ANNE LISBETH 673
help us !' The boat had struck on a. great rock standing up from the depths of the sea, and it sank like an old shoe in a puddle ; it sank ' with man and mouse,' as the saying is; and there were mice on board, but only one man and a half, the skipper and the labourer's boy. No one saw it but the screaming seagulls, and the fishes down below, and even they did not see it rightly, for they started back in terror when the water rushed into the ship, and it sank. There it lay scarce a fathom below the surface, and those two were provided for, buried and forgotten ! Only the glass with the foot of blue wood did not sink, for the wood kept it up ; the glass drifted away, to be broken and cast upon the shore—where and when ? But, indeed, that is of no consequence. It had served its time, and it had been loved, which Anne Lisbeth's boy had not been. But in Heaven no soul will be able to say, ' Never loved!'
Anne Lisbeth had lived in the city for many years. She was called Madam, and felt her dignity, when she remembered the old ' noble ' days in which she had driven in the carriage, and had associated with countesses and baronesses. Her beautiful noble-child was the dearest angel, the kindest heart; he had loved her so much, and she had loved him in return ; they had kissed and loved each other, and the boy had been her joy, her second life. Now he was so tall, and was fourteen years old, handsome and clever : she had not seen him since she carried him in her arms ; for many years she had not been in the count's palace, for indeed it was quite a journey thither.
* I must once make an effort and go,' said Anne Lisbeth. ' I must go to my darling, to my sweet count's child. Yes, he certainly must long to see me too ; he thinks of me and loves me as in those days when he flung his angel arms round my neck and cried, " Anne Liz ! " It sounded like music. Yes, I must make an effort and see him again.'
She drove across the country in a grazier's cart, and then got out and continued her journey on foot, and thus reached the count's castle. It was great and magnificent, as it had always been, and the garden looked the same as ever ; but all the people there were strangers to her ; not one of them knew Anne Lisbeth, and they did not know of what consequence she had once been there, but she felt