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home. Björn enjoys this, and in spite of my uneasiness in the presence of that eccentric man, I can still not be indifferent. Serena is, as it were, under a misterious magic influence, and--what do you think? I have not yet ventured to inquire into it. She seems so happy, so gay, so calm, that I am afraid to say a word which might disturb her, or awaken her half-slumbering feelings into perfect consciousness. In addition to this, she goes on blooming to fairer life; her voice has develloped the most splendid sounds, but Bruno is quite a different sort of teacher to me; never has her face, her general demeanour possessed a more fascinating vivacity. And Bruno ? He is reserved, but it is apparent in him, that he is altogether in love with her. He follows her, wherever she goes, he seats himself next to her, sometimes he casts one of those looks on her, which do not dart in vain from the human eye! Oh, that look from him! I do not like it. Sometimes I tremble before it,-it is said, that the serpent when it has selected the lark for its prey, raises itself, and fixes its eyes upon it. The lark looks into the serpents eye, and a strange and terrible charm seizes it. With its trembling wings it flies singing in a circle, never has its song been so enrapturing, never have its wings shaken in higher joy of life, and thus it sings, and encircles the serpent gradually nearer and nearer, till it rushes into her jaws, and remains silent, for ever.-Oh, Serena! Serena! Indeed all this must not be. I must warn Serena, she must know what we know of this dangerous man. I must speak to Björn.
Notice here our conversation: "But my dear Björn that will never do. I can assure you, that something
very serious might be the consequence of it!"
'Well, and then? what can we desire more? I wish it may become so perfectly serious, as to terminate in a wedding. I really believe that the match is desirable."
"But is he worthy of such a wife? How do we know whether he is not after all something far worse than is told? I do not trust him. I believe sometimes that he is capable of doing the worst actions. Only think if he should be a murderer!"
"My dear little Franciska," said Björn, almost angrily, "why do you suffer yourself to be led away by your fancies? Why do you judge so without foundation, of any fellow creature? This is unjust of you Franciska!"
"Forgive me, my angel! but are you not too forbearing? No cause! we know at any rate, that he has stolen!"
"And have you never stolen any thing when a child?"
I paused, reflected, blushed, and was silent. A number of biscuits, and sweet cakes, pieces of ribbon, a particular sort of little mother-of-pearl box, rose up like spirits from my innocent years of childhood, and testified against me. In conclusion, I said: “Yes, Björn, I have stolen, and readily confess my sins, but at the age of fifteen years I stole no more!"
"Consider the circumstances under which Bruno grew up. Almost all children pilfer a little, but a good education and wise treatment by and by suppresses the dangerous and yet so natural desire, to appropriate the coveted object. Bruno was not treated judiciously,
and must be judged accordingly. At all event his last lines to me testifies that he had acknowledged his error, and was desirous to repair it. And certainly the fearful lessons, which the last scene with his mother gave him, has withdrawn him for ever from pursuing such a
I sighed and said, "At any rate we have seen, how soon he dispatches those who do not choose to conform to his will. He who is so unreasonable towards horses may be equally so towards men!"
"There is immence differense yet, Franciska! At all events I will not defend Bruno's errors. Yes, he is wild and sometimes unreasonable, but he is still as in the days of his youth, vascillating, restless, but not wicked. On the contrary, his heart is warm, and I am convinced that he will become at last a good man. Just such an angel as Serena, can acquire power over him, make him good and reasonable, whilst at the same she will make him happy."
"My dear Björn! I admire your reasoning, but still I am not satisfied. Ought we not to acquaint Serena with the character of the man to whom she leans so blind? Ought she not likewise be informed of what we know of his youth and his adventures?"
If she loves him, this
"Why? for what purpose? will not estrange her from him. But as a wife, it might be painful to her, to know, that Bruno once merited the contempt of his nearest relatives. At least no other persons except Bruno himself ought to inform her of it. Eye to eye, heart to heart, much may be said, and much forgiven."
¿ Ah, would that we only knew something better of
the latter part of his life!"
"I have listened to all he had to tell me, have seen his papers. All is authentic and in proper order. They all speak highly of him. Besides-if Bruno should ever have done wrong-do we not see clearly in him, earnest strivings after that which is good? The Lord would not reject him—and you, Franciska, wish to do it ?"
"Ah, no, no, Björn! But Serena . . . ."
"Think of Bruno's warm heart, of his great talents, yes, of his mind, and then-of his great fortune! Why should Serena not be happy with him?"
“Ah, Björn! That which makes a wife happy, that which gives lustre to a family is not the husband's talents, his property, not even the ardour of his soulthese can also set the peace of home on fire-no, the happiness of the wife consists in the husband being upright, kind, intelligent, reasonable and good-in short, in being like you, Björn!" We quarrelled no longer.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
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