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Produced by Bill Tozier, Barbara Tozier, Sigal Alon and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
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[Transcriber's Note: Some words which appear to be typos or misspelled
are printed thus in the original book.]




THE
HOME IN THE VALLEY.

By
EMILIE F. CARLÉN,

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

From the original Swedish by
ELBERT PERCE.


New York
Charles Scribner, 145 Nassau-street.

1854.


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



Tobitt's Combination-Type,
181 William St.





TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE


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

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

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

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

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

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

_New York_, August 15th, 1854.




CHAPTER I.

THE VALLEY.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

The youth thus addressed her:

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

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

"To Almvik," replied the stranger.

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

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

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

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

"Do you speak from your heart?"

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

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

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

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

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

"Familiarly!"

"I addressed you too warmly."

"Your words sounded well when you thus spoke."

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

"Shall we then see each other again?"

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

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

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

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




CHAPTER II.

THE COTTAGE.


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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Beloved Magde:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Your faithful husband,
"RAGNAR LONNER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You speak strangely, father."

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

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


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