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“ Upon a mountain-side a rose-bud grew
Sister, thou comest to my heart, Soft as the beam which from the evening-sky Smiles on the face of nature.
ALTHUN AND FLORINE.
The evening had closed in dark and stormy. The wind blew cold over the adjacent mountain, and the rain occasionally descended in torrents. The brooks were swollen into rapid streams, which dashing down the abrupt declivities of the hills, that surrounded the cottage of Althun, and echoing over the waste, gave an additional dreariness to the solemnity of night.
Florine was sitting by the expiring blaze of some faggots, with which she had been preparing her brother's supper, talking to him of their approaching removal to the valleys, rendered necessary by the advance of the season, as there was already a scarcity of pasture on the uplands. “I think, Althun," she said, “ that we must soon be withdrawing from our summer residence. Our winter-store of cheese is made, and we have more than a sufficiency of butter for the months that will intervene until our return to the hills. Our flocks, too, are in good condition, and we may be expecting an early demand for them.-Besides, dear Althun, I am now not so able to exert myself as I was, and I feel the cold much more sensibly than formerly."
Althun looked fixedly at his sister as she spoke. He could perceive a hectic flush deepening on her pale and emaciated cheek ; and a hollow cough, which succeeded the few words she had addressed to him, pierced him to the heart.
“ My dear sister,” he replied, “ you have only to tell me what you wish, and if possible it shall be done. Winter, indeed, is approaching fast on us, and the dangers of the mountains are now becoming imminent. It was only this morning that I lost one of my finest milch goats. The snow which fell during the night had formed a
thin covering to that frightful chasm on the farthest of the pasture grounds, and as we were crossing it, rather out of the usual track, it gave way, and after a few struggles, she sunk; and, in attempting to save her, I very nearly shared her fate. That kind Providence, however, which has so often preserved me in similar perils, still threw its protecting shield over my head.
But, dear Florine,” he exclaimed, interrupting himself abruptly, as if some new apprehension was awakened on her account,
you seem very ill. Go to bed, I intreat you, and let me prepare you a little warm whey, for you know I'm a nice cook.” Florine smiled acquiescence; and though she was unwilling to leave her work unfinished, overcome by his persuasions, but more by the anxiety of his manner, reluctantly consented to withdraw to her chamber.
“ Do not sit up in the cold, sister;" he added affectionately. “As soon as you are comfortably settled for the night, I will
take my Bible, and we can commend ourselves together to the care of Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Florine now retired to her apartment. It was small, but though confined, it was neat and well furnished; and as it lay adjoining to her brother's, she could easily call him in case of necessity.
Though desirous of obeying Althun's injunctions, and of waiting his arrival in her room for her nightly devotions, she yet was unable to prevail upon herself to put her head on the pillow, until she had read a few verses in the Testament, and knelt for a moment in prayer.
This done,-and not merely as the service of the lips,-she calmly prepared to submit herself to the divine dispensation respecting her, assured that it would be in mercy, whatever might be the issue.
Althun, in the mean time, had placed another faggot on the fire, and having mixed a little goat's milk with the juice of an herb, which among the Alps is considered salu.