Unknown.

The library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) online

. (page 73 of 75)
Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 73 of 75)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


her before. " Why, no, it could not be
expected that you knew me; old people seldom
get out. My son you know perhaps a little
Arne Kampen] I am his mother." She stole
a glance at Eli, whose breath directly came
slowly, and her face became serious, and eyes
staring. " I almost think he has been at
work once yonder at Boen." Yes, he had.
" It is beautiful weather to-night. We threw
about the hay during the day and took it in
before I left, it is such blessed weather."

" It will certainly be a good hay harvest
this year," said Eli.

" Yes, you may say so. At Boen I suppose
it is beautiful?"

" They have done there now."

" I daresay they have; great help, active
people. Are you going home to-night?" No,
she should not do so. "Could not yon go
with me part of the road? It is so seldom
I find any one to talk with, and I dare say it
does not matter much for you." El' excused
herself that she had not her jacket on. " Why,
yes. I am almost ashamed to ask such a thing
the first time I see a person, but one must
bear with old people." Eli said she might go
with her; she would only run in for her jacket.

It was a very close jacket. When it was
hooked, it looked as if it were a body of a
dress that she had on; but now she only
hooked the two lowest hooks, she was so hot.
Her fine linen had a little collar, that was
turned over and kept together in the front by
a silver button in the form of a bird with
wings spread out. Such a button Nils the
tailor had worn the first time Margit Kampen
danced with him.

" A nice button," said she, looking at it.



" I got it from mother," said Eli.

" Yes, I suppose you have," and she was
helping her and putting her in order.

Now they walked on. The grass was mowed
down, and was lying in little heaps, to which
Margit went up, and found when smelling it
that it was good hay. She asked about the
cattle they had on this farm, and then got the
opportunity to ask about the cattle they had
at Boen and told how much cattle they had
at Kampen. " Our farm has improved much
in the later years, and it may be more than
twice as large. There are now twelve milch
cows, and there might be more, but Arne
has so many books he reads in and manages
after, therefore he will have them fed in Kuch
a grand style." Eli said nothing to all this,
i as might be expected, but Margit asked her
how old she was. She was a little more than
twenty years. " Have you tried your Land in
house-keeping? You look such a lady I sup-
pose it has not been much." Yes, she had
helped somewhat, especially in the later time.
" Well, it is good to be used to everything.
When one gets a large house much may be
wanted. But certainly that one who finds
good help before her has no reason to com-
plain." Eli would like to return, Cor now thi-y
were a long way past the parsonage. " It will
be a couple of hours before the sun goes down;
it would be kind of you to go on talking with
me a little longer." And Eli went with her.

Margit now began to talk of Arne. " I do
not know if you know much of him. He
might be able to teach you something. Good
Lord, what a deal he has read ! " Eli con-
fessed she knew he had read much. ' But
that is the least good in him, that is. So good
as he has been towards his mother all his days,
that is something more. If the old adage be
true that the person who is kind to his mother
is sure to make a good husband, then that one
he chooses will not have much to complain of."
Eli asked why they had painted the house
yonder with gray colours. " I suppose they
have not had any other," thought Margit.
" I am sure I should wish with all my heart
that my Arne got a reward for all the good he
has been doing to his mother. The woman
he ought to have for a wife ought to be well
instructed and of good heart. What is it you
are looking after, my child?"

" I only lost a little p^rig I was carrying."

" Well, I have many thoughts, I can tell
you, whilst I am sitting yonder in the forest
by myself. If he should happen to carry one
hwne who lock a bicssinir with her both to
the house and to her husband, thuii i know



374



ARNE.



that many a poor one would be glad on that
day." They were both silent, and walked on
without looking at each other. " He is so
strange," began again the mother, " he has
been so much frightened as a child, and
therefore he has been used to keep all his
thoughts quite to himself, and such people do
not generally get on." Now Eli insisted on
returning, but Margit said it was only about a
milfe to Kampen not so much even and
therefore she must see Kampen as she had
come so far. But Eli thought it was too late
for her. " Oh ! there are always those who
will go home with you," said Margit.

"No, no!" answered Eli quickly, and
wanted to return.

" Well, Arne is not at home," said Margit,
" so it will not be he ; but I dare say we
shall find somebody else."

Eli had now no longer so great an objection.
" If it only will not be too late," said she.

" Well, if we stand here long talking it
may soon be too late;" and they walked on.
" I suppose you have read much, you who
have been educated at the clergyman's?"
Yes, she had. " That will be of good service
to you when you get one for your husband
who knows somewhat less." No; such a one
Eli said she would not have. " I dare say
that would not be the best either; but here
in the parish people generally know very little."
Eli now asked if it was Kampen that she
could see right before her. " No; that is
Gransetren, the last farm before you come into
the wood; when you come a little further up
you will see Kampen. It is easy to live at
Kampen I can tell you. It certainly seems
to be a little aside, but happiness does not
depend upon that." Eli now asked what it
was she saw smohing yonder in the wood.
" It is from the house of a tenant who has got
a place under Kampen. There lives a man
from Uplands whose name is Canute. He
went about quite alone, arid then Arne gave
him this spot to clear. Poor Arne knows
what it is to be alone." In a little while they
came so high up that they could see the farm.

" Is that Kampen?" said Eli, stopping and
pointing.

" It is," said Margit. She stopped also.

The sun now looked them right in the face;
they put their hands up to shade their eyes
and looked downwards. In the middle of the
plain lay the farm-house, painted red, with
white window-frames; round about, the grass
was mowed down; some hay was standing in
heaps ; the corn-fields lay green beyond the
pale meadow; yonder, near th?, cow-house,



they were very busy cow.s, sheep, and goats
coming home, the dogs barking, the dairy-
maids calling; but over it all the loud uui>c
of the waterfall rose dreadfully from the
bottom of the glen. The longer Eli looked
the more she heard this sound, which at last
grew so frightful that her heart began to
palpitate. It kept on thundering and roar-
ing through her head till she felt as if quite
wild, but afterwards so timid, that without
perceiving it she walked cautiously with small
steps, so Margit asked her to go on a little
faster. This quite frightened her. "I have
never heard anything like that waterfall
before," said she. " I am getting frightened."

" You will soon get used to it," said the
mother.

" Dear me ! Do you think so?" asked Eli.

" Well, that you will soon see," said Margit,
smiling. " Come now, and let us first look at
the cattle," continued she, turning away a little
from the road. " These trees Nils planted
on both sides, for Nils wanted to have it nice;
and so does Arne also. Look, there is the
garden he has laid out."

"Only look!" cried out Eli, running fast
up to the fence.

" Yes; by-and-by we shall look at that also,"
said Margit. Eli now looked quickly through
the windows as she passed them; nobody was
inside.

Both halted on the bridge going up to the
barn and looked at the cows as they passed
them bellowing and going into the cow-house.
Margit named them all by names, told Eli
how much milk each of them had yielded,
what time some should be calving, and which
of them not. The sheep were counted and
allowed to come in; they were all of a large
foreign species, for Arne had been able to
get hold of two lambs of that species from
the southern parts of the country. "He is
always applying himself to all such things,
though we should not think it of him."
They now went into the barn to have a look
at the hay that was just taken in, and Eli
must smell it, "for such hay is not found
everywhere." Through an opening in the wall
of the barn they looked out on the corn-fields,
Margit telling Eli how much each field bore,
and how much was sown of every sort. " Yes,
1 am sure she will be comfortable, that one
who comes here." They went out of the barn
and walked towards the house, but Eli, who
had not answered anything to all the rest,
when passing the garden now asked if she
might be allowed to go in. And when she
entered she asked if she might be allowed



ARNE.



375



to take a flower or two. There was a little
bench in the corner on which she sat down
only just to try it, for she immediately rose.

"We must make haste now, lest it should
be too late," said Margit, standing at the door
of the house, and they walked in. Margit asked
if she should not treat her with anything as
this was her first visit; but Eli blushed, an-
swering shortly, "No." She looked about the
room: it was not very large, but comfortable,
and contained a clock and a stove. Here Nils's
fiddle was hanging, now old and dark but with
new strings. Here also a couple of guns that
belonged to Arne, English fishing tackle, and
other strange things that his mother took down
and showed her. Eli looked, but did not touch
anything. The room was not painted, for
Arne liked it so. Nor was there need of any
painting in the room, for the window over-
looked the glen, that had the high mountain
right opposite to it and the beautiful blue in
the back-ground; this room was larger and
nicer than the others; but in two smaller rooms
in the wing the walls were painted, for there
the mother was to live when she grew old, and
when he had got a wife in the house. They
went to the kitchen, to the pantry and larder,
to the drying-houses, and it now only remained
to go up to the second story.

Here, also, were rooms well fitted up and
exactly corresponding to those downstairs, but
they were new, and not taken into use with
the exception of one overlooking the glen.
In these rooms upstairs all sorts of furniture
was placed, that was not used every day. Here
were hanging a great many fur-coverlets and
other bed-clothes. The mother took hold of them,
lifting them; Eli did the same. All these
things she was very fond of looking at; re-
turned to some of them, asked many questions,
and was more and more amused. Then said the
mother, "Now we shall find the key to Arne's
own room." They found it under a chest, and
went into the room that overlooked the glen.
The dreadful noise of the waterfall was again
close to them, for the window was open. Here
they could see the water lashing up between
the rocks, but not the waterfall itself except
higher up where a piece of rock had fallen into
it, just as it came with all its might to its last
plunge down into the deep. On the upper part
of this rock fresh turf was lying: a couple of
fir-cones had found place here, and were grow-
ing up again with the roots in the crevices of
the rock. The wind had been wearing and
tearing these trees, the waterfall continually
washed them, so there was not a twig four ells
from the root; on their knees they seemed bent,



their branches crooked, but yet they stood
there rising high oetween the rocks. These
were the first things Eli saw from the window,
then the white snowy mountain higher up
than the green. She looked back; over the
fields there was peace and fertility; she then
looked about in the room, and the first object
she saw was a great book-shelf. There were
so many books that she did not think the
clergyman had more. A cupboard was stand-
ing near to the shelf, and down here he had
his money. Twice they had inherited, said
the mother, and they ought also to take a third
inheritance if everything went on as it ought
to do. "But money is not the best thing in
the world. He might get what was much
better." There were many little things in-
teresting to look at in this cupboard, and Eli
looked at them all as joyfully as a child. Then
the mother showed her a big chest where all his
gear was lying. This chest they also opened and
looked at. Margit patted her on her shoulder,
saying, " I have not seen you before to-day,
but I love you already so much, my child,"
and she looked kindly into her eyes. Before
Eli had time to be a little abashed Margit
pulled her dress, saying quite slowly, ''There
you see a little red-painted box; you may be
sure there is something strange in it." Eli
looked at it: it was a little square box, that
she should like very much to have. "He
does not want me to know what is in it,"
whispered the mother, "and he hides away
the key every time." She went to some
clothes that were hanging on the wall, took
down a velvet waistcoat, looked in the watch-
pocket, and there was the key lying. "Come
now, and you shall see," whispered she. They
went quite slowly and placed themselves on
their knees before the box. At the same
time as the mother opened the lid a delightful
perfume arose out of it, so Eli beat her hands
together before she had yet seen anything.
Uppermost there lay a handkerchief spread
out, which the mother took aside. "Look
here," whispered she, taking up a fine blaik
si!k handkerchief, not such a one as men wear.
" It looks just as if it were for a girl," said the
mother. Eli spread it out over her lap, look-
ing at it, but did not say a word. "Here is
one more," said the mother. Eli took it, she
could not help herself; but the mother must
try it on her, though Eli did not like it, and
bent her head. She did not know what she
would give for such a handkerchief, but yet it
was not this she was thinking of. They put
them together again, but slowly. "Here you
shall see," said the mcther, taking up some



376



UTOPIA.



nice silk ribbands. "It all looks as if it were
lor a girl." Eli turned fiery red, but was
silent. " Here is something more;" the mother
now took up a nice black dress. "I'm sure
that's fine," said she, holding it up towards
daylight Eli's hands trembled a little, her
chest was rising, she felt the blood rushing up
to her head, she would like to turn away, but
that would not do. "He has bought some-
thing every time he has been to town," said
the mother. Eli was scarcely able to stand it
any longer, her eyes ran from one thing to
another in the box and turned again to the
dress. She was burning hot in the face. The
last thing the mother took up was lying in a
paper, which they removed; it was a pair of
small shoes. They had never seen anything
Lke these shoes, any of them. The mother said
she did not think they could be worked. Eli
did not say a word, but when she took the
shoes in her hand all her five fingers were
seen marked on them. "I am in a perspira-
tion, I see," whispered she, drying herself.
The mother laid the things to rights again.
"Does it not look quite as if he had bought
these all little by little for one he dared not
give them to?" said she, looking at Eli; "in
the meantime he seems to have put them here
in the box." She replaced everything care-
fully. "Now we shall see what there is here
in this small compartment at the end of the
box." She opened it very slowly, as if she
should see something very nice. There was
lying a buckle wide and broad as if for a
waistband. This was the first thing Eli saw;
then she saw a couple of gold rings tied to-
gether, and then a psalm-book bound in velvet
with silver clasps, but she could not see any
more, for she had seen pricked in on the silver
of the psalm-book with very fine letters, "Eli
Boen. " The mother wanted her to look again,
but got no answer, and presently saw tears rolling
down her cheeks. Then the mother laid down
the buckle she had been keeping in her hand,
shut again this little compartment, turned to
Eli, and took her to her bosom. Then the
daughter wept, and the mother cried over her
without any of them saying anything more.

Some while after this Eli walked by herself
in the garden; the mother was busy in the
kitchen, as she had something nice to prepare,
for now Arne would be coming. Afterwards
she went out to look at Eli in the garden; she
was sitting cowering down there writing names
in the sand with a stick. She was sweeping it
out when Manrit came; she looked up and
smiled; she had been crying. "Nothing to
cry for, my child," said Margit, patting her



cheek. "Now supper is ready, and Arne will
be coming." They saw something black be-
tween the bushes up on the road. Eii htule in,
the mother following her. Here was a great
laying out of the table with cream pudding,
smoked bacon, and fancy bread, but Eli did
not look at it ; she sat down on a chair
yonder near the clock, trembling if she only
heard a cat move. The mother stood at ti.c
table. Quick and manly steps were heard
outside on the stone-flags, a short and easy
step in the passage, the door opened, and Artie
entered. The first thing he gaw was Eli yonder
near the clock. He let go the handle of the
door and stood still. This made Eli still more
embarrassed. She rose, repented it immediately,
and turned towards the wall. "Are you here?"
said Arne, and became fiery red as soon as he
had said these words. She lifted up one of her
hands, as when the sun shines too strong in
the eyes. " How are you come here ?" said he,
making a step or two. She dropped the hand,
turned a little towards him, but bent her head,
and burst into violent tears. "Why do you
cry, Eli?" asked he, going up to her. She did
not answer, but cried more. "God bless you,
Elil" said he, putt ing his hand round her waist.
She leaned upon him. He whispered some-
thing into her ear; she did not answer, but
took him round his neck with both her hands.
A long time did they remain thus; not a
sound was heard save from the waterfall, that
sang its eternal song, distant and quiet.
Then there was somebody who cried near the
table. Arne looked up; it was his mother,
whom he had not seen before. "Now I am
sure you will not leave me, Arne!" said she,
going towards him; she cried much, but it did
her good, she said.



UTOPIA.

BT F. T. PALGRAVE.

There is a garden where lilies

And roses are side by side ;
And all day between them in silence

The silken butterflies glide.

I may not enter the garden.
Though I know the road thereto :

And morn by morn to the gateway
I see the children go.

They bring hack light on their faces
But they cannot bring linck to me

What the lilies say to the roses,
Or the songs of the butterflies be.

Lyrical Po:m*.



"AD AMICOS"-1829-1876.



377



WATCHING.



Sleep, love, sleep!

The dusty day is done.

Lo! from afar the freshening breezes sweep

Wide over groves of balm,

Down from the towering palm,

In at the open casement cooling run,

And round thy lowly bed,

Thy bed of pain,

Bathing thy patient head,

Like grateful showers of rain,

They come ;

"While the white curtains, waving to and fro,

Fan the sick air;

And pityingly the shadows come and go,

With gentle human care,

Compassionate and dumb.

The dusty day is done,

The night begun;

While prayerful watch I keep,

Sleep, love, sleep !

Is there no magic in the touch

Of fingers thou dost love so much?

Fain would they scatter poppies o'er thee now ;

Or, with its mute caress,

The tremulous lip some soft nepenthe press

Upon thy weary lid and aching brow ;

While prayerful watch I keep,

Sleep, love, sleep!

On the pagoda spire

The bells are swinging,

Their little golden circlet in a flutter

"With tales the wooing winds have dared to utter,

Till all are ringing,

As if a choir

Of golden-nested birds in heaven were singing;

And with a lulling sound

The music floats around,

And drops like balm into the drowsy ear ;

Commingling with the hum

Of the Sepoy's distant drum,

And lazy beetle ever droning near.

Sounds these of deepest silence born,

Like night made visible by morn ;

So silent that I sometimes start

To hear the throbbings of my heart,

And watch, with shivering sense of pain,

To see thy pale lips lift again.

The lizard, with his mouse-like eyes.

Peeps from the mortise in surprise

At such strange quiet after day's harsh din ;

Then boldly ventures out,

And looks about.

And with his hollow feet

Treads his small evening beat,



Darting upon his prey
In such a tricky, winsome sort of way,
His delicate marauding seems no sin.
And still the curtains swing,
But noiselessly ;

The bells a melancholy murmur ring,
As tears were in the sky :
More heavily the shadows fall.
Like the black foldings of a pall,
Where juts the rough beam from the wall ;
The candles flare
With fresher gusts of air;
The beetle's drone

Turns to a dirge-like, solitary moan ;
Night deepens, and I sit, in cheerless doubt,
alone.

EMILY C. JIDSOX.



"AD AMICOS" 1829-1876.
I

I Behold this cup; its mystic wine
No alien's lip has ever tasted ;
The blood of friendship's clinging vine,
Still flowing, flowing, yet unwasted.
Old Time forgot his running sand,

And laid his hour-glass down to fill it,
And Death himself, with gentle hand.
Has touched the chalice, not to spill it.

Each bubble rounding at the brim

Is rainbowed with its magic story ;
The shining days, with age grown dim,

Are dressed again in robes of glory.
In all its freshness spring returns,

With song of birds and blossoms terder;
Once more the torch of passion burns,

And youth is here in all its splendour!

Hope swings her anchor like a toy,

Love laughs and shows the silver arrow
We knew so well as man and boy,

The shaft that stings through bone ;.i,.l

marrow.
Again our kindling pulses beat,

With tangled curls our fingers dally,
And bygone beauties smile as sweet

As fresh-blown lilies of the valley.

O blessed hour! We may forget

Its wreaths, its rhymes, its songs, its laughter,
But not the loving eyes we met,

Whose lifc-ht shall gild the dim hereafter.
How every heart to each grows warm !

Is one in sunshine's ray? We share it.
Is one in sorrow's blinding storm?

A look, a word, shall help him bear it.



378



THE DUKE'S PLOT.



"The boys" we were, "the boys" we'll be

As long as three, as two, are creeping;
Then here's to him ah ! which is he?

Who lives till all the rest are sleeping ;
A life with tranquil comfort blest,

The young man's health, the rich man's plenty.
All earth can give that earth has best,

And heaven at fourscore years and twenty.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.



THE DUKE'S PLOT.

[John Lothrop Motley, LL.D., D.C.L., born at
Dorchester, Massachusetts, loth April, 1S14. Educated
at the Harvard University, and in Germany. He has
been minister for the United States at the courts of
Austria and England. His Rise of the Dutch Reptiblic
from which we take the following extract is esteemed
one of the most important of modern historical works.
He also wrote : Tim United Netherlands: and two novels
entitled Monuit's JJu^e and Merry Mount.}

Early in January, 1583, he [the Duke of
Anjou] sent one night for several of his inti-
mate associates, to consult with him after he
had retired to bed. He complained of the in-
solence of the states, of the importunity of the
council which they had forced upon him, of
the insufficient sums which they furnished
both for him and his troops, of the daily in-
sults offered to the Catholic religion. He
protested that he should consider himself dis-
graced in the eyes of all Christendom, should
he longer consent to occupy his present ignoble
position. But two ways were open to him, he
observed; either to retire altogether from the
Netherlands, or to maintain his authority with
the strong hand, as became a prince. The first
course would cover him with disgrace. It was
therefore necessary for him to adopt the other.
He then unfolded his plan to his confidential
friends La Fougere, De Fazy, Valette, the
sons of Marechal Biron, and others. Upon
the same day, if possible, he 'was determined
to take possession, with his own troops, of the
principal cities in Flanders. Dunkirk, Dix-
muyde, Denremonde, Bruges, Ghent, Vilvoorde,
Alost, and other important places, were to be
simultaneously invaded, under pretext of quiet-



Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 73 of 75)