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Matilda was of her opinion; the carriage was sent to the carpenter's house ; the poor girL just as she was, was put into it, and brought into the company that awaited her arrival. They all found her charming; they all agreed that she was a genius; a collection was set on foot, and a sum subscribed to send her to a boarding school, where she should be educated as a young lady.
Some Professors came forward, and offered to teach languages and accomplishments gratuitously; and the old lady herself undertook to apply to various literary celebrities on her behalf. Among the first of these was Frederika Bremer; and from Frederika Bremer, she said, she received a discouraging or cold reply. Mademoiselle Bremer doubted the utility of drawing the young girl from the sphere in which she was born, to lift her into one to which she was not destined. The old lady, who was good and kind, as well as sanguine and imaginative, saw the reasonableness of the objections, and wrote again to explain that they intended to qualify the young genius to earn her living as a governess. Here the matter rested.
Time passed on: the young girl's education was declared to be completed ; but she was the victim of heart complaint, and neither to shine m the world as a genius, nor to fret and pine in the schoolroom as a governess, was to be her lot. Time passed on again; and that poor girl was once more the lonely inmate of a mean dark room, unnoticed, unadmired, unheard of; without the means of subsistence, unable to turn to any account the little accomplishments she had acquired. ' Once more a carriage stood at her humble door; once more she was taken into it, and carried to another home—to that of Frederika Bremer : she, who had seemed to pass by when applauding friends gathered round the girl, sought and found her in misery, distress, and loneliness. That poor girl has never left her; she has lingered on in her house, may linger there much longer.
The old lady, with all the admiration and vivacity which the weight of eighty years allows her still to display, related to me what she calls a fine action of Mamzell Bremer.
And so Frederika Bremer comes to me almost daily ; and when I see her little figure and benevolent face at the door of my room, I begin to think that it was perhaps all for the best that I met with my accident, since it serves to show me what I love to see—something of the goodness of the human heart. And when she goes away, I almost fancy that my time is more profitably spent on my sofa than in wandering alone through trackless forests, or taking moonlight sledge drives to great winter parties.
Thus there is good in everything, and in everything there is cause to give thanks. Sin is the only real evil.
One day, Mamzell Bremer, as she is called here, brought me an enormously large orange, which is a great rarity in this land; another day she brought me a more charming gift, a bunch of the most delicate, small-flowering white lilac; the leaf also was very small, and the odour delicious. To see lilac blossoming in the very beginning of March, in the north of Europe, seemed strange; but she told me that it had been taken into the house in the autumn, and kept near the stove through the winter; the Swedish rooms are excellent hot-houses, and the beauty of the flowers within them is quite amazing, while ice and snow reign so tyrannically without.
And what Frederika Bremer was to me—and more, far more than that—she is to all whom her ministry can reach—the poor, the sorrowful, the sick. With feelings too sensitive, naturally, for her own enjoyment in such a world as this, she can scarcely allow herself to feel her own happiness while conscious of the accumulated miseries of the earth.
"Are you come to me again?" I cried, once, on seeing her kind face looking in at my door, and knowing she was then writing about America.
"I must come as you are sick," she replied; as if it was an understood thing that where she knew sickness was, there she was expected to be.
Her bunch of lilac stayed long on the table before me in a glass of water, and often revived me; my little Blo-sippa died sooner; the cold had agreed with it better than heat. Ivy is a favourite plant in Swedish rooms. It is curious to see that rampant thing, which will grow anywhere in England, and gives such winter beauty to our lanes, and woods, and hedges, clothing their nakedness with its mantle of green—here made a little delicate hot-house nurseling; put into a small geranium pot, and trained up sticks, or by strings, into a state so delicate, graceful and refined-looking, that one scarcely thinks it of the same race as our great, hardy, ever-propagating, and over-all-encroaching ivy of old England. Some persons, who take pains with it, have it to look ornamental, by being trained up strings in their windows; but in general it is supported by cross rods, in pots, and does not grow tall.