THE ICE MAIDEN
her delicate mouth and her eyebrows contracted to a frown, but soon there was a smile on her lips and beams of gladness shot from her eyes ; for, without, the sun was shining brightly, and it was morning, and she was to be married to Rudy.
Rudy was already in the sitting-room when she entered it, and now they started for Villeneuve. They were both supremely happy, and so was the miller likewise. He laughed, and his face beamed with good humour. A kind father he was, and an honest man.
' Now we are the masters of the house ! ' said the Parlour Cat.
It was not yet evening when the three happy people entered Villeneuve, where they dined. Thereupon the miller sat in the arm-chair, smoked his pipe, and took a short nap. The betrothed pair went arm in arm out of the town: they walked along the road, under the green-clad rocks, beside the deep blue-green lake ; the grey walls and heavy towers of gloomy Chillon were mirrored in the clear flood ; the little island of the three acacias lay still nearer to them, looking like a nosegay in the lake.
' It must be charming there ! ' said Babette.
She felt the greatest desire to go there ; and this wish might be immediately fulfilled, for by the shore lay a boat, and it was an easy matter to loosen the rope by which it was fastened. No one was to be seen of whom permission could be asked, and so they borrowed the boat without ceremony, for Rudy was an expert rower.
The oars cut like fins into the yielding water—the water that is so pliant and yet so strong—that has a back to bear burdens and a mouth to devour—that can smile, the very picture of mildness, and yet can terrify and crush. The water glistened in the wake of the boat, which in a few minutes had carried the two over to the island, where they stepped ashore. There was not more room on the spot than two persons would require for a dance.
ANDERSEN E 6