« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
this was the doubt he felt when he gazed on | never dreamed of reminding the adopted girl pretty Annette, and felt his love for her grow-that any love or duty was owing to the ing stronger and stronger the longer he knew peasant parents who dwelt away in the far her, and the more frequently he was in her north. The Accountant, indeed, had given society. People chose generally to say, that her the picture of her childhood's home; but the adopted daughter of Accountant Miller that was only an evidence of the sentiwas the child of noble parents; there was mental turn which forms, more or less, a some mystery about her birth, and they solved part of a true Swedish character, and which it thus. Annette, at times, was changeable. caused him to be rather pleased than otherOn some occasions, warm sensibilities, sim- wise to see that the girl still preserved some plicity, and generous feeling, would raise his sentiment regarding her childish days — still love almost to its climax; at others, an air of possessed some love for that wild northern haughtiness, a contempt for lowly life, an ex- nature which she saw no more, but the whisper treme tenacity in the observance of all the of whose silent forests she still heard in her usages of what is termed good society, would secret heart, where the picture impressed in cause it to sink to a lower point than it had childhood's early hours was yet distinct, and been at before. Then he went to see her, perpetually appeared, even amid the allurethinking it should be his last visit; that it ments of artificial life, bringing up thoughts should determine him in his belief that Mad- of pain, because bringing thoughts of a home emoiselle Annette was quite unsuitable to his she now wished to abjure. peasant parents, and, consequently, not suited But the old house-father, the hardy, laborito himself; but he came away rather more ous Jacris, died. Anders was now its head in love than ever. He had long wished to A short time after the funeral, the old mother speak to her of his own life, his circum- said to him: “But I know not how it is ; I stances, his parents, and resolved to do so never can cease thinking of my little girl. without declaring his love. He had been certainly she is happy ; but surely she also thrown off his guard in his first address, when thinks of her home — she must long after her such an unlooked-for opportunity presented parents.” itself; but he should soon have recovered his “ God knows, mother,” said Anders, “ it self-possession, and Annette might have been seems she has forgotten us altogether." saved from falling into a great error, had not Nay, Anders, that is impossible. God that ill-timed interruption broken up their has not bound up family hearts so loosely. conference, and prevented the very sensible Do you know, Anders, I wish to see little discourse he had meditated. Still he went on Anna once more before I die? Dear heart! his way in hope and love, for he felt he was I cannot die before that; so much do I loved ; and with such a conviction, was it know." possible not to hope — to hope all things ? “Well! but it is a long way off, and mother
cannot go alone.” V. - THE OLD HOME IN NORRLAND. “ Nay, that is understood ; but you may How goes everything up there in the old find some goods to carry down there, and then red wooden house, on the edge of the fir- I can accompany you. forest in Norrland? The new-settler had gone “ But, mother, if I were now to find you a on well; the cleared land had become pro- good and kind daughter, who would take care ductive; old Jacris possessed three cows and of you in old age, and be altogether in Anna's a horse, besides his reindeer; there was no place ? You need not, in that case, undertake want, no poverty, in the red wooden house ; | this journey." there was a good deal of industry, and industry “ A daughter, Anders? How can that well had its reward. Some Stockholm traveller be?"! had at first brought tidings there of the child
I think mother guesses." that had left it; the parents had heard how " What then?" well, how happy, how charming, their little
" That I will marry.' Anna was; and the mother had wept - “ Marry! a child like you marry?". whether tears of joy or of sorrow, no one said “ A child of twenty-one years, mother, can which -- and Anders had laughed, and said well give you a good daughter." the wooden spoon would be well silvered ;
may certainly and the father had looked grave, but remained never have again ; still, she is always my silent.
child ; and how that was — though God The girl, however, did not write to them, bless thy father where he lies ! it never was and it was now long since they had ceased to quite the same between us after he left the hear anything of her. Mrs. Accountant girl down there." Miller was jealous of every shadow of doubt “ But it was for her own good.” existing as to the reality of her own mother “ Yes ; but I am the girl's mother, and ship; she wished to forget that another God has not forbidden a mother to miss her possessed a truer claim, and therefore she I child. There is no use in setting a strange
branch in an old tree; that I said many times the good woman's hand. 6 Mother will not to Jacris ; and though he cast it to the winds, think so; that were sinful, miserable in me. it came at the last to his heart."
Despise my mother! No, no!" • That I never could remark,” said Anders. The mother held the small fine hand in her
“But see now, Anders ; I know that better. dry fingers, and smiled and nodded her head. Yes, see now; the night before he died, when “Yes, I knew that. Anders said otherwise, I thought he slept, he called me to him, and but I did not believe him. Anders said — said : I can get no peace if you think I know you what he said, Anna? — he said you did wrong in leaving the girl down there. were the wooden spoon that wished to be a Perhaps now, in pride and over abundance, she silver spoon, and so must have got a lump of may lose her eternal salvation. But, mother, lead in the heart. Do you feel any lead in tell me now, you believe also that I did that for the heart, child ?” Annette trembled. " Nay, the best?' What could I do but say the nay; there is no lead there. Anders was comfort-word? If he did wrong, he shall altogether wrong. have no hard doom for that; for he meant “ Anders was right,” thought Annette : well, and God looks at the intention, and not the lead is here.'
She would not say so, at the result."
but she felt that, like the silvered spoon, she “We shall think of this, mother — we had only an imaginary value. She trembled shall think of it,” said Anders, and clapped lest the reality should appear; and, as she bis mother on the shoulder ; " for thou shalt trembled, the lead was felt within. The girl not lie there and say so, when thou shalt come cast herself on her mother's breast, and wept. one time to die."
Ah, if she had lain there longer! lain there “ God bless thee for that word, Anders ; till the good and wholesome feelings then and so can I say to sainted Jacris when we awakened had ripened into steady and fixed ineet there up; thou wert always a good boy. principle — or, rather, until they had turned And so it is Hilda, Henrik's daughter, thou back into the principle implanted in her heart wilt have ?"
by God himself, when she lay first upon that “ Yes, mother."
mother's breast. “ And she has two cows, and a good fifty
“Grieve not, my child — grieve not, my rix-dollars beside ?"
little Anna,” said the mother soothingly. “ Yes ; but the best of it is, that she is a Those words, “ Little Ann ," it was so long good and industrious girl."
since she had heard them! In a moment the " Yes, yes, my son.
And we shall travel whole circumstances returned the house of to see Anna, good Anders ?"
the Norrland new-settler, the rude employYes, mother, if you wish that.”
'ments, the coarse dresses; she looked at her • Thanks, Anders, thanks. Thou wilt not mother's — the decent silk handkerchief plainmarry for a year to come, I think?” ly tied over her head ; the homespun woollen
“ Not unless you want a daughter sooner, gown; the thick wooden-soled shoes. She good mother.”
thought of Hjalmar — the handsome, elegant “Wait, wait a bit, good Anders,” said young officer – if he were to see that good Gumman Jacris.
woman, and know she was Annette's mother
- if he should return before her departure ! Annette raised herself from her mother's neck; she resolved to be reasonable, to act sensibly.
The sudden change chilled the old woman's “You have not, then, forgotten me? You kindly affections ; her “Little Anna" was have not quite forgotten the old mother in now “ Mademoiselle Annette" again — the Norrland ?" said a little, elderly peasant wo- reasonable, advising, sensible Annette. She man, gazing with tearful eyes into the pretty spoke reasonably, sensibly, very sensibly inface before her.
deed, to her poor mother; every word fell • Nay, mother, nay; certainly not, mother cold and chill, and convincing upon the good dear," was Annette's reply.“ Certainly woman's heart. She was persuaded, or said not; but, yes, mother knows, mother can she was persuaded, that all Annette said was well understand, that the Accountant does not right: it was much better she should not come like'
to visit her daughter — much better that she ** Nay, Heaven keep us, child! No need should leave her quite to herself. They might to say that; he need not fear; I came not write to each other, they might think of each here to prevent your happiness, or to take you other. Annette might — yes, it was just posfrom your fine friends. No, even if you de- sible that she inight soon marry, and then spised me, Anna - so that you were happy; but they must wait; and, meantime, the but that you could not do- no, no; you could sooner mother travelled home the better - tho not despise your poor mother."
better for both. And so Annette loaded the Annette was moved. Despise you! No, old woman with a quantity of fine little things, dear mother, that can never be.” She pressed which certainly had no value in the estimaCCCCLXVII.
THE OLD MOTHER FROM NORRLAND.
tion of the receiver, except that they were the evening. The dance was a matter of given to her by her only daughter.
course ; but it was to be a day of pleasure, to And the peasant mother from Norrland went Annette at least, for Lieutenant Hjalmar was obediently away, leaving a thousand blessings to come to Stockholm purposely for the occaon the head of her pretty daughter, and on sion, and was to drive her in an open sledge those of the second parents who had brought to Drottningholm - an island in the Mälar, her up so well – so grandly, at least, she where the king of Sweden has a palace, and added“; and taught her a whole heap of beau- the people of Sweden have a good many tiful things. The Accountant and his wife restaurants. The plan was arranged by the took a hearty leave of the good old creature, gentleman who acted as master of ceremonies and were delighted to see how content and on the occasion, and who happened to be a thankful she was, and how clearly she under- friend of both parties. Annette was ready stood their conduct.
dressed, in a very pretty and becoming winter Just that sort of commendation they be- costuine. It wanted still an hour to the time stowed on her mother, hurt Annette the most; fixed for setting out; but Hjalmar had written she felt what they did not perceive -- namely, to the Accountant, to say he would call some that the mother, full of self-sacrificing love, time previously, in order to “solicit leave to had appeared satisfied with all that was sat- conduct Mamzell Miller in his sledge.” Now, isfactory to her child.
this “ solicitation" was looked on by all the “She has gone away quite content,” said party as a mere harmless artifice; they every the Accountant, rubbing his hands.
one thought the solicitation would have an“Now you are mine, wholly mine!" said other object. “To conduct Mamzell Miller Mrs. Accountant, embracing her foster-daugh- through the journey of life," said the Accountter. "The old woman from Norrland has ant, and laughed at his own wit. Annette quite giren you up." Now the lead made opened the square of glass which is sometimes itself felt in the heart of the silvered spoon. made to open in the winter double windows Good Mrs. Accountant saw the shade on the of Sweden. The Accountants were terrified young brow. "But, dear heart! I forgot. at the rash experiment. She quickly pulled There is an invitation to President K—'s in her head again. Though the day was fine, for Friherrinan's name's-day. It will be quite the sensation is not agreeable when a head is a festival, and a ball in the evening." projected from the amazingly warm rooms
Annette looked up. “A fête at the presi- into the clear cold air. A sudden memory dent's! that will then be a most brilliant crossed the girl's mind; there was another, society?"
a very different sledging-party moving on “Yes, child,” whispered the foster-mamma; ward that day; a drive on such a day would “ and between ourselves — let it be between be pleasant, a journey very trying; and her ourselves — Papa Miller and I said, when the mother, her aged mother, was travelling invitation came, little Annette shall go there. homeward, her long and dreary way, through Poor little Annette ! she requires some restor- snowy forests and frozen lakes, back to the ative after these trying days. So papa went house which she had not left from the time himself to get something quite new. Well, of her marriage until she left it to travel down child, be not curious ; you shall soon see.” to Stockholm to see her child. That child
In the evening came Accountant Miller, thought of the wearisomé days, the long and brought a beautiful dress and some new cheerless nights, her mother must pass on her ornaments. Annette forgot her troubles, her road, and she shuddered; a pain shot to her home, her mother ; she forgot all but one heart -- she tried to think of something else
. thing - her love. In the fulness of her The Accountant thought she was impatient, heart, she whispered it to her foster-parents; and remarked that she was ready too soon; she told them of Hjalmar's ; she obtained that people were never so precise — an obsertheir consent. The lieutenant was not rich, vation which Mrs. Accountant corrected, by but his partly self-elected bride would not be reminding him that he used always to be poor; and good-heartedness, and a little sen- before the appointed hour when he came to timent, influenced both the manner and con- see her before their marriage. The Account duct of our worthy Accountant, when called ant admitted the charge ; and while some upon so unexpectedly to act the father's part tender memories of five-and-twenty years ago on so important and interesting an occasion. were thus awakened, and brought tears into VII. THE PRESIDENT'S FETE.
the good man's eyes, and plump Mrs. Account
ant clapped him, after the Swedish fashion, It was the morning of the president's fête and said ; “Dear thou ! dear thou!" the fos- a fine, bright winter morning. The roadster-daughter sat plunged in thought, in which were in good sledging order ; the snow lay anticipated pleasure tried hard to overcome deep and hard. There was to be a sledging- a repressed but ever-awakening sense of pain party out to the royal domain of Drottning- and remorse. holin, a dinner there, and a dance at home in Nearly at the appointed time, not too late
a wonderful thing for a Swede-- and cer Annette took on herself the office of hinting, tainly not too early, Hjalmar arrived. He that Mrs. Accountant wished to know why looked perhaps a shade graver - more ear- she had the honor of a visit from Kaptenska nest than usual ; there was nothing of elation, Weinberg. eagerness, scarcely any perceptible tenderness Yes, that was soon told ; Kaptenska had in his manner. Mr. and Mrs. Accountant called with coinpliments from mamzell's were surprised, and not altogether pleased ; mother. Annette turned pale as death. Yes. Annette, however, was satisfied, and deeply Kaptenska was now sorry that she had not happy. When the lieutenant took her hand, made the dear mamzell's acquaintance sooner; and looked into her eyes, she felt that she held but the dear mamzell would certainly know, his happiness in her keeping — that his gravi- that she never could have guessed that Karin ty, his earnestness, arose from the fact that Jacris was the dear mamzell's mother. Yet he had come there more than ever determined so it was that Jacris, Mamzell Annette 's to seek it only from her. She was not wrong; sainted father, had lived as farm-servunt with consideration had deepened both Hjalmar's her sainted* husband, when the sainted love and fears. That he loved Annette, with Weinberg was Kapten of a land-regiment in -all her defects of character, more than he Norrland; and Karin a good, kind, sweet should probably ever love another woman, he little human being — had nursed her daughwas more thoroughly convinced; that he ter, who thus proved to be Mamzell Annette's would not marry her, even if she would marry own foster-sister ;- and - she would not just him, unless he found in her a mind accordant say it of her own girl — but the sainted Weinwith bis own views of life, and his own posi- berg used to say, that Karin Jacris tion in society, he was still more resolved. The Kaptenska's disclosures were interWith such a state of mind his manner ac- rupted by a deep sigh or sob. The dear corded ; but that manner was rather perplex- mamzell sainted ! Poor Kaptenska! She ing to the worthy Accountant and his wife — had long desired to get acquainted with her his better-half in most senses. His most neighbors, the rich Accountants, who had hearty, father-like reception had been ready; such pleasant parties, to which her daughter her part, as the gracious, yet dignified mamma, might be invited; and when the old Karin had been prepared ; but somehow there was from Norrland,” never imagining that Annette something so unlike the son-in-law expectant kept her birth and origin a profound secret, in the manner and address of young Lieuten- had called to see her old mistress on her way ant Hjalmar, that the parts of the kind con- home, and had drunk coffee with her, and senting parents were involuntarily suspended, related to her the cause of her long journey, and the actors only felt confused and awk- and told her the wonderful history of her ward, not knowing exactly how to fall in with beautiful child, the admired Mamzell Miller, the unexpected changes that had been made her astonishment was only equalled by her in the piece. They were each silently rumi- delight; she beheld the door of Accountant nating on the propriety of retiring for a few Miller's house at once opened to her and to minutes from the scene, until the hero and the foster-sister of their adopted daughter. heroine had decided on the plot, when, some- It is customary among the Swedes, when they what to their relief, and to Hjalmar's annoy- have met with a friend of the person they ance, an almost unknown visitor entered the visit, to present that friend's compliments,
It was a little, fat elderly lady, made although they have not been sent; so Kaptenalmost as broad as she was long with wadded ska Weinberg felt no embarrassment in petticoats; who, having deposited a variety making her first speech. She was the friend of outer clothing in the Tambour, or entrance of mamzell's parents ; her sainted Weinberg hall, came courtesying, apologizing, speaking had been a good master — she and her daughvery humbly, and looking very important, ter must naturally be mamzell's good friends : into the salong, where the party sat. It is and all that Kaptenska Weinberg had to do, rather disagreeable to enter a room where was to lament that she had not known long people are comfortably seated on sofas and before that the sweet mamzell’s mamma was chairs, and casting a surprised and inquiring not Fru Kamrerska Miller, but good Gummant glance at the intruder. “Lieutenant Hjalmar Jacris. was the only one of party who spoko the Alas, the vanity of human expectations ! visitor, for he was slightly acquainted with her, Annette was laid on a sofa, and Kaptenska and greeted her by name.
was almost turned out of doors by the enraged “I have not the honor" — said Mr. Ac- Accountant. Mrs. Accountant was nearly countant.
distracted ; Lieutenant Hjalmar - calm, but " We have not the honor" - repeated very pale with apprehension, emotion, Mrs. Accountant.
" I have not the honor of being acquainted * Swedes usually use the term sainted when here," said the little woman, taking up the speaking of a dead husband or wife. speech herself.
+ Old woman - term used to peasants
uncertain sort of joy at finding his beloved was but ourselves - no peasant parents at least ! rather below than above the station of his And here she sat, and held a long discourse to own respected parents — hung over the arin the girl about having God before her eyes, of the sofa, wondering at the agitation that and not forgetting her eternal salvation, belaid her there, at a loss to account for it, and cause the world was good and pleasant to her ; unwilling, if he were able, to release the hand just as if we had not brought up the child as which Annette had almost convulsively clasped well and religiously as we could. And she when he had caught her in his arms and clung to us, and loved us so inwardly; she carried her there. A burst of tears relieved never could hear of that poor old home without her ; the Accountant then drew the young shame. But now, the mother must come and man away, and the girl was left to weep her disturb us all, saying she only wanted to sce tears upon the bosom of the sympathizing and her child before she died — coming five hunindignant Mamma Miller. Hjálmar gently dred miles in mid-winter to see a girl who pressed the hand that held his, as he drew it does not wish to have any parent but ouraway. Annette felt and understood that selves ! . Annette was anxious to get her off pressure ; it went to her heart; it redoubled as quickly as possible - naturally; what her tears, but it did her good. She re- could she do with her here? She could not precovered ; she sat up; she said to herself sent her even to the servants, and say ; “ Hjalmar will not change ; his love will. This is my mother — this worthy Gumman overcome all. Though I am in other eyes from Norrland.' So she gave her a little only a peasant's daughter, in his I shall be money, and sent her back again directly, she all I ever was - Annette Miller."
did not wish to have her here. That was Ah, poor Annette Miller! while consoling most natural.” herself thus, her lover, thrown into a great “ Pardon me, best Accountant,” said Hjalchair, was listening with an aching heart to mar, when he came to a stop; “I cannot the angry words and painful disclosures of the think it was most natural." Accountant, who walked up and down the “ The lieutenant, then, does not admire room, uttering words which were like death- Annette's conduct ?'' strokes to the good lieutenant. It was not “ That I cannot do." until the first ebullition of wrath and denun “The lieutenant, then, does not love our ciation was over, that Hjalmar could clearly girl so highly as she believes ?" understand the language that pained him so Hjalmar's face blushed deeply. “I have deeply.
never spoken of my love," he replied, " to Yes, that is all true ; she is the daughter her, to her foster-parents, to any one. I believed of these poor people up there in Norrland; she it was known to myself alone — its existence, is ashamed of them — naturally. We have its degree, its nature. I wish to speak to her: brought her up as our own; who has a right but it was of another, at least of a preliminary to come and say she is not so? She wishes subject. With the Accountant's leave, I will to have no other parents ; she denies them, now write to Annette ; I will not now detain looks down upon them — naturally. She is the Accountant longer from her.” above them in all respects ; poor little dear." Annette was better her color had even
“She is ashamed of them!” said Hjalmar returned. She came into the room, prepared in a very deep-toned voice.
still to go on the sledging-party, and expecting Naturally. See now, my best lieutenant, then to have a full explanation with Hjalmar, I will conceal nothing from you — natur- for which a drive in a sledge might afford a ally, after what little Annette has let us sufficiently convenient opportunity, After understand. But see now, the girl has always that pressure of the hand, she felt she could passed for our own; we have educated her meet him as usual. So she came into the how? that is not for me to say; you see
room ; but Hjalmar had gone away.
She what she is ; certainly, she is not suited to was displeased at his precipitation ; her these honest folk. What could she do up sledging must be given up; but she would there in such a home as that? She could not go to the president's ball in the evening; she put her foot within it. But what do you would meet him there, and be very distant think? After more than eight years' separa- and cold towards him, and much more agreetion, comes the old mother froin Norrland - able to her other admirers. She had no opthe father is dead, thank Heaven! — but the portunity of thus revenging herself for the mother, it seems, cannot forget the girl, and loss of her sledging-party ; Hjalmar was not away she must come down here to see her. at the ball. Friherrinam K. had received his You may think, my good lieutenant; poor excuses ; he was obliged to return to the place little Annette ! a mere good-natured, coarsely- he had left. dressed peasant woman, coming and calling To smile, to look pleased, to dance, with a her daughter, and wanting to embrace her, load of lead in the heart — this cannot be and weep over her, and make quite a scene ; very easy. In the heart of the silvered wooden a girl who does not wish to have any parent spoon the lead had grown very heavy.