BLTC Press Titles

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Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Characters of Theophrastus


The hop-blossoms, and The gray fish

by Christoph von Schmid


One day, the lord of the castle, Leonora's father, went with a great train of his dependents to the next town to wait on the prince. Leonora, who was then recovering from a dangerous illness, was obliged to remain at home. One of the maids was ordered to attend her during the absence of the family. This maid asked permission from her young mistress, to go, for a half hour, to one of the nearest roads, to get a sight of the prince on his way to the city. Leonora consented. All the servants in the castle, every soul in the village that could walk, had also gone. Theresa alone, though her father would gladly have taken her to the city, preferred remaining at home, to keep company with Leonora. There was also another reason. Her old ser


vant-maid was sick, and Theresa could not think of leaving her alone.

Leonora, finding the time pass heavily in the deserted castle, walked out to the garden. It was a beautiful summer's morning. She inspected all her flowers, which she Had almost forgotten during her illness. They had not been watered for a long time, and they lay drooping and withered on the hard clay. Takinga watering-pot, Leonora went to a well in the centre of the garden, and was filling the vessel from a large marble reservoir; but when she endeavored to raise the water, her feeble strength failed; she staggered, slipped and fell in. The water was very deep; and the fright and sudden cold deprived her of breath, and of all power or thought of helping herself.

Theresa happened at the moment to be standing near the window. She saw the young lady fall in, and heard the hollow splash of the water. She screamed aloud' for help, and she ran as fast as she could to

the garden. To her horror, she found the nearest door locked. Still crying out for help, she ran back through the court yard, and entering the garden by another door, arrived almost breathless at the well. Leonora had disappeared, but in her death-tgony, she rose again and raised an arm over the water. Theresa seized the hand, and with some difficulty, succeeded in drawing up her young mistress. But she was senseless; her eyes were closed; and her face wan and pale as a corpse. Theresa tried every means, but in vain, to revive her. At length, Leonora faintly opened her eyes, stared long and wildly at Theresa, slightly pressed her hand, but could not speak a word. When she had recovered somewhat, Theresa led her gently to the castle and placed her in bed. The warmth of the bed soon restored animation. Tears of joy and gratitude streamed copiously down her cheeks, "Oh," said she, repeatedly, "you have saved my life; never, never, as long as I live, can I forget to repay you." "Let us both thank God," said Theresa, " it is He that saved you."

From that day forward, the friendship of Leonora for Theresa was still more warm and devoted. Leonora could hardly allow her to go out of sight. For hours together, they studied or worked in the castle or the garden bowers. They were inseparable companions in all their walks, and Leonora's great study was how to please her friend. Thus they lived for many years united in sisterly affection. Their noble and generous dispositions, their mildness and modesty, and devoted attachment to each other, made their lives a foretaste of the bliss of heaven.

But the French war had just broken out, and hostile armies were bearing down,on Lindenbetg. Leonora's father resolved to start with his family for Vienna. She begged Theresa to fly with them. All her eloquence, her tears, her promises, her protes

tations were called into play. "This place," said she, "will soon be in the hands of the enemy; what good, what happiness can you find here? God knows what may befall you. Many long years may pass away before I and my parents can return; stay here, and we can do nothing for you; but come with us, and we shall do all in our power to make you happy. Come, do come with us, dearest Theresa."

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