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there. Henrik always looked away from
666 Larsen ! Oh, has she?' Not I, but her; it is his habit, you know, more espe. my lips were speaking: they were makcially if he does not feel well disposed ing a brave effort for me. towards a person; and he hated Signe My sister writes they're soon to be from his very soul, and, strange to say, married, too.' quickly penetrated the game she was “ Did I answer? I don't know. The playing with him.
next thing I remembered I was far away “ 1, who have been given the confi- out of the town, by myself - alone, where dences of the two, know the fight that I could roll on the ground, tear up the went on between them. The lapse of earth, and call aloud, Signe ! Signe!' years makes our judgment clearer, and,
is very impotent, and when in full possession of the misery wrought, it is over there follows dumb misery, I still have pity for them. 'Tis said that harder to bear because it must be hidden. hate and love often lie closer than we I never doubted but what I had been told dream they do. One moment Henrik was was true. In spite of the efforts I had my friend, the next every barrier was made to cheat myself into a brighter dashed down, and he had clasped 'Signe mood, for months there had been hanging to his heart and called her his own. over me the certainty of coming evil; but
“Poor child! until that time the love not through Heorik. In my thousand permitted to meet her eyes had run as a speculations not a doubt of him bad ever placid stream. Suddenly a torrent had crossed my mind. overwhelmed her, and by its force carried “Oh, Signe! I, who had been reckless her breathless away. Fear of the giant and spendthrift, how I bad saved and she had called to life sealed her lips, hoarded for you! There was a gay-col. stopped her heart - another time she ored silk shawl, some flowers made from would find courage. When he was gone the feathers of birds, white coral, shells, she would think of what to say. But as a trinket or two, and the money I bad put a snake with a frightened bird so Hen- by. Twenty times I spread out all before rik's power was cast over Signe. She me, asking myself, 'What shall I do with was no longer mistress of herself; a na. this — this, that was meant for her?' and ture stronger than she had dreamed of I ended by making it into one parcel and held her at its mercy, and Henrik was writing on it Signe's name. And I looked mad; the love he now felt was a frenzy. about to find a ship going to Norway, and Leave her! go, as I had done, for her to then I entrusted it to the keeping of some make a victim, and fall the prey, of some one who promised to have it safely delivother? Sooner would he have carried ered to her. out the temptation often present to his “God help the man who is struck by mind of jumping with her into the seeth- such a blow when alone and friendless in ing waters, and thus securing his posses. a foreign land; if he is not to seek death sion forever; and Signe dreamed as much, he must find destruction. and the heart in which I still was imaged “I pass over the next four years of my died away within her. Another influence, life, to blot out which I would willingly too, was brought to bear. Her step-fa- forfeit half of that which remains to me. ther, desirous of getting married himself, " I had long since left my ship and had urged Henrik's suit, and the unhappy one, entered on board a Chilian one trading not daring to confess the truth, that it between Valparaiso and Rio Janeiro. I was through her coquetry this savage was first mate of this vessel, and the crew, love had been born, advanced fifty ex-grown familiar with a recklessness which cuses, but never the right one. . . . They they called courage, all obeyed and most were married.
of them looked up to me. We were mak"I had been gone eighteen months, ing for the port of Conception, some three and, driven desperate that I had never hundred miles from Valparaiso. It was been written to by either of them, I was moderately fair weather, and we calculated preparing to leave my ship and get some that in another couple of days we should berih in a homeward-bound one, when a reach there; but the night set in cloudy, former shipinate met me. He had a sis. and in spite of there being a moon the ter at Laurvig, and she had written to darkness thickened round us. Gradually him.
a heavy fog spread over and hung low on “So you have lost your sweetheart,' the water, hiding from our sight the silent he said; and a precious good riddance ! and terrible rollers, the first warning of should say, since she's taken up with which was the sury of one breaking into Larsen.'
the ship and drenching to the skin every
soul on board her. Taken aback by the for those who were waiting us. I had not shock, had not the captain from expe left them without swearing a promise that rience been thoroughly familiar with the not one should be left behind; but about coast, our situation would have been an half-way there came over us a dread that awkward one; as it was, we felt anything saps the courage of the stoutest sailor. but secure until about ten on the following Following us we perceived three sharks, morning, when, the wind freshening a and the men who had voluntarily braved little, the haze cleared away and every the anger of the waves trembled in every man breathed more freely. There was limb at the sight of these monsters of the nothing now to do but keep the vessel on deep. There was a common pause. I her course. The captain went below, pulled out the revolver I had with me and leaving the charge to me. Some time pointing said, “ The first who stops pulling passed by, and then I believe — although I shoot dead.' My resolution steadied I could never quite ascertain — some one them; they gave way with all their went to rouse him.
strength, and the faint sound of a cheer “He came on deck, to find that in his told us how we were gaining ground. absence I had managed that the ship was “ Between fatigue, exposure, and the being steered straight into land again. _1 extra amount of drink they had taken, for, don't attempt to describe his anger. To as far as I could guess, few among the estimate such an error one must be a crew were quite sober, the task of getting seaman, and I had not a word to say in the men from off the ship was not an easy defence of a mistake which was inex- one. Floating tiinbers, spars, rigging, plicable to myself.
threatened with each roller to swamp us, “ He was still enlarging on the disaster and by the time the last nian was in the which my carelessness - he would give boat I felt pretty nigh exhausted. I made no credit to my ignorance - might have a pause while word was passed asking if led us into, when we were silenced by the they were all there. The captain, with cry of something in sight - a ship - and several others, in trying to throw a line in distress, seemingly; and by the aid of on to the rock_had perished before we the glass we could see, not far from a reached them. The answer came, 'Yes;' towering rock, a vessel which the terrible but with it a doubt seized me. Stupefied surf had carried over the shoal and half as they seemed, could I trust them? Seizembedded in the sand. Into my minding my moment, I rushed forward. There leaped the thought that there was the at the door near the cabin a man was solution of the puzzle – to get aid for lying prostraté, his face hidden. “Dead these poor fellows was the reason I had drunk,'I thought; and my hand was on blundered. If help was to be given I him, when he sprang to his feet. It was would give it. Only waiting until we got Larsen. 'Off with you; leave me,' he near enough to get a better view, I put the cried savagely. "I'll not be beholden for question to the captain. Yes, I could go life to you. it any of the rest would go with me.' I " . Please yourself,' I growled, turning asked them – made a sort of speech away. •Take that to Signe,' and a can. and He whose hand must have ruled the vas money-bag was thrown after me; helm helped me, so that with one voice tell her if I forced her to marry me, it is they shouted 'Yes.'
by iny own free act I make her a widow "I must pick my crew,' I said; and I now.' singled out six men, and the rest helped " My heart gave a great leap, but at the us to get out the boat, and we started on same instant I felt its bound make me a our way while the captain brought the murderer. I took a step forward, and ship to lie-to as near as the breakers would pointed my revolver so that its muzzle all permit.
but touched him. “ When reading of wrecks and the many "• I won't leave you here living, I men saved from them, I have asked my cried. • Come with me or I fire.' self how was it I could remember so little of that time of danger. Truly, I can only “ His lips said the word
no sound tell you that we reached the ship; that my escaped them. The effort he was making first question was, had they any sick or was greater than he had strength to enhurt among them; if so, they must be dure, his face blanched as in death, bis lowered first, then the youngest and least body sell together, he gave a stagger so experienced. The boat was thus filled. that I caught him by the throat, dragged We left, reached our own ship, and with him along, and we stumbled and fell one better heart than before set off back again on top of the other into the boat, where
" • Fire.'
he lay senseless as a log. For a few min. from a hideous nightmare, I was a new utcs I was stunned, but quickly recover- being. At least I had never been wholly ing we made all speed back to the ship, a bad fellow, and much of the folly I had where, to the astonishment of all, I laid plunged into, instead of distracting, disclaim to Henrik. 'I know him,' I said. gusted me. By degrees my lost good • I'll look after him; help me to take him temper, even my cheerfulness, came back, to my cabin.'
and by the time a year had passed I was “The history of the ill-fated ship we cherishing thoughts of again seeing my had rescued these men from was one that home. It was true that at Bergen there is very common. She was bound from was no good old mother to return to, but Rio with a heavy cargo, taken hastily on my sisters and brothers still were there. board and clumsily stowed by a crew In the letter Henrik had sent me after his made up of men of all nations. The cap. arrival, he told me he had seen them, for tain who had lost his life, judging from he had been to Bergen to claim some the report given, was a brave fellow, but money which, by the death of his father unable to maintain discipline. At the first during his absence, had come to him. show of danger there had been a general | With it he meant to buy a share in a ship, rush to the spirit-store, which, although of which he would be captain; and his guarded by Larsen - whom they de only direct mention of Signe was, that scribed as a Northman who had only when he again went to sea she wished to joined lately — they forced, and drank un- go with him. That seemed to speak well til there was not a sober one left among for their reconciliation. After that I them. Many were hurt and needed look. heard no more from Henrik. ing after. We had no doctor; the sole " I waited until the following spring becharge of Larsen was handed over to me. fore I left my ship, and then there was I need not enter into the details of his some delay in hearing of a homeward. illness a fever with great brain disor. bound one. Going down to the port one der, haunted and tortured by images of evening I met a friend. Signe and of me. Long before the mo- " I've just left some one inquiring after
16 ment when, reason suddenly returning so you,' he said. “Larsen, the fellow who that he believed he was dying and wished we all thought was going to die, you to make a clean breast of it, I was in know.' possession of how he had sinned and how "• Larsen ! he here what's be doing?' they both had suffered; the reproaches 66. He's captain of a ship; he's got a she had heaped on him, the love she had share in her. They've come from Montewithheld from him, the ever-gnawing video with bides, I hear.' agony of the demon jealousy. At length “ After that I was not long in meeting it became insupportable, and after a terri. Henrik, who was ashore searching for ble scene he had left her, vowing that until me. he found death he would keep away. His 166 "Signe is with me,' he said ; 'she object in getting to Rio was to be some wants to see you. I suppose I seemed where near me, so that through him word to hesitate, for as if to urge me he added, might reach me whenever Signe should her health hasn't been good since her be free to marry. Wnen it comes to hold baby died. You won't refuse her?' ing converse under the shadow of death, "Oh no.' I wished though, all the we go very straight to the point, and that same, that I could think of some excuse day, when, worn out with much speaking, why I should not go. I did not want to Henrik let himself fall back, to take, as have the flavor of this bygone history he believed, his last sleep, not a trace of raked up again. The Signe, she whom I anger was left between us; no forgiveness had loved, was dead - this one was now had been asked, no repentance spoken of, nothing but Henrik's wife to me. but this full confession was accepted as into a boat, and as we neared where the freely as it was given.
ship lay, Henrik broke into the midst of “Well
, you know, he recovered; in my something I was telling him by saying, turn I brought him back to life, and more · You mustn't think her ill; she'll soon be I sent him back to Signe. God is my better now she only looks thin.' witness that from that time I believe not " Thin! This ghost, this shadow, with a thought of jealousy existed between us. only the eyes left to remind me. Could With a heart brimming over with satisfac- it be Signe? – the Signe I had loved; the tion, I saw him set sail in the ship that Signe I now knew had loved me! was to carry bim to Norway and to her. Forgetting everything else, I fung And from that hour, as if I had awakened | myself down before her, and the tears
poured from my eyes like water. I be- and then the eyes opened, but not to look lieve that not one of the three but knew at me. The light that came into them what caused this outburst of sorrow, al- was fixed above. A radiance spread over though each gave a different reason. her face, and before its brightness faded
“You guess, don't you, that seeing they the spirit of Signe had passed away. wished it, I joined them. Henrik was all anxiety to return home. In his opinion the sea did not agree with Signe. The “ Henrik !' I said, going on deck to weather, too, had set in warm; and heat, him; but before I could add more, at he said, always tried her. Alas! poor sight of my face he pushed past me, and fellow, how pitiful were the poor devices was down in the cabin. At the threshold be tried to veil the truth with !
I caught hold of him. Nothing is of any “ That Signe was dying those who more good now,' I sobbed. In an inlooked at her could not doubt; but to stant, without a struggle, before I could Henrik no one had ever dared to hint as call you, it was all over. She did not much. Lose her now, just when he had speak. I don't know if she knew me.' gained her love ? Fate could not be so “I fancied this might calm him; but he cruel to him. So to me it was that Signe Aung himself forward, and, catching her spoke openly, freely conversing of that in his arms, poured out a torrent of retime when she would no longer be with proach on I had neglected her.
The hope of seeing Henrik and me Fool that I was, she had but sainted; it reconciled to each other had been the was a swoon ! Hadn't I eyes ? Could I strongest motive for her coming so far, not see? And he began rubbing her foreand in the solemn talks we had together head, chafing her hands, calling on every the sad past was laid bare.
one he could think of to help him. He “ Henrik and I had so arranged our would have the whole crew down to try ship duties that it was not possible for us and bring back the circulation of her to be together with Signe; and both of blood. Life had often been restored us now felt this a relief. Daily she had after hours he had seen people brought in grown weaker: she was not able to rise as dead breathe and move and speak from her bed now. Every motion of the again. So to humor him — for they looked ship gave her such distress that, anxious on him as mad — the men came and spent as we were to get on, we had to lower the hours in their vain endeavor; and then sails to stop the rolling. I think, at this one by one they stole away, and the poor time, his bitterest enemy must have felt stricken soul was left alone with her he compassion for Henrik. The unhappy loved. fellow neither ate nor slept. Not a mo- “ After that night Henrik allowed me to ment's rest did he give himself. Every have my will. There was but one order one could see the agony he suffered; he gave. Signe's body was to be carried and yet, in face of what was before him, with us to land; and then he shut himself he spoke as if there was still hope for up in the cabin where she had lain so long Signe. We had on board with us one of and paid no more heed to anything going those books about medicioes which cap- on around. What would have happened tains of vessels take to sea with them. In to the ship had I not been on board her this he was forever searching for some I cannot think. Possibly he might have fresh remedy; and because I would en roused himself; I do not know. As it treat him to let ber be, he would turn was, unless to take sufficient food to keep fiercely on me, saying I did not care himself alive, he neither moved nor whether she was well or ill. What mat- spoke. tered it to me ?
You know full well, I dare say, that “ One evening as I sat by Signe's side sailors are counted very superstitious watching — for she had hardly moved or among men. Their solitary lives feed the spoken that day - suddenly her hands imagination, so that they tack their faith were stretched out. I turned and, look to dreams, omens, and apparitions. Pres. ing on her face, I knew the moment of ently it became forecastle talk that among parting had come. Henrik ! how should those on board several had seen the ghost
get him? I dared not call his name for of Signe. It was a sign, they said, that fear I might disturb her.
her spirit was not at rest, and unless her Signe !' I whispered ; 'Signe, do you body was given to the sea some terrible know me?' and I bent my face down to disaster would most certainly overtake us. her, and the half-closed lids gave a quiver, Vainly to calm these rumors, did I tell
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THREE RATIONALISTS.
BY VERNON LEE.
them that though, each night going to see
From The Contemporary Review, that all was safe, I often stood for hours THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF UNBELIEF: by the coffin's side, never once had she appeared to me. My words had no weight. Our carpenter lay sick; our boy, a favorite among the crew, fell overboard ; the mur. “And finally," asked Vere, “what do murs which until now had been but the you think is likely to have been the result rumble of a distant thunder, became dis- of Monsignore's wonderful sermon ?" tinct and audible, until I was told that no He had gone to meet his two friends in man had engaged with me; I was not the the late summer afternoon; and as they captain there, and unless what they de- walked slowly toward the old farm on the manded was carried out, they refused any brink of the common, they had been give longer to obey. Nothing remained but to ing him an account of the sermon which tell Henrik, and one evening I went to his they had just been to hear; a sermon cabin, and without preamble, repeated to probably intended to overcome the last him what the crew had bid me say: "So scruples of one Protestant in particular, a we must bury her,' I added stolidly; for lady on a visit to the neighboring Catholic since she died no word of friendship or of earl, but ostensibly delivered for the ben. sympathy had been exchanged between efit of Protestants in general – that is to us two; 'I have made all ready; no one say, of as many country folk and stray will disturb us. Come with me.' And visitors as could be collected in the chapel together we went.
of Rother Castle. * The moon shed its light over the “ The result," answered Rheinbardt, water; a myriad stars lit up the sky; rev- with that indefinable cosmopolitan accent, erently we listed our burden, and then neither French nor German, which comslowly lowered it down to the sea. Oh, pleted the sort of eighteenth-century, cit. the agony of that moment, when each izen-of-the-world character of the great waited for the other to let go! The hesi- archæologist; "the result,” answered tation passed swift as a flash of lightning; Rheinhardt, “is that Baldwin and I have there was a splash; a cry wrung from the spent a most delightful and instructive inmost souls of two men, whose eyes met, afternoon, and that you would have done as they raised their bent heads, and sob. so too, Vere, had you not scornfully debing fell each on the other's neck.
cided that no Catholicism more recent than that of Saint Theresa deserved the
attention of the real æsthetic pessimist.” “Well, from that day Henrik and I have
Vere laughed. " What I want to know never crossed an angry look or word. is, whether you suppose that Monsignore We reached home in due time, but be. bas succeeded in making another contween one thing and the other, the cargo
vert?" being next to spoilt, the ship out of repair,
“I think he must have succeeded," all the money be liad left him besides that answered Baldwin; "he bad evidently which I had 'saved was gone. There were brought that soul to the very brink of the berths in plenty open to me, but nothing ditch which separates Protestantism from for him; the sorrow that had tried him so Catholicism ; bis object was to make the sorely had turned him into an old man, passage quite insensible, to fill up the more feeble and bent down than you now ditch so that its presence could not be see bim. For me to leave him would, 1 perceived. He tried to make it appear to saw, be worse than his death-blow; it Protestant listeners that Catholicism was would cost him his mind. So that when not at all the sort of foreign, illiberal, through old Jacob Anders dying the Fol- frog.eating, Guy Fawkesy bugbear of their gernaes wanted fresh hands, heartily I fancy; but, on the contrary, the simple, thanked Heaven for giving us this open. obvious, liberal, modern, eminently En. ing. I am very well off here, more con glish form of belief which they think they tented than half the people you meet; and have got (but in their hearts must have as for Henrik, only one place in his eyes felt that they have not) in Protestantism. will be better, and that is, if ever we And I really never saw anything more should get alost, there to live, and never ingenious than the way in which, without again part from Signe."
ever mentioning the words Catholicism or Protestantism, Monsignore contrived to leave the impression that a really sincere Protestant is already more than half a Catholic. I assure you that, if it had not