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fail to see each other more frequently, even if only at a
distance. It sometimes happened, too, that they neces-
sarily came near and were even obliged to pass each
other, however much they might seek to avoid such oc-
casions. One day they met accidentally near the little
foot-bridge, having walked on, lost in thought, without
either observing the other till it was too late to avoid
speaking. They stood before each other ; the eyes of
both fell to the ground. Maria laid her hand on her
oppressed heart. Godber's lips trembled, unable to
utter a syllable. At last he took her hand and said,
  "Maria, it was to be so !"
  She looked up, and a tear trembled in her eye.
  "The Lord has so willed it !" sighed she. "May He
make you happy!"
  "And you, Maria I" he replied.
  She turned he"r face toward heaven, and a light
seemed to break through her tears.
  "His strength is powerful in the weak."
  "Maria," cried Godber, grasping her hand more firm-
ly, "can you forgive me?"
  "When I took the ring from your finger," replied
she, "then I forgave you."
  Godber dropped her hand, and looked for the ring.
For the first time, he saw that it was missing. He
gazed at the finger on which he had worn it, and, un-
able to comprehend how this pledge had been taken
from him, it seemed to him as if his faithlessness was
now first complete — as if now, all return was impossi-
ble. He would have given much at this moment to
have seen the ring still there; he would have given it