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• They all live! replied the shepherd. Fervent exclamations of gratitude burst from the lips of both the travellers. “They all live!' repeated the shepherd; ' but'

• But what ? Let us know the worst at once!'

• My beloved master, the Sira Hialte, will not be so long: he is dangerously ill.

O my father !—my dear father !' cried Semund. Where is he? where are they all-mother, Marfreda? O that I should have left you to meet such trials as these without me!'

* They are at old Hildir's farmhouse, which has escaped both ice and lava, and whither they were carried three days ago from the top of the rock, on which we all remained while the dreadful work was going on.'

The horses were left with the attendants, and the travellers, accompanied by the shepherd, who was to break the news of their arrival to the afflicted family, set out on foot by the shortest route for the place where the sufferers had taken refuge. When they came near to it the shepherd proceeded to the house, and the friends remained seated among some rocks, in anxious, silent expectation of his return. At length some one approached. "That is her footstep!' exclaimed Semund, bounding forward, and the next moment he clasped Marfreda Vidalin in his arms. The feelings of these two young persons at their meeting under such circumstances were of so conflicting a nature as for a time to be scarcely controllable; but before long Marfreda's cordial welcome greeted O'More, and they moved towards the house. When the flush of excitement had subsided, the young girl's cheek appeared very pale, and her countenance sorrowful. She confirmed the shepherd's account of poor Hialte's dangerous state; it was, she said, brought on by overexertion during the awful catastrophe. Before the eruption took place, he had predicted that it was at hand. They were on Sunday assembled as usual in the little church, and during service a slight rocking of the building and a gentle concussion under the feet were observed, which did not much alarm the congregation, as the same had happened before ; but the pastor repaired to a neighbouring spring, and lying down, applied his ear to the ground: he then said— Be on your guard ; the earth is on fire.' Marfreda described that on looking to the volcano it appeared alternately to be heaved

up and to fall again into its former state; then came loud reports like thunder, and a movement was observed in the ice-mountain. The pastor lost not a moment in removing his family, and as much of their possessions as time permitted, to the top of a high rock, and such of his neighbours as believed his warning and followed his advice did the same. Eruptions of water now gushed out; and these exundations over, the ice-mountain itself ran down like melted metal poured out of a crucible, precipitating huge masses of ice upon the plain, totally destroying the buildings and every vestige of cultivation. The poor old minister, she said, had acted not only with wonderful self-possession and sagacity, but during the scene of horror with activity quite extraordinary at his advanced age. But they were no sooner settled, by the kindness of a neighbour, in their present abode, than he sank exhausted upon a bed, from which they had now DO hope he would ever rise.

The meeting of both parents with their only child was affecting. The

dying father was by far the most tranquil person of the whole group, and declared that his last earthly wish was gratified in once more beholding his son. The Sira Hialte lingered but a few days after this meeting, and great was the grief of every person around him in the prospect of his departure; but every word uttered by this faithful pastor proved him in full possession of better comfort than any earthly aid could minister. While he was able to speak he seemed anxious to impress the importance of such a support in life or death on all around. Even during occasional aberrations of mind, while raving of the dreadful visitation he had lately witnessed, he always seemed to recognise it as coming from God, applying to it passages from those Scriptures in which he had so delighted, sublime specimens of prophetic poetry which he had always thought had their imagery borrowed from the phenomena of volcanic explosion : 'Behold the Lord cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth; and the mountains shall be molten ander him, and the valleys shall be cleft as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.' In the last hour his reason was perfectly restored, and he bade a calm farewell to the beloved ones who surrounded his dying bed, including their Irish guest, and saying a word in season to each. He joined the hands of Marfreda and Semund together, with a prayer for their happiness—such happiness as is only known to those who, like himself, cordially embrace the truths which God has revealed.

The grief of the family and friends of this good man in losing him was deep and sincere. In the heart of the bereaved wife it was such as time could never remove; but after awhile the young people entered upon their former avocations, and began to converse with something of their usual animation. One evening when they were seated together on a hill-side that commanded a view of Lake Myvatu, which O'More particularly admired, he laid aside his sketch-book, in which he had been delineating the scene, while his companions had carried on in a low voice a conversation they seemed to find particularly interesting, and said: 'Semund, I fancy my prediction has been verified, and that Marfreda has so far forgiven your past delinquencies as to agree to become your bride?'

'Even so, my friend,' replied the young Icelander; “and how I do wish that you would in one respect follow my example, by casting away

what I must call your foolish fastidiousness, and accepting the good things of this life from the hand of her you love! My little patrimony has, you are aware, been swept away from me - not by a lawsuit, but an icemountain-and this, my dear Marfreda tells me, is of no importance, for she has had during our absence a letter from her uncle Vidalin, saying that as she was now of age to receive a sum of money intrusted to his care by her parents, he would soon forward it to her by our trusty friend, your old acquaintance, Hudur the thulr, whose arrival we are now expecting every day.'

'He will be much pleased to find you with us when he comes, Mr O'More,' observed Marfreda. “He spoke of you after your departure with deep gratitude as the preserver of his life, and even said he must see you once more, although he may have to travel to Ireland for that purpose.'

and

He need not go quite so far, I fancy,' replied Semund. See that tall figure that has just been set on shore by the boat which came across the lake. Unless I mistake it is no other person than old Hudur the thulr. Welcome to us once more thou walking chronicle of bygone days!-you always brought us pleasant tidings.' · And do so still

, I trust,' replied the thulr, saluting the party, expressing great pleasure at seeing the Irishman with them.

They all returned to the house; and the old man, after speaking with much feeling and regret of the terrible catastrophe which had occurred since his last visit, and particularly of the excellent Hialte's death, partook of some refreshment. When he was sufficiently rested he addressed himself to Marfreda as follows:— Fair daughter of the ancient house of Vidalin, I must now fulfil the commission with which I have been intrusted by your worthy uncle; and so happy have I felt at being the bearer of it to you, dear child, that I heeded but little my long and lonely journey from the other extremity of our island; for great is the love I bear to you for your own sake, and for that of your family, particularly your grandmother, who shewed me unceasing kindness. Take this parcel: it contains a much larger sum than you probably expect, for your good uncle has not only increased by some commercial speculation your own fortune, but has added a present from himself as a token of love.'

Marfreda took the parcel, and without opening it handed it immediately to Semund Erlandson, with a look of inexpressible tenderness. He received it with emotion, pressed the hand which had presented it between his own, raised it to his lips, and then addressed a few words to her-only a few, and those not very articulate, but they were breathed forth in the deep-toned accents of strong sensibility. Madam Erlandson flung her arms about Marfreda's neck exclaiming : "Dear, dear child! fully have you repaid all my care and that of him who is gone: you have made our Semund happy!'

* To Him who orders all things, and whose tender care is over His children, be the praise, my mother !' replied the maiden. These words appeared to recall the attention of the party to something which in the joy of the moment they may have forgotton. A silence ensued, but every circumstance denoted that the heart within was lifted up in thanksgiving.

O'More was powerfully affected by the whole scene. enjoy happiness, thought he ; ‘I, too, could receive it from the hand of her I love—from my Ellen—but for this pride of heart which leads me to dread misconception — the imputation of mean, interested motives by a world which knows so little of sher, nobler springs of action. O that I and my Ellen too had been born and bred among the frozen hills of Iceland!'

'I can now,' continued Hudur the thulr, addressing himself to the Irishman, solve two enigmas, which seemed often to puzzle you, sir, when you were with us before. I have known you greatly surprised at finding me acquainted with many things concerning other countries, particularly your own, the knowledge of which I could not have acquired from books published in our native language.'

Nor in any other, I think,' replied O'More, ‘for you mentioned my grandfather's name ; and I have heard you hint at passages in his life which have not yet at least been made the subject of history.'

'I, too, could

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• True, sir,' he answered; "and I shall presently account for having been enabled to do so. I have also heard you remark with wonder that our fair friend here, the young Marfreda, had preserved so many traces of Irish descent in her features and disposition, while, as you supposed, centuries had elapsed since the blood of Erin mingled with that of Vidalin. But what I am about to relate may clear away your difficulties on both points. I was brought up under the Vidalin family, and when this young lady's grandfather brought his wife from Norway, where he had met with and married her, she soon favoured me with much notice. Madam Vidalin, though not very young, was remarkably handsome, and seemed to be of a reserved, silent, and even melancholy disposition. While conscientiously, and with affectionate kindness, performing her duties to her husband and children, and I may add, to her neighbours, her greatest delight was to be alone, reading books in foreign languages which she had brought with her, or playing upon her harp—that very harp still played on by her granddaughter-and singing to it such wild, mournful airs as none of us had ever heard before. I was young at that time, and light-hearted also; still the moment the music of that harp and voice reached me, I would leave any amusement or employment either, and listen to it till the tears ran down my face. This was soon discovered by Madam Vidalin, who translated some of her songs for me, as they were all in a strange tongue; she also procured books for me, assisting and encouraging me in the pursuit of every kind of useful information. Misfortune came at last to a home where this excellent lady and her family had enjoyed years of tranquil happiness. She lost her husband; and immediately after that her son, whom she almost idolised, was taken from her by death. He had married young; his wife died of the same fever which laid him low, and they left their only child, Marfreda, to the care of Madam Vidalin. When the violence of her grief at these trials had so far subsided as that her attention could be directed to other subjects, the old lady became fonder than ever, not only of reciting her national legends and poems, but of listening to mine. She had quite laid aside her reserve, and now spoke freely to me of her early history and of her own country. That country was not Norway, from whence she had come to Iceland, but your own green island, Mr O’More.

'Yes, Marfreda, your grandmother was an Irishwoman. And though that ancient saga is quite correct which relates that in remote ages one of your ancestors had been united to the daughter of an Irish king, you are more closely connected with that land of poetry and song than you were aware. For hours I have listened to Madam Vidalin while she described the scenes of her early home; for she frequently enlarged upon them with all the freedom of garrulous old age. Her father was the exile who composed that little song which I have often seen you listen to, Mr O'More, while Marfreda sang the translation of it into our Icelandic dialect which I made with the help of Madam Vidalin. She taught both words and music to her granddaughter as soon as she was old enough to learn them. They were, therefore, the production not of an ancient Irish chieftain, as you thought, but of a comparatively modern Irish gentleman, whose interference in some unhappy political movement obliged him to quit his own country for ever, accompanied by his wife and children, and to take refuge in Norway, where he settled for the remainder of his days. His sons, it appeared from what your grandmother, sweet Marfreda, told me, soon forgot ancestral pride and patriotism in struggling with the world. Before long they were quite naturalised in the land which had afforded them shelter from the danger and turmoils that awaited them in their own. But woman's heart is different; and though she married Vidalin-one every way worthy of her —and accompanied him to this country, and loved and respected him too, she never forgot her early home, nor one companion who had shared its enjoyments with her. This was a cousin of her own. A valiant and accomplished youth he was, as she often described him to me, but he differed from her father in his political opinions. He had served in the English army, and nothing could induce him to an act of disloyalty. Young as your grandmother was when she left her native land she had there witnessed such horrors that the very recital of them often caused me to tremble; but I am not going to repeat them. One scene, which, though agonising, was a more gentle kind of suffering, she would frequently describe. It was her last interview with her beloved cousin. He had again taken up arms, and was going to join his regiment in King George's service : he came to her father's house secretly, for his relatives were so incensed at his not joining their party that it was a dangerous risk; but he would not depart without bidding her farewell. He gave her his picture and a little casket containing some family papers of importance, which he charged her to keep carefully for him till they met again. But this was never to be. He was not long gone when some dreadful event took place which obliged her family to leave the country and settle in Norway, as I have already mentioned ; and this poor lady of course accompanied them, bringing with her the picture and casket of her lover, whom she never heard of more!'

• O Hudur, good Hudur! cried the stranger, who had listened to this history, particularly the latter part of it, with the deepest attention tell me at once if you know what was the name of the person who gave her these things, and what has become of them?'

'I can answer both your questions, sir,' replied the old man with a look of extreme pleasure. The person who gave her these things was Donough O’More of Glenard Castle, your grandfather; and here, here is the very casket. O that its contents may prove as valuable to you as I wish and hope!'

With agitation of mind that made his strong frame tremble the young man took the casket. His first impulse was to open it, but he checked himself, and said: 'Stay, it is not mine. Have I any right to its contents?'

'I think you have,' replied the thulr; "and I will tell you why. Madam Vidalin in telling me her sorrowful history, which was always interlarded with old traditions of her country and family, assured me that I was the only person to whom she had ever mentioned these particulars, "for who else,” she would say, “could take an interest in bygone occurrences of a far-distant land? Your love for tales of the times of old, Hudur, will lead you to enjoy and remember them.” She shewed me the casket, which was placed in the drawer of an old cabinet; and while she regretted never having had an opportunity of returning it to her cousin or his family, desired me, as soon as Marfreda was of age to inherit her possessions, but not sooner, to tell her this story, and charge her to preserve the relies of former years, which it was just possible might yet be of use to the

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