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EVENINGS AT HOME;

OR, WINTER IN SPITZBERGEN.*
Continued from page 339, Vol. 2, New Series.

SIXTH EVENING.

It is a very pleasant business for active and industrious children to place themselves, in imagination, in those situations where they can show their industry and use their activity. They imagine themselves in the situation of the person of whom they have heard or read, they arrange busily everything which seems to them needful, and they feel in their thoughts, as happy and joyous as if they were the real actors. It was precisely thus with the four children, in respect to the story thus far, of Ivan's and his friends' misfortunes. They knew not that these unfortunate people were in possession of many things to supply their wants, and now they made a comparison of them with Robinson Crusoe and Friday, as these latter, by means of the vessel which stranded near their shore, came into possession of almost everything which they had before needed.

Every one of the children advised, according to their views and inclinations, what appeared to them the most important and necessary. Max held to it that it would be best first of all to become accurately acquainted with the island, to examine it with the paper and the map, in order to discover the most remarkable things.-Gustavus maintained it to be more suitable to take a gun and sword, and by means of these first to secure for themselves quiet from the wild beasts, before they thought of anything else.Maria was of the opinion, that they should enlarge the whole dwelling, and place themselves in such a situation, that they could at any time receive a visit without being put to the blush.—“ All that is fine, and very well, " said Julia, "but I would first have taken care of the kitchen and cellar first of all provide the means of living; the other would afterwards have been attended to." Gustavus soon came to her opinion, for the subject of food was

* From the German of C. Hildebrandt, by

E. G. Smith.

one of the most important things in his view. Every one of the children had their reasons by which they proved their opinions. They painted every thing in such fair colours, that our friends could no more be regarded as unfortunate, and it almost seemed as if they were themselves desirous of going to Spitzbergen. One sought to outvie the other in the enumeration of the advantages of this residence, and every one believed the three friends would be the most happy if they followed his advice. The whole discussion was managed, and the contest connected therewith was carried on most pleasantly and kindly, as is the case always with children well brought up.

Now the clock struck the hour in which their father was wont to go on with the story, and as he now entered the room accompanied by their mother, he found the children in the most gladsome hu

mour.

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had a very painful effect on the feelings of their hearts and the quiet of their minds. The question would force itself on them, "Will it be better or otherwise with us than with those unfortunates? Shall not we, as well as they, be forsaken and forgotten by all the world, and be obliged to end our sorrowful days here?"

To this serious question the thought was added "What might not that unfortunate man, whose corpse we buried, have undergone and suffered in his loneliness before friendly death freed him from his woes? Who of us will be the last? What sufferings shall we first have to endure ? Who will give him a helping hand in sickness, and share with him in his last struggle of death?" You see, my dear children, these were questions which might make the stoutest heart to tremble.

Even the old pilot became disquieted; peace fled from his heart, and that calm composure with which he had hitherto borne all his unexpected misfortune, vanished from his mind. Sadly sat the brave man, together with his sorrowful and downcast companions in calamity. None of them cast a look further on the paper; no one troubled himself further as to its contents. They looked with indifference on the newly-discovered supply of household stores, and with contempt on the hut and cavern. They called their friends happy who had perished in the waves, or on the wreck in the ice. They had escaped and now were over with their sufferings; they probably had a dreadful moment of dying, but it was only a moment, while to themselves, as it seemed, there yet remained years of suffering to be endured. Every prospect of deliverance had vanished, for they could not count on a miracle.

MARIA. But, dear father, they did wrong in this conduct.

MOTHER. And so much the more wrongly, as they must have known that persons had already begun to undertake longer voyages into the regions of the North Pole. How easy it was for a ship to come hither!

FATHER. Very true, our friends did wrong; but they are excusable. You must take men only as they are, and not as they should be. Misfortune and sor

row affect every one, and especially at the first moment. Man then sees nothing but his misfortune, and the picture of a sorrowful future banishes all hope, and drives all peace from his heart.

But soon the unfortunate collects himself again, and new hope springs up in his soul. Instead of distressful fear there enters enlivening confidence in the help of Almighty God, and the more innocent and the better a man is, the sooner he recovers his courage. The pilot was the first to come out of his despondency. He had more experience in the world than both of his younger friends. A long course of years had taught him that no misfortune is so great as fear makes the same appear to us in the first moment; he had in his varied life, full of danger, often enough experienced that God's compassion never leaves the unhappy wholly without means of aid, and that the man acts in the wisest manner, and provides for his peace, when he carefully notices the good left to him, and leaves its result, which lies not in his power, to the guidance of his Creator.

In the midst of his deep anguish, the pilot recollected the comforting words of the Bible, "I will not leave thee nor forsake thee." These beautiful, tranquillizing words a friend had once uttered to him as he stood beside the grave of his parents; and as he at that time had experienced their consoling power, so they were not wanting now in their beneficial effect upon him. Inspirited by new courage he roused up.

"Friends! he began, "it is not our fault that we are here in this barren spot of the earth the prosecution of our business has brought us here. But we have sinned against God and ourselves, when we lost confidence in God, and allowed our spirits to sink. Up to the work! We must thus think of rendering our lot as tolerable as possible. We will labour; this is the surest means to conquer our disagreeable feelings."

"You are right," replied Gregory; "but what shall we do first?"

"We will search through the whole cavern. This is indeed in itself a business which will divert us, and certainly we shall discover many things which are of great value."

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With these words the pilot took the lamp, and scarcely had he advanced a few steps before he cried out, "Did I not tell you we should find many useful things?" MARIA. And what did he then discover?

FATHER. A large beautiful ship's lantern, which, although it had not been used for a long time, yet was in the best condition. "A beautiful article," said the old pilot, examining the lantern; "we will put it into a stand, and it will give us essential service!" Some handfulls of dried moss and leaves, which they found in the cavern, cleaned and soon polished the lantern. The pilot's handkerchief further than that if they ever came among nished a wick, bear's fat supplied the other men, they should seek out the capplace of oil; and in a few minutes the tain's heirs and repay the value of what beautiful ship's lantern, clear as crystal, they had found and used. From our hung at the entrance, giving light to the friends' honest mode of thinking, it may hut and cavern. be supposed that they did not think of doing otherwise.

MAX. I believe they ought to consider themselves as the lawful possessors of the articles found, because they belonged to no one. If they remained bere they were of no use to any one; and in time they would have been destroyed.

JULIA. It was here as in the case of the ship from which Robinson Crusoe took possession of everything he wanted. The ship was wrecked, no man was to be found on it, the next storm would have split it in pieces, and the things would have been lost.

"Our former inhabitants here must have been industrious and active men," said the pilot, looking around him; "they have laboured and enlarged the place here finely." "And if I do not err," Ivan interrupted him, "there are some chests yonder, which probably contain many things that may be useful to us!" In fact they found three chests, which, furnished with padlocks, stood on a platform, and were soon opened by the aid of

an axe.

MARIA. And what did they find in them?

FATHER. This view is correct. As for our friends, there was no obligation fur

FATHER. One of these chests must have belonged to the captain or some other Voyager of consequence. They found a considerable store of fine shirts, linen cloth, and articles of dress.

Gus. A valuable booty!

MARIA. But had they a right to take possession without anything further? Gus. Why, what a question! Was not our friend in need of them?

MARIA. Whether this, however, gave him a right, I do not know; nor whether Ivan and his friends generally had the right to look on everything which they found there as their property.

FATHER. Here indeed they had a right. But not because they needed the articles -for otherwise anyone who finds anything could retain it under such a pretence-but for other reasons. Max, what do you think they were?

Besides, they found many pieces of money, and solid gold, which as it was, in their present state of circumstances, utterly useless, they allowed to lie untouched. For this reason, they were yet more rejoiced at the contents of another chest. There they found mathematical and other instruments, a number of books, and among these, two, the sight of which filled the old pilot with the greatest delight. With tears of the most thankful joy, he pressed these books--a Russian Bible, and a Russian Hymn-book-to his heart. How they should have come into the captain's chest (as he was a Hollander) they could none of them conceive. But the good pilot saw in this a proof that God would not forsake him, but by His word, would maintain confidence in his heart, and fix it deeper there.

MOTHER. And in this faith the honest man was right. Here no one could say that blind chance governed events.

FATHER. The little business of unpacking the chests, which wore away some hours, had this advantage, that our friends were thereby diverted from their troubled thoughts, and became much more cheerful. Indeed, Gregory, whose more lively spirit a slight circumstance would iramediately put into a joyful mood, brought his friend Ivan so far, that he with him put on the captain's uniform, and even the pilot himself was obliged to admit

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FATHER. So too thought the merry Gregory. A cup of tea, a darling drink with sailors, appeared to him too agree able a thing, and he was not long in reminding his friends of it. There was wanting only one indispensable thing, namely, water. Gregory offered to go to the fountain, which, as you know, gushed out of the rock in the valley. So he hastened there, but he came back, quickly and completely troubled.

FATHER. Gregory had scarcely opened the door of the hut, than he observed the most dreadful storm which he had ever known. The snow came down in thick masses; the trench which surrounded the hut was already entirely filled with snow heaps, and the snow continually fell in such immense quantities, that it seemed as if the whole valley would be covered, and the hut itself, with the inhabitants, would be buried under the mass. Fearfully howled the tempest over the valley, and the masses of snow were hurled, roaring and dashing together, from the neighbouring rocks.

FATHER. What! unarmed as he was? This would have been the utmost madness, and have placed his life evidently in the greatest danger. Who then could accuse him of cowardice, when he, already startled greatly by the frightful weather, was utterly discomposed by the appearance

MAX. Now?-What was the matter of the beast? His friends were not much once more? less affrighted when with troubled countenance he returned back to the hut, and told of the unbidden guest. As usually was the case, the old pilot was the first to recover himself. "We cannot alter the weather," said he, "we must take that as it comes; as for Sir Shaggy-coat, the bear, we must set ourselves to work to put an end to him, if we do not wish to have more guests of the same sort." Without saying anything further, he took his gun standing in the hut, opened the door, and came out at the right moment to see how the bear had almost clambered up on the margin of the trench, and his body was already half over it. A single spring and the guest would have reached the door. Then the resolute pilot approached, fired, and the next moment the beast, struck by the ball, sunk bleeding to the ground.

MAX. Was he dead?

MAX. How came this frightful storm to burst out so all at once?

circumstances, Gregory could not think of carrying into execution his plan; he had by his rashness exposed himself to the greatest danger of his life. Had he gone to that valley, how could he have found his way back again? The storm would have blown him off from the ridge of the mountain, or he would have pitched into an abyss, and been lost without any rescue. This consideration, however, frightened him less; but how must he have felt at the moment, when in the feeble twilight he saw, only a few steps off from him, a monstrous black bear, which, roaring and growling, was making his way through the trench to the side on which the hut stood!

FATHER. It is commonly connected in those regions with the entrance of the half-year's night; and it was exactly on this day, that the sun for the first time in the year, did not rise above the horizon. That night had now begun, and it began the more gloomy, as the thick, and full snow clouds hindered the faint twilight of the heaven from being seen. In these

Gus. He wished to find some tea, or perhaps, would invite some of his fellows to it. But did not Gregory boldly attack him?

FATHER. That the brave marksman could not know, and it would have been most unpardonable for him to have taken it for granted. In order to be certain in the matter, he drew out his long pocketknife, and cut the monster's throat.

Besides this shot, the report of which rung through the open door of the hut, and penetrated even to the inmost portions of the cavern, gave occasion to an important discovery. Ivan, who was loading his gun, and stood at the entrance, heard how the report, like a rolling peal of thunder, struck on the walls of the cavern, and for a considerable time reverberated, and then died away gradually at some distance. He justly concluded, therefore, that the cavern, before the entrance of which stood the hut, must run far under the rocky mountain. This view he imparted to his friends, who were naturally of the same opinion. From this opinion they drew another conclusion. It might be supposed that the former inhabitants, accurately acquainted with this cavern, had arranged and used it, and hence too it was to be expected that many things would be found here, by the possession of which the condition of our friends would be considerably bettered. They therefore concluded to undertake a close investigation of the cavern, as, besides, the weather made every sort of business in the open air impossible.

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"But once more!" said the pilot, we must first bring our prey into safety; otherwise there might be a guest to take charge of him!" So they all three of them went out to the trench, in which lay the bear covered up by the snow, without giving a sign of life. It cost them indeed much trouble to heave up the beast over the margin of the trench; but they worked with united strength, and finally accomplished it, and carried the bear into the hut, where they skinned him, and cut up the flesh. 66 Now," said the pilot, after they had ended this work, "our booty will last us for some weeks; and Heaven will further take care of us. We shall not die of hunger!"

Gus. This man pleases me more and more on account of his courageous spirit. MOTHER. And me still more, because he is constant in his feelings, so active, and yet joins to it so unbounded a confidence in God. It is a noble thing when a man so thinks and acts!

FATHER. And in this situation precisely, the poor men needed most this confidence in God.

the severe labour, they went about that other business of which they promised themselves such great success-to search through the cavern. Every one of them took with him a burning lamp-they had found many articles of this kind among the things left by the former inhabitantshis tinder-box, and an axe; for their guns they did not need in this business.

Like a large desolate church, or hall, the cavern extended before them; high stout pillars, formed naturally from the rock, projected into the cavern, which bore up the roof of the broad vault, almost out of the reach of sight. The floor was smooth and covered with sand, and many footprints showed that the former inhabitants must have been very busy in this cavern.

The rock itself consisted of the hardest granite; some places in it shone glittering, others were covered by a dark obscurity, and the shadows of our friends showed themselves in peculiar shapes and forms, on the bare stone of the walls. But what attracted the special notice of the explorers, was the sight of many remains of reindeer, which lay gathered up in a corner.

MARIA. Why was this so very remarkable? These remains were certainly thrown there by the former inhabitants.

FATHER. True. But even this made the matter worth their attention. The reindeer is the greatest blessing for the inhabitants of those higher northern regions. It is used, as the horse is with us, for drawing burdens and for travel; its flesh is an extremely nutritious food, its milk yields butter and cheese, its hide and even its entrails are of use. All these things occurred especially to the pilot. He concluded, and very justly, that the former inhabitants must have had many of these beasts, and now aroseJulia, what wish was it?

JULIA. To have a stable full of these, as tame animals.

FATHER. Good. This would have given many fine pieces of meat, many pans of milk, and many pieces of butter.

MARIA. And then these beasts would afford (what yet must be considered) much labour and work.

FATHER. Very well observed. In short, there were so many things, which After they were somewhat rested from the pilot recollected. 1 But there was

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