by Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels
CHAPTER II. “THE
CHAPTER III. THE
CHAPTER VI. A
UNDER THE SEA.
CHAPTER XI. ERIC
CHAPTER XII. “A
FRIEND IN NEED
IS A FRIEND
THE REAL THIEF.
CHAPTER XV. THE
[Illustration: Froll's Antics.Page 54.]
[Illustrated title plate: Springdale Stories. Illustrated. ERIC. Lee
& Shepard; BOSTON.]
THE SPRINGDALE STORIES.
OR, UNDER THE SEA.
BY MRS. S. B. C. SAMUELS,
AUTHOR OF ADELE, HERBERT, NETTIE'S TRIAL, JOHNSTONE'S FARM,
BOSTON LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS CHARLES T. DILLINGHAM NEW YORK
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, BY LEE AND
SHEPARD, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Electrotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry.
FRANK EDWARD SAMUELS.
The story of the travels of Eric and his friends on the continent of
Europe will, I trust, be interesting to my young readers. Many of the
incidents described are actual facts, and the descent of Eric, in
diving armor, to the bottom of the sea, will be found to possess some
items which will be worth remembering.
The sights, sounds, and sensations which I have described, are such
as any submarine diver of experience has seen, heard, and felt, and
therefore will be instructive in a certain way.
The finding a box of gold by the divers is not of often occurrence,
although valuables are reclaimed from the ocean in this manner
The lesson taught by Eric's honesty in trying to find the owner of
the money, and its influence on his accusers, when he is unjustly
accused of theft, will be worthy of attention to all my young friends
who have a name to make.
CHAPTER I. LEAVING THE CASTLE.
Olendorf is not far from Hamburg. The broad and sparkling Elbe
washes it on the western side, and with the rugged mountains and the
weird grand, old forests upon the north and east, seem to shut the
little town quite in from the outer world; yet Olendorf had been an
important place and on account of its grand old fortress, Castle
Wernier, was a bone of contention throughout the French and German
wars; and between the French, who were resolute to hold the fortress,
and the barons of Wernier, who were equally resolute to regain it, the
castle suffered severely; and when, long years after, peace was
declared, the last baron of Wernier died, and the castle came into the
possession of Adele Stanley, his great granddaughter, it was merely a
grand old ruin.
Adele's father rebuilt the tower and a couple of wings, and
furnished all the habitable rooms, intending to have his little Adele
and Herbert spend their childhood there. But while Adele was yet almost
a baby, her kind father died. Then she lost her mother, and was for a
long time a wanderer among strangers in a foreign land; and the old
castle had been uninhabited, except by Gretchen, the gardener's wife,
and the owls in its dark turrets. Now, however, the long windows were
thrown open to the fresh breezes and sunshine; merry laughter rang up
from the garden; children's voices echoed among the ruins, and
children's feet danced through the long corridors, keeping time to the
music of the happy voices.
Adele and Herbert Stanley were at the castle with their young guests
from New YorkEric and Nettie Hyde. They had spent the summer months
there; the happiest months in their lives, they all declared. Now,
alas! the merry season was drawing to a close. Adele was to go to her
grandfather's home in England, Herbert to school at Eton, Nettie with
her mother to New York, and Eric was to travel in Holland and the
German states with his uncle, Dr. Ward, and his cousin, Johnny Van
Such a busy day as it was to be! But just now all care was
forgotten, even to the regret at parting, in watching the absurd freaks
of little Froll, the monkey. Her real name was Frolic; but who ever
heard children call a pet by its real name?
Mrs. Hyde called to Nettie, requesting her to do an errand. At the
sound of her voice Nettie ran towards her, exclaiming,
O, mamma! Adele has given us such a splendid present, to take home
What is it, my dear?
I love it so dearly! It'sit'shere Nettie's voice trembled a
little, and her heart knew its own misgivingsit'sFroll, mamma, the
And who is Froll, the little darling!
That dear little monkey, answered Nettie, pointing to Froll, now
close at hand.
O, exclaimed Mrs. Hyde, retreating hastily, I dislike monkeys,
and I cannot have one travelling with me.
But, mamma said Nettie, piteously.
You need not think of it, my dear; it is quite impossible, was the
decided reply, to Nettie's disappointment.
But may not Eric take her?
Uncle Charlie must decide that question: if he has no objections to
travelling with an animal that is never out of mischief, I suppose Eric
may take charge of her.
But then, mamma, Eric will be gone a whole long year
And as you have lived nine whole long years, interrupted her
mother, smiling, without a monkey, or a desire for one, don't you
think you could survive the separation?
Nettie didn't then think she could; but a while after, when Froll
chased her with a paint-brush dripping wet with red paint, and then
completely spoiled a pretty landscape view that Herbert was painting
for her, she changed her mind, and decided that a voyage from Hamburg
to New York with such an uncontrollable creature would be, to say the
To be sure, papa was to meet them at the Hague, and he might be
willing to look to her safe transportation across the Atlantic; but she
had not much faith in this argument, and, making a virtue of necessity,
resigned herself with becoming grace to her mother's wishes.
Looking back upon the pleasant summer months at Castle Wernier, the
children thought time had never gone so quickly. They were soon to be
parted from each other, and their pleasant German home and every object
took a new interest to them.
The value of a thing is never known till we have lost it, Herbert
said, sorrowfully, thinking how lonely Adele and he would become when
parted from their companions.
Nor how dear a place an old castle is, until we are forced to leave
it, said Eric.
I remember thinking once, said Nettie, that this place was
horrible. It was when we were all so frightened about the ghost.
And all the time I was the ghost, Adele added; and I used to
think it very hard that I couldn't speak to you, not knowing that I was
frightening you all out of your wits.
I suppose more than half the ghosts we read about are only people
walking in their sleep, as Adele did, said Herbert.
Of course, said Nettie; but if we stay here all day, talking
about ghosts, what will become of our pets and toys?
As Herbert and Adele were to start for their home in England when
Mrs. Hyde and her children left the castle, all their pets were to be
disposed of among the gardener's children, that is, all but Froll, for
Eric was sure that uncle Charlie would not object to having the little
creature for a travelling companion; and as Mrs. Hyde would not allow
Nettie to take her with her, Froll was to make the tour of Germany with
Dr. Ward and the boys.
There were the pony, and the rabbits, and the canary bird, of all
which Gretchen's children were to take the utmost care, until the dear
Fraulien and the young Herr should come again. And many and
loud were the expressions of affectionate regret at the children's
departure, oddly intermingled with exclamations of delight at the
appearance of numerous toys, which Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Hyde had
decided must be left over from the packing.
Then the garden must be visited in every nook and corner. Particular
directions must be left with Hans concerning their choice flowers and
And then there was the grand event of the daythe packing up of
their own individual treasures, in the shape of books and toys. They
worked hard all day, and were very proud of their work when all was
accomplished; but, in the dead of night, when they were fast in the
Land o' Nod, old mauma, who was prowling around the trunks and
hampers to see if all were secure, seemed rather suspicious of one, and
knelt down on the floor to examine it, giving it a little shake, by way
Dear heart alive! she exclaimed; just you look here, missis,
please. All those little flimpsy toys and things to bottom, an' the
heavy book stuck in any ways to top, an' all of 'em jolting roun' like
Poor tired Mrs. Hyde could not help smiling, as she leaned wearily
over the two hampers the children had filled, and gave directions to
mauma and Gretchen about repacking them.
The two women soon accomplished what it had taken the children all
day to perform; and to their faithful exertions was owing the safe
arrival at Fifth Avenue and Ennisfellen of the toys.
Early in the morning the children were aroused to prepare for their
journey. They were all in high spirits, and thought dressing and
breakfasting by candle-light the greatest fun in the world; though it
is doubtful if they would have held to their opinion had the practice
been continued permanently.
Nobody wants breakfast so early, Nettie said, as she laughed and
talked in excitement.
I'm sure nobody wants to lunch on the train, shouted Eric, across
The train, indeed! Why, we shall be aboard the steamer at noon. I
like to travel on these European steamers, Nettie called back.
I am so glad we are all to travel together to the Hague, said
Adele's sweet voice. How quickly you dress, Nettie! But where can
my other boot be?
I'm sure I don't know; let's look for it. Here 'tis.
No; that's your own.
Sure enough; and I've been all this time doing up yours. Shouldn't
wonder if we did miss the train. And it's in a knot, and I can't untie
it. Mauma, mauma, bring another light here, quick! and you'd better
Nettie, did you mean the train was in a knot? called Herbert.
No, it's not, said Nettie, quickly; and then they all
laughed merrily. For, though Nettie's remark was not particularly
brilliant, there was enough in it to amuse the happy, excited hearts
The breakfast received a very slight share of attention. The boys
were constantly running below to see after the horses, and Nettie was
dancing about, in everybody's way, assuring them all that they would
certainly lose the train, and begging Adele, for her own safety, to
keep close to her, and not to be nervous on any account.
I know somebody will forget something! she exclaimed for the
fiftieth time. Be sure, all of you, to remember.
Not to forget, interrupted Eric, mischievously.
The carriage has come to the door, Herr Von Nichols! Gretchen
announced, through her tears.
All the Werniers, the ancient holders of the castle, had been Herr
Vons; and as Mrs. Nichols was a Wernier, Gretchen had adopted the
villagers' fashion of bestowing the title upon the husband.
The servants were in the hall, sorrowfully awaiting the departure of
their kind patrons.
Good by! Good by! the children shouted; while the mournful group
bade them God speed.
Who's forgotten anything? said Nettie, crowding into a corner of
I think you have, my dear, answered her mother. Where is your
Nettie looked quite dismayed.
O, I packed it, mamma. I forgot I was to wear this dress.
There was a general consternation at this confession, until mauma
drew the missing article from under her shawl.
Here 'tis, Miss Nettie. I 'spects you'd want it.
I'm ever so much obliged to you, mauma, said Nettie, eagerly
seizing the sacque, and putting herself into it, while Mrs. Hyde
rewarded the faithful old colored woman with a grateful smile.
I was so busy remembering for the others, mamma, Nettie said,
Perhaps it would be as well for you to attend more particularly to
yourself, my dear, was her mother's mild rebuke.
Mr. Nichols and the boys were busy stowing boxes and parcels in
various hidden compartments of the carriage. Just as Mr. Nichols
announced that they were ready to start, Eric thrust his head in at the
door, exclaiming, funnily,
Mamma, Nettie is so anxious, suppose you all just feel inside your
bonnets, to make sure that your heads are here?
Don't detain us, Eric, his mother said, smiling at the frank,
All right, mamma. This is my load: let me see,Mrs. Hyde, Adele,
Nettie, and mauma. Go ahead, Carl.
The coachman drew up his reins, and the spirited horses, after
curvetting and prancing for an instant, dashed down the avenue, Adele's
and Nettie's white handkerchiefs floating on the breeze, in a last
adieu to Wernier.
They were followed immediately by another carriage, containing Mr.
and Mrs. Nichols and the boys; and, except for the group of sorrowing
servants, watching the fast-disappearing carriages, Castle Wernier was
CHAPTER II. THE HAGUE.
The sun rode high, the breeze was free,
High dashed the diamond spray,
And proudly o'er the dark blue sea
The steamer ploughed her way.
Aboard of the Hague, the children, watching the distant spires and
domes of Hamburg melt into air as the vessel bore, with almost
imperceptible motion rapidly towards the North Sea, began to realize
that they would see no more of Wernier. And though their sorrow but
faintly came home to them, they were sad and thoughtful.
Adele whispered mournfully to Herbert, O, let us go below! It is so
like going out in the Europa, with dear mamma, before she died in the
wreck. O, Herbie, I cannot bear the cruel, cruel sea. Take me below.
So Herbert and Adele went to the cabin, and Eric suggested to Nettie
that they should follow.
No, said Nettie, I like to stay here. Eric, see that boy look at
you; I think he wants to speak.
Eric looked around, and saw a boy of his own age steadfastly
regarding him. When he caught Eric's eye, he bowed and hastened
forward, holding out his hand.
Eric Hyde? he said.
Yes, said Eric. Do you know me?
I never saw you before; but I know you, for all that, said
How? said Eric, astonished, and interested, too.
I knew you by your voice. I used to live next door to you in New
York. I was blind then, and auntie sent me out to Hamburg, to the
famous oculist Dr. Francis. He has given me my sight, and I am going
home alone. Auntie doesn't know about it yet; she only knows that the
operation was performed two months ago, and that Dr. Francis had no
doubt of its success. Won't she be surprised to see me walk into the
parlor, and to hear the whole story from me?
Hurrah! cried Eric, excitedly, tossing his cap high in the air.
I remember you well, said Nettie; I am Nettie Hyde. Don't you,
Yes, said Eric. I used to pity you so! Isn't it just jolly!
Do you know, said the boy, whose name was Allan Ramsdell, I never
saw a steamer before to-day! I have been blind so long, ever since I
was four years old. I've got the key of my state-room here, but I don't
know where to go to look for the room.
I'll show you, volunteered Eric. And, Nettie, if you will go down
for Adele and Herbie, we'll go all over the steamer.
Nettie ran quickly into the cabin, eager to impart the news of their
new acquaintance. Mrs. Hyde was glad of anything that would interest
Adele, and urged her to go upon deck with Herbert. Mr. Nichols was
resting from the fatigue of the ride. Mrs. Nichols, always feeble, did
not feel equal to the exertion of climbing the companion way, the
stairs from the upper deck to the cabin, and Mrs. Hyde wished to remain
with her; so the children began their exploring expedition alone.
The great steamship was now out in the blue sea. The wide decks were
gradually being cleared of passengers as they sought their narrow
state-rooms, and as the children were quiet and orderly, no one
interfered with them.
This is the dining-hall, announced Eric, as the five heads peered
in at the door of a long saloon, where tables were ranged for the
accommodation of the passengers.
Behind this saloon was the kitchen, a hot, steaming place, where
men, mostly cooks, in dirty white jackets, rushed helter-skelter into
each other and around the room.
Too many cooks spoil the broth, said Herbert, in an undertone,
which remark so tickled the others that they all ran off laughing, till
they met a stout, dignified yellow man, holding the store-room keys,
and wearing a cleaner jacket than the others. He was the steward, and,
being cross, scolded the children roundly for getting in his way. In
the lower cabin were the steerage passengers. These had no saloon with
tables arranged for their accommodation. They ate plain bean soup from
tin mugs, and hard ship biscuit from their hands, and their table was a
long board, let down from above by ropes. They stood around the board
while eating, and when the meal was finished, the temporary table was
drawn up out of the way.
By the time these observations had been made Mrs. Hyde joined them;
and after speaking kind congratulations to Allan, and inviting him to
attach himself to their party, she warned the children of the approach
of dinner, and requested them to prepare for it.
Allan was very grateful to Mrs. Hyde for her kindness, and thanked
her politely. He travelled with her to his aunt's door, and was such a
gentlemanly, companionable boy that they all became very much attached
to him. It would be pleasant to take the trip from Hamburg to the
western coast with our party; but that is impossible, as Eric has
considerable journeying to do in another direction, and we are to
accompany him. But the voyage was a pleasant one, and the children saw
and learned many new and wonderful things before they reached their
destination. We must not forget that little Froll left Hamburg snugly
packed in a cage, and intrusted to mauma's care for the voyage. She was
quite a favorite aboard the vessel, and made much merriment by her
absurd pranks, and at Hague was safely landed, and transported to the
At Hague, too, the Hydes and Allan Ramsdell left the vessel, after a
sorrowful parting with Mr. and Mrs. Nichols and Herbert and Adele.
CHAPTER III. THE CITY.
It would seem strange to us to hear our native city called the
Boston, and stranger still to hear the staid old capital called by
more names than one.
Eric, and Allan, and Nettie were quite confused in the capital of
Holland by the variety of names given it.
Hague, The Hague, and La Haye they had heard, but upon their
arrival they found its inhabitants calling it Gravenhaag,
which, Mrs. Hyde explained, meant The Count's Meadow.
What a comical place! Nettie exclaimed, as they glided along
through canal streets to the hotel. Mamma, if our streets were like
these, wouldn't you fret for our precious necks every time we looked
out of a window? And I don't suppose you would ever let us go out to
play, for fear we'd drown.
Still, it is very pleasant gliding under these shady trees; and if
you look about, my dear, you will see there are also carriage roads,
Yes, said Eric; we've passed several.
I like these boat roads best, said Allan, they are so novel.
Where are we going, mamma? asked Nettie, and how far?
To the Vyverberg House, my dear. I do not know the
Is it a mile? asked Eric, of the boatman.
He shook his head, saying, Nein.
But you are not to think that he meant nine miles, for nein
is German for no.
The Vyverberg House was at the north end of Gravenhaag; so our
friends had a fine view of the town, and learned much of its history
from the sober old boatman, who, very fortunately for them, spoke
He pointed out the moat, which surrounded the city and formed its
principal defense, and the drawbridges which crossed the moat.
How different from Hamburg! said Eric. There, a strong wall
fortified the town, and most of its streets are now built upon its old
walls of fortification.
The canals were similar to these, said his mother. You did not
notice those particularly, because you always rode in Mr. Nichols's
But this is a much better looking town than Hamburg, mamma.
Yes, indeed; the buildings are much handsomer here, she assented.
O, how lovely! How splendid! cried Nettie and Allan in a breath,
as they came upon a fine open space, ornamented with a lake, and wooded
island in its centre.
This is the Vyverberg, the boatman said.
Mamma, how good of you to bring us here! cried the children; it
is perfectly splendid!
Well might they say so. The square containing the lovely lake and
island was surrounded by the handsomest and chief public edifices of
the city, the finest one of them all being the former palace of Prince
Maurice, now the National Museum, celebrated for its gallery of
The Royal Museum and other famous buildings were there; but that to
which our party's attention was most closely drawn was the hotel.
It stood facing the lake, a broad, comfortable-looking brick
building, with heavy balconies, and frowning eaves and ornamental
stucco work surrounded its doorways and windows. Between it and the
avenue lay a beautiful garden, and just beyond the building was a small
Mamma, exclaimed Nettie, I do think the Germans and Dutch
have the most exquisite gardens in the world.
They are certainly very beautiful, said Mrs. Hyde. Here in
Holland great attention is paid to the culture of flowers. Indeed, some
of the finest varieties are raised here, and Holland bulbs are among
our choicest varieties.
Mrs. Hyde, I suppose I am very stupid, said Allan, blushing, but
I do not know what 'bulbs' are.
No, indeed, Allan; you show great good sense in asking about
whatever you do not understand. That is the way to learn. Bulbous
plants are those which have a round root, and produce very few leaves;
they are such as the tulip, hyacinth, crocus, and others. They are
nearly all ornamental and beautiful from the very large size and
brilliant color of their flowers. Holland tulips were once so much in
demand as to bring almost fabulous prices. A gentleman in Syracuse gave
a valuable span of horses, and another exchanged his farm, for a bed of
the tulip bulbs.
Thank you, ma'am, said Allan. It is very interesting. When I am a
man I think I will be a florist. I am very fond of flowers; they were a
great comfort to me when I was blind.
As Allan ceased speaking, the boat stopped, and they were landed
upon a short flight of stone steps. Eric gave directions for the
baggage, and then all proceeded to the hotel.
A carriage was approaching them quite rapidly, and Nettie suddenly,
with a cry of joy, sprang forward, directly in the way of the horses.
If Allan had not, at the risk of serious injury to himself, immediately
sprung after her and drawn her back, she would have been run over.
Let go of me, Allan; O, let me go! It is papa! cried Nettie.
A gentleman in the carriage stopped the horses, and leaned anxiously
Is the little girl hurt? he asked of Allan, in German.
Poor Allan did not understand him, and could not answer. But there
was no need, for in another instant, exclaiming, Why, 'tis my own
little girl! the gentleman leaped from the carriage, and Nettie was in
her father's arms.
Meanwhile Mrs. Hyde and Eric, who had been separated by carriages
from them, and had only seen Nettie spring before the horses, and Allan
go after her, were very much frightened. They now appeared upon the
scene, and finding the child sobbing in a gentleman's arms, concluded,
of course, that she was hurt.
My darling! cried poor Mrs. Hyde, in agony, O, is she hurt, sir?
No, ma'am, said Allan, she is not hurt, at all!
Alice! said Mr. Hyde to his wife.
He had but just landed from the American steamer, and was on his way
to the hotel, not knowing of the arrival of The Hague, when he first
saw Nettie and Allan. He was overjoyed to find his family thus
O, Eric, Eric! I am so glad! she exclaimed, in relief; but
My little rash, excitable Nettie is safe and sound in papa's arms,
he said. But the tremor in his voice showed how nearly Nettie had
escaped severe injury. Eric, my boy, he added, have you no word for
Eric, white and faint, could not speak a word, but clasped his
father's hand convulsively.
And where is my daughter's brave protector and deliverer? Mr. Hyde
asked, looking around for Allan.
The boy, who had bashfully retreated behind Mrs. Hyde, was brought
forward and introduced as our neighbor the blind boy, whose sight is
He is travelling home with us, Mrs. Hyde added, when her husband
had warmly thanked him.
Quite a crowd had collected around our travellers, and so eagerly
and sympathetically inquired what had happened, that Mr. Hyde was
obliged to tell them, briefly, the incident, as he led the way to the
It was but a few steps, and they were soon in the hotel, where the
words of congratulation floated after them from the crowd; and
presently a hearty cheer followed, when the good Hollanders understood
that the little American Fraulien had found her father.
CHAPTER IV. ALLAN'S STORY.
Poor Nettie was mortified enough by the result of her impulsive act.
She was quite frightened by the crowd, and their joyous cheering filled
her with terror, for she did not understand that these honest, kindly
people were filled with joy because a little girl's heart was made
Her parents talked to her kindly and seriously of the necessity of
learning to govern her impulsiveness, and Nettie promised; but, alas!
the promise was broken again and again, until she learned by hard and
terrible experience to be a careful, thoughtful child. She now found
that she had spoiled every one's pleasure for the day.
Her mother suffered from a nervous headache, brought on by the
fright and excitement. Her father was obliged to leave, when they were
comfortably established in the hotel, in order to transact some
important business, and had taken Eric with him, starting immediately
after their dinner.
When he went off with Eric, Mrs. Hyde went to her room to lie down,
forbidding Nettie to leave the parlor, that she might feel assured of
the child's safety.
Allan had a letter to write to Dr. Francis and his friends in
Hamburg; so Nettie was obliged to amuse herself.
She obtained permission from her mamma to take Froll out upon the
balcony, and played with her for a little while quite happily. But by
and by Froll spoiled all the fun; for she would climb up the
blinds and mouldings to the utmost limit of her chain, which was just
long enough to admit of her reaching the window-sill and thrusting her
head into the room where Mrs. Hyde lay. Now, Mrs. Hyde was really
afraid of Froll, and these performances were not calculated to cure her
headache. She spoke to Nettie once or twice from the room; but finding
the monkey's visits repeated, she sent Allan down to tell Nettie that,
if Froll came up to her window again, she must return to her cage, and
Nettie to the parlor.
I won't let her go up again, said Nettie. Now, Froll, be good;
do climb down the other way, after this cake. See, Frolic, see!
and she threw a little fruit cake over the railing.
Quick as a flash, Froll went after it; so very quickly, as to pull
the end of the chain from Nettie's hand.
Before the child had time to think, the mischievous monkey had
seized the cake, and was travelling quickly up the blinds and moulding,
over the sill, and, as Nettie drew a frightened breath, in at the
O, dear! said Nettie; now I'll have to be punished. It's silly of
mamma to be so easily frightened.
Her mamma, meanwhile, had just fallen into a doze. The rattling of
the chain startled her; she opened her eyes, and saw the ugly little
black monkey perched close beside her. She was quite startled, and very
angry with Nettie, of course: after securing the monkey safely in her
cage, she called Nettie to her, and speaking quite severely, told her
to return to the parlor, to sit down on the lounge, and neither to rise
from it, nor touch anything, until her father and Eric came home. Poor
Nettie! It was very dull indeed for her, and before long she was
sobbing quite bitterly.
Meanwhile Allan finished his letter, and took up his cap, meaning to
take a walk around the square. Looking into the parlor, and seeing
Nettie's distress, he resolved to give up his walk and to comfort
I wouldn't cry, Nettie, he said, so softly and kindly that she
stopped crying, and looked up at him. I will stay with you now. I've
written my letter.
Nettie's face lighted up instantly, but fell again as she
But it is not fair, Allan: you told Eric you should take a walk;
mamma is very unkind and unjust, too! I could not help Froll's going up
O, Nettie, said Allan, don't ever speak so of your mother, so
kind and good. My mamma is dead, Nettie; and if yours should ever be
laid away in the cold, cold ground, you would feel so dreadfully to
think you had wronged her!
Nettie was crying again.
I do love mamma, and it was very bad of me to speak so; but,
O, dear! I never do do anything right. I don't see why I can't
be good, like Adele.
I know what makes Adele so good and gentle, said Allan. She loves
the Lord, and tries to please him.
But I can't! said Nettie, piteously.
O, yes, you can, Nettie. Every one can.
Grown-up people can, I know.
And children too, said Allan, earnestly. Let me tell you a story
auntie used to tell me, when I was blind.
Nettie assented, and Allan repeated the story of Little Cristelle,
unconscious, the while, that he was fulfilling the teaching of song in
ministering to Nettie.
Slowly forth from the village church,
The voice of the choristers hushed overhead,
Came little Cristelle. She paused in the porch,
Pondering what the preacher had said.
'Even the youngest, humblest child
Something may do to please the Lord.'
'Now what,' thought she, and half sadly smiled,
'Can I, so little and poor, afford?'
'Never, never a day should pass,
Without some kindness kindly shown,'
The preacher said. Then down to the grass
A skylark dropped, like a brown-winged stone.
'Well, a day is before me now;
Yet what,' thought she, 'can I do, if I try?
If an angel of God would show me how!
But silly am I, and the hours they fly.'
Then the lark sprang, singing, up from the sod,
And the maiden thought, as he rose to the blue,
'He says he will carry my prayer to God;
But who would have thought the little lark knew?'
Now she entered the village street
With book in hand and face demure;
And soon she came, with sober feet,
To a crying babe at a cottage door.
It wept at a windmill that would not move,
It puffed with its round red cheeks in vain;
One sail stuck fast in a puzzling groove,
And baby's breath could not stir it again.
So baby beat the sail, and cried,
While no one came from the cottage door;
But little Cristelle knelt down by its side,
And set the windmill going once more.
Then baby was pleased, and the little girl
Was glad, when she heard it laugh and crow,
Thinking, 'Happy windmill that has but to whirl
To please the pretty young creature so!'
No thought of herself was in her head,
As she passed out at the end of the street,
And came to a rose tree, tall and red,
Drooping and faint with summer heat.
She ran to a brook that was flowing by,
She made of her two hands a nice round cup,
And washed the roots of the rose tree high,
Till it lifted its languid blossoms up.
'O, happy brook!' thought little Cristelle;
'You have done some good this summer's day:
You have made the flowers look fresh and well.'
Then she rose, and went on her way.
But she saw, as she walked by the side of the brook,
Some great rough stones, that troubled its course,
And the gurgling water seemed to say, 'Look!
I struggle, and tumble, and murmur hoarse.
'How these stones obstruct my road!
How I wish they were off and gone!
Then I would flow, as once I flowed,
Singing in silvery undertone.'
Then little Cristelle, as bright as a bird,
Put off the shoes from her young, white feet;
She moves two stones, she comes to the third;
The brook already sings, 'Thanks! Sweet! Sweet!'
O, then she hears the lark in the skies,
And thinks, 'What is it to God he says?'
And she tumbles and falls, and cannot rise,
For the water stifles her downward face.
The little brook flows on as before,
The little lark sings with as sweet a sound,
The little babe crows at the cottage door,
And the red rose blooms; but Cristelle lies drowned!
Come in softly; this is the room.
Is not that an innocent face?
Yes, those flowers give a faint perfume:
Think, child, of heaven, and our Lord his grace.
Three at the right, and three at the left,
Two at the feet, and two at the head,
The tapers burn; the friends bereft
Have cried till their eyes are swollen and red.
Who would have thought it, when little Cristelle
Pondered on what the preacher had told?
But the wise God does all things well,
And the fair young creature lies dead and cold!
Then the little stream crept into the place,
And rippled up to the coffin's side,
And touched the corpse on its pale round face,
And kissed the eyes till they trembled wide,
Saying, 'I am a river of joy from Heaven;
You helped the brook, and I help you;
I sprinkle your brows with life-drops seven;
I bathe your eyes with healing dew.'
Then a rose branch in through the window came,
And colored her lips and cheeks with red;
'I remember, and Heaven does the same,'
Was all that the faithful rose branch said.
Then a bright, small form to her cold neck clung;
It breathed on her till her breast did fill,
Saying, 'I am a cherub fond and young,
And I saw who breathed on the baby's mill.'
Then little Cristelle sat up and smiled,
And said, 'Who put these flowers in my hand?'
And rubbed her eyespoor innocent child
Not being able to understand.
But soon she heard the big bell of the church
Give the hour; which made her say,
'Ah! I have slept and dreamt in this porch.
It is a very drowsy day!'
O, said Nettie, drawing a long, deep breath, I think, Allan, that
it's the most beautiful story I ever heard. Do you know who wrote it?
No, said Allan. I used to think it was auntie's own; but I asked
her once, and she said, 'O, no, indeed!' and that she did not know who
wrote it, but thought it was a translation from the German.
Adele would have liked that so much! said Nettie thoughtfully,
and she would have been just like little Cristelle, too.
Yes, said Allan, I think she would; and that would have been
because both of them were trying to please the Lord. Don't you see,
But after all, Allan, it is not a true story.
It's an allegory, said Allan. It means that if we do every little
simple kindness for the sake of helping others and pleasing the Lord,
that we shall be children of the Lord, and live in heaven with him.
Then, Allan, you are one of the 'children of the Lord;' for you do
kind, generous things all the time, and
No, no, Nettie, said Allan, hastily interrupting her. I am very
selfish, and I have to try very hard, and pray to the Lord Jesus to
help me to be good.
But you do give up for the sake of others, you know; now
I am having a delightful time, and enjoying myself hugely, said
Allan, interrupting her again, and laughing merrily. I'll go and get
my checker-board, and we'll have a game.
Thus, thanks to the kind-hearted Allan, the afternoon wore
pleasantly away, and when Mrs. Hyde and Eric returned, Allan and Nettie
were both very happy, and in the midst of an exciting game. Mrs. Hyde
had slept off her headache, and was giving orders for tea on the
balcony, to the children's intense satisfaction.
CHAPTER V. SEEING THE ELEPHANT.
'You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,'
sang Nettie, as she leaned over the balcony railing, gazing out upon
the lovely lake and island before them; for Mr. Hyde had explained
that, as his time was exceedingly limited, he could allow them only
three days to explore Havenhaag, and at the end of that time they must
leave for New York.
So we will begin with the Royal Museum to-morrow morning, he
added; and all who are up in good season can take a trip with me, in
one of those shallops, around the lake.
After the children had retired, Mr. and Mrs. Hyde held a
consultation about Eric. They expected the arrival of Dr. Ward and
their nephew daily, and were in hopes of seeing them before the steamer
should sail. But there was just a chance that the doctor might be
delayed at Paris; and if it should so happen, what would Eric do?
His parents were unwilling to disappoint him by taking him to New
York without making the desired tour of Germany; and they disliked the
idea of leaving him, a young boy of thirteen, alone in a strange place.
But his father at length decided to let him remain at the Vyverberg
House, in case the doctor should be detained until after they had
Eric was a thoughtful, reliable boy, and old enough, his father
said, to learn to depend upon himself.
Mrs. Hyde felt some misgivings as to this course at first; but her
confidence in Eric was so great, that she soon consented to it, and
having once decided in favor of the plan, she would let no thought of
it trouble her.
You may be sure that the three children did not need an early call
in the morning, for they were up and dressed with the daylight, having
a romp on their balcony with Froll, who frightened several of the
occupants of adjacent rooms by trying to get in at their windows.
Nettie told Eric how Froll had got her into disgrace, the day
before, by the same trick.
I think, said Eric, that she must once have belonged to an
organ-grinder, and have been taught to climb up for money.
Very likely, said Allan. But you had better break her of the
trick. People, as a general thing, are not fond of the sudden
appearance of a black monkey at their chamber windows.
Here's papa! cried Nettie. Now for our sail!
Isn't Mrs. Hyde coming? Allan asked.
Here she is! Good morning, mamma, andO, Eric, mind Froll! cried
Nettie; but too late, for Froll had darted from him, and gone in at an
open window above.
There was a breathless silence.
Mr. and Mrs. Hyde were very much annoyed, and the children were
alarmed for the safety of their pet.
While they were momentarily expecting a scream of terror from the
occupant of the room, Froll reappeared at the window, and, with a grin
and chatter of defiance, tumbled out, and clambered down towards the
children, with a pair of gold-rimmed eye-glasses in her hand. A
night-capped head, thrust out after her, was withdrawn again hastily,
as its owner's eyes encountered those of Mrs. Hyde.
Saucy Froll perched herself upon the top of the parlor blind, stuck
the glasses upon her nose, and peered down at the children, who greeted
this manoeuvre with an irresistible burst of laughter, in which their
father and mother joined.
The owner of the glasses again thrust his head out at the window,
minus the nightcap this time, and seeing the monkey, laughed as
heartily as the others.
Leaning forward, he could reach the chain, which he caught; and then
Froll was made to surrender her plunder; after which she was committed
to her cage in disgrace.
The sail on the lake was delightful. The water was as smooth as
glass, the air fresh and cool, and the little island in the lake's
centre was crowded with song birds, whose sweet, merry notes rang
musically over the water, and were echoed back from the shore.
After breakfast they prepared to visit the places of interest in
Mr. Hyde led the way to the National Museum, occupying the Prince
Maurice palacean elegant building of the seventeenth century.
Numerous guides offered their services, and when one had been engaged,
our party followed him up a broad, solid stairway to the famous picture
gallery. Most of the paintings were old pieces of the German masters,
and did not interest the children so much as their parents, for they
were too young to appreciate them. But in one of the rooms almost
entirely covering one end, was a grand picture, so vivid and natural
that Nettie was quite startled by it at first. It was a picture of a
young bull spotted white and brown, a cow lazily resting on the grass
before it, a few sheep in different attitudes, and an aged cowherd
leaning upon a fence. The background of the picture was a distant
landscape, and all the objects were life-size.
That picture is Paul Potter's Bulla highly prized work of art,
said Mr. Hyde. When the French invaded Holland, Napoleon ordered it to
Paris, to be hung in the Louvre.
I suppose it didn't go, as it's here now, remarked Allan.
Yes, it was carried there, and excited much admiration. But when
Holland was free of the French, and Germany victorious, the painting
The children could have staid, gazing with delight upon it, for a
much longer time than was allowed them. The guide soon led the way to
the Royal Museum of Curiosities, and they reluctantly followed. The
collection of curiosities was in the lower part of the building, and
here they saw all kinds of Chinese and Japanese articles, which, the
guide informed them, was the largest and best collection of the kind in
There was enough here to interest our young folks, and old folks,
All kinds of merchandise and manufactures, and most interesting and
complicated toys, model cities, barges gayly-colored and filled with
tiny men at work on tinier oars, pagodas, shops, temples, huts, houses,
vehicles, and men, women, and children in every variety of costume,
engaged in every conceivable employment.
So fascinating was this Museum that the entire morning was most
agreeably spent in it; and there was but just time, before leaving it,
to look into the historical department, where were many objects of
interest, and among other things the armor and weapons of De Ruyter,
the famous admiral. At any other time these would have possessed great
interest for the boys; but now they rather slighted them for the unique
toys of China and Japan.
After their dinner and a half hour's rest, the children paid a visit
to the king's palace; for Gravenhaag, you must know, is the favorite
residence of the king and court.
Nettie and the boys walked very carefully, and held themselves very
properly, such a thing as a visit to the king's palace not being a
daily event with them. Although she would not have missed going for
anything, Nettie was a little alarmed at their situation, as they drew
near to the palace, a large Grecian building, with two wings, forming
three sides of a square. She had an idea that whenever kings were
displeased with people, they ordered their heads to be cut off; and she
wondered if he would be pleased to have their party looking at
his possessions. Her fears were groundless, however.
As they reached the square, they saw, near the entrance to the
palace, a fine-looking man, well dressed and gentlemanly, who smiled
kindly at the children, and, seeing their eager scrutiny of the palace,
politely invited them to enter it.
The boys were delighted, but Nettie declared that she was afraid of
O, the king will not trouble you, my little maid, said the
stranger, in excellent English: walk in, walk in!
He held out his hand to Nettie, and was such a kind,
pleasant-looking man, that Nettie's fears vanished. She gave him her
hand, and the two boys followed her into the palace. Yes, actually
into it, when, a few minutes before, she had hardly dared venture a
terrified glance at the outside, and was momentarily expecting the
Off with their heads!
Their new friend led them to a lovely garden, gave them flowers and
fruit, and chatted gayly with them all the time. Then he took them to
several apartments of the palace, and finally into the drawing-room.
The children noticed that every one made a respectful bow to their
kind escort, and concluded that he must be some great nobleman; but
judge of their surprise, when they found themselves being presented by
him to a beautiful, pale lady, quietly dressed in black.
Alicia, my dear, said their nobleman, still speaking in English,
I have brought these young American travellers to see you. My little
friends, to the children, yonder lady is the Queen of Holland.
Wasn't that enough to confuse the best bred child in the
Poor Eric had a faint idea that he must kiss the queen's toe, as a
mark of courtesy, and stepped forward, with a dizzy singing in his
ears, to do so. But he was saved from such a ridiculous situation by
the gentle queen, who smiled and extended her hand; then Eric
thankfully remembered that it was the queen's hand and the pope's toe.
So he bent gracefully forward and kissed Queen Alicia's white fingers.
Allan, of course, did the same. And Nettie had no time to consider
what she must do, for the queen had kissed her quite warmly at first,
and their strange guide had drawn her to his knee.
Why did you fear the king, little maid? he asked, so kindly that
Nettie confessed her idea of majestic temperaments. How he laughed! and
how the queen laughed, too!
Now, I suppose you will want to go to mamma, he said, soon
afterwards; and giving them each a gold coin, added, Keep these to
remember me by, and you can tell your friends that the King of
Holland gave them to you.
The children were perfectly amazed, and could not speak their thanks
properly; but of this the king took no notice. He led them to the
entrance on the street, and then kindly said, Good by.
Mr. and Mrs. Hyde, who had become quite anxious over their long
delay, were much relieved to see the children come safely home just
before tea-time. They were quite as much astonished, by the account of
the visit, as our young folks had supposed they would be.
Tea, on the balcony, and some quiet music in the evening, finished
up the day; and when the tired children sought their pillows, they
quickly fell asleep.
CHAPTER VI. A DUTCH CITY.
It would take too long to mention all the sights seen and famous
places visited by the travellers in Gravenhaag.
They were admitted to the palace of the Prince of Orange, and saw
his famous collection of paintings and chalk drawings. They went over
the Binnenhof, which is a collection of ancient stone buildings,
containing a handsome Gothic hall, and the prison in which Grotius and
Barneveldt were confined, the churches, synagogues, and the royal
library, and walked on the Voorhout, a beautiful promenade, with
a fine, wide road lined with shade trees and furnished with benches, to
the Bosch, a finely wooded park belonging to the King of
Holland. In its centre, reached by winding walks among the trees and
beautiful lakes, stands the Huys in den Boschhouse in the
woodthe king's summer palace.
After visiting all these places, and the printing establishments and
iron foundery, Mr. Hyde, finding he had another day before the steamer
sailed, took them all to Rotterdam. They went by railway to the city,
and drove around it in an open carriage, like a barouche, which was
waiting at the depot. Mr. Hyde, who had been there before, was quite
familiar with the place. He ordered the coachman to drive through the
High Street; and soon the children found themselves on a street
considerably higher than the others, lined with shops, and looking very
pleasant and busy. Mr. Hyde told them it was built upon the dam which
prevented the Maas River from overflowing.
And this is the only street in Rotterdam, said he, which has not
a canal in its centre.
[Illustration: The Queen of Holland.Page 61.]
When they had gone the length of High Street, they came to street
after street, each having a canal in the middle, lined with trees on
both sides, and exhibiting a medley of high gable fronts of houses,
trees, and masts of shipping.
Dear me! cried Nettie; I wouldn't live in such a place for the
world. It's pretty to look at; but think of having those ships going by
right under the drawing-room windows. They make me giddy.
How many canals! cried Allan. They go lengthwise and crosswise
through every street but the High.
And these clumsy bridges, said Nettie again, pointing to the
drawbridges of white painted wood which they saw at every little
distance; they were made of large, heavy beams overhead, and lifted by
chains for the vessels to pass through.
Under the trees, beside the canals, were yellow brick sidewalks,
as Nettie called them; but they were really quays, for the landing of
Between the trees and the houses, on a coarse, rough pavement, among
carts, drays, and carriages, walked the foot passengers quite
frequently. For though there were sidewalks close to the houses, little
outbuildings and flights of steps to doorways were continually in the
way, and it was impossible for one to walk straight along, or at all
fast, on any of them, as the children said.
Mamma, said Nettie, I should think they would break their necks
every minute. Just look at those canals, right in the street, and
nothing to keep people from falling into them. What do they do in dark
How do they light the streets, papa? asked Eric.
By oil lamps, hung on ropes from the houses to the trees, said Mr.
Hyde. They have gas on the High Street.
Allan's attention had been attracted by some curious little
structures outside the lower windows of several of the houses.
What are they? he asked.
Looking-glasses, said Mr. Hyde.
Looking-glasses, papa! Outside their windows? exclaimed
Yes, dear; they are hung so as to reflect the passing objects to
the people inside.
Then they can see whatever is going on in the streets below,
without coming to the windows, said Eric.
What a funny custom! exclaimed Nettie, again.
The only building they visited was the Church of St. Lawrence, where
they saw the famous great organ, a splendid structure, larger than the
great organs of Haarlem and Boston. It is one hundred and fifty feet
high, mounted upon a colonnade fifty feet high, and has five thousand
five hundred pipes.
In the market-place they saw a statue of the great scholar Erasmus,
and the house where he was born, which is now, alas! a gin-shop. From
the Boomptjes, a fine quay, planted with rows of beautiful
trees, and surrounded by elegant, dark brick mansions, our party
chartered a little sail boat, and went out upon the Maas.
The beautiful, quiet Maas, with Rotterdam's green, woody banks in
view; the blue, blue sky, seen clearly in the limpid waters; the
steamers coming and going, and birds flying around, adding their sweet
notes to nature's harmonythis beautiful picture was one remembered by
the children all their lives. To-morrow's parting hung its shadow over
them, and softened their hearts to the true beauty everywhere
The sun had set when they reached the Vyverberg for the last time.
Mamma, said Eric, regretfully, I almost wish I was going home
with you all.
Uncle Charlie may come to-night, said his mother, cheerfully. At
any rate, he will soon come. You would then wish you had staid.
Yes, I know, said Eric. But it is very hard to let you all go
home without me, for all that.
Very careful directions were given to Eric, and he was placed under
the care of the landlord until he should hear from his uncle.
The evening was very short to Eric, who lingered by his mother, and
could not bear to leave her side, knowing he should see her no more for
a long, long year.
Long after Nettie and Allan had left them, he staid with his
parents, listening to their last kind advice, and sending little loving
messages to his cousins and schoolmates.
In the morning he saw them off with a heavy heart. His father's last
kind words, Allan's affectionate greeting, Nettie's tears, and his
promise to his mother that he would remember his prayers and daily
chapter in the Bible, and would try to make his travels a useful,
profitable study, and to keep himself truthful, honest, and kind, were
mixed up with a hearty, homesick longing to go after them. His eyes
filled with tears as the stretch of water between him and his dear ones
rapidly widened; he turned from the wharf with a sorrowful face, slowly
and sadly retracing his steps to the hotel.
How dismal it will be! how lonely and dismal without them! He
thought and murmured sorrowfully,
Alone, alone, all, all alone!
CHAPTER VII. UNDER THE SEA.
Eric had been but a few minutes in the parlor at the hotel, and was
trying to amuse himself with little Froll, when there came a tap upon
the door, and the servant entered with a card.
Eric read the name,
and written underneath,
No. 365 Vyverberg House.
Who in the world, thought Eric, is Emil Lacelle? and what did he
send this to me for?
The waiter explained that the gentleman was waiting, in his room, up
stairs; and Eric, with Froll on his shoulder, started for No. 365.
The door stood open, disclosing a pleasant room, with various kinds
of odd-looking armor lying around: seated by a table was a gentleman
dressed in black, whom Eric recognized at once as the one whose glasses
Froll had stolen.
This gentleman was looking for Eric, and said at once, when he
entered the room,
I am pleased to see you, monsieur, and politely requested him to
Do you speak French? he asked.
Not very well, sir, answered Eric.
German? inquired the stranger.
Yes, sir, said Eric.
Yes, sir; I am an American.
I am a Frenchman, said Mr. Lacelle. I want you, if you please, to
do me a little service.
I will do anything that I can for you, said Eric. I am very much
obliged to you already for being so good-natured about your glasses.
Do not mention it! Mr. Lacelle exclaimed, with the natural
politeness of a Frenchman. I have taken quite a fancy to your playful
little beast. And he coaxed the monkey to him, and gently stroked her
What is it that I can do for you, sir? asked Eric. He was
beginning to like Mr. Lacelle very much.
I have a letter to write to America, and am not enough of an
English scholar to undertake it. Now, therefore, if I tell to you that
which I want written, would you be so very kind, if you please, as to
write for me, it?
Yes, indeed; with much pleasure, said Eric; thinking the while,
No wonder he does not like to undertake a letter in English, when he
speaks the language so clumsily.
Mr. Lacelle, still holding Froll, brought forward a traveller's
writing-desk, filled with perfumed French paper, and then placing it
before Eric, and saying politely, At your convenience, monsieur, he reseated himself.
Eric arranged the paper, took up a pen, and after writing the date,
sat waiting for his instructions.
For example, what do you say to two gentlemen? asked Mr. Lacelle.
Eric was completely puzzled, and could only say, Sir?
Pardon me! exclaimed the Frenchman, to one you would say
'sir;' but to two, would you say 'sirs'?
Yes, answered Eric, but, recollecting some letters he had copied
for his father, added, O, no: it's Messrs.
Exactly! said Mr. Lacelle. I thank you. That is fine.
He appeared quite relieved, and began dictating.
The Vyverberg, at the Hague,
Holland, October 21, 186-.
Messrs. Brown and Lang:
I have given to myself the pleasure of examining the sunken yacht
the Zuyder Zee; and my opinion it is, that that vessel is injured
in the least, and that I can right her for the sum of two hundred
Most respectfully to you, Messrs.,
To Messrs. Brown and Lang,
New York City.
Is it quite correct English? he asked, anxiously.
Eric rewrote it, transposing some of the words. Mr. Lacelle was very
grateful for the boy's assistance. He was by no means ignorant, but his
knowledge of English was rather limited, and he was too sensitive to be
willing to send off a peculiar letter.
Mr. Lacelle's history would be very interesting, had we time to give
it minutely; but there is only space to say that he was the younger son
of a noble French family, whose circumstances during his youth were so
unfortunate that he was thrown upon his own resources at a tender age,
and had, by great energy and perseverance, become a wealthy and famous
Eric knew that sub meant under, and marine the sea, but he did
not understand exactly what it all meant; so he asked Mr. Lacelle,
whose explanation and subsequent conversation, we will render in
A submarine diver is one who goes beneath the water of the sea:
professionally he examines and clears harbors, removing obstructions,
such as rocks, &c.; draws up sunken vessels, examines wrecks, and
brings up from the depths of the ocean money, jewels, and articles of
But tell me, cried Eric, eagerly, how does he breathe? what
protects him in the water? how
I will tell you all about it, said Mr. Lacelle. There are several
divers here in the house. We are going to the Zuyder Zee, near
Amsterdam, to-morrow, and you shall go too, if you wish.
O, thank you, sir, said Eric. I would like to.
Meanwhile I will tell you, proceeded the diver. We wear an armor
such as this, he explained, pointing out the several pieces to Eric,
as he noticed them. In the first place an India-rubber suit like this.
You will observe that it is made entirely water-proof, by being
cemented down in the seams, wherever it is sewed.
Eric looked with interest upon the clumsy-looking dress, which was
made entirely whole, except the opening at the sleeves and neck, and
was cut away above the shoulders, like a girl's low-necked dress, to
admit the body of the wearer; the legs were footed off like stockings,
and the wrists of the sleeves were terminated by tight, elastic rubber
bands; a similar band surrounded the neck, which was also finished with
a flap of white rubber facing.
You see, continued Mr. Lacelle, we put ourselves into this suit,
drawing it on from the top. It is perfectly water-tight. Upon our feet
we wear shoes such as these, pointing to a pair of heavy leather
shoes, with broad, high straps and buckles, and lead soles half an inch
thick. They weigh twenty-five pounds.
Why! exclaimed Eric; I should call that something of a load.
The weight is imperceptible in the water, the diver explained,
and, showing Eric a couple of box-shaped canvas bags, added, We wear
these also, filled with weights, just above the waist, one before and
But you haven't told me yet how you breathe in the water, said
I am coming to that shortly. Upon our heads we wear a helmet, made
of copper, completely covering head, face, and neck, and firmly
inserted between the rubber facing and the tight band about the neck of
the dress, just above the shoulders. To the back of the helmet is
fastened a rubber hose, attached, above the water, to the pump, which
keeps the diver supplied with air; and there is a glass window in the
front. A half-inch rope, called the life-line, is securely adjusted to
the diver, and by it he is lowered into or drawn from the water; and by
it, also, he signals to those above for more air, for withdrawal, or
anything he may require.
This helmet is heavy enough, said Eric, lifting and examining the
curious structure. There is a valve inside: what is that for?
To let the air, which the diver breathes from his lungs, into the
water, Mr. Lacelle replied. This machine in the case, pointing to a
high black-walnut case, is a three-cylinder air-pump; two men in the
vessel, or on the shore, keep the pumps constantly in motion by means
of the crank attached to the wheel.
Why do they have more than one pump? Eric inquired.
One pump, answered Mr. Lacelle, would not supply enough air; it
would work like a water-pump, sending down the air by jerks, and the
receiver would be exhausted between the supplies of air. Two pumps
would send down the air puff-puff, like the pumps of a steam engine;
but three pumps, constantly in motion, send down, through the hose, a
steady and continuous stream of air, enabling the diver to breathe
freely and fully.
And can you go down into any depth of water? Eric asked, with
Not lower than one hundred feet, usually, the pressure of the water
is so great. I have been down one hundred and fifty-six feet below the
surface; but that was something very remarkable.
And did you never have any hair-breadth escapes, or thrilling
adventures? inquired Eric.
No, answered the diver, with a slight laugh and shrug of the
shoulders, I never did, and never knew any one who did, although I
have read of many such incidents, altogether too marvellous for belief.
You see, he continued, we know that the least carelessness would
probably cost us our lives, and we are minutely accurate about all our
equipments. And, lowering his voice and speaking reverentially, I
always commit myself to the guidance and tender care of the good
'They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great
'These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
'They cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out
of their distress.'
Eric listened, and his respect and esteem for the diver grew tenfold
Mr. Lacelle continued:
It is a strange business. The danger fascinates some, but the peril
is never lost sight of. I put on the helmet, for the first time, more
than ten years ago; and yet I never resume it without a feeling that it
may be the last time I shall ever go down. Of course one has more
confidence after a while; but there is something in being shut up in an
armor weighed down with a hundred pounds, and knowing that a little
leak in your life-pipe is your death, that no diver can get rid of. And
I do not know that I should care to banish the feeling, for the sight
of the clear blue sky, the genial sun, and the face of a fellow-man
after long hours among the fishes, makes you feel like one who has
suddenly been drawn away from the grasp of death.
Were you ever in great danger? asked Eric.
I think the most dangerous place I ever got into was going down to
examine the propeller Comet, sunk off Toledo. In working about her
bottom, I got my air-pipe coiled over a large sliver from the stoven
hole, and could not reach it with my hands. Every time I sprang up to
remove the hose, my tender would give me the 'slack' of the line, thus
letting me fall back again. He did not understand his duties, and did
not know what my signals on the life-line meant. It was two hours and a
half before I was relieved, and there was not a moment that I was not
looking to see the hose cut by the ragged wood. It's a strange feeling
you have down there. You go walking over a vessel, clambering up her
sides, peering here and there, and the feeling that you are alone makes
you nervous and uneasy.
Sometimes a vessel sinks down so fairly, that she stands up on the
bottom as trim and neat as if she rode upon the surface. Then you can
go down into the cabin, up the shrouds, walk all over her, just as easy
as a sailor could if she were still dashing away before the breeze.
Only it seems quiet, so tomb-like; there are no waves down thereonly
a swaying back and forth of the waters, and a see-sawing of the ship.
You hear nothing from above. The great fishes will come swimming about,
rubbing their noses against your glass, and staring with a wonderful
look into your eyes. The very stillness sometimes gives life a chill.
You hear just a moaning, wailing sound, like the last notes of an
organ, and you cannot help thinking of dead men floating over and
A diver does not like to go down more than a hundred and twenty
feet; at that depth the pressure is painful, and there is danger of
internal injury. I can stay down, for five or six hours at a time, at a
hundred and fifteen or twenty feet, and do a good deal of hard work. In
the waters of Lake Huron the diver can see thirty or forty feet away,
but the other lakes will screen a vessel not ten feet from you.
Up here you seldom think of accident or death, but a hundred feet
of water washing over your head would set you to thinking. A little
stoppage of the air-pump, a leak in your hose, a careless action on the
part of your tender, and a weight of a mountain would press the life
out of you before you could make a move. And you may 'foul' your pipe
or line yourself, and in your haste bring on what you dread. I often
get my hose around a stair or rail, and generally release it without
much trouble; the bare idea of what a slender thing holds back the
clutch of death off my throat makes a cold sweat start from every
I suppose you find many beautiful things, said Eric.
I wish I could describe half the wonderful and beautiful things I
find, cried Mr. Lacelle.
There are flowers, the most exquisite that can be imagined; groves
of coral, beautiful caverns, with floors of silver sand, spiral caves
winding down, down, down, covered with beautiful, delicate plants, and
leading to beds of smooth, hard sand, which shine like gold. Feathery
ferns turn silver and crimson beneath your hand, and beautiful fish
glide around you, or rest in the water, with no motion save the gentle
pulsation of their gills as they breathe.
I have stood upon the bottom of the ocean, and gazed up,
awe-stricken and bewildered, at the wonderful masses of coral above my
head, resembling forests of monstrous trees, with gnarled and twisted
branches intertwined; and when I have considered that it was all the
work of insects so tiny that millions of them were working at my feet,
and I could not see them, I have compared my own littleness in the
universe with the wonderful work of the least of them, and have felt my
And curious things have happened, too. I was once examining an old
wreck off South America. It was an old Spanish frigate, supposed to
have valuable jewels and a large amount of money aboard.
I was walking over the wreck one day, and, being disappointed in
not finding any treasure, was about returning, when I observed a
curious heap of shells, close to one of the stanchions. I picked off a
handful from the top of the heap, which was about two feet high, and
regularly piled in a conical form, and seeing the shells were of a most
beautiful pink color, and very delicate, I filled my pockets with them,
and then, touching the life-lines, was pulled up.
The divers in my employ were delighted with them, and as they were
just the right size for buttons, one of the boys went down, with a
large bag, to bring off the rest.
I told him just where to find them; but when he came up, he
declared there were none to be seen anywhere.
I was sure he had not followed my directions; so I went down again;
and judge my surprise when I found he had spoken truly. There was
not one to be seen. The little wretches, disgusted with the
disturbance I created, had all crawled away.
How curious! exclaimed Eric. Could you not find any of them?
Not a vestige of them.
It was singularwasn't it?
Yes. I have learned many singular things since I have gone under
the sea. For instance, water is a very powerful conductor of sound,
much more so than air. We often blast rocks under the water
How can you? interrupted Eric. What keeps the powder dry?
We have water-proof charges prepared.
But how can you fire them under the water? persisted Eric.
By electricity, responded Mr. Lacelle. A report of blasting rock
a little distance off, will scarcely disturb us upon the land; but
under the water it is very different. We were once blasting rocks near
the coast, and another party were at work three quarters of a mile from
Our charge was set, and ready to go off; I sent word to our distant
neighbors that we were about to blast, and they had better come up
until it was over. My courtesy was repaid by a very profane answer,
accompanied with a request to 'blast away.'
So the charge was set off; and the unfortunate divers in the
distance were hauled out of the water more dead than alive. I
afterwards learned from them that the shock was tremendous.
When you blow up the rocks, do you place the charges under them?
O, no; that would have no effect: holes are drilled in the rock,
and the charges placed within them.
And when the rocks are blown, what do you do with the pieces that
come off? asked Eric.
We grapple them with hooks and chains, and draw them to the
It is very interesting, and I am very much obliged to you for
telling me so much, said Eric. I wish I could learn all about
Well, my boy, you shall go with me to-morrow; and, if you're not
afraid to venture, I'll take you down beneath the sea with me. It is
quite safe near Amsterdam.
O, thank you, sir, said Eric, eagerly, grasping the kind
I must go now to the palace, said Mr. Lacelle. I have an
engagement there. Will you do me the honor to amuse yourself here until
Thank you, said Eric again, with a joyous smile; for Mr. Lacelle's
room was stored with 'curios' from the bottom of the sea, and Eric knew
he could spend a long time very comfortably there.
He was careful to secure Froll in her cage, that she might do no
mischief; and then he had a thoroughly good time, examining the sea
things; and as they were all labelled with name and date, and the place
from which they were taken, he gained much useful information.
Before night a letter came from his uncle, saying that Johnny was
quite ill, and had been unable to travel to the Hague; but he was now
so much better, that they would probably join Eric in a day or two.
I shan't mind waiting, said Eric to himself; and there's nothing
now to prevent my going to Amsterdam to-morrow; but I wish uncle
Charlie could be with me too.
Then he remembered that he had been left under the landlord's care,
and must obtain his permission. So he sought him out, and made known
The landlord of the Vyverberg was a kind-hearted German. He was
quite fond of his little American guest, and readily consented to his
plan for the morrow, telling Eric that Monsieur Lacelle was a
remarkable man, and he could not be in better hands.
I think this is just the jolliest country, and full of the jolliest
people in the world, was Eric's mental comment before he fell asleep
that night. Indeed, there are few people more kind-hearted, thoughtful,
or hospitable than the Dutch and Germans.
Eric's parents were anxiously wondering how their boy fared alone in
Could they have seen him as he read his promised chapter, and knelt
to commit himself to God, or afterwards, falling asleep, his last
thought of the kindness of the people around him, their own sleep would
have been far lighter, and their prayers would have blessed the good
CHAPTER VIII. THRILLING EXPERIENCE.
Early in the morning they went to Amsterdam, or Amsteldamme, as the
Germans call it, because it controls the tides of the Amstel River.
The city of Amsteldamme is situated on a marsh, and all its houses
and buildings are erected on piles, which are driven from forty to
fifty feet into the earth.
How many canals! was Eric's first remark, when he obtained a good
view of the city.
Yes, said Mr. Lacelle. When I was a boy, I counted the bridges
across the canals, and there were two hundred and fifty. The city is
divided by the canals into ninety islands. Those high walls were once
ramparts, but have since been converted into public walks. They are
planted with trees, and make excellent promenades.
But suppose there should be another war, said Eric; what would
their defence be?
They could easily flood the surrounding country.
What splendid streets these are! said Eric, as they passed through
one and another with rows of beautiful shade trees, handsome little
stone bridges, broad, clean pavements, and long lines of elegant
They were indeed very beautiful streets, not easily to be surpassed
in all Europe.
I should think, said Eric, thoughtfully, that there would be
danger to the people here in having so much water in their town. Do the
dikes ever give way?
Very seldom. The people watch them very faithfully, and whenever a
break is discovered it is instantly repaired. There is a very
interesting story connected with the dikes of Holland, which I will
tell you, to show you what great service a little boy did his country.
The little hero, Peter Daik, was on his way home, one night, from a
village to which he had been sent by his father on an errand, when he
noticed the water trickling through a narrow opening in the dike, built
up to keep out the sea.
He stopped, and thought of what would happen if the hole were not
He knewfor he had often heard his father tell of the sad
disasters which had come from small beginningshow, in a few hours,
the opening would become bigger, and let in the mighty mass of water
pressing on the dike, until, the whole defence being washed away, the
rolling, dashing, angry sea would sweep on to the next village,
destroying life and property, and everything in its way. Should he run
home and alarm the villagers? It would be dark before they could
arrive; and the hole, even then, might be so large as to defy all
attempts to close it. What could he do to prevent such terrible
ruinhe, only a little boy?
I will tell what he did. He sat down on the bank of the canal,
stopped the opening with his hand, and patiently awaited the passing of
a villager. But no one came.
Hour after hour rolled slowly by; yet there sat the heroic boy in
the cold and darkness, shivering, wet, and tired, but stoutly pressing
his hand against the water that tried to pass the dangerous breach.
All night he staid at his post. At last morning broke, when a
clergyman, walking up the canal, heard a groan, and looking around to
see where it came from, seeing the boy, and surprised at his strange
position, exclaimed with astonishment,
'Why are you there, my child?'
'I am keeping back the water, sir, and saving the village from
being drowned,' answered little Peter, with lips so benumbed with cold
that he could hardly speak.
The astonished minister at once relieved him of his hard duty, and
the poor little fellow had but just strength enough left to alarm the
villagers, who flocked to the dike, and repaired the breach.
Heroic boy! What a noble spirit of self-devotion he had shown!
resolving to brave all the fatigue, the danger, the cold and darkness,
rather than permit the ruin which would come if he deserted his post.
There is a beautiful poem on the subject by Miss Carey. I will
repeat a few of the last verses.
Then Mr. Lacelle repeated in a clear, mellow voice, whose slight
foreign accent lent it an additional charm to Eric's ear,
So faintly calling and crying
Till the sun is under the sea,
Crying and moaning till the stars
Come out for company.
He thinks of his brother and sister,
Asleep in their safe, warm bed;
He thinks of his father and mother;
Of himself as dyingand dead;
And of how, when the night is over,
They must come and find him at last;
But he never thinks he can leave the place
Where duty holds him fast.
The good dame in the cottage
Is up and astir with the light,
For the thought of her little Peter
Has been with her all the night.
And now she watches the pathway,
As yestereve she had done;
But what does she see so strange and black
Against the rising sun?
Her neighbors are bearing between them
Something straight to her door;
Her child is coming home, but not
As ever he came before.
'He is dead!' she cries; 'my darling!'
And the startled father hears,
And comes and looks the way she looks,
And fears the thing she fears;
Till a glad shout from the bearers
Thrills the stricken man and wife
'Give thanks, for your son has saved our land,
And God has saved his life!'
So there in the morning sunshine
They knelt about the boy,
And every head was bared and bent
In tearful, reverent joy.
'Tis many a day since then; but still,
When the sea roars like a flood,
Their boys are taught what a boy can do
Who is brave, and true, and good;
For every man in that country
Takes his son by the hand,
And tells him of little Peter,
Whose courage saved the land.
They have many a valiant hero
Remembered through the years,
But never one whose name so oft
Is named with loving tears.
And his deed shall be sung by the cradle,
And told to the child on the knee,
So long as the dikes of Holland
Divide the land from the sea.
They had now come to the Y, an inlet of the Zuyder Zee, where
several of the men under Mr. Lacelle were at work.
Here we are, said Eric, gladly. Here we are! Now for my
'thrilling experience,' as the newspapers say.
There was a tent close by, into which they stepped to change their
dress for the diver's costume.
Nobody would know me now, I am sure, said Eric to himself, when,
with much difficulty, and considerable help from the attendants, he
emerged from the tent arrayed in the suit. I can hardly drag my feet
along, they are so heavy; and I'm decidedly glad that my every-day hat
is not like this helmet.
Mr. Lacelle had given him particular directions about diving, and
now the life-line and air-hose were adjusted, and the brave boy stood
beside the professional diver, waiting for the descent.
The signal was given, and soon Eric was going down underneath the
blue, cold waves. He could not see Mr. Lacelle; it seemed as if he were
never to stop going down: the water sang around his ears; and seeing
nothing but water made him giddy and faint. He thought he must
certainly smother, and, for an instant, was thoroughly afraid.
Then he remembered that, at a single touch of the life-line, the men
above would instantly draw him up, and, feeling quite at his ease
again, began to look about him. To his great joy he saw the bottom, and
was presently upon it, and walking towards Mr. Lacelle.
Suddenly a sound like heavy peals of thunder reverberated through
the water. At a motion from Mr. Lacelle, Eric looked quickly upward,
and saw a school of tiny fish, darting with great velocity towards
them, and several large fishes in pursuit of the little ones.
On they came, straight towards Eric and Mr. Lacelle; but just before
reaching them, they turned sharply off in the opposite direction; as
they turned, the noise increased to a heavy peal, and ceased as they
passed from sight.
How wonderful! exclaimed Eric, involuntarily; and his voice
sounded like roaring and screaming, though he had spoken quite softly.
Mr. Lacelle then held at arm's length a small cartridge, which he
signalled, by the lines, for the men above to ignite. Almost instantly
it exploded. Eric was perfectly astounded by the effects of the report.
It seemed as if huge rocks had fallen upon his helmet; and such a
crashing, rending sound as accompanied the shock! It was quite as much
as he was able to bear in the way of noise. Mr. Lacelle told him
afterwards, that the noise of the report in the air would be no louder
than that of a common fire-cracker.
Eric hoped that Mr. Lacelle would make no more experiments in sound,
and the diver did not seem at all anxious to do so.
It was rather awe-inspiring, Eric thought, to be walking easily
about at the bottom of the sea, knowing that around and above him lay
the mighty element of death. And there, under the water, the eighth
psalm came into his mind, and he realized its beauty as he had never
been able to before.
He walked around, picking up shells and curious plants, and being
careful to keep near Mr. Lacelle, who was making some calculations
about the building of a huge bridge, contemplated by the king. Several
large fish swam lazily up to Eric, eyed him curiously, and let
themselves be patted upon the back.
How amused Nettie would be! he thought, and wished the huge fish
were less inquisitive, as he did not particularly fancy them. He was
quite interested in the flowers, which were as brilliant and beautiful
as any upon the land, when suddenly he discovered a heap of shells
quite similar to those which Mr. Lacelle had described the day before.
He put several handfuls of them into his diver's basket, and then,
moving off a few steps, he watched to see what they would do.
When all was quiet, they moved slowly at first, then more rapidly,
and all crawled away in the same direction.
That is very curious, thought Eric to himself. I wish I knew what
When he moved again, something struck his foot. Looking quickly down
through the window in his helmet, he saw a small, square box, made of
tin, and fastened with a padlock. A key was in the lock, and Eric
turned it and opened the box, wondering what it could contain. The lid
flew back, and disclosed an inner cover, on which was painted a coat of
arms, with the name Arthur Montgomery engraved beneath. A spring was
visible, and, pressing it, Eric disclosed to his astonished vision a
number of English sovereignsgold coins worth about five dollars
His first impulse was to show the prize to Mr. Lacelle, but he could
not readily attract his attention. So, putting the box in his basket
after safely locking it, he busied himself with gathering the beautiful
flowers within his reach, and storing them in his basket to press for
Suddenly he felt himself being drawn up slowly towards the surface,
and, turning his head, saw that Mr. Lacelle was also ascending.
He knew that they were being drawn up because Mr. Lacelle wished him
to catch the return train to Gravenhaag, and had cautioned the men at
the pumps not to let them remain under water more than half an hour;
but he was extremely surprised to find that the time had passed.
On reaching terra firma, so much hurrying had to be done in
changing his armor for more convenient land apparel, that he entirely
forgot the box of money until seated beside Mr. Lacelle in the
carriage. Then he showed it to him.
That was a find, for so young a submarinist, said Mr.
Lacelle. It is yours, my boy; divers consider themselves entitled to
all such unexpectedly discovered valuables.
But, said Eric, eagerly, the owner's name is upon the box; and
see! here is a letter addressed to 'Arthur Montgomery, Bart., Clone,
Lancaster County, England.' I think I ought to return it.
Yes, said Mr. Lacelle, pleased with Eric's honesty,
conscientiously you ought; but you are not obliged to by law.
I would much rather, said Eric, earnestly. Will you please to
inquire about it, and see that it reaches the owner? Mr. Lacelle
promised, and, seeing Eric safely aboard the cars, bade him good by,
and left for Amsteldamme.
CHAPTER IX. UNCLE JOHN.
When Eric returned to Gravenhaag, whom should he see but his uncle,
Mr. Van Rasseulger? And he being the last person in the world that Eric
would have thought of meeting there, of course he was decidedly
Uncle John! he exclaimed, joyfully. Who would have thought of
seeing you here?
You wouldn't, I'll wager, young man, or you'd not have gone wild
goosing it over the water at Amsterdam.
I've had a glorious time! exclaimed Eric. I've been walking upon
the bottom of the Zuyder Zee.
It's high time somebody arrived to look after you.
But, uncle John, it was perfectly safe. Mr. Lacelle is an
experienced diver; and the landlord under whose care papa left me gave
me permission. Besides, nothing happened
How stout and healthy you have grown! exclaimed Mr. Van
Rasseulger, interrupting Eric. If Johnny has improved as much as you
have, I shall send him abroad frequently.
How is Johnny? He was ill when uncle Charlie wrote to me.
Ill! exclaimed Johnny's fond papa, instantly growing anxious.
What did the doctor say, Eric?
Only that I must wait here a day or two, until Johnny was well
enough to come on.
And where were they when he wrote?
At Paris, said Eric.
I meant to stay with you to-night, said his uncle; but I believe
I shall take the boat to Antwerp to-night, and catch the Express to
Paris. I must look after my boy.
O, please take me with you, pleaded Eric. Mr. Lacelle is going to
stay at Amsterdam, and I shall be terribly lonesome here, all alone
Well, get your things together. Can you be ready in two hours?
In ten minutes, cried Eric, gayly: mamma did all my packing
before she left. I've only to tumble a few things into my
travelling-bag, and to feed myself and Froll.
The little monkey? I've made her acquaintance. We're quite good
Uncle John, if you haven't seen the doctor or Johnny, how did
you find me? said Eric, who had been puzzling himself with this
question for some time.
Entirely by accident, replied his uncle. I arrived here about two
hours since, and, finding all your names on the register, supposed I
had stepped right into a family party; but then I learned that your
father and mother, and that bundle of mischief called Nettie, had gone
home, and that Mynheer Eric had gone to Amsteldamme to explore
the mysteries of the bottom of the sea. I was so frightened that if
there had been a chance of hitting you, I should have gone directly
I wish you had, said Eric, in time to have gone down into the
Mr. Van Rasseulger, for all his talk about Eric's expedition, was
heartily pleased with his brave little nephew, and was thinking to
himself such an honest, energetic, courageous boy would make his way
well in the world.
Eric had no idea that he was a particularly interesting boy. He was
large and strong for his age, easy in his manners, and had a frank,
joyous countenance, surmounted by thick, brown, curly hair. His eyes
were very honest eyes indeed, often opening wide in a surprised way,
when they saw anything not quite right, and blazing and flashing upon
the aggressor when they witnessed wrong, cruelty, or injustice. He had
been brought up upon the creed, First of all, do right; and
be a gentleman. And being thoughtful, careful, and obedient, he
was trusted and respected as few boys of his age rarely deserve to be.
Of course he had his faults. No young lad is without them. But the
difference between Eric and other boys was, that when he became
conscious of a fault in his character, he immediately set about
overcoming it, and therefore soon got rid of it. But he was obliged to
keep a very careful watch over himself, for little faults creep into
one's character faster than the little weeds spring up in the flower
garden, and, like the weeds, too, if at once removed are almost
harmless, but if allowed to spread and flourish they soon spoil the
entire character, as the weeds spoil the garden.
While we have been moralizing, Eric has eaten his supper, neatly
packed up the few things left about, and, with Froll and his
travelling-bag, starts from the Vyverberg for Paris.
A very common-looking steamboat took them to Antwerp. There is not
much to relate of their journey, for Eric's adventures had so tired him
that he slept all the way, only awakening to take the cars at Antwerp,
and rousing once again to know they were passing through Brussels, and
to hear his uncle say that the finest altar in the world was in the
cathedral there. They arrived at Paris about noon of the next day, and,
after considerable trouble, found that Dr. Ward had taken rooms in a
hotel in the Place Vendôme, whither they at once repaired.
Eric wanted to give his uncle and cousin a surprise. So Mr. Van
Rasseulger did not send up their names, but they stole softly up the
stairs, and opened the door.
Johnny was alone, lying upon the floor, with a very fretful,
discontented expression upon his countenance.
He turned his head towards the door, and there, upon the threshold,
blushing and laughing, stood Eric; and, better still, behind him was
papa. The child uttered a joyful cry, and sprang into his father's
arms, who hurried to meet him, exclaiming,
My boy, my Johnny-boy, what is the matter?
It's only the mumps, said Johnny, reassuringly, and holding out
his hand to Eric. O, ain't I glad you've come! he added. It's awful
dull here, uncle Charlie is away at the hospital so much.
Well, how have you been, excepting the mumps? inquired his father,
relieved enough to find nothing serious the matter with his petted boy.
Bully! exclaimed John, very improperly. See how strong I'm
getting, papa! and he threw out his fist suddenly, giving his father a
very uncomfortable punch in the side.
I'm glad you didn't illustrate on me, said Eric, laughing. Uncle
John, are you a tester?
I'm an at_testor, certainly, replied his uncle. Johnny, if you
demonstrate your power of strength so forcibly and practically, some
one will apply oil of birch to you.
Then I'll be in first-rate running order, retorted Johnny, and
you'll have to take me to Strasbourg.
Indeed, said his father, I think so.
As they all sat, merrily talking, Dr. Ward returned, and was pleased
and surprised enough to find his unexpected guests. His greeting was
Eric he was particularly glad to see; he had been worried about
leaving him so long, alone, at the Hague; and Johnny had been too ill
to travel or to be left with strangers, and Eric was too inexperienced,
his uncle thought, to go from the Hague to Paris alone. So it was quite
a relief to find him safely at hand.
And now, he said, after talking about home affairs for quite a
while, I see my way out of a dilemma. I have been anxious to attend
two or three medical lectures at Heidelberg, and if you will look after
the boys for a day or two, I can have my desire.
Certainly; I will for a day or two. At the end of that time I must
go home. Here's this dutiful boy of mine, with never a word for mamma,
Annie, or Adolphe.
Well, said Johnny, remonstrating, you took me so by surprise,
papa, that I forgot all about them.
Your filial affection must be strong, said his father, laughing at
Johnny did not like this, and proposed to Eric to take a walk, and
While they were gone, Mr. Van Rasseulger arranged with the doctor to
meet them again at Heidelberg; meanwhile he would keep the boys with
him for a week. They would leave Paris the next day, if John was well
Dr. Ward thought he would be.
Mr. Van Rasseulger explained that he had been obliged to visit
Rotterdam and Hague suddenly on business, and must go to Vienna, in
Austria, and start for home, within a fortnight.
Don't neglect to take the boy to Munich, and show him to his
grandfather; and don't forget your promise to 'make him as hearty and
strong as Eric,' he said.
Poor little Johnny, in the interval between his own birth and that
of his baby brother,a space of seven years,had been petted and
pampered, and almost thoroughly spoiled. His temper had suffered with
his constitution, and he became a delicate, sickly child. His parents,
while living in New York, had lost three boys, and fearing to lose
Johnny, too, had sent him to travel abroad, under Dr. Ward's care. Mr.
Van Rasseulger was a native of Germany, and thought there was no air so
invigorating as that breathed in on German soil. He had great hopes of
its curing John's delicacy; and Dr. Ward thought that a strange country
and traveller's hardships would be excellent aids in restoring the
boy's natural health and good-nature.
Meanwhile, Eric was seeing Paris under Johnny's guidance. To be
sure, he could not see much in a day; but he took a look at the war
column in the Place Vendôme, saw the Palace of the Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes, and entertained his little cousin with
an account of his visit to the King of Holland, and his submarine
diving, both of which Johnny thought very wonderful. Eric was not much
concerned at seeing so little of Paris at the time, for he knew that
the doctor intended to spend a month there, after visiting Munich. He
bought a guide-book while out with Johnny, and then they returned to
their rooms in time to see the doctor start for Heidelberg.
Eric, said Johnny, when Dr. Ward had gone, I must show you the
American railway here.
Why? said Eric; I'm sure that is the last thing I came to Paris
Now, said Johnny, importantly, I suppose you think you know just
what it is; but you're quite as mistaken as if you were a donkey
John! said his father, reprovingly.
That was only a 'simile,' papa, answered Johnny, roguishly, as he
led Eric out again.
Sure enough, when they reached the railway, Eric found that his idea
of it had been far from correct.
It is nothing at all but an omnibus running upon rails, he said:
I don't see why they call it American.
It isn't anything like as nice as our street carsis it? answered
Johnny, with a flourish of national pride quite pardonable in so young
Just then the conductor, supposing the two boys wished to be
passengers, saluted them politely, exclaiming, Complete, complete!
and the omnibus rolled off along the rails.
What did he mean? asked Eric, quite puzzled.
He said the coach was full, Johnny replied. They are never
allowed to carry more passengers than there are seats for.
That is still less and less like an American railway, said Eric,
laughing, and thinking of the crowded cars and overstrained horses he
had so often seen and pitied, wearily perambulating the streets of New
Let's have some cake and coffee, Johnny proposed, as they were
strolling towards home. I think French coffee is hard to beat.
When I was your age, remarked Eric, mamma almost decided to live
in Paris; but I am very glad she did not, for I think New York a great
Johnny led the way to a caféthat is, a coffee-house,and here
they regaled themselves with rolls and delicious coffee.
Eric was shocked to see Johnny appropriate a couple of cakes and two
lumps of sugar, left over from their repast, and convey them to his
Why, Johnny! he exclaimed, in a tone of mortification.
They all do so, said John, laughing. A Frenchman thinks he has a
right to everything that he pays for. Watch the others.
Eric looked around and saw several Frenchmen, who had finished their
lunch, following John's example.
Well, said he, if I should do that at Millard's, how they
would all stare!
Johnny was quite pleased with his own importance in being able to
show Eric around the city, and proposed several places that they ought
to see. But the afternoon was waning, and a damp, chilly breeze sprang
up, which Eric knew, from experience, was not at all good for the
mumps. So he very prudently hurried Johnny home, holding forth Froll's
loneliness as an additional inducement.
CHAPTER X. STRASBOURG.
Uncle John, said Eric, the next morning, do you think of going
through Strasbourg, when we leave for Munich?
No, said his uncle; I have business to attend to on another
But, papa, expostulated Johnny, we want to see the great clock in
the Strasbourg Cathedral.
It will be impossible for me to go, Mr. Van Rasseulger said, very
decidedly; but seeing that both the boys were greatly disappointed, he
added, If you could be a sober boy, Johnny, I might trust you alone
with Eric, and you might go to Switzerland by the Strasbourg route,
meeting me at Lucerne.
By ourselves? O, how jolly! Johnny exclaimed, turning a somersault
upon the floor.
But the question is, my boy, Can I trust you?
I will consider it, John. I can trust Eric, but your inclinations
are apt to be rather unsteady.
That was certainly true, for Johnny's inclination just then was,
back parallel with the floor, heels at a right angle with his head.
But I think I will try you, continued his father. I shall put you
under Eric's care, and require you to obey and refer to him. You may
start to-morrow morning, which will give you time to spend a day and
night at Strasbourg, and to meet me at Lucerne, on the evening of the
day after to-morrow.
Hurrah! hurrah! screamed Johnny, leaping to his feet, hurrah for
Strasbourg and its wonderful clock! Three cheers forGood gracious!
The excited boy's exuberant spirits went up with Eric's guide-book
to the ceiling of the room, and returned in bewilderment as the
unfortunate book came down in a basin of water in which he had been
sailing his magnetic ship.
An encouraging beginning that, remarked his father, gravely.
I didn't mean to, Eric, Johnny said quite meekly; I guess 'twill
dry in the sun.
Then you had better put it there, said Mr. Van Rasseulger; you
are tearing the leaves by holding the book in your wet hands. Johnny
spread the guide-book upon a sunny window-seat, listening with interest
to Eric's proposal.
I must study the route on the map down stairs; and if you are
willing, uncle John, I will go out now with Johnny and get the
Certainly, said his uncle; but my advice would be to study a dry
guide-book and the map before getting the tickets; there may be a
choice of routes.
This was excellent advice, as the boys soon found. There were three
routes, and some time elapsed before they decided upon one.
At length they chose the shortest of all, as their time was limited
and they wanted it all for Strasbourg. Their choice, therefore, fell
upon the most direct route, it being straight across the country of
France, and for a distance of about two hundred and fifty miles
traversed by rail.
They consulted with Monsieur Richarte, the landlord, and their
uncle, and decided to take an early train on the following morning. A
ride of eight hours would suffice for the journey, and their early
start would enable them to have a few hours for sight-seeing in the day
But tourists should always allow for detention. For although Mr. Van
Rasseulger saw them safely aboard the early train in the morning, an
accident detained them at Vitry, and when they reached Strasbourg it
was nighta dark, rainy, dismal night.
They rode directly to the principal hotel, a large, roomy,
comfortable-looking place, and immediately after supper proceeded to
their room for the night.
Before retiring, Johnny looked out from between the crimson window
curtains, to see what he could of the city; but little was visible.
Opposite the window was a little two-story house, with queer stagings
about the chimneys. He called Eric to look at them, saying he guessed
the chimneys were being rebuilt.
No, Johnny, said Eric. You will find those stagings upon almost
every house here. They are erected by the house-owners for the especial
accommodation of storks that build in the chimneys and are the street
scavengers of Strasbourg.
Are they? said Johnny, sleepily; well, let's go to bed. They
were both very tired and sleepy boys, and prepared for a good night's
I think I shall sleep well, Johnny remarked.
And I'm sure I shall, said Eric. I've travelled nearly six
hundred miles since night before last.
But they were destined to disappointment, for from the large, open
fireplace in the room there issued, all night long, a continuous
wailing, moaning, rustling sound, caused by the wind; added to which
were the dismal groanings of the old storks and piping of the young
It seemed to Eric that he had but just fallen asleep, when Johnny
was shaking him and hallooing in his ear.
Eric! Eric! it's a splendid morning! Get up quick. I want to go out
and see the sights. Hurry up!
Yes, said Eric.
Johnny scampered down stairs, and before long Eric joined him in the
hall, where the impatient boy was walking on his hands, with his heels
in the air, by way of diversion.
All ready? he cried, and resumed a position more convenient and
becoming for a promenade, as they started.
They had a fine, breezy walk.
Strasbourg is not far from the Rhine; and one of its tributaries,
the graceful, sparkling Ill River, which, as Johnny suggested,
is a very good stream, washes the city's walls and supplies it
This city is famous for its immense fortifications, its Minster, or
Cathedral, and the Astronomical Clock of the Three Sages.
Its form is triangular, and the entire city is enclosed by a
bastioned line of ramparts and several outworks.
There are seven entrance gates, and on the east side is a strong
pentagonal or five-sided tower.
There is a network of sluices, by which the surrounding country can
be inundated. Strasbourg is one of the most important fortresses and
arsenals of France, besides being its principal depot of artillery. It
is pleasantly situated, but most of its streets are narrow, with lofty
The boys were surprised to hear its inhabitants speaking German
instead of French, but learned that the town was originally German, and
was ceded to France in one of the Louis XIV. wars, when it became the
capital of Bas Rhin, a division of France, on the eastern
In many of the streets of Strasbourg are little wooden bridges,
similar to canal bridges. These are built over the Ill, which
intersects the city in all directions.
When Eric and Johnny took their stroll, it was market-day, and, even
at that early hour, the streets presented a lively scene.
Carts and drays were the stalls in the open street, and people were
buying and selling at a great rate.
The fish stalls were surrounded by storks; but the people seemed to
mind them no more than the birds minded the people. These storks are
great favorites with Germans. In Strasbourg they are as tame as our
domestic hens, and it is very comical to see them strutting importantly
about, as if they had as good a right to the sidewalk as the other
The boys returned to the hotel with ravenous appetites, but, hungry
as they were, could not appreciate the described daintiness of a most
apparently unpalatable pie, called pâté de foie gras; so they
were obliged to content themselves with other edibles and fragrant
Now for the minster! said Eric, as they arose from the table.
The minister? exclaimed Johnny; what for?
Not minister, but minster. A minster is a cathedral
I don't care much about the minster, then, said Johnny, running up
stairs on all fours. I've seen cathedrals till I'm sick of them. But
this clock is curious, and I'm anxious to see it.
Johnny, expostulated Eric, walk properly. You ought to have been
a monkey.And that reminds me, he added, I must feed Froll and
fasten her, that she may do no mischief while we're at the cathedral.
Little Froll received an ample breakfast, and her silver chain was
securely fastened. Then the boys left her.
When they had been gone a while, and her breakfast had disappeared,
Froll became lonesome, and cast her eyes about to see with what
mischief she might best employ herself. But thoughtful Eric had placed
every temptation out of her reach.
Meanwhile Eric and Johnny were viewing the wonders of the famous
This clock is in the Strasbourg Cathedral. It was built in the
cathedral, before its completion, in the year 1439, and was invented by
Isaac Habrecht, a Jewish astrologer.
European clocks were first invented in the eleventh century, by the
Saracens, and used principally for monasteries. They were very rude,
simple affairs, and sometimes would only go when somebody pushed the
pendulum, which was rather inconvenient than otherwise.
So wise mathematicians tried to make improvements; and some
succeeded, among whom was Isaac Habrecht, who, in the fourteenth
century, invented the most wonderful clock in the world, and called it
the Clock of the Three Sages, because once in every hour the figures
of the Three Kings of the Orient came out from a niche in its side, and
made a reverential bow before an image of the Virgin Mary, seated just
above the dial-plate, on the front of the clock.
It is built of dark wood, gilded and carved, and is sixty feet high.
In shape it is somewhat similar to a church, with a tower on either
side of the entrance; and these towers of the clock are encircled by
spiral staircases, which are used when repairs are necessary.
When Isaac Habrecht invented this wonderful clock, he meant it to
run forever, always displaying to the good people of Strasbourg the
days of the month, places of the sun and moon, and other celestial
phenomena; and while he lived it worked admirably: but when he had been
dead a while, the clock stopped; and as nobody else understood its
machinery, it had quite a vacation.
After a while, however, the good people of Strasbourg took it in
hand, and it was repaired and set goingonly to stop again. Thus it
went on until Napoleon's time.
Strasbourg, originally a German town, was ceded to Louis XIV. in
1681; so the clock was French property, and Napoleon decided it must be
brought to life again. Under the most skilful French and German
machinists this repairing took place. It was eminently successful
this time, and, when completed, was a great improvement on the old
It will now give not only the time of Strasbourg, but of every
principal city in the world; also the day of the week and month, the
course of the sun and planets, and all the eclipses of the sun and
moon, in their regular order.
In an alcove, above the dial, is an image of the Saviour; and every
day, at noon, figures of the twelve apostles march round it and bow,
while the holy image, with uplifted hands, administers a silent
blessing. A cock, on the highest point of the right hand tower, flaps
his wings and crows three times; and when he stops, a beautiful chime
of bells rings out familiar and very musical tunes.
A figure of Time, in a niche on one side, strikes the quarter hours
from twelve to one; and four figuresChildhood, Youth, Manhood, and
Old Agepass slowly before him. In a niche, on the other side is an
angel turning an hour-glass. The clock is in the south transept of the
Persons travelling abroad usually take Strasbourg on their route, to
visit its cathedral,the spire of which is the highest in the world,
being four hundred and sixty feet high,and to see its wonderful
Eric and Johnny were very much pleased with the famous clock. The
guide who explained and told its history to them was very good-natured,
and even allowed them to ascend the tower of the cathedral, which,
usually, is not allowable.
Here they had a most magnificent view, which I cannot attempt to
describe, and only advise you to go and see it for yourself.
Before leaving the cathedral, they bought two photographs of the
wonderful clock, intending to send them home, with a description of
their visit to Strasbourg.
By the time their explorations were finished, Johnny declared that
he was so hungry, he could almost eat one of those goose pies. The
morning was quite gone. It would soon be time to take the train for
Lucerne, and they must have dinner.
Won't Froll be glad to see us back! exclaimed Johnny, as they
reached their room; she doesn't like to be left alone.
Eric had bought some nuts for the little creature, and went with
them straightway to her cage.
The cage was just as he left it; the silver chain was there, too,
fastened to one of the bars and to the tiny collar; but the collar hung
dangling at the end of the chain, and Froll was nowhere to be seen.
CHAPTER XI. ERIC IN TROUBLE.
A thorough search was instantly made; but neither around the room,
nor behind the furniture, nor upon the gallery roof, were any traces to
be found of the lost Frolic.
It is too bad, cried Eric, in perplexity, while Johnny looked
ready to cry. We must speak to the landlord, and ask him what we are
Eric's German was by no means perfect; but he managed to make the
good-natured landlord understand their trouble. He made inquiries of
all, directly; but no one had seen the little monkey since the boys had
left her. He did not think it at all likely that she had been stolen,
for no one could get to the boys' room without being noticed by some of
the servants, and he was quite sure that she would return safely to her
comfortable quarters; so he advised the boys to leave the window open
for her, and to go at once to the dinner he had been for some time
keeping for them.
His sensible advice was unwillingly followed; but Froll took no
advantage of the window left open for her benefit.
Eric and Johnny waited and watched impatiently, until it was almost
time to start for the train. Then Eric left directions with the
landlord, in case the monkey should be found and captured; promising to
send for her. He was just going to call Johnny, when he heard his
voice, crying, excitedly, Eric, Eric! and hoping Froll had returned,
ran quickly up the stairs.
See there, what I found on the floor, exclaimed Johnny, as he
entered the room, and held up before Eric's astonished gaze a jewelled
ring, that flashed and sparkled in the sunlight.
Good gracious! exclaimed Eric; on the floor of this room?
Yes, answered Johnny, on the floor, just where you're standing.
It's a mercy we haven't stepped on it. Don't you think so?
We must find the owner at once. Isn't it splendid! said Eric,
admiringly; three diamonds and an emerald; it must have cost a
Just at this juncture the door opened, and the landlord, followed by
a French officer and a civilian, entered the room. The landlord
exclaimed, in German,
I beg your pardon, young gentlemen, but a serious loss has occurred
in the house, and as you are about leaving it, perhaps you will be kind
enough to let us inspect
Ah! mon Dieu! il y ait! screamed the French civilian,
darting towards Eric and John, and, snatching the ring from Johnny's
hand, displayed it triumphantly before the landlord and the officer.
I found it on the floor, said Johnny. Is it yours?
A likely story! muttered the Frenchman.
I'm very glad you've got it, said Eric, with dignity. My cousin
found it on the floor a minute ago, and we were on the point of taking
it to the landlord when you came in.
Eric spoke slowly and distinctly, and with an air of honest truth
that at once convinced the landlord. But the excitable little
Frenchman, who had been clasping the precious ring, and murmuring,
Ciel, ciel! ah, ciel! in an incoherent way, now sprang at Eric, and
grasping him by the collar, exclaimed, angrily, O, you fine fellow!
you wicked one! where is mymy gold?my gold? where is it? and he
gave the boy a series of shakes.
Eric's anger was fully aroused. With flashing eyes, How dare you!
he said, indignantly, and, turning upon the Frenchman, flung him with
some violence against the wall.
This made the little Frenchman still more furious; he would have
sprung again upon Eric, but the officer interfered. Johnny, with his
eyes almost starting from his head, had terrifiedly regarded this
little scene, doubling his fists to aid in Eric's rescue.
Eric turned indignantly to the landlord,
What is the meaning of all this? Are two defenceless American boys,
your guests, to be openly insulted in your presence without
Count D'Orsay has been robbed of his diamond ring and a sum of
money, explained the landlord. He insisted that no person should
leave the hotel without examination. That is why we came to you. He has
found the ring in your hands, which is very astonishing, and he now
suspects you of having the gold.
The landlord spoke gently, and seemed grieved to be obliged to hurt
their feelings, as he knew his implied meaning must.
Poor Eric's face flushed hotly with shame and anger, while Johnny
cried, furiously, Eric, Eric, for pity's sake send for papa! He will
teach that hateful Frenchman what it is to call us thieves.
Be quiet, John! said Eric, imperiously. Come here.
Now, sir, turning to the landlord, please to let your officer
search us, and then our baggage. Do it at once, for we are to leave
Indeed! sneered Count D'Orsay. Perhaps you will not leave
Strasbourg for the present. Search them, officer.
The officer advanced reluctantly, and, by his expression of
sympathy, showed himself much more a gentleman than the titled count,
whose habitual politeness had been driven away by Eric's powerful
The landlord, although deeply sympathetic, and convinced of their
honesty, was powerless to resist Count D'Orsay. He was a German
innholder, and the count a wealthy, influential French nobleman, with a
proper warrant for searching his house. So he could in no way protect
the boys from the indignity put upon them. But he hailed with joy
Johnny's suggestion to send for his father, deciding to do so at once,
if they should be detained.
Of course no gold was found upon either of them, except that given
to Eric for tickets and hotel expenses, and none was found in their
But just as they were preparing to leave the place, having been
released by the officer, Count D'Orsay uttered an exclamation, and
pointed to a fauteuilan easy chairby the window.
The officer stepped to the chair, and found, tucked between the
cushion and the arm, a silk purse, full of gold pieces.
Eric and Johnny were horror-stricken, and the good landlord was dumb
The French count held up the purse triumphantly, and jingled the
gold before Eric's eyes, exclaiming, tauntingly,
It is mine, and I have it. The prison is yours, and you
shall have it.
Eric, Eric, cried Johnny, in agony of terror, they can't
send us to prison. We haven't done anything. We didn't know the money
was there, or the ring. O, what shall we do? Send for papa!
Eric's face was very white, and his hand trembled visibly, as he
wrote his uncle's address on a card, and requested the landlord to send
Count D'Orsay wished them to be at once conducted to prison: but
this the landlord would not allow, and the officer declared was
unnecessarily severe. They might remain in their room, with a guard,
and the landlord would be responsible for their remaining.
As soon as the detestable Frenchman had gone, Johnny threw himself
at full length upon the floor, crying violently. Eric could not comfort
him, but sat at the window, with a proud, defiant face and swelling
Presently the kind landlord came again to them.
He had sent word by telegraph to Johnny's father, and received a
return message. Mr. Van Rasseulger would be with them by night.
This was comforting. And gradually the boys thought less and less of
their trouble, and became quite interested in making conjectures with
the landlord as to when and how the money and jewels came into their
room, and if Froll's disappearance could be owing to the same cause, or
in any way connected with it, and if she would probably return at
It's an ill wind that blows nobody good, said Eric; and perhaps,
by being detained here, we shall find her.
[Illustration: Eric and the French Count.Page 143.]
I don't care what they do when papa gets here, said Johnny, whose
faith in his father's power was limitless. He'll just fix that
Meanwhile Mr. Van Rasseulger was whizzing rapidly towards them in
the afternoon train, and another powerful friend was coming from an
 O Heaven! he has it!
CHAPTER XII. A FRIEND IN NEED IS A
One, two, three, four, five, six, sounded a deep-throated bell upon
the evening air, and then a chime of bells played Luther's Chant.
O, dear! groaned Johnny; that's the wonderful clock; I wish we
had let it alone.
Hark! exclaimed Eric.
His quick ear had caught the sound of footsteps upon the stairway
leading to their room, and he fancied them to be his uncle's. He was
right. The door opened presently, and Mr. Van Rasseulger was with them.
Well, what is all this nonsense? he exclaimed, grasping Eric's
hand, and drawing Johnny into his lap. A good-natured guardian lets
you off for a good time, and you get into trouble the first thing.
Eric related all that had occurred, a little embarrassed at Johnny's
You ought to have seen him spin that little dancing Frenchman
against the wall, papa. I wish I'd been big enough! I'd have thrashed
Hush, Johnny, said his father. Go on, Eric. You say he found the
money in the fauteuil. How in the world did the things get into this
That is just what puzzles everybody, answered Eric, earnestly.
Uncle John, how could it have got there? and the ring, too?
Where did you find the ring, Johnny?
Right here, sir, upon the floor, by Froll's cage; answered Johnny,
getting up and standing in the place.
It is very mysterious, certainly, Mr. Van Rasseulger said, and
the strange circumstances give the man strong grounds for suspicion
against you. Of course, it is absurd to think that two little boys
would have committed such a robbery; yet the ring was found in your
hands, and the money concealed in your room, and therefore you are
But, papa, can't you take us away? We didn't do it.
You silly boy, I know you did not do it. But would you not
rather stay and prove satisfactorily to all that you did not? I should
not wish to take you from here while the faintest shadow of a suspicion
lingered that you were guilty.
Nor would I wish to go, said Eric, proudly.
Well, then we'll stay, said Johnny, dolefully; but I think it is
dreadfully unjust to spoil all our good time. We Americans wouldn't do
so to a Frenchman.
I'm afraid we would, under such suspicious evidences, said his
uncle. But you needn't worry about it, boys; every cloud has a silver
It isn't pleasant to know we can't go out of our room, said Eric.
No: I must arrange about that, Mr. Van Rasseulger answered. I
will write a note to the American consul, and get you released.
Eric started suddenly to his feet.
I am sure I heard Mr. Lacelle's voice, he said.
You couldn't have, said Johnny. You left him at Amsterdam.
I did, I know I did! persisted Eric. There it is again: that is
he! O, Uncle John, go out and tell him about it.
His uncle left them, and before long returned, actually bringing Mr.
Lacelle with him.
The diver was surprised beyond measure to find his favorite Eric in
Strasbourg, and highly indignant at the circumstance which detained
You are the most honest boy that ever lived, he cried, and told
Mr. Van Rasseulger about the box of sovereigns. But come, tell me all
about this, he added.
Eric again related the incident, beginning with his discovery of
Froll's disappearance, and ending with the charge of theft and threat
Johnny, who despite his dislike of Frenchmen in general, cordially
liked Mr. Lacelle, was surprised to see his gradually increasing
excitement as Eric's story progressed. At its termination, he started
to his feet, and rapidly pacing the floor, exclaimed, joyfully,
Ha! a bon chat, bon rat!
What have cats and rats to do with it? thought Eric.
He is crazy! thought Johnny.
Ah! thought Mr. Van Rasseulger, can he see through the
Eric, your good name shall be cleared of all suspicion. Give me
your hand! exclaimed Mr. Lacelle. I congratulate you, lad! I know who
did the mischief.
Do you? exclaimed the astonished boy.
Yes, my friend, answered the Frenchman, and darted from the room.
Here's a go! cried Johnny, thrusting his hands into his pockets
and striking an attitude; he knows, and he hasn't told us what he
knows, and I think his nose ought to be pulled.
Do be still, Johnny, said Eric, it's no time for jokes. Uncle
John, what could he have meant?
I am totally in the dark, replied his uncle.
I wish Froll would come back, murmured Johnny.
I have it! cried Eric, suddenly, rushing from the room, by the
guard at the door, and after Mr. Lacelle.
Well, said Johnny, I wish I had!
Count D'Orsay's conscience was not quite easy in regard to the
manner in which he had persecuted the two friendless American boys. His
suspicions had been aroused merely by the fact that they were about to
leave Strasbourg; and the discovery of the missing articles in their
possession had seemed at the time to prove their guilt conclusively.
But upon reflection, the honest surprise expressed in little Johnny's
eyes, and Eric's look of proud, indignant disdain, haunted him with
suggestions of their innocence.
Might it not have been just possible that they did find the ring
upon the floor, and did not know of the money's concealment? But,
thenhow could it be so? How could the ring and money have happened in
their room, and for what purposes? Yet, again, if they did intend to
steal, they had given up everything. He had lost nothing; and the
French government would not thank him for quarrelling with an American
just at that time. He would send word to the landlord to dismiss the
policeman and let the boys have their liberty.
Just as this conclusion was reached, there came a tap at the door,
and the waiter entered with Mr. Lacelle's card, followed closely by Mr.
Count D'Orsay expressed great pleasure at the unexpected visit; but
Mr. Lacelle, waiving all ceremony, explained that he had come to clear
his dear American friends from the disgraceful charge against them.
He then spoke rapidly, in French, to the count, who appeared at
first surprised, then credulous, then convinced.
With sincere regret, he asked to be allowed to apologize at once,
and begged Mr. Lacelle to tell him of some way in which he could make
some amends for his unjust accusation.
I wish you to be thoroughly convinced, said Mr. Lacelle. Place
the articles upon the table, open the window, and conceal yourself
behind the curtain.
Mr. Lacelle did so.
 To a good cat, a good rat!
CHAPTER XIII. THE REAL THIEF.
Eric, when he reached the hall, was called by the landlord, who
I am having the rooms searched, at Monsieur Lacelle's request, for
your little monkey. Will you come with me? We may catch her more
Eric was very glad to assist in the search. When nearly all the
front rooms had been thoroughly examined, to no purpose, the little
truant was found at last in the upper story asleep, on a soft cushion,
in the sunlight. Eric stole up softly and took possession of her.
She awoke with a loud chatter of defiance, and tried to escape, but
Eric held her fast.
The landlord then ordered a servant to close all the windows in the
front of the hotel, excepting those of Count D'Orsay, whose room was
above that of the two boys.
Eric hastened, at his request, for Froll's collar and chain, which
were fastened upon her, and then she was released upon the balcony
under the window of the boy's room, the landlord, Eric, Johnny, and Mr.
Van Rasseulger watching her movements with intense interest.
Meanwhile the count and Mr. Lacelle were stationed behind the window
curtains, on the lookout for the marauder.
Presently there was a sliding, scrambling, shuffling noise, and the
thief came in through the windownot Eric, nor Johnny, but a being
very insufficiently attired, and possessed of a long black tail; no
less a personage than the little monkey, Froll.
She walked straight to the table, climbed upon it, seized the ring,
purse, and a gold pencil which Mr. Lacelle had laid there. Then she
withdrew to the window, but to her rage and disappointment it was shut
tight, and the two gentlemen confronted her.
The little beast recognized Mr. Lacelle, and coolly handed him her
stolen freight, which was quickly restored to its rightful owner.
Thoroughly convinced of his unjust cruelty to Eric and Johnny, Count
D'Orsay descended to the balcony, offering sincere and earnest
Eric and Johnny, by turns hugging and scolding Froll, freely forgave
the indignity put upon them, and shook hands cordially with the
Mr. Lacelle was in his glory. He shook hands with the monkey,
stroked the boys' heads, and called Mr. Van Rasseulger my dear in his
excitement; telling everybody how he had instantly surmised the true
offender, on hearing of Froll's disappearance, and recalling the scene
at Gravenhaag, when she had stolen his glasses, climbing in then
through the open window. Finally he expressed an opinion that Froll had
formerly belonged to an unprincipled master, who had trained her to
climb in at windows and take away valuables.
And here we will take an opportunity to remark that this was really
the case, and that Eric subsequently learned that the man of whom Mr.
Nichols bought her was arrested and imprisoned for practising with
another monkey the same trick.
Count D'Orsay could not be pacified until Mr. Van Rasseulger
promised that the boys should visit him at the Hôtel D'Orsay, on
their return to France.
His conscience smote him for his unjust severity and unkindness, all
the more for the frank, confiding way in which the two little heroes
begged him to forget the incident.
When they shook hands cordially with him, a glad cheer ascended from
the throng of servants and spectators, whose honest hearts took a
lively interest in the affair.
The boys and Froll were made much of; and Mr. Lacelle delighted
Johnny for hours with accounts of the wonders of the sea, so that the
young gentleman, completely fascinated, made up his mind to be a
submarine diver when he grew up.
Froll's collar was tightened, and she was fastened to her cage,
after having a bountiful feast of nuts.
When the evening was about half spent, a waiter brought a large
parcel to the door. It was addressed to The Two Young Gentlemen at
Room No. 37, and contained books, toys, games, and confectionery, of
which the count begged their acceptance.
This has been a day of adventures, said Eric, as he and Johnny
were retiring late at night.
Yes, answered Johnny, sleepily, nestling between the sheets, it
has been a day of adventures, beginning with the wonderful clock, and
ending withFroll'sFroll'sthe count and with a little more
indistinct muttering, Johnny was fast asleep. Eric had read his
chapter, and said his prayers with Johnny; but now, as he looked at his
little cousin asleep, a sudden impulse seized him, and falling upon his
knees by the bedside, he prayed that his influence over Johnny might
always be for good, and that God would bless the bright, loving little
boy, and make him a lamb of His fold for the good Shepherd's sake.
CHAPTER XIV. PERCY, BEAUTY, AND
Mr. Van Rasseulger decided to take the boys to Heidelberg, and there
await Dr. Ward. It was inconvenient for him to do this, but he was
unwilling to let them travel alone with the monkey again, for Froll was
certainly a serious trouble.
So on the morning of the following day they took the steamer for an
eighty mile sail down the Rhine.
The landlord, Mr. Lacelle, and Count D'Orsay bade them an
affectionate adieu, after the two former had been sincerely thanked for
their kindness to the young strangers, and the latter had begged them
to renew their promise of a visit before they returned to America. To
Mr. Van Rasseulger he extended an urgent invitation to visit him,
whenever it should be convenient to him.
Just before they left, Mr. Lacelle requested Eric's address, saying
that he had written to Mr. Montgomery about the box of money, and would
forward his reply to Eric.
The boys were not sorry to leave Strasbourg, because Mr. Van
Rasseulger had told them he should propose to the doctor to obtain
horses there, and travel on horseback through the Black Forest, and
over the mountains, to Munich, in Bavaria.
They were enchanted with this idea, and during their sail down the
Rhine lost much of the beautiful scenery about them in mutual
conjectures as to whether uncle Charlie would like the proposition.
When they reached Heidelberg, the doctor was already there, waiting for
He was quite well satisfied with the plan, and said he would give
the boys two days to explore Heidelberg, and would meantime be making
the necessary arrangements.
The boys did not like Heidelberg particularly, and Eric's shoulders
were shrugged expressively when his uncle told him he was to be a
student in the university, after his school course was completed.
The only building of which they took any notice was the Church of
the Holy Ghosta large structure with a very high steeple, divided so
that Protestant and Roman Catholic services were held in it at the same
But perhaps the picturesque old town might have had more attraction
for them, had not Dr. Ward and Mr. Van Rasseulger been looking up good
horses to purchase for the journey.
They soon found just what they wanteda large, powerful horse for
the doctor, and a couple of small horses, almost ponies, for the two
It was amusing to see the different evidences of delight manifested
by Eric and Johnny.
Eric's face flushed with glad emotion, and a quiet Uncle John, how
good you are! was all that he said.
But Johnny danced around the horses, wild with delight, throwing his
cap in the air, dancing and hurrahing with all his might, and bestowing
kisses indiscriminately upon his good papa and the dumb animals.
One of the horses was coal black, with a white star upon his
forehead, and one white foot; he was for Eric.
Johnny's was a bright bay, with four white feet and a white nose:
and the doctor's was a chestnut-colored horse, with a darker mane and
Of course the first great question was, what they were to be called.
I have named my horse 'Perseus,' said the doctor, in honor of the
illustrious slayer of the Gorgon Medusa, and the deliverer of
I'll call mine 'Jack,' in honor of papa, said roguish Johnny.
And mine, exclaimed Eric, shall be Bucephalus.
Eric had just finished reading a classical history, and was greatly
interested in the account of Alexander's power over Bucephalus.
These names were soon abbreviated to Percy, Beauty, and Jack.
After the horses had been duly admired, Mr. Van Rasseulger took the
boys with him, selected saddles, with travellers' saddle-bags, rubber
cloaks, a couple of blankets, and two tin boxes for provisions, with an
inside compartment for matches. The rubber cloaks were made with hoods,
which could be drawn over the head, completely protecting it.
Dr. Ward provided himself with similar apparel, and numerous little
things which the boys had no idea would be necessary, and even Mr. Van
The next morning everything was in readiness. The blankets, light
overcoats, rubber cloaks, and a change of clothing, were made into a
roll, and strapped behind the saddles. The tin cases were filled for
luncheon, and deposited in the saddle-bags, and the boys declared
themselves in readiness.
But when the doctor presented them each with a light knapsack, a
tiny compass to wear upon their watch chains, and a pocket drinking
cup, they instantly discovered that they could never in the world have
got along without them.
The horses were pawing the ground, impatient to be off, their long
manes and tails floating in the cool morning breeze, their noble forms
quivering with life and excitement.
Johnny, divided between regret at parting with his father, and
delight at the novel excursion; Eric, eager and excited, with
mischievous Froll, demure enough just now, seated composedly upon his
shoulder; the doctor coolly testing the saddle girths, and Mr. Van
Rasseulger seeing them off, happy in their pleasure.
Be good and kind to my boy, as you have always been, Eric, he
said, bidding his nephew good by.
You mean, uncle John, as you have always been to me, Eric replied,
with gratitude beaming in his eyes. And Johnny is a dear little
fellow; no one could help being good to him.
I hope he will grow like his cousin, said Mr. Van Rasseulger, with
a hearty smile; and, Johnny-boy, you must be very obedient to uncle
Charlie. Do right, be a gentleman, and grow stout and healthy for
We will write from Baden and Ulm, said the doctor. We ought to
get there by next week.
After a few more words of parting they set off, and were soon out of
Three hours later, as Mr. Van Rasseulger, on his way to Vienna by
rail, passed a turn in the road, the three travellers were in sight for
an instant, apparently in good spirits and prime condition.
He was extremely pleased with this unexpected view of them, and for
some time after they had again disappeared the wealthy New York
merchant lay back in his cushioned seat, building hopes of high promise
upon the future of Johnny's life.
Poor Johnny! he had been almost spoiled at home, but under the
doctor's firm guidance and Eric's good influence, was wonderfully
improved. The bright, merry little fellow was exhibiting his true
character, long hidden by ill-advised indulgence.
CHAPTER XV. THE LAST.
Up the banks of the beautiful Rhine, through picturesque hamlets,
over high, rugged mountains, and in the glory and grandeur of the
forests, our horseback travellers sought and found the best of all
treasureshealth and happiness.
The Swabian Mountains, and the Schwarz Wold, or Black Forest,a
group of mountains covered with forests,through which they rode
thirty-seven miles, required from them the greatest endurance.
Nevertheless, upon the woody mountains, steep and difficult to climb
as they were, they found several thriving villages, where they were
kindly received, and where all their wants were generously supplied.
But on one occasion, when a violent storm arose, and they were near
no village, they were obliged to take shelter in an empty barn, and
there remained through the night, sleeping, with their horses, upon the
hard, board floor, with their knapsacks for pillows.
And Johnny had one thrilling adventure.
They had encamped for the night upon a small plateau, and, before
dismounting, Johnny rode back to the edge, and was looking down upon
the plains beneath, when suddenly he felt the ground give way from
above where his horse was standing, and in an instant horse and rider,
covered by a bank of sand, were sliding helplessly down the mountain.
The shower of sand smothered their cries, and neither the doctor nor
Eric noticed their disappearance at first. But presently Eric, turning
to speak to him, exclaimed,
Where in the world is Johnny?
The doctor looked hastily up. Seeing the fresh earth at the edge of
the plateau, he rushed to the spot, examined it, and exclaiming,
Heavens! the child has fallen down a slide! prepared to descend in
the same place.
Eric, stay up there, and take care of the horses, he said, and was
soon out of sight.
Eric secured the horses, and then crept to the place from which the
doctor had disappeared. He found, just beneath him, a long line of
large troughs, open at both ends, and overlapping each other like
shingles. It extended entirely down the side of the mountain, and to
his horror Eric saw at its foot a lake.
O, Johnny, Johnny! my dear little cousin! And uncle Charlie,
toothey will surely be killed! he cried, in agony. For he knew at
once that they had gone down a timber slide, and was afraid they would
be drowned in the lake.
And now I suppose I must tell you what a timber slide is.
The Black Forest Mountains are covered with large and valuable
trees, which are felled and sold by their owners; and as it would be
decidedly inconvenient to take horses and carts up the mountain, and
utterly impossible to get them down with a heavy load of those giant
trees with sound necks, an ingenious Swiss invented the cheap and rapid
way of getting the trees off the mountain by means of a slide, formed
of immense troughs lapped together, and terminating in the lake, where
the heavy logs are chained together and floated to a railway or wharf,
just as they are done in our own country by the loggers of the Maine
forests and other woody regions.
Of course a descent in one of these slides, under ordinary
circumstances, would be extremely dangerous to human life and limb. But
it fortunately happened that neither the doctor, Johnny, nor Jack were
seriously injured, for the slide had been disused for some time, and in
consequence of an accident, somewhat similar to Johnny's, had been
partially removed, and a high, soft bank of sand lay at its new
Johnny and Jack were pitched violently into this, and rescued from
their very uncomfortable position by a party of English travellers
encamped near by.
Many were the exclamations uttered at the marvellous and sudden
entrance of our young friend upon the quiet beauties of the twilight
scene, and bewildered Johnny scarcely knew whether to laugh or cry.
His first anxiety was for Jack, but the English gentleman who drew
him from the sand-bank would pay no attention to the horse until he was
convinced that Johnny was unhurt. Assured about this, he patted and
soothed poor frightened Jack, and walked him carefully over the soft
greensward, to see if he appeared at all lame; and then Johnny was
delighted enough to hear the horse pronounced all right.
Johnny had several pretty bad bruises, which the Englishman, who was
a physician, dressed for him.
By the time this was done Dr. Ward, whose descent had been much
slower and more careful than Johnny's, reached them, and his anxieties
were at once quieted by Johnny's assurance that it was
Just the jolliest coast I ever had.
After examining both Johnny and Jack, to assure himself of their
well-being, and heartily thanking the Englishman for his kind
assistance, the doctor asked permission to leave Johnny under his care
until he could get Eric and the horses from the top of the mountain.
The new friend willingly undertook the care of Johnny, and the
doctor hastened up the mountain to relieve Eric's anxiety.
Johnny seated himself near the door of the tent, and a young man of
the party brought him some grapes. Jack neighed wistfully for his
share, for Johnny had made a great pet of him, always dividing his
fruit with him.
I'll give you some, Jack, he said, walking towards the horse.
Gracious, how stiff and sore I feel.
While Jack was champing his feast with great satisfaction, an
English boy, of Johnny's size, came towards them.
Is that your horse? said he.
Yes, answered Johnny; isn't he a good one?
Is he a good one? asked the boy.
I guess he is, said Johnny, hotly; there isn't a better horse
But papa's groom told me, persisted the English lad, that a horse
with four white feet and a white nose was worthless. He says,
'One white foot, buy him,
Two white feet, try him,
Three white feet, deny him,
Four white feet and a white nose,
Take off his skin and throw him to the crows.'
Johnny detected a roguish glitter in his companion's blue eyes, and
with a corresponding twinkle in his own, merely answered,
My old nurse says,
'There was an old woman went up in a basket
Seventy times as high as the moon.'
I suppose you believe that, too.
This ready answer pleased the other, and they were soon fast
What is your name? Johnny asked.
Arthur Montgomery, was the reply.
Johnny wondered where he had heard the name before; but though he
was sure he had heard it, he could not remember where.
He began to feel quite tired and sleepy before the doctor returned
for him, and his bruises ached badly. Once he would have cried and
worried every one about him, if in such an uncomfortable state; but now
he bore the pain like a Spartan.
The doctor came at last, and after thanking the Englishman again, he
led the tired horse, with weary Johnny upon his back, to a
wood-cutter's cottage near at hand, where they were to pass the night.
Eric welcomed them with tears of joy in his eyes.
O, Johnny, what a narrow escape you have had!
We ought to be very thankful, said the doctor.
Yes, said Johnny, sleepily, I am thankful!
He woke up just before Eric went to bed, and said,
That boy said his name was Arthur Montgomery. Where have I heard
that name, Eric?
Why, exclaimed Eric, that was the name on the box of money I
I knew I'd heard it somewhere, murmured Johnny, dropping off to
Eric ran to tell his uncle.
Ah, said the doctor, quite pleased to be able to return a good
deed, we will see them in the morning.
But in the morning the English travellers had disappeared, and our
party could find no trace of them.
Eric was much disappointed. Now he would be obliged to wait
patiently for Mr. Lacelle's letter.
Johnny and Jack were not injured by their descent of the mountain,
whose only effects were some pretty sore bruises, which Johnny tried
not to mind, and an obstinacy in Jack's disposition that no human
powers of persuasion could ever remove. He could never, after that
memorable slide, be induced to go near the edge of any kind of an
embankment; and he always declined going aboard a steamer, until Beauty
and Percy had gone safely over the gangway.
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