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Page:Hans of Iceland (1891).djvu/487

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The prisoner's face beamed with painful joy; he seemed for the first time conscious of the bitterness of death, now that he realized the sweetness of life. The features of his companion were sublime in their expression of grandeur and simplicity; she still felt the modesty of a maiden, and already exulted as a young wife.

" Hear me, Ordeuer," said she; "is it not fortunate that we must die, since we could never have been united in life? Do you know, love, what I will do? I will stand at the window of my cell, where I can see you mount the scaffold, so that our spirits may wing their flight to heaven together. ' If I should die before the axe falls, I will wait for you; 'for we are husband and wife, niy adored Ordener, and this night our coffin shall be our bridal bed."

He pressed her to his throbbing heart, and could only utter these words, which for him summed up all human happiness: " Ethel, you are mine "

"My children," said the chaplain, in a broken voice, "say farewell; it is time."

"Alas!" cried Ethel.

All her angelic strength returned, and she knelt before the prisoner: "Farewell, my beloved Ordener! My lord, give me your blessing." The prisoner yielded to this touching request, then turned to take leave of the venerable Athanasius Munder. The old man was kneeling at his feet.

"What do you wish, father? "he asked in surprise. The old man gazed at him with sweet humility: "Your blessing, my son."