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THE BURGOMASTER'S FAMILY.
future looks rose-colored in the horizon, THE JOURNEY HOME. ,
and the feeling of youth and cheerfulness
soon overcame any momentary regret. It was a fine day in June, and the eleven Emmy Welters was eighteen years of age. o'clock train from Amsterdam, heavily Where was she going? She was going to laden with passengers and luggage, only her native place and parental home. To waited for the last whistle to start from the both, owing to a long absence, she had station.
become almost a stranger. The peculiar bustle of the moment of de-! For in her twelfth year she had had the parture prevailed on the platform. Trucks misfortune to lose her mother, and her with trunks and packages were wheeled in unmarried aunt at Amsterdam had taken all haste out of the luggage office to the possession of her with the ready consent of goods vans; relations and friends who were her father, who felt himself little fitted to to remain behind waved their adieux to superintend the completion of her educathe travellers, and here and there a last tion. shake of the hand was exchanged.
The aunt who took charge of her was “Good-bye, Miss Emmy! God bless one of those women to be found in almost you! Think now and then of old Henry !” every family ; a woman who in ordinary
It was a little meagre old man who times is too little considered, but who, as, uttered these words, as he stood, with his soon as sorrow, sickness, or death enters, cap in his hand, at the door of a first-class the house, appears on the threshold as a carriage. A fair-haired young lady leant guardian angel. In such a case it is to out of the window with a friendly smile, her always that the letter written with a and with tears in her eyes. She did not trembling hand is addressed. Be it Aunt answer his adieux, but reached out her Anna, Sister Wim, or Cousin Kate, she is hand once more to the old man, and, I always an old maid, and for this reason indeed, had she spoken, he could hardly peuple feel justified in making use of her. have heard her, for the whistle screamed It seems to them quite natural that she and the train was off.
should leave her comfortable home to adThe young lady sat in a corner of the minister the household and keep the seven carriage and gazed out of the window, troublesome children in order, whilst the whilst one by one the objects familiar to mistress of the house is up-stairs with the her vanished out of her sight. The tears newly-born, No. 8. (She is unmarried, rolled down her cheeks, but yet it was and therefore cannot be wanted at home.) rather a melancholy sensation incidental to It does not appear unreasonable that in leave-taking than any more painful feeling another family where the husband lies ill, which caused them to flow ; for Emmy she should watch day and night by his bedWelters was still at that happy age when side (she has nothing better to do). It is every change has its charms, when the quite en regle that she should come and
take care of the husband whose wife has seemed to the old aunt that she had attainbeen carried to the churchyard. Yes, ed the summit of happiness when she was indeed, it is even thought nothing out of able to take Emmy to live with her; when, the way if, during the three warm summer with all the warmth of her loving heart, months, she acts as bonne to the children, she could dedicate her life to the care and while husband and wife are making a tour education of her favorite niece ; and among the mountains in Switzerland (after when at last she had a duty which bound all, it is more sociable for her than being her to her own home, and she would no lonat home alone with her cat and canary ger be the common property of her bird). At least so people think, and so relatives. they justify themselves; and thus the And Emmy loved' her good old aunt as unmarried women are not unfrequently a mother; and indeed, during the last two weighted with all the burdens of all the years, when her aunt was weak and ill, families of their relations and friends, and Emmy had nursed her with the hearty their task is somewhat heavier than that of affection of a daughter, and as a daughter, the married woman, who has only the cares had wept at her death-bed, when, a few of a single family to call her own. Of all weeks ago, Aunt Emmy had gone to her these privileged family drudges Emmy's rest. aunt was certainly one of the most privi- But in those six years great changes had leged.
taken place in her father's house. Emmy She was the eldest of eight brothers and had been two years with her aunt when the sisters, who were all married except her- news came that her father was about to self; and as she had sufficient fortune to marry widow De Graaff. make her independent, she might have en- The widow had three children, two joyed much of life, had not all these fami- daughters and a son. Elizabeth de Graaff, lies considered her indispensable in deaths, the youngest, in former times, had been a in baptisms, and in sickness, so that gra- playfellow of Emmy's, and was only a year dually her own home was only recognized or two younger than herself; the son had as a place where she lodged for a few been a schoolfellow of Emmy's brother, weeks, whenever, by a happy chance, none Otto, with whom he had formerly lived in of her brothers and sisters required her obstinate enmity, as Emmy still clearly help.
remembered. Of the eldest daughter, who Amidst all the many burdens borne for was then quite grown-up, she had only a the sake of others, Aunt Emmy had grown faint recollection. old, and probably the remainder of her Thus they were now all brothers and life would have been spent in the same sisters, at least in name—Mina, William, manner, had not an unexpected event pro- and Elizabeth de Graaff, and Otto Welters vided her with a few years of rest. and his sister Emmy. Of the new mem
Her youngest sister, who had married bers of the family, Emmy had since seen the Burgomaster of Dilburg, Mr. Welters, nothing. Her father came twice a year died after a long illness, during which she to Amsterdam on business, and at the had been nursed by Aunt Emmy with unex- same time paid a visit to his sister-in-law ampled care, leaving one son of eighteen, and his little daughter ; and her brother Otto, and a daughter of twelve, Emmy. Otto, who had studied at Leyden with a view
Amongst the crowd of nephews and nieces to becoming an advocate, gave up a few . in whose possession she rejoiced, little days of each vacation as an offering to his Emmy was Aunt Emmy's pet child. It little sister, for the quiet home of the old
chance, none obstinate enmitOf the eld
-sha crowd of nephews and nieces to beculum
aunt had very little further attraction things together, kept tightly grasped in her for him.
hands her umbrella, parasol, and travellingEvery year, on New Year's Day, Emmy bag. sent her stepmother her good wishes, ac- "Are you quite certain that this is the companied by a piece of needlework as a train to Arnheim ?" she suddenly added, present; and every year her letter was with an expression of much anxiety in her courteously answered by Mrs. Welters, with countenance. Emmy tranquillized her, and the addition of the greetings of Mina and at the same time met the amused glance of William, and a short note from the little a young man who was looking at her with Elizabeth in school-girl language.
rude persistence. The Englishman, also, Four years previous to Emmy's actual in the other corner, with red whiskers and return, a plan had been formed for Emmy the inevitable Murray in his hand, let his to pay a visit to her father; but, from vari-book fall, and stuck his eyeglass in the ous causes, nothing came of this plan for corner of his left eye, that he might look at the first two years, and in the last two the her at his ease when she should turn illness and helplessness of her aunt made towards him. Emmy's going from home impossible. And true enough Emmy Welters was She.called it going from home, for in Em- well worth looking at, as she sat there in my's thoughts the house of her aunt was her simple but tasteful dress. A beauty in the home to which she was attached by the the strict sense of the word she was not. strong bonds of gratitude and love. Lat- She had clear blue eyes and pretty fair hair, terly, when her aunt was bedridden, she which, cropped short, waved in natural had frequently, in the long, silent, solitary curls all over her head, on which her little evenings, thought, in spite of herself, with round black hat sat most becomingly. longing interest of her parental home. She The dark mourning dress which she endeavored to picture to herself home-life wore, and which set off still more the deliin the midst of her brothers and sisters—a cate whiteness of her complexion, gave her life which she embellished in her mind with so attractive an appearance that one forgot all the glow of youth and imagination, and to remark that her mouth was large, and where the shadow-side found no place. that her nose, which was intended to be She was not the less grieved, however, when Grecian, had grown in a different direction. her aunt died; but when her first tears But the dimple in her cheek, and the bloom were dried, she turned her thoughts hope- of youth which was spread over her countefully to her real home, her father's house, nance, compensated for the irregularity of where was her natural position. Emmy her features. Yes, if a good exterior is a thought over all these things whilst she was letter of recommendation to the world, sitting in the corner of the railway carriage. Emmy Welters entered it well recomIt was an old servant of her aunt who had mended. But the world she was about to brought her to the train, and had uttered enter was not a great one-the world of the the heartfelt adieu which we have heard provincial town of Dilburg, of which her him speak.
father was burgomaster; a little town-like “Is mademoiselle also going to Arn- most little towns—where all human passions heim?”
whirl round in a small circle ; where the With these words, Emmy was disturbed young doctor is the deadly enemy of the in her meditations by a stout lady who sat old doctor; where the orthodox preacher opposite her, and who, for fear of not hav- does not think his more modern fellowing time enough at Arnheim to get all ber clergyman worthy of a bow; a little town where an engagement, a marriage, or a made more or less willingly to swift locodeath is an interesting event which keeps motion. All these changes quite broke all minds for whole days in a state of con- off the chain of Emmy's recollection, so jecture ; where any accident is treated as that the town of her destination was in an animated subject of conversation ; a lit- sight when she fancied it was still distant tle town where much good is done to the by half an hour. The train had hardly poor and suffering, but where a great deal stopped when she jumped lightly out of of evil is spoken, and where every inhabi- the carriage and gave a searching look tant is inspired with the conviction that one round. might look through the world in vain for a On the platform there were very few more perfect town than the said little town persons, and hardly a single passenger got of Dilburg.
out of the train except herself, so that Otto At Arnheim, Emmy helped the stout Welters had very little difficulty in finding lady and her possessions out of the train, his sister. not sorry to be quit of one who seemed to And Emmy had immediately caught carry with her the conviction that she sight of him, for Otto was one of those should be somehow or other lost between men whom you could recognize out of a Amsterdam and Arnheim ; that the train, thousand. He was more than ordinarily instead of pursuing its way straight to Arn- tall, and the spareness of his figure made heim, as was its duty, would allow itself his height more striking. He had, moreto make a little excursion to Rotterdam or over, a long thin neck, on which rested a elsewhere ; or that the station to which she small, almost too small, head. He had was bound would, in an unguarded mo- light brown curly hair and the same blue ment, escape her observation. At each eyes as his sister Emmy, but his were shastoppage she put her head out to ask this ded by spectacles, which still further inor that person within reach of her voice creased the peculiarity of his exterior ; and whether this was Arnheim, or whether the yet that exterior was undoubtedly agreeatrain was really going to Arnheim, at which ble. One felt attracted to him by a certown she at last arrived safely, not a little tain goodness and kindness expressed in fatigued and heated by the anxiety she had his countenance. His fine-cut mouth was endured.
enclosed in a dark beard, which covered Here, too, both the gentlemen left the all the lower part of his face, and gave him carriage, so that Emmy was alone and a manliness which he otherwise would have could indulge in her own thoughts undis-wanted, owing to the delicacy of his featurbed during the rest of her journey to tures and the smallness of his head. Dilburg. The nearer she came, the more “Welcome, dear Emmy," he said, cheerfully her heart beat. In vain, how- heartily, as he stooped to kiss her on both ever, she looked out for any place which she cheeks. had known in the days of her childhood. “It is very good of you, Otto, to come Where the canal-boat and diligence had and fetch me. I was afraid you would be held their undisturbed sway, the railway unable to find time; for, if I may believe train, with its seven-leagued boots, now the newspapers, a new shining star has rushed through the country. Here it had arisen in the advocate firmament of Dilcut an estate in two; here it had felled burg.” half a wood; here it had swallowed up an “You're as saucy as ever," said Otto, old castle ; here it had separated a meadow laughing. “Well, really, Emmy, how tall or corn-field from the farm-sacrifices all you have grown”
held twith its seven-Ledstry. Here it hled burg.
“I forbid such remarks; they are insult- No, Emmy,” he continued, more gravely, ing to my eighteen years of age,” Emmy “do not ask me for a description of our answered, handing him the tickets for her new family; it is much better that you trunks.
should see them with your own eyes. Whilst Otto went to the luggage office, Commence with the intention of loving Emmy sat down on a bench outside the them and doing your duty by them, and waiting-room with a heart overflowing with time will show you further.” happiness. All her life she had so loved “Perhaps you are right, Otto. But tell that brother. Six years older than herself, me one thing—do you love our new moOtto had a protective tenderness for his little ther?” sister- "the child," as he called her, whom Otto paused a moment before he his mother had confided to him on her answered; then he said, in a decisive tone, death-bed. If only all her belongings felt|“ No, Emmy; love her I do not. Yet a part of the pleasure at her coming which there has never been a disagreeable word Otto's glistening eyes expressed ! thought exchanged between us. I determined Emmy
from the very beginning that I would do all “Now, child, your luggage is all right,” in my power not to disturb the peace of said Otto, cutting short her meditations, the family; and as I do not, as you know, "and I have already secured a cab.” live at home, it has not been difficult. I need
“Is it really necessary to go in a cab?” not be more at my father's house than I “Necessary; why, what do you mean?” like, but it is a pleasure to me to be in the
“Why, if it is not too much against Dil- family circle ; and often when I come there burg etiquette, I had rather, for my own of an evening, and find the family sitting pleasure, walk home with you, and talk to sociably round the tea-table, then I think you about a hundred things which I have of the loneliness of the parlor after our in my mind."
dear mother's death, and I feel grateful to "'s Menshen Wille ist sein Himmel- my stepmother, who revived our domestic reich," answered Otto; and putting Em-life, and brought home my father from a my's hand under his arm, they set off on life at the club." their walk without furthur delay.
“And William de Graaff ?-as a boy .“And what have you in your mind to you could not endure him.” say, my little Emmy?”
“I still do not like him, and he likes Emmy was silent for a moment at the me as little ; but we bear with each other question; then she said, with some hesita- since we have become brothers, without tion, “I am so happy to come home, Otto ; troubling ourselves much about each other. but are they happy at home that I am Now ask me about Mary van Stein, Emcoming ?"
1 “Is it true, Otto ?” said Emmy, turnawkward questions, child? What can I ing towards him and looking at him. “I say? I know three individuals who have am so glad for your sake. Is it really all said in so many words that they are glad settled ?” papa, Elizabeth, and I. The others of the “Who has been telling tales out of family are not of a demonstrative nature.” school ?” said Otto, laughing. “It is not
“What sort of person is mamma, Otto ?" yet all settled, so far as relates to the de
“What sort of man is the Emperor of finite consent of Uncle Van Stein, who will China ? Do you think that I can paint a not at present hear of an engagement. portrait of her on the spot as large as life. But Mary and I are quite at one on the