And thus their thoughts and feelings returned to ordinary life, and from it they learned to appreciate their happiness anew.
[The two lovers mount the white horse, which Amrei suggests they call “Silverstep,” and start out through the moonlight for John’s home. As they ride along they talk and sing and tell stories and enjoy themselves as only lovers can. At Amrei’s request, they stop on the way to see Damie, who is with Coaly Mathew in the forest; Amrei tells him all that has happened, and John promises to make him an independent herdsman, and gives him a silver-mounted pipe. Damie, inwardly rejoiced, but, as usual, not over-appreciative, reminds him of the “pair of leather breeches,” a debt which John also promises to pay. Damie then displays unexpected cleverness by performing a mock-ceremony, in which he compels John to ask him, as his sister’s only living relative, for Amrei’s hand. Damie surprises his sister by doing this with considerable histrionic success, so that the two lovers start out again more merry than ever.]
OVER HILL AND VALE
The day had dawned when the two lovers reached the town; and already long before, when they encountered the first early-riser, they had alighted. They felt that they must have a strange appearance, and regarded this first person they met as a herald who had come to remind them of the fact that they must adapt themselves to the order of human conventionalities. So they dismounted, and John led the horse with one hand and held Amrei with the other. Thus they went on in silence, and as often as they looked at each other, their faces shone like those of children newly waked from sleep; but as often as they looked down, they became thoughtful and anxious about the immediate future.
Amrei, as if she had already been discussing the subject with John, and in complete confidence that his mind must have been dwelling on the same thoughts, now said:
“To be sure, it would have been more sensible if we had done the thing in a more normal way. You should have gone home first, and meanwhile I should have stayed somewhere—at Coaly Mathew’s in the forest, if we could have done no better. Then you could have come with your mother to fetch me, or could have written to me, and I could have come to you with my Damie. But do you know what I think?”
“Not everything you think.”
“I think that regret is the most stupid feeling one can possibly cherish. Do what you will, you cannot make yesterday into today. What we did, in the midst of our rejoicing, that was right, and must remain right. Now that our minds have been become more sober again, we can’t waste any time reproving ourselves. What we have to think of now is, how shall we do everything right in the future? But you are such a right-minded man that you will know what is right. And you can tell me everything you think, only tell me honestly; if you say what you mean, you won’t hurt me, but if you keep anything back from me, you will hurt me. But you don’t regret it, do you?”