Imatges de pàgina

wise, you must be a little more inclined to favour him, -perhaps your heart is already given away?—I have heard that your hand was sued for, a few years ago!"

Deep blushes had, on the first utterance of my question, covered Serena's cheeks, but, at the conclusion of my speech, she turned pale, and replied, after short reflection:

"No, I did not love him; but had I been perfectly at liberty to act for myself, I should probably have become his wife?"

"And why so, if you did not love him?"

"Because I believe, that he loved me sincerely, and that I could have made him happy; it certainly is a delightful thing to make a man happy upon earth!"

"But you have had many suitors; has not one of them pleased your parents; or have you not had the same consideration for these as for the last mentioned?"

"There was no need for that!" said Serena, smiling. "How so?-they certainly loved you?"

56 Oh, there are various kinds of love!"

66 Very true! Let us see! First, we will take lukewarm love; it speaks in this way: 'See a pretty, intelligent girl, she will make a nice sort of wife, and not a very expensive one either; that's the kind of wife that would suit me!'-What kind of love shall we discuss next?"

"Suppose we talk of falling in love."

"Just so: The love which has a bandage before its eyes, and can fall into raptures about a foot, or a shoe. And this love may be as violent as a spring-storm, or tender, like an Anemone, and disappears like æther;

nevertheless, fortune favouring, it may, like luke-warm love, spring up into a more heart-felt sentiment, and become closely allied to a love, for which, I have the highest respect. I mean warm friedship." "Oh, that is lovely!" said Serena; "It develops itself to perfection only in marriage; and I have noticed in my own family how it speaks-more in actions than in words."

"Tell me how it speaks, dear Serena; for I should also like to introduce this language into my domestic life."

If a man had been standing in the presence of Serena, he must have thrown himself at her feet, so fascinating, so amiable was she, whilst she said:

"Thy prosperity is also mine; let adversity do its worst, it cannot make me unhappy, if I can only keep thee. When I have failed, and when I have acted right, I can see it in thine eyes. This is my punishment, this is my reward. Whither should I go with my sorrows, and to whom with my joys, except to thee? To whom should'st thou turn, except to me? Do we not share everything together? What matter if thou errest, if thou sometimes art unjust? I clasp thee ardently to my heart, and we love each other all the more. Near thee, I find at all times support, home, and bliss. In all the wide world there is no man, who so understands me, who so adapts himself to me, as thou!"

I dried up a tear, and spoke: "But what can loveeven the highest love-say more, Serena ?"

"The highest love?" repeated Serena, and a soft paleness dispelled the purple from her cheeks. "What

it would say, I know not, but I can guess what it would feel. It is a quicker pulsation in the veins of friendship; it is the higher life" Serena paused, her eyes filled with tears, and her inspired look finished the thoughts, which her tongue was unable to utter.

And a being like this is to be indifferent, thought I. "And you, Serena," I continued, after a short time, " you, who understand the highest happiness of married life, shall you never enjoy it? shall you remain unmarried?"

"Yes, I believe so !" replied Serena, "but I shall love my grand-parents as dearly, and you, and all who deserve affection, and I shall be happy!"


My dear Serena! you may do so, as long as your heart remains free."

Her delicate warm hand trembled as I held it in mine. It was as if a heart-throb had run through Serena's veins, and when I looked at her, her cheeks were flushed, and her breathing was quick. Just when I was on the point of asking her whence this sudden agitation proceeded, I was painfully enlightened; I heard the trampling of a horse's feet, and Bruno immediately after dismounted at the gate. Serena must have recognized the sound of his horse's feet, while yet at a distance.

"Is that it?" thought I, and a slow fearful shuddering ran, like an evil omen, through my body and soul. I pressed Serena's hand firmer, I felt myself constrained to embrace her, to press her more ardently to me, but I was prevented by Bruno's hasty entrance. He always comes like a storm; however he now shook my hand so heartily, and cast such a sweet look at Serena,

that the uncomfortable impression which his sudden appearance made upon me, vanished in some measure.

Serena now sat intently at work at her embroidery frame, and Bruno's eyes rested on her fingers, and the flowers of their production. "It is a fine day!" said I to Bruno,-"Yes!" replied he, with a melodious voice, "but now only do I feel it!" we were silent for awhile, and I was glad when our trio was changed into a quartet by Björn, and soon after into a quintet by Stellan.

But this did not appear to please Bruno, he rose, and after having paced up and down the room several times, seated himself at the other end of the room at the piano, and softly, as if with hardly suppressed feelings, poured forth his tide of melody in all its wondrous expression. Serena appeared to dream; she paid no attention to the conversation, nor was she roused until we began to speak of the approaching golden nuptials of her grand-parents.

"It must after all be a touching moment," said I, warmly, "to look back from such a day upon an extended series of years, and to see in their long course nothing but pure recollections and good works."

Bruno moved, the sounds died away, he bowed himself over the chair back, and I saw that he was listening.

Stellan sighed, and said: "Such a happiness is the lot of but few mortals!"

And why, Cousin Stellan?" I began.

"Because so few live for it! because so few wish to know and to govern themselves!"

"And who knows himself? Who can govern himself?" inquired Bruno, rising.

"Hm! I hope very many!" replied I, somewhat confounded at this harsh interruption.

"Yes! people fancy so," proceeded Bruno, with gloomy vehemency, "they imagine they know their own power, and solely because they have not been tried, because they have never looked really into the depth of their souls. Circumstances smoothen their course, life passes like a sunny day, and the tranquil spirit, unobscured by any shadows, unshaken by any storm, believes itself to be bright and strong. The Blind! The Fortunate! They know but little of life; but what man who has experienced the temptations, the torments, and joys of the world; what man, who, has felt his soul shaken by passion, ventures to say, that he knows himself, that he can be and do whatever he chooses. And who is always the same? Look into history, do not vices and miserable actions stain the life of the greatest men? Cannot the malefactor perform noble actions? May we not, in one, moment possess a paradise of love in our hearts, whilst in another, all may be cold and desolate within? To know one's self, is it not to feel that man's heart is a wrestlingplace for all contradictions, for all possibilities, a tennis-ball between heaven and earth, with which devils and angels play? Man can do every thing but be consistent; he is capable of performing the greatest, the noblest actions, but only for a moment; the next drags him downwards. To know one's self, is, to know one's weakness." Like an impetuous torrent, which suddenly dashes over its banks, and breaks through all impediment, thus rushed out Bruno's speech, and I confess that I felt myself as it were, carried away by it.

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