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there. Henrik always looked away from her; it is his habit, you know, more especially if he does not feel well disposed towards a person; and he hated Signe from his very soul, and, strange to say, quickly penetrated the game she was playing with him.
"I, who have been given the confidences of the two, know the fight that went on between them. The lapse of years makes our judgment clearer, and, in full possession of the misery wrought, I still have pity for them. 'Tis said that hate and love often lie closer than we dream they do. One moment Henrik was my friend, the next every barrier was dashed down, and he had clasped Signe to his heart and called her his own.
"Poor child! until that time the love permitted to meet her eyes had run as a placid stream. Suddenly a torrent had overwhelmed her, and by its force carried her breathless away. Fear of the giant she had called to life sealed her lips, stopped her heart-another time she would find courage. When he was gone she would think of what to say. But as a snake with a frightened bird so Henrik's power was cast over Signe. She was no longer mistress of herself; a nature stronger than she had dreamed of held her at its mercy, and Henrik was mad; the love he now felt was a frenzy. Leave her! go, as I had done, for her to make a victim, and fall the prey, of some other? Sooner would he have carried out the temptation often present to his mind of jumping with her into the seething waters, and thus securing his possession forever; and Signe dreamed as much, and the heart in which I still was imaged died away within her. Another influence, too, was brought to bear. Her step-father, desirous of getting married himself, urged Henrik's suit, and the unhappy one, not daring to confess the truth, that it was through her coquetry this savage love had been born, advanced fifty cuses, but never the right one. . . . They were married.
""Larsen ! Oh, has she?' Not I, but my lips were speaking: they were making a brave effort for me.
My sister writes they're soon to be married, too.'
"Did I answer? I don't know. The next thing I remembered I was far away out of the town, by myself— alone, where I could roll on the ground, tear up the earth, and call aloud, Signe! Signe!'
"Alas, rage is very impotent, and when it is over there follows dumb misery, harder to bear because it must be hidden. I never doubted but what I had been told was true. In spite of the efforts I had made to cheat myself into a brighter mood, for months there had been hanging over me the certainty of coming evil; but not through Henrik. In my thousand speculations not a doubt of him had ever crossed my mind.
"Oh, Signe! I, who had been reckless and spendthrift, how I had saved and hoarded for you! There was a gay-colored silk shawl, some flowers made from the feathers of birds, white coral, shells, a trinket or two, and the money I had put by. Twenty times I spread out all before me, asking myself, 'What shall I do with this—this, that was meant for her?' and I ended by making it into one parcel and writing on it Signe's name. And I looked about to find a ship going to Norway, and then I entrusted it to the keeping of some one who promised to have it safely delivered to her.
"God help the man who is struck by such a blow when alone and friendless in a foreign land; if he is not to seek death he must find destruction.
"I pass over the next four years of my life, to blot out which I would willingly forfeit half of that which remains to me.
"I had long since left my ship and had entered on board a Chilian one trading between Valparaiso and Rio Janeiro. I was first mate of this vessel, and the crew, ex-grown familiar with a recklessness which they called courage, all obeyed and most of them looked up to me. We were making for the port of Conception, some three hundred miles from Valparaiso. It was moderately fair weather, and we calculated that in another couple of days we should reach there; but the night set in cloudy, and in spite of there being a moon the darkness thickened round us. Gradually a heavy fog spread over and hung low on the water, hiding from our sight the silent and terrible rollers, the first warning of which was the fury of one breaking into the ship and drenching to the skin every
"I had been gone eighteen months, and, driven desperate that I had never been written to by either of them, I was preparing to leave my ship and get some berth in a homeward-bound one, when a former shipmate met me. He had a sis ter at Laurvig, and she had written to him.
"So you have lost your sweetheart,' he said; and a precious good riddance I should say, since she's taken up with
soul on board her. Taken aback by the shock, had not the captain from experience been thoroughly familiar with the coast, our situation would have been an awkward one; as it was, we felt anything but secure until about ten on the following morning, when, the wind freshening a little, the haze cleared away and every man breathed more freely. There was nothing now to do but keep the vessel on her course. The captain went below, leaving the charge to me. Some time passed by, and then I believe - although I could never quite ascertain some one went to rouse him.
"He came on deck, to find that in his absence I had managed that the ship was being steered straight into land again. I don't attempt to describe his anger. To estimate such an error one must be a seaman, and I had not a word to say in defence of a mistake which was inexplicable to myself.
| for those who were waiting us. I had not left them without swearing a promise that not one should be left behind; but about half-way there came over us a dread that saps the courage of the stoutest sailor. Following us we perceived three sharks, and the men who had voluntarily braved the anger of the waves trembled in every limb at the sight of these monsters of the deep. There was a common pause. I pulled out the revolver I had with me and pointing said, The first who stops pulling I shoot dead.' My resolution steadied them; they gave way with all their strength, and the faint sound of a cheer told us how we were gaining ground.
"Between fatigue, exposure, and the extra amount of drink they had taken, for, as far as I could guess, few among the crew were quite sober, the task of getting the men from off the ship was not an easy one. Floating timbers, spars, rigging, threatened with each roller to swamp us, "He was still enlarging on the disaster and by the time the last man 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 mind ing 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 prostrate, 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." if any of the rest would go with me.' I asked them made a sort of speech and He whose hand must have ruled the helm helped me, so that with one voice they shouted 'Yes.'
"I must pick my crew,' I said; and I singled out six men, and the rest helped us to get out the boat, and we started on our way while the captain brought the ship to lie-to as near as the breakers would permit.
"Please yourself,' I growled, turning away. 'Take that to Signe,' and a canvas money-bag was thrown after me; tell her if I forced her to marry me, it is by my own free act I make her a widow now.'
My heart gave a great leap, but at the same instant I felt its bound make me a murderer. I took a step forward, and pointed my revolver so that its muzzle all but touched him.
"I won't leave you here living,' I cried. 'Come with me or I fire.' "Fire.'
"When reading of wrecks and the many men saved from them, I have asked my 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, his lowered first, then the youngest and least body fell 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
he lay senseless as a log. For a few minutes I was stunned, but quickly recovering we made all speed back to the ship, where, to the astonishment of all, I laid claim to Henrik. I know him,' I said. I'll look after him; help me to take him to my cabin.'
from a hideous nightmare, I was a new being. At least I had never been wholly a bad fellow, and much of the folly I had plunged into, instead of distracting, disgusted me. By degrees my lost good temper, even my cheerfulness, came back, and by the time a year had passed I was cherishing thoughts of again seeing my home. It was true that at Bergen there was no good old mother to return to, but my sisters and brothers still were there. In the letter Henrik had sent me after his arrival, he told me he had seen them, for he had been to Bergen to claim some money which, by the death of his father during his absence, had come to him. With it he meant to buy a share in a ship, of which he would be captain; and his only direct mention of Signe was, that when he again went to sea she wished to go with him. That seemed to speak well for their reconciliation. After that I heard no more from Henrik.
"The history of the ill-fated ship we had rescued these men from was one that is very common. She was bound from Rio with a heavy cargo, taken hastily on board and clumsily stowed by a crew made up of men of all nations. The captain who had lost his life, judging from the report given, was a brave fellow, but unable to maintain discipline. At the first show of danger there had been a general rush to the spirit-store, which, although whom guarded by Larsen they described as a Northman who had only joined lately they forced, and drank until there was not a sober one left among them. Many were hurt and needed looking 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 homewardillness 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 moment when, reason suddenly returning so that he believed he was dying and wished to make a clean breast of it, I was in possession of how he had sinned and how they both had suffered; the reproaches she had heaped on him, the love she had withheld from him, the ever-gnawing agony of the demon jealousy. At length it became insupportable, and after a terrible scene he had left her, vowing that until | he found death he would keep away. His object in getting to Rio was to be somewhere near me, so that through him word might reach me whenever Signe should be free to marry. When it comes to holding converse under the shadow of death, we go very straight to the point, and that day, when, worn out with much speaking, Henrik let himself fall back, to take, as he believed, his last sleep, not a trace of anger was left between us; no forgiveness had been asked, no repentance spoken of, but this full confession was accepted as freely as it was given.
"I've just left some one inquiring after you,' he said. 'Larsen, the fellow who we all thought was going to die, you know.'
"Larsen ! he here what's he doing?'
'He's captain of a ship; he's got a share in her. They've come from Montevideo with hides, I hear.'
"After that I was not long in meeting Henrik, who was ashore searching for me.
"Signe is with me,' he said; 'she wants to see you.' I suppose I seemed to hesitate, for as if to urge me he added, her health hasn't been good since her baby died. You won't refuse her?'
"Oh no.' I wished though, all the same, that I could think of some excuse why I should not go. I did not want to have the flavor of this bygone history raked up again. The Signe, she whom I had loved, was dead - this one was now nothing but Henrik's wife to me. We got into a boat, and as we neared where the 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 moreYou 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 him to Norway and to her. And from that hour, as if I had awakened
"Forgetting everything else, I flung myself down before her, and the tears
poured from my eyes like water. I believe that not one of the three but knew what caused this outburst of sorrow, although each gave a different reason.
66 You guess, don't you, that seeing they wished it, I joined them. Henrik was all anxiety to return home. In his opinion the sea did not agree with Signe. The weather, too, had set in warm; and heat, be said, always tried her. Alas! poor fellow, how pitiful were the poor devices he tried to veil the truth with!
"That Signe was dying those who looked at her could not doubt; but to Henrik no one had ever dared to hint as much. Lose her now, just when he had gained her love? Fate could not be so cruel to him. So to me it was that Signe spoke openly, freely conversing of that time when she would no longer be with us. The hope of seeing Henrik and me reconciled to each other had been the strongest motive for her coming so far, and in the solemn talks we had together the sad past was laid bare.
"Henrik!' I said, going on deck to him; but before I could add more, at sight of my face he pushed past me, and was down in the cabin. At the threshold I caught hold of him. Nothing is of any more good now,' I sobbed. 'In an instant, without a struggle, before I could call you, it was all over. She did not speak. I don't know if she knew me.'
“I fancied this might calm him; but he flung himself forward, and, catching her in his arms, poured out a torrent of reproach on
me. I had neglected her.
Fool that I was, she had but fainted; it was a swoon! Hadn't I eyes? Could I not see? And he began rubbing her forehead, chafing her hands, calling on every one he could think of to help him. He would have the whole crew down to try and bring back the circulation of her blood. Life had often been restoredafter hours he had seen people brought in as dead breathe and move and speak again. So to humor him - for they looked on him as mad — the men came and spent hours in their vain endeavor; and then one by one they stole away, and the poor stricken soul was left alone with her he loved.
"Henrik and I had so arranged our ship duties that it was not possible for us to be together with Signe; and both of us now felt this a relief. Daily she had grown weaker: she was not able to rise from her bed now. Every motion of the ship gave her such distress that, anxious as we were to get on, we had to lower the sails to stop the rolling. I think, at this time, his bitterest enemy must have felt compassion for Henrik. The unhappy 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 medicines 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 her 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 sailors are counted very superstitious among men. Their solitary lives feed the imagination, so that they tack their faith to dreams, omens, and apparitions. Presently it became forecastle talk that among those on board several had seen the ghost of Signe. It was a sign, they said, that her spirit was not at rest, and unless her body was given to the sea some terrible disaster would most certainly overtake us. Vainly to calm these rumors, did I tell
From The Contemporary Review.
them that though, each night going to see 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. murs which until now had been but the rumble of a distant thunder, became distinct and audible, until I was told that no man had engaged with me; I was not the captain there, and unless what they demanded was carried out, they refused any longer to obey. Nothing remained but to tell Henrik, and one evening I went to his cabin, and without preamble, repeated to him what the crew had bid me say. So we must bury her,' I added stolidly; for since she died no word of friendship or of sympathy had been exchanged between us two; I have made all ready; no one will disturb us. Come with me.' And together we went.
"The moon shed its light over the water; a myriad stars lit up the sky; reverently we lifted our burden, and then slowly lowered it down to the sea. Oh, the agony of that moment, when each waited for the other to let go! The hesitation passed swift as a flash of lightning; there was a splash; a cry wrung from the inmost souls of two men, whose eyes met, as they raised their bent heads, and sob bing fell each on the other's neck.
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THREE RATIONALISTS.
BY VERNON LEE.
"AND finally," asked Vere, "what do you think is likely to have been the result of Monsignore's wonderful sermon ?"
He had gone to meet his two friends in the late summer afternoon; and as they walked slowly toward the old farm on the brink of the common, they had been giving him an account of the sermon which they had just been to hear; a sermon probably intended to overcome the last scruples of one Protestant in particular, a lady on a visit to the neighboring Catholic earl, but ostensibly delivered for the benefit of Protestants in general- that is to say, of as many country folk and stray visitors as could be collected in the chapel of Rother Castle.
"The result," answered Rheinhardt, with that indefinable cosmopolitan accent, neither French nor German, which completed the sort of eighteenth-century, citizen-of-the-world character of the great archæologist; "the result," answered Rheinhardt, "is that Baldwin and I have spent a most delightful and instructive afternoon, and that you would have done so too, Vere, had you not scornfully decided that no Catholicism more recent than that of Saint Theresa deserved the attention of the real æsthetic pessimist."
Vere laughed. "What I want to know is, whether you suppose that Monsignore has succeeded in making another con
"Well, from that day Henrik and I have never crossed an angry look or word. We reached home in due time, but between one thing and the other, the cargo being next to spoilt, the ship out of repair, "I think he must have succeeded," all the money he had left him besides that answered Baldwin; "he had 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; his 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 him. For me to leave him would, I 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 Ening. I am very well off here, more con-glish form of belief which they think they tented than half the people you meet; and as for Henrik, only one place in his eyes will be better, and that is, if ever we should get aloft, there to live, and never again part from Signe."
have got (but in their hearts must have felt that they have not) in Protestantism. And I really never saw anything more ingenious than the way in which, without 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