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no greater change than was the natural consequence of the passing years. But her face, though it was not prematurely aged, had assumed an old, apathetic look that was not befitting so young a woman. She was at this time only thirty years of age. Her countenance had never indicated any great mental powers, but now this lack was replaced by an actual overgrowth of spiritual deadness which quite changed the physically healthy countenance.

Her personal appearance showed signs of the same settled indifference. In former days she had always kept herself spotlessly neat and clean, but now both her hair and dress gave evidence of long neglect, and showed that she had lost all care about the impression that her appearance might produce on others. She fulfilled her daily duties; she cooked the food on the hearth, and she heated the stove, because she had no wish to suffer from hunger or from cold. On Sunday she went to church and heard her husband preach; she joined with the congregation in the hymns, and she folded her hands in the attitude of prayer. She did not believe in God, but she did not want to hear any remonstrances from her husband, whose harangues had become intolerable to her.

She had ceased to write 'home'; her sisters' laugh no longer echoed in her ear; her home-sickness had passed away. She no longer yearned for love, either for that of her husband or for that of her child. The instinct to avoid bodily suffering told her what to do and what to leave undone, and she obeyed this instinct as an animal does.

And so her favourite position was to sit idly before the window, gazing through it with a vacant stare. Before her heavy, lustreless eyes there stretched the wide expanse Infinity, like an unreal, fabulous chimera, while close around she saw nothing but proofs of the utter vanity of every effort and every hope throughout her life. She could but sigh for death to come, even though she shrank from its agony.

What a contrast did the two homes present ! There in Walmot's little cottage was Roeluf Hemmen, gradually re covering from his spiritual apathy, and awaking once more to human sympathies and the joys of life. Whereas here in the parsonage, Deena was gradually sinking deeper and deeper into mental torpor, and growing hopelessly weary of the burden, and the vexation, and the disappointment of life.

CHAPTER XVI.

CHILD-FRIENDSHIPS.

TEDA REMMERT and Freda Roeluf were in their eighth year when they first became companions. They had, indeed, often seen each other from a distance, and occasionally close at hand, but they had not taken any special notice of each other. Already, before the beginning of the winter that was just past, an intimation had reached Walmot from the pastor that it was time she sent her daughter to the class which was held daily at the parsonage ; but Walmot had answered that the frequent winter inundations made it dangerous for the little one to cross the isthmus which connected the two halves of the island. In reality this was but a pretext. Walmot felt an inward struggle. She knew the necessity of securing better instruction for Freda than she herself could impart, but she was unwilling to deprive the child of her precious freedom, and it clashed with her own deepest feelings to part from the child every day for the many hours which would have to be spent at the parsonage. So things had gone on much as before, there was no compulsory school law for girls in East Friesland, and Pastor Remmert had no further power in the matter, and could only repeat his fruitless invitation.

It was a bright sunny morning in May, and warmth and sunshine flooded the quiet isle ; the sea lay all but motionless around, and for the first time during many weeks it was again possible to cross the little isthmus on dry ground. Teda was looking for flowers with which to decorate her Madonna; on the eastern side of the isle she could find no more, but on the further side she perceived a patch of ground glistening with the little deep-coloured golden, blue, and

crimson flowerets. When she had first begun to ramble about alone, she had been strictly forbidden, on account of risk from the floods, to go over to the other side of the isthmus, and, by mere force of habit, she had never as yet disobeyed. A foreign land lay over there, and it had no attraction for her. She quite understood the motive of the prohibition she had received, and she realized that, on such a quiet day, it need not be enforced. So she went on without hesitation, filled her apron with the flowers, and

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wandered further along the north side of the sloping downs. Then she stooped again to pluck a few more flowers, but her hand was stayed, and she hastily raised her head on hearing a voice close behind her that said:

'Oh, do let 'em bide! I be sartin it mut 'urt em.'

Turning round, she saw, seated on a sand-bank, Freda Roeluf, who was watching her with a look half beseeching, half reproachful.

“You are a silly little thing,' replied Teda. 'Do you suppose that flowers can feel ?' and she stooped down again to pick the flowers.

Thereupon Freda sprang to her feet, clutched Teda by the arm, and said, still in her Frisian dialect :

'I am always so glad to see them alive ; if you pluck them they will die, just like a man who is drowned in the sea.'

Teda gazed at her in astonishment.

•What do you mean? Are the flowers yours?' she asked ; and as Freda only replied by a silent shake of the head, she continued : ‘Then, they belong to the finder.'

She was unaccustomed to meet with the slightest contradiction from the fishermen's children, and never with actual opposition.

The two children stood facing one another for a few seconds in silence; the dark blue eyes of the one and the sparkling starry orbs of the other wore an equally defiant expression. There could be no question which of the two was the superior in physical vigour, and it was evident that there had come at the same moment to the one a consciousness of bodily strength, and to the other a consciousness of bodily weakness.

Teda was the first to speak, and her words seemed to be an answer to Freda's unspoken thought :

• Do you think you have any right to interfere with me because you are the stronger? I know the most, and that is far better.'

Freda's face was covered with a deep fush, when she thus heard her thought expressed aloud in words. She had not intended to exercise her superior strength, she had merely felt happily conscious of its possession. Teda's words implied a supposition from which she recoiled—as if she could have meant to use force. Drawing her hand away, she hastily replied :

* There they are ; take them if it gives you any pleasure. Don't be angry—I was wrong.'

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Turning her head, that she might not see the destruction of her little favourites, she went away.

Teda's fingers hastily broke off a few of the short flowerstalks, but she did this to prove her right to do it rather than because she any longer had a desire for them. Her eyes were fixed on Freda as the latter slowly walked away. Presently she followed her, and, overtaking her, gently laid a hand upon her arm, and said : ‘You can stay here. I am not angry.

But why do you speak in such a vulgar way? Don't you know better?'

Freda shook her head, and replied : 'I always speak as mother does.'

' But only common people speak like that. You must learn from me to speak correctly. Will you ?'

Freda did not answer, so Teda went on :

'It is not right of your mother to keep you from coming to school to us. Father says so.

You'll be an ignorant creature all your

life.' At these words Freda fixed her eyes upon the speaker with a fearless look, and answered with spirit :

'Whatever my mother does is quite right. If you blame her, I will learn nothing from you, nor from your father either.'

Her countenance said plainly that she would have nothing further to do with the pastor's daughter, and she once more turned away from her. The other shrugged her shoulders as she retorted :

Well, then, you must remain a dunce.' As she uttered the last word, her own name mingled with the sound, for it was loudly shouted by some person who was invisible behind the sand-hills. Looking round, Teda answered:

'Here !
· Where?'
· Here!

Thereupon a boy's head popped above the bank, and the boy himself came towards the two girls. Freda stared at him in surprise, and, forgetting the previous dispute, asked, 'Who's

, this ?' while Teda shouted, half in response and half as greeting to the new-comer :

*Uwen !

The boy was a complete stranger to Freda she had never even seen him or heard of him; and, indeed, he had only been one week upon the island. He was eleven years

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old, and his name was Uwen Folmar; his father had been a schoolfellow of Remmert's, had afterwards gone to sea, and a year ago had died suddenly at Stockholm, where, as captain of a small ship, he had put into harbour. He left behind him a widow and a son, who were provided with very slender means. The widow, who was a delicate invalid, soon followed her husband to the grave. He, however, had anticipated this event, and in the will that he left, he had requested Pastor Remmert to undertake the guardianship of their orphan boy. The pastor looked upon the acceptance of this charge as a sacred duty, and therefore assented at once to the wish of his old schoolfellow. There was, however, no money with which to defray the boy's school fees. So Remmert deemed it his further duty not to leave the boy's education to strangers, but to receive him into his own home. In this he again showed his perfect unselfishness, and his willingness to make any worldly sacrifice for the good of others. His own means were very small, and they would be still further reduced by the admission into his household of a new and dependent inmate. These were the circumstances under which Uwen had reached the island a week ago.

He had been looking about the downs for Teda, and now came running towards her. He gazed in astonishment at Freda Roeluf, and asked who she was. When he was told, he said, 'How different you two girls look! No one would think you belonged to the same place.' It was evident that he had at once discovered in Freda a great contrast to the other village children, although she had light hair and eyes similar to theirs. She, too, looked at him with surprise. It was the first time she had seen any other boy than the fishermen's lads. Her eyes at first betrayed some shyness in the presence of this stranger, but when she heard whence and wherefore he had come to the island, she went up to him and hastily grasped his hand. He asked in surprise :

• What do you want ?'
She answered with a tearful look :

‘Oh, I am so sorry for you, because you have no father and mother !

The three then sat down side by side on the bank of coarse grass; the two girls had quickly forgotten, as children are wont to do, their first meeting and the impending quarrel ; each felt that she had found in the other something which was

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