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and oppression of Germany by the French troops had begun. Walmot understood but little about the political aims and wishes of the countries and their rulers, but her love was all the warmer for the human beings whose happiness was thus recklessly destroyed. A fervent patriotism was kindled in her soul, and this begat something quite foreign to her nature—an equally violent hatred. She hated the author of the war, the Emperor Napoleon, and the French ; but even more than these she hated the princes of the Rhenish Confederacy, who had been willing to ally themselves with the enemies of their country. She knew instinctively that they did this in order to retain their lands and crowns, whereas Walmot would willingly have risked her very
life for the welfare of her native land. The conduct of these princes was in her eyes the most shameful selfishness, unnatural disaffection and disloyalty, shown by the members of one great family towards their brothers and sisters. It never occurred to her that she herself and her little island might be drawn into the general danger; the thought of her bleeding country, and sympathy with it, filled her heart ever more and more, so that it quivered and bled at each account of battle-fields and fortresses surrendered, that reached these quiet inhabitants of the downs.
To Walmot's cottage news came more frequently than to any other on the island. After the disastrous battle of Jena, she had found it impossible to endure the anxious uncertainty as to the further course of the campaign, so that, at her request, Roeluf Hemmen rowed or sailed at least once a week to , Emden or Norden, in order there to dispose of his fish. He brought back with him such news as he could glean of political events. . This was for him, especially during the stormy winter months, a laborious, and very often a dangerous, journey; but danger and labour were nothing to him, if he could but gratify a wish of Walmot’s, or procure her a moment's relief. One grateful look of hers and her hands stretched out to welcome his return, more than repaid him for long hours of tossing about in dripping clothes between the wildly foaming waves and the wind-driven mists. At first he repeated with the utmost indifference the news he had collected; but it was strange to see how he gradually began to understand and take an interest in it. This sprang from a special cause—he noticed the effect which his news produced on Walmot. When her eyes beamed on him with joy, then his news must have been satisfactory;
and so Roeluf learned to reflect on the way whether his report would please her or not. Thus he obtained by degrees a personal knowledge and judgment of what was taking place. He, too, rejoiced when he had something pleasant to communicate, while he was depressed at the anticipation of the reverse. Thus in Roeluf Hemmen sprang up unconsciously a living, growing love for his country. They were a strange couple, both already past middle life, who spent day by day together in that little cottage. There was no longer any question of the feelings and the ties that had united them in youth as man and wife. Torn asunder by a sudden wrench, these had lain, for more than thirty years, buried, as it were, in the depths of the sea. But in the course of time, there had sprung up, from quite different roots—from those of tenderest compassion and heartfelt gratitude—a new human love, which drew them together and expressed itself many a time without words on their wrinkled, weather-beaten faces. But it was altogether of a different nature from that which had been so easily troubled by the storms of youth. It was unchangeable, unselfish, independent of sex, the purest and noblest love that the human heart can feel.
And thus Walmot's little household came to be the best informed on the island concerning the occurrences in the late Prussian dominions. Unhappily, Roeluf seldom brought good news, or if he did, it generally proved on the next occasion to have originated in some false rumour. During the winter came the report of the indecisive engagement at Eylau, but as spring was verging on to summer they learned that the terrible slaughter at Friedland had completely routed the combined forces of Russia and Prussia, and left no doubt that the power of the latter was utterly destroyed, and that it would be compelled to accept the most humiliating conditions from the conqueror.
Tidings such as these wrought a change in Walmot's once cheery views of life, and often threw her, for hours together, into a serious, melancholy mood that was quite foreign to her nature. Her thoughts were for ever dwelling on the misfortunes of her distant countrymen, and when the day's work was over her talk was all about the objects of her unvarying sympathy. No longer were the evenings cheered by her fairy tales and legends, by her merry jests and stories; she dwelt instead upon the latest war news, connecting it with what they had heard
before, and trying to picture to herself and her companions the actual state of affairs, and pouring forth her own hopes and her fears. The 'Seven Years' War' had occurred during her childhood. Memory still retained vivid impressions of the misery it had caused, for this had then been the theme of general talk. From thence her lively fancy now conjured up a clear picture of the horrors, the havoc, and the grief which the present war must be causing. At the same time she still retained a distinct remembrance of the enthusiastic admiration and respect with which everyone had spoken of the indomitable energy of the King of Prussia, who never yielded to despair, however powerful and numerous his enemies might be.
It had been a source of pride to the people of East Friesland that they had only a short time before been enrolled amongst his subjects, and it was a deep grief to Walmot to think that all the glory, power, and benefits he had procured for his kingdom, were now being lost and shattered under the rule of his successor.
Doubtless there was in many respects a vast difference between Walmot and Frederick the Great, but they were alike in the unselfish efforts which they made for others' welfare rather than for their own. It may have been some hidden sympathy binding together their innermost souls that made Walmot, while she hated and despised the princes of the Rhenish Confederacy, cling to the memory of Frederick II. with such an appreciation of his worth.
In this new strain ran on the evening chats beside the cottage hearth, or, as summer drew on, along the beach and over the downs. Just as they aroused again in Roeluf Hemmen an interest in life, so they exercised a very powerful influence upon Freda. The maiden was altogether more silent and reserved than she had previously been. She loved to repair to some quiet nook on the beach, where she could read in solitude the few books that fell into her hands.
One lovely morning in May, as Roeluf was about to sail for Emden, she had begged that she might accompany him. Walmot shrank with terror from the thought of letting her go away so far by sea; but Roeluf Hemmen said at once, as he fixed his eyes upon those of his wife :
"She will be with me. If I live I shall bring her back to you.'
Walmot knew that she could rely upon his word, and she reproached herself for having been ready to let her fears rob Datya of a great pleasure.
It was thus that Freda first visited the town of Emden, and gazed with astonishment at its many novelties. She returned looking more cheerful than she had been all through the winter, so that Walmot, whose eye had often rested on her with secret anxiety, henceforth urged her going with Roeluf whenever the day was fair and the wind favourable. On the way Freda learned from Roeluf the art of handling the sails and the rudder, so that she was very soon capable of managing the boat alone, even in a gale; then, Emden itself always supplied her with a fresh sphere of observation and instruction, from which her practically gifted mind drew fresh conceptions of human life.
But what chiefly attracted her were some books displayed on a broker's counter for sale ; she passed to and fro several times, cast within the shop a longing look, and wished for them more and more. At last she begged her mother to let her buy some with her own money. Walmot, however, would not consent to this; she privately told Roeluf to purchase them, and then gave Freda the pleasant surprise of finding them the next morning on her pillow when she awoke. From this time forth the books were her constant companions. Under Pastor Remmert's teaching she had never heard the author's name, and very much that they contained was beyond her comprehension. Even her favourite book, which bore the title 'Schiller's Poems,' she felt was beyond her. But she was irresistibly attracted to this work, and when her knowledge was at fault, she was helped by a sudden inexplicable sensation that came over her as from the sea and the sands, the sea-gulls' cry, and the murmur of the winds, the sunbeams, and the passing sails. Her memory was very good, and easily retained each poem, when she had read it two or three times, so that she could recite it aloud, and this she loved to do as she paced the lonely downs. Her reading now took the place of the mental instruction which she had formerly enjoyed, for she had not attended school since her confirmation, and on Sundays she no longer attended the church-service. Things were quite changed since the day on which she had received the pastoral blessing; her life had had to take a fresh course, and she entered upon it herself without anyone else's dictation. She had undoubtedly become much more silent since then, but this reserve might easily be accounted for by the interruption of the former daily intercourse with her young play
mates. They still often saw each other, but in consequence of their altered modes of life there had sprung up a slowly increasing estrangement. The old games no longer gave them any pleasure, and when they met, they could scarcely find any subject of mutual interest and conversation.
Uwen and Teda, remaining together, had suffered less than Freda from the change, and the latter therefore needed more than they did some fresh interest to fill up the void that had occurred in her daily life. Her books provided this to a certain extent, but they did not wholly suffice. Her nature required something more, something to which she could cling with entire devotion, and this demand was answered from the lips of Walmot, whose evening outbursts had fanned in the heart of Freda such a flame as rarely burns in the bosom of a girl. This was an ardent patriotism, from which sprang, as with her mother, an equally ardent hatred of the French rulers and spoilers of the Fatherland; but under the influence of overwrought youthful emotion both these feelings were in her far more violent than in Walmot. She took the deepest interest in the reports brought mostly by herself from Emden; the geographical knowledge she had acquired in her schooldays proved now of the greatest use, for it often enabled her to give the fullest information as to the neighbourhood and places where important events were being transacted. It was very singular, sometimes almost droll, to see how the fate of the mighty world was reflected from the lips of the dwellers in this little cottage on the shore of this islet of the North Sea; but limited though their knowledge might be of the political importance of affairs, all the stronger were the hopes and fears that sprang from the very depth of their hearts as to the final issue of the war.
In the parsonage the war was never mentioned. On Sundays Pastor Remmert offered from the pulpit the usual prayer appointed to be read in time of war for the success of the nation's arms; otherwise he never referred to the political