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“My father,” said Alice, coming timidly up to him, “will you let me say something ?”
His only reply, furious as he was at the interruption, was a curse and a blow.
Still she persevered ; and at last, tired of being importuned, “Well,” cried Wittigar,“ if you must speak, speak, in Odin's name, and have done with it."
“Then, my father," returned Alice, “if the God Whom we Christians worship saves you this night by my hand, will you worship Him also ?”
“ If He saves us !” cried Wittigar, "yes: but I defy any God to do that ; Odin himself could not."
“ Odin could not,” returned his daughter, “but our LORD JESUS CHRIST can and will."
“ Let us hear wbat she has to say,” cried Thorgar; worse off we cannot be than we are : and I have heard strange things of the power that these Christians have."
“What would you have us do ?” inquired Wittigar.
“Let us go down to the Strait,” replied Alice.“ There you shall see how all our tribe shall pass over, and the enemy shall not be able to come near us.
Why, the ice would not bear a mouse !" said Thorgar.
• Nevertheless, it shall bear you, and all of us," returned Alice. "Only promise that, if it does, you will worship the God of the Christians, and I, in His Name, promise you that it shall.”
Some laughed the advice to scorn ; but others, who had either seen the miracles of S. Anschar for themselves, or had heard of them from those that had seen them, elamoured loudly to cross the Strait.
“If we remain here," said Wittigar, at length, “we are lost; if we fight, we cannot escape ; and, let the worst come to the worst, we can as well die by the seaside, as where we are. Let us forward !”
Every one took that which they held of most value; the men formed in front and in rear; the women and children were in the centre. Torches flashed on the pure snow that lay on the down side, and along the Fjord. The rude procession moved softly onward, without the sound of a footfall: the solitary wolf, scared at the multitude, howled and fled; the northerly wind came
bitterly cold over the open land, and the snow was falling in small scattered flakes. It was a strange passage from despair to hope,—from certain destruction to promised safety. And it was also the passage of that barbarous tribe, though they then little knew it, from darkness to light, and from the servitude of the devil to the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Wittigar, Thorgar, and the other chiefs, went first; with them went Alice, from whom they seemed to look for some kind of protection and comfort. I have often wondered what was that feeling which has made the servants of God certain that they have power to work a miracle, and thought how great must be the ful. ness of that faith which ventures to do so for the first time. But the prayers of S. Anschar, no doubt, had great weight with his Master. He had sowed; another was about to enter into his labours.
They were on the brow of the hill above the Strait of Quartz (and I remember sitting down on that very spot, and wondering whether I should ever tell you this story,) when wild shouts and shrieks to the west, gave notice that the horde had entered the deserted village.
“ If your God can save us,” said Wittigar, “ He must be quick about it."
“His own time,” replied Alice, “is ever the best. Do not let them hurry 80;" for those behind, hearing the shouts of the enemy, were pressing on and pushing those before down the abrupt, and then glass-like hill.
And now they stood on the brink of the little strait. It might have been the boundless ocean, for aught the eye could see: for the bare and stripped beech woods of - Alsen could not even be fancied. The little arm of the sea was just frozen ; and it was as much as you could
say that it was : not into the bright, crisp glass of freshwater ice, but into the honey-like substance into which salt water, during its first stage of freezing, always turns.
Now,” said Alice to her father, “put your trust in our God, and give the word to all to pass with a good courage.
Unable to believe, but yet resolved to make the attempt, Wittigar obeyed. Another minute, and the
whole multitude were on the little strait, walking, as it were, over a field of snow; knowing that, in itself, the ice could not have borne the smallest of animals, and yet feeling it borne up under them by the Arm of Him in Whom, as yet, they did not believe. Three minutes more, and men, women, and children were all safe in Alsen.
My children,” said Wittigar, “ Odin could never have done this. Henceforth I believe in the One God, Who made heaven and earth ; and you, my children, must believe in Him as well.”
And now on the opposite hill there was the light of scattered torches, and the outcry as of a multitude hurrying forward. The horde did not intend to lose their prey.
But who shall tell, when they came down to the brink of the strait, found that its ice sank in beneath their feet, and yet saw Wittigar and his company safe on the island, what wild cries, what yells, what dissonance of barbarous sounds, such as could scarcely have been heard since the tower of Babel, they uttered ?' Wittigar and his people heard all, could see by torch-light the wild gestures of their enemies, and, in their rude but hearty fashion, returned thanks to God for their safety.
About a month after this time, as S. Anschar was returning from the great church in Hamburg, in company with S. Rembert, the Deacon who afterwards wrote his life, “ Why," said he, “the only Christian whom I left behind me in Schleswig, is seeking for us now.” And Alice and Wittigar approached.
Their story was soon told. The chief had come to ask Baptism for himself, and Missionaries for his people. Anschar found that his labour and his prayers had not been in vain.
“ Now is fulfilled,” said he to Rembert, “ that which is written in Scripture, 'I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding, the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.
J. M. N.
The Children's Corner.
THE LIGHT OF FLOWERS.
The magnificent halls of a stately palace were brilliantly lighted, and richly decorated for a festival, and neither art nor wealth had spared their treasures in rendering the proud apartments one scene of enchantment. The walls were tapestried with shining bay leaves, entwined with branches of myrtle and bright orange flowers. Roses of every hue, glowed amid the dark foliage, mingled with every rare and fragrant flower, which nature had planted in that clime, or art could nurture there. Lamps wreathed with delicate garlands, were hung amid the polished leaves of the evergreens, and the spacious halls blazed with light, while large mirrors reflected the brilliant scene on every side, till it seemed interminable. But the beauty of the decorations, and the grandeur of the palace seemed forgotten, when the fairest maidens of the land, and the young gallant knights, thronged there to mingle in the gay dance, while the harp and the viol poured forth their enlivening strains, and notes of rich music filled the air. Bright smiles beamed on every face, and the tones of light laughter and glad converse resounded everywhere. In sylph-like grace, the lovely maidens glided through the mazes of the dance in their varied and costly attire, their soft beauty contrasting well with the warlike frames, and manly countenances of their young and gallant partners.
Amid so many fair and noble damsels, one was acknowledged more lovely, more graceful, and more endowed with lively wit than the others, and shone peerless among them. Rejoicing in her youth and beauty, Gerosia moved in those gay halls, with bright eyes and glowing cheeks, delighted with all around her, and especially with the universal regard of the young knights, whose homage to her almost excited the envy of others less gifted. Suddenly, (and whence she had come none could tell, a lady appeared in the hall, amid the eager throng of dancers, and as if by some spell all eyes were soon directed to her. Her beauty was striking ; yet the charm lay not so much in her lovely form, as in some indescribable grace expressed in her countenance, and in the light which shone in ber eyes, and far exceeded the brightness of all who surrounded her. Her dress was simple, its only ornament being a crown of snow-drops ; but these lowly flowers bending beneath their green leaves, partook of the secret charm, which floated round the lady herself. Each snowy bell appeared a lamp, inclosing a brilliant star, whose pure rays streamed through the delicate petals, rendering the wreath more sparkling than the diamonds and jewels which adorned the other damsels. The knights fascinated by her mystic loveliness pressed round her, all the splendours of the scene increased in her presence, and when she touched a harp, its sounds ravished the ear by their sweetness. Yet the light gaiety which had filled all hearts was gradually lessened, and whether from weariness or from an unconscious awe with which the stranger inspired every one, the revels grew still, and the dance ceased to excite and please.
The attention of all who could appreciate majestic beauty, or understand words of deep wisdom in song, was fixed on her, and the knights neglected the lovely partners of their now uncared-for sports, who began to feel indignant amid their wonder.
Gerosia, wearied with the dance, and the splendour of the lights, sat gazing also on one, whose charms could so far exceed her own, as to attract from herself the homage so lately all her own; and marvelled at her mystic sweetness, perhaps longing to attain an art which might preserve beauty from the fading influence she perceived exerted by the late hour, over herself and her companions. No longer finding pleasure in the ball, or the music, whose lively notes fell somewhat discordant on her ear, the youthful queen of the festive evening, rose quickly from her seat, and retired to a distance from the brilliant halls, on a balcony which overlooked the vast palace gardens. Resting her cheek on her snowy hand, she stood watching the moon, which hung like a