, indeed, what pretty fellows there are in the world! But where is your wife to-day? Ah! here she comes! Good morning, my lady Elise. So charming in the early morning; but so pale! Eh, eh, eh; this is not as it should be! What is it that I say and preach continually? Exercise, fresh air—else nothing in the world avails anything. But who listens to one's preaching? No—adieu my friends! Ah! where is my snuff-box? Under the newspapers? The abominable newspapers; they must lay their hands on everything; one can't keep even one's snuff-box in peace for them! Adieu, Mrs. Elise! Adieu, Frank. Nay, see how he sits there and reads coarse abuse of himself, just as if it mattered nothing to him. Now he laughs into the bargain. Enjoy your breakfasts, my friends!"

"Will you not enjoy it with us?" asked the friendly voice of Mrs. Frank; "we can offer you to-day quite fresh home-baked bread."

"No, I thank you," said the Assessor; "I am no friend to such home-made things; good for nothing, however much they may be bragged of. Home-baked, home-brewed, home-made. Heaven help us! It all sounds very fine, but it's good for nothing."

"Try if to-day it really be good for nothing," urged she. "There, we have now Madame Folette on the table; you must, at least, have a cup of coffee from her."

"What do you mean?" asked the surprised Assessor; "what is it? What horrid Madame is it that is to give me a cup of coffee? I never could bear old women; and if they are now to come upon the coffee-table——"

"The round coffee-pot there," said Mrs. Frank, good-humouredly, "is Madame Folette. Could you not bear that?"

"But why call it so?" asked he. "What foolery is that?"

"It is a fancy of the children," returned she. "An honest old woman of this name, whom I once treated to a cup of coffee, exclaimed, at the first sight of her favourite beverage, 'When I see a coffee-pot, it is all the same to me as if I saw an angel from heaven!' The children heard this, and insisted[Pg 5] upon it that there was a great resemblance in figure between Madame Folette and this coffee-pot; and so ever since it has borne her name. The children are very fond of her, because she gives them every Sunday morning their coffee."

"What business have children with coffee?" asked the Assessor. "Cannot they be thin enough without it; and are they to be burnt up before their time? There's Petrea, is she not lanky enough? I never was very fond of her; and now, if she is to grow up into a coffee wife, why—"

"But, dear Munter," said Mrs. Frank, "you are not in a good humour to-day."

"Good humour!" replied he: "no, Mrs. Elise, I am not in a good humour; I don't know what there is in the world to make people good-humoured. There now, your chair has torn a hole in my coat-lap! Is that pleasant? That's home-made too! But now I'll go; that is, if your doors—are they home-made too?—will let me pass."

"But will you not come back, and dine with us?" asked she.

"No, I thank you," replied he; "I am invited elsewhere; and that in this house, too."

"To Mrs. Chamberlain W——?" asked Mrs. Frank.

"No, indeed!" answered the Assessor: "I cannot bear that woman. She lectures me incessantly. Lectures me! I have a great wish to lecture her, I have! And then, her blessed dog—Pyrrhus or Pirre; I had a great mind to kill it. And then, she is so thin. I cannot bear thin people; least of all, thin old women."

"No?" said Mrs. Frank. "Don't you know, then, what rumour says of you and poor old Miss Rask?"

"That common person!" exclaimed Jeremias. "Well, and what says malice of me and poor old Miss Rask?"

"That, not many days since," said Mrs. Frank, "you met this old lady on your stairs as she was going up to her own room; and that she was sighing, because of the long flight of stairs and her weak chest. Now malice says, that, with the utmost politeness, you offered her your arm, and conducted her up the stairs with the greatest possible care; nor left her, till she had reached her own door; and further, after all, that you sent her a pound of cough lozenges; and——"

"And do you believe," interrupted the Assessor, "that I did that for her own sake? No, I thank you! I did it that the poor old skeleton might not fall down dead upon my[Pg 6] steps, and I be obliged to climb over her ugly corpse. From no other cause in this world did I drag her up the stairs. Yes, yes, that was it! I dine to-day with Miss Berndes. She is always a very sensible person; and her little Miss Laura is very pretty. See, here have we now all the herd of children! Your most devoted servant, Sister Louise! So, indeed, little Miss Eva! she is not afraid of the ugly old fellow, she—God bless her! there's some sugar-candy for her! And the little one! it looks just like a little angel. Do I make her cry? Then I must away; for I cannot endure children's crying. Oh, for heaven's sake! It may make a part of the charm of home: that I can believe;—perhaps it is home-music! Home-baked, home-made, home-music——hu!"

The Assessor sprang through the door; the Judge laughed; and the little one became silent at the sight of a kringla,[1] through which the beautiful eye of her brother Henrik spied at her as through an eye-glass; whilst the other children came bounding to the breakfast-table.

"Nay, nay, nay, my little angels, keep yourselves a little quiet," said the mother. "Wait a moment, dear Petrea; patience is a virtue. Eva dear, don't behave in that way; you don't see me do so."

Thus gently moralised the mother; whilst, with the help of her eldest daughter, the little prudent Louise, she cared for the other children. The father went from one to another full of delight, patted their little heads, and pulled them gently by the hair.

"I ought, yesterday, to have cut all your hair," said he. "Eva has quite a wig; one can hardly see her face for it. Give your papa a kiss, my little girl! I'll take your wig from you early to-morrow morning."

"And mine too, and mine too, papa!" exclaimed the others.

"Yes, yes," answered the father, "I'll shear every one of you."

All laughed but the little one; which, half frightened, hid its sunny-haired little head on the mother's bosom: the father raised it gently, and kissed, first it, and then the mother.

"Now put sugar in papa's cup," said she to the little one; "look! he holds it to you."

[Pg 7]

The little one smiled, put sugar in the cup, and Madame Folette began her joyful circuit.

But we will now leave Madame Folette, home-baked bread, the family breakfast, and the morning sun, and seat ourselves at the evening lamp, by the light of which Elise is writing.


I must give you portraits of all my little flock of children; who now, having enjoyed their evening meal, are laid to rest upon their soft pillows. Ah! if I had only a really good portrait—I mean a painted one—of my Henrik, my first-born, my summer child, as I call him—because he was born on a Midsummer-day, in the summer hours both of my life and my fortune; but only the pencil of a Correggio could represent those beautiful, kind, blue eyes, those golden locks, that loving mouth, and that countenance all so perfectly pure and beautiful! Goodness and joyfulness beam out from his whole being; even although his buoyant animal life, which seldom allows his arms or legs to be quiet, often expresses itself in not the most graceful manner. My eleven-years-old boy is, alas! very—his father says—very unmanageable. Still, notwithstanding all this wildness, he is possessed of a deep and restless fund of sentiment, which makes me often tremble for his future happiness. God defend my darling, my summer child, my only son! Oh, how dear he is to me! Ernst warns me often of too partial an affection for this child; and on that very account will I now pass on from portrait No. 1 to

No. 2.—Behold then the little Queen-bee, our eldest daughter, just turned ten years; and you will see a grave, fair girl, not handsome, but with a round, sensible face; from which I hope, by degrees, to remove a certain ill-tempered expression. She is uncommonly industrious, silent and orderly, and kind towards her younger sisters, although very much disposed to lecture them; nor will she allow any opportunity to pass in which her importance as "eldest sister" is not observed; on which account the little ones give her the titles of "Your Majesty" and "Mrs. Judge." The little Louise appears to me one of those who will always be still and sure; and who, on this account, will go fortunately though the world.[Pg 8]

No. 3.—People say that my little nine-years-old Eva will be very like her mother. I hope it will prove a really splendid fac-simile. See, then, a little, soft, round-about figure, which, amid laughter and merriment, rolls hither and thither lightly and nimbly, with an ever-varying physiognomy, which is rather plain than handsome, although lit up by a pair of beautiful, kind, dark-blue eyes. Quickly moved to sorrow, quickly excited to joy; good-hearted, flattering, confection-loving, pleased with new and handsome clothes, and with dolls and play; greatly beloved too by brothers and sisters, as well as by all the servants; the best friend and playfellow, too, of her brother. Such is little Eva.

No. 4.—Nos. 3 and 4 ought not properly to come together. Poor Leonore had a sickly childhood, and this rather, I believe, than nature, has given to her an unsteady and violent temper, and has unhappily sown the seeds of envy towards her more fortunate sisters. She is not deficient in deep feeling, but the understanding is sluggish, and it is extremely difficult for her to learn anything. All this promises no pleasure; rather the very opposite. The expression of her mouth, even in the uncomfortable time of teething, seemed to speak, "Let me be quiet!" It is hardly possible that she can be other than plain, but, with God's help, I hope to make her good and happy.

"My beloved, plain child!" say I sometimes to her as I clasp her tenderly in my arms, for I would willingly reconcile her early to her fate.

No. 5.—But whatever will fate do with the nose of my Petrea? This nose is at present the most remarkable thing about her little person; and if it were not so large, she really would be a pretty child. We hope, however, that it will moderate itself in her growth.

Petrea is a little lively girl, with a turn for almost everything, whether good or bad; curious and restless is she, and beyond measure full of failings; she has a dangerous desire to make herself observed, and to excite an interest. Her activity shows itself in destructiveness; yet she is good-hearted and most generous. In every kind of foolery she is a most willing ally with Henrik and Eva, whenever they will grant her so much favour; and if these three be heard whispering together, one may be quite sure that some roguery or[Pg 9] other is on foot. There exists already, however, so much unquiet in her, that I fear her whole life will be such; but I will early teach her to turn herself to that which can change unrest into rest.

No. 6.—And now to the pet child of the house—to the youngest, the loveliest, the so-called "little one"—to her who with her white hands puts the sugar into her father's and mother's cup—the coffee without that would not taste good—to her whose little bed is not yet removed from the chamber of the parents, and who, every morning, creeping out of her own bed, lays her bright curly little head on her father's shoulder and sleeps again.

Could you only see the little two-years-old Gabriele, with her large, serious brown eyes; her refined, somewhat pale, but indescribably lovely countenance; her bewitching little gestures; you would be just as much taken with her as the rest are,—you would find it difficult, as we all do, not to spoil her. She is a quiet little child, but very unlike her eldest sister. A predominating characteristic of Gabriele is love of the beautiful; she shows a decided aversion to what is ugly and inconvenient, and as decided a love for what is attractive. A most winning little gentility in appearance and manners, has occasioned the brother and sisters to call her in sport "the little young lady," or "the little princess." Henrik is really in love with his little sister, kisses her small white hands with devotion, and in return she loves him with her whole heart. Towards the others she is very often somewhat ungracious; and our good friend the Assessor calls her frequently "the little gracious one," and frequently also "the little ungracious one," but then he has for her especially so many names; my wish is that in the end she may deserve the surname of "the amiable."

Peace be with my young ones! There is not one of them which is not possessed of the material of peculiar virtue and excellence, and yet not also at the same time of the seed of some dangerous vice, which may ruin the good growth of God in them. May the endeavours both of their father and me be blessed in training these plants of heaven aright! But ah! the education of children is no easy thing, and all the many works on that subject which I have studied appear to me,[Pg 10] whether the fault be in me or in them I cannot tell, but small helps. Ah! I often find no other means than to clasp the child tenderly in my arms, and to weep bitterly over it, or else to kiss it in the fulness of my joy; and it often has appeared to me that such moments are not without their influence.

I endeavour as much as possible not to scold. I know how perpetually scolding crushes the free spirit and the innocent joyousness of childhood; and I sincerely believe that if one will only sedulously cultivate what is good in character, and make in all instances what is good visible and attractive, the bad will by degrees fall away of itself.

I sing a great deal to my children. They are brought up with songs; for I wished early, as it were, to bathe their souls in harmony. Several of them, especially my first-born and Eva, are regular little enthusiasts in music; and every evening, as soon as twilight comes on, the children throng about me, and then I sit down to the piano, and either accompany myself, or play to little songs which they themselves sing. It is my Henrik's reward, when he has been very good for the whole day, that I should sit by his bed, and sing to him till he sleeps. He says that he then has such beautiful dreams. We often sit and talk for an hour instead, and I delight myself sincerely in his active and pure soul. When he lays out his great plans for his future life, he ends thus:—"And when I am grown up a man, and have my own house, then, mother, thou shalt come and live with me, and I will keep so many maids to wait on thee, and thou shalt have so many flowers, and everything that thou art fond of, and shalt live just like a queen; only of an evening, when I go to bed, thou shalt sit beside me and sing me to sleep; wilt thou not?" Often too, when in the midst of his plans for the future and my songs, he has dropped asleep, I remain sitting still by the bed with my heart full to overflowing with joy and pride in this angel. Ernst declares that I spoil him. Ah, perhaps I do, but nevertheless it is a fact that I earnestly endeavour not to do so. After all, I can say of every one of my children what a friend of mine said of hers, that they are tolerably good; that is to say, they are not good enough for heaven.

This evening I am alone. Ernst is away at the District-[Pg 11]Governor's. It is my birthday to-day; but I have told no one, because I wished rather to celebrate it in a quiet communion with my own thoughts.

How at this moment the long past years come in review before me! I see myself once more in the house of my parents: in that good, joyful, beloved home! I see myself once more by thy side, my beloved and only sister, in that large, magnificent house, surrounded by meadows and villages. How we looked down upon them from high windows, and yet rejoiced that the sun streamed into the most lowly huts just as pleasantly as into our large saloons—everything seemed to us so well arranged.

Life then, Cecilia, was joyful and free from care. How we sate and wept over "Des Vœux Téméraires," and over "Feodor and Maria,"—such were our cares then. Our life was made up of song, and dance, and merriment, with our so many cheerful neighbours; with the most accomplished of whom we got up enthusiasms for music and literature. We considered ourselves to be virtuous, because we loved those who loved us, and because we gave of our superfluity to those who needed it. Friendship was our passion. We were ready to die for friendship, but towards love we had hearts of stone. How we jested over our lovers, and thought what fun it would be to act the parts of austere romance-heroines! How unmerciful we were, and—how easily our lovers consoled themselves! Then Ernst Frank came on a visit to us. The rumour of a learned and strong-minded man preceded him, and fixed our regards upon him, because women, whether well-informed or not themselves, are attracted by such men. Do you not remember how much he occupied our minds? how his noble person, his calm, self-assured demeanour, his frank, decided, yet always polite behaviour charmed us at first, and the awed us?

One could say of him, that morally as well as physically he stood firmly. His deep mourning dress, together with an expression of quiet manly grief, which at times shaded his countenance, combined to make him interesting to us; nevertheless, you thought that he looked too stern, and I very soon lost in his presence my accustomed gaiety. Whenever his dark grave eyes were fixed upon me, I was conscious that they possessed a half-bewitching, half-oppressive power over[Pg 12] me; I felt myself happy because of it, yet at the same time filled with anxiety; my very action was constrained, my hands became cold and did everything blunderingly, nor ever did I speak so stupidly as when I observed that he listened. Aunt Lisette gave me one day this maxim: "My dear, remember what I now tell thee: if a man thinks that thou art a fool, it does not injure thee the least in his opinion; but if he once thinks that thou considerest him a fool, then art thou lost for ever with him!" With the last it may be just as it will—I have heard a clever young man declare that it would operate upon him like salt on fire—however, this is certain, that the first part of Aunt Lisette's maxim is correct, since my stupidity in Ernst's presence did not injure me at all in his opinion, and when he was kind and gentle, how inexpressibly agreeable he was!

His influence over me became greater each succeeding day: I seemed to live continually under his eyes; when they beamed on me in kindness, it was as if a spring breeze passed through my soul; and if his glance was graver than common, I became still, and out of spirits. It seemed to me at times—and it is so even to this very day—that if this clear and wonderfully penetrating glance were only once, and with its full power, riveted upon me, my very heart would cease to beat. Yet after all, I am not sure whether I loved him. I hardly think I did; for when he was absent I then seemed to breathe so freely, yet at the same time, I would have saved his life by the sacrifice of my own.

In several respects we had no sympathies in common. He had no taste for music, which I loved passionately; and in reading too our feelings were so different. He yawned over my favourite romances, nay he even sometimes would laugh when I was at the point of bursting into tears; I, on the contrary, yawned over his useful and learned books, and found them more tedious than I could express. The world of imagination in which my thoughts delighted to exercise themselves, he valued not in the least, whilst the burdensome actuality which he always was seeking for in life, had no charm for me. Nevertheless there were many points in which we accorded—these especially were questions of morals—and whenever this was the case, it afforded both of us great pleasure.[Pg 13]

And now came the time, Cecilia, in which you left me; when our fates separated themselves, although our hearts did not.

One day there were many strangers with us; and in the afternoon I played at shuttlecock with young cousin Emil, to whom we were so kind, and who deserved our kindness so well. How it happened I cannot tell, but before long Ernst took his place, and was my partner in the game. He looked unusually animated, and I felt myself more at ease with him than common. He threw the shuttlecock excellently, and with a firm hand, but always let it fly a little way beyond me, so that I was obliged to step back a few paces each time to catch it, and thus unconsciously to myself was I driven, in the merry sport, through a long suite of rooms, till we came at last to one where we were quite alone, and a long way from the company. All at once then Ernst left off his play, and a change was visible in his whole countenance. I augured something amiss, and would gladly have sprung far, far away, but I felt powerless; and then Ernst spoke so from his heart, so fervently, and with such deep tenderness, that he took my heart at once to himself. I laid my hand, although tremblingly, in his, and, almost without knowing what I did, consented to go through life by his side.

I had just then passed my nineteenth year; and my beloved parents sanctioned the union of their daughter with a man so respectable and so universally esteemed, and one, moreover, whom everybody prophesied would one day rise to the highest eminences of the state—and Ernst, whose nature it was to accomplish everything rapidly which he undertook, managed it so that in a very short time our marriage was celebrated.

At the same time some members of my family thought that by this union I had descended a step. I thought not; on the contrary, the very reverse. I was of high birth, had several not undistinguished family connexions, and was brought up in a brilliant circle, in all the superficial accomplishments of the day, amid superfluity and thoughtlessness. He was a man who had shaped out his own course in life, who, by his own honest endeavours, and through many self-denials, had raised his father's house from its depressed condition, and had made the future prospects of his mother and sister comfortable and secure: he was a man self-dependent,[Pg 14] upright, and good—yes, good, and that I discover more and more the deeper knowledge I obtain of his true character, even though the outward manner may be somewhat severe—in truth, I feel myself very inferior beside him.

The first year of our marriage we passed, at their desire, in the house of my parents; and if I could only have been less conscious of his superiority, and could only have been more certain that he was satisfied with me, nothing would have been wanting to my happiness. Everybody waited upon me; and perhaps it was on this account that Ernst, in comparison, seemed somewhat cold; I was the petted child of my too kind parents; I was thankless and peevish, and ah, some little of this still remains! Nevertheless, it was during this very time that, under the influence of my husband, the true beauty and reality of life became more and more perceptible to my soul. Married life and family ties, one's country and the world, revealed their true relationships, and their holy signification to my mind. Ernst was my teacher; I looked up to him with love, but not without fear.

Many were the projects which we formed in these summer days, and which floated brightly before my romantic fancy. Among these was a journey on foot through the beautiful country west of Sweden, and this was one of the favourite schemes of my Ernst. His mother—from whom our little Petrea has derived her somewhat singular name—was of Norway, and many a beloved thought of her seemed to have interwoven itself with the valleys and mountains, which, as in a wonderfully-beautiful fairy tale, she had described to him in the stories she told. All these recollections are a sort of romantic region in Ernst's soul, and thither he betakes himself whenever he would refresh his spirit, or lay out something delightful for the future. "Next year," he would then exclaim, "will we take a journey!" And then we laid out together our route on the map, and I determined on the dress which I would wear as his travelling-companion when we would go and visit "that sea-engarlanded Norway." Ah! there soon came for me other journeys.

It was during these days also that my first-born saw the light; my beautiful boy! who so fettered both my love and my thoughts that Ernst grew almost jealous. How often did I steal out of bed at night in order to watch him while he[Pg 15] slept! He was a lively, restless child, and it therefore was a peculiar pleasure for me to see him at rest; besides which, he was so angelically lovely in sleep! I could have spent whole nights bending over his cradle.

So far, Cecilia, all went with us as in the romances with which we in our youth nourished heart and soul. But far other times came. In the first place, the sad change in the circumstances of my parents, which operated so severely on our position in life; and then for me so many children—cares without end, grief and sickness! My body and mind must both have given way under their burden, had Ernst not been the man he is.

It suited his character to struggle against the stream; it was a sort of pleasure to him to combat with it, to meet difficulties, and to overcome them. With each succeeding year he imposed more business upon himself, and by degrees, through the most resolute industry, he was enabled to bring back prosperity to his house. And then how unwearingly kind he was to me! How tenderly sustaining in those very moments, when without him I must have found myself so utterly miserable! How many a sleepless night has he passed on my account! How often has he soothed to sleep a sickly child in his arms! And then, too, every child which came, as it were only to multiply his cares, and increase the necessity for his labour, was to him a delight—was received as a gift of God's mercy—and its birth made a festival in the house. How my heart has thanked him, and how has his strength and assurance nerved me!

When little Gabriele was born I was very near death; and it is my firm belief that, without Ernst's care for me, I must then have parted from my little ones. During the time of great weakness which succeeded this, my foot scarcely ever touched the ground. I was carried by Ernst himself wherever I would. He was unwearied in goodness and patience towards the sick mother. Should she not now, that she is again in health, dedicate her life to him? Ah, yes, that should she, and that will she! Alas, were but my ability as strong as my will!

Do you know one thing, Cecilia, which often occasions me great trouble? It is that I am not a clever housewife; that I can neither take pleasure in all the little cares and details[Pg 16] which the well-being of a house really requires, nor that I have memory for these things; more especially is the daily caring for dinner irksome to me. I myself have but little appetite; and it is so unpleasing to me to go to sleep at night, and to get up in the morning with my head full of schemes for cooking. By this means, it happens that sometimes my husband's domestic comforts are not such as he has a right to demand. Hitherto my weak health, the necessary care of the children, and our rather narrow circumstances, have furnished me with sufficient excuses; but these now will avail me no longer; my health is again established, and our greater prosperity furnishes the means for better household management.

On this account, I now exert myself to perform all my duties well; but, ah! how pleasant it will be when the little Louise is sufficiently grown up, that I may lay part of the housekeeping burdens on her shoulders. I fancy to myself that she will have peculiar pleasure in all these things.

I am to-day two-and-thirty years old. It seems to me that I have entered a new period of my life: my youth lies behind me, I am advanced into middle age, and I well know what both this and my husband have a right to demand from me. May a new and stronger being awake in me! May God support me, and Ernst be gentle towards his erring wife!

Ernst should have married a more energetic woman. My nervous weakness makes my temper irritable, and I am so easily annoyed. His activity of mind often disturbs me more than it is reasonable or right that it should; for instance, I get regularly into a state of excitement, if he only steadfastly fixes his eyes on a wall, or on any other object. I immediately begin to fancy that we are going instantly to have a new door opened, or some other change brought about. And oh! I have such a great necessity for rest and quiet!

One change which is about to take place in our house I cannot anticipate without uneasiness. It is the arrival of a candidate of Philosophy, Jacob Jacobi, as tutor for my children. He will this summer take my wild boy under his charge, and instruct the sisters in writing, drawing, and arithmetic; and in the autumn conduct my first-born from the maternal home to a great educational institution. I dread this new member in our domestic circle; he may, if he be not amiable,[Pg 17] so easily prove so annoying; yet, if he be amiable and good, he will be so heartily welcome to me, especially as assistant in the wearisome writing lessons, with their eternal "Henrik, sit still!"—"Hold the pen properly, Louise!"—"Look at the copy, Leonore!"—"Don't forget the points and strokes, Eva!"—"Little Petrea, don't wipe out the letters with your nose!" Besides this, my first-born begins to have less and less esteem for my Latin knowledge; and Ernst is sadly discontented with his wild pranks. Jacobi will give him instruction, together with Nils Gabriel, the son of the District-Governor, Stjernhök, a most industrious and remarkably sensible boy, from whose influence on my Henrik I hope for much good.

The Candidate is warmly recommended to us by a friend of my husband, the excellent Bishop B.; yet, notwithstanding this, his actions at the University did not particularly redound to his honour. Through credulity and folly he has run through a nice little property which had been left him by three old aunts, who had brought him up and spoiled him into the bargain. Indeed, his career has hitherto not been quite a correct one. Bishop B. conceals nothing of all this, but says that he is much attached to the young man; praises his heart, and his excellent gifts as a preceptor, and prays us to receive him cordially, with all parental tenderness, into our family. We shall soon see whether he be deserving of such hearty sympathy. For my part, I must confess that my motherly tenderness for him is as yet fast asleep.

Yet, after all, this inmate does not terrify me half as much as a visit with which I am shortly threatened. Of course you have heard of the lady of the late Colonel S., the beautiful Emilie, my husband's "old flame," as I call her, out of a little malice for all the vexation her perfections, which are so very opposite to mine, have occasioned me. She has been now for several years a widow, has lived long abroad, and now will pay us a visit on her return to her native land. Ernst and she have always kept up the most friendly understanding with each other, although she refused his hand; and it is a noble characteristic of my Ernst, and one which, in his sex, is not often found, that this rejection did not make him indifferent to the person who gave it. On the contrary, he professes the most warm admiration of this Emilie, and has not ceased to correspond with her; and I, for I read all their[Pg 18] letters, cannot but confess her extraordinary knowledge and acuteness. But to know all this near is what I would indeed be very gladly excused, since I cannot help thinking that my husband's "old flame" has something of cold-heartedness in her, and my heart has no great inclination to become warm towards her.

It strikes ten o'clock. Ernst will not come home before twelve. I shall leave you now, Cecilia, that——shall I confess my secret to you? You know that one of my greatest pleasures is the reading of a good novel, but this pleasure I have almost entirely renounced, because whenever I have a really interesting one in my hand, I find the most cruel difficulty in laying it down before I reach the last page. That, however, does not answer in my case; and since the time when through the reading of Madame De Stael's Corinne, two dinners, one great wash, and seventeen lesser domestic affairs all came to a stand-still, and my domestic peace nearly suffered shipwreck, I have made a resolution to give up all novel-reading, at least for the present. But still it is so necessary for me to have some literary relaxation of the kind, that since I read no more novels, I have myself—begun to write one. Yes, Cecilia, my youthful habits will not leave me, even in the midst of the employments and prosaic cares of every-day life; and the flowers which in the morning-tide cast their fragrance so sweetly around me, will yet once more bloom for me in remembrance, and encircle my drooping head with a refreshing garland. The joyful days which I passed by your side; the impressions and the agreeable scenes—now they seem doubly so—which made our youth so beautiful, so lively, and so fresh,—all these I will work out into one significant picture, before the regular flight of years has made them perish from my soul. This employment enlivens and strengthens me; and if, in an evening, my nervous toothache, which is the certain result of over-exertion or of vexation, comes on, there is nothing which will dissipate it like the going on with my little romance. For this very reason, therefore, because this evening my old enemy has plagued me more than common, I have recourse to my innocent opiate.

But Ernst shall not find me awake when he returns: this I have promised him. Good night, sweet Cecilia![Pg 19]

We will now, in this place, give a little description of the letter-writer—of the mother of Henrik, Louise, Eva, Leonore, Petrea, and Gabriele.

Beautiful she certainly was not, but nature had given to her a noble growth, which was still as fine and delicate as that of a young girl. The features were not regular, but the mouth was fresh and bewitching, the lips of a lovely bright red, the complexion fair, and the clear blue eyes soft and kind. All her actions were graceful: she had beautiful hands—which is something particularly lovely in a lady—yet she was not solicitous to keep them always in view, and this beautified them still more. She dressed with much taste, almost always in light colours; this and the soft rose scent which she loved, and which always accompanied her, lent to her whole being a something especially mild and agreeable. One might compare her to moonlight; she moved softly, and her voice was low and sweet, which, as Shakspeare says, is "an excellent thing in woman." Seeing her, as one often might do, reclining on a soft couch, playing with a flower or caressing a child, one could scarcely fancy her the superintendent of a large household, with all its appertaining work-people and servants; and beyond this, as the instructor of many children: yet love and sense of duty had led her to the performance of all this, had reconciled her to that which her natural inclinations were so averse to; nay, by degrees indeed, had made these very cares dear to her—whatever concerned the children lay near to her heart, whilst order, pleasantness, and peace, regulated the house. The contents of the linen-press were dear to her; a snow-white tablecloth was her delight; grey linen, dust, and flies, were hated by her, as far as she could hate anything.

But let us now proceed with our historical sketches.

We left Elise at her manuscript, by which she became soon so deeply occupied that the clock struck twelve unperceived by her; nor was she aware of the flight of time till a sudden terror thrilled her as she heard her husband return. To throw her manuscript into her drawer, and quickly undress, had been an easy thing for her, and she was about to do so, when the thought occurred, "I have never hitherto kept my proceedings secret from Ernst, and to-day I will not begin to do so;" and she remained at her writing-table till he entered the room.[Pg 20]

"What! yet up, and writing?" said he, with a displeased glance. "Is it thus you keep your promise, Elise?"

"Pardon me, Ernst," said she; "I had forgotten myself."

"And for what?" asked he. "What are you writing? No, let me see! What! a novel, as I live! Now, what use is this?"

"What use is it?" returned Elise. "Ah, to give me pleasure."

"But people should have sense and reason in their pleasures," said the Judge. "Now it gives me no pleasure at all that you should sit up at night ruining your eyes on account of a miserable novel;—if there were a fire here I would burn the rubbish!"

"It would be a great deal better," returned Elise, mildly, "if you went to bed and said your prayers piously, rather than thought about such an auto-da-fé. How have you amused yourself at the Governor's?"

"You want now to be mixing the cards," said he. "Look at me, Elise; you are pale; your pulse is excited! Say my prayers, indeed! I have a great mind to give you a lecture, that I have! Is it reasonable—is it prudent—to sit up at night and become pale and sleepless, in order to write what is good for nothing? It really makes me quite angry that you can be so foolish, so childish! It certainly is worth while your going to baths, sending to the east and to the west to consult physicians, and giving oneself all kind of trouble to regain your health, when you go and do every possible thing you can in the world to destroy it!"

"Do not be angry, Ernst," besought Elise; "do not look so stern on me to-night, Ernst; no, not to-night."

"Yes, indeed!" replied he, but in a tone which had become at once milder, "because it is two-and-thirty years to-day since you came into the world, do you think that you have a right to be absolutely childish?"

"Put that down to my account," said Elise, smiling, yet with a tear in her eye.

"Put it down! put it down!" repeated the Judge. "Yes, I suppose so. People go on putting down neck or nothing till it's a pretty fool's business. I should like to pack all novels and novel-writers out of the world together! The world never will be wise till that is done; nor will you either. In the mean time, however, it is as well that I have found you awake, else I must have woke you to prove that you cannot[Pg 21] conceal from me, not even for once, how old you are. Here then is the punishment for your bad intention."

"Ah! Walter Scott's romances!" exclaimed Elise, receiving a set of volumes from her husband; "and such a magnificent edition! Thanks! thanks! you good, best Ernst! But you are a beautiful lawgiver; you promote the very things which you condemn!"

"Promise me, only," returned he, "not to spend the night in reading or writing novels. Think only how precious your health is to so many of us! Do you think I should be so provoked, if you were less dear to me? Do you comprehend that? In a few years, Elise," added he, "when the children are older, and you are stronger, we will turn a summer to really good account, and take our Norwegian journey. You shall breathe the fresh mountain air, and see the beautiful valleys and the sea, and that will do you much more good than all the mineral waters in the world. But come now, let us go and see the children; we will not wake them, however, although I have brought with me some confectionery from the lady hostess, which I can lay on their pillows. There is a rennet for you."

The married pair went into the children's room, where the faithful old Fin-woman, Brigitta, lay and guarded, like the dragon, her treasures. The children slept as children sleep. The father stroked the beautiful curling hair of the boy, but impressed a kiss on the rosy cheek of each girl. After this the parents returned to their own chamber. Elise lay down to rest; her husband sate down to his desk, but so as to shade the light from his wife. The low sounds of a pen moving on paper came to her ear as if in sleep. As the clock struck two she awoke, and he was still writing.

Few men required and allowed themselves so little rest as Ernst Frank.


[1] A kind of fine curled cake.



It was in the twilight. The children were playing at "låna eld"[2] in the great hall, swarming about in holes and[Pg 22] corners, when the sudden stopping of a travelling carriage before the door operated upon the wild little flock much as a stream of cold water on a swarm of Lees. The Queen-bee of the children-swarm, the wise little Louise, sate herself down at the window, and four other little heads clustered themselves about her, fervent and inquisitive, and almost pushing her away in their impatient zeal to get a peep at the arrival.

It was a gentleman who stepped lightly out of that travelling carriage, but whether young or old, the children could not see; this, however, they saw, that their father came quickly to the door, shook the traveller by the hand, and conducted him into the house; whilst a very small portmanteau was carried after him. Seeing this, the little swarm hastened to their mother; to whom they gave, in all possible degrees of tone, from a low whisper to a loud annunciation, the information that for certain "the tutor was come."

Elise, who had company with her, calmed with a "yes, yes!" and "so, indeed!" the excited state of the children. The Queen-bee composed herself quickly; and with mildly silencing looks seemed to observe that she had somewhat forgotten her own dignity, and seated herself quietly and becomingly among the "grown people," as one of them, whilst the other children gathered themselves in a little group in one corner of the room, whispering and wondering; and whoever had looked at them might have seen many a time Petrea's nose peering forth from the little group.

Judge Frank sent to announce to his wife the arrival of the expected guest, who would be introduced to her as soon as he had completed his toilet. Presently afterwards another messenger came, desiring curling-irons for the Candidate.

"It is a blessed long toilet!" thought Elise, many a time during a full hour which elapsed in waiting; and it must be confessed that her nose more than once during the hour took the same direction as Petrea's.

At last the steps of two gentlemen were heard on the hall floor, and there advanced through the parlour door a well-shod foot and a handsome leg, belonging to a well-formed though somewhat compressed figure, which carried gracefully a twenty-year-old head, of a jovial, comely appearance, with the hair dressed after the newest mode. It was the Candidate.[Pg 23] He cast a glance first at his foot, and then at the lady of the house, whom he approached with the most unconstrained self-possession, exhibiting the while a row of dazzlingly white teeth. Odour of eau de Portugal diffused itself though the room.

The Judge, who followed, and whose bearing and simple demeanour contrasted with those of the new guest, introduced the Candidate Jacobi. Various unimportant polite speeches were made by everybody, and then they all took their seats. The children then came forward, and made their bows and curtseys. Henrik eyed his future preceptor with a joyous, confiding glance; the Queen-bee curtseyed very becomingly, and then made several steps backward as the young man seemed inclined to take the great liberty of kissing her; whilst Petrea turned up her nose with an inquisitive saucy air. The Candidate took the kindest notice of them all; shook all of them by the hand; inquired all their names; looked at himself in the glass, and arranged his curls.

"Whom have we here?" thought Elise, with secret anxiety. "He is a fop—a perfect fop! How in all the world could Bishop B. select him as teacher for my poor little children? He will think much more of looking at himself in the glass than of looking after them. The fine breast-pin that he is wearing is of false stones. He laughs to show his white teeth. An actual fop—a fool, perhaps! There, now, he looks at himself again in the glass!"

Elise sought to catch her husband's eye, but he evidently avoided meeting hers; yet something of discontent, and something of trouble too, showed itself in his manner. The Candidate, on the contrary, appeared not in the slightest degree troubled, but reclined perfectly at his ease in an armchair, and cast searching glances on three ladies, who evidently were strangers in the company. The eldest of these, who kept on sewing incessantly, appeared to be upwards of forty, and was distinguished by a remarkably quiet, bright, and friendly aspect. Judge Frank and she talked much together. The other two appeared neither of them to have attained her twentieth year: the one was pale and fair; the other a pretty brunette; both of them were agreeable, and looked good and happy. These ladies were introduced to[Pg 24] Jacobi as Miss Evelina Berndes and her adopted daughters, Laura and Karin. Laura had always one of the children on her knee, and it was upon her that his eyes were most particularly fixed. It was indeed a very pretty picture, which was formed by Laura, with the lovely little Gabriele on her knee, decorated with the flowers, bracelets, necklace, in short, with all the pretty things that just before had ornamented herself.

The conversation soon became general, and was remarkably easy, and the Candidate had an opportunity of taking his part well and interestingly in it whilst speaking of certain distinguished men in the University from which he was just come. Elise mentioned one celebrated man whom she had a great desire to see, upon which Jacobi said he had lately made a little sketch of him, which, on her expressing a wish to see, he hastened to fetch.

He returned with a portfolio containing many drawings and pictures; partly portraits, and partly landscapes, from his own pencil; they were not deficient in talent, and afforded pleasure. First one portrait was recognised and then another, and at last the Candidate himself. The children were quite enchanted, and thronged with enthusiasm round the table. The Candidate placed some of them on his knee, and seemed particularly observant of their pleasure, and it was not long, therefore, before they appeared entirely to forget that he was only a new acquaintance—all at least excepting Louise, who held herself rather fière, and "the baby," which was quite ungracious towards him.

Above all the pictures which the portfolio contained, were the children most affected and enchanted by one in sepia, which represented a girl kneeling before a rose-bush, from which she was gathering roses, whilst a lyre lay against a gravestone near her.

"Oh, how sweet! how divinely beautiful!" exclaimed they. Petrea seemed as if she actually could not remove her eyes from the charming picture, which the Candidate himself also seemed to regard with a fatherly affection, and which was the crown of his little collection.

It was the custom at the Franks, that every evening, as soon as the clock had struck eight, the little herd of children, conducted by the Queen-bee, withdrew to their bed-chamber,[Pg 25] which had once occasioned the wakeful Petrea to say that night was the worst thing God had ever made: for which remark she received a reproving glance from the Queen-bee, accompanied by the maxim, "that people should not talk in that way."

In order, however, to celebrate the present day, which was a remarkable one, the children were permitted to take supper with their parents, and even to sit up as late as they did. The prospect of this indulgence, the Candidate, the pictures, all combined to elevate the spirits of the children in no ordinary degree; so much so indeed that Petrea had the boldness, whilst they were regaling on roast chicken, to propose to the Candidate that the picture of the girl and the rose-bush should be put up for a prize on the breaking of a merrythought between them; promising, that if she had the good fortune to win it, she would give as a recompense a picture of her own composition, which should represent some scene in a temple. The Queen-bee appeared scandalised at her sister's proposal, and shook her little wise head at her.

The mother also violently opposed Petrea's proposition; and she, poor girl, became scarlet, and deeply abashed, before the reproving glances which were cast upon her; yet the Candidate was good-natured enough, after the first astonishment was over, to yield in the most cheerful manner to Petrea's proposal, and zealously to declare that the affair should be managed just as she would. He accordingly set himself, with an appearance of great accuracy and solemnity, to measure the length of both limbs of the merrythought, and then counted three; the mother all this time hoping within herself that he would so manage it that he himself should retain the head—but no! the head remained in Petrea's hand, and she uttered a loud cry of joy. After supper, the parents again opposed what had taken place; but the Candidate was so cheerful and so determined that it should remain as it was settled already, that Petrea, the happiest of mortals, ventured to carry out the girl and rose-bush; yet, she did not miss a motherly warning by the way, which mingled some tears with her joy. The Candidate had, in the mean time, on account of his kindness towards the children, and his good-nature towards Petrea, made a favourable impression on the parents.[Pg 26]

"Who knows," said Elise to her husband, "but that he may turn out very well. He has, probably, his faults, but he has his good qualities too; there is something really very agreeable in his voice and countenance; but he must leave off that habit of looking at himself so continually in the glass."

"I feel assured that he must have worth," said the Judge, "from the recommendation of my friend B. This vanity, and these foppish habits of his, we shall soon know how to get rid of; the man himself is unquestionably good; and, dear Elise, be kind to him, and manage so that he shall feel at home with us."

The children also, in their place of rest, made their observations on the Candidate.

"I think he is much handsomer than my father," said little Petrea.

"I think," said the Queen-bee, in a tone of correction, "that nobody can be more perfect than my father."

"That is true, excepting mamma," exclaimed Eva, out of her little bed.

"Ah," said Petrea, "I like him so much; he has given me that lovely picture. Do you know what I shall call that girl? I shall call her Rosa; and I'll tell you a long story about her. There was once upon a time——"

All the sisters listened eagerly, for Petrea could relate better and prettier stories than any of them. It was therefore said among themselves that Petrea was very clever; but as the Queen-bee was desirous that Petrea should not build much on this opinion, she now listened to her history without bestowing upon it one token of applause, although it was found to be sufficiently interesting to keep the whole little auditorium awake till midnight.

"What will become of my preserves?" thought Elise, one day as she remarked the quantity which vanished from the plate of the Candidate; but when that same evening she saw the little Gabriele merrily, and without reproof, pulling about his curls; when she saw him join the children at their play, and make every game which they played instructive to them; when she saw him armed with a great paper weapon, which he called his sword, and deal about blows to those who counted false, thereby exciting greater activity of mind as well as more mirth, she thought to herself, "he may eat just as[Pg 27] much preserves as he likes; I will take care that he never goes short of them."

If, however, the Candidate rose higher in the regards of one party, there still was another with which his actions did not place him in the best point of view. Brigitta, to whom the care of some few things in the house was confided, began to look troubled, and out of sorts. For several days, whatever her cause of annoyance might be, she preserved silence, till one evening, when expanding the nostrils of her little snubby nose, she thus addressed her mistress:

"The gracious lady must be so good as to give out to the cook just twice as much coffee as usual; because if things are to go on in this way, we cannot do with less. He, the master there, empties the little coffee-pot himself every morning! Never, in all my life, have I seen such a coffee-bibber!"

The following evening came a new announcement of trouble.

"Now it is not alone a coffee-bibber," said poor Brigitta, with a gloomy countenance and wide-staring eyes, "but a calf it is, and a devourer of rusks! What do you think, gracious lady, but the rusk-basket, which I filled only yesterday, is to-day as good as empty—only two rusks and two or three crumbs remaining! Then for cream! Why every morning he empties the jug!"

"Ah, it is very good," said Elise, mildly, yet evasively, "that he enjoys things so much."

"And only look, in heaven's name!" lamented poor Brigitta another day, "he is also quite a sugar-rat! Why, dear, gracious lady, he must put in at least twenty pieces of sugar into one cup of coffee, or he never could empty a sugar-basin as he does! I must beg you to give mo the key of the chest, that I may fill it again. God grant that all this may have a good ending!"

Brigitta could venture to say much, for she had grown old in the house; had carried Elise as a child in her arms; and from affection to her, had followed her when she left her father's house: besides this, she was a most excellent guardian for the children; but as now these complaints of hers were too frequently repeated, Elise said to her seriously: "Dear Brigitta, let him eat and drink as much as he likes, without any observation: I would willingly allow him a pound of sugar and coffee a day, if he only became, as I hope he may, a good friend and preceptor for the children."[Pg 28]

Brigitta walked away quite provoked, and grumbling to herself: "Well, well!" said she, "old Brita can be silent, yes, that she can;—well, well! we shall see what will be the end of it. Sugar and rusks he eats, and salt-fish he can't eat!—well, well!"

All this time Jacobi was passing his days in peace, little dreaming of the clouds which were gathering over his head, or of his appellations of coffee-bibber, calf, rusk-devourer, and sugar-rat; and with each succeeding day it became more evident that Elise's hopes of him were well grounded. He developed more and more a good and amiable disposition, and the most remarkable talents as teacher. The children became attached to him with the most intense affection; nor did their obedience and reverence for him as preceptor prevent them, in their freer hours, from playing him all kind of little pranks. Petrea was especially rich in such inventions; and he was too kind, too much delighted with their pleasure, not willingly to assist, or even at times allow himself to be the butt of their jokes.

Breakfast, which for the elder members of the family was commonly served at eleven o'clock, furnished the children with an excellent opportunity for their amusement. The Candidate was particularly fond of eggs, and therefore, when under a bulky-looking napkin he expected to find some, and laid hasty hands on it, he not unfrequently discovered, instead of eggs, balls of worsted, playing-balls, and other such indigestible articles; on which discovery of his, a stifled laughter would commonly be heard at the door, and a cluster of children's heads be visible, which he in pretended anger assailed with the false eggs, and which quickly withdrew amid peals of laughter. Often too, when, according to old Swedish usage, he would take a glass of spirits, he found pure water instead of Cognac in his mouth; and the little advocates of temperance were always near enough to enjoy his astonishment, although sufficiently distant, also, that not one drop of the shower which was then sent at them should reach them, though it made them leap high enough for delight. And really it was wonderful how often these little surprises could be repeated, and how the Candidate let himself so constantly be surprised. But he was too much occupied by his own thoughts (the thoughts of course of a student of philosophy!)[Pg 29] in order to be on his guard against the tricks of these young merry-andrews. One day——

But before we proceed further we must observe, that although the toilette of the Candidate seemed externally to be always so well supplied, yet still it was, in fact, in but a very indifferent condition. No wonder, therefore, was it, that though his hat outwardly was always well brushed, and was apparently in good order, yet that it had within a sadly tattered lining.

One day, therefore, as the Candidate had laid his hat in a corner of the room, and was sitting near the sofa in a very earnest conversation, Henrik, Petrea, and Eva gathered themselves about that symbol of freedom with the most suspicious airs and gestures of conspiracy. Nobody paid any attention to them, when after awhile the Candidate rose to leave the room, and going through the door would have put on his hat—but, behold, a very singular revolution had taken place within it, and a mass of tin soldiers, stones, matches, and heaven knows what besides, came rattling down upon his head; and even one little chimney-sweeper fell astride on his nose. Nothing could compare with the immeasurable delight of the children at the astonishment of the Candidate, and the comic grimaces and head-shakings with which he received this their not very polite jest.

No wonder was it, therefore, that the children loved the Candidate so well.

The little Queen-bee, however, who more and more began to reckon herself as one of the grown people, and only very rarely took part in the conspiracies against the Candidate, shook her head at this prank of her brother and sisters, and looked out a new piece of dark silk from her drawer (Louise was a hoarder by nature), possessed herself secretly of the Candidate's hat, and with some little help from her mother, had then her secret pleasure also, and could laugh in her own sleeve at his amazement when he discovered a bran new lining in his hat.

"Our little Queen-bee is a sensible little girl," said the Judge, well-pleased, to his wife, who had made him a third in this plot; and after that day she was called both by father and mother "our sensible little Queen-bee."

Scarcely had Jacobi been three weeks in the family of the[Pg 30] Franks, before Elise felt herself disposed to give him a new title, that of Disputer-General, so great was the ability he discovered to dispute on every subject, from human free-will to rules for cookery; nay, even for the eating of eggs.

On this subject Elise wrote thus to her sister Cecilia:—"But however polite and agreeable the Candidate may be generally, still he is just as wearisome and obstinate in disputation; and as there is nobody in the house that makes any pretension to rival him in certain subtleties of argument, he is in great danger of considering himself a miracle of metaphysical light, which he is not, I am persuaded, by any means, since he has much more skill in rending down than in building up, in perplexing than in making clear. Ernst is no friend of metaphysical hair-splitting, and when Jacobi begins to doubt the most perceptible and most certain things—'what is perceptible, what is certain?' the Candidate will inquire—he grows impatient, shrugs his shoulders, goes to his writing-table, and leaves me to combat it out, although, for my part, I would gladly have nothing to do with it. Should I, however, for awhile carry on the contest boldly, the scholar then will overwhelm me with learned words and arguments, and then I too flee, and leave him maître du champ de bataille. He believes then that I am convinced, at least of his power, which yet, however, is not the case; and if fortune do not bestow upon me a powerful ally against him, he may imagine so. Nevertheless, I am not without some curiosity to hear a system which he has promised to explain to me this evening, and according to which everything in the world ought to be so good and consistent. These subjects have always an interest for me, and remind me of the time when you and I, Cecilia, like two butterflies, went fluttering over the earth, pausing about its flowers, and building up for ourselves pretty theories on the origin of life and all things. Since then I had almost forgotten them. Think only if the mythology of our youth should present itself again in the system of the Candidate!"

Here Elise was interrupted by the entrance of the troop of children.

"Might we borrow Gabriele?" "Mother, lend us Gabriele!" besought several coaxing little voices.

"Gabriele, wilt thou not come and play with us? Oh, yes, certainly thou wilt!" and with these words Petrea held[Pg 31] up a gingerbread heart, winch so operated on the heart of the little one, that she yielded to the wishes of brother and sisters.

"Ah, but you must take great care of her, my little angel!" said the mother; "Louise, dear, take her under your charge; look after her, and see that no harm befal her!"

"Yes, of course," said Louise, with a consequential countenance; and the jubilant children carried off the borrowed treasure, and quickly was their sport in full operation in the hall.

Elise took her work, and the Candidate, with a look of great importance, seated himself before her, in order to initiate her into the mysteries of his system. Just, however, at the moment when he had opened his mouth to begin, after having hemmed a few times, a shrill little barking, and the words "your most devoted servant," were heard at the door, and a person entered curtseying with an air of conscious worth, said with a little poodle in her arms—a person with whom we will have the honour to commence a new chapter.


[2] Borrowing fire; a Swedish child's play.



Where is there not haute volée? Above the heavenly hosts are outspread the wings of cherubim and seraphim; and in the poultry-yards of earth the geese exalt their wings high over the other lesser feathered creatures. It belongs to the ordination of the world.

The Chamberlain's lady, Gunilla W., belonged incontestibly to the highest haute volée in the excellent city of X., where we have had the honour of making the acquaintance of the family of the Franks. She was the sister of Governor Stjernhök, and inhabited the third story of the house of which the Franks inhabited the second, and Evelina Berndes the first.

This lady had spent her youth at court, and passed many a day of wearisome constraint, and many a night in making those clothes which were to conceal from the world how poor Miss Gunilla was; yet neither night nor day did she complain either of constraint or of poverty, for she possessed under a plain exterior a strong and quiet spirit.[Pg 32]

An old aunt used to preach to her thus: "Eat, that thou mayst grow fat; if thou art fat, thou wilt grow handsome; and if thou art handsome, thou wilt get married."

Miss Gunilla, who never ate much, and who did not eat one mouthful more for this warning, grew neither fat nor handsome; yet on account of her excellent disposition she was beloved by every one, and especially by a young rich Chamberlain of the court, who, through his own good qualities and excellent heart, won her affections, and thus Miss Gunilla became Mistress. After this, in the circle of her friends she was accustomed to be called Mrs. Gunilla; which freedom we also shall sometimes take with her here.

Shortly after her marriage, and in consequence of cold, her husband became a sad invalid. For thirty years she lived separated from the world, a faithful and lonely attendant of the sick man; and what she bore and what she endured the world knew not, for she endured all in silence. For several years her husband could not bear the light; she learned, therefore, to work in darkness, and thus made a large embroidered carpet. "Into this carpet," said she, as she once spoke accidentally of herself, "have I worked many tears."

One of the many hypochondriacal fancies of her husband was, that he was about to fall into a yawning abyss, and only could believe himself safe so long as he held the hand of his wife. Thus for one month after another she sate by his couch.

At length the grave opened for him; and thanking his wife for the happiness he had enjoyed in the house of sickness on earth, he sank to rest, in full belief of a land of restoration beyond. When he was gone, it seemed to her as if she were as useless in the world as an old almanack; but here also again her soul raised itself under its burden, and she regulated her life with peace and decision. In course of years she grew more cheerful, and the originality of her talents and disposition which nature had given to her, and which, in her solitude, had undisturbedly followed their own bent, brought a freshness with them into social life, into which she entered at first rather from resolution than from feeling at ease in it.

"The Lord ordains all things for the best;" that had always been, and still remained, the firm anchorage of her soul. But it was not this alone which gave to her the peace and gentleness which announced themselves in her voice, and[Pg 33] diffused a true grace over her aged and not handsome countenance; they had yet another foundation: for even as the sunken sun throws the loveliest light upon the earth which it has left, so does the holy memory of a beloved but departed human being on the remaining solitary friend. Mrs. Gunilla herself lived in such a remembrance: she knew it not, but after the death of her husband the dark pictures of his suffering vanished more and more, and his own form, purified by patience and suffering, rose continually higher in its noble glorification; it beamed into her soul, and her soul became brightened thereby. Seldom mentioned she the name of her husband; but when she did so, it was like a breath of summer air in voice and countenance.

She collected good people about her, and loved to promote their happiness; and whenever there was a young couple whose narrow circumstances, or whose fears for the future, filled them with anxiety, or a young but indigent man who was about to fall into debt and difficulty, Mrs. Gunilla was ever at hand, although in most cases behind others. She had nevertheless her faults; and these, as we proceed, we shall become acquainted with.

We now hastily sketch her portrait the size of life. Age between fifty and sixty; figure tall, stiff, well-made, not too thin—beside Jeremias Muntor she might be called stout—complexion, pale yellow; the nose and chin coming together, the mouth fallen in; the eyes grey and small, forehead smooth, and agreeably shaded by silver hair; the hands still handsome, and between the thumb and delicate tip of the forefinger a pinch of snuff, which was commonly held in certain perspective towards the nose, whilst with an elbow resting on the arm of sofa or easy-chair she gave little lectures, or read aloud, for it was one of her weaknesses to suppose that she knew everything.

During her long hermit-life she had been accustomed wholly to neglect her toilet, and this neglect she found it difficult afterwards to overcome; and her old silk gown, from which the wadding peeped out from many a hole, especially at the elbows; her often-mended collar, and her drooping cap, the ribbons of which were flecked with many a stain of snuff, were always a trouble to Elise's love of order and purity. Notwithstanding all this, there was a certain air about Mrs.[Pg 34] Gunilla which carried off all; and with her character, rank, property, and consideration, she was haute volée, spite of torn gown and snuff-beflecked ribbons, and had great influence among the best society of the city.

She considered herself somewhat related to Elise, was very fond of her, and used very often to impart to her opinions on education (N. B.—Mrs. Gunilla never had children), on which account many people in the city accused Elise of weakness towards the haute volée, and the postmistress Bask and the general-shopkeeper Suur considered it quite as much a crime as a failing.

There was in Mrs. Gunilla's voice, manners, and bearing, a something very imposing; her curtsey was usually very stately and low, and this brings us again to her entrance into Elise's room. Elise, the moment she entered, quickly rose and welcomed her, introducing Jacobi at the same time.

At the first glance Jacobi uttered an exclamation of joyful surprise, approached her with an appearance of the greatest cordiality, seized her hand, which he kissed reverentially, and felicitated himself on the happiness of seeing her again.

The little eyes of the Chamberlain's lady twinkled, and she exclaimed, "Oh, heavens! my heart's dearest! Nay, that is very pleasant! He, he, he, he!"

"How!" exclaimed Elise, in astonishment, "Mr. Jacobi, do you know——Aunt W., do you know Mr. Jacobi?"

The Candidate appeared about to give an explanation of the acquaintance, but this Mrs. Gunilla, with a faint crimson overspreading the pale yellow cheek, and a twitch of the eyebrow, prevented, and with a quick voice she said, "We once lived in the same house."

She then desired that the conversation which her entrance had interrupted, and which appeared to have been very important, might proceed. "At least," added she, with a penetrating glance on Elise and the Candidate, "if I should not disturb you."

"Certainly not!"

The Candidate needed only the sixteenth of a hint to rush armed with full fervour into the mysteries of his system. Mrs. Gunilla took up a packet of old gold thread, which she set herself to unravel, whilst the Candidate coughed and prepared himself.

[Pg 35]



"All beings," commenced the Candidate, "have, as their most intrinsic foundation and substance, a simple unity, a soul, a—in one word, a monad."

"A—a what?" asked the Chamberlain's lady, fixing her eyes upon him.

"A monad, or a simple unity," continued he. "The monads have a common resemblance in substance one with another; but in respect of qualities, of power, and size, they are substantially unlike. There are the monads of people; there are human monads, animal monads, vegetable monads; in short, the world is full of monads—they compose the world——"

"Heart's dearest!" interrupted the old lady, in a tone of displeasure, "I don't understand one word of all this! What stuff it is! What are monads?—fill the world, do they?—I see no monads!"

"But you see me, dear lady," said Jacobi, "and yourself. You are yourself a monad."

"I a monad!" exclaimed she, in disgust.

"Yes, certainly," replied he, "your Honour, just the same as any other living creature——"

"But," interrupted she, "I must tell you, dear friend, that I am neither a monad nor a creature, but a human being—a sinful human being it is true—but one that God, in any case, created in his own image."

"Yes, certainly, certainly," acceded the Candidate. "I acknowledge a principal monad, from which all other monads emanate——"

"What!" exclaimed she, "is our Lord God to be a monad also?"

"He may be so designated," said the Candidate, "on account of oneness, and also to preserve uniformity as to name. For the rest, I believe that the monads, from the beginning, are gifted with a self-sustaining strength, through which they are generated into the corporeal world; that is to say, take a bodily shape, live, act, nay even strive—that is to[Pg 36] say, would remove themselves from one body into another without the immediate influence of the Principal Monad. The monads are in perpetual motion—perpetual change, and always place and arrange themselves according to their power and will. If, now, we regard the world from this point of view, it presents itself to us in the clearest and most excellent manner. In all spheres of life we see how the principal monad assembles all the subject monads around itself as organs and members. Thus are nations and states, arts and sciences, fashioned; thus every man creates his own world, and governs it according to his ability; for there is no such thing as free-will, as people commonly imagine, but the monad in man directs what he shall become, and what in regard to——"

"That I don't believe," interrupted Mrs. Gunilla; "since, if my soul, or monad, as you would call it, had guided me according to its pleasure, it would have led me to do many wicked things; and if our Lord God had not chastised me, and in his mercy directed me to something that was good—be so good as to let alone my cotton-balls—it would have gone mad enough with my nomadic soul—that I can tell you."

"But, your Honour," said Jacobi, "I don't deny at all the influence of a principal monad; on the contrary, I acknowledge that; and it is precisely this influence upon your monad which——"

"And I assert," exclaimed she, warming, and again interrupting him, "that we should do nothing that was right if you could establish your nomadic government, instead of the government of our Lord God. What good could I get from your nomads?"

"Monads," said the Candidate, correcting her.

"And supposing your monads," continued Mrs. Gunilla, "do keep in such perpetual movement, and do arrange themselves so properly, what good will that do me in moments of temptation and need? It is far wiser and better that I say and believe that our Lord God will guide us according to his wisdom and good, than if I should believe that a heap of your nomads——"

"Monads, monads!" exclaimed the Candidate.

"Monads or nomads," answered angrily Mrs. Gunilla, "it is all one—be so good as to let my cotton alone, I want it[Pg 37] myself—your nomads may be as magnificent and as mighty as they please, and they may govern themselves, and may live and strive according to their own wisdom; yet I cannot see how the world, for all that, can be in the least the more regular, or even one little grain the more pleasant, to look at. And why are things so bad here? Why, precisely for this very reason, because you good people fancy yourselves such powerful monads, and think so much of your own strength, without being willing to know that you are altogether poor sinners, who ought to beseech our Lord God to govern their poor nomadic souls, in order that they might become a little better. It is precisely such nomadic notions as these that we have to thank for all kind of rapscallion pranks, for all uproars and broken windows. If you had only less of nomads, and more of sensible men in you, one should live in better peace on the earth."

The Candidate was quite confounded; he had never been used to argument like this, and stared at Mrs. Gunilla with open mouth; whilst little Pyrrhus, excited by the warmth of his mistress, leapt upon the table, and barking shrilly seemed disposed to spring at the Candidate's nose. All this appeared so comic, that Elise could no longer keep back the merriment which she had felt during the former part of the dispute, and Jacobi himself accompanied her hearty laugh. Mrs. Gunilla, however, looked very bitter; and the Candidate, nothing daunted, began again.

"But, in the name of all the world," said he, "your Honour will not understand me: we speak only of a mode of observing the world—a mode by which its phenomena can be clearly expounded. Monadology, rightly understood, does not oppose the ideas of the Christian religion, as I will demonstrate immediately. Objective revelation proves to us exactly that the subject-objective and object-subjective, which——"

"Ah!" said Mrs. Gunilla, throwing herself back, "talk what nonsense you will for me, I know what I know. Nomads may be just what they please for me: but I call a man, a man; I call a cat, a cat, and a flower, a flower; and our Lord God remains to me our Lord God, and no nomad!"

"Monad, monad!" cried the Candidate, in a sort of half-comic despair; "and as for that word, philosophy has as good[Pg 38] a right as any other science to make use of certain words to express certain ideas."

During the last several minutes suspicious movements had been heard at the parlour door, the cause of which now became evident; the children had stolen in behind the Candidate, and now cast beseeching glances towards their mother that she should let all go on unobserved. Petrea and Eva stole in first, carrying between them a heavy pincushion, weighted with lead, five pounds in weight at least. The Candidate was standing; and at the very moment when he was doing his best to defend the rights of philosophy, the leaden cushion was dropped down into his coat-pocket. A motion backwards was perceptible through his whole body, and his coat was tightly pulled down behind. A powerful twitching showed itself at the corners of his mouth, and a certain stammering might be noticed in his speech, although he stood perfectly still, and appeared to observe nothing; while the little rascals, who had expected a terrible explosion from their well-laid train, stole off to a distance; but oh, wonder! the Candidate stood stock-still, and seemed not at all aware that anything was going on in his coat-laps.

All this while, however, there was in him such a powerful inclination to laugh that he hastened to relate an anecdote which should give him the opportunity of doing so. And whether it was the nomads of Mrs. Gunilla which diverted him from his system, or the visit of the little herd of nomads to his pockets, true it is there was an end of his philosophy for that evening. Beyond this, he appeared now to wish by cheerful discourse to entertain Mrs. Gunilla, in which he perfectly succeeded; and so mild and indulgent was he towards her, that Elise began to question with herself whether Mrs. Gunilla's mode of argument were not the best and the most successful.

The children stood not far off, and observed all the actions of Jacobi. "If he goes out, he will feel the cushion," said they. "He will fetch a book! Now he comes—ah!"

The Candidate really went out for a book from his room, but he stepped with the most stoical repose, though with a miserably backward-pulled coat, through the astonished troop of children, and left the room.

When he returned, the coat sate quite correctly; the[Pg 39] cushion evidently was not there. The astonishment of the children rose to the highest pitch, and there was no end to their conjectures. The Queen-bee imagined that there must be a hole in his pocket, through which the pincushion had fallen on the stairs. Petrea, in whose suggestion the joke originated, was quite dismayed about the fate of the cushion.

Never once did it enter into the innocent heads of the children that the Candidate had done all this in order to turn their intended surprise on him into a surprise on themselves.

"How came you to be acquainted with Mrs. Gunilla W.?" asked Elise from Jacobi when the lady was gone.

"When I was studying in——," replied he, "I routed a small room on the ground-floor of the same house where she lived. As I at that time was in very narrow circumstances, I had my dinner from an eating-house near, where all was supplied at the lowest price; but it often was so intolerably bad, that I was obliged to send it back untasted, and endeavour, by a walk in the fresh air instead, to appease my hunger. I had lived thus for some time, and was, as may be imagined, become meagre enough, when Mrs. W., with whom I was not personally acquainted, proposed to me, through her housekeeper, that she should provide me with a dinner at the same low charge as the eating-house. I was astonished, but extremely delighted, and thankfully accepted the proposal. I soon discovered, however, that she wished in this way to become my benefactor without its appearing so, and without my thanks being necessary. From this day I lived in actual plenty. But her goodness did not end here. During a severely cold winter, in which I went out in a very thin great-coat, I received quite unexpectedly one trimmed with fur. From whom it came I could not for some time discover, till chance gave me a clue which led me to the Chamberlain's lady. But could I thank her for it? No; she became regularly angry and scolded me if I spoke of the gratitude which I felt and always shall feel for her kindness."

Tears filled the eyes of Jacobi as he told this, and both Elise's eyes and those of her husband beamed with delight at this relation.

"It is," said Judge Prank, "a proof how much goodness there is in the world, although at a superficial glance one is so disposed to doubt it. That which is bad usually noises[Pg 40] itself abroad, is echoed back from side to side, and newspapers and social circles find so much to say about it; whilst that which is good likes best to go—like sunshine—quietly through the world."



The "skirmish"—as Mrs. Gunilla called the little strift she had with the Candidate, about monads and nomads—appeared to have displeased neither of them, but rather, on the contrary, to have excited in them a desire for others of the same kind; and as Elise, who had no great inclination to spend her evenings alone with him, used frequently to invite Mrs. Gunilla to drink tea with them, it was not long before she and the Candidate were again in full disputation together. If the Assessor happened also to come in, there was a terrible noise. The Candidate screamed, and leapt about almost beside himself, but was fairly out-talked, because his voice was weak, and because Mrs. Gunilla and the Assessor, who between them two selves never were agreed, leagued themselves nevertheless against him. Jacobi, notwithstanding this, had often the right side of an argument, and bore his overthrow with the best temper in the world. Perhaps he might have lost his courage, however, as well as his voice in this unequal contest—he himself declared he should—had he not suddenly abandoned the field. He vanished almost entirely from the little evening circle.

"What has become of our Candidate?" sometimes asked Mrs. Gunilla. "I shall be much surprised if his monad or nomad has not carried him off to the land of the nomads! He, he, he, he!"

Judge Frank and wife also began to question with some anxiety, "What has become of our Candidate?"

Our Candidate belonged to that class of persons who easily win many friends. His cheerful easy temper, his talents, and good social qualifications, made him much beloved and sought after, especially in smaller circles. It was here, therefore, as it had been in the University—he was drawn into a jovial little company of good fellows, where, in a variety of ways,[Pg 41] they could amuse themselves, and where the cheerful spirit and talents of Jacobi were highly prized. He allowed himself, partly out of good-nature and partly out of his own folly, to be led on by them, and to take part in a variety of pranks, which, through the influence of some members of the Club, went on from little to more, and our Candidate found himself, before he was aware of what he was about, drawn into a regular carouse—all which operated most disadvantageously upon his affairs—kept him out late at night, and only permitted him to rise late in the morning, and then with headache and disinclination to business.

There was, of course, no lack of good friends to bring these tidings to Judge Frank. He was angry, and Elise was seriously distressed, for she had begun to like Jacobi, and had hoped for so much from his connexion with the children.

"It won't do, it won't do," grumbled Judge Frank. "There shall very soon be an end to this! A pretty story indeed! I shall tell him—I, if he——But, my sweet friend, you yourself are to blame in this affair; you should concern yourself a little about him; you are so fière and distant to him; and what amusement do you provide for him here of an evening? The little quarrels between Mrs. Gunilla and Munter cannot be particularly amusing to him, especially when he is always out-talked by them. It would be a thousand times better for the young man if you would allow him to read aloud to you; yes, if it were romances, or whatever in the world you would. You should stimulate his talent for music; it would give yourself pleasure, and between whiles you could talk a little sound reason with him, instead of disputing about things which neither he nor you understand! If you had only begun in that way at first, he would perhaps never have been such a swashbuckler as he is, and now to get order and good manners back into the house one must have scenes. I'll not allow such goings on!—he shall hear about it to-morrow morning! I'll give that pretty youth something which he shall remember!"

"Ah!" said Elise, "don't be too severe, Ernst! Jacobi is good; and if you talk seriously yet kindly to him, I am persuaded it will have the best effect."

Judge Frank made no reply, but walked up and down the room in very ill humour.[Pg 42]

"Would you like to hear some news of your neighbour the pasquinade-writer?" asked Assessor Munter, who just then entered with a dark countenance. "He is sick, sick to death of a galloping consumption—he will not write any more pasquinades."

"Who looks after his little girl?" asked Elise; "I see her sometimes running about the street like a wild cat."

"Yes, there's a pretty prospect for her," snorted out the Assessor. "There is a person in the house—a person they call her, she ought to be called reptile, or rather devil—who is said to look after the housekeeping, but robs him, and ruins that child. Would you believe it? she and two tall churls of sons that she has about her amuse themselves with terrifying that little girl by dressing themselves up whimsically, and acting the goblins in the twilight. It is more than a miracle if they do not drive her mad!"

"Poor wretch!" exclaimed Judge Frank, in rage and abhorrence. "Good heavens! how much destruction of character there is, how much crime, which the arm of the law cannot reach! And that child's father, can he bear that it is so treated?"

"He is wholly governed by that creature—that woman," said Munter; "besides, sick in bed as he now is, he knows but little of what goes on in the house."

"And if he die," asked the Judge, "is there nobody who will look after that girl? Has he a relation or friend?"

"Nobody in this world," returned Jeremias. "I have inquired particularly. The bird in the wood is not more defenceless than that child. Poverty there will be in the house; and what little there is, that monster of a housekeeper will soon run through."

"What can one do?" asked the Judge, in real anxiety. "Do you know anything, Munter, that one could do?"

"Nothing as yet," returned he; "at present things must take their own course. I counsel nobody to interfere; for he is possessed of the woman, and she is possessed of the devil: and as for the girl, he will have her constantly with him, and lets her give way to all her petulances. But this cannot long endure. In a month, perhaps, he will be dead; and he who sees the falling sparrow will, without doubt, take care of the poor child. At present nobody can save her[Pg 43] from the hands of these harpies. Now, good night! But I could not help coming to tell you this little history, because it lay burning at my heart; and people have the very polite custom of throwing their burdens upon others, in order to lighten themselves. Adieu!"

The Judge was very much disturbed this evening. "What he had just heard weighed heavily on his heart.

"It is singular," said he, "how often Mr. N.'s course and mine have clashed. He has really talent, but bad moral character; on that account I have opposed his endeavours to get into office, and thus operated against his success. It was natural that he should become my enemy, and I never troubled myself about it! but now I wish—the unhappy man, how miserably he lies there! and that poor, poor child! Ström," said he, calling to his servant, "is the Candidate at home? No? and it is nearly eleven! The thousand! To-morrow he shall find out where he is at home!"



On the following morning, as Judge Frank drew aside his window-curtains, the sun—the sun, so powerful in its beams and its silence—shone into his chamber, lighting it with its glorious splendour. Those sunbeams went directly to his heart.

"Dear Elise," said he, when his wife was awake, "I have a great deal to do to-day. Perhaps it would be better if you would speak with Jacobi, and give him his lecture. Ladies, in such circumstances, have more influence on men than we men can have. Besides this, what can be bent must not be broken. I—in short, I fancy you will manage the affair best. It is so beautiful to-day! Could you not take the children a long walk? It would do both them and you good, and upon the way you would have an excellent opportunity for an explanation. Should this be of no avail, then I will—but I would gladly avoid being angry with him; one has things enough to vex one without that."

The Judge was not the only person in the house whom the sun inspired with thoughts of rambling. The Candidate had[Pg 44] promised the children on some "very fine day" to take them to a wood, where there were plenty of hazel-bushes, and where they would gather a rich harvest of nuts. Children have an incomparable memory for all such promises; and the little Franks thought that no day could by any possibility be more beautiful or more suitable for a great expedition than the present, and therefore, as soon as they discovered that the Candidate and their parents thought the same, their joy rose actually as high as the roof. Brigitta had not hands enough for Petrea and Eva, so did they skip about when she wished to dress them.

Immediately after noon the procession set forth; Henrik and the Queen-bee marched first, next came Eva and Leonore, between whom was Petrea, each one carrying a little basket containing a piece of cake, as provision for their journey. Behind the column of children came the mother, and near her the Candidate, drawing a little wicker-carriage, in which sate little Gabriele, looking gravely about with her large brown eyes.

"Little Africa"—so the children called their little dark-eyed neighbour from the Cape—stood at her door as the little Franks tripped forth from theirs. Petrea, with an irresistible desire to make her acquaintance, rushed across the street and offered her the piece of cake which she had in her basket. The little wild creature snatched the piece of cake with violence, showed her row of white teeth, and vanished in the doorway, whilst Elise seized Petrea's hand, in order to keep her restless spirit in check.

As soon as they had passed the gate of the city the children were permitted full freedom, and they were not much more composed in their demeanour than a set of young calves turned out for the first time into a green meadow. We must even acknowledge that the little Queen-bee fell into a few excesses, such as jumping over ditches where they were the broadest, and clapping her hands and shouting to frighten away phlegmatical crows. It was not long, however, before she gave up these outbreaks, and turned her mind to a much sedater course; and then, whenever a stiff-necked millifolium or gaudy hip came in her way, she carefully broke it off, and preserved it in her apron, for the use of the family. Henrik ran back every now and then to the wicker-carriage, in order[Pg 45] to kiss "the baby," and give her the very least flowers he could find. Petrea often stumbled and fell, but always sprang up quickly, and then unaffrightedly continued her leaping and springing.

The Candidate also, full of joyous animal spirits, began to sing aloud, in a fine tenor voice, the song, "Seats of the Vikings! Groves old and hoary," in which the children soon joined their descant, whilst they marched in time to the song. Elise, who gave herself up to the full enjoyment of the beautiful day and the universal delight, had neither inclination nor wish to interrupt this by any disagreeable explanation; she thought to herself that she would defer it a while.

"Nay, only look, only look, sisters! Henrik, come here!" exclaimed little Petrea, beckoning with the hand, leaping, and almost out of herself for delight, whilst she looked through the trellis-work of a tall handsome gate into pleasure-grounds which were laid out in the old-fashioned manner, and ornamented with clipped trees. Many little heads soon looked with great curiosity through the trellis-gate; they seemed to see Paradise within it; and then up came the Candidate, not like a threatening cherub with a flaming sword, but a good angel, who opened the door of this paradise to the enraptured children. This surprise had been prepared for them by Elise and the Candidate, who had obtained permission from the Dowager Countess S * * * to take the children on their way to the nut-wood through her park.

Here the children found endless subject for admiration and inquiry, nor could either the Candidate or their mother answer all their questions. Before long the hearts of the children were moved at sight of a little leaden Cupid, who stood weeping near a dry fountain.

"Why does he cry?" asked they.

"Probably because the water is all gone," answered the Candidate, smiling.

Presently again they were enchanted by sight of a Chinese temple, which to their fancy contained all the magnificence in the world—instead of, as was the case, a quantity of fowls; then they were filled with astonishment at trees in the form of pyramids—they never had seen anything so wonderful, so beautiful! But the most wonderful thing was yet to come.[Pg 46]

They reached a gloomy part of the grounds. Melancholy sounds, incoherent, yet pleasurable, became audible, accompanied by an uninterrupted splashing of water. The children walked slower and closer together, in a state of excited expectation, and a kind of shuddering curiosity. The melancholy tones and the falling water became more and more distinct, as they found themselves inclosed in a thick fir-wood; presently, however, an opening to the right showed itself, and then thickly wreathed with a wild growth of plants and heavily-leaved trees, the vault of a grotto revealed itself, within which, and in the distance, stood a large white figure, with aged head, long beard, crooked back, and goat's legs. To his lips he held a pandean pipe, from which the extraordinary sounds appeared to proceed. Little waterfalls leapt here and there from the rocks around, and then collected themselves at the foot of the statue in a large basin, in which the figure seemed, with a dreamy countenance, to contemplate himself and the leaf-garlanded entrance of the grotto.

The Candidate informed them that this was the Wood-god Pan; but what further information he gave respecting the faith of the ancients in this deity of nature was listened to by nobody but the Queen-bee, who, however, shook her wise head over the want of wisdom in the Grecians who could believe on such a god; and by Elise, who loved to discover in the belief of antiquity a God of nature, which makes itself felt also in our days, but in a truer and, as we think, a diviner sense.

The exhibition in the grotto had produced its effect upon all the spectators, great as well as small; but the brain of the little Petrea seemed quite intoxicated, not to say crazed by it. The Wood-god, with his music, his half-animal, half-human figure, although only of gypsum, and, as the Candidate declared, the offspring only of a dim fancy, as well as that it was without life or actuality, still remained to her imagination a living existence, as real as wonderful. She could see nothing, think of nothing, but the Wood-god; and the foreboding of a new and wonderful world filled her soul with a delicious terror.

In the mean time the Candidate conducted Elise, by a path which wound among alders and birches, up the mountain[Pg 47] in which the grotto was. When they reached the top, all was sunny and cheerful; and behold upon a mound was set out, so pleasantly in the sunshine, a little collation of berries and fruit. It was the Candidate, who had great pleasure in being the kind-hearted host on such occasions, who had provided this little surprise for Elise and the children; and never, indeed, was a surprise more welcome or more joyous. It is the most thankful thing in the world to give pleasure to children; and, moreover, the goodwill of the mother is always obtained thereby.

The Candidate spread his cloak upon a green slope under a hedge of roses, on which Elise's favourite flowers were still blooming, as a seat for herself and "the baby," which now, lifted out of the wicker-carriage, had its green silk bonnet taken off, and its golden locks bathed in sunshine. He chose out the best fruit for her and her mother; and then seating himself on the grass near her, played with her, and drove away the flies from her and her mother with a spray of roses, whilst the other children ran about at a distance, enjoying with all the zest of childhood, gooseberries and freedom. The trees soughed in the soft south wind, whilst the melodious sighs of the Wood-god, and the splash of the water, mingled gently with the whispering leaves. It was a delicious time, and its soft influence stole into the soul of Elise. The sun, the scent of the roses, the song of the wood and of the water, and the Syrinx, the beautiful scene before her, the happy children—all these called up suddenly into her breast that summer of the heart, in which all sentiments, all thoughts, are like beautiful flowers, and which makes life seem so light and so lovely: she conceived a friendship for that young man who had occasioned it, and whose good heart beamed forth from his eyes, which at one moment were fixed on the blue heavens, and then on her own soft blue eyes, with an expression of devotion and a certain pure earnestness, which she had never observed in him before. Elise felt that she could now undertake the explanation with him; she felt that she could talk with him openly and warmly as a sister, and that the truth would flow from her lips, without wounding him or giving him pain.

Scarcely, however, had she with cordial, though with tremulous voice, began to speak, when an uneasy movement[Pg 48] among the children interrupted her. Some looked in the hedges, some ran about under the trees, and the name "Petrea! Petrea!" was repeated in every variety of tone. The mother looked uneasily around, and the Candidate sprang up to see what was amiss. It was nothing uncommon for Petrea to separate herself from the rest of the children, and occupied by her own little thoughts, to lag behind; on that account, therefore, nobody had at first troubled themselves because she was not with them at the collation, for they said, "she will soon come." Afterwards, Elise and the Candidate were too much occupied by their own thoughts; and the children said as usual, "she'll soon come." But when she did not come, they began to seek for her, and Elise and the Candidate came to their assistance. They ran back to the grotto; they sought and called, but all in vain—Petrea was nowhere to be found! and uneasiness very soon changed itself into actual anxiety.

We will now ourselves go in quest of Petrea. So enchanted was she with the Wood-god and his music, that no sooner had she, with the others, begun to climb the hill, than she turned back to the grotto, and there, transported by its wonderful world, she was suddenly possessed by a desire to acquaint her father and Brigitta, with her having seen the Wood-god. Resolve and action are much more one with children than with women. To be the first who should carry to the father the important tidings, "Father, I have seen the Wood-god!" was a temptation too strong for Petrea's ambition and craving for sympathy.

She had heard them say that they should rest on the hill; and as her organ of locality was as feeble as her imagination was powerful, she never doubted for a moment of being able to run home and back before they were aware even of her absence. As for the rest, to confess the truth, she thought nothing at all about it; but with a loudly-beating heart, and the words, "Oh, father! we have seen the Wood-god!" on her lips, she made a spring, and rushed forward on the wings of fancy as fast as her little legs would carry her in a direction exactly the opposite of that which led homeward, and which at the same time removed her from the grotto; never thinking, the poor Petrea! that in this world there are many ways. Before long, however, she found it necessary to stand[Pg 49] still, in order to rest herself: it was all so beautiful around her; delicious odours breathed from the wild flowers; the birds sang; the heaven was cloudless; and here, where no Cupids nor Chinese temples dazzled her thoughts, the very remembrance of the god Pan vanished from her soul, and instead of it a thought, or more properly speaking a sentiment, took possession of it—a holy and beautiful sentiment, which the mother had early instilled into the hearts of her children. Petrea saw herself solitary, yet at the same time she felt that she was not so; in the deliciousness of the air, in the beauty of nature, she perceived the presence of a good spirit, which she had been taught to call Father; and filled, as her heart seemed to be, by a sense of his goodness and affection, which appeared never to have been so sensibly impressed upon her mind as then, her heart felt as if it must dissolve itself in love and happiness. She sank down on the grass, and seemed to be on the way to heaven. But, ah! the way thither is not so easy; and these heavenly foretastes remain only a short time in the souls of children, as well as of grown people.

That which brought Petrea from her heavenly journey back to the earth again was a squirrel, which sprang directly across her path, and sent her forth immediately in chase of it. To catch such game, and to carry it home, would be indeed in the highest degree a memorable action. "What would Henrik and my sisters say? What would all the city say? Perhaps it will get into the newspapers!—perhaps the king may get to hear of it!"—thought Petrea, whilst, out of herself with ambition and earnestness, she pursued the little squirrel over stock and stone.

Her frock was torn; her hands and feet were bruised; but that was a mere nothing! She felt it not, more particularly—oh, height of felicity!—as she fell down, and at that same moment grasped in her trembling hands her little prey. Petrea cried for delight, and shouted to her mother and sisters, who—could not hear her.

"Oh, thou little most loveable creature!" said Petrea, endeavouring at the same time to kiss her little captive, in return for which that most loveable little creature bit her by the chin. Surprised, and sorely smarting from the pain, Petrea began to cry; yet for all that would not let go the[Pg 50] squirrel, although the blood flowed from the wound. Petrea ran forward, wondering that she never came to the great trellis-gate, through which she knew she must pass in order to reach home. Whilst she thus wondered with herself, and ran, and struggled with her little untractable prisoner, she saw a gentleman coming towards her. It never once occurred to her that this could be any other than her father, and almost transported for joy, she exclaimed, "Father, I have seen the Wood-god!"

Greatly astonished to hear himself thus parentally addressed, the young man looked up from the book in which he read, gazed at Petrea, smiled, and replied, "Nay, my child, he is gone in that direction," pointing with his finger towards that quarter whence Petrea had come. Imagining at once that he meant the Candidate, Petrea replied with anxiety and a quick foreboding that she was on a wrong track, "Oh, no, it is not he!" and then turned suddenly back again.

She abandoned now all thoughts of running home, and was only desirous of finding those whom she had so thoughtlessly left. She ran back, therefore, with all her speed, the way she had come, till she reached where two roads branched off, and there unfortunately taking the wrong one, came into a wild region, where she soon perceived how entirely confused she had become. She no longer knew which way to go, and in despair threw herself into the grass and wept. All her ambition was gone; she let the squirrel run away, and gave herself up to her own comfortless feelings. She thought now of the uneasiness and anxiety of her mother, and wept all the more at the thought of her own folly. But, however, consoling thoughts, before long, chased away these desponding ones. She dried her eyes with her dress—she had lost her pocket-handkerchief—and looking around her she saw a quantity of fine raspberries growing in a cleft of the hill. "Raspberries!" exclaimed she, "my mother's favourite berries!" And now we may see our little Petrea scrambling up the cliff with all her might, in order to gather the lovely fruit. She thought that with a bouquet of raspberries in her hand, she could throw herself at the feet of her mother, and pray for forgiveness. So thought she, and tore up the raspberry bushes, and new courage and new hope revived the while in her breast. If, thought she, she clambered only a little[Pg 51] way higher, could she not discover where her home was? should she not see her mother, father, sisters, nay, the whole world? Certainly. What a bright idea it was!

With one hand full of raspberries, the other assisted her to climb; but, ah! first one foot slipped on the dry smooth grass, and then the other. The left hand could no longer sustain the whole weight of her body; the right hand would not let go the raspberries. A moment of anguish, a violent effort, and then Petrea rolled down the cliff into a thicket of bushes and nettles, where for the present we will leave her, in order to look after the others.

The anxiety of the mother is not to be described, as after a whole hour spent with Jacobi and Henrik (the little Queen-bee watched over the other children near Pan's grotto), in seeking and calling for Petrea, all was in vain. There were many ponds in the park, and they could not conceal from themselves that it was possible she might have fallen into one. It was a most horrible idea for Elise, and sent an anguish like death into her heart, as she thought of returning in the evening to her husband with one child missing, and that one of his favourites—missing through her own negligence. Death itself seemed to her preferable.

Breathless, and pale as a corpse, she wandered about, and more than once was near sinking to the earth. In vain the Candidate besought her to spare herself; to keep herself quiet, and leave all to him. In vain! She heard him not; and restless and unhappy, she sought the child herself. Jacobi was afraid to leave her long alone, and kept wandering near her; whilst Henrik ran into other parts of the park, seeking about and calling.

It was full two hours of fruitless search after the lost one, when the Candidate had again joined the despairing mother, that at the very same moment their glances both fell suddenly on the same object—it was Petrea! She lay in a thicket at the foot of the hill; drops of blood were visible on her face and dress, and a horrible necklace—a yellow spangled snake!—glittered in the sun around her neck. She lay motionless, and appeared as if sleeping. The mother uttered a faint cry of terror, and would have thrown herself upon her, had not the Candidate withheld her.

"For heaven's sake," said he, fervently, and pale as death,[Pg 52] "be still; nothing perhaps is amiss; but it is the poisonous snake of our woods—the aspic! An incautious movement, and both you and Petrea may be lost! No, you must not; your life is too precious—but I—promise me to be still, and——"

Elise was scarcely conscious of what she did. "Away! away!" she said, and strove to put Jacobi aside with her weak hands; she herself would have gone, but her knees supported her no longer—she staggered, and fell to the ground.

In that same moment the Candidate was beside Petrea, and seizing the snake by the neck with as much boldness as dexterity, he slung it to a distance. By this motion awakened, Petrea shuddered, opened her sleep-drunken eyes, and looking around her, exclaimed, "Ah, ah, father! I have seen the Wood-god!"

"God bless thee and thy Wood-god!" cried the delighted Candidate, rejoicing over this indisputable token of life and health; and then clasping her to his breast he bore her to her mother. But the mother neither heard nor saw anything; she lay in a deep swoon, and was first recalled to consciousness by Henrik's kisses and tears. For a while she looked about her with anguishful and bewildered looks.

"Is she dead?" whispered she.

"No, no! she lives—she is unhurt!" returned Jacobi, who had thrown himself on his knees beside her; whilst the little Petrea, kneeling likewise, and holding forth the bunch of raspberries, sobbed aloud, and besought her, "Forgive! oh, mamma, forgive me!"

Light returned to the eyes of the mother; she started up, and, with a cry of inexpressible joy, clasped the recovered child to her breast.

"God be praised and blessed!" cried she, raising her folded hands to heaven; and then silently giving her hand to Jacobi, she looked at him with tears, which expressed what was beyond the power of words.

"Thank God! thank God!" said Jacobi, with deep emotion, pressing Elise's hand to his lips and to his breast. He felt himself happy beyond words.

They now hastened to remove from the dangerous neighbourhood of the snake, after Jacobi and Henrik had given up, at the desire of the mother, the probably ineffectual design of seeking out the poisonous but blameless animal, and killing it on the spot.[Pg 53]

All this time the little Queen-bee had sate alone by the grotto, endeavouring to comfort her sisters, whilst she herself wept bitter tears over Petrea, whom she never expected to see again: on that very account her joy was all the greater and louder, when she saw her carried in the arms of the Candidate; and no sooner did she learn from her mother how he had rescued her from the fangs of death, than she threw her arms round his neck in inexpressible gratitude. All this Petrea heard and saw with the astonishment and curiosity of one who meets with something unheard of; and then, thus seeing the distress which her inconsiderateness had occasioned, she herself melted into such despairing tears, that her mother was obliged to console and cheer her. Of her fall into the thicket Petrea knew no more than that her head had felt confused, that she could not get up again, had slept, and then dreamed of the Wood-god.

In the mean time it had become so late, that the harvest of nuts was not to be thought of, and as much on the mother's as on Petrea's account, it was necessary to hasten home. The other children probably would have grieved more over the unfortunate pleasure journey, had they not felt an extraordinary desire to relate at home the remarkable occurrences of the day. New difficulties arose on the return. Petrea—who, besides that she was weary, was bruised and sadly dirtied by her fall—could not walk, and therefore it was determined that she must ride in the little carriage, while the Candidate carried Gabriele. When, however, the little one saw that Jacobi was without gloves, she would neither allow him to carry her nor to take hold of her, and set up the most pitiable cry. Spite of her crying, however, he took up the "little mother," as he called her; and what neither his nor the mother's persuasion could effect, was brought about by Henrik's leaps and springs, and caresses—she was diverted: the tears remained standing half-way down her cheeks, in the dimples which were suddenly made by her hearty laughter.

Petrea, after the paroxysm of sorrow and penitence was in measure abated, began to think herself and her adventures particularly interesting, and sate in her little carriage a very important personage, surrounded by her sisters, who could not sufficiently listen to her relation, and who emulated[Pg 54] each other in drawing the little equipage. As for Jacobi, he drew the carriage; he carried the baby, which soon fell asleep on his shoulder; he sang songs; told stories, in order to entertain Elise, who remained a long time pale and depressed, from the danger which had threatened her, and the anxiety which she had endured.

At length they reached home. They poured forth their adventures: Brigitta shed tears over her "Little angel-sweet Mamselle Petrea;" and the father, from the impulse of his feelings, pressed Jacobi to his heart.

After Petrea's scratches and bruises had been washed with Riga-balsam, the mother permitted the children to have a supper of pancakes and raspberry-cream, in order to console them for the unfortunate expedition. Hereupon the children danced for joy about the table; and Petrea, who, on account of her misfortunes, received a Benjamin's portion, regarded it as certain that they always eat such cream in heaven, wherefore she proposed that it should be called "Angels' food." This proposition met with the highest approbation, and from this day "Angels' food" became a well-known dish in the Frank family.

Yet Petrea wept some bitter tears on the breast of her father over the gentle admonition she received from him; but spite of tears, she soon slept sweetly in his arms.

And the lecture of the Candidate?

"Stay at home with us this evening," said Elise to him, with a kind, beseeching glance.

The Candidate stayed with them.



"Stay at home with us this evening," prayed Elise the next day, and for several other days, and the Candidate stayed.

Never before had he seen Elise so kind, so cordial towards him; never before had she shown him so much attention as now; and this attention, this cordiality from a lady who, in her intercourse with men, was generally only polite and indifferent, flattered his vanity, at the same time that it penetrated his good heart. All occasion for explanation and[Pg 55] lectures vanished, for the Candidate had entirely renounced his dissipated friends and companions, and now nobody could talk more edifying than he on the subject. He agreed so cordially with Elise, that the fleeting champagne of the orgies foamed only for the moment, leaving nothing but emptiness and flatness behind. "For once, nay, for a few times," he was of opinion, "such excesses might be harmless, perhaps even refreshing; but often repeated—ah! that would be prejudicial, and demoralising in the highest degree!"

All this seemed to the little Queen-bee, who had heard it, remarkably well expressed.

Nobody seemed now better pleased at home than Jacobi; he felt himself so well in the regular course of life which he led, and there seemed so much that was genuine and fresh in the occupations and pleasures of those quiet days at home.

In the mean time, the fresh life of the Candidate began to develop its weak side. Gratitude had, in the first instance, warmed Elise's heart towards him, and then his own real amiability made it so easy to gratify the wish of her husband respecting her behaviour towards him, and thus it soon happened that her intercourse with Jacobi enlivened her own existence. In many respects their tastes were similar, especially in their love of music and polite literature, whilst his youthful enthusiasm gave to their common occupations a higher life and interest. Discussion lost all character of dispute, and became merely an agreeable interchange of thought: it was no longer now of any importance to him to be always right; there was a peculiar kind of pleasure in giving up his opinion to hers. He knew more out of books than she did, but she knew more of life—the mother of books, than he; and on this account she, on her part, proceeded as the older and guiding friend. He felt himself happy from the influence and gentle guidance of an agreeable woman, and became more and more devoted to her from his soul.

Still there was a quietness and a charm about this connexion that made him never forbode danger in it. He loved to be treated as a child by Elise, and he gave, therefore, free play to his naturally unsophisticated feelings. Her gentle reproofs were a sort of luxury to him; he had a delight in sinning, in order to deserve them; and then, whilst listening to them, how gladly would he have pressed[Pg 56] her dress, or her white and beautiful hand to his lips; there was even a sort of painfully agreeable sensation to him in his not daring to do so. Whenever she approached, and he heard her light footsteps, or when he perceived the soft rose-odour which always accompanied her, it seemed to become infinitely warm around his heart. But that which, above all the rest, was the strongest bond between Jacobi and Elise, was her sufferings. Whenever nervous pain, or domestic unpleasantness, depressed her spirits; when she bore the not unfrequent ill-humour of her husband with patience, the heart of Jacobi melted in tenderness towards her, and he did all that lay in his power to amuse and divert her thoughts, and even to anticipate her slightest wishes. She could not be insensible to all this—perhaps also it flattered her vanity to observe the power she had over this young man—perhaps even she might willingly deceive herself as to the nature of his sentiments, because she would not disturb the connexion which lent a sweet charm to her life.

"He loves the children and their mother," said she; "he is their friend and mine! May he only continue such!"

And certain it is that the children had never been better conducted, never had learned better, never been happier, than they were now, whilst Jacobi himself developed a more and more happy ability to teach and guide.

Adverse fate barricades the shore which the vessel is on the point of approaching, by dangerous breakers, and interrupts the bond between the dearest friends, which is just about to be cemented eternally. It was this fate which, at the very time when Jacobi was exhibiting his character in the fairest point of view, occasioned the Judge to exhibit the darker side of his.

Judge Frank belonged to that class of persons who are always in the best humour the more they have to do, and the more active is the life they lead. And just now there had occurred a pause in an undertaking for the country's good, which lay much at the Judge's heart; and delay, occasioned by a number of little circumstances which he willingly would, but could not, dissipate, put him into an ill humour. At home he was often exacting and quarrelsome, particularly towards his wife; thus placing himself, beside the kind and cheerful Jacobi, in a very disadvantageous light. He felt[Pg 57] this, and was displeased with himself, and displeased with his wife too, because she seemed to pay but little regard to his grumbling; occupying herself instead by her singing-practice with Jacobi. This very singing-practice, too, of which he himself had been the occasion, began to appear to him too much of a thing. He seemed to think scolding more agreeable for the ear; in fact, he was in that edifying state of mind which excites and angers itself about that which a few good words alone would easily put an end to.

The reading, likewise, which at first he had so zealously recommended, became now to him another cause of vexation. Precisely at this very time he wished to have more of the society of his wife of an evening, and wished her to take more interest in his undertakings and his annoyances; but whenever he came into the parlour he found them reading, or occupied by music; and if these ceased at his entrance, there was still an evident damp on the spirits of all—the entertainment could not proceed; and if, on the contrary, he said, "Go on with your music (or reading), go on," and they did so, he was still dissatisfied; and if he did not very soon return to his own room, he walked up and down like a snowstorm.

It was precisely this fate, of which we have just now spoken, which managed it so, that one evening as Judge Frank, the prey of ill humour, was walking up and down the room, a letter was put into his hand, at sight of which he burst into an exclamation of joyful surprise. "Nay, that is indeed delightful," said he, in a very cheerful voice, as soon as he had read the letter. "Elise! Mrs. S——, Emelie, is here. She is only just this evening arrived; I must hasten to her directly. Sweet Elise, will you not come with me? It would be polite."

"Oh, it is so late!" said Elise, much less pleased than her husband; "and I fancy it rains. Cannot you go alone to-night? to-morrow morning I will——"

"Well, well, then," said the Judge, suddenly breaking off; and somewhat offended at her refusal, hastening away.

It was rather late when he returned from his visit, but he was in high spirits. "She is a most interesting lady," said he; "my best Elise, it certainly would give you great pleasure to know her intimately."[Pg 58]

"Ah! I question that," thought Elise.

"She talks," continued he, "of locating herself here in the city. I hope we shall decide her to do so."

"I hope not," thought Elise.

"We will do all that we possibly can," said he, "to make her residence here agreeable. I have invited her to dinner to-morrow."

"To-morrow!" exclaimed Elise, half terrified.

"Yes, to-morrow," answered her husband, peremptorily. "I told her that to-morrow morning you would pay her a visit, but she insists on first coming to you. You need not trouble yourself much about the dinner to-morrow. Emelie will not expect much from an improvised dinner. At all events, it may be just as good as there is any need for, if people will only give themselves a little trouble. I hope Emelie will often come and take up with our simple way of living."

Elise went to rest that night with a depressed heart, and with an indefinite but most unpleasant feeling, thought of the next day's dinner, and then dreamed that her husband's "old flame" had set the house on fire, and robbed the whole family of its shelter.



You housewives who know the important meaning of a roast, who know the difficulties which sometimes overwhelm you, especially when you must improvise a dinner; you who know that notwithstanding all inspiration, both of understanding and inclination—yet inspiration is necessary to all improvisation—one cannot inspire either chickens or heath-cocks to come flying into the important dish, when the crust is ready to put on it;—you housewives who have spent many a long morning in thoughts of cookery and in anguish, without daring to pray the Lord for help, although continually tempted to do so; you can sympathise in Elise's troubles, as she, on the morning of this important dinner, saw the finger of the clock approach twelve without having been able to improvise a roast.[Pg 59]

It is true that an improvised dinner might do without a roast: this we grant as a general law; but in the case of this particular dinner, we deny it altogether, in proof of which we might easily give the arrangement of the whole dinner, did we not flatter ourselves that we are believed on our bare word. Beyond this, the Judge was a declared lover of a roast, and of all kinds of animal food, which circumstance increased still more Elise's difficulty; and as if to make difficulty still greater, Elise, on this very day, was remarkably in want of assistants, for her husband had sent out, on his own business, those servants who, on extraordinary occasions, Elise found very good help. The cook, too, was confused to-day in a remarkable manner; the children were in a fermentation; Eva and Leonore quarrelled; Petrea tore a hole in her new frock; Henrik broke a water-bottle and six glasses; the baby cried and screamed for nothing; the clock was on the stroke of twelve, and no roast would come!

Elise was just on the point of falling into despair over roasts, cooks, the dinner, the child, nay, over the whole world, when the door opened, and the words, "your most devoted servant," were spoken out shrilly and joyously, and the widow of the Court Chamberlain—to Elise she seemed an angel of light from heaven—stood in the room, with her beaming friendly countenance, took out of her monstrous reticule one chicken after another, and laid them upon the table, fixing her eye on Elise, and making with each one a little curtsey to her, upon which she laughed heartily. Enraptured by the sight, Elise embraced first the lady Chamberlain, then the chickens, with which she hastily sprang into the kitchen, and returning, poured forth her thanks and all her cares to this friend in need.

"Well, well, patience!" exhorted Mrs. Gunilla, kindly and full of cordial sympathy, and somewhat touched by Elise's communication. "Best-beloved, one should not take it so much to heart—such troubles as these soon pass away—yes, indeed, they soon pass. Now listen, and I'll tell you something, 'when need is greatest, help is nearest.' Yes, yes, remember that! As for the chickens, I saw them in a peasant's cart, as I crossed the market, and as I knew what was going on here, I lost no time in buying them and bringing them, under my cloak, and I have nearly run myself out of[Pg 60] breath, in my haste. He, he, he! And so now I must go, for the dear lady must dress herself nicely, and so must I too. Adieu, dear Elise; I wish you the happiness of getting both the dinner and the young folks in order. He, he, he!"

Gunilla went, dinner-time came, and with it the guests and the Judge, who had spent the whole morning in the business of his own office, out of the house.

Emelie, the Colonel's widow, was elegant in the highest degree; looked handsome, and distinguished, and almost outdid herself in politeness; but still Elise, spite even of herself, felt stiff and stupid by the side of her husband's "old flame." Beyond this, she had now a great distraction.

"Oh, that the chickens may be nicely done!" was the incessant master-thought of Elise's soul; and it prevailed over the Pope, the Church of St. Peter's, Thorwaldsen and Pasta, and over every subject on which they talked.

The hour of dinner was come, and yet the dinner kept the company waiting. The Judge, who expected from everybody else the punctuality which he himself practised, began to suffer from what Elise called his "dinner-fever," and threw uneasy glances first at the dining-room door, and then at his wife, whose situation, it must be confessed, was not a very enviable one. She endeavoured to look quite calm, but often whispered something to the little Louise, which sent her very importantly in and out of the room. Elise's entertainment, both that part which was audible, and that which was inaudible, was probably at the moment carried on something after the following fashion:

"It must be inexpressibly pleasant to know," (ah, how unbearably long it is!) "it must be very interesting." (I wish Ernst would fire again on his "old flame," and forget dinner.) "Yes, indeed, that was very remarkable." (Now are those chickens not roasted!) "Poor Spain!" (Now, thank goodness, dinner is ready at last—if the chickens are only well done!)

And now to dinner! A word which brightens all countenances, and enlivens all tempers. Elise began to esteem the Colonel's widow very highly, because she kept up such a lively conversation, and she hoped this would divert attention from any of the dishes which were not particularly successful. The Judge was a polite and agreeable host, and he was particularly[Pg 61] fond of dinner-time, when he would willingly have made all men partakers of his good appetite, good humour, and even of his good eating—N. B. if this really was good—but if the contrary happened to be the case, his temper could not well sustain it.

During the dinner Elise saw now and then little clouds come over her husband's brow, but he himself appeared anxious to disperse them, and all went on tolerably till the chickens came. As the Judge, who adhered to all old customs, was cutting them up, he evidently found them tough, whereupon a glance was sent across the table to his wife which went to her heart like the stab of a knife; but no sooner was the first pang over than this reproachful glance aroused a degree of indignation in her which determined her to steel herself against a misfortune which in no case was her fault; she, therefore, grew quite lively and talkative, and never once turned her eyes to her husband, who, angry and silent, sate there with a very hot brow, and the knife sticking still in the fowls.

But, after all, she felt as if she could again breathe freely when the dinner was over, and on that very account longed just to speak one word of reconciliation with her husband; but he now seemed to have only eyes and ears for Emelie; nor was it long before the two fell into a lively and most interesting conversation, which certainly would have given Elise pleasure, and in which she might have taken part, had not a feeling of depression stolen over her, as she fancied she perceived a something cold and depreciating in the manners of her husband towards her. She grew stiller and paler; all gathered themselves round the brilliant Emelie; even the children seemed enchanted by her. Henrik presented her with a beautiful flower, which he had obtained from Louise by flattery. Petrea seemed to have got up a passion for her father's "old flame," took a footstool and sat near her, and kissed her hand as soon as she could possess herself of it.

The lady devoted herself exclusively to her old worshipper, cast the beams of her beautiful eyes upon him, and smiled bewitchingly.

"This is a great delight!" thought Elise, as she wiped away a traitorous tear; "but I will keep a good face on it!"

The Candidate, who perceived all this, quickly withdrew[Pg 62] from the lady's enchanted circle, in which he also had been involved, and taking "the baby" on his knee, began to relate a story which was calculated as much to interest the mother as the child. The children were soon around him: Petrea herself forsook her new flame to listen, and even Elise for the moment was so amused by it that she forgot everything else. That was precisely what Jacobi wanted, but it was not that which pleased the Judge. He rose for a moment, in order to hear what it was which had so riveted the attention of his wife.

"I cannot conceive," said he to her in a half-whisper, "how you can take delight in such absurdity; nor do I think it good for the children that they should be crammed with such nonsense!"

At length Emelie rose to take her leave, overwhelming Elise with a flood of polite speeches, which she was obliged to answer as well as she could, and the Judge, who had promised to show her the lions of the place, accompanied her; on which the rest of the guests dispersed themselves. The elder children accompanied the Candidate to the school-room to spend an hour in drawing; the younger went to play; Petrea wished to borrow Gabriele, who at the sight of a gingerbread heart could not resist, and as a reward received a bit of it; Elise retired to her own chamber.

Poor Elise! she dared not at this moment descend into her own heart; she felt a necessity to abstain from thought—a necessity entirely to forget herself and the troubling impressions with which to-day had overwhelmed her soul. A full hour was before her, an hour of undisturbed repose, and she hastened to her manuscript, in order to busy herself with those rich moments of life which her pen could call up at pleasure, and to forget the poor and weary present—in one word, to lose the lesser in the higher reality. The sense of suffering, of which the little annoyances of life gave her experience, made her alive to the sweet impressions of that beauty and that harmonious state of existence which was so dear to her soul.

She wrote and wrote and wrote, her heart was warm, her eyes filled with tears, the words glowed upon her page, life became bright, the moments flew. An hour and a half passed. Her husband's tea-time came; he had such delight in coming home at this hour to find his wife and his children all assembled[Pg 63] round the tea-table in the family room. It very rarely happened that Elise had not all in readiness for him; but now the striking of seven o'clock roused her suddenly from her writing; she laid down her pen, and was in the act of rising when her husband entered.

A strong expression of displeasure diffused itself over his countenance as he saw her occupation.

"You gave us to-day a very bad dinner, Elise," said he, going up to her and speaking with severity; "but when this novel-writing occupies so much of your time, it is no wonder that you neglect your domestic duties; you get to care really just as little about these, as you trouble yourself about my wishes."

It would have been easy for Elise to excuse herself, and make all right and straight; but the severe tone in which her husband spoke, and his scornful glance, wounded her deeply. "You must have patience with me, Ernst," said she, not without pride and some degree of vexation; "I am not accustomed to renounce all innocent pleasures; my education, my earlier connexions, have not prepared me for this."

This was like pricking the Judge in the eye, and with more bitterness and severity than usual he replied:

"You should have thought about that before you gave me your hand; before you had descended into so humble and care-full a circle. It is too late now. Now I will——" but he did not finish his sentence, for he himself perceived a storm rising within him, before which he yielded. He went to the door, opened it, and said in a calm voice, yet still with an agitated tone and glance, "I would just tell you that I have taken tickets for the concert to-morrow, if you would wish to go. I hoped to have found you at the tea-table; but I see that is not at all thought of—it is just as desolate and deserted there as if the plague were in the house. Don't give yourself any trouble, I shall drink my tea at the club!" and thus saying he banged the door and went away.

Elise seated herself—she really could not stand—and hid her face in her trembling hands. "Good heavens! is it come to this? Ernst, Ernst! What words! what looks! And I, wretched being, what have I said?"

Such were Elise's broken and only half-defined thoughts, whilst tears streamed down her cheeks.[Pg 64]

"Words, words, words!" says Hamlet, disparagingly. But God preserve us from the destructive power of words! There are words which can separate hearts sooner than sharp swords—there are words whose sting can remain in the heart through a whole life!

Elise wept long and violently; her whole soul was in excitement.

In moments of violent struggle, bad and good spirits are at hand; they surrounded Elise and spoke to her thus:

Bad Spirits.—"Think on that which thou hast given up! think on thy own merits! Recollect the many little acts of injustice which thou hast had to bear, the bitter moments which the severity of thy husband has occasioned thee! Why shouldst thou humbly crawl in the dust? Raise thyself, depressed one! raise thyself, offended wife! think of thy own worth, of thy own rights! Do not allow thyself to be subjected; show some character. Requite that which thou hast endured. Thou also canst annoy; thou also canst punish! Take refuge in thy nerves, in unkindness; make use of thy power, and enjoy the pleasure of revenge!"

Good Spirits.—"Think on thy wants, on thy faults! Recollect all the patience, all the kindness, all the tenderness which has been shown thee! Think on the many beautiful moments! Think on thy husband's worth, on his beautiful noble qualities! Think also on life, how short it is; how much unavoidable bitterness it possesses; how much which it is easy either to bear or to chase away; and think on the all-rectifying power of affection. Tremble before the chains of selfish feeling; free thyself from them by a new sacrifice of love, and purify the heaven of home. Ascending clouds can easily expand into a destructive tempest, or can disperse and leave not a trace in the air. Oh, chase them hence with the powerful breath of love!"

The happiness of a long life depends, not unfrequently, upon which of these invisible counsellors in such moments we give ear to. On this it depends whether the gates of heaven or of hell shall be opened upon earth to men. Elise listened to the good counsellors; she conversed long with them, and the more pure recollections they sent into her soul the lighter it became therein. The light of love was kindled in her, and in its light she became clear-sighted in many[Pg 65] directions. She saw now what it was right for her to do respecting her novel, and this revelation warmed her heart. She knew also that this was the only one she should ever write, and that her husband should never again miss her from the tea-table, and therefore be obliged to drink his tea at the club (but he should be reconciled sometime with the sinner—the novel); and she would, moreover, prepare a dinner for the Colonel's widow, which should compensate for the unlucky one of this day; and—"Would that Ernst would but come home soon," thought she, "I would endeavour to banish all his displeasure, and make all right between us."

It was the bathing-day of the children, and the message that the hour of bathing was come interrupted Elise's solitude. She ordered Brigitta to commence her preparations, and when she had somewhat composed herself, and washed away the traces of her tears with rose-water, she herself went down into the chamber.

"God be praised for water!" thought Elise, at the first view of the scene which presented itself. The soft glowing young forms in the clear warm water, the glimmering of the open fire, the splashing and jubileering of the children in their unspeakable comfort, their innocent sport one with another in the peaceful little lake of the bath, in which they had no fear of raising stormy waves; nay, even Brigitta's happy face, under her white cap, her lively activity, amid the continual phrases of "best-beloved," "little alabaster arm," "alabaster foot," "lily-of-the-valley bosom," and such like, whilst over the lily-of-the-valley bosom, and the alabaster arm, she spread soap-foam scarcely less white, or wrapped them in snowy cloths, out of which nothing but little lively, glowing, merry faces peeped and played with one another at bo-peep—all this united to present a picture full of life and pleasure.

Elise, however, could not fully enjoy it; the thought of what had just occurred, longings for reconciliation with her husband, fear that he might remain long, that he might return too much displeased for her easily to make all straight again—these thoughts occupied her mind; yet still she could not help smiling as Gabriele, who had sunk down into the bath alone, exclaimed, almost beside herself for fright, "I am drowning! I am drowning!" In order to re-assure her, her[Pg 66] mother stretched out her white hands to her, and under their protection she laughed and splashed about like a little fish in water.

A shower of flowers streamed suddenly over both mother and child, and Gabriele screamed aloud for joy, and stretched forth her little arms to catch gilly-flowers, roses, and carnations, which fell upon and around her. Elise turned herself round in surprise, and her surprise changed itself into the most delightful sensation of joy, as the lips of her husband were pressed to her forehead.

"Ah, you!" exclaimed Elise, and threw her arms round his neck, and caressingly stroked his cheek.

"I shall get wet through with all this," said he, laughing, yet without leaving the bath, nay, he even stooped down his head to little Gabriele, kissed her, and allowed her to splash him with water.

"Thank God! all is right again! and perhaps it will be best to take no further notice of this unpleasant affair!" thought she, and prepared to follow her husband into the parlour.

The Judge had, probably, during his bad tea at the club, held with the invisible speakers the same conversation, with some variations, as his wife during his absence, the consequence whereof was his visit to the bathing-room, and the shower of flowers from the nosegay he had brought with him for her, and the kiss of reconciliation which effaced every thoughtless and wounding word. He felt now quite pleased that everything was as it should be, and that the gentle and yielding temper of his wife would require nothing further. But, perhaps, on that very account, he was dissatisfied with himself, her eyes red with weeping grieved him, especially as they beamed so kindly upon him, he felt that he misused the power which circumstances had given him over his wife; he felt that he had behaved harshly to her, and therefore he had no peace with himself, therefore he felt a necessity to pronounce one word—one word, which it is so hard for the lips of a man to pronounce, yet, which Ernst Frank was too manly, too firm to shrink from.

When, therefore, his wife entered, he offered her his hand; "Forgive me, Elise," said he, with the deepest feeling; "I have behaved severely, nay, absurdly to-day!"[Pg 67]

"Oh, forgive me, Ernst!" said Elise, deeply affected, whilst she pressed his hand to her heart and——

Accursed be all disturbers of peace in this world! Such a one entered at that moment, and undid that which would otherwise have bound them so closely to each other. It was a messenger from the Colonel's widow with a note, together with a book for the Judge, and two little bottles of select Eau de rose for Elise, "of which, I know," said the note, "she is very fond."

The Judge's cheek grew crimson as he read the note, which he did not show to his wife.

"An extremely polite and interesting person," said he; "I will immediately answer it."

"Ernst," said Elise, "should we not invite her to dinner to-morrow? I thought of something very nice, which is sure to succeed; then we could go altogether to the concert, and afterwards she might sup with us."

"Now that is a good idea, and I thank you for it, my sweet Elise," said he, extremely pleased.

Yes, if the Colonel's widow had not been there—if the Candidate had not been there—and if there had been no if in the case, all might have gone on quite smoothly. But it was quite otherwise.



Too many chaotic elements had collected together in the family of the Franks for one sun-gleam to dissipate. Even the married pair did not clearly understand their own actions.

The Judge, truly, was too much enchanted by his former beloved one; and the beautiful Emelie did all that was in her power to enslave again her early adorer.

Judge Frank, who would have been as cold and proud as possible, if he had been assailed by coarse and direct flattery, was yet by no means steeled against the refined and almost imperceptible flattery of Emelie, who, with all her peculiar gifts of soul and understanding, made herself subordinate to him, in order to be enlightened and instructed by him.

"An extraordinarily amiable and interesting lady," thought he still with greater animation, although he seldom asserted[Pg 68] so much; and exactly in the proportion in which he found Emelie interesting, it was natural that he should find Elise less so, especially as he found in Emelie precisely those very qualities, the want of which he had so much regretted in his wife; namely, an interest in his activity as a citizen, and in general for the objects connected with which he occupied himself in the liveliest manner.

Elise, on her part, was neither calm nor clear. The connexion between her husband and Emelie was painful to her; and she felt a sort of consolation from the devotion of Jacobi, even when it was beginning to assume that passionate character which made her seriously uneasy.

A letter, which she wrote to her sister about this time, exhibits her state of feeling:

"It is long since I wrote to you, Cecilia—I hardly know why; I hardly know, indeed, my own feelings—all is so unquiet, so undefined. I wish it were clear!

"Do you know she is very lovely, this 'old flame' of my husband's, and very brilliant. I fancy I am jealous of her. Last evening I went out to a supper-party—the first for several years. I dressed myself with great care, for I wished to please Ernst, and had flowers in my hair. I was greatly satisfied with my appearance when I went. My husband was to come later. I found Emelie already there; she was beautiful, and looked most elegant. They placed me beside her; a looking-glass was before us, on which I threw stolen glances, and saw opposite to me—a shadow! I thought at first it was some illusion, and looked again: but again it revealed unmercifully to me a pale ghost beside the beautiful and dazzling Emelie. 'It is all over, irremediably over,' thought I, 'with my youth and my bloom! But if my husband and children only can love me, I can then resign youth and beauty.'

"But again I felt compelled to look at the shadow in the glass, and grew quite melancholy. Emelie also cast glances at the mirror, and drew comparisons, but with feelings far different to mine. Then came Ernst, and I saw that he too made comparisons between us.

"He was, all this evening, very much occupied with Emelie. I felt unwell and weak; I longed so to support myself on his arm; but he did not come near me the whole time: perhaps[Pg 69] he imagined I was out of humour—perhaps I looked so. Ah! I returned home before supper, and he remained. As I drove home through those deserted streets in the wretched hackney-coach, a sense of misery came over my heart such as I cannot describe; many a bitter thought was awakened within me, before which I trembled.

"At the door of my own home I met Jacobi; he had sate up for me, and wished to tell me something amusing about my children. He seemed to have foreboded my feelings this evening. My favourite fruit, which he had provided for me, should have refreshed me. His friendship and his devotion cheered me. There is something so beautiful in feeling oneself beloved.

"Every new emotion, every new connexion, among men, has its danger, its temptation; the most beautiful, the most noble, may have their dangerous tendency. Oh! how is this to be prevented without a separation?—how is the poison to be avoided without deadening the sting? Oh, Cecilia! at this moment I need a friend; I need you, to whom I could turn, and from whom, in these disquieting circumstances, I in my weakness could derive light and strength. I am discontented with myself; I am discontented with——Ah! he alone it is who, if he would, could make all right!

"Oh, Cecilia, this is a mist-enveloped hour of my life!—does it announce day or night? My glance is dark; I see the path no longer! But I will resign myself into the hand of Him who said, 'let there be light.'

"All is now better and clearer! God be praised! In a few hours this day will be over;—I long vehemently for it!

"This evening we have a children's dance at our house. Emelie will be here also. There is not a good understanding between us two. She is cold to me, too witty, and too——, but I will do my best to be a good hostess; and when the day is ended, I will sit and look at my beautiful sleeping boy, and be happy in my children."

[Pg 70]



Evening came, and with it lights and guests. A strong, self-sacrificing amiability governed Elise's manner this evening. She was almost cordial towards Emelie; cared for the comfort of every one, played the piano for the children's dance, and appeared to exist only in order to serve others. The beautiful Emelie, on the contrary, thought of herself; was livelier and more brilliant than ever, and, as usual, assembled all the gentlemen around her. The conversation was lively in this group; it turned from politics to literature, and then dwelt awhile on theatricals, in which Emelie, equally animated and sarcastic, characterised the Scribe and Mellesville school as a dramatic manufactory.

"For the rest," added she, "the stage acts very prudently and sensibly in letting the curtain fall the moment the hero and heroine approach the altar; novels do the same, and that, also, with good reason, otherwise nobody would be able to read them."

"How so?" asked the Judge, with great earnestness.

"Because," answered Emelie, "the illusion of life is extinguished on the other side of this golden moment, and reality steps forward then in all its heaviness and nakedness. Look at a young couple in the glowing morning of their union, how warm love is then; how it penetrates and beautifies everything; how it glows and speaks in glance and word, and agreeable action; how its glory changes the whole of life into poetry! 'Thou, thou!' is the one thought of the young people then. But observe the same couple a few years later—'I, I!' and 'my pleasure,' is the phrase now. The adoring all-resigning lover is then become the exacting married man, who will be waited on and obeyed. And the loving all-sacrificing bride, she is become the unwieldy and care-burdened housewife, who talks of nothing but trouble, bad saltings, and negligent maid-servants. And what are tête-à-tête communications between these two? 'How, my dear! is the butter really used up already? Why, I gave you money only the other day for butter! You really must[Pg 71] look better after things, and see what the cook does with the butter; I will not allow such extravagance in the house! Do you want something more?' 'Yes, indeed, my love, I and the children must have new over-dresses. Little Peter's coat is worn out, and little Paul has grown out of his; and my old cloak cannot last to eternity!' People," continued the sarcastic Emilie, "may thank their stars, too, if out of such interesting communications as these no hateful quarrels arise; and if, in the happy repose of their homes, harmless yawnings have only taken place of the kisses which have left it. Contracted circumstances, meannesses, and domestic trials, destroy the happiness of marriage, even as the worm destroys the flower, bringing bitterness and sourness into the temper; and though the married pair may continue to the very day of their death to address each other as 'My sweet friend,' yet, very often, in petto, it is 'My sour friend.' Yet, after all, this is nothing, in fact, but what is perfectly natural; and, in this respect, marriage only follows the eternal law of nature in all earthly existence. Every form of life carries in itself decay and dissolution—a poisonous snake-king[3] gnaws even at the root of the world's tree."

Several of the listeners, and among them the Candidate, had laughed loudly at Emelie's descriptions; but the Judge had not once moved his lips, and replied, when she had done, with an earnestness that confounded even her satire.

"If all this were true, Emelie," said he, "then were life, even in the best point of view, good for nothing; and with justice might it indeed be called an illusion. But it is not so; and you have only described marriage in its lowest, and not either in its best or its truest sense. I do not deny the difficulties which exist in this as in every other circumstance of life; but I am confident that they may and must be overcome; and this will be done if the married pair bring only right intentions into the house. Then want and care, disturbing, nay even bitter hours, may come, but they will also go; and the bonds of love and truth will be consolation, nay, even will give strength. You have spoken, Emelie, of death and separation as the end of the drama of life; you have forgotten the awaking again, and the second youth, of which[Pg 72] the ancient northern Vala sings. Married life, like all life, has such a second youth; yes, indeed, a progressive one, because it has its foundation in the life which is eternal; and every contest won, every danger passed through, every pain endured, change themselves into blessings on home and on the married pair, who have thus obtained better knowledge, and who are thus more closely united."

He spoke with unusual warmth, and not without emotion, and his expressive glance sought and dwelt upon his wife, who had approached unobserved, and who had listened to Emelie's bitter satire with stinging pain, because she knew that there was a degree of truth in it.

But as her husband spoke, she felt that he perceived the full truth, and her heart beat freer and stronger, and all at once a clearness was in her soul. With her head bent forward, she gazed on him with a glance full of tenderness and confidence, forgetting herself, and listening with fervour to every word which he uttered. In this very moment their eyes met, and there was much, inexpressibly much, in their glance; a clear crimson of delight flushed her cheek, and made her beautiful. The gentle happiness which now animated her being, together with her lovely figure, her graceful movements, and the purity of her brow, made her far more fascinating than her lovely rival. Her husband followed her with his eyes, as kindly and attentively she busied herself among her guests, or with the little Gabriele in her arms mingled in the children's dance, for which Evelina's foster-daughters were playing a four-handed piece. He had suddenly cooled towards his "old flame," nor was he at all warmed again by the sharp tone with which the little caressing Petrea was reproved for being too obtrusive.

"Our little Louise in time will dance very well," remarked the Judge to his wife, as he noticed with great pleasure the little brisées and chassées of his daughter whom the twelve-years-old Nils Gabriel Stjernhök twirled round, and with whom he conversed with great gravity, and a certain knightly politeness.

In the mean time Mrs. Gunilla was instructing Emelie on the manners and character of the French; and Emelie, whose countenance since the discussion of the marriage question had worn a bitter expression, endeavoured with a tolerably[Pg 73] sharp tone to make her superior information felt, and in return was mown down, as it were, at one stroke by Mrs. Gunilla, who—had never been in France.

The Candidate followed Elise everywhere with glances of devotion, and appeared this evening perfectly enchanted by her amiability.

"Fie, for shame!—to take all the confections to yourself!" moralised the little Queen-bee to the little S——ne,—a fat, quiet boy, who took the confections and the reproof with the same stoical indifference. Louise cast a look of high indignation upon him, and then gave her share of sweetmeats to a little girl, who complained that she had had none.

Supper came, and Emelie, whose eyes flashed unusual fire, seemed to wish fervently to win back that regard which she, perhaps, feared to have lost already, and with her playful and witty conversation electrified the whole company. Jacobi, who was excited in no ordinary manner, drank one glass of wine after another, talked and laughed very loud, and looked between whiles upon Elise with glances which expressed his sentiments in no doubtful manner. These glances were not the first of the kind which the quick eye of Elise's rival observed.

"That young man," said she, in a low but significant whisper to the Judge, and with a glance on Jacobi, "seems to be very charming; he has really remarkably attractive talents—is he nearly related to Elise?"

"No," returned he, looking at her rather surprised; "but he has been for nearly three months a member of our family."

"Indeed!" said she, in a significant and grave manner; "I should have thought—but as for that," added she, in an apparently careless tone—"Elise is really so kind and so amiable, that for him who is with her daily, it must be very difficult not to love her."

The Judge felt the sting of the viper, and with a glance which flashed a noble indignation, he replied to his beautiful neighbour, "You are right, Emelie; I know no woman who deserves more love or esteem than she!"

Emelie bit her lip and grew pale; and she would assuredly have grown yet paler, could she only have understood the sentiment which she had awakened in the breast of her former admirer.[Pg 74]

Ernst Frank had a keen sense of moral meanness, and when this displayed itself no gifts of genius or of nature had power to conceal it. He clearly understood her intentions, and despised her for them. In his eyes, at this moment, she was hateful. In the mean time his composure was destroyed. He looked on Jacobi, and observed his glances and his feelings; he looked on Elise, and saw that she was uneasy, and avoided his eye.

A horrible spasmodic feeling thrilled through his soul; in order to conceal what he felt he became more than usually animated, yet there was a something hostile, a something sternly sarcastic in his words, which still, on account of the general gaiety, remained unobserved by most.

Never before was Assessor Munter so cheerful, so comically cross with all mankind. Mrs. Gunilla and he shouted as if desperate against each other. The company rose from the supper-table in full strife, and adjourned to the dancing-room.

"Music, in heaven's name! music!" exclaimed the Assessor with a gesture of despair, and Elise and the Colonel's widow hastened to the piano. It was a pleasant thought, after the screaming of that rough voice had been heard, to play one of Blangini's beautiful night-pieces, which seem to have been inspired by the Italian heaven, and which awaken in the soul of the hearer a vision of those summer nights, with their flowery meadows, of their love, of their music, and of all their unspeakable delights.

"Un' eterna constanza in amor!" were the words which, repeated several times with the most bewitching modulations, concluded the song.

"Un' eterna constanza in amor!" repeated the Candidate, softly and passionately pressing his hand to his heart, as he followed Elise to a window, whither she had gone to gather a rose for her rival. As Elise's hand touched the rose, the lips of Jacobi touched her hand.

Emelie sang another song, which delighted the company extremely; but Ernst Frank stood silent and gloomy the while. Words had been spoken this evening which aroused his slumbering perception; and with the look he cast upon Jacobi and his wife, he felt as if the earth were trembling under his feet. He saw that which passed at the window,[Pg 75] and gasped for breath. A tempest was aroused in his breast; and at the same moment turning his eyes, he encountered, those of another person, which were riveted upon him with a questioning, penetrating expression. They were those of the Assessor. Such a glance as that from any other person had been poison to the mind of Frank, but from Jeremias Munter it operated quite otherwise; and as shortly afterwards he saw his friend writing something on a strip of paper, he went to him, and looking over his shoulder, read these words:

"Why regardest thou the mote in thy brother's eye, yet seest not the beam in thine own eye?"

"Is this meant for me?" asked he, in a low but excited voice.

"Yes," was the direct reply.

The Judge took the paper, and concealed it in his breast.

He was pale and silent, and began to examine himself. The company broke up; he had promised Emelie to accompany her home; but now, while she, full of animation, jested with several gentlemen, and while her servant drew on her fur-shoes, he stood silent and cold beside his "old flame" as a pillar of ice. Mrs. Gunilla and the Assessor quarrelled till the last moment. Whilst all this was going on, Elise went quietly to Jacobi, who stood somewhat apart, and said to him in a low voice, "I wish to speak with you, and will wait for you in the parlour, when they are all gone." Jacobi bowed; a burning crimson flashed to his cheek; the Judge threw a penetrating glance upon them, and passed his hand over his pale countenance.

"It gives me great pleasure," cried Mrs. Gunilla, speaking shrilly and staccato—"it gives me great pleasure to see my fellow-creatures, and it gives me great pleasure if they will see me. If they are not always agreeable, why I am not always agreeable myself! Heart's-dearest! in this world one must have patience one with another, and not be everlastingly requiring and demanding from others. Heaven help me! I am satisfied with the world, and with my own fellow-creatures, as our Lord has been pleased to make them. I cannot endure that people should be perpetually blaming, and criticising, and mocking, and making sour faces at everything, and saying 'I will not have this!' and 'I will not have that!' and 'I will not have it so! It is folly; it is unbearable;[Pg 76] it is wearisome; it is stupid!' precisely as if they themselves only were endurable, agreeable, and clever! No, I have learned better manners than that. It is true that I have no genius, nor learning, nor talents, as so many people in our day lay claim to, but I have learned to govern myself!"

During this moral lecture, and endeavouring all the time to overpower it, the Assessor exclaimed, "And can you derive the least pleasure from your blessed social life? No, that you cannot! What is social life, but a strift to get into the world in order to discover that the world is unbearable? but a scheming and labouring to get invited, to be offended and put out of sorts if not invited; and if invited, then to complain of weariness and vexation, and thus utter their lamentations. Thus people bring a mass of folks together, and wish them—at Jericho! and all this strift only to get poorer, more out of humour, more out of health; in one word, to obtain the perfectly false position, vis-à-vis, of happiness! See there! Adieu, adieu! When the ladies take leave, they never have done."

"There is not one single word of truth in all that you have said," was the last but laughing salutation of Mrs. Gunilla to the Assessor, as, accompanied by the Candidate, she left the door. The Judge, too, was gone; and Elise, left alone, betook herself to the parlour.

Suddenly quick steps were heard behind her—she thought "Jacobi"—turned round, and saw her husband; but never before had she seen him looking as then; there was an excitement, an agitation, in his countenance that terrified her. He threw his arm violently round her waist, riveted his eyes upon her with a glance that seemed as if it would penetrate into her inmost soul.

"Ernst, Ernst, be calm!" whispered she, deeply moved by his state of mind, the cause of which she imagined. He seized her hand and pressed it to his forehead—it was damp and cold; the next moment he was gone.

We will now return to the Candidate.

Wine and love, and excited expectation, had so inflamed the imagination of the young man, that he hardly knew what he did—whether he walked, or whether he flew; and more than once, in descending the stairs, had he nearly precipitated Mrs. Gunilla, who exclaimed with kindness, but some[Pg 77] little astonishment, "The Cross preserve me! I cannot imagine, heart's-dearest, how either you or I go to-night! I think we are all about to—see, now again, all's going mad.—No, I thank you, I'll take care of my nose, crooked as it is. I think I can go safer by myself. I can hold by——"

"A thousand thousand times pardon," interrupted the Candidate, whilst he pressed Mrs. Gunilla's arm tightly; "it is all my fault. But now we will go safely and magnificently; I was a little dizzy!"

"Dizzy!" repeated she. "Heart's-dearest, we should take care on that very account; one should take care of one's head as well as one's heart; one should take care of that, or it may go still more awry than it now is with us! He, he, he, he—but listen to me, my friend," said Mrs. Gunilla, suddenly becoming very grave: "I will tell you one thing, and that is——"

"Your most gracious Honour, pardon me," interrupted he, "but I think—I feel rather unwell—I—there, now we are at your door! Pardon me!" and the Candidate tumbled up-stairs again.

In the hall of the Franks' dwelling he drew breath. The thought of the mysterious meeting with Elise filled him at the same time with joy and uneasiness. He could not collect his bewildered thoughts, and with a wildly-beating heart went into the room where Elise awaited him.

As soon as he saw her white lovely figure standing in the magical lamplight his soul became intoxicated, and he was just about to throw himself at her feet, when Elise, hastily, and with dignity, drew back a few paces.

"Listen to me, Jacobi," said she, with trembling but earnest voice.

"Listen to you!" said he, passionately—"oh, that I might listen to you for ever!—oh, that I——"

"Silence!" interrupted Elise, with a severity very unusual to her; "not one word more of this kind, or our conversation is at an end, and we are separated for ever!"

"Good heavens!" exclaimed Jacobi, "what have——"

"I beseech you, listen to me!" continued Elise; "tell me, Jacobi, have I given you occasion to think thus lightly of me?"

Jacobi started. "What a question!" said he, stammering, and pale.[Pg 78]

"Nevertheless," continued Elise, with emotion, "I must have done so; your behaviour to me this evening has proved it. Could you think, Jacobi, that I, a wife, the mother of many children, could permit the sentiment which you have been so thoughtless as to avow this evening? Could you imagine that it would not occasion me great uneasiness and pain? Indeed, it is so, Jacobi; I fear that you have gone sadly wrong; and if I myself, through any want of circumspection in my conduct, have assisted thereto, may God forgive me! You have punished me for it, Jacobi—have punished me for the regard I have felt for you and shown to you; and if I now must break a connexion which I hoped would gladden my life, it is your own fault. Only one more such glance—one more such declaration, as you have made this evening, and you must remove from this house."

The crimson of shame and indignation burned on Jacobi's cheek. "In truth," said he, "I have not deserved such severity."

"Ah! examine yourself, Jacobi," said she, "and you will judge yourself more severely than I have done. You say that you love me, Jacobi, and you do not dread to destroy the peace and happiness of my life. Already, perhaps, are poisonous tongues in activity against me. I have seen this evening glances directed upon me and upon you, which were not mild; and thoughts and feelings are awakened in my husband's soul, which never ought to have been awakened there. You have disturbed the peace of a house, into which you were received with friendship and confidence. But I know," continued she, mildly, "that you have not intended anything criminal!—no bad intentions have guided your behaviour; folly only has led you to treat so lightly that relationship which is the holiest on earth. You have not reflected on your life, on your duty, and your situation, in this family, with seriousness."

Jacobi covered his face with his hands, and a strong emotion agitated him.

"And seriousness," again began Elise, with warmth and deep earnestness—"seriousness! how it clothes—how it dignifies the man!—Jacobi, the saviour of my child—my young friend! I would not have spoken thus to you if I had not had great faith on your better—your nobler self;—if I had[Pg 79] not hoped to have won a friend in you—a friend for my whole life, for myself and my Ernst. Oh, Jacobi, listen to my prayer!—you are thrown among people who are willing from their very hearts to be your friends! Act so that we may love and highly esteem you; and do not change into grief that hearty goodwill which we both feel for you! Combat against, nay, banish from your heart, every foolish sentiment which you, for a moment, have cherished for me. Consider me as a sister, as a mother! Yes," continued she, pausing over this word, and half prophetically, "perhaps you may even yet call me mother; and if you will show me love and faith, Jacobi, as you have said, I will accept it—from my son! Oh, Jacobi! if you would deserve my blessing, and my eternal gratitude, be a faithful friend, a good instructor of my boy—my Henrik! Your talents as a teacher are of no common kind. Your heart is good—your understanding is capable of the noblest cultivation—your path is open before you to all that which makes man most estimable and most amiable. Oh, turn not away from it, Jacobi—tread this path with seriousness——"

"Say not another word!" exclaimed Jacobi. "Oh, I see all! forgive me, angelic Elise! I will do all, everything, in order to deserve hereafter your esteem and your friendship. You have penetrated my heart—you have changed it. I shall become a better man. But tell me that you forgive me—that you can be my friend, and that you will!"

Jacobi, in the height of his excitement, had thrown himself on his knee before her; Elise also was deeply affected; tears streamed from her eyes, whilst she extended her hand to him, and bending over him said, from the very depths of her heart, "Your friend, for ever!"

Calmly, and with cheerful countenances, both raised themselves; but an involuntary shudder passed through both as they saw the Judge standing in the room, with a pale and stern countenance.

Jacobi went towards him: "Judge Frank," said he, with a firm but humble voice, "you behold here a——"

"Silence, Jacobi!" interrupted Elise, quickly; "you need not blush on account of your bended knee, nor is any explanation needful. It is not, is it, Ernst?" continued she, with the undaunted freshness of innocence: "you desire no explanation; you believe me when I say that Jacobi now, more than ever, deserves your friendship. A bond is formed[Pg 80] between us three, which, as I hope before God, nothing will disturb, and no poisonous tongues censure. You believe me, Ernst?"

"Yes," said he, giving her his hand; "if I could not, then——" he did not finish his sentence, but fixed his eyes with a stern expression immovably on her. "I will speak with you," said he, after a moment, and in a calmer voice. "Good night, Mr. Jacobi."

Jacobi bowed, withdrew a few steps, and then returned. "Judge Frank," said he, in a voice which showed the excitement of his feelings, "give me your hand; I will deserve your friendship."

The outstretched hand was grasped firmly and powerfully, and Jacobi left the room in haste.

"Come here, Elise," said the Judge, with warmth, leading his wife to the sofa, and enclosing her in his arms. "Speak to me! Tell me, has anything in my behaviour of late turned your heart from me!"

Elise's head sunk upon the breast of her husband, and she was silent. "Ah, Ernst!" said she at length, with a painful sigh, "I also am dissatisfied with myself. But, oh!" added she more cheerfully, "when I lean myself on you thus, when I hear your heart beating, and know what is within that heart, then, Ernst, I feel how I love you—how I believe on you! Then I reproach myself with being so weak, so unthankful, so ready to take offence, then—oh, Ernst! love me! Look on me always as now, then life will be bright to me; then shall I have strength to overcome all—even my own weakness; then I shall feel that only a cloud, only a shadow of mist, and no reality can come between us. But now all is vanished. Now I can lay open to you all the innermost loopholes of my heart—can tell you all my weaknesses——"

"Be still, be still now," said the Judge, with a bright and affectionate look, and laying his hand on her mouth. "I have more failings than you; but I am awake now. Weep not, Elise; let me kiss away your tears! Do you not feel, as I do now, that all is right? Do we not believe in the Eternal Good, and do we not believe in each other? Let us forgive and forget, and have peace together. Hereafter, when the error of this time has in some measure passed from our remembrance, we will talk it over, and wonder how it ever came between us. Now, all is so bright between us, and we[Pg 81] both of us see our way clearly. Our errors will serve us for warnings. Wherefore do we live in the world, unless to become better? Look at me, Elise. Are you friendly towards me? Can you have confidence in me?"

"I can! I have!" said she; "there is not a grain of dust any longer between us."

"Then we are one!" said he, with a joyful voice. "Let us, then, in God's name, go thus together through life. What He has united, let no man, no accident, nothing in this world, separate!"

Night came; but light had arisen in the breast both of husband and wife.

The furrow of disunion bears commonly thorns and thistles, but it may likewise bear seed for the granary of heaven.


[3] According to the Northern mythology, Nidhögg, the snake-king, lives in Niflhem, the nether world.



When Jacobi entered his room, he found a letter lying on the table near his bed. He recognised the handwriting as that of Judge Frank, and quickly opened it. A bank-note of considerable value fell out; and the letter contained the following words:

"You are indebted to several persons in the city, Jacobi, with whom I wish, for your own sake, that you should have as little to do as possible. Within, you will find the means of satisfying their demands. Receive it as from a paternal friend, who sincerely wishes you to regard him as such, and who embraces with pleasure an opportunity of making an acknowledgment to the friend and instructor of his children. To the preserver of my child I shall always remain indebted; but should you desire anything, or need anything, do not apply to any other than

"Your friend, E. Frank."

"He! and he, too!" exclaimed Jacobi, deeply agitated. "Oh, the kind, noble, excellent man! And I—I shall, I will become worthy of him! From this day I am a new man!"

He pressed the letter to his breast, and looked up to the star-lighted heaven with silent but fervent vows.

[Pg 82]



Life has its moments of strength and bloom; its bright moments of inspiration, in which the human artist (the painter of earthly life) seizes on, and utters the supremely pure, the supremely beautiful, the divine. If, in such moments, everything in human life were executed; if then sacrifices were made, work accomplished, victories won, there would be but little difficulty in life. But the difficult part is to preserve, through a long course of years, the flame which has been kindled by inspiration! to preserve it while the storms come and go, while the everlasting dust-rain of the moments falls and falls; to preserve it still and uniform, amidst the uniform changing of uniform days and nights. To do this, strength from above is required; repeated draughts from the fountain of inspiration; both for the great and the small—for all labourers on earth.

It was the good fortune of Ernst and Elise that they knew this; and knew also how to avail themselves of it. On this account they succeeded more and more in conquering their natural failings; on this account they came nearer to each other by every little step, which in itself is so unobservable, but which yet, at the same time, twines so firmly and lovingly together the human heart and life, and which may be contained in the rubric—regard for mutual inclinations, interest for mutual interests.

Through this new-born intimacy of heart, this strengthening and pure affection, Elise assumed a secure and noble standing with regard to Jacobi. Her heart was vanquished by no weakness, even when she saw suffering expressed in his youthful countenance; nay, she remained firm, even when she saw that his health was giving way, and only besought her husband to name an earlier day for his and Henrik's departure. This was also her husband's wish. Like a good angel, at once gentle, yet strong, he stood at this time by her side. No wonder was it, therefore, that, with his support, Elise went forward successfully; no wonder was it, therefore, that from the firm conduct of her husband, and from the contemplation of the good understanding which existed[Pg 83] between the married pair, the whispered blame, which had already begun to get abroad at their expense, died of itself, like a flame wanting nourishment.

Of Judge Frank's "old flame," which Elise had feared so much, we must relate how that she found herself so wounded, and so cooled likewise, by the ice-cold behaviour of her former adorer, that she quickly left the town, which was too monotonous for her, and abandoned all thoughts of settling there.

"Life there would be too uniform for me, would possess too little interest," said she, yawning, to the Judge, who was warmly counselling her return either to France or Italy.

"In our good North," added he, "we must find that which can give interest and enjoyment to life in ourselves and our own means,—from our families, from our own breasts."

"She is, nevertheless, extremely beautiful and interesting," said Elise, with a kindly feeling towards her when she was gone. The Judge made no reply; he never was heard to speak again of his former beloved one.

Days went by. The Judge had much to do. Elise occupied herself with her little girls, and the Candidate with Henrik and his own studies.

The children grew like asparagus in June, and the father rejoiced over them. "The Queen-bee will grow over all our heads," prophesied he many a time; and when he heard Eva playing "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre," on the piano, his musical sense awoke, and he said, "what a deal of feeling there is already in her music!—is there not, Elise?"

The evenings, on which all the members of the family assembled, assumed constantly a livelier and more comfortable character for every one; often they played and danced with the children.

The children! What a world of pleasure and pain do they not bring with them into a house! Of a truth all is not of as rosy a hue as their cheeks. Elise discovered that in her children which was not always exactly good. "Do not to others what thou wouldst not that they should do to thee." "People should think of what they do." "Patience is a good root." "You do not see that your father and mother do so; look at me, and do as I do." These standing and going speeches, which have travelled through the world from the time when "Adam delved and Eve span," down to the present[Pg 84] day, and which to the very end of time will be ever in use—together with assurances to the children, whenever they were punished, or when they must learn their lessons yet more—that all this was done for their benefit, and that the time would come when they would be thankful for it—which the children very seldom, if ever believed—this citizen-of-the-world, patriarchal household-fare, which was dealt out in the family of the Franks, as in every other worthy family, did not always produce its proper effect.

Perhaps Elise troubled herself too much sometimes about the perpetual recurrence of the same fault in her children—perhaps she calculated too little on the invisible but sun-like and powerful influence of paternal love on the little human-plants. True it is that she often was in great anxiety on their account, and that the development and future prospects of her daughters awoke in her soul much disquiet and trouble.

One day, when such thoughts had troubled her more than usual, she felt the necessity of a prudent, and, in this respect, experienced female friend, to whom she could open her mind.

"Ernst," said she, as her husband prepared himself to go out immediately after dinner, "I shall go below for a few minutes to Evelina, but I will be back again by the time you return."

"Don't trouble yourself about that, dear Elise," said he; "remain as long as you like; I'll fetch you. Take my arm, and let us go down together, that I may see exactly where you go, and whence I must fetch you."



As Elise entered Evelina's room, Pyrrhus sprang, barking, towards her, and wagging his tail. Mrs. Gunilla was there, and she and the hostess emulated each other in welcoming their friend.

"Nay! best-beloved, that is charming!" exclaimed Mrs. Gunilla, embracing Elise cordially. "Now, how does the little lady?—somewhat pale?—somewhat out of spirits, I fancy? I will tell confidentially that I know we shall presently get some magnificent coffee, which will cheer up little Elise."[Pg 85]

Evelina took Elise's hand, and looked kindly and sympathising at her with her calm sensible eyes. Pyrrhus touched her foot gently with his nose, in order to call her attention, and then seated himself on his hind legs before her, began growling, in order to express his sympathy also. Elise laughed, and she and Mrs. Gunilla vied with each other in caressing the little animal.

"Ah, let me sit down here and chat with you, where everything seems so kind," said Elise, in reply to Evelina's glance, which spoke such a kind "How do you do?" "Here all is so quiet and so comfortable. I do not know how you manage, Evelina, but it seems to me as if the air in your room were clearer than elsewhere; whenever I come to you it seems to me as if I entered a little temple of peace."

"Yes, and so it seems to me," said Mrs. Gunilla, cordially.

"Yes, thank God," said Evelina, smiling gratefully, and with tears in her eyes; "here is peace!"

"And at our little lady's, the young folks raise dust sometimes in the temper, as well as in the rooms. Is it not so?" said Mrs. Gunilla, with facetiousness. "Well, well," added she, by way of consolation, "everything has its time, all dust will in time lay itself, only have patience."

"Ah, teach me that best thing, Aunt," said Elise, "for I am come here precisely with the hope of gaining some wisdom—I need it so much. But where are your daughters to-day, Evelina?"

"They are gone to-day to one of their friends," replied she, "to a little festival, which they have long anticipated with pleasure; and I also expect to have my share, from their relation of it to me."

"Ah! teach me, Evelina," said Elise, "how I can make my daughters as amiable, as good, and as happy, as your Laura and Karin. I confess that it is the anxiety for the bringing up of my daughters which ever makes me uneasy, and which lies so heavy on my heart this very day. I distrust my own ability—my own artistical skill, rightly to form their minds—rightly to unfold them."

"Ah, education, education!" said Mrs. Gunilla, angrily; "people are everlastingly crying out now for education. One never can hear anything now but about education. In my youth I never heard talk and outcry for education, and yet, thank God, a man was a man in those days for all that. I[Pg 86] confess that when I first heard this talk of education, I supposed that there would be two sorts, as of everything in the world. I thought so! But now, ever since le tiers état have pushed themselves so much forward, have made so much of themselves, and have esteemed themselves as something exclusive in the world with their education—now the whole world cries out, 'educate! educate!' Yes, indeed, they even tell us now that we should educate the maid-servants. I pray God to dispense with my living in the time when maid-servants are educated; I should have to wait myself on them, instead of their waiting on me. Yes, yes! things are going on towards that point at a pretty rate, that I can promise you! Already they read Frithiof and Axel; and before one is aware, one shall hear them talk of 'husband and wife,' and 'wife and husband;' and that they fancy themselves 'to be vines, which must wither if they are not supported;' and 'sacrifices,' and other such affecting things, until they become quite incapable of cleaning a room, or scouring a kettle. Yes, indeed, there would be pretty management in the world with all their education! It is a frenzy, a madness, with this education! It is horrible!"

The longer Mrs. Gunilla talked on this subject, the more she excited herself.

Elise and Evelina laughed heartily, and then declared that they themselves, as belonging to the tiers état, must take education, nay, even the education of maid-servants, under their protection.

"Ah," said Mrs. Gunilla, impatiently, "you make all so artistical and entangled with your education; and you cram the heads of children full of such a many things, that they never get them quite straight all the days of their life. In my youth, people learned to speak 'the language,' as the French was then called, just sufficient to explain a motto; enough of drawing to copy a pattern, and music enough to play a contre danse if it were wanted; but they did not learn, as now, to gabble about everything in the world; but they learned to think, and if they knew less of art and splendour, why, they had the art to direct themselves, and to leave the world in peace!"

"But, your best Honour," said Evelina, "education in its true meaning, as it is understood in our time, teaches us to take a clearer view of ourselves and of the world at large, so[Pg 87] that we may more correctly understand our own allotted station, estimate more properly that of others, and, in consequence, that every one may be fitted for his own station, and contented therewith."

"Yes, yes," said Mrs. Gunilla, "all that may be very good, but——" But just then the coffee came in, with biscuits and gingerbread, which made an important diversion in the entertainment, which now took a livelier character. Mrs. Gunilla imparted to Elise, with jesting seriousness, a variety of good counsel on the education of her children. She sent for and recommended particularly a certain Orbis Pictus, which she herself had studied when a child, and which began with the words, "Come here, boy, and learn wisdom from my mouth," and in which one could see clearly how the soul was fashioned, and how it looked. It looked like a pancake spread out on a table round and smooth, with all the five senses properly numbered. Mrs. Gunilla assured Elise, that if her children paid attention to this picture, it would certainly develop and fashion their ideas of the human soul. Furthermore, she proposed the same educational course as had been used with such distinguished success upon her deceased father and his brother, when they went to school, and which consisted in every boy being combed with a fine comb every Saturday, and well whipped, whilst an ounce of English salt was allowed per boy, in order to drive the bad spirits out of him. Beyond this, they had, too, on the same day, a diet of bread and beer, in which was a dumpling called "Grammatica," so that the boys might be strengthened for the learning of the following week.

During the merriment which these anecdotes occasioned, the Judge came in: delighted with the merriment, and delighted with his wife, he seated himself beside her, quite covetous of an hour's gossip with the ladies. Mrs. Gunilla served him up the human soul in the Orbis Pictus, and Elise instigated her still further to the relation of the purification of the boys. The Judge laughed at both from the bottom of his heart, and then the conversation turned again on the hard and disputable ground of education; all conceding, by general consent, the insufficiency of rules and methods to make it available.

Evelina laid great stress on the self-instruction of the teacher. "In the degree," said she, "in which man developes[Pg 88] in himself goodness, wisdom, and ability, he succeeds commonly in calling out these in children."

All the little committee, without exception, gave their most lively approval; and Elise felt herself quite refreshed, quite strengthened by the words which showed her so clearly the path to her great object. She turned now, therefore, the conversation to Evelina's own history and development. It was well known that her path through life had been an unusual one, and one of independence, and Elise wished now to know how she had attained to that serenity and refreshing quiet which characterised her whole being. Evelina blushed, and wished to turn the conversation from herself—a subject which she least of all would speak about, and that probably because she was in harmony with herself—but as the Judge with his earnest cordiality united in the wish of his wife and Mrs. Gunilla, that Evelina would relate to them some passages in the history of her life, she acceded, remarking only that what she had to relate was in no way extraordinary; and then, after she had bethought herself for a moment, she began, addressing herself more especially to Elise, and in the mean time Mrs. Gunilla hastily jotted down the narrative, which we will here designate


Have you ever been conscious, while listening to a beautiful piece of music, of a deep necessity, an indescribable longing, to find in your own soul, in your own life, a harmony like that which you perceived in the tune?—if so, you have then an idea of the suffering and the release of my soul. I was yet a little child when, for the first time, I was seized upon by this longing, without at that time comprehending it. There was a little concert in the house of my parents; the harp, piano, horn, and clarionette, were played by four distinguished artists. In one part of the symphony the instruments united in an indescribably sweet and joyous melody, in the feeling of which my childish soul was seized upon by a strong delight, and at the same time by a deep melancholy. It seemed to me as if I had then an understanding of heaven, and I burst into tears. Ah! the meaning of these I have learned since then. Many such, and many far more painful, tears of longing, have fallen upon the dark web of my life.

To what shall I compare the picture of my youthful years?[Pg 89] All that it, and many other such family pictures exhibit, is unclear, indefinite, in one word, blotted as it were in the formation. It resembled a dull autumn sky, with its grey, shapeless, intermingling cloud-masses; full of those features without precision, of those contours without meaning, of those shadows without depth, of those lights without clearness, which so essentially distinguish the work of a bungler from that of a true master.

My family belonged to the middle class, and we were especially well content to belong to this noble class; and as we lived from our rents, and had no rank in the state, we called ourselves, not without some self-satisfaction, people of condition. We exhibited a certain genteel indifference towards the haute volée in the citizen society, not only in words but sometimes also in action; yet, nevertheless, in secret we were extremely wounded or flattered by all those who came in contact with us from this circle; and not unfrequently too the family conversation turned, quite accidentally as it were, on the subject of its being ennobled on the plea of the important service which our father could render to the state in the House of Knights; and in the hearts of us young girls it excited a great pleasure when we were addressed as "my lady." Beyond this agitation of the question nothing came.

The daughters of the house were taught that all pomp and pleasure of this world was only vanity, that nothing was important and worth striving after but virtue and inward worth; yet for all this, it so happened that their most lively interest and endeavours, and the warmest wishes of the hearts of all, were directed to wealth, rank, and worldly fortune of every kind. The daughters were taught that in all things the will of God must alone direct them; yet in every instance they were guided by the fear of man. They were taught that beauty was nothing, and of no value; yet they were often compelled to feel, and that painfully, in the paternal house, that they wore not handsome. They were allowed to cultivate some talents, and acquire some knowledge, but God forbid that they should ever become learned women; on which account they learned nothing thoroughly, though in many instances they pretended to knowledge, without possessing anything of its spirit, its nourishing strength, or its pure[Pg 90] esteem-inspiring earnestness. But above all things they learned, and this only more and more profoundly the more their years increased, that marriage was the goal of their being; and in consequence (though this was never definitely inculcated in words, but by a secret, indescribable influence), to esteem the favour of men as the highest happiness, denying all the time that they thought so.

We were three sisters. As children, it was deeply impressed upon us that we must love one another; but in consequence of partiality on the side of our teachers, in consequence of praise and blame, rewards and punishments, which magnified little trifles into importance, envy and bitterness were early sown among the sisters. It was said of my eldest sister and myself, that we were greatly attached to each other; that we could not live asunder. We were cited as examples of sisterly love; and from constantly hearing this, we at last came to believe it. We were compared to the carriage-horses of the family; and we were in the habit, almost of our own accord, of seating ourselves every day after dinner on each side of our good father, who caressed us, and called us his carriage-horses. Yet, in fact, we did not pull together. My sister was more richly endowed by nature than I, and won favour more easily. Never did I envy a human being as I envied her, until in later years, and under altered circumstances, I learned to love her rightly, and to rejoice over her advantages.

We were not very rich, and we cast a philosophically compassionate glance upon all who were richer than we, who lived in a more liberal manner, had more splendid equipages, or who dressed themselves more elegantly. "What folly—what pitiable vanity!" said we: "poor people, who know nothing better!" We never thought that our philosophy was somewhat akin to the fox and the grapes.

If we looked in this manner upon the advantages of the great, we despised still more the pleasures of the crowd. (We ought to be so all-sufficient for ourselves. Ah, alas!) And if ever a theatrical piece was much talked of and visited, we had a kind of pride in saying, with perfect indifference, that we never had seen it; and whenever there was a popular festival, and the crowd went towards Haga or the Park, it was quite as certain that our calesche—if it went out at all[Pg 91]—would drive on the road to Sabbatsberg, or in some other direction equally deserted at the time; for all which, we prided ourselves on our philosophy. Yet with all this in our hearts we really never were happy.

The daughters came out into society. The parents wished to see them loved and wooed; the daughters wished it no less—but they were not handsome—were dressed without any pretension. The parents saw very little company; and the daughters remained sitting at balls, and were nearly unobserved at suppers. Yet from year to year they slid on with the stream.

The daughters approached to ripened youth. The parents evidently wished them married; they wished it likewise, which was only natural, especially as at home they were not happy; and it must be confessed that neither did they themselves do much to make it pleasant there. They were peevish and discontented—no one knew exactly what to do or what she wanted; they groped about as if in a mist.

It is customary to hear unmarried ladies say that they are satisfied with their condition, and do not desire to change it. In this pretension there lies more truth than people in general believe, particularly when the lively feelings of early youth are past. I have often found it so; and above all, wherever the woman, either in one way or another, has created for herself an independent sphere of action, or has found in a comfortable home that freedom, and has enjoyed that pure happiness of life, which true friendship, true education, can give.

A young lady of my acquaintance made what was with justice called a great match, although love played but a subordinate part. As some one felicitated her on her happiness, she replied, quite calmly, "Oh, yes! it is very excellent to possess something of one's own." People smiled at her for her thus lightly esteeming what was universally regarded so great a good fortune; but her simple words, nevertheless, contain a great and universal truth. It is this "one's own," in the world, and in his sphere of action, which every man unavoidably requires if he would develop his own being, and win for himself independence and happiness, self-esteem, and the esteem of others. Even the nun has her own cell, where she can prepare herself in peace for heaven, and in which she possesses her true home. But in social life, the unmarried[Pg 92] woman has often not even a little cell which she can call her own; she goes like a cloud of mist through life, and finds firm footing nowhere. Hence, therefore, are there often marriages the genuine children of necessity, which ought never to have taken place, and that deep longing after the deep quiet of the grave, which is experienced by so many. But there is no necessity for this, and in times, in which the middle classes are so much more enlightened, it becomes still less so; we need, indeed, only contemplate the masses of people who strive for a subsistence, the crowds of neglected and uncared-for children that grow up in the world, in order to see that whatever is one-sided in the view of the destination of woman vanishes more and more, and opens to her a freer sphere of action.

But I return to the pros and cons of my own life, one feature of which I must particularly mention. If young ladies of our acquaintance connected themselves by marriage with men who were rather above than below them in property or station, we considered it, without exception, reasonable and estimable. But if a man, whose connexions and prospects were similar to our own, looked round him for a wife in our house, we considered it great audacity, and treated it accordingly. We were secretly looking out for genteeler and richer individuals, who again, on their part, were looking out for genteeler and richer individuals than we.—N. B. This looking-out in the great world is a very useful thing, both for gentlemen and ladies, although anybody who would be naïve enough to acknowledge as much, would not be greatly in favour either with those who looked-out or those who did not.

In the mean time, a spirit was developed within me, which full of living energy woke to the sense of its nonentity—to a sense of the enslaving contradictions in which it moved, and to the most vehement desire to free itself from them. As yet, however, I did not understand what I was to do with my restless spirit. By contemplation, however, of noble works of art, it appeared to me frequently that the enigma of my inner self became clear to me. When I observed the antique vestal, so calm, so assured, and yet so gentle—when I saw how she stood, self-possessed, firm, and serene—I had a foretaste of the life which I needed, and sought after, both outwardly and inwardly, and I wept tears of melancholy longing.

Tortured by the distorted circumstances (many of which[Pg 93] I have not mentioned) under which I moved in my own family connexion, I began, as years advanced, to come in contact with the world in a manner which, for a temper like mine, was particularly dangerous.

We have heard of the daughters of the Husgafvel family, who grew old yawning over the spinning-wheel and the weaving-stool; but, better so to grow old, yes, better a thousand times to grow grey over the spinning-wheel and the ashes of the cooking-stove, than with artificial flowers—oh, how artificial!—in the hair, on the benches of the ball-room, or the seat of the supper-room, smiling over the world, which smiles over us no longer. This was the case with me.

There are mild, unpretending beings, who bow themselves quietly under the yoke which they cannot break; move, year after year, through the social circle, without any other object than to fill a place there—to ornament or to disfigure a wall. Peace to such patient souls! There, too, are joyous, fresh, ever youthful natures, who, even to old age, and under all circumstances, bring with them cheerfulness and new life into every circle in which they move. These belong to social life, and are its blessings. Many persons—and it is beautiful that it should be so—are of this description. I, however, belonged neither to the joyous and enlivening, nor yet to the patient and unpretending. On this account I began to shun social life, which occasioned in me, still more and more, a moral weariness; yet, nevertheless, I was driven into it, to avoid the disquiet and discomfort which I experienced at home. I was a labourer who concealed his desire for labour, who had buried his talent in the earth, as was the hereditary custom of the circle in which I lived.

The flower yields odour and delight to man, it nourishes the insect with its sweetness; the dewdrop gives strength to the leaf on which it falls. In the relationships in which I lived, I was less than the flower or the dewdrop; a being endowed with power and with an immortal soul! But I awoke at the right time to a consciousness of my position. I say at the right time, because there may be a time when it is too late. There is a time when, under the weight of long wearisome years, the human soul has become inflexible, and has no longer the power to raise itself from the slough into which it has sunk.[Pg 94]

I felt how I was deteriorating; I felt clearly how the unemployed and uninterested life which I led, nourished day after day new weeds in the waste field of my soul. Curiosity, a desire for gossip, an inclination to malice and scandal, and an increasing irritability of temper, began to get possession of a mind which nature had endowed with too great a desire for action for it blamelessly to vegetate through a passive life as so many can. Ah! if people live without an object, they stand as it were on the outside of active life, which gives strength to the inward occupation, even if no noble endeavour or sweet friendship give that claim to daily life which makes it occasionally, at least, a joy to live; disquiet rages fiercely and tumultuously in the human breast, undermining health, temper, goodness, nay, even the quiet of conscience, and conjuring up all the spirits of darkness: so does the corroding rust eat into the steel-plate and deface its clear mirror with a tracery of disordered caricatures.

I once read these words of that many-sided thinker, Steffen:—"He who has no employment to which he gives himself with true earnestness, which he does not love as much as himself and all men, has not discovered the true ground on which Christianity even here brings forth fruit. Such an occupation becomes a quiet and consecrated temple in all hours of affliction, into which the Saviour pours out his blessing; it unites us with all other men, so that we can sympathise in their feelings, and makes our actions and our wills administer to their wants; it teaches us rightly to weigh our own circumscribed condition and the worth of others. It is the true, firm, and fruit-bearing ground of real Christianity."

These words came like a breath of air on glowing sparks. A light was kindled in my soul, and I knew now what I wanted, and what I ought to do. After I had well considered all this with myself, I spoke with my parents, and opened my whole heart to them. They were surprised, opposed me, and besought me to think better of it. I had foreseen this; but as I adhered firmly and decidedly to my wishes and my prayers, they surprised me by their kindness.

I was very fond of children; my plan was, therefore, to begin housekeeping for myself, and to undertake some work or occupation which should, by degrees, enable me to take two or three children, for whom I would provide, whom I[Pg 95] would educate, and altogether adopt as my own. I was well persuaded that I needed many of the qualifications which make a good teacher; but I hoped that that new fountain of activity would, as it were, give to my whole being a new birth. My goodwill, my affection for children would, I believed, be helpful to make me a good guide to them; and thus, though I could not become a wife, I might yet enjoy the blessing of a mother.

"And why could you not—why could you not?" interrupted Elise.

"People say," returned Evelina, smiling, "that you had to make your selection of a husband from many adorers; you cannot then understand a case in which there should not even be one choice. But truly, indeed, that was my case. But do not look at me so amazed—don't look at me as if I were guilty of high treason. The truth is, sweet Elise, that I never had an opportunity to say either yes or no to a lover. With my sisters, who were much more agreeable and much more attractive than I, it was otherwise."

But now I must return to that moment of my life when I released myself from every-day paths—but, thank God! not with violence, not amid discontent; but with the blessing of those who had given me life, for which I now, for the first time, blessed them.

Touched by my steadfastness of purpose, and by the true goodwill which they had perceived in me, my parents determined—God reward them for it!—to bestow upon my desired domestic establishment the sum of money which they had put aside for my dowry, in case I married. Indeed, their and my sisters' kindness made them find pleasure in arranging all for me in the best and most comfortable manner; and when I left the paternal roof for my own new home, it was with tears of real pain. Yet I had too clearly studied my own character and position to be undecided.

It was a day in April, my thirtieth birthday, when, accompanied by my own family, I went to take possession of my new, small, but pretty dwelling. Two young father-and-motherless girls, not quite without means, followed me to my new habitation. They were to become my children, I their mother.

I never shall forget the first morning of my waking in my[Pg 96] new abode. At this very moment it is as if I saw how the day dawned in the chamber; how all the objects gradually assumed, as it seemed to me, an unaccustomed definiteness. From the near church ascended the morning hymn with its pleasant serious melody, which attuned the soul to harmonious peace. I rose early; I had to care for house and children. All was cheerful and festival-like in my soul; a sweet emotion penetrated me like the enlivening breeze of spring. Also without spring breathed. I saw the snow melt from the roofs, and fall down in glittering drops, yet never had I seen the morning light in them so clear as now. I saw the sparrows on the edge of the chimneys twittering to greet the morning sun. I saw without, people going joyfully about their employments: I saw the milk-woman going from door to door, and she seemed to me more cheerful than any milk-woman I had ever seen before; and the milk seemed to me whiter and more nutritious than common. It seemed to me as if I now saw the world for the first time. I fancied even myself to be altered as I looked in the glass; my eyes appeared to me larger; my whole appearance to have become better, and more important. In the chamber near me the children awoke—the little immortals whom I was to conduct to eternal life. Yes, indeed, this was a beautiful morning! In it the world first beamed upon me, and at the same time my own inner world, and I became of worth and consequence in my own estimation.

The active yet quiet life which I led from this time forth, suited me perfectly well. From this time I became more thoroughly in harmony with myself, and altogether happier. The day was often wearisome, but then the evening rest was the sweeter, and the thought that I had passed a useful day refreshed my soul. The children gave me many cares, many troubles; but they gave likewise an interest to my life, and happiness to my heart, and all the while, in pleasure and want, in joy and sorrow, they became dearer and dearer to me. I cannot imagine that children can be dearer to their own mother than Laura and Karin are to me.

In this new position I also became a better daughter, a more tender sister than I had hitherto been; and I could now cheer the old age of my parents far more than if I had remained an inactive and superfluous person in their house.[Pg 97] Now for the first time I had advantage of all that was good in my education. Amid lively activity, and with a distinct object in life, and in affectionate relationships, that which was vain and false fell gradually away from my disposition; and the knowledge which I had obtained, the truths which I had known, were productive in heart and deed since I had, so to say, struck root in life.

Evelina ceased. All had heard her with sympathy, but no one more than Ernst Frank. A new picture of life was opened to his view, and the truest sympathy expressed itself on his manly features. He suffered by this picture of so contracted a world, in so oppressive and gloomy a condition, and his thoughts already busied themselves with plans for breaking open doors, for opening windows in these premises, to free this oppressed and captive life.

"Ah, yes!" said Mrs. Gunilla, with a gentle sigh, "everybody here in this world has their difficult path, but if every one walks in the fear and admonition of the Lord, all arrive in the end at their home. Our Lord God helps us all!" And Mrs. Gunilla took a large pinch of snuff.

"Don't forget the Orbis Pictus," exclaimed she to Elise, who with her husband was preparing to go; "don't forget it, and let the children be educated from it, that they may observe how the soul looks. He, he, he, he!"



The day was declining, and Ernst and Elise sate in one of the parlour windows. Mutual communications received with mutual sympathy, had made them have joy in each other—had let them feel at peace with life. They were now silent; but a presentiment that for the future they should be ever happier with each other, like a harmonious tone, responded in their hearts, and brightened their countenances. In the mean time, the shadows of evening began to grow broader, and a soft rain pattered on the window. The sonorous voice of the Candidate, as he told stories to the children, interrupted occasionally by their questions and exclamations, was[Pg 98] heard in the saloon. A feeling of home-peace came over the heart of the father; he took the hand of his wife affectionately between his, and looked joyfully into her gentle countenance, whilst she was projecting little domestic arrangements. In the midst of this sense of happiness a cloud suddenly passed over the countenance of the Judge, and tears filled his eyes.

"What is it, Ernst?—what is amiss, Ernst?" asked his wife tenderly, whilst she wiped away the tears with her hand. "Nothing," said he, "but that I feel how happy we are. I see you, I hear our children without there, and I cannot but think on that unfortunate child opposite, which will be ruined in that wretched home."

"Ah, yes!" sighed Elise; "God help all unfortunate little ones on the earth!"

Both cast their eyes involuntarily towards the nearest window of the before-mentioned house. Something was moving before the window; a female figure mounted on the window ledge, a dark child's head peeped out from between her feet, was kicked away, and a large white cloth, which was quickly unrolled, hid all within.

"He is dead!" said both husband and wife, looking at each other.

The Judge sent over to inquire how it was; the messenger returned with the tidings that Mr. N. had been dead some hours.

Lights were now kindled behind the blind, and people appeared to be busy within the chamber. The Judge walked up and down his room, evidently much affected. "The poor child!—the poor little girl! what will become of her? Poor child!" were his broken exclamations.

Elise read the soul of her husband. She had now for some time, in consequence of a wish which she had perceived in his heart, accustomed herself to a thought, which yet at this moment her lips seemed unwilling to express: "Ernst," at length, suppressing a sigh, she began, "the pot which boils for six little mouths will boil also for seven."

"Do you think so?" asked he, with pleasure, and with beaming eyes. He embraced his wife tenderly, placed her beside him, and inquired—"Have you proved your own strength? The heaviest part of this adoption would rest upon you. Yet if you feel that you have courage to undertake it, you would fulfil the wish of my heart."[Pg 99]

"Ernst," said she, repressing a tear, "my strength is small, and nobody knows that better than you do; but my will is good;—I will undertake the trouble—you will support me?"

"Yes, we will help one another," said he, rising up joyfully. "Thank you, Elise—thank you, my sweet friend," continued he, kissing her hand affectionately. "Shall I go to fetch the child immediately?—but perhaps it will not come with me."

"Shall I go with you?"

"You!" said he; "but it gets dark—it rains."

"We can take an umbrella," replied she; "and besides that, I will put on a wrapping cloak, and will soon be ready."

Elise went to dress herself, and her husband went to help her, put on her cloak for her, and paid her a thousand little affectionate attentions.

After Elise had given sundry orders to Brigitta, she and her husband betook themselves to the house, whilst the children set their little heads together full of curiosity and wonder.

The two crossed the street in wind and rain; and after they had ascended the dark staircase, they arrived at the room which Mr. N. had inhabited. The door stood half open; a small candle, just on the point of going out, burned within, spreading an uncertain and tremulous light over everything. No living creature was visible within the room, which had a desolate, and, as one might say, stripped appearance, so naked did it seem. The dead man lay neglected on his bed, near to which was no trace of anything which might have mitigated the last struggle. A cloth covered his face. Ernst Frank went towards the bed, and softly raising the cloth, observed for a moment silently the terrible spectacle, felt the pulse of the deceased, and then covering again the face, returned silently, with a pale countenance, to his wife.

"Where can we find the child?" said she, hastily. They looked searchingly around; a black shadow, in a human form, seemed to move itself in one corner of the room. It was the orphan who sate there, like a bird of night, pressing herself close to the wall. Elise approached her, and would have taken her in her arms, when the child suddenly raised her hand, and gave her a fierce blow. Elise drew back astonished, and then, after a moment, approached again the half-savage[Pg 100] girl with friendly words; again she made a threatening demonstration, but her hands were suddenly grasped by a strong manly hand, and a look so serious and determined was riveted upon her, that she trembled before it, and resigned herself to the power of the stronger.

The Judge lifted her up, and set her on his knee, whilst she trembled violently.

"Do not be afraid of us," said Elise, caressingly; "we are your good friends. If you will come with me this evening to my little children, you shall have sweet milk and wheaten bread with them, and then sleep in a nice little bed with a rose-coloured coverlet."

The white milk, the rose-coloured coverlet, and Elise's gentle voice, seemed to influence the child's mind.

"I would willingly go with you," said she, "but what will my father say when he wakes?"

"He will be pleased," said Elise, wrapping a warm shawl about the shoulders of the child.

At that moment a sound was heard on the stairs; little Sara uttered a faint cry of terror, and began to tremble anew. Mr. N.'s housekeeper entered, accompanied by two boys. The Judge announced to her his determination to take the little Sara, as well as the effects of her deceased father, under his care. At mention of the last word, the woman began to fume and swear, and the Judge was obliged to compel her to silence by severe threats. He then sent one of the boys for the proprietor of the house, and after he had in his presence taken all measures for the security of the effects of the deceased, he took the little Sara in his arms, wrapped her in his cloak, and, accompanied by his wife, went out.

All this time an indescribable curiosity reigned among the little Franks. Their mother had said, in going out, that perhaps, on her return, she should bring them another sister. It is impossible to say the excitement this occasioned, and what was conjectured and counselled by them. The Candidate could not satisfy all the questions which were let loose upon him. In order, therefore, somewhat to allay their fermentation, he sent them to hop through the room like crows, placing himself at the head of the train. A flock of real crows could not have fluttered away with greater speed than did they as the saloon door opened and the father and mother[Pg 101] entered. Petrea appeared curious in the highest degree, as her father, opening his wide cloak, softly set down something which, at the first moment, Petrea, with terror, took for a chimney-sweeper; but which, on closer inspection, seemed to be a very nice thin girl of about nine years old, with black hair, dark complexion, and a pair of uncommonly large black eyes, which looked almost threateningly on the white and bright-haired little ones which surrounded her.

"There, you have another sister," said the father, leading the children towards each other;—"Sara, these are your sisters—love one another, and be kind to one another, my children."

The children looked at each other, somewhat surprised; but as Henrik and Louise took the little stranger by the hand, they soon all emulated each other in bidding her welcome.

Supper was served up for the children, more lights were brought in, and the scene was lively. Everything was sacrificed to the new comer. Louise brought out for her two pieces of confectionery above a year old, and a box in which they might be preserved yet longer.

Henrik presented her with a red trumpet, conferring gratuitous instruction on the art of blowing it.

Eva gave her her doll Josephine in its new gauze dress.

Leonore lighted her green and red wax tapers before the dark-eyed Sara.

Petrea—ah, Petrea!—would so willingly give something with her whole heart. She rummaged through all the places where she kept anything, but they concealed only the fragments of unlucky things; here a doll without arms; here a table with only three legs; here two halves of a sugar-pig; here a dog without head and tail. All Petrea's playthings, in consequence of experiments which she was in the habit of making on them, were fallen into the condition of that which had been—and even that gingerbread-heart with which she had been accustomed to decoy Gabriele, had, precisely on this very day, in an unlucky moment of curiosity, gone down Petrea's throat. Petrea really possessed nothing which was fit to make a gift of. She acknowledged this with a sigh; her heart was tilled with sadness, and tears were just beginning to run down her cheeks, when she was consoled by a[Pg 102] sudden idea—The Girl and the Rose-bush! That jewel she still possessed; it hung still, undestroyed, framed and behind glass, over her bed, and fastened by a bow of blue ribbon. Petrea hesitated only a moment; in the next she had clambered up to her little bed, taken down the picture, and hastened now with beaming eyes and glowing cheeks to the others, in order to give away the very loveliest thing she had, and to declare solemnly that now "Sara was the possessor of the Girl and the Rose-bush."

The little African appeared very indifferent about the sacrifice which the little European had made to her. She received it, it is true, but she soon laid it down again without caring any more about it, which occasioned Louise to propose that she should keep it for her.

In the midst of these little occurrences the Assessor came in. He looked with an inquisitive glance round the room, showed his white teeth, and said to himself, "Yes, it's all right; it is what I expected. So, indeed," added he aloud, in his angry manner, whilst he cordially shook the hand of his friend, "I see you thought you had not children enough of your own in the house, but you must drag in those of other people! How many do you mean to burden yourselves with? Will there not be another to-morrow? Were you not satisfied with a whole half-dozen girls of your own? And what will become of them? One shall presently not be able to get into the house for children! I suppose that you have such a superfluity of money and property, that you must go and squander it on others! Nay! good luck to you!—good luck to you!"

The Judge and his wife replied only by smiles to the grumbling of their friend, and by the request that he would spend the evening with them. But he said he had not time; and then, after he had laid large pears, which he took from his pocket, under the napkins on the children's plates, he went out.

Every one of those pears had its own distinctive sign: round Sara's was a gold-coloured ribbon; and upon her plate, under the pear, was found a bank-note of considerable value. It was his gift to the fatherless, yet he never would acknowledge it. That was his way.

As the mother took Sara by the hand, in order to conduct[Pg 103] her to rest, Petrea had the indescribable delight of seeing that, from all the little presents which had been made to her, she only took with her the girl and the rose-bush, which she appeared to regard with pleasure.

Sara was seized with violent grief in the comfortable bedroom; tears streamed with wonderful violence from her eyes, and she called loudly for her father. Elise held her quietly in her arms, and let her weep out her grief on her bosom, and then gently undressing her, and laying the weary child in bed, had the pleasure of feeling how affectionately she clasped her arms around her neck.

The girl and the rose-bush hung over her bed, but still there seemed to be no rest on the snow-white couch for the "little African." Her dark eyes glanced wildly about the room, and her hands grasped convulsively Elise's white dress.

"Don't go," whispered she, "or else they will come and murder me."

Elise took the child's hands in hers, and repeated a simple and pious little prayer, which she had taught to all her own children. Sara said the words after her; and though it was only mechanically, she seemed to become calmer, though shudderings still shook her frame, and she hold fast by Elise's dress. Elise seated herself by her, and at the request of the other children, "Mother, sing the song of the Dove—oh, the song of the Dove!" she sang, with a pleasant low voice, that little song which she herself had made for her children:

There sitteth a dove so white and fair,
All on the lily-spray,
And she listeneth how, to Jesus Christ,
The little children pray.
Lightly she spreads her friendly wings,
And to heaven's gate hath sped,
And unto the Father in heaven she bears
The prayers which the children said.
And back she comes from heaven's gate,
And brings—that dove so mild—
From the Father in heaven, who hears her speak,
A blessing for every child.
Then, children, lift up a pious prayer,
It hears whatever you say,
That heavenly dove, so white and fair,
That sits on the lily-spray.

During this song, the dove of peace descended on the soul[Pg 104] of the child. Pleasant images passed before her mind: the girl and the rose-bush and the singing Elise were the same person—the rose diffused pleasant odour; and whilst the long dark lashes approached her cheek yet nearer and nearer, it seemed to her as if a white lovely singing-bird spread out his wings caressingly and purifyingly over her breast. By degrees the little hand opened itself, and let go the dress which it had grasped, the tearful eyes closed, and the sweetness of repose came over the fatherless and the motherless.

Elise raised herself gently, and went to the beds of the other children. The dove on the lily-spray sent sleep also to them; and after the mother had pressed her lips to their cheeks, had spoken with Brigitta about the new comer, and had received from the child-loving, good-natured old woman, the most satisfactory promises, she hastened back to her husband.

He listened with curiosity to what she had to relate of Sara. This new member of the family, this increase of his cares, seemed to have expanded and animated his soul. His eyes beamed with a gentle emotion as he spoke of the future prospects of the children. Evelina's history, which was still fresh in his and Elise's mind, seemed to spur him on to call forth for his family quite another picture of life.

"We will bring up our children," said he warmly, "not for ourselves, but for themselves. We will seek for their good, for their happiness; we will rightly consider what may conduce to this, as much for one child as for another; we will endeavour to win and to maintain their full confidence; and should there, dear Elise, be any harshness or severity in me, which would repel the children from me, you must assist me; let their secret desires and cares come to me through you!"

"Yes! where else could they go?" returned she, with the deepest feeling; "you are my support, my best strength in life! Without you how weak should I be!"

"And without you," said he, "my strength would become sternness. Nature gave me a despotic disposition. I have had, and have still, many times the greatest difficulty to control it; but with God's help I shall succeed! My Elise, we will improve ever. On the children's account, in order to make them happy, we will endeavour to ennoble our own nature."

"Yes, that we will, Ernst!" said she; "and may the peace[Pg 105] in the house make betimes the spirit of peace familiar to their bosoms!"

"We will make them happy," began the father again, with yet increasing warmth; "with God's help, not one of them shall wander through life unhappy and infirm of spirit. My little girls! you shall not grow up like half-formed human beings; no illusions shall blind your eyes to what are the true riches of life; no noble desires shall you experience unsatisfied. Ah, life is rich enough to satisfy all the birds under heaven, and no one need be neglected on earth! Your innocent life shall not fail of strength and joy; you shall live to know the actuality of life, and that will bring a blessing on every day, interest on every moment, and importance on every occupation. It will give you repose and independence in sorrow and in joy, in life and in death!"

Whilst Elise listened to these words, she felt as if a refreshing breeze passed through her soul. Nothing more seemed to her difficult. All the troubles of life seemed light, on account of the bright end to be attained. And then, as she thought on the manly warm heart which lived so entirely for her good and the children's, she felt a proud joy that she could look up to her husband; and at the same time a sense of humility slid into her heart, she bowed herself over his hand, and kissed it fervently.

This did not please the Judge, because, like every other decided and powerful man, it gratified him rather to pay homage to woman than, at least by outward bearing, to receive homage from her. He therefore withdrew his hand with some displeasure.

"Why may I not kiss your hand," inquired Elise, "if it give me pleasure?"

"Because it gives me no pleasure, and you must not do it again."

"Well, well, dear friend, you need not forbid it so sternly. Perhaps I shall never again have the desire to do it."

"All the better," said he.

"Perhaps not!" returned Elise. "But let us now go to rest."

[Pg 106]




"Farewell, oh house of my childhood! Farewell, you walls, insensible witnesses of my first tears, my first smiles, and my first false steps on the slippery path of life—of my first acquaintance with water-gruel and A B C! Thou corner, in which I stood with lessons difficult to be learned; and thou, in which I in vain endeavoured to tame the most thankless of all created things, a fly and a caterpillar!—you floors, which have sustained me sporting and quarrelling with my beloved brother and sisters!—you papers, which I have torn in my search after imagined treasures;—you, the theatre of my battles with carafts and drinking-glasses—of my heroic actions in manifold ways, I bid you a long farewell, and go to live in new scenes of action—to have new adventures and new fate!"

Thus spake Petrea Frank, whilst, with dignified gestures, she took a tragic-comic farewell of the home which she and her family were now about to leave.

It was a rainy day, in the middle of April. A black silk cloak, called merrily the "Court-preacher," a piece of property held in common by the Frank family, and a large red umbrella, called likewise the "Family-roof," which was common property too, were on this day seen in active promenade on the streets of the city of X——. What all this passing to and fro denoted might probably be conjectured if one had seen them accompanied by a tall, fair, blue-eyed maid-servant, and a little brown, active, servant-man, carrying bandboxes, baskets, packages, etc., etc.

Towards twilight might have been seen, likewise, the tall thin figure of Jeremias Munter, holding the "family-roof" over the heads of himself and Petrea Frank. Petrea seemed to be carrying something under her cloak, laughed and talked, and she and the Assessor seemed to be very much pleased with each other. Alas! this satisfaction did not endure long;[Pg 107] on the steps of the front-door Petrea accidentally trod on the dangling lace of her boot, made a false step, and fell. A large paper case of confectionery suddenly proceeded from under the "court-preacher," and almond-wreaths, "brown sugar-candy, and iced fruits rolled in all directions. Even amid the shock and the confusion of the first moment it was with difficulty that Petrea restrained a loud laugh from bursting forth when she saw the amazement of the Assessor, and the leaps which he made, as he saw the confections hopping down the steps towards the gutter. It was the Assessor's own tribute to the festival of the day which was thus unluckily dispersed abroad.

"Yes, indeed, if there were no ladies," said the Assessor, vexed, "one should be able to accomplish something in this world. But now they must be coming and helping, and on that account things always go topsy-turvy. 'Let me only do it—let me only manage it,' say they; and they manage and make it, so that——'Did one ever see anything so foolish!—To fall over your foot-lace!'—but women have order in nothing; and yet people set up such to govern kingdoms!—To govern kingdoms!!! I would ask nothing more from them than that they should govern their feet, and keep their boot and shoe strings tied. But from the queen down to the charwoman, there is not a woman in this world who knows how to fasten her boot-lace!"

Such was the philippic of Jeremias Munter, as he came into the room with Petrea, and saw, after the great shipwreck, that which remained of the confectionery. Petrea's excuses, and her prayers for forgiveness, could not soften his anger. True it is, that an unfortunate disposition to laugh, which overcame her, gave to all her professions of distress a very doubtful appearance. Her distress, however, for all that, was real; and when Eva came, and said, with a beseeching, flattering voice, "Dear uncle, do not be angry any longer; poor Petrea is really quite cast down—besides which she really has hurt her knee," the good man replied with a very different voice:

"But has she, indeed? But why are people so clumsy—so given to tripping and stumbling, that one——"

"One can get some more confections at any time," said Eva.[Pg 108]

"Can one!" exclaimed Jeremias; "do they grow on trees, then? How? Shall one then throw away one's money for confectionery, in order to see it lie about the streets? Pretty management that would be, methinks!"

"Yet just say one kind word to Petrea," besought Eva.

"A kind word!" repeated Jeremias: "I would just tell her that another time she should be so good as to fasten her shoestrings. Nay, I will go now after some more confectionery; but only on your account, little Miss Eva. Yes, yes; say I—I will now go: I can dance also, if it be for——But how it rains! lend me the 'family-roof,' and the cloak there I need also. Give it here handsomely! Well then, what is there to gape at? How! will the people gape at me?—all very good; if it gives them any pleasure, they may laugh at me, I shall not find myself any the worse for it. Health and comfort are above all things, and one dress is just as good as another."

The young girls laughed, and threw the "court-preacher," which hardly reached to his knees, over the shoulders of the Assessor; and thus apparelled he went forth with long strides.

The family had this day removed into a new house. Judge Frank had bought it, together with a small garden, for the lifetime of himself and his wife, and for the last two years he had been pulling down, building up, repairing, and arranging: some doors he had built up, others he had opened, till all was as convenient and as comfortable as he wished. His wife, in full confidence, had left all to his good judgment, well pleased for her own part to be spared the noise of bricklayers and carpenters, which she escaped not without difficulty; to be spared from going among shavings and under scaffoldings, and from clambering over troughs full of mortar, etc. Papers for the walls and other ornamental things had been left to the choice of herself and her daughters.

And now he went, full of pleasure, with his wife's arm in his, from one story to another, and from one room into another, greatly pleased with the convenient, spacious, and cheerful-looking habitation, and yet even more so with his wife's lively gratification in all his work. And thus she was obliged to promenade through the whole house, from the cellar up to the roof; into the mangling-room, the wood-chamber, etc.[Pg 109]

We will not weary the reader by following them in this promenade, but merely make him acquainted with some of the rooms in which he will often meet the family. We merely pass through the saloon and best parlour; they were handsome, but resembled all such apartments; but the room which the Judge had arranged with the most especial love, which was designed for daily use, and as the daily assembling place of the family, and which deserves our most intimate acquaintance, was the library, so called. It was a large, very lively room, with three windows on one side looking into a spacious market-place. Louise rejoiced especially over this, for thus they could look out of the windows on market-days, and see at once what they wished to buy; directly opposite lay the church, with its beautiful churchyard well planted with trees; these objects pleased Elise greatly. The side of the room opposite to the windows was entirely covered with books; the shelves consisted of several divisions, each one of which contained the literature of a different country. In niches between the several divisions stood, on simple but tasteful pedestals, busts of distinguished men, great for their heroic and peaceful actions—standing there, said the Judge, not because they separated the different nations of the earth, but because they united them. Ernst Frank's library was truly a select one; it had been the pleasure of his life, and still it was his delight to be increasing his collection of book's. Now, for the first time, they were collected and arranged all in one place. He rejoiced over these treasures, and besought his daughters freely to make use of them (on this one express condition, that every book should be restored again to its right place). To Louise was consigned the office of librarian; to Petrea that of amanuensis. Both mother and daughters were delighted with this room, and began to consider where the work-table, the flower-table, and the bird-cage should stand, and when all were arranged, they were found to suit their places admirably. Against one of the short walls stood the green sofa, the appointed place for the mother; and against the opposite one the piano, and the harp, which was Sara's favourite instrument, together with a guitar, whose strings were touched by Eva, as she sang "Mamma mia."

An agreeable surprise awaited Elise as she was led through a curtained door which conducted from the library into a sort[Pg 110] of boudoir, whose one window had the same prospect as the library—this was solely and entirely her own consecrated room. She saw with emotion that the tasteful furniture of the room was the work of her daughters; her writing-table stood by the window; several beautiful pictures and a quantity of very pretty china adorned the room. Elise saw, with thankful delight, that all her favourite tastes, and all her little fancies, had been studied and gratified both by husband and children.

A small curtained door, likewise, on the other side, conducted Elise into her sleeping-room; and her husband made her observe how smoothly these doors turned on their hinges, and how easily she, from either side, could lock herself in and remain in quiet.

After this room, nothing gave Elise greater delight than the arrangements for bathing, which the Judge had made particularly convenient and comfortable; and he now turned the white taps with remarkable pleasure, to exhibit how freely the warm water came out of this, and the cold—no, out of this came the warm water, and out of the other the cold. The cheerfulness and comfort of the whole arrangement were intended to give to the bathing-day—which was almost as religiously observed in this family as the Sunday—a double charm. In a room adjoining that which was appropriated to dressing, the old cleanly Brigitta had already her fixed residence. Here was she and the great linen-press to grow old together. Here ticked her clock, and purred her cat; here blossomed her geraniums and balsams, with the Bible and Prayer-book lying between them.

The three light and pleasant rooms intended for the daughters lay in the story above, and were simply but prettily furnished.

"Here they will feel themselves quite at home," said the father, as he looked round with beaming eyes; "don't you think so, Elise? We will make home so pleasant to our children that they shall not wish to leave it without a really important and deserving cause. No disquiet, no discontent with home and the world within it, shall drive them from the paternal roof. Here they can have leisure and quiet, and be often alone, which is a good thing. Such moments are needed by every one in order to strengthen and collect themselves, and are good for young girls as well as for any one else."[Pg 111]

The mother gave her applause fully and cordially; but immediately afterwards she was a little absent, for she had something of importance to say to her eldest daughter; and as at that very moment Louise came in, an animated conversation commenced between them, of which the following reached the father's ear:

"And after them, pancakes; and, my good girl, take care that six of them are excellently thick and savoury; you know, indeed, how Henrik likes them."

"And should we not," suggested Louise, "have whipped cream and raspberry jam with the pancakes?"

"Yes, with pleasure," returned the mother,—"Jacobi would unquestionably recommend that."

Louise blushed, and the Judge besought with animation that there might be something a little more substantial than "angels' food" for supper, which was promised him.

The Assessor shook out the "family-roof" in the hall in indignation. "The most miserable roof in all Christendom," said he; "it defends neither from wind nor rain, and is as heavy as the ark! and——"

But at the very moment when he was shaking and scolding his worst, he perceived a sound——exclamations and welcomes, in every possible variety of joyous and cordial tones. The "court-preacher" was thrown head and shoulders over the "family-roof," and with great leaps hastened Jeremias forward to shake hands with the son and the friend of the house, who were just now returned home from the University.

Tokens of condolement mingled themselves with welcomes and felicitations.

"How wet, and pale, and cold you are!"

"Oh, we have had a magnificent shower!" said Henrik, shaking himself, and casting a side glance on Jacobi, who looked both downcast and doleful in his wet apparel. "Such weather as this is quite an affair of my own. In wind and rain one becomes so—I don't know rightly how—do you, mon cher?"

"A jelly, a perfect jelly!" said Jacobi, in a mournful voice; "how can one be otherwise, knocked about in the most infamous of peasant-cars, and storm, and pouring rain, so that one is perfectly battered and melted! Hu, hu, u, u, u, uh!"[Pg 112]

"Oh, according to my opinion," said Henrik, laughing heartily at the gestures of his travelling companion, "it is a hardening sort of weather; there is a proud exalting feeling in it, sitting there quite calm under the raging of the elements; especially when one looks down from one's elevation on other fellow-mortals, who go lamenting, and full of anxiety, under their umbrellas. Thus one sits on one's car as on a throne; nay, indeed, one gets quite a flattering idea of oneself, as if one were a little, tiny philosopher. Apropos! I bethink myself now, as if we had seen, as we came this way, a philosopher in a lady's cloak walking hither. But, how are you all, sweet, sweet sisters? How long it is since I saw you!" and he pressed their hands between his cold and wet ones.

This scene, which took place in twilight, was quickly brought to an end by the ladies resolutely driving the gentlemen out to their own chamber to change their clothes. Jacobi, it is true, on his own account, did not require much driving, and Louise found Henrik's philosophy on this occasion not so fully adopted. Louise had already taken care that a good blazing fire should welcome the travellers in their chamber.

In the mean time, the ladies quartered themselves in the library; lights were kindled, the table spread; the Judge helped all, and was highly delighted if people only called to him. The Assessor looked enraptured, as Eva arranged his confections on little plates. Petrea did not venture to look at them, much less to touch them.

"By Jove, my dear girls, how comfortable it is here!" exclaimed the Judge in the joy of his heart, as he saw the library thus peopled, and in its for-the-future every-day state. "Are you comfortable there, on the sofa, Elise? Let me get you a footstool. No; sit still, my friend! what are men for in the world?"

The Candidate—we beg his pardon, the Master of Arts, Jacobi—appeared no longer to be the same person who had an hour before stood there in his wet dress, as he made his appearance, handsomely apparelled, with his young friend, before the ladies, and his countenance actually beamed with delight at the joyful scene which he there witnessed.

People now examined one another nearer. They discovered[Pg 113] that Henrik had become considerably paler as well as thinner, which Henrik received as a compliment to his studies. Jacobi wished also a compliment on his studies, but it was unanimously refused to him on account of his blooming appearance. He protested that he was flushed with the weather, but that availed nothing. Louise thought privately to herself that Jacobi had decidedly gained in manly bearing; that he had a simpler and more vigorous demeanour; he was become, she thought, a little more like her father. Her father was Louise's ideal of manly perfection.

Little Gabriele blushed deeply, and half hid herself behind her mother, as her brother addressed her.

"How is your highness, my most gracious Princess Turandotte!" said he; "has your highness no little riddle at hand with which to confuse weak heads?"

Her little highness looked in the highest degree confused, and tried to withdraw the hand which her brother kissed again and again. Gabriele was quite bashful before the tall student.

Henrik had a little tête-à-tête with every sister, but it was somewhat short and cold with Sara; after which he seated himself by his mother, took her hand in his, and a lively and general conversation began, whilst Eva handed about the confectionery.

"But what is amiss now?" asked Henrik, suddenly. "Why have the sisters all left us to take council together there, with such important judge-like faces? Is the nation in danger? May not I go, in order to save the native land?—If one could only first of all have eaten one's supper in peace," added he, speaking aside, after the manner of the stage.

But it was precisely about the supper that they were talking. There was a great danger that the pancakes would not succeed; and Louise could not prevent Henrik and Jacobi running down into the kitchen, where, to the greatest amusement of the young ladies, and to the tragi-comic despair of the cook, they acted their parts as cooks so ridiculously that Louise was obliged at length, with an imposing air, to put an end to the laughter, to the joking, and to the burnt pancakes, in order that she herself might put her hand to the work. Under her eye all went well; the pancakes turned out excellently. Jacobi besought one from her own[Pg 114] hand, as wages for his work; graciously obtained it, and then swallowed the hot gift with such rapture that it certainly must have burnt him inwardly, had it not been for another species of warmth (which we consider very probable)—a certain well-known spiritual fire, which counteracted the material burning, and made it harmless. Have we not here, in all simplicity, suggested something of a homoeopathic nature?

But we will leave the kitchen, that we may seat ourselves with the family at the supper-table, where the mother's savoury, white pancakes, and the thick ones for Henrik, were found to be most excellent, and where the "angels' food" was devoured with the greatest earthly enjoyment.

After this, they drank the health of the travellers, and sang a merry little song, made by Petrea. The father was quite pleased with his Petrea, who, quite electrified, sang too with all her might, although not with a most harmonious voice, which, however, did not annoy her father's somewhat unmusical ear.

"She sings louder than they all," said he to his wife, who was considerably less charmed than he with Petrea's musical accompaniment.

Although every one in the company had had an exciting and fatiguing day, the young people began immediately after supper, as if according to a natural law, to arrange themselves for the dance.

Jacobi, who appeared to be captivated by Sara's appearance, led her in the magic circle of the waltz.

"Our sensible little Queen-bee," a rather broad-set, but very well-grown blonde of eighteen, distinguished herself in the dance by her beautiful steps, and her pleasing though rather too grave carriage. Everybody, however, looked with greater admiration on Eva, because she danced with heart and soul. Gabriele, with her golden curls, flew round like a butterfly. But who did not dance this evening?—Everybody was actually enthusiastic—for all were infected with the joyous animal spirits of Henrik. Even Jeremias Munter, to the amazement of everybody, led Eva, with most remarkable skill, through the Polska,[4] the most artificial and perplexing of dances.

[Pg 115]

It was only at midnight that the dance was discontinued, at the suggestion of Elise. But before they separated, the Judge begged his wife to sing the well-known little song—"The First Evening in the New House." She sang it in her simple, soul-touching manner, and the joy full of peace which this song breathed penetrated every heart; even the grave countenance of the Judge gleamed with an affectionate emotion. A quiet glory appeared to rest on the family, and beautified all countenances; for it is given to song, like the sun, to throw its glorifying light upon all human circumstances, and to lend them beauty, at least for a moment. "The spinner," and "the aged man by the road-side," are led by song into the kingdom of beauty, even as they are by the Gospel into the kingdom of heaven.

On taking leave for the night, all agreed upon a rendezvous the next morning after breakfast in the orchard, in order to see what was to be made of it.

The father conducted the daughters up into their chambers. He wanted to see yet once more how they looked, and inquired from them again and again—"Are you satisfied, my girls? Do they please you? Would you wish anything besides? If you wish anything, speak out right Swedishly."

As now his daughters, assuring him of their contentment, gratefully and affectionately hung about him, there was not a happier man on the face of the earth than Judge Frank.

The mother, on her part, had taken her first-born with her into her little boudoir. She had as yet not been able to speak one word to him alone. Now she questioned him on everything, small and great, which concerned him, and how freely and entirely he opened his whole heart to her!

They talked of the circumstances of the family; of the purchase of this new property; of the debt which they had thereby contracted; of the means through which, by degrees, it would be paid off, and of the necessity there was for greater economy on all sides. They talked, too, of the daughters of the house.

"Louise is superb," said Henrik, "but her complexion is rather muddy; could she not use some kind of wash for it? She would be so much handsomer if she had a fresher complexion; and then she looks, the least in the world, cathedral-like. What a solemn air she had to-night, as Jacobi made[Pg 116] some polite speech to her! Do you know, mother, I think the sisters sit too much; it is in that way that people get such grave cathedral-like looks. We must make them take more exercise; we must find out some lively exhilarative exercise for them. And Eva! how she is grown, and how kind and happy she looks! It is a real delight to see her—one can actually fall in love with her! But what in all the world is to be done with Petrea's nose? It does, indeed, get so large and long, that I cannot tell what is to be done! It is a pity, though, for she is so good-hearted and merry. And Leonore! How sickly and unhappy she looks at times! We must endeavour to cheer her up."

"Yes, that we will," said the mother; "if she were but healthy, we could soon manage that; but how does little Gabriele please you?"

"Ah! she is very lovely, with her high-bred little airs—quite fascinating," said Henrik.

"And Sara!" asked she.

"Yes," said he, "she is lovely—very lovely, I think; but still there is something, at least to my taste, very unpleasant in her. She is not like my sisters; there is something about her so cold, so almost repulsive."

"Yes," said the mother, sighing; "there is at times something very extraordinary about her, more particularly of late. I fear that a certain person has too great, and that not a happy, influence over her. But Sara is a richly gifted and truly interesting girl, out of whom something very good may be made, if—if——She gives us, indeed, anxiety at times, for we are as much attached to her as if she were our own child. She has a most extraordinary talent for music—you must hear her. There really is much that is very distinguished and truly amiable in her; you will see it, as you remain so much longer time with us."

"Yes, thank God!" said Henrik, "I can now reckon on that, on remaining some months at home."

The conversation now turned on Henrik's future prospects. His father wished him to devote himself to mining, and with this end in view he had studied, but he felt ever, more and more, a growing inclination to another profession, and this had become a ground of dissatisfaction in the family. The mother now besought her first-born to prove himself carefully[Pg 117] and seriously before he deserted the path to which his father was attached, and which Henrik himself had selected in common council with his father. Henrik promised this solemnly. His soul was warm and noble. His young heart possessed every fine sentiment, a pure enthusiasm for virtue and for his country, a glowing desire to live for them, this belonged to his heart in the richest measure. The wish to be useful to the community generally, united itself with all his views of self-advantage, and he only saw his own prosperity in connexion with that of his family. These thoughts and sentiments poured themselves forth in that sweet confidential hour freely and fully to his mother—the happy mother, whose heart beat with joy and with proudest hope of her first-born, the favourite of her soul, her summer child!

"And when I have made my own way in the world," added Henrik, joyfully kissing the hand of his mother, "and have a house of my own, then, mother, you shall come to me, and live with me, will you not?"

"And what would your father say to that?" said she, in a tone like his own.

"Oh! he has all the sisters who can keep house for him," said Henrik, "and——"

"Do you intend to sit up here the whole night?" asked a voice at the door. It was the voice of the Judge, and both mother and son rose up as if they had been caught in the fact of conspiracy. The conspiracy, however, was immediately imparted to the Judge, whereupon he declared that all this would lead to such fearful consequences that they had better say no more about it.

Both mother and son laughed, and said "Good night" to each other. But as Henrik conveyed the hand of his mother towards his lips, he fell into a sort of ecstasy over it.

"Heavens! what a white hand! and what small fingers! nay, how can people have such small fingers?" And with a sort of comic devotion he kissed the little finger of that beautiful hand.

"I see I must carry you off forcibly, if I would have you to myself," said the Judge merrily, and taking his wife's arm in his, led her out.

But her thoughts still hovered around her first-born, her handsome and richly endowed son. She uttered a glowing[Pg 118] prayer for his perfecting in all good, whilst all were sleeping sweetly the first night in the new house.


[4] A wild and animated Swedish national dance.



How pleasant it must have been to the family the next morning to assemble round the amply-supplied breakfast-table in a handsome and spacious drawing-room. But drawing-room, and breakfast-table, and all outward comforts, signify nothing, if the inward are wanting; if affectionate dispositions and kind looks do not make the room bright, and the breakfast well-flavoured. But nothing was wanting on this morning to the family of the Franks—not even the sun. It shone in brightly to illumine the bright scene.

Henrik made a speech to Madame Folette, in testimony of his love and reverence for her, and of his joy on meeting her again in so good a state of preservation.

Louise, with the help of Eva, served tea and coffee, bread and butter, etc., taking particular care that everybody had just what they liked best. The basket which held sugar-biscuits was constantly in the neighbourhood of Jacobi.

"How glorious this is!" exclaimed Henrik, rubbing his hands, and casting a glance of pleasure around on his parents and sisters, "it is quite paradisiacal! What does your Majesty desire? Ah, your most devoted servant! Coffee, if I might ask it, excellent Madame Folette!"

"After breakfast," said the mother, "I have something for you to guess."

"Something to guess?" said Henrik, "what can it be? Tell me, what is it like, sweet mamma? what name does it bear?"

"A wedding," replied she.

"A wedding? A most interesting novelty! I cannot swallow another morsel till I have made it out! Jacobi, my best fellow, can I possess myself of a biscuit? A wedding! Do I know the parties?"

"Perfectly well."

"It cannot possibly be our excellent Uncle Munter, himself?" suggested he. "He seems to me very odd, and, as it were, a little touched in the heart."[Pg 119]

"Oh, no, no! He'll not marry."

"He is already so horribly old," said Eva.

"Old!" exclaimed the Judge. "He is something above forty, I fancy; you don't call that so horribly old, my little Eva. But it is true he has always had an old look."

"Guess better," said the mother.

"I have it! I have it!" said Petrea, blushing. "It is Laura! Aunt Evelina's Laura!"

"Ah, light breaks in," said Henrik; "and the bridegroom is Major Arvid G. Is it not?"

"Precisely," said his mother. "Laura makes a very good match. Major G. is a very good-looking, excellent young man; and beyond this, has a good property. He has persuaded Evelina to remove with Karin to his beautiful seat at Axelholm, and to consider Laura's and his home as theirs for the future. Eva dear, set the ham before Henrik. What do you want, my angel Gabriele? Another rusk? Heavens! how quick you are! Leonore, may I give you some more bread and butter, my child? No?"

"But I hope," exclaimed Henrik, "that we shall be invited to the wedding. Evelina, who is such a sensible woman, must have the good sense to invite us. Most gracious sister Queen-bee, these rolls—very nourishing and estimable rolls—were they baked before or after the Flood?"

"After," replied Louise, a little piqued, yet with a smile.

"Oh! I humble myself in the dust," said he. "I pray your Majesty most graciously to pardon me—[aside—but after all they taste remarkably either of the ark or of a cupboard]. But what in all the world sort of breakfast are you making, Petrea? Nay, dear sister, such, a superfluity in eating never can prosper. I pray you do not eat yourself ill!"

Petrea, who had her curious fancies, or as Louise called them, her "raptures," had now for some time had the fancy to take only a glass of cold water and a piece of dry bread for her breakfast. On account of this abstinence, Henrik now jested, and Petrea answered him quite gaily; Louise, on the contrary, took up the matter quite seriously, and thought—as many others did—that this whim of Petrea's had a distant relationship to folly; and folly, Louise—the sensible Louise—considered the most horrible of horrors; Louise, who was so very sensible![Pg 120]

"Now, really, you must not sit gossiping any longer!" exclaimed the father, when he saw their mouths only put in motion by conversation, "else I must go away and leave you; and I should very much like to go into the garden with you first."

A general rising followed these words, and all betook themselves to the garden, with the exception of Leonore, who was unwell, and the little Gabriele, who had to be careful on account of the damp.

In the mean time the garden had its own extraordinary circumstances, and all here did not go on in the usual mode; for although the place was yet not laid out, and the April snow covered the earth, and still hung in great masses on the low fruit-trees, which were the only wealth of the garden, yet these, not at all according to the commonly established laws of nature, were covered with fruit the most beautiful; rennets and oranges clustered the twigs, and shone in the sun. Exclamations were uttered in every variety of tone; and although both Jacobi and Henrik protested that they could not discover any way of accounting for this supernatural phenomenon, still they did not escape the suspicion of being instrumental in the witchcraft, spite of all the means they used to establish their innocence. The opinion, however, was universally adopted, that good and not bad elves had been thus busily at work; and the fruit, therefore, was gathered without fear of bad consequences, and laid in baskets. The elves were praised both in prose and verse; and there never was a merrier harvest-feast.

The Judge had some trouble to get anybody to listen to all his plans of lilac-hedges, strawberry-beds, of his arbour, and his garden-house. The narrow space, however, in which he had to work troubled him.

"If one could only get possession of the piece of land beyond this!" said he, striking with his stick upon the tall red-boarded fence which bounded one side of the garden. "Look here, Elise, peep through that gap; what a magnificent site it is for building—it extends down to the river!—what a magnificent promenade it would make, properly laid out and planted! It might be a real treasure to the whole city, which needs a regular walk in its neighbourhood; and now it lies there desolate, and useful to nobody, but only for[Pg 121] a few cows, because the proprietor does not know how to make use of it; and our good men of the city have not public spirit enough to purchase it out of the common fund for the general good. If I were but rich enough to buy the place, it should soon have a different appearance, and instead of cows human beings should be walking there; these boards should be torn down, and our garden should be united to the great promenade. What a situation it would be!"

"Would not beehives answer very well here?" asked our sensible Queen-bee; "the sun strikes directly on these boards."

"You are perfectly right, Louise," said her father, well pleased; "that is a good thought; this is an excellent place for beehives: to-morrow I'll see about some. Two or three we must have, and that directly, that the bees may have the advantage of the apple and cherry bloom. Thus we can see them working altogether, and learn wisdom from them, and watch how they collect honey for us. That will be a pleasure—don't you think so, Elise?"

Elise rejoiced sincerely over the bees, and over the garden. It would give her great pleasure to lay it out. She would set Provence-roses as soon as possible; and forcing houses also should be erected. Eva thought she should give herself up to gardening.

But it was necessary to leave for the present the future home of radishes and roses, because it was wet and uncomfortable out of doors.

Gabriele made large eyes when she saw the basketful of fruit which had been gathered in the garden. But the little Princess Turandotte could not unravel the riddle respecting them, as Henrik presented it to her.

The forenoon was spent in clearing away, and in arranging things in the house. Sara alone took no part in it, but took lessons on the harp from a distinguished young musician of the name of Schwartz, who had come a stranger to the city. She sate the whole morning at her music, which she loved passionately; in the mean time, Petrea had promised to enact the part of lady's-maid to her, and to put all her clothes and things in order.

Henrik sate perfectly happy in his sisters' rooms, and nearly killed himself with laughing while he watched in part their[Pg 122] clearing away and bustling about, and in part taking a share in all. The quantities of bundles of pieces, old bonnets, cloaks, dresses, etc., which were here in motion, and played their parts, formed a singular contrast to his student-world, in which such a thing as a piece of printed cotton or a pin might be reckoned quite a curiosity. Then the seriousness with which all these things were treated, and the jokes and merriment which arose out of all this seriousness, were for him most delicious things.

Nothing, however, amused him more than Louise and all her "properties," as well as the great care which, with a half-comic, half-grave earnestness, she took of them; but he declared solemnly that he would disclaim all relationship with her if ever he should see her wearing a certain pale green shawl, called jokingly "spinage," and a pale grey dress, with the surname of "water-gruel." None of the sisters had so many possessions as Louise, and none treated them with so much importance; for she had in the highest degree that kind of passion which we will call property-passion. Her bandboxes and bundles burst themselves out of the space in which she wished to stow them, and came tumbling down upon her head. She accused Henrik of being guilty of these accidents; and certain it is that he helped her, not without some mischievous pleasure, to put them up again in their places.

Louise was well known in the family for her love of what was old; the more shabby a dress was, the more distinguished she seemed to think it; and the more faded a shawl, the more, according to her, it resembled a Cashmere. This affection for old things extended itself sometimes to cakes, biscuits, creams, etc., which often occasioned Henrik to inquire whether an article of a doubtful date had its origin before or after the Flood. We will here add to the description of Louise a few touches, which may make the reader more fully acquainted with her character.

Pure was she both in heart and intention, with great love of truth, and a high moral sense, although too much given to lecturing, and sometimes a little wanting in charity towards erring fellow-mortals. She had much of her father's understanding and prudence, but came, of course, far short of him in knowledge of mankind and in experience, although now, in her eighteenth year, she considered herself to have a[Pg 123] perfect knowledge of mankind. The moral worth of her soul mirrored itself in her exterior, which, without her being handsome, pleased, and inspired a degree of confidence in her, because good sense expressed itself in her calm glance, and her whole demeanour was that of a decided and well-balanced character. A certain comic humour in her would often dissolve her solemn mien and important looks into the most hearty laughter; and when Louise laughed, she bore a charming resemblance to her mother, for she possessed Elise's beautiful mouth and teeth.

She was as industrious as an ant, and in the highest degree helpful to those who were deserving of help, but less merciful than Lafontaine's ants were to thoughtless crickets and their fellows. Louise had three hobby-horses, although she never would confess that she had a single one. The first was to work tapestry; the second, to read sermons; and the third, to play Patience, and more especially Postillion. A fourth had of late began to discover itself, and that was for medicine—for the discovering and administering of useful family medicines; nay, she had herself decocted a certain elixir from nine bitter herbs, which Henrik declared would be very serviceable in sending people to the other world. Louise was no way disturbed by all this, for she did not allow herself to be annoyed by remarks.

She prized, enjoyed, and sought, above all things, after "the right;" but she also set a high value on "respectability" and "property," and seemed to think that these were hers of course. She had the excellent peculiarity of never undertaking anything that she could not creditably get through with; but she had a great opinion of her own ability, in which her family participated, although they sometimes attempted to set her down. In the mean time she was in many instances the adviser and support of the family; and she had a real genius for the mighty department of housekeeping.

The parents called her, with a certain satisfaction—the father with a secret pride—"our eldest daughter." The sisters styled her rather waggishly "our eldest sister," and sometimes simply "our eldest;" and "our eldest" knew exceedingly well how to regard her own dignity in respect to rank and priority. Beyond this, she had a high idea of the value of woman.

Louise had an album, in which all her friends and acquaintance[Pg 124] had written down their thoughts or those of others. It was remarkable what a mass of morality this book contained.

We fear that our readers may be somewhat weary of hearing the names of Sara, Louise, Eva, Leonore, Petrea, Gabriele, repeated so often one after another, and we are very sorry that we find it unavoidable yet once more to present the whole array in connexion with Louise. But we will see what little variety we can make by taking them at hap-hazard, and therefore now steps forward


We are all of us somewhat related to chaos; Petrea was very closely so. Momentary bursts of light and long periods of confusion alternated in her. There was a great dissimilarity between Louise and Petrea. While Louise required six drawers and more to contain her possessions, there needed scarcely half a one for the whole wardrobe of Petrea; and this said wardrobe too was always in such an ill-conditioned case, that it was, according to Louise, quite lamentable, and she not unfrequently lent a helping hand to its repair. Petrea tore her things, and gave away without bounds or discrimination, and was well known in the sisterly circle for the bad state of her affairs. Petrea had no turn for accumulation; on the contrary, she had truly, although Louise would not allow it, a certain turn for art.

She was always occupied by creations of one kind or another, either musical, or architectural, or poetical. But all her creations contained something of that which is usually called trash. At twelve years old she wrote her first romance: "Annette and Belis loved each other tenderly; they experienced adversity in their love; were at last, however, united, and lived henceforth in a charming cottage, surrounded with hedges of roses, and had eight children in one year," which we may call a very honourable beginning. A year afterwards she began a tragedy, which was to be called "Gustavus Adolphus and Ebba Brahe," and which opened with these verses spoken by one Delagardie:

Now from Germania's coast returned,
I see again the much-loved strand;
From war I come, without a wound,
Once more into my native land.
Say, Bannér say, what woe has caused these tears,
Am I not true to thee, or is it idle hope alone that will befool my years?
[Pg 125]

Whether no sheet of paper was broad enough to contain the lengthened lines, or any other cause interfered to prevent the completion of the piece, we know not; but certain it is that it was soon laid aside. Neither did a piece of a jocular nature, which was intended to emulate the fascinating muse of Madame Lenngren,[5] advance much further—the beginning was thus:

Within the lordly castle Elfvakolastie,
Which lay, in sooth, somewhere in Sverge,[6]
There lived of yore the lovely Melanie,
The only daughter of Count Stjerneberge.

At the present time Petrea was engaged on a poem, the title of which, written in large letters, ran thus—"The Creation of the World!"

The Creation of the World began thus:


Once in the depths etern of darkness lying,
This mighty world
Waited expectantly the moments flying
When light should be unfurled.
The world was nothing then, which now is given
To crowds of busy men;
And all our beautiful star-spangled heaven
Was desolate darkness then;
Yet He was there, who before time existed,
Who will endure for ever.

The creation of the world ceased with this faint glimmering of light, and was probably destined under Petrea's hand never to be brought forth from chaos. Petrea had an especially great inclination for great undertakings, and the misfortune to fail in them. This want of success always wounded her deeply, but in the next moment the impulse of an irresistibly vigorous temperament raised her above misfortune in some new attempt. The blood rushed up to her young head, and filled it with a mass of half-formed thoughts, fancies, and ideas; her mind and her character were full of disquiet. At times joyous and wild beyond bounds, she became on the other hand wretched and dispirited without reason. Poor Petrea! She was wanting in every kind of self-regulation and ballast, even outwardly; she walked ill—she stood ill—she curtseyed ill—sate ill—and dressed ill; and[Pg 126] occasioned, in consequence, much pain to her mother, who felt so acutely whatever was unpleasing; and this also was very painful to Petrea, who had a warm heart, and who worshipped her mother.

Petrea also cherished the warmest affection and admiration for Sara, but her manner even of evidencing her affection was commonly so entirely without tact, as rather to displease than please the object of it. The consciousness of this fact embittered much of Petrea's life; but it conducted her by degrees to a love in which tact and address are of no consequence, and which is never unreturned.

Sometimes Petrea was seized with a strong consciousness of the chaoticness of her state; but then, again, at other times she would have a presentiment that all this would clear itself away, and then that something which was quite out of the common way would come forth; and then she was accustomed to say, half in jest and half in earnest, to her sisters, "You'll see what I shall turn out sometime!" But in what this extraordinary turning out should consist nobody knew, and least of all poor Petrea herself. She glanced full of desire towards many suns, and was first attracted by one and then by another.

Louise had for Petrea's prophesyings great contempt, but the little Gabriele believed in them all. She delighted herself, moreover, so heartily in all that her sister began, that Petrea sacrificed to her her most beautiful gold-paper temple; her original picture of shepherdesses and altars; and her island of bliss in the middle of peaceful waters, and in the bay of which lay a little fleet of nut-shells, with rigging of silk, and laden with sugar-work, and from the motion of which, and the planting of its wonderful flowers, and glorious fruit-bearing trees, Petrea's heart had first had a foretaste of bliss.

Petrea's appearance imaged her soul;—for this too was very variable; this too had its "raptures;" and here too at times also a glimmering light would break through the chaos. If the complexion were muddled, and the nose red and swollen, she had a most ordinary appearance; but in cooler moments, and when the rose-hue confined itself merely to the cheeks, she was extremely good-looking; and sometimes too, and that even in her ugly moments, there would be a gleam[Pg 127] in her eye, and an expression in her countenance, which had occasioned Henrik to declare that "Petrea was after all handsome!"

To a chaotic mind, the desire for controversy is in-born; it is the conflict of the elements with each other. There was no subject upon which Petrea had not her conjectures, and nothing upon which she was not endeavouring to get a clear idea; on this account she discussed all things, and disputed with every one with whom she came in contact; reasoned, or more properly made confusion, on politics, literature, human free-will, the fine arts, or anything else; all which was very unpleasant to the tranquil spirit of her mother, and which, in connexion with want of tact, especially in her zeal to be useful, made poor Petrea the laughing-stock of every one; a bitter punishment this, on earth, although before the final judgment-seat of very little, or of no consequence at all.


Spite of the mother's embraces, and the appellation, "thou beloved, plain child!" the knowledge by degrees had come painfully to Leonore that she was ugly, and that she was possessed of no charm—of no fine endowment whatever; she could not help observing what little means she had of giving pleasure to others, or of exciting interest; she saw very plainly how she was set behind her more gifted sisters by the acquaintance and friends of the family; this, together with feeble health, and the discomfort which her own existence occasioned to her, put her in a discordant state with life and mankind. She was prone to think everything troublesome and difficult; she fell easily into a state of opposition to her sisters, and her naturally quick temper led her often into contentions which were not without their bitterness. All this made poor Leonore feel herself very unhappy.

But none, no! none, suffer in vain, however for a while it may appear so. Suffering is the plough which turns up the field of the soul, into whose deep furrows the all-wise Husbandman scatters his heavenly seed; and in Leonore, also, it already began to sprout, although, as yet, only under the earth. She was not aware of it herself yet; but all that she experienced in life, together with the spirit which prevailed in her family, had already awakened the beauty of her soul.[Pg 128] She was possessed of deep feeling, and the consciousness of her many wants made her, by degrees, the most unpretending and humble of human beings; and these are virtues which, in private life, cannot be exceeded. If you come near a person of this character, the influence on you is as if you came out of the sun's heat into refreshing shadow: a soft coolness is wafted over your soul, which refreshes and tranquillises you at the same time.

In the period at which we have now to meet Leonore, she had just recovered from the scarlet fever, which had left behind it such an obstinate and oppressive headache as compelled her almost constantly to remain in her own room; and although her parents and her sisters visited her there, it afforded her but little pleasure, for as yet she had not learned how, by goodness and inward kindness, to make herself agreeable to others.

But, poor Leonore! when I see thee sitting there in deep thought, thy weak head supported by thy hand, sunk in sorrowful reflections, I am ready to lay thy head on my bosom, and to whisper a prophesying in thy ear—but this may as well remain to a future time. We leave thee now, but will return another time to thy silent chamber.

And now step forth, thou, the joy and ornament of home, the beautiful


Eva was called in the family, "our rose," "our beauty." There are many in the world like Eva, and it is well that it is so; they are of a pleasing kind. It is delightful to look upon these blooming young girls, with smiles on their lips, and goodness and joy of life beaming from their beautiful eyes. All wish them so well, and they wish so well to all; everything good in life seems as if it came from themselves. They have favourable gales in life—it was so with Eva. Even her weakness, a desire to please, which easily went too far, and an instability of character which was very dangerous to her, exhibited themselves only on their pleasing side, within the circle of her family and of her acquaintance, and helped to make her more beloved.

Eva, although perhaps, strictly speaking, not beautiful, was yet bloomingly lovely. Her eyes were not large, but were[Pg 129] of the most exquisite form, and of the clearest dark blue colour, and their glance from under their long black lashes was at once modest, lively, and amiable. The silky chestnut brown hair was parted over a not lofty but classically-formed brow. Her skin was white, fine, and transparent, and the mouth and teeth perfectly beautiful; add to all this, Eva had the fine figure of her mother, with her light and graceful action. Excellent health, the happiest temper, and a naturally well-tuned soul, gave a beautiful and harmonious expression to her whole being. Whatever she did, she did well, and with grace; and whatever she wore became her; it was a kind of proverb in the family, that if Eva were to put a black cat on her head it would be becoming.

A similarity in understanding and talent, as well as companionship together, had made Louise and Eva hitherto "les inseparables," both at home and abroad; of late, however, without separating herself from Louise, Eva had been drawn, as it were, by a secret power to Leonore. Louise, with all her possessions, was so sufficient for herself. Leonore was so solitary, so mournful, up there, that the good heart of Eva was tenderly drawn towards her.

But it seems to us as if Gabriele looks rather poutingly, because she has been so long, as it were, pushed aside. We will therefore hastily turn to


It did not please "our little lady" to be neglected at all. Gabriele was, in truth, a spoiled child, and often made "la pluie" and the "beau temps" in the house. She was defended from cold, and wind, and rain, and vexation, and faddled with and indulged in all possible ways, and praised and petted as if for the best behaviour, if she were only gracious enough to take a cup of bouillon, or the wing of a chicken for dinner. She herself is still like the chicken under the mother's wing; yet she will sometimes creep from under, and attempt little flights on her own account. Then she is charming and merry, makes enigmas and charades, which she gives mostly to her mother and Petrea to guess. It gives her particular pain to be treated as a little girl; and nothing worse can happen to her than for the elder sisters to say, "Go out just for a little while, Gabriele, dear!" in order that they may then impart[Pg 130] to each other some important affair, or read together some heart-rending novel. She will willingly be wooed and have homage paid to her; and the Assessor is always out of favour with her, because he jokes with her, and calls her "little Miss Curlypate," and other such ugly names.

Learning and masters are no affairs of hers. She loves a certain "far niente," and on account of delicate health her tastes are indulged. Her greatest delight is in dancing, and in the dance she is captivating. In opposition to Petrea, she has a perfect horror of all great undertakings; and in opposition to Louise, a great disinclination to sermons, be they by word of mouth or printed. The sun, the warm wind, flowers, but above all, beloved and amiable human beings, make Gabriele feel most the goodness of the Creator, and awaken her heart to worship.

She has a peculiar horror of death, and will neither hear it, nor indeed anything else dark or sorrowful, spoken of; and, happily for Gabriele, true parental love has a strong resemblance to the Midsummer sun of the North, which shines as well by night as by day.

If we turn from the bright-haired Gabriele to Sara, to "that Africa," as the Assessor called her, we go from day to night. Sara was like a beautiful dark cloud in the house—like a winter night with its bright stars, attractive, yet at the same time repulsive. To us, nevertheless, she will become clear, since we possess the key to her soul, and can observe it in the following


"Yesterday evening Macbeth was read aloud; they all trembled before Lady Macbeth: I was silent, for she pleased me. There was power in the woman."

"Life! what is life? When the tempest journeys through space on strong free pinions, it sings to me a song which finds an echo in my soul. When the thunder rolls, when the lightning flames, then I divine something of life in its strength and greatness. But this tame every-day life—little virtues, little faults, little cares, little joys, little endeavours—this contracts and stifles my spirit. Oh, thou flame which consumest me in the silent night, what wilt thou? There are moments in which thou illuminest, but eternities in which thou tormentest and burnest me!"[Pg 131]

"This narrow sphere satisfies them; they find interest in a thousand trifles; they are able to exert themselves in order to obtain little enjoyments for each other. Well for them! I was made for something different."

"Why should I obey? Why should I submit my inclination—my will, to gratify others?—Why? Ah, freedom—freedom!"

"I have obtained 'Volney's Ruins' from S——. I conceal the book from these pious fearful people, who tremble at shadows; but to-night!—to-night!—when their eyes are closed in sleep, mine shall wake and read it. The frontispiece to this book gives me extraordinary pleasure. A wreck combats with stormy waves; the moon goes down amid black clouds; on the shore, among the ruins of a temple, sits a Mussulman—a beautiful and thoughtful figure—and surveys the scene. I likewise observe it, and an agreeable shudder passes through me. A vast ruin is better and far more beautiful than a small and an empty happiness."

"The book pleases me. It expresses what has long lain silent in me. It gives clear light to my dark anticipations. Ah! what a day dawns upon me! A dazzling light that clears away all misty illusions, but my eyes are strong enough to bear it! Let the net of prejudice, let the miserable bond of custom be rent asunder, let the fettering supports fall! My own strength is sufficient for me."

"Why am I a woman? As a man my life and my conduct would have been clear and easy; as a woman, I must bow myself in order to clear myself. Miserable dependence! Miserable lot of woman!"

"I do not love S——, but he makes a certain impression upon me. The dark strength in his eye pleases me, the reckless strong will that will bow itself only to me; and when he takes the harp in his arms, with what powerful strength he compels it to express all that which the heart has dreamt and dreams. Then he grasps the strings of my heart—then I acknowledge in him my master; but never, he shall never govern me.

"His spirit is not powerful enough for that. He never can be other to me than as a means to my end. Nor will I herein deceive him. I am too proud for a hypocrite. I know[Pg 132] well whom I could love. I know well the man who could be the aim of my ambition."

"Nature never created me for this narrow sphere—for this narrow foot-track through life. S—— shows me another, which captivates my mind; I feel that I am created for it.

"I have observed myself in the glass, and it tells me, as well as the glance of mankind, that I am handsome. My growth is strong, and accords with the character of my countenance. I cannot doubt the assurance of S——. My person, in connexion with the powers of my mind, and my talent, will ensure me a brilliant future."

"What purpose would it serve to create illusions? Away with all illusions! I stand upon a higher point than those around me—than they who consider themselves entitled to censure my faults, to exalt themselves in secret above me, perhaps because they have taken me out of compassion. Taken me out of compassion! Subjecting, humiliating thought!

"Yet, at the same time, they are good; yes, angelically good to me. I wish they were less so!"

"To-night, now for the second time in my life, I have had the same extraordinary dream. It appeared to me that I was in my chamber, and saw in heaven vast masses of black cloud above my head driving towards the horizon, accompanied with a strong rushing sound in the air.

"'Save thyself, Sara!' cried the voices of my sisters; 'come, come with us!' But I felt in my limbs that peculiar sluggishness which one perceives in dreams when one wishes to hasten. My chamber-window flew open before the tempest, and impelled by a strong curiosity I looked out. The sun stood opposite to me, pale, watery, without beams; but the whole firmament around me seemed to burn; a glow of fire passed over all things. Before me stood a tall aspen, whose leaves trembled and crackled, whilst sparks of fire darted forth from them. Upon one twig of the tree sate a huge black bird, looking on me with a fiery glance, and singing hoarsely and tunelessly, while the tempest and flame rioted around him. I heard the voices of my adopted mother and sisters anxiously calling on me from a distance ever further and further removed.[Pg 133]

"I leaned myself out of the window to hear what the black bird with the wonderful voice sang. I no longer had any fear. I awoke; but the dream has a charm for me."

"The black bird sings to me, out of my dream. My adopted mother has wept to-day on my account. I am sorry for it, but——it is best that I go. They do not love me here—they cannot do it. They do not need me, nor I them any longer. It is best that we separate."

Thus Sara.

We will now cast a glance on the parents themselves, who were not greatly altered, excepting that Elise's whole appearance exhibited much more health and strength than formerly. The energetic countenance of the Judge had more wrinkles, but it had, besides, an expression of much greater gentleness. A slight, but perhaps not wholly unpardonable, weakness might be observed in him. He was completely captivated with his daughters. God bless the good father!


[5] Anna Lenngren, a distinguished Swedish poetess, admired especially for her Idyls. She died in 1817.

[6] Sweden.



We must now say how the family grouped themselves in the new house. Since the arrival of Henrik and Jacobi, the liveliness of the family had visibly increased, Henrik zealously followed up his purpose of making his sisters take more active exercise, and Jacobi assisted him with his whole heart. Long walks were arranged, but, to Henrik's annoyance, it seldom was possible to induce Louise to take exercise of that kind which, according to his opinion, she needed so much. Louise had always such a vast deal to do at home; Sara lived only for her harp and her singing; Leonore was not strong enough; and for Gabriele, it was generally either too cold, or too dirty, or too windy, or she was not in the humour to walk. Eva, on the contrary, was always in the humour, and Petrea had always the desire to speed away. It was Henrik's greatest pleasure to give one of his sisters his arm, especially when they were well and handsomely dressed.

At seven o'clock in the evening all the members of the family assembled themselves in the library, where the tea-table was prepared, at which Louise presided. The evenings were uncommonly cheerful, particularly when the family[Pg 134] were alone. Between tea and supper they either talked, or read aloud, or had music; after supper they mostly danced, and then Louise exercised herself with remarkable grace. Sometimes they had charades or social games. Henrik and Petrea had always some new flash of merriment or other. It was the greatest delight of the Judge to see all his children around him, especially in an evening, and to see them happy too. The door of his study, which adjoined the library, always stood open, in an evening, and, whether he read or wrote there, he still was conscious of all that went forward among them. Sometimes he would come out and take part in their entertainment, or would sit on the green sofa beside his wife, and watch the dance, rejoicing himself over his daughters, and sometimes was even taken out into the dance, where he was in much request.

The young people remarked, that whatever might for the time occupy Jacobi, he was somewhat absent and incomprehensible; he sighed frequently, and seemed rather to enjoy quiet conversation with the ladies than charades and other amusements. It was discovered, between Henrik and Petrea, that these fits of absence, and these sighs, must have an object; but it was a long time, that is to say, three or four days, before they could decide who it really was.

"It cannot be our mamma," said Petrea, "because she is married; and besides this, she is so much older than any of us, although, prettier than all of us together; and though Master Jacobi has such pleasure in talking with her, and conducts himself towards her as if he were her son, still it cannot be she. Do you know, Henrik, I fancy Sara is the object—he looks at her so much; or perhaps Eva, for he is always so lively with her; and I heard him say yesterday to Uncle Munter, that she was so uncommonly charming. But it is rather improper that he should pass 'our eldest' so!"

Henrik was greatly amused by Petrea's difficulty and conjectures, for he had his own peculiar notions about the object, and by degrees Petrea herself began to have a clearer foreknowledge, and to think that perhaps, after all, the true object might be no other than "our eldest" herself. After this insight into things, which Petrea was not slow in circulating among her sisters, Louise was called, in their jocular phraseology, "the object." All this while, however, "the[Pg 135] object" herself appeared to pay very little attention to the speculations which had thus reference to herself. Louise was at the present time greatly occupied by setting up a piece of weaving, and had in consequence, greatly to Henrik's horror, brought again into use the dress surnamed "water-gruel." She had absolutely a sort of rage to wear out her old clothes—and as it happened, moreover, that the piece of weaving was of a pattern which was much perplexed and difficult to arrange, she assumed almost constantly the "cathedral demeanour," which occasioned her to look all the less attractive. But so it happened, Jacobi looked a great deal at Sara, joked with Eva, and remained sitting beside Louise, as if he found by her side only true happiness and satisfaction.

In vain did Petrea draw him into all kind of controversial subjects, in order to make him, during the contest, somewhat forgetful of "the object." He did not become abstracted; and it was particularly observable that the Master had much less desire for disputation than the Candidate had had; and when Mrs. Gunilla took the field against him more than once with a whole host of monads and nomads, he only laughed. Now, indeed, Jacobi had a favourite topic of conversation, and that was his Excellency O——. The distinguished personal qualities of his Excellency, his noble character, his goodness, his spirit, his commanding carriage, his imposing exterior, could not be sufficiently celebrated and exalted by Jacobi; nay, even his broad lion-like forehead, his strong glance, and his beautiful patrician hands, were many a time described.

Jacobi had for some time been attached to his Excellency as his secretary, and he had now the hope of his assistance in his future prospects. In the mean time his Excellency had shown him the greatest kindness; had given him many opportunities of increasing his knowledge, and had offered to take him with him on a journey to foreign countries; besides all which, he had himself practised him in French. In one word, Excellency O—— was the most excellent excellency in all the world, an actual excellentissimus. Jacobi was devoted to him heart and soul, was rich in anecdotes about Excellency O——, and in anecdotes which he had heard of his Excellency.

Louise, more than any member of the family, had the property[Pg 136] of being a good listener, and therefore she heard more than any one else of his Excellency O——, but yet not alone of him; Jacobi had always a something to relate to her, a something on which he wanted her consideration, and if Louise were not too much occupied with her thoughts about the weaving, he was always quite sure, not only of her sincere sympathy, but of her most deliberate judgment, as well on moral questions as on questions of economical arrangement, dress, plans for the future, and so forth. He himself imparted to her good advice—which, however, was not often followed—for playing Postillion. He drew patterns for her embroidery, and read aloud to her gladly, and that novels in preference to sermons.

But he was not long permitted to sit in peace by her side, for very soon the seat on the other side of her was occupied by a person whom we will call "the Landed-proprietor," from the circumstance of his most eminent distinction being the possession of an estate in the neighbourhood of the town.

The Landed-proprietor appeared to the Candidate—we will for the future adhere to this our old appellation, for, in a certain sense, in this world, all men are Candidates—quite disposed to make a quarrel about the place he was inclined to take.

Beside his large estate, the Landed-proprietor was possessed of a large portly body, round cheeks, plump from excess of health, a pair of large grey eyes remarkable for their unmeaning expression, a little ruddy mouth, which, preferred eating rather than speaking, which laughed without meaning, and which now directed to Cousin Louise—he considered himself related to her father—sundry speeches which we will string together in our next chapter.



"Cousin Louise, are you fond of fish? for example, bream?" asked the Landed-proprietor one evening as he seated himself beside Louise, who was industriously working a landscape in her embroidery-frame.

"Oh, yes! bream is good fish," replied she, very phlegmatically, and without looking up from her work.

"Oh, with red-wine sauce," said the Landed-proprietor,[Pg 137] "delicate! I have magnificent fishing on my estate at Oestanvik. Big fellows of bream! I catch them myself."

"Who is that great fish there?" asked Jacobi from Henrik, with an impatient sneer, "and what matters it to him whether your sister Louise likes bream or not?"

"Because in that case she might like him, mon cher," replied Henrik; "a most respectable and substantial fellow is my Cousin Thure of Oestanvik. I advise you to cultivate his acquaintance. Well, now, Gabriele dear, what wants your highness?—Yes, what is it?—I shall lose my head about the riddle.—Mamma dear, come and help your stupid son!"

"No, no, mamma knows it already! Mamma must not tell," exclaimed Gabriele, terrified.

"What king do you set up above all other kings, Master Jacobi?" for the second time asked Petrea, who this evening had a sort of question mania.

"Charles the Thirteenth," replied he, and listened to Louise's answer to the Landed-proprietor.

"Cousin Louise, are you fond of birds?" asked the Landed-proprietor.

"Oh, yes, particularly of fieldfares," answered Louise.

"Nay, that's capital!" said the Landed-proprietor. "There are innumerable fieldfares on my estate of Oestanvik. I often go out myself with my gun and shoot them for my dinner; piff-paff! with two shots I have killed a whole dishful!"

"Don't you imagine, Master Jacobi, that the people before the Flood were much wickeder than those of our time?" asked Petrea, who wished to occupy the Candidate, nothing deterred by his evident abstraction, and whom nobody had asked if she liked fieldfares.

"Oh, much—much better," answered Jacobi.

"Cousin Louise, are you fond of roast hare?" asked the Landed-proprietor.

"Master Jacobi, are you fond of roast hare?" whispered Petrea, waggishly, to the Candidate.

"Bravo, Petrea!" whispered her brother to her.

"Cousin Louise, are you fond of cold meat?" asked the Landed-proprietor, as he handed Louise to the supper-table.

"Should you like to be a landed-proprietor?" whispered Henrik to her as she left it.[Pg 138]

Louise answered exactly as a cathedral would have answered—looked very solemn, and was silent.

Petrea, like something let quite loose, after supper would not let anybody remain quiet who by any possibility could be made to answer her. "Is reason sufficient for mankind?" asked she. "What is the foundation of morals? What is the proper meaning of revelation? Why is the nation always so badly off? Why must there be rich and poor?" etc., etc.

"Dear Petrea," said Louise, "what can be the use of asking such questions?"

It was an evening for questions; there was not even an end to them when people separated for the night.

"Do you not think," asked the Judge from his wife when they were alone together, "that our little Petrea begins to be quite disagreeable with her perpetual questions and disputations? She leaves nobody at peace, and is at times in a sort of unceasing disquiet. She will, some time or other, make herself quite ridiculous if she goes on so."

"Yes," replied Elise, "if she goes on so; but I think she will not. I have observed Petrea narrowly for some time, and do you know I fancy there is something out of the common way in that young girl."

"Yes, yes," said he, "in the common way she certainly is not; the merriment and the everlasting joviality which she occasions, and the comical devices that she has——"

"Yes," replied the mother, "do they not indicate a decided turn for art? And then she has a remarkable thirst for knowledge. Every morning she is up between three and four, in order to read or write, or to work at her Creation. It is, in fact, quite uncommon; and may not this unrest, this zeal to question and dispute, arise from a sort of intellectual hunger? Ah! from such hunger, which many a woman for want of fitting aliment suffers through the whole of her life! From such an emptiness of the soul proceed unrest, discontentedness, nay, innumerable faults!"

"I believe you are right, Elise," said her husband; "and no condition in life is more melancholy, particularly in advanced years. But this shall not be the lot of my Petrea—that we will prevent. What do you think now would be good for her?"

"I fancy," said Elise, "that a course of serious and well-[Pg 139]directed study would assist in regulating her mind. She is too much left to herself, with her disarranged bent—with her enthusiasm and her attempts. I myself have too little knowledge to instruct her, you have too little time, and there is no one here who would undertake the guidance of her young unsettled mind. I am sometimes extremely grieved about her; for her sisters do not understand the workings of her mind, which I must confess sometimes give me pain. I wish I were better able to help her. Petrea requires a ground on which to take her stand—as yet she has none; her thoughts require some firm holding-place; from the want of this comes her unrest. She is like a flower without roots, which is driven about by wind and wave."

"She shall be firmly rooted; she shall find firm ground to stand upon, if such is to be found in the world!" said the Judge, with a grave yet beaming eye, and striking his hand at the same time with such violence on a volume of West-Gotha law, that it fell to the ground. "We will think about it," continued he; "Petrea is yet too young for one to say with certainty what is her decided bent; but we will strengthen her powers! she shall no longer know hunger of any kind, so long as I live and can get my own bread. You know my friend, the excellent Bishop B——. Perhaps we can at first confide Petrea to his guidance. After a few years we shall see——as yet she is only a child. But don't you think we might speak with Jacobi, whether he could not read with her and talk with her—apropos! how is it with Jacobi? I fancy he begins to think about Louise."

"Yes, yes, you are not wrong," said Elise; "and our Cousin Thure of Oestanvik—have you remarked nothing there?"

"Yes, I did remark something," replied he. "The thousand! What stupid questions were those that he put to her! 'Does Cousin like this?' or, 'Does Cousin like that?' But I don't like that! not I! Louise is not yet grown up, and already shall people come and ask her, does Cousin like? Nay, perhaps, after all it means nothing; that would please me best. What a pity it is, however, that our Cousin Thure is not more of a man! A most beautiful estate he has, and so near us."

"Yes, a pity," said Elise; "because such as he is now, I am quite convinced Louise would find it impossible to endure him."[Pg 140]

"You do not think she would like Jacobi?" asked the father.

"To tell the truth," returned she, "I think it probable she might."

"Nay," said he, "that would be very unpleasant, and very imprudent: I am very fond of Jacobi, but he has nothing, and he is nothing."

"But, my love," reasoned his wife, "he may become something, and he may get something. I confess, dear Ernst, that he would suit Louise better for a husband than almost any one else, and I would willingly call him son."

"Would you, Elise!" exclaimed the Judge, "then I suppose I must prepare myself to do the same. You have had most trouble, most labour, with the children, and you have, therefore, most to say in their affairs."

"You are so good, Ernst," said Elise.

"Say reasonable—nothing more than reasonable," said he; "beyond this I have the belief that our thoughts and our inclinations do not differ much. I confess that I consider Louise as a great treasure, and I know nobody whom, of my own will, I would confer her upon; still, if Jacobi obtains her affections, I could not find in my heart to oppose a union between them, although, on account of his uncertain prospects, it would make me anxious. I am much attached to Jacobi, and on Henrik's account we have much to thank him for. His excellent heart, his honesty, his good qualities, will make him as good a citizen as husband and father, and he belongs at the same time to that class of persons with whom it is most pleasant to have daily intercourse. But, God forbid! I am talking just as if I wished the union, and I am a long way from that yet. I would much rather keep my daughters with me as long as they could feel themselves happy with me; but when girls grow up, one cannot reckon on peace. I wish all wooers and question-askers at Jericho! Now, we could live here as in a kingdom of heaven, since we have got all into such nice order—some little improvements, it is true, I could yet make, though things are well enough, if we could be at peace. I have been thinking that we could so easily make a wardrobe. See on this side, in the wall; don't you think that if we here opened——Heavens! are you already asleep, my dear?"

[Pg 141]



About this time the sisters of the house began to dream a great deal about conflagrations, and there was no end of the meanings of dreams, hints, little jokes, and communications among the sisters, none of whom dreamt more animated or more significant dreams than Petrea. Gabriele, who, in her innocence, did not dream at all, wondered what all this extraordinary talk about conflagration meant; but she could not learn much, for as often as she desired to have her part in the mysteries, it was said, "Go out for a little while, Gabriele dear."

One evening Sara, Louise, Eva, and Petrea were sitting together at a little table, where they were deep in the discussion of something which seemed to possess extraordinary interest for them, when Gabriele came and asked just for a little place at the table for herself and her books; but it was impossible, there was no room for the little one. Almost at the same moment Jacobi and Henrik came up; they too sought for room at the circle of young ladies, and now see! there was excellent room for them both, whereupon Gabriele stuck her little head between Louise and Petrea, and prayed her sisters to solve the following riddle:

"What is that at which six places may be found, but not five?"

The sisters laughed; Louise kissed the little refined moralist; and Petrea left the table, the gentlemen, and a political discussion, which she had begun with Henrik, in order to sit on one side and relate to Gabriele the Travels of Thiodolf, which was one of the greatest enjoyments of our little lady.

"Apropos!" cried Henrik, "will there not be a wedding celebrated the day after to-morrow, to which we ought naturally to be invited.—N. B. According to my reckoning, Aunt Evelina has far less genius than I gave her credit for, if——"

"Aunt Evelina stands here now ready, if possible, to vindicate her genius," said a friendly voice, and to the amazement of all Aunt Evelina stood in the middle of the room.

After the first salutations and questions, Evelina presented[Pg 142] an invitation, not as Henrik expected for the marriage, but for the entertainment after the marriage.[7]

Laura's marriage with Major G. was to be celebrated in the quietest manner, at her adopted mother's house, and only in the presence of a few relations. But the mother of the bridegroom, one of those joyous persons who in a remarkable manner lightens the world of its cares—and for which the world thanks them so little—one of those who, if possible, would entertain and make glad all mankind, and whom mankind on that account very willingly slanders;—she, the stout and cordial widow of a Councillor of War, was determined to celebrate the marriage of her only and beloved son in a festive and cheerful manner, and to make the whole country partakers of the joy which she herself felt.

The great marriage-festival was to last eight days, and already the great doors of Axelholm were standing wide open to receive a considerable party of the notables of the place. The bride and bridegroom were to invite their respective friends and acquaintances, and commissioned now by the bride and her future mother-in-law, Evelina brought a written invitation from her; she came now to beseech the family—the whole family, Jacobi included, to honour the festivity with their presence; above all things, desiring that all the daughters might come—every one of them was wanted for one thing or another. They reckoned on Petrea, she said, who had a great turn for theatricals, to take a character in a play which was to be acted; and the others were wanted for dancing and for tableaux vivants. Gabriele must allow herself to be made an angel of—and naturally they hoped, that out of all this the young people would find amusement.

They wished and prayed that the whole family would establish themselves at Axelholm, where everything was prepared for them during the whole time of the festival, and, if possible, longer, which would contribute so much to their friends' satisfaction there.

Pitt, Fox, Thiers, Lafitte, Platen, Anckarsvärd, nay, one may even assert that all the orators in the world never made[Pg 143] speeches which were considered more beautiful by their hearers, nor which were received with warmer or more universal enthusiasm than this little oration of Aunt Evelina. Henrik threw himself on his knee before the excellent, eloquent Aunt; Eva clapped her hands, and embraced her; Petrea cried aloud in a fit of rapture, and in leaping up threw down a work-table on Louise; Jacobi made an entrechat, freed Louise from the work-table, and engaged her for the first anglaise of the first ball.

The Judge, glad from his heart that his children should have so much enjoyment, was obliged, for his part, to give up the joyful festivity. Business! Judge Frank had seldom time for anything but business! yet he would manage it so that at least he would take them there, and on the following day he would return. Elise sent back her compliments, but could not take more than two, or at most three, of her daughters with her; Evelina, however, overruled this, as did also her husband, who insisted that they all should go.

"Perhaps," said he, "they may never have such another opportunity to enjoy themselves."

Seldom, indeed, does it happen that people beg and pray and counsel a mother to take all her six daughters with her. Long may such counsellors live! But then it must be acknowledged, that the daughters of the Franks were universally beloved on account of their kind, agreeable manners, and their many good qualities.

Elise must promise to take them all with her—Sara, Louise, Eva, Leon——no! It is true Leonore could not go with her; the poor Leonore must remain at home, on account of indisposition; and very soon, therefore, Eva and Petrea emulated each other as to which should remain with her. Leonore declared coldly and peevishly that nobody should stay at home on her account; she needed nobody; she would much rather be alone; the sisters might all go, without hesitation; there was no fear of her not living through it! Poor Leonore had become changed by her sickness and her sedentary life;—her better self had become hidden under a cloud of vexation and ill-humour, which chilled the kindliness and friendliness that people otherwise would have shown to her.

In the mean time there was a stir among the young people[Pg 144] of the family; for much had to be bought, much to be made, and much to be put in order, that they might be able to make an honourable appearance at the marriage festival. What a review was there then of dresses, flowers, ribbons, gloves, etc.! what counsel-takings and projects regarding the new purchases! what calculations, so that the present of money which the good father had, all unsolicited, made to each daughter might not be exceeded. Louise was invaluable to everybody; she had counsel and contrivance for everybody; besides all this, she was unwearied in shopping, and never disheartened in buying. She made very few compliments—would let them in a shop open all they had, if she wanted only an ell of cloth; and would go to twelve places in order to get a piece of ribbon cheaper or of better quality—she paid great regard to quality. According to her own opinion, as well as that of her family, she was an excellent hand at getting good bargains; that is, for obtaining good wares at unheard-of low prices. With all this our Louise was held in great consideration in all the shops of the city, and was served with the greatest zeal and respect; whilst, on the contrary, Petrea, who never bargained about anything, and always took that which was first offered to her, at all events when she was alone, was not esteemed in the least, and always obtained bad, and at the same time dear goods. True it is that Petrea went a-shopping as little as possible; whilst Louise, on the contrary, who took the difficult part of commissioner for all her friends and acquaintance, was about as much at home in a shop as in her own wardrobe.

It was unanimously decided that Sara, Louise, and Eva should all wear the same dress on the evening of the great ball at Axelholm, which would be given on the day they arrived there; namely, that they should wear white muslin dresses, with pale pink sashes, and roses in their hair. Petrea was enraptured by this project, and did not doubt but that her sisters would be universally known by the appellation of "the three Graces." For her own part, she would willingly have been called Venus, but, alas! that was not to be thought of. She studied her face in all the glasses in the house—"It is not so very bad-looking," thought she, "if the nose were only different." Petrea was to appear at the ball in sky-blue; and "the little lady" was quite enraptured[Pg 145] by the rose-coloured gauze dress which her mother was making for her.

The toilet occupied every one, body and soul.


[7] Hemkommeöl, literally, coming-home-ale. The names of many of the domestic festivities of Sweden remind us very much of those of our own old festivities; as church-ales, christening-ales, etc.: thus, barnsöl, the christening-feast; graföl, burial-feast; arföl, the feast given by the heir on descent of property, etc.—M. H.



A fine mizzling rain fell without; and Jacobi, with secret horror, beheld Louise equipped in the "court-preacher," which became her so ill, ready to go out with Eva, under shelter of the "family-roof," in order to make good bargains. In the mean time Sara took her music lesson with Schwartz, but had promised Petrea to go out with her in the afternoon, in order to make good bargains likewise.

"Henrik!" said Jacobi to his young friend, "I fancy that we too are going out on a 'good bargain' expedition. I want a pair of gloves, and——"

"And perhaps we shall meet the sisters in the shop," said Henrik, waggishly.

"Quite right," returned Jacobi, smiling; "but, Henrik, cannot you tell your sister Louise that she should not wear that horrible black cloak? I declare she does not look as——indeed she does not look well in it."

"Don't you think that I have told her so already?" replied Henrik. "I have preached so long against the 'court-preacher,' that he ought long ago to have been banished from respectable society; but it is all to no purpose. He has worked himself so completely into the good graces of our gracious oldest, that depend upon it, my brother, we must endure him all our lives long. And what think you? I almost fancy our Cousin of Oestanvik likes him!"

"Nay," said Jacobi, "one can very well see that that creature has a wretched taste—a true Hottentot taste!"

"And is that the reason," remarked Henrik, "that he likes Louise?"

"Hum!" said Jacobi.

At dinner-time the bargaining young ladies came back, attended by the bargaining gentlemen, who had, after all, gone about peacefully with the "court-preacher." Louise was quite full of glory; never in her whole life before had she made more lucky bargains.[Pg 146]

"Look, sisters," said she, "this muslin for a crown-banco[8] the ell! Is it not a charming colour? I have saved in it alone twelve shillings.[9] And see these ribbons which I have got for four-and-twenty shillings the ell—thirty were asked. Are they not beautiful?—will they not look magnificently?—is it not a real discovery?—did you ever hear of anything like it? Sara, if you will go to the same shop as I do, you will get all at the same price. I have made that agreement for you at three places: at Bergvall's, and at Åström's, and Madame Florea's for the flowers."

Sara thanked her, but said she had altered her plans; she did not intend to have the same dress as Louise and Eva, but another, which pleased her better.

The sisters were astonished, and rather vexed; Louise quite offended. Had they not already agreed about it? What was to become of the Three Graces?

Sara answered, that the third Grace might be whoever she would, but for her part she should not have that honour.

The sisters thought her very ungracious.

Eva ran up to Leonore in order to show her her purchases.

"Look at this rose, Leonore," said she, "is it not very pretty? just as if it were natural! And these ribbons!"

"Yes, yes," said Leonore, with a depressed voice, regarding these ornaments with a gloomy look; and then pushing them from her so hastily that they fell on the floor, burst into tears. Eva was quite concerned; a book had fallen on her beautiful rose and had crushed it. For one moment Eva shed tears over her flower, the next over her sister.

"Why have you done so, Leonore?" said she; "you must be very ill, or are you displeased with me?"

"No, no!" said poor Leonore; "forgive me, and leave me."

"Why?" asked Eva. "Ah, do not weep—do not distress yourself. It was quite thoughtless of me to come here and——But I will bid farewell to all the magnificence; I will not go to the ball; I will stop at home with you, only tell me that you love me, and that you would like me to do so. Just say so—say so!"

[Pg 147]

"No, no!" said Leonore, passionately, and turning away from the affectionate comforter; "I do not like it! You teaze me, all of you, with this talk of stopping at home on my account. I know very well that I am not such as any one would wish to please—I am neither merry nor good. Go, Eva, to those who are merry, and follow them. Leave me, leave me in peace, that is all that I desire."

Eva retired weeping, and with the crushed rose in her hand.

In the afternoon, when Petrea was ready to go out on the promised expedition, she found Sara also was in an ill-humour. She would go, but only on Petrea's account; she had no intention of buying anything; she had not money enough wherewith to make purchases; she would not go to the festival; she could not have any pleasure if she did; nothing in the world gave one any pleasure when one had not things exactly to one's own wishes.

Petrea was quite confounded by this sudden change, and sought in all possible ways to discover the cause of it.

"But why," asked she, with tears in her eyes, "will you not go with us?"

"Because I will not go," answered Sara, "if I cannot go with honour, and in my own way! I will not be mixed up in a mass of every-day mediocre people! It is in my power to become distinguished and uncommon. That is now, for once, my humour. I will not live to be trammelled. I would rather not live at all!"

"Ah!" exclaimed Petrea, who now comprehended what was working in Sara, whilst her eyes flashed with sudden joy—"ah, is it nothing more than that? Dear Sara, take all that I possess; take it, I beseech you! Do you not believe that it gives me a thousand times the pleasure if I see you happy and beautiful, than if I possessed the most glorious things in the world? Take it, best, dearest Sara! I pray you, on my knees, to take it, and then if there be enough you can buy what you like and go with us—else the whole splendour will be good for nothing!"

"Ah, Petrea, and you?" asked Sara.

"Ah," said Petrea, "I'll just furbish up my gauze dress, and keep a little money for some ribbon, and then all is done; and as for the rest, it does not matter how I look. Be only contented, Sara, and do as I bid you."[Pg 148]

"But ought I? Can I?" asked Sara. "Ah, no, Petrea, I could not do it! Your little all! And then it would not be sufficient."

"Ah, yes," said Petrea, "make it sufficient. We can go to Louise's shops, and one gets everything so cheap there. I shall never be happy again if you do not do as I pray you. See now, you are my good, dear Sara! Thank you, thank you! Ah, now am I so light at heart! Now I need not trouble myself about the blessed toilet. And that is a great gain for me!"

The bird that sits on the swinging bough is not lighter of mood than Petrea was as she went out with Sara, who was far less cheerful, but who still had never been more friendly towards Petrea.

It went thus with Petrea's purchase of ribbon:—In passing a gingerbread-booth she saw a little chimney-sweeper, who was casting the most loving glances on some purple-red apples, and Petrea, with the money in her hand, could not resist the desire of making him a present of them, and felt more than rewarded as she saw the boy's white teeth shining forth from their black neighbourhood, first in smiles at her, and then as they attacked the juicy fruit. Her own mouth watered at it, and as she now cast her eyes round the booth, and saw such beautiful bergamotte-pears—the favourite fruit of her mother—and such magnificent oranges, that would please Leonore so much!—the result was, that Petrea's reticule was filled with fruit, and the ribbon—for that there was not now money enough.

"But," consoled herself Petrea, "Louise has such a deal of old ribbon—she can very well lend me some." Petrea thought like all bad managers.

When Sara and Petrea returned from the shopping expedition, Louise saw directly that the things which Sara had bought must far have exceeded her means; and besides this, Louise justly thought that they were unseemly for a young girl of her station. She saw without saying one word the white silk; the blue gauze for the tunic; the beautiful white and yellow asters for the hair, and the other ornaments which Sara, not without vanity, displayed.

"And what have you bought, Petrea?" now asked Louise; "let us see your bargains."[Pg 149]

Petrea replied, with a blush, that she—had bought nothing yet.

Not long afterwards Petrea came to Louise, and besought her, with a certain bashfulness, to lend her some ribbon.

"Good Petrea," said Louise, displeased, "I want my ribbons myself, and you have had money just as well as I or any of the others, to buy what you may want."

Petrea was silent, and tears were in her eyes.

"I did not think, Louise," said Sara, hotly, "that you would have been so covetous as to refuse Petrea some old ribbons which you are certain not to want yourself."

"And I, Sara," returned Louise in the same tone, "I could not have believed that you would have so abused Petrea's good-nature and weakness towards you as to take from her her little share, just to indulge your own vanity! It appears to me especially blameworthy, as it has led to expenses which far exceed the means of our parents."

"Sara did not desire anything from me," said Petrea, with warmth; "I insisted upon it; I compelled her."

"And above all, Sara," continued Louise, with stern seriousness, "I must tell you that the dress you have chosen appears to me neither modest nor becoming. I am quite persuaded that Schwartz has induced you to deviate from our first project; and I must tell you, dear Sara, that were I in your place I would not allow such a person to have such an influence with me; nor is this the only instance in which your behaviour to him has not appeared to me what it ought to be, not such as becomes the dignity of a woman, or what I should wish in a sister of mine. I am very sorry to say this."

"Oh, you are quite too good!" returned Sara, throwing back her head, and with a scornful smile; "but don't trouble yourself, Louise, for I assure you that it gives me very little concern what pleases you or what does not."

"So much the worse for you, Sara," said Louise, "that you concern yourself so little for those who are your true friends. I, besides, am not the only one whom your behaviour to Schwartz displeases. Eva——"

"Yes, Sara," interrupted Eva, blushing, "I think too that you do not conduct yourself towards him as is becoming, for——"[Pg 150]

"Sisters," said Sara, with warmth and pride, "you cannot judge of what is seemly for me. You have no right to censure my conduct, and I will not endure——"

"I think, too," said Petrea, warmly, "that if our mother has said nothing, nobody else has any right——"

"Silence, dear Petrea," said Louise; "you are silly and blind to——"

At this moment of disunion and confusion, when all the sisters were beginning to speak at once, and that with the tongues of indignation and reproof, a deep and mournful sigh was suddenly heard, which silenced all, and turned every eye to the door of the little boudoir. The mother stood there, with her hands clasped against her breast, pale, and with an expression of pain on her countenance, which sent a quick pang of conscience through the hearts of the daughters. As all remained silent, she came softly forward, and said, with a voice of emotion:

"Why? ah, why, my dear girls, is all this? No! Now, no explanations; there is error and blame on one side, perhaps also on more. But why this bitterness, this incautious outbreak of injurious words? Ah, you know not what you are doing! You know not what a hell sisters can make for one another, if they cherish such tempers. You know not how bitterness and harshness may grow among you to a dreadful habit; how you may become tormenting spirits to each other, and embitter each others' lives. And it could be so different! Sisters might be like good angels the one to the other, and make the paternal home like a heaven upon earth! I have seen both the one and the other in families: a greater contrast is not to be found on earth. Ah, think, think only that every day, nay, every hour, you are working to shape the future. Reflect that you may gladden and beautify your lives, or embitter them, according as you now act. My dear girls, bethink you that it is in your power to make your parents, your family, yourselves, either very happy or very unhappy!"

The daughters were silent, and were penetrated by the deep emotion which expressed itself in the words of their mother, in her pale countenance, and in her tearful looks. They felt strongly the truth of all that she had said. With a torrent of tears, Petrea ran out of the room; Sara followed[Pg 151] her silently; Eva threw herself caressingly on her mother's neck; but Louise said:

"I have only spoken the truth to Sara. It is not my fault if it be unpleasant for her to hear it."

"Ah, Louise!" returned her mother, "this is constantly said in the world, and yet so much division and hatred prevail between those who say it. It is the blind belief in our own faultlessness, it is the hard and assuming spirit of correction, which excite the temper, and make the truth unproductive of good. Why should we present truth in a disfiguring dress, when she is in herself so pure and beautiful? I know, my dear girl, that you only wish to do that which is right and good, and whoever aims rightly at that object will not fail of the means also."

"Must I then dissimulate?" asked Louise. "Must I conceal my thoughts, and be silent respecting that which I think wrong? That may indeed be prudent, but it certainly is not Christian."

"Become Christian in temper, my child," said the mother, "and you will easily discover the means of doing what is right in a proper and effectual manner. You will learn to speak the truth without wounding; a truly pure, truly affectionate spirit wounds no one, not even in trifles. For that reason, one need not to be silent when one should speak, but——"

"'C'est le ton qui fait la chanson!' Is it not so? he, he, he!" interposed the shrill voice of Mrs. Gunilla, who had come in unobserved, and who thus put an end to the discourse. Soon afterwards the Assessor made his appearance, and they two fell into conversation, though not, as commonly, into strife with each other. Mrs. Gunilla lamented to him respecting Pyrrhus; she was quite in trouble about the little animal, which had now for some time had a pain in the foot, which it always lay and licked, and which, spite of that and of other means, got rather worse than better. She did not know what she was to do with the little favourite. The Assessor besought her, in the kindest manner, to allow him to undertake his treatment. He said he had always been much more successful in curing dogs than men, and that dogs were far more agreeable, and far nicer patients than their masters. Mrs. Gunilla thanked him much, and was heartily glad of his[Pg 152] offer, and the following morning, she said, Pyrrhus should be conveyed to him.

The family assembled themselves for tea, and the quick eyes of Mrs. Gunilla soon discovered that all was not quite as it should be.

"Listen, now," said she, "my little Elise. I know that there will be festivities, and balls, and banquets, given there at——chose! what do they call it? and of course the young people here should all be at them and figure a little. If there be any little embarrassments about the toilet in which I can help, tell me candidly. Good heavens! one can imagine that easily. Young girls!—a rosette is wanted here, and a rosette is wanted there, and one thing and another—heart's-dearest! it is so natural. I know it all so well. Now tell me——"

Elise thanked her cordially, but must decline this offer; her daughters, she said, must learn betimes to moderate their desires to their means.

"Yes, yes," said Mrs. Gunilla, "but I must tell you, my dear friend, there is no rule without its exception, and if any trifles are wanted, so—think on me."

Mrs. Gunilla was to-day in such a happy humour; she looked like somebody who was determined to make some fellow-creature happy. The Assessor could not get into dispute with her. She rejoiced herself in the country, to which she should soon remove; in the spring which was at hand, and in the greenness which was approaching. The Assessor rejoiced himself not at all. "What had one to rejoice about in such a hateful spring? It was quite impossible to live in such a climate, and it must be the will of our Lord God that man should not live, or he would not have sent such springs. How could people plant potatoes in ice? and how otherwise could they be planted at all this year? And if people could get no potatoes, they must die of hunger, which was then perhaps the best part of the history of life."

On her side, Mrs. Gunilla bethought herself that she would willingly live. "Our Lord God," she said, "would take care that people had potatoes!" and then she looked with an expression of cordial sympathy on the troubled and distressed countenances of the young girls.[Pg 153]

"When Eva, dear, is as old as I," said she, patting her gently on her white neck, "she will know nothing more of all that which so distresses her now."

"Ah! to be sixty years old!" exclaimed Eva, smiling, though with a tear in her eye.

"You'll get well on to sixty—well on; he, he, he, he!" said Mrs. Gunilla, consolingly. "Heart's-dearest! it goes before one thinks of it! But only be merry and cheerful. Amuse yourselves at——chose! what do you call it? and then come and tell me all about it. Do that nicely, and then I shall get my share of the fun though I am not there. That comes of the so-to-be envied sixty years, Eva, dear! he, he, he, he!"

The sun set bright and glorious. Mrs. Gunilla went to the window, and sent a little greeting towards the sun, whose beams, glancing through the trees of the opposite churchyard, seemed to salute her in return.

"It looks as if one should have a fine day to-morrow," said Mrs. Gunilla to herself, gently, and looking very happy.

People place youth and age opposite to each other, as the light and shade in the day of life. But has not every day, every age, its own youth—its own new attractive life, if one only sets about rightly to enjoy them? Yes, the aged man, who has collected together pure recollections for his evening companions, is many degrees happier than the youth who, with a restless heart, stands only at the beginning of his journey. No passions disturb the coffee-cup of the other—no restless endeavours disturb the cheerful gossip of the evening twilight; all the little comforts of life are then so thoroughly enjoyed; and we can then, with more confidence, cast all our cares and anxieties on God. We have then proved Him.


[8] Crown-banco, equal to one shilling and sixpence English money.

[9] A shilling Swedish is equal to about one farthing English.



"There are certainly too many bitter almonds in this almond-mass; nothing tastes good to me this afternoon," said Elise, who set down a glass of almond-milk, and sighed—but not for the almond-milk.

"Be pleased with us, dear mother," whispered Eva, tenderly; "we are all friends again!"[Pg 154]

The mother saw it in their beautiful beaming eyes; she read it in Louise's quiet glance as she turned round from the table, where she was helping Sara with her tunic, and looked at her mother. Elise nodded joyfully both to her and Eva, and drank to them the glass of almond-milk, which now appeared to have become suddenly sweet, so pleased did she look as she again set down the glass.

"Mamma, dear," said Gabriele, "we must certainly do something towards poor Petrea's toilet, otherwise she will not be presentable."

But Louise took Petrea's gauze-dress secretly in hand, and sate up over it till midnight, and adorned it so with her own ribbons and lace that it was more presentable than it had ever been before.

Petrea kissed her skilful hands for all that they had done. Eva—yet we will, for the present, keep silent on her arrangements.

But dost thou know, oh, reader!—yes, certainly thou dost!—the zephyrs which call forth spring in the land of the soul—which call forth flowers, and make the air pure and delicious? Certainly thou knowest them—the little easy, quiet, unpretending, almost invisible, and yet powerful—in one word, human kindnesses.

Since these have taken up their abode in the Franks' family we see nothing that can prevent a general joyful party of pleasure. But yes!—it is true—


This was, as we have often remarked, large and somewhat clumsy. Petrea had great desire to unform it, particularly for the approaching festivities.

"What have you done to your nose? What is amiss with your nose?" were the questions which assailed Petrea on all sides, as she came down to breakfast on the morning of the journey.

Half laughing and half crying, Petrea related how she had made use of some innocent machinery during the night, by which she had hoped somewhat to alter the form of this offending feature, the consequence of which had unfortunately been the fixing a fiery red saddle across it, and a considerable swelling beside.[Pg 155]

"Don't cry, my dear girl," said her mother, bathing it with oatmeal-water, "it will only inflame your nose the more."

"Ah," burst forth poor Petrea, "anybody is really unfortunate who has such a nose as mine! What in the world can they do with it? They must go into a convent."

"It is very much better," said the mother, "to do as one of my friends did, who had a very large nose, much larger than yours, Petrea."

"Ah, what did she do?" asked Petrea, eagerly.

"She made herself so beloved, that her nose was beloved too," said her mother. "Her friends declared that they saw nothing so gladly as her nose as it came in at the door, and that without it she would have been nothing."

Petrea laughed, and looked quite cheerful. "Ah," said she, "if my nose can but be beloved, I shall be quite reconciled to it."

"You must endeavour to grow above it!" said the good, prudent mother, jestingly, but significantly.



On the morning of the important day all was in lively motion. The Assessor sent Eva a large bouquet of most remarkably beautiful natural flowers, which she immediately divided among her sisters. The Judge himself, in a frenzy of activity, packed the things of his wife and daughters, and protested that nobody could do it better than he, and that nobody could make so many things go into one box as he could. The last was willingly conceded to him, but a little demur arose as to the excellency of the packing. The ladies asserted that he rumpled their dresses; the Judge asserted that there was no danger on that account, that everything would be found remarkably smooth, and stood zealous and warm in his shirt-sleeves beside the travelling-case, grumbling a little at every fresh dress that was handed to him, and then exclaiming immediately afterwards, "Have you more yet, girls? I have more room. Do give me more! See now! that? and that? and that? and——now, in the name of all weathers, is there no end of your articles? Give them here, my girls! Let that alone, child! I shall soon lay it[Pg 156] straight! What? rumple them, shall I? Well, they can be unrumpled again, that's all! Are there no smoothing-irons in the world? What? so, so, my girls! Have you any more? I can yet put something more in."

They were to set off immediately after dinner, in order to be at Axelholm, which lay about two miles[10] from the city, ready for the ball in the evening. By dinner-time all boxes were packed, and all tempers cleared, more especially that of the Judge, who was so contented with his morning's work that he almost imparted his delight to those who at first were not altogether satisfied with it.

Petrea ate nothing but a pancake, with a little snow milk to it, in order that she might dance all the lighter.

"Above all things, my friends," prayed the Judge, "be precise, and be ready at half-past three; the carriages come then to the door, do not let me have to wait for you."

Precisely at half-past three the Judge went to the doors of his wife and daughters.

"Mamma! girls! it is time to go!" said he. "The clock has struck half-past three! The carriages are here!"

"Directly, directly!" was answered from all sides. The Judge waited; he knew from experience what this "directly" meant.

In the fever of his punctuality his blood began to boil, and he walked up and down the hall with great steps, talking with himself: "It is shocking, though," argued he, "that they never are ready! but I won't be angry! Even if they make me angry, I will not spoil their pleasure. But patience is necessary, more than Job had!"

Whilst he was thus moralising with himself, he heard the voice of his wife saying, with decision, in the library, "Come now, dear girls! In heaven's name, don't keep the father waiting! I know, indeed, how it annoys him——!"

"But he said nothing the day before yesterday," Petrea's voice was heard to return, "though he had then to wait for us. (I can't think what I have done with my gloves!)"

"And precisely on that account he shall not wait a moment longer for us," said the mother; "and never again, if I can help it; so, if you are not ready girls, I shall run away without you!"

[Pg 157]

The mother ran, and all the daughters ran merrily after her.

The father remarked with pleasure, that love has a far more effectual power than fear, and all were soon seated in the carriage.

We will allow them to roll away, and will now pay a little visit to


Leonore sate solitary. She supported her sick head on her hand. She had impelled herself to answer kindly the leave-taking kiss of her mother and sisters; she had seen how they sought to repress their joy before her; and she had particularly remarked a sort of half-concealed roguish joy in the glance which was exchanged between Eva and her mother, which had pained her. She had heard their happy voices on the stairs, and then the driving away of the carriages. Now they were gone; now all was still and desolate in the house, and large tears traced their way down Leonore's cheeks. She seemed to herself so forlorn, so uncared for, so solitary in the world!

At that moment the door was softly opened, a smiling face looked in, and a light fascinating figure sprang forward through the chamber towards her, kissed her, laughed, and glanced with roguish and ardent affection into her astonished face.

"Eva!" exclaimed Leonore, scarcely trusting her eyes; "Eva, are you here? How! whither came you? Are you not gone with the others?"

"No, as you see," returned Eva, embracing her, laughing, and looking quite happy; "I am here, and mean to stay here."

"But why? What is the meaning of it?" asked Leonore.

"Because I would much rather remain here with you than go anywhere else," said Eva. "I have bid Axelholm with all its splendours good day."

"Ah! why have you done so? I would much rather you had not!" said Leonore.

"See you! I knew that," returned her sister, "and therefore I put on a travelling dress, like the rest, and took leave of you with them. I wanted to take you by surprise, you see. You are not angry with me, are you? You must now be contented with it—you can't get rid of me! Look a little happy on me, Leonore!"[Pg 158]

"I cannot Eva," said Leonore, "because you have robbed yourself of a great pleasure on my account, and I know that it must have been difficult for you. I know that I am neither agreeable nor pleasing, and that you cannot love me, nor yet have pleasure with me, and on that account I cannot have pleasure in your sacrifice. It becomes you to be with the joyful and the happy. Ah! that you had but gone with them!"

"Do not talk so, unless you would make me weep," said Eva; "you do not know how the thought of giving up all these festivities in order to remain alone with you has given me pleasure for many days, and this precisely because I love you, Leonore! yes, because I feel that I could love you better than all the rest! Nay, do not shake your head—it is so. One cannot help one's feelings."

"But why should you love me?" argued the poor girl; "I am, indeed, so little amiable, nobody can endure me, nobody has pleasure in me; I would willingly die. Ah! I often think it would be so beautiful to die!"

"How can you talk so, Leonore?" said her sister; "it is not right! Would you wish such horrible grief to papa and mamma, and me, and all of us?"

"Ah!" said Leonore, "you and the sisters would soon comfort yourselves. Mamma does not love me as much as any of you others; nor papa either. Ottil R. said the other day that everybody talked of it—that I was beloved neither by father nor mother."

"Fie!" exclaimed Eva, "that was wicked and unjust of Ottil. I am quite certain that our parents love us all alike. Have you ever observed that they unjustly make any difference between us?"

"That I never have," said Leonore; "they are too good and perfect for that. But, do you think I have not observed with how different an expression my father regards me to that with which he looks on you or Louise? Do you think that I do not feel how cold, and at times constrained, is the kiss which my mother gives me, to the two, the three, yes, the many, which, out of the fulness of her heart, she gives to you or to Gabriele? But I do not complain of injustice. I see very well that it cannot be otherwise. Nature has made me so disagreeable, that it is not possible people can bear me.[Pg 159] Ah! fortunate indeed are they who possess an agreeable exterior! They win the good-will of people if they only show themselves. It is so easy for them to be amiable, and to be beloved! But difficult, very difficult is it for those who are ill-favoured as I!"

"But, dear Leonore, I assure you, you are unjust towards yourself. Your figure, for example, is very good; your eyes have something so expressive, something at the same time so soft and so earnest; your hair is fine, and is of a beautiful brown;—it would become you so if it were better dressed; but wait awhile, when you are better I will help you to do it, and then you shall see."

"And my mouth," said poor Leonore, "that goes from ear to ear, and my nose is so flat and so long—how can you mend that?"

"Your mouth?" replied Eva, "why yes, it is a little large; but your teeth are regular, and with a little more care, would be quite white. And your nose?—let me see—yes, if there were a little elevation, a little ridge in it, it would be quite good, too! Let me see, I really believe it begins to elevate itself!—yes, actually, I see plainly enough the beginning of a ridge! and do you know, if it come, and when you are well, and have naturally a fresh colour, I think that you will be really pretty!"

"Ah! if I can ever believe that!" said Leonore, sighing, at the same time that an involuntary smile lit up her countenance.

"And even if you are not so very lovely," continued Eva, "you know that yet you can be infinitely agreeable; you have something peculiarly so in your demeanour. I heard papa say so this very day to mamma."

"Did he really say so?" said Leonore, her countenance growing brighter and brighter.

"Yes, indeed he did!" replied her sister. "But, ah! Leonore, after all, what is beauty? It fades away, and at last is laid in the black earth, and becomes dust; and even whilst it is blooming, it is not all-sufficient to make us either beloved or happy! It certainly has not an intrinsic value."

Never was the power of beauty depreciated by more beautiful lips! Leonore looked at her and sighed.

"No, Leonore," continued she, "do not trouble yourself[Pg 160] to be beautiful. This, it is true, may at times be very pleasant, but it certainly is not necessary to make us either beloved or happy. I am convinced that if you were not in the least prettier than you are, yet that you might if you would, in your own peculiar way, be as much in favour and as much beloved as the prettiest girls in the world."

"Ah!" said Leonore, "if I were only beloved by my nearest connexions! What a divine thing it must be to be beloved by one's own family!"

"But that you can be—that you will be, if you only will! Ah! if you only were always as you are sometimes—and you are more and more so—and I love you more and more—infinitely I love you!"

"Oh, beloved Eva," said Leonore, deeply affected, whilst she leaned herself quietly on her sister, "I have very little deserved this from you; but, for the future, I will be different—I will be such as you would have me. I will endeavour to be good and amiable."

"And then you will be so lovely, so beloved, and so happy!" said Eva, "that it would be a real delight. But now you must come down into Louise's and my room. There is something there for you; you must change the air a little. Come, come!"

"Ah, how charming!" was Leonore's exclamation as she entered Eva's chamber; and in fact nothing could be imagined more charming than that little abode of peace, adorned as it now was by the coquetry of affection. The most delicious odour of fruit and flowers filled the air, and the sun threw his friendly beams on a table near the sofa, on which a basket filled with beautiful fruit stood enticingly in the midst of many pretty and tastefully arranged trifles.

"Here, dear Leonore," said Eva, "you will remain during this time. It will do you good to leave your room a little. And look, they have all left you an offering! This gothic church of bronze is from Jacobi. It is a lamp! do you see? Light comes through the church window;—how beautiful! We will light it this evening. And this fruit here—do you see the beautiful grapes? All these are a plot between Henrik and Petrea. The copperplate engravings are from my father; Louise has worked you the slippers; and the little lady, she——"[Pg 161]

Leonore clasped her hands. "Is it possible," said she, "that you all have thought so much about me! How good you are—ah, too good!"

"Nay, do not weep, sweet Leonore," said Eva; "you should not weep, you should be joyful. But the best part of the entertainment remains yet behind. Do you see this new novel of Miss Edgeworth's? Mamma has given us this, for us to read together. I will read to you aloud till midnight, if you will. A delicate little supper has been prepared for us by Louise, and we shall sup up here. We'll have a banquet in our own way. Take now one of those big grapes which grow two on one stem, and I will take the other. The king's health! Oh, glorious!"

Whilst the two sisters are banqueting at their own innocent feast, we will see how it goes on in the great company at


Things are not carried on in so enviably easy and unconstrained a manner at every ball as at that of the citizens in the good little city of * * * ping, where one saw the baker's wife and the confectioner's wife waltzing together, but altogether in a wrong fashion, to which the rest only said, "It does not signify, if they only go on!" Oh, no! such simplicity as that is very rarely met with, and least of all among those of whom we write.

At Axelholm, as at other great balls, the rocky shores of conventionality made it impossible to move without a thousand ceremonies, proprieties, dubiosities, formalities, and all the rest, which, taken together, make up a vast sum of difficulties. The great ball at Axelholm was not without pretension, and on that account not without its stiff difficulties. Among these may be reckoned that several of the young gentlemen considered themselves too old, or too——to dance at all, and that, in consequence, many of the dance-loving ladies could not dance at all either, because, on account of the threatening eye-glasses of the gentlemen, they had not courage to dance with one another. Nevertheless the scene looked like one of pure delight. The great saloon so splendidly lighted, and a vast assembly collected there!

It is now the moment just before the dancing begins; the gentlemen stand in a great group in the middle of the room,[Pg 162] spreading themselves out in direct or wavy lines towards the circle of ladies. These sit, like flowers in the garden beds, on the benches round the room, mostly in bashful stillness; whilst a few, in the consciousness of zephyr-like lightness, float about the room like butterflies. All look happy; all talk one with another, with all that animation, that reciprocal good-will, which the sight of so much beauty, united to the consciousness that they themselves are wearing their best looks, as well as the expectation of pleasure, infuses.

Now the music begins to sound; now young hearts beat with more or less disquiet; now go the engaged ones, amid the jostlings of the servants, who are perpetually soliciting the young ladies to partake of the now disdained tea. There one saw several young girls numerously surrounded, who were studying the promised dances which were inscribed on the ivory of their fans, declining fervent solicitations for the third, fourth, fifth—nay, even up to the twelfth dance; but, fascinatingly-gracious, promising themselves for the thirteenth, which perhaps may never be danced; whilst others in their neighbourhood sit quiet and undisturbed, waiting for the first invitation, in order thereto to say a willing and thankful yes. Among the many-surrounded and the much-solicited, we may see Sara and even Louise. With these emulated the three Misses Aftonstjerna—Isabella, Stella, and Aurora—who stood constantly round the chair of the Countess Solenstråle, which was placed before the great mirror at the far end of the saloon. Among those who sat expectantly, in the most beautiful repose, we shall discover our Petrea, who nevertheless, with her bandeau of pearls in her hair, and a certain bloom of innocence and goodness in her youthful countenance, looked uncommonly well. Her heart beat with an indescribable desire to be engaged.

"Ah!" sighed she, as she saw two most elegant young men, the two brothers B——, walking round the circle of ladies, with their eye-glasses in their hands. Their eye-glasses rested for a moment on Petrea; the one whispered something in the ear of the other; both smiled, and went on. Petrea felt humiliated, she knew not why.

"Now!" thought she, as Lieutenant S—— approached her quickly. But Lieutenant S—— came to engage Miss T——, and Petrea remained sitting. The music played the liveliest anglaise, and Petrea's feet were all in agitation to be moving.[Pg 163]

"Ah!" thought she, "if I were but a man I would engage Petrea."

The anglaise streamed past Petrea's nose.

"Where is Eva?" asked Jeremias Munter, in a hasty and displeased tone, from Louise, in the pause between the anglaise and the waltz.

"She has remained at home with Leonore," said Louise; "she was determined upon it."

"How stupid!" exclaimed he; "why did I come here then."

"Nay, that I really cannot tell!" returned Louise, smiling.

"Not!" retorted the Assessor. "Now then I will tell you, sister Louise, I came here entirely to see Eva dance—solely and altogether on that account, and for nothing else. What a stupid affair it was that she should stop at home! You had a great deal better, all the rest of you, have stopped at home together; you yourself, dear sister, reckoned into the bargain! Petrea, there! what has she to do here? She was always a vexation to me, but now I cannot endure her, since she has not understanding enough to stay at home in Eva's place; and this little curly-pate, which must dance with grown people just as if she were a regular person; could not she find a piece of sugar to keep her at home, instead of coming here to be in a flurry! You are all wearisome together; and such entertainments as these are the most horrible things I know."

Louise floated away in the waltz with Jacobi, laughing over this sally; and the Countess Solenstråle, the sun of the ball, said as she passed her chair, "Charmant, charmant!"

Besides this couple, who distinguished themselves by their easy harmonious motion, there was another, which whirled past in wild circles, and drew all eyes upon them likewise: this was Sara and the boisterous Schwartz. Her truly beaming beauty, her dress, her haughty bearing, her flashing eyes, called forth a universal ah! of astonishment and admiration. Petrea forgot that she was sitting while she looked upon her. She thought that she had never seen anything so transporting as Sara in the whirl of the dance. But the Countess Solenstråle, as she sate in her chair, said of this couple—nothing; nay, people even imagined that they read an expression of displeasure in her countenance. The Misses Aftonstjerna sailed round with much dignity.[Pg 164]

"My dear girl," said Elise kindly, but seriously, to Sara after the waltz, "you must not dance thus; your chest will not allow it. How warm you are! You really burn!"

"It is my climate," answered Sara; "it agrees with me excellently."

"I beseech you sit this dance. It is positively injurious to you to heat yourself thus," said Elise.

"This dance?" returned Sara; "impossible! I am engaged for it to Colonel H——."

"Then, do not dance the next," besought Elise; "if you would do me a pleasure, do not dance it with Schwartz. He dances in such a wild manner as is prejudicial to the health; besides which, it is hardly becoming."

"It gives me pleasure to dance with him," answered Sara, both with pride and insolence, as she withdrew; and the mother, wounded and displeased, returned to her seat.

The Countess Solenstråle lavished compliments on Elise on account of her children. "They are positively the ornament of the room," said she;—"charmant! and your son a most prepossessing young man—so handsome and comme il faut! A charming ball!"

Isabella Aftonstjerna threw beaming glances on the handsome Henrik.

"What madness this dancing is!" said Mr. Munter, as with a strong expression of weariness and melancholy he seated himself beside Evelina. "Nay, look how they hop about and exert themselves, as if without this they could not get thin enough; then, good heavens! how difficult it seems, and how ugly it is! As if this could give them any pleasure! For some of them it seems as if it were day-labour, and as if it were a frenzy to others; and for a third, a kind of affectation; nay, I must go my ways, for I shall become mad or splenetic if I look any longer on this super-extra folly!"

"If Eva Frank were dancing too, you would not think it so," said Evelina, with a well-bred smile.

"Eva!" repeated he, whilst a light seemed to diffuse itself over his countenance, and his eyes suddenly beamed with pleasure—"Eva! no! I believe so too. To see her dance is to see living harmony. Ah! it enlivens my mind if I only see her figure, her gait, her slightest movement; and then to know that all this harmony, all this beauty, is not mere[Pg 165] paint—not mere outside; but that it is the true expression of the soul! I find myself actually better when I am near her; and I have often a real desire to thank her for the sentiments which she instils into me. In fact, she is my benefactress; and I can assure you that it reconciles me to mankind and to myself, that I can feel thus to a fellow-creature. I cannot describe how agreeable it is, because commonly there is so much to vex oneself about in this so-called masterpiece of the Creator!"

"But, best friend," said Evelina, "why are you so vexed? Most people have still——"

"Ah, don't go and make yourself an ange de clémence for mankind," said he, "in order to exalt secretly yourself over me, otherwise I shall be vexed with you; and you belong to the class that I can best endure. Why do I vex myself? What a stupid question! Why are people stupid and wearisome, and yet make themselves important with their stupidity? And wherefore am I myself such a melancholy personage, worse than anybody else, and should have withal such a pair of quick eyes, as if only on purpose to see the infirmities and perversions of the world? There may, however, in my case be sufficient reason for all this. When one has had the fancy to come into the world against all order and Christian usage; has seen neither father nor mother beside one's cradle; heard nothing, seen nothing, learned nothing, which is in the least either beautiful or instructive—one has not entered upon life very merrily. And then, after all, to be called Munter![11] Good heavens! Munter! Had I been called Blannius, or Skarnius, or Brummerius, or Grubblerius, or Rhabarberius, there might have been some sense in the joke; but Munter! I ask you now, is it not enough to make a man splenetic and melancholy all the days of his life? And then, to have been born into the world with a continual cold, and since then never to have been able to look up to heaven without sneezing—do you find that merry or edifying. Well, and then! after I had worked my way successfully through the schools, the dust of books, and the hall of anatomy, and had come to hate them all thoroughly, and to love that which was beautiful in nature and in art, am I to thank my stars that I must win my daily bread by studying[Pg 166] and caring for all that is miserable and revolting in the world, and hourly to go about among jaundice, and colic, and disease of the lungs? On this account I never can be anything but a melancholy creature! Yes, indeed, if there were not the lilies on the earth, the stars in heaven, and beyond all these some one Being who must be glorious—and were there not among mankind the human-rose Eva—the beautiful, fascinating Eva, then——"

He paused; a tear stood in his eye; but the expression of his countenance soon was changed when he perceived no less than five young girls—they danced now the "free choice"—and among them the three enchanting Miss Aftonstjernas, who, all locked together, came dancing towards him with a roguish expression. He cast towards them the very grimmest of his glances, rose up suddenly, and hastened away.

Sara danced the second waltz with Schwartz, yet wilder than the first. Elise turned her eyes away from her with inward displeasure; but Petrea's heart beat with secret desire for a dance as wild, and she followed their whirlings with sparkling eyes.

"Oh," thought she, "if one could only fly through life in a joyful whirl like that!"

It was the sixth dance, and Petrea was sitting yet. She felt her nose red and swollen. "See now!" thought she, "farewell to all hopes of dancing! It must be that I am ugly, and nobody will look at me!" At the same moment she was aware of the eye of her mother fixed upon her with a certain expression of discomfort, and that glance was to her like a stab at the heart; but the next moment her heart raised itself in opposition to that depressing feeling which seemed about to overcome her. "It is unpleasant," thought she, "but it cannot be altered, and it is no fault of mine! And as nobody will give me any pleasure, I will even find some for myself."

Scarcely had Petrea made this determination, than she felt herself quite cheered; a spring of independence and freedom bubbled up within her; she felt as if she were able even to take down the chandelier from the ceiling, and all the more so when she saw so many life-enjoying people skipping around her.

At this moment an old gentleman rose up from a bench opposite Petrea, with a tea-cup in his hand. In a mania of[Pg 167] officiousness she rushed forward in order to assist him in setting it aside. He drew himself back, and held the cup firmly, whilst Petrea, with the most firm and unwearying "Permit me, sir," seemed determined to take it. The strife about the cup continued amid the unending bows of the gentleman, and the equally unending curtseys of Petrea, until a passing waltzing couple gave a jostle, without the least ceremony whatever to the compliment-makers, which occasioned a shake of the tea-cup, and revealed to Petrea the last thing in the world which she had imagined, that the cup was not empty! Shocked and embarrassed, she let go her hold, and allowed the old gentleman, with what remained of his cup of tea, to go and find out for himself a securer place. Petrea seated herself, she hardly knew how, on a bench near an elderly lady, who looked at her very good-naturedly, and who helped very kindly to wipe off the ablution of tea which she had received. Petrea felt herself quite confidential with this excellent person, and inquired from her what was her opinion of Swedenborg, beginning also to give her own thoughts on spectral visions, ghosts, etc. The lady looked at her, as if she thought she might be a little deranged, and then hastened to change her place.

A stout military gentleman sat himself down ponderously, with a deep sigh, on the seat which the old lady had left, as if he were saying to himself, "Ah, thank God! here I can sit in peace!" But, no! he had not sate there three minutes and a half when he found himself called upon by Petrea to avow his political faith, and invited by her to unite in the wish of speedy war with Russia. Lieutenant-Colonel Uh——turned rather a deaf ear to the battery by which his neighbour assailed him, but for all that he probably felt it not the less heavy, because after several little sham coughs he rose up, and left our Petrea alone with her warlike thoughts.

She also rose, from the necessity she felt of looking elsewhere for more sympathy and interest.

"In heaven's name, dear Petrea, keep your seat!" whispered Louise, who encountered her on her search for adventures.

Petrea now cast her eyes on a young girl who seemed to have had no better dancing fortune than herself, but who seemed to bear it much worse, appeared weary of sitting, and could hardly refrain from tears. Petrea, in whose disposition[Pg 168] it lay to impart to others whatever she herself possessed—sometimes overlooking the trifling fact that what she possessed was very little desired by others—and feeling herself now in possession of a considerable degree of prowess, wished to impart some of the same to her companion in misfortune, and seated herself by her for that purpose.

"I know not a soul here, and I find it so horribly wearisome," was the unasked outpouring of soul which greeted Petrea, and which went directly to her sympathising heart.

Petrea named every person she knew in the company to the young unfortunate, and then, in order to escape from the weight of the present, began to unfold great plans and undertakings for the future. She endeavoured to induce her new acquaintance to give her her parole d'honneur that she would sometime conduct a social theatre with her, which would assist greatly to make social life more interesting; and further than that, that they should establish together a society of Sisters of Charity in Sweden, and make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; furthermore, that they would write novels together; and that on the following day, or more properly in the night, they would rise at half-past two o'clock, and climb to the top of a high mountain in order to see the sun rise; and finally, after all these, and sundry other propositions, Petrea suggested to her new acquaintance a thee-and-thou friendship between them! But, ah! neither Petrea's great prowess, nor her great plans; neither the social theatre, nor the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, least of all the thee-and-thou friendship, availed anything towards enlivening the churlish young girl. Petrea saw plainly that an invitation to dance would avail more than all her propositions, so, sighing deeply because she was not a man to offer so great a pleasure, she rose up, and left the object of her vain endeavours.

She looked round for a new subject, and her eye fell on the Countess Solenstråle. Petrea was dazzled, and became possessed of the frenzied desire to become acquainted with her, to be noticed by her; in short, in some kind of way to approach the sun of the ball, fancying thereby that a little glory would be reflected upon herself. But how was she to manage it? If the Countess would but let fall her handkerchief, or her fan, she might dart forward and pick it up, and then deliver it to her with a compliment in verse. Petrea,[Pg 169] hereupon, began to improvise to herself; there was something, of course, about the sun in it. Undoubtedly this would delight the Countess, and give occasion to more acquaintance, and perhaps—but, ah! she dropped neither handkerchief nor fan, and no opportunity seemed likely to occur in which she could make use of her poem with effect. In the mean time she felt drawn as by a secret influence (like the planet to the sun) ever nearer and nearer to the queen of the saloon. The Aftonstjernas were now standing, beaming around her, bending their white and pearl-ornamented necks to listen to her jesting observations, and between whiles replying with smiles to the politeness and solicitations of elegant gentlemen. It looked magnificent and beautiful, and Petrea sighed from the ardent longing to ascend to the haute volée.

At this moment Jacobi, quite warm, came hastening towards her to engage her for the following quadrille.

Petrea joyfully thanked him; but suddenly reddening to the resemblance of a peony with her mania of participation, she added, "Might I accept your invitation for another person? Do me the great pleasure to ask that young girl that sits there in the window at our left."

"But why?" asked Jacobi; "why will not you?"

"I earnestly beseech you to do it!" said Petrea. "It would give me greater pleasure to see her dancing than if I danced myself."

Jacobi made some friendly objections, but did in the end as she requested.

It was a great pleasure to Petrea to perceive the influence of this engagement on her young friend. But Fate and the Candidate seemed determined to make Petrea dance this quadrille; and a young officer presented himself before her in splendid uniform, with dark eyes, dark hair, large dark moustache, martial size, and very martial mien. Petrea had no occasion, and no disposition either, to return anything but a "yes" to this son of Mars. In fact, she never expected to receive a more honourable invitation; and a few minutes later she found herself standing close beside the chair of the Countess Solenstråle, dancing in the same quadrille with the Aftonstjernas, and vis-à-vis with the Candidate. Petrea felt herself highly exalted, and would have been perfectly prosperous[Pg 170] had it not been for her restless demon, which incessantly spurred her with the desire of coming in closer contact with the beautiful, magnificent lady to whom she stood so near. To tread upon her foot or her dress, might, it is true, have furnished an easy occasion for many fine and reverential excuses; but, at the same time, this would be neither polite nor agreeable. To fall in some kind of way before her feet, and then, when graciously raised by the Countess, to thank her in a verse, in which the sun played a conspicuous part, would have been incontestibly better; but now—Petrea must dance on!

Was it that our Petrea really was so addled (if people will graciously allow us such an expression) that she had no right power over her limbs, or did it happen from want of ballast, in consequence of the slender dinner she had eaten, or was it the result of her usual distraction—we know not; but this much is certain, that she in chassée-ing on the right hand, on which she had to pass her vis-à-vis, made an error, and came directly up to him. He withdrew to the other side, but Petrea was already there: and as the Candidate again withdrew to the right, there was she again; and amid all this chassée-ing her feet got so entangled with his, that as he made a despairing attempt to pass her, it so happened that both fell down in the middle of the quadrille!

When Petrea, with tears in her eyes, again stood upright, she saw before her the eye-glass gentlemen, the two brothers B., who were nearly dying with laughter. A hasty glance convinced Petrea that her mother saw nothing of it; and a second glance, that she had now attracted the attention of the Countess Solenstråle, who was smiling behind her fan. The first observation consoled her for the last; and she fervently assured Jacobi, who was heartily distressed on her account, that she had not hurt herself; that it signified nothing; that it was her fault, etc., etc.; cast a tranquil glance on the yet laughing gentlemen, and chasséed boldly back again. But what, however, made the deepest impression on Petrea, was the conduct of her partner, and his suddenly altered behaviour. He brought the continued and unbecoming merriment of the brothers B. to an end by one determined glance; and he who hitherto had been parsimonious of words, and who had only answered all her attempts[Pg 171] at being entertaining by a yes or a no, now became quite conversable, polite, and agreeable, and endeavoured in every possible way to divert her attention from the unpleasant accident which had just occurred, engaging her moreover for the anglaise after supper.

Petrea understood his kindness; tears came into her eyes, and her heart beat for joy at the thought of hastening to her mother after the quadrille, and saying, "Mamma, I am engaged for the anglaise after supper."

But no thought, no feeling, could remain in tranquillity with the poor little "Chaos;" so many others came rushing in, that the first were quite effaced. Her first impression of the kindness of Lieutenant Y. was, "how good he is!" the second was, "perhaps he may endure me!" And hereupon a flood of imagined courtesy and courtship poured in, which almost turned her head. But she would not marry, heaven forbid! yet still it would be a divine thing to have a lover, and to be oneself "an object" of passion, like Sara and Louise. Perhaps the young Lieutenant Y. might be related to the Countess Solenstråle, and, oh heavens! how well it would sound when it was said, "A nephew of the Countess Solenstråle is a passionate admirer of Petrea Frank!" What a coming forth that would be! A less thing than that might make one dizzy. Petrea was highly excited by these imaginings, and was suddenly changed by them into an actual coquette, who set herself at work by all possible means to enslave "her object;" in which a little, and for the moment very white, hand (for even hands have their moments), figuring about the head, played a conspicuous part. Petrea's amazing animation and talkativeness directed the eye-glass of her mother—for her mother was somewhat short-sighted—often in this direction, and called forth glances besides from Louise, which positively would have operated with a very subduing effect, had not Petrea been too much excited to remark them. The observations and smiles of her neighbours Petrea mistook for tokens of applause; but she deceived herself, for they only amused themselves with the little coquetting, but not very dangerous lady. Lieutenant Y., nevertheless, seemed to find pleasure in her liveliness, for when the quadrille was ended, he continued a dispute which had commenced during it, and for this purpose conducted her into[Pg 172] one of the little side rooms, which strengthened her in the idea of having made a conquest. Isabella Aftonstjerna was singing there a little French song, the refrain of which was—

Hommage à la plus belle,
Honneur au plus vaillant!

The world was all brightness to Petrea: the song carried her back to the beautiful days of knighthood: Lieutenant Y. appeared to her as the ideal of knightly honour, and the glass opposite showed her own face and nose in such an advantageous light, that she, meeting herself there all beaming with joy, fancied herself almost handsome. A beautiful rose-tree was blossoming in the window, and Petrea, breaking off a flower, presented it to the Lieutenant, with the words—

Honneur au plus vaillant.

Petrea thought that this was remarkably striking and apropos, and secretly expected that her knight would lay the myrtle-spray with which he was playing at her feet, adding very appropriately—

Hommage à la plus belle.

"Most humble thanks!" said Lieutenant Y., taking the rose with misfortune-promising indifference. But Fate delivered Petrea from the unpleasantness of waiting in vain for a politeness she desired, for suddenly there arose a disturbance in the ball-room, and voices were heard which said, "She is fainting! Gracious heaven! Sara!"

Myrtle-spray, knight, conquest, all vanished now from Petrea's mind, and with a cry of horror she rushed from Lieutenant Y. into the ball-room at the very moment when Sara was carried out fainting. The violent dancing had produced dizziness; but taken into a cool room, and sprinkled with eau de Cologne and water, she soon recovered, and complained only of horrible headache. This was a common ailment of Sara's, but was quickly removed when a certain remedy was at hand.

"My drops!" prayed Sara, in a faint voice.

"Where? where?" asked Petrea, with a feeling as if she would run to China.

"In the little box in our chamber," said Sara.

Quick as thought sped the kind Petrea across the court to the east wing. She sought through the chamber where[Pg 173] their things were, but the box was not to be found. It must have been left in the carriage. But where was the carriage? It was locked up in the coach-house. And where was the key of the coach-house?

Great was Petrea's fatigue before she obtained this; before she reached the coach-house; and then before, with a lantern in her hand, she had found the missing box. Great also, on the other hand, was her joy, as breathless, but triumphant, she hastened up to Sara with the little bottle of medicine in her hand, and for reward she received the not less agreeable commission of dropping out sixty drops for Sara. Scarcely, however, was the medicine swallowed, when Sara exclaimed with violence:

"You have killed me, Petrea! You have given me poison! It is unquestionably Louise's elixir!"

It was so! The wrong bottle had been brought, and great was the perplexity.

"You do everything so left-handedly, Petrea!" exclaimed Sara, in ill-humour; "you are like the ass in the fable, that would break the head of his friend in driving away a fly!"

These were hard words for poor Petrea, who was just about to run off again in order to redeem her error. This, added to other agitation of mind, brought tears to her eyes, and blood to her head. Her nose began violently to bleed. Louise, excited against Sara by her severity to Petrea, and some little also by her calling her elixir poison, threw upon her a look of great displeasure, and devoted herself to the weeping and bleeding Petrea.

Whether it was the spirit of anger that dispersed Sara's headache, or actually Louise's elixir (Louise was firmly persuaded that it was the latter), we know not; but certain it was that Sara very soon recovered and returned to the company, without saying one consoling word to Petrea.

Petrea was in no condition to appear at the supper-table, and Louise kindly remained with her. Aunt Evelina, Laura, Karin, and even the lady of the War-Councillor herself, brought them delicacies. Amid so much kindness, Petrea could not do otherwise than become again tranquil and lively. She should, she thought, after all, dance the anglaise after[Pg 174] supper with "le plus vaillant," as she called the Lieutenant, who had truly captivated her evidently not steeled heart.

The anglaise had already begun as the sisters entered the ball-room. The Candidate hastened to meet them quite in an uneasy state of mind; he had engaged Louise for this dance, and they now stood up together in the crowd of dancers. Petrea expected, likewise, that "le plus vaillant" would rush up to her and seize her hand; but as she cast a hasty glance around, she perceived him, not rushing towards her, but dancing with Sara, who was looking more beautiful and brilliant than ever. The rose which Petrea had given him—faithless knight!—together with the myrtle-sprig on which she had speculated, were both of them placed in Sara's bosom. The eyes of "le plus vaillaut" were incessantly riveted upon "la plus belle," as Sara was then unanimously declared to be. The glory of the Aftonstjernas paled in the night, as they were too much heated by dancing, but Sara's star burned brighter and brighter. She was introduced to the Countess Solenstråle, who paid her charming compliments, and called her "la reine du bal," at which the Aftonstjernas looked displeased.

"Thousand devils, how handsome she is!" exclaimed the old gentleman who had striven with Petrea about the tea-cup, and who now, without being aware of it, trod upon her foot as he thrust himself before her to get a better view of "la reine du bal."

Overlooked, humiliated, silent, and dejected, Petrea withdrew into another room. The scenes of the evening passed in review before her soul, and appeared now quite in an altered light. The mirror which a few hours before had flattered her with the notion that she might be called la plus belle, now showed her her face red and unsightly; she thought herself the most ridiculous and unfortunate of human beings. She felt at this moment a kind of hostility against herself. She thought on something which she was preparing for Sara, and which was to be an agreeable surprise to her, and which was to be made known to her in a few days—she thought of this, and in that moment of trouble the thought of it, like a sunbeam on dark clouds, brightened the night in her soul. The thought of gratifying one, who on this evening had so[Pg 175] deeply wounded her, gave a mild and beneficial turn to her mind.

After supper, a balcony in the saloon adjoining the ball-room was opened, in order somewhat to cool the heated atmosphere of the room.

Two persons, a lady and gentleman, stepped into the balcony; a light white shawl was thrown over the lady's shoulders; stars garlanded her dark hair; stars flashed in her black eyes, which glanced fiercely around into free space.

There lay over the landscape the deliciously mysterious half-darkness of a May-night, a magical veil which half hides and half reveals its beauty, and which calls forth mysterious forebodings. A mighty and entrancing revelation of the gloriousness of life seemed to sing in the wind, which passed tranquilly murmuring through space, shone in the stars, and wandered high above earth.

"Ah, life! life!" exclaimed she, and stretched forth her arms towards space, as if she would embrace it.

"Enchanting girl!" said he, while he seized her hand, "my life belongs to you!"

"Conduct me forth into free, fresh life," said she, without withdrawing her hand, and looking haughtily at him all the while, "and my hand belongs to you! But remember you this, that I will be free—free as the wind which now kisses your forehead, and lifts those topmost branches of the tree! I love freedom, power, and honour! Conduct me to these, help me to obtain these, and my gratitude will secure to you my love; will fetter me to you with stronger bonds than those of ceremony and prejudice, to which I only submit out of regard to those who otherwise would weep over me, and whom I would not willingly distress more than there is need for. It shall not bind us more than we ourselves wish. Freedom shall be the knitting and the loosening of our bond!"

"Beautiful woman!" answered he, "raised above the hypocrisy of weakness—above the darkness of prejudice—I admire you and obey you! Only to such a woman can my will submit! My beautiful scholar is become my teacher! Well, then, let the hand of the priest unite us; my hand shall conduct you up to that brilliant throne which your beauty and your talents deserve! I will only elevate you in order,[Pg 176] as now, to fall before your feet the most devoted of your servants!"

He dropped upon one knee before her; and she, bending herself towards him, let her lips touch his forehead. He threw his arms round her, and held her for one moment bent towards him. A supercilious, scornful expression, unobserved by her, played upon his lips.

"Release me, Hermann! some one comes," said she; he did so, and as she raised her proud neck against his will, a dark flash of indignation burned in her eyes.

They withdrew, and another couple stepped out into the balcony.

He. Wait, let me wrap my cloak better round you; the wind is cool.

She. Ah, how beautiful to feel how it wraps us both! Do you see how we are here standing between heaven and earth, separated from all the world?

He. I do not see it—I see my lovely world in my arms! I have you, Laura! Laura, tell me, are you happy?

She. Ah, no!

He. How?

She. Ah, I am not happy because I am too happy! I fancy I never can have deserved this happiness. I cannot conceive how it came to my share. Ah, Arvid! to live thus with you, with my mother, my sister, all that I most love—and then to be yours ever, ever!

He. Say eternally, my Laura! Our union belongs as much to heaven as to earth, here as there; to all eternity I am yours, and you are mine!

She. Hush, my Arvid! I hear my mother's voice—she calls me. Let us go to her.

They returned into the room, and presently another couple stepped on the balcony.

He. Cousin Louise, do you like evening air? Cousin Louise, I fancy, is rather romantic. Cousin, do you like the stars? I am a great friend of the stars too; I think on what the poet sings:

——silently as Egypt's priests
They move.

Look, Cousin Louise, towards the corner, in the west there lies Oestanvik. If it would give you any pleasure to make a[Pg 177] little tour there, I would beg that I might drive you there in my new landau. I really think, Cousin Louise, that Oestanvik would please you: the peaches and the vines are just now in full bloom; it is a beautiful sight.

A deep sigh is heard.

She. Who sighs so?

A Voice. Somebody who is poor, and who now, for the first time, envies the rich.

He. Oh rich! rich! God forbid! rich I am not exactly. One has one's competency, thank God! One has wherewith to live. I can honestly maintain myself and a family. I sow two hundred bushels of wheat; and what do you think, Cousin Louise—but where is Cousin Louise?

A Voice. It seemed to her, no doubt, as if a cold wind came over here from Oestanvik.

At the moment when the gentlemen returned to the room, a girl came into the balcony. She was alone. The misfortunes of the evening depressed her heart, and were felt to be so much more humiliating because they were of such a mean kind. Some burning tears stole quickly and silently over her cheeks. The evening wind kissed them gently away. She looked up to heaven; never had it seemed to her so high and glorious. Her soul raised itself, mounted even higher than her glance, up to the mighty friend of human hearts; and He gave to hers a presentiment that a time would come, when, in his love, she would be reconciled to and forget all adversities of earth.

The days at Axelholm wore on merrily amid ever-varying delights. Petrea wrote long letters, in prose and in verse, to her sisters at home, and imparted to them all that occurred here. Her own misfortunes, which she even exaggerated, she described in such a comic manner that those very things which were at first distressing to her, were made a spring of hearty merriment both to herself and to her family.

She received one day a letter from her father, which contained the following words:

"My good Child,

"Your letters, my dear child, give me and your sisters great pleasure; not merely on account of the lively things[Pg 178] which they contain, but more especially on account of your way of bearing that which is anything but lively. Continue to do thus, my child, and you—my heart rejoices in the thought—will advance on the way to wisdom and happiness, and you will have joyfully to acknowledge the blessed truth which the history of great things, as well as of small, establishes, that there is nothing evil which may not be made conducive to good; and thus our own errors may be made steps on our way to improvement.

"Greet your sisters cordially from their and your tenderly devoted


Petrea kissed these lines with tears of grateful joy. She wore them for several days near her heart; she preserved them through her whole life as one of the endeared means by which she had gone happily through the chromatic scale of existence.

Louise was joked much about Cousin Thure; Cousin Thure was joked much about Louise; it pleased him very much to be joked about her, to be told that Oestanvik wanted a mistress, that he himself wanted a pretty wife, and that without doubt Louise Frank was one of the most sensible as well as one of the prettiest girls in the country; and more than this, was besides of such a respectable family! The Landed-proprietor received already felicitations on his betrothal.

What the bride-elect, however, thought on the matter was more difficult to fathom. She was certainly always polite to Cousin Thure; still this politeness seemed expressive rather of indifference than friendship; and she declined, with a decision amazing to many people, his pressing and often repeated solicitations to make an excursion to Oestanvik in his new landau, drawn by what he styled "his foxes—his four horses in one rein." Many people asserted that the agreeable and cordial Jacobi was much nearer to Louise's heart than the rich Landed-proprietor! but even towards Jacobi her conduct was so equal, so tranquil, so unconstrained, that nobody could exactly tell how it might be. Nobody knew so well as we do, that Louise considered it consistent with the dignity of woman to show only perfect indifference to the attentions or doux-propos of men, until they had been openly[Pg 179] and fully declared. Louise despised coquetry so far as to dread anything which bordered on the very limits of it. Her young female friends joked with her upon her strict notions on this head, and fancied that she would remain unmarried.

"That may be," said Louise, calmly.

They told her one day of a gentleman who said "I will not stand up before any girl who is not some little of a coquette."

"Then he may remain sitting," answered Louise, with much dignity.

Louise's views of the dignity of woman, her grave and decided principles, and her manner of expressing them, amused her young friends, whilst at the same time they inspired for her a true esteem, and gave occasion for many little contentions and discussions, in which Louise intrepidly, though not without some little warmth, maintained the rights of the cause. These contentions, however, which began in merriment, did not always terminate so.

A young and rather coquettish lady was one day wounded by the severity with which Louise spoke of the coquetry of her sex, and particularly of married ladies, and in revenge she used an expression which excited Louise's astonishment and anger. An explanation followed between the two, the result of which was not only their perfect estrangement, but an altered state of mind in Louise which she in vain endeavoured to conceal.

During the first days of her stay at Axelholm she had been uncommonly joyous and lively; now she was quiet, thoughtful, often absent, and towards the Candidate, as it seemed, less friendly than formerly, whilst she lent a more willing ear to the Landed-proprietor, although she still resolutely withstood his proposal of a drive to Oestanvik.

On the evening of the day after this explanation, Elise was engaged in a lively conversation with Jacobi on the balcony.

"And if," said he, "I endeavour to win her heart, would her parents—would her mother see it without displeasure? Ah, speak candidly with me; the well-being of my life depends upon it."

"You have my accordance, my good wishes, Jacobi," returned Elise. "I say to you what I have already said to my husband, that I should willingly call you son."[Pg 180]

"Oh!" exclaimed Jacobi, deeply moved, and falling on one knee, whilst he pressed her hand to his lips—"oh that my whole life might evidence to you my gratitude and my love—!"

At this very moment, Louise, who had been seeking her mother, approached the balcony; she saw Jacobi's action, and heard his words: she withdrew quickly, as if she had been stung by a snake.

From this time a great change was more and more perceptible in her. Still, reserved, and very pale, she moved about like one in a dream, amid the lively circles of Axelholm, and agreed willingly to the proposition which her mother, who was uneasy on her account, made of their stay being shortened. Jacobi, as much astonished as distressed by the sudden unfriendliness of Louise towards him, began to think that the place must in some kind of way be bewitched, and desired more than anybody else to get away from it.


[10] A mile Swedish is equal to six English miles.

[11] Merry, in Swedish.



What was it that Jacobi and Henrik had so much to arrange together before their departure from Axelholm, and even whilst they were there? Petrea's curiosity was terribly excited, but she could not come at any clue by which to satisfy it. Some kind of plot which concerned the family, seemed to be in agitation.

Henrik and his friend had long intended to give a little entertainment to the family, and the opportunity to do so now seemed favourable, as well as also to combine it with an agreeable surprise; the scene of which should be a pretty and good Inn, half way between Axelholm and the city. Here, on their return, they would halt under pretence of some repair being necessary to one of the carriages, and the ladies should be persuaded to enter the house, where, in the mean time, all should be prepared.

The two friends had greatly delighted themselves over this scheme, and in order to obtain for Louise her favourite luxury of ices, Jacobi had drained his already reduced purse.

In going to Axelholm the family had so divided themselves[Pg 181] that Louise with Petrea went in what is called a Medewi-carriage, the Judge's own equipage, which was driven by Jacobi, with whom Henrik sate on the driving-box, whilst the mother and the other daughters went in a covered hired carriage, driven by the Judge himself. On the return, the same arrangement was to be observed, with the difference of Jacobi driving the large carriage, and Henrik driving his sisters.

The mother, and even the young gentlemen, declared with becoming discretion that they would not confide the reins to less skilful hands, because the road was rough and hilly, and moreover bad from rain. Notwithstanding all this, however, Jacobi intrigued so that, contrary to the established arrangement, he mounted the coach-box of the young ladies, and Henrik that of his mother. But the Candidate had not much pleasure from so doing, since "the object" was no longer such as she was during the drive thither. At that time she was more cheerful than common; rejoiced so heartily over the spring air, over the song of the lark; over fields, and cows, and cottages, and over everything that she saw, communicating all her delight to Jacobi, who sate all the way on the driving-box with his face turned towards the carriage (Henrik solemnly advised him to fix himself in this reversed position), and their blue eyes then rested on each other with a spring of pure devotion. Now, everything was otherwise: "the object" appeared to give attention to nothing. She leaned back in the carriage with her veil over her face, and a cathedral is far more conversable than she; for it speaks through the tongue in its tower, but Louise's tongue was perfectly dumb, and Petrea's, which once never ceased, enlivened her not. In vain Jacobi sought to catch Louise's eye. She avoided him, and he was quite cast down.

After having been many times most properly jogged and shaken, they arrived fortunately at the wayside inn; yet no! not so fortunately either, one of the carriage-wheels was discovered to be somewhat broken: it was not dangerously so, oh no, heaven forbid that! but it must of necessity be mended before they could proceed further. Henrik prayed his mother and sisters while this was doing to alight and enter the inn, the host and hostess of which now stood at the door, and with bows and curtseys besought the travellers to enter.[Pg 182] The host came himself and opened the carriage-doors. Elise was startled, and uttered an exclamation of surprise;—the host really and truly must be her husband; and the hostess, the very prettiest hostess in the world, was bodily her daughter Eva! The travelling daughters, too, were as much astonished, made all kinds of exclamations, and recognised in host and hostess father and sister. But neither host nor hostess were confounded, nor allowed themselves to be confused by the confusion of the travellers; they knew themselves too well who they were, and knew, too, how to conduct themselves in their office. They led their guests, with many apologies and politenesses, up to two large and handsome rooms, and here the host, quite in despair, began to bustle about, and to summon both maid and waiter. At last the waiter came in his blue apron. A new miracle! He was a living image of the Candidate! And now came the maid. A new amazement! A handsomer person, or one that more nearly resembled Henrik it would have been impossible to find! But she went about clumsily, and had nearly fallen down, stumbling first with this, and then with that. The host scolded her vehemently on account of her clumsiness, and scolded the waiter also till he made them both cry, at least so it seemed; whereupon he chased them both out with the order to return instantly with refreshments. The host, now again in brilliant, excellent, polite humour, let fly with his own hand the corks of two champagne bottles, poured out, and drank with the ladies. After they had refreshed themselves with all kinds of delicious eating, amid the most lively conversation, some person, who called himself Noah's grandson, was announced, requesting permission to exhibit to the company various strange animals and other beautiful curiosities, which had been found in the ark. The grandson of Noah was called in by a great majority of voices, and a face presented itself at the door which, with the exception of a certain grey beard, bore a great resemblance to Jeremias Munter. His menagerie, and his cabinet of art, were set out in another room, into which the company were conducted; and there many strangely-formed creatures were exhibited, and little scenes represented, to which Noah's grandson gave explanations and made speeches which were almost as humorous and witty (to be quite so was impossible) as those of[Pg 183] Japhet, in that wonderful and exquisite book, "Noah's Ark."[12] Two other grandsons of Noah, who bore no resemblance to any acquaintance of the family, assisted at this exhibition, at the end of which Noah's learned grandson gave to each of the spectators a little souvenir from the contents of the ark, and that with so much tact, that every one received precisely the thing which gave him pleasure. Louise, moreover, received a remarkable sermon, which was preached by Father Noah himself on the first Sunday of his abode in the ark. But near the title-page of this same sermon she found a piece of poetry which evidently bore a later date. Louise did not, however, read it then, but blushing very deeply, put it carefully by.

The whole affair might have been as merry as it was droll, had not Louise—herself the most important person in the entertainment—been in no state of mind to enjoy it. But although she used her utmost endeavour to take part in all the diversion, and to appear cheerful, she became every moment more depressed; and when at last the ices came, and the waiter, with the utmost cordiality beaming from his eyes, urged her to take a vanilla-ice, she was only just able to taste it, upon which she set it down, rushed out of the room, and burst into a convulsive fit of weeping. This was a thing so unusual with Louise, that it occasioned a general perplexity. Host, hostess, maid, waiter, Noah's grandson, all threw off their characters; and all illusion, as well as all reality of festivity, were at an end. It is true that Louise composed herself speedily, besought pardon, and assigned as the cause of her emotion sudden spasm in the chest. Elise and Eva, and more particularly Petrea, endeavoured, on account of Henrik and Jacobi, to jest back again the former merriment, but it would not come, and nothing more could succeed. Everybody, but more especially Jacobi, were out of tune, and they now began to speak of returning home.

But now all at once the heavy trampling of horses, and a bustle at the inn door was heard, and at the same moment a splendid landau, drawn by four prancing bays, drew up before it. It was the Landed-proprietor, who, unacquainted with[Pg 184] returning there after a short absence, and who had drawn up at this inn for a moment's breathing-time for his horses, and to order for himself a glass of the beer for which the place was renowned. The company which he here so unexpectedly encountered occasioned an alteration in his first plan. He determined to accompany the family to the city, and besought his aunt and cousins to make use of his landau. It would certainly please them so much; it went with such unexampled ease; was so comfortable that one could sleep therein with perfect convenience even on the heaviest roads, etc., etc. Elise, who really had suffered from the merciless shaking of the hired carriage, was inclined to accept the offer; and as it immediately began to rain, and as the Judge preferred the carriage to the chaise in which he had driven with Eva, the affair was quickly arranged. Elise and some of the daughters were to go in the landau, which was turned in the mean time into a coach; and the Judge and the rest of the company were to divide themselves among the other carriages. As these were ready to receive the company, Jacobi drove his Medewi-carriage close on the landau of the Landed-proprietor, who looked more than once with a dark countenance to see whether any profane or injurious contact had taken place between the great and the little carriage.

Jacobi's heart beat violently as Louise came out on the steps of the inn door. The Landed-proprietor stood on one side offering her his hand, and Jacobi on the other offering his also, to conduct her to her former seat. She appeared faint, and moved slowly. She hesitated for one moment, and then gave, with downcast eyes, her hand to the Landed-proprietor, who assisted her triumphantly into the carriage to her mother, and mounting the box himself, away the next moment dashed the landau with its four prancing bays. Jacobi laid his hand on his heart, a choking sensation seemed to deprive him of breath, and with tears in his eyes he watched the handsome departing carriage. He was roused out of his painful observations by the voice of Petrea, who jestingly announced to him that the enviable happiness awaited him of driving herself and the Assessor in the Medewi-carriage. He took his former seat in silence; his heart was full of disquiet; and intentionally he remained far behind the others, in order that he might not have the least glimpse of the landau.[Pg 185]

Scarcely had the Medewi-carriage again made acquaintance with the ruts of the road, than a violent shock brought off one of the fore wheels, and the Candidate, Petrea, and the Assessor, were tumbled one over the other into the mud. Quickly, however, they were all three once again on their feet; Petrea laughing, and the Assessor scolding and fuming. When Jacobi had discovered that all which had life was unhurt, he looked lightly on the affair, and began to think how best it might be remedied. A short council was held in the rain, and it was concluded that Jacobi should remain with the carriage till some one came to his assistance, and that in the mean time Petrea and the Assessor should make the best of their way on foot towards the city, and send, as soon as possible, some people to his help. A labourer, who came by immediately afterwards, promised to do the same, and Petrea and Assessor Munter, who, however, was anything but consistent with his name, began their walk through rain and mud. All this while, however, Petrea became more joyful and happy: firstly, all this was an adventure for her; secondly, she never before had been out in such weather; thirdly, she felt herself so light and unencumbered as she scarcely ever had done before; and because she looked upon her clothes as given up to fate—to a power against which none other on earth could contend, she walked on in joy of heart, splashing through the puddles, and feeling with great delight how the rain penetrated her dress, and seeing how the colour was washed away both from shawl and bonnet. She held her nose high in the air, in order to enjoy the glorious rain.

Petrea had in all this a resemblance to her brother, and flattered herself also that she might have some resemblance to Diogenes; and as her inclination lay towards extremes, she would very willingly be Diogenes, since she could not, as she very well knew, be Alexander. Now she perceived that in reality she needed very little of outward comforts to make her happy; she felt herself in her adverse circumstances so free and rich; she had become on thee-and-thou terms with the rain-drops, with the wind, with the shrubs and grass, with all nature in short; she had not here the mishaps and the humiliations to fear which annoyed her so often in company. If the magpies laughed at her, she laughed at them in return. Long life to freedom![Pg 186]

With all these feelings, Petrea got into such excessively high spirits, that she infected therewith her companions in misfortune; or, according to her vocabulary, good fortune. But now, however, came on a horrible tempest, with hail, whose great stones made themselves thou to such a degree with Petrea's nose as astonished and almost offended her. The Assessor looked out for shelter; and Petrea, quite charmed that she was nearly blown away, followed him along a narrow footpath that led into the wood, onward in the direction of a smoke, which, driven towards them by the storm, seemed to announce that a hospitable hut was at hand where they might obtain shelter from the tempest. Whilst they were wandering about to discover this, Petrea's fancy, more unrestrained than the storm, busied itself with unbounded creations of robbers' castles, wise hermits, hidden treasures, and other splendours, to which the smoke was to conduct her. But ah! they were altogether built up of smoke, since it arose from no other than a charcoal-burner's kiln, and Petrea had not the smallest desire to make a nearer acquaintance with the hidden divinity of which this smoke was the evidence. The small hut of the charcoal-burner, in the form of a sugar-loaf, stood not far from the kiln, the unbolted door of which was opened by the Assessor. No hermit, nor even robber, had his abode therein; the hut was empty, but clean and compact, and it was with no little pleasure that the Assessor took possession of it, and seated himself with Petrea on the only bench which it possessed. Petrea sighed. What a miserable metamorphosis of her glorious castle in the air!

The prospect which the open door of the hut presented, and which had no interest for Petrea, appeared, on the contrary, captivating to her companion. He was there deep in the wood, in a solitude wild, but still of an elevating character. The hut stood in an open space, but round about it various species of pine-trees stood boldly grouped, and bowed themselves not before the storm which howled in their tops. Several lay fallen on the ground, but evidently from age; grass and flowers grew on the earth, which these patriarchs of the wood had torn up with their powerful roots. Among others, two tall pine-trees stood together: the one was decayed, and seemed about to separate itself from its root; but the other, young, green, and strong, had so entwined it[Pg 187] in its branches, that it stood upright, mingling its withered arms with the verdure of the other, and yielding not, although shook by the tempest. The expressive glance of the Assessor rested long on these trees; his eyes filled with tears; his peculiar, beautiful, but melancholy smile played about his lips, and kindly sentiments seemed to fill his breast. He spoke to Petrea of a people of antiquity who dwelt in deserts; he spoke of the pure condition of the Essenes, a morning dawn of Christendom, and his words ran thus:

"A thirst after holiness drove men and women out of the tumult of the world, out of great cities, into desert places, in order that they might dedicate themselves to a pure and perfect life. There they built for themselves huts, and formed a state, whose law was labour and devotion to God. No earthly possession was enjoyed merely on account of pleasure, but only as the means of a higher life. They strove after purity in soul and body; tranquillity and seriousness characterised their demeanour. They assembled together at sunrise, and lifted up hymns and prayers to the Supreme Being. Seventeen hours of each day were devoted to labour, study, and contemplation. Their wants were few, and therefore life was easy. Their discourse was elevated, and was occupied by subjects of the sublime learning which belonged to their sect. They believed on one Eternal God, whose existence was light and purity. They sought to approach him by purity of heart and action, by renunciation of the pleasures of the world, and by humility of heart and mind to understand the works of the allwise Creator. They believed in quiet abodes on the other side of the desert pilgrimage, where clear waters ran and soft winds blew, where spring and peace had their home; there they hoped to arrive at the end of their journey through life."

There is no want of rays of light on earth; they penetrate its misty atmosphere in manifold directions, although human perception is not as much aware of them at one time as at another. The words of the Assessor made at this moment an indescribable impression on Petrea. She wept from the sweet emotion excited by the description of a condition which was so perfect, and of endeavours which were so holy. It appeared to her as if she knew her own vocation, her own path through life; one which would release her soul from all[Pg 188] trifles, all vanities, all disquiets, and which would speed her on to light and peace. Whilst these thoughts, or rather sentiments, swelled in her breast, she looked through her tears on her companion, as he sate there with his expressive countenance and his large beautiful eyes fixed on the scene before him, and she saw in him, not Jeremias Munter, but a wise hermit, with a soul full of sublime and holy knowledge. She longed to throw herself at his feet, and beseech his blessing; to propose to him that he should remain in this solitude, in this hut, with her; that he should teach her wisdom; and she would wait upon him as a daughter, or as a servant, would rise with him and pray at sunrise, and do in all things like the Essenes. Thus would they die to the world, and live only for heaven.

Overpowered by her excited feelings, surrendered to the transports of the moment, and nearly choked with tears, Petrea sank on the breast of Jeremias, stammering forth her undefined wishes.

If a millstone had fallen round his neck, our good Assessor could not have been more confounded than he was at that moment. Deeply sunk in his own thoughts, he had quite forgotten that Petrea was there, till reminded of her presence in this unexpected manner. But he was a man, nevertheless, who could easily understand the excitement of mind in a young girl, and with a pure fervour of eye, whilst a good-humoured satire played about his mouth, he endeavoured to tranquillise her over-wrought feelings. Beautiful, then, was the discourse he held with her on all that which calms and sanctifies life; on all that on which man may found his abode whether in the desert or in the human crowd. He spoke words then which Petrea never forgot, and which often, in a future day, broke the chaotic state of her soul like beams of pure light.

In the mean time the tempest had dispersed itself, and the Assessor began to think of a return; for Petrea thought nothing about it, but would willingly have seen herself compelled to pass the night in the gloomy wood. But now the thought of relating her adventures at home attracted her, and before she got out of the wood these adventures were increased, since fate presented her with the good fortune of assisting, with the help of her companion, an old woman, who[Pg 189] had fallen with her bundle of sticks, upon her legs again, and of carrying the said bundle to her cottage, and of lighting her fire for her; with releasing two sparrows which a boy had made captive; and, last of all, with releasing the Assessor himself from a thorn-bush, which, as it appeared, would have held him with such force as vexed even himself. Petrea's hands bled in consequence of this operation, but that only made her the livelier.

When they came out of the wood, the rain had ceased altogether, the wind had abated, and the setting sun illumined the heavens, and diffused over the landscape a peculiar and beautiful radiance. The countenance of Jeremias Munter was cheerful; he listened to the ascending song of the lark, and said, "That is beautiful!" He looked upon the rain-drops which hung on the young grass, and saw how heaven reflected itself in them, and smiled, and said, "That is pure indeed!" Petrea gave to little children that she met with all her savings from the feast at Axelholm, and would willingly also have given them some of her clothes, had she not had the fear of Louise and her mother before her eyes. She wished in her bravery for more adventures, and more particularly for a longer way than it at this time appeared to be; she thought she arrived at home too soon; but the Assessor thought not, neither did the rest of the party, who were beginning to be very uneasy on account of their long absence. In the mean time Petrea and her companion had become very good friends on the walk; Petrea was complimented for her courage, and Henrik pathetically declaimed in her praise—

Not every one such height as Xenophon can gain,
As scholar and as hero, a laurel-wreath obtain;

and they laughed.


[12] half-dramatic poem, remarkable for its wit and humour, from the pen of the Swedish poet Fahlcrantz.



"From home may be good, but at home is best!" said Elise from the bottom of her heart, as she was once more in her own house, and beside her own husband.

The young people said nothing in opposition to this sentiment as they returned to their comfortable every-day life,[Pg 190] which they now enlivened with recollections and relations out of the lately-past time. They hoped that Louise would become pleasant and contented with her calm activity in the house and family as formerly, but it was not so; a gnawing pain seemed to consume her; she became perceptibly thinner; her good humour had vanished, and her eyes were often red with weeping. In vain her parents and sisters endeavoured, with the tenderest anxiety, to fathom the occasion of the change; she would confess it to no one. That the root of her grief lay at her heart she would not deny, but she appeared determined to conceal it from the eye of day. Jacobi also began to look pale and thin, since he lamented deeply her state of feeling, and her altered behaviour, especially towards himself, which led him to the belief that he unconsciously had wounded her, or in some other way that he was the cause of her displeasure; and never had he felt more than now what a high value he set upon her, nor how much he loved her. This tension of mind, and his anxiety to approach Louise, and bring back a friendly understanding between them, occasioned various little scenes, which we will here describe.


Louise sits by the window at her embroidery-frame: Jacobi seats himself opposite to her.

Jacobi (sighing). Ah, Mamselle Louise!

Louise looks at her shepherdess, and works on in silence.

Jacobi. Everything in the world has appeared to me for some time wearisome and oppressive.

Louise works on, and is silent.

Jacobi. And you could so easily make all so different. Ah, Louise! only one kind word, one friendly glance!—Cannot you bestow one friendly glance on him who would gladly give everything to see you happy? [Aside. She blushes—she seems moved—she is going to speak! Ah, what will she say to me!]

Louise. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten stitches to the nose—the pattern is here not very distinct.

Jacobi. You will not hear me, will not understand me; you play with my distress! Ah, Louise![Pg 191]

Louise. I want some more wool;—I have left it in my room. [She goes.]


The family is assembled in the library; tea is just finished. Louise, at Petrea's and Gabriele's urgent request, has laid out the cards on a little table to tell them their fortunes. The Candidate seats himself near them, and appears determined to amuse himself with them, and to be lively; but "the object" assumes all the more her "cathedral air." The Landed-proprietor steps in, bows, snorts, and kisses the hand of the "gracious aunt."

Landed-proprietor. Very cold this evening; I fancy we shall have frost.

Elise. It is a gloomy spring. We have lately read a most affecting account of the famine in the northern provinces. It is the misfortune of these late springs.

Landed-proprietor. Oh, yes, the famine up there. No, we'll talk of something else—that's too gloomy. I've had my peas covered with straw. Cousin Louise, are you fond of playing Patience? I am very fond of it too; it is so composing. At my seat at Oestanvik I have little, little patience-cards. I fancy really that they would please my cousin.

The Landed-proprietor seats himself on the other side of Louise: the Candidate gives some extraordinary shrugs.

Louise. This is not patience, but a little witchcraft, by which I read Fate. Shall I prophesy to you, Cousin Thure?

Landed-proprietor. Oh, yes! prophesy something to me. Nothing disagreeable! If I hear anything disagreeable in an evening, I always have bad dreams at night. Prophesy me prettily—a little wife—a wife as lovely and as amiable as Cousin Louise.

The Candidate (with a look as if he would send the Landed-proprietor head-over-heels to Oestanvik). I don't know whether Mamselle Louise likes flattery.

Landed-proprietor (who seems as if he neither heard nor saw his rival). Cousin Louise, are you fond of blue?

Louise. Blue? That is truly a lovely colour; but yet I prefer green.

Landed-proprietor.. Nay, that is good! that is excellent![Pg 192] At Oestanvik my dressing-room furniture is blue, beautiful light blue silk damask; but in my sleeping-room I have green moreen. I fancy really, Cousin Louise, that——

The Candidate coughs, and then rushes out of the room. Louise looks after him, sighs, and then examines the cards, in which she finds so many misfortunes for Cousin Thure that he is quite terrified: the peas frosted, conflagration in the dressing-room, and last of all a rejection! The Landed-proprietor declares, notwithstanding, that he finds nothing of this unpleasant. The sisters smile, and make remarks.


The family assembled after supper:

The Assessor puts the question—What is the bitterest affliction?

Jacobi. Unreturned love.

Petrea. Not to know what one shall be.

Eva. To have offended some one that one loves beyond reconciliation.

The Mother. I am of Eva's opinion; I think nothing can be more painful.

Louise. Ah! there is yet something more painful than that—something more bitter—and that is to lose one's faith in those whom one has loved; to doubt—(Louise's lip trembles, she can say no more, becomes pale, rises, and goes out quickly; a general sensation ensues).

The Father. What is amiss with Louise? Elise, we must know what it is! She should, she must tell us! I cannot bear any longer to see her thus; and I will go this moment and speak with her, if you will not rather do it. But you must not be satisfied till you know her very inmost feelings. The most horrible thing, I think, is mystery and vapours!

The Mother. I will go directly to her. I have now an idea what it is, dearest Ernst; and if I am somewhat long with her, let the others go to bed; I shall then find you alone. [She goes out.]


The Mother and Daughter.

The daughter on her knees, her face buried in her hands;[Pg 193] the mother goes softly up to her and throws her arms around her.

Mother. Louise, my good girl, what is amiss with you? I have never seen you thus before. You must tell me what is at your heart—you must!

Louise. I cannot! I ought not!

Mother. You can! you ought! Will you make me, will you make all of us wretched by going on in this way? Ah, Louise, do not let false shame, or false tenderness mislead you. Tell me, do you break any oath, or violate any sacred duty, by confessing what it is which depresses you?

Louise. No oath; no sacred duty—and yet——yet——

Mother. Then speak, in heaven's name, my child! Unquestionably some unfounded suspicion is the cause of your present state. What do the words mean with which you left us this evening? You weep! Louise, I pray, I beseech of you, if you love me, conceal nothing from me! Who is it that you love, yet can no more have faith in—no longer highly esteem? Answer me—is it your mother?

Louise. My mother! my mother! Ah, while you look on me thus I feel a pain, and yet a confidence! Ah, my God! all may be an error—a miserable slander, and I——Well then, it shall out—that secret which has gnawed my heart, and which I conceived it my duty to conceal! But forgive me, my mother, if I grieve you; forgive me if my words disturb your peace; forgive me, if in my weakness, if in my doubt I have done you injustice, and remove the grief which has poisoned my life! Ah, do you see, mother, it was mine, it was my sisters' happiness, to consider you so spotless—so angelically pure! It was my pride that you were so, and that you were my mother! And now——

Mother. And now, Louise?

Louise. And now it has been whispered to me——Oh, I cannot speak the words!

Mother. Speak them—I demand it! I desire it from you! We both stand before the Judgment-seat of God!

Louise. I have been led to believe that even my mother was not blameless—that she——

Mother. Go on, Louise!

Louise. That she and Jacobi loved one another—that evil tongues had not blamed them without cause, and that[Pg 194] still—I despised these words, I despised the person who spoke them! I endeavoured to chase these thoughts as criminal from my soul. On this account it happened that I went one day to find you—and I found Jacobi on his knee before you—I heard him speaking of his love. Now you know all, my mother!

Mother. And what is your belief in all this?

Louise. Ah, I know not what I ought to believe! But since that moment there has been no peace in my soul, and I have fancied that it never would return—that I should never lose the doubt which I could make known to no one.

Mother. Let peace return to your soul, my child! Good God! how unfortunate I should be at this moment if my conscience were not pure! But, thank heaven, my child, your mother has no such fault to reproach herself with; and Jacobi deserves your utmost esteem, your utmost regard. I will entirely and freely confess to you the entire truth of that which has made you so uneasy. For one moment, when Jacobi first came to us, a warmer sentiment towards me awoke in his young, thoughtless heart, and in part it was returned by me. But you will not condemn me on account of an involuntary feeling which your father looked on with pardoning eyes. In a blessed hour we opened to each other our hearts, and it was his love, his strength and gentleness, which gave me power to overcome my weakness. Jacobi, at the same moment, woke to a consciousness of his error, struggled against it, and overcame it. We separated soon after, and it was our mutual wish not to meet again for several years. In the mean time Henrik was committed to his care, and Jacobi has been for him an exemplary friend and instructor. Three years later, when I again met him, I extended my hand to him as a sister; and he——yes, my dear girl! and I err greatly if he did not then begin in his heart to love me as a mother. But that which then had its beginning, has since then had its completion—it was in the character of a son that you saw him kneel to me; thanking me that I would favour his love to my daughter—to my Louise, who, therefore, has so unnecessarily conjured up a spectre to terrify herself and us all.

In the latter part of this conversation the mother spoke in a quiet jesting tone, which, perhaps, did more even than her[Pg 195] simple explanation to reassure the heart of her daughter. She pressed her hands on her heart, and looked thankfully up to heaven.

"And if," continued her mother, "you yet entertain any doubt, talk with your father, talk with Jacobi, and their words will strengthen mine. But I see you need it not—your heart, my child, is again at peace!"

"Ah, thank God! thank God!" exclaimed Louise, sinking on her knees before her mother, and covering her hands and even her dress with kisses. "Oh, that I dared look up again to you, my mother! Oh, can you forgive my being so weak: my being so easy of belief? Never, never shall I forgive myself!"

Louise was out of herself, her whole frame trembled violently; she had never before been in a state of such agitation. Her mother was obliged to apply remedies both for mind and body, tender words and soothing drops—to tranquillise her excited state. She besought her therefore to go to rest, seated herself beside her bed, took her hands in hers, and then attempted to divert her mind from the past scene, endeavouring with the utmost delicacy to turn her mind on the Candidate and on the Landed-proprietor as lovers. But Louise had only one thought, one sentiment—the happy release from her doubt, and thankfulness for it. When her mother saw that she was calmer, she embraced her, "And now go to sleep, my dear girl," said she; "I must now leave you, in order to hasten to one who waits impatiently for me, and that is your father. He has been extremely uneasy on your account, and I can now make him easy by candidly communicating all that has passed between us. For the rest I can assure you that you have said nothing that can make us uneasy. That I was calumniated by one person, and am so still, he knows as well as I do. He has assisted me to bear it calmly, he is truly so superior, so excellent! Ah, Louise, it is a great blessing when husband and wife, parents and children, cherish an entire confidence in each other! It is so beautiful, so glorious, to be able to say everything to each other in love!"


The garden. It is morning! the larks sing, the jonquils[Pg 196] fill the air with odour; the bird's cherry-tree waves in the morning breeze; the cherry blossoms open themselves to the bees which hum about in their bosom. The sun shines on all its children.

Louise is walking in the middle alley, Father Noah's sermon in her hand, but with her eyes fixed on the little poem appended to it, which by no means had anything to do with Father Noah. The Candidate comes towards her from a cross walk, with a gloomy air, and with a black pansy in his hand.

The two meet, and salute each other silently.

Jacobi. Might I speak one moment with you? I will not detain you long.

Louise bows her head, is silent, and blushes.

Jacobi. In an hour's time I shall take my departure, but I must beseech of you to answer me one question before I say farewell to you!

Louise. You going! Where? Why?

Jacobi. Where, is indifferent to me, so that I leave this place; why, because I cannot bear the unkindness of one person who is dear to me, and who, I once thought, cherished a friendship for me! For fourteen days you have behaved in such a way to me as has embittered my life; and why? Have I been so unfortunate as to offend you, or to excite your displeasure? Why then delay explaining the cause to me? Is it right to sentence any one unheard, and that one a friend—a friend from childhood? Is it right—pardon me, Louise—is it Christian, to be so severe, so immovable? In the sermons which you are so fond of rending, do you find nothing said of kindness and reconciliation!

Jacobi spoke with a fervour, and with such an almost severe seriousness, as was quite foreign to his gentle and cheerful spirit.

"I have done wrong," replied Louise, with a deep emotion, "very wrong, but I have been misled; at some future time, perhaps, I may tell you how. Since last evening, I know how deceived I have been, how I have deceived myself; and now God be thanked and praised, I know that nobody is to blame in this affair but myself. I have much, very much, to reproach myself with, on account of my reserve towards my own family, and towards you also. Forgive me, best Jacobi," continued she, offering her hand with almost humility;[Pg 197] "forgive me, I have been very unkind to you; but believe me," added she, "neither have I been happy either!"

"Thanks! thanks, Louise!" exclaimed Jacobi, grasping her hand, and pressing it to his breast and to his lips; "oh, how happy this kindness makes me! Now I can breathe again! Now I can leave you with a cheerful heart!"

"But why will you leave us?" asked she, in a half-discontented tone.

"Because," answered Jacobi, "it would not give me pleasure to witness a betrothal which will soon be celebrated; because, from your late behaviour, I must be convinced you cannot entertain any warmer sentiments towards me."

"If that were the case," replied she, in the same tone as before, "I should not have been depressed so long."

"How!" exclaimed Jacobi, joyfully. "Ah, Louise, what words! what bold hopes may they not excite! Might I mention them to you? might I venture to say to you what I some time have thought, and still now think?"

Louise was silent, and Jacobi continued:

"I have thought," said he, "that the humble, unprovided-for Jacobi could offer you a better fortune than your rich neighbour of Oestanvik. I have hoped that my love, the true dedication of my whole life, might make you happy; that a smaller portion of worldly wealth might satisfy you, if it were offered you by a man who know deeply your worth, and who desired nothing better than to be ennobled by your hand. Oh, if this beloved hand would guide me through life, how bright, how peaceful would not life be! I should fear neither adversity nor temptation! and how should I not endeavour to be grateful to Providence for his goodness to me! Ah, Louise! it is thus that I have thought, and fancied, and dreamed! Oh, tell me, was it only a dream, or may not the dream become a reality?"

Louise did not withdraw the hand which he had taken, but looked upon the speaker with infinite kindness.

"One word," besought Jacobi, "only one word! Might I say my Louise? Louise—mine?"

"Speak with my parents," said Louise, deeply blushing, and turning aside her head.

"My Louise!" exclaimed Jacobi, and, intoxicated with tenderness and joy, pressed her to his heart.[Pg 198]

"Think of my parents," said Louise, gently pushing him back; "without their consent I will make no promise. Their answer shall decide me."

"We will hasten together, my Louise," said he, "and desire their blessing."

"Go alone, dear Jacobi," said Louise. "I do not feel myself calm enough, nor strong enough. I will wait your return here."

With this fifth scene we conjecture that the little drama has arrived at the desired conclusion, and therefore we add no further scene to that which naturally follows.

As the Candidate hastened with lover's speed to Louise's parents he struck hard against somebody in the doorway, who was coming out. The two opponents stepped back each a few paces, and the Candidate and the Landed-proprietor stared in astonishment on each other.

"Pardon me," said the Candidate, and was advancing; but the Landed-proprietor held him back, whilst he inquired with great earnestness, and with a self-satisfied smile, "Hear you, my friend: can you tell me whether Cousin Louise is in the garden? I came this moment from her parents, and would now speak with her. Can you tell me where she is?"

"I—I don't know!" said Jacobi, releasing himself, and hastening with a secret anxiety of mind up to her parents.

In the mean time the Landed-proprietor had caught a glimpse of "Cousin Louise's" person in the garden, and hastened up to her.

It was, in fact, no surprise to Louise, when, after all the preliminary questions, "Cousin, do you like fish? do you like birds?" there came at last the principal question, "Cousin, do you like me?"

To this question, it is true, she gave a somewhat less blunt, but nevertheless a decided negative reply, although it was gilded over with "esteem and friendship."

The Candidate, on his side, in the fulness and warmth of his heart, laid open to Louise's parents his love, his wishes, and his hopes. It is true that Jacobi was now without any office, as well as without any property; but he had many expectations, and amid these, like a sun and a support, his Excellency O——. The Judge was himself no friend to such[Pg 199] supports, and Elise did not approve of long engagements: but then both of them loved Jacobi; both of them wished, above all things, the true happiness and well-being of their daughter; and so it happened that, after much counsel, and after Louise had been questioned by her parents, and they found that she had sincerely the same wishes as Jacobi, and that she believed she should be happy with him, and after Jacobi had combated with great fervency and effect every postponement of the betrothal—that, after all this had been brought to a fortunate issue, he received a formal yes, and he and Louise, on the afternoon of the same day, whose morning sun had seen their explanation, were betrothed.

Jacobi was beyond description happy; Louise tranquil but gentle. Henrik declared that her Majesty appeared too merciful. Perhaps all this proceeded from her thoughts being already occupied with the increasing and arranging of Jacobi's wardrobe. She began already to think about putting in hand a fine piece of linen-weaving. She actually had consented to the quick betrothal, principally, as she herself confessed to Eva, "in order to have him better under her hands."

Good reader—and if thou art a Candidate, good Candidate—pardon "our eldest" if she gave her consent somewhat in mercy. We can assure thee, that our Jacobi was no worse off on that account; so he himself seemed to think, and his joy and cordiality seemed to have great influence in banishing "the cathedral" out of Louise's demeanour.

This view of the connexion, and the hearty joy which Louise's brother and sisters expressed over this betrothal, and which proved how beloved Jacobi was by them all, smoothed the wrinkles from the brow of the Judge, and let Elise's heart feel the sweetest satisfaction. Henrik, especially, declared loudly his delight in having his beloved friend and instructor for a brother-in-law—an actual brother.

"And now listen, brother-in-law," said he, fixing his large eyes on Louise; "assume your rights as master of the house properly, brother dear; and don't let the slippers be master of the house. If you marry a queen, you must be king, you understand that very well, and must take care of your majesty; and if she look like a cathedral, why then do you look like the last judgment, and thunder accordingly! You laugh;[Pg 200] but you must not receive my advice so lightly, but lay it seriously to heart, and——but, dear friend, shall we not have a little bowl this evening? shall we not, mamma dear? Yes, certainly we will! I shall have the honour of mixing it myself. Shall we not drink the health of your majesties? I shall mix a bowl—sugar and oranges!—a bowl! a bowl!"

With this exclamation Henrik rushed with outstretched arms to the door, which at that moment opened, and he embraced the worthy Mrs. Gunilla.

"He! thou—good heaven! Best-beloved!" exclaimed she, "he, he, he, he! what is up here? He never thought, did he, that he should take the old woman in his arms! he, he, he, he!"

Henrik excused himself in the most reverential and cordial manner, explained the cause of his ecstasy, and introduced to her the newly-betrothed. Mrs. Gunilla at first was astonished, and then affected to tears. She embraced Elise, and then Louise, and Jacobi also. "God bless you!" said she, with all her beautiful quiet cordiality, and then, somewhat pale, seated herself silently on the sofa, and seemed to be thinking sorrowfully how often anxious, dispiriting days succeed the cheerful morning of a betrothal. Whether it was from these thoughts, or that Mrs. Gunilla really felt herself unwell, we know not, but she became paler and paler. Gabriele went out to fetch her a glass of water, and as she opened the door ran against the Assessor, who was just then entering.

With a little cry of surprise she recovered from this unexpected shock. He looked at her with an astonished countenance, and the next moment was surrounded by the other young people.

"Now, see, see! what is all this?" exclaimed he; "why do you overwhelm me thus? Cannot one move any longer in peace? I am not going to dance, Monsieur Henricus! Do not split my ears, Miss Petrea! What? betrothed! What? Who? Our eldest? Body and bones! let me sit down and take a pinch of snuff. Our eldest betrothed! that is dreadful! Usch!—usch! that is quite frightful! uh, uh, uh, uh! that is actually horrible! Hu, u, u, hu!"

The Assessor took snuff, and blew his nose for a good while, during which the family, who knew his way so well, laughed[Pg 201] heartily, with the exception of Louise, who reddened, and was almost angry at his exclamations, especially at that of horrible.

"Nay," said he, rising up and restoring the snuff-box again to his pocket, "one must be contented with what cannot be helped. What is written is written. And, as the Scripture says, blessed are they who increase and multiply the incorrigible human race, so, in heaven's name, good luck to you! Good luck and blessing, dear human beings!" And thus saying, he heartily shook the hands of Jacobi and Louise, who returned his hand-pressure with kindness, although not quite satisfied with the form of his good wishes.

"Never in all my life," said Henrik, "did I hear a less cheerful congratulation. Mrs. Gunilla and good Uncle Munter to-day might be in melancholy humour: but now they are sitting down by each other, and we may hope that after they have had a comfortable quarrel together, they will cheer up a little."

But no; no quarrel ensued this evening between the two. The Assessor had tidings to announce to her which appeared difficult for him to communicate, and which filled her eyes with tears—Pyrrhus was dead!

"He was yesterday quite well," said the Assessor, "and licked my hand as I bade him good night. To-day he took his morning coffee with a good appetite, and then lay down on his cushion to sleep. As I returned home, well pleased to think of playing with my little comrade, he lay dead on his cushion!"

Mrs. Gunilla and he talked for a long time about the little favourite, and appeared in consequence to become very good friends.

Jeremias Munter was this evening in a more censorious humour than common. His eyes rested with a sad expression on the newly betrothed.

"Yes," said he, as if speaking to himself, "if one had only confidence in oneself; if one was only clear as to one's own motives—then one might have some ground to hope that one could make another happy, and could be happy with them."

"One must know oneself thus well, so far," said Louise, not without a degree of confidence, "that one can be certain of doing so, before one would voluntarily unite one's fate with that of another."[Pg 202]

"Thus well!" returned he, warmly. "Yes, prosit! Who knows thus well? You do not, dear sister, that I can assure you. Ah!" continued he, with bitter melancholy, "one may be horribly deceived in oneself, and by oneself, in this life. There is no one in this world who, if he rightly understand himself, has not to deplore some infidelity to his friend—his love—his better self! The self-love, the miserable egotism of human nature, where is there a corner that it does not slide into? The wretched little I, how it thrusts itself forward! how thoughts of self, designs for self, blot actions which otherwise might be called good!"

"Do you then acknowledge no virtue? Is there, then, no magnanimity, no excellence, which you can admire?" asked some one. "Does not history show us——"

"History!" interrupted he, "don't speak of history—don't bring it forward! No, if I am to believe in virtue, it is such as history cannot meddle with or understand; it is only in that which plays no great part in the world, which never, never could have been applauded by it, and which is not acted publicly. Of this kind it is possible that something entirely beautiful, something perfectly pure and holy, might be found. I will believe in it, although I do not discover it in myself. I have examined my own soul, and can find nothing pure in it; but that it may be found in others, I believe. My heart swells with the thought that there may exist perfectly pure and unselfish virtue. Good heaven, how beautiful it is! And wherever such a soul may be found in the world, be it in palace or in hut, in gold or in rags, in man or in woman, which, shunning the praise of the world, fearing the flattery of its own heart, fulfils unobserved and with honest zeal its duties, however difficult they may be, and which labours and prays in secrecy and stillness—such a being I admire and love, and set high above all the Cæsars and Ciceros of the world!"

During this speech the Judge, who had silently risen from his seat, approached his wife, laid his hand gently on her shoulder, and looked round upon his children with glistening eyes.

"Our time," continued the Assessor, with what was an extraordinary enthusiasm for him, "understands but very little this greatness. It praises itself loudly, and on that account it is the less worthy of praise. Everybody will be[Pg 203] remarkable, or at least will appear so. Everybody steps forward and shouts I! I! Women even do not any longer understand the nobility of their incognito; they also come forth into notoriety, and shout out their I! Scarcely anybody will say, from the feeling of their own hearts, Thou!—and yet it is this same Thou which occasions man to forget that selfish I, and in which lies his purest part; his best happiness! To be sure it may seem grand, it may be quite ecstatic, even if it be only for a moment, to fill the world with one's name; but as, in long-past times, millions and millions of men united themselves to build a temple to the Supreme, and then themselves sank silently, namelessly, to the dust, having only inscribed His name and His glory; certainly that was greater, that was far worthier!"

"You talk like King Solomon himself, Uncle Munter!" exclaimed Petrea, quite enraptured. "Ah, you must be an author: you must write a book of——"

"Write!" interrupted he, "on what account should I write? Only to increase the miserable vanity of men? Write!—Bah!"

"Every age has its wise men to build up temples," said Henrik, with a beautiful expression of countenance.

"No!" continued the Assessor, with evident abhorrence, "I will not write! but I will live! I have dreamed sometimes that I could live——"

He ceased; a singular emotion was expressed in his countenance; he arose, and took up a book, into which he looked without reading, and soon after stepped quietly out of the house.

The entertainment in the family this evening was, spite of all that had gone before, very lively; and the result, which was expressed in jesting earnestness, was, that every one, in the spirit which the Assessor had praised, should secretly labour at the temple-building, every one with his own work-tool, and according to his own strength.

The Judge walked up and down in the room, and took only occasional part in the entertainment, although he listened to all, and smiled applaudingly. It seemed as if the Assessor's words had excited a melancholy feeling in him, and he spoke warmly in praise of his friend.

"There does not exist a purer human soul than his," said[Pg 204] he, "and he has thereby operated very beneficially on me. Many men desire as much good, and do it also; but few have to the same extent as he the pure mind, the perfectly noble motive."

"Ah! if one could only make him happier, only make him more satisfied with life!" said Eva.

"Will you undertake the commission?" whispered Petrea, waggishly.

Rather too audible a kiss suddenly turned all eyes on the Candidate and Louise; the latter of whom was punishing her lover for his daring by a highly ungracious and indignant glance, which Henrik declared quite pulverised him. As they, however, all separated for the night, the Candidate besought and was permitted, in mercy, a little kiss, as a token of reconciliation and forgiveness of his offence regarding the great one.

"My dear girl," said the mother to Louise as the two met, impelled by a mutual desire to converse together that same night in her boudoir, "how came Jacobi's wooing about so suddenly? I could not have believed that it would have been so quickly decided. I am perfectly astonished even yet that you should be betrothed."

"So am I," replied Louise; "I can hardly conceive how it has happened. We met one another this morning in the garden; Jacobi was gloomy, and out of spirits, and had made up his mind to leave us because he fancied I was about to be betrothed to Cousin Thure. I then besought him to forgive my late unkindness, and gave him some little idea of my friendliness towards him; whereupon he spoke to me of his own feelings and wishes so beautifully, so warmly, and then—then I hardly know how it was myself, he called me his Louise, and I—told him to go and speak with my parents."

"And in the mean time," said the mother, "your parents sent another wooer to their daughter, in order for him to receive from her a yes or no. Poor Cousin Thure! He seemed to have such certain hope. But I trust he may soon console himself! But do you know, Louise, of late I have fancied that Oestanvik and all its splendour might be a little captivating to you! And now do you really feel that you have had no loss in rejecting so rich a worldly settlement?"

"Loss!" repeated Louise, "no, not now, certainly; and[Pg 205] yet I should say wrong if I denied that it has had temptations for me; and for that reason I never would go to Oestanvik, because I knew how improper it would be if I allowed it to influence me, whilst I never could endure such a person as Cousin Thure; and, besides that, I liked Jacobi so much, and had done so for many years! Once, however, the temptation was very powerful, and that was on our return from Axelholm. As I rode along in Cousin Thure's easy landau, it seemed to me that it must be very agreeable to travel through life so comfortably and pleasantly. But at that time I was very unhappy in myself; life had lost its best worth for me; my faith in all that I loved most was poisoned! Ah! there arose in me then such a fearful doubt in all that was good in the world, and I believed for one moment that it would be best to sleep out life, and therefore the easy rocking of the landau seemed so excellent. But now, now is this heavy dream vanished! now life is again bright, and I clearly see my own way through, it. Now I trouble myself no more about a landau than I do about a wheelbarrow; nay, I would much rather now that my whole life should be a working day, for which I could thank God! It is a delight to work for those whom one highly esteems and loves; and I desire nothing higher than to be able to live and work for my own family, and for him who is to-day become my promised husband before God!"

"God will bless you, my good, pure-hearted girl!" said the mother, embracing her, and sweet affectionate tears were shed in the still evening.



Early on the following morning Eva received a nosegay of beautiful moss-roses, among which was a letter to herself; she tore it open, and red the following words:

"I have dreamed that I could live; and truly a life more beautiful and more perfect than any romance makes one dream of. Little Miss Eva, whom I have so often carried in my arms—good young girl, whom I would so willingly sustain on my breast through, life, thou must hear what I have dreamed, what I sometimes still dream.[Pg 206]

"I dreamed that I was a rough, unsightly rock, repulsive and unfruitful. But a heart beat in the rock—a chained heart. It beat against the walls of its prison till it bled, because it longed to be abroad in the sunshine, but it could not break its bonds. I could not free myself from myself. The rock wept because it was so hard, because it was a prison for its own life. There came a maiden, a light gentle angel, wandering through the wood, and laid her warm lily-white hand on the rock, and pressed her pure lips upon it, breathing a magical word of freedom. The rocky wall opened itself, and the heart, the poor captive heart, saw the light! The young girl went into the chamber of the heart, and called it her home; and suddenly beautiful roses, which diffused odours around, sprang forth from that happy heart towards its liberator, whilst the chambers of the heart vaulted itself high above her into a temple for her, clothing its walls with fresh foliage and with precious stones, upon which the sunbeams played.

"I awoke from a sense of happiness that was too great to be borne on earth; I awoke, and ah! the roses were vanished, the lovely girl was vanished, and I was once again the hard, unsightly, and joyless rock. But do you see, young maiden, the idea will not leave me, that those roses which I saw in my dream are hidden in me; that they may yet bloom, yet rejoice and make happy. The idea will remain with me that this reserved, melancholy heart might yet expand itself by an affectionate touch; that there are precious stones within it, which would beam brightly for those who called them forth into light.

"Good young maiden, will you not venture on the attempt? Will you not lay your warm hand on the rock? Will you not breathe softly upon it? Oh, certainly, certainly under your touch it would soften—it would bring forth roses for you—it would exalt itself into a temple for you, a temple full of hymns of thanksgiving, full of love!

"I know that I am old, old before my time; that I am ugly and disagreeable, unpleasant, and perhaps ridiculous; but I do not think that nature intended me to be so. I have gone through life in such infinite solitude; neither father nor mother, brother nor sister, have followed my path; no sunshine fell upon my childhood or my youth; I have wandered[Pg 207] solitarily through life, combating with difficulties. Once I bound myself to a friend—he deserted me, and thence grew the rock about my heart; thence became my demeanour severe, unattractive, and rough. Is it to remain so always? Will my life never bloom upon earth? Will no breath of heaven call forth my roses?

"Do you fear my melancholy temperament? Oh, you have not seen how a glance, a word of yours chases every cloud from my brow; not because you are beautiful, but because you are good and pure. Will you teach me to be good? I will learn willingly from you! From you I would learn to love mankind, and to find more good in the world than I have hitherto done. I will live for you, if not for the world. By my wish the world should know nothing of me till the cross upon my grave told 'here rests——'

"Oh, it is beautiful to live nameless under the poisoned glance of the world; poisoned, whether it praise or blame; beautiful, not to be polluted by its observation, but more beautiful to be intimately known to one—to possess one gentle and honest friend, and that one a wife! Beautiful to be able to look into her pure soul as in a mirror, and to be aware there of every blot on one's own soul, and to be able thus to purify it against the day of the great trial.

"But I speak only of myself and my own happiness. Ah, the egotist—the cursed egotist! Can I make you happy also, Eva? Is it not audacity in me to desire—ah, Eva, I love you inexpressibly!

"I leave the egotist in your hand: do with him what you will, he will still remain


This letter made Eva very anxious and uneasy. She would so willingly have said yes, and made so good a man happy, but then so many voices within her said no!

She spoke with her parents, with her brother and sisters. "He is so good, so excellent!" said she. "Ah, if I could but properly love him! But I cannot—and then he is so old; and I have no desire to marry; I am so happy in my own home."

"And do not leave it!" was the unanimous chorus of all the family. The father, indeed, was actually desperate with all this courtship; and the mother thought it quite absurd that her blooming Eva and Jeremias Munter should go together.[Pg 208] No one voice spoke for the Assessor but the little Petrea's, and a silent sigh in Eva's own bosom. The result of all this consideration was, that Eva wrote with tearful eyes the following answer to her lover:

"My best, my truly good Friend!

"Ah! do not be angry with me that I cannot become for you that which you wish. I shall certainly not marry. I am too happy in my own home for that. Ah! this to be sure is egotistical, but I cannot do otherwise. Forgive me! I am so very much, so heartily attached to you; and I should never be happy again if you love not hitherto as formerly

"Your little


In the evening Eva received a beautiful and costly work-box, with the following lines:

"Yes, yes, I can very well believe that the rough rock would be appalling. You will not venture to lay your delicate white hand upon it, little Miss Eva; will not trouble yourself to breathe warmth upon my poor roses! Let them then remain in their grave!

"I shall now make a journey, nor see you again for a year and a day. But, good heavens! as you have given me a basket,[13] you shall receive in return a little box. I bought it for my—bride, Eva! Yet now, after all, Eva shall have it; shall keep it for my sake. She may return it when I cease to be

"Her true and devoted Friend."

"Do you think she is sorry for what she has done?" asked the Judge anxiously from his wife, as he saw Eva's hot tears falling on the work-box;—"but it cannot be helped. She marry! and that too with Munter! She is indeed nothing but a child! But that is just the way; when one has educated one's daughters, and taught them something of good manners, just when one has begun to have real pleasure in them, that one must lose them—must let them go to China if the lover chance to be a Chinese! It is intolerable! It is abominable! I would not wish my worst enemy the pain of having grown-up daughters. Is not Schwartz already beginning to draw a circle about Sara? Good gracious! if we should yet have the plague of another lover!"


[13] To say that "a gentleman has received a basket," is the same as saying he is a rejected lover.—M. H.

[Pg 209]



Judge Frank had, unknown to himself, spoken a striking word. It was true that Schwartz had drawn ever narrower and darker circles around Sara, and at the very time when she would appear free from his influence her temper became more uncertain and suspicious. The mother, uneasy about this connexion, no longer allowed her to be alone with him during the music lesson, and this watchfulness excited Sara's pride, as well as the grave yet gentle remonstrances which were made on account of her behaviour were received with much impatience and disregard. The Judge was the only person before whom Sara did not exhibit the dark side of her character. His glance, his presence, seemed to exercise a certain power over her; besides which, she was, perhaps, more beloved by him than by all the other members of the family, with the exception of Petrea.

One evening, Sara sate silent by one of the windows in the library, supporting her beautiful head on her hand. Petrea sate at her feet on a low stool; she also was silent, but every now and then looked up to Sara with a tender troubled expression, whilst Sara sometimes looked down towards her thoughtfully, and almost gloomily.

"Petrea," said she, quickly, "what would you say if I should leave you suddenly to go into the wide world, and should never return?"

"What should I say?" answered Petrea, with a violent gush of tears: "ah, I should say nothing at all, but should lie down and die of grief!"

"Do you really love me then so, Petrea?" asked she.

"Do I love you!" returned Petrea; "ah, Sara, if you go away, take me with you as maid, as servant—I will do everything for you!"

"Good Petrea!" whispered Sara, laying her arm round her neck, and kissing her weeping eyes, "continue to love Sara, but do not follow her!"

"It seems terribly sultry to me this evening!" said Henrik, wearily: "we cannot manage any family assembling[Pg 210] to-night; not a bit of music; not a bit of entertainment. The air seems as if an earthquake were at hand. I fancy that Africa sends us something of a tempest. Petrea is weeping like the cataract of Trollhätten; and there go the people in twos-and-twos and weep, and set themselves in corners and whisper and mutter, and kiss one another, from my God-fearing parents down to my silly little sisters! The King and Queen, they go and seat themselves just has it happens, on living or dead things; they had nearly seated themselves on me as I sate unoffensively on the sofa; but I made a turn about tout d'un coup.—Betrothed! horribly wearisome folks! Are they not, Gabriele? They cannot see, they cannot hear; they could not speak, I fancy, but with one another!"

A light was burning in Sara's chamber far into the night. She was busied for a long time with her journal; she wrote with a flying but unsteady hand.

"So, to-morrow; to-morrow all will be said, and I——shall be bound.

"I know that is but of little importance, and yet I have such a horror of it! Oh, the power of custom and of form.

"I know very well whom I could love; there is a purity in his glance, a powerful purity which penetrates me. But how would he look on me if he saw——

"I must go! I have no choice left! S. has me in his net—the money which I have borrowed from him binds me so fast!—for I cannot bear that they should know it, and despise me. I know that they would impoverish themselves in order to release me, but I will not so humiliate myself.

"And why do I speak of release? I go hence to a life of freedom and honour. I bow myself under the yoke but for a moment, only in order to exalt myself the more proudly. Now there is no more time to tremble and to waver—away with these tears! And thou, Volney, proud, strong thinker, stand by me! Teach me, when all others turn away, how I may rely on my own strength!"

Sara now exchanged the pen for the book, and the hour of midnight struck before she closed it, and arose tranquil and cold in order to seek the quiet of sleep.

[Pg 211]

The earthquake of which Henrik had spoken came the next day, the signal of which was a letter from Schwartz to the Judge, in which he solicited the hand of Sara. His only wealth was his profession; but with this alone he was convinced that his wife would want nothing: he was just about to undertake a journey through Europe, and wished to be accompanied by Sara, of whose consent and acquiescence he was quite sure.

A certain degree of self-appreciation in a man was not at any time displeasing to Judge Frank, but this letter breathed a supercilious assurance, a professional arrogance, which were extremely repugnant to him. Besides this, he was wounded by the tone of pretension in which Schwartz spoke of one who was as dear to him as his own daughter; and the thought of her being united to a man of Schwartz's character was intolerable to him. He was almost persuaded that Sara did not love him, and burned with impatience to repel his pretensions, and to remove him at the same time from his house.

Elise agreed perfectly in the opinion of her husband, but was less confident than he regarding Sara's state of feeling with respect to the affair. She was summoned to their presence. The Judge handed to her Schwartz's letter, and awaited impatiently her remarks upon it. Her colour paled before the grave and searching glance which was riveted upon her, but she declared herself quite willing to accept Schwartz's proposal.

Astonishment and vexation painted themselves on the countenance of her adopted father.

"Ah, Sara," said the mother, after a short silence, "have you well considered this? Do you think that Schwartz is a man who can make a wife happy?"

"He can make me happy," returned Sara; "happy according to my own mind."

"You can never, never," said the mother, "enjoy domestic happiness with him!"

"He loves me," returned Sara, "and he can give me a happiness which I never enjoyed here. I lost early both father and mother, and in the home into which I was received out of charity, all became colder and colder towards me!"

"Ah, do not think so, Sara!" said the mother. "But[Pg 212] even if this were the case, may not some little of it be your own fault? Do you really do anything to make yourself beloved? Do you strive against that which makes you less amiable?"

"I can renounce such love," said Sara, "as will not love me with my faults. Nature gave me strong feelings and inclinations, and I cannot bring them into subjection."

"You will not, Sara," was the reply.

"I cannot! and it may be that I will not," said she, "submit myself to the subjugation and taming which has been allotted as the share of the woman. Why should I? I feel strength in myself to break up a new path for myself. I will lead a fresh and an independent life! I will live a bright artiste-life, free from the trammels and the Lilliputian considerations of domestic life. I will be free! I will not, as now, be watched and suspected, and be under a state of espionage! I will be free from the displeasure and blame which now dog my footsteps! This treatment it is, mother, which has determined my resolution."

"If," answered the mother, in a tremulous voice, and deeply affected by Sara's words and tone, "I have erred towards you—and I may have done so—I know well that it has not been from temper, or out of want of tenderness towards you. I have spoken to and warned you from the best conviction; I have sincerely endeavoured and desired that which is best for you, and this you will some time or other come to see even better than now.[14] You will perhaps come to see that it would have been good for you if you had lent a more willing ear to my maternal counsellings; will perhaps come to deplore that you rewarded the love I cherished for you with reproaches and bitterness!"

"Then let me go!" said Sara, with gentler voice; "we do not accord well together. I embitter your life, and you make—perhaps you cannot make mine happy. Let me go with him who will love me with all my faults, who can and will open a freer scope to my powers and talents than I have hitherto had."

"Ah, Sara," returned Elise, "will you obtain in this freer field a better happiness than can be afforded you by a domestic[Pg 213] circle, by the tenderness of true friends, and a happy domestic life?"

"Are you then so happy, my mother?" interrupted Sara with an ironical smile, and a searching glance; "are you then so happy in this circle, and this domestic life, which you praise so highly, that you thus repeat what has been said on the subject from the beginning of the world. Those perpetual cares in which you have passed your days, those trifling cares and thoughts for every-day necessities, which are so opposite to your own nature, are they then so pleasant, so captivating? Have you not renounced many of your beautiful gifts—your pleasure in literature and music—nay, in short, what is the most lovely part of life, in order to bury yourself in concealment and oblivion, and there, like the silkworm, to spin your own sepulchre of the threads which another will wind off? You bow your own will continually before that of another; your innocent pleasures you sacrifice daily either to him or to others: are you so very happy amid all these renunciations?"

The Judge rose up passionately; went several times up and down the room, and placed himself at last directly opposite to Sara, leaning his back to the stove, and listening attentively for the answer of his wife.

"Yes, Sara, I am happy!" answered she, with an energy very unusual in her; "yes, I am happy! Whenever I make any sacrifice, I receive a rich return. And if there be moments when I feel painfully any renunciation which I have made, there are others, and far more of them, in which I congratulate myself on all that I have won. I am become improved through the husband whom God has given to me; through my children, through my duties, through the desires and the wants which I have overcome at his side—yes, Sara, above all things, through him, his affection, his excellence, am I improved, and feel myself happier every day. Love, Sara, love changes sacrifice into pleasure, and makes renunciation sweet! I thank God for my lot, and only wish that I were worthier of it!"

"It may be!" said Sara, proudly; "every one has his own sphere. But the tame happiness of the dove suits not the eagle!"

"Sara!" exclaimed the Judge, in a tone of severe displeasure.

The mother, unable longer to repress the outbreak of excited feeling, left the room with her handkerchief to her eyes.[Pg 214]

"For shame, Sara," said the Judge with severe gravity, and standing before her with a reproving glance, "for shame! this arrogance goes too far!"

She trembled now before his eye as she had done once before; a remembrance from the days of her childhood awoke within her; her eyelids sunk, and a burning crimson covered her face.

"You have forgotten yourself," continued he, calmly, but severely, "and in your childish haughtiness have only shown how far you are below that worth and excellence which you cannot understand, and which, in your present state of mind, you never can emulate. Your own calm judgment will make the sharpest reproaches on this last scene, and will, nay, must lead you to throw yourself at the feet of your mother. All, however, that I now ask from you is, that you think over your intentions rationally. How is it possible, Sara, that you overlook your own inconsistency? You argue zealously against domestic life—against the duties of marriage, and yet, at the same time, wilfully determine to tie those bonds with a man who will make them actual fetters for you."

"He will not fetter me," returned she; "he has promised it—he has sworn it! I shall not subject myself to him as a wife, but I shall stand at his side as an equal, as an artiste, and step with him into a world beautiful and rich in honours, which he will open to me."

"Ah, mere talk!" exclaimed the Judge. "Folly, folly! How can you be so foolish, and believe in such false show? The state gives your husband a power over you which he will not fail to abuse—that I can promise you from what I know of his character, and from what I now discover of yours. No woman can withdraw from a connexion of this kind unpunished, more especially under the circumstances in which you are placed. Sara, you do not love the man to whom you are about to unite yourself, and it is impossible that you can love him. No true esteem, no pure regard binds you to him."

"He loves me," answered Sara, with trembling lips; "I admire his power and artistical genius;—he will conduct me to independence and honour! It is no fault of mine that the lot of woman is so contracted and miserable—that she must bind herself in order to become free!"

"Only as a means?" asked he; "the holiest tie on earth only as a means, and for what? For a pitiable and ephemeral[Pg 215] chase after happiness, which you call honour and freedom. Poor, deceived Sara! Are you so misled, so turned aside from the right? Is it possible that the miserable book of a writer, as full of pretension as weak and superficial, has been able thus to misguide you?" and with these words he took Volney's Ruins out of his pocket, and threw it upon the table.

Sara started and reddened. "Ah," said she, "this is only another instance of espionage over me."

"Not so," replied the Judge, calmly. "I was this day in your room; you had left the book lying on the table, and I took it, in order that I might speak with you about it, and prevent Petrea's young steps from treading this path of error without a guide."

"People may think what they please," said Sara, "of the influence of the book, but I conceive that author deserves least of all the epithet weak."

"When you have followed his counsel," returned he, "and resemble the wreck which the waves have thrown up here, then you may judge of the strength and skill of the steersman! My child, do not follow him. A more mature, a more logical power of mind, will teach you how little he knows of the ocean of life, of its breakers and its depths—how little he understands the true compass."

"Ah!" said Sara, "these storms, these dangers, nay, even shipwreck itself, appear to me preferable to the still, windless water which the so-much-be-praised haven of domestic life represents. You speak, my father, of chimeras; but tell me, is not the so-lauded happiness of domestic life more a chimera than any other? When the saloon is set in order, one does not see the broom and the dusting-brush that have been at work in it, and the million grains of dust which have filled the air; one forgets that they have ever been there. So it is with domestic and family life; one persists wilfully in only seeing its beautiful moments, and in passing over, in not noticing at all, what are less beautiful, or indeed are 'repulsive.'"

"All depends upon which are the predominant," replied he, half smiling at Sara's simile. "Thus, then, if it be more frequently disorderly than orderly, if the air be more frequently filled with dust than it is pure and fresh, then the[Pg 216] devil may dwell there, but not I! I know very well that there are homes enough on earth where there are dust-filled rooms, but that must be the fault of the inhabitants. On them alone depends the condition of the house; from those which may not unjustly be called ante-rooms of hell, to those again which, spite of their earthly imperfections, spite of many a visitation of duster and dusting-brush, yet may deserve the names of courts of heaven. And where, Sara, where in this world will you find an existence free from earthly dust? And is that of which you complain so bitterly anything else than the earthly husk which encloses every mortal existence of man as well as of woman?—it is the soil in which the plant must grow; it is the chrysalis in which the larva becomes ripe for its change of life! Can you actually be blind to that higher and nobler life which never developes itself more beautifully than in a peaceful home? Can you deny that it is in the sphere of family and friendship where man lives most perfectly and best, as citizen of an earthly and of a heavenly kingdom? Can you deny how great and noble is the efficacy of woman in private life, be she married or single, if she only endeavour——"

"Ah," said Sara, interrupting him, "the sphere of private life is too narrow for me. I require a larger one, in order to breathe freely and freshly."

"In pure affection," replied the Judge, "in friendship, and in the exercise of kindness, there is large and fresh breathing space; the air of eternity plays through it. In intellectual development—and the very highest may be arrived at in private life—the whole world opens itself to the eye of man, and infinite treasures are offered to his soul, more, far more, than he can ever appropriate to himself!"

"But the artist," argued Sara—"the artist cannot form himself at home—he must try himself on the great theatre of the world. Is his bent only a chimera, my father? And are those distinguished persons who present the highest pleasures to the world through their talents; to whom the many look up with admiration and homage; around whom the great, and the beautiful, and the agreeable collect themselves, are they fools?—are they blind hunters after happiness? Ah, what lot can well be more glorious than theirs! Oh, my father, I am young; I feel a power in myself which is[Pg 217] not a common one—my heart throbs for a freer and more beautiful life! Desire not that I should constrain my own nature: desire not that I should compress my beautiful talents into a sphere which has no charms for me!"

"I do not depreciate, certainly, the profession of the artist," replied the Judge, "nor the value of his agency: in its best meaning, his is as noble as any; but is it this pure bent, this noble view of it, which impels you, which animates you? Sara, examine your own heart; it is vanity and selfish ambition which impel you. It is the arrogance of your eighteen years, and some degree of talent, which make you overlook all that is good in your present lot, which make you disdain to mature yourself nobly and independently in the domestic circle. It is a deep mistake, which will now lead you to an act blamable in the eyes of God and man, and which blinds you to the dark side of the life which you covet. Nevertheless, there is none darker, none in which the changes of fortune are more dependent on miserable accidents. An accident may deprive you of your beauty, or your voice, and with these you lose the favour of the world in which you have placed your happiness. Besides this, you will not always continue at eighteen, Sara: by the time you are thirty all your glory will be past, and then—then what will you have collected for the remaining half of life? You will have rioted for a short time in order then to starve; since, so surely as I stand here, with this haughty and vain disposition, and with the husband whom you will have chosen, you will come to want; and, too late, you will look back in your misery, full of remorse, to the virtue and to the true life which you have renounced."

Sara was silent; she was shaken by the words and by the countenance of her adopted father.

"And how perfectly different it might be!" continued he, with warmth; "how beautiful, how full of blessing might not your life and your talents be! Sara! I have loved you, and love you still, like my own daughter—will you not listen to me as to a father? Answer me—have you had to give up anything in this house, which, with any show of reason, you might demand? and have we spared any possible care for your education or your accomplishments?"

"No," replied Sara, sighing; "all have been kind, very kind to me."[Pg 218]

"Well, then," exclaimed the Judge, with increasing warmth and cordiality, "depend upon your mother and me, that you will have no cause of complaint. I am not without property and connexions. I will spare no means of cultivating your talents, and then if your turn for art is a true one, when it has been cultivated to its utmost it shall not be concealed from a world which can enjoy and reward it. But remain under our protection, and do not cast yourself, inexperienced as you are, on a world which will only lead you more astray. Do not, in order to win an ideal liberty, give your hand to a man inferior to you in accomplishments; to a man whom you do not love, and whom, morally speaking, you cannot esteem. Descend into your own heart, and see its error while there is yet time to retrieve it, before you are crushed by your own folly. Do not fly from affectionate, careful friends—do not fly from the paternal roof in blind impatience of disagreeables, to remove which depends perhaps only on yourself! Sara, my child! I have not taken you under my roof in order to let you become the victim of ruin and misfortune! Pause, Sara, and reflect, I pray you, I conjure you! make not yourself wretched! When I took you from the death-bed of your father, I threw my arms around you to shield you from the winds of autumn—I clasp them once again around you, in order to shield you from far more dangerous winds—Sara, my child, fly not from this house!"

Sara trembled; she was violently agitated, and leaned her head with indescribable emotion against her adopted father, who clasped her tenderly to his bosom.

It is not difficult to say whether they were good or bad angels who triumphed in Sara, as she, after a moment of violent inward struggle, pushed from her the paternal friend, and said, with averted countenance, "It is in vain; my determination is taken. I shall become the wife of Schwartz, and go where my fate leads me!"

The Judge started up, stamped on the floor, and pale with anger, exclaimed, with flashing eyes, "Obdurate one! since neither love nor prayers have power over you, you must listen to another mode of speech! I have the right of a guardian over you, and I forbid this unholy marriage! I forbid you to leave my house! You hear me, and you shall obey!"

Sara stood up as pale as death, and with an insolent expression[Pg 219] riveted her large eyes upon him, whilst he, too, fixed his upon her with all the force of his peculiar earnestness and decision. It seemed as if each would look the other through—as if each in this contest would measure his strength against the other.

Suddenly her arms were flung wildly round his neck, a burning kiss was pressed upon his lips, and the next moment she was out of the room.

Elise sate in her boudoir. She still wept bitter tears. It was twilight, and her knees were suddenly embraced, and her hands and her dress were covered with kisses and with tears. When she put forth her hands to raise the one who embraced her, she had vanished. "Sara, Sara! where are you?" exclaimed she, full of anxiety.

Petrea came down from her chamber; she met some one, who embraced her, pressed her lips to her forehead, and whispered, "Forget me!"

"Sara, Sara! where are you going?" exclaimed she, terrified, and running after her to the house door.

"Where is Sara?" inquired the Judge, violently, above in the chambers of his daughters. "Where is Sara?" inquired he, below in the library.

"Ah!" exclaimed Petrea, who now rushed in weeping, "she is this moment gone out—out into the street; she almost ran. She forbade me to follow her. Ah, she certainly never will come back again!"

"The devil!" said the Judge, hastening from the room, and taking up his hat, went out. Far off in the street he saw a female figure, which, with only a handkerchief thrown over her head and shoulders, was hastening onward, and who, spite of the twilight, he recognised to be Sara. He hastened after her; she looked round, saw him, and fled. Certain now that he was not mistaken, he followed, and was almost near enough to take hold of her, when she suddenly turned aside, and rushed into a house—it was that of Schwartz. He followed with the quickness of lightning; followed her up the steps, and was just laying his hand on her, when she vanished through a door. The next moment he too opened it, and saw her—in the arms of Schwartz!

The two stood together embracing, and evidently prepared to defy him. He stood for some moments silent before them, regarding them with an indescribable look of wrath,[Pg 220] contempt, and sorrow. He looked upon the pale breathless Sara, and covered his eyes with his hand; the next moment, however, he seemed to collect himself, and with all the calm and respect-commanding dignity of a parent, he grasped her hand, and said, "You now follow me home. On Sunday the banns shall be proclaimed."

Sara followed. She took his arm, and with a drooping head, and without a word, accompanied him home.

All there was disquiet and sorrow. But, notwithstanding the general discontent with Sara and her marriage, there was not one of the family who did not busy themselves earnestly in her outfit. Louise, who blamed her more than all the rest, gave herself most trouble about it.

Sara behaved as if she never observed how everybody was working for her, and passed her time either over her harp, or solitary in her own room. Any intercourse with the members of the family seemed to have become painful to her, whilst Petrea's tenderness and tears were received with indifference—nay, even with sternness.


[14] All mothers speak thus—but not all, nay, not many with the same right as Elise.



Sara's joyless marriage was over; and the hour was come in which she was to leave that home and family which had so affectionately received her, and which now with solicitude and the tenderest care provided for her wants in her new position.

In the hour of separation, the crust of ice which had hitherto surrounded her being broke, she sank, weeping violently, at the feet of her foster-parents.

The Judge was deeply affected. "You have had your own will, Sara," said he, in a firm but mournful voice, "may you be happy! Some few warnings I have given you, do not forget them; they are the last! If you should be deceived in the hopes which now animate you—if you should be unfortunate—unfortunate, or criminal, then remember—then remember, Sara, that here you have father and mother, and sisters, who will receive you with open arms; then remember that you have here family and home!"

He ceased: drew her a little aside, took her hand, and[Pg 221] pressed a bank-note in it. "Take this," said he, tenderly, "as a little help in the hour of need. No, you must not refuse it from your foster-father. Take it for his love's sake, you will some time need it!"

It was with difficulty that the Judge had so far preserved his calmness; he now pressed her violently to his breast; kissed her brow and lips, whilst his tears flowed abundantly. The mother and sisters too surrounded her weeping. At that moment the door opened, and Schwartz entered.

"The carriage waits," said he, with a dark glance on the mournful group. Sara tore herself from the arms which would have held her fast, and rushed out of the room.

A few seconds more, and the travelling carriage rolled away.

"She is lost!" exclaimed the Judge to his wife with bitter pain. "I feel it in myself that she is lost! Her death would have been less painful to me than this marriage."

For many days he continued silent and melancholy.



The past episode had gone through the house like a whirlwind. When it was over, the heaven cleared itself anew, and they were able to confess that a more joyful tranquillity had diffused itself over all. There was no one who did not think of Sara with sympathy, who did not weep sometimes at her violent separation from the family; but there was no one, with the exception of the Judge and Petrea, who did not feel her absence to be a secret relief; for one unquiet temper, and one full of pretension, can disturb a whole household, and make the most exquisite natural gifts of no account.

The Judge missed a daughter from the beloved circle; missed that beautiful, richly-endowed girl, and could not think of her future prospects without bitter anxiety. Petrea wept the object of her youthful admiration and homage, but consoled herself with the romantic plans she formed for seeing her again, in all of which she gave to herself the province of guardian angel, either as the queen of a desert island, or as a warrior bleeding for her, or as a disguised person who unloosed[Pg 222] her bonds in the depths of a dungeon in order to put them on herself: in short, in all possible ways in the world except the possible one.

Sara wrote soon after her separation from her friends; she spoke of the past with gratitude, and of the future with hope. The letter exhibited a certain decision and calmness; a certain seriousness, which diffused through the family a satisfactory ease of mind with regard to her future fate. Elise was ever inclined to hope for the best, and young people are always optimists: the Judge said nothing which might disturb the peace of his family, whilst Louise alone shook her head and sighed.

After the many disturbing circumstances which had lately occurred in the family, all seemed now to long after repose, and the ability to enjoy a quieter domestic life. Occupations of all kinds—those simple but cheerful daughters of well-regulated life, went on cheerfully and comfortably under the eye of Louise. There was no want in the house of joyful hours, sunshine of every kind, and entertainment full of interest. The newspapers which the Judge took in, and which kept the family au courant of the questions of the day, furnished materials for much development of mind, for much conversation and much thought, especially among the young people. The father had great pleasure in hearing thus their interchange of opinion, although he himself seldom mingled in their discussions, with the exception of now and then a guiding word.

"I fancy all is going on quite right," said he, joyfully, to his wife one day. "The children live gaily at home, and are preparing themselves for life. Indeed, if they only once open their eyes and ears, they will find subjects enough on which to use them; and will be astonished at all that life will present them with. It is well when home furnishes nourishment for mind as well as heart and body. I rejoice too, extremely, over our new house. Every land, every climate, has its own advantages as well as its own difficulties, and the economy of life must be skilfully adjusted if it is to be maintained with honour and advantage. Our country, which compels us to live so much in the house, seems thereby to admonish us to a more concentrated, and at the same time more quiet and domestic life, on which account we need, above all things,[Pg 223] comfortable houses, which are able to advance and advantage soul as well as body. Thank God! I fancy ours is pretty good for that purpose, and in time may yet be better; the children too look happy; Gabriele grows now every day, and Louise has grown over all our heads!"

The young people were very much occupied with plans for the future. Eva and Leonore built all their castles in the air together. A great intimacy had grown up between these two sisters since they were alone during the absence of the others at Axelholm. One might say, that ever since that evening, when they sate together eating grapes and reading a novel, the seed of friendship which had long been sprouting in their hearts, shot forth thence its young leaves. Their castles in the air were no common castles of romance; they had for their foundation the prosaic but beautiful thought of gaining for themselves an independent livelihood in the future—for the parents had early taught their daughters to direct their minds to this object—and hence beautiful establishments were founded, partly for friendship and partly for humanity: for young girls are always great philanthropists.

Jacobi also had many schemes for the future of himself and his wife, and Louise many schemes how to realise them. In the mean time there were many processes about kisses. Louise wished to establish a law that not more than three a day should be allowed, against which Jacobi protested both by word and deed, on which occasions Gabriele always ran away hastily and indignantly.

Petrea read English with Louise, arranged little festivities for her and the family; wept every evening over Sara, and beat her brains every morning over "the Creation of the World," whilst the good parents watched ever observantly over them all.

No one, however, enjoyed the present circumstances of the family so much as Henrik. After he had succeeded in inducing his sisters to use more lively exercise and exhilaration, he devoted himself more exclusively to his favourite studies, history and philosophy. Often he took his book and wandered with it whole days in the country, but every evening at seven he punctually joined the family circle, and was there the merriest of the merry.

"We live now right happily," said he one evening in confidential[Pg 224] discourse with his mother; "and I, for my part, never enjoyed life so much. I feel now that my studies will really mend, and that something can be made of me. And when I have studied for a whole day, and that not fruitlessly either, and then come of an evening to you and my sisters, and see all here so friendly, so bright and cheerful, life seems so agreeable! I feel myself so happy, and almost wish it might always remain as it is now."

"Ah, yes!" answered the mother, "if we could always keep you with us, my Henrik! But I know that won't do; you must soon leave us again; and then, when you have finished your studies, you must have your own house."

"And then, mother, you shall come to me!" This had been years before, and still was Henrik's favourite theme, and the mother listened willingly to it.

Several poems which Henrik wrote about this time seemed to indicate the most decided poetical talent, and gave his mother and sisters the greatest delight, whilst they excited, at the same time, great attention among the friends of the family. The Judge alone looked on gloomily.

"You will spoil him," exclaimed he one evening to his wife and daughters, "if you make him fancy that he is something extraordinary, before he is in anything out of the common way. I confess that his poetising is very much against my wish. When one is a man, one should have something much more important to do than to sigh, and sing about this and that future life. If he were likely to be a Thorild,[15] or any other of our greatest poets——but I see no signs of that! and this poetasterism, this literary idleness, which perpetually either lifts young people above the clouds, or places them under the earth, so that for pure cloud and dust they are unable to see the good noble gifts of actual life—I would the devil had it! The direction which Henrik is now taking grieves me seriously. I had rejoiced myself so in the thought of his being a first-rate miner; in his being instrumental in turning to good account our mines, our woods and streams, those noblest foundations of Sweden's wealth, and to which it was worth while devoting a good head; and now, instead of that, he hangs his on one side; sits with a pen in his hand,[Pg 225] and rhymes 'face' and 'grace,' 'heart' and 'smart!' It is quite contrary to my feelings! I wish Stjernhök would come here soon. Now there's a fellow! he will turn out something first-rate! I wish he were coming soon; perhaps he might influence Henrik, and induce him to give up this verse-making, which, perhaps, at bottom, is only vanity."

Elise and the daughters were silent. For a considerable time now, Elise had accustomed herself to silence when her husband grumbled. But often—whenever it was necessary—she would return to the subject of his discontent at a time when he was calm, and then, talk it over with him; and this line of tactics succeeded admirably. She made use of them on the present occasion.

"Ernst," said she to him in the evening, "it grieves me that you are so displeased with Henrik's poetical bent. Ah! it has delighted me so much, precisely because I fancied that it is real, and that in this case it may be as useful as any other can be. Still I never will encourage anything in him which is opposed to your wishes."

"My dear Elise," returned he mildly, "manage this affair according to your own convictions and conscience. It is very probable that you are right, and that I am wrong. All that I beseech of you is, that you watch over yourself, in order that affection to your first-born may not mislead you to mistake for excellence that which is only mediocre, and his little attempts for masterpieces. Henrik may be, if he can, a distinguished poet and literary man; but he must not as yet imagine himself anything; above all things, he must not suppose it possible to be a distinguished man in any profession without preparing himself by serious labour, and without first of all becoming a thinking being. If he were this, I promise you that I should rejoice over my son, let him be what profession he would—a worker in thought or a worker in mountains. And for this very reason one must be careful not to value too highly these poetical blossoms. If vanity remains in him he never will covet serious renown in anything."

"You are right, Ernst," said his wife, with all the cordiality of inward conviction.

Henrik also longed earnestly for Stjernhök's arrival. He[Pg 226] wished to show him his work; he longed to measure his new historical and philosophical knowledge against that of his friend; he longed, in one word, to be esteemed by him; for Henrik's gentle and affectionate nature had always felt itself powerfully attracted by the energetic and, as one may say, metallic nature of the other, and ever since the years of their boyhood had the esteem and friendship of Stjernhök been the goal of Henrik's endeavours, and of his warm, although till now unattainable, wishes. Stjernhök had hitherto always behaved towards Henrik with a certain friendly indifference, never as a companion and friend.

Stjernhök came. He was received by the whole family with the greatest cordiality, but by no one with a warmer heart than Henrik.

There was even externally the greatest dissimilarity between these two young men. Henrik was remarkable for extraordinary, almost feminine beauty; his figure was noble but slender, and his glance glowing though somewhat dreamy. Stjernhök, some years Henrik's senior, had become early a man. All with him was muscular, firm, and powerful; his countenance was intelligent without being handsome, and a star as it were gleamed in his clear, decided eye; such a star as is often prophetic of fate, and over whose path fortunate stars keep watch.

Some days after Stjernhök's arrival Henrik became greatly changed. He had become quiet, and there was an air of depression on his countenance. Stjernhök now, as he had always done, did not appear unfriendly to Henrik, but still paid but little attention to him. He occupied himself very busily, partly with trying chemical experiments with Jacobi and the ladies, and partly in the evening, and even into the night, in making astronomical observations with his excellent telescope. One of the beaming stars to which the observations of the young astronomer were industriously directed was called afterwards in the family Stjernhök's star. All gathered themselves around the interesting and well-informed young man. The Judge took the greatest delight in his conversation, and asserted before his family more than once his pleasure in him, and the hopes which the nation itself might have of him. The young student of Mining was a favourite with the Judge also because, besides his extraordinary[Pg 227] knowledge, he behaved always with the greatest respect towards older and more experienced persons.

"See, Henrik," said his father to him one day, after a conversation with Stjernhök, "what I call poetry, real poetry; it is this—to tame the rivers, and to compel their wild falls to produce wealth and comfort, whilst woods are felled on their banks and corn-fields cultivated; human dwellings spring up, and cheerful activity and joyful voices enliven the country. Look! that may be called a beautiful creation!"

Henrik was silent.

"But," said Gabriele, with all her natural refinement, "to be happy in these homes, they must be able to read a pleasant book or to sing a beautiful song, else their lives, spite of all their waterfalls, would be very dry!"

The Judge smiled, kissed his little daughter, and tears of delight filled his eyes.

Henrik, in the mean time, had gone into another room and seated himself at a window. His mother followed him.

"How do you feel, my Henrik?" said she affectionately, gently taking away the hand which shaded his eyes. His hand was concealing his tears. "My good, good youth!" exclaimed she, her eyes also overflowing with tears, and throwing her arms around him. "Now see!" began she consolingly, "you should not distress yourself when your father speaks in a somewhat one-sided manner. You know perfectly well how infinitely good and just he is, and that if he be only once convinced of the genuineness of your poetic talent, he will be quite contented. He is only now afraid of your stopping short in mediocrity. He would be pleased and delighted if you obtained honour in your own peculiar way."

"Ah!" said Henrik, "if I only knew whether or not I had a peculiar way—a peculiar vocation. But since Stjernhök has been here, and I have talked with him, everything, both externally and internally, seems altered. I don't any longer understand myself. Stjernhök has shown me how very little I know of that which I supposed myself to know a great deal, and what bungling my work is! I see it now perfectly, and it distresses me. How strong-minded and powerful Stjernhök is! I wish I were able to resemble him! But it[Pg 228] is impossible, I feel myself such a mere nothing beside him! And yet, when I am alone, either with my books, or out in the free air with the trees, the rocks, the waters, the winds around me, and with heaven above, thoughts arise in me, feelings take possession of me, nameless sweet feelings, and then expressions and words speak in me which affect me deeply, and give me inexpressible delight; then all that is great and good in humanity is so present with me; then I have a foretaste of harmony in everything, of God in everything; and it seems to me as if words thronged themselves to my lips to sing forth the gloriousness of that which I perceive. In such moments I feel something great within me, and I fancy that my songs would find an echo in every heart. Yes, it is thus that I feel sometimes; but when I see Stjernhök all is vanished, and I feel so little, so poor, I am compelled to believe that I am a dreamer and a fool!"

"My good youth," said the mother, "you mistake yourself. Your gifts and Stjernhök's are so dissimilar: but if you employ your talents with sincerity and earnestness, they will in their turn bring forth fruit. I confess to you, Henrik, that it was, and still is, one of my most lively wishes that one of my children might become distinguished in the fields of literature. Literature has furnished to me my most beautiful enjoyments; and in my younger years I myself was not without my ambition in this way. I see in you my own powers more richly blossoming. I myself bloom forth in them, my Henrik, and in my hopes of you. Ah! might I live to the day in which I saw you honoured by your native land; in which I saw your father proud of his son, and I myself able to gladden my heart with the fruit of your genius, your work—oh, then I would gladly die!"

Enthusiastic fire flamed in Henrik's looks and on his cheeks, as whilst, embracing his mother, he said, "No, you shall live, mother, to be honoured on account of your son. He promises that you shall have joy in him!"

The sunbeam which just then streamed into the room fell upon Henrik's beautiful hair, which shone like gold. The mother saw it—saw silently a prophesying in it, and a sun-bright smile diffused itself over her countenance.

Petrea read the "Magic King." She ought properly to[Pg 229] have read it aloud to the family circle in an evening, and then its dangerous magic would have been decreased; but she read it beforehand, privately to herself during the night, and it drew her into the bewildering magic circle. She thought of nothing, dreamed of nothing, but wonderful adventure; wonderfully beautiful ladies, and wonderfully brave heroes! She was herself always one of them, worshipped or worshipping; now combating, cross in hand, against witches and dragons; now wandering in dreamy moonlight among lilies in the Lady Minnetrost's Castle. It seemed as if the chaotic confusion of Petrea's brain had here taken shape and stature, and she now took possession with redoubled force of the phantasy world, which once before, under the guise of the Wood-god, had carried away her childish mind and conducted her into false tracks; and it was so even now; for while she moved night and day in a dream-world in which she luxuriated to exultation, in magnificent and wonderful scenes, in which she herself always played a part, she got on but lamentably in real and every-day life. The head in which so many splendid pictures and grand schemes were agitating, looked generally something like a bundle of flax; she never noticed the holes and specks in her dress, nor her ragged stockings and trodden-down shoes; she forgot all her little, every-day business, and whatever she had in her hand she either lost or dropped.

She had, besides, a passion for cracking almonds. "A passion," Louise said, "as expensive as it was noisy, and which never was stronger than when she went about under the influence of the magic ring; and that perpetual crack! crack! which was heard wherever she went, and the almond shells on which people trod, or which hung to the sleeve of whoever came to the window, were anything but agreeable."

Whenever Petrea was deservedly reproved or admonished for these things, she fell out of the clouds, or rather out of her heaven, down to the earth, which seemed to her scarcely anything else than a heap of nettles and brambles, and very gladly indeed would she have bought with ten years of her life one year of the magic power of the "Magic Ring," together with beauty, magic charms, power, and such-like things, which she did not possess, except in her dreams.

Petrea's life was a cleft between an ideal and a real world,[Pg 230] of both of which she knew nothing truly, and which, therefore, could not become amalgamated in her soul. Rivers of tears flowed into the separating gulf, without being able to fill it or to clear her vision, while she now complained of circumstances, and now of her own self, as being the cause of what she endured.

It was at this time that, partly at the wish of the parents, and partly also out of his own kind-heartedness, Jacobi began seriously to occupy himself with Petrea; and he occupied her mind in such a manner as strengthened and practised her thinking powers, whereby the fermentation in her feelings and imagination was in some measure abated. All this was indescribably beneficial to her, and it would have been still more so had not the teacher been too——but we will leave the secret to future years.

The Judge received one day a large letter from Stockholm, which, after he had read, he silently laid before his wife. It came from the highest quarter, contained most honourable and flattering praise of the services of Judge Frank, of which the government had long been observant, and now offered him elevation to the highest regal court of justice.

When Elise had finished the letter she looked up inquiringly to her husband, who stood beside her. "What think you of it, Ernst?" asked she, with a constrained and uneasy glance.

The Judge walked more quickly up and down the room, as was his custom when anything excited him. "I cannot feel indifferent," said he; "I am affected by this mark of confidence in my sovereign. I have long expected this occurrence; but I feel, I see that I cannot leave my present sphere of operation. My activity is suited to it; I know that I am of service here, and the confidence of the Governor gives me unrestrained power to work according to my ability and views. It is possible that he, instead of me, may get the credit of the good which is done in the province; but, in God's name, let it be so! I know that what is good and beneficial is actually done, and that is enough; but there is a great deal which is only begun which must be completed, and a great deal, an infinite great deal, remains yet to be[Pg 231] done. I cannot leave a half-finished work—I cannot and I will not! One must complete one's work, else it is good for nothing! And I know that here I am—but I am talking only of myself. Tell me, Elise, what you wish—what you would like."

"Let us remain here!" said Elise, giving her hand to her husband, and seating herself beside him. "I know that you would have no pleasure in a higher rank, in a larger income, if you on that account must leave a sphere where you feel yourself in your place, and where you can work according to the desire of your own heart, and where you are surrounded by persons who esteem and love you! No; let us remain here!"

"But you, you Elise," said he; "speak of yourself, not of me."

"Yes, you!" answered she, with the smile of a happy heart, "that is not so easy to do—for you see all that belongs to the one is so interwoven with what belongs to the other. But I will tell you something about myself. I looked at myself this morning in the glass—no satirical looks, my love!—and it seemed to me as if I appeared strong and healthy. I thought of you, thought how good and kind you were, and how, whilst I had walked by your side, I had been strengthened both in body and mind; how I must still love you more and more, and how we had become happier and happier together. I thought of your activity, so rich in blessing both for home and for the general good; thought on the children, how healthy and good they are, and how their characters have unfolded so happily under our hands. I thought of our new house which you have built so comfortable and convenient for us all, and just then the sun shone cheerfully into my little, beloved boudoir, and I felt myself so fortunate in my lot! I thanked God both for it and for you! I would willingly live and die in this sphere—in this house. Let us then remain here."

"God bless you for these words, Elise!" said he. "But the children—the children! Our decision will influence their future; we must also hear what they have to say; we must lay the matter before them: not that I fear their having, if they were aware of our mode of reasoning, any wish different to ours, but at all events they must have a[Pg 232] voice in the business. Come, Elise! I shall have no rest till it is all talked over and decided."

When the Judge laid the affair before the family council, it occasioned a great surprise; on which a general silence ensued, and attractive visions began to swarm before the eyes of the young people, not exactly of the highest Court of Judicature, but of the seat of the same—of the Capital. Louise looked almost like a Counsellor of Justice herself. But when her father had made known his and his wife's feelings on the subject, he read in their tearful eyes gratitude for the confidence he had placed in them, and the most entire acquiescence with his will.

No one spoke, however, till "the little one"—the father had not said to her, "Go out for awhile, Gabriele dear;" "Let her stop with us," he said, on the contrary, "she is a prudent little girl!"—no, none spoke till Gabriele threw her arms about her mother's neck, and exclaimed, "Ah, don't let us go away from here—here we are so happy!"

This exclamation was echoed by all.

"Well, then, here we remain, in God's name!" said the Judge, rising up and extending his arms, with tears in his eyes, towards the beloved circle. "Here we remain, children! But this shall not prevent your seeing Stockholm, and enjoying its pleasures and beauties! I thank God, my children, that you are happy here; it makes me so, too. Do you understand that?"

On this day, for the first time after a long interval, Leonore dined with the family. Everybody rejoiced on that account; and as her countenance had a brighter and more kindly expression than common, everybody thought her pretty. Eva, who had directed and assisted her toilet, rejoiced over her from the bottom of her heart.

"Don't you see, Leonore," said she, pointing up to heaven, where light blue openings were visible between clouds, which for the greater part of the day had poured down rain—"don't you see it is clearing up, Leonore? and then we will go out together, and gather flowers and fruit." And as she said this her blue eyes beamed with kindness and the enjoyment of life.

[Pg 233]

"What, in all the world, are these doing here?" asked Henrik, as he saw his mother's shoes standing in the window in the pale sunshine; "they ought to be warmed, I fancy, and the sun has no desire to come out and do his duty. No, in this case, I shall undertake to be sun!"

"That you are to me, my summer-child!" said the mother, smiling affectionately as she saw Henrik had placed her shoes under his waistcoat, to warm them on his breast.

"My sweet Louise!" exclaimed Jacobi, "you can't think what lovely weather it is! Should we not take a little walk? You come with us? You look most charming—but, in heaven's name, not in the Court-preacher!"


[15] Thomas Thorild, born 1759, died 1808, an eminent Swedish poet.




"And so you are coming home? Coming really home soon, sweet Eva? Ah! I am so happy, so joyful on that account, and yet a little anxious: but don't mind that; come, only come, and all will be right! When I can only look into your eyes, I feel that all will be clear. Your good eyes!—Gabriele and I call them 'our blue ones'—how long it is that I have not seen you—two long years! I cannot conceive, dear Eva, how I have lived so long without you; but then it is true that we have not been in reality separated. I have accompanied you into the great world; I have been with you to balls and concerts; I have enjoyed with you your pleasures and the homage which has been paid to you. Ah! what joy for me that I have learned to love you! Since then I have lived twofold, and felt myself so rich in you! And now you are coming back; and then, shall we be as happy as before?

"Forgive, forgive this note of interrogation! But sometimes a disquiet comes over me. You speak so much of the[Pg 234] great world, of joys and enjoyments, which—it is not in home to afford you. And your grand new acquaintance—ah, Eva! let them be ever so agreeable and interesting, they would not love you as we do, as I do! And then this Major R——! I am afraid of him, Eva. It appears to me the most natural thing in the world that he should love you, but—ah, Eva! it grieves me that you should feel such affection for him. My dear, good Eva, attach yourself not too closely to him before—but I distress you, and that I will not. Come, only come to us; we have so much to talk to you about, so much to hear from you, so much to say to you!

"I fancy you will find the house yet more agreeable than formerly; we have added many little decorations to it. You will again take breakfast with us—that comfortable meal, and my best-beloved time; and tea with us—your favourite hour, in which we were assembled for a merry evening, and were often quite wild. This morning I took out your breakfast-cup, and kissed that part of the edge on which the gold was worn off.

"We will again read books together, and think about and talk about them together. We will again go out together and enjoy all the freshness and quiet of the woods. And would it not be a blessed thing to wander thus calmly through life, endeavouring to improve ourselves, and to make all those around us happier; to admire the works of God, and humbly to thank Him for all that he has given to us and others? Should we not then have lived and flourished enough on earth? Truly I know that a life quiet as this might not satisfy every one; neither can it accord with all seasons of life. Storms will come;—even I have had my time of unrest, of suffering, and of combat. But, thank God! that is now past, and the sensibility which destroyed my peace is now become as a light to my path; it has extended my world; it has made me better: and now that I no longer covet to enjoy the greater and stronger pleasures of life, I learn now, each passing day, to prize yet higher the treasures which surround me in this quiet every-day life. Oh, no one can be happy on earth till he has learned the worth of little things, and to attend to them! When once he has learned this, he may make each day not only happy, but find in it cause of thankfulness. But he must have peace—peace both within[Pg 235] himself and without himself; for peace is the sun in which every dewdrop of life glitters!

"Would that I could but call back peace into a heart which—but I must prepare you for a change, for a great void in the house. You will not find Petrea here. You know the state of things which so much distressed me for some time. It would not do to let it go on any longer either for Louise or Jacobi's sake, or yet for her own, and therefore Petrea must go, otherwise they all would have become unhappy. She herself saw it; and as we had tidings of Jacobi's speedy arrival here, she opened her heart to her parents. It was noble and right of her, and they were as good and prudent as ever; and now our father has gone with her to his friend Bishop B. May God preserve her, and give her peace! I shed many tears over her; but I hope all may turn out well. Her lively heart has a fresh-flowing fountain of health in it; and certainly her residence in the country, which she likes so much, new circumstances, new interests——

"I was interrupted: Jacobi is come! It is a good thing that Petrea is now whiling away her time in the shades of Furudal; good for her poor heart, and good too for the betrothed pair, who otherwise could not have ventured to have been happy in her presence. But now they are entirely so.

"Now, after six years' long waiting, sighing, and hoping, Jacobi sees himself approaching the goal of his wishes—marriage and a parsonage! And the person who helps him to all this, to say nothing of his own individual deserts, is his beloved patron the excellent Excellency O——. Through his influence two important landed-proprietors in the parish of Great T. have been induced to give their votes to Jacobi, who, though yet young, has been proposed; and thus he will receive one of the largest and most beautiful livings in the bishopric, and Louise will become a greatly honoured pastor's wife—'provost's wife' she herself says prophetically.

"The only but in this happiness is, that it will remove Jacobi and Louise so far from us. Their highest wish had been to obtain the rural appointment near this city; and thus we might in that case have maintained our family unbroken, even though Louise had left her home; but—'but,' says our good, sensible 'eldest,' with a sigh, 'all things cannot be perfect here on earth.'[Pg 236]

"The day of nomination falls early in the spring; and Jacobi, who must enter upon his office immediately after his appointment, wishes to celebrate his marriage at Whitsuntide, in order that he may conduct his young wife into his shepherd's hut along flower-bestrewn paths, and by the song of the lark. Mrs. Gunilla jestingly beseeches of him not to become too nomadic: however, this is certain, that no living being has more interest about cows and calves, sheep and poultry, than Louise.

"The future married couple are getting their whole household in order beforehand; and Gabriele heartily amuses herself with such fragments of their entertaining conversation as reach her ear, while they sit on the sofa in the library talking of love and economy. But it is not talking alone that they do, for Jacobi's heart is full of warm human love; and our father has not the less imparted to all his children somewhat of his love for the general good, although Gabriele maintains that her portion thereof is as yet very small.

"It gives one great pleasure to see the betrothed go out to make purchases, and then to see them return so cordially well pleased with all they have bought. Louise discovers something so unsurpassably excellent in everything with which she furnishes herself, whether it be an earthen or a silver vessel. When I look at these two, like a pair of birds carrying together straws to their nest, and twittering over them, I cannot help thinking that it must be a greater piece of good fortune to come to the possession of a humbly supplied habitation which one has furnished oneself, than to that of a great and rich one for which other people have cared. One is, in the first place, so well acquainted with, so on thee-and-thou terms with one's things; and certainly nobody in this world can be more so than Louise with hers.

"We are all of us now working most actively for the wedding, but still our father does not look with altogether friendly eyes on an occasion which will withdraw a daughter from his beloved circle. He would so gladly keep us all with him, for which I rejoice and am grateful. Apropos! we have a scheme for him which will make him happy in his old age, and our mother also. You remember the great piece of building-land overgrown with bushes, which the people had not understanding enough either to build upon or to give up[Pg 237] to us, this we intend—but we will talk about it mouth to mouth. Petrea has infected us all, even 'our eldest,' with her desire for great undertakings; and then—truly it is a joy to be able to labour for the happiness of those who have laboured for us so affectionately and unweariedly.

"Now something about friends and acquaintance.

"All friends and acquaintance ask much after you. Uncle Jeremias wrangles because you do not come, all the time he breakfasts with us (generally on Wednesday and Saturday mornings), and while he abuses our rusks, but notwithstanding devours a great quantity of them. For some time he has appeared to me to have become more amiable than formerly; his temper is milder, his heart always was mild. He is the friend and physician of all the poor. A short time ago he bought a little villa, a mile distant from the city; it is to be the comfort of his age, and is to be called 'The Old Man's Rose,'—does not that sound comfortable?

"Annette P. is very unhappy with her coarse sister-in-law. She does not complain; but look, complexion, nay, even her whole being, indicate the deepest discontent with life; we must attract her to us, and endeavour to make her happier.

"Here comes Gabriele, and insists upon it that I should leave some room for her scrawl. A bold request! But then who says no to her? Not I, and therefore I must make a short ending.

"If a certain Baron Rutger L. be introduced to you when you return, do not imagine that he is deranged, although he sometimes seems as if he were so. He is the son of one of my father's friends; and as he is to be educated by my father for a civil post, he is boarded in our family. He is a kind of 'diamant brute,' and requires polishing in more senses than one; in the mean time I fancy his wild temper is in a fair way of being tamed. One word from our mother makes impression upon him; and he is actually more regardful of the ungracious demeanour of our little lady, than of the moral preaching of our eldest. He is just nineteen. Old Brigitta is quite afraid of him, and will hardly trust herself to pass him lest he should leap over her. Oh, how happy she, like everybody else, will be to see you back again! She fears lest you should get married, and stop in 'the hole,' as she calls Stockholm.[Pg 238]

"Henrik will remain with us over Christmas, but you must come and help to enliven him; he is not so joyous as formerly. I fancy that the misunderstanding between him and Stjernhök distresses him. Ah! why would not these two understand one another! For the rest, many things are now at stake for Henrik; God grant that all may go well, both on his account and mamma's!

"We shall not see Petrea again till after Louise's marriage. When shall we all be again all together at home? Sara! ah? it is now above four years since we heard anything of her, and all inquiry and search after her has been in vain. Perhaps she lives no longer! I have wept many tears over her; oh! if she should return! I feel that we should be happier together than formerly; there was much that was good and noble in her, but she was misled—I hear my mother's light steps, and that predicts that she has something good for me——

"Ah, yes! she has! she has a letter from you, my Eva! You cannot fix the day of your return, and that is very sad—but you come soon! You love Stockholm; so do I also; I could embrace Stockholm for that reason.

"I am now at the very edge of my paper. Gabriele has bespoken the other side. I leave you now, in order to write to her who left us with tears, but who, as I cordially hope, will return to us with smiles."


In the Morning.

"I could not write last evening, and am now up before the sun in order to tell you that nothing can console me for Petrea's absence, excepting your return. We are all of us terribly longing after 'our Rose.' I know very well who beside your own family longs for this same thing.

"I must tell you that a little friendship has been got up between Uncle Jeremias and me. All this came about in the fields, for he is never particularly polite within doors; whilst in a walk, the beautiful side of his character always comes out. Petrea and I have taken such long excursions with him, and then he was mild and lively; then he botanised with us, told us of the natural families in the vegetable kingdom, and related the particular life and history of many plants.[Pg 239] Do you know it is the most agreeable thing in the world to know something of all this; one feels oneself on such familiar terms with these vegetable families. Ah! how often when I feel thus am I made aware how indescribably rich and glorious life is, and I fancy that every one must live happily on earth who has only eyes and sense awakened to all that is glorious therein, and then I can sing like a bird for pure life-enjoyment. In the mean time, Uncle Jeremias and I cultivate flowers in the house quite enthusiastically, and intend at Christmas to make presents of both red and white lilacs; but, indeed, I have almost a mind to cry that the nose of my Petrea cannot smell them.

"But I must come to an end, for you must know that occasionally I have undertaken to have a watchful eye over the breakfast-table, and therefore I go now to look after it. Bergström has fortunately done all this, so that I have nothing now to do; next I must go and look after my moss-rose, and see whether a new bud has yet made its appearance; then I shall go and see after mamma; one glance must I give through the window to the leaves in the garden, which nod a farewell to me before they fall from the twigs; and to the sun also, which now rises bright and beaming, must I send a glance—a beam from the sun of my eyes and out of the depth of my thankful heart; and therefore that I may be able, for the best well-being of the community, to attend to all these important matters, I must say to you, farewell! to you who are so dear to me."



From the Inn at D——.

"It is evening, and my father is gone out in order to make arrangements for our to-morrow's voyage. I am alone: the mist rises thick without, before the dirty inn-windows; my eyes also are misty; my heart is heavy and full, I must converse with you.

"Oh, Leonore! the bitter step has thus been taken—I am separated from my own family, from my own home; and not soon shall I see again their mild glances, or hear your consoling[Pg 240] voice! and all this—because I have not deserved—because I have destroyed the peace of my home! Yes, Leonore! in vain will you endeavour to excuse me, and reconcile me with myself! I know that I am criminal—that I have desired, that I have wished, at least, for a moment—oh, I would now press the hem of Louise's garment to my lips and exclaim 'Forgive, forgive! I have passed judgment on myself—I have banished myself; I fly—fly in order no more to disturb your happiness or his!'

"I was a cloud in their heaven; what should the cloud do there? May the wind disperse it! Oh, Leonore, it is an indescribably bitter feeling for a heart which burns with gratitude to be able to do nothing more for the object of its love than to keep itself at a distance, to make itself into nothing! But rather that—rather a million-times hide myself in the bosom of the earth, than give sorrow either to him or to her! Truly, if thereby I could win anything for them; if I could moulder to dust like a grain of corn, and then shoot forth for them into plentiful blessing—that would be sweet and precious, Leonore! People extol all those who are able to die for love, for honour, for religion, for high and noble ends, and wherefore? Because it is, indeed, a mercy from God to be able so to die—it is life in death!

"I know a life which is death—which, endured through long clinging years, would be a burden to itself, and a joy to no one. Oh, how bitter! Wherefore must the craving after happiness, after enjoyment, burn like an eternal thirst in the human soul, if the assuaging fountain, Tantalus like——?

"Leonore, my eyes burn, my head aches, and my heart is wildly tempested! I am not good—I am not submissive—my soul is a chaos—a little earth on forehead and breast, that might be good for me.

On board the Steam-boat.

"Thanks, Leonore, thanks for your pillow; it has really been an ear-comfort for me.[16] Yesterday I thought that I was in the direct way to become ill. I shivered; I burned; my head ached fearfully: I felt as if torn to pieces. But when I laid my head upon your little pillow, when my ear rested upon the delicate cover which you had ornamented[Pg 241] with such exquisite needlework, then it seemed to me as if your spirit whispered to me out of it; a repose came over me; all that was bad vanished so quickly, so wonderfully; I slept calmly; I was quite astonished when they woke me in the morning to feel that, bodily, I was quite well, and mentally like one cured. This has been done by your pillow, Leonore. I kissed it and thanked you.

"It is related in the Acts of the Apostles that they brought the sick and laid them in the way on which the holy men went, that at least their shadows might fall upon them, and make them sound. I have faith in the power of such a remedy; yes, the good, the holy, impart somewhat of their life, of their strength, to all that belong to them: I have found that to-night.

"We went on board. The 'Sea-Witch' thundered and flew over the sea. I know that she conveyed me away from you all, and leaning over the bulwarks I wept. I felt then a pair of arms tenderly and gently surrounding me; they were my father's! He wrapped a warm cloak around me, and leaning on his breast, I raised my head. The morning was clear; white flame-like clouds chased by the morning wind flew across the deep blue; the waves beat foaming against the vessel; green meadows, autumnally beautiful parks, extended themselves on either side of us; space opened itself. I stood with my face turned towards the wind and space, let the sea-spray wet my lips and my eyelids, a soft shudder passed through me, and I felt that life was beautiful. Yes, in the morning hour, filled with its beaming-light, in this pure fresh wind, I felt the evil demons of my soul retreat, and disperse themselves like mist and vapour. I drank in the morning winds; I opened my heart to life; I might also have opened my arms to them, and at the same time to all my beloved ones, that thus I might have expressed to them the quiet prediction of my heart, that love to them will heal me, will afford me strength some time or other to give them joy.

The second day on board.

"I should like to know whether a deep heart-grief would resist the influence of a long voyage. There is something wonderfully strengthening, something renovating in this life, this voyaging, this fresh wind. It chases the dust from the[Pg 242] eyes of the soul; one sees oneself and others more accurately, and gets removed from one's old self. One journeys in order to stand upon a new shore, and amid new connexions. One begins, as it were, anew.

"We had a storm yesterday, and with the exception of my father, I was the only passenger who remained well, and on this account I could help the sufferers. It is true it was not without its discomforts; it is true that I reeled about sometimes with a glass of water, and sometimes with a glass of drops in the hand; but I saw many a laughable scene; many an odd trait of human nature. I laughed, made my own remarks, forgot myself, and became friendly with all mankind. Certainly it would be a very good thing for me to be maid-servant on board a steam-boat.

"Towards evening, the storm, as well within as without the vessel, abated itself. I sate solitary on dock till midnight. The waves still foamed around the agreeably rocking vessel; the wind whistled in the rigging; and the full moon, heralded by one bright little star, rose from the sea, and diffused her mild wondrous light over its dark expanse. It was infinitely glorious! Nameless thoughts and feelings arose in me, full of love and melancholy, and yet at the same time elevating and strengthening; a certain longing after that for which I knew no name. I desired I knew not what.

"But I fear and know that which I do not desire. I fear the quiet measured life into which I am about again to enter—conventionalities, forms, social life, all this cramps my soul together, and makes it inclined to excesses. Instead of sitting in select society, and drinking tea in 'high life,' would I rather roam about the world in Viking expeditions—rather eat locusts with John the Baptist in the wilderness, and go hither and thither in a garment of camel's hair; and after all, such apparel as this must be very convenient in comparison with our patchwork toilet. Manifold are the changing scenes of life, and how shall I find my way, and where shall I find my place in the magic circle of the world. Forgive me, Leonore, that I talk so much about myself. Thou good one, thou hast spoiled me in this respect.

"We reached Furudal to-day in the afternoon.


"Here are we on land; I would that I were at sea! I[Pg 243] come even now from the sitting-room, and in the sitting-room I always suffer shipwreck. An evil genius always makes me say or do something there unbecoming. This evening I entangled the reel of the Bishop's lady, and told a stupid anecdote about a relation of hers. I wished to be witty, and I succeeded badly, as I always do.

"They are very neat people here. The Bishop is a small pale man, with something angelic in voice and expression, but—he will not have much time to bestow on me; he lives in his books and his official duties, and moreover he is almost always in the city; and his lady, who remains here perpetually, has very delicate health; but I will wait upon her, and read aloud to her, and that will give me pleasure. I only hope she may endure me.

"Both husband and wife were amiable towards my father's daughter, but I very well believe that they did not find me very loveable. Intolerably hot, too, was their blessed drawing-room, and I was tanned with the wind, and as red as a peony. Such things as these are enough to make one a little desperate; all these things are trifles, yet they are nevertheless annoying; and then it is depressing, everlastingly to displease exactly where one wishes most to please!

"I have unpacked the trunk which you all so carefully packed for me; and now new and newly-repaired articles of clothing flew into my arms one after another. Oh, sisters! it was you who have thus brought my toilet in order for the whole winter! How good you are! I recognised Louise's hand again. Oh, I must weep, my beloved ones!—my home!

Some days later.

"The pine-trees rustle fresh and still. I have been out;—mountains, woods, solitude with nature—glorious!

"Oh, Leonore, I will begin a new life; I will die to my ancient self, to vanity, to error, to self-love. Every flattering token of remembrance—notes, keepsakes—be they from man or woman, I have destroyed. I send you herewith a little sum of money, which I received for ornaments and for some of my own manufactures, which I sold. Buy something with it which will give pleasure to Louise and Jacobi; but[Pg 244] do not let them surmise, I earnestly beseech you, that it comes from Petrea. If I could only sell myself for a respectable price, and make them rich, then——

"I shall have a deal of time for myself here, and I know how I shall employ it. I will go out a great deal. I will wander through wood and field, in storm, snow, and every kind of weather, till I am, at least, bodily weary. Perhaps then it may be calmer in the soul! I desire no longer to be happy. What does it matter if one is not happy, if one is only pure and good? Were the probation-day of life only not so long! Leonore, my good angel, pray for me!

"May all be happy!

"Greet all tenderly from your


"P. S.—My nose makes its compliments to Gabriele, and goes in the accompanying picture to pay her a visit. She must not imagine that I am cast down. I send also a little ballad or romance; the wood sung it to me last evening, and every harmonious sound, which life in my soul sings, must—go home! Oh, how I love you all!"

And now, whilst our Petrea appears in rural solitude to prepare herself for a new life, whilst the snow fell upon the earth in order to prepare it for now springs, we turn back to our well-known home in the town, and describe the occurrences there.


[16] Poor Petrea makes a little pun here. The Swedish word örongodt (pillow) meaning literally good for the ear.—M. H.



Jacobi had left. October was come, with its storms and its long twilight, which is so dark and heavy for all such as have it not cheered by kindly glances and bright thoughts.

One evening, as Henrik came down to tea, he was observed to look uncommonly pale, and in answer to the inquiry of his sisters as to the cause, he replied that he had headache, and added, half in jest, half in earnest, that it would be very beautiful to be only once freed from this heavy body—it was so sadly in one's way!

"How you talk!" said Louise; "at all events, it is right[Pg 245] to treat it well and rationally; not to go sitting up all night and studying so that one has headache all day!"

"Thank your majesty most submissively for the moral!" said Henrik; "but if my body will not serve my soul, but will subject it, I have a very great desire to contend with it, and to quarrel with it!"

"The butterfly becomes matured in the chrysalis," said Gabriele, smiling sweetly, whilst she strewed rose-leaves upon some chrysalises which were to sleep through the winter on her flower-stand.

"Ah, yes," replied Henrik; "but how heavily does not the shell press down upon the wings of the butterfly! The earthly chrysalis weighs upon me! What would not the soul accomplish? how could it not live and enjoy, were it not for this? In certain bright moments, what do we not feel and think? what brilliancy in conception! what godlike warmth of feeling in the heart!—one could press the whole world to one's bosom at such a time, seeing, with a glance, through all, and penetrating all as with fire. Oh, there is then an abundance, a clearness! Yes, if our Lord himself came to me at such a moment, I should reach forth my hand to him and say, 'Good day, brother!'"

"Dear Henrik!" said Louise, somewhat startled, "now I think you do not rightly know what you say."

"Yes," continued he, without regarding the interruption, "so can one feel, but only for a moment; in the next, the chrysalis closes heavily again its earthly dust-mantle around our being, and we are stupified and sleep, and sink deep below that which we so lately were. Then one sees in books nothing but printed words, and in one's soul one finds neither feeling nor thought, and towards man, for whom so shortly before the very heart seemed to burn, one feels oneself stiff and disinclined. Ah, it were enough to make one fall into despair!"

"It would be far better," said Louise, "that such people went to sleep, and then they would get rid of headache and heaviness."

"But," said Henrik, smiling, "that is a sorrowful remedy according to my notions. It is horrible to require so much sleep! How can any one who is a seven-sleeper become great? 'Les hommes puissans veillent et veulent,' says[Pg 246] Balzac with reason; and because my miserable heavy nature requires so much sleep, so certainly shall I never turn out great in any way. Besides, this entrancement, this glorification produces such wakeful moments in the soul, that one feels poor and stripped when they are extinguished. Ah! I can very well comprehend how so many make use of external excitement to recal or to prolong them, and that they endeavour through the fire of wine to wake again the fire of the soul."

"Then," said Louise, "you comprehend something which is very bad and irrational. They are precisely such excitements as these that we have to thank for there being so many miserable men, and so many drunkards in Sweden, that one can scarcely venture to go out in the streets for them!"

"I do not defend it, dear Louise," said Henrik, gently smiling at the zeal of his sister, "but I can understand it, and in certain cases I can excuse it. Life is often felt to be so heavy, and the moments of inspiration give a fulness to existence; they are like lightning flashes out of the eternal life!"

"And so they certainly are," said Leonore, who had listened attentively to her brother, and whose mild eyes had become moist by his words; "and life will certainly," continued she, "feel thus clear, thus full, when we shall have become ever entirely freed from the chrysalis; not from the bonds of the body only, but of the soul also. Perhaps these moments are given to us here on earth to allure us up to the Father's house, and to let us feel its air."

"A beautiful thought, Leonore," said her brother. "Thus these gleams of light are truly revelations of our inward, actual, here-yet-enslaved life. Good God! how glorious that—But ah! the long, long moments of darkness, what are they?"

"Trials of patience, times of preparation," replied Leonore, tenderly smiling. "Besides, the bright moments come again and gladden us with their light, and that so much the more frequently the further one advances in perfection. But one must, at the same time, learn to have patience with oneself, Henrik, and here, in this life, to wait for oneself."

"You have spoken a true word, sister. I must kiss your hand for it," said Henrik. "Ah, yes, if——"[Pg 247]

"Be now a little less sensible and æsthetic," exclaimed "our eldest," "and come here and drink a cup of tea! See here, Henrik, a cup of strong warm tea, which will do your head good. But this evening and to-morrow morning you must take a table-spoonful of my elixir!"

"From that defend us all, ye good—Vi ringrazia carissima sorella!" said Henrik. "But—but charming Gabriele! a drop of port wine in the tea would make it more powerful, without turning me into one of those miserable beings of whom Louise is so afraid! Thanks, sister dear! Fermez les yeux, O Mahomet!" and with an obeisance before Louise, Henrik conveyed the cup to his lips.

Later in the evening Henrik stood in one of the library windows looking out into the moonlight. Leonore went up to him and looked into his face with that mild, humbly questioning glance to which the heart so willingly opened itself, and which was peculiar to her.

"You are so pale, Henrik," said she, disquieted.

"It is extraordinary," said he, half laughing at himself; "do you see, Leonore, how the tops of the fir-trees there in the churchyard bow themselves in the wind and beckon? I cannot conceive why, but this nodding and beckoning distresses me wonderfully; I feel it in my very heart."

"That comes naturally enough, Henrik," returned she, "because you are not well. Shall we not go out a little? It is such lovely moonshine! The fresh air will perhaps do you good."

"Will you go with me, Leonore?" said he. "Yes, that is a good idea!"

Gabriele found it, however, rather poor, and called her brother and sister Samoyedes, Laplanders, Esquimaux, and such like, who would go wandering about in the middle of a winter's night. Nevertheless these two went forth jestingly and merrily arm in arm.

"Is it not too windy for you?" asked Henrik, whilst he endeavoured carefully to shield his sister from the wind.

"The wind is not cold," replied Leonore, "and it is particularly charming to me to walk by your side while it roars around us, and while the snow-flakes dance about in the moonshine like little elves."

"Nay, you feel then like me!" said Henrik; "with you,[Pg 248] sisters, I am ever calm and happy; but I don't know how it is, but now for some time other people often plague and irritate me——"

"Ah, Henrik," remarked Leonore, "is not that someway your own fault?"

"Are you thinking of Stjernhök, Leonore?" asked he.


"So am I," continued he, "and perhaps you are right; yes, I will willingly concede that I have often been unjust towards him, and unreasonably violent, but he has excited me to it. Why has he made me so often oppressively feel his superiority? so often taken away from me my own joy in my own endeavours, and almost always treated me with coldness and depreciation?"

Leonore made no answer, the moonlight lit a quiet tear in her eye, and Henrik continued with increasing violence:

"I could have loved him so much! He had, through the originality of his character, his strength, and his whole individuality, a great influence, a great power over me; but he has misused it; he has treated me severely, precisely in the instances in which I approached him nearest. He has flung from him the devotion which I cherished for him. I will tell you the whole truth, Leonore, and how this has happened between us. You know that in the University, about three years ago, a sort of literary society of young men gathered themselves about me. Perhaps they esteemed my literary talents too highly, and might mislead me—I could almost believe so myself, but I was the favourite of the day in the circle in which my life moved; perhaps, on that account, I became presumptuous; perhaps a tone of pretension betrayed itself in me, and a false, one-sided direction was visible in the poems which I then published: nevertheless, these poems made some little noise in the world. Shortly, however, after their appearance a criticism on them came out, which made a yet greater noise, on account of its power, its severity, and also its satirical wit. Its acrimony spared neither my work nor my character as a poet, and it produced almost universally a re-action against me. It appeared to me severe and one-sided; and even now, at this moment, it appears to me not otherwise, although I can now see its justice much better than at the time.[Pg 249]

"The anonymous author of the critique upon me was Stjernhök, and he did not in the slightest deny it. He considered it as being much less directed against me personally, than against the increasing influence of the party of which I was a sort of chief. Even before this I had begun to withdraw myself from his power, which I always felt to be oppressive; and this new blow did not, by any means, tend to reunite us. His severe criticism had made me observant of my faults; but yet I do not know whether it would have produced any other effect than pain, had I not at this time returned home to you; and at home, through the beneficial influence of my own family, a new strength and a purer direction had been aroused in me. That was the time in which my father, with indescribable goodness, and in complot with you all, sold the half of his library to furnish me with the means of foreign travel. Yes, you have called forth a new being in me; and all my poems, and all my writings, are now designed to prove to you that I am not unworthy of you. Ah, yes! I love you warmly and deeply—but it is all over with Stjernhök; the love which I cherished for him has changed itself into bitterness."

"Ah, Henrik, Henrik, do not let it be so!" said Leonore. "Stjernhök is indeed a noble, a good man, even if, at the same time, too severe. But really he loves you as well as we, but you two will not understand one another; and Henrik, the last time you were really unjust to him—you seemed as if you could hardly bear him."

"I hardly can, Leonore," said he. "It is a feeling stronger than myself. I don't know what evil spirit it is which now, for some time, has set itself firmly in my heart; but there it is steadfastly rooted; and if I am aware only of Stjernhök's presence, it is as if a sharp sword passed through me; before him my heart contracts itself; and if he only touch me, I feel as if burning lead went through my veins."

"Henrik! dearest Henrik!" exclaimed Leonore with pain, "it is really terrible! Ah! make only the attempt with yourself; conquer your feelings, and extend the hand of reconciliation to him."

"It is too late for that, Leonore," said Henrik. "Yes, if it were necessary for him, it would be easy; but what does he trouble himself about me? He never loved me,[Pg 250] never esteemed either my efforts or my ability. And perhaps it may be with some justice that he does not think so very highly of my talents. What have I done? And sometimes it seems to me, even in the future, that I never shall do any thing great; that my powers are limited, and that my spring-time is past. Stjernhök's, on the contrary, is yet to come; he belongs to that class which mounts slowly, but on that account all the more steadily. I see now, much better than I did formerly, how far he stands beyond me, and how much higher he will rise—and his knowledge is martyrdom to me."

"But wherefore," pleaded Leonore, "these dark thoughts and feelings, dear Henrik, when your future appears fuller of hope than ever before? Your beautiful poetry; your prize essay, which is certain to bring you honour; the prospect of an advantageous post, a sphere of action which will be dear to you—all this, which in a few months will so animate your heart—why has it at this time so lost its power over you?"

"I cannot tell," replied he; "but for some time now I have been, and am much changed; I have no faith in my good fortune; it seems to me as if all my beautiful hopes will vanish like a dream."

"And even if it were so," said Leonore questioningly, with humility and tenderness, "could you not find happiness and peace at home; in the occupation of your beloved studies; in the life with us, who love you solely, and for your own sake?"

Henrik pressed his sister's arm to his side, but answered nothing; and a violent passing gust of wind compelled him to stand still for a moment.

"Horrible weather!" said he, wrapping his cloak round his sister at the same time.

"But this is your favourite weather," remarked she jestingly.

"Was, you should say," returned he; "now I do not like it, perhaps because it produces a feeling in me which distresses me." With these words he took his sister's hand and laid it on his heart. His heart beat wildly and strongly; its beating was almost audible.

"Heavens!" exclaimed Leonore, alarmed, "Henrik, what is this?—is it often thus?"[Pg 251]

"Only occasionally;—I have had it now for some time," replied he; "but don't be uneasy on this account; and, above all things, say nothing to my mother or Gabriele about it. I have spoken with Munter on the subject; he has prescribed for me, and does not think it of much consequence. To-day I have had it without intermission, and perhaps I am from that cause somewhat hypochondriacal. Forgive me, dear Leonore, that I have teased you about it. I am much better and livelier now; this little walk has done me good—if you only don't get cold, Leonore, or you would certainly be punished, or at all events be threatened, with Louise's elixir. But does there not drive a travelling carriage towards our door, exactly as if it would stop there? Can it be Eva? The carriage stops—it is certainly Eva!"

"Eva! Eva!" exclaimed Leonore, with cordial delight; and both brother and sister ran so quickly to the gate that she was received into their arms as she dismounted from the carriage.



Among the agreeable circumstances which occur in a happy home may certainly be reckoned the return to its bosom of one of its beloved members. So returns the bee to the safe hive with her harvest of honey, after her flight abroad over the meadows of the earth. How much is there not mutually to relate, to hear, to see, and to enjoy! Every cloud in the heaven of home vanishes then; all is sunshine and joy; and it must be bad indeed if they do not find one another lovelier and improved, for when everything goes on right here, every advancing footstep in life must tend in a certain manner to improvement.

Bright, indeed, did Eva's return make the hours of sunshine in the Frank family! The mutual love which demonstrated itself in embraces, smiles, tears, laughter, sweet words of greeting, and a thousand tokens of joy and tenderness, made the first hours vanish in a lively intoxication, and then, when all had become quieter and they looked nearer about them, all looks and thoughts gathered themselves still about Eva with rapture; her beauty seemed now in its full bloom,[Pg 252] and a captivating life seemed to prevail in her looks, in her behaviour, in her every motion, which hitherto had not been seen. Her dress of the most modern fashion, a certain development and style about her, a bewitching case of manner, all evinced the elegant circles of the capital, and exerted their magic over her friends, and charmed them all, but especially Gabriele, who followed her beautiful sister with beaming looks.

Bergström gave way to his feelings in the kitchen, and exclaimed, "Mamselle Eva is quite divine!" Never had the blond Ulla so entirely agreed with him before.

Leonore was the only one who regarded Eva with a tender yet at the same time troubled eye. She saw a something worldly in Eva's exterior and demeanour, which was a presage to her that a great and not happy change had taken place in her beloved sister. Nor was it long before Leonore's foreboding proved itself to be right. Eva had not been many hours in the house before it was plainly visible that domestic affairs had but little interest for her, and that parents and family and friends were not to her all that they had been before.

Eva's soul was entirely occupied by one object, which laid claim to all her thoughts and feelings, and this was Major R——. His handsome person, his brilliant talents; his amiability, his love; the parties in which she had met him, the balls in which she had danced with him; the occasions on which they had played parts together—in short, all the romantic unfoldings of their connexion, were the pictures which now alone lived in her heart, and danced around her fancy, now heated by worldly happiness.

The grave expression of her father's countenance, as he heard her first mention the Major, prevented her during this first evening from repeating his name.

But when afterwards she was alone with her sisters, when the sweet hour of talk came, which between dear friends, on such occasions, generally extends itself from night till morning, Eva gave free course to all with which her soul was filled, and related to her sisters at large her romance of the last year, in which several rival lovers figured, but of which Major R—— was the hero. Nor was it without self-satisfaction that Eva represented herself as the worshipped and[Pg 253] conquering heroine amid a crowd of rival ladies. Her soul was so occupied by all these circumstances, her mind was so excited, that she did not observe the embarrassment of her sisters during her relation; she saw neither their disquiet, their constrained smiles, nor their occasionally depressed looks.

Nor was it till when, with eyes beaming with joy, she confided to them that Major R—— would soon come to the city, where he had relatives; that he would spend the Christmas with them, and then ask her hand from her parents, that the veil fell from her eyes. Louise expressed herself strongly against Major R——, wondered at her sister, and lamented that she could endure such a man; it was not, she said, what she had expected from her. Eva, very much wounded, defended the Major with warmth, and talked of intolerance and prejudice. In consequence of this, Louise's indignation was increased; Gabriele began to weep, and Louise bore her company; she seemed to look upon Eva as on one lost. Leonore was calmer; she spoke not one word which could wound her sister, but sighed deeply, and looked with quiet grief upon the beloved but misguided sister; and then seeing what a tragical turn the conversation was taking, said, with all that expression of calm sincerity so peculiarly her own:

"Do not let us this evening speak further on this subject; do not let us disturb our joy. We have now Eva with us at home, and shall have time enough to talk and to think—and then all will be cleared up. Is it not quite for the best that we sleep on this affair? Eva must be weary after her journey, and our 'blue-eyed one' must not weep on this first evening."

Leonore's advice was taken, and with a mutual "forgive," Louise, Eva, and Gabriele embraced and separated for the night. Leonore was happy to be alone with Eva, and listened undisturbedly through the whole night to her relations. The good Leonore!

Major Victor R. was universally known as one of those who make sport with female hearts, and Judge Frank regarded sport of this kind with a severity very uncommon among his sex, especially where, as was the case in this instance, selfishness, and not thoughtlessness, led to it. The Major, ten years before this time, had married a young and rich girl connected with the Judge's family; and the only fault of the young wife, then sixteen, had been that of loving[Pg 254] her husband too tenderly—nay, even in adoring one who repaid her love with relentless severity and faithlessness, under which the poor Amelia drooped, and, in the second year of her marriage, died; but not without having bequeathed to the unworthy husband all the property over which she had any control.

These were the very means by which R. now was enabled to pursue his brilliant and reckless career. He always made his court to one of the beauties of the day. He had been several times betrothed, but had broken off the affair again without the smallest regard to the reputation or to the feelings of the girl, upon whom by this means he had cast a stain—nay, indeed, he secretly regarded it as an honour to himself to make such victims, and to cause hearts to bleed for him—that cooled the burning thirst of his self-love.

The world did justice to his agreeable and splendid talents; but the noble of his own sex, as well as of the other, esteemed him but very lightly, inasmuch as they considered him a person without true worth. The thoughts of a union between this man and his beloved daughter occasioned a storm in the bosom of the Judge.

Such was the information regarding the man whom she loved that met Eva on her return home. Everybody was unanimously against him. What Eva spoke in his excuse produced no effect; what she said of his true and deep devotion to her, evidently nobody credited; and over her own love, which had made the world so beautiful, which had produced the most delicious feelings in her breast, and had opened to her a heaven of happiness, people mourned and wept, and regarded it as a misfortune, nay, even as a degradation. Wounded to the inmost of her soul, Eva drew herself back, as it were, from her own family, and accused them to herself of selfishness and unreasonableness. Louise, perhaps, deserved somewhat of this reproach; but Leonore was pure, pure as the angels of heaven; still Leonore mourned over Eva's love, and on that account Eva closed her heart against her also.

The variance, which in consequence of all this existed between Eva and her family, became only yet greater when Major R. arrived, shortly after her, at the city. He was a tall handsome man, of perhaps five-and-thirty; of a haughty,[Pg 255] but somewhat trifling exterior; his countenance was gay and blooming, and his look clear and bold. Great practice in the world, and an inimitable ease and confidence, gave to his demeanour and conversation that irresistible power which these qualities exercise so greatly in society.

On his visit to the Franks, the Judge and he exchanged some glances, in which both read that neither could endure the other. The Major, however, let nothing of all this be seen; was perfectly candid and gay; and while he directed his conversation especially to Elise, spoke scarcely one word to Eva, though he looked much at her. After the first stiff salutation, the Judge went again into his study, for the very appearance of this man was painful to him. Leonore was polite, nay, almost friendly to him, for she would willingly have loved one whom Eva loved. Assessor Munter was present during this visit; but when he had seen, for a few minutes, the glances which the Major cast upon Eva, and their magic influence over her, and had observed and had read her whole heart in a timid glance which she raised to her beloved, he withdrew silently and hastily.

The Major came but seldom to the house, for the eye of the Judge appeared to have the power of keeping him at a distance; on the contrary, he managed it so that he saw Eva almost daily out of the house. He met her when she went out, and accompanied her home from church. Invitations came; sledging-parties and balls were arranged; and Eva, who formerly was so well pleased with home, who had often given up the pleasures of the world for the domestic evening circle, Eva appeared to find nothing now pleasing at home; appeared only to be able to live in those circles and those pleasures in which Major R. shone, and where she could see herself distinguished by him. Precisely, therefore, on account of these rencontres of the two, the family went as little as possible into society. Still, notwithstanding all this, Eva's wishes upon the whole were favoured. Leonore accompanied her faithfully wherever she wished. The Judge was gloomy and disturbed in temper; the mother was mild and accommodating; and as to Eva, she was in a high degree sensitive; whilst whatever concerned her love, or seemed to oppose her wishes in the slightest degree, brought her to tears and hysterical sobs, and her friends became ever more and[Pg 256] more aware how violent and exclusive her love was to Major R. The mere glimpse of him, the sound of his steps, the tone of his voice, shook her whole frame. All earlier affectionate relationships had lost their power over her heart.

It not unfrequently happens that people, whether it arises from physical or moral causes, become wonderfully unlike themselves. Irritability, violence, indiscretion, and unkindness, suddenly reveal themselves in a hitherto gentle and amiable character, and, as if by a magic stroke, a beautiful form has been transformed into a witch. It requires a great deal, under such circumstances, to keep friends warm and unchanged. A great demand of goodness, a great demand of clearness of vision, is made from any one when, under these circumstances, he is required to remain true in the same love, to persevere in the same faith, to wait patiently for the time when the magic shall lose its power, when the changed one shall come back again; and yet he, all the time, be able only to present himself by quiet prayers, mild looks, and affectionate care! Probably otherwise he never might have come back again. I say great purity of vision, because the true friend never loses sight of the heavenly image of his friend; but sees it through every veil of casualty, even when it is concealed from all, nay, even from the faulty one's self! He has faith in it; he loves it; he lives for it, and says, "Wait! have patience! it will go over, and then he (or she) comes back again!" And whoever has such a friend, comes back indeed!

So stood the quiet, affectionate Leonore on the side of her altered sister.

All this time Henrik was beneficial to his whole family, and appeared to have regained all his former amiable animation, in order therewith to eradicate every disturbing sensation from the bosom of home. He accompanied his family, more than he had ever done before, into society, and had always a watchful eye on his sister and the Major.

Before long the Major declared himself, and asked for Eva's hand. Her parents had prepared themselves for this event, and had decided on their line of conduct. They intended not to make their child unhappy by a decided negative to the wishes of her heart; but they had determined to demand a year of trial both from her and her lover, during which[Pg 257] time they should have no intercourse with each other, should exchange no letters, and should consider themselves as free from every mutual obligation; and that then again after this interval of time, if they two, the Major and Eva, still wished it, the question of their union might again he brought forward. This middle path had been proposed by Elise, who, through a progressively inward, and more perfect fulfilment of duties, had acquired an ever-increasing power over her husband, and thus induced him to accede to it, at the same time that she endeavoured to infuse into him the hope which she herself cherished, namely, either that Eva, during the time of probation, would discover the unworthiness of the Major, and won over by the wishes and the tenderness of her family, would conquer her love, or, on the other hand, that the Major, ennobled by love and constant to her, would become worthy of her. It was one of the most favourite and cherished axioms of the Judge, that every man had the power of improving himself, and he willingly conceded that for this end there existed no more powerful means than a virtuous love.

The Judge now talked energetically yet tenderly with his daughter; explained clearly to her the terms of this connexion, without concealing from her how bitter to him had been, and still was, the thought of this union, and appealed to her own sense and reason whether too much had been required in this prescribed time of trial.

Eva shed many tears; but deeply affected by the goodness of her parents, consented to their wishes, and promised, though not without pain, to fulfil them. The Judge wrote to the Major, who had made his declaration by letter, a candid and noble, but by no means sugared, answer; wherein he required from him, as a man of honour, that he should by no means whatever induce Eva to swerve from the promises which she had made to her parents, and by this means disturb her hitherto so happy connexion with her own family. This letter, which the father allowed his daughter to read, and which occasioned her fresh tears, whilst she in vain endeavoured to persuade him to remove expressions which she considered too severe, but which he, on the contrary, considered too mild, was despatched the same day, and all was again quieter.[Pg 258]

Probably Eva would strictly have adhered to the wishes of her parents, which they endeavoured to make pleasant to her by much kindness, had not a letter from the Major been conveyed to her on the next evening, which quite excited and unhinged her again. He complained violently therein of her father's unreasonableness, injustice, and tyranny; and spoke, in the most passionate terms, of his love, of his unbounded sufferings, and of his despair. The consequence of this letter was that Eva was ill—but more so, however, in mind than body, and that she demanded to have an interview with Assessor Munter.

The friend and physician of the house came immediately to her.

"Do you love me?" was Eva's first question when they were alone.

"Do I love you, Eva?" answered he, and looked at her with an expression of eye which must have moved any heart to tenderness that had been otherwise occupied than hers was.

"If you love me, if you desire that I should not be really ill," continued Eva, speaking with quickness and great warmth, "you must convey this letter to Major R——, and bring his answer back into my hands. My father is set against him, everybody is set against him; nobody knows him as well as I do! I am in a state of mind which will drive me to despair, if you have not compassion on me! But you must be my friend in secret.—You will not? If you love me you must take this letter and——"

"Desire all things from me, Eva," interrupted he, "but not this! and precisely because you are so dear to me. This man in fact is not worthy of you; he does not deserve——"

"Not a word about him!" interrupted Eva, with warmth: "I know him better than you all—I alone know him; but you all are his enemies, and enemies to my happiness. Once again I pray you—pray you with tears! Is it then so much that I desire from you? My benefactor, my friend, will you not grant this prayer of your Eva?"

"Let me speak with your father," said he.

"On this subject? No, no! impossible!" exclaimed she.

"Then, Eva, I must refuse your prayer. It gives me more pain than I can express to refuse you anything in this world; but I will not stain my hand in this affair. I will not be a means of your unhappiness. Farewell!"[Pg 259]

"Stop, stop," cried Eva, "and hear me! What is it that you fear for me?"

"Everything from a man of R——'s character."

"You mistake him, and you mistake me," returned she.

"I know him, and I know you," said he, "and on that account I would rather go into fire than convey letters between him and you. This is my last word."

"You will not!" exclaimed she; "then you love me not, and I have not a friend in this world!"

"Eva, Eva, do not say so! you sin against yourself. You know not—ask everything from me—ask my life—ah, through you, life has already lost its worth for me!—ask——"

"Empty words!" interrupted Eva, and turned impatiently away. "I desire nothing more from you, Assessor Munter! Pardon me that I have given you so much trouble!"

Munter looked at her for some moments in silence, laid his hand hastily on his heart as if he had a violent pain there, and went out more bowed than commonly.

Not long after this, an unexpected ray of light gladdened the painful condition of affairs between Eva and her family. She was calmer. The Major removed from the city into the country, to pass the Christmas with a relation of his there; and on the same day Eva came down into the library at the customary hour of tea, after she had passed several days in her own room. Every one received her with joy. Her father went towards her with open arms, called her sweet names, placed her on the sofa by her mother, and took her tea to her himself: a lover could not have been more tender or more attentive to her. One might see that Eva was not indifferent to these marks of affection, and that yet she did not receive them altogether with joy. A burning red alternated with paleness on her cheek, and at times it seemed that a tear, a repentant tear, filled her eyes.

From this time, however, the old state of feeling, and the old quiet, returned in part to the bosom of the family. Nobody named the Major; and as, when spring-time comes, the grass grows and the leaves burst forth, although the heaven is yet dark, and many a northern blast yet lingers in the air, so did affectionate feelings and joyful hours spring up again[Pg 260] in the family of the Franks, from the spontaneous vernal spirit which reigned there.

You might have seen the mother there, like the heart of the family, taking part in all that went forward, making every one so cheerful and comfortable, as she moved about here and there, so rich in grace and joy and consolation! Wherever she came, there came with her a something pleasant or animating, either in word or deed; and yet all this time she was very far from being herself calm. Care for her daughter was accompanied by anxiety on account of Henrik's prospects and happiness. She understood, better than any one else, his feelings, his wishes, and his thoughts; and on this account glances of friendly understanding were often exchanged between them, and from this cause also was it that on those days on which the post came in from Stockholm, she became paler and paler the nearer post-time came—for it perhaps might bring with it important news for Henrik.

"My dear Elise," said the Judge, jesting affectionately, "to what purpose is all this unquiet, this incomprehensible anxiety? I grant that it would be a happiness to us all, and a piece of good luck, if Henrik could obtain the solicited situation—but if he do not get it—well, what then?—he can get another in a little while. He is yet a mere youngster, and can very well wait for some years. And his poem—suppose it should now and never more be regarded as a masterpiece, and should not obtain the prize—now, in heaven's name! what does it matter? He would perhaps, from the very circumstance of his having less fortune as a poet, be only the more practical man, and I confess that would not mortify me. And I shall wish both the poem and the appointment at the place where pepper grows if you are to become pale and nervous on its account! Promise me now next post-day to be reasonable, and not to look like the waning moon, else I promise you that I shall be downright angry, and will keep the whole post-bag to myself!"

To his children the father spoke thus: "Have you really neither genius nor spirit of invention enough to divert and occupy your mother on the unfortunate post-day? Henrik, it depends upon you whether she be calm or not; and if you do not convince her that, let your luck in the world be whatever[Pg 261] it may, you can bear it like a man, I must tell you that you have not deserved all the tenderness which she has shown you!"

Henrik coloured deeply, and the Judge continued: "And you, Gabriele! I shall never call you my clever girl again, if you do not make a riddle against the next post-day which shall so occupy your mother that she shall forget all the rest!"

The following post-day was an exceedingly merry one. Never before had more interesting topics of conversation been brought forward by Henrik; never before had the mother been so completely seduced into the discussions of the young people. At the very moment when the post-hour arrived she was deeply busied in solving a riddle, which Henrik and Gabriele endeavoured to make only the more intricate by their fun and jokes, whilst they were pretending to assist her in the discovery.

The riddle ran as follows:

Raging war and tumult
Am I never nigh;
And from rain and tempest
To far woods I fly.
In cold, worldly bosoms
My deep grave is made;
And from conflagration
Death has me affrayed.
No one e'er can find me
In the dungeon glooms;
I have no abiding,
Save where freedom blooms.
My morning sun ariseth,
Light o'er mind to fling;
O'er love's throbbing bosom
Rests my downy wing!
Like our Lord in heaven,
I am ever there
And like him of children
Have I daily care.
What though I may sever
From thee now and then,
I forget thee never——
I come back again!
In the morning's brightness,
Dear one, if thou miss me,
With the sunset's crimson
Come I back and kiss thee!

This riddle, which it must be confessed was by no means[Pg 262] one of Gabriele's best, gave rise to a fund of amusement, and occasioned the maddest propositions on Henrik's part. The mother, however, did not allow herself to be misled; but exclaimed, whilst she laughingly endeavoured to overpower the voices of her joking children,

"The riddle is——"

What the riddle was, the reader may see by the title of our next chapter.



"Happiness!" repeated the Judge, as he entered the room at the same moment, with letters and newspapers in his hand.

"I fancy you have been busying yourselves here with prophesyings," said he: "Gabriele, my child, you shall have your reward for it—read this aloud to your mother!" laying a newspaper before her.

Gabriele began to read—but threw the paper hastily down, gave a spring for joy, clapped her hands, and exclaimed,

"Henrik's poetry has won the highest prize!"

"And here, Henrik," said the father, "are letters—you are nominated to——" The voice of the Judge was drowned in the general outbreak of joy. Henrik lay in the arms of his mother, surrounded by his sisters, who, amid all their jubilation, had tearful eyes.

The Judge walked up and down the room with long strides; at length he paused before the happy group, and exclaimed,

"Nay, only see! let me also have a little bit! Elise—my thanks to thee that thou hast given him to me—and thou boy, come here—I must tell thee——" but not one word could he tell him.

The father, speechless from inward emotion, embraced his son, and returned in the same manner the affectionate demonstrations of his daughters.

Many private letters from Stockholm contained flattering words and joyful congratulations to the young poet. All Henrik's friends seemed to accord in one song of triumph.[Pg 263]

There was almost too much happiness for one time.

During the first moments of this news the joy was calm and mingled with emotion; afterwards, however, it was lively, and shot forth like rockets in a thousand directions. Every thing was in motion to celebrate the day and its hero; and while the father of the family set about to mix a bowl—for he would that the whole house should drink Henrik's health—the others laid plans for a journey to Stockholm. The whole family must be witnesses of Henrik's receiving the great gold medal—they must be present on the day of his triumph. Eva recovered almost her entire liveliness as she described a similar festival which she had witnessed in the Swedish Academy.

Henrik talked a deal about Stockholm; he longed to be able to show his mother and sisters the beautiful capital. How they would be delighted with the gallery of mineralogy—how they would be charmed with the theatres! how they would see and hear the lovely Demoiselle Högquist and the captivating Jenny Lind![17]—and then the castle!—the promenades—the prospects—the churches—the beautiful statues in the public places—Henrik would have been almost ready to have overthrown some of them. Oh, there was so much that was beautiful and delightful to see in Stockholm!

The mother smiled in joy over——the occasion of the journey to Stockholm; the father said "yes" to that and every thing; the countenances of the young people beamed forth happiness; the bowl was fragrant with good luck.

The young Baron L., who liked Henrik extremely, and who liked still more every lively excitement to every uproar, was possessed by a regular frenzy to celebrate the day. He waltzed with everybody; Louise might not sit still; "the little lady" must allow herself to be twirled about; but the truth was that in her joy she was about as wild for dancing as he was himself—the very Judge himself must waltz with him; and at last he waltzed with chairs and tables, whilst the fire of the punch was not very much calculated to abate his vivacious spirits.

It was very hard for the Judge that he was compelled on this very day to leave home, but pressing business obliged[Pg 264] him to do so. He must make a journey that same evening, which would detain him from home for three or four days, and although he left his family in the full bloom of their joy and prosperity, the short separation appeared to him more painful than common.

After he had taken his leave he returned—a circumstance very unusual with him—to the room again; embraced his wife yet a second time, flourished about with his daughters in his wolf's-skin cloak as if out of liveliness, and then went out hastily, giving to the young Baron, who, in his wild joy, had fallen upon his wolf's-skin like a dog, a tolerably heavy cuff. A few minutes afterwards, as he cast from his sledge a glance and a hand-greeting to his wife and daughters at the library window, they saw with astonishment that his eyes were full of tears.

But the joy of the present, and the promises of the future, filled the hearts of those who remained behind to overflowing, and the evening passed amid gaiety and pleasure.

Baron L. drank punch with the domestics till both he and they were quite wrong in the head, and all Louise's good moral preaching was like so many water-drops on the fire. Henrik was nobly gay, and the beaming expression of his animated, beautiful head, reminded the beholder of an Apollo.

"Where now are all your gloomy forebodings?" whispered Leonore, tenderly joyful; "you look to me as if you could even embrace Stjernhök."

"The whole world!" returned Henrik, clasping his sister to his breast, "I am so happy!"

And yet there was one person in the house who was happier than Henrik, and that was his mother. When she looked on the beautiful, glorified countenance of her son, and thought of that which he was and on what he would become; when she thought on the laurels which would engarland his beloved head, on the future which awaited her favourite, her summer child—Oh! then bloomed the high summer of maternal joy in her breast, and she revelled in a nameless happiness—a happiness so great that she was almost anxious, because it appeared to her too great to be borne on earth!

And yet for all that—and we say it with grateful joy—the earth can bear a great degree of happiness; can bear it for long without its either bringing with it a curse or a disappointment.[Pg 265] It is in stillness and in retirement where this good fortune blooms the best, and on that account the world knows little of it, and has little faith in it. But, thank God! it may be abundantly found in all times and in all countries; and it is—we whisper this to the blessed ones in order that we may rejoice with them—it is of extremely rare occurrence when it happens in actual life, as, for the sake of effect, it happens in books, that a strong current of happiness carries along with it unhappiness as in a drag-rope.


[17] Emilie Högquist and Jenny Lind are two great ornaments of the Stockholm theatre; the first an actress, the second a singer.



Night succeeded the joyful evening, and the members of the Frank family lay deep in the arms of sleep, when suddenly, at the hour of midnight, they were awoke by the fearful cry of "Fire! fire!"

The house was on fire, and smoke and flames met them at every turn; for the conflagration spread with incredible speed. An inconceivable confusion succeeded: one sought for another; one called on another; mother and children, inmates and domestics!

Only half-dressed, and without having saved the least thing, the inhabitants of the house assembled themselves in the market-place, where an innumerable crowd of people streamed together, and began to work the fire-engines; whilst church bells tolled violently, and the alarm-drums were beaten wildly and dully up and down the streets. Henrik dragged with him the young Baron L——, who was speechless, and much injured by the fire.

The mother cast a wild searching look around among her children, and suddenly exclaiming "Gabriele!" threw herself with a thrilling cry of anguish into the burning house. A circle of people hastily surrounded the daughters, in order to prevent their following her, and at the same moment two men broke forth from them, and hastened with the speed of lightning after her. The one was her beautiful, now more than ever beautiful, son. The other resembled one of the Cyclops, as art has represented them at work in their subterranean smithies, excepting that he had two eyes, which in this moment flashed forth flames, as if bidding defiance to[Pg 266] those with which he was about to combat. Both vanished amid the conflagration.

A moment's silence ensued: the alarm-drum ceased to beat; the people scarcely breathed; the daughters wrung their hands silently, and the fire-bell called anxiously to the ineffectual engine-showers, for the flames rose higher and higher.

All at once a shout was sent from the mass of the people; all hearts beat joyfully, for the mother was borne in the arms of her son from amid the flames, which stretched forth their hissing tongues towards her!—and—now another shout of exultation! The modern Cyclop, in one word the Assessor, stood in a window of the second story, and, amid the whirlwind of smoke, was seen a white form, which he pressed to his bosom. A ladder was quickly raised, and Jeremias Munter, blackened and singed, but nevertheless happy, laid the fainting but unhurt Gabriele in the arms of her mother and sisters.

After this, he and Henrik returned to the burning house, from which they were fortunate enough to save the desk containing the Judge's most valuable papers. A few trifles, but of no great importance, were also saved. But this was all. The house was of wood, and spite of every effort to save it, was burned, burned, burned to the ground, but, as it stood detached, without communicating the fire to any other.

When Henrik, enfeebled with his exertions, returned to his family, he found them all quartered in the small dwelling of the Assessor, which also lay in the market-place; while Jeremias seemed suddenly to have multiplied himself into ten persons, in order to provide his guests with whatever they required. His old housekeeper, what with the fire, and what with so many guests who were to be provided for in that simply-supplied establishment, was almost crazed. But he had help at hand for everybody: he prepared coffee, he made beds, and seemed altogether to forget his own somewhat severe personal injuries by the fire. He joked about himself and his affairs at the same time that he wiped tears from his eyes, which he could not but shed over the misfortunes of his friends. Affectionate and determined, he provided for everything and for every one; whilst Louise and Leonore assisted him with quiet resolution.[Pg 267]

"Wilt thou be reasonable, coffee-pot, and not boil over like a simpleton, since thou hast to provide coffee for ladies!" said the Assessor in jesting anger. "Here, Miss Leonore, are drops for the mother and Eva. Sister Louise, be so good as to take my whole storeroom in hand; and you, young sir," said he to Henrik, as he seized him suddenly by the arm, and gazed sharply into his face, "come you with me, for I must take you rather particularly in hand."

There was indeed not a moment to lose; a violent effusion of blood from the chest, placed the young man's life in momentary danger. Munter tore off his coat, and opened a vein at the very moment in which he lost all consciousness.

"What a silly fellow!" said the Assessor, as Henrik breathed again, "how can anybody be so silly when he is such—a clever fellow! Nay, now all danger for the time is over. Death has been playing his jokes with us to-night! Now, like polite knights, let us be again in attendance on the ladies. Wait, I must just have a little water for my face, that I need not look, any more than is necessary, like 'the Knight of the Rueful Countenance!'"



The sun of the next morning shone brightly on the glistening snow-covered roofs round the market-place, and dyed the smoke-clouds, which rose slowly from the ruins of the burnt-down house, with the most gorgeous tints of purple, gold, and sulphur-blue, whilst hundreds of little sparrows raked and picked about in the ashy flakes which were scattered over the snow in the market-place and churchyard, with exulting twitterings.

Mother and daughters looked with tearful eyes towards the smoking place where had so lately stood their dearly beloved home; but yet no one gave themselves up to sorrow. Eva alone wept much, but that from a cause of grief concealed in her own heart. She knew that Major R. had passed the night in the city, and yet for all that—she had not seen him!

With the morning came much bustle, and a crowd of people into the dwelling of the Assessor. Families came who offered[Pg 268] to the roofless household both shelter and entertainment; young girls came with their clothes; servants came with theirs for the servants of the family; elegant services and furniture were sent in; the baker left great baskets full of bread; the brewer, beer; another sent wine, and so on. It was a scene in social life of the most beautiful description, and which showed how greatly esteemed and beloved the Franks were.

Mrs. Gunilla came so good and zealous, ready to contend with anybody who would contend with her, to convey her old friends in her carriage to the dwelling which she had prepared for them in all haste. The Assessor did not strive with her now, but saw in silence his guests depart, and with a tear in his eye looked after the carriage which conveyed Eva away from his house. It seemed now so dark and desolate to him.

On the evening of this same day the father returned into his family circle, and pressed them all to his breast with tears of joy. Yes, with tears of joy, for all were left to him!

A few days after this, he wrote thus to one of his friends:

"Till now, till after this unfortunate occurrence, I knew not how much I possessed in my wife and children; knew not that I had so many good friends and neighbours. I thank God, who has given me such a wife, such children, and such friends! These last have supplied, nay, over-supplied all the necessities of my family. I shall begin in spring to rebuild my house on the old foundation.

"How the fire was occasioned I know not, and do not trouble myself to discover. The misfortune has happened, and may serve as a warning for the future, and that is enough. My house has not become impoverished in love, even though it may be so in worldly goods, and that sustains and heals all. The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Probably the Judge would listen to no conjectures respecting the origin of the fire. We will venture, however, not the less on that account to give our conjectures;—thus, it is very probable that the fire had its origin in the chamber of the young Baron L., and that also he, in his scarcely half sober state, might have been the occasion of it. Probably he himself regarded the affair in this light; but this however[Pg 269] is certain, that this event, in connexion with the behaviour of the Franks towards him, occasioned a great change in the temper and character of this young man. His father came for him shortly after this, and took him to consult a celebrated oculist in Copenhagen, in consequence of his eyes having suffered severely in the fire.

Our eyes will see him again, only at a much later period of our history.

The daughters of the house busied themselves earnestly with the already-spoken-of plans for discovering a means of independent subsistence for themselves, that they might lighten the anxieties of their parents in their present adverse circumstances, and that without being burdensome to anybody else. Eva wished at first to accept an invitation to a country-seat in the neighbourhood, not far from that where Major R. was at present. Axelholm opened itself, heart, arms, main-building and wings, for the members of the Frank family. There were wanting no opportunities for colonisation; but the Judge besought his children so earnestly to decline all these, and for the present to remain altogether.

"In a few months," said he, "perhaps in spring, you can do what you like; but now—let us remain together. It is needful to me to have you now all around me, in order to feel that I really possess you all. I cannot bear the thoughts of losing any one of you at present."

The thought of parting appeared likewise soon to weigh heavily upon him. Henrik, since the night of the conflagration, had scarcely had a moment free from suffering; a violent, incessant beating of the heart had remained since then, and the pain of this was accompanied by dangerous attacks of spasms, which, notwithstanding all remedies, appeared rather to increase than otherwise. This disturbed the Judge so much the more, as now, more than ever, he loved and valued his son. Since the night of the fire it might be said that, for the first time, affection was warm between father and son.

The Mahomedan says beautifully, that when the angel of death approaches man, the shadow of his wings falls upon him from a distance. From the beginning of his illness Henrik's soul appeared to be darkened by unfriendly shadows,[Pg 270] and the first serious outbreak of disease revealed itself in depression and gloom. Oh! it was not easy for the young man, richly gifted as he was with whatever could beautify life on earth, standing as he did at the commencement of a path where fresh laurels and the roses of love beckoned to him, it was not easy to turn his glance from a future like this, to listen to the words which night and day his beating heart whispered to him—"Thou wilt descend to thy grave! nor will I cease knocking till the door of the tomb opens to thee!"

But to a mind like Henrik's the step from darkness to light was not wide. There was that something in his soul which enables man to say to the Lord of life and death—

The dreaded judgment-doom in thine own hand is writ,—
We kiss it; bow our heads, and silently submit.

Henrik had one day a long conversation with his skilful and anxious physician Munter, who when he left him had tears in his eyes; but over Henrik's countenance, on the contrary, when he returned to his family, although he was paler than usual, was a peculiarly mild and solemn repose, which seemed to diffuse itself through his whole being. From this moment his temper of mind was changed. He was now mild and calm, yet at the same time more joyous and amiable than ever. His eyes had an indescribable clearness and beauty; the shadow had passed away from his soul altogether.

But deeper and deeper lay the shadow over one person, who from the beginning of Henrik's illness was no longer like herself—and that was Henrik's mother. It is true that she worked and spoke as formerly, but a gnawing anguish lived in her; she appeared absent from the passing business of life; and every occupation which had not reference, in some way or other, to her son, was indifferent or painful to her. The daughters kept carefully from her any thing which might be disturbing to her. She devoted herself almost exclusively to her son; and many hours full of rich enjoyment were spent by these two, who soon, perhaps—must separate for so long!

Every strong mental excitement was interdicted to Henrik; his very illness would not admit of it. He must renounce his beloved studies: but his living spirit, which could not[Pg 271] sleep, refreshed itself at the youthful fountains of art. He occupied himself much with the works of a poet who, during his short life, had suffered much and sung much also, and from amid whose crown of thorns the loveliest "Lilies of Sharon" had blossomed. The works of Stagnelius[18] were his favourite reading. He himself composed many songs, and his mother sang them to him during the long winter evenings. According to his opinion, his mother sang better than his sisters; and he rejoiced himself in the pure strength which triumphantly exalted him in this poet above the anguish and fever of life.

It was observed that about this time he often turned the conversation, in the presence of his mother, to the brighter side of death. It seemed as if he wished to prepare her gradually for the possibly near separation, and to deprive it beforehand of its bitterness. Elise had formerly loved conversations of this kind; had loved whatever tended to diffuse light over the darker scenes of life: but now she always grew pale when the subject was introduced; uneasiness expressed itself in her eyes, and she endeavoured, with a kind of terror, to put an end to it.

One evening as the family, together with the Assessor, were assembled in the confidential hour of twilight, they began to speak about dreams, and about the nature of sleep. Henrik mentioned the ancient comparison of sleep and death, which he said he considered less striking as regarded its unconsciousness than in its resemblance in the awaking.

"And in what do you especially consider this resemblance to consist?" asked Leonore.

"In the perfect retention and re-animation of consciousness, of memory, of the whole condition of the soul," replied he, "which is experienced in the morning after the dark night."

"Good," said the Assessor, "and possible; but what can we know about it?"

"All that revelation has made known to us," replied Henrik, with an animated look: "do we really need any[Pg 272] stronger light on this subject than that afforded us by one of our own race, who was dead, and yet rose again from the grave, and who exhibited himself after his sleep in the dark dwelling with precisely the same dispositions, the same friendships, and with the most perfect remembrance of the least as well as the greatest events of his earthly existence? What a clear, what a friendly light has not this circumstance diffused around the dark gates of the tomb! It has united the two worlds! it has thrown a bridge over the gloomy deep; it enables the drooping wanderer to approach it without horror; it enables him to say to his friends on the evening of life, 'Good night!' with the same calmness with which he can speak those words to them on the evening of the day."

An arm was thrown convulsively round Henrik, and the voice of his mother whispered, in a tone of despair, to him, "You must not leave us, Henrik! you must not!" and with these words she sunk unconscious on his breast.

From this evening Henrik never again introduced in the presence of his mother a subject which was so painful to her. He sought rather to calm and cheer her, and his sisters helped him truly in the same work. They now had less desire than ever to leave home and to mingle in society generally; yet notwithstanding they did so occasionally, because their brother wished it, and it enabled them to have something to tell at home, which could entertain and enliven both him and his mother. These reports were generally made in Henrik's room, and how heartily did they not laugh there! Ah! in a cordially united family, care can hardly take firm footing there: if it come in for one moment, in the very next it will be chased away! Eva appeared during this time to forget her own trouble, that she also might be a flower in the garland of comfort and tenderness which was bound around the favourite of the family; the Judge too, tore himself more frequently than hitherto from his occupations, and united himself to the family circle.

A more attractive sick chamber than Henrik's can hardly be imagined. That he himself felt. Enfeebled by the influence of disease, his beautiful eyes often became filled with tears from slight causes, and he would exclaim "I am happy—too happy! What a blessedness to be able to live! That is happiness! that is the summer of the soul! Even now,[Pg 273] amid my sufferings, I feel myself made through you so rich, so happy!" and then he would stretch forth his hand to those of his mother or his sisters, and press them to his lips or his bosom.

An interval of amendment occurred in Henrik's illness, and he suffered much less. A sentiment of joy diffused itself through the house, and Henrik himself appeared at times to entertain hopes of life. He could now go out again and inhale the fresh winter air—his favourite air. The Judge often accompanied him; it was then beautiful to see the powerful vigorous father supporting with his arm the pale but handsome son, whenever his steps became weary; to see him curbing his own peculiarly hasty movements, and conducting him slowly homewards; it was beautiful to see the expression in the countenance of each.

People talk a great deal about the beauty of maternal love—paternal love has perhaps something yet more beautiful and affecting in it; and it is my opinion that he who has had the happiness of experiencing the careful culture of a loving, yet at the same time upright father, can, with fuller feeling and with more inward understanding than any other, lift his heart to heaven in that universal prayer of the human race, "Our Father which art in heaven!"

Several weeks passed on. A lady, an intimate friend of the family, was about this time undertaking a journey with her daughter to the city where Petrea was visiting, and desired greatly to take Gabriele with her, who was the dearest friend of the young Amalie. Gabriele would very gladly have embraced this opportunity of visiting her beloved sister, and of seeing at the same time something of the world, but now when Henrik was ill, she could not think of it; she was quite resolved not to separate herself from him. But Henrik was zealously bent upon Gabriele making this journey, which would be so extremely agreeable to her.

"Don't you see," said he, "that Gabriele sits here and makes herself pale with looking at me? and that is so utterly unnecessary, especially now I am so much better, and when I certainly in a little time shall be quite well again. Journey, journey away, sweet Gabriele, I beseech you! You shall cheer us in the mean time with your letters; and when at Easter you return with Petrea, then—then you will no longer[Pg 274] have an ailing suffering brother; I will manage it so that I will be quite well by that time!"

She was talked to also on other sides, especially by the young, lively Amalie, and at length Gabriele permitted herself to be persuaded. Convinced that for the present all danger for her brother was over, she commenced the journey with a jest on her lips, but with tears in her eyes.

It was the first flight of "our little lady" from home.

Not a word was heard from Major R.; and although Eva continued reserved towards her own family, she appeared to be so much calmer than formerly that they all began to be easy on her account. The Judge, who, in consequence of her behaviour evinced towards her a grateful tenderness, endeavoured to gratify her slightest wishes, and gave his consent that in the early commencement of spring she should go to M——s. He hoped that by that time the Major would be far removed from the country; but it was not long before a painful discovery was made.

On a dark evening at the beginning of March, two persons stood in deep but low discourse under a tree in St. Mary's churchyard.

"How childish you are, Eva!" said the one, "with your fears and your doubts! and how pusillanimous is your love. If you would learn, lovely angel! how true love speaks, listen to me:—

"Pourquoi fit on l'amour, si son pouvoir n'affronte,
Et la vie et la mort, et la haine et la honte!
Je ne demande, je ne veux pas savoir
Si rien a de ton cœur terni le pur miroir:
Je t'aime! tu le sais! Que l'importe tout le reste?"

"Oh Victor," answered the trembling voice of Eva, "my fault is not the having too little love for you. Ah, I feel indeed, and I evince it by my conduct, that my love to you is greater than my love for father and mother and sisters, more than for all the world! And yet I know that it is wrong! my heart raises itself against me—but I cannot resist your power."

"On that account am I called Victor, my angel," said he; "heaven itself has sanctioned my power. And your Victor am I also, my sweet Eva; is it not so?"[Pg 275]

"Ah! only too much so," sighed Eva. "But now, Victor, spare my weakness; do not desire to see me again till I go in spring in a month's time to M——s. Do not demand——"

"Demand no such promises from Victor, Eva," said he; "he will not bind himself so! but you—you must do what your Victor wills, else he cannot believe that you love him. What—you will refuse to take a few steps in order to gladden his eyes and his heart—in order to see and to hear him—in truth you do not love him!"

"Ah, I love you, I adore you," returned Eva; "I could endure anything on your account—even the pangs of my own conscience; but my parents, my brother and sisters! ah, you know not what it costs me to deceive them! they are so good, so excellent; and I! Yet sometimes the love which I have for them contends with the love which I have for you. Do not string the bow too tightly, Victor! And now—farewell, beloved, farewell! In a month's time you will see me, your Eva, again, in M——s."

"Stop!" said he, "do you think you are to leave me in that way? Where is my ring?"

"On my heart," returned she, "day and night it rests there—farewell! ah, let me go!"

"Say once more that you love me above every thing in this world!" said he, "that you belong only to me!"

"Only to you! farewell!" and with these words Eva tore herself away from him, and hastened with flying feet, like one terrified, across the churchyard. The Major followed her slowly. A dark form stepped at that moment hastily forward, as if it had arisen from one of the graves, and met the Major face to face. It seemed to him as if a cold wind passed through his heart, for the form tall and silent, and at that dark hour, and in the churchyard, had something in it ominous and spectre-like, and as it had evidently advanced to him with design, he paused suddenly, and asked, sharply, "Who are you?"

"Eva's father!" replied a suppressed but powerful voice, and by the up-flaring light of a lamp which the wind drove towards them, the Major saw the eyes of the Judge riveted upon him with a wrathful and threatening expression. His heart sank for a moment; but in the next he said, with all his accustomed haughty levity:[Pg 276]

"Now there is no necessity for me to watch longer after her;" and so saying he turned hastily aside, and vanished in the darkness.

The Judge followed his daughter without nearing her. When he came home, such a deep and painful grief lay on his brow as had never been observed there before.

For the first time in his life the powerful head of the Judge seemed actually bowed.

At this time Stjernhök came to the city quite unexpectedly. He had heard of the misfortune which had befallen the Franks, as well as of the part which Henrik acted on this occasion, and of the illness which was the consequence of it, and he came now in order to see him before he travelled abroad. This visit, which had occasioned Stjernhök to diverge as much as sixty English miles out of his way, surprised and deeply affected Henrik, who as he entered the room met him with the most candid expression of cordial devotion. Stjernhök seized his outstretched hand, and a sudden paleness overspread his manly countenance as he remarked the change which a few weeks' illness had made in Henrik's appearance.

"It is very kind of you to come to me—my thanks for it, Stjernhök!" said Henrik from his heart; "otherwise," continued he, "you would probably have seen me no more in this world; and I have wished so much to say one word to you before we separated thus."

Both were silent for some minutes.

"What would you say to me, Henrik?" at length asked Stjernhök, whilst an extraordinary emotion was depicted in his countenance.

"I would thank you," returned Henrik, cordially, "thank you for your severity towards me, and tell you how sincerely I now acknowledge it to have been just, and wholesome for me also. I would thank you, because by that means you have been a more real friend, and I am now perfectly convinced how honestly and well you have acted towards me. This impression, this remembrance of our acquaintance, is the only one which I will take away with me when I leave this world. You have not been able to love me, but that was my own fault. I have sorrowed over the knowledge of that,[Pg 277] but now I have submitted to it. In the mean time it would be very pleasant to me to know that my faults—that my late behaviour towards you, had not left behind it too repulsive an impression; it would be very pleasant for me to believe that you were able to think kindly of me when I am no more!"

A deep crimson flamed on Stjernhök's countenance, and his eyes glistened as he replied, "Henrik, I feel more than ever in this moment that I have not shown justice towards you. Several later circumstances have opened my eyes, and now—Henrik, can you give me your friendship! mine you have for ever!"

"Oh, this is a happy moment!" said Henrik, with increasing emotion; "through my whole life I have longed for it, and now for the first time it is given me—now when—but God be praised even for this!"

"But why," said Stjernhök, warmly, "why speak so positively about your death? I will hope and believe that your condition is not so dangerous. Let me consult a celebrated foreign physician on your case—or better still, make the journey with me, and put yourself under the care of Dr. K——. He is celebrated for his treatment of diseases of the heart; let me conduct you to him; certainly you can and will recover!"

Henrik shook his head mournfully. "There lies his work," said he, pointing to an open book in the window, "and from it I know all concerning my own condition. Do you see, Nils Gabriel," continued he, with a beautiful smile, as he placed his arm on the shoulder of his friend, and pointed with his other towards heaven, gazing on him the while with eyes which seemed larger than ever—for towards death the eyes increase in size and brilliancy—"do you see," said he, "there wanders your star. It ascends! for certain a bright path lies before you; but when it beams upon your renown it will look down upon my grave! I have no doubt whatever on this point. Some time ago this thought was bitter to me; it is so now no more! When the knowledge depresses me that I have accomplished so very little on earth, I will endeavour to console myself with the conviction that you will be able to do so much more, and that either in this world or the next I shall rejoice over your usefulness and your happiness!"[Pg 278]

Stjernhök answered not a word; large tears rolled down his cheeks, and he pressed Henrik warmly to his breast.

On Henrik's account he endeavoured to give the conversation a calmer turn, but the heart of his poor friend swelled high, and it was now too full of life and feeling to find rest in anything but the communication of these.

The connexion between the two young men seemed now different to what it had ever been before. It was Henrik who now led the conversation, and Stjernhök who followed him, and listened to him with attention and the most unequivocal sympathy, whilst the young man gave such free scope to his thoughts and presentiments as he had never ventured to do before in the presence of the severe critic. But the truth is, there belongs to a dweller on the borders of the kingdom of death a peculiar rank, a peculiar dignity, and man believes that the whispering of spirits from the mysterious land reaches the ear which bows itself to them; on this account the wise and the strong of earth listen silently like disciples, and piously like little children, to the precepts which are breathed forth from dying lips.

The entrance of the Judge gave another turn to the conversation, which Stjernhök soon led to Henrik's last works. He directed his discourse principally to the Judge, and spoke of them with all the ability of a real connoisseur, and with such entire and cordial praise as surprised Henrik as much as it cheered him.

It is a very great pleasure to hear oneself praised, and well praised too, by a person whom one highly esteems, and particularly when, at the same time, this person is commonly niggardly of his praise. Henrik experienced at that moment this feeling in its highest degree; and this pleasure was accompanied by the yet greater pleasure of seeing himself understood, and in such a manner by Stjernhök as made himself more clear to himself. In this moment he seemed, now for the first time, to comprehend in a perfectly intelligible manner his own talents, and what he wished to do, and what he was able to do. The fountain of life swelled forth strongly in his breast.

"You make me well again, Nils Gabriel!" exclaimed he; "you give me new life. I will recover; recover in order again to live, in order to work better and more confidently than I have hitherto done. As yet I have done nothing; but[Pg 279] now, now I could—I feel new life in me—I have never yet felt myself so well as now! Certainly I shall now recover, or indeed—is the best wine reserved for me till the last?"

The evening sped on agreeably, and with animation in the family circle. The blessed angels of heaven were not more beautiful or more joyous than Henrik. He joked with his mother and sisters, nay, even with Stjernhök, in the gayest manner, and was one of the liveliest who partook of the citron-soufflé which Louise served up for supper, and which she herself had helped to prepare, and of which she was not a little proud. Yes, indeed, she was almost ready to believe that it was this which had given new life to Henrik, and the power of which she considered to be wonderfully operative. But ah!——

At the very moment when Henrik jested with Louise on this very subject, he was seized by the most violent suffering.

This suffering continued interruptedly for three days, and deprived the sick young man of consciousness; whilst it seemed to be leading him quickly to that bound which mercy has set to human sufferings. On the second day after this paroxysm Henrik was seized with that desire for change of resting-place which may be commonly regarded as the sign that the soul is preparing for its great change of abode. The Judge himself bore his son in his arms from room to room, and from bed to bed. No sleep visited the eyes of his family during these terrible days; whilst his mother, with eyes tearless and full of anguish riveted upon her son, followed him from room to room, and from bed to bed; now hanging over his pillow, now seated at the foot of his bed, and smiling tenderly upon him when he appeared to know her, and articulating his name in a low and almost inaudible voice.

On the evening of the third day the poor youth regained his consciousness. He recognised his family again, and spoke kindly to them. He saw that they were pale and weary, and besought them incessantly to go to rest. The Assessor, who was present, united earnestly in this request, and assured them that, according to all appearances, Henrik would now enjoy an easy sleep, and that he himself would watch by him through the night. The father and daughters retired to rest; but when they endeavoured to persuade the mother, she only waved with her hand, whilst a mournful smile seemed to say, "It is of no use whatever to talk to me about it."[Pg 280]

"I may remain with you, Henrik?" said she, beseechingly.

He smiled, took her hand, and laid it on his breast; and in the same moment closing his eyes, a calm refreshing sleep stole over him. The Assessor sate silently beside them, and observed them both: it was not long, however, before he was obliged to leave them, being summoned suddenly to some one who was dangerously ill. He left them with the promise to return in the course of the night. Munter was called in the city the night-physician, because there was no one like him who appeared earnestly willing to give his help by night as by day.

The mother breathed deeply when she saw herself alone with her son. She folded her hands, and raised her eyes to heaven with an expression which through the whole of the foregoing days had been foreign to them. It was no longer restless, almost murmuring anxiety; it was a mournful, yet at the same time, deep, perfect, nay, almost loving resignation. She bent over her son, and spoke in a low voice out of the depths of her affectionate heart.

"Go, my sweet boy, go! I will no longer hold thee back, since it is painful to thee! May the deliverer come! Thy mother will no longer contend with him to retain thee! May he come as a friendly angel and make an end of thy sufferings! I—will then be satisfied! Go then, my first-born, my summer-child; go, and if there may never more come a summer to the heart of thy mother—still go! that thou mayst have rest! Did I make thy cradle sweet, my child! so would I not embitter by my lamentations thy death-bed! Blessed be thou! Blessed be He also who gave thee to me, and who now takes thee from me to a better home! Some time, my son, I shall come home to thee; go thou beforehand, my child! Thou art weary, so weary! Thy last wandering was heavy to thee; now thou wilt rest. Come thou good deliverer, come thou beloved death, and give rest to his heart; but easily, easily. Let him not suffer more—let him not endure more. Never did he give care to his parents——"

At this moment Henrik opened his eyes, and fixed them calmly and full of expression on his mother.

"Thank God!" said he, "I feel no more pain."

"Thanks and praise be given to God, my child!" said she.[Pg 281]

Mother and son looked on each other with deep and cheerful love! they understood each other perfectly.

"When I am no more," said he, with a faint and broken voice, "then—tell it to Gabriele, prudently; she has such tender feelings—and she is not strong. Do not tell it to her on a day—when it is cold and dull—but—on a day—when the sun shines warm—when all things look bright and kindly—then, then tell her—that I am gone away—and greet her—and tell her from me—that it is not difficult—to die!—that there is a sun on the other side——"

He ceased, but with a loving smile on his lips, and his eyes closed their lids as if from very weariness.

Presently afterwards he spoke again, but in a very low voice. "Sing me something, mother," said he, "I shall then sleep more calmly, 'They knock! I come!'"

These words were the beginning of a song which Henrik had himself written, and set to music some time before, during a night of suffering.

The genius of poetry seemed to have deserted him during the latter part of his illness; this was painful to him; but his mind remained the same, and the spirit of poetry lived still in the hymn which his mother now, at his request, sang in a trembling voice:

They knock! I come! yet ere on the way
To the night of the grave I am pressing,
Thou Angel of Death, give me yet one lay—
One hymn of thanksgiving and blessing.
Have thanks, O Father! in heaven high,
For thy gift, all gifts exceeding;
For life! and that grieved or glad I could fly
To thee, nor find thee unheeding.
Oh thanks for life, and thanks too for death,
The bound of all trouble and sighing;
How bitter! yet sweet 't is to yield our breath
When thine is the heart of the dying!
By our path of trial thou plantest still
Thy lilies of consolation;
But the loveliest of all—to do thy will—
Be it done in resignation!
Farewell, lovely earth, on whose bosom I lay;
Farewell, all ye dear ones, mourning;
Farewell, and forgive all the faults of my day:
My heart now in death is burning!
[Pg 282]

"It is burning!" repeated Henrik in a voice of suffering. "It is terrible! Mother! Mother!" said he, looking for her with a restless glance.

"Your mother is here!" said she, bending over him.

"Ah! then all is right!" said he again, calmly. "Sing, my mother," added he, again closing his eyes—"I am weary."

She sang—

We part! but in parting our steps we bend
Alone towards that glorious morrow,
Where friend no more shall part from friend,
Where none knoweth heart-ache or sorrow!
Farewell! all is dark to my failing sight,
Your loved forms from my faint gaze rending,
'T is dark, but oh!—far beyond the night
I see light o'er the darkness ascending!

"Oh! if you only knew how serene it is! It is divine!" said the dying one, as he stretched forth his arms, and then dropped them again.

A change passed over the countenance of the young man; death had touched his heart gently, and its pulsations ceased. At the same moment a wonderful inspiration animated the mother; her eyes beamed brightly, and never before had her voice had so beautiful, so clear a tone as whilst she sang

Thou callest, O Father! with glad accord
I come!—Ye dear ones we sever!—
Now the pang is past!—now behold I the Lord—
Praise be thine, O Eternal, for ever!

Judge Frank was awoke out of his uneasy sleep by the song, whose tone seemed to have a something supernatural in it. A few moments passed before he could convince himself that the voice which he heard was really that of his wife.

He hastened with indescribable anxiety to the sick room; Elise yet sang the last verse as he entered, and casting his eyes on her countenance, he exclaimed "My God!" and clasped his hands together.

The song ceased: a dreadful consciousness thrust itself like a sword through the heart of the mother. She saw before her the corpse of her son, and with a faint cry of horror she sank, as if lifeless, upon the bed of death.


[18] Eric Stagnelius, who was born in 1793, and died in 1823, would have been, it is probable, had a longer life been granted to him, one of the most distinguished poets of the age. His poems, epic, dramatic, and lyric, fill three volumes. "Liljor i Saron"—Lilies of Sharon, is the general title of his lyrics.

[Pg 283]



Two months later.

"When I last wrote to you, my Cecilia, it was winter. Winter, severe icy winter, had also gathered itself about my heart—my life's joy was wrapped in his winding-sheet, and it seemed to me as if no more spring could bloom, no more life could exist; and that I should never again have the heart to write a cheerful or hopeful word. And now—now it is spring! The lark sings again the ascension-song of the earth; the May sun diffuses his warming beams through my chamber, and the grass becomes already green upon the grave of my first-born, my favourite! And I——Oh Lord! thou who smitest, thou also healest, and I will praise thee! for every affliction which thou sendest becomes good if it be only received with patience. And if thou concealest thyself for a season—as it appears to our weak vision—thou revealest thyself yet soon again, kinder and more glorious than before! For a little while and we see thee not, and again for a little while and we see thee, and our hearts rejoice and drink strength and enjoyment out of the cup which thou, Almighty One! fillest eternally. Yes, every thing in life becomes good, if that life be only spent in God!

"But in those dark wintry hours it was often gloomy and tumultuous within me. Ah, Cecilia, I would not that he should die! He was my only son, my first-born child. I suffered most at his birth; I sang most beside his cradle; my heart leapt up first and highest with maternal joy at his childish play. He was my summer child, born in the midsummer of nature and of my life and my strength, and then—he was so full of life, so beautiful and good! No, I would not that he should die, or that my beautiful son should be laid in the black earth! And as the time drew nearer and nearer, and I saw that it must be—then it was dark in me. But the last night—Oh, it was a most wonderful night!—then it was otherwise. Do you know, Cecilia, that I sung gaily, triumphantly, by the death-bed of my first-born! Now I cannot comprehend it. But this night—he had during the[Pg 284] foregoing day suffered much, and his sufferings had reconciled me to his death. They abated as death approached, and he besought of me, as he had often done in the years of his childhood, to sing him to sleep. I sang—I was able to sing. He received pleasure from the song, which increased in power, and with a heavenly smile, whilst heavenly pictures seemed to float before his eyes, he said, 'Ah, it is divine!' and I sang better and ever clearer. I saw his eyes change themselves, his breath become suspended, and I knew that then was the moment of separation between soul and body—between me and him! but I did not then feel it, and I sang on. It seemed to me as if the song sustained the spirit and raised it to heaven. In that moment I was happy; for even I, as well as he, was exalted above every earthly pain.

"The exclamation of my name awoke me from my blessed dream, and I saw the dead body of my son—after this I saw nothing more.

"There was a long, deep stupor. When I recovered consciousness, I felt a heart beating against my temples. I raised my eyes and saw my husband; my head was resting on his breast, and with the tenderest words he was calling me back to life. My daughters stood around me weeping, and kissing my hands and my clothes. I also wept, and then I felt better. It was then morning, and the dawn came into my chamber. I threw my arms around my husband's neck, and said, 'Ernst, love me! I will endeavour——'

"I could say no more, but he understood me, thanked me warmly, and pressed me close to his bosom.

"I did endeavour to be calm, and with God's help I succeeded. For several hours of the day I lay still on my bed. Eva, whose voice is remarkably sweet, read aloud to me. I arose for tea, and endeavoured to be as usual; my husband and my daughters supported me, and all was peace and love.

"But when the day was ended, and Ernst and I were alone in our chamber, a fear of the night, of bed, and a sleepless pillow, seized hold of me; I, therefore, seated myself on the sofa, and prayed Ernst to read to me, for I longed for the consolations of the Gospel. He seated himself by me and read; but the words, although spoken by his manly, firm voice, passed at this time impressionless over my inward sense. I understood nothing, and all within me was dark and[Pg 285] vacant. All at once some one knocked softly at the door, and Ernst, not a little astonished, said, 'Come in;' the door was opened, and Eva entered. She was very pale, and appeared excited; but yet at the same time firm and determined. She approached us softly, and sinking down on her knees between us, took our hands between hers. I would have raised her, but Ernst held me back, and said, mildly but gravely, 'Let her alone!'

"'My father, my mother!' said Eva, with tremulous voice, 'I have given you uneasiness—pardon me! I have grieved you—I will not do it again. Ah! I will not now lay a stone on your burden. See, how disobedient I have been—this ring, and these letters, I have received against your will and against my promises from Major R. I will now send them back. See here! read what I have written to him. Our acquaintance is for ever broken! Pardon me, that I have chosen these hours to busy you with my affairs, but I feared my own weakness when the force of this hour shall have passed. Oh, my parents! I feel, I know, that he is not worthy to be your son! But I have been as it were bewitched—I have loved him beyond measure;—ah, I love him still—nay, do not weep, mother! You shall never again shed a tear of grief over me—you have wept already enough on my account. Since Henrik's death every thing in me is changed. Fear nothing more for me; I will conquer this, and will become your obedient, your happy child. Only require not from me that I should give my hand to another—never will I marry, never belong to another! But for you, my parents, will I live; I will love you, and with you be happy! Here, my father, take this, and send it back to him whom I will no more see! And—Oh, love me! Love me!'

"Tears bedewed the face which she bowed down to her father's knee. Never had she looked so lovely, so attractive! Ernst was greatly affected; he laid his hand as if in blessing upon her head, which he raised, and said:

"'When you were born, Eva, you lay long as if dead; in my arms you first opened your eyes to the light, and I thanked God. But I thank him manifold more for you in this moment, in which I see in you the joy and blessing of our age—in which you have been able to combat with your own heart, and to do that which is right! God bless you! God reward you!'[Pg 286]

"He held her for a long time to his bosom, and his tears wetted her forehead. I also clasped her in my arms, and let her feel my love and my gratitude, and then, with a look which beamed through tears, she left us.

"We called her 'our blessed child' at that time, for she had blessed us with a great consolation. She had raised again our sunken hearts.

"Ernst went to the window and looked silently into the star-lighted night; I followed him, and my glance accompanied his, which in this moment was so beautiful and bright, and laying his arm around me he spoke thus, as if to himself:

"'It is good! It is so intended—and that is the essential thing! He is gone! What more? We must all go; all, sooner or later. He might not perfect his work; but he stood ready, ready in will and ability when he was called to the higher work-place! Lord and Master, thou hast taken the disciple to thyself. Well for him that he was ready! That is the most important for us all!'

"Ernst's words and state of mind produced great effect upon me. Peace returned to my spirit. In the stillness of the night I did not sleep, but I rested on his bosom. It was calm around me and in me. And in the secret of my soul I wished that it might ever remain so, that no more day might dawn upon me, and no more sun shine upon my weary, painful eyes.

"How the days creep on! On occasions of great grief it always appears as if time stood still. All things appear to stand still, or slowly and painfully to roll on, in dark circles; but it is not so! Hours and days go on in an interminable chain; they rise and sink like the waves of the sea; and carry along with them the vessel of our life: carry it from the islands of joy it is true, but carry it also away from the rocky shores of grief. Hours came for me in which no consolation would appease my heart, in which I in vain combated with myself, and said—'Now I will read, and then pray, and then sleep!' But yet anguish would not leave me, but followed me still, when I read; prevented me from prayer, and chased away sleep; yes, many such hours have been, but they too are gone; some such may perhaps come yet, but I know also that they too will go. The tenderness[Pg 287] of my husband and of my children—the peace of home—the many pleasures within it—the relief of tears—the eternal consolation of the Eternal Word—all these have refreshed and strengthened my soul. It is now much, much better. And then—he died pure and spotless, the youth with the clear glance and the warm heart! He stood, as his father said, ready to go into the higher world. Oh! more than ever have I acknowledged, in the midst of my deep pain, that there is pain more bitter than this; for many a living son is a greater grief to his mother than mine—the good one there, under the green mound!

"We have planted fir-trees and poplars around the grave, and often will it be decorated with fresh flowers. No dark grief abides by the grave of the friendly youth.—Henrik's sisters mourn for him deep and still—perhaps Gabriele mourns him most of all. One sees it not by day, for she is generally gay as formerly; a little song, a gay jest, a little adornment of the house, all goes on just as before to enliven the spirits of her parents. But in the night, when all rest in their beds, she is heard weeping, often so painfully—it is a dew of love on the grave of her brother; but then every morning is the eye again bright and smiling.

"On the first tidings of our loss Jacobi hastened to us. He took from Ernst and me, in this time of heavy grief, all care upon himself, and was to us as the tenderest of sons. Alas! he was obliged very soon to leave us, but the occasion for this was the most joyful. He is about to be nominated to the living of T——; and his promotion, which puts him in the condition soon to marry, affords him also a respectable income, and a sphere of action agreeable to his wishes and accordant with his abilities, and altogether makes him unspeakably happy. Louise also looks forward towards this union and establishment for life with quiet satisfaction, and that, I believe, as much on account of her family as for herself.

"The family affection appears, through the late misfortune, to have received a new accession: my daughters are more amiable than ever in their quiet care to sweeten the lives of their parents. Mrs. Gunilla has been like a mother to me and mine during this time; and many dear evidences of sympathy, from several of the best and noblest in Sweden, have been given to Henrik's parents;—the young poet's pure glory has brightened their house of mourning. 'It is beautiful to[Pg 288] have died as he has died,' says our good Assessor, who does not very readily find any thing beautiful in this world.

"And I, Cecilia, should I shut my heart against so many occasions for joy and gratitude, and sit with my sorrow in darkness? Oh no! I will gladden the human circle in which I live; I will open my heart to the gospel of life and of nature; I will seize hold on the moments, and the good which they bring. No friendly glance, no spring-breeze, shall pass over me unenjoyed or unacknowledged; out of every flower will I suck a drop of honey, and out of every passing hour a drop of eternal life.

"And then—I know it truly—be my life's day longer or shorter, bear it a joyful or a gloomy colour,

The day will never endure so long
But at length the evening cometh.

The evening in which I may go home—home to my son, my summer-child! And then—Oh then shall I perhaps acknowledge the truth of that prophetic word which has so often animated my soul: 'For behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create.'

"I have wept much whilst I have written this, but my heart has peace. It is now late. I will creep in to my Ernst, and I feel that I shall sleep calmly by his side.

"Good-night, my Cecilia."



It was afternoon. The sisters were busily quilting Louise's bridal bed-cover; because at the end of May, as was determined in the family council, that she was to be married. The coverlet was of green silk, and a broad wreath of leafy oak branches formed its border. This pattern had occasioned a great deal of care and deliberation; but now, also, what joy did it not give rise to, and what ever-enduring admiration of the tasteful, the distinguished, the indescribably good effect which it produced, especially when seen from one side! Gabriele, to be sure, would have made sundry little objections[Pg 289] relative to the connexion of the leaves, but Louise would not allow that there was any weight in them: "The border," said she, "is altogether charming!"

Gabriele had placed a full-blown monthly rose in the light locks of the bride, and had arranged with peculiar grace, around the plaited hair at the back of her head, the green rose-leaves like a garland. The effect was lovely, as at this time the sun-light fell upon her head, and her countenance had more than ordinary charm; the cheeks a high colour; the eyes a clearer blue, as they were often raised from the green rose-wreath and directed towards the window. Jacobi, the new pastor, was expected that evening.

Gabriele went up to her mother, and besought her to notice how well Louise looked, and the rose, how becoming it was to her! The mother kissed her, but forgot to notice Louise in looking at the lovely face of "the little lady."

The industrious up-and-down picking of the needles accompanied the joyful conversation of the sisters.

Now they talked about the management of the living; now about the school; now about milk, and now about cheese. They settled about household matters; about mealtimes; the arrangement of the table, and such like. In many things Louise intended to follow the example of home; in others, she should do differently. "People must advance with the age." She intended that there should be great hospitality in the parsonage-house—that was Jacobi's pleasure. Some one of her own family she hoped to have always with her;—an especial wing should be built for beloved guests. She would go every Sunday to church, to hear her husband preach or sing the service. If the old wives came to the parsonage with eggs, or other little presents, they should always be well entertained, and encouraged to come again. All sick people should be regaled with Louise's elixir, and all misdoers should be more or less reproved by her. She would encourage all, to the very best of her power, to read, to be industrious, to go to church, and to plant trees. Every Sunday several worthy peasants should be invited with their wives to dine at the parsonage. If the ladies of the Captain and the Steward came to visit her, the coffee-pot should be immediately set on, and the card-table prepared. Every young peasant girl should live in service a whole year at the parsonage[Pg 290] before she was married, in order to learn how to work, and how to behave herself.—N. B. This would be wages enough for her. At all marriages the Pastor and his wife would always be present, the same at christenings; they would extend their hand in sponsorship over the youth, that all might grow up in good-breeding and the fear of God. At Midsummer and in harvest-time there should be a dance, and great merry-making at the parsonage for the people—but without brandy;—for the rest, nothing should be wanting:

None she forgets, the mistress of the feast,
The beer flows free, the bunch of keys it jingles,
And, without pause, goes on the stormy dance!

Work should be found for all beggars at the parsonage, and then food; for lazy vagabonds a passing lecture, and then—march! And thus, by degrees, would preparation be made for the Golden Age.

Ah! Ruin to the golden plans and to the golden age which they planned! Two letters which were delivered to Louise put a sudden end to them all! One of the letters was from Jacobi, was very short, and said only that the parsonage was quite gone from him; but that Louise would not blame him on that account, as soon as she understood the whole affair.

"I long for you inexpressibly," continued Jacobi, "but I must postpone my arrival in X. in order to pay my respects to his Excellency O——, who is detained in P. from an attack of gout, which seized him on his journey from Copenhagen to Stockholm. But by the 6th of May I hope certainly to be with you. I have new plans, and I long to lay down all my feelings and all my thoughts on your true breast. My Louise! I will no longer wait and seek. Since fortune perpetually runs out of my way, I will now take a leap and catch it, and in so doing trust in heaven, in you, and lastly also—in myself. But you must give me your hand. If you will do that, beloved, I shall soon be much happier than now, and eternally, "Your tenderly devoted,

"J. Jacobi."

The other letter was from an unknown hand—evidently a woman's hand, and was as follows:

"Do not hate me, although I have stood in the way of[Pg 291] your happiness. Do not hate me—for I bless you and the noble man with whom you have united your fate. He is my benefactor, and the benefactor of my husband and my children. Oh, these children whose future he has made sure, they will now call on heaven to give a double measure of happiness to him and you for that which he has so nobly renounced. The object of my writing is to obtain your forgiveness, and to pour forth the feelings of a grateful heart to those who can best reward my benefactor. Will you be pleased on this account to listen to the short, but uninteresting relation of a condition, which, at the same time, is as common as it is mournful?

"Perhaps Mr. Jacobi may at some time or other have mentioned my husband to you. He was for several years Jacobi's teacher, and each was much attached to the other. My husband held the office of schoolmaster in W., with honour, for twenty years. His small income, misfortunes which befel us, a quick succession of children, made our condition more oppressive from year to year, and increased the debt which from the very time when we settled down first we were obliged to incur. My husband sought after a pastoral cure, but he could have recourse to none of those arts which are now so almost universally helpful, and which often conduct the hunter after fortune, and the mean-spirited, rather than the deserving, to the gaol of their wishes; he was too simple for that, too modest, and perhaps also too proud.

"During the long course of years he had seen his just hopes deceived, and from year to year the condition of his family become more and more melancholy. Sickness had diminished his ability to work, and the fear of not being able to pay his debts gnawed into his health, which was not strong, and the prospect—of his nine unprovided-for children! I know I should deeply affect your heart, if I were to paint to you the picture of this family contending with want; but my tears would blot my writing. Jacobi can do it—he has seen it, he has understood it; for this picture which I have so carefully concealed from every other eye—this pale, family misery I revealed to him, for I was in despair!

"The name of my husband stood on the list of candidates for the living of T——. He had three-fold the legally-demanded requisites of Jacobi, and was, over and above, known[Pg 292] and beloved by the parish; all the peasants capable of voting, openly declared their intention of choosing him. Two great landed proprietors, however, had the ultimate decision: Count D., and Mr. B. the proprietor of the mines, could, if they two were agreed, they two alone, elect the pastor. They also acknowledged the esteem in which they held my husband, and declared themselves willing to unite in the general choice.

"For the first time in many years did we venture to look up to a brighter future. Presently, however, we learnt that a powerful patron of Mr. Jacobi had turned the whole scale in his favour, and that it would be soon decided; the two great proprietors had promised their votes to him, and our condition was more hopeless than ever.

"The day of nomination approached. I did not venture to speak with my strictly conscientious husband of the design which I cherished. I had heard much said of Jacobi's excellent character; I was a distracted wife and mother. I sought out Jacobi, and spoke to him out of the depths of my heart, spoke to his sense of right—to his sense of honour; I showed him how the affair stood for us before he disturbed it, by means which could not be justly called honourable. I feared that my words were bitter, but all the more angel-like was it in Jacobi to hear me with calmness. I pictured to him our present condition; told him how he might save us from misery, and besought him to do it.

"My prayer at first was almost wild, and in the beginning Jacobi seemed almost to think it so, but he heard me out; he let me conduct him to the house of his former teacher, saw the consuming anxiety depicted on his pale emaciated countenance; saw that I had exaggerated nothing; he wept, pressed my hand with a word of consolation, and went out hastily.

"The day of nomination came. Jacobi renounced all claims. My husband was elected to the living in T——. Good God! how it sounded in our ears and in our hearts! For a long time we could not believe it. After fifteen years of deceived hopes we hardly dared to believe in such happiness. I longed to embrace the knees of my benefactor, but he was already far distant from us. A few friendly lines came from him, which reconciled my husband to his happiness,[Pg 293] and Jacobi's renunciation, and which made the measure of his noble behaviour full. I have not yet been able to thank him; but you, his amiable bride, say to him——"

We omit the outpourings which closed this letter; they proceeded from a warm, noble heart, overflowing with happiness and gratitude.

The needles fell from the fingers of the sisters as the mother, at Louise's request, read this letter aloud, and astonishment, sympathy, and a kind of admiring pleasure might be read in their looks. They all gazed one on the other with silent and tearful eyes.

Gabriele was the first who broke silence: "So, then, we shall keep our Louise with us yet longer," said she gaily, while she embraced her; and all united cordially in the idea.

"But," sighed Leonore, "it is rather a pity, on account of our wedding and our parsonage; we had got all so beautifully arranged."

Louise shed a few quiet tears, but evidently not merely over the disappointed expectation. Later in the evening the mother talked with her, and endeavoured to discover what were her feelings under these adverse circumstances.

Louise replied, with all her customary candour, that at first it had fallen very heavily upon her. "I had now," continued she, "fixed my thoughts so much on an early union with Jacobi; I saw so much in my new condition which would be good and joyful for us all. But though this is now—and perhaps for ever, at an end, yet I do not exactly know if I wish it otherwise; Jacobi has behaved so right, so nobly right, I feel that I now prize him higher, and love him more than ever!"

It was difficult to the Judge not to be more cheerful than common this evening. He was inexpressibly affectionate towards his eldest daughter; he was charmed with the way in which she bore her fate, and it seemed to him as if she had grown considerably.

On the following day they quietly went on again with the quilting of the bed-cover, whilst Gabriele read aloud; and thus "the childhood of Eric Menved" diverted with its refreshing magic power all thoughts from the parsonage and its lost paradise to the rich middle age of Denmark, and to its young king Eric.

[Pg 294]



Jacobi was come: Gabriele complained jestingly to her mother, "that the brother-in-law-elect had almost overturned her, the little sister-in-law-elect, in order to fly to his Louise."

Louise received Jacobi with more than customary cordiality; so did the whole family. That which Jacobi had lost in worldly wealth he seemed to have won in the esteem and love of his friends; and it was the secret desire of all to indemnify him, as it were, for the loss of the parsonage. Jacobi on this subject had also his own peculiar views; and after he had refreshed himself both with the earthly and the "angels' food," which Louise served up to him in abundance, and after he had had a conference of probably three hours' length with her, the result of the same was laid before the parents, who looked on the new views thus opened to them not without surprise and disquiet.

It was Jacobi's wish and intention now immediately to celebrate his marriage with Louise, and afterwards to go to Stockholm, where he thought of commencing a school for boys. To those who knew that all Jacobi's savings amounted to a very inconsiderable capital; that his yearly income was only fifty crowns; that he had displeased his only influential patron; that his bride brought him no dowry; and thus, that he had nothing on which to calculate excepting his own ability to work—to all those then who knew thus much, this sudden establishment had some resemblance to one of those romances with their "diner de man cœur, et souper de mon âme," which is considered in our days to be so infinitely insipid.

But Jacobi, who had already arranged and well considered his plans, laid them with decision and candour before the parents, and besought their consent that he might as soon as possible be able to call Louise his wife. Elise gasped for breath; the Judge made sundry objections, but for every one of these Jacobi had a reasonable and well-devised refutation.

"Are Jacobi's plans yours also, Louise?" asked the Judge, after a momentary silence; "are you both agreed?"[Pg 295]

Louise and Jacobi extended a hand to each other; looked on each other, and then on the father, with tearful, yet with calm and assured eyes.

"You are no longer children," continued the father; "you know what you are undertaking. But have you well considered?"

Both assented that they had. Already, before there had been any expectation of the living, they had thought on this plan.

"It is a fatiguing life that you are stepping into," continued the Judge, seriously, "and not the least so for you, Louise. The result of your husband's undertaking will depend for the greatest part on you. Will you joyfully, and without complaint, endure that which it will bring with it; will you, from your heart, take part in his day's work?"

"Yes, that I will!" replied Louise, with entire and hearty confidence.

"And you, Jacobi," continued he, with unsteady voice, "will you be father and mother and sisters to her? Will you promise me that she neither now, nor in the future, so far as in you lies, shall miss the paternal home?"

"God help me! so certainly as I will exert myself to effect it, she shall not!" answered Jacobi with emotion, and gave his hand to the Judge.

"Go then, children," exclaimed he, "and ask the blessing of your mother—mine you shall have," and with tearful eyes he clasped them in his arms.

Elise followed the example of her husband. She felt now that Louise and Jacobi's firm devotion to each other; their willingness to work; and their characters, so excellent, and beyond this, so well suited to each other, were more secure pledges of happiness than the greatest worldly treasure. With respect to the time of the marriage, however, she made serious objections. All that the parents could give to their daughter was a tolerably handsome outfit; and this could not, by any possibility, be so speedily prepared. Louise took her mother's view of the question, and Jacobi saw himself, although reluctantly, compelled to agree that it should remain as at first arranged, namely, for the second day in Whitsuntide, which, in this year, fell at the end of May.

After this the betrothed hastened to the sisters to communicate[Pg 296] to them the new views and schemes. There was many an "Oh!" and "Ah!" of astonishment; many a cordial embrace; and then, of course, what industry in the oak-leaf garland!

But as the mother at the usual time came in, she saw plainly that "the little lady" was somewhat impatient towards the brother-in-law-elect, and but little edified by his plans.

From that kind of sympathy which exists between minds, even when not a single word is spoken, especially between persons who are dear to each other, the dissatisfaction of Gabriele took possession also of the mother, who began to discover that Jacobi's plans were more and more idle and dangerous. Thus when Jacobi, not long afterwards, sought to have a tête-à-tête with her, in order to talk about his and Louise's plans, she could not help saying that the more she thought about the undertaking the more foolish did it appear to be.

To which Jacobi answered gaily, "Heaven is the guardian of all fools!"

Elise recollected at that moment how it had fared with a person with whom she was acquainted, who hoped for this guardianship in an undertaking that in most respects resembled Jacobi's, yet nothing had prevented all his affairs from going wrong altogether, and at length ending in bankruptcy and misery. Elise related this to Jacobi.

"Have you not read, mother," replied he, "a wise observation which stands at the end of a certain medical work?"

"No," said she; "what observation is it?"

"That what cured the shoemaker killed the tailor," said Jacobi.

Elise could not help laughing, and called him a conceited shoemaker. Jacobi laughed too, kissed Elise's hand, and then hastened to mingle in the group of young people, who assembled themselves round the tea-table to see and to pass judgment on an extraordinary kind of tea-bread wherewith Louise would welcome her bridegroom, and which, according to her opinion, besides the freshest freshness, was possessed of many wonderful qualities.

Whilst at tea, the mother whispered slyly into Louise's ear as Jacobi put sugar into his tea, "My dear child, there[Pg 297] will be a deal of sugar used in your house—your husband will not be frugal."

Louise whispered back again, "But he will not grumble because too much sugar is used in the house. So let him take it then, let him take it!"

Both laughed.

Later in the evening, as the mother saw Jacobi dance the gallopade with Louise and Gabriele, whilst he made all happy with his joy, and his eyes beamed with life and goodness, she thought to herself—even virtue has her carelessness; and she was well satisfied with his plans.

One day Jacobi related the particulars of his audience with his Excellency O——, at P., to Louise and her mother; his relation was as follows:

"When I came up into the saloon the Bishop N. was coming backwards, with low bows, out of the chamber of his Excellency. Within, a powerful voice was heard speaking polite and jocular words, and immediately afterwards his Excellency himself, with his foot wrapped in a woollen sock, accompanied the Bishop out. The lofty figure, clothed now in a dark-green morning coat, seemed to me more imposing than ever. He swung a stick in his hand, upon which a grey parrot was sitting, which, while it strove to maintain its balance, screamed with all its might after the Bishop, 'Adieu to thee! adieu to thee!'

"The sunshine which was diffused over the expressive countenance of his Excellency as he came out of his room, vanished the moment he saw me (I had already informed him by letter of the use I had made of his goodness), and a severe repulsive glance was the only greeting which I received. When the Bishop at length, accompanied by the parting salutations of the parrot, had left, his Excellency motioned the servants out, and riveted upon me his strong, bright, grey eyes, and with an actually oppressive look inquired short and sharp, 'What want you, Sir?'

"I had never seen him behave thus to me before, and whilst I endeavoured to overcome a really choking sensation, I answered, 'I would thank your Excellency for the goodness which—'

"'Which you have thrown away as if it were a very trifle,' interrupted his Excellency. 'You must have a confounded[Pg 298] many livings at command, I think. You can, perhaps, throw such away on all sides.'

"He spoke these words in a hard, ironical tone. I conjured him to hear me, and laid before him shortly, but with the utmost clearness, the reasons which had compelled me to give up the good fortune which his favour had procured for me. I concluded by saying, that the only consolation which I had for my loss, and the danger of having displeased my benefactor, was the feeling that I had done my duty, and acted according to my conscience, and the persuasion that I had acted right.

"'You have acted like a fool!' interrupted his Excellency, with violence, 'like a regular bedlamite have you behaved yourself! Things like this, Sir, may do in novels, but in actual life they serve to no other purpose than to make their actors and all that belong to them beggars. But you have unpardonably compromised me! The thousand! you should have thought over all these things and these feelings before you had obtained my recommendation! Can I know of all supplicants with poverty, merits, and nine children? On your account in this business I have written letters, given dinners, made fine speeches, paid compliments, in order to silence other claimants. I obtained for you that living, one of the best in the whole bishoprick, and now you have given it away as if it were a——It is really too bad! Don't come any more to me, and don't mix me up again in your concerns, that I say to you! I shall for the future meddle in nothing of the kind. Don't you ask me ever again for anything!'

"I was wounded, but still more distressed than wounded, and said, 'The only thing which I shall ask from you, and shall ask for till I obtain it, is the forgiveness of your Excellency! My error in this affair was great; but after I had seen it, there was nothing for me to do but to retrieve it as well as lay in my power, and then to bear the consequences, even though they be as bitter as I now find them. Never again shall I make any claim to your goodness—you have already done more than enough for me. My intention is now to try if I cannot maintain myself by my own powers as teacher. I intend to establish a school for boys in Stockholm, whither I shall travel as soon as——'[Pg 299]

"'Attempt, and travel, and do whatever you like!' interrupted his Excellency, 'I don't trouble myself about it. I have occupied myself in your affairs for the last time! If I were to get for you ten livings, you would give all away the next moment to the first, best poor devil that prayed you for them, with his full complement of wife and ten children!

"'Lundholm, wash me the glass! I never drink out of a glass from which a Bishop has drunk!'

"His Excellency had already turned his back upon me, and went again into his chamber cursing his gout, without the slightest parting word to me. The parrot, however, on the contrary, turned itself about on the stick, and cried out with all its might, 'Adieu to thee! adieu to thee!'

"With this greeting, perhaps the last in the house of his Excellency, I retired; but not without, I must confess, stopping a few moments on the steps, and wetting the stones with my tears. It was not the loss of a powerful patron which gave me so much pain, but—I had so admired this man, I had loved him with such an actual devotion; I looked up to him as to one of the noblest and most distinguished of men. He also seemed really to like me—at least I thought so; and now all at once he was so changed, so stern towards me, and as it seemed to me so unreasonable. It actually gave me pain to find so little that was noble in him, so little that was just! These were my feelings in those first bitter moments. When I came to think over the whole event more calmly, I could almost believe that he had received beforehand an unjust representation of the whole affair, and that I encountered him while under its influence. Over and above, he had reason to be dissatisfied with the whole thing, and then just at that moment a fit of the gout seized him! I have written to him from this place, and I feel it impossible to give up the hope of seeing his sentiments mollified towards me."

Louise, however, did not think so favourably of his sentiments; thought Jacobi quite too indulgent, and was altogether irritated against his Excellency.

"It is quite the best not to trouble oneself about him," said she.

Jacobi smiled. "His poor Excellency!" said he.

[Pg 300]



Whilst May wrote its romance in leaves and life; whilst Jacobi and Louise wrote many sweet chapters of theirs in kisses; whilst all the house was in motion on account of the marriage, and joy and mirth sprang up to life like butterflies in the spring sun, one glance was ever darker, one cheek ever paler, and that was Eva's.

People say commonly that love is a game for the man, and a life's-business for the woman. If there be truth in this, it may arise from this cause, that practical life makes commonly too great a demand on the thoughts and activity of the man for him to have much time to spend on love, whilst on the contrary the woman is too much occupied with herself to have the power of withdrawing herself from the pangs of love (may the Chamberlain's lady forgive us talking so much about man and woman! It has not been our lot here in the world to scour either a room or a kettle, though, to speak the truth, we do not consider ourselves incapable of so doing). Eva found nothing in her peaceful home which was powerful enough to abstract her from the thoughts and feelings which for so long had been the dearest to her heart. The warm breezes of spring, so full of love, fanned up that glimmering fire; so did also that innocent life of the betrothed, so full of cordiality and happiness; so did also a yet more poisonous wind. One piece of news which this spring brought was the betrothal of Major R. with one of the beauties of the capital, a former rival of Eva—news which caused a deep wound to her heart. She wished to conceal, she wished to veil what was yet remaining of a love which no one had favoured, and over which she could not now do other than blush; she had determined never again to burden and grieve her family with her weakness, her sorrows; she would not disturb the peace, the cheerfulness, which now again began to reign in the family after the misfortunes which had shaken it; but under the endeavour to bear her burden alone, her not strong spirit gave way. She withdrew more and more from the family circle; became ever more silent and reserved; sought for[Pg 301] solitude, and was unwilling to have her solitude disturbed by any one. She even was reserved before Leonore; although she, like a good angel, stood by her side, resting her soft eyes upon her with a tender disquiet, endeavouring to remove from her every annoyance, taking upon herself every painful occupation, and evincing towards her all that anxious care which a mother shows to a sick child. Eva permitted all this, and was daily more and more consumed by her untold mental sufferings. The engrossing cares which at this time occupied the family, prevented almost every one from paying attention to Eva's state of mind, and thus she was often left to herself.

For several of the last evenings Eva had gone down into her own chamber directly after tea—for in their present dwelling some of the daughters occupied the ground-floor—and on the plea of headache had excused herself from again returning to her family during the evening. It was a principle of the parents never to make use of any other means of compulsion with their children, now that they were grown up, than love, be it in great things or in small. But then love had a great power in this family; and as the daughters knew that it was the highest delight of their father to see them all round him in an evening, it became a principle with them neither to let temper nor any other unnecessary cause keep them away. As now, however, this was the third evening on which Eva had been absent, the father became uneasy, and the mother went down to her, whilst the rest of the family and some friends who were with them were performing a little concert together. But Eva was not to be found in her chamber, and the mother was hastening back again, full of disquiet, when she met Ulla, who was going to make the beds.

"Where is Eva?" asked she, with apparent indifference.

Ulla started, was red and then pale, and answered hesitatingly, "She is—gone out—I fancy."

"Where is she gone?" asked Elise, suddenly uneasy.

"I fancy—to the grave of the young master," returned Ulla.

"To the grave?—so late! Has she gone there for several evenings?" inquired the mother.

"This is now the third evening," said Ulla: "ah, best[Pg 302] gracious lady, it goes really to my heart—it is not justly right there!"

"What is not justly right, Ulla?"

"That Mamselle Eva goes out to the grave so late, and does not come back again till it has struck ten, and that she will be so much alone," returned Ulla. "Yesterday Mamselle Leonore even cried, and begged of her not to go, or to allow her to go with her. But Mamselle Eva would not let her, but said she would not go, and that Mamselle Leonore should go up-stairs, and leave her alone; but as soon as Mamselle Leonore had left her she went out for all that, with only a thin kerchief over her head. And this evening she is gone out also. Ah! it must be a great grief which consumes her, for she gets paler every day!"

Greatly disturbed by what she had heard, Elise hastened to seek her husband. She found him deeply engaged over his books and papers, but he left all the moment he saw the troubled countenance of his wife. She related to him what she had heard from Ulla, and informed him that it was her intention to go now immediately to the churchyard.

"I will go with you," said the Judge, "only tell Louise to defer supper for us till we come back; I fancy nobody will miss us, they are so occupied by their music."

No sooner said than done. The husband and wife went out together; it was half-past nine in the middle of May, but the air was cold, and a damp mist fell.

"Good heavens!" said the Judge softly, "she'll get her death of cold if she stops in the churchyard so late, and in air like this!"

As they approached the churchyard, they saw that a female form passed hastily through the gate. It was not Eva, for she sat on the grave of her brother! she sat there immovably upon the earth, and resembled a ghost. The churchyard was, with this exception, deserted. The figure which had entered before them, softly approached the grave, and remained standing at the distance of a few paces.

"Eva!" said a beseeching mournful voice; it was Leonore. The parents remained standing behind some thick-leaved fir-trees. On precisely the same spot had the father stood once before, and listened to a conversation of a very different kind.[Pg 303]

"Eva!" repeated Leonore, with an expression of the most heartfelt tenderness.

"What do you want with me, Leonore?" asked Eva impatiently, but without moving. "I have already prayed you to let me alone."

"Ah! I cannot leave you, dear Eva," replied her sister, "why do you sit here on the ground, on this cold, wet evening? Oh, come home, come home with me!"

"Do you go home, Leonore! this air is not proper for you! Go home to the happy, and be merry, with them," returned Eva.

"Do you not remember," tenderly pleaded Leonore, "how I once, many years ago, was sick both in body and mind? Do you know who it was then that left the gay in order to comfort me? I prayed her to leave me—but she went not from me—neither will I now go away from you."

"Ah, go! leave me alone!" repeated Eva, "I stand now alone in the world!"

"Eva, you distress me!" said her sister, "you know that there is no one in this world that I love like you: I mourned so much when you left us; the house without you seemed empty, but I consoled myself with the thought that Eva will soon come back again. You came, and I was so joyful, for I believed that we should be so happy together. But I have seen since then of how little consequence I am to you! still I love you as much as ever, and if you think that I have not sympathised in your sorrows, that I have not wept with you and for you, you do me certainly injustice! Ah, Eva, many a night when you have believed perhaps that I lay in sweet sleep, have I sat at your door, and listened how you wept, and have wept for you, and prayed for you, but I did not dare to come in to you because I imagined your heart to be closed to me!" And so saying, Leonore wept bitterly.

"You are right, Leonore," answered Eva, "much has become closed in me which once was opened. This feeling, this love for him—oh, it has swallowed up my whole soul! For some time I believed I should be able to conquer it—but now I believe so no longer——"

"Do you repent of your renunciation?" asked Leonore;—"it was so noble of you! Would you yet be united to him!"[Pg 304]

"No! no! the time for that is gone by," said Eva. "I would rather die than that; but you see, Leonore, I loved him so—I have tasted love, and have felt how rapturous, how divine life might be!—Oh, Leonore, the bright sun-warm summer-day is not more unlike this misty evening hour, than the life which I lived for a season is unlike the future which now lies before me!"

"It seems so to you now, Eva—you think so now," answered her sister; "but let a little time pass over, and you will see that it will be quite otherwise; that the painful feelings will subside, and life will clear up itself before you. Think only how it has already afforded you pleasure to look up to heaven when the clouds separated themselves, and you said, 'see how bright it will be! how beautiful the heaven is!' and your blue eyes beamed with joy and peace, because it was so. Believe me, Eva, the good time will come again, in which you will thus look up to heaven, and feel thus joyful, and thus gay!"

"Never!" exclaimed Eva, weeping; "oh, never will that time return! Then I was innocent, and from that cause I saw heaven above me clear;—now so much that is bad, so much that is impure has stained my soul—stains it yet!—Oh, Leonore, if you only knew all that I have felt for some time you would never love me again! Would you believe it that Louise's innocent happiness has infused bitterness into my soul; that the gaiety which has again began to exist in the family has made me feel bitterness—bitterness towards my own family—my own beloved ones! Oh, I could detest myself! I have chastised myself with the severest words—I have prayed with bitter tears, and yet——"

"Dear Eva, you must have patience with yourself," said Leonore, "you will not——"

"Ah! I am already weary of myself—of my life!" hastily interrupted Eva; "I am like some one who has already travelled far, who is already spent, but who must still go on, and can never come to his journey's end. It seems to me as if I should be a burden to all who belong to me; and when I have seen you all so happy, so gay one with another, I have felt my heart and my head burn with bitterness; then have I been obliged to go out—out into the cold evening dew, and I have longed to repose in the earth upon which it[Pg 305] fell—I have longed to be able to hide myself from every one—deep, deep in the grave below!"

"But from me," said Leonore, "you will not be able to hide yourself—nor to go from me, since where you go there will I follow. Oh, what were life to me if you were to leave it in despair! You would not go alone to the grave, Eva! I would follow you there—and if you will not allow that I sit by your side, I will seat myself on the churchyard wall, that the same evening damps which penetrate you may penetrate me also; that the same night wind which chills your bosom may chill mine; that I may be laid by your side and in the same grave with you! And willingly would I die for you, if—you will not live for me, and for the many who love you so much! We will try all things to make you happier! God will help us; and the day will come in which all the bitter things of this time will seem like a dream, and when all the great and beautiful feelings, and all the agreeable impressions of life will again revive in you. You will again become innocent—nay, become more, because virtue is a higher, a glorified innocence! Oh, Eva! if he whose dust reposes beneath us, if his spirit invisibly float around us—if he who was better and purer than all of us, could make his voice audible to us at this moment, he would certainly join with me in the prayer—'Oh, Eva! live—live for those who love thee! Mortal life, with all its anguish and its joy, is soon past—and then it is so beautiful that our life should have caused joy to one another on earth—it causes joy in heaven! The great Comforter of all affliction will not turn from thee—only do not thou turn from Him! Have patience! tarry out thy time! Peace comes, comes certainly——'"

The words ceased; both sisters had clasped their arms around each other, and mingled their tears. Eva's head rested on Leonore's shoulder as she, after a long pause, spoke in a feeble voice:

"Say no more, Leonore; I will do what you wish. Take me—make of me what you will—I am too weak to sustain myself at this moment—support me—I will go with you—you are my good angel!"

Other guardian angels approached just then, and clasped the sisters in a tender embrace. Conducted by them, Eva[Pg 306] returned home. She was altogether submissive and affectionate, and besought earnestly for forgiveness from all. She was very much excited by the scenes which had just occurred, drank a composing draught which her mother administered, and then listened to Leonore, who read to her, as she lay in bed, till she fell asleep.

The Judge paced up and down his chamber uneasily that night, and spoke thus to his wife, who lay in bed:

"A journey to the baths, and that in company with you, would be quite the best thing for her. But I don't know how I can now do without you; and more than that, where the money is to come from! We have had great losses, and see still great expenses before us: in the first place Louise's marriage—and then, without a little money in hand, we cannot let our girls go from home; and the rebuilding of our house. But we must borrow more money—I see no other way. Eva must be saved; her mind must be enlivened and her body strengthened, let it cost what it may. I must see and borrow——"

"It is not necessary, Ernst," said Elise; and the Judge, making a sudden pause, gazed at her with astonishment; whilst she, half raising herself in bed, looked at him with a countenance beaming with joy. "Come," continued she, "and I will recall something to your memory which occurred fifteen years ago."

"What sort of a history can that be?" said he, smiling gaily, whilst he seated himself on the bed, and took the hand which Elise extended to him.

"Five-and-twenty years ago," began she.

"Five-and-twenty years!" interrupted he, "Heaven help me! you promised to go no farther back than fifteen."

"Patience, my love!—this is part the first of my story. Do you not remember, then," said she, "how, five-and-twenty years ago, at the commencement of our married life, you made plans for a journey into the beautiful native land of your mother? I see now, Ernst, that you remember it. And how we should wander there you planned, and enjoy our freedom and God's lovely nature. You were so joyful in the prospect of this; but then came adversity, and cares, and children, and never-ending labour for you, so that our Norwegian journey retreated year by year more into the background.[Pg 307] Nevertheless, it remained like a point of light to you in the future; but now, for some time, you seem to have forgotten it; yes, for you have given up all your own pleasures in labouring for your family; have forsaken all your own enjoyments, your own plans, for your own sphere of activity and your home. But I have not forgotten the Norwegian journey, and in fifteen years have obtained the means of its accomplishment."

"In fifteen years!—what do you mean?" asked he.

"Now I am arrived," she answered, "at part the second of my history. Do you still remember, Ernst, that fifteen years ago we were not so happy as we are now? You have forgotten? Well, so much the better; I scarcely remember it myself any more, for the expansive rind of love has grown over the black scar. What I, however, know is, that at that time I was not so properly at home in actual life, and did not rightly understand all the good that it offered me, and that to console myself on that account I wrote a romance. But now it happened that by reason of my novel I neglected my duties to my lord and husband—for the gentlemen are decidedly unskilled in serving themselves——"

"Very polite!" interposed the Judge, smiling.

"Be content!" continued she: "now it happened that one evening his tea and my novel came into collision—a horrible history followed. But I made a vow in my heart that one of these days the two rivals should become reconciled. Now you see my manuscript—you had the goodness to call it rubbish—I sent to a very enlightened man, to a man of distinguished taste and judgment, and thus it befel, he found taste in the rubbish; and, what say you to it? paid me a pretty little sum for permission to bring it before the world. Do not look so grave, Ernst; I have never again taken up the pen to write novels; my own family has found me enough to do; and besides, I never again could wish to do anything which was not pleasant to you. You have displaced all rivals, do you see! But this one I decided should be the means of your taking the Norwegian journey. The little sum of two hundred crowns banco which it produced me have I placed in the savings' bank for this purpose; and in fifteen years it has so much augmented itself, that it will perfectly accomplish that object; and if ever the time for its[Pg 308] employment will come, it is now. The desire for travelling is gone from me—I covet now only rest. But you and——"

"And do you think," said the Judge, "that I shall take your——"

"Oh, Ernst! why should you not?" exclaimed she; "if you could but know what joy the thought of this has prepared for me! The money, which from year to year increased, in order to give you pleasure, has been to me like a treasure of hidden delight, which has many a time strengthened and animated my soul! Make me only perfectly happy by allowing yourself to have enjoyment from it. Take it, my Ernst, and make yourself pleasure with it, this summer; I pray you to do so, on account of our children. Take Eva with you, and if possible Leonore also. Nothing would refresh Eva's soul more than such a journey with you and Leonore in a magnificent and beautiful country. The money can be obtained in a month's time, and a few months' leave of absence cannot possibly be denied to one who has spent more than thirty years in incessant service for the state; and when Louise and her husband have left us, and spring and nature are in their very loveliest, then you shall set out: you shall be refreshed after so many years of painful labour, and the wounded heart of our sick child shall be healed."



Eva entered her father's study the next morning. He immediately left his work, received her with the greatest tenderness, drew her to his side on the sofa, and placing one arm round her waist, took her hand in his, and inquired, with a searching glance, "Do you want anything from me, my child? Can I do anything for you? Tell me!"

Encouraged by his kindness, Eva described the state of her mind to her father, and explained how she wished to commence a more active life in order to overcome her weakness, and to regain strength and quiet. The situation of teacher in a girl's school in the city was vacant, and she wished immediately to take it, but only for the summer, during which time she and Leonore would prepare themselves to open a[Pg 309] school in autumn. It was a plan of which they had long thought, and which would afford them a useful and independent life. Eva besought the acquiescence of her father to this proposition.

"Leonore and I," continued she, "have this morning talked a deal on the subject; we hope that with the counsel and countenance upon which we may reckon, to be able to make it succeed. Ah, father! I am become quite anxious about it on account of my own weakness. I must speedily resort to external means, that I may overcome it. I will become active; I will work; and whilst thus employed I shall forget the past and myself, and only live for the happiness of those who love me, and to whom I have caused so much trouble."

"My child! my dear child, you are right; you do rightly!" said the father, deeply affected, and clasping his daughter in his arms; "your wish shall be granted, and whatever is in my power will I do to forward your plans. What a many institutions for education will there not proceed from our house! But there is no harm at all in that—there are no more useful institutions on the face of the earth! One reservation, however, I must make from your and Leonore's determination. You may dedicate the autumn and the winter to your school—but the summer you must devote to your father!—and Madame B. may find a teacher where she can, only not from my family—for I am not now in a condition to furnish her one."

"Ah, father," said she, "every unemployed hour is a burden to me!"

"We will bear the burden together, my child! Leonore, I, and you, in our wanderings towards the west. In a few weeks I am thinking of undertaking a journey, after which I have longed for these many years; I will visit the beautiful native land of my mother. Will you, Eva, breathe this fresh mountain air with me? I should have very little pleasure in the journey alone, but in company with you and Leonore it will make me young again! Our heads are become bowed, my child, but in God's beautiful nature we will lift them up again! You will go with me—is it not so? Good! Come then with me to your mother, for it is she alone who has managed this journey!"[Pg 310]

With an arm round the waist of his daughter the Judge now went to his wife; they found Leonore with her; nor was ever a quartet of Mozart's more harmonious than that which was now performed among them.

Eva was uncommonly animated all day, but in the evening she was in a burning fever. A feeling of anxiety went through the whole family; they feared that a new grave was about to be opened, and disquiet was painted on all countenances. Eva demanded, with a fervour which was not without its feverish excitement, that the Assessor should be fetched. He came immediately.

"Forgive me!" exclaimed Eva, extending her hand to him, "I have been so ungrateful to you! But my heart was so disordered that it was quite changed; but it will recover itself again. Leonore has given it health. I am very ill now; my hands burn, my head aches! Give me my little work-box—that I may hold it between my hands—that I may lean my head upon it—else I shall be no better! You, my friend, will cure me that I may again make my family happy!"

The Assessor dried his tears. As Eva leaned her head on the work-box, she talked earnestly, but not quite coherently of the plans for the future.

"Very good, very good," said the physician, interrupting her; "I too will be of the establishment; I will give instruction in botany to the whole swarm of girls, and between us we will drive them out into the woods and into the fields, that we may see them learn all that is beautiful in the world. But now, Eva, you must not talk any more—but you must empty this glass."

Eva took the composing draught willingly, and was soon calmer. She was the most obedient and amiable of patients, and showed a confidence in her old friend which penetrated his heart. He would have sate night and day by her bed.

Eva's sickness was a violent fever, which confined her to her bed for nearly three weeks, and occasioned her family great uneasiness. This sickness was, however, very beneficial for herself and for the health of her mind; but still more beneficial was the infinite love with which she saw herself encompassed on all sides.

One day in the beginning of her convalescence, as she sate up and saw herself surrounded by all the comforts which love[Pg 311] and home could gather about a beloved sufferer, she said to Leonore as she leaned upon her, "Ah, who would not be willing to live when they see themselves so beloved!"

In the meantime Louise's wedding-day was approaching nearer.



Three days before the wedding a grand travelling-carriage drawn by four horses rolled through the streets of the town of X——, and from the prodigious clatter which it made drew all the inquisitive among the inhabitants to their windows.

"Did you see, dear sister," cried the general shopkeeper Madame Suur to Madame Bask, the wife of the postmaster, "the grand travelling-carriage that has just gone by? Did you see the sweet youth that sate on the left and looked so genteel, with his snow-white neck and open shirt-collar? Lawk! how he looked at me—so sweet as he was! How like a real prince he looked!"

"Dear sister!" answered the postmistress, "then you did not see the gentleman who sate on the right? He was a grand gentleman, that I can positively assert! He sate so stately leaning back in the carriage, and so wrapped up in grand furs that one could not see the least bit of his face. Positively he is a great somebody!"

"I got a shimmer of the youth," said the grey-brown handed and complexioned Annette P——, as she glanced up from her coarse sewing, with such a look as probably a captive casts who has glanced out of his prison into a freer and more beautiful state of existence; "he looked so calm, with large blue eyes, out of the plate-glass windows of the carriage! as pure and grave he looked as one of God's angels!"

"Ay, we know to be sure how the angels look!" said the postmistress, snubbingly, and with a severe glance at Annette; "but that's absolutely all one! Yet I should like to know what grandees they are. I should not be a bit surprised if it were his royal highness or gracious crown-prince, who with his eldest son is travelling incondito through the country."[Pg 312]

"Dear sister says what is true," returned Madame Suur. "Yes, it must be so! for he looked like a regular prince, the sweet youth, as he sate there and glanced at me through the window; really, he smiled at me!"

"Nay, my ladies, we've got some genteel strangers in the city!" exclaimed Mr. Alderman Nyberg as he came into the room.

"Have they stopped here?" cried both ladies at once.

"My wife saw the carriage draw up and——"

"Nay, heaven defend us! Mr. Alderman what are you thinking about that you don't make a stir in the city and send a deputation to wait upon them? For goodness sake let the city-council come together!"

"How? What? Who?" asked the Alderman, opening wide his grey eyes like some one just awoke out of sleep; "can it indeed——"

"Yes, very likely his royal highness himself in his own proper person—possibly his majesty!"

"Gracious heavens!" said the Alderman, and looked as if the town-house had fallen.

"But speed off in all the world's name, and run and look about you, and don't stand here staring like a dead figure!" exclaimed the postmistress, quite hoarse, while she shook up and down her great mass of humanity on the creaking sofa. "Dear sister, cannot you also get on your legs a little, and Annette too, instead of sitting there hum-drumming with her sewing, out of which nothing comes. Annette run quick, and see what it is all about—but come back in an instant-minute and tell me, poor soul, whom our Lord has smitten with calamity and sickness—nay, nay, march pancake!"

The Alderman ran; dear Sister Suur ran; Mamselle Annette ran; we ran also, dear reader, in order to see a large-made gentleman somewhat in years, and a youth of eleven, of slender figure and noble appearance, dismount from the travelling carriage. It was his Excellency O—— and his youngest son.

They alighted and went into the house of the Franks. His Excellency entered the drawing-room without suffering himself to be announced, and introduced himself to Elise, who though surprised by the visit of the unexpected stranger,[Pg 313] received him with all her accustomed graceful self-possession; lamenting the absence of her husband, and thinking to herself that Jacobi had not in the least exceeded the truth in his description of the person of his Excellency.

His Excellency was now in the most brilliant of humours, and discovered, as by sudden revelation, that he and Elise were related; called her "my cousin" all the time, and said the handsomest things to her of her family, of whom he had heard so much, but more especially of a certain young man on whom he set the highest value. Further he said, that however much he must rejoice in having made the personal acquaintance of his cousin, still he must confess that his visit at this time had particular reference to the young man of whom he had spoken; and with this he inquired after Jacobi.

Jacobi was sent for, and came quickly, but not without evident emotion in his countenance. His Excellency O——approached him, extended his hand cheerfully, and said, "I rejoice to see you; my cursed gout has not quite left me; but I could not pass so near the city without going a little out of my way in order to wish you happiness on your approaching marriage, and also to mention an affair—but you must introduce me to your bride."

Jacobi did it with glowing eyes. His Excellency took Louise's hand, and said, "I congratulate you on your happiness, on being about to have one of the best and the most estimable of men for your husband!" And with these words he riveted a friendly penetrating glance upon her, and then kissed her hand. Louise blushed deeply, and looked happier than when she agreed to her own proposition of not troubling herself about his Excellency.

Upon the other daughters also who were present, his keen eyes were fixed with a look which seemed rather to search into soul than body, and rested with evident satisfaction on the beautifully blushing Gabriele.

"I also have had a daughter," said he, slowly, "an only one—but she was taken from me!"

A melancholy feeling seemed to have gained possession of him, but he shook it quickly from him, stood up, and went to Jacobi, to whom he talked in a loud and friendly voice.

"My best Jacobi," said he, "you told me the last time we[Pg 314] were together that you thought of opening a school for boys in Stockholm. I am pleased with it, for I have proved that your ability as teacher and guide of youth is of no ordinary kind. I wish to introduce to you a pupil, my little boy. You will confer upon me a real pleasure if you will be able to receive him in two months, at which time I must undertake a journey abroad, which perhaps may detain me long, and would wish to know that during this my absence my son was in good hands. I wish that he should remain under your care at least two or three years. You will easily feel that I should not place in your hands him who is dearest to me in the world, if I had not the most perfect confidence in you, and therefore I give you no prescribed directions concerning him. And if prayers can obtain motherly regard," continued he, turning to Louise, "I would direct myself with them to you. Take good care of my boy—he has no longer a mother!"

Louise drew the boy hastily to her, embraced him, and kissed him with warmth. A smile as of sunshine diffused itself over the countenance of the father, and certainly no words which Louise could have spoken would have satisfied him more than this silent but intelligent answer of the heart. Jacobi stood there with tears in his eyes; he could not bring forth many words, but his Excellency understood him, and shook him cordially by the hand.

"May we not have the horses taken out? Will not your Excellency have the goodness to stay to dine with us?" were the beseeching questions which were repeated around him.

But however willing his Excellency would have been to do it, it was impossible. He had promised to dine at Strö with Count Y——, eighteen miles distant from the town.

"But breakfast? a little breakfast at least? It should be served in a moment. The young Count Axel would certainly be glad of a little breakfast!" asserted Louise, with friendly confidence, who seemed already to have taken under her protection the future pupil of her husband.

The young Count Axel did not say no; and the father, whose behaviour became every moment more cordial and gay, said that a little breakfast in such company would eat excellently.[Pg 315]

Bergström prepared with rapture and burning zeal the table for the lofty guest, who in the mean time chatted with evident satisfaction with Elise and Jacobi, directing often also his conversation to Louise as if insensibly to test her; and from their inmost hearts did both mother and bridegroom rejoice that with her calm understanding she could stand the test so well.

Gabriele entertained the young Count Axel in one of the windows by listening to the repeater of his new gold watch, which set the grave and naturally silent boy at liberty to lead the entertainment in another way; and Gabriele, who entered into all his ideas, wondered very much over the wonderful properties of the watch; and let it repeat over and over again, whilst her lovely and lively smiles and her merry words called forth more and more the confidence of the young Axel.

Breakfast was ready; was brought in by the happy Bergström; was eaten and praised by his Excellency, who was a connoisseur; a description of the capitally preserved anchovies was particularly desired from Louise; and then her health and that of her bridegroom was drunk in Madeira.

Towards the conclusion of the breakfast the Judge came home. The trait of independence, bordering on pride, which sometimes revealed itself in Judge Frank's demeanour, and which perhaps was visible at the very time of his respectful but simple greeting of his Excellency, called forth in him also a momentary appearance of height. But this pride soon vanished from both sides. These two men knew and valued each other mutually; and it was not long before they were so deeply engrossed by conversation, that his Excellency forgot his journey, not for one only, but for two hours.

"I lament over Strö and its dinner," said his Excellency, preparing to take his departure; "how they must have waited there! But we could not possibly help it."

After his Excellency had departed, he left behind him a bright impression on all the family of Franks, not one of whom did not feel animated in a beneficial manner by his behaviour and his words. Jacobi in his joy made a high entre-chat, and embracing Louise, said, "Now, Louise, what say you to the man? And we have got a pupil that will draw at least twenty after him!"[Pg 316]

Louise was perfectly reconciled to his Excellency.

From this day forth Bergström began a new era; whatever happened in the family was either before or after the visit of his Excellency.

"Ah, then, my goodness! that it should be Excellency O——!" said the dear sister Bask to the dear sister Suur.

"Yes, just think! That he should come solely, and for no other purpose, than to visit the Franks, and breakfast there, and stop several hours there! He is a cousin, of the Judge's lady."

"Her cousin! Bah! no more her cousin than I am the king's cousin; positively not!"

"Yes, yes! or why else should he have called her 'my gracious cousin?' And one must confess that there is something refined and genteel about her—and such hands as she has have I never seen!"

"Hum! There's no art in looking genteel and having beautiful hands, when one goes about the house like a foolish thing, washing one's hands in rose-water, and all the livelong day doing not one sensible act. That I know well enough!"

"Yes, yes! they who will be of any use in their house cannot keep such hands, and sit the whole day and read romances! I should like to know how it would have gone with the blessed Suur's baking business—to which at last he added the grocery—if I had been a genteel lady! Not at all, because I should not have done it. Sweet sister, know that I once had my whims—yes, and a turn for scribbling and writing. Yes, so help me heaven! if it had not been for my little bit of sound sense, which showed me my folly in time, I might have become a regular learned lady, another—what do you call her?—Madame de Staël! But when I married the late Suur I determined to give up all that foolishness, and do honour to the baking; and now I have quite let my little talent slip away from me, so that it is as good as buried. But on that account I am, to be sure, no fitting company for the Franks—think only!—and shall be only less and less so, if they are always climbing higher and higher."

"Let them climb as high as they will, I don't intend to[Pg 317] make obeisances before them, that I can promise them! that I absolutely will not! It vexes me enough that Annette is so mad after them. Before one is aware of it, they will be taking her away from me, skin and hair; and that's my thanks for all I have lavished upon her! But I'll tell the gentry that I'm positively determined to make no compliments to them or to their Excellencies, and that one person is just as good as another! Positively I'll tell them that!"



"God bless the little ones! But when one considers how little of a rarity children are in this world, one has only to open one's mouth to say so, and people are all up in arms and make such a stir and such an ado about their little ones! Heart's-dearest! People may call them angels as much as ever they will, but I would willingly have my knees free from them! But worst of all is it with the first child in a family! Oh, it is a happiness and a miracle, and cannot be enough overloaded with caresses and presents from father and mother, and aunts and cousins, and all the world. Does it scream and roar—then it is a budding genius; is it silent—then it is a philosopher in its cradle; and scarcely is it eight days old but it understands Swedish and almost German also! And—it bites, the sweet angel!—it has got a tooth! It bites properly. Ah, it is divine! Then comes the second child:—it is by far less wonderful already; its cry and its teeth are not half so extraordinary. The third comes;—it is all over with miracles now! the aunts begin to shake their heads, and say, 'no lack of heirs in the house! Nay, nay, may there be only enough to feed them all.' After this comes a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth—yes, then people's wits are set in full play! The parents resign themselves, but the friends defend themselves! Heart's-dearest, what is to become of it? The house full of children, there's soon a dozen of them! Poor Mrs. This and This—it makes one quite weak both in body and mind only to think of it! Yes, yes, my friends, people don't put these things down in romances, but it goes on in this way in real life! Yes!"[Pg 318]

It was the Chamberlain's lady who preached this little sermon, in the zeal of her spirit, to the young couple who the next day were to be man and wife. She ate on this evening Whitsuntide-porridge[19] with the Franks, and all the while gave sundry lessons for the future. Jacobi laughed heartily over the history of the children, and endeavoured to catch Louise's eye; but this was fixed upon the Postillion, which she was arranging with a very important and grave aspect. The Judge and Elise looked smilingly on each other, and extended to each other their hands.

The state of feeling in the family, for the rest of the evening, was quite rose-coloured. Letters had been received from Petrea which gave contentment to all her friends, and Eva sate in the family circle with returning, although as yet pale roses on her cheeks. The Judge sate between Eva and Leonore, laying out on the map the plan of the summer tour. They would visit Thistedal, Ringerig, and Tellemark, and would go through Trondhiem to Norland, where people go to salute the midnight sun.

Gabriele looked after her flowers, and watered the myrtle tree from which next morning she would break off sprays wherewith to weave a crown and garland for Louise. Jacobi sate near the mother, and seemed to have much to say to her; what it was, however, nobody heard, but he often conveyed her hand to his lips, and seemed as if he were thanking her for his life's happiness. He looked gentle and happy. Every thing was prepared for the morrow, so that this evening would be spent in quiet.

According to Jacobi's wish the marriage was to take place in the church, and after this they were all to dine en famille. In the evening, however, a large company was to be assembled in the S. saloon, which with its adjoining garden had been hired for the purpose. This was according to the wish of the father, who desired that for the last time, perhaps for many years, his daughter should collect around her all her acquaintance and friends, and thus should show to them, at the same time, welcome politeness. He himself, with the help of Jacobi and Leonore, who was everybody's assistant, had taken upon himself the arrangement of this evening's[Pg 319] festival, that his wife might not be fatigued and disturbed by it.

At supper the betrothed sat side by side, and Jacobi behaved sometimes as if he would purposely seize upon his bride's plate as well as his own, which gave rise to many dignified looks, to settings-to-rights again, and a deal of merriment besides.

Later in the evening, when they all went to rest, Louise found her toilet-table covered with presents from bridegroom, parents, sisters, and friends. A great deal of work was from Petrea. These gifts awakened in Louise mingled feelings of joy and pain, and as she hastened yet once again to embrace the beloved ones from whom she was about so soon to separate, many mutual tears were shed. But evening dew is prophetic of a bright morrow—that was the case here.


[19] There is some new kind of porridge for almost every week in the year in Sweden, with which the table is most religiously served.—M. H.



The sun shone bright and warm on that morning of Whit-Monday. Flowers and leaves glistened in the morning dew; the birds sang; the bells of the city rang festively and gaily; the myrtle-crown was ready woven early, and the mother and Leonore were present at the toilet of the bride. They expected that Jacobi would make his appearance in the highest state of elegance, and hoped that his appearance would not dim that of the bride. Louise's sisters made her appearance on this occasion of more importance than she herself did. Gabriele dressed her hair—she possessed an actual talent for this art—half-blown rose-buds were placed in the myrtle wreath; and what with one, and what with another little innocent art of the toilet, a most happy effect was produced. Louise looked particularly well in her simple, tasteful, bridal dress—for the greatest part of the work of her own skilful hands—and the content, and the beautiful repose which diffused itself over her countenance, spread a glorification over all.

"You look so pale to-day in your white dress, my little Eva," said Leonore, as she helped her to dress—"you must have something pink on your neck to brighten you up, else our bride will be anxious when she sees you."

"As you will, Leonore! I can put this handkerchief on,[Pg 320] that it may give a little reflected colour to my cheek. I will not distress any one."

When the festally-arrayed family assembled for breakfast they presented a beautiful appearance. The family-father, however, looked more gloomy than gay; and as Jacobi entered they saw, with astonishment, that his toilet was considerably negligent. He had been out; his hair was in disorder, and he evidently was in an excited state of mind; but he was handsome for all that. He kissed his bride tenderly on hand and lips, and gave her a nosegay of beautiful wild-flowers, and several splendidly bound books,—the sermons of Franzén and Wallin, which gift was very valuable, and was received by "our sensible" and sermon-loving Louise with the greatest pleasure.

After breakfast Jacobi hastened to arrange his toilet, and then they all went to church. The weather was uncommonly beautiful, and crowds of festally-dressed people thronged about, in part to hear the Provost, who was to preach that day, but principally to see the bridal pair.

It was an agreeable surprise to the family when at the entrance of the churchyard many young girls began to strew flowers before the bridal couple the whole way to the church-door. The church also was decorated with flowers and foliage.

When the Judge took the hand of his daughter in the church, she perceived that his was cold, and that it trembled. She looked at him, and read in his countenance the disquiet with which his soul laboured.

"My father," said she to him, "I feel so calm, so happy!"

"Then I am so too, my child," said he, pressing her hand; and after this moment his demeanour was calm and decided as usual.

Jacobi, both before and after the ceremony, was excited in the highest degree; he wept much. Louise, on the contrary, was externally quite calm. She looked rather pale, but her eyes were bright and almost joyous; an altogether unusual contrast in a bridal pair.

On their return from the church a little circumstance occurred which gave pleasure to all, but more especially to the Judge. As they went past the remains of the burnt-down house, they saw a great swarm of bees suddenly mount up[Pg 321] from the trees of the garden; it flew several times round the market-place as if seeking for a habitation, and at last turning back, struck directly down among the ruins of the former kitchen fireplace; it seemed as if it had selected the hearth for its abiding home. This was regarded as the happiest omen, and no sooner had the Judge conducted his daughter home, than he returned in order to remove his bees to a convenient resting-place; Gabriele following him with Baron L——'s treatise on the management of bees in her hand.

When Louise was again locked in the arms of her mother—the mother and Eva had remained at home—she was seized by a slight trembling fit which lasted several hours, but which was unobserved by all excepting her mother; and through the whole of the day she continued graver than common. Jacobi, on the contrary, after his fit of weeping was over, and he had embraced everybody, and kissed his bride on lips, hair, hand, and foot, was seized with a real desire of dancing with the whole world. He was so wildly joyous and happy, and at the same time so amiable, that he imparted his state of mind to everybody else.

At half-past four in the afternoon they assembled themselves in the S—— garden, where the time was passed in the most agreeable manner, with music, walking about, entertainment, and eating of ices and fruit, to which also the Almighty added the brightest heaven and the calmest air. Later in the evening they danced in the great saloon; no lady could sit still, and scarcely a gentleman stand; all must dance! We have nothing more to say of the ball, but we must not pass over in silence that which occurred afterwards. When the company wished to go across the garden to the eating-room, they perceived that it had rained considerably, and that it still dropped; this occasioned a great commotion among the ladies, because all the wrapping shawls and cloaks were on the other side; they had quite forgotten to bring them over in the fine weather. But it was, according to popular belief in Sweden, fortunate, and quite according to the order of things, that rain-drops should fall on the crown of the bride; but at the same time it was also against all sense of prudence and propriety that she should wet her[Pg 322] silken shoes. And then all the other ladies! They must have the wrapping things fetched to this side!

"I will provide for it!" exclaimed Jacobi, and with these words seized his astonished bride in his arms and carried her across the garden. What he whispered in her ear during this journey we know not, but thus far we can say, that this action set Jacobi very high in the favour of the ladies.

The new-married pair spent several days after the wedding under the paternal roof, and joyful days they were, only rather too much given up to dissipation, for all friends and acquaintance would see and entertain the two young people. Mrs. Gunilla gave them a dinner, in which she communicated to them that she should, at the same time with them, journey to Stockholm, where important affairs would oblige her to stay a considerable time. However much it grieved Elise to lose so excellent and almost motherly a friend, she rejoiced very much over what Louise and Jacobi would win thereby. Louise and Mrs. Gunilla, it is true, had not perfectly harmonised together, because each would instruct the other; but Jacobi and she agreed all the better, and she had already invited the young people to dine with her as often as they would in Stockholm.

In the hour of parting she spoke thus to Elise and her husband with tears in her eyes: "Who knows when we may meet again? The old woman is in years—is not of much more use in the world—na, na! Our Lord will care for her as he has hitherto done! And listen," continued she with an arch, roguish air, "don't be uneasy on account of the young folks;—I shall see that it all goes on right there. I invite myself as sponsor to the first child. Perhaps we shall meet then! Yes, yes, I have a presentiment that we shall see one another again in Stockholm! Nay! now farewell, dear Elise! God bless you, my kind friends, and make all go well with you! Think of the old woman sometimes! Adieu!"

After the trouble of the packing was over—we mean packing Louise's things, of course—and the still sorrow of parting, quiet returned back into the house, and was only agreeably interrupted by preparations for the journey to the West.[Pg 323] The Judge seemed at this time to be young again, and an increased union of heart showed itself between him and his wife. So wear away, sometimes, the most beautiful summer days, even after the autumn has made advances into the year. From what cause is this? God knows.

The invisible genius of our history leads us at this moment far from the home of peace to a distant shore, in order to give us a glimpse into—the subject of our next chapter.



If the sun shine on the head of the crucified, if a bird lift up its joyous song in presence of a broken heart, it seems to us cruel. But beautiful is the unconscious irony of nature in comparison with that which exists in human circumstances. We have here an example of this before us. See these sparkling false diamonds, this red gauze finery, these ruins of theatrical ornament. They seem to mock the misery of the room about which they are strewn. In that wretched room is want of light; want, not only of all the comforts of life, but also of its most necessary things. And yet—where could they be more useful than here?

Forlorn, upon a miserable bed lay a woman, who appeared to have seen better days; still is she handsome, although passion and suffering seem early to have wasted her yet young countenance. Fever burned on the sunken cheek and in the dark eye, and her lips moved themselves wildly; but no one was there to refresh with friendly hand the dry lips and the hot brow; no cooling fever-draught stood near her bed. Two new-born babes lay weeping near the mother. Uneasy phantoms seemed to agitate the unhappy one: sometimes she raised herself in the bed with wild gestures, but sunk back again powerless; whilst her pale, convulsed, and wandering lips spoke from the depths of her torn heart the following incoherent words:

"It is a bitter, bitter path! but I must, must fly for help! My strength is broken—I can do nothing—the children cry to be heard, hungry, half-naked! Parents! sisters! help!

[Pg 324]

"It is night—the wind is cold—I freeze! The waves swell and swell—they drive a wreck ashore—they strike on the rocks—ah! wherefore did it not go down in the storm on the open sea? How dreadful in full consciousness to be dashed to pieces! And thou, thou who art the cause of all, thou sittest by and lookest coldly on me! Miserable egotist! Dost thou bear a heart in thy breast? The temple is dashed to pieces, and thou that has ruined it treadest upon its ruins! I knew not how misfortune looked—I knew not what it really is! Misery! But thou miserable one who——

"Hush! is it she? Is it my foster-mother who comes here so lightly, so gently, so softly? It becomes bright! She will lay her warm hands on my little children, and wrap them in the warm coverlet which, she made for me—

There sits a dove so fair and white
All on the lily spray.

Is it she? No! it is the moon, which rises palely out of black clouds. How coldly she looks on my misery! Away, away!

"Sisters, I thirst! Will no one give me a drop of water? Have you all, all left me? I thought I saw you again. It is so strange in my head. Perhaps I shall become mad if I thirst much longer. It is dark—I am afraid! I am afraid of the dark bird! If it come again it will begin to rend my heart; but if I am ever again strong, fresh and strong, I will kill it—with my own hands will I murder it! Day and night a wick burns in my heart; its name is Hate, and the oil that supplies it is bitterness!

"When shall I be strong again? Do you see how he has misused me; has fettered me to the sick-bed? Do you hear the children cry? the children which, through the abuse of the father, have come into the world before their time, and now will die? Give nourishment to the children, for the mercy of God, sisters! Let me die, but help the children! Now they are quiet! Thanks! thanks! Shall I die this morning? No, no, not yet!

"The gulf is so dark! Ah, what an abyss!

"Again comes the black bird; I had fled from him, but he followed me, tore off my wings, so that I can fly no longer!

[Pg 325]

"Help me up, I must dress myself! Here, with my handsome attire! haste! To-night I must appear anew before the public, and be admired; must hear the clapping of hands and bravos; must see garlands showered before my feet! See you, sisters; it is so glorious! It is an hour of life! It is a real burst of joy! See how I glitter—how I beam forth! Listen to the tempest of applause! How it thunders! But wherefore is it now again so still?—still and dark as the grave? It was a short joy! Cursed be he who made it so short!

"Do not look so sternly upon me, foster-father! Am I not already sufficiently cast down! Your stern look penetrates me. Give me your hand, that I may lay it on my burning brow. You turn from me! You go! Oh!

"It is so desolate! The strand has such sharp stones! It is so dreadful to be wounded against them!

"I will not die! I am so young, have so much strength of life in my soul! I will not yet go down into eternity! No!

"Who saves me? There come foaming waves!—or are they your white arms, sisters, which you stretch out towards me? Is it you whom I see like grey misty ghosts wandering on the corpse coast! Are you then dead? Do you hear the noise? It is death—it is the black bird which comes!—now I must fly—fly—fly—or die!"

With a violent effort the delirious woman rose from the bed—took a few steps, and then fell down as if lifeless. Her head struck against the bedstead, and a stream of blood gushed forth from her temples.

At this moment a tall man habited in black entered the room softly; light locks surrounded the noble but somewhat aged head; the mild, serious expression of the countenance, and the affectionate look of the blue eyes showed, still more than the dress, whose servant he was. A lady, who was not handsome, but whose countenance bore the stamp of beauty of the soul, like her husband's, followed him. With a look of the deepest compassion this couple surveyed the room, and then drew near the sick-bed.[Pg 326]

"Merciful heaven!" whispered they, "we are come too late! The children are dead—and so is the mother!"

Let us now turn our eyes away from this dark picture that they may rest upon a brighter one.



On one of the heights of the Dofrine Mountains we see three travellers—an elderly man and two young ladies. He seems neither afraid of trouble for himself nor for them; he seems as if he were accustomed to it and could play with it. But he does all so affectionately; he goes before them so friendly and kind, reaches out his hand and encourages them to yet another effort, and they would then enjoy the magnificent view; they would then be able to rest, and obtain refreshment at the "säter-hut"[20] above them! The daughters follow him smiling, and overcome weakness and weariness for his sake! Now they are above on the heights—and well are they rewarded for all the labour of climbing up there! The earth lies below so rich, with its hills and valleys, dark woods, fruitful plains—and there, in the far distance, sea and heaven unite themselves in majestic repose!

With an exclamation of rapture the father extended his arms towards the magnificent prospect; and the mountain wind—not keen here, but mild from the breath of spring, agreeably cooled the cheeks of the wanderers.

The father went to the hut to obtain milk for himself and his daughters, and in the mean time one of the daughters rested upon a moss-covered stone and supported herself against a rock. Almond-scented linnea formed a garland around her feet, and the joyous singing-birds ascended from the valley. The sister, who stood near her and against whom she leaned her lovely head whilst the wind played in her[Pg 327] brown tresses, looked on the comfortable dwellings which gleamed forth below from amid green trees and beside clear waters, and her affectionate but unimpassioned heart rejoiced itself over the scene, which seemed to say to her, "Here may one live calmly and happily!" At that moment she heard her name spoken by a loving voice; it was Eva's, who, while she pointed with hand and eye towards heaven, where the clouds began to divide themselves, and stripes of blue light gleamed forth like friendly eyes, "Seest thou, Leonore," said she, gently smiling, "it will be bright!"

"Will it be bright? Ah, thank God!" whispered Leonore in reply, with eyes full of joyful tears, as she laid her cheek against the brow of her sister.


[20] Säter-hütte among the mountains of Norway answer to the Senne of the Swiss mountains. During the summer the inhabitants of many parts of Norway withdraw from their villages to others, especially when situated higher on the mountains, where they can fell wood and find better pasturage for their cattle. They dwell with their herds in these säters, which are generally abandoned in winter.—M. H.



When a new swarm is ready in a hive to attempt its own flight, warning voices may be heard on still evenings in the little state, calling forth, "Out! out!"

People have interpreted it to be the old queen bee, which thus warns the young ones forth into the world to fashion their own kingdom. I should rather imagine it to be the young ones who in this manner sing forth their longing. But let it be with them as it may, certain it is that in the human hive, Home, a similar cry sometimes makes itself heard. Then also there, when the young swarm is become strong with the honey and wax of home, it finds the house too narrow and longs to get abroad. This is common to all homes; but it is peculiar to the good and happy home, that the same voice which exclaims, "Out! out!" exclaims afterwards yet more animatedly, "In! in!"

So was it in the home of the Franks.

The period to which we must now cast our eyes conducts us several years beyond the time when we saw father and daughters on the heights of the Dofrine Mountains, and shows us our Petrea returned home after a long absence.

The mother, Petrea, and Gabriele, are deep in a conversation which appears to interest them all three in a very lively manner, and the mild voice of the mother is heard saying[Pg 328]

"You may freely decide for yourself, my good child, that you know perfectly well; but as you describe Mr. M., and with the feelings, or more properly speaking, the want of feeling you have for him, I can never believe that you will be happy with him, and I cannot therefore advise this marriage. See, here are some almonds in the shell, my dear girl! We have not forgotten so soon your love for them—I set the basket before you."

"And the Countess Solenstråle," said the lively Gabriele, archly, "has herself spoken for her nephew, and invited you to her house. Very polite and handsome of her! And you, Petrea, no longer covet this exaltation?"

"Ah, no, Gabriele!" answered Petrea, "this childish desire is long past; it is another kind of exaltation than this, that I pine for."

"And this is called?" asked Gabriele, with a light in her lovely eyes, which showed her that she very well knew that, which however she had not pronounced in words.

"I do not know what I should call it; but there lives and moves here a longing difficult to describe," said Petrea, laying her hand upon her breast, and with eyes full of tears; "oh, if I could only rise upwards to light—to a higher, freer life!"

"You do not wish to die!" said Gabriele, warmly; "not that I now fear death. Since Henrik has trod this path, I feel so entirely different to what I used to do. Heaven is come quite near to the grave. To die is to me to go to him, and to his home. But I am yet so happy to be living here with my family, and you, my Petrea, must feel so too. Ah! life on earth, with those that we love, may indeed be so beautiful!"

"So I think, and so I feel, Gabriele," replied Petrea, "and more so than ever when I am at home, and with my own family. On that account I will gladly live on the earth, at least till I am more perfect. But I must have a sense of this life having in it a certain activity, by which I may arrive at the consciousness of that which lives within me—there moves in me a fettered spirit, which longs after freedom!"

"Extraordinary!" said Gabriele, half displeased, "how unlike people are one to another. I, for my part, feel, not the least desire for activity. I, unworthy mortal, would much[Pg 329] rather do nothing." And so saying she leaned her pretty head with half-shut eyes against her mother, who looked on her with an expression that seemed to say, "live only; that is enough for thee!"

Petrea continued: "When I have read or heard of people who have lived and laboured for some great object, for some development of human nature, who have dedicated all their thoughts and powers to this purpose, and have been able to suffer and to die for it; oh! then I have wept for burning desire that it also might be granted to me to spend and to sacrifice my life. I have looked around me, have listened after such an occasion, have waited and called upon it; but ah! the world goes past me on its own way—nobody and nothing has need of me."

Petrea both wept and laughed as she spoke, and with smiles and tears also did both Gabriele and the mother listen to her, and she continued—

"As there was now an opportunity for my marrying, I thought that here was a sphere in which I might be active—But, ah! I feel clearly that it is not the right one for me, neither is it the one for which I am suitable—especially with a husband whose tastes and feelings are so different to mine."

"But, my good girl," said the mother, disconcerted, "how came it then, that he could imagine you sympathised so well together; it seems from his letter that he makes himself quite sure of your consent, and that you are very well suited to each other."

"Ah!" replied Petrea, blushing, and not without embarrassment, "there are probably two causes for that, and it was partly his fault and partly mine. In the country, where I met him, he was quite left to himself; nobody troubled themselves about him; he had ennui, and for that reason I began to find pleasure for him."

"Very noble," said Gabriele, smiling.

"Not quite so much so as you think," replied Petrea, again blushing, "because—at first I wished really to find pleasure for him, and then also a little for myself. Yes, the truth is this—that—I—had nothing to do, and while I busied myself about Mr. M., I did not think it so very much amiss to busy him a little about me; and for this reason I entered[Pg 330] into his amusements, which turned upon all sorts of petty social tittle-tattle; for this reason I preserved apricots for him, I told stories to him, and sang to him in an evening in the twilight—'Welcome, O Moon!' and let him think if he would, that he was the moon. Mother, Gabriele, forgive me, I know how little edification there is in all this, it is quite too——but you cannot believe how dangerous it is to be idle, when one has an active spirit within one, and an object before one that——You laugh! God bless you for it! the affair is not worth anything more, for it is anything but tragic—yet it might become so, if on account of my sins I were to punish myself by marrying Mr. M. I should be of no worth to him, excepting as housekeeper and plaything, and this would not succeed in the long run; for the rest he does not love me, cannot love me seriously, and would certainly easily console himself for my refusal."

"Then let him console himself, and do not think any further on the affair," cried Gabriele, with animation.

"I am of Gabriele's opinion," said the mother; "for to marry merely to be married; merely to obtain a settlement, an establishment, and all that, is wrong; and, moreover, with your family relationships, the most unnecessary thing in the world. You know, my dear child, that we have enough for ourselves and for you, and a sphere of action suitable for you will present itself in time. Your father will soon return home, and then we can talk with him on the subject. He will assist us directly in the best way."

"I had, indeed, presentiments," said Petrea, with a sigh, "and hopes, and dreams, perhaps—of a way, of an activity, which would have made me useful and happy according to my own abilities. I make now much humbler demands on life than formerly; I have a much less opinion of myself than I had—but, oh! if I might only ally myself, as the least atom of light, to the beams which penetrate humanity at the same time that they animate the soul of man, I would thank God and esteem myself happy! I have made an attempt—you know, mother, and Gabriele—to express in a book somewhat of that which has lived in me and which still lives; you know that I have sent the manuscript to an enlightened printer for his judgment, and also—if his judgment be favourable—that he should publish it. If this should succeed, if a[Pg 331] sphere of action should open itself to me in this way, oh! then some time or other I might become a more useful and happy being; should give pleasure to my connexions, and——"

Petrea was here interrupted by the arrival of a large packet directed to herself. A shuddering apprehension went through her; her heart beat violently as she broke the seal, and—recognised her own manuscripts. The enlightened, intelligent printer sent them back to her, accompanied by a little note, containing the pleasant tidings that he would not offer the merest trifle for the book, neither could he undertake the printing of it at his own cost.

"Then this path is also closed against me!" said Petrea, bowing her head to her hand that nobody might see how deeply she felt this. Thus then she had deceived herself regarding her talents and her ability. But now that this way also was closed against her—what should she undertake? Marriage with Mr. M. began again to haunt her brain. She stumbled about in the dark.

Gabriele would not allow, however, that the path of literature was closed against her; she was extremely excited against the printer. "He was certainly," she said, "a man without any taste."

"Ah!" said Petrea, readily smiling, "I also will gladly flatter myself with that belief, and that if the book could only be printed, then we soon—but that is not to be thought of!"

Gabriele thought it was quite worth while to think about it, and did not doubt but that means might be found, some time or other, to make the gentleman printer make a long face about it.

The mother agreed; spoke of the return of her husband, who, she said, would set all right. "Keep only quietly with us, Petrea, calmly, and don't be uneasy about the means for bringing out your book; they will be found without difficulty, if we only give ourselves time."

"And here," added Gabriele, "you shall have as much quiet as you desire. If you would like to spend the whole day in reading and writing, I will take care that nobody disturbs you. I will attend to all your friends and acquaintance, if it be needful, to insure your quiet. I will only come in to you to tell you when breakfast is ready and when dinner; and on the post-day, I'll only come at the post-hour[Pg 332] and knock at your door, and take your letters and send them off. And in the evening, then—then we may see you amongst us—you cannot believe how welcome you will be! Ah! certainly you will feel yourself happy among those who love you so much! And your book! we will send it out into the world, and it too shall succeed one of these days!"

Loving voices! domestic voices in happy families, what adversity, what suffering is there which cannot be comforted by you!

Petrea felt their healing balsam. She wept tears of love and gratitude. An hour afterwards, much calmer in mind, she stood at the window, and noticed the scene without. Christmas was at hand, and every thing was in lively motion, in order to celebrate the beautiful festival joyously. The shops were ornamented, and people made purchases. A little bird came and sate on the window, looked up to Petrea, twittered joyfully, and flew away. A lively sentiment passed through Petrea's heart.

"Thou art happy, little bird," thought she; "so many beings are happy. My mishap grieves no one, hurts no one. Wherefore, then, should it depress me? The world is large, and its Creator rich and good. If this path will not succeed for me, what then? I will find out another."

In the evening she was cheerful with her family. But when night came, and she was alone; when the external world presented no longer its changing pictures; when loving, sweet voices no more allured her out of herself,—then anguish and disquiet returned to her breast. In no condition to sleep, and urged by irresistible curiosity, she sate herself down sighingly to go through her unlucky manuscripts. She found many pencil-marks, notes of interrogation, and traces of the thumb on the margin, which plainly proved that the reader had gone through the manuscript with a censorious hand, and had had satisfaction in passing his judgment of "good for nothing!"

Ah! Petrea had built so many plans for herself and her family upon this, which was now good for nothing; had founded upon it so many hopes for her ascent upwards. Was nothing now to come out of them all?

Petrea read; she acknowledged the justice of many marginal remarks, but she found, more and more, that the[Pg 333] greater part of them had reference to single expressions, and other trifles. Petrea read and read, and was involuntarily captivated by that which she read. Her heart swelled, her eyes glowed, and suddenly animated by that feeling which (we say it sans comparaison) gave courage to Correggio, and which comforted Galileo, she raised herself, and struck her hand upon the manuscript with the exclamation, "It is good for something after all!"

Animated to the depths of her heart, she ran to Gabriele, and laughing, embraced her with the words, "You shall see that some fine day I'll ascend upwards yet."




From my Hermitage in the Garret.

"'Illusions! Illusions!' you cry over all joys, all faith, all love in life. I shout back with all my might over your own words, 'Illusions! Illusions!' All depends upon what we fix our faith and our affections. Must the beauty of love and worth of life be at an end to woman when her first spring, her bloom of love, her moments of romance are past? No, do not believe that, Ida. Nothing in this world is such an illusion as this belief. Life is rich; its tree blossoms eternally, because it is nourished by immortal fountains. It bears dissimilar fruits, varies in colour and glory, but all beautiful; let us undervalue none of them, for all of them are capable of producing plants of eternal life.

"Youthful love—the beaming passion-flower of earth! Who will belie its captivating beauty, who will not thank the Creator that he gave it to the children of earth? But ah! I will exclaim to all those who drink of its nectar, and to those who must do without it—'There are flowers which are as noble as this, and which are less in danger than it of being paled by the frosts of the earth—flowers from[Pg 334] whose chalices also you may suck life from the life of the Eternal!'

"Ah! if we only understood how near to us Providence has placed the fountains of our happiness—if we had only understood this from the days of our childhood upwards, acted upon it, and profited by it, our lives would then seldom lead through dry wildernesses! Happy are those children whose eyes are early opened by parents and home to the rich activity of life. They will then experience what sweetness and joy and peace can flow out of family relationships, out of the heartfelt union between brothers and sisters, between parents and children: and they will experience how these relations, carefully cherished in youth, will become blessings for our maturer years.

"You pray me to speak of my home and my family. But when I begin with this subject, who can say, Ida, whether I shall know how to leave off! This subject is so rich to me, so dear—and yet how weak will not my description be, how lifeless in comparison with the reality!

"The dwelling-house—which may be said to have the same relation to home as the body has to the soul—arisen, now out of its ashes, stands on the same place on which, twelve years ago, it was burnt down. I wish you had been with me yesterday in the library at breakfast. It was Leonore's birthday, and the family had occasioned her a surprise by a little gift which was exactly according to her taste—ornament combined with convenience. It was an insignificant gift—wherefore then did it give us all so much pleasure? wherefore were there sweet tears in her pious eyes, and in ours also? We were all so still, and yet we felt that we were very happy—happy because we mutually loved one another, and mutually pleased one another so much. The sun shone at that time into the room—and see, Ida! this sunbeam which shines day by day into the house is the best image of its state; it is that which chases hence all darkness, and turns all shadows into the glorification of its light!

"I will now, lively Ida, talk to you some little about the daughters of the house, and in order that you may not find my picture too sentimental, I will introduce first to you—'Honour to whom honour is due!'—


[Pg 335]

well known for industry, morality, moral lecturing, cathedral airs, and many good properties. She married eleven years ago upon a much smaller than common capital of worldly wealth; but both she and her husband knew how to turn their pound to account, and so, by degrees, their house, under her careful hands, came to be what people call a well-to-do house.

"Eight wild Jacobis during this time sprung up in the house without bringing about any revolution in it, so good were the morals which they drew in with the mother's milk. I call them the 'Berserkers,' because when I last saw them they were perfect little monsters of strength and swiftness, and because we shall rely upon their prowess to overturn certain planks—of which more anon; on which account I will inspire them and their mother beforehand with a certain old-gothic ambition.

"So now! After the married couple had kept school eleven years—he instructing the boys in history, Latin, and such like; and she washing, combing, and moralising the same, and in fact, becoming a mother to many a motherless boy, it pleased the mercy of the Almighty to call them—not directly to heaven, but through his angel the Consistorium to the pastoral care of the rural parish adjoining this town—the highest goal of their wishes ever since they began to have wishes one with another. Their approaching journey here has given rise to great pleasure—it is hard to say in which of the two families the greatest. Thus, then, Louise will become a pastor's wife—perhaps soon also an archdeacon's, and then she arrives at the desired situation in which she can impart moral lectures with power—of which sister Petrea might have the benefit of a good part, and pay it back with interest.

"But the moral lectures of our eldest have a much milder spirit than formerly, which is owing to the influence of Jacobi; for it has occurred in their case, as in the case of many another happily-married couple, they have ennobled one another; and it is a common saying in our family, that she without him would not have become what she now is, neither would he have been without her what he now is.

"The Rose of the Family, the daughter Eva, had once in her life a great sorrow—a bitter conflict; but she came forth[Pg 336] victorious. True it is that an angel stood by her side and assisted her. Since then she has lived for the joy of her family and her friends, beautiful, and amiable, and happy, and has from time to time rejected lovers; but she may soon be put out of the position to continue this course. I said that an angel stood beside her in the bitter conflict. There was a time when this angel was an ugly, uncomfortable girl, a trouble to herself, and properly beloved by none. But there is no one in the family now who is more beloved or more in favour than she is. Never, through the power of God, did there take place a greater change than in her. Now it gives one pleasure to look at her and to be near her. Her features, it is true, have not improved themselves, nor has her complexion become particularly red-and-white; but she has become lovely, lovely from the heartfelt expression of affection and intelligence; beautiful from the quiet, unpretending grace of her whole being. Her only pretension is that she will serve all and help all; and thus has she attached every one, by degrees, to her, and she is become the heart, the peace of the house; and, for herself, she has struck deep root down into the family, and is become happy through all these charms. She has attached herself, in the closest manner, to her sister Eva, and these two could not live separated from each other.

"You know the undertaking which these two sisters, while yet young, commenced together. You know also how well it succeeded; how it obtained confidence and stability, and how it won universal respect for its conductors, and how also, after a course of ten years—independent of this institution—they had realised a moderate income; so that they can, if they are so disposed, retire from it, and it will still continue to prosper under the direction of Annette P., who was taken as assistant from the beginning, and who in respect of character and ability has proved herself a person of rare worth. The name of the sisters Frank stood estimably at the head of this useful establishment; but it is a question whether it would have prospered to such an extent, whether it would have developed itself so beautifully and well without the assistance of a person who, however, has carefully concealed his activity from the eye of the public, and whose name, for that reason, was never praised. Without Assessor[Pg 337] Munter's unwearied care and assistance—so say the sisters—the undertaking could never have gone forward. What a wonderful affectionate constancy lies in the soul of this man! He has been, and is still, the benefactor of our family; but if you would see and hear him exasperated, tell him so, and see how he quarrels with all thanks to himself. The whole city is now deploring that it is about to lose him. He is going to reside on his estate in the country, for it is impossible that he could sustain much longer the way in which he is at present overworked both night and day. His health has for some time evidently declined, and we rejoice that he can now take some rest, by which he may regain new strength. We all love him from our hearts; but one of us has set on foot a plot to oblige another of us to—ally herself with him, and therefore our good Assessor is now exposed to a secret proceeding, which—but I forget that I was to write about the daughters of the family.

"There is a peculiar little world in the house—a world into which nothing bad can enter—where live flowers, birds, music, and Gabriele. The morning would lose its sweetest charms, if during the same Gabriele's birds and flowers did not play a part, and the evening twilight would be duskier if it were not enlivened by Gabriele's guitar and songs. Her flower-stand has extended itself by degrees into an orangery—not large to be sure, but yet large enough to shelter a beautiful vine, which is now covered with grapes, and many beautiful and rare plants also, so as to present to the family a little Italy, where they may enjoy all the charms of the south, in the midst of a northern winter. A covered way leads from the dwelling-house down into the orangery, and it is generally there that in winter they take their afternoon coffee. The aviary is removed thither; and there upon a table covered with a green cloth, lie works on botany, together with the writings of the Swedish gardening society, which often contain such interesting articles. There stand two comfortable armed chairs, on which the most magnificent birds and flowers are worked, you can easily imagine for whom. There my mother sits gladly, and reads or looks at her 'little lady' (she never grows out of this appellation) as she tends her flowers in the sun, or plays with her tame[Pg 338] birds. One may say, in fact, that Gabriele strews the evening of her mother's days with flowers.

"A man dear to the Swedish heart has said, 'that the grand natural feature of northern life is a conquered winter,' and this applies equally to life individually, to family life, and to that of human nature. It so readily freezes and grows stiff, snow so readily falls upon the heart; and winter makes his power felt as much within as without the house. In order to keep it warm within, in order that life may flourish and bloom, it is needful to preserve the holy fire everburning. Love must not turn to ashes and die out; if it do, then all is labour and heaviness, and one may as well do nothing but—sleep. But if fire be borrowed from heaven, this will not happen; then will house and heart be warm, and life bloom incessantly, and a thousand causes will become rich sources of joy to all. If it be so within the house—then may it snow without—then winter thou mayst do thy worst!

"But I return to Gabriele, whose lively wit and joyous temper, united to her affectionate and innocent heart, make her deservedly the favourite of her parents, and the joy of every one. She asserts continually her own good-for-nothingness, her uselessness, and incorrigible love to a sweet 'far niente;' but nobody is of her opinion in this respect, for nobody can do without her, and one sees that when it is necessary, she can be as decided and as able as any one need be. It is now some time since Gabriele made any charades. I almost fancy that the cause of this is a certain Baron L., who was suspected for a long time of having set fire to a house, and who now is suspected of a design of setting fire to a heart, and who, with certain words and glances, has put all sorts of whims into her head—I will not say heart.

"And so then we have nothing bad to say of 'this Petrea,' as one of the friends of the house still calls her, but no longer in anger. This Petrea has had all kind of botherations in the world: in the first place with her own nose, with which she could not get into conceit, and then with various other things, as well within her as without her, and for a long time it seemed as if her own world would never come forth out of chaos.

"It has however. With eyes full of grateful tears I will[Pg 339] dare to say this, and some time I may perhaps more fully explain how this has been done. And blessed be the home which has turned back her wandering steps, has healed the wounds of her heart, and has offered her a peaceful haven, an affectionate defence, where she has time to rest after the storms, and to collect and to know herself. Without this home, without this influence, Petrea certainly might have become a witch, and not, as now, a tolerably reasonable person.

"You know my present activity, which, whilst it conducts me deeper into life, discovers to me more beauty, more poetry, than I had ever conceived of it in the dreams of my youth. Not merely from this cause, although greatly owing to it, a spring has began to blossom for me on the other side of my thirty years, which, were it ever to wither, would be from my own fault. And if even still a painful tear may be shed over past errors or present faults; if the longing after what is yet unattainably better, purer, and brighter, may occasion many a pang—what matters it? What matter if the eye-water burn, so that the eye only become clear; if heaven humiliate, so that it only draw us upwards?

"One of Petrea's means of happiness is, to require very few of the temporal things of earth. She regards such things as nearly related to the family of illusions, and will, on that account, have as little as possible to do with them. And thus has she also the means of obtaining for herself many a hearty and enduring pleasure. I will not, however, be answerable for her not very soon being taken by a frenzy of giving a feast up in her garret, and thereby producing all kinds of illusions; such, for example, as the eating little cakes, the favourite illusion of my mother, and citron-soufflé, the almost perfect earthly felicity of 'our eldest,' in which a reconciliation skål with the frenzy-feast might be proposed to her beloved 'eldest.'

"Would you now make a summa summarum of Petrea's state, it stands thus: that which was a fountain of disquiet in her is now become a fountain of quiet. She believes in the actuality of life, and in her own part therein. She does not allow her peace to be disturbed by accidental troubles, be they from within or from without; she calls them mist-clouds, passing storms, after which the sun will come forth[Pg 340] again. And should her little garret tumble to pieces one of these days, she would regard even that as a passing misfortune, and hold herself ready, in all humility—to mount up yet a little higher.

"But enough of Petrea and her future ascension.

"Yet one daughter dwelt in the family, and her lovely image lives still in the remembrance of all, but a mourning veil hangs over it; for she left home, but not in peace. She was not happy, and for many years her life is wrapped in darkness. People think that she is dead; her friends have long believed so, and mourned her as such; but one among them believes it not. I do not believe that she is dead. I have a strong presentiment that she will return; and it would gladden me to show her how dear she is to me. I have built plans for her future with us, and I expect her continually, or else a token where I may be able to find her; and be it in Greenland or in Arabia Deserta whence her voice calls me, I will find out a way to her.

"I would that I could now describe to you the aged pair, to whom all in the house look up with love and reverence, who soon will have been a wedded couple forty years, and who appear no longer able to live the one without the other—but my pen is too weak for that. I will only venture upon a slight outline sketch. My father is nearly seventy years old—but do you think he indulges himself with rest? He would be extremely displeased if he were to sleep longer in a morning than usual: he rises every morning at six, it being deeply impressed upon him to lose as little of life as possible. It is unpleasant to him that his declining sight compels him now to less activity. He likes that we should read aloud to him in an evening, and that—romances. My mother smilingly takes credit to herself for having seduced him to that kind of reading; and he confesses, with smiles, that it is really useful for old people, because it contributes to preserve the heart young. For the rest, he is in all respects equally, perhaps more, good, more noble-hearted than ever; and from that cause he is to us equally respect-inspiring and dear. Oh, Ida, it is a happy feeling to be able intrinsically to honour and love those who have given us life!

"And now must I, with a bleeding heart, throw a mournful[Pg 341] shadow over the bright picture of the house, and that shadow comes at the same time from a beautiful image—from my mother! I fear, I fear, that she is on the way to leave us! Her strength has been declining for two years. She has no decided malady, but she becomes visibly weaker and feebler, and no remedy, as yet, has shown itself availing for her. They talk now of the air of next spring—of Selzer-water, and a summer journey;—my father would travel to the world's end with her—they hope with certainty that she will recover; she hopes so herself, and says smilingly yes, to the Selzer-water, and the journey, and all that we propose; says she would gladly live with us, that she is happy with us,—yet nevertheless there is a something about her, and even in her smiles, that tells me that she herself does not cherish full faith in the hope which she expresses. Ah! when I see daily her still paler countenance; the unearthly expression in her gentle features—when I perceive her ever slower gait, as she moves about, still arranging the house and preparing little gratifications for her family; then comes the thought to me that she perhaps will soon leave us, and it sometimes is difficult to repress my tears.

"But why should I thus despair? Why not hope like all the rest? Ah, I will hope, and particularly for the sake of him who, without her, could no more be joyful on earth. For the present she is stronger and livelier than she has been for a long time. The arrival of Louise and her family have contributed to this, as also another day of joy which is approaching, and which has properly reference to my father. She goes about now with such joy of heart, with the almanack in her hand, and prepares everything, and thinks of everything for the joyful festival. My father has long wished to possess a particular piece of building land which adjoins our little garden, in order to lay it out for a great and general advantage; but he has sacrificed so much for his children, that he has nothing remaining wherewith to carry out his favourite plan. His children in the mean time have, during the last twelve years, laid by a sum together, and now have latterly borrowed together what was wanting for the purchase of the land. On the father's seventieth birthday therefore, with the joint help of the 'Berserkers,' will the wooden fence be pulled down, and the[Pg 342] genius of the new place, represented by the graceful figure of Gabriele, will deliver over to him the purchase-deed, which is made out in his name. How happy he will be! Oh, it makes us all happy to think of it! How he will clear away, and dig, and plant! and how it will gladden and refresh his old age. May he live so long that the trees which he plants may shake their leafy branches over his head, and may their rustling foretel to him the blessing, which his posterity to the third and fourth generation will pronounce upon his beneficent activity.

"I would speak of the circle of friends which has ever enclosed our home most cordially, of the new Governor Stejernhök and his wife, whom we like so much, and whose removal here was particularly welcome to my father, who almost sees a son in him. I would speak also of the servants of the house, who are yet more friends than servants—but I fear extending my letter to too great a length.

"Perhaps you blame me secretly for painting my picture in colours too uniformly bright, perhaps you will ask, 'Come there then not into this house those little knocks, disturbances, rubs, overhastinesses, stupidities, procrastinations, losses, and whatever those spiritual mosquitoes may be called, which occasion by their stings irritation, unquiet, and vexation, and whose visits the very happiest families cannot avoid?'

"Yes, certainly. They come, but they vanish as quickly as they come, and never leave a poisonous sting behind, because a universal remedy is employed against them, which is called 'Forgive, forget, amend!' and which the earlier applied the better, and which makes also the visits of these ugly fiends of rarer occurrence; they come, indeed, in pure and mild atmospheres never properly forth.

"Would you, dearest Ida, be convinced of the truth of the picture, come here and see for yourself. We should all like it so much. Come, and let our house provide for you the divertisement, perhaps also the rest which is so needful to your heart. Come, and believe me, Ida, that when one observes the world from somewhat of an elevation—as for instance, a garret—one sees illusions like mist, passing over the earth, but above it heaven vaulting itself in eternal brightness."

[Pg 343]



"Good morning!" said Jeremias Munter, as with his pockets full of books he entered Petrea's garret, which was distinguished from all other rooms merely by its perfect simplicity and its lack of all ornament. A glass containing beautiful fresh flowers was its only luxury.

"Oh, so heartily welcome!" exclaimed Petrea as she looked with beaming eyes on her visitor and on his valuable appendages.

"Yes, to-day," said he, "I am of opinion that I am welcome! Here's a treat for Miss Petrea. See here, and see here!"

So saying, the Assessor laid one book after another upon the table, naming at the same time their contents. They belonged to that class of books which open new worlds to the eye of reflecting minds. Petrea took them up with a delight which can only be understood by such as have sought and thirsted after the same fountains of joy, and who have found them. The Assessor rejoiced quietly in her delight, as she looked through the books and talked about them.

"How good, how cordially good of you," said Petrea, "to think about me. But you must see that I also have expected you to-day;" and with eyes that beamed with the most heartfelt satisfaction she took out of a cupboard two fine china-plates, on one of which lay cakes of light wheaten bread, and on the other, piled up, the most magnificent grapes reposing amid a garland of their own leaves, which were tastefully arranged in various shades against the golden border of the plate. These Petrea placed upon a little table in the window, so that the sun shone upon them.

The Assessor regarded them with the eye of a Dutch fruit painter, and appeared to rejoice himself over a beautiful picture after his own manner.

"You must not only look at your breakfast, but you must eat it," said the lively Petrea; "the bread is home-baked, and—Eva has arranged the grapes on the plate and brought them up here."[Pg 344]

"Eva!" said he, "now, she could not know that I was coming here to-day?"

"And precisely because she thought so as well as I, would she provide your breakfast." With these words Petrea looked archly at the Assessor, who did not conceal a pleasurable sensation—broke off a little grape, seated himself, and—said nothing.

Petrea turned herself to her books: "Oh," said she, "why is life so short, when there is such an infinite deal to learn? Yet this is not right, and it evidences ignorance to imagine the time of learning limited; besides, this remark about the shortness of time and the length of art proceeds from the heathen writer Hippocrates. But let us praise God for the hope, for the certainty, that we may be scholars to all eternity. Ah, Uncle Munter, I rejoice myself heartily over the industrial spirit of our age! It will make it easy for the masses to clothe and feed themselves, and then will they begin also to live for mind. For true is that sentiment, which is about two thousand years old, 'When common needs are satisfied, man turns himself to that which is more universal and exalted.' Thus when the great week of the world is past, the Sabbath will commence, in which a people of quiet worshippers will spread themselves over the earth, no more striving after decaying treasures, but seeking after those which are eternal; a people whose life will be to observe, to comprehend, and to adore, revering their Creator in spirit and in truth. Then comes the day of which the angels sung 'Peace on earth!'"

"Peace on earth!" repeated Jeremias in a slow and melancholy voice, "when comes it? It must first enter into the human heart; and there, there live so many demons, so much disquiet and painful longing—but what—what is amiss now?"

"Ah, my God!" exclaimed Petrea wildly, "she lives! she lives!"

"What her? who lives? No, really Petrea all is not right with you," said the Assessor, rising.

"See! see!" cried Petrea, trembling with emotion, and showing to the Assessor a torn piece of paper, "see, this lay in the book!"

"Well, what then? It is indeed torn from a sepia picture—a[Pg 345] hand strewing roses on a grave, I believe. Have I not seen this somewhere already?"

"Yes, certainly; yes, certainly! It is the girl by the rose-bush which I, as a child, gave to Sara! Sara lives! see, here has she written!"

The back of the picture seemed to have been scrawled over by a child's hand; but in one vacant spot stood these words, in Sara's own remarkably beautiful handwriting:

No rose on Sara's grave!
Oh Petrea! if thou knew'st——

The sentence was unfinished, whilst several drops seemed to prove that it had been closed by tears.

"Extraordinary!" said the Assessor: "these books which I purchased yesterday were bought in U. Could she be there? But——"

"Certainly! certainly she is there," exclaimed Petrea, "look at the book in which the picture lay—see, on the first page is the name, Sara Schwartz—although it has been erased. Oh! certainly she is in U., or there we can obtain intelligence of her! Oh, Sara, my poor Sara! She lives, but perhaps in want, in sorrow! I will be with her to-day if she be in U.!"

"That Miss Petrea will hardly manage," said the Assessor, "unless she can fly. It is one hundred and two (English) miles from here to U."

"Alas, that my father should at this time be absent, should have the carriage with him; otherwise he would have gone with me! But he has an old chaise, I will take it——"

"Very pretty, indeed," returned he, "for a lady to be travelling alone in an old chaise, especially when the roads are spoiled with rain;—and see what masses of clouds are coming up with the south wind—you'll have soaking rain the whole day through in the chaise."

"And if it rain pokers," interrupted Petrea, warmly, "I must go. Oh, heavens! she was indeed my sister, she is so yet, and she shall not call on me in vain! I will run down to my mother in this moment and——" Petrea took her bonnet and cloak in her hand.

"Calm yourself a little, Miss Petrea," he said; "I tell[Pg 346] you, you could not travel in this way. The chaise would not hold together. Alas, I have tried it myself—you could not go in it!"

"Now then," exclaimed Petrea determinately, "I will go; and if I cannot go I'll creep—but go I will!"

"Is that then your firm determination?"

"My firm and my last."

"Well, then, I must creep with you!" said the Assessor, smiling, "if it be only to see how it goes with you. I'll go home now, but will be back in an hour's time. Promise me only to have patience for so long, and not without me to set off—creep off, I should say!"

The Assessor vanished, and Petrea hastened down to her mother and sisters.

But before her communications and consultations were at an end, a light travelling carriage drew up at the door. The Assessor alighted from it, came in, and offered Petrea his arm. Soon again was he seated in the carriage, Petrea by his side, and was protesting vehemently against the bag of provisions, and the bottle of wine, which Leonore thrust in, spite of his protestations, and so away they went.



It was now the second time in their life that the Assessor and Petrea were out together in such a manner, and now as before it seemed as if no favourable star would light their journey, for scarcely had they set out when it began to rain, and clouds as heavy and dark as lead gathered together above their heads. It is rather depressing when in answer to the inquiring glances which one casts upwards at the commencement of an important journey, to be met by a heaven like this. Other omens also little less fortunate added themselves; the horses pranced about as if they were unwilling to go farther, and an owl took upon itself to attend the carriage, set itself on the tree-branches and points of the palings by the wayside, and then on the coming up of the carriage flew a little farther, there to await its coming up at a little distance.[Pg 347]

As the travellers entered a wood, where on account of the deep road they were compelled to travel slowly, they saw on the right hand a little black-grey old woman step forth, as ugly, witch, and Kobold like in appearance as an old woman ever can be. She stared at the travellers for a moment, and then vanished among the trunks of the trees.

The Assessor shuddered involuntarily at the sight of her, and remarked, "What a difference is there between woman and woman—the loveliest upon earth and the most horrible is yet—woman!"

After he had seen the old witch he became almost gloomy. In the meantime the owl vanished with her; perhaps, because "birds of a feather flock together."

Yet it may be that I am calumniating all this time the little old mother in the most sinful manner; she may be the most good-tempered woman in the world. It is well that our Lord understands us better than we do ourselves.

All this time Petrea sate silent, for however enlightened and unprejudiced people may be, they never can perfectly free themselves from the impression of certain circumstances, such as presentiments, omens, apparitions, and forebodings, which, like owls on noiseless wings, have flown through the world ever since the time of Adam, when they first shouted their ominous "Too-who! too-whit!" People know that Hobbes, who denied the resurrection in the warmest manner, never could sleep in the neighbourhood of a room in which there had been a corpse. Petrea, who had not the least resemblance in the world to Hobbes, was not inclined to gainsay anything within the range of probability. Her temperament naturally inclined her to superstition; and like most people who sit still a great deal, she felt always at the commencement of a journey a degree of disquiet as to how it would go on. But on this day, under the leaden heaven, and the influence of discomforting forebodings, this unquiet amounted to actual presentiment of evil; whether this had reference to Sara or to herself she knew not; but she was disposed to imagine the latter, and asked herself, as she often had done, whether she were prepared for any occasion which might separate her for ever from all those whom she loved on earth. By this means Petrea most livingly discovered—discovered[Pg 348] almost with horror, how strongly she was fettered to her earthly existence, how dear life had become to her.

All human souls have their heights, but then they have also their morasses, their thickets, their pits (I will not speak of abysses, because many souls are too shallow to have these). A frequent mounting upwards, or a more constant abode upon these heights, is the stipulated condition of man's proximity to heaven. Petrea's soul was an uneven ground, as is the case with most people; but there existed in her nature, as we have before seen, a most determined desire to ascend upwards; and at this time, in which she found her affections too much bound to earthly things, she strove earnestly to ascend up to one of those heights where every limited attraction vanishes before more extended views, and where every fettered affection will become free, and will revive in what is loftier. The attempt succeeded—succeeded by making her feel that whatever was most valuable in this life was intimately connected with that life which only first begins when this ends. Her lively imagination called forth, one after another, a great variety of scenes of misfortune and death; and she felt that in the moment before she resigned life, her heart would be able to raise itself with the words, "God be praised in all eternity."

With this feeling, and convinced by it that her present undertaking was good and necessary, whatever its consequences might be, Petrea's heart became light and free. She turned herself with lively words and looks to her travelling companion, and drew him by degrees into a conversation which was so interesting to them both, that they forgot weather and ways, forebodings, evil omens, and preparations for death. The journey prospered as well as any autumn journey could prosper. Not a trace of danger met them by the way. The wind slumbered in the woods; and in the public-houses they only heard one and another sleepy peasant open his mouth with a "devil take me!"

In the forenoon of the following day our travellers arrived happily at U. Petrea scarcely allowed herself time to take any refreshments before she commenced her inquiries. The result of all her and the Assessor's labours we give shortly thus:[Pg 349]

It soon became beyond a doubt to them that Sara, together with a little daughter, had been in the city, and had resided in the very inn in which Petrea and the Assessor now were, although they travelled under a foreign name. She was described as being in the highest degree weak and sickly; and, as might be expected in her circumstances, it appeared that she had besought the host to sell some books for her, which he had done. One of these books it was which, with its forgotten mark, had fallen into the hands of Petrea. Sara, on account of her debility, had been compelled to remain several days in that place, but she had been gone thence probably a week; and they saw by the Day-book[21] that it had been her intention to proceed thence to an inn which lay on the road to Petrea's native place; not, however, on the road by which they had travelled to U., but upon one which was shorter, although much worse.

Sara then also was on her way home—yes, perhaps might be there already! This thought was an indescribable consolation for Petrea's heart, which from the account she had received of Sara's condition, was anxious in the highest degree. But when she thought on the long time which had passed since Sara's journey from the city, she was filled with anxiety, and feared that Sara might be ill upon the road.

Willingly would Petrea have turned back again on the same evening to seek out traces of Sara; but care for her old friend prevented her from doing more than speaking of it. The Assessor, indeed, found himself unwell, and required rest. The cold and wet weather had operated prejudicially upon him, both mind and body. It was adopted as unquestionable that they could not continue the journey till the following morning.

The Assessor had told Petrea that this was his birthday, and perhaps it was this thought which caused him to be uncommonly melancholy the whole day. Petrea, who was infinitely desirous of cheering him, hastened, whilst he was gone out to seek an acquaintance, to prepare a little festival for his return.

[Pg 350]

With flowers and foliage which Petrea obtained, heaven knows how!—but when people are resolutely bent on anything they find out the means to do it—with these, then, with lights, a good fire, with a table covered with his favourite dishes and such like, although in a somewhat disagreeably public-house room, such a picture of comfort and pleasantness was presented as the Assessor much loved.

Fathers and mothers, and all the members of happy families, are accustomed to birthday festivals, flower-garlands, and well-covered tables; but nobody had celebrated the birthday of the Assessor during his solitary wandering; he had not been indulged with those little flower-surprises of life—if one may so call them; hence it happened that he entered from the dark, wet street into this festal room with an exclamation of astonishment and heartfelt pleasure.

Petrea, on her part, was inexpressibly cordial, and was quite happy when she saw the pains which she had taken to entertain her old friend succeed so well. The two spent a pleasant evening together. They made each other mutually acquainted with the evil omens and the impressions which they had occasioned, and bantered one another a little thereon; but decided positively that such fore-tokenings for the most part—betoken nothing at all.

As they separated for the night the Assessor pressed Petrea's hand with the assurance that very rarely had a day given him such a joyous evening. Grateful for these words, and grateful for the hope of soon finding again the lost and wept friend of her youth, Petrea went to rest, but the Assessor remained up late—midnight saw him still writing.

Man and woman! There is a deal, especially in novels, said about man and woman, as of separate beings. However that may be, human beings are they both—and as human beings, as morally sentient and thinking creatures, they influence one another for life. Their ways and means are different; and it is this very difference which, by mutual benefits, and mutual endeavours to sweeten life to one another, produces what is so beautiful and so perfect.

The clearest sun brightened the following morning; but the eyes of the Assessor were troubled, as if he had enjoyed but little repose. Whilst he and Petrea were breakfasting, he was called out to inspect something relative to the carriage.[Pg 351]

Was it now the hereditary sin of mother Eve, or was it any other cause which induced Petrea at this moment to approach the table on which the Assessor's money lay, together with papers ready to be put into a travelling writing-case. Enough! she did it—she did certainly what no upright reader will pardon her for doing, quickly ran her eyes over one of the papers which seemed just lately to have received from the pen impressions of thought, and she took it. Shortly afterwards the Assessor entered, and as it was somewhat late, he hastily put together his papers, and they set off on their journey.

The weather was glorious, and Petrea rejoiced like—nay, even more than a child, over the objects which met her eyes, and which, after the rain, stood in the bright sunshine, as if in the glory of a festive-day. The world was to her now more than ever a magic ring; not the perplexing, half-heathenish, but the purely Christian, in which everything, every moment has its signification, even as every dewdrop receives its beaming point of light from the splendour of the sun. Autumn was, above all, Petrea's favourite season, and its abundance now made her soul overflow with joyful thoughts. It is the time in which the earth gives a feast to all her children, and joyous and changing scenes were represented by the waysides. Here the corn-field raised to heaven its golden sheaves, and the harvesters sang; there, around the purple berries of the service-tree, circled beautiful flocks of the twittering silktails; round the solitary huts, the flowering potato-fields told that the fruit was ripe, and merry little barefooted children sprang into the wood to gather bilberries. Petrea thanked heaven in her heart for all the innocent joys of earth. She thought of her home, of her parents, of her sisters, of Sara, who would soon again be one of their circle, and of how she (Petrea) would cherish her, and care for her, and reconcile her to life and to happiness. In the blessed, beautiful morning hour, all thoughts clothed themselves in light. Petrea felt quite happy, and the joke which she thought of playing on her friend the Assessor with the stolen piece of paper, contributed not a little to screw up her life's spirit to greater liveliness. "From the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh," and Petrea involuntarily influenced her travelling companion so far that they both[Pg 352] amused themselves with bombarding little children on the waysides with apples and pears, whereby they were not at all terrified.

They had now taken the same road upon which Sara had travelled, and in the first inn at which they stopped, their hopes were strengthened; for Sara had been there, and had taken thence a horse to the next public-house. All was on the way towards home. So continued it also at the three following stations; but at the fifth, they suddenly lost all traces of her. No one there had seen a traveller answering to her description, nor was her name to be found in the Travellers' Day-book. No! a great uneasiness for Petrea. After some deliberation, she and the Assessor determined to return to the public-house whence they were just come, in order to discover clearly in what direction Sara had gone thence.

In the mean time the evening had come on, and the sun was descending as our friends were passing through one of the gloomiest woods in Sweden, and one in such ill-report that not long ago a writer speaking of it, said, "The forest shrouds memories as awful as itself, and monuments of murder stand by the wayside. Probably the mantle of the mountains falls not now in such thick folds as formerly, but yet there still are valleys where the stroke of the axe has never yet been heard, and rocky ranges which have never yet been smitten by the rays of the sun."

"Here two men murdered the one the other," said the postilion with the gayest air in the world, whilst the carriage stopped to give the horses breath, on account of the heaviness of the road, and as he spoke he pointed with his whip to a heap of twigs and pieces of wood which lay to the left of the road, directly before the travellers, and which presented a repulsive aspect. It is customary for every passer-by to throw a stone or a piece of wood upon such a blood-stained spot, and thus the monument of murder grows under the continued curse of society. Thus it now stands there, hateful and repulsive amid the beautiful fir-trees, and it seemed as if the earth had given forth the ugliest of its mis-shaped boughs, and the most distorted of its twisted roots, wherewith to build up the heap. From the very midst of this abomination, however, a wild-rose had sprung[Pg 353] forth and shot upwards its living twigs from among the dry boughs, whilst, like fresh blood-drops above the pile, shone its berries illuminated by the sun, which now in its descent threw a path of light over the broad road.

"When this wild-rose is full of flowers," said Jeremias, as he regarded it with his expressive glance, "it must awaken the thought, that that which the state condemns with justice, a Higher Power can cover with the roses of his love."

The sun withdrew his beams. The carriage set itself again in motion, but at the very moment when the horses passed the heap, they shyed so violently that the carriage was backed into a ditch and overturned.

"Farewell life!" cried Petrea, internally; but before she herself knew how, she was out of the carriage, and found herself standing not at all the worse upon the soft heather. With the Assessor, however, it did not fare so well; a severe blow on the right leg made it impossible for him to support himself upon it without great suffering. His old servant, who had acted as coachman on the journey, lay in a fainting fit at a few paces from him, bleeding profusely from a wound in the head, whilst the little post-boy stood by his horses and cried. Time and situation were not the most agreeable. But Petrea felt herself after the fright of the first moment perfectly calm and collected. By the help of the rain-water, which was there in abundance, she brought the fainting man back to consciousness, and bound up his head with her pocket-handkerchief. She then helped him to sit up—to stand he was not able from dizziness. Soon sate master and man by each other, with their backs by a strong fir-tree, and looked sadly troubled; for although the Assessor was far more concerned on account of his servant than himself, and asserted that his own accident was a mere trifle, still he was quite pale from the pain which it occasioned him. What was to be done? Could the carriage have been raised out of the ditch and the two wounded men put into it, Petrea would have placed herself on the coach-box and have driven them as well as anybody; nothing could be easier, she thought; but the accomplishing of the two first conditions was the difficulty, and in the present circumstances an impossibility, for our poor Petrea's arms and hands were not[Pg 354] able to second her good-will and courage. The post-boy said that at about three-quarters of a mile (English) there lay a peasant's hut in the wood by the road side; but it was impossible to induce him to run there, or under any condition to leave his horses.

"Let us wait," said the Assessor, patiently and calmly, "probably somebody will soon come by from whom we can beg assistance." They waited, but nobody came, and every moment the shades became darker; it seemed as if people avoided this horrible wood at this hour.

Petrea, full of anxiety for her old friend, if he must remain much longer on the damp ground, and in the increasing coolness of evening, determined with herself what she would do. She wrapped up the Assessor and his old servant in every article of clothing of which she could gain possession, amongst which was her own cloak, rejoicing that this was unobserved by her friend, and then said to him decidedly, "Now I go myself to obtain help! I shall soon be back again!" And without regarding the prohibitions, prayers, and threats, with which he endeavoured to recal her, she ran quickly away in the direction of the hut, as the post-boy had described it. She hastened forward with quick steps, endeavouring to remove all thoughts of personal danger, and only to strengthen herself by the hope of procuring speedy help for her friend.

The haste with which she went compelled her after some time to stand still to recover breath. The quick motion which set her blood in rapid circulation, the freshness of the air, the beautiful and magnificent repose of the wood, diffused through her, almost in opposition to her own will and heart, an irresistible feeling of satisfaction and pleasure, which however quickly left her as she heard a something crackling in the wood. The wind it could not be? perhaps it was an animal! Petrea held her panting breath. It crackled; it whispered;—there were people in the wood! However bold, or more properly speaking, rash, Petrea might be at certain moments, her heart now drew itself together, when she thought on her solitary, defenceless situation, and on the scenes of horror for which this wood was so fearfully renowned. Beyond this, she was now no longer in those years when one stands in life on a flying foot, careless and presumptuous:[Pg 355] she had planted herself firmly in life; had her own quiet room; her peaceful sphere of activity, which she now loved more than the most brilliant adventures in the world! It was not therefore to be wondered at, that she recoiled tremblingly from the unlovely and hateful which is at home by the road sides.

Petrea listened with a strongly beating heart; the rustling came nearer and nearer; for one moment she thought of concealing herself on the opposite side of the way, but in the next she boldly demanded "Who is there?"

All was still. Petrea strained her eyes to discover some one in the direction of the sound, but in vain: the wood was thick, and it had become quite dark. Once again, exclaimed Petrea, "If any one be there let him come to the help of unfortunate travellers!"

Even the heart of robbers, thought she, would be mollified by confidence; and prayers for help might remove thoughts of murder. The rustling in the wood began afresh, and now were heard the voices of—children. An indescribable sensation of joy went through Petrea's heart. A whole army, with Napoleon at their head, could not at this moment have given that feeling of security and protection which came from those children's voices; and soon came issuing from the wood two little barefooted human creatures, a boy and a girl, who stared on Petrea with astonishment. She quickly made herself acquainted with them, and they promised to conduct her to the cottage, which lay at a little distance. On their way they gave Petrea bilberries out of their full birch-wood measure, and related to her that the reason of their being out so late was, that they had been looking for the cow which was lost in the wood; that they should have driven her home, but had not been able to find her; which greatly troubled the little ten-years-old girl, because, she said, the sick lady could not have any milk that evening.

Whilst Petrea, led by her little guardian-angels, wandered through the wood, we will make a little flight, and relate what had occurred there a few days before.

A few days before, a travelling-car drove along this road, in which sate a lady and a little girl. As they came within sight of a small cottage, which with its blossoming potato-field looked friendly in the wood, the lady said to the peasant[Pg 356] boy who drove, "I cannot go farther! Stop! I must rest!" She dismounted, and crawled with his help to the cottage, and besought the old woman, whom she found there, for a glass of water, and permission to rest upon the bed for a moment. The voice which prayed for this was almost inaudible, and the countenance deathly pale. The little girl sobbed and cried bitterly. Scarcely had the poor invalid laid herself upon the humble and hardly clean bed, when she fell into a deep stupor, from which she did not revive for three hours.

On her return to consciousness she found that the peasant had taken her things into the cottage; taken his horse out of the car, and left her. The invalid made several ineffectual attempts during three days to leave the bed, but scarcely had she taken a few steps when she sunk back upon it; her lips trembled, and bitter tears flowed over her pale cheeks. The fourth day she lay quite still; but in the afternoon besought the old woman to procure her an honest and safe person, who, for a suitable sum, would conduct the little girl to a place which would be made known to him by a letter that would be given with her. The old woman proposed her brother's son as a good man, and one to be relied on for this purpose, and promised in compliance with the prayer of the sick woman to seek him out that same day and speak with him; but as he lived at a considerable distance she feared that she should only be able to return late in the evening. After she was gone, the invalid took paper and a lead pencil, and with a weak and trembling hand wrote as follows:

"I cannot arrive—I feel it! I sink before I reach the haven. Oh, foster-parents, good sisters, have mercy on my little one, my child, who knocks at your door, and will deliver to you my humble, my last prayer! Give to her a warm home, when I am resting in my cold one! See, how good she looks! Look at her young countenance, and see that she is acquainted with want—she is not like her mother! I fancy her mild features resemble hers whose name she bears, and whose angelic image never has left my soul.

"Foster-mother, foster-father! good sisters! I had much to say, but can say only a little! Forgive me! Forgive me the grief which I have occasioned you! Greatly have I erred, but greatly also have I suffered. A wanderer have I been on the earth, and have had nowhere a home since I left[Pg 357] your blessed roof! My way has been through the desert; a burning simoom has scorched, has consumed my cheek——

"About to leave the world in which I have erred so greatly and suffered so much, I call now for your blessing. Oh, let me tell you that that Sara, which you once called daughter and sister, is yet not wholly unworthy! She is sunk deep, but she has endeavoured to raise herself; and your forms, like good angels, have floated around the path of her improvement.

"It will do your noble hearts good to know that she dies now repentant, but hopeful—she has fixed her humble hope upon the Father of Mercy.

"The hand of mercy cherished on earth the days of my childhood—later, it has lifted my dying head, and has poured into my heart a new and a better life; it has conducted me to hope in the mercy of heaven. Foster-father, thou who wast His image to me on earth, thou whom I loved much—gentle foster-mother, whose voice perhaps could yet call forth life in this cold breast—have mercy on my child—call it your child! and thanks and blessings be upon you!

"It never was my intention to come, as a burden, into your house. No; I wished only to conduct my child to your door—to see it open to her, and then to go forth—go forth quietly and die. But I shall not reach so far! God guide the fatherless and the motherless to you!

"And now farewell! I can write no more—it becomes dark before my eyes. I write these last words upon my knees. Parents, sisters, take my child to you! May it make you some time forget the errors of its mother! Pardon all my faults! I complain of no one.

"God reward you, and be merciful to me!


Sara folded her letter hastily, sealed it and directed it, and then, enfeebled by the exertion, sank down beside her sleeping child, kissed her softly, and whispered, "for the last time!" Her feet and hands were like ice; she felt this icy coldness run through all her veins, and diffuse itself over her whole body; her limbs stiffened; and it seemed to her as if a cold wind blew into her face.

"It is death!" thought Sara; "my death-bed is lonesome[Pg 358] and miserable; yet—I have deserved no better." Her consciousness became ever darker; but in the depths of her soul combated still the last, perhaps the noblest powers of life—suffering and prayer. At length they too also became benumbed, but not for long, for new impressions waked suddenly the slumbering life.

It appeared to Sara as if angel voices had spoken and repeated her name, tender hands had rubbed her stiffened limbs with electrical fire; her feet were pressed to a bosom that beat strongly; hot drops fell upon them, and thawed the icy coldness. She felt a heart throbbing against hers, and the wind of death upon her face vanished before warm summer breath, kisses, tears. Oh! was it a dream? But the dream became ever more living and clear. Life, loving, affectionate, warm life, contended with death, and was the victor! "Sara, Sara!" cried a voice full of love and anxiety, and Sara opened her eyes, and said, "Oh! Petrea, is it you?"

Yes, indeed, it was our poor Petrea, whose distress at Sara's condition, and whose joy over her now returning life, can neither of them be described. Sara took Petrea's hand, and conveyed it to her lips, and the humility of this action, so unlike the former Sara, penetrated Petrea's heart.

"Give me something to drink," prayed Sara, with a feeble voice. Petrea looked around for some refreshing liquid, but there was nothing to be found in the cottage excepting a jug containing a little muddy water; not a drop of milk, and the cow was lost in the wood! Petrea would have given her heart's blood for a few drops of wine, for she saw that Sara was ready to die from feebleness. And now, with feelings which are not to be told, must she give Sara to drink from the muddy water, in which, however, to make it more refreshing, she bruised some bilberries. Sara thanked her for it as if it had been nectar.

"Is there anywhere in this neighbourhood a place where one can meet with people, and obtain the means of life?" asked Petrea from her little guide.

The little guide knew of none excepting in the village, and in the public-house there they could obtain everything, "whatever they wished," said the child; to be sure it was a good way there, but she knew a footpath through the wood by which they might soon reach it.[Pg 359]

Petrea did not stop thinking for a moment; and after she had encouraged Sara to courage and hope, she set out most speedily with the little nimble maiden on the way to the village.

The girl went first: her white head-kerchief guided Petrea through the duskiness of the wood. But the footway which the girl trod so lightly and securely, was an actual way of trial for Petrea. Now and then fragments of her clothes were left hanging on the thick bushes; now a branch which shot outwards seized her bonnet and struck it flat; now she went stumbling over tree-roots and stones, which, on account of the darkness and the speed of her flight, she could not avoid; and now bats flew into her face. In vain did the wood now elevate itself more majestically than ever around her; in vain, did the stars kindle their lights, and send their beams into the deep gullies of the wood; in vain sang the waterfalls in the quiet evening as they fell from the rocks. Petrea had now no thought for the beauty of nature; and the lights which sparkled from the village were to her a more welcome sight than all the suns and stars in the firmament.

More lights than common streamed in pale beams through the misty windows of the public-house as Petrea came up to it. All was fermentation within it as in a bee-hive; violins were playing; the polska was being danced; women's gowns swung round, sweeping the walls; iron-heeled shoes beat upon the floor; and the dust flew up to the ceiling. After Petrea had sought in vain for somebody outside the dancing-room, she was compelled to go in, and then she saw instantly that there was a wedding. The gilded crown on the head of the bride wavered and trembled amid the attacks and the defence of the contending parties, for it was precisely the hot moment of the Swedish peasant wedding, in which, as it is said, the crown is danced off the head of the bride. The married women were endeavouring to vanquish and take captive the bride, whilst the girls were, on their part, doing their utmost to defend and hold her back. In the other half of the great room, however, all went on more noisily and more violently still, for there the married men strove to dance the bridegroom from the unmarried ones, and they pulled and tore and pushed unmercifully, amid[Pg 360] shouts and laughter, whilst the polska went on its whirling measure.

It would be almost at the peril of her life that a delicate lady should enter into such a tumult; but Petrea feared in this moment no other danger than that of not being able to make herself heard in this wild uproar. She called and demanded to speak with the host; but her voice was perfectly swallowed up in the universal din. She then quickly turned herself, amid the contending and round-about-swinging groups to the two musicians, who were scraping upon their fiddles with a sort of frenzy, and beating time with their feet. Petrea caught hold of one of them by the arm, and prayed him in God's name to leave off for a moment, for that her business was of life and death. But they paid not the slightest attention to her; they heard not what she said; they played, and the others danced with fury.

"That is very mad!" thought Petrea, "but I will be madder still!" and so thinking, she threw down, upon the musicians, a table which stood near them covered with bottles and glasses. With this crash the music was suddenly still. The pause in the music astonished the dancers; they looked around them. Petrea took advantage of this moment, went into the crowd and called for the host. The host, who was celebrating his daughter's wedding, came forward; he was a fat, somewhat pursy man, who evidently had taken a glass too much.

Petrea related summarily that which had happened; prayed for people to assist at the carriage, and for some wine and fine bread for an invalid. She spoke with warmth and determination; but nevertheless the host demurred, and the crowd, half intoxicated with drink and dancing, regarded her with a distrustful look, and Petrea heard it whispered around her—"The mad lady!" "It is the mad lady!" "No, no, it is not she!" "Yes, it is she!"

And we must confess that Petrea's excited appearance, and the condition of her toilet after the fatigues of her wandering, gave some occasion for her being taken for a little crazy; this, and the circumstance of her being mistaken for another person, may explain the disinclination to afford her assistance, which otherwise does not belong to the character of the Swedish peasantry.[Pg 361]

Again Petrea exhorted host and peasant to contribute their help, and promised befitting reward.

The host set himself now in a commanding attitude, cleared his throat, and spoke with a self-satisfied air.

"Yes, yes," said he, "that's all right-good and handsome, but I should like to see something of this befitting reward before I put myself out of the way about overturned carriages. In the end, maybe, one shall find neither one nor the other. One cannot believe everything that people say!"

Petrea recollected with uneasiness that she had no money with her; she, however, let nothing of that be seen, but replied calmly and collectedly, "You shall receive money when you come to the carriage. But for heaven's sake, follow me immediately; every moment's delay may cost a life!"

The men looked undecidedly one on another; but no one stirred from the place; a dull murmur ran through the crowd. Almost in despair, Petrea clasped her hands together and exclaimed, whilst tears streamed from her eyes, "Are you Christians, and yet can hear that fellow-creatures are in danger without hastening to help them."

She mentioned the name and office of her father, and then went from prayers to threats.

Whilst all this was going on in the house, something was going on at the door, of which, in all speed, we will give a glimpse.

There drew up at the inn-door a travelling-calash, accompanied by a small Holstein carriage in which sate four boys, the eldest of whom, probably ten years of age, and who, evidently greatly to his satisfaction, had managed with his own hands a pair of thin travelling horses. From the coach-box of the calash sprang nimbly a somewhat stout, jovial-looking gentleman, and out of the carriage came, one after another, other four little boys, with so many packets and bundles as was perfectly wonderful; among all these moved a rather thin lady of a good and gay appearance, who took with her own hands all the things out of the carriage, and gave them into the care of a maid and the eldest of the eight boys; the youngest sate in the arms of his father.

"Can you yet hold something, Jacob?" asked the lady from one of the boys, who stood there loaded up to the very[Pg 362] chin. "Yes, with my nose," replied he, merrily; "nay, nay, mamma dear, not the whole provision-basket—that's quite impossible!"

The mother laughed, and instead of the provision-basket, two or three books were put under the protection of the little nose.

"Take care of the bottles, young ones!" exhorted the mother, "and count them exactly; there should be ten of them. Adam, don't stand there with your mouth open, but hold fast, and think about what you have in your hand, and what you are doing! Take good care of the bottle of mamma's elixir. What a noise is there within! Does nobody come out? Come here my young ones! Adam, look after David! Jonathan, stand here! Jacob, Solomon, where are you? Shem and Seth, keep quiet!"

This was the moment when, by the opening of the door of the dancing-room, they became aware of the arrival of the travellers, and when the host hastened out to receive them. Many followed him, and among the rest Petrea, who quickly interrupted her address to the peasants, in order, through the interposition of the travellers, as she hoped, to obtain speedier help.

"Good gentlefolks," cried she, in a voice which showed her agitation of mind; "I know not, it is true, who you are" (and the darkness prevented her from seeing it), "but I hope you are Christians, and I beseech of you, for heaven's sake——"

"Whose voice is that?" interrupted a cheerful, well-toned, manly voice.

"Who speaks?" exclaimed Petrea in astonishment.

A few words were exchanged, and suddenly the names "Petrea! Jacobi! Louise!" flew exultantly from the lips of the three, and they locked one another in a heartfelt and affectionate embrace.

"Aunt Petrea! Aunt Petrea!" cried the eight boys in jubilation, and hopped around her.

Petrea wept for joy that she had not alone met with good Christians, but had hit upon her most Christian brother-in-law and court-preacher, and upon "our eldest," who, with her hopeful offspring, "the Berserkers," were upon their journey to the paternal house and the new parsonage.[Pg 363]

A few minutes afterwards the carriage, containing Petrea, Louise, and Jacobi, accompanied by peasants on horseback, drove away at full gallop into the wood, into whose gullies, as well as into Petrea's imploring eyes, the half-moon, which now ascended, poured its comfortable light.

We leave Petrea now with her relatives, who, on their homeward journey, fell in with her at the right moment to save her from a situation in the highest degree painful. We are perfectly sure that the Assessor received speedy assistance; that Sara was regaled with wine as well as with Louise's elixir; that Petrea's heart was comforted, and her toilet brought into order; and in confirmation of this our assurance we will quote the following lines from a letter of Louise, which on the next day was sent off home.

"I am quite convinced that Sara, with careful attention, befitting diet, and above all, by being surrounded with kindness, may be called back to life and health. But for the present she is so weak that it is impossible to think of her travelling under several days. And in any case, I doubt if she will come with us, unless my father come to fetch her. She says that she will not be a burden to our family. Ah! now it is a pleasure to open house and heart to her. She is so changed! And her child is—a little angel! For the Assessor it might be necessary, on account of his leg, that he go to the city; but he will not leave Sara, who requires his help so greatly (his servant is out of all danger). Petrea, spite of all fatigues and adventures, is quite superb. She and Jacobi enliven us all. As things now stand we cannot fix decidedly the day of our arrival; but if Sara continue to improve, as appearances promise, Jacobi sets out to-morrow with the children to you. It is so dear with them all here in the public-house. God grant that we may all soon meet again in our beloved home!"

An hour after the receipt of this letter the Judge set off with such haste as if his life were concerned. He journeyed from home to the forest-village; we, on the contrary, reverse the journey, and betake ourselves from the public-house to——


[21] A Day-book (Dagbok) is kept at every inn in Sweden. The name of every traveller who takes thence horses, and the name of the next town to which he proceeds, are entered in it; and thus when once on the trace, nothing could be easier than to discover such a traveller. The day-book is renewed each month.—M. H.

[Pg 364]



Lilies were blossoming in the house on the beautiful morning of the twentieth of September. They seemed to shoot up of themselves under Gabriele's feet. The mother, white herself as a lily, went about softly in her fine morning-dress, with a cloth in her hand, wiping away from mirror or table the smallest particle of dust. A higher expression of joy than common animated her countenance; a fine crimson tinged her otherwise pale cheeks, and the lips moved themselves involuntarily as if they would speak loving and joyful words.

Bergström adorned ante-room and steps with foliage and splendid flowers, so that they represented a continuation of garlands along the white walls; and not a little delighted was he with his own taste, which Gabriele did not at all omit to praise. But although an unusually great deal of occupation pervaded the house this morning, still it was nevertheless unusually quiet; people only spoke in low voices, and when the least noise was made, the mother said, "Hush! hush!"

The cause of this was, that the lost but again-found child slept in the house of her parents.

Sara had arrived there the evening before, and we have passed over this scene, for the great change in her, and her shaken condition, had made it sorrowful; yet we wish indeed that the feeling reader had seen the manly tears which flowed down the cheeks of the Judge, as he laid the found-again daughter on the bosom of her mother. We should like to have shown him the unfortunate one, as she rested with her hands crossed over her breast on the snow-white couch, over which the mother herself had laid the fine coverlet; have shown him how she looked upon the child, whose bed stood near her own; upon the beloved ones, who full of affection surrounded her—and then up to heaven, without being able to utter one word! And how glad should we have been could he have seen the Jacobian pair this evening in the paternal home, and how there sate eating around them, Adam and Jacob, the twin brothers Jonathan and David, ditto[Pg 365] Shem and Seth, together with Solomon and little Alfred. They were well-trained children, and looked particularly well, all dressed alike in a blouse of dark stuff, over which fell back the white shirt collar, leaving free the throat with its lively tint of health, whilst the slender waist was girded with a narrow belt of white leather. Such was the light troop of "the Berserkers."

But we return to our bright morning hour. Eva and Leonore were in the garden, and gathered with their own hands some select Astracan apples and pears, which were to ornament the dinner table. They were still glittering with dew, and for the last time the sun bathed them with purple by the song of the bulfinch. The sisters had spoken of Sara; of the little Elise, whom they would educate; of Jacobi—and their conversation was cheerful; then they went to other subjects.

"And to-day," said Leonore, "your last answer goes to Colonel R——, your last, no! And you feel quite satisfied that it should be so?"

"Yes, quite!" returned Eva; "how the heart changes! I cannot now conceive how I once loved him!"

"It is extraordinary how he should still solicit your hand, and this after so long a separation. He must have loved you much more than any of the others to whom he made court."

"I do not think so, but—ah, Leonore! do you see the beautiful apple there? It is quite bright. Can you reach it? No? Yes, if you climb on this bough."

"Must I give myself so much trouble?" asked Leonore; "that is indeed shocking! Well, but I must try, only catch me if I should fall!"

The sisters were here interrupted by Petrea, whose appearance showed that she had something interesting to communicate.

"See, Eva," said she, giving to her a written piece of paper, "here you have something for morning-reading. Now you must convince yourself of something of which till now you would not believe. And I shall call you a stock, a stone, an automaton without heart and soul, if you do not—yes, smile! You will not laugh when you have read it. Leonore! come, dear Leonore, you must read it also, you will give me credit for being right. Read, sisters, read!"[Pg 366]

The sisters read the following remarks, in the handwriting of the Assessor.

"'Happy is the lonely and the lowly! He may ripen and refresh himself in peace!' Beautiful words, and what is better, true.

"The foundling has proved their truth. He was sick in mind, heart, and sick of the world and of himself, but he belonged to the lowly and to the unnoticed, and so he could be alone; alone, in the fresh, quiet wood, alone with the Great Physician, who only can heal the deep wounds of the heart—and it is become better with him.

"Now I begin to understand the Great Physician, and the regimen which he has prescribed for me. I feared the gangrene selfishness, and would drink myself free therefrom by the nectar of love; but he said, 'Jeremias, drink not this draught, but that of self-denial—it is more purifying.'

"I have drunk it. I have loved her for twenty years without pretension and without hope.

"To-day I have passed my three-and-sixtieth year; the increasing pain in my side commands me to leave the steps of the patients, and tells me that I have not many more paces to count till I reach my grave. May it be permitted to me to live the remainder of my days more exclusively for her!

"At the 'Old Man's Rose' will I live for her—for it stands in my will that it belongs to her, it belongs to Eva Frank.

"I will beautify it for her. I will cultivate there beautiful trees and flowers for her; vines and roses will I bring there. Old age will some time seize on her, wither her, and consume her. But then 'the rose of age' will bloom for her, and the odour of my love bless her, when the ugly old man wanders on the earth no more. She will take her dear sisters to her there; there hear the songs of the birds, and see the glory of the sun upon the lovely objects of nature.

"I will repose on these thoughts during the solitary months or years that I must pass there. Truly, many a day will be heavy to me; and the long solitary evenings; truly, it were good to have there a beloved and gentle companion, to whom one might say each day, 'Good morning, the sun is beautiful;' or in whose eyes—if it were not so—one could[Pg 367] see a better sun;—a companion with whom one could enjoy books, nature—all that God has given us of good; whose hand, in the last heavy hour one could press, and to whom one could say, 'Good night! we meet again—to-morrow—with love itself—with God!'

"But—but—the foundling shall find no home upon earth!

"Now he will soon find another home, and will say to the master there, 'Father, have mercy on my rose!' and to the habitation of men will he say, 'Wearisome wast thou to me, O world! but yet receive my thanks for the good which thou hast given me!'"

When the sisters had ceased to read, several bright tears lay upon the paper, and shone in the light of the sun. Leonore dried her tears, and turning herself to Petrea, inquired, "But, Petrea, how came this paper into your hands?"

"Did I not think that would come?" said Petrea. "You should not ask such difficult questions, Leonore. Nay, now Eva's eyes are inquiring too—and so grave. Do you think that the Assessor has put it into my hands? Nay, he must be freed from that suspicion even at my expense. You want to know how I came by this paper? Well then—I stole it, sisters—stole it on our journey—on the very morning after it was written."

"But, Petrea!"

"But, Petrea! yes, you good ones! it is too late now to cry, 'but, Petrea!' now you know the Assessor's secret; you now may do what your consciences command, mine is hardened—you may start before my act, and be horrified; I don't ask about it. The whole world may excommunicate me—I don't trouble myself!—Eva! Leonore! Sisters!"

Petrea laid an arm round the neck of each sister, kissed them, smiling with a tear in her eye, and vanished.

Somewhat later in the morning we find Eva and Gabriele on a visit at the beautiful parsonage-house immediately in the vicinity of the town, where Mrs. Louise is in full commotion with all her goods and chattels, whilst the little Jacobis riot with father and grandfather over fields and meadows. The little four-years-old Alfred, an uncommonly lively and amiable[Pg 368] child, is alone with the mother at home; he pays especial court to Gabriele, and believing that he must entertain her, he brings out his Noah's Ark to introduce to her, in his low, clear, young voice, Ham and Hamina, Shem and Shemina, Japhet and Japhetina.

After all how-do-ye-do's between the sisters had been answered, Gabriele loosened the paper from a basket which Ulla had brought in, and asked Louise to be pleased to accept some roast veal and patties. "We thought," said she, "that you would need something fresh after the journey, before you get your store-room in order. Just taste a patty! they are filled with mince-meat, and I assure you are baked since the Flood."

"Really!" replied Louise, laughing, "they are delicate too! See, there's one for you, my little manikin; but another time don't come and set yourself forward and look so hungry! Thanks! thanks, dear sister! Ah, how charming that we are come again into your neighbourhood! How fresh and happy you all look! And Petrea! how advantageously she has altered; she is come to have something quiet and sensible about her; she has outgrown her nose, and dresses herself neatly; she is just like other people now. And see—here I have a warm, wadded morning-dress for her, that will keep her warm up in her garret; is it not superb? And it cost only ten thalers courant."

"Oh, extraordinary!—out of the common way!—quite unheard of!" said they, "is it not so?—why it is a piece of clothing for a whole life!"

"What a beautiful collar Eva has on! I really believe she is grown handsomer," said Louise. "You were and are still the rose of the family, Eva; you look quite young, and are grown stout. I, for my part, cannot boast of that; but how can anybody grow stout when they have eight children to work for! Do you know sisters, that in the last week before I left Stockholm, I cut out a hundred and six shirts! I hope I can meet with a good sempstress here; at home; look at my finger, it is quite hard and horny with sewing. God bless the children! one has one's trouble with them. But tell me, how is it with our mother? They have always been writing to me that she was better—and yet I find her terribly gone off; it really grieves me to see her. What does the Assessor say?"[Pg 369]

"Oh," replied Gabriele warmly, "he says that she will recover. There is really no danger; she improves every day."

Eva did not look so hopeful as Gabriele, and her eyes were filled with tears as she said, "When autumn and winter are only over, I hope that the spring——"

"And do you know," interrupted Louise, with animation, "what I have been thinking of? In the spring she shall come to us and try the milk cure: she shall occupy this room, with the view towards the beautiful birch grove, and shall enjoy the country air, and all the good things which the country affords and which I can obtain for her—certainly this will do her good. Don't you think that then she will recover? Don't you think that it is a bright idea of mine?"

The sisters thought that really it was bright, and Louise continued:

"Now I must show you what I have brought for her. Do you see these two damask breakfast cloths, and these six breakfast napkins?—all spun in the house. I have had merely to pay for the weaving. Now, how do they please you?"

"Oh, excellently! excellently!" said one sister.

"How very handsome! How welcome they will be!" said the other.

"And you must see what I have bought for my father—ah! Jacobi has it in his carpet-bag—one thing lies here and another there—but you will see it, you will see it."

"What an inundation of things!" said Gabriele, laughing. "One can see, however, that there is no shortness of money."

"Thank God!" said Louise, "all is comfortable in that respect, though you may very well believe that it was difficult at first; but we began by regulating the mouths according to the dishes. Ever since I married I have had the management of the money. I am my husband's treasurer; he gives over to me whatever comes in, and he receives from me what he wants, and in this way all has gone right. Thank God, when people love one another all does go right! I am happier than I deserve to be, with such a good, excellent husband, and such well-disposed children. If our little[Pg 370] girl, our little Louise, had but lived! Ah! it was a happiness when she was born, after the eight boys; and then for two years she was our greatest delight. Jacobi almost worshipped her; he would sit for whole hours beside her cradle, and was perfectly happy if he only had her on his knee. But she was inexpressibly amiable—so good, so clever, so quiet; an actual little angel! Ah! it was hard to lose her. Jacobi grieved as I have never seen a man grieve; but his happy temperament and his piety came to his help. She has now been dead above a year. Ah! never shall I forget my little girl!"

Louise's tears flowed abundantly; the sisters could not help weeping with her. But Louise soon collected herself again, and said, whilst she wiped her eyes, "Now we have also anxiety with little David's ankles; but there is no perfect happiness in this world, and we have no right to expect it. Pardon me that I have troubled you; and now let us speak of something else, whilst I get my things a little in order. Tell me something about our acquaintance—Aunt Evelina is well?"

"Yes, and sits as grandmother of five nephews at Axelholm, beloved and honoured by all. It is a very sweet family that she sees about her, and she has the happiest old age."

"That is pleasant to hear. But she really deserved to be loved and honoured. Is her Karin also married?"

"Ah, no! Karin is dead! and this has been her greatest sorrow; they were so happy together."

"Ah, thou heaven! Is she dead? Ah, yes, now I remember you wrote to me that she was dead——Look at this dress, sisters—a present from my dear husband; is it not handsome? and then quite modern. Yes, yes, dear Gabriele, you need not make such an ambiguous face; it is very handsome, and quite in the fashion, that I can assure you. But, à propos, how is the Court-preacher? Exists still in a new form, does it? Now that is good! I'll put it on this afternoon on purpose to horrify Jacobi, and tell him that for the future I intend to wear it in honour of his nomination to the office of court-preacher."[Pg 371]

All laughed.

"But tell me," continued Louise, "how will our 'great astonishment' go on? how have you arranged it?"

"In this manner," returned one of the sisters. "We shall all meet for a great coffee-drinking in the garden, and during this we shall lead the conversation in a natural sort of way to the piece of ground on the other side the fence, and then peep through the cracks in it, and then express that usual wish that this fence might come down. And then, at this signal, your eight boys, Louise, are to fall on the fence and——"

"How can you think," said Louise—"to be sure my boys are nimble and strong, but it would require the power of Berserkers to——"

"Don't be alarmed," answered the sisters, laughing, "the fence is sawn underneath, and stands only so firm that a few pushes will produce the effect—the thing is not difficult. Besides, we'll all run to the attack, if it be needful."

"Oh, heaven help us! if it be only so, my young ones will soon manage the business—and à propos! I have a few bottles of select white sugar-beer with me, which would certainly please my father, and which will be exactly the right thing if we, as is customary on such occasions, have to drink healths."

During this conversation little Alfred had gone round ineffectually offering two kisses, and was just on the point of growing angry because his wares found no demand, when all at once, summoning resolution, he threw his arms round Gabriele's neck, and exclaimed, "Now I see really and thoroughly, that Aunt Gabriele has need of a kiss!" And it was not Aunt Gabriele's fault if the dear child was not convinced how wholly indispensable his gift was.

But Louise still turned over her things. "Here," said she, "I have a waistcoat-piece for Bergström, and here a neck-kerchief for Ulla, as well as this little brush with which to dust mirrors and tables. Is it not superb? And see, a little pair of bellows, and these trifles for Brigitta."

"Now the old woman," said the sisters, "will be happy! She is now and then out of humour, but a feast of coffee, and some little present, reconcile her with all the world; and to-day she will get both."[Pg 372]

"And see," continued Louise, "how capitally these bellows blow: they can make the very worst wood burn—see how the dust flies!"

"Uh! one can be blown away oneself," said Gabriele, laughing.

While the sisters were still occupied with cleaning and dusting, and Louise was admiring her own discoveries, the Judge came in, happy and warm.

"What a deal of business is going forward!" exclaimed he, laughing. "I must congratulate you," said he, "Louise; your boys please me entirely. They are animated boys, with, intellects all alive—but, at the same time, obedient and polite. Little David is a regular hairbrain, and a magnificent lad—what a pity it is that he will be lame!"

Louise crimsoned from heartfelt joy over the praise of her boys, and answered quickly to the lamentation over the little David, "You should hear, father, what a talent he has for the violoncello; he will be a second Gehrman."

"Nay, that is good," returned the Judge; "such a talent as that is worth his two feet. But I have hardly had time to notice you properly yet, Louise. Heavens! it's glorious that you are come again into our neighbourhood; now I think I shall be able to see you every day! and you can also enjoy here the fresh air of the country. You have got thin, but I really think you have grown!"

Louise said laughingly, that the time for that was over with her.

The sisters also, among themselves, made their observations on Louise. They were rejoiced to see her, among all her things, so exactly herself again.

Handsomer she certainly had not become—but people cannot grow handsomer to all eternity. She looked well and she looked good, had no more of the cathedral about her; she was an excellent Archdeacon's lady.

We transport ourselves now to Sara's chamber.

When a beloved and guiltless child returns, after sufferings overcome, to the bosom of parents into a beloved home, who can describe the sweet delight of its situation? The pure enjoyment of all the charms of home; the tenderness of[Pg 373] the family; the resigning themselves to the heavenly feeling of being again at home? But the guilty——

We have seen a picture of the prodigal son which we shall never forget! It is the moment of reconciliation: the father opens his arms to the son; the son falls into them and hides his face. Deep compunction of the heart bows down his head, and over his pale cheek—the only part of his countenance which is visible, runs a tear—a tear of penitence and pain, which says everything. The golden ring may be placed upon his hand; the fatted calf may be killed and served up before him—he cannot feel gay or happy—embittering tears gush forth from the fountains of memory.

Thus was it with Sara, and exactly to that degree in which her heart was really purified and ennobled. As she woke out of a refreshing sleep in her new home, and saw near her her child sleeping on the soft snow-white bed; as she saw all, by the streaming in light of the morning sun, so festally pure and fresh; as she saw how the faithful memory of affection had treasured up all her youthful predilections; as she saw her favourite flowers, the asters, beaming upon the stove, in an alabaster vase; and as she thought how all this had been—and how it now was—she wept bitterly.

Petrea, who was reading in the window of Sara's room waiting for her awaking, stood now with cordial and consoling words near her bed.

"Oh, Petrea!" said Sara, taking her hand and pressing it to her breast, "let me speak with you. My heart is full. I feel as if I could tell you all, and you would understand me. I did not come here of my own will—your father brought me. He did not ask me—he took me like a child, and I obeyed like a child. I was weak; I thought soon to die; but this night under this roof has given me strength. I feel now that I shall live. Listen, to me, Petrea, and stand by me, for as soon as my feet will carry me I must go away from here. I will not be a burden to this house. Stained and despised by the world, as I am, I will not pollute this sanctuary! Already have I read aversion towards me in Gabriele's look. Oh, my abode here would be a pain to myself! Might my innocent little one only remain in this blessed house. I must away from here! These charms of life; this abundance, they are not for me—they would wake[Pg 374] anguish in my soul! Poverty and labour beseem me! I will away hence. I must!—but I will trouble nobody: I will not appear ungrateful. Help me, Petrea—think for me; what I should do and where I should go!"

"I have already thought," replied Petrea.

"Have you?" said Sara, joyfully surprised, and fixed upon her searchingly her large eyes.

"Come and divide my solitude," continued Petrea, in a cordial voice. "You know that I, although in the house of my parents, yet live for myself alone, and have the most perfect freedom. Next to my room is another, a very simple but quiet room, which might be exactly according to your wishes. Come and dwell there! There you can live perfectly as you please; be alone, or see only me, till the quiet influence of calm days draw you into the innocent life of the family circle."

"Ah, Petrea," returned Sara, "you are good—but you cannot approach a person of ill-report—and you do not know——"

"Hush! hush!" interrupted Petrea; "I know very well—because I see and hear you again! Oh, Sara! who am I that I should turn away from you? God sees into the heart, and he knows how weak and erring mine is, even if my outward life remain pure, and if circumstances and that which surrounds me have protected me, and have caused my conduct to be blameless. But I know myself, and I have no more earnest prayer to God than that: 'Forgive me my trespasses!' May I not pray by your side? Cannot we tread together the path which lies before us? Both of us have seen into many depths of life—both of us now look up humbly to the cheerful heaven! Give me your hand—you were always dear to me, and now, even as in the years of childhood do I feel drawn to you! Let us go; let us try together the path of life. My heart longs after you; and does not yours say to you that we are fit for one another, and that we can be happy together?"

"Should I be a burden to you?" said Sara: "were I but stronger, I would wait upon you; could I only win my bread by my hands, as in the latter years I have done—but now!"

"Now give yourself up to me blindly," said Petrea. "I[Pg 375] have enough for us both. In a while, when you are stronger, we will help one another."

"Will not my wasted life—my bitter remembrances make my temper gloomy and me a burden?" asked Sara; "and do not dark spirits master those who have been so long in their power?"

"Penitence," said Petrea, "is a goddess—she protects the erring. And if a heathen can say this, how much more a Christian!—Oh, Sara! annihilating repentance itself—I know it—can become a strength for him, by which he can erect himself. It can raise up to new life; it can arouse a will which can conquer all things—it has raised me erect—it will do the same for you! You stand now in middle life—a long future is before you—you have an amiable child; have friends; have to live for eternal life! Live for these! and you will see how, by degrees, the night vanishes, the day ascends, and all arranges itself and becomes clear. Come, and let us two unitedly work at the most important business of life—improvement!"

Sara, at these words, raised herself in the bed, and new beams were kindled in her eyes. "I will," said she, "Petrea; an angel speaks through you; your words strengthen and calm me wonderfully—I will begin anew——"

Petrea pressed Sara to her breast, and spoke warm and heartfelt "thanks," and then added softly, "and now be a good child, Sara!—all weak and sick people are children. Now submit, calmly and resignedly, to be treated and guided like such a one; gladden by so doing those who are around you, and who all wish you well! We cannot think of any change before you are considerably better—it would trouble every one."

At this moment the door was opened, and the mother looked in inquiringly; she smiled so affectionately as she locked Sara in her arms. Leonore followed her; but as she saw Sara's excited state, she went quickly back and returned with a breakfast-tray covered with all kinds of good things; and now cheerful and merry words emulated one another to divert the again-found-one, old modes of speech were again reverted to, and old acquaintances renewed.

"Do you know Madame Folette again? She has been lately repaired. Can she have the honour of giving you a[Pg 376] cup of coffee? There is your old cup with the stars; it was saved with Madame Folette from the fire, and the little one here with the rose-buds is allotted to our little Elise. You must really taste these rusks—they never were in the Ark—they came with the blushing morning out of the oven. Our 'little lady' has herself selected and filled the basket with the very best for you; you shall see whether these home-baked would not please even the Assessor;"—and so on.

In the mean time the little Elise had awoke, and looked with bright blue eyes up to great Elise, who bent down to her. They were really like each other, as often daughter's daughters and grandmothers are, and appeared to feel related already. When Sara saw her child in Elise's arms, tears of pure joy filled her eyes for the first time.

I do not know whether my lady-readers have nerves to stand by while "the Berserkers" overthrow the garden-fence. I fancy not; and therefore, with my reader's permission, I make a little leap over the great event of the day—the thrown-down wooden fence, which fell so hastily that the Berserkers themselves tumbled all together over it,—and go into the new piece of land, where we shall find the family-party assembled, sitting on a flower-decorated moss-seat, under a tall birch-tree, which waved over them its crown, tinged already with autumnal yellow. The September sun, which was approaching its setting, illuminated the group, and gleamed through the alders on the brook, which softly murmuring among blue creeks, flowed around the new piece of land, and at once beautified and bounded it.

Tears shone in the eyes of the family-father; but he spoke not. To see himself the object of so much love; the thoughts on the future; on his favourite plan; fatherly joy and pride; gratitude towards his children—towards heaven, all united themselves to fill his heart with the most pleasurable sensations which can bless a human bosom.

The mother, immediately after the great surprise, and the explosion of joy which followed it, had gone into the house with Eva and Leonore. Among those who remained behind, we see the friend of the family Jeremias Munter, who wore on the occasion the grimmest countenance in the world; the Baron L., who was no more the wild extravagant youth, but[Pg 377] a man, and beyond this, a landed-proprietor, whose grave demeanour was beautified by a certain, agreeable sobriety, particularly visible when he spoke with "our little lady," at whose feet he was seated.

Louise handed about white-sugar beer, which nobody praised more highly than herself. She found that it had something unearthly in it, something positively exalting; but when Gabriele, immediately after she had drank a half glass, gave a spring upwards, "our eldest" became terrified, for such a strong working of her effervescing white-beer she had by no means expected. Nevertheless she was soon surrounded by the eight, who cried altogether, "Mamma, may I have some beer?" "And I too?" "And I?" "And I too?" "And I?" "And I?" "Send a deal of foam for me, mamma dear!"

"Nay, nay, nay, dear boys! people must not come clamouring and storming thus—you don't see that I or the father do so. Solomon must wait to the very last now. Patience is a good herb. There, you have it; now drink, but don't wet yourselves!"

After the little Jacobis had all enjoyed the foaming, elevating liquor, they became possessed by such a buoyant spirit of life, that Louise was obliged to command them to exhibit their mighty deeds at a distance. Hereupon they swarmed forth on journeys of discovery, and began to tumble head over heels round the place. David hobbled along with his little crutch over stock and stone, whilst Jonathan gathered for him all sorts of flowers, and plucked the bilberry plants, to which he pointed with his finger; little nosegays were then made out of them, with which they overwhelmed their aunts, especially Gabriele, their chosen friend and patron. The serious Adam, the eldest of the eight, a boy of exceedingly staid demeanour, sate quietly by the side of his grandfather, and appeared to consider himself one of the elderly people; the little Alfred hopped about his mother.

The Judge looked around him with an animated countenance; he planted alleys and hedges; set down benches and saw them filled with happy people, and communicated his plans to Jacobi.

Jeremias observed the scene with a bitter, melancholy, and, to him, peculiar smile. As little David came limping[Pg 378] up to him with the fragrant wood-flowers, he exclaimed suddenly, "Why not rather make here a botanic garden than a common park? Flowers are indeed the only pleasant thing here in the world, and because people go all about snuffing with the nose, it might be as well to provide them with something to smell at. A water-establishment also could be united with it, and thus something miserable might get washed away from the pitiable wretches here in this world."

The Judge seized on the idea with joy. "So we will," said he; "we will unite pleasure with profit. This undertaking will cost more than a simple public pleasure-ground, but that need not prevent it. In this beautiful time of peace, and with the prospect of its long continuance, people may take works in hand, and hope to complete them, even if they should require a long time."

"And such works," said Jacobi, "operate ennoblingly on life in times of peace. Peace requires even as great a mass of power as war, but against another kind of foe. Every ennobling of this earthly existence, everything which exalts the mind to a more intellectual life, is a battery directed against the commoner nature in man, and is a service done to humanity and one's native land."

"Bah!" cried Jeremias with vexation, "humanity and native land! You have always large words in the mouth; if a fence is thrown down or a bush planted, it is immediately called a benefit for one's native land. Plant your fields and throw down your fences, but let the native land rest in peace! for it troubles itself just as little about you, as you about it. For one's country and humanity!—that should sound very affecting—all mere talk!"

"No, now you are in fact too severe," said the Judge, smiling at the outbreak of his friend; "and I, as far as regards myself," continued he, gravely, but cheerfully, "wish that a clearer idea of one's country accompanied every step of human activity. If there be a love which is natural and reasonable, it is the love of one's country. Have I not to thank my country for everything that I have? Are they not its laws, its institutions, its spiritual life, which have developed my whole being, as man and as a citizen? And are they not the deeds of my fathers which have fashioned these; which have given them their power and their individual life?[Pg 379] In fact, love and gratitude towards one's parents is no greater duty than love and gratitude towards one's native land; and there is no one, be he man or woman, high or low, but who, according to his own relationships, can and must pay this holy debt. And this is exactly the signification of a christianly constituted state, that every one shall occupy with his pound so as to benefit, at the same time, both the individual and the community at large."

"Thus," added Petrea, "do the rain-drops swell the brook, which pours its water into the river, and may, even though it be nameless, communicate benefit in its course."

"So it is, my dear child," said her father, and extended to her his hand.

"It is a gladdening thought," said Louise, with tearful eyes. "Pay attention, Adam, to what grandfather and aunt say, and keep it in your mind;—but don't open your mouth so wide; a whole frigate could sail into it."

At these words little Alfred began to laugh so shrilly and so heartily that all the elderly folks irresistibly bore him company. Adam laughed too; and at the sound of this peal of laughter came bounding forward from all ends and corners Shem and Seth, Jacob and Solomon, Jonathan and David, just as a flock of sparrows comes flying down over a handful of scattered corn. They came laughing because they heard laughter, and wished to be present at the entertainment.

In the mean time the sun had set, and the cool elves of evening began to wander over the place as the family, amid the most cheerful talk, arose in order to return to the house. As they went into the city the ball on St. Mary's church glimmered like fire in the last beams of the sun, and the moon ascended like a pale but gentle countenance over the roof of their house. There was a something in this appearance which made a sorrowful impression on Gabriele. The star of the church tower glittered over the grave of her brother, and the look of the moon made her involuntarily think on the pale, mild countenance of her mother. For the rest, the evening was so lovely, the blackbird sang among the alders by the brook, and the heaven lay clear and brightly blue over the earth, whilst the wind and every disturbing sound became more and more hushed.

Gabriele walked on, full of thought, and did not observe[Pg 380] that Baron L. had approached her; they were almost walking together as he said, "I am very glad; it was very pleasant to me to see you all again so happy!"

"Ah, yes," answered Gabriele, "now we can all be together again. It is a great happiness that Louise and her family are come here."

"Perhaps," continued the Baron—"perhaps it might be audacity to disturb such a happily united life, and to wish to separate a daughter and sister from such a family—but if the truest——"

"Ah!" hastily interrupted Gabriele, "don't speak of disturbing anything, of changing anything—everything is so good as it now is!"

He was silent, with an expression of sorrow.

"Let us be all happy together," said Gabriele, bashfully and cordially; "you will stop some time with us. It is so charming to have friends and sisters—this united life is so agreeable with them."

The Baron's countenance brightened. He seized Gabriele's hand, and would have said something, but she hastened from him to her father, whose arm she took.

Jacobi conducted Petrea; they were cheerful and confidential together, as happy brother and sister. She spoke to him of her present happiness, and of the hope which made up her future. He took the liveliest interest in it, and spoke with her of his plans; of his domestic happiness; and with especial rapture of his boys; of their obedience to the slightest word of their parents; of their mutual affection to each other—and see—all this was Louise's work! And Louise's praise was sung forth in a harmonious duet—ever a sweet scent for "our eldest," who appeared, however, to listen to no one but her father.

They soon reached home. The mother stood with the silver ladle in her hand, and the most friendly smile on her lips, in the library, before a large steaming bowl of punch, and with look and voice bade the entering party welcome.

"My dear Elise," said the Judge, embracing her, "you are become twenty years younger to-day."

"Happiness makes one young," answered she, looking on him affectionately.

People seated themselves.[Pg 381]

"Don't make so much noise, children!" said Louise to her eight, seating herself with the little Elise on her knees; "can't you seat yourselves without so much noise and bustle."

Jeremias Munter had placed himself in a corner, and was quiet, and seemed depressed.

On many countenances one saw a sort of tension, a sort of consciousness that before long a something uncommon was about to happen. The Judge coughed several times; he seemed to have an unusual cause for making his throat clear. At length he raised his voice and spoke, but not without evident emotion, "Is it true that our friend Jeremias Munter thinks of soon leaving us, in order to seat himself down in solitude in the country? Is it true, as report says, that he leaves us so soon as to-morrow morning, and that this is the last evening which brings him into our circle as a townsman of ours?"

The Assessor made an attempt to reply, but it was only a sort of low grunting tone without words. He looked fixedly upon the floor, and supported his hands upon his stick.

"In this case," continued the Judge, "I am desired to ask him a question, which I would ask from no one else, and which nearly sticks in my throat,—Will our friend Munter allow that any one—any one of us should follow him into his solitude?"

"Who would accompany me?" snorted Jeremias grumblingly and doubtingly.

"I!" answered a soft, harmonious voice; and Eva, as beautiful and graceful at this moment as ever, approached him, conducted by her father. "I," repeated she, blushing and speaking softly but sincerely, "I will accompany you if you will."

On the countenances of the family it might be read that this to the members of it was no surprise. Louise had gentle tears in her eyes, and did not look the least in the world scandalised at this step—so contrary to the dignity of woman. The Assessor drew himself together, and looked up with a sharp and astonished look.

"Receive from my hand," said the Judge, with a voice which showed his feeling, "a companion for whom you have[Pg 382] long wished. Only to you, Munter, would I so resign my beloved child."

"Do you say no to me?" asked Eva, blushing and smiling, as she extended her white hand to the still stupified Jeremias.

He seized the extended hand hastily, pressed it with both hands to his breast, and said softly as he bent over it, "Oh, my rose!" When he raised his head, his eyes were wet; but there was anxiety and disquiet in his whole being. "Brother," said he to the Judge, "I cannot yet thank you—I don't know—I don't understand—I must first prove her."

He took Eva by the hand and conducted her into the boudoir adjoining the library, seated himself opposite to her, and said warmly, "Whence proceeds this? What jokes are these? How does it arise? Tell me, in God's name, Eva, with what sentiments do you thus come and woo me? Is it with true love?—yes, I say, true love; don't be startled at the word! You can take it as I mean it. Is it love, or is it—pity? As a gift of mercy I cannot take you. Thus much I can tell you. Do not deceive yourself—do not deceive me! In the name of God, who proves all hearts, answer me, and speak the truth. Is it from the full and entire heart that you come thus to me? Do you think, Eva, angel of God, that I, the ugly, infirm, ill-tempered old man can make you happy?"

He spoke with a heartfelt anxiety, yet he now looked handsome with love and feeling.

"My friend, my benefactor," answered Eva, and wiped away some tears which rolled down her cheeks, "see into—read my inmost heart. Gratitude led me to the acknowledgment of your worth, and both have led me to love; not the passionate love which I once felt—but never more can feel—but a deep inward devotion, which will make me and, as I also hope, you happy, and which nothing further can disturb. To live for you, and next to you for my family, is the highest wish that I have on earth. I can candidly say that in this moment there is no one whom I love more than you. Is that enough for you?"

The Assessor riveted his deep eyes searchingly and penetratingly on Eva. "Kiss me!" said he, at once short and sharp.[Pg 383]

With an indescribably charming submission, Eva bowed her blushing face and kissed him.

"Lord God!" said Jeremias, "and you are mine! In his name then!" and with unspeakable emotion clasped he his long beloved to his heart. He held her long, and only deep sighs arose from his heart overflowing with happiness. At length he tore himself from her, and as if animated with new youth he sprang forward, and exclaimed to the company assembled in the library, "Nay, now it is all made up—I take her—she shall have me—she shall have me! She is worthy to be my wife, and I am worthy to be her husband! Now then, you without there, will not you drink our healths?"

All gathered around the bowl—Louise with the rest—the eight following her—it was all a joyful bustle. Leonore and Petrea kept back the little tumultuous ones amid laughter, and promised to carry the glasses to them if they would only keep their places.

At length quiet returned to the assembly, the glasses were filled, and the skål began.

No. 1, which the Judge proposed, was "for the newly betrothed."

No. 2, which Jacobi spoke eloquently, was "for the Parents; for their happiness and well-being," said he, with emotion, "through which I, and so many others as well as I, are blessed!"

No. 3, was drunk to "the prosperity of the new Pastor's family."

No. 4, for "the new purchased land."

No. 5, for "the old—ever-new Home."

No. 6, was "the health of all good children!" The eight seemed as if they could not return thanks enough.

After this yet a many other particular toasts were given. The young Jacobis drank incessantly to the aunts—Gabriele must continually make her glass clink against those of her little nephews.

In the mean time Jeremias Munter made with love-warm looks the following speech to his bride. "That was a joke now! that you should have made me of such consequence! How did she know that I would have her? To woo me yourself, and to take me so by surprise! To give me no[Pg 384] time to think. What then? It is quite unheard of! Was the thing arranged beforehand? No, that is too troublesome. Nay, nay, nay, nay then, nay say I! But now I think about it, it was quite for the best that I accept you—but indeed you were a little hasty; I've a good mind to——What now? What is fresh in hand? Comes her little grace, the little sister-in-law, without any ceremony and kisses me. Heavens! the world is very merry!"

But nobody in the whole circle found the world so merry as Petrea.

"Are you now satisfied with me, Petrea?" asked Eva, archly laughing. Petrea clasped her warmly in her arms.

Now the voice of Mother Louise was heard saying, "Nay, nay, children, you must not drink a drop more! What do you say, my little David? A thee-and-thou toast with Uncle Munter? No, thank you greatly, my dear fellow, you can propose that another time. You have drunk to-day toasts enough—more, perhaps, than your little heads can carry."

"I beg for the boys, sister Louise," said the Assessor; "I will propose a skål, and they must drink it with me. Fill, yet once more, the glasses, little carousers!—I propose a skål for peace! peace in our country, and peace in our homes! A skål for love and knowledge, which alone can make peace a blessing! A skål, in one word, for—Peace upon Earth!"

"Amen! amen!" cried Jacobi, drank off his glass, and threw it behind him. Louise looked at her mother somewhat astonished, but the mother followed Jacobi's example; she too was carried away.

"All glasses to the ground after this skål!" cried the Judge, and sent his ringing against the ceiling. With an indescribable pleasure the little Jacobis threw their glasses up, and endeavoured to make the skål for Peace as noisy and tumultuous as possible.

We leave now the joyful circle, from which we have seen the mother softly steal away. We see her go into the boudoir, where reposing in comfortable quiet she writes the following lines to her friend and sister:[Pg 385]

"I have left them now for a few minutes, in order to rest, and to say a few words to you, my Cecilia. Here it is good and quiet; and joyful voices—truly festival voices, echo to me here. The heart of my Ernst enjoys the highest pleasure, for he sees all his children happy around him. And the children, Cecilia, he has reason to be joyful over them and proud; they stand all around him, good and excellent human beings; they thank him that existence has been given to them, and that they have learned its worth; They are satisfied with their lot. The lost and again-found-one has come home, in order to begin a new life, and her charming child is quite established on the knees of the grandfather.

"I hear Gabriele's guitar accompanied by a song. I fancy now they dance. Louise's eight boys make the floor shake. Jacobi's voice is heard above all. The good, ever-young man. I also should be joyful, for all in my house is peaceful and well-arranged. And I am so; my heart is full of thankfulness, but my body is weary—very weary.

"The fir-trees on the grave wave and beckon me. I see their tops saluting me in the clear moonlight, and pointing upwards. Dost thou beckon me, my son? Dost thou call me to come home to thee? My first-born, my summer-child! Let me whisper to thee that this is my secret wish. The earth was friendly towards me; friendly was my home: when thou wast gone, my favourite! I began to follow. Perhaps the day of my departure is at hand. I feel in myself as if I were able to go to rest. And might a really bright and beautiful moment be enjoyed by me before my last sleep, I would yet once more press my husband's hand to my lips, look around me on earth with a blessing, and upwards towards heaven with gratitude, and say as now, out of the depths of my heart, 'Thank God for the home here, and the home there.'"


Transcriber's Notes:

I inserted 'a' into sentence, Never did I envy [a] human being as I envied her, on Page 90.

In Footnote 3, the word appears to be Niflhem, but the more common spelling is Niflheim.