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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Lost Glove’
By Hendrik Conscience (1812–1883)
 
“THIS is the celebrated bear-pit of Berne,” said the guide. “Pass here when you choose, you will always find people of all ages who are amusing themselves throwing bread and fruit to these ferocious beasts. Here is a good place. See the tricks of these bears, and how they lift up their arms like real beggars.”  1
  While Max Rapelings was entirely absorbed in contemplating the amusing antics of the bears, Herman, glancing round, noticed a lady wrapped in a red shawl, who had dropped a yellow glove, and who would probably have lost it, as she continued walking on. He picked up the glove, ran after the lady, and said to her in French, “You have lost something, madam.”  2
  The lady turned. Herman seemed transfixed. This lady was no other than the pale maiden of the Aarberggasse, whom he had not recognized at first, owing to her wearing a colored shawl.  3
  She made a step toward him, took her glove with a smile of thanks, and said in a voice whose sweetness was great, “I thank you infinitely, sir.”  4
  But at once appeared beside her the old gentleman with the crabbed face, who fixed upon the young man a look both piercing and interrogative.  5
  Just at this moment Max turned toward his friend and cried out:—  6
  “Here, Herman; come quick; there are some bears fighting furiously.”  7
  This cry produced upon the young girl and old gentleman an extraordinary effect—it seemed to strike them with terror and affright. They turned away and walked off rapidly, as if in the young doctor they had recognized a dreaded enemy.  8
  Max had observed this inopportune meeting; he left the Swiss, who was still amusing himself by looking into the bear-pit, ran towards his friend, looked at his face attentively, and cried with astonishment:—  9
  “You are pale! What did she say to you? Did her tyrant insult you? You do not answer. Alas! there is an end of all our pleasure for to-day! I would give the poor five francs were you nevermore to meet the pale maiden and her dragon!”  10
  “Hush, hush, Max! I have heard her voice; it is marvelously sweet and fascinating—it still resounds in my ear like a cry of distress.”  11
  “A cry of distress! Did she complain to you? What did she say?”  12
  “Only ‘I thank you infinitely, sir.’”  13
  “And you call that a cry of distress? You are surely losing your wits!”  14
  “Yes, but her voice was so plaintive, her smile—”  15
  “Oh! she smiled upon you, did she? The Devil! Things begin to look serious.”  16
  “Her smile is so sweet, sad, and plaintive.”  17
  “There now; you are beginning to talk in verse! This does not seem to me the fitting spot, beside a bear-pit. Come, behave yourself, Herman; here is our host coming. For the love of Heaven, do not mention the pale maiden before him, for he might think you have lost your wits.”  18
 
 
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