Dieterli, whom no sound ever escaped, had heard Cousin Judith come in, and came running in from the kitchen to see what was going on. Veronica looked up at the visitor and asked earnestly,
“Cousin Judith, what is fortune?”
“Ah, you are always asking some strange question that no one else ever thought of asking;” said Cousin Judith, “where on earth did you ever hear of fortune?”
“Here,” said Veronica, holding up the rose with the golden verse in the centre. “Shall I read it to you?”
“Yes, do, child.”
“Fortune stands ready,
full in sight;
He wins who knows to grasp it right.”
“Well, it means this—I should say—fortune is whatever anyone wants the most.”
“Fortune is a horse, then,” said Dietrich quickly.
Veronica sat thinking. “But, Cousin Judith,” she said presently, “how can any one ’grasp fortune’?”
“With your hands,” replied Cousin Judith unhesitatingly, “You see, our hands are given us to work with, and if we use them diligently and do our work well, as it ought to be done, then fortune comes to us; so don’t you see we ‘grasp it’ with our hands?”
The verse had now become endued with life, and meant something real and attractive to Veronica. She did not lay her rose out of her hand for a long time, that evening, notwithstanding that Dietrich cast threatening glances upon it, and finally broke out in vexation,
“I will tear off the spring some time, and spoil the thing altogether.”
The rose was not put into the book and the book into the cup-board, until the time came for the children to say their evening prayers. This was the closing act of every day; and it was so fixed and regular a habit, that the children never needed to be bidden to fold their hands, and kneel to ask God’s blessing before they slept.
Nine years later.
A sunshiny Easter morning shone over hill and valley. A crowd of holiday-making people poured out of the little church at Tannenegg, and scattered in every direction. A long row of blooming lads and lassies came in close ranks, moving slowly towards the parsonage. They were the newly-confirmed young people of the parish, who had that day partaken of the Communion for the first time. They were going to the house of their pastor, to express their gratitude for his careful and tender teaching and guidance, before they went out into the world. Among these were Dietrich and Veronica. Gertrude stood at a little distance from the church, and watched the procession as it passed by. Her eyes were filled with tears of pleasurable emotion, as she noticed that her dark-eyed Veronica was conspicuous among all the maidens for the tasteful neatness of her costume, and for the sweetness and grace of her bearing. The glance which Veronica cast upon the mother in passing was