« ZurückWeiter »
Mary made no answer to this flood of loved features, two warm tears for the first words; but taking her father's dressing-time rolled down her cheeks. “Mother,” gown out of the cupboard, she began the she whispered, “it is over. I shall remain repetition of a very peculiar scene which to take care of him ; help me, strengthen took place every evening at the desire of me with your spirit.” Then she slowly Mr. van Stein.
put down the candle and bowed her head Any one who was ignorant of this for a moment as if in prayer. When she custom, on entering the room unexpect- raised it again, the expression of her face edly, would certainly have been much was entirely changed ; her color had come astonished to see Mary walking patiently back, her eyes sparkled, whilst her fingers up and down the room in the dressing- turned over the leaves of the Bible which gown for a quarter of an hour, and would lay open on the table before her, and her probably not have guessed that the garment voice sounded almost cheerful as she read was made to receive in this way the degree aloud the passage which she seemed to of heat deemed necessary by Mr. van have been searching for: “He that taketh Stein, in order that he might not be seized not his cross, and followeth after Me, is with that most fearful of all fearful things— not worthy of Me.” a cold.
So she walked up and down the room Mr. van Stein and Mary had set off. in the old checked dressing-gown, her face Otto had seen their heavily-packed carriage so pale and sad, her heart so full of pain, pass by his window just as he had risen longing for the moment when she should from his bed after a restless, sleepless be alone, but patiently fulfilling her duty night. with all the strength of her will. When Should he go to the station to take she had helped her father to bed, she still leave of them ? Should he, with his deep went about the house for some time, feeling of shame, again meet Mary's eyes ? putting the last touch to all the prepara- Should he try once more whether her tions for the journey; and it was already sentence of separation was in earnest ? No, past midnight when, having got everything he could not make up his mind to this. ready, she at last repaired to her own room. Mary had not even looked up to his house At last to rest, and at last alone
from the carriage-no longer thought him But even now it was not in a passionate worthy of a bow. Could it be true that flood of tears that she sought relief for her she had ever loved him as much as he pain. Only the fixed look of her eyes had thought ? Was it, after all, only for a denoted that her thoughts were far away chimera that he had suffered so much? from the practical operation of undressing, Could Mary have parted from him so which she had just commenced.
easily if she had really loved him ? How Nevertheless, before she went to bed, she calmly, how composedly had she spoken raised her candle up towards the wall.where the last words which parted them! Was a portrait in oil, the size of life, presented it self-command, the practice of which in a beautiful young woman. One would her life she had brought to perfeetion, or have sought in vain for any resemblance in I was it coolness and indifference? Mary to this portrait, but yet there was Suddenly cutting short these reflections, something in the friendly, gentle expres- he hastily seized his coat and hat. sion of the face, which reminded one of He would still see and speak to Mary ; her.
he would look into the very depths of her And in the contemplation of those be- soul ; he would know whether the affection which his conscience warned him he own wavering heart, which had brought had trifled with really existed ; he would-upon him all the misery of this struggle.
The whistle of the departing train And not on this day of parting only, but sounded as he arrived breathless on the on many subsequent days, the most unplatform. The train was already in mo- happy Otto had ever experienced. tion when he reached it. Peering hastily At one time he began a letter to Mary, into the first-class carriages, he discovered in which he besought her to forget the the thick great-coat of Uncle van Stein, past, and to believe that he loved her which covered him up to the chin, whilst more than any woman in the world ; but Mary was busy adjusting his cache-nez. when he got thus far the form of Celine
Otto called out her name; she let down rose up before his imagination as a warnthe window with a sudden effort, and bent ing spectre. He then tore the paper into forward to wave her hand to him.
atoms, and gave himself up to a thousand Once more their eyes met ; once more dreams and wishes, in which Mary played Mary gazed at Otto with a gentle, mourn- no past. ful look, with tears in her eyes, while she And yet several days passed after Mary's forced herself to smile. Overwhelmed by departure before the desire of seeing the most conflicting emotions, Otto re- Celine was again awakened in his mind. mained for some time without moving on It was some weeks since he had paid his the spot where he had lost sight of the last visit to Beckley, and in the mean time train which bore Mary away.
information of importance had reached In his mind, which had been so calm him, which he had every day intended to but a few months before, a tumult and bring before Mr. Arnold-namely, that discord now prevailed, which made him the inheritance, which had mainly led to indescribably unhappy. What yesterday their acquaintance, had fallen through, he had thought an impossible piece of owing to the discovery of an heir nearer in good fortune, to be free from all ties, and succession than Mr. Arnold, and that to have obtained his freedom without say-consequently further exertions in inquiry ing a single word which his strong sense and investigation had become useless. of honor and justice would have forbidden When Otto entered the gate of Beckley him to say—this was now an actual fact. at the same hour as on his first visit, it Mary was gone, and he was free.
seemed to him as if years had passed since But why did not his heart rejoice, as he that day. thought it would have done? Why did It was some relief to him that nature did he gaze at the train that took her away not now present itself to him in the full with such an inward feeling of pain ? summer glow of a June morning ; that the Why that inexpressible longing to see and Aowers had disappeared ; that the few speak to her once more? To go home leaves which had resisted the autumn wind was at that moment impossible to him ; hung yellow and withered on the trees, and so leaving the station he went along the might be called solitary compared with the broad gravel walk which led out of the numbers which crackled under his feet, or town.
which the wind blew against him. It was He did not heed the rain, which fell in a relief to him that all was different, as he great drops ; he did not feel the chill/was himself. autumn wind, which blew round his ears With an altered face also Mr. Arnold and whistled through the trees; he could came to meet Otto as he entered the study. only feel the oppression and burden of his How much older, how much more fallen away, he appeared since their first meeting, Welters, not to know what will become of and especially since the last time Otto had his daughter, for whose happiness he is spoken to him but a few weeks back. And ready to sacrifice all that he has in the what a shade of sadness overspread his face, world." where now there was a settled expression “We must hope, Mr. Arnold,” said of melancholy, the traces of which Otto Otto, warmly," that the time is farther off had often discerned before. After greeting than you think when she will require other Mr. Arnold, and excúsing himself for care than that of her father ; but if she has having kept away so long, Otto communi- the misfortune to lose you and to be alone, cated the tidings respecting the inherit- you may be certain that she will find in ance, which appeared to make much less me all the help and support which it is in impression on Mr. Arnold than he ex- my power to give." pected.
| Mr. Arnold responded to these evi“Well, I have done what was my duty dently well-intended words with a hearty to do,” he said, calmly ; "and if another pressure of his hand ; but before he could man has more right to it than I have, I am say anything, they were disturbed by loud content. Besides, money is of no conse- cries and a noise which, although somequence to me, and Celine has enough with- what diminished by distance, reached the out that. Poor child l she has suffered a room where they were sitting. greater loss to-day than the prospect of the Mr. Arnold sprang up alarmed at the inheritance.”
first sound, and Otto followed him as he “Suffered a loss?” asked Otto, with as hastened out of the room and down-stairs, much interest as surprise.
directing his steps to the stables, whence "I have spoken to you more than once the sound proceeded. of my friend Van Dalen, have I not, Mr. And what a spectacle met their eyes on Welters ? A friend of mine and of Celine's arriving there ! The door stood wide open, in the fullest sense of the word; a friend aud there, in the middle of the stable, was who promised to be a father to her when I Celine Arnold, standing before her white should be no more. Before I left India horse, which, foaming from the mouth, was everything was settled and agreed upon rearing back wildly. Celine, with a face with him and his wife, and I should have distorted with passion and her eyes flaming, tranquilly laid down my head knowing held with one hand by the collar a stable that Celine would have found a home with boy, from whom the screams proceeded, him. By the last mail I received the news while with the other she beat him with all of his death.”
her might with a thick riding-whip of her Overcome with emotion, Mr Arnold was father's. silent. Otto, having said a few words of “There ! there ! there !" she cried, with sympathy, inquired :
a harsh voice at each repeated stroke, whilst “And his widow-cannot she be a the servants who had collected stood staring mother to your daughter, although her in horror at the scene, but not one of them husband is no longer there to aid her in ventured to interfere. the task ?"
I No one but her father dared even to ap“No, no, that would not do; Celine proach her. He had no sooner entered could not be left to her guidance alone, the stable than the whip was taken out of and I believe that a plan is arranged for her hand and thrown into a corner, and her to take up her abode with a married the stable boy released. daughter. It is a hard thing for a father, I “For shame, Celine !” He said these
words gently and earnestly, and in a sor
CHAPTER XII. rowful tone. Nevertheless her passion was
A NEW VERSION OF AN OLD SONG. not subdued. With a shrieking voice she stammered out in broken sentences : “My father is ill, Otto! do come to us
“He has beaten Schimmel. I have again if Beck ley is not out of your way. long been watching him till I caught him
“CELINE." the act, and I have beaten him, and shall This short note reached Otto early one beat him again. I'll beat him to death if morning a few days after the visit to he ever comes in my way again. He to Beckley already mentioned, a visit which. beat Schimmel, poor defenceless beast ! |
after the scene he had witnessed, he had Then I'll beat him, I will—I'll beat him
hardly found courage to repeat. He kissed to death! My poor Schimmel !"
Celine's beautiful handwriting before he Now, however, came the reaction of her locked up the letter in his desk. He felt passion. She turned round suddenly, and his heart glow with the thought that it was throwing her arms round the horse's neck Celine who was calling him to her. that and hiding her head in his long white she felt the want of his presence now that mane, she burst into passionate sobs, and her father was ill, and she was herself. addressed soft caressing words in Malay to perhaps, in a serious and sorrowful frame the animal.
of mind. And so they left her alone.
On this occasion I will for once make The stable boy had immediately taken use of the hackneyed poetical expression to flight, the servants went back to the to inform you that Otto forthwith flew on house, Mr. Arnold again retired to his the wings of love to Beckley, and hardly a
room, whilst Otto went away unobserved, quarter of an hour after the receipt of . and deeply affected returned to the town. Celine's letter he entered the house, or at
Was this the girl who had driven Mary outleast intended to enter it, for, as he went of his heart? Could a man hope for hap- up the steps, Celine came out of the door, piness with a woman who can change into accompanied by Cæsar. such a fury? Was such a woman worthy How sorrowful and careworn she looked ; of the love which a man would devote to how cordially she pressed Otto's hand as her as the best feeling of his heart ? she greeted him.
A fresh letter was written that afternoon “How is your father, Celine ?” to Mary and torn up. Poor wavering Otto ! "I fear not at all well, Otto; I sat up he could not sleep that night owing to the with him last night, and found him feverish vision which hovered incessantly before his and restless." eyes. The vision of Celine in her violent “May I go to him ?” fury and unwomanly act ? No, indeed; "No, not now; he has just fallen but the recollection of the glowing face, asleep, and I have taken advantage of the the sparkling dark eyes, the black locks opportunity to telegraph to Amsterdam. hanging loose and mingled with the white I hope, therefore, to have the doctor here mane of the horse, the caressing words in this evening.” the soft-sounding, strange language. “Why did you not let me sit up with
The image of the moth and the candle has your father, Celine? You know what a been too often used and abused to be bor- pleasure it would have been to me to be rowed here, but it could never have a bet- of service to you in any way,” said Otto, ter application than in the case of Otto warmly. Welters.
| “Yes, that I willingly believe," an
tting out be friend, bear them, as, but they
swered Celine, again putting out her hand “No, Otto ! in that sense the church to him. “You are our only friend, bells have no sound for me. I like to Otto, and when I want help I will not hear them, as a pleasant melody which hesitate to apply to you, but the nursing of charms my ear, but they have no language my dear father I will hand over to no one. for me. There is no church which can
Great tears glistened in her eyes as she call me ; I belong to none, and I wish to uttered these words in a soft tone.
belong to none.” How lovely, how charming, how en- “And why not?” asked Otto, with tirely feminine she was, as she stood some astonishment at her decided tone. before Otto in her great distress. No “Is there no church communion with wonder he wholly forgot how he had last whose form of worship you could agree? seen her. No wonder he consented so Is there never in you a strongly felt want eagerly when she proposed to him to to hear in any church a serious word of walk with her, as she wished to take ad-consolation or encouragement? See, Cevantage of her father being asleep to get line-I am a man, and as such, may be some fresh air out of doors after her sleep-thought to attach myself less to these things less night.
than women do, whose sentimental life is So they walked together in the fir-wood, more developed, from their having less which clothed the hill behind the house. occupation; yet I feel calmer and more The unchanging green of the fir-trees and contented when I have sought and found the clear blue sky, which was so bright an opportunity in church of withdrawing overhead on this morning, made the ad- my thoughts from the world to fix them vance of the season hardly perceptible. on higher interests.” Celine went on, silently sunk in thought, “And can you only do that in church, whilst Otto did not venture to disturb her Otto ?” she asked, with a smile. meditations by any commonplace remark, “No, Celine. I ought, perhaps, to be which he thought would be unsuitable to able to do so at home, but when I stay at her present serious mood.
home I cannot manage it, and just on this Yet he would willingly have interrupted account I hold that going to church is a her sad thoughts, and when Celine, having good habit. Tell me, is it on principle, reached the highest point of the hill, sat or is it a caprice on your part, to avoid down upon the seat placed there, he took belonging to any church?”. advantage of the Sunday bells of Dilburg, “It was a principle of my father's not of which the sound reached them through to make any profession for me in any the stillness of the wood, to begin a con-church communion before I was myself versation with her.
able to determine my own choice by in“Do you hear the bells, Celine? Is it vestigation. To him all men-Jews, with you as with me? Do you not find Christians, Heathen, Catholics, and Prosomething solemn, something poetical, in testants—are equal. He calls them all the sound of the church bells, which say brothers, as children of the same God, to you that it is the Sabbath, the day of participators in the same human nature, the Lord, and which call you to come to and having the same destiny, whether they .church, to lay aside worldly cares for a believe in the name of Mahomet, of Jesus, while and to lift up your soul to the or of Mary.” Creator ?"
“And this destiny is?”— For a moment Celine looked at Otto “To co-operate in the place which each with surprise before she answered him. creature fills, with the natural and eternal