Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories.
species.  Nor did Mr. Hahn and Fritz seem to her more than half human.  Their constant presents and attentions sometimes annoyed, and frequently alarmed her.  She could not rid herself of the apprehension, that behind their honeyed words and manners they were hiding some sinister purpose.  She could not comprehend how her mother could talk so freely and fearlessly with them.  She thought of Hansel, who was away in the war, and many an evening she stood outside the telegraph-office with a quaking heart, waiting for the bulletin with the names of the dead and the wounded; but Hansel’s name was never among them.  And many a night she lay awake, yearning for Hansel, praying for him, and blessing him.  She seemed to hear his gay and careless laugh ringing from Alp to Alp—­how different from the polite smirk of the junior, the fat grin of the senior Hahn!  She saw his tall, agile figure standing upon a rock leaning upon his gun, outlined against the blue horizon,—­and she heard his strong clear voice yodling and calling to her from afar.  It is not to be wondered at that Ilka did not thrive in Berlin as well as her mother did; just as the tender-petaled alpine rose can only breathe the cool breezes of its native mountains, and withers and droops if transplanted to a garden.

Mother Uberta was by no means blind to the fact that both Fritz and his father had designs on her daughter, and having convinced herself that their prosperity rested on a solid basis, she was not disinclined to favor their suits.  The only difficulty was to make a choice between them; and having ascertained that Fritz was entirely dependent upon his father’s bounty, she quickly decided in favor of the father.  But she was too wise to allow Mr. Hahn to suspect that he was a desirable son-in-law, being rather addicted to the belief that men only worship what seems utterly beyond their reach.  Ilka, it is needless to say, was not a party to these speculations; to her the Hahns appeared equally undesirable in any capacity whatsoever.

As for the proprietor of the “Haute Noblesse,” I believe he was suffering from an honest infatuation.  He admired Ilka’s face, he admired her neck, her figure, her voice, her ankles as displayed by the short Tyrolese skirt; he wandered about in a sort of frenzy of unrest, and was never happy except in her presence.  That a certain amount of speculation entered into love’s young dream, I cannot positively deny; but, on the whole, the emotion was as sincere as any that Mr. Hahn’s bosom had ever harbored.  Whether he should allow her to sing in public after she had become his wife was a point about which he sometimes worried, but which he ended by deciding in the affirmative.  It was a splendid investment for the “Haute Noblesse.”

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Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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