Read THE RETURN of Strife and Peace , free online book, by Fredrika Bremer, on ReadCentral.com.

To meet, to part;
The welcome, the farewell;
Behold the sum of life!

BJERREGAARD.

Alette set off to fulfil her promise to her uncle in Hallingdal; but in a few weeks she was again at Semb, in company with Harald and Alf Lexow, who had fetched her there. Yet this visit could last only for a short time, for then she had to set out with her bridegroom and her uncle’s family on the journey to Trondhjem, where her marriage was to be celebrated at the house of a rich and cordial aunt, who had long been rejoicing in it, and had now for several months been baking and boiling in preparation for it. Harald also was to accompany them on this journey.

Alf Lexow was a man in his best years, with an open and generous manner. His face was small, marked by the smallpox, but otherwise handsome and full of life and benevolence. He was one of those men whose first glance attracts one and inspires confidence. Susanna felt great pleasure on seeing the affectionate, confidential understanding between the betrothed. She herself also was now happier, because Harald now left Alette much with her bridegroom, and sought as before for Susanna’s society.

Alette was lively, agreeable, and well-educated; but she liked best to hear herself talk. So in reality did Harald; and a better listener than Susanna could nobody have. Contentions occurred no longer; but there was a something in Susanna which attracted Harald to her more than the former passion for strife had ever done. He found Susanna’s manners altered for the better; there was in them a something quieter, and, at the same time, gentler than before; whilst she was now always so kind, so attentive, and thought of everything which could give pleasure to others. He saw, at the same time, with what silent solicitude her thoughts followed Mrs. Astrid, who now, at the approach of autumn it was then the end of August appeared to have relapsed into her dark and silent mood, out of which she had been aroused for some time. She now very rarely left her room, except at the hour of dinner.

Harald wished that his sister and brother-in-law elect should witness, before their departure from the dale, some of the popular assemblings for games and dancings, and had therefore prepared a rural festival, to which he invited them and Susanna, and to which we also will now betake ourselves.