Language: English
Published: 5 days ago
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The spring has come again to the hills and valleys of our home. The day awakes, a breeze moves strongly through the forest, as if its task were to carry away the lingering night; the birds begin to twitter, and here and there an early lark utters his note. Among the pine-trees, with their fresh green needles, a whispering and rustling is heard. The sun has risen above the mountaintop, and shines upon the valley; the fields and meadows are glittering with dew. From the cherry-trees comes a stream of fragrance, and the hawthorn hedges that blossomed in the night are rejoicing in the first sunbeams, which penetrate to the very heart of each floweret.

Down in the valley, where the logmen's rafts are floating rapidly--down by the saw-mill, where the water dashes over the wheel, and the saw sounds shrill--a young man with white forehead and sunburnt cheeks opens a window, looks out, and nods gayly, as if greeting the awakening day. Presently he appears on the doorstep; he opens his arms wide, as if to embrace something; he smiles, as though looking at a happy, loved face. Taking his soldier's cap from his head, and holding it in his hand, he leaves the house; his step is firm, his bearing erect, and sincere honesty and candor look from his eyes. He goes through the meadows toward the forest-crowned hill, not stopping till he reaches its summit. Pausing there, he looks far into the distance, where a column of smoke ascends to the cloudless sky.

"Good morning, Thoma! Are you still sleeping? Awake! our own day is here!" he said in a deep, manly voice.

And now he joyously bounded down the hill, but soon moderated his step, and sang a yodel until the birds joined with him, and the echo repeated the song. Before long he reached the house; by the door stood his father, scattering bread crumbs to the chickens.

"Good morning, father!" cried the young man. The father, a tall, thin man, looked up with surprise, and answered:

"What, up already, Anton? Where have you been?"

"I? where? Everywhere. In heaven, and in this beautiful world below. O father! it has often seemed to me that I should not live to see this day; that I should die before it came, or that something else would happen. But now the day is here. And such a day!"

The old man drew the palm of his hand twice, three times, over his mouth; for he would have liked to say: "Your mother was just so, so faint-hearted, and again so confident;" but he kept back the words; he would not mar his son's happiness; and at last he said:

"Yes, yes, so it is; that's what it is to be young. Tell me, Anton, were you so uneasy in the war, and so----?"

"No, father, that was quite another thing. Father, I'm afraid you are not entirely satisfied with Thoma."

"It's true, I'm not in love with her, as you are."

"No, but that's not all."

"There's nothing else, but for me she is almost too----"

"Too rich, you mean."

"I didn't mean that. No girl is too rich for an honest lad. I only meant she is too beautiful. Yes, laugh if you choose; but a wife as beautiful as she, is a troublesome possession....