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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Ice-maiden - XI. THE COUSIN
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The Ice-maiden - XI. THE COUSIN Post by :richman Category :Long Stories Author :Hans Christian Andersen Date :April 2012 Read :881

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The Ice-maiden - XI. THE COUSIN

XI. THE COUSIN

When Rudy came to the mill, a couple of days afterwards, he found the young Englishman there. Babette had just cooked some trout for him and had dressed them with parsley in order to make them appear more inviting. That was assuredly not necessary. What did the Englishman want here? Did he come in order to have Babette entertain and wait upon him?

Rudy was jealous and that amused Babette; it rejoiced her, to learn the feelings of his heart, the strong as well as the weak ones.

Until now love had been a play and she played with Rudy's whole heart; yet he was her happiness, her life's thought, the noblest one! The more gloomy he looked, the more her eyes laughed and she would have liked to kiss the blonde Englishman with his golden whiskers, if she could have succeeded by so doing, in making Rudy rush away furious. Then, yes then, she would have known how much he loved her. That was not right, that was not wise in little Babette; but she was only nineteen! She did not reflect and still less did she think how her behaviour towards the young Englishman might be interpreted; for it was lighter and merrier than was seemly for the honourable and newly affianced daughter of the miller.

The mill lay where the highway slopes--under the snow covered rocky heights--which are called here, in the language of the country "Diablerets" close to a rapid mountain stream, which was of a greyish white, like bubbling soap suds. A smaller stream, rushes forth from the rocks on the other side of the river, passes through an enclosed, broad rafter-made-gutter and turns the large wheel of the mill. The gutter was so full of water, that it streamed over and offered a most slippery way, to one who had the idea of crossing more quickly to the mill; a young man had this idea--the Englishman. Guided by the light, which shone from Babette's window, he arrived in the evening, clothed in white, like a miller's boy; he had not learnt to climb and nearly tumbled head over heels into the stream, but escaped with wet sleeves and splashed pantaloons. He reached Babette's window, muddy and wet through, there he climbed into the old linden tree and imitated the screech of an owl, for he could not sing like any other bird. Babette heard it and peeped through the thin curtains, but when she remarked the white man and recognized him, her little heart fluttered with alarm, but also with anger. She hastily extinguished the light, fastened the windows securely and then she let him howl.

If Rudy was in the mill it would have been dreadful, but Rudy was not there; no, it was much worse, for he was below. There was loud conversation, angry words; there might be blows; yes, perhaps murder.

Babette was terrified; she opened the window, called Rudy's name and begged him to go; she said she would not suffer him to remain.

"You will not suffer me to remain," he exclaimed, "then it is a preconcerted thing! You were expecting other friends, friends better than myself; shame on you, Babette!"

"You are detestable," said Babette, "I hate you!" and she wept. "Go! Go!"

"I have not deserved this!" said he, and departed. His cheeks burned like fire, his heart burned like fire.

Babette threw herself on her bed and wept.

"So much as I love you, Rudy, how can you believe ill of me!"

She was angry, very angry, and this was good for her; otherwise she would have sorrowed deeply; but now she could sleep, and she slept the strengthening sleep of youth.

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