“And so we all started out to view the premises. It would be hard to say who was most delighted, Christina or her mother or her father; but I am inclined to think the latter took more pure happiness in his well-equipped little shop, with the big sign, ’CARL JANSEN, BLACKSMITH,’ and the picture of a man shoeing a horse, than Christina did in the flowerbed, or her mother in the comfortable household arrangements.
“Soon after the whole family moved out. I was right. A race that has lived for several generations in the country is an exotic in a city.”
MAX’S STORY CONCLUDED—THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS
“I used to run out every other day, and I was as welcome as if I had been really a member of the family. The day before yesterday I found the whole household in a state of joyous excitement. Christina had been enjoined to put the baby to sleep; and while rocking it in its cradle she had, all unconsciously, begun to sing a little nursery song. Suddenly she sprang to her feet, and, running to her mother, cried out:
“‘Oh, mother! I can sing! Listen.’
“She found, however, that the voice was still quite weak, and that if she tried to touch any of the higher notes there was a pain in her throat.
“I advised her to forbear singing for some time, and permit the organs of the voice to resume their natural condition. It might be that the doctor was wrong in his prognosis of her case; or it might be that the injured nerve, as he had said was possible, had resumed its function, through the curative power of nature. But it was a great delight to us all, and especially to the poor girl herself, to think that her grand voice might yet be restored to her.
“To-day I went out again.
“I thought that Mr. Jansen met me with a constrained manner; and when Mrs. Jansen saw me, instead of welcoming me with a cordial smile, as was usual with her, she retreated into the house. And when I went into the parlor, Christina’s manner was still more embarrassing. She blushed as she extended her hand to me, and seemed very much confused; and yet her manner was not unkind or unfriendly. I could not understand it.
“‘What is the matter, Christina?’ I asked.
“The little woman was incapable of double-dealing, and so she said:
“’You know it came into my head lately, very often, that Mrs. Brederhagan had been exceedingly, I might say extraordinarily, kind to me. It is true her son had done me a great injury, and might have killed me; and I refused to testify against him. But she had not only given me that deed of gift you brought me, but she had also presented papa with this charming home. And so I said to myself that she must think me very rude and ungrateful, since I had never called upon her to thank her in person. And so, knowing that Nathan had been sent to Europe, I made up my mind, yesterday, that I would go into town, and call upon Mrs. Brederhagan, and thank her for all her kindness.