“Lost wholly in each other, it was long before they recollected the alarm and anxiety of those who had been left behind; and they themselves, indeed, could not well think, without alarm and anxiety, how they were again to encounter them. ’Shall we run away? shall we hide ourselves?’ asked the young man. ‘We will remain together,’ she said, as she clung about his neck.
“The peasant having heard them say that a party was aground on the shoal, had hurried down, without stopping to ask another question, to the shore. When he arrived there, he saw the vessel coming safely down the stream. After much labor it had been got off; and they were now going on in uncertainty, hoping to find their lost ones again somewhere. The peasant shouted and made signs to them, and at last caught the attention of those on board; then he ran to a spot where there was a convenient place for landing, and went on signalling and shouting till the vessel’s head was turned toward the shore; and what a scene there was for them when they landed. The parents of the two betrothed first pressed on the banks; the poor loving bridegroom had almost lost his senses. They had scarcely learnt that their dear children had been saved, when in their strange disguise the latter came forward out of the bushes to meet them. No one recognized them till they were come quite close. ‘Whom do I see?’ cried the mothers. ‘What do I see?’ cried the fathers. The preserved ones flung themselves on the ground before them. ‘Your children,’ they called out; ‘a pair.’ ‘Forgive us!’ cried the maiden. ‘Give us your blessing!’ cried the young man. ’Give us your blessing!’ they cried both, as all the world stood still in wonder. ‘Your blessing!’ was repeated the third time; and who would have been able to refuse it?”
The narrator made a pause, or rather he had already finished his story, before he observed the emotion into which Charlotte had been thrown by it. She got up, uttered some sort of an apology, and left the room. To her it was a well-known history. The principal incident in it had really taken place with the Captain and a neighbor of her own; not exactly, indeed, as the Englishman had related it. But the main features of it were the same. It had only been more finished off and elaborated in its details, as stories of that kind always are when they have passed first through the lips of the multitude, and then through the fancy of a clever and imaginative narrator; the result of the process being usually to leave everything and nothing as it was.
Ottilie followed Charlotte, as the two friends begged her to do; and then it was the Earl’s turn to remark, that perhaps they had made a second mistake, and that the subject of the story had been well known to, or was in some way connected with, the family. “We must take care,” he added, “that we do no more mischief here; we seem to bring little good to our entertainers for all the kindness and hospitality which they have shown us; we will make some excuse for ourselves, and then take our leave.”