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when she had but numbered twenty years. Was not this the moment when Love first clasped her in his arms, and filled her heart with happy hopes?
The door opened. It was Roeluf Hemmen. He had been vainly searching for her all over the downs.
She picked up the little creature, and, walking towards him, held it out and said :
Datya !' Fixing upon her an imbecile look, he asked : "What is it?' She answered now : 'Our child !
A flood of light pouring from her eyes seemed to awaken his slumbering intellect, so that he repeated the words:
Our child ? 'Mine, and yours too,' she hastily added, as though she felt he had also a right to claim it.
And he believed what her lips, still more what her joy declared, for her own heart confirmed the words she had spoken.
Mine and yours,' he again repeated, and little as his brain may have understood the words, still, a gleam of pleasure lighted up his face.
From that time forth he lived in the firm belief that the child was his and Walmot's.
The latter returned from her temporary flight into the realms of fancy. Her thoughts were again directed to active cares for the little one, and first of all the other contents of the basket must be dried at the fire, in order to prepare for it a soft bed. As she pulled out the pillows, something fell clinking on the ground; it was a knitted purse, filled with golden coins. This, too, had the mother's love, in the midst of her own boundless grief, thoughtfully provided for her child, that, in case of its survival, there might be at hand sufficient for its future needs.
Walmot could have given no reason for it, but at the sight of this money her tears burst forth. It was cold, hard coin, but accompanied by loving forethought that extended even beyond the grave. A life, passing away, had still sought to supply the needs of a life it left behind, perishable as itself.
Walmot hoped to find in the purse some indication of the origin and name of the child. It contained, however, nothing
but gold pieces collected from all corners of the earth, such as sea-captains are wont to hoard. What future hopes for the little creature, sleeping now so peacefully, may not the parents have attached to the glittering coins! They now lay silent and dead in the depths of ocean, but that on which they had hung their hopes, and cherished with such care, was left behind on a foreign shore, exposed to all the caprices of fate. Such was human life, too mysterious for mortal mind to understand, whilst mortal hands alone are able to alleviate its misery.
With a trembling heart, that beat both with joy and sorrow, Walmot Tyamen counted the money, which amounted to no inconsiderable sum, and then she carefully deposited her child's property in the bottom of her linen-chest.
TWO VIEWS OF LIFE.
The next day dawned, and the sea still rose high beneath the clouds, which drifted about before the stormy wind. The little isthmus that joined the two divisions of the island was still submerged by the rolling tide; but Walmot, with petticoats drawn up around her, and protected by her high jack-boots, waded through the well-known shallows, an irresistible impulse driving her, at the earliest break of day, over to the eastern side. She must ascertain what they knew there as to the fate of the vessel ; a terrible but silent struggle agitated her breast. There was still a possibility that, by some miraculous stroke of fate, the mother of the infant had been rescued and borne ashore. The mere thought of such a thing made Walmot quake in every limb with fear; for then she would have to restore the child to its true mother; and she had possessed it but for a few hours of the night, as in a dream. Wandering across the downs, she gazed upon the stormy sea, where the still wildly raging tempest brought her the consolatory reassurance that any rescue had been impossible. Then her heart beat again with violent self-reproach. Could she selfishly desire the young wife's death, and that the child should be robbed of its own mother? She was horrified at herself, for the thought had become a wish, and she had considered only her own happiness, which was to come out of the misfortunes of another. Then came a violent struggle in the mind of Walmot, as vividly conceived as though the decree of fate depended solely on her will. It was probably the bitterest struggle of her life, but here Walmot Tyamen's true self, such as Nature had made her, came forth victorious. Breathless, she hastened forward through the sands, every heart's throb, every longing of her soul, united in the fervent hope of finding the mother of the child alive.
Most of the villagers stood still grouped upon the beach, but hours had passed since anything had been drifted ashore ; the wind had veered round considerably, and it was now carrying every fragment of the wreck far out to sea. Not a life had been saved, nor had even a corpse been borne to land. One of the fishermen said :
"We sheänt seeä owt on 'em moor. The toide hev taën 'em reight awaäy, and the seä tweänt niver gie 'em oop ageän.”
Not a spar of the ship was visible; it had gone completely to pieces in the night. The fragments of salvage gave no
. indication of the land from whence the vessel had come. Everybody had recognised the ship as being a big schooner, but in the moonlight none could clearly distinguish the flag; opinions were therefore divided as to whether it had been a German, English, Swedish, or Danish vessel ; and the varying suppositions were all equally groundless. One man said, without meeting with any contradiction :
‘Happen they be sooäm o'them foäks fro' ower the West Coontry, as'll niver be heard on naw moor.'
He was quite right; no one ever did hear anything about them. Somewhere in the world the schooner would be marked on the lists as 'lost at sea,' but Europe itself was then on the eve of a tremendous shipwreck, and had something else to think of than the delay, or the foundering, of a single insignificant vessel on the actual deep.
Walmot walked up and down amid the speakers, heaving deepest sighs as she noted their every word. Her warm hope had had no power to change the cold decree of fate, and the little one whom she had left behind lay motherless on foreign soil. But now Walmot might give free play to her other heart's desire. Now it was her right, her duty, for the child was hers, entrusted to her care. The past lay behind immutable, but there lay still a life to be preserved and blessed; its future lay all before it, frowning and smiling with its proffered joys and woes.
Walmot was just about to return home, as Pastor Remmert came up from the parsonage, and noticed her there with some surprise. She seldom attended church, as, indeed, she rarely came at all to this side of the island. She was the only member of the community with whom the young pastor had failed to form the spiritual relation that he sought. He had often striven to gain her confidence, but, up to the present, entirely without success. Walmot never treated the new pastor with the least disrespect, but she never sought him out, never required his advice or help, either in temporal or in spiritual concerns. When he went over to her house, as he had often done at first, to visit her in the exercise of his calling, she received him in a friendly and respectful manner; she left her work and took her seat opposite to him. She listened attentively to his discourse, which was designed to draw her thoughts from the transitory cares of earthly life, and to fix them on eternity, for which the former is but a brief probation. She sat silent, never contradicting him, only she would often raise her eyes to the speaker, and gaze at him in silence. The eyes of the young pastor had seldom any influence on hers. This made him feel confused. Not that her look implied scorn or contradiction, but her eyes shone so calm, so clear, and so bright. He would rather have heard from her lips doubt, unbelief, even contempt, of his teaching. He was immeasurably superior to this simple woman in knowledge and intellectual resources, and he could have proved the hollowness of every objection she might have urged; but he could not subdue the silent gleam of her eyes; his mental superiority was here of no avail. He did not understand the language of those eyes, and yet a cold shiver passed through his frame as she thus fixed them upon
them; but it inflamed his zeal all the more. This woman was to him as the lost sheep, which he must seek after more than the ninety and nine who were in the fold. So one day he called upon her in the evening, in order that he might not feel so confused under her silent gaze. Then Walmot unclosed for once her lips and spoke; she spoke like an educated woman, though with the Frisian accent :
"Why do you come to me at dusk, Pastor Remmert ?" she asked. Your eyes may be able to see clearly, but mine require daylight; we are not alike, and words will never make us alike. I cannot let you see with my eyes, and if I had to see with yours, I should lose my dearest possession in the world. As I make no attempt to alter your opinions, which I don't understand, why do you seek to change mine, which are just as incomprehensible to you? You see stars over the ocean, ever fixed in the same place; I see the clouds in front, which change with every hour. Our views can never coincide ; let each, then, maintain his own. When night has fallen on us both, then perhaps we may know which was in the right.'
It was the only time that Walmot ever responded to Pastor Remmert's spiritual exhortations. He would not be repulsed, however, but returned, as duty and his inner feelings prompted. He did not meet her again, however. When she saw him coming, she left the use, hastened over the downs, entered her boat, and rowed out to sea.
Now he met with her once again, and was surprised that, instead of avoiding him, she seemed to wait for his approach. It really was what at this moment she was wishing for, because if she had not thus met him, she must herself have sought him in order to notify the stranger infant as a new member of the community. He listened without surprise to her report of the night's adventure, and only observed : The ways of God are unsearchable, but here they manifestly
“ indicate His gracious design to save a soul that was not yet competent to know Him.'
Having entered the parsonage for the purpose of registering the child, Remmert inquired :
Is it your wish, before God and the civil law, to adopt this child, and rear it as your own? And are you quite aware of the responsibility that will rest upon you as regards its immortal soul?
Walmot calmly replied:
'To the best of my power, Pastor Remmert, for body and soul.'
He continued :
*The ways of God are mysterious. That He has placed this orphan in
your hand indicates to me His wise design to draw your heart unto Himself by the gentle influence of a little child. So let us bless this night; may it lead to the salvation of you both !
A quiver passed through Walmot’s frame, but she held her