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And then Rosa cut off a bright golden curl from his head, and so their troth was plighted
There was no one to see that parting—no one to say what words were spoken, or what tears were shed, but when Rosa stole again to her bed in the loft, the moon had long set, and the day was beginning to dawn. She went straight to the box in which her treasure lay, the bright English half-sovereign, and opening the paper that contained it, she placed beside it the auburn curl that was more precious still.
In the morning, not many hours after, she looked out and saw the gate open and Heinrich passing down the road with his knapsack on his shoulder, and at the gate stood his mother and father, and Johann and Marie, crying bitterly.
JE LÄNGER, JE LIEBER.
Within her heart was his image, Clothed in the beauty of love and youth, as last she beheld
him, Only more beautiful made by his death-like silence and absence.
EVANGELINE. THE aspect of things inside the Villa had altered as much as that outside it. Autumn days, chill and damp, whistling wind, and drifting leaves, dense fogs in the morning, and misty exhalations at sunset, and bare branches letting in glimpses of sky through a fretwork of gold and crimson. No butterflies now for Dick or Alice to chase from flower to flower and finally to make captive in their nets; no burning sunshine to keep out by shuttered windows and cool blinds ; no fire-flies floating in the wood at nighttame harmless things, to be caught by any hand that opened for them ; none of that
hum of life which gives the wood in the hot summer time the peculiar feeling of being God's own temple, inhabited by his creatures.
Inside the Villa the change was as great. No noisy revelry of children's voices, no exultant laughter at childish feats, drawing forth childish approbation; no social life, home-like and pleasant, with varied incidents and interests, nothing of the old thing seemed left.
Quiet and delicate as she had been, the mother had formed the centre of the home. The children still passed her room on tiptoe with a sort of childish awe, and Dick, who was a referee in most matters, told wonderful stories, half based on his own imagination or on Babette's superstitious sayings, or even remotely on his mother's religious teaching, all mingled now strangely together after the fashion of childhood. When little Ernie sat on the stairs, resolutely begging that he might see mamma, Dick pacified him by describing the home to which his mother had gone, as if he saw the city with its pavement
of many-coloured stones, and its gates and walls of jasper, and heard the harps and the singing; to him there was nothing typical ; everything was essentially true and real. But when he talked with Alice alone, both the children pondered over the mystery of death. The dark grave, the silence, the stillness, the awe and the sorrow, expressed even by those who had known her but little; all was in such contrast to the assertion that death was life and happiness, a soul going to its Father's home to enjoy rest and peace for ever. Do not the contradictions in life strike older minds than Dick's ?
Once or twice Dick would have liked to have gone to his father and to have asked him all about it, but sorrow had made his father graver than usual, and children fear gravity. And sometimes, playing softly with Alice in a corner of the drawing-room, he would hear a deep long sigh, and looking up he would catch his father's eye, and he felt that in some way that sigh was connected with themselves. It did not draw his children
nearer to him; they began to be afraid where they had never feared before, and to avoid his presence and to feel oppressed while in it. But there was still Aunt Nesta. She had almost become more necessary to them than ever, and well was it for her that it was so.
For the change in Nestaʼs circumstances had been scarcely less than that in others. When she had gone into her room on the morning after her last interview with Newton she had found a pocket bible lying on her table. It had evidently been placed there by Newton himself as a parting present, in the hope that by such a gift he should succeed in associating himself with her daily and holiest thoughts. There was no name in the book, though it bore marks of having been in use before, but in the small neat hand which she knew so well, the word · Mizpeh' stood on the blank fly-leaf. This, then, was Newton's last word to her; any other gift she would have rejected; he had been wise ; he had chosen one which he knew would be held sacred by her.