Page images

'Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, oloog For those in peril on the sea,his ondesaka

Published for the Proprietors by W. WELLS GARDNER, 2 Paternoster Buildings, Lonion.

[merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][graphic][merged small]


From the German.

N a mountain village of Silesia, close to the Bohemian frontier, there lived many years ago a poor weaver, named Schwabe, with his wife Martha, and his little daughter Annie, who was seven years old. The father was a busy and hard-working man, but the blessing of God did not seem to rest on his battered cottage.

Little Annie had not had many happy days under her parents' roof during her childhood. Sorrow and want, anxiety and discontent, were the dreary figures which stood ever in her path of life. In the village where her parents dwelt there was no school. Annie, therefore, remained till her seventh year without any instruction. From her parents she could learn nothing, as they in the course of time had forgotten the little that they knew. The distress with which they had to struggle filled all their thoughts. They thought that they had no time to trouble themselves about their child. Fortunately, not far from the frontier, about three-quarters of an hour's walk from their village, lived a rich Bohemian lady, the Baroness von Czerwitz. good lady had a short time before established an infant-school on her estate. Here the little children of her labourers and workpeople found care and food, as well as amusement and instruction. They were taught, also, the Catechism and some simple Bible history, and they learned to sing and pray.


Little Annie had every day to walk the long distance from her home to the castle, to take to the Baroness the milk of the one goat which her parents had. Her path led

her past the school, which was held in a pretty, pleasant house. She often remained standing and listening to the sweet hymns which proceeded from the house and sounded into the road. Often she would draw near to the window, which always stood open, and listen with wondering and attentive heart to the words which she heard. All was strange and new to her, and therefore all the more riveted her attention. Chiefly was it the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the stories from the Bible, and some of the hymns, which she listened to with increasing delight. She would repeat these to herself in her walks, and thus they were gradually fixed in her memory. she only did this when she was quite alone and unobserved. She never uttered them at home, so her parents did not know a single word of what she had heard and learned. Child as she was, she felt that those words which gave her such pleasure would not interest her parents, who were too busy to notice any change in their daughter or to suspect her secret.



That year a gloomy, wet, and chilly summer, had been followed by a raw and stormy autumn. This bad weather had caused a rise in the price of provisions. On the other hand, the orders for linen were so few that two-thirds of the spinningwheels of that country were standing empty and idle. This was the case, too, with! Heinrich Schwabe, and now for the first time real want entered his humble cabin. His wife tried by all means to comfort him as well as she could. But her efforts were of little avail. He gave himself up more and more to gloomy despondency and angry temper, for he could not bear to see his wife and child, whom he loved, day by day suffer so much distress.

It is not for my own sake that I fret and despair,' he said to his wife; what

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

'How can I do otherwise?' answered her husband. Our distress has come to the worst; we have sold everything that we can sell. Whence, then, can we get even salt and potatoes? As to bread, that is quite out of the question.'

At last the goat had to be sold, too. Annie wept very much at this, not only because she dearly loved the animal, but also because now there would be no longer any milk to carry, so that the walks to the Bohemian estate and past the school would have to be given up. This was the greatest sorrow and loss to her, that it made her keep yet more firmly in her mind all that she had heard and learned during those walks.

Week after week passed away, want and privation continued in the poor weaver's cottage. Meanwhile it had become winter, and was now towards the end of December. One evening, a wild storm was raging round the little house. Snow, hail, and icy rain dashed against the window-panes. A lamp, scantily supplied with oil, which hung down from one of the blackened rafters of the ceiling, shed its faint beams on the miserable furniture of the small, low room. On the rickety table stood only a wooden platter with some potato peelings, the remains of the wretched supper. Little Annie had already for some time lain asleep upon her hard bed. Her parents were sitting on the bench beside the stove, discussing as usual the hard times and their sad lot. The weaver

was muttering his rage at his own pitiful fate, and against the rich. Then, suddenly, there was a knock at the cottage-door. Schwabe arose, opened the window, and cried out into the storm,

(To be continued.)


E ought to honour old age, because we all wish to grow old,' said Bion, an ancient sage of Greece. "Young people dishonour themselves if they refuse reverence to old age and merit; such conduct is childlike vanity, or folly.'

An old man was seeking for a place at the celebrated Olympic games, and none of the young men of Athens would make room for him. But he had no sooner reached the place where the Spartans sat, than all the young men rose and offered him their places. Loud applause sounded forth from all present.

God grant that it may never be necessary to say in our day, as was remarked by an aged nobleman at the court of Louis XIV. of France, to that young monarch, who had asked him to which century he gave the preference, to his own or to the present, Sire,' replied the nobleman, I learned in my youth to approach old age with reverence, and now in my old age I must learn to show reveence towards children!'

[ocr errors]

How many a youth now, on whose lip the hair has scarcely grown, thinks he knows a great deal more than the aged, flatly contradicts old men, and looks down upon them with pride and contempt!

J. F. C.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »