We spent several hours in silence. About three o’clock the doctor paid a brief visit; and I read in his face that the end was near. The first sunbeams stole through the closed shutters and scattered little quivering fragments of light upon the carpet. A deep stillness reigned about us. As I sat watching the defaced ruin of what had been, to me at least, one of the noblest forms which a human spirit ever inhabited, the past moved in a vivid retrospect before my eye, and many strange reflections thronged upon me. Presently Dannevig called me and I stood again bowing over him.
“When you—bury me,” he said in a broken whisper. “Carry my—cross of—Dannebrog—on a cushion after me.” And again after a moment’s pause: “I have—made a—nice mess of it, haven t I? I—I—think it would—have—have been better for—me, if—I had been—somebody else.”
Within an hour he was dead. Myself and two policemen followed him to the grave; and the cross of Dannebrog, with a much soiled red ribbon, was carried on a velvet cushion after his coffin.
(A PHILOSOPHICAL FAIRY TALE.)
“I want to see things as they are,” said I to Mabel.
“I don’t see how else you can see them,” answered Mabel, with a laugh. “You certainly don’t see them as they are not.”
“Yes, I do,” said I. “I see men and things only as they seem. It is so exasperating to think that I can never get beyond the surface of anything. My friends may appear very good and beautiful to me, and yet I may all the while have a suspicion that the appearance is deceitful, that they are really neither good nor beautiful.”
“In case that was so, I shouldn’t want to know it,” said Mabel. “It would make me very unhappy.”
“That is where you and I differ,” said I.
Mabel was silent for a moment, and I believe she was a little hurt, for I had spoken rather sharply.
“But what good would it do you, Jamie?” asked she, looking up at me from under her wide-brimmed straw hat.
“What would do me good?” said I, for I had quite forgotten what we had been talking about.
“To see things as they are. There is my father now; he knows a great deal, and I am sure I shouldn’t care to know any more than he does.”
“Well, that is where you and I differ,” said I again.
“I wish you wouldn’t be always saying ’that is where you and I differ.’ Somehow I don’t like to hear you say it. It doesn’t sound like yourself.”
And Mabel turned away from me, took up a leaf from the ground and began to pick it to pieces.