The Little Elder-Tree Mother 4

“‘But first we went to school to learn something,’ she said, ‘and then we were confirmed; we both wept on that day, but in the afternoon we went out hand in hand, and ascended the high round tower and looked out into the wide world right over Copenhagen and the sea; then we walked to Fredericksburg, where the king and the queen were sailing about in their magnificent boat on the canals.’

 

“‘But soon I had to sail about somewhere else, and for many years I was travelling about far away from home.’

 

“‘And I often cried about you, for I was afraid lest you were drowned and lying at the bottom of the sea. Many a time I got up in the night and looked if the weathercock had turned; it turned often, but you did not return. I remember one day distinctly: the rain was pouring down in torrents; the dust-man had come to the house where I was in service; I went down with the dust-bin and stood for a moment in the doorway, and looked at the dreadful weather. Then the postman gave me a letter; it was from you. Heavens! how that letter had travelled about. I tore it open and read it; I cried and laughed at the same time, and was so happy! Therein was written that you were staying in the hot countries, where the coffee grows. These must be marvellous countries. You said a great deal about them, and I read all while the rain was pouring down and I was standing there with the dust-bin. Then suddenly someone put his arm round my waist—’

 

“‘Yes, and you gave him a hearty smack on the cheek,’ said the old man.

 

“‘I did not know that it was you—you had come as quickly as your letter; and you looked so handsome, and so you do still. You had a large yellow silk handkerchief in your pocket and a shining hat on. You looked so well, and the weather in the street was horrible!’

 

“‘Then we married,’ he said. ‘Do you remember how we got our first boy, and then Mary, Niels, Peter, John, and Christian?’

 

‘Oh yes; and now they have all grown up, and have become useful members of society, whom everybody cares for.’

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