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the recovery of Adrianne. In the long years of peace and happiness spent at the village of Grand Pre, although Adrianne was universally allowed to be the most beautiful girl of all Acadia, no one save Captain Winslow had dared speak to her about love, because it was known that she was beloved by Jean. No one ever knew when these two young people declared their affection. They had grown together like two trees whose roots are mingled, whose branches intertwine, and whose perfume rises together to the heavens. Only their wish to see each other had become a necessity, and they would have preferred death to a day's separation. To ruthlessly tear two such loving hearts asunder was a cruelty which might result in death or madness.
When Grand Pre was reached, no trace of the missing maiden could be found. All the French inhabitants were gone; but from an old negro woman who had belonged to one of the Acadians, Noah and Jean learned that one old French woman still lived about a league from the town. They got a complete description of the old woman, and learned that she had been an intimate friend of the widow Blanc.
“What can be more probable than that she fled there from Captain Winslow's persecutions, and threats ?” said Noah.
“Perchance you are correct,” Jean answered.
“ Have you ever interviewed the old French lady?”
They mounted a pair of French ponies and quickly galloped to the cottage of the aged Acadian. She was very non-committal at first; but, recognizing Jean Baptiste, she informed him that Adrianne had fled to her house after her mother's death and lived there in seclusion for a month, where the “poor dear thing had almost died of fever.”
“ Whither did she go on her recovery?” asked Noah.
“She took shipping one night for New York.” “ Have you seen her since?” “No, monsieur.” “Nor heard from her?”
“Only that she arrived safe in New York, and what has since been her fate the good God knows, I know not.”
“One thing is quite clear, cousin,” said Noah. “ You have been running away from her instead of going toward her.”
“ What shall we do now?” Jean asked.
“ Back to New York. The trail is a cold one, and the thread may be broken, yet we must follow it."
A vessel sailed from Halifax in three days for New York, and Noah and Jean were on board. Landing in the little city, Noah hastened to see his wife and child and pass a few blissful hours in the enjoyment of his own quiet home. Few hours of such pleasure were granted him. After three days spent thus, he again began the search for the missing maid. Many Acadians had been landed in New York; but Noah had a peculiar faculty for picking up lost threads, and soon had an abundance of proof that Adrianne had come to New York three years before.
Long they searched and many questions they asked of the descendants of old Holland about the missing maid. Many had seen the Acadians as they landed and among them a score of dark-eyed maids, any one of whom might be the missing Adrianne. Of one sturdy old Dutch settler to whom they applied, they gained a bit of meagre information. He knew a maid had come to the city who was alone and in great distress. He was sure she had wandered up the Hudson and taken shelter with some of the farmers.
It was late in autumn, in fact, tardy winter lingered not afar; but, as if in kindness for the sorrowing youth, withheld his icy breath. Along the banks of the broad Hudson they roamed from house to house, making inquiry for one who three years before had trod the same ground.
It was late one afternoon when, far up the great stream, they saw in the distance the broad acres of Hans Van Brunt, whose great-grandfather had come to America when New Amsterdam was first laid out. Good-natured, honest old Hans was driving his sheep to the pen from the pasture. Behind him followed his shepherd dog, patient, full of importance, and grand in the pride of his instinct, as he walked from side to side with lordly air, and superbly waved his bushy tail, or urged the stragglers forward. When the shepherd slept he was the regent of flocks, and when from the forest through the silent watches of the night the wolves howled, he became their protector.
The sun was sinking among the distant hills beyond the blue range of mist which might be the peaks of the Catskills, and the sullen glow of those half-subdued fires seemed melting in tenderness and tears. The sky far to the east was of an apple green, while to the north floated a small cloud of amber. The home of Van Brunt on the Hudson, was in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers were so fond of nestling. A great elm tree spread its branches over it; at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the sweetest, purest water, in a hollowed stone basin; overflowing which, it stole in a sparkling rivulet away through the grass to a neighboring brook, that prattled and murmured among the alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farmhouse was a mammoth barn, such as Dutch farmers are always provided with, which seemed bursting with the treasures of the farm. Swallows and martins skimmed about the eaves, while rows of pigeons, some with an eye turned upward as if taking an observation of the sky, some with their heads under their wings or buried in their bosoms, others swelling, and cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying the last expiring rays of sunshine on the roof. Sleek, unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens, whence sallied forth, at intervals of every few minutes, sucking pigs, as if to sniff the air and report to their drowsy mothers. A squadron of stately geese were riding in an adjacent pond, convoying a whole fleet of ducks. Battalions of turkeys gobbled through the farm yard; guinea fowls kept up their sharp, discordant cries, while a motherly hen, with a late brood of chickens, was fretting and fussing about like an ill-tempered housewife. Before the barn door strutted a noble chanticleer, that pattern of a Turkish husband, a warrior and fine gentleman, flapping his brilliant wings and crowing in the gladness and pride of his heart. Sometimes he paused to tear up the earth with his feet and, on discovering a rare treas