« НазадПродовжити »
which made the pale features look almost paler than they would otherwise have done, and the large dark eyes seemed larger from the black lines below them. She turned and looked, and their eyes met. They had not met for many long years, not since one gusty autumn evening, when the wail of storm and wind had seemed to echo the mute wail of his own heart, and, passing her open door, he had slipped in and placed his Bible as a parting remembrance between them. Had she heard his voice in the parlour, talking to Frau Mässinger, and had she thought it like one she had known long ago? Had her heart beat as she listened, and had she left Heinrich's side to hide an emotion which was rarely visible beneath that nun-like dress? Perhaps so; for she turned round now with a look of fond and eager recognition, and an expression, not of surprise, but of satisfaction.
Nesta, is it you ?' he exclaimed; and in a moment, seeing only the sweetness of the face, and the old, old look, he forgot the garb that so transformed her, and held her in his arms. Nothing—not even the cross at her girdle—seemed a barrier to him now. Had he not vowed to traverse land and sea until he found her? and having found her, what now could stand between them? It was a strange meeting by the bedside of the dying man ; and little had Newton thought, as old associations and remembrances allured him to explore his former haunts among the mills of the valley, whom he should meet with there. In that moment each felt and knew that there was no longer a mystery between them. .
Nesta had not time to ask herself how he knew the history of her life; she felt that he did know, and that was enough. They went together into the adjoining room, and then she told him of the vow she had taken to serve God in her solitary life, and to live for Him, and how He had blessed her vow by giving her joy and peace. Dare she break it now by indulging in human love ? Newton looked at her as she spoke; she seemed to him purer
and better than she had ever seemed before —a being holier than others, and yet more loveable. Surely no human love was alien to her service to God. Might she not fulfil her vow still more thoroughly in the nearer duties of her home, and live, not for herself, but for others? There were only a few whispered words spoken between them, but they were words which made Newton's heart thrill with happiness. Nesta’s face wore an expression of greater calm and peace than ever. And as they talked, there fell at Newton's feet two little withered heartseases from the book she carried in her hand. He picked them up, but he did not replace them. Nesta pointed silently to the cross-she had found her heart's ease there.
A movement from Heinrich recalled her to the adjoining room. The slight bustle had made his mind wander again, and he was talking to Rosa.
Can you tell him anything of Rosa ?' suggested Nesta. “Have you heard anything of her ? Does she still care for him ?
"She is married,' whispered Newton. ‘She married an English farmer, and is now the mother of seven children.' He spoke in English, but Heinrich seemed intuitively to understand the subject of the whispered communication.
* You know,' cried Heinrich, raising himself with a feeble effort ; "you are talking of her; tell me too. Does she remember me still ? Does she, can she, love me?' His voice was unnaturally loud with excitement and agitation. No one answered. Then Nesta went very softly up to him and whispered :
'In the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.'
Heinrich clasped his hands.
Nesta's words had been the nunc dimittis of his soul.
Is it warm in that green valley,
Vale of childhood, where you dwell ?
Round whose bournes such great hills swell ?
Giants leaving footprints yet ?
Tell me—I forget.-Jean Ingelow.
HALFWAY up the hill, overlooking the village, stood Villa Stanley—the Villa, as it was called by the people round, who had a sort of respect for its smooth turf and well-kept garden, and the general outside aspect of English comfort which the Villa exhibited.
It stood there, baking in the sun, on a hot August afternoon, with windows fast closed and blinds drawn down, that not a breath of the hot air might enter. There are, however, two sides to most things—two 33