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had not seen each other were but a dream. With a light and cheerful heart she hastened homewards. The very next day Bruno called at tea time, and before a few weeks had passed, had become almost a daily guest in the Welters family.
These few weeks, if not quite enough to make Emmy feel at home in her new position, were long enough to teach her its peculiarities.
In the first place, Emmy felt grateful for the hearty kindness of Otto, who, having to divide his time between business and Mary van Stein, could not be much with her; but he never let a day pass without giving her some proof, either by word or deed, of the cordial brotherly love which he felt for her.
Her relations with Elizabeth were also all that she could wish. With the ardour of her sixteen years Elizabeth had conceived, at first sight, an affection for Emmy which reminded one of the attachment of a faithful dog. But. in development she was too far behind Emmy for the affection which existed between them to become a definite friendship. She was so very childish for her age that, however much Emmy might love her and be pleased by her devotion, yet she could not make a friend or confidant of her.
Elizabeth's exaggerated feelings were not in Emmy's nature; and cheerful and good-humoured as Emmy was she had acquired, owing to having lived so long with her old aunt and to her separate education, a certain sedateness, which, although not inconsistent with her age of eighteen, is seldom found in so young a girl.
Elizabeth's attentions to Emmy borderud on the oppressive. All day and at all hours she was by Emmy's side, and tried to imitate her in everything relating to dress or manner, and she steadfastly repelled all Mina's spiteful and sneering remarks without letting them disturb her admiration of Emmy.
And now, speaking of Mina, I must say that with her Emmy was not on such good | terms. She had done her best, but without much result. I should like to be able to state that she nevertheless redoubled her efforts, and that, although repeatedly thrust back, she had continued to treat: Miua with the same love and gentleness; but I must adhere strictly to the truth, and I must not represent Emmy as an angel, for, in fact, she was just a nice girl, and not baked of better dough than other people's children. She let Mina know soon enough what she was, adopted a cool, polite manner towards her, and took little
further trouble about her; but by way of a little quiet revenge, she kept watch on Miua's efforts and doings and amused herself with them.
For a new star had begun to glimmer on Mina's matrimonial horizon in the shape of a certain Captain Uuo, who had joined the garrison at Dllburg, and had been introduced to Burgomaster Welters, and gradually became a frequent visitor.
In point of fact, Captain tlno was, in all respects, an utterly insignificant man; what he was as an officer I naturally cannot judge, but this is certain, that the military service had completely taken po>session of the little understanding he ever had. All his conversation set out from that service, and came back to it again.
Seen through his eyes, the world was a great cavalry barrack where lie himself, though but a captain, played an important part.
That he was of good family and had a stiver or two of money made liim not less important in his own eyes, and not less also in the eyes of Mina de Uraaff, who for the moment treated him as the chosen of her heart. By Mina, this was as much as to say that she had gone so far to meet him on the matrimonial road that the most timid lover had but a very little step to make in order to arrive at the great word which was Mina's dream.
But Captain Uno was just like so many of his predecessors; no one could feel sure that, at the eleventh hour, he would not find the means of slipping away by a byepath.
This uncertainty rendered Mina in the highest degree ill-humoured, so much so as to bo almost ridiculous. A few polite expressions (for example) t'rom Captain Uno addressed to Emmy were sufficient to make her unapproachable for some hours and were frequently the cause of the cross words which were continually exchanged between herself and her brother William.
The Welters were one of those families in which each member instinctively cooperates in keeping up an appearance of unity,although such unity does not always exist. Yet even the appearance of unity is valuable, when it does not degenerate into sheer hypocrisy, and in their case it did not go so far as this. They had sufficient mutual affection to help and stand by each other when necessary, but not sufficient to repress the sharp tormenting words which the goddess of discord sows in the heart
Above all there was a sort of yuerrt soun!e existing between Mina and William which seldom came to an actual outbreak, but of which cutting words and teasing remarks were the symptoms. It seemed to be a contention which had grown up with them from childhood and had increased with time, and although Emmy was convinced that the chief fault lay with Mina, she took part against William in their constant sparring, and felt justified to some extent in doing so, owing to the small good-will she felt for this pseudobrother. Indisputably, there exists a feeling of antipathy which sometimes gets the mastery over us, strongly and inexplicably and without our being able to state any reasonable ground for it. and which one can hardly pet rid of without the greatest difficulty. If love can spring up at first sight (and I am convinced that it can), so the feeling of antipathy is not less instantaneous in its influence.
Thus it was in Emmy's case with William de Graaff. Could it have been an unconscious reflection of the old enmity which existed between O'to and William in the days of their childhood? or was it his ill-favoured exterior? Emmy asked herself this question often enough without arriving at its solution. She was not unfrequently ashamed of this feeling, considering all the attention and courtesy which from the first day of their acquaintance he had shown her.
She often compelled herself to say a friendly word or do a sisterly act by which, however, she did violence to the natural feelings of her heart.
But take it altogether, Emmy was thus far little effected by the small disagreeables which I h ive mentioned.
In respect of her relations with Mrs. Welters she was bitterly disappointed. At least the expectations which her warm young heart had formed had not been realized. With the good qualities which Bhe undoubtedly possessed, Mrs. Welters was a hard, cold woman. A loving, hearty word was beyond the limits of her nature, and accordingly in her whole being there was more that repelled than attracted. And yet one could not but admire the manner in which she acquitted herself of the not easy task of presiding at the head of a family composed of such different elements.
If people did not love her, they respected her, and few had the courage to thwart her.
She had a tolerably even temper, and moreover she pursued her path of life with the pleasant conviction that all she did was
well done, that one might seek in vain for a cleverer, neater housewife and a better administered household. In this she was not altogether wron^, but it would doubtless have been more agreeable if she had not been so entirely penetrated with this truth, or if she could have added to all these virtues, feminine gentleness and amiability.
Neither of her words nor deeds could Emmy with reason complain, and indeed she did not do so, but in her heart she felt a void, which previously had been quite filled with the love, of her aunt. To her she could express every thought, every emotion of her heart. In the feeling that she had made her aunt's life agreeable1, that she was useful and necessary to her happiness, there was something satisfying which was now wanting.
Here, however, Emmy had become a member of the family among many others; without her they had lived contentedly, and her coming had in no respect made the smallest alteration. Her father was friendly and hearty towards her, but not more so than to all the others; her step-mother was cold but polite, as to nu ordinary guest.
That all this gave Emmy a dissatisfied foeling was the natur.-il.consequecce of her being brought up separately ; she had been spoilt, not in the sense usually attached to that word, but in respect of a love and care which she had formerly received and con-idered as a natural thing, and which she now missed all to much.
Before Emmy had been many weeks in her father's house one thought had become uppermost in her heart, which made all these things mere trifles.
What this was I will presently tell.
PREPARATION'S FOR A GREAT EVENT IX DILBURG.
What could it be, you ask, which a few months later threw the young generation of Dilbnrg into such a state of excitement?
Why did the shops exhibit tulle and tarlatan— such as one hardly sees except during the time of the winter season at the Casino?
Well all these prepartions were for a ball — "the ball," as it was called, to be given by Mr. Eversberg as a " house warming " of his new residence.
It was certainly a strange time of year for dancing: September I The invitations fell like bombshells into the houses of those who were asked to the ball, for the Evergbergs let no one into their plans till the cards made their appearance. Those who were not asked declared it was quite ridiculous.
"If my daughters were naked " said the surgeon's wife, '• I could not consent to their going. This is the time for enjoying the fine weather, and not for dancing in hot rooms."
But, for once. Bruno was possessed with the idea that his birth-day which fell in this month, should be celebrated by a Bplendid fete, and it seemed to him that, for all the guests, himself included, nothing would be half so pleasant as a ball. And so the ball was resolved upon, for what Bruno had once proposed, he generally knew how to carry into execution. "Who knows when I shall be at home again on my birthday?" These words hud overcome the last objections of Mr. Eversberg, and ten days beforehand the invitations were actually sent round.
To no house did they come in such abundance as to that of Burgomaster Welters; each member of the family received one. Mina was the first to remark that it was unbecoming for one family to go there in such numbers. '• Well, Bo I think," said her brother William; "then you mu>t begin by staying at home." Emmy and Elizabeth could not help laughing at William's answer, which was sufficient to destroy Mina's good humour for the whole day.
Her motives she now explained in a sharper tone. Elizabeth was a child, and the idea of letting her go to a ball before she was out, was in the highest degree irregular.
"It is a pity, Mina. that you can't transfer a few years to Elizabeth; you would both benefit by it," answered William.
Mina now became still more disagreeable, and when Emmy took Elizabeth's part, she turned to her with the words:
"Of course you do not think of going. It is not at all the thing to dance in mourning."
It was fortunate that the entrance of Mrs. Welters broke off any further dispute, and still more that all Mina's objections fell to the ground by her mother's announcement that •' papa and she" saw no reason why they should not all go. For clever as Mina might be, experience had taught her that she must strike her fliig to the decided will of her mother, whenever it was once expressed.
It is difficult to describe Elizabeth's excitement at the prospect of her first ball; she could speak of nothing else, she could think of nothing else. She hummed dance
] tunes all daylong, and danced the most fantastic steps whenever she could find a leisure moment.
The week which preceded the ball was a very oppressive one for the ladies of the Welters family.
Papa Welters, who, with the prospect of the supper which was to follow the ball, was looking forward to the fete no less than the young people, immediately gave to each of his girls a present of money, in order that the credit of his family might be maintained iu the form of ball-<3resse3. During this week, therefore, they all had their hands full of business, for Mrs. Welters especially prided herself on the fact that, in her house, nothing was "put out," — a technical expression connected with needlework.
But although nothing was "put out," it was not against the statutes for a needlewoman who had a certain celebrity in Dilburg, under the name of "Crooked Coozey," to come into the house; and all that week the said Coozey swayed her sceptre of scissors uninterruptedly in the workroom, where Mrs. Welters and the young ladies made their ball-dresses under her directions.
The result was that the gentlemen found the drawing-room less sociable than usual, and Otto revenged himself by saucy remarks about the axis of tulle and tarlatan, round which the world seemed to be revolving; and after much fun with Elizabeth, who was quite ready to catch the ball he threw and toss it back again, he generally took refuge with Mary van Stein, who was also invited, but who would not even speak of the invitation before her father, still less avail herself of it.
Meanwhile, during the last two months. Otto had become much better acquainted with the inhabitants of Beckley. The inheritance, which appeared to be no idle fancy, had, however, to be substantiated by documents, the investigation of which was attended with much difficulty, and was the principal cause of his repeated visits. In fact, there was a great-grandfather to be found, or, to speak more accurately, his baptismal and burial register; and it was just this particular old mau whom it was impossible to dispense with, in the ladder of ancestors up which Mr. Arnold was to climb to Martin van Rossom. Hitherto Otto had not been discouraged by his want of success, and the more he became acquainted with the inhabitants of Beckley, the more he began to find that his feeling of friendship for them gave a spur to his zeal. Not a weekjifter hia first visit, he called one evening ;it Beckley, to give a cursory account of what he had made out in connection with the examination of the papers.
lie found the father and daughter sitting in one of the downstairs rooms opening on to the terrace, and they received him as an old friend and a welcome guest.
Celine was sitting at the tea-table, whilst the Javanese maid, standing behind her chair, carried backwards and forwards the kettle of boiling water, and in this, the first feminine occupation in which Otto had seen Celine engaged, she seemed to him, if possible, prettier than the first time he met her. After the object of Otto's visit, the inheritance, had been disposed of, Mr. Arnold again talked much about Java and his favourite undertaking, and Celine also joined with animation in the conversation. Otto was surprised at the knowledge of aft'airs with which she spoke, and at the same time with such simplicity as if she were entirely unaware that such matters seldom came within the range of thought of a young lady of her age. She did not laugh so much as at Otto's first visit; on the contrary, there was a shade of melancholy on her countenance which lent to it another, if not a greater charm.
It was only as twilight came on that Otto recollected that he ought to depart, unless he wished to be at Mary's house later than usual; but just then Celine said:
"I am going to play to my father, Mr. Welters; would you like to stay and listen to some music 'I"
Was it more of courtesy than pleasure or curiosity which made him sit down again?
Otto Welters was a great lover of music, and Dilburg afforded ample encouragement to that fine art.
In the first place it had its section of the Tonkunst Society, where all the young Dilburgers, whether they had voices or no. prepared themselves by weekly practisings for the great performance which took place j every alternate year. Every winter brought its ladies' concert once a fortnight, when now and then a musical star passing through Holland was as well received here as in the larger towns of our country. Then, in summer, the " open air " concerts might truly be called the favourite diversion of Dilburgers, and on a Sunday evening, assembled in the somewhat confined space of the public garden, they listened to the band of the regiment that played for the amusement of the elite of the town. Otto was a zealous member of all these musical institutions; he was gifted with a
musical ear and good taste; and although he had never hud the time to become himself a performer, he was too passionate a lover of good music not to seek it, wherever it was to be found.
His musical requirements found little to satisfy them at home. Mina did not play; she always spoke of an illness in which she had lost her voice, a voice the charms of which'were left to the imagination.
Probably then, wheh Celine sat down without hesitation to the piano, Otto expected to hear one of the parlour pieces which at that time were the order of the day, and which he too often heard played when music was proposed.
Wliilst he gazed in the twilight at the uncertain outline of Celine's figure, he watched her preparing to play with indifference; but this indifference gave way at the very first chord-! to the greatest interest, and before Celine had played for a quarter of an hour he listened with bated breath. Such playing Otto had never heard; he had heard others play with as much skill but her playing was something extraordinary, so striking that his feelings were moved to the very depths of his soul. It was evidently an improvisation; first a simple melody which passed slowly from an andante to a quicker movement, then it burst out into a wild passionate strain and at last dissolved itself into a soft melancholy harmony, and unexpectedly her playing became a gentle accompaniment as she sang with a deep contralto voice:
Aus fernen Ufern hingebnnot,
Thut's mir von Herzeii weh,
Dasa ich mein liebes Vnterlsnd
Nicht mehr vor Augen seh '.
Ich sehnc imtuer mich zuriick,
D.'isa liisst mir keine Ruh;
Ich wcrfu tmncben nassen Blick
Der ferneu Heinmth zu,
Von dir verbnnnt, mein Vaterland I
Celine had passed more than half an hour at the piano and when she finished playing, it had become quite dark, but before Otto came to his senses or had time to say a word to her, she got up from the piano, went out at the open door into the terrace and vanished in the darkness.
"Your daughter is a great musician," said Otto at last to Mr. Arnold.
"Yes, Celine plays well and has a good voice; I have always taken much trouble to develop this talent in her, and in the last two years of my stay in the East I had the opportunity of providing good instruction for her. She sang almost before she could speak. Music is her nature; it is her only inheritanfe from her mother."
"Has your wife been dead long, Mr. Arnold V"
'• She did not live to see the first anniversary of Celine's birth. It were much to be desired for ray daughter that she had not been brought up without a mother, but I had too great a love for her mother to Bupply her place. She was a simple girl from the interior, the daughter of a native magnate, darker in tint but still more beautiful than Celine, equally clever but less developed, but she was only in her sixteenth year when I buried her, and with her the best sentiments of my heart and the happiness of my life."
"I fear that I have involuntarily touched on a painful theme, Mr. Arnold, but forgive me."
"On the contrary, I call to mind the departed willingly. Celine and I often talk to each other of the mother whom she never knew, but whose image I have caused to live in her thoughts. Seventeen years is long enough to heal a wound, and in my daughter I have found a companion for whom I am thankful to God every day."
After these last words of Mr. Arnold a long silence ensued. Otto hoped every moment that Celine would come in again, and he would not go till he had thanked her for her playing and singing, and all the more because he regarded her invitation to him to stay and listen as a compensation for her declining to sing at her first visit. But still no Celine came, and in order to start a new subject of conversation Otto broke the silence by the question:
"Do you know, Mr. Arnold, that you have taken away from us Dilburgers a privilege which from long usage was regarded as a right?"
'• Surely 1 know that, my worthy sir," answered Mr. Arnold, with his sarcastic smile, " and if I had not known it, people have taken good care to make me know it. But you must not take it amiss if I say as an Englishman says, 'My house is my castle,' and that I hold my<elf entitled to maintain absolute freedom for myself in my own castle. Celine is in the habit of wandering out of doors at all times of the day. Neither my health nor my time permit me to accompany her. 1 am almost certain, for example, that at this moment she ia walking about somewhere in the wood. I have remarked by her playing that she is in a melancholy mood, and then solitude is the best cure for her. How then could I agree that Beckley should be open to the public?"
"At this moment — in this darkness, and in the wood 1 " exclaimed Otto in surprise.
"Why not, Mr. Welters? Does it appear to you unfit? Celine has too little i knowledge of the world to be aware that timidity and shyness are expected from a young lady, and she is too natural to feign a feeling which she does not possess. There is no danger, and if there were, Celine would know how to defend herself; of that I am quite sure."
There was a certain pride in the way Mr. Arnold spoke of Celine. Otto had remarked this already, and he could forgive the ftther who felt pride in such a beautiful daughter.
But now Otto took his leave, since he could not expect her to come back. As he was going away and had readied the end of the terrace, Celine with her faithful Caesar emerged from the shade of a dark path and stood before him.
"I was just thinking of you, Mr. Welters," she said, coming towards him : "guess what I was thinking of."
"That you had given me no opportunity of thanking you for the pleasure I have had in your singing and playing," said Otto heartily.
Celine laughed; it was too dark to distinguish her countenance; but he saw her white teeth shine and her eyes glisten in the darkness.
"No, I certainly did not think of that, Mr. Welters. I could not help its not being more cheerful. All day I have gone ab.mt with stupid sorrowful thoughts; but they have been driven away by my playing, and now it is all right ag.iin." She interrupted herself—"Now 1 must just tell you what I was thinking of, only you must not laugh at me."
•' Surely not, Miss Celine."
"I want to know what your Christian name is which begins with an O. I can only think of two. Oscar and Oswald."
•• Have you never heard of Otto?"
"Otto; well, that is a pretty name, Mr. Welters. I think I shall call you Oito in future. May IV"
"By all means," said Otto.
"Yes, but you must call me Celine, or I shall not dare to call you Otto."
"Good evening, Celine," said Otto.
"Good evening. Otto." This last was accompanied with a clear laugh, and the next moment she had vanished into the wood by a side path.
During the whole way home Otto could not help thinking of Celine; there was something unaccountably charming iu her