see a horse on the ridge ? The magistrate is
out, and the people will begin to do something
That the magistrate was on horseback to take
the command, â€” ;i practice which is reserved for
very rare occasions, â€” was a favourable lign ; but
Mrs. .^noek silently pointed to one which dai
Christian's confidence. The dyke which had
given way, â€” the same that had been injured
by ^lyk's bog- water, â€” appeared now to 1 e
crumbling down, ell by ell, with a rapidity which
defied all attempts at repair. Its layer- ol -oil
oozed away in mud; its wattles were floating on
the billows ; and the blocks of still' clay which
had lain iqnaw, one upon another, show d a
rounded surface till they disappeared from their
positions. The opening enlarged every moment,
and it seemed as if the tide in the outer channel
rose in proportion as it found a vent. The first
dribblings over the edge of the dyke ap; eared at
wilier and wider distances, while the gushing in
the centre grew more copious as the waters be-
low rose to meet it.
M Do but hear !" said Christian, in alow voice.
" How it splashes and roars!''
His mother perceived that sprav was beginning
to fly in at the gate at the bottom of the garden,
and some of the poor cattle were already afloat,
114 a night's probation.
supported for awhile by the clothing whicn
would soon help to sink them. She made a sign
to Gertrude to resume her share of their burden,
and they proceeded towards the summer-house.
â€” When the servants had been sent back for the
provisions they ought to have brought with them,
and had returned with all they could fetcli away,
(the lower apartments being already flooded;)
their mistress gave orders for the summer-house
door to be closed. Christian begged to be first
carried out for a moment. He wished to look
up to the roof. A stork was perched there,
flapping its wings; and Christian was satisfied.
The next thing to be done was to bring the
boat immediately under the window, and to fasten
it securely to the summer-house, that it might
not be carried away out of reach.
" I wish the pastor was here," said Christian,
who, with the rest of the party, had little appre-
hension of personal danger, as long as the even-
ing was serene, and the extent of the devastation
limited. " I wish the pastor was here now, to
tell us what we ought to do."
" We need no voice of man," replied Gertrude.
" Hark, how deep calleth unto deep !"
The boy looked entranced as he fixed his eyes
alternately on the line of blue sea, where ships
were gliding in the light breeze, and on the
muddy surge around, which already bore many
wrecks, and assumed a more threatening ap-
pearance every moment. His mother's voice in
prayer was the first thing that roused him. â€”
Before it ceased, the garden had a multitude
a night's probation. 115
of streams running through it, and only a few
red and yellow blossoms reared their heads where
all had lately been so gay. Next came the first
dash against the walls of the building, and spray
thrown in at the window, whence Roselvn with-
drew in mute terror. Before closing the
shutter, her mother L r ave an anxious look towards
the village and the farm -buildings.
11 The herd and his w ite have a boat, and each
a stout arm,'' said she, M and we may con-:
them safe. Kaatje, you can row ; and both
Gertrude and 1 can hold an oar. They do not
seem to be doing anything for us from the
Kalrina, alarmed, like the rest of the party,
by her mistre-s's words and manner, declared
that she had never dipped an oar in troubled
waters. It was little she could do on a canal.
The sun was gone down too, and what were t.
to attempt in the dark I Surely her mistl
would remain where they were till assistance
came, even if that should not be till morning. â€”
Certainly, if possible, was her mistress's reply ;
from which Gertrude inferred that .Mrs. Snoek
thought the summer-house unsafe. It was raised
on piles, like the best part of Amsterdam, and
more strongly founded than the dwelling-house ;
but it even now shook perceptibly ; and it seemed
too probable that it might fail very soon, if the
rush of waters continued.
Twilight faded away, and darkness succeeded,
and no hail from a distance was yet heard : â€”
no sound but that of waters, to which the party
116 A night's probation.
remained silently listening ; Christian, with his
eyes fixed on the scarcely discernible boat which
danced below, and Gertrude watching for the
moon as anxiously as if their safety depended
on a gleam of light. It came, at length, quiver-
ing on the surface below, and lighting up the
tree tops which appeared here and there like
little islands where the inner dyke had been,
The flood was found to have risen to the level
of the floor ; and the servants, almost glad to
have something to do, began to lower the pro-
visions into the boat. Presently a loud crack
was heard ; the mirror, which reflected the bro-
ken moonbeams, was perceived to hang awry ;
and, more ominous still, the stork first fluttered
and then sped away.
" Do you see, mother?" said Christian, as he
pointed upwards. " We must go."
" You are not afraid, my dear boy ? Katrina
and I will go first, and Gertrude will let you
down while we keep the boat steady. You are
not afraid, Christian?"
" I wish Luc was not so frightened," replied
the boy, who, in truth, seemed more animated
than alarmed. " Luc, the Spirit is on the face
of these waters too."
Roselyn, tired out, had fallen asleep on her
mother's bosom. It was a rough waking, amidst
spray and the chill night air ; and she made her
cries heard further than perhaps any signal
shout that her companions could have raised.
Nothing that had yet happened had distressed the
party so much as this child's screams, renewed
a night's probation. 117
with every pitch of the boat, which, though
strong, and so large as to consist of two cabins,
was now tossed like the lightest Bhallop. Chris-
tian never could bear Roselyn's lamentations,
and they now had their usual effect upon him,
of making him cough dreadfully, and upsetting
liis cheerfulness for the time. When he could
find voice, he began to complain of several
things which no one could remedy ; and struggled'
the more to express himself, the more violently
Ins cough returned.
" You must be silent, '' Gertrude said, gently.
" We cannot help one another, God only can
help us now ; and we must await his will."
" Thank you fur putting me in mind," cheer-
fully replied the boy. " ( ), Gertrude, I wonder
what that wili i> ! Do you think we shall tink
deep, deep in these cold waters .' I think the
apostle Peter was very daring t<> go down out of
the boat. There is no Christ now to come a
these roui:li waves, and bid us not be afraid. O,
if there were "
" We can try not to be afraid, as if he were
really here," said Gertrude. " Let us be still,
lest we should be tempted to complain."
Christian did not speak again, and tried to
suppress his cruel cough. His mother was aware
of the effort, and would have had him carried
down, saying that the poor boy was doomed,
whether they ever reached land or not. He would
never get over the exposure of this night. Chris-
tian made no opposition, but Gertruae bi b sled
that the boat itself was in danger from the wrecks
118 a night's proration.
which it encountered ; and tli.it the onlv chance
of safety, in case of any great shock, was in being
on the exposed part. So Christian was left to
feed his spirit as he would with the impressions
which came upon his awakened senses.
Katrina's oar had been carried away at the first
attempt to use it. The other could be employed
only in pushing off whatever was brought by the
waves to threaten the boat. One object after
another was recognized by the party ; â€” a plank,
which from its colour was known to belong 1 to
the farm buildings ; and a chest that had stood
in the dwelling-house, which must therefore be
down. Whatever security might await her fa-
mily, Mrs. Snoek saw that the fruits of long toil
and much care were already swept away.
A fearful crisis came at last, while the party
were watching a dark object at no great distance,
which looked like a boat. It might be many
things instead of a boat; but it was more like
one than any object they had seen this night.
While she was looking at it, something came
fluttering against Gertrude's face, which made
her start. It was the flag which had waved from
the gilt ball of the summerhouse. All turned, and
dimly saw the whole fabric fall in sideways, and
disappear amidst a cloud of dust, which was
blown full in their faces. No fixture could be
found near, by which the single oar could be
made of any avail to keep the boat out of the
eddy. That there were fixed points was soon
made known, however, by the repeated shocks
which the boat underwent ; shocks which
threatened to drive in its bottom.
A NIGHT'S PROBATION. 119
"Now God have mercy upon us !" cried the
mother. " If we go down, it will be now."
A cry arose from the children and the servants.
From Christian there was no cry, but a groan,
which, though low, reached his mother's ear and
heart. She saw that his hands were grasping
the ribs of the boat.
" My boy, your pain is upon you."
" Never mind me," said the boy, in a voice
patient through its agony. " Let my Father take
me. Save Luc. Save Roselvn.''
The boat had been staved by the last shock, and
was now rapidly sinking. Help was, however,
at hand. The dark object was really a boat.
The cry had directed it to the right spot ; it
arrived in time to pick up every one of the party,
not before they were wet, but before they were
actually afloat. Christian was very nearly going
down with the wreck, so firmly were his hands
clenched to its sides: but his mother exerted her
fast failing strength to rescue him, and afterwards
to hold him on her knees during the fearful
struggle with the enemy from which he would
thankfully have been released by drowning.
The villagers who manned the rescuing boat
respected the misery of the mother, whom they
believed to be watching over her dying child.
They spoke only to say that the passage to the
village would be long and perilous, and that the
earliest assistance would be procured by landing
on the nearest point of the sea dyke, where
succours could be brought, if there should not
happen to be a house at hand.
120 a night's probation.
Before the moon had gone down upon the
watery waste, the party were received into the
house of a hospitable fisherman, who, with his
wife, did all that could be done for their safety
and comfort till they could be removed to the
abode of an acquaintance in Winkel ; or, as
Gertrude proposed, to her brother's country house
at Saardam. To make the exertion of this re-
moval was, she believed, the best thins for Mrs.
Snoek's spirits and for Christian's health, which
might possibly be revived by the care which
would be bestowed on him bv those whom he
most loved, in a familiar scene, far distant from
the desolation which must meet his eye every
time he looked abroad, if he remained at Winkel.
His mother consented with the less difficulty
that there was every probability of a fever pre-
vailing in the district which had been laid waste.
She had suffered too much from the flood, to
think of braving the pestilence which must
ensue. When her farm servant and his wife
came to condole and relate their share of the perils
of the preceding night, they received her direc-
tions about saving the wreck of the property, and
doing what might be practicable towards restor-
ing the estate.
These people were full of indignation at having
been left, with their mistress's family, to try
their chance of escape from drowning, while those
who deserved such a fate much more had taken
good care of their own security. Jan and his
household had chanced to sleep on board their
boats for two or three nights past, after bustling
a night's proration. 121
about with extraordinary vigour during the day.
Slyk and his daughter had also, most oppor-
tunely, been induced to pass a few days with an
acquaintance whose abode was at some distance
from the scene of disaster. They came to sym-
pathize with the Snoeks ; old Jakob glorifying
Providence for having interfered in so marvellous
a manner to preserve himself and Fransje ; and
Fransje full of anxiety to know whether Heins
was likely to come to assist in the great work of
reclaiming the section which now lay waste.
Heins came as appointed, attended by the
pastor: â€” came to see his Danish cattle floating
lifeless in the muddy lake ; to try doubtfully to
fix the point where his mother's pretty residence
had stood ; to ponder whether the extent of the
damage and of his liabilities could be concealed
from his partner; and to wonder how much Ger-
trude had been told, and what she would think of the
issue of this his first grand scheme of enterprise.
Mrs. Snoek greeted the pastor with a hope that
she need not look on this calamity as a judgment
on her solicitude about worldly interests. The
pastor had said much to her, and said it often,
about sitting loose from the things of this world ;
and she trusted she had taken it to heart. Unless
she was much mistaken, she had only endeavoured
to do what, as a mother, and the widow of an
honourable man, it behoved her to improve her
children's fortunes, and justify their father's am-
bition for them. The pastor decided that she
would best prove the purity of her views by her
cheerful acquiescence in her present losses.
122 a night's proration.
A Dutch lady of a later age would have found
it easy to acquiesce in such losses for the sake of
the amount of wealth which remained : hut in the
times of the high prosperity of the Dutch, desire
grew with acquisition, and it was not enough to be
rich, if it was possible to be richer, or if others
were richer, or if the individual had been so at a
preceding time. Though she and her children
had more wealth than they could consume, the
widow found it required all her resignation to bear
patiently the loss of what she had no occasion
" You always told me," said Christian to the
pastor, "to take care not to love any people or
things too much, because I should most likely
have to leave them all very soon. But you see
they have left me. â€” O, I do not mean my mother,
and Gertrude, and Luc and Roselyn ; but I have
lost my pretty calf; and my tame heron has
flown away; and my tulips, that beautiful late-
blower! There was not such a Bybloemen in all
the district as the best of mine. When I bade it
farewell for this year, and looked for the last time
into its cup, with its white bottom, so beautifully
broken with cherry, I did not think it would be
rotting under the water so soon. I never saw
such a cup as that flower had. I shall never see
The pastor shook his head. Christian, taking
this for sympathy in his grief, went on,
" And my calf had got to know me, and to let
me do what I liked with him. He stood quite still
to let me help to put on his jacket yesterday when
a night's probation. 123
the evening chill was coming on. I am glad I
did not see him die, if he splashed in the water like
one poor cow that I saw. I shall never love
another calf. O, now I know why you shake your
head so. You think that I should soon have left
them, if they had not left me. Perhaps I may
never get better than I am to-day ; and to-day I
cannot sit up at all. But, tell me one thing I
want to know. Do you think animals live again ?
It seems very hard that my calf should die so
soon, if it is not to live any more: and, if I am
to die soon too "
" You would like to meet whatever you have
lo\ed," said the pastor, finishing his sentence for
him. "I think (Jod will give you beings to love
wherever you are, Christian ; because I think you
cannot live without lovimr ; and I am very sure
that, wherever you are, there will be some to love
Christian smiled, and said that people loved him
now out of kindness, because thev were sorrv for
his pain, and that he could not do what other
children did : and he loved them because they
were so good as not to mind the trouble he w;is
always giving them. He was sure they would
not forget him when he had ceased to be a trouble
to any body ; and perhaps he could do something
for them when there should be an end of all pain,
and when he might perhaps be as strong as the
angel that stood between heaven and earth, and
cried out so that the thunders answered him. This
reminded Christian to tell how he now knew what
the voices were like that came from under God's
124 a night's probation.
throne. Last night, he had learned what was the
sound of many waters. Just when his pain came
on, he thought these voices were calling for him.
He seemed now disappointed that it had not been
so. The pastor told him that it should he left to
God to call him away in whispers or in thunders.
His only care should be to hold himself ready to
NEWS AT HOME.
Heins consented, at the earnest request of his
friend Jakob, to remain at Winkel for a few days,
to superintend the necessary operations there,
instead of returning southwards with his family.
Jakob himself set out in search of labourers, and
of wherewithal to pay them. His absence was
considered necessary, as the suspicion had got
abroad that lie was somehow the cause of the
mischief that had happened. Justice moved slow
in Holland at that time ; which did not usually
signify, as Dutchmen also moved slow ; but
whether Jakob had become infused with liveli-
ness by his intercourse with the French, or
whether he had learned celerity by his enterprises
at sea, he acted little like a Dutchman on the
present occasion. While the magistrate was yet
suffering from the fatigue of having been on
horseback, and his advisers were weighing the
amount of suspicion against Slyk, Slyk was gone
NEWS AT HOME. 125
â€” to return presently, of course ; he would cer-
tainly return immediately, because he said so,
and because his friend Heins said so, and be-
cause his daughter remained with her servant
in full repose.
Heins believed this, and wrought patiently for
a few days, being carefully tended in the intervals
of his labours by Francesca, who lavished all her
attentions upon him : for her father's sake, as she
declared. Ue was so grieved that Iieins should
have been involved in any disaster through his
means, that the least that could be done to con-
sole him was to make Heins as comfortable as
possible. Jakob did not, however, return ; and
when he was fairly on the high seas, Jan had the
conscience to let iieins know that the old rou
had set sail from the bay on the night of his de-
parture, and was now on bta wav to collect some
foreign debts, with the proceeds of which ho
would re-appear when the storm which was reedy
to burst upon him at home should have blown
over. In much wrath, Heins took his passage
home without a moment's delay, being accom-
panied by Francesca and her duenna ; no place
being now, as Heins admitted, so proper for her
as her father's residence at Amsterdam.
On their arrival, her apparent surprise was as
great as Heins's real consternation at finding
Slyk's house shut Up, the furniture gone, and no
provision made for his daughter's residence.
Francesca was not slow in finding a reason for
this, and in conveying her opinion to Heins. Her
father had concluded that, as Mr. Snoek's wife,
126 NEWS A.T HOME.
she would not want any residence but his ; and
it would have been a great piece of extrava-
gance to leave a handsome house and furniture
to the care of servants, while the master was
taking a foreign journey. Heins could not agree
in this interpretation ; but it was impossible to
leave the lady and her duenna to take care of
themselves in the midst of Amsterdam, lie took
them to the house of his partner, in order to com-
mend them to Gertrude's care. Gertrude was at
Saardam ; but her brother offered to send for
her ; which proposal seemed very agreeable to
Visscher, who was smoking his pipe with Van-
derput at the time of the entrance of the some-
what forlorn party from Winkel.
Heins was not slow in assenting, desiring, if
lie could be spared from business, to be the mes-
senger to Saardam the very next morning. In
his own mind, he thought it but fair that, in re-
turn for his enforced civility to a lady whom he
did not care for, he should be favoured with the
charge of her whom he was most anxious to
please. Visscher, however, resented the idea of
any one assuming that which he called his office;
and Vanderput supported him, by intimating to
his partner that his future brother-in-law was the
proper person to fetch his sister home.
Francesca took upon herself to say how fully
Mr. Snoek approved, as she also did, of the pro-
posed connexion. It was but the day before that
they had been agreeing on the absurdity of the
prevalent opinion that M. Aymond would carry
oil' the prize, just because Gertrude had a parti-
NEWS AT HOME. 127
cularly religious turn. Mr. Snoek had eagerly
assented to her opinion that any one who under-
stood Gertrude might long have seen that she
was thinking of a very different person from the
Heins was stung with rage and mortification
on hearing this. If his attachment to Gertrude
had been real, and worthy of her, any disappoint-
ment which he might now have testified would
have been regarded with respect. As it was, the
best thing he could do was to seize a pipe and
surround himself with as dense a smoke as he
could raise; a smoke which drove even Iran-
cesca from the apartment.
The sense of this mortification was somewhat
blunted by the occurrence of others. Vi&acher
began a story of which Heins could not at first
perceive the drift, about his return, once upon a
time, from a winter expedition to Rotterdam. He
had skaited from Leyden to Rotterdam for the
purpose of skaiting back again: and when he
returned, he found that the world had not stood
still during his absence ; but that tidings of loss
and gain, and of many kinds of change awaited
" Just so,'' he went on, " our friend Heins
has been afloat himself, and setting the country
afloat, and he comes back, taking for granted
that all is as he left it."
" And is it not?" asked Heins. " What has
" Only such a variation in the exchange with
England as will frighten you, if you are no wiser
128 NEWS AT HOME.
than our Bank Directors. You should see their
emissaries peering about on 'change "
Vanderput put a stop to this mode of exempli-
fication of the state of commerce. He would
allow no disrespectful mention in his presence of
the body of which he was a member. It was the
business of the reigning burgomasters to ascer-
tain daily the course of exchange : but they could
see an inch before their noses, as well as any bill
broker on 'change, and left it to women and the
superannuated to tremble at the sentence, that
the exchange had turned against Holland.
" What becomes of our profits now V said
Heins. " Must we let them be swallowed up
by the premium which I suppose bills on Eng-
land now bear in the market !"
" Only your extraordinary profits. You are
not going to be rich so soon as you dreamed
you should be : but neither are you going to be
" By the variation in the exchange," added
Vanderput, gravely. " If Mr. Snoek is to be
impoverished, it will be by other accidents."
Before Heins had time to ask the meaning 1 of
this, Mr. Visscher went on.
" You should see the bustle of the exporters
on our quays. There are Toll and Co., who so
lately stood enviously watching the briskness of
your doings, you remember, Mr. Snoek ; their
time is now come. You and your brethren im-
ported at such a rate that you made bills on
England scarce in the market. Toll and Co.,
of course, got such a premium on those which
NEWS AT HOME. 129
they held, as to be able to shin off manv more
kinds of goods than they could have ventured
upon while they had to part with their bills at a
discount. They have been lading ship after
ship ; and you may now have time to see them
clear out; for I conclude you will not go on to
import as you have clone of lnte."
" To be sure not," said Vanderput. " Our
profits on many articles are not such as to afford
the premium on bills made necessary by the
present scarcity. We must, for the present,