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sorrows of life, amid the ever-changing scenes of this earthly existence.

Roeluf Hemmen did not take his share of the wine; he had made a vow never again to touch intoxicating drink. But he poured water into his little glass, and drank of that to the health of the newly-confirmed. A memory of his former wild sottish career may have passed before him, for his look was downcast, and as they clinked their glasses he shyly avoided Walmot's. But as she perceived this, she exclaimed with a ready smile:

“Why, you are forgetting me, Roeluf; man and wife must drink each other's health, even if they have grown old.'

It was the first time since their young days that she had ever called herself his wife, and she hastily continued : • It is only I, indeed, who can be called old, for

you

looked at church to-day as young as any of them, so that I felt quite proud of you.

you. For all that, I think you won't refuse to drink the health of your old woman.'

She nodded to him with a glance full of love, and he obeyed her wish. His trembling fingers shook the glass, so that the drops fell thickly on the table ; but with the other hand he

; sought, for the first time since his arrival on the isle, the toilworn hand of his wife as it lay on the table, and clasped it silently in his own.

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CHAPTER XXIV.

CRUSOE'S ISLE REVISITED.

WALMOT would not let Datya help, as usual, in clearing away the dishes, so the three chief personages in the day's solemnity went forth into the sunshine on the downs. The glasses were small, but had been all the more frequently emptied ; the unaccustomed wine had flushed their cheeks, even Teda's, and stirred their spirits. They longed to spend the afternoon in some new diversion, to find something different to their usual tasks. A high tide surrounded the island, but it was almost as smooth as the surface of a quiet lake ; Walmot's boat lay not far from the spot where they stood on the beach, discussing their plans. A sudden thought struck Uwen.

'Should you like me to give you a row ?' he asked ; and the girls gladly assented.

Amidst frolic and fun, the little skiff glided westward over the calm, sunlit waters ; even here, 'twixt sky and sea, reigned delightful spring. They still heard for awhile the lark's clear trill, then an occasional sea-gull's cry. Not a cloud hovered above them; not a sound of discord arose between the occupants of the boat. Their youthful feelings harmonized to-day with the spring around. Happy in themselves, each sought to make the others happy also; even Teda, from her words and manner, might have been taken for a child of Mother Walmot,

Freda sat gazing into the far distance; all at once she asked:

"What is that?' Uwen, who was rowing, turned his head in the direction to which her hand pointed.

'Don't you know that again ? It can't be anything else.' • What do you mean ??

Why, the island on which we once looked for Robinson Crusoe, and then were caught by the tide.'

The sudden remembrance excited still more the adventurous spirit of the girls; they had never been to the little island since that time, and they now both exclaimed at once:

‘Oh, do row us over there !'

Uwen plied his oars more vigorously than ever, and they soon drew near to the glistening white strand. The boat carried them safely over the deeper channel close on to the dry sandhills.

In all respects the scene was unchanged. The female gulls sat brooding on their nests and suddenly rose by thousands, screaming and floating about in the air like a cloud of snow; while their feathers, like smaller flakes, fell down to the ground below.

As they landed from the boat, vivid memories stirred their hearts, while feeling and fancy asserted their respective rights. They were no longer so childish as to look for the cave of Robinson Crusoe, but every nook on the isle was invested with memory's far-off charm. They rambled all about; there on the northern side still lay the three ancient dark rocks of granite, sphinx-like and lonely, but somewhat deeper in the water than before.

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Teda said :

What a pity that we cannot climb on to them again ! "Why not?' asked Freda ; 'we know that it is not deeper, and we are taller than we were then.'

A sudden cloud fell over Teda's face as she replied : 'Do you want to spoil your dress then? I shall take care of mine.'

Half laughing, Freda began :
'Do you suppose that I mean in my dress-

But Uwen interrupted her : “We can do it—I'll fetch the boat round; and he hurried off over the downs to the place where they had left it.

The two girls stood waiting side by side. Freda addressed her companion several times without receiving any reply. At last she said:

•What has made you so silent all at once ?'
Then Teda replied:
“You talk so foolishly sometimes, just as if-
She paused
As if what ?'

As if we had not been confirmed to-day, but were children still.'

• Have we therefore suddenly ceased to be children ?' inquired Freda with surprise. "What have I said that is so silly?

As Teda gave no answer, she pondered over the matter in vain for some minutes ; then her buoyant spirit soon diverted her from thought, and, attracted by the small, fine, pink shells that lay around, her tall, slim figure might be seen stooping here and there along the sandy ridge, as she made her collection.

Uwen came rowing back in a very short space of time. As he landed, he called out with a laugh :

• At a distance I took Freda for a heron, or some other longlegged sea-bird, picking up shells on the sand.' She replied pleasantly :

'That's just what I was doing—will you have them ?' and she held out to him her hand, half filled with the pretty pink shells.

He took them and said, as he thrust the dainty treasure into his pocket :

You must thread these when you get home, and twine them

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in Teda's hair; she will look lovely in them. Get into the boat now, and let me conduct you both to your thrones.'

The boat glided swiftly across, and they were soon seated on the rocks, as they had been six or seven years before. Just as then, sea and sand lay all around, and the sunbeams streamed upon them, but no longer on little naked, rosy bodies; now they were tall, well-clad, grown-up young people, in the early bloom of youth and maidenhood.

The picture which they presented to-day, had less of a legendary character, but--so far, certainly, as regarded one of them—was no less singularly attractive and remarkable. Teda's white dress, gleaming forth from the dark background, could easily be transformed by fancy into snow-white wings, above which rose features cast in the artistic mould of some angel who had paused for a moment in his aërial flight to rest and meditate amidst this lonely silence.

Uwen gazed at her for a moment speechless; then he turned and looked at Freda. A moment was enough, and then his eyes wandered back again.

Teda seemed conscious of his attention, for she, too, looked at him and asked :

'What are you thinking about ?'
With some hesitation, he answered ;
'I was thinking of Yora Pawel.'
And why were you thinking about her?'

* Because I heard that she said at church, you looked just like a bride of heaven.'

Uwen had answered hastily; a smile played round Teda's lips as she replied :

• Yora Pawel has weak eyes. It was only the white dress. If anybody else had worn it, she would have said just the same.'

But Uwen quickly replied : 'No; no one but you.'

Both were silent, but Teda's face remained looking in the direction it had taken. She did not turn round to gaze again into the far distance, but kept her radiant, star-like eyes steadily fixed on Uwen.

This short dialogue had been heard by Freda; she had noticed Uwen’s hasty glance towards her, and suddenly recalled the words he had spoken that morning in the parsonage, Of course you comprehend better than Freda what the beautiful is.' She had supposed him to mean that Teda was cleverer

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and more educated than herself, and therefore better able to appreciate the beautiful ; but the perception suddenly dawned upon her that it was because Teda was herself so beautiful. And now for the first time she fully recognised this rare beauty. What she had daily seen for years without remarking now struck her as something new and strange, and Freda's eyes were riveted in silent admiration upon her companion.

She was like a 'bride of heaven,' as Uwen had said, and not merely on account of her white robe. To Teda's question he had answered, “No; another in it would not look as she did.' Whom could he have meant by this other? Again Freda remembered his glance at herself, as though he had been making a comparison. And in her ear the words resounded strangely, as if the words of heaven' had only been added because they were those of Yora Pawel. In Walmot's fairy tales and stories, other earthly brides were also dressed in white, and doubtless, as she could not at this moment help thinking, Uwen had also remembered this. He had meant to say Teda was beautiful as a bride, and in the look which Teda gave him, something seemed to say that she had thus interpreted his words.

Freda's eyes turned away involuntarily from the face of her childhood's playmate, and, bowing down her head, she gazed before her. There lay the watery plain unrippled at her feet, and, reflected as in a mirror, she saw her own image, each feature clearly marked. A face long, thin, almost angular, recalling those of the long-legged, faxen-haired fishermen's daughters; simple as a child's, with no distinct expression on the features, or any indication of unusual intellectual life. It looked to her just like all the other common, plain, unlovely female faces, except Teda's, that she was accustomed to see on the island. She gazed at it in silence for about a minute; then the image grew dull and faint as little watery rings spread over it. The image was distorted by the ripples into a horrible caricature, and then it suddenly vanished altogether. Two big tears had rolled down from Freda's eyes; tiny fishes, thinking it some prey, had darted forth.

The girl hastily turned her head aside, but her two companions had never noticed the falling drops. They were no longer talking together, but their eyes met now and then, glanced away and came back again to interchange a silent look. Uwen's was that of an unconscious child, but in the flashes gleamed a forecast of coming

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