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tion; but to-day the impulse that moved him was so strong, that it led him to act contrary to the wishes of the one whom he was generally most anxious to please.

He did not, indeed, exactly know what he wanted over there; it was not probable that they had received any later news than what had already been announced in church that morning. He found this indeed to be the case. In the cottage the talk was all about what he already knew; and the thought of Teda's displeasure, and her being left all alone, caused him to shorten his visit. But as he arose to go he still lingered, and Freda, observing his hesitation, asked if he was looking for anything. Then he answered hastily: Are you still reading that book?'

Which book ?' 'I have forgotten the name. I mean the one you had on the downs the other day.' The girl replied :

Why do you want to know ?! 'I should like, if you are not using it just now, to ask you

His face flushed. She looked at him with surprise, fetched the little volume containing William Tell' from the shelf, and gave it to him.

* Thank you,' he said. 'I will bring it back to-morrow. Teda is waiting for me ;' and he hastened home as fast as he could.

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CHAPTER III.

A POET'S INFLUENCE.

"THE transfer of the East Frisian islands from Prussia to Holland had, in fact, made very little difference in their external relations. The new rulers troubled as little about them as the former ones had done. The preceding Dutch Government had possessed a number of similar half-forgotten islands scattered over the North Sea, and the new additions were merely regarded as smaller eastern continuations; the whole group resembled a long string of pearls, which from the west, across the mouth of the Zuyder-Zee, became ever smaller and smaller. But setting aside the fact that the islands continued to escape official observation, the new government would scarcely have caused them any serious annoyance. King Louis nourished friendly, humane designs; he loved justice, and honestly sought the welfare of his subjects. He avoided every violent encroachment on existing rights, and all unnecessary changes ; even on the continental portion of East Friesland the change of rulers was scarcely felt. What affected the welfare of the people far more than this was the Continental Blockade, which the King was compelled by his all-powerful brother strictly to enforce, much against his own wish and will. England suffered very much from this measure, but Holland was well-nigh pauperised by it, and the department of East Ems shared in the general distress. A bad harvest made matters still worse and stimulated an active smuggling trade in English commodities, at which the new sovereign winked as far as he could, out of regard for the sufferings of his people, though at the risk of being denounced to his imperial brother and incurring his displeasure. But, taking it altogether, the condition of East Friesland remained peaceful and endurable, and it was only the more patriotically disposed who mourned, silent and sad, over their hopeless separation from their Fatherland.

There were but few such patriots on the islands, and fewest of all on that where stood the church of Pastor Remmert; indeed, they were almost entirely confined to the little household of Walmot—almost, for one more must be added to the number, and this one was Uwen. His daily visits to the dwelling, or to what was really the school of Walmot, though it did not bear that name, had worked like the continual dripping of water, and produced in his mind a strange contradiction, so that while, like his spiritual mentor, he regarded earthly things as trivial and unimportant, he was at the same time filled with an ever-growing love for his country. He felt his inconsistency and could not account for it; he recognised it, however, without the least regret, even with a feeling of pleasure. When he reflected on the subject, he thought it was not so much Walmot's as Freda's influence that had roused him from his former indifference and drawn him to think as she did.

There was yet a third—a silent but most eloquent teacherwho had helped to kindle the flame. His name, Frederick Schiller, was on the book that Uwen had found in Freda's

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possession. Who he was, whether living or dead, neither of them was able to ascertain; but this they knew—that he exercised an equally irresistible influence over them both.

After a long winter, summer had again returned, and Uwen could repeat nearly the whole of William Tell' by heart, as Freda could most of the poems contained in another of the volumes. This exercise had formed a singular intellectual link between the two, who met for at least an hour almost every day, in order to read to each other, in turn, passages from the books, or to vie with each other in reciting some fresh poem that had been committed to memory.

Teda had joined them once, but she felt no interest in what they read, and did not come again. This mutual study brought to Freda an advantage which she had long and vainly wished for. Uwen's classical education enabled him to explain to her many mythological and ancient names and incidents which she had not before understood. She sat listening with the attention of a pupil to his explanations, but quite unconsciously she ofttimes changed the relationship and became herself the teacher; not, indeed, because she excelled him in any kind of learning, but because she was often able to perceive in a poem some meaning which had escaped him, and which he only slowly recognised after she had drawn his attention to it. It was the essentially poetic quality of the poems which Freda felt instinctively, without understanding or being able to express what she felt. This feeling was chiefly indicated by the mode in which she read or recited the verses, and which she had learned from no one; it had come to her naturally. Her intonation was neither childish nor theatrical ; she uttered everything with the utmost simplicity, just as it affected her own feelings. Uwen often listened in surprise to the simple expressive tones of her voice, and these were the means of first revealing many things to him ; his own recitations were always given in a rhetorical style, but he gradually felt its unfitness, and strove earnestly more and more to imitate the girl's delivery. They had chosen for their place of meeting in fine weather the old playground on the downs, and it was singular to note that Freda, who had here once received from the others her first lessons in correct pronunciation, was now able to recite much better than any of them. It was less an acquirement than a natural gift, the transmission of a heritage that belonged to her, and that only a practised ear would notice in

the unpolished speech of Mother Walmot. Without the tender love with which she had been reared, the girl's natural powers would have remained undeveloped; but Walmot's care had fostered the germ, and now it was bearing fairer blossoms than the foster-mother could have produced by life-long effort. Uwen felt that Teda did not possess this nameless quality, which could only be compared with the fragrance of a flower, and he often wondered how it could come forth from such a simple girl as this. The fragrance seemed far more suited to the noble form and spiritual beauty of Teda, who, by the side of Freda, produced almost the impression of a supernatural and angelic creature. Uwen would far rather have had his hour's daily reading with Teda than with Freda, and it was a strong proof of Schiller's powerful influence over him that he was willing, for the sake of his poesy, to leave Teda for a little while. No sooner, however, was the reading over than he hurried away as fast as he could, thus plainly showing his desire to rejoin her. Teda read this on his face, and so received him pleasantly, without any grumbling at his absence. Lightly jesting, she sometimes expressed her concern that he should again have troubled to attend and weary himself with his Schiller lesson. Then she fixed her eyes on him, awaiting his answer; he returned her look, and said :

'I get for it every day the best of rewards.'
* And, pray, what is that?'
‘Coming back from school.'

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The Prussian kingdom was completely broken up; it lay powerless as a corpse; one could scarcely perceive that its pulse still quivered feebly, or that there was in it one faint breath of life. Europe tottered under the burden of the neverending wars. In Spain blood had been daily flowing for years ; a new war had been begun by France against Austria ; at Napoleon's command, Louis of Holland had been obliged to equip his navy and go to war with Sweden. But these new battlefields were a long way off; doubtful reports arrived slowly,

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and these events made no alteration in the hopeless dismemberment of the German Empire. So Roeluf Hemmen and Freda discontinued their visits to Emden in quest of news. Time pursued its old monotonous course on the island. Once the death-like stillness of the air was broken, as it were, by a strange, distant rumbling—a whisper, a rumour-no one knew whence it came or whether there was any truth in it—that England had got ready an immense fleet for the purpose of attacking Holland and destroying her naval power. The rumour was in the air, but it found little credence; the blockade had transformed the sea into a wall, over which no message could pass.

It had been an unusually hot day in early summer, and a still more sultry night was beginning to hide the stars by a thick haze. Heavy clouds were gathering in the east. . Walmot said to her coinpanions :

'See, we are going to have a storm.'

She was sitting with Freda and Roeluf on the downs, over which the shades of evening had already gathered, and the tide was rolling in its mighty waves with a peaceful murmur. A few moments after a heavy rumbling was heard in the air.

'There's thunder already,' exclaimed Freda. But Roeluf Hemmen said :

"That be all nonsense. It doänt coom fro' the east, where the clouds be, but it coom fro' where the sky be clear.'

In fact, a streak of blue sky, tinged by the evening glow, might yet be seen, although the hollow rumbling noise came a second time from that direction. First a heavy roll, like thunder ; then a shorter, sharper sound struck upon the ear. Suddenly Roeluf sprang to his feet, and shouted :

That beänt thunder ; that be the roär o' cannon, and it coom fro' nigh Ter Schelling yonder.'

Freda had never before heard the roar of cannon, but Walmot had been familiar with it in her youthful days, as well as on her long sea-trips, and she was of the same opinion as Roeluf. There could, indeed, remain no doubt of its correctness. Salvos of artillery and stray shots resounded again and again from the west. Roeluf Hemmen was also correct in his calculation of the distance, for the roar seemed to come from very near the head of the old North Friesland isle, Ter Schelling, or Ameland; but the report was conveyed more distinctly through the water than through the air. What could it mean? what could be going on over there? It could scarcely be any

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