ANNE LISBETH 675
Still she said not a word about this. She would not relieve her heart by telling the labourer's wife about it, lest the latter should think she did not enjoy her former position at the castle. Then the raven screamed again, and flew past over her once more.
' The black wretch !' said Anne Lisbeth; ' he'll end by frightening me to-day/
She had brought coffee and chicory with her, for she thought it would be a charity to the poor woman to give them to her to boil a cup of coffee, and then she herself would take a cup too. The woman prepared the coffee, and in the meantime Anne Lisbeth sat down upon a chair and fell asleep. There she dreamed of something she had never dreamed before : singularly enough, she dreamed of her own child that had wept and hungered there in the labourer's hut, had been hustled about in heat and in cold, and was now lying in the depths of the sea, Heaven knows where. She dreamed she was sitting in the hut, where the woman was busy preparing the coffee—she could smell the coffee-beans roasting. But suddenly it seemed to her that there stood on the threshold a beautiful young form, as beautiful as the count's child ; and this apparition said to her,
' The world is passing away ! Hold fast to me, for you are my mother after all. You have an angel in heaven. Hold me fast !'
And he stretched out his hand to her; and there was a terrible crash, for the world was going to pieces, and the angel was raising himself above the earth, and holding her by the sleeve so tightly, it seemed to her, that she was lifted up from the ground ; but, on the other hand, something heavy hung at her feet and dragged her down, and it seemed to her that hundreds of women clung to her, and cried,
' If thou art to be saved, we must be saved too ! Hold fast! holdfast!'
And then they all hung on to her; but there were too many of them, and—ritsch ! ratsch !—the sleeve tore, and Anne Lisbeth fell down in horror—and awoke. And, indeed, she was on the point of falling over with the chair on which she sat ; she was so startled and alarmed that