Nothing else that can be deemed worth mentioning happened to Mamsell Fredrika before New Year’s night. Life and death, like day and night, reigned in quiet concord over the earth during the last week of the year, but when New Year’s night came, Death took his sceptre and announced that now old Mamsell Fredrika should belong to him.
Had they but known it, all the people of Sweden would certainly have prayed a common prayer to God to be allowed to keep their purest spirit, their warmest heart. Many homes in many lands where she had left loving hearts would have watched with despair and grief. The poor, the sick and the needy would have forgotten their own wants to remember hers, and all the children who had grown up blessing her work would have clasped their hands to pray for one more year for their best friend. One year, that she might make all fully clear and put the finishing-touch on her life’s work.
For Death was too prompt for Mamsell Fredrika.
There was a storm outside on that New Year’s night; there was a storm within her soul. She felt all the agony of life and death coming to a crisis.
“Anguish!” she sighed, “anguish!”
But the anguish gave way, and peace came, and she whispered softly: “The love of Christ—the best love—the peace of God—the everlasting light!”
Yes, that was what she would have written in her book, and perhaps much else as beautiful and wonderful. Who knows? Only one thing we know, that books are forgotten, but such a life as hers never is.
The old prophetess’s eyes closed and she sank into visions.
Her body struggled with death, but she did not know it. Her family sat weeping about her deathbed, but she did not see them. Her spirit had begun its flight.
Dreams became reality to her and reality dreams. Now she stood, as she had already seen herself in the visions of her youth, waiting at the gates of heaven with innumerable hosts of the dead round about her. And heaven opened. He, the only one, the Saviour, stood in its open gates. And his infinite love woke in the waiting spirits and in her a longing to fly to his embrace, and their longing lifted them and her, and they floated as if on wings upwards, upwards.
The next day there was mourning in the land; mourning in wide parts of the earth.
Fredrika Bremer was dead.
On the outer edge of the fishing-village stood a little cottage on a low mound of white sea sand. It was not built in line with the even, neat, conventional houses that enclosed the wide green place where the brown fish-nets were dried, but seemed as if forced out of the row and pushed on one side to the sand-hills. The poor widow who had erected it had been her own builder, and she had made the walls of her cottage lower than those of all the other cottages and its