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EVENINGS AT HOME.
day. But that during his absence, the
children scarcely thought of anything OR, WINTER IN SPITZBERGEN.*
else, or spoke of anything else, than their (Continued fruin page 14.)
unfortunate friends, need scarcely be said. They dreamed the whole night of them,
and in sympathy felt all the tortures of The children had not expected so the unhappy men, because they took the lamentable a conclusion of the history liveliest interest in their dreadful fate. of their friends.
“If only one of them had remained “No!” said Gustavus, the next behind,” said Maria, “then could he have inorning, “I had not thought of that. The taken means to rescue his friends.” most I was afraid of was, that the poor
Gus. It must have been the old pilot, men in the cavern would have been then. thoroughly affrighted by finding a corpse,
JULIA. He would have met with diffior perhaps might meet with a bear and culties. her family, with which they came into a
Max. To be sure he would. How could bloody fight.
he remove the flat rock; where could he JULIA. Or that some other adventure have got a tree, a ladder, or a rope ? inight have come upon them, which would Gus. That, I do not indeed know, but have greatly tried their courage.
the pilot would have set his wits to work MARIA. I too, never once feared any
for it. How did our neighbour do, when, such thing. I believed that they would
a year since, his house was on fire below make a remarkable discovery; perhaps him? He let himself down by contriving find a cavern, like those we read of, which to make a rope of linen cloth. would be worth some exertion and pains.
Maria. Yes, but where could the pilot JULIA. But that the poor men should get this? be killed in such a way.-
Gus. I think there were some lying in Max. That is not yet certain.
the captain's chest. JULIA. I hope that they may yet come to
Maria. If the poor men who had see the daylight once more.
tumbled down only had a light! Max. Certainly they will. Or whence Gus. And something to keep them could father know about their story? No alive. But why do we puzzle our heads one but they were present when they were about the matter! Our father will take searching into the cavern.
good care that the three poor men will JULIA. You are right, dear Max. Do come to light again. you not remember how father told us Finally, after four long days, their about Robinson Crusoe ? How he was father, so much desired, came back. With once so sick on the island, that he lost all pleasant greetings, the children hastened sense,
and yet was all at once cured and to meet him; they were the more confident restored in mind ?
as they could give him proof that they Max. Yes, I recollect it; and this had been obedient and industrious while makes me hope that we shall see our three he was gone. friends again in good condition. But With the greatest longing, they looked some days must pass before we know. I forward to the time in which their father, Father rode away to-day, for several according to his custom, took his seat days.
with them, and by his stories was used to Gus. O what a loss to us! I should be shorten the long winter evenings. To-da;', so glad just now to know the end of this the children were even comparatively inadventure.
different for a description of his journey, Max had spoken correctly. Circum- important as at other times even so little stances and business had rendered it an event as such a journey was to them. necessary for their father to take this The account of the three friends was more journey, and he had set out upon the same important to them than anything else.
The supper was taken, and at the usual * From the German of C. Hildebrandt, by place already stood their father's chair. E. G. Smits,
Maria and Julia sat with their knitting
near their mother, while Max and Gus- I once more, but received no answer. His tavus were occupied in covering their distress rose with every beating of his books. All were silent, and waited ear- pulse ; but his courage, his trust in God, nestly for their father to begin his story. did not wholly forsake him. With the Finally, the time appeared to the quick ! greatest caution, he crept along on the Gustavus somewhat too long.
rugged surface, over the sharp pointed “We have very often thought of Spitz- stones, at every step feeling before him bergen,” he began.
with his hands, and examining the dan. JULIA. And the three poor imprisoned gerous bottom, on which he had carefully men !
crept forth. Then all at once, his hand Maria. I have dreamed of them, and touched a fearful monster, grown over with in my dream have suffered with them their strong bristles and hair, which moved deathlike anguish.
itself under his trembling hand. Max. We have also debated whether JULIA. Why, father, how you frighten the poor men were saved, and how.
us! Do tell us what it could be. FATHER. And all this is to help me Father. The old pilot--and you know to keep in mind of it? Is it not so, you that he did not belong to the fearful sort wish the continuation of this story?
so greatly frightened, that he All. Oh, yes, father, pray do tell us trembled, and the hair rose upon his head; more !
a cold sweat of anguish stood on his brow, That the father willingly yielded to the and some minutes passed before he could wish of his good children no assurance recover himself again. can be needed. “Very well, then, let us MARIA. And now ?go on.
We left our three friends in our FATHER. His courage returned again story"
yet once more he cautiously laid hold of Gus. Thrown down, and shut up in the the unknown monster, in order to know vault.
what it was. But think of the horror of Father. True. Now we will go on, the poor man, when he caught on the and relate further how it fared with them. ice-cold hand of a dead man. Horrified The situation of these unfortunate men he shrunk back, for the frightful thought was the most frightful which can be con- came upon him, that this monster had ceived. The perils whieh they had under- torn in pieces, and eaten up a man, and gone in shipwreck, or the fight with the the hand merely was left of the dreadful wild bears, was nothing in comparison to and horrible meal. it. Surrounded by the veriest" darkness MARIA. Oh no! father, that is too of night, they lay in a swoon, resembling horrible! We could almost wishdeath. The pains which the pilot felt, Gus. Father has not said it was so. It and his bruised body, from his fall on the was not true, was it? pointed and hard stones, brought him FATHER. Now his own death seemed back to life, and convinced him that he certain, and this belief inspired him with was not dreaming. Now he recovered courage, which a desperate man often feels himself; he remembered the horrible when misfortune can go no further. With occurrence, and called loudly the name firm composure he seized upon it, and of his friends. The echo of his voice Gus. Now? sounded in the empty vault, but no human FATHER. And seized upon Ivan's knapvoice answered. He called yet once more, sack, which was made of a badger's skin. -all remained still as in the grave. The Gus. But how in the world came Ivan's poor man heard nothing but the rolling knapsack there? out of a stone into the bottomless depth. FATHER. In the most natural manner
Almighty God!” prayed he, in this possible, as Ivan, by a fortunate accident, dreadful moment, “ have pity on me and had taken with him his knapsack well my unfortunate friends! We cannot help furnished with provisions, when setting ourselves!"
out on this exploring expedition. Ivan Then he heard, not far from himself, a was still more stunned by the fall than the groaning and gasping, as if it was the old pilot, who, the moment that he stumlast sigh of a dying man. He called out bled on the companion of his misfortune,
did not think of the knapsack. Now the JULIA. But the two others, I suppose, young man was recovered; it was to him, reproached him severely? He had at least as if he had awaked from a heavy dream, deserved it. and he could with difficulty collect his Father. Yes, he had indeed. But of thoughts. The pilot's first question was what use would this have been ? after Gregory; but Ivan knew nothing MOTHER. And would you have rerespecting him.
proached him in that dreadful condition ? If we only had a light !” said the Gregory was, it is true, to blame for this pilot. “ I have a tinder-box," was Ivan's misfortune; but had he done it with the answer.
“ But what good will that do, as purpose of making himself and his the lamp has fallen out of my hand ?” friends so unhappy? The joy of finding "Only give me the tinder-box,” answered him again would not allow of reproaches. the pilot," I will strike a light; probably FATHER. Very true. In such times, a it will help us to see to find the lamp man easily forgets and forgives. Now again.”
when Gregory was fully restored, they imThe spark gave merely a momentary and mediately thought of what was the most a more blinding than a brightened light; necessary of all-to find a way out of the but it was still clear enough for the quick- hole. All three of them were rejoiced sighted Ivan to notice the lamp lying that not one of them had received any close by him. It was a still more fortunate peculiar injury; for the little punishment circumstance that it was not broken, and which Gregory had met with, a bruise that the bear's fat, used instead of oil, had on his forehead and a slight bleednot fallen out with the wick.
ing at the nose, did not amount to Julia. Thank God! What could the much, and might also be a warning to him poor creatures have done, caught there in for the future. Instead of any reproaches, that pitch-dark hole ?
which would here have been useless, they FATHER. Certainly, they must have all therefore only thought of deliverance, three miserably perished. Now they kin- heartily glad that not one of them had dled the lamp; a great part of their terror | broken an arm or a leg. What would left them ; the hearts of the unfortunates they have done in the case of such a became lighter, and new hopes rose up in misfortune? Now they looked on their their souls. They could now avoid many frightful abode in its full terrors. Think dangers, which they had not observed in of a rugged, rocky declivity covered with the darkness.
loose rolling stones, and separated from an Maria. But, father, where then was abyss, the depth of which could not be Gregory ?
measured by the feeble glimmer of the FATHER. There was no trace to be light; think of all this, being surrounded discovered of this unfortunate man, and by the thickest, blackest darkness, in in vain Ivan called out his name. To which the three poor wanderers helplessly seek for him, both of them went down by sought deliverance from the dangers of the glimmer of the lamp, burning more this place, of which they had not the obscurely in the heavy air ; and finally slightest knowledge, and you have a picture found the missing one, stunned by affright of the situation of our unfortunate friends. and his fall, sitting with a bloody face The first thing which they now did was behind a piece of rock. With a loud cry of to mount up again on the height, in order joy, but also of horror, Ivan caught hold of to make an effort to raise up the flat stone his unfortunate friend, who could not for which shut up the entrance of the hole : a long time recover himself. The care of but this was labour in vain. The ground the pilot, who washed the wounded man's on which they stood was too loose; they face with the contents of the bottle of could not plant so firm a footstep on the brandy, finally brought him back to life.
stones lying loose, as was required in order He had heard nothing of the conversation to lift up such a load. of his two friends, and even the kindling Now, when all their attempts were useof the lamp had not been noticed by him, less, their distress rose to the highest so much had be been stunned by the hard degree: they saw a certain death before fall. Now he came to himself.
them. The heavy air of the vault, and
its mouldy smell, rendered it hard for formed on both sides into wondrous shapes. them to breathe, and increased their death. The bottom was sandy, and in this sand like anguish. No one spoke a word. But could clearly be seen the prints of human once more they tried to lift that piece of footsteps. The observing pilot first norock weighing many hundred weight. It ticed this. A treasure of millions of money was all in vain !
would not have caused him so much joy “ We cannot stir the stone from its as here did the print of a man's foot. place,” said the pilot, with a distressed step in the sand. All three of them felt and broken voice. “If we find no other the value of this new hope, and with way out, this hole must be our grave." brighter hearts they proceeded into the Neither Ivan nor Gregory replied. Both passage, which led directly through the were the more in doubt of their deliver- rocks, when all at once they heard the ance, as they observed the pilot's trouble, rippling of water dropping down, and at and from long acquaintance with him they the same time felt a hardly perceptible knew, that when he despaired, everyone draught of air on their faces. else must lose his courage.
Gus. Was this, then, of any conseGus. But the brave pilot will become quence ? restored to himself again?
FATHER. It was everything in the FATHER. That this was the case, you situation in which the poor men may expect from such a tried man; but placed. Already the fact that, instead o. that his spirit must have been heavy, a the heavy damp air of the vault, which single glance at the horrors which might only increased their pain, an enlivening be seen, clearly showed.
fresh air blew on them, was of great value “ But,” continued the good pilot, to them ; but still more the hope which it will not allow our courage wholly to fail ; | raised in them that here they would find let us go on and do what lies in our power. a way out, must have been most quickenGod, who sees us, will help us. If we can ing to the poor men. They went on more only find a trace that this dreadful hole composedly in the path, and to their inwas well known to our predecessors, then expressible joy the footprints became more we shall be able to find our way out.” and more easily to be recognised and
MARIA. Was he right in the matter? plainer. Then they came all at once to a
FATHER. Strictly speaking, he was spring of water, clear as crystal, which not. Some person might have been here fell plashing over the margin of the basin, and have perished without finding a ay and lost itself in a fissure in the rock. out. The pilot also was, probably, him- “Thanks to thee, Almighty, for this blessself not fully convinced, and he said it ing !" cried out the pilot. “We have now only in order to keep up in the hearts of indeed found what was the most needful his friends hope and presence of mind, of all to us—fresh spring water.” In full or he wished to render them the more draughts the thirsty wanderers refreshed observing of everything.
themselves with the precious drink; they By a fortunate accident, the pilot also felt themselves pervaded by a new power. found his lamp again ; so that they had and the way out of this hole became the two lights burning, the flame of which was more certain to them, as they clearly saw kept up by the bear's grease taken by that the hand of man had dammed in the Ivan. “And now let us go forward in spring with stones and moss, and had cut out God's name," said the pilot ; upon which for the water which ran over, a channel in all three of them slowly and carefully went a rocky bottom. Thus they proceeded on forward on the rough slope beneath the their way revived, and all at once they frightful overhanging cliffs.
came up to a coarsely wrought-out wooden They might have gone on some hundred door. It appeared to be fast bolted, and paces in this way, sometimes with more it was with the greatest exertion only that and sometimes with less danger, when they they succeeded in opening it. A high noticed that the bottom or floor changed heap of sand which lay on the opposite to a smooth even surface, and that instead side before the door had rendered the of the deep subterranean abyss, rocks and opening of it so difficult. But how cliffs showed themselves, which astonished were our friends!
Gus. Did they see another gray-headed you know, he found in the chest of the man who put them in such terror ? Dutch captain.
FATHER. No; their astonishment was “ Friends!” said he to Ivan and Gre. of a more joyful kind. The place in gory, you are both young persons, who which they found themselves had a well- have experienced as yet few sufferings and known look to them. They must already trials ; you have been educated and have have been here, and finally—who can por- grown up rather in comfort and supertray their delight ? they recognised that Huity. I have borne more and lived longer they were in one of the divisions of their than you have, and my experience has taught hut, at first hastily examined. Tears of me that a person can only with a pious joy burst from their eyes; they fell into heart be composed and comforted in any each other's arms, and felicitated each misfortune. We have been nigh a horother in seeing themselves thus rescued. rible death; God has saved us. Their safety appeared to them like a not belong to the class of the unthankful, miracle, and they could only ascribe it to who forget his blessings.” the compassion of God.
MARIA. That was not to be feared from MOTHER. And justly too. Without | Ivan and Gregory ? God's extraordinary protection their re- Father. No, certainly. Their parents covery would have been impossible. You, were pious and upright persons, who had my dear children, in your riper years will educated their children to every good find many speaking proofs of this Divine work, and could not have failed in giving
them warnings and examples. So it was FATHER. No man felt this more than very natural that Ivan and Gregory too, our good pilot. He stood there with notwithstanding his levity of character, clasped hands, and tears of the most should have been thoroughly imbued with thankful joy. “ It seems to me like a the best principles. They, therefore, refrightful dream to have been so near to the ceived with joy the proposition of the grave," said he.
“ I have often in storms pilot—that this day every week should be and sea-fights looked death in the face; set apart as their Sunday, by laying aside but I have never felt the anguish which I all work in it; and they should engage in have experienced there under the earth.” some mode of worshipping God. They
MARIA. How, dear father ? Would were on this day to sing one or two of the not, then, his distress be greater in a storm most enlivening hymns, read some of the or in a sea-fight when a man looks death | most beautiful chapters of the Bible, and full in the face ?
always with thankful hearts call to reFather. Probably these dangers ap- membrance their wondrous preservation. peared the more unimportant to the pilot, MARIA. And did they really do this ? the more familiar and acquainted he was FATHER. Certainly !
How could we with them. Probably, too, on this ac- expect anything else from such good count-because in
or in an men ? Besides, the storm and the temengagement by sea, he had so much occu- pestuous weather continually raged without. pation and labour that he had not time to In the cavern itself, they had perceived think of the danger. Here in the cavern nothing of it; but so much did they it was wholly different. The perfect still- the more in the hut, which had become ness of death, which reigned all around, somewhat decayed, and the walls of which the distress of his two companions, the could not keep out the cold draught of thick darkness which covered everything, the air. Ivan opened the single window. the entire ignorance of the dangers which The wind howled fearfully, immense masses were here found, and which were magnified of snow fell and threatened to cover over by fear, the complete want of means of the whole valley; impenetrable darkness help for his deliverance, and, too, the encompassed everything. Affrighted the heavy air—all these must have contributed young man came down—“Why should we to raise his anguish to an intolerable not go," said he, “into one of the caverns ? degree.
There we shall find shelter from the storm In his thankful joy the pilot brought and weather. Here no one can stay in out the bymn-book and Bible, which, as the cutting blast of air !" All three of