Little Jakey by
Mrs. S. H.
At the time of the opening of this story, there were in the rear of the
New York Institution for the Blind, two small but pleasant parks, full
of trees and winding walks, where the birds sang, and blind boys and
girls ran and played. The little gate between the two parks was usually
left open during school hours, and one bright June morning, while the
sun was drinking up the dews from the leaves and the flowers, I chanced
to be walking there, and I heard the little gate opening and shutting,
opening and shutting; rattle went the chain, then bang went the gate,
until suddenly, as I was passing it, a little voice saluted me, so sweet
and musical and up so high, that for the moment I almost fancied one of
the birds had stopped his song to speak with me.
"I know you. I knows ven you come. Sometimes you tell stories to ze
girls, and I hear you ven I bees dis side."
Going up and putting my hand on the little speaker's head, I said,—
"Pray, what little girl is this here, with these long pretty curls,
swinging on the gate?"
"I bees not a girl,—I bees a boy, I be."
Then passing my hand down over a little coat covered with buttons, I
"Surely, so you are a little boy; but what is your name?"
"My name bees Little Jakey; dot is my name."
"Little Jakey! Indeed! and pray, when did you come here?"
Quick as thought his little foot struck out against the post again, and
the gate went flying to and fro, as before; then coming to a sudden halt,
"Vell, I tink I tell you. I bees here von Sunday and von Sunday and
von Sunday; so long I bees here."
"How old are you, Jakey?"
"I bees seving; dot is my old,—dot is how old I bees."
"And can you not see?"
"No, I not see. Ven Gott make my eyes, my moder say he not put ze light
"And are you going to school here, Jakey?"
"Yes, some ze time I go in ze school, and I read ze letters mit my
fing-er. Von letter vot live on ze top ze line, I know him, ven I put my
fing-er on him; hees name bees A; and von oder letter, I know him, ven I
put my fing-er on him,—round like ze hoop; hees name bees O."
"Who teaches you the letters, Little Jakey?"
"Cassie, ce teach me, but all ze time ce laugh, ven I say ze vords; so
Miss Setland sen her avay, and now Libbie, ce teach me. But not much I
go in ze school. I come down here mit ze birds in ze trees. Up to ze
house ze birds not go. Eddy and Villy, and all ze boys, ven zey play,
make big noise, and zey scare ze birds. But down here zey not scare, and
all ze time zey sing."
"You love the birds, Jakey?"
"Yes, I love ze birds. I love von bird up in dot tree. You not see him
vay high dare? Ven I have eat my dinner in ze morning, I come down here,
and ven I have eat my dinner in ze noon, I come down here; and all ze
time, ven I come, he sing. Sometimes some oder birds come in ze tree,
and zey sing mit him; but all ze time he sing. I vish I sing like ze
birds. I vish I have vings, and I go vay high in ze sky, vare ze stars
be. Gott make ze stars, and Georgy say dot zey shine vay down in ze
vater, he see zem dare; and von time I tell him dot he vill get me von
mit hees hook vot he catch ze fishes mit; but he laugh and say dot he
cannot. But I tink I see ze stars ven I come im Himmel mit"—
"Im Himmel! Where is that, Jakey? Where is Himmel?"
"Vy! you not know dot? Himmel bees vare Gott live."
I caught him down from the gate in my arms, and nearly smothered him
Then he put his bands up and felt my face over, so softly and tenderly,
that I fancied his little creeping fingers reading there every thought
in my heart; and finally, clasping his loving arms around my neck, he
said, in a voice hardly above a whisper,—
"I love you,—you love me?"
"I do indeed love you, you dear lamb," I said; but I could hardly speak,
my voice was so choked with tears. Perceiving this, he rested his little
hand softly on my cheek again, and whispered timidly,—
"Vy for you cry?"
But hearing some one approaching, and fearing to be disturbed, I took
his little hand in mine and led him away, across the park, to a seat
under the big mulberry, where I held him long and lovingly on my lap, as
I did often afterwards, while coaxing from his sweet lips the following
chapters of his strange little life.
Little Jakey was indeed little Jakey. I have often seen boys three
years old both taller and heavier; but never one more perfect in form
and feature. His little feet and hands might have belonged to a fairy.
His black eyes were bright and full, with long lashes and arched brows.
His long curls were blacker than the raven, and while holding him there
in my arms, I could think of nothing but a beautiful cherub with folded
wings, astray from heaven. After smoothing down his curls awhile, and
kissing him many times, I said to him,—
"Dear Jakey, pray where did you come from, and who brought you here?"
Then dropping both his little hands in mine, he said,—
"I come fon Germany. My moder, ce bring me. I come mit her, and mit ze
baby. Ven I come in ze America, ze flowers bees in ze garden, and ze
birds bees in ze trees, and ze opples bees on ze trees, and ze
pot-a-toes bees in ze ground. Zen ze vinds blow and ze birds go avay,
and ze opples bees in ze cellar, and ze pot-a-toes bees in ze cellar.
Zen ze vinds blow too hard and ze snow bees on ze ground, and it bees
cold vinter. Zen long time ze snow go avay, and ze leaves come on ze
trees, and ze birds come back again, and it bees varm; so long I bees in
"And so you have been here one year? But pray, dear, where is your
father? Is he dead?"
"No, he bees not dead. He bees in Germany, mit Jeem and mit Fred and mit
"But, Jakey, why did your mother come away here to America, and leave
your father away there in Germany?"
I felt his little hands stir in mine; but after a moment he drew a
little sigh and said,—
"Vell, I tink I tell you. My granfader have some lands, some big lands
he have, and he sell zem; and may be he not buy it, but he get von big
house in ze city, mit vindows vay down to ze ground, and in ze vindows
he put—I not know vot you call zem, but zey have vine in zem, and beer
"Yes, dot bees it, bottles mit vine and mit beer in zem; and my fader go
dare, and he give my granfader ze pennies, and he drink ze vine and he
drink ze beer. Much times and all ze time he go dare, and he do dot. And
von day he come home, and he have drunk too much ze beer, and hees head
go von vay and von vay; and he say vicked vords, and my moder ce cry.
Jeem and Fred bees afraid, and zey hide; but I bees not afraid, I bees
mit my moder. And ven my fader tink he sit down on ze chair, he go vay
fall on ze floor; and ven Jeem and Fred hear him, zey run out, and ven
zey see him dare on ze floor, zey laugh; and my fader say dot he vill
kill zem, and he vill trow ze chair at zem, but too quick zey run avay;
and all ze time my moder ce cry and ce cry, and ce not eat ze dinner,
and ce make my fader go lay on ze bed.
"Von time my fader come home and he have drunk too much ze beer, and he
have sold ze piano. And von time he come home and he have drunk too much
ze beer, and he have sold ze harp; and ze man come mit him vot have buy
it; and ven ze harp go avay, my moder ce cry, and my fader strike her
mit hees hand, and he strike Jeem and Fred; and me he vill strike, but
my moder ce not let him.
"Von oder time ze men come dare, and zey take avay all ze tings vot my
moder have,—ze chair, and ze sofa, and all ze tings. Zen my moder ce go
live in von leetle house, and some ze time ce not have ze fire dare, and
some ze time ce not have ze bread. And von time in ze night my fader
come home, and he bring too much men mit him vot have drunk ze beer; and
he tell my moder dot ce give ze men ze supper. And my moder say dot
ce have not ze supper, ce have not ze fire, and ce have not ze bread;
and ven ce tell ze men go avay, zey say bad vords to my moder, and my
fader he strike her dot ce go on ze floor. Zen mit her hair he drag her
to ze door, and mit hees feets he strike her vay out on ze stone, and
her head bleed. And Jeem he see her dare, and he cry, and Fred cry, and
I cry; and my moder ce groan like ce die. And von ze men vot come mit
him strike my fader, and von oder man strike him, and zey say vicked
vords, and zey all strike, and zey break ze tings. And vile zey do dot,
my moder ce get up, and ce come avay in ze dark, and Jeem and Fred come
mit her, and I come mit her, and long vay ce sit down on ze stone by ze
big house; and Jeem bees cold dare, and he cry; and Fred bees cold, and
he cry. I bees not cold, I not cry, my moder ce hold me tight; but all
ze time ce cry.
"Zen long time ze man vot live in ze big house open ze door, and he say
some vords to my moder, and my moder ce tell him dot my fader have got
ze bad men mit him in ze house; and he tell my moder dot ce come in; and
Jeem and Fred zey go up ze step, and ze man he lif me, and my moder ce
come up ze step; and ven ce come in, ze man see ze blood, vare my fader
have strike her, and he go tell ze lady dot ce come, and ze lady vash my
moder's head, and ce give her ze medicine vot ce drink. Zen ce lay her
on ze bed, and I lay on ze bed mit her; and Jeem and Fred zey go in von
leetle bed to ze fire.
"In ze morning my moder come home, and my fader sleep dare on ze floor,
and vile he sleep, he make big noise mit hees nose; and Jeem and Fred
laugh, cause my fader make big noise mit hees nose, but my moder ce cry.
"Long time Jeem bees hungry and he cry, Fred bees hungry and he cry, but
my moder say ce have not ze meat and ce have not ze bread. Zen long time
my fader vake, and ven he see my moder dare, he say dot he vill be good,
dot he vill not drink ze vine and ze beer any more; and he kiss my moder,
and he say dot he love her, and dot he vill get ze fire, and he vill
get ze bread, but he have not ze money. Zen my moder say dot ce vill
give him ze vatch vot ce have, ven ce vas mit her moder in Italy, to get
ze money mit, but ce tink ven he get ze money he vill drink ze beer. My
fader say No! vile he live and vile he die, he not drink any more ze
beer; and he kiss Jeem and he kiss Fred and he kiss me, and he tell my
moder dot ven he sell ze vatch, he vill bring ze money, and he vill get
ze fire, and he vill get ze meat and ze bread. Zen my moder ce get him
ze vatch, and he go avay.
"Long time he not come. Zen long time in ze night he come, and he bring
ze bread mit him, but he have drunk ze beer. My moder tell him dot he
have, and he say dot he have not; but all ze time hees head go von vay
and von vay, and some ze vords he speak, and some ze vords he not speak.
My moder ce tell him, Vare ze money vot he get mit ze vatch? and he say
dot he have not ze money, dot he not sell ze vatch. Zen my moder say,
Vare ze vatch den? and he say dot he have loss it, dot vile he sell it,
von man get it! But my moder say No, he have got ze money and he have
drunk ze beer mit ze bad men, ce know he have. Zen my fader strike her
von time and von time; and ven ce go on ze floor, he strike her dare mit
hees feets, and ce not move, like ce be dead, and he say he vill kill
her, he vill, he vill! And Jeem scream and Fred scream, and my fader get
ze big knife vot he cut ze bread mit, and he lif it vay high, and say
loud much times dot he vill kill zem all! But ze men vot vatch in ze
night come in, and ven zey see my fader dare mit ze knife, zey put ze
chain on hees feets and on hees hands, and zey go avay mit him. And
quick von man come back mit ze doctor, and ven, mit hees leetle knife,
he have make my moder's arm bleed, ce speak, and ce say, Vare my fader
be? and ze man tell her dot zey have lock him up, and he vill be hang
mit ze rope; and my moder ce cry, and long time ce bees sick in ze bed."
"Did your mother come from Italy, Jakey?"
"Yes; ven my fader have not drunk ze beer, he make ze peoples mit ze
brush; and he go in Italy, and ven he have make my moder dare mit ze
brush, ce love him, and ce run away mit him ven her moder not know it.
And ven ce come in Germany, von oder time he make her mit ze brush, and
ce hang on ze vall; and Jeem he make, and Fred he make mit ze brush, and
zey hang on ze vall. Much ze peoples he make mit ze brush, and zey give
him ze money. Me he not make, but my moder ce make me mit ze leetle
brush; but ven I bees made, I not hang on ze vall, I bees sut like ze
book. And ce make Jeem dot vay, and Fred dot vay, and ce keep zem. Von
time my fader go to ze drawer, and he get zem all, and he go avay and he
sell zem, and he get ze money; and ven my moder know it, ce come vare ze
man be vot have buy zem, and I come mit her, and ce give him ze ring fon
her fing-er, and ce get me back and ce hide me.
"Von time my fader have sell my moder vot hang on ze vall, and ze man
come dare, and my fader have take her down, and Jeem cry and Fred cry;
and Fred say let hees go, and Jeem say let hees go, but my moder say no,
and ze man go avay mit her."
"But, dear Jakey, how long did they keep your father locked up there
with the chains on him?"
"Oh! big long time; and von time my granfader come dare, and my moder
bees sick in ze bed; ce not get vell vare my fader have strike her; and
my granfader tell her dot ze man vot sit vay high in ze seat have said
ze vord, dot my fader go vay off, and be lock up mit ze dark and mit
ze chains on him, vile he live and vile he die. Zen my moder say ce vill
go vare he be. My granfader lif her, and ce get up, and I come mit zem.
And ven my moder come dare, ce go to ze man vot have said ze vord, and
ce tell him dot he vill let my fader go, he vill, he vill! And ce say
dot ce vill die, if he not let my fader go, and ce cry; and ce tell ze
man vot sit vay high in ze chair, dot he vill let him go? but ze man say
No, he have said ze vord. Zen my moder go down vare my fader be mit ze
chains on him, and ven ce come dare, ce scream, and ce fall on ze ground,
like ce be dead. Zen my granfader say dot I go tell ze man dot he vill
let my fader go, and ven my granfader bring me, and I come dare, I tink
I say dot; but I tell him dot he vill not kill my moder, and I cry, too
loud I cry. Zen ze man go vay high on hees feets mil his hand on my
head, and he say some vords to ze men vot bees dare, and he say some
vords to my granfader. Zen he go roun on his feets and he say some vords
to my fader. He tell him, dot he vill be good? dot he vill not drink ze
beer? dot he vill vork? dot he vill make ze peoples mit ze brush? dot he
vill love my moder, and get ze bread and ze fire and ze meat? and my
fader say he vill, he vill! Zen ze man vot have said ze vord tell my
fader dot he may go; and quick von oder man take ze chains fon hees
feets and fon hees hands, and he bees too glad; and he lif up my moder,
and he sake her dot ce speak, and he love her, and he come avay mit her.
And my granfader bring me; I come mit him in hees arms, and vile my
granfader valk, he cry.
"Ven it bees night, ze big man vot sit vay high in ze chair and vot have
said ze vord, come to ze house, and he see my moder dare in ze bed;
and he talk mit her, and he talk mit my fader, and he say some vords mit
Jeem and mit Fred, and he hold me on hees lap.
"Long time he stay dare, and ven he go vay, he tell my fader, if he vill
make him mit ze brush? and my fader say dot he vill. Zen much times he
come dare, and ven my fader have make him big all aroun, fon hees feets
to hees head, mit ze chair vot he sit in vay high, ven he say ze vord,
he give my fader much ze money, much money he give; and my fader get ze
fire mit it, and ze bread and ze meat; and he love my moder, and he love
Jeem, and he love Fred, and me he love.
"Zen my moder sing, but ce have not ze harp, and ce have not ze piano;
and my fader sing mit her; and much ze peoples he make mit ze brush; and
my moder ce help him, all ze time ce help him, and Jeem and Fred zey
help; zey grind ze tings vot he make ze peoples mit. Von time I help;
ven Fred bees gone, I vash ze brushes, and my moder say dot I have make
zem clean so better as Fred. And all ze time I rock ze baby in ze leetle
bed, and I sing ze song vot my moder make ze baby sleep mit."
"Did your father stay always good, Jakey, and did he never drink the
beer any more?"
"Oh! no," he answered, with an earnestness that chilled my very heart,
and made me feel that he had not yet told me half the sorrow shut up in
his little bosom; and while, with tears in my eyes, I tried to encourage
him to go on, I felt almost guilty, and was about deciding to probe his
little heart no more, when of his own accord he resumed.
"Von time my fader say dot he vill go to ze man mit ze pic-sure vot he
have make, and he vill get ze money; and my moder say dot ce vill go mit
him; but my fader say No, he vill go mit hees-self, and ven he have got
ze money, he vill come home to ze supper. But long time he not come.
Jeem he go in ze bed, and Fred he go in ze bed, and I go in ze leetle
bed, and my moder ce have ze baby mit her to ze fire.
"Zen long time my fader come to ze door, and vile he come, he say loud
ze vicked vords, and my moder know dot he have drunk ze beer. Quick ce
go to ze vindow, and ven ce see him, ce cry and ce bees afraid, and ce
not open ze door. Zen my fader tink he have not fine ze door, and he go
vay roun ze house, and tink he have fine ze door dare; and he strike,
and he pound, and all ze time he say loud ze vicked vords. Zen he come
back to ze door, and he strike it mit hees feets much times, and ven ze
door come open and he see my moder dare, he strike her dot ce fall on ze
floor mit ze baby. Ze baby cry, but my moder ce not speak, and ce not
cry. Zen my fader strike her much times mit hees feets, dot ce not open
ze door, and he go vay to get ze big knife, and he say dot he vill kill
her. Long time he not fine it; zen vile he come back he not see, and he
fall on ze floor, and some ze vay he get up and some ze vay he not get
up, and all ze time he say dot he vill kill, he vill, he vill! But all
ze time he not kill, he have not ze knife; and he have drunk too much ze
beer, dot he not get up. Zen long time hees head go down on ze floor,
and he sleep, and he make big noise mit hees nose.
"Zen I come out ze leetle bed, and I go on ze floor, and ven I come vare
my moder be, I sake her and I sake her, but ce not speak. Zen I come to
ze bed vare Jeem be, and I sake him, and I tell him dot my fader have
kill my moder. Quick Jeem come dare, and he lif her up; and Fred come
out ze bed, and he get ze baby; and Jeem put ze vater on my moder, and
he sake her much times, and ce vake, and ce sit up in ze chair mit ze
baby. And ce tell Jeem dot he get ze blanket fon ze bed and he put it on
my fader, and he lif hees head, and he put under ze pillow.
"Jeem and Fred zey go in ze bed, and I go in ze leetle bed, but all ze
time my moder ce sit up dare in ze chair, mit ze baby, to ze fire, and
ce cry and ce cry."
"In ze morning my moder tell my fader dot ce vill go back to Italy, mit
her moder; and my fader say dot ce may, but ce not go.
"Ze peoples come, but my fader bees not dare, and he not make zem any
more mit ze brush, but some my moder make.
"All ze time my fader go vay, and he drink ze beer mit ze bad men; and
ze fire he not get, and he not get ze bread, and too much he strike.
"Von time my moder tell my fader dot ce vill come in ze America, and ce
vill make ze peoples dare mit ze brush, and ce vill get ze money, and ce
vill live; and my fader say dot ce may. Zen my moder say dot ce vill
take ze boys mit her; and my fader say No, he keep ze boys mit him. My
moder say No, ce take ze boys mit her; and my fader say No, he keep ze
boys mit him. Zen my moder say ce vill take ze baby and her little blind
boy mit her, and ce vill come in ze America; and my fader say dot ce may.
"Zen my moder sell ze ring fon her fing-er, and some ze money ce get,
and some ze money my granfader give her. Zen ce make me mit ze brush. I
sit up in ze chair, and ce look at me, and ce make me all roun mit ze
flowers. Ce make my curls go roun her fing-er, and zen ce make zem mit
ze brush in ze pic-sure, and ce make me mit vings; and ce make in my
hand vot ze boys shoot mit,—not ze gun vot make ze big noise and vot
kill, but ze bow mit ze tring, I not know vot you call it."
"The bow and arrow, Jakey."
"Yes, dot bees it, ze bow and ze arrow; and von time Jeem have shoot
Fred mit it in hees back, and he cry, and he come and he tell my moder
dot Jeem have kill him.
"Ven I bees done, ven my moder have make me, von lady ce come dare and
ce tell my moder, Vot ce make? and my moder tell her dot ce make me mit
ze brush, and ce vill sell me, and ce vill get ze money, and ce vill
come in ze America. Zen von oder day ze lady come dare, and ce give my
moder much ze money, and ce take ze pic-sure avay mit her; and ven ce
have go mit it, my moder ce cry and ce cry.
"Von day my granfader come dare mit ze carriage, and Jeem he go in ze
carriage, and Fred he go in, and my moder ce come in mit ze baby. My
granfader bring me, and he come in, and ze carriage come vay down to
ze—I not know vot you call it, but it bees von big house on ze vater."
"A ship, Jakey."
"Yes, ze ship, mit ze trees vay high, and on ze trees, Fred say, long
tings go vay out like ze sheet; and ze vinds blow in zem, and ze ship ce
go and ce go. My moder ce come in ze ship mit ze baby in von arm, and my
granfader bring me, and Jeem and Fred bees dare; and my granfader say
zey vill go, dot ze ship not come avay mit zem. Zen my moder ce kiss
Jeem and ce kiss Fred, von time and von time, and ce cry and ce cry; and
ce tell zem dot zey vill be good, and ven ce get ze money, ce vill send
it, and zey vill come in ze America mit her. Jeem say dot ven he bees a
man, he vill come in ze America; and Fred say dot he vill come in ze
America ven he bees not a man,—ven he get ze money he come, and he vill
"My moder ce kiss zem much times, and ce cry too hard dot ce leave zem.
And ce tell my granfader dot he vill not give my fader ze beer? and my
granfader say, No, he not give him, but he vill get it; and my granfader
cry ven be say dot. And my moder tell him dot ven my fader have not ze
money, he vill keep him in ze house mit him? and my granfader say dot he
vill, and he vill keep Jeem and he vill keep Fred mit him, and he vill
make zem go in ze school. Zen my moder tank my granfader much times, and
ce kiss him, and ce kiss Jeem, and ce kiss Fred; and zey kiss me, and
zey kiss ze baby, and zey kiss my moder; and zey cry and zey go avay,
and my moder ce scream and ce cry. Zen my granfader leave Jeem and Fred,
and he come back, and he tell my moder dot ce not cry; much vords he
tell her. Zen he go avay, and ze vinds blow, and ze ship ce go and ce go.
"Long time ze ship go, much days and much nights. And von time ze vinds
blow too hard, and ze ship go von vay and von vay, and ze vaters come
vay high, and ze vinds make big noise, and it tunder, like ze sky break;
and von ze trees have come crash down on ze ship, and all ze peoples cry,
Gott im Himmel! Gott im Himmel! and all ze time zey cry, and zey tink
dot zey go vay down in ze deep. My moder ce be kneeled down, mit ze baby
in von arm and mit me in von arm, and ce not cry, but all ze time ce
pray and ce pray; and vile ce pray, ze ship come crash on ze rock, and
much ze peoples go vay down in ze vater, and too much zey cry, too loud.
Zen my moder have tie ze baby mit her shawl, and me ce hold mit von arm,
and mit von arm ce hold on ze ship. Von time ze vater, ven it come vay
high, take me avay, and my moder have loss me, and too loud ce scream,
and von man dare he get me fon ze vater mit my hair, and long time he
hold me mit his arm.
"Ven it bees morning, and ze vater not come vay high, and ze vinds not
blow, von oder ship come dare vot have not ze sail, but ce have von big
fire, and all ze time ce go, burrh! burrh! and all ze peoples vot have
not go vay down mit ze fishes come in dot ship, and zey get ze bread
dare, and zey get ze meat dare, and much tings zey get dare.
"Long time zey go in dot ship, and ven zey see ze America, zey come in
von oder leetle ship vot have no tree, vot have no sail, and vot have no
fire, but ze men have ze long sticks, and zey go so, and zey go so"
(imitating men rowing, with his little hands).
"How did you know that, Jakey; you could not see them?"
"No, I not see zem, but my moder ce tell me; and ven ze leetle boat have
come close up in ze America, mit ze baby in von arm and mit me in von
arm, my moder come out ze leetle boat, and ven ce have valk some ze vay,
ce go down on ze ground and ce pray and ce cry. Not ce feel bad dot ce
come in ze America, but ce bees too glad dot ce have not go vay down in
ze deep mit ze fishes, and ze baby and me mit her dare, vare von big
fish be, vot eat ze peoples."
"Were you not afraid. Jakey?"
"No, I not cry. My moder ce be dare, and ce hold me tight, and I tink
Gott hear my moder vot ce pray."
"Where did your mother go, Jakey, when she first came into this country?
where did she stop?"
"I not know ze place vare," he said, "but ce go mit ze peoples in von
big house, up ze steps vay high and ce stay dare. And ven ze bells ring,
and von Sunday have come, ze baby, ce be dead. I not know zen vot dead
mean. I not know ce bees cold; and too quick I take my hand avay, and I
tell my moder dot ce bring ze baby to ze fire. My moder say, No, ze fire
not varm her, ce bees dead, and ze man vill come and put her avay in ze
ground; and my moder ce cry and ce cry. And vile ce cry, ze man come mit
ze box, and he pull ze baby fon my moder, and quick he put her in ze
box; and ven he make ze nail drive, my moder cry like ce die.
"My moder ce stay dare in ze big house, and von day ce go to fine ze
peoples vot ce vill make mit ze brush, and von oder day ce go to fine ze
peoples, and von oder day ce go. Zen von day ce go to fine ze place vare
ce vill live; and ven ce come back, ce say dot ce have fine it, and in
ze morning ce vill go dare mit me. But in ze night, all ze time ce talk,
and ce not know vare ce be. Some ze time ce tink ce bees in Germany mit
my fader, and ce tink he have drunk ze beer, and he vill kill her. Some
ze time ce tink ce bees in Italy mit her moder, and ce have not run avay
mit my fader. And some ze time ce tink ce bees in ze ship, and ze vinds
blow too hard, and ze tree come crash down. Zen all ze time ce say Vater,
vater, vater! but ce have not ze vater, and ce bees hot, too hot. Ven ce
touch me, I tink ce burn me, and ce go up in ze bed, and ce pull ze
blanket and ze tings, and all ze time ce say Vater, vater, vater! And I
cry dot I not fine ze vater. I scream, I fine ze door, but it not open.
I call ze voman, but ce not come; all ze day ce not come, all ze night
ce not come; and all ze time my moder ce burn, burn, and all ze time ce
say Vater, vater, vater! I call her, but ce not know vot I say; ce not
see me; ce not know vare ce be; and ven I cry ce not hear me. All ze
time ce talk and ce talk.
"Zen dot morning ze man come dare, and ven he see my moder, he go quick
avay; and von man come mit someting vot he give my moder, and vot ce
drink, and ven ce have drink it, ce sleep. Long time ce sleep, and ven
ce vake, ce know vare ce be, and ce know vot ce say. Zen ce put her hand
on my head, and ce kiss me,—much times ce kiss me; and ce say dot ce
die, and ce go im Himmel mit ze baby. Zen I cry; and ce tell me dot I
not cry, dot Gott vill come von time, and he vill bring me im Himmel mit
her and mit ze baby. He vill, ce know he vill.
"Zen ce not talk, and I tink ce be sleep; and I sake her and I sake her,
but ce not move. I put my fing-er on her eyes, but zey not open; and I
call her and I call her, but ce not hear; and I kiss her and I kiss her,
but ce not know it. I sake her, but ce not vake; and ven I feel dot ce
bees cold, I know dot ce bees dead, like ze baby, and I scream and I
scream. I call ze voman, I call ze man, but zey not come, zey not hear.
Zen long time ze voman ce come, and ven ce open ze door ce pull me avay
quick fon my moder, and ce pull me up ze stair, von stair and von stair.
Zen ce push me in ze room, and ce lock ze door, and ce take ze key avay
mit her. Zen I push ze door and I scream, all ze time I scream. I say
dot I vill go mit my moder, I vill, I vill!"
"Long time, vile I cry dare, Meme come, and ce say von vord in ze
keyhole. I not know vot ce say, but I say dot I will go mit my moder,
but ce not hear me. And ce say von oder time in ze keyhole, Little boy,
cause vy you cry? Zen I come dare, and I say in ze keyhole dot I shall
go mit my moder, dot ze voman have lock me up, and ce have take ze key
avay mit her. Zen Meme tell me dot I not cry, ce know vare ze key be,
and ce vill get it. Zen quick ce run avay, and ce come back mit ze key,
and ce put ze key in ze keyhole, and ce go vay high on her feets, and ce
push and ce push, but ze door not open. Zen ce take ze key out, and Meme
say von vord in ze keyhole, and I say von vord in ze keyhole. Zen ce put
ze key in ze keyhole von oder time, and ce go vay high on her feets, and
ce push and ce push, and ze door come open; and ven Meme see me dare, ce
say, Vy! little boy, you not see! No, I say, I not see. Zen ce say dot
ce vill come mit me vare my moder be, and ce take hold my hand, and ven
ce have come down von stair, and von step and von step, ze voman ce be
dare; and ce tell Meme dot ce go back, dot ce vill vip her. Zen Meme ce
come up ze stair, and ce pull von vay and I pull von vay, and I say dot
I go mit my moder, I vill, I vill! and I cry. Zen Meme ce tell me dot I
not cry, and ce say low, dot ven ze voman have go avay, ce vill come
back mit me. Zen I not cry, and I go up ze steps mit Meme; and ven I not
hear ze voman, and Meme not see her, ce come back mit me; von step and
von step ce pull me, all ze steps quick down ce pull me, and ven ce come
on ze floor, quick ce come to ze door vare my moder be, and ce make it
go open; and ven ce see my moder dare, ce cry. But I not cry; I go to ze
bed, vare ce be, and ven I feel her mit my hands, I tell Meme dot ce be
not my moder, ce have not ze curls; and Meme say dot ze voman have cut
zem; dot ce have cut ze curls fon her moder, ven ce vas dead, and ce
have sell zem, and ce get ze money.
"Zen ze man come mit ze box, and he push Meme, dot ce go avay; and Meme
ce pull me, but I say dot I not come, dot I stay mit my moder. Zen ze
man push me, and he sut ze door, and I scream, I scream! Zen Meme tell
me dot I not cry, dot ze voman vill hear, and ce vill come and ce vill
vip her. Zen I not cry too loud, and I come mit Meme up ze stair; and
ven ce come to ze room, ce go avay, and ce bring me von cake in von hand,
and von opple in von hand; and ce kiss me, and ce tell me dot ce love
me; and ce say dot her moder have die, and ze voman have got ze gold fon
her moder, and ze vatch, and ze locket, mit ze chain, vot have her fader
and her moder in it, and all ze tings. And Meme say dot her moder come
to ze America dot ce fine her fader, but ce have die ven ce not fine
him; and ven ce say dot, ce cry, and vile ce cry, ze voman come dare;
and ce pull Meme, and ce tell her go avay. And ce lock ze door von oder
time, and ce take ze key avay mit her; and ven I bees alone, I cry, I
"Zen long time ze voman come back, and ce lit me on her lap; and ven ce
make my curls come roun her fing-er, like my moder, I tink ce bees good;
but zen I hear ze shear cut, and quick I put my hand, and vile ce cut ze
curls, ce cut my fing-er dot it bleed, and von curl and von curl ce have
cut. Zen much I scream, loud I scream. I call my moder, I call Meme. I
say dot I not have my curls cut, my moder say I not. Zen ze voman ce
sake me too hard, and ce push me dot I fall, and ce go avay; and ce lock
ze door, and ce take ze key avay mit her. All ze time I cry, and I hold
my curls mit von hand and mit von hand; and ven I have cry too much, I
sleep on ze floor, and I not know it; and long time, ven I vake, ze
voman have come dare, and vile I sleep, ce have cut all ze curls. Some I
cry, zen some I not cry; I tink vot my moder have say, dot Gott vill
come, and he vill bring me im Himmel mit her and mit ze baby, and all ze
time I tink, Vill he come? Vile I tink, Meme ce come, and ce take hold
my hand, and ce tell me dot ce have see ze voman cut ze curls, and ce
say dot I come avay mit her; and ven I come in ze room mit Meme, ze
voman ce be dare, and ce say some vords. Meme know vot ce say, I not
know; but I stay dare mit Meme, and I sleep in ze leetle bed mit Meme,
and I say ze prayer vot Meme say.
"All ze time in ze day Meme go up to ze vindow, and votch dot her fader
come; and ven ze bell ring to ze door, ce tink dot he have come, and
quick ce run, but he have not come.
"Von time von man come dare, and vile he mend ze vindow, he talk mit
Meme, and ven ce tell him vot her name be, he say dot he know her fader,
dot he have see him, and dot he vill tell him vare ce be. Zen Meme ce
hop and ce jump and ce laugh, and ce be too glad. All ze days ce go up
to ze vindow, and ce look and ce look; and ze voman put on Meme von oder
frock. Ce give Meme ze locket, and ce give her much tings, ven ce tink
dot Meme's fader come. But much days he not come; and von time ze voman
vill take avay ze locket fon Meme, and ven Meme say dot ce not give it,
dot ce have got ze gold fon her moder, and ze vatch, and all ze tings,
ce strike Meme.
"Zen ven it bees dark, ze voman come avay mit Meme and mit me in von
oder big house, vare much ze girls and much ze boys be vot have no fader
and vot have no moder; and ven ze voman have talk mit ze lady dare, ce
go avay, but ce leave Meme dare, and ce leave me dare. Long time Meme
stay dare, and I stay dare. Meme go in ze school, and I go in ze school,
mit ze boys and mit ze girls. And Meme read mit zem ze English, and ven
ce learn ze vords, ce tell me ze vords, and ven I know ze vords, I talk
mit zem, and Meme talk mit zem.
"Ze lady dare be good, but all ze time, ven Meme go in ze bed, ce cry
dot her fader not come, and dot ce not fine him.
"Von time ven it bees cold, too cold, and ze vinds blow, Meme say dot ce
go, dot ce fine her fader, dot ce know vare he be; and ven ze lady not
know it, ce get her bonnet and ce get her shawl, and ce kiss me much
times; and ce say dot ven ce come back, ce vill bring her fader mit her,
and ce vill take me avay; and zen ven nobody see, ce go out. Long time
ce go, and ven it bees night, ce have not come back.
"Ze lady come and ce tell me, Vare is Meme? and I tell ze lady ce go dot
ce fine her fader. Zen ze lady tell ze man dot he go and he fine Meme;
and ven long time ze man not come back, ze lady ce go; but zey not fine
"In ze morning von man come dare, and he bring Meme mit him in hees
arms; and von her hand be freezed, and von her feet be freezed, and Meme
cry; and ce tell ze lady dot vile ce fine her fader, ce have loss ze vay,
and ce bees cold and ce go up ze step to von door, but zey not let her
come in; and ce go up ze step to von oder door, but zey not let her come
in. All ze time ce do dot: ce go up and ce go up, but zey not let her
come in, and some ze time zey sut ze door, ven zey not know vot ce say.
Zen ce bees too cold, and vile ce vait by von door, ce sleep on ze
stone; and ze man vot vatch in ze street, he fine her dare all vite mit
ze snow. He bring her avay to hees place, and he varm her, and ce cry
and ce cry; and in ze morning von man bring her home to ze lady; and
long time Meme bees in ze bed, and ce bees sick, and ce cough,—much
"Much times ze doctor come dare, and he give Meme ze medicine, but ce
not get vell; and von time, ven I go to ze bed vare ce be, ce tell me
dot ce die. Zen I cry, and Meme cry; and ce tell me dot ven her fader
come, I vill tell him dot ze voman have got ze gold fon her moder, and
ce have got ze locket, and ze vatch, and all ze tings. Zen Meme kiss me,
and ce tell me dot I vill tell her fader dot ce love me, and dot he vill
take me avay mit him; and vile Meme say dot, ce cry and ce cough. Zen
quick ce not cough, and too quick ze lady come dare; and ven ce call
Meme, Meme ce not hear,—ce have go im Himmel, ce have die, ce be dead.
Ze lady cry; and all ze girls and ze boys come in, and ven zey see Meme
dare, zey cry. Zen ze lady ce make nice tings, and ce put zem on Meme,
all vite like ze snow; and von man bring dare ze box vot zey put Meme in,
and it bees smooth like ze glass, and it open vare her face be; and all
ze girls and ze boys see Meme, ven ce bees in ze box all vite. And von
oder lady dare vot love Meme and vot teach her ze English, put ze
flowers in ze box mit Meme; and ce kiss her, and I kiss her, and ze lady
kiss her; and ze man make ze box tight, and he go avay off mit Meme, and
he put her in ze ground.
"Long time I stay dare, and Meme's fader not come; but von day von good
man come dare, and he lif me vay high in hees arms, and ven I feel him
mit my hands, he have von big hat, mit no hair on hees head, and mit no
but-tens on hees coat. Some English he speak, and some English he not
speak. All ze time he say zee and zou, zee and zou; and ven he say dot
he love me, and dot he vill take me avay mit him, I tink he bees
Gott,—dot he have come, and he vill take me im Himmel mit my moder, and
mit ze baby, and mit Meme, and I hold him tight aroun mit my arms; and
zen ze lady say dot I go, and ce tell me Good-by, too quick I take my
hand avay,—I tink dot ce keep me.
"Zen ze good man come mit me in hees carriage, and he make hees coat
come roun me; and ven he come to hees house, he go up ze steps mit me in
hees arms; and ven he have ring ze bell, ze lady come to ze door, and ze
good man tell her dot he have got me. Zen he stand my feets down on ze
floor, and he come mit ze tring, and he make it go roun me, and he make
it how long I bees; and he make hees fing-er go on my feets, and he make
ze tring go roun my head.
"Zen ze lady take me down ze stair, and ze voman dare put me in ze vater,
and ce vash me and ce vash and ce vash; zen ce vipe and ce vipe; zen ce
comb and ce comb, and ce make my curls come roun her fing-er. Zen ze
good man have come back, and he bring mit him von leetle coat, and ze
sirt and ze trouser vot I have, and ze stockings and ze shoes and ze
hat; and ze lady ce put zem on me, and ce put von leetle hankchief in my
pocket; and ce bring someting vot smell like ze rose, and ce spill it on
my head, and ce spill it on my hands and on my hankchief, and ce vet my
face mit it. Zen ze lady ce kiss me much times, much times ce kiss; and
ze good man kiss me, and he lif me in hees arms, and he come avay mit me
up ze stair to ze parlor, and ze lady bring me ze cake.
"Georgy come fon ze school, and Mary come fon ze school, and Franky, and
ven zey talk, zey say zee and zou.
"I love ze good man, and I love ze lady; but I know dot ze good man bees
not Gott, dot he not take me im Himmel mit my moder, and mit ze baby,
and mit Meme. But he love me dare; and Georgy love me, he give me ze
pennies in my pocket; and Mary love me, ce kiss me much times; and
Franky say dot he vill give me hees horse vot go vay up and vay down,
but he not valk, he have not ze life. He bees von vood horse, mit ze
bridle and mit ze saddle on him, and Franky's fader have buy him to ze
store; and much times Franky ride on him, and I ride on him."
Usually, when Little Jakey stopped his sweet talk, it was like the
running down of a music-box, but not always as easy to set him going
again. Besides, at the close of the last chapter he seemed to think his
story ended, and put up his face for a kiss, as much as to say, Now
please love me a little, and not tease me any more. So I yielded to his
mood, and petted him awhile; wound his curls around my finger, and
talked with him about everything likely to amuse him, until coming to a
little pause in the conversation, I said,—
"How long did you stay with those thee and thou friends, Jakey? How
long did the good man keep you with him in his house?"
"O, big long time I stay dare," he said, "and von time I come mit Mary
in ze school vare ce go, and all ze Sundays ze lady and ze good man say
dot I come mit zem all to ze Meeting. I love Mary; ce give me ze flowers,
and I sleept mit her in ze bed; and all ze time I go mit her in ze
garden, and ce tell me ze vords and ze flowers vot I not know.
"Much times ven ze peoples come dare vot say zee and zou, ze good man
lif me in hees arms, and he tell me dot I talk mit zem, and much zey
kiss me. Von time von man give me in my pocket ze big moneys, and zen
Mary ce come mit me to ze store, and ce sell zem, and ce buy me ze coat
mit ze but-tens, vot I vear in ze Meeting. And ven I go to ze Meeting,
Mary ce tie ze ribbon roun my hat, and ce bruss me, and ce vash me, and
ce make my curls come roun her fing-er, like my moder; and ce valk mit
me to ze Meeting, and all ze time I sit mit her dare.
"Von day, ven ze good man say dot he bring me here in ze Institution,
vare I read ze letters mit my fing-er, Mary say dot ce vill come mit me,
and Georgy say dot he come; and Franky say dot he come; and Franky's
fader say dot he may, and zey all come in ze carriage, and ze lady come.
Ven zey go avay I not go mit zem, I stay here. Von time Mary have come
here, and ce kiss me much times, and ce bring me ze flowers, and ce
bring me ze cakes; and ven ce go avay ce cry, and ce say dot ce vill
come von oder time, and ce vill bring Franky mit her. But ce have not
come; von day ce vill come.
"Vill Gott know vare I bees, and vill he fine me here, ven he come? My
moder say dot he vill come, and I know he vill."
Two days after these sweet words, to my surprise, I found Little Jakey
pillowed in an arm-chair.
"Bless me!" I exclaimed, "what has happened to this dear treasure? Are
you sick, Little Jakey?"
"No," he replied, hardly able to speak, "I not sick, but I have got ze
pain in my life," placing his little hand on his chest, "dot bees all.
Vile I hear ze birds sing in ze park, I not know it, and I sleep on ze
ground; and vile I sleep I tink my moder and ze baby, and Meme mit her,
come vare I be. I tink zey all come fon Himmel, and I see zem, and I
talk mit zem, and zey talk mit me, and zey say dot I vill go mit zem;
but ven I vake I bees sleep on ze ground, and ze big rains have come
down, and zey have vet me too vet, and I bees too cold; and ven I tink I
come to ze house, I not fine ze vay; and I have got ze pain in my head,
and ze pain in my neck. Long time I not fine ze vay; zen long time
Bridget ce come, and ce bring me to ze house, and ce put me in ze bed;
and in ze night I have got ze pain in my life."
I knelt down before the dear, stricken lamb, and blaming my neglect of
him, I kissed him many times, and tried to smooth the pain from his
little brow; but what I felt, words can never speak.
The next morning Little Jakey was regularly installed in the sick-room.
Days passed, but the doctors would not say that they thought him any
better. Some days, however, he was able to be pillowed up in an
arm-chair, and amuse himself a little with the toys the children were
constantly bringing him; for by this time the desire to do something for
Little Jakey had come to pervade the whole house.
Once, sitting by his little bed, I discovered that he was trying very
hard to keep awake, and I said to him softly,—
"Dear Jakey, why do you not shut those sweet eyes of yours, and go to
sleep? Surely you must be sleepy."
"Yes, but I tink I not sleep. Vile I sleep, ze pain make me groan, and
Mattie ce hear me, and ce not sleep."
Mattie was then very sick also, and lying on a little bed not far from
One day Mr. Artman, a German, called on Jakey, who asked for his little
box of moneys, which had been presented to him mostly by visitors, and
placing it in Mr. Artman's hand, he said to him, in his own sweet way,—
"You vill keep ze leetle box mit you. Von time Jeem and Fred vill come
in ze America, and ven zey come, you vill give ze big money to Jeem, and
ze leetle moneys to Fred; and you vill tell zem dot I have go im Himmel
mit my moder, and mit ze baby, and mit Meme."
One warm day when I visited Little Jakey his bed had been drawn around
facing the window, and I found him sitting bolstered up there, with his
long black curls lying out on the pillows.
"My dear," said I, "I have brought you a bouquet, and let us pull it
into pieces and see what we can make of it."
Soon Little Jakey's bed was strewn over with the flowers. I do not
remember ever having seen him so cheerful as he was that evening. Making
a little hoop from a piece of wire, I twined him a wreath, while he
amused himself handing me the flowers for it, and feeling over their
soft leaves, and asking their names. Whether large or small, he never
asked the name of the same kind of flower but once. When we placed it on
his little head,—
"Vy!" he exclaimed, "von time my moder have vear ze flowers like dis. Ce
go vare von lady sing vot have come fon Italy; my fader go mit her dare.
And von time ze lady come to my moder's house, and ce sing to ze harp,
and ce sing to ze piano, and my moder and my fader sing mit her; and ce
stay dare to ze supper, and much peoples come to ze supper."
I remained with Little Jakey that night, and when all were still, and
the night taper was glimmering faintly through the room, I felt his
little hand pull mine, as if he would draw me closer to him.
"What, dear?" I said, stooping over him.
"I tink I die," he whispered; "I tink I go im Himmel mit my moder, and
mit ze baby, and mit Meme."
"Why, Jakey," I asked, coaxingly, "what makes you think so?"
"Vy, ven ze baby die, ce be sick; and ven my moder die, ce be sick; and
ven Meme die, ce be sick; and I be sick, and I tink I die."
"So you are, very sick indeed, dear Jakey," I said; "but you will not be
sorry to die, will you, dear?"
"No, I not sorry; but all ze time I tink, How vill it be? Ven Gott take
me im Himmel, vill he come mit me in ze leetle boat? zen vill he come
mit me in ze big boat, mit ze big fire? and zen vill he come in ze big
ship, mit ze tree vay high, and mit ze sail? and ven ze vinds blow too
hard, and ze ship come crash on ze rock, and all ze peoples cry, vill
Gott hold me tight in hees arms, like my moder?"
"Yes, you dear, dear child," I said, "God will surely keep you close in
his arms always, and when you come where he is, dear Jakey, your sweet
eyes will have the light in them. You will see the stars then, and the
angels, and all the good people who have gone to heaven from this world,
and God, and his dear Son, Jesus. You know about him, do you not? He
loves little children."
"Yes, I know him," he said; "my moder have tell me dot von time he have
come fon Himmel in ze vorld, and ze wicked men have kill him; zey have
nail him to ze tree; and my moder say dot Jazu be ze Lord, and dot he
love ze little children, and von time he have lif zem in hees arms; and
he say dot he love zem all, and dot he vill bring zem im Himmel mit him,
ven zey bees good. Meme ce know him too, and much times ce talk mit him
in ze prayer vot ce say; and ce say dot he hear her, ce know he do. Ze
good man know him, and much he talk mit him in ze Meeting; but to ze
table he not talk, he tink mit him, mit hees hands so (crossing his own
little ones, as if in the act of devotion). Georgy do dot vay, and
Franky, and zey all; and Mary tell me, and I do dot vay."
After a little, he asked again with great earnestness,—
"How vill it be? If Gott not know ven I die, and if he bees not here,
vill zey keep me von day and von day, vile he come?"
"O yes, dear Jakey." I said; "but God will be here. He is here now. Let
me explain it to you. God is a great Spirit, and he is everywhere. You
have a little spirit in you, too, Jakey, that makes you talk and think
and feel; now, while your spirit is shut up in your little body here, it
cannot see God, but when this little body dies, your spirit will come
out, and then it will see God, and see everything, and have wings and
rise up, like the angels, and fly away to heaven, or Himmel, as you call
I was wondering what Little Jakey was thinking of this, when, after a
moment, he exclaimed,—
"Vy! ven my moder have make me in ze pic-sure, ce make me mit vings, but
ce not say dot I have ze vings, ven I come im Himmel. Heaven bees in
America, but Himmel bees in Germany. My moder go dare, and ce say dot
Gott vill come, and he vill bring me mit him dare, vare ce be. I vish I
come dare now!"
"Darling, you must shut your sweet eyes now and go to sleep."
"No," he said, "ven I sut my eyes, zey not sut, and ven I tink I sleep,
I not sleep. I bees cold; too cold I bees. I tink I die; I tink I go im
Himmel now mit my moder, and mit ze baby, and mit Meme. Vill Gott come,
and vill he fine me here? How vill it be? How—vill—it—be?"
We sprang to him, and, leaning over his little form, felt that his pulse
was really still, and his sweet breath hushed forever.