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would be very glad to know. The chisel was brought into play. The lid came up. With his pincers he drew the nails out, putting one after another of them between his teeth and keeping them there until he had the whole of them, which he placed in his pocket. Then he laid his tools down and pulled with both hands. Crack, the whole box was open.

"Now, what is there?"

"Certainly no petticoat, something hard."

"No, what a lot of paper!"
"Hurry, take it out!"

"What has he written, Lisbeth, what does he say to you? it must be something fine. There it is, a picture."

"And in such a fine, white frame!" "Pictures are dear. At my place before the last- But what is it, that it is not colored, only a pair of black strokes, one can scarcely see what it is," cried Wilhelmina.

"There is nothing else," said Hinrich. "Now, well!" The cook Wea drew out the drawer of the table, in which she guarded her prayer book, her best written recipes, her stockings for catch-up knitting work, also a great pair of glasses, which she placed on her nose: "Well now"-she said once more and turned the box around towards her.

"No, this way," said Wilhelmina, and turned it the other way, "this is the top."

"Yes, that is the way," also decided Wea, "the strokes, they all go under." "Maybe it is this way." "No, this way."

And as they turned it around, first this way and then that and could not tell what the lines indicated, Wilhelmina first began to titter softly, and then the others. Then all three roared with laughter, so that the walls and the plates on the shelf and the cans on the hooks and the kettles on the hearth shook with them.

"Now, this is nothing to set you all going like this!" cried Hinrich.

"Now, what a joke, what a joke. He has sent her nothing but paper with a pair of black ink marks in a frame,” ridiculed Wilhelmina, almost weak from laughing.

But the young Lisbeth-she had stood the whole time on one side, with her fingers clinging to the marble top of the dresser, biting her lips till they almost bled-sighed loudly.

"It is mine," she cried and picked up the picture, tore it from the box, pressed it to her, and amid the laughing and shrieks of the others broke into tears as she went out of the kitchen.

She went up the basement steps and over the landing and up the longer carpeted steps to the first story and was about to go up the second flight to her room under the roof, when the door opened. Frau Doctor came out.

"Wilhelmina? Ah, it is you, Lisbeth. Well, that makes no difference. You will do as well. Something is ripped on my dress, sew it fast. Come in." "Very well, Frau Doctor."

"Now, why do you stand there? Come in quickly."

"Very well, Frau Doctor-" The poor girl had placed the picture hastily behind her. She was trying to place it on the floor.

The other noticed her: "What have you there? What are you doing? Are you trying to hide something from me?"

"Oh, no, Frau Doctor, I-it is only-I want to go to my room.*

"You are breathless from running. The Herr Doctor has already told you you must not run up the steps. You are young and have grown fast. And they hear it all over the house."

"Oh, Frau Doctor, I will not do it again."

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me see" and without further parley the impulsive lady seized the frame, which was standing against the steps, and went back into her room with the picture. Lisbeth followed with short steps as if hunted.

There beside the window Frau Doctor Ross held the white leaf with the black lines on it close to her short sighted eyes. "Great heavens, this is really" she turned it around again almost as the others in the kitchen had done "truly, this can be by no one but Helleu-where did you get it?"

"It was a present to me," whispered Lisbeth.

"To you?" The lady did not raise her eyes from the picture. "You!" she said half aloud as if to herself in unbelieving tones: "The picture is charming. How the man draws! And with such simple means! A stroke here for the shadows, a stroke in another direction for the soft silky hair. Nothing more, scarcely the outline of the head. deed, who gave you this?"


"My-gentleman- Shall I sew something for Frau Doctor?"

"Yes, there. Get a needle and thread from my workbasket. It only needs three stitches. But I cannot go out so. I thought Wilhelmina was coming. I am in a hurry. Sew it tight."

Lisbeth threaded the needle. She took her thimble out of the depths of her dress pocket and sewed with hasty stitches. Frau Doctor still stood with the picture in her hand. "Perfectly beautiful! What a charm in this earnest young face. Good heavens, how much you are like the picture. It really belongs to you, what? Is it not a surprise for me from my husband? Yes, but still" she turned the picture and looked at the back-"there is the name of the Paris dealer, it is direct from there. Who sent you such a thing?" "My, my betrothed," stammered the poor girl, almost purple from her painful blushing.


betrothed? You have one? This is the first that I have heard of it. How long have you been here in town, and how old are you?"

"I am nineteen, Frau Doctor. And I have been in service for five years, and here in town-the Frau Doctor already knows that, I have been here four and a half months."

"Since you came to us here in this house, right. Then you said to me that you were not engaged. Since then is

it? And to a man who sends you an etching by Paul Helleu from Paris? How does that happen and who is the man? Naturally one cannot protect their maids. But one must trouble themselves to look out for them a little -I consider that simply as my duty. So, Lisbeth, I shall not go out now. Who is he and how does he happen to make you such a present?" The Frau Doctor drew off the gloves, which she had just put on, very energetically from her fingers, untied her veil, laid it down, and sat down before her toilette table, on which was the picture leaning against the silver mirror as she had placed it. "Well, Lisbeth?"

"Ah, Frau Doctor, I did not think that this was anything so wonderfully expensive. He said that he wanted to send me something. And I thought that there was much to get. Perhaps, I thought, a hat or something like that. And he wrote me that this was the most beautiful and best that he had seen in all Paris. Yes, and I was so glad, and then- Yes, that is what he sent me."

She threw her head slightly back with a depreciating look.

The lady had again taken the picture in her hands.

"The most beautiful thing in all Paris?" She asked and looked meditatively at her maid, who stood near her in the red cotton dress with the white apron, and the little white cap on her head. "The most beautiful?" she re

peated and looked in the same quick way first at the picture and then at the girl "yes, good heavens! where have 1 had my eyes! The man loves you and -there you are! It might really be your portrait. Have you not noticed that?"

"I, Frau Doctor? How should that be? It is only a-just a scrawlscratch," she said half aloud.

"Do you find it so?" The young woman laughed. "Your betrothed, my good Lisbeth, has, as I can see, a very high opinion of you, but he overvalues you if he thinks that you have such an appreciation of a work of art as to be pleased with this."

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"Has he any business? A good for nothing! He will deceive you, Lisbeth," cried the young woman.

"He is an artist," stammered the housemaid.

"What do you say? A what?" "Artist." Lisbeth was no longer embarrassed. She raised her little, capadorned head freely again. "And he will marry me, Frau Doctor, as soon as I am willing."

Frau Doctor leaned back in her toilette chair as for a longer sitting. "You must tell me all about this. Good heavens! what experiences one has in these days! Where did you get acquainted with him? What is his name? Tell me."

The girl took her little white apron up in her hands and laid the seam in very little folds. "There is not much to tell," she said in her quiet voice. "I

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"Yes. One evening I had to go to town. I had to take the white curtains, as Frau Doctor knows, to the dyer, to have them made a beautiful yellow, and when I turned around the corner, there was a glove store, and such long, beautiful gloves-Frau Doctor has a pair-with clasps high up on the arm."

"Go on. You remained standing before the window?"

"Yes. And some one came up and spoke to me and was about to embrace me."

"Was that he?"

"No, but he came up just then." "Indeed, and rescued you from the other one?"

"Yes, that was the way of it. And then he said, that I should not go about evenngs by myself. And: 'may I see you safe home'-"

"He really spoke so respectfully-" and the young lady gave a polite shudder.

"I do not know, Frau Doctor. I cannot tell it so exactly. He went with me as far as the door. And then he introduced himself and I also naturally told him my name. And immediately on the day after I received a letter from him asking whether he might visit my parents and inquire after my health."

"Your parents? But they do not live here?"

"No, Frau Doctor. But he thought I was at home here, because he did not see me very well-I wrote him also at once that he had better not come. And then I saw him go by. And then-indeed the week after, when I had my evening out, I met him again—” "You were in your street clothes?" "Yes, Frau Doctor."

Mrs. Hertha had leaned her cheek on her hand and was looking at her serv

ing maid.

If it were not for the red cotton dress, the apron and the white cap-who could look at this graceful young appearance and not take it for that of a lady? How many ladies would rejoice to have such a carriage and such a face! Two days before Mrs. Hertha had said to her husband: "Our housemaid is really lovable. If I only knew how I could do it skilfully, so as not to make the old Wilhelmina vexed, I would much rather have this young thing for my personal help."

"And so," she asked shortly, "you did not tell him that you are here in my service, but met him evenings and went out walking with him?" People of the lower class, she thought to herself, no matter how sympathetic they may look, have not our ideas of right and propriety.

The girl smoothed the folds of her apron. She did not answer immediately. It seemed as if she was trying to find the meaning of the words which would explain the meaning of the changed cool voice. Then she raised her little head.

"I told him the second time exactly. I did not wish to go any further. But he-he would not-indeed I could do no otherwise. I told him everything, Frau Doctor, also about my father. That formerly-Frau Doctor does not yet know that-he-he-had done wrong. And that mother married again. And that we two are not on good terms with her. And that I must put my little sister, as soon as she is confirmed at Easter, into a place here in the town, if one could be found not too hard. And that I myself had gone into service when I was fourteen."

"And how you rang the bells?" asked Mrs. Hertha. One evening, when Wilhelmina had gone out, the girl had helped her to undress, and had told her about her first place at the village sexton's, who was very fond of drink, and when he was still asleep, at early

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dawn, only half dressed, she had had to climb up to the old tower, and in all the cold, ring the bells. The picture of the young creature, half frozen, in the great gown and short little jacket, drunk with sleep, hanging on to the thick rope and swinging it back and forth, often half unconscious, as the bell resounded with its dull, threatening echo, this picture, as the girl had placed it before her vision in a few words, had remained in the mind of Mrs. Hertha for days. What an impression must this description have made upon the mind of a lover!

"Yes, of course," said Lisbeth, "he knows about that too."

"Did that make no difference to him?"

"No, not at all; he wanted to marry me immediately, but that I would not allow. To go to him so suddenly, no, that is quite impossible. When I have got a place for little Lina and have saved a little so that I can get some linen, and wash clothes one must make; with entirely empty hands thus to go to a man like a beggar, and to one besides who is accustomed to something different, entirely different-Frau Doctor, that I could not do, isn't that so?"

"People of a lower class have other ideas of propriety and honor," the young woman again thought. And she thought of one and indeed several of her acquaintances, who had not hesitated to take everything for themselves and their families from a man who wished to marry them. "You are a good girl, Lisbeth," she said. "There, hang the picture in your room. Rejoice that your betrothed can discover your counterfeit in this poetical face. And-one other thing. I must say something to you. You are no longer a child. Even if you did grow up in the country, you must know that-Lisbeth, men, who love poor young girls, who-be careful, you must not be alone with him so much. He speaks of mar

riage. But, whether he does not mean something different-"

"Oh, no, Frau Doctor," said Lisbeth in her simple manner, without stammering or hesitating, as the other had done, "I know very well what men can be like even in the country. But not this one, who is so-I cannot tell you how-so respectful, Frau Doctor. I am quite safe with him, quite safe. That I am certain of. And when he returns from Paris-he is studying there, something-about the modern-over painters and etchers, as they are called -then he will take me to his mother. Before she was sick, and he was here on a visit on that account. But he formerly lived in Berlin and there he is"-now she hesitated-"he will soon become professor, but now he is only a privat-"



"Yes, that is it. I could not think of the word at once. And there are so many other words that he uses. says that doesn't make any difference, if I do make mistakes now and then. He says that is better than when an educated lady speaks well and thinks falsely. He says-"

"Privatdocent! In Berlin? A sick mother. Does he write about the modern school?"

"Yes. And he said that as Frau Doc. tor has so many books and pictures, as Rundschau.

I told him, who knows, that perhaps she also has his newest one, which has made such a sensation."

"Over the poetry of lines? Is it Hubert Ehren?"

"Yes, Dr. Hubert Ehren, that is he Does Frau Doctor know him?"

"I? Of course, that is by reputation. He can scarcely know who I am."

"I think not, Frau Doctor. He knows of the Herr Doctor, that he is the doctor at the hospital here. He asked about him once, because the doctor is so good in nervous diseases."

"Yes, he is good, Lisbeth. You can go. Take the picture with you. Wilhelmina need not come. I will ring later, and only go."

"Very well, Frau Doctor," said the girl. She looked at her mistress, who had so suddenly spoken to her in cold and bitter tones, inquiringly for a second. But servants cannot always understand exactly what is passing through the mind of a lady and particularly when she has for some months wished to meet a young author, who, by his hyper-modern writings has made a name for himself, and invite him to her house, when she has just found out that she cannot know him now as the betrothed of her servant maid. So Lisbeth obediently took her picture from the toilette table and went out.

Adalbert Meinhardt.

(To be continued.)


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