Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about Ilka on the Hill-Top and Other Stories.

“And what does the relief represent?” asked Cranbrook, half indifferently.

“It is a copy from an antique one.  Agamemnon robbing Achilles of his—­”

Cranbrook gave a start, and walked rapidly toward the other end of the boat.  In half an hour he returned, stopped in front of Vincent, grasped his hand warmly and said: 

“Harry, let us agree never to refer to that which is passed.  In your life it was an episode, in mine it was a catastrophe.”

Since that day, Annunciata’s name has never passed their lips.

There is, however, an epilogue to this tale which cannot well be left untold.  In the winter of 187-, ten years after their first Italian sojourn, the two friends again visited Rome together.  One beautiful day in February, they found themselves, perhaps not quite by accident, in the neighborhood of the well-remembered villa.  They rang the bell at the garden gate and were admitted by a robust young man who seemed to be lounging among the overgrown hedges in some official capacity.  The mossy Triton was still prosecuting his thankless task in the midst of his marble basin; the long stairs to the terrace were yet as damp and slippery as of old, and the noseless Roman senator was still persevering in his majestic attitude, although a sprig of maiden-hair was supporting its slender existence in the recess of his countenance which had once been occupied by his stately nose.  Vincent and Cranbrook both regarded these familiar objects with peculiar emotions, but faithful to their agreement, they made no comment.  At last they stopped before the sarcophagus—­and verily Babetta was still there.  A clean and chubby-faced Italian baby with large black eyes rose out of its marble depth and hailed them with simple, inarticulate delight.  Cranbrook gazed long at the child, then lifted it up in his arms and kissed it.  The young man who had opened the gate for them stood by observing the scene with a doubtful expression of suspicion and wonder.  As the stranger again deposited the child on the blanket in the bottom of the sarcophagus, he stepped up before the door and called: 

“Annunciata!”

A tall, comely matron appeared in the door—­and the strangers hastened away.

UNDER THE GLACIER.

I.

In one of the deepest fjord-valleys on the western coast of Norway there lives, even to this day, a legend which may be worth relating.  Several hundred years ago, a peasant dwelt there in the parish who had two sons, both born on the same day.  During their infancy they looked so much alike that even the father himself could not always tell one from the other; and as the mother had died soon after their birth, there was no one to settle the question of primogeniture.  At last the father, too, died, and each son, feeling sure that he was the elder, laid claim to the farm.  For well nigh a year they

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