Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

O. T., A Danish Romance by Hans Christian Andersen

Part 5 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"There have been thieves here!" said she, "and one might almost
imagine that they were persons in the household itself. They have
been at the press where the table-linen is kept, and have not been
sparing in their levies. The beautiful old silver tankard, which I
inherited from my grandmother, is also missing. I would much sooner
have given the value of the silver than have lost that piece!"

"Will not the lady let it be tried by the sieve?" asked the old
servant: "that is a pretty sure way!"

"That is nothing but superstition," answered she; "in that way the
innocent may so easily be suspected."

"As the lady pleases!" said the servant, and shook his head.

In the mean time a search through the house was instituted. The
boxes of the domestics were examined, but nothing was discovered.

"If you would only let the sieve be tried!" said the old servant.

In the afternoon Otto went into the garden; he fell into discourse
with the gardener, and they spoke of the theft which had occurred.

"It vexes every one of us," said he, "because we think much of the lady,
and of the whole family. And some one must, nevertheless, be suspected.
We believe that it was Sidsel, for she was a good-for-nothing person!
We folks tried among ourselves with the sieve, but however, at the
mention of her name, if it did not move out of its place. We had set
it upon the point of a knife, and mentioned the name of every person
about the place, but it stood as if it were nailed quite fast. But
there was really something to see, which not one of us would have
believed. I'll say no more about it, although we had every one of
us our own thoughts. I would have taken my oath of it."

Otto pressed him to mention the person who was suspected.

"Yes, to you perhaps, I may mention it," replied he; "but you will
not say anything about it? As we were standing today, at noon,
around the sieve, and it did not move at Sidsel's name, she became
angry, because a word bad been let fall which could not be
agreeable to her if she were innocent. She drew herself up as if in
a passion, and said to us, 'But there are also in the hall a many
people besides us, who may slip and slide! There are strangers
here, and the fine Mamsell, and the farmers. Yes, I suspect no one,
but every one ought to be named!'

"And so we did it. Yes, we mentioned even your name, Mr. Thostrup,
although we knew very well that you were guiltless of the charge;
but we would not excuse any one. The sieve stood quite entirely
still until we mentioned Eva's name, and then it moved. Not one of
us actually could believe it, and the servant Peter said also that
it was because of the draught from the chimney. We mentioned yet
once more all the names, and the sieve stood still until we came to
Eva's, and then we perceived very plainly a movement. The servant
Peter at the same moment gave a great blow to the sieve, so that it
fell to the ground, and be swore that it was a lie, and that he
would answer for Eva. I would have done so too; but yet it was very
extraordinary with the sieve! Most of the folks, however, have
their own thoughts, but no one venture to express them to the
gentry who think so much of her. I cannot, however, rightly
reconcile it to myself!"

"She is innocent!" said Otto; and it amazed him that any one should
cast the slightest suspicion on Eva. He thought of German Heinrich
and Sidsel, who alone appeared to him suspicious. There then
occurred to him an experiment of which he had heard from Rosalie.
It now seemed to him available, and, physiologically considered,
much more certain than that with the sieve.

"Probably it may lead to a discovery," said he, after he had
communicated his whole plan to Sophie and the steward.

"Yes, we mast try it!" said she; "it is excellent! I also will be
put to the proof, although I am initiated into the mystery."

"Yes, you, your sister, Wilhelm, Eva, we all of us must," said
Otto. "Only I will not do the speaking: that the steward must do."

"That is proper, very proper!" replied she: "it shall be tried this
evening when it is dark."

The time came; the steward assembled the people.

"Now I know," said he, "how we shall find the thief!"

All were to remain in the first room: within a side-room, which was
quite dark, there stood in a corner on the right hand a copper
kettle; to this every person as they came in, one by one, were to
go and lay their hand down on the flat bottom of the kettle. The
hand of every one who was innocent would be brought out again white
and pure, but the hand of the criminal would be severely burned,
and would become black as a coal.

"He who now," said the steward, addressing them, "has a good
conscience, may go with this and our Lord into the innermost room,
lay his hand upon the bottom of the kettle, and show it to me. Now
I go to receive you all!"

The daughters went, the friends, Eva, and all the household. The
steward questioned them as they came in: "Answer me, upon thy
conscience, did thy hand touch the flat bottom of the kettle?"

All replied, "Yes!"

"Then show me your hand!" said he; and they showed them, and all
were black: Sidsel's alone was white.

"Thou art the thief!" said the steward. "Thy evil conscience has
condemned thee. Thou hast not touched the kettle; hast not laid thy
hand upon it, or it would have become as black as that of the
others. The kettle was blackened inside with turpentine smoke; they
who came with a good conscience, knowing that their hands would
remain pure like their consciences, touched the kettle fearlessly
and their hands became black! Thou hast condemned thyself! Confess,
or it will go worse with thee!"

Sidsel, uttered a horrible cry and fell down upon her knees.

"O God, help me!" said she, and confessed that she was the thief.

A chamber high up in the roof was prepared as a prison; here the
delinquent was secured until the affair, on the following day,
should be announced to the magistrate.

"Thou shalt be sent to Odense, and work upon the treadmill!" said
Wilhelm: "to that thou belongest!"

The family assembled at the tea-table. Sophie joked about the day's

"Poor Sidsel!" said Eva.

"In England she would be hanged," said Wilhelm; "that would be a
fine thing to see!"

"Horrible!" replied Louise; "they must die of terror in going to
the gallows."

"Nay, it is very merry," said Wilhelm. "Now you shall hear what
glorious music has been set to it by Rossini!" And he played the
march from "Gazza Ladra," where a young girl is led to the gallows.

"Is it not merry?" asked he. "Yes, he is a composer!"

"To me it seems precisely characteristic," answered Otto. "They are
not the feelings of the girl which the composer wished to express;
it is the joy of the rude rabble in witnessing an execution--to
them a charming spectacle, which is expressed in these joyous
tones: it is a tragic opera, and therefore he chose exactly this
character of expression!"

"It is difficult to say anything against that," replied Wilhelm;
"yet what you assert I have not heard from any other person."

"When a soldier is executed they play some lively air," said Otto;
"the contrast in this case brings forth the strongest effect!"

The servant now entered, and said with a smile that Peter Cripple,
the "new-married man," as he called him, was without and wished to
speak to the Baron Wilhelm.

"It is about a waltz," said he, "which the Baron had promised to

"It is late for him to come into the court!" said Sophie "the
peasants generally go to bed with the sun."

In the lobby stood the announced Peter in his stocking-feet, with
his hat in one hand and a great stick in the other. He knew, he
said, that it was still daytime with the gentlefolks; he was just
coming past the hall and thought that he could, perhaps, have that
Copenhagen Waltz which the Baron had promised him: he should want
it to-morrow night to play at a wedding, and, therefore, he wished
to have it now that he might practice it first of all.

Sophie inquired after his young wife, and said something merry.
Louise gave him a cup of tea, which he drank in the lobby. Otto
looked at him through the open door; he made comical grimaces, and
looked almost as if he wished to speak with him. Otto approached
him, and Peter thrust a piece of paper into his hand, making at the
same time a significant gesture indicative of silence.

Otto stepped aside and examined the dirty piece of paper, which was
folded together like a powder and sealed with a lump of wax. On the
outside stood, in scarcely legible characters,
"TotH' WeL-borne,
Mr. Odto Tustraab."

He endeavored, in the first place, to read it in the moonlight; but
that was scarcely possible.

After considerable labor he made out the meaning of this letter,
written, as it was in a half-German, half-Danish gibberish, of the
orthography of which we have given a specimen in the direction. The
letter was from the German Heinrich. He besought Otto to meet him
this evening in the wood near Peter Cripple's house, and he would
give to him an explanation which should be worth the trouble of the
walk. It would occasion, he said, much trouble and much misery to
Mr Thostrup if he did not go.

A strange anxiety penetrated Otto. How could he steal away without
being missed? and yet go he both must and should. An extraordinary
anxiety drove him forth.

"Yes, the sooner the better!" said he, hastening down the steps and
leaping in haste over the low garden-fence lest the gate should,
perhaps, make a noise. He was very soon in the wood: he heard the
beating of his own heart.

"Eternal Father!" said he, "strengthen my soul! Release me from
this anxiety which overpowers me! Let all be for the best!"

He had now reached Peter Cripple's house. A figure leaned against
the wall; Otto paused, measured it with his eye to ascertain who it
was, and recognized German Heinrich.

"What do you want with me?" inquired Otto.

Heinrich raised his hand in token of silence, beckoned him forward,
and opened a little gate which led to the back of the house. Otto
mechanically followed him.

"It goes on badly at the hall," said Heinrich. "Sidsel is really
put in prison, and will be taken to-morrow to Odense, to the red
house by the river."

"It is what she has deserved!" said Otto. "I did not bring it

"O no!" answered Heinrich; "in a certain way we bring nothing
about; but you can put in a good word for her. You must see that
this punishment does not befall her."

"But the punishment is merited!" replied Otto; "and how can I mix
myself up in the affair? What is it that you have to say to me?"

"Yet, the good gentleman must not get angry!" began Heinrich again;
"but I am grieved about the girl. I can very well believe that he
does not know her, and therefore it gives him no trouble; but if I
were now to whisper a little word in his ear? She is your own
sister, Mr. Thostrup!"

All grew dark before Otto's eyes; a chill as of death went through
his blood; his hands held firmly by the cold wall, or he must have
sunk to the earth; not a sound escaped his lips.

German Heinrich laid his hand in a confidential manner upon his
shoulder, and continued in a jeering, agitated tone, "Yes, it is
hard for you to hear! I also struggled a long time with myself
before I could make up my mind to tell you. But a little trouble is
preferable to a great one. I had some talk with her yesterday, but
I did not mention you, although it seemed queer to me at my heart
that the brother should sit at the first table with the young
ladies, and the sister be farm swine-maiden. Now they have put her
in prison! I am very sorry for her and you too, Mr. Thostrup, for
it is disagreeable! If the magistrate come to-morrow morning, and
she fall into the claws of the red angel, it will not be so easy to
set her at liberty again! But yet you could, perhaps, help her; as,
for instance, to-night! I could make an opportunity--I would be in
the great avenue beyond the hall. If she could get thus far she
would be safe; I would then conduct her out of this part of the
country. I may as well tell you that we were yesterday half-betrothed!
She goes with me; and you can persuade the gracious lady at the hall
to let the bird fly!"

"But how can I? how can I?" exclaimed Otto.

"She is, however, always your sister!" said Heinrich, and they both
remained silent for a moment. "Then I will," said Heinrich, "if all
be still at the hall, wait in the avenue as the bell goes twelve."

"I must!" exclaimed Otto; "I must! God help me!"

"Jesu, Maria, help!" said Heinrich, and Otto left him.

"She is my sister! she, the most horrible of all!" sighed he; his
knees trembled, and he leaned against a tree for support: his
countenance was like that of the dead; cold sweat-drops stood upon
his brow. All around him lay the dark night-like wood; only to the
left glimmered, between the bushes, the moonlight reflected from
the lake.

"Within its depths," sighed he, "all would be forgotten--my grief
would be over! Yet, what is my sin? Had I an existence before I was
born upon this globe? Must I here be punished for sins which I then

His dark eye stared lifelessly out of his pale countenance. Thus
sit the dead upon their graves in the silent night; thus gazes the
somnambulist upon the living world around him.

"I have felt this moment before--this moment which now is here; it
was the well-spring whence poison was poured over my youthful days!
She is my sister! She? unhappy one that I am!"

Tears streamed from his eyes, it was a convulsive weeping; he cried
aloud, it was impossible to him to suppress his voice; he sank half
down by the tree and wept, for it was night in his soul: silent,
bitter tears flowed, as the blood flows when the heart is
transpierced. Who could breathe to him consolation? There lay no
balsam in the gentle airs of the clear summer night, in the
fragrance of the wood, in the holy, silent spirit of nature. Poor

"Weep, only weep! it gives repose,
A world is every tear that flows,--
A world of anguish and unrest,
That rolleth from the troubled breast.

"And hast thou wept whilst tears can flow,
A tranquil peace thy heart will know;
For sorrow, trivial or severe,
Hath had its seat in every tear.

"Think'st thou that He, whose love beholds
The worm the smallest leaf enfolds,--
That He, whose power sustains the whole
Forgets a world--thy human soul?"


"Mourir! c'est un instant de supplice: mais vivre?"--FREDERIC SOULIE.

The physician from Nyborg, who had been on a visit to a sick person
in the neighborhood, took this opportunity of calling on the family
and inquiring after Eva's health. They had prayed him to stay over
the night there, and rather to drive hone in the early morning than
so late in the evening. He allowed himself to be persuaded. Otto,
on his return, found him and the family in deep conversation. They
were talking of the "Letters of a Wandering Ghost."

"Where have you been?" asked Sophie, as Otto entered.

"You look so pale!" said Louise; "are you ill?"

"I do not feel well!" replied Otto; "I went therefore down into the
garden a little. Now I am perfectly recovered." And he took part in
the conversation.

The overwhelming sorrow had dissolved itself in tears. His mind had
raised itself up again from its stupefaction, and sought for a
point of light on which to attach itself. They were talking of the
immense caves of Maastricht, how they stretch themselves out into
deep passages and vast squares, in which sound is lost, and where
the light, which cannot reach the nearest object, only glimmers
like a point of fire. In order to comprehend this vacuity and this
darkness, the travellers let the guide extinguish his torch, and
all is night; they are penetrated, as it were, with darkness; the
hand feels after a wall, in order to have some restraint, some
thought on which to repose itself: the eye sees nothing; the ear
hears nothing. Horror seizes on the strongest mind: the same
darkness, the same desolate emotion, had Heinrich's words breathed
into Otto's soul; therefore he sank like the traveller to the
earth: but as the traveller's whole soul rivets itself by the eye
upon the first spark which glimmers, to kindle again the torch
which is to lead him forth from this grave, so did Otto attach
himself to the first awakening thought of help. "Wilhelm? his soul
is noble and good, him will I initiate into my painful secret,
which chance had once almost revealed to him."

But this was again extinguished, as the first spark is extinguished
which the steel gives birth to. He could not confide himself to
Wilhelm; the understanding which this very confidence would give
birth to between them, must separate them from each other. It was
humiliating, it was annihilating. But for Sophie? No, how could he,
after that, declare the love of his heart? how far below her should
he be placed, as the child of poverty and shame! But the mother of
the family? Yes, she was gentle and kind; with a maternal sentiment
she extended to him her hand, and looked upon him as on a near
relation. His thoughts raised themselves on high, his hands folded
themselves to prayer; "The will of the Lord alone be done!"
trembled involuntarily from his lips. Courage returned refreshingly
to his heart. The help of man was like the spark which was soon
extinguished; God was an eternal torch, which illumined the
darkness and could guide him through it.

"Almighty God! thou alone canst and willest!" said he; "to thou who
knowest the heart, do thou alone help and lead me!"

This determination was firmly taken; to no human being would he
confide himself; alone would he release the prisoner, and give her
up to Heinrich. He thought upon the future, and yet darker and
heavier than hitherto it stood before him. But he who confides in
God can never despair the only thing that was now to be done was to
obtain the key of the chamber where Sidsel was confined, and then
when all in the house were asleep he would dare that which must be

Courage and tranquillity return into every powerful soul when it
once sees the possibility of accomplishing its work. With a
constrained vivacity Otto mingled in the conversation, no one
imagining what a struggle his soul had passed through.

The disputation continued. Wilhelm was in one of his eloquent
moods. The doctor regarded the "Letters of the Wandering Ghost" as
one of the most perfect books in the Danish literature. Once Sophie
had been of the same opinion, now she preferred Cooper's novels to
this and all other books.

"People so easily forget the good for the new," said Wilhelm; "if
the new is only somewhat astonishing, the many regard the author as
the first of writers. The nation is, aesthetically considered, now
in its period of development. Every really cultivated person, who
stands among the best spirits of his age, obtains, whilst he
observes his own advance in the intellectual kingdom, clearness
with regard to the development of his nation. This has, like
himself, its distinct periods; in him some important event in life,
in it some agitating world convulsion, may advance them suddenly a
great leap forward. The public favor is unsteady; to-day it strews
palm-branches, to-morrow it cries, 'Crucify him!' But I regard that
as a moment of development. You will permit me to make use of an
image to elucidate my idea. The botanist goes wandering through
field and wood, he collects flowers and plants; every one of these
had, while he gathered it, his entire interest, his whole thought--
but the impression which it made faded before that of its
successor: nor is it till after a longer time that he is able to
enjoy the whole of his treasures, and arrange them according to
their worth and their rareness. The public seizes alike upon
flowers and herbs; we hear its assiduous occupation with the object
of the moment, but it is not yet come into possession of the whole.
At one time, that which was sentimental was the foremost in favor,
and that poet was called the greatest who best knew how to touch
this string; then it passed over to the peppered style of writing,
and nothing pleased but histories of knights and robbers. Now
people find pleasure in prosaic life, and Schroder and Iffland are
the acknowledged idols. For us the strength of the North opened
heroes and gods, a new and significant scene. Then tragedy stood
uppermost with us. Latterly we have begun to feel that this is not
the flesh and blood of the present times. Then the fluttering
little bird, the vaudeville, came out to us from the dark wood, and
enticed us into our own chambers, where all is warm and
comfortable, where one has leave to laugh, and to laugh is now a
necessity for the Danes. One must not, like the crowd, inconsiderately
place that as foremost which swims upon the waters, but treasure
the good of every time, and arrange them side by side, as the
botanist arranges his plants. Every people must, under the poetical
sunshine, have their sentimental period, their berserker rage, their
enjoyment of domestic life, and their giddy flights beyond it; it
must merge itself in individuality before it can embrace the beauty
of the whole. It is unfortunate for the poet who believes himself to
be the wheel of his age; and yet he, with his whole crowd of admirers,
is, as Menzel says, only a single wheel in the great machine--a little
link in the infinite chain of beauty."

"You speak like a Plato!" said Sophie.

"If we could accord as well in music as we do in poetry," said
Otto, "then we should be entirely united in our estimation of the
arts. I love that music best which goes through the ear to the
heart, and carries me away with it; on the contrary, if it is to be
admired by the understanding, it is foreign to me."

"Yes, that is your false estimation of the subject, dear friend!"
said Wilhelm: "in aesthetics you come at once to the pure and true;
but in music you are far away in the outer court, where the crowd
is dancing, with cymbals and trumpets, around the musical golden

And now the aesthetic unity brought them into a musical disunity.
On such occasions, Otto was not one to be driven back from his
position; he very well knew how to bear down his assailant by
striking and original observations: but Otto, this evening,
although he was animated enough--excited, one might almost say--did
not exhibit the calmness, the decision in his thoughts and words,
which otherwise would have given him the victory.

It was a long hour, and one yet longer and more full of anxiety,
which commenced with supper. The conversation turned to the events
of the day. Otto mingled in it, and endeavored therefrom to derive
advantage; it was a martyrdom of the soul. Sophie praised highly
his discovery.

"If Mr. Thostrup had not been here," said she, "then we should
hardly have discovered the thief. We must thank Mr. Thostrup for
it, and really for a merry, amusing spectacle."

They joked about it alai laughed, and Otto was obliged to laugh

"And now she sits up there, like a captive, in the roof!" said he;
"it must be an uncomfortable night to her!"

"Oh, she sleeps, perhaps, better than some of us others!" said
Wilhelm: "that will not annoy her!"

"She is confined in the gable chamber, out in the court, is she
not?" inquired Otto: "there she has not any moonlight."

"Yes, surely she has!" answered Sophie; "it is in the gable to the
right, hooking toward the wood, that she is confined. We have
placed her as near to the moon as we could. The gable on the
uppermost floor is our keep."

"But is it securely locked?" inquired Otto.

"There is a padlock and a great bar outside the door; those she
cannot force, and no one about the place will do such a piece of
service for her. They dislike her, every one of them."

They rose up from the table; the bell was just on the stroke of

"But the Baron must play us a little piece!" said the physician.

"Then Mr. Thostrup will sing us the pretty Jutlandish song by
Steen-Blicher!" exclaimed Louise.

"O yes!" said the mother, and clapped Otto on the shoulder.

Wilhelm played.

"Do sing!" said Wilhelm; all besought him to do so, and Otto sang
the Jutlandish song for them.

"See, you sang that with the proper humor," said Sophie, and
clapped her hands in applause. With that all arose, offered to him
their hands, and Wilhelm whispered to him, yet so that the sisters
heard it, "This evening you have been right amiable!"

Otto and Wilhelm went to their sleeping-room.

"But, my good friend," said Wilhelm, "what did you really go into
the garden for? Be so good as to confess to me: you were not
unwell! You did not go only into the garden! you went into the
wood, and you remained a long time there! I saw it! You made a
little visit to the handsome woman while the fiddler was here, did
you not? I do not trust you so entirely!"

"You are joking!" answered Otto.

"Yes, yes," continued Wilhelm, "she is a pretty little woman. Do
you not remember how, last year at the mowing-feast, I threw roses
at her? Now she is Peter Cripple's wife. When she comes with her
husband then we have, bodily, 'Beauty and the Beast.'"

That which Otto desired was, that Wilhelm should now soon go to
sleep, and, therefore, he would not contradict him; he confessed
even that the young wife was handsome, but added that she, as Peter
Cripple's wife, was to him like a beautiful flower upon which a
toad had set itself,--it would be disgusting to him to press the
flower to his lips.

The friends were soon in bed. They bade each other good night, and
seemed both of them to sleep; and with Wilhelm this was the case.

Otto lay awake; his pulse throbbed violently.

Now the great hall clock struck twelve. All was still, quite still;
but Otto did not yet dare to raise himself. It struck a quarter
past the hour. He raised himself slowly, and glanced toward the bed
where Wilhelm lay. Otto arose and dressed himself, suppressing the
while his very breathing. A hunting-knife which hung upon the wall,
and which belonged to Wilhelm, he put in his pocket; and lifted up,
to take with him, the fire-tongs, with which he intended to break
the iron staple that held the padlock. Yet once more he looked
toward Wilhelm, who slept soundly. He opened the door, and went out
without his shoes.

He looked out from the passage-windows to see if lights were
visible from any part of the building. All was still; all was in
repose. That which he now feared most was, that one of the dogs
might be lying in the lobby, and should begin to bark. But there
was not one. He mounted up the steps, and went into the upper

Only once before had he been there; now all was in darkness. He
felt with his hands before him as he went.

At length he found a narrow flight of stairs which led into a yet
higher story. The opening at the top was closed, and he was obliged
to use his whole strength to open it. At length it gave way with a
loud noise. This was not the proper entrance; that lay on the
opposite side of the story, and had he gone there he would have
found it open, whereas this one had not been opened for a long

The violent efforts which he had made caused him great pain, both
in his neck and shoulders; but he was now at the very top of the
building, close before the door he sought, and the moonlight shone
in through the opening in the roof.

By the help of the hunting-knife and the fire-tongs he succeeded in
forcing the door, and that without any very considerable noise. He
looked into a small, low room, upon the floor of which some dirty
coverlets were thrown.

Sidsel slept deeply and soundly with open mouth. A thick mass of
hair escaped from beneath her cap, upon her brow; the moonlight
fell, through the window-pane in the roof, upon her face. Otto
bowed himself over her and examined the coarse, unpleasing
features. The thick, black eyebrows appeared only like one
irregular streak.

"She is my sister!" was the thought which penetrated him. "She lay
upon the same bosom that I did! The blood in these limbs has
kinship with that in mine! She was the repelled one, the rejected

He trembled with pain and anguish; but it was only for a short

"Stand up!" cried he, and touched the sleeper.

"Ih, jane dou! [Author's Note: An exclamation among the common
people of Funen, expressive of terror.] what is it?" cried she,
half terrified, and fixed her unpleasant eyes wildly upon him.

"Come with me!" said Otto, and his voice trembled as he spoke.
"German Heinrich waits in the avenue! I will help you out! Hence;
to-morrow it will be too late!"

"What do you say?" asked she, and still looked at him with a
bewildered mien.

Otto repeated his words.

"Do you think that I can get away?" asked she, and seized him by
the arm, as she hastily sprang up.

"Only silently and circumspectly!" said Otto.

"I should not have expected theft from you!" said she. "But tell me
why you do it?"

Otto trembled; it was impossible for him to tell her his reasons,
or to express the word,--"Thou art my sister!"

His lips were silent.

"To many a fellow," said she, "have I been kinder than I ought to
have been, but see whether any of them think about Sidsel! And you
do it! You who are so fine and so genteel!"

Otto pressed together his eyelids; he heard her speak; an animal
coarseness mingled itself with a sort of confidential manner which
was annihilating to him.

"She is my sister!" resounded in his soul.

"Come now! come now!" and, descending the steps, she followed after

"I know a better way!" said she, as they came to the lowest story.
She seized his arm and they again descended a flight of steps.

Suddenly a door opened itself, and Louise, still dressed, stepped
forth with a light. She uttered a faint cry, and her eye riveted
itself upon the two forms before her.

But still more terribly and more powerfully did this encounter
operate upon Otto. His feet seemed to fail him, and, for a moment,
every object moved before his eyes in bright colors. It was the
moment of his severest suffering. He sprang forth toward Louise,
seized her hand, and, pale as death, with lifeless, staring eyes,
half kneeling, besought of her, with an agitated voice:--

"For God's sake, tell no one of that which you have seen! I am
compelled to serve her--she is my sister! If you betray my secret I
am lost to this world--I must die! It was not until this evening
that I knew this to be the case! I will tell you all, but do not
betray me! And do you prevent tomorrow any pursuit after her! O
Louise! by the happiness of your own soul feel for the misery of
mine! I shall destroy myself if you betray me!"

"O God!" stammered Louise. "I will do all--all! I will be silent!
Conduct her hence, quick, that you may meet with no one!"

She seized Otto's hand; he sank upon his knee before her, and
looked like a marble image which expressed manly beauty and sorrow.

Louise bent herself with sisterly affection over him; tears flowed
down her cheeks; her voice trembled, but it was tranquillizing,
like the consolation of a good angel. With a glance full of
confidence in her, Otto tore himself away. Sidsel followed him and
said not a word.

He led her to the lowest story and opened for her, silently, a
window, through which she could descend to the garden, and thence
easily reach the avenue where German Heinrich waited for her. To
have accompanied her any further was unnecessary; it would have
been venturing too much without any adequate cause. She stood now
upon the window-sill--Otto put a little money into her hand.

"The Lord is above us!" said he, in a solemn voice. "Never forget
Him and endeavor to amend your life! All may yet be well!" He
involuntarily pressed her hand in his. "Have God always in your
thoughts!" said he.

"I shall get safely away, however," said she, and descended into
the garden; she nodded, and vanished behind the hedge.

Otto stood for a while and listened whether any noise was heard, or
whether any dog barked. He feared for her safety. All was still.

Just as sometimes an old melody will suddenly awake in our
remembrance and sound in our ear, so awoke now a holy text to his
thoughts. "Lord, if I should take the wings of the morning, and
should fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, thither thou wouldst
lead me, and thy right hand would hold me fast! Thou art near to
us! Thou canst accomplish and thou willest our well-being! Thou
alone canst help us!"

In silence he breathed his prayer.

He returned to his chamber more composed in mind. Wilhelm seemed to
sleep; but as Otto approached his bed he suddenly raised himself,
and looked, inquiringly, around him.

"Who is there?" exclaimed he; "you are dressed! where have you
been?" He was urgent in his inquiry.

Otto gave a joking reason.

"Let me have your hand!" said he. Otto gave it to him be felt his

"Yes, quite correct!" said he; "the blood is yet in commotion. One
sees plain enough that there is no concealing things! Here was I
sleeping in all innocence, and you were running after adventures.
You wicked bird!"

The thoughts worked rapidly in Otto's soul. If Louise would only be
silent, no one would dream of the possibility of his having part in
Sidsel's flight. He must allow Wilhelm quietly to have his joke.

"Was not I right?" asked Wilhelm.

"And if now you were so," replied Otto, "will you tell it to any

"Do you think that I could do such a thing?" replied Wilhelm; "we
are all of us only mortal creatures!"

Otto gave him his hand. "Be silent!" he said.

"Yes, certainly," said Wilhelm; and, according to his custom,
strengthened it with an oath. "Now I have sworn it," said he; "but
when there is an opportunity you must tell me more about it!"

"Yes, certainly," said Otto, with a deep sigh. Before his friend he
no longer stood pure and guiltless.

They slept. Otto's sleep was only a hateful dream.


"...Wie entzuckend
Und suss es ist, in einer schonen Seele,
Verherrlicht uns zu fuhlen, es zu wissen,
Das uns're Fruede fremde Wangen rothet,
Und uns're Angst in fremdem Busen zittert,
Das uns're Leiden fremde Augen nassen."

"How pale!" said Wilhelm the next morning to Otto. "Do you see,
that is what people get by night-wandering?"

"How so?" inquired Otto.

Wilhelm made a jest of it.

"You have been dreaming that!" said Otto.

"How do you mean?" replied Wilhelm; "will you make me fancy that I
have imagined it? I was really quite awake! we really talked about
it; I was initiated in it. Actually I have a good mind to give you
a moral lecture. If it had been me, how you would have preached!"

They were summoned to breakfast. Otto's heart was ready to burst.
What might he not have to hear? What must he say?

Sophie was much excited.

"Did you, gentlemen, hear anything last night?" she inquired. "Have
you both slept?"

"Yes, certainly," replied Wilhelm, and looked involuntarily at Otto.

"The bird is flown, however!" said she; "it has made its escape out
of the dove-cote."

"What bird?" asked Wilhelm.

"Sidsel!" replied she; "and, what is oddest in the whole affair is,
that Louise has loosed her wings. Louise is quite up to the romantic.
Think only! she went up in the night to the topmost story, unlocked
the prison-tower, gave a moral lecture to Sidsel, and after that let
her go! Then in the morning comes Louise to mamma, relates the whole
affair, and says a many affecting things!"

"Yes, I do not understand it," said the mother, addressing Louise.
"How you could have had the courage to go up so late at night, and
go up to _her_! But it was very beautiful of you! Let her escape!
it is, as you say, best that she should. We should all of us have
thought of that last evening!"

"I was so sorry for her!" said Louise; "and by chance it happened
that I had a great many things to arrange after you were all in
bed. Everything was so still in the house, it seemed to me as if I
could hear Sidsel sigh; certainly it was only my own imagination,
but I could do no other than pity her! she was so unfortunate! Thus
I let her escape!"

"Are you gone mad?" inquired Wilhelm; "what a history is this? Did
you go in the night up to the top of the house? That is an
unseasonable compassion!"

"It was beautiful!" said Otto, bending himself involuntarily, and
kissing Louise's hand.

"Yes, that is water to his mill!" exclaimed Wilhelm. "I think
nothing of such things!"

"We will not talk about it to anyone," said the mother. "The
steward shall not proceed any further in it. We have recovered the
old silver tankard, and the losing that was my greatest trouble. We
will thank God that we are well rid of her! Poor thing! she will
come to an unfortunate end!"

"Are you still unwell, Mr. Thostrup?" said Sophie, and looked at

"I am a little feverish," replied he. "I will take a very long
walk, and then I shall be better."

"You should take a few drops," said the lady.

"O, he will come to himself yet!" said Wilhelm; "he must take
exercise! His is not a dangerous illness."

Otto went into the wood. It was to him a temple of God; his heart
poured forth a hymn of thanksgiving. Louise had been his good
angel. He felt of a truth that she would never betray his secret.
His thoughts clung to her with confidence. "Are you still unwell?"
Sophie had said. The tones of her voice alone had been like the
fragrance of healing herbs; in her eye he had felt sympathy and--
love. "O Sophie!" sighed he. Both sisters were so dear to him.

He entered the garden and went along the great avenue; here he met
Louise. One might almost have imagined that she had sought for him:
there was no one but her to be seen in the whole avenue.

Otto pressed her hand to his lips. "You have saved my life!" said

"Dear Thostrup!" answered she, "do not betray yourself. Yon have
come happily out of the affair! Thank God! my little part in it has
concealed the whole. For the rest I have a suspicion. Yes, I cannot
avoid it. May not the whole be an error? It is possible that she is
that which you said! Tell me all that you can let me know. From
this seat we can see everybody who comes into the avenue. No one
can hear us!"

"Yes, to you alone I can confide it!" said Otto; "to you will I
tell it."

He now related that which we know about the manufactory, which he
called the house, in which German Heinrich had first seen him, and
had tattooed his initials upon his shoulder; their later meeting in
the park, and afterwards by St. Ander's Cross.

Louise trembled; her glance rested sympathizingly upon Otto's pale
and handsome countenance. He showed her the letter which had been
brought to him the last evening, and related to her what Heinrich
had told him.

"It may be so," said Louise; "but yet I have not been able to lose
the idea all the morning that you have been deceived. Not one of
her features resembles yours. Can brother and sister be so
different as you and she? Yet, be the truth as it may, promise me
not to think too much about it. There is a good Ruler above who can
turn all things for the best."

"These horrible circumstances," said Otto, "have robbed me of the
cheerfulness of my youth. They thrust themselves disturbingly into
my whole future. Not to Wilhelm--no, not to any one have I been
able to confide them. You know all! God knows that you were
compelled to learn them. I leave myself entirely in your hands!"

He pressed her hand silently, and with the earnest glance of
confidence and truth they looked at each other.

"I shall speedily leave my native country," said Otto. "It may be
forever. I should return with sorrow to a home where no happiness
awaited me. I stand so entirely alone in the world!"

"But you have friends," said Louise; "sincere friends. You must
think with pleasure of returning home to Denmark. My mother loves
you as if she were your own mother. Wilhelm and Sophie--yes, we
will consider you as a brother."

"And Sophie?" exclaimed Otto.

"Yes, can you doubt it?" inquired Louise.

"She knows me not as you know me; and if she did?"--He pressed his
hands before his eyes and burst into tears. "You know all: you know
more than I could tell her," sighed he. "I am more unfortunate than
you can believe. Never can I forget her--never!"

"For Heaven's sake compose yourself!" said Louise rising. "Some one
might come, and you would not be able to conceal your emotion. All
may yet be well! Confide only in God in heaven!"

"Do not tell your sister that which I have told you. Do not tell
any one. I have revealed to you every secret which my soul

"I will be to you a good sister," said Louise, and pressed his hand.

They silently walked down the avenue.

The sisters slept in the same room.

At night, after Sophie had been an hour in bed, Louise entered the

"Thou art become a spirit of the night," said Sophie. "Where hast
thou been? Thou art not going up into the loft again to-night, thou
strange girl? Had it been Wilhelm, Thostrup, or myself who had
undertaken such a thing, it would have been quite natural; but

"Am I, then, so very different to you all?" inquired Louise. "I
should resemble my sister less than even Mr. Thostrup resembles
her. You two are so very different!"

"In our views, in our impulses, we very much resemble each other!"
said Sophie.

"He is certainly not happy," exclaimed Louise. "We can read it in
his eyes."

"Yes, but it is precisely that which makes him interesting!" said
Sophie; "he is thus a handsome shadow-piece in everyday life."

"Thou speakest about it so calmly," said Louise, and bent over her
sister, "I would almost believe that it was love."

"Love!" exclaimed Sophie, raising herself up in bed, for now
Louise's words had become interesting to her; "whom dost thou think
that he loves?"

"Thyself," replied Louise, and seized her sister's hand.

"Perhaps?" returned Sophie. "I also made fun of him! It certainly
went on better when our cousin was here. Poor Thostrup!"

"And thou, Sophie," inquired Louise, "dost thou return his love?"

"It is a regular confession that thou desirest," replied she. "He
is in love--that all young men are. Our cousin, I can tell thee,
said many pretty things to me. Even the Kammerjunker flatters as
well as he can, the good soul! I have now resolved with myself to
be a reasonable girl. Believe me, however, Thostrup is in an ill

"If the Kammerjunker were to pay his addresses to you, would you
accept him?" asked Louise, and seated herself upon her sister's

"What can make you think of such a thing?" inquired she. "Hast thou
heard anything?--Thou makest me anxious! O Louise! I joke, I talk a
deal; but for all that, believe me, I am not happy!"

They talked about the Kammerjunker, about Otto, and about the
French cousin. It was late in the night. Large tears stood in
Sophie's eyes, but she laughed for all that, and ended with a
quotation from Jean Paul.

Half an hour afterward she slept and dreamed; her round white arm
lay upon the coverlet, and her lips moved with these words:
"With a smile as if an angel
Had just then kissed her mouth." [Note: Christian Winther.]

Louise pressed her countenance on the soft pillow, and wept.


"A swarm of colors, noise and screaming,
Music and sights, past any dreaming,
The rattle of wheels going late and early,--
All draw the looker-on into the hurly-burly."

A few days passed on. Otto heard nothing of German Heinrich or of
his sister. Peter Cripple seemed not to be in their confidence. All
that he knew was, that the letter which he had conveyed to Otto was
to be unknown to any one beside. As regarded German Heinrich, he
believed that he was now in another part of tire country; but that
at St. Knud's fair, in Odense, he would certainly find him.

In Otto's soul there was an extraordinary combating. Louise's
words, that he had been deceived, gave birth to hopes, which,
insignificant as the grain of mustard-seed, shot forth green

"May not," thought he, "German Heinrich, to further his own plans,
have made use of my fear? I must speak with him; he shall swear to
me the truth."

He compared in thought the unpleasing, coarse features of Sidsel,
with the image which his memory faintly retained of his little
sister. She seemed to him as a delicate creature with large eyes.
He had not forgotten that the people about them had spoken of her
as of "a kitten that they could hardly keep alive." How then could
she now be this square-built, singularly plain being, with the
eyebrows growing together? "I must speak with Heinrich," resolved
he; "she cannot be my sister! so heavily as that God will not try

By such thoughts as these his mind became much calmer. There were
moments when the star of love mirrored itself in his life's sea.

His love for Sophie was no longer a caged bird within his breast;
its wings were at liberty; Louise saw its release; it was about to
fly to its goal.

St. Knud's fair was at hand, and on that account the family was
about to set out for Odense. Eva was the only one who was to remain
at home. It was her wish to do so.

"Odense is not worth the trouble of thy going to see," said Sophie;
"but in this way thou wilt never increase thy geographical
knowledge. In the mean time, however, I shall bring thee a fairing
--a husband of honey cake, ornamented with almonds."

Wilhelm thought that she should enjoy the passing pleasure, and go
with them; but Eva prayed to stay, and she had her will.

"There is a deal of pleasure in the world," said Wilhelm, "if
people will only enjoy it. If one day in Paris is a brilliant
flower, a day at Odense fair is also a flower. It is a merry,
charming world that we live in! I am almost ready to say with King
Valdemar, that if I might keep--yes, I will say, the earth, then
our Lord might willingly for me keep heaven: there it is much
better than we deserve; and God knows whether we may not, in the
other world, have longings after the old world down here!"

"After Odense fair?" asked Sophie ironically.

Otto stood wrapped in his own thoughts. This day, he felt, would be
one of the most remarkable in his life. German Heinrich must give
him an explanation. Sophie must do so likewise Could he indeed meet
with success from them both? Would not sorrow and pain be his

The carriage rolled away.

From the various cross-roads came driving up the carriages of the
gentry and the peasants; the one drove past the other; and as the
French and English Channel collects ships from the Atlantic Ocean,
so did the King's Road those who drove in carriages, those who rode
on horseback, and those who went on foot.

Behind most of the peasant-vehicles were tied a few horses, that
went trotting on with them. Mamsells from the farms sat with large
gloves on their red arms and hands. They held their umbrellas
before their faces on account of the dust and the sun.

"The Kammerjunker's people must have set off earlier than we," said
Sophie, "otherwise they would have called for us."

Otto looked inquiringly at her. She thought on the Kammerjunker!

"We shall draw up by Faugde church," said Sophie. "Mr. Thostrup can
see Kingo's [Author's Note: The Bishop of Funen, who died in 1703.]
grave--can see where the sacred poet lies. Some true trumpeting
angels, in whom one can rightly see how heavy the marble is, fly
with the Bishop's staff and hat within the chapel."

Otto smiled, and she thought also about giving him pleasure.

The church was seen, the grave visited, and they rapidly rolled
along the King's Road toward Odense, the lofty tower of whose
cathedral had hailed them at some miles' distance.

We do not require alone from the portrait-painter that he should
represent the person, but that he should represent him in his
happiest moment. To the plain as well as to the inexpressive
countenance must the painter give every beauty which it possesses.
Every human being has moments in which something intellectual or
characteristic presents itself. Nature, too, when we are presented
only with the most barren landscape, has the same moments; light
and shadow produce these effects. The poet must be like the
painter; he must seize upon these moments in human life as the
other in nature.

If the reader were a child who lived in Odense, it would require
nothing more from him than that he should say the words, "St.
Knud's fair;" and this, illumined by the beams of the imagination
of childhood, would stand before him in the most brilliant colors.
Our description will be only a shadow; it will be that, perhaps,
which the many will find it to be.

Already in the suburbs the crowd of people, and the outspread
earthenware of the potters, which entirely covered the trottoir,
announced that the fair was in full operation.

The carriage drove down from the bridge across the Odense River.

"See, how beautiful it is here!" exclaimed Wilhelm.

Between the gardens of the city and a space occupied as a bleaching
ground lay the river. The magnificent church of St. Knud, with its
lofty tower, terminated the view.

"What red house was that?" inquired Otto, when they had lost sight
of it.

"That is the nunnery!" replied Louise, knowing what thought it was
which had arisen in his mind.

"There stood in the ancient times the old bishop's palace, where
Beldenak lived!" said Sophie. "Just opposite to the river is the
bell-well, where a bell flew out of St. Albani's tower. The well is
unfathomable. Whenever rich people in Odense die, it rings down
below the water!"

"It is not a pleasant thought," said Otto, "that it rings in the
well when they must die."

"One must not take it in that way now!" said Sophie, laughing, and
turned the subject. "Odense has many lions," continued she, "from a
king's garden with swans in it to a great theatre, which has this
in common with La Scala and many Italian ones, that it is built
upon the ruins of a convent. [Note: That of the Black Brothers.]

"In Odense, aristocracy and democracy held out the longest," said
Wilhelm, smiling; "yet I remember, in my childhood, that when the
nobles and the citizens met on the king's birthday at the town-house
ball, that we danced by ourselves."

"Were not, then, the citizens strong enough to throw the giddy
nobles out of the window?" inquired Otto.

"You forget, Mr. Thostrup, that you yourself are noble!" said
Sophie. "I was really the goddess of fate who gave to you your
genealogical tree."

"You still remember that evening?" said Otto, with a gentle voice,
and the thoughts floated as gayly in his mind as the crowd of
people floated up and down in the streets through which they drove.

Somewhere about the middle of the city five streets met; and this
point, which widens itself out into a little square, is called the Cross
Street: here lay the hotel to which the family drove.

"Two hours and a quarter too late!" said the Kammerjunker, who came
out to meet them on the steps. "Good weather for the fair, and good
horses! I have already been out at the West-gate, and have bought
two magnificent mares. One of them kicked out behind, and had
nearly given me a blow on the breast, so that I might have said I
had had my fairing! Jakoba is paying visits, drinking chocolate,
and eating biscuits. Mamsell is out taking a view of things. Now
you know our story."

The ladies went to their chamber, the gentlemen remained in the

"Yes, here you shall see a city and a fair, Mr. Thostrup!" said the
Kammerjunker, and slapped Otto on the shoulder.

"Odense was at one time my principal chief-city," said Wilhelm;
"and still St. Knud's Church is the most magnificent I know. God
knows whether St. Peter's in Rome would make upon me, now that I am
older, the impression which this made upon me as a child!"

"In St. Knud's Church lies the Mamsell with the cats," said the

"The bishop's lady, you should say," returned Wilhelm. "The legend
relates, that there was a lady of a Bishop Mus who loved her cats
to that degree that she left orders that they should be laid with
her in the grave. [Author's Note: The remains of the body, as well
as the skeletons of the cats, are still to be seen in a chapel on
the western aisle of the church.] We will afterward go and see

"Yes, both the bishop's lady and the cats," said the Kammerjunker,
"look like dried fish! Then you must also see the nunnery and the
military library."

"The Hospital and the House of Correction!" added Wilhelm.

The beating of a drum in the street drew them to the window. The
city crier, in striped linsey-woolsey jacket and breeches, and with
a yellow band across his shoulders, stood there, beat upon his
drum, and proclaimed aloud from a written paper many wonderful
things which were to be seen in the city.

"He beats a good drum," said the Kammerjunker.

"It would certainly delight Rossini and Spontini to hear the
fellow!" said Wilhelm. "In fact Odense would be, at New Year's
time, a city for these two composers. You must know that at that
season drums and fifes are in their glory. They drum the New Year
in. Seven or eight little drummers and fifers go from door to door,
attended by children and old women; at that time they beat both the
tattoo and the reveille. For this they get a few pence. When the
New Year is drummed-in in the city they wander out into the
country, and drum there for bacon and groats. The New Year's
drumming in lasts until about Easter."

"And then we have new pastimes," said the Kammerjunker.

"Then come the fishers from Stige, [Author's Note: A fishing
village in Odense Fjord.] with a complete band, and carrying a boat
upon their shoulders ornamented with a variety of flags. After that
they lay a board between two boats, and upon this two of the
youngest and the strongest have a wrestling-match, until one of
them falls into the water. The last years they both have allowed
themselves to tumble in. And this has been done in consequence of
one young man who fell in being so stung by the jeers which his
fall had occasioned that he left, that same day, the fishing
village, after which no one saw him. But all the fun is gone now!
In my boyhood the merriment was quite another thing. It was a fine
sight when the corporation paraded with their ensign and harlequin
on the top! And at Easter, when the butchers led about a bullock
ornamented with ribbons and Easter-twigs, on the back of which was
seated a little winged boy in a shirt. They had Turkish music, and
carried flagons with them! See! all that have I outlived, and yet I
am not so old. Baron Wilhelm must have seen the ornamented ox. Now
all that is past and gone; people are got so refined! Neither is
St. Knud's fair that which it used to be."

"For all that, I rejoice that it is not so!" said Wilhelm. "But we
will go into the market and visit the Jutlanders, who are sitting
there among the heath with their earthenware. You will stand a
chance there, Mr. Thostrup, of meeting with an old acquaintance;
only you must not have home-sickness when you smell the heather and
hear the ringing of the clattering pots!"

The ladies now entered. Before paying any visits they determined
upon making the round of the market. The Kammerjunker offered his
arm to the mother. Otto saw this with secret gladness, and
approached Sophie. She accepted him willingly as an attendant; they
must indeed get into the throng.

As in the Middle Ages the various professions had their distinct
streets and quarters, so had they also here. The street which led
to the: market place, and which in every-day life was called the
"Shoemaker Street," answered perfectly to its name. The shoemakers
had ranged their tables side by side. These, and the rails which
had been erected for the purpose, were hung over with all kinds of
articles for the feet; the tables themselves were laden with heavy
shoes and thick-soled boots. Behind these stood the skillful
workman in his long Sunday coat, and with his well-brushed felt-hat
upon his head.

Where the shoemakers' quarter ended that of the hatters' began, and
with this one was in the middle of the great market-place, where
tents and booths formed many parallel streets. The booth of
galanterie wares, the goldsmith's, and the confectioner's, most of
them constructed of canvas, some few of them of wood, were points
of great attraction. Round about fluttered ribbons and handkerchiefs;
round about were noise and bustle. Peasant-girls out of the same
village went always in a row, seven or eight inseparables, with their
hands fast locked in each other; it was impossible to break the chain;
and if people tried to press through them, the whole flock rolled
together in a heap.

Behind the booths there lay a great space filled with wooden shoes,
coarse earthenware, turners' and saddlers' work. Upon tables were
spread out toys, generally rudely made and coarsely painted. All
around the children assayed their little trumpets, and turned about
their playthings. The peasant-girls twirled and twisted both the
work-boxes and themselves many a time before the bargain was
completed. The air was heavy with all kinds of odors, and was
spiced with the fragrance of honey-cake.

Here acquaintances met each other-some peasant-maidens, perhaps,
who had been born in the same village, but since then had been

"Good day!" exclaimed they, took each other by the hand, gave their
arms a swing, and laughed.


That was the whole conversation: such a one went on in many places.

"That is the heather!" exclaimed Otto, as he approached the quarter
where the Jutland potters had their station; "how refreshing is the
odor!" said he, and stooping down seized a twig fresh and green, as
if it had been plucked only yesterday.

"Aye, my Jesus though! is not that Mr. Otto!" exclaimed a female
voice just beside him, and a young Jutland peasantwoman skipped
across the pottery toward him. Otto knew her. It was the little
Maria, the eelman's daughter, who, as we may remember at Otto's
visit to the fisher's, had removed to Ringkjoebing, and had hired
herself for the hay and cornharvest--the brisk Maria, "the girl,"
as her father called her. She had been betrothed in Ringkjoebing,
and married to the rich earthenware dealer, and now had come across
the salt-water to Odense fair, where she should meet with Mr. Otto.

"Her parents lived on my grandfather's estate," said Otto to
Sophie, who observed with a smile the young wife's delight in
meeting with an acquaintance of her childhood. The husband was
busily employed in selling his wares; he heard nothing of it.

"Nay, but how elegant and handsome you are become!" said the
young wife: "but see, I knew you again for all that! Grandmother,
you may believe me, thinks a deal about you! The old body, she is
so brisk and lively; it does not trouble her a bit that she cannot
see! You are the second acquaintance that I have met with in the
fair. It's wonderful how people come here from all parts of the
world! The players are here too! You still remember the German
Heinrich? Over there in the gray house, at the corner of the
market, he is acting his comedy in the gateway."

"I am glad that I have seen you!" said Otto, and nodded kindly.
"Greet them at home, and the grandmother, for me!"

"Greet them also from me!" said Sophie smiling. "You, Mr. Thostrup,
must for old acquaintance sake buy something. You ought also to
give me a fairing: I wish for that great jug there!"

"Where are you staying!" cried Wilhelm, and came back, whilst the
rest went forward.

"We would buy some earthenware," said Sophie. "Souvenir de Jutland.
The one there has a splendid picture on it!"

"You shall have it!" said Otto. "But if I requested a fairing from
you, I beseech of you, might I say"--

"That it possibly might obtain its worth from my hand," said
Sophie, smiling. "I understand you very well--a sprig of heather? I
shall steal!" said she to the young wife, as she took a little
sprig of heath and stuck it into his buttonhole. "Greet the
grandmother for me!"

Otto and Sophie went.

"That's a very laughing body!" said the woman half aloud, as she
looked after them; her glance followed Otto, she folded her hands--
she was thinking, perhaps, on the days of her childhood.

At St. Knud's church-yard Otto and Sophie overtook the others. They
were going into the church. On the fair days this and all the tombs
within it were open to the public.

From whichever side this church is contemplated from without, the
magnificent old building has, especially from its lofty tower and
spire, something imposing about it; the interior produces the same,
nay, perhaps a greater effect. But as the principal entrance is
through the armory, and the lesser one is from the side of the
church, its full impression is not felt on entering it; nor is it
until you arrive at the end of the great aisle that you are aware
rightly of its grandeur. All there is great, beautiful, and light.
The whole interior is white with gilding. Aloft on the high-vaulted
roof there shine, and that from the old time, many golden stars. On
both sides, high up, higher than the side-aisles of the church, are
large Gothic windows, from which the light streams down. The
side-aisles are adorned with old paintings, which represent whole
families, women and children, all clad in canonicals, in long robes
and large ruffs. In an ordinary way, the figures are all ranged
according to age, the oldest first, and then down to the very least
child, and stand with folded hands, and look piously with downcast
eyes and faces all in one direction, until by length of time the
colors have all faded away.

Just opposite to the entrance of the church may be seen, built into
the wall, a stone, on which is a bas-relief, and before it a grave.
This attracted Otto's attention.

"It is the grave of King John and of Queen Christina, of Prince
Francesco and of Christian the Second," said Wilhelm; "they lie
together in a small vault!" [Author's Note: On the removal of the
church of the Grey Brothers, the remains of these royal parents and
two of their children were collected in a coffin and placed here in
St. Knud's Church. The memorial stone, of which we have spoken, was
erected afterwards.]

"Christian the Second!" exclaimed Otto. "Denmark's wisest and
dearest king!"

"Christian the Bad!" said the Kammerjunker, amazed at the tone of
enthusiasm in which Otto had spoken.

"Christian the Bad!" repeated Otto; "yes, it is now the mode to
speak of him thus, but we should not do so. We ought to remember
how the Swedish and Danish nobles behaved themselves, what
cruelties they perpetrated, and that we have the history of
Christian the Second from one of the offended party. Writers
flatter the reigning powers. A prince must have committed crimes,
or have lost his power, if his errors are to be rightly presented
to future generations. People forget that which was good in
Christian, and have painted the dark side of his character, to the
formation of which the age lent its part."

The Kammerjunker could not forget the Swedish bloodbath, the
execution of Torben Oxe, and all that can be said against the
unfortunate king.

Otto drove him completely out of the field, in part from his
enthusiasm for Christian the Second, but still more because it was
the Kammerjunker with whom he was contending. Sophie took Otto's
side, her eye sparkled applause, and the victory could not be other
than his.

"What is it that the poet said of the fate of a king?" said Sophie.
"Woe's me for him
Who to the world shows more of ill than good!
The good each man ascribes unto himself,
Whilst on him only rest the crimes o' th' age."

"Had Christian been so fortunate as to have subdued the rebellious
nobles," continued Otto, "could he have carried out his bold plans,
then they would have called him Christian the Great: it is not the
active mind, but the failure in any design, which the world

Louise nevertheless took the side of the Kammerjunker, and
therefore these two went together up the aisle toward the tomb of
the Glorup family. Wilhelm and his mother were already gone out of
the church.

"I envy you your eloquence!" said Sophie, and looked with an
expression of love into Otto's face; she bent herself over the
railing around the tomb, and looked thoughtfully upon the stone.
Thoughts of love were animated in Otto's soul.

"Intellect and heart!" exclaimed he, "must admire that which is
great: you possess both these!" He seized her hand.

A faint crimson passed over Sophie's cheeks. "The others are gone
out!" she said; "come, let us go up to the chancel."

"Up to the altar!" said Otto; "that is a bold course for one's
whole life!"

Sophie looked jestingly at him. "Do you see the monument there
within the pillars?" asked she after a short pause; "the lady with
the crossed arms and the colored countenance? In one night she
danced twelve knights to death, the thirteenth, whom she had
invited for her partner, cut her girdle in two in the dance and she
fell dead to the earth!" [Author's Note: In Thiele's Danish Popular
Tradition it is related that she was one Margrethe Skofgaard of
Sanderumgaard, and that she died at a ball, where she had danced to
death twelve knights. The people relate it with a variation as
above; it is probable that it is mingled with a second tradition,
for example, that of the blood-spots at Koldinghuus, which relates
that an old king was so angry with his daughter that he resolved to
kill her, and ordered that his knights should dance with her one
after another until the breath was out of her. Nine had danced with
her, and then came up the king himself as the tenth, and when he
became weary he cut her girdle in two, on which the blood streamed
from her mouth and she died.]

"She was a northern Turandot!" said Otto; "the stony heart itself
was forced to break and bleed. There is really a jest in having the
marble painted. She stands before future ages as if she lived--a
stone image, white and red, only a mask of beauty. She is a warning
to young ladies!"

"Yes, against dancing!" said Sophie, smiling at Otto's
extraordinary gravity.

"And yet it must be a blessed thing," exclaimed he, "a very blessed
thing, amid pealing music, arm-in-arm with one's beloved, to be
able to dance life away, and to sink bleeding before her feet!"

"And yet only to see that she would dance with a new one!" said

"No, no!" exclaimed Otto, "that you could not do! that you will not
do! O Sophie, if you knew!"--He approached her still nearer, bent
his head toward her, and his eye had twofold fire and expression in

"You must come with us and see the cats!" said the Kammerjunker,
and sprang in between them.

"Yes, it is charming!" said Sophie. "You will have an opportunity,
Mr. Thostrup, of moralizing over the perishableness of female

"In the evening, when we drive home together," thought Otto to
himself consolingly, "in the mild summer-evening no Kammerjunker
will disturb me. It must, it shall be decided! Misfortune might
subject the wildness of childhood, but it gave me confidence, it
never destroyed my independence; Love has made me timid,--has made
me weak. May I thereby win a bride?"

Gravely and with a dark glance he followed after Sophie and her


"In vain his beet endeavors were;
Dull was the evening, and duller grew."--LUDOLF SCHLEF.

"Seest thou how its little life
The bird hides in the wood?
Wilt thou be my little wife--
Then do it soon. Good!
--A bridegroom am I."--Arion.

Close beside St. Knud's Church, where once the convent stood, is
now the dwelling of a private man. [Author's Note: See Oehlenschlager's
Jorney to Funen.] The excellent hostess here, who once charmed the
public on the Danish stage as Ida Munster, awaited the family to dinner.

After dinner they wandered up and down the garden, which extended
to the Odense River.

In the dusk of evening Otto went to visit the German Heinrich; he
had mentioned it to Louise, and she promised to divert attention from
him whilst he was away.

The company took coffee in the garden-house; Otto walked in deep
thought in the avenue by the side of the river. The beautiful scene
before him riveted his eye. Close beside lay a water-mill, over the
two great wheels of which poured the river white as milk. Behind
this was thrown a bridge, over which people walked and drove. The
journeyman-miller stood upon the balcony, and whistled an air. It
was such a picture as Christian Winther and Uhland give in their
picturesque poems. On the other side of the mill arose tall poplars
half-buried in the green meadow, in which stood the nunnery; a nun
had once drowned herself where now the red daisies grow.

A strong sunlight lit up the whole scene. All was repose and summer
warmth. Suddenly Otto's ear caught the deep and powerful tones of
an organ; he turned himself round. The tones, which went to his
heart, came from St. Knud's Church, which lay close beside the
garden. The sunshine of the landscape, and the strength of the
music, gave, as it were, to him light and strength for the darkness
toward which he was so soon to go.

The sun set; and Otto went alone across the market-place toward the
old corner house, where German Heinrich practiced his arts. Upon
this place stood St. Albani's Church, where St. Knud, betrayed by
his servant Blake, [Author's Note: Whence has arisen the popular
expression of "being a false Blake."] was killed by the tumultuous
rebels. The common people believe that from one of the deep cellars
under this house proceeds a subterranean passage to the so-called
"Nun's Hill." At midnight the neighboring inhabitants still hear a
roaring under the marketplace, as if of the sudden falling of a
cascade. The better informed explain it as being a concealed
natural water-course, which has a connection with the neighboring
river. In our time the old house is become a manufactory; the
broken windows, the gaps of which are repaired either with slips of
wood or with paper, the quantity of human bones which are found in
the garden, and which remain from the time when this was a church-yard,
give to the whole place a peculiar interest to the common people of

Entering the house at the front, it is on the same level as the
market-place; the back of the house, on the contrary, descends
precipitously into the garden, where there are thick old walls and
foundations. The situation is thus quite romantic; just beside it
is the old nunnery, with its dentated gables, and not far off the
ruins, in whose depths the common people believe that there resides
an evil being, "the river-man," who annually demands his human
sacrifice, which he announces the night before. Behind this lie
meadows, villas, and green woods.

On the other side of the court, in a back gate-way, German Heinrich
had set up his theatre. The entrance cost eight skillings; people
of condition paid according to their own will.

Otto entered during the representation. A cloth constituted the
whole scenic arrangement. In the middle of the floor sat a horrible
goblin, with a coal-black Moorish countenance and crispy hair upon
its head. An old bed-cover concealed the figure, yet one saw that
it was that of a woman.

The audience consisted of peasants and street boys. Otto kept
himself in the background, and remained unobserved by Heinrich.

The representation was soon at an end, and the crowd dispersed. It
was then that Otto first came forward.

"We must speak a few words together!" said he. "Heinrich, you have
not acted honestly by me! The girl is not that which you
represented her to be; you have deceived me: I demand an

German Heinrich stood silent, but every feature eloquently
expressed first amazement, and then slyness and cunning; his
knavish, malicious eye, measured Otto from top to toe.

"Nay; so then, Mr. Thostrup, you are convinced, are you, that I
have been cheating you?" said he. "If so, why do you come to me? In
that case there needs no explanation. Ask herself there!" And so
saying he pointed to the black-painted figure.

"Do not be too proud, Otto!" said she, smiling; "thou couldst yet
recognize thy sister, although she has a little black paint on her

Otto riveted a dark, indignant glance upon her, pressed his lips
together, and tried to collect himself. "It is my firm determination
to have the whole affair searched into," said he, with constrained

"Yes, but it will bring you some disagreeables!" said Heinrich, and
laughed scornfully.

"Do not laugh in that manner when I speak to you!" said Otto, with
flushing cheeks.

Heinrich leaned himself calmly against the door which led into the

"I am acquainted with the head of the police," said Otto, "and I
might leave the whole business in his hands. But I have chosen a
milder way; I am come myself. I shall very soon leave Denmark; I
shall go many hundred miles hence shall, probably, never return;
and thus you see the principal ground for my coming to you is a
whim: I will know wherefore you have deceived me; I will know what
is the connection between you and her."

"Nay; so, then, it is _that_ that you want to know?" said Heinrich,
with a malicious glance. "Yes, see you, she is my best beloved; she
shall be my wife: but your sister she is for all that, and that
remains so!"

"Thou couldst easily give me a little before thou settest off on
thy journey!" said Sidsel, who seemed excited by Heinrich's words,
and put forth her painted face.

Otto glanced at her with contracted eyebrows.

"Yes," said she, "I say 'thou' to thee: thou must accustom thyself
to that! A sister may have, however, that little bit of pleasure!"

"Yes, you should give her your hand!" said Heinrich, and laughed.

"Wretch!" exclaimed Otto, "she is not that which you say! I will
find out my real sister! I will have proof in hand of the truth! I
will show myself as a brother; I will care for her future! Bring to
me her baptismal register; bring to me one only attestation of its
reality--and that before eight days are past! Here is my address,
it is the envelope of a letter; inclose in it the testimonial which
I require, and send it to me without delay. But prove it, or you
are a greater villain than I took you for."

"Let us say a few rational words!" said Heinrich, with a constrained,
fawning voice. "If you will give to me fifty rix-dollars, then you
shall never have any more annoyance with us! See, that would be a
great deal more convenient."

"I abide by that which I have said!" answered Otto; "we will not
have any more conversation together!" And so saying, he turned him
round to go out.

Heinrich seized him by the coat.

"What do you want?" inquired Otto.

"I mean," said Heinrich, "whether you are not going to think about
the fifty rix-dollars?"

"Villain!" cried Otto, and, with the veins swelling in his
forehead, he thrust Heinrich from him with such force, that he fell
against the worm eaten door which led into the garden; the panel of
the door fell out, and had not Heinrich seized fast hold on some
firm object with both his hands, he must have gone the same way.
Otto stood for a moment silent, with flashing eyes, and threw the
envelope, on which his address was, at Heinrich's feet, and went

When Otto returned to the hotel, he found the horses ready to be
put to the carriage.

"Have you had good intelligence?" whispered Louise.

"I have in reality obtained no more than I had before!" replied he;
"only my own feelings more strongly convince me than ever that I
have been deceived by him."

He related to her the short conversation which had taken place.

The Kammerjunker's carriage was now also brought out; in this was
more than sufficient room for two, whereas in the other carriage
they had been crowded. The Kammerjunker, therefore, besought that
they would avail themselves of the more convenient seat which he
could offer; and Otto saw Sophie and her mother enter the
Kammerjunker's carriage. This arrangement would shortly before have
confounded Otto, now it had much less effect upon him. His mind was
so much occupied by his visit to German Heinrich, his soul was
filled with a bitterness, which for the moment repelled the impulse
which he had felt to express his great love for Sophie.

"I have been made Heinrich's plaything--his tool!" thought he. "Now
he ridicules me, and I am compelled to bear it! That horrible being
is not my sister!--she cannot be so!"

The street was now quiet. They mounted into the carriage. In the
corner house just opposite there was a great company; light
streamed through the long curtains, a low tenor voice and a high
ringing soprano mingled together in Mozart's "Audiam, audiam, mio

"The bird may not flutter from my heart!" sighed Otto, and seated
himself by the side of Louise. The carriage rolled away.

The full moon shone; the wild spiraea sent forth its odor from the
road side; steam ascended from the moor-lands; and the white mist
floated over the meadows like the daughters of the elfin king.

Louise sat silent and embarrassed; trouble weighed down her heart.
Otto was also silent.

The Kammerjunker drove in first, cracked his whip, and struck up a
wild halloo.

Wilhelm began to sing, "Charming the summer night," and the
Kammerjunker joined in with him.

"Sing with us man," cried Wilhelm to the silent Otto, and quickly
the two companies were one singing caravan.

It was late when they reached the hall.


"Destiny often pulls off leaves, as we treat the vine, that its
fruits may be earlier brought to maturity."--JEAN PAUL.

It was not until toward morning that Otto fell into sleep. Wilhelm
and he were allowed to take their own time in rising, and thus it
was late in the day before these two gentlemen made their
appearance at the breakfast-table; the Kammerjunker was already
come over to the hall, and now was more adorned than common.

"Mr. Thostrup shall be one of the initiated!" said the mother. "It
will be time enough this evening for strangers to know of it. The
Kammerjunker and my Sophie are betrothed."

"See, it was in the bright moonlight, Mr. Thostrup, that I became
such a happy man!" said the Kammerjunker, and kissed the tips of
Sophie's fingers. He offered his other hand to Otto.

Otto's countenance remained unchanged, a smile played upon his
lips. "I congratulate you!" said he; "it is indeed a joyful day! If
I were a poet, I would give you an ode!"

Louise looked at him with an extraordinary expression of pain in
her countenance.

Wilhelm called the Kammerjunker brother-in-law, and smiling shook
both his hands.

Otto was unusually gay, jested, and laughed. The ladies went to
their toilet, Otto into the garden.

He had been so convinced in his own mind that Sophie returned his
passion. With what pleasure had she listened to him! with what an
expression had her eye rested upon him! Her little jests had been
to him such convincing proofs that the hope which he nourished was
no self-delusion. She was the light around which his thoughts had
circled. Love to her was to him a good angel, which sung to him
consolation and life's gladness in his dark moments.

Now, all was suddenly over. It was as if the angel had left him;
the flame of love which had so entirely filled his soul, was in a
moment extinguished to its last spark. Sophie was become a stranger
to him; her intellectual eye, which smiled in love on the
Kammerjunker, seemed to him the soulless eye of the automaton. A
stupefying indifference went through him, deadly as poison that is
infused into the human blood.

"The vain girl! she thought to make herself more important by
repelling from her a faithful heart! She should only see how
changed her image is in my soul. All the weaknesses which my love
for her made me pass over, now step forth with repulsive features!
Not a word which she spoke fell to the ground. The diamond has lost
its lustre; I feel only its sharp corners!"

Sophie had given the preference to a man who, in respect of
intellect, stood far below Otto! Sophie, who seemed to be
enthusiastic for art and beauty, for everything glorious in the
kingdom of mind, could thus have deceived him!

We will now see the sisters in their chamber.

Louise seemed pensive, she sat silently looking before her.

Sophie stood thoughtfully with a smile upon her lips.

"The Kammerjunker is very handsome, however!" exclaimed she: "he
looks so manly!"

"You ought to find him love-worthy!" said Louise.

"Yes," replied her sister, "I have always admired these strong
countenances! He is an Axel--a northern blackbearded savage. Faces
such as Wilhelm's look like ladies'! And he is so good! He has
said, that immediately after our marriage we shall make a tour to
Hamburg. What dress do you think I should wear?"

"When you make the journey to Hamburg?" inquired Louise.

"O no, child! to-day I mean. Thostrup was indeed very polite! he
congratulated me! I felt, however, rather curious when it was told
to him. I had quite expected a scene! I was almost ready to beg of
you to tell him first of all. He ought to have been prepared. But
he was, however, very rational! I should not have expected it from
him. I really wish him all good, but he is an extraordinary
character! so melancholy! Do you think that he will take my
betrothal to heart? I noticed that when I was kissed he turned
himself suddenly round to the window and played with the flowers. I
wish that he would soon go! The journey into foreign countries will
do him good--there he will soon forget his heart's troubles.
To-morrow I will write to Cousin Joachim; he will also be

Late in the afternoon came Jakoba, the Mamsell, the preacher, and
yet a few other guests.

In the evening the table was arranged festively. The betrothed sat
together, and Otto had the place of honor--he sat on the other side
of Sophie. The preacher had written a song to the tune of "Be thou
our social guardian-goddess;" this was sung. Otto's voice sounded
beautifully and strong; he rang his glass with the betrothed pair,
and the Kammerjunker said that now Mr. Thostrup must speedily seek
out a bride for himself.

"She is found," answered Otto; "but now that is yet a secret."

"Health to the bride!" said Sophie, and rung her glass; but soon
again her intellectual eye rested upon the Kammerjunker, who was
talking about asparagus and stall-feeding with clover, yet her
glance brought him back again to the happiness of his love.

It was a very lively evening. Late in the night the party broke up.
The friends went to their chamber.

"My dear, faithful Otto!" said Wilhelm, and laid his hand on his
shoulder; "you were very lively and good-humored this evening.
Continue always thus!"

"I hope to do so," answered Otto: "may we only always have as happy
an evening as this!"

"Extraordinary man!" said Wilhelm, and shook his head. "Now we will
soon set out on our journey, and catch for ourselves the happiness
of the glorious gold bird!"

"And not let it escape again!" exclaimed Otto. "Formerly I used to
say, To-morrow! to-morrow! now I say, To-day, and all day long!
Away with fancies and complainings. I now comprehend that which you
once said to me, that is. Man _can_ be happy if he only _will_ be

Wilhelm took his hand, and looked into his face with a half-melancholy

"Are you sentimental?" inquired Otto.

"I only affect that which I am not!" answered Wilhelm; and with
that, suddenly throwing off the natural gravity of the moment,
returned to his customary gayety.

The following days were spent in visiting and in receiving
visitors. On every post-day Otto sought through the leathern bag of
the postman, but he found no letter from German Heinrich, and heard
nothing from him. "I have been deceived," said he, "and I feel
myself glad about it! She, the horrible one, is not my sister!"

There was a necessity for him to go away, far from home, and yet he
felt no longing after the mountains of Switzerland or the luxuriant
beauty of the south.

"Nature will only weaken me! I will not seek after it. Man it is
that I require: these egotistical, false beings--these lords of
everything! How we flatter our weaknesses and admire our virtues!
Whatever serves to advance our own wishes we find to be excellent.
To those who love us, we give our love in return. At the bottom,
whom do I love except myself? Wilhelm? My friendship for him is
built upon the foundation,--I cannot do without thee! Friendship is
to me a necessity. Was I not once convinced that I adored Sophie,
and that I never could bear it if she were lost to me? and yet
there needed the conviction 'She loves thee not,' and my strong
feeling was dead. Sophie even seems to me less beautiful; I see
faults where I formerly could only discover amiabilities! Now, she
is to me almost wholly a stranger. As I am, so are all. Who is
there that feels right lovingly, right faithfully for me, without
his own interest leading him to do so? Rosalie? My old, honest
Rosalie? I grew up before her eyes like a plant which she loved. I
am dear to her as it! When her canary-bird one morning lay dead in
its cage, she wept bitterly and long; she should never more hear it
sing, she should never more look after its cage and its food. It
was the loss of it which made her weep. She missed that which had
been interesting to her. I also interested her. Interest is the
name for that which the world calls love. Louise?" He almost spoke
the name aloud, and his thoughts dwelt, from a strong combination
of circumstances, upon it. "She appears to me true, and capable of
making sacrifices! but is not she also very different from all the
others? How often have I not heard Sophie laugh at her for it--look
down upon her!" And Otto's better feeling sought in vain for a
shadow of self-love in Louise, a single selfish motive for her
noble conduct.

"Away from Denmark! to new people! Happy he who can always be on
the wing, making new friendships, and speedily breaking them off!
At the first meeting people wear their intellectual Sunday apparel;
every point of light is brought forth; but soon and the festival-day
is over, and the bright points have vanished."

"We will set off next week!" said Wilhelm, "and then it shall be--
'Over the rushing blue waters away!
We will speed along shores that are verdant and gay!'
Away over the moors, up the Rhine, through the land of champagne to
the city of cities, the life-animating Paris!"


"A maiden stood musing, gentle and mild. I grasped the hand of the
friendly child, but the lovely fawn shyly disappeared. ... From
the Rhine to the Danish Belt, beautiful and lovely maidens are
found in palaces and tents; yet nobody pleases me."--SCHMIDT VON LUBECK.

The last day at home was Sophie's birthday. In the afternoon the
whole family was invited to the Kammerjunker's, where Jakoba and
the Mamsell were to be quite brilliant in their cookery.

A table filled with presents, all from the Kammerjunker, awaited
Miss Sophie; it was the first time that he had ever presented to
her a birthday gift, and he had now, either out of his own head or
somebody's else, fallen on the very good idea of making her a
present for every year which she had lived. Every present was
suited to the age for which it was intended, and thus he began with
a paper of sugar-plums and ended with silk and magnificent fur;
but between beginning and end there were things, of which more than
the half could be called solid: gold ear-rings, a boa, French
gloves, and a riding-horse. This last, of course, could not stand
upon the table. It was a joy and a happiness; people walked about,
and separated themselves by degrees into groups.

The only one who was not there was Eva. She always preferred
remaining at home; and yet, perhaps, to-day she might have allowed
herself to have been overpersuaded, had she not found herself so
extremely weak.

Silently and alone she now sat at home in the great empty parlor.
It was in the twilight; she had laid down her work, and her
beautiful, thoughtful eyes looked straight before her: thoughts
which we may not unveil were agitating her breast.

Suddenly the door opened, and Wilhelm stood before her. Whilst the
others were walking he had stolen away. He knew that Eva was alone
at home; nobody would know that he visited her, nobody would dream
of their conversation.

"You here!" exclaimed Eva, when she saw him.

"I was compelled to come," answered he. "I have slipped away from
the others; no one knows that I am here. I must speak with you,
Eva. To-morrow I set off; but I cannot leave home calmly and
happily without knowing--what this moment must decide."

Eva rose, her checks crimsoned, she cast down her eyes.

"Baron Wilhelm!" stammered she, "it is not proper that I should
remain here!" She was about to leave the room.

"Eva!" said Wilhelm, and seized her hand, "you know that I love
you! My feelings are honorable! Say Yes, and it shall be holy to me
as an oath. Then I shall begin my journey glad at heart, as one
should do. Your assent shall stand in my breast, shall sound in my
ear, whenever sin and temptation assail me! It will preserve me in
an upright course, it will bring me back good and unspoiled. My
wife must you be! You have soul, and with it nobility! Eva! in
God's name, do not make a feeble, life-weary, disheartened being of

"O Heavens!" exclaimed she, and burst into tears, "I cannot, and--
will not! You forget that I am only a poor girl, who am indebted
for everything to your mother! My assent would displease her, and
some time or other you would repent of it! I cannot!--I do not love
you!" added she, in a tremulous voice.

Wilhelm stood speechless.

Eva suddenly rang the bell.

"What are you doing?" exclaimed he.

The servant entered.

"Bring in lights!" said she; "but first of all you must assist me
with these flowers down into the garden. It will do them good to

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest