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MAX. The question will soon be deEVENINGS AT HOME; cided. Our father is coming. OR, WINTER IN SPITZBERGEN.*
FATHER. (entering). What will soon (Continued from page 163.)
be decided ?
ALL. What had become of Ivan and EIGHTH EVENING.
Gregory; whether they were so happy as How great was the sympathy which the again to find their way back. children felt in the fates of the unfortu- FATHER. And for that I am come. nate men in Spitzbergen, must be evident In spite of the ever-increasing cold, we to you, my young friends, from all that will take our way towards Spitzbergen. you have hitherto read about them. This We yesterday evening left the brave pilot, sympathy increased the further the story sometimes keeping up the shining fire on proceeded, and particularly the conclusion the rock, sometimes walking back and of yesterday evening must have made forth uneasily, in and before the hut, and them the more eager to learn the result of anxiously waiting for his friends. Now, this dangerous and adventurous expedition. at this moment, he had at the risk of his They could the more vividly imagine to life, mounted the rock; the air was pure themselves the condition of the old pilot, and clear, the stars twinkled, the moon so worthy of pity, and the yet more sad shone clear and bright, and the snowfate of the two who were wandering about, covered vale, lay all white before him. when exactly at this very time the cold of Then he heard in the desolate silence on winter had risen to an unusual height. the crackling snow, the footsteps of some Scarcely did they dare to go out of their one going forward slowly. He soon perown sheltered dwelling, or leave their ceived how these bent round the wall of warm room ; and there were many ex-rock, and recognized them as the two amples of luckless travellers who were half missing ones. He cried out; but he refrozen, or even frozen to death on their way. ceived no answer. Already this frightened
“How nice it is, that we can sit in a him; yet he was more disquieted by their warm room !” said Julia, when some la- slow, creeping progress. He hastened to bourers with frosty hair ard blue frozen meet them; but, in what a state he found visages, passed under the windows over the unfortunates ! Both of them had the creaking snow.
contended, for eight-and-forty hours long, MOTHER. Thank God for this bless with the most dreadful cold, without have ing ! many poor children must be without ing had the comfort of a warm fire. They it, and many a poor traveller is compelled had really lost themselves, had taken an by his business to be now on his way.
entirely different direction, and they would Gus. How would it be now, if we could never have returned, had they not oblook at Spitzbergen ?
served the flame kindled on the rock. Maria. What could the two unfortu- Now they came forward; but scarcely nate wanderers do, who could never find a
could they raise an arm, and it was with warm room?
extreme effort they kept themselves on JULIA. I am very much in fear for their feet : their faces and hands were them. If they were to perish in the swollen with cold ; already they cı uld not dreadful cold!
speak any more, and they sank down before Maria. And the poor pilot were to
JULIA. find only their dead bodies !
How pleasant and good to JULIA. I have indeed imagined to
them must have been the warm fire in the myself the very worst. You know well,
cave! how father said we should have to pity cisely their misfortune ; they would have
Father. This would have been prethe poor men still more?
Gus. Well, I do not yet fear the worst. been obliged to repent of this imprudence, A man can bear much, and I hope we may The pilot managed more wisely. Close to
with the loss of most of their limbs. see our friends again.
the hut lay snow, many feet deep. With * From the German of C. Hildebrandt, by incredible labour he raised the hard frozen E. G. Smith.
top crust, undressed his friends, who were
unconscious and wholly involuntary, and region.” Ivan assured him, that where buried them in the snow. Here he let they had seen the animals, there was a them lie almost half an hour. Then the ridge of frightful rocks. “There, then, is poor men felt as if new life ran through their bed; we will soon go there to search their limbs, consciousness returned, and for them. But we will all three of us go: they again recovered their speech. “ Lie I will not let you go alone again!” there only a few minutes more,” said the The pilot related to his two friends pilot,—who went into the cave, laid their that in their absence he had made many dry clothing ready, set the tea on the fire, new discoveries. and then returned back with a woollen MARIA. Ha, ha! the new dish of blanket. He first took Ivan out of his spoon-wort! snow-bath, led him into the cavern, dried FATHER. An important discovery for him, clothed him with clean linen, and our friends. He told them how he had laid him in the newly-prepared bed. In found, on the upper floor of the hut, ihe a few minutes, Gregory was treated in the store of dry moss, and the skins, from same way: both felt themselves more which he had prepared the beautiful soft strengthened and enlivened the longer beds on which they lay. “But,” he added, they had both been deprived of it. Soon “ I have made a very sad discovery." all three of them sank into a sound Gus. And what was this? sleep, which lasted several hours; and this Father. He had examined the supply beneficial rest soon restored again their of powder, and found that only six round strength to the invalids. But now the pilot of cartridges with balls, and hardly two reproached them for their rashness. charges of powder remained. He knew
Gus. This they had not properly de- that his friends had yet less, and this served. They had acted with the best discovery must naturally have made him design.
very sorrowful. For, if their supply of FATHER. This could not excuse them. powder failed, their beautiful fire-arms Ivan and Gregory were to blame for ex- were worth no more than a stout, strong posing themselves to dangers, for which cudgel. What should they defend themthey were not suited, and that they had selves with? With what kill the animals ventured into regions which were wholly necessary for their subsistence ? This unknown to them. But I ought first to necessity must put them in the greatest assure you, that these rebukes were spoken trouble. Ivan and Gregory also examined in the mild tone of a father, and were re- their supply of powder, and found that it ceived with modesty and docility. “But was still smaller. Thus they saw themwhere, then, have you been ?” asked the selves necessitated to think of some other good pilot. “According to your description means, and provide some new weapons. you have come from the opposite side.” “Give me your supply of powder and Both of them told him, that they had no-ball," said the pilot, we must carefully ticed at a distance a herd of animals of the preserve it against the greatest need. The deer kind, such as they had never before guns we will polish up nicely and lay seen; on closer consideration they were them aside; they are now of no use to convinced that they were reindeer, but us.” Necessity is the mother of inventhey had not been able to get up near tion. The truth of this proverb proved enough to shoot one of them. In the itself most clearly in the case of our heat of their pursuit, they had lost their friends. You remember that, on their course, and had only been guided again arrival in the cavern they found many arto the right direction by the fire burning ticles of tools, the value of which they on the top of the rock.
now knew for the first time. Every piece “Reindeer ?” said the pilot. “ These of iron was carefully examined, each by animals are not wont to go but rarely far itself, and properly considered, and set from their place of rest. Their food, the apart for some possible use. A hard stone small moss, which they scratch out from served for an anvil; with hammer and under the snow, they find all around. | tongs, which they had found, the bayonets 'They, therefore, must have their bed in were wrought over and fastened to stout
near inaccessible cavern of this poles. Thus they had a lance, with which
a person in case of necessity could pierce behind its saline (or salt) particles. Still the body of a bear. The pilot who, in more are these found in the clefts or holhis former voyages had seen many north- lows of the rocks. But how should our ern nations, recollected their bows and poor friends find this salt on the ground arrows. The best wood for the purpose covered with snow a yard thick, especially was sought for, the bow cut out, and the in the night? The old pilot well knew arrows made; but, alas! there was want- this; but the insuperable difficulties were ing the rest of it, the string, which was too clearly before his mind for him even to despatch the arrow on its swift way. to make the attempt. It was, therefore,
Julia. You know how Robinson Crusoe a fortunate circumstance that the spoonmanaged to help himself in such a case of wort was found, the sour taste of which, in necessity ? He took the fibres of some some degree, made up for the want of salt. plants like flax, and twisted them into a It was extremely necessary for health, and cord.
prevented many diseases which otherwise Max. The only difficulty here was, that must have existed. Their daily exercise these did not grow in Spitzbergen. and industry in their toil, and the fine, pure
FATHER. No, they did not. These spring-water contributed also to keep the plants grow only in warm regions. But three friends in sound health, although they it almost always happens that a man finds had to contend with more than common out something to help himself, when he difficulties. uses his reason aright. The entrails of Severe as thus far had been the cold in the last bear they had killed lay like lumps the months of January and February, it of ice frozen together in the trench before reached the height of which we the hut. The pilot seized hold of them, scarcely have any idea, and thus the wretchthawed them with hot water, cleansed edness of these three brave men rose to the them, and by means of some wooden pins, highest pitch. Hardly could the unfor they twisted them into a firm strong cord. tunates, who certainly were not effeminate, The experiment succeeded beyond all their remain in the open air long enough to expectation, in using this cord as a bow bring the wood they needed, although this string. For arrows they chose out the now lay only about a thousand feet hardest wood; and our friends soon man- from them. Of further excursions to aged so well in the working of iron, that search for the means of living they could they provided themselves with many of hardly think, even in the warm bear-skins them headed with little sharp iron points. in which they were clothed. Instead of feathers, they took finally split MARIA. But what were they to do wood; and this kind of weapon at last be- when their supplies in the meat-chamber came so perfect, that the three archers gave out? could shoot through a board at a moderate FATHER. They would, in the true sense
of the word, have been starved, if ProviThus they were now provided for this dence, which never leaves men wholly want; but soon another pressed on them, helpless, had not taken care for them in an which was as important. And this was extraordinary way. In the valley in which the entire want of salt, which they needed lay the hut, there were often visitors. indispensably for the fat hard bear's flesh. Gus. Certainly, bears. Until now they had used gunpowder for FATHER. Yes. These guests-whether this purpose; but henceforth they must they were driven here by the weather from use it most sparingly.
unknown parts, or were attracted by the Max. Had no one, then, been able to greater warmth of the valley—caused our find anything like salt?
friends many a fright when the growling FATHER. Not only something re- and roaring of these animals before the sembling salt, but salt itself, if the season hut waked them out of their sleep, or of the year had only been favourable. On broke in on their labour. the shore of the sea there is often water MARIA. But if now they should press thrown on the land in a storm, and which into the hut?remains. In the air, and by the heat of FATHER. This could not be done so the sun, the water evaporates, leaving easily, as the trench was too broad and
deep, its slope was too smooth, and the throat awaked him. He looked towards bridge was drawn off on the inside. Com- the sick man, who at this moment sank monly the bears fell into the trench, and back lifeless,—and now with glazed eyes, then our friends immediately hastened thi- but with a peaceful countenance of one ther armed with long, sharp spears, and in softly fallen asleep, lay there like a slumthis way killed many, without using a berer. At Ivan's cry of anguish, Gregory single charge of powder.
hastened thither; and there he stood, Until now all three, wretchedly as they shocked at the sight. They both had been were obliged to live, had enjoyed firm prepared for a long time for this moment; health, and apparently such as would con- but yet they were so overcome that they tinue unimpaired ; but now they under could not command their words went one of the hardest of their trials, thoughts. When they had first given vent their beautiful bond of friendship must to their oppressed hearts in a flood of tears, be broken. The good old pilot, who was they sank down upon the body of the much the eldest of them, was suddenly noble man, holding it together in their taken sick. His great age, and his exces- arms, vowing to each other eternal fidelity sive exertions, his really miserable means and friendship. The spirit of their friend of food, his fruitless longing to see again that had fled must have been witness to his wife and children, with his anxiety for this covenant. “And now let us leave he future-all these together had operated the noble man to his rest,” said Ivan, in very injuriously on his health. Sick and deep emotion. “ He is better off than we near to death he lay there, unable to under- He has passed away from all—all take even the least business. You may that yet awaits us!” With these words he imagine the feelings of his two friends, as kissed the cold lips of the lifeless one. “Let they looked at the deathly pale face of the us now go out into the open air,” said sick man, listened to his painful breathing, Gregory. “ We have spent a long time and yet could not help him! With wound in this close cavern. The sight of that ed hands, with hearts ready to burst, with body affects me too much.”. tears in their eyes, they stood at the bed- They covered the corpse with many skins, side of anguish of the man so dear to them, took each a spear and bow, bolted the who was more than a friend, and indeed hut, climbed out of the window, and when was a father to them. The best of chil. they had passed over the trench, drew up dren could not more feeling!y minister all the bridge after them. For a long time the relief they could to their sick father, they went forward silently; they spoke of or take more anxious care of him, than the dead, lamented their loss, and with Ivan and Gregory now did to him. They anxious care waited for the coming day. sat beside the bed-side of the good man, Thus they wandered on without any cer. pho was continually growing weaker, read tain object, and indeed, without feeling at all o him from the Bible and the hymn-book the severe cold. Their way led them to a the choicest passages, attended to every ledge of rocks, into which they had not wish which the sufferer expressed with yet been; they lay on the other side of unwearied readiness, felt no fatigue, no that frozen bay or basin, on the shore of hunger, no thirst, and would gladly which there was a large quantity of drifthave borne for him his pains, if they wood. A ravine, almost like a beaten could thus have restored him to breath hollow way, lay open before them. The and life ; but it seemed as though snow was trodden down like the track, Providence was bringing, for some good or as the hunters say, the trail, of anipurpose, the worst suffering on the two mals of the deer kind. Wondering at young men--their prayer must be in vain. this appearance, they both of them as
Ivan, who had watched many hours be- cended the hollow way, and found in the side the bed of his friend, overcome with slope a little hole, where they rested exhaustion, had fallen into a little slumber, for some hours, in order to warm them. while Gregory had gone to the spring to selves by a fire which they had concluded get some water. Ivan had not observed to kindle. There was dry wood and brush that he had gone away, when a loud and enough there. They brought a heap to. distressing groaning and rattling of the gether, and were thinking of setting them
on fire, when a noise re-echoing from a “ Only go back to the hollow way, and distance, and continually approaching, bring as much dry wood as you can carry.” was heard
Ivan went; and when he had returned Julia. A visit of bears, certainly ? back with what was wished, they both of
FATHER. No, not this time !-It was them kindled a large fire before the ena visit indeed, but not of so unwelcome a trance of the hole, and soon they could kind. A large flock of reindeer came hear plainly, how the distressed animals there over the plain, and turned exactly to continually crowded closer into the back wards the hollow way. Scarcely had they portion of the cave. gone on, than they noticed the heaps of MARIA. What good did the fire do ? wood, and made a sudden halt. It was FATHER. Very much. It troubled still only with the greatest caution, that they more the shy animals, and so they could be set themselves once more in motion, and the easier caught. Besides, the fire shone gradually approached nearer, till finally into the cavern, and our two friends dared, one of them ventured on a daring leap, therefore, the more to go in. The nearer close to the heap of wood, upon which they came to the animals, the further these immediately the others followed, and, swift crowded back and pressed on close up to as an arrow, run up the hollow way. They the wall. The young men followed causoon disappeared from sight of the two tiously, when Gregory suddenly seized friends, who lay hidden in the cave.
hold of the foot of one of these animals. Strange !” said Ivan. “The bed of It did not stir, and Gregory, to whom it the animals must be about here, and the at once occurred not to kill the creature, hollow way probably leads thither.” but to take it alive, tied the hind feet toge
“ We shall know better if we follow ther with his sword-belt. Ivan on his their track," answered Gregory. “Let us part was equally fortunate; and he too go after them. Perhaps we may succeed had fettered an animal. in taking one of them.''
“Now let us go!” said Gregory. “The Forgetting the cold and their fire, they others must have free passage out: we followed the trail. All at once they came will not hinder them.” Both of them to a rocky basin, the lofty wall of which left the cave—they went into a place aside, rose high up on all sides in crags; on the and watched the outlet. A long time narrow and enclosed spot, the obscurity passed, but they saw no animal. Finally, became greater, and nowhere was there of them
to the entrance, to be seen any other outlet than the hollow looked round carefully, and, as if in way.
The reindeer had vanished. Our trouble; advanced forward some steps, two hunters indeed followed their track as looked around him again, and quic long as they could discern it in the snow, lightning sprung down the hill, and the but soon they came to the bold foot of a whole herd followed with a rush. rock, where, of course, every vestige dis- Gus. But those they had bound? appeared. It seemed inconceivable to both FATHER. For these Ivan and Gregory of them whither the animals had gone. waited in vain ; they did not come out.
MARIA. And so they went back on a Our friends then went back to the cave, sleeveless errand ? — their object unac- and there, at the entrance, lay the two complished ?
bound ones ;
near them stood a third, FATHER. No! they were more fortunate. which was much smaller, and was just The impetuous Gregory examined and beginning to have its short horns. The climbed, at the risk of his life, some cliffs fettered ones remained quiet, and looked and dark clefts. Suddenly he called out so wistfully and troubled at Ivan and to his friend, that the animals were hid in Gregory, that they fully determined to take
He had found their trail, and them home with them alive. They raised clearly heard the rustling and crowding the animals up—with some effort, however, together of the timid creatures. “ Take -tied the horn to one of the fore-feet, care,” cried Ivan to him, “the startled untied the fetters of the hind-legs, and animals may rush out of their hole, dash willing and tame the two old ones followed, you from the rocks, and you are lost.” accompanied by the young one leaping on. “Don't be afraid,” was Gregory's answer
(To be continued.)