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the blushing peasant girl you have made your
wife, and say, "Yes, I have had courage to do
this." Or else strive for a princessa
Russian princess. Better, far better, however, the
humble-hearted child of nature and the fields,
the simple, trusting, confiding girl, who
regarding her lover as a sort of demi-god, would,
while she clung to him——

"You press me so hard!" murmured Catinka,
half rebukingly, but with a sort of pouting
expression that became her marvellously.

"I was thinking of something that interested
me, dearest," said I; but I'm not sure that I
made my meaning very clear to her, and yet
there was a roguish look in her black eye that
puzzled me greatly. I began to like her, or, if
you prefer the phrase, to fall in love with her.
I knew itI felt it just the way that a man
who has once had the ague never mistakes
when he is going to have a return of the fever.
In the same way, exactly did I recognise all
the premonitory symptoms; the giddiness, the
shivering, increased action of the heart——
Halt, Potts! and reflect a bit; are you describing
love, or a tertian?

How will the biographer conduct himself
here? Whether will he have to say, "Potts
resisted manfully this fatal attachment: had he
yielded to the seductions of this early passion,
it is more than probable we should never have
seen him this, that, and t'other, nor would the
world have been enriched withHeaven knows
what;" or shall he record, "Potts loved her,
loved her as only such a nature as his ever loves?
He felt keenly all that, in a mere worldly point
of view, he must sacrifice; but it was exactly
in that love and that sacrifice was born the
poet, the wondrous child of song, who has given
us the most glorious lyrics of our language.
He had the manliness to share his fortune
with this poor girl. 'It was,' he tells us
himself, in one of those little touching passages in
his diary, which place him immeasurably above
the mock sentimentality of Jean-Jacques'it
was on the road to Constance, of a bright and
breezy summer morning, that I told her of my
love. We were walking along, our arms around
each other, as might two happy, guileless
children. I was very young in what is called the
world, but I had a boundless confidence in
myself; my theory was, "If I be strengthened by
the deep devotion of one loving heart, I have
no fears of failure." Beautiful words, and
worthy of all memory! And then he goes on: 'I
drew her gently over to a grassy bench on the
roadside, and taking my purse from my pocket,
poured out before her its humble contents, in
all something less than twenty sovereigns, but
to her eyes a very Pactolus of wealth.'"

"What if I were to try this experiment?"
thought I; "what if I were, so to say, to
anticipate my own biography?" The notion pleased
me much. There was something novel in it,
too. It was making the experiment in the
"corpore vile" of accident, to see what might
come of it.

"Come here, Catinka," said I, pointing to a
moss-covered rock at the roadside, with a little
well at its base—"come here, and let me have
a drink of this nice clear water."

She assented with a smile and a nod, detaching
at the same time a little cup from the flask
which she wore at her side, in vivandière fashion.
"And we'll fill my flask, too," said she, showing
that it was empty. With a sort of childish glee
she now knelt beside the stream, and washed
the cup. What is it, I wonder, that gives the
charm to running water, and imparts a sort of
glad feeling to its contemplation? Is it that
its ceaseless flow suggests that "for ever"
which contrasts so powerfully with all short-
lived pleasures? I cannot tell, but I was still
musing over the difficulty, when, having twice
offered me the cup without my noticing it, she
at last raised it to my lips. And I drankoh,
what a draught it was! so clear, so cold, so pure;
and all the time my eyes were resting on hers,
looking, as it were, into another well, the
deepest and most unfathomable of all.

"Sit down here beside me on this stone,
Catinka, and help me to count these pieces of
money; they have got so mingled together that
I scarcely know what is left me." She seemed
delighted with the project, and sat down at once,
and I, throwing myself at her feet, poured the
contents of my purse into her lap.

"Madonna mia!" was all she could utter,
as she beheld the gold. Aladdin in the cave
never felt a more overwhelming rapture than
did she at sight of these immense riches.
"But where did it come from?" cried she,
wildly. "Have you got mines of gold and
silver? Have you got gems, toorubies and
pearls? Oh, say if there be pearls; I love them
so! And are you really a great prince, the son
of a king; and are you wandering the world
this way to seek adventures, or in search,
mayhap, of that lovely princess you are in love
with?" With wildest impetuosity she asked
these and a hundred other questions, for it was
only now and then that I could trace her meaning,
which expressive pantomime did much to explain.

I tried to convince her that what she deemed
a treasure was a mere pittance, which a week
or two would exhaust; that I was no prince,
nor had I a kingly father; "and last of all," said
I, "I am not in pursuit of a princess. But I'll tell
you what I am in search of, Catinka: one trusting
faithful, loving heart; one that will so
unite itself to mine, as to have no joys, or
sorrows, or cares, but mine; one content to go
wherever I go, live however I live, and no matter
what my faults may be, or how meanly
others think of me, will ever regard me with
eyes of love and devotion."

I had held her hand while I uttered this,
gazing up into her eyes with ecstasy, for I saw
how their liquid depth appeared to move as
though about to overflow, when at last she
spoke, and said,

"And there are no pearls!"

"Poor child!" thought I, "she cannot understand
one word I have been saying. Listen to
me, Catinka," said I, with a slow utterance.