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.

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.

MABEL AND I.

(A PHILOSOPHICAL FAIRY TALE.)

I.

“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.

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