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^nton the 4jpiIenran.BYFRANZ HOFFMANN.afloate4 frontm the (Oeman,BYM. A. MANDERSON.# PHILADELPHIA:" LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION.* 1871.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by theLUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States inand for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.STEREOTYPED BY J. FAGAN & SON, PHILADELPHIA.CAXTON PRESS OPSHERMAN & CO., PHILADELPHIA.
CHAPTER I.r PAGUTHE FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE 9CHAPTER II.THE OVERFLOW OF THE RHINE 31CHAPTER III.THE HUT IN THE FOREST . 72CHAPTER IV.DER YOGELHERD . 95SCHAPTER V.BEARDING THE LION IN HIS DEN 123vii
viii CONTENTS.CHAPTER VI.PAGOPERSECUTION 139CHAPTER VII.THE STRANGER'S RETURN 154I-
ANiON, THE FISHERMAN.CHAPTER ITHE FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE." Godliness with contentment is great gain."SKN one of the most beautiful portions ofGermany, upon the banks of the Rhine,scarcely half a mile distant from the vil-lage, but completely hidden from view by shelter-ing bush and garden, stood a lowly cottage. Farabove it, a high hill, covered from base to summitwith an undergrowth of green, abruptly reared itshead, crowned with a magnificent, stately castle."How very humble the cottage looked! yet sobright and neat, with its snow-white walls, its-windows glistening in the sunshine -so sweet and9
10 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.graceful, with its clambering roses and mantlingvines, which, with their loving tendrils and lux-uriant foliage, clothed wall and thatched roofwith beauty, that the thought involuntarilyarose: "Surely the dwellers of that bright,embowered cottage are good, contented, andhappy, although, it may be, poor."Happiness and content were certainly to befound beneath the roof of the fisherman's cottage;and Poverty, with her evil train, want, penury,and misery, had never passed the threshold.Neither were riches and abundance theirs, butwhat cared Anton the fisher and his good wifeMarie for these? They were content with theircottage, their stall, which sheltered the dearbrown-spotted cow, and their two goats, whichsported upon the neighboring hills: then, too,twelve motherly hens clucked and scratched inthe little farm-yard, or, lustily cackling, pro-claimed the fresh-laid egg. But cow, goats, andhens were not the only possessions of Anton.Behind the cottage lay a beautiful large garden;
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 11beyond it, a pretty meadow, fragrant with grassand herbs; and still farther, a good broad rangeof field-land, where Anton in adverse years raisednot only enough corn and potatoes for himselfand family, but also for the enclosed inmates ofstall and farm-yard, and, when the season wasgood, sold the surplus for bright, ready money.And besides these, had he not his boat, his nets,and Father Rhine with his fishes? which noneknew better than he how to entice. And beyondall, did he not dwell in a wondrously lovelycountry? one more charming could scarcely befound in all Germany.SEven to dwell in the midst of a charminglandscape is in itself a rich possession. Only thoseare truly forlorn and to be pitied, who, by theforce of circumstances, are compelled to exchangesuch a country for a dreary, desert plain, wherethe eye sees nothing but continuous heath, sand,dark fir-tree, or sterile field, overshadowed by aheaven of unchanging gray: then the longingsoul reverts continually to the lovely, bloom-''i.
12 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.ing land, with its sunny, vine-covered hills, itsshadowy woods, and the glorious streams in whoseclear flow mountain, castle, and town are mir-rored.It was evening. Serenely the sun sank downto his rest, and, as he bade adieu, bathed heavenand earth in a glow of golden light. The ailwas calm, although one had heard since noon thedistant mutterings of thunder, and there lay nowupon the far-distant horizon a mantle of dark-graycloud. Upon a low wooden bench beside the doorof the cottage sat Marie, the wife of the fisher, busilycutting the long, green bean-pods which she hadjust plucked for the morrow's dinner. A clear,sweet voice was heard from out the kitchen win-dow, which stood wide open, singing a simple,touching ballad, well known to all the dwellersupon the banks of the Rhine. Low down towardthe shore a stalwart man was mending a boat:it was the fisher, Anton, who was preparing forthe business of the following day, which in theearly morning would precede the first beams of
ANTON, THE FISHERMAV. 13the sun. Upon the waters of the Rhine, large sail-ing-vessels as well as smaller craft float up anddown, and occasionally a clear huzza is heardfrom on board ship or boat, as they pass by theshore where the fisher is at work, which is re-turned by Anton with a wave of his light capand an answering shout, as he for a moment sus-pends his work.Not far from the cottage a narrow road woundtoward the village: it was now quiet, for thevine-dressers had returned to their homes, andonly now and then a solitary belated travellerwas to be seen, to whom the young wife of thefisher gave a friendly "God greet you, and goodnight.""Father might stop workihg now: he has surelydone enough through the day," said Wilhelm, apretty, rosy-cheeked boy of nine or ten years old, tohis mother. " Even old Martin has gone past, whois always the last at his vineyard. Why needfather tire himself more than our neighbors in thevillage?"2
14 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN."He well knows that it is necessary for him towork, Wilhelm," answered his mother, smiling,and stroking the glowing cheeks of the boy. "Butlook: it seems to me as if father had just driventhe last nail in the plank, for he has laid the axeaside, and is now wiping the sweat from his brow.Run down quickly, and help him carry his tools!"The boy sprang up at once, and ran down tohis father. Anton threw him aloft, then caughthim in his strong arms, pressed him to his breast,and kissed him upon his full red lips."Why in such haste, Willie? what news. do"you bring? are the fish ready, and am I to come tosupper?" said he."I do not know, father," answered the boy,amidst the boisterous caresses of the fisher; "butI do know that you could make this a holidayevening, if you would only tell us a story ofthe olden time-of monsters and dragons, or ofKnight Roland, of the great Emperor Karl, or ofthe horned Siegfried! Pray do, dear father! An-nie has been expecting it so long, and mother is
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 15always ready to listen to any beautiful story youhave to tell us. Let me carry the axe, father,and the nail-box: they will not be too heavy forme; then you can take the rest of the things,and we will not have to return.""Now I see why you are in such haste," saidhis father, smiling and shaking his head. "I fearyou will be disappointed, Willie; for see, the sunhas gone down, and my boat must be put in order.If I am not greatly mistaken, much rain will fallS during the night. So carry the nails, axe, andother tools to the house, and I in the meanwhilewill draw the boat higher up on shore.""But afterward, father afterward?""We will see if sister Louisa can give us timebefore supper, for you know after that you littleones must go to bed. But mother beckons to us:the fish must be broiled, and we must hasten, orthey will be cold.""Oh! what a shame, that we will not hear astory to-day," lamented Willie while he raised theheavy axe upoi his shoulder, and lifted the box
16 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.of nails. "But, to-morrow, father-is it not so-to-morrow you will tell us ? "" Should there be nothing of importance to do,my child, I will," said Anton, consolingly. " Forto-day we will close our work, and our God bethanked for all his past goodness and mercy.Go on Willie!"The boy dragged his load up from the shore,and the father bore upon his strong arms andshoulders his boat to the cottage. The shore wasno steep, and the ascent to the cottage not diffi-cult, but he was obliged to set it down severaltimes, anid rest, before the goal was reached."Why are you taking so much trouble, An-ton," said his wife. " The boat would be just assafe there as up here: you will only be obligedto carry it down to-morrow.""That will not be as hard as bringing it up,"answered Anton with a smile, giving at the sametime his hard, strong hand to his wife. " Do younot know that 'prevention is better than cure' ?Father Rhine has his grumblings,-hark! there
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 17is heavy thunder: in all probability it will rain;and if the river should rise over night, our boatmight be drawn down the stream. Better toguard against than complain, Marie."": "The storm may not prove so dangerous as youanticipate: you are too solicitous, Anton!" saidhis wife, half reproachfully, half tenderly, herleft arm thrown around him, and wiping with thecorner of her apron his heated brow. "You worktre than there is any necessity for, and aremore industrious than any of our neighbors."" :I work because it is a pleasure: is it not forthee and our children? Thou too art always busy,Marie: our little cottage and family consume allthy time; that basket-full of beans is proof ofthy industry. Why were men placed in thisworld, if not to labor? Would you like me, Marie,; to exchange with our baron above there? See, hiswindows even now seem to us down here to gleamlike flames of fire. Poor old man! Excess andweariness allow him no true pleasure. Or shallxchange with his son, the young knightS2* B
18 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.Ottfried ? God forbid! he does not know how toemploy usefully one hour of the long day, and hein his youth is still worse off than his father.No, no, God preserve to me that which nowis mine-my noble wife, my children, and myhealth and I will 'sing unto the Lord as longas I live: I will sing praise unto my God whileI have my being.' ""Dear Anton," said his wife, earnestly, "youare so content, you envy no man's good, and yetyour life, from youth up, hils been full of troubleand deprivation.""Trouble? deprivation?" questioned Anton,in astonishment. "Of what have I been deprived ?have I not every blessing that heart could desire?What could one ask more of our Father in hea-ven, and what should call forth more gratitude,than health and our daily bread?"" But when you become old and weak, Anton?""Have we not our children?" said the fisher-man, casting a fond, bright glance upon the littleones, who at that moment came up from the shore
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 19: carrying the few remaining tools. "When weSare old and weak, will they not be young andstrong, and care for us, even as we have cared forthem in their helpless childhood ? Why shouldwe take thought for the morrow'? God hashelped us-is now helping us-and he will helpus to the end. Have you so little confidence inthe Almighty, my wife,that you thus dwell uponpast misfortunes and coming evils, while happi-e:ss is in our very midst ?"With much emotion Marie pressed the handSof her husband. But now appeared in the doorof the cottage a blooming young girl of fourteenor fifteen years, who told them the fish werethoroughly browned and must no longer be overthe fire."Bring them at once," answered Anton; "myappetite shall do honor to your skill! but bringthem out into the open air! why should we becramped in the narrow room, while God's beauti-ful world lies spread abroad so gloriously arcundus? "
20 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN."But the table is already set," answered themaiden, somewhat perplexed; "and while I moveit, the fish may burn.""Then let the removal be our care," saidAnton, good-humoredly. "Be quick, Marie, wewill carry the table out, and Willie and Annacan bring the chairs: be brisk, and in a momentall will be accomplished! The table was soonplaced upon a grassy spot near the cottage door,the children brought the chairs, and before Louisacame bearing the delicious broiled fish, every-thing was in beautiful order. Willie repeated ashort prayer, and then the father divided thesimple repast -to each an abundance, and toeach one did it taste most exquisitely, becauseprovided by the skill and industry of their father.After the frugal meal, the children bade them acheerful good-night and were taken to their bedsby Louisa; after which it was not long until thediligent maiden had restored every plate andbowl to its proper place.Anton and his wife were once more alone, and
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 21azed with peaceful hearts out into the beautiful,agrant, summer landscape. The glow of thevening had vanished, but a soft faint twilightj immered in the distance, and now the full moonaose, flooding the whole landscape with a mellow,"rdiant light. A gentle breeze from the riveroled and refreshed them after the sultry day:the remotest distance the lightning quivered.og time had Anton and Marie sat thus,coammuning with their own thoughts,they were aroused by hasty footsteps, andon the -instant Louisa appeared in the clearmoonshine, hastening toward the river."; "fWhere so late, Louisa, my child?" saidAnton, as she passed by."Only to do some washing and rinsing,"returned the maiden's clear voice. " The eveningis mild and pleasant, and when I rise early inthe morning the clothes will all be dry. I havestrung the line in the garden."And as fleetly as she came, so she vanished;and soon from the river came the sound of plash-
22 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.ing water, caused by the exertion of I ouisa'senergetic arms."Noble girl! noble to the very depths of herheart," said Anton, after a pause; "ever busy,ever content, and ever cheering us with her sweetsongs. The dear child has surely brought ablessing into our little cottage!'""Oh! Anton, dear husband," said Marie, in avoice full of emotion, " you bear also this burdenI have placed upon you, with patience and kind-ness; you have, in all these many years, neverspoken to her save with words of love; andyet-""Well yet? Speak, Marie," said Anton, ashis wife hesitated." It is one burden more for you," she said, weep-ing: "you would not have to labor so severelyif Louisa were not with us.""How so, wife? " returned the fisher, with mildreproof. "'Louisa, thy sister's child, a care, aburden for me? she who is constantly adding toour happiness by her cheerfulness and diligence,
ANTON, THE FISHERMAY. 23who, from early dawn until twilight, is ever as1active as now ? Have you forgotten how she caredfor you, last spring, when you were sick? or, howshe watched beside the couch of our little Anna,taking no thought for herself, in that most malig-nant of fevers? Should she be a burden to me?gow, good wife, what further fancies to-day?""Ah II have been thinking how much freer^fom care and more fortunate you would haventon, if you had never seen me," saidMare. " When we were married, I did not ex-pect to come empty-handed into thy house; for allthought the school-master of Emmenbach, my-dear father, was a wealthy man. Then, when, afew weeks after our marriage, my father died,:then it appeared that-ah! I am ever unhappywhen I think of that sorrowful day! "" What appeared then, my dear wife?" askedAnton, while he tenderly stroked her cheeks stillwet with tears; "what appeared?""Thou knowest, Anton," she continued. "Themerchant in Bonn, to whom our father confided
24 ANTON, THE FISHERMAY.all our little fortune, because he thought him hismost faithful friend when he became a bankrupt,and a fugitive, then we, of all our father possessed,received not even a kreuzer; and so it happenedthat poor Louisa became a desolate orphan. Andfinally the baron too denied the debt of fivehundred gulden, which my father lent him, oneyear before his death, in my presence. So thou,poor Anton, instead of bettering thy circum-stances by bringing me to thy cottage--thouhast only made them worse; and often, often myheart is heavy, when I think of this."She still wept as before. Anton pressed herto his breast, and tenderly kissed her brow."My dear wife," said he, "have you entirelyforgotten what a treasure the dear Lord hasgiven me in thee? Dwell not happiness, peace,and tender love beneath the roof of our littlecottage? Have I to tell thee again and againthat I would not exchange thee and my dearchildren for all the treasures of the world ? No,no, Marie! wealth does not bring happiness: that
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 25is only to be found in a satisfied, contented spirit.Our God has always helped us, and for this let uspraise him with all our hearts, and glorify hisname forevermore. 'The young lions do lack, andsuffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shallnot want any good thing.' He has blessed ourland, and my nets, so that we need not care forthe morrow. Why lament over losses we can soeasily bear ? No more of this, dear wife; we knowthat they shall all work together for our good.That man in whom your father confided, can henot one day return, and replace all that he, fromthe pressure of circumstances, could not savefrom the whirlpool which swallowed him up inits depths. Your father always believed him tobe a just man; and when he fled, we knew he wasno fraudulent bankrupt. He deserved far morecompassion than contempt and hatred. Let uscast no stone upon the fallen.""I hate him not: I only grieve that we wereinvolved in his misfortune," answered Marie."But the baron! have you excuses for him? he3
26 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.is rich: is it not shameful that he denies hisdebt? If we only had that five hundred gulden,we could purchase two acres of field-land, andgive no thought to the morrow. No! whateverexcuse you may offer, Anton, I despise the baron.""And I pity him," answered the fisherman,reflectively. "There are many secrets whisperedabout the old lord, and if he does not pay hisdebt, may it not rather be because he cannot,than because he will not? 'All is not gold thatglitters,' and the baron, in his magnificent castle,is not so light and joyous in mind as are we inour humble cottage. If one could but fathomthe heart of man, probing its very depths, ah!there would often be found anguish, trouble,care, and bitterness, in place of the looked-forjoy and happiness. Think no more of the baron!Who knows but that he has paid back long agothe five hundred gulden to thy father?""No; oh! no," returned the- -young wife withdecision; "a short time before his death he re-minded me of the loan; so that I could not for-
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 27get it; and I have no doubt but that he wouldhave shown me the place where he kept thebond, had not death so suddenly overtaken him.""The bond has vanished; let us think nomore about it," said Anton. "I would muchrather find out something about the father of ourdar Louisa, who' has not been heard of for sonany years. Did your father never tell youg abouthim, Marie?"ng. He knew not whether he was dead" Do you know nothing of his past history,after he became acquainted with your poor sisterAnna, and came to your house to live?""But very little," answered Marie. "At thattime I was but a child, and remember him onlyas a handsome, stately man, with large, earnestblack eyes, and dark curly hair. He was wan-dering up the Rhine, and came on foot to ourhouse one evening, intending to journey farther;but, instead of doing so, remained with us, notonly the next day, but many days and weeks,
28 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.under the pretence of learning the German lan.guage from father. Afterward he married mypoor sister; then he left us, and never, neverreturned. My sister, in silent grief, awaited-his return, and, after two or three years, Godtook her to himself. She died in the firm con-viction that her husband had passed away, andshe would meet him again in heaven. AfterAnna's death my father never spoke of him, buthe loved the little Louisa with his whole heart.He too believed in Oscar's death; and who couldentertain a doubt but that the poor fellow hadsuddenly been called away. He may have beenshipwrecked; for when he bade us farewell, hesaid he intended visiting Scotland, his nativecountry. Perhaps he died there of sudden dis-ease, or perished by accident among the moun-tains of his fatherland: certain it is, however,that through some unavoidable fate he was pre-vented from returning to us; for he was goodand noble, and loved us even as we lovedhim."
A TON, THE FISHERMAN. 29"" And did your father never make any inquiryabout him? " said Anton."He wrote to Scotland, but his letter re-turned unopened. Poor man, he could not betraced.""Ten or eleven years have passed since then,"said Anton, "no one hearing of him during allthat time! Then we must surely, even thoughSwith reluctance, give up all hope of his return.SI fear that our poor Louisa has indeed buther Father in heaven; and so much the more isSit our duty -we who are her nearest relatives -to cherish the desolate orphan. But see! she is. returning from the river, and I do not wish herp to know we have been speaking of her or herfather. The air, too, from the river is cold. Letthe past rest, as we too seek rest for the' night."Soon deep stillness reigned: far in the distancequivered the lightning; the thunder was notdistinct, but mingled its low mutterings with theS soft murmurs of the Rhine, whose restless wavesS 8*
30 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.ever hastened toward the sea. Within the littlecottage all was repose; the tired dwellers slept,after the burden and heat of the day, the softrefreshing sleep of the just.
CH1 APTER II.THE OVERFLOW OF THE RHINE."When thou passest through the waters, I will be withree ad through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee."T was about two or three o'clock in theSmorning, when the fisherman suddenlyawoke from his deep slumber. Halfdreaming, he listened. A singular roaring sound-S ed in his ear. It seemed to him as though he satin his fishing-boat, and the swelling waves beatagainst the shore. Dense darkness surroundedhim, for the moon had long gone down." " "What can it be ?" murmured Anton to him-self. "Do I dream, or am I awake? Am I inmy boat, or in my cottage?" A sudden terror"took possession of him. With an effort he satupright in his bed and cried aloud, " Wake up!81
32 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.wake up, for God's sake, or we shall all bedrowned!""What is it, Anton?" cried the bewilderedwife, as she was suddenly aroused out of sleep."The water! the water!" returned Anton."The Rhine has overflowed! Hear you nothow it pours through every crevice of our cot-tage ? Surely I had a presentiment of this; andfor this emergency, by God's good guidance, Ibrought my boat from the shore. Be tranquil,my dear wife; the danger is not so imminent butthat we will be able to escape with but verylittle trouble. Throw some clothing around thechildren. I will see, in the mean time, how itlooks without." Anton sprang hastily from hisbed into the midst of the room. "Alas!" criedhe, "it is worse than I thought! The water isalready more than ankle deep. It must havestormed fearfully up the Rhine, to have causedsuch a rise during the night; but I have thetinder, and we shall soon see." The match wasapplied, and soon a blue flame lighted the little
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 33om, and in a moment the lamp was burning.ey. soon saw that the floor was covered a footdeep with water, and that it was streaming inpidly through the crevices of the door.".. "W e are lost! we are lost!" cried the af-frighted mother. "Life- home! all, all will theflood carry away! "Anton was also alarmed, but through a vig-orous exertion regained his self-control. " Becalm, dear wife," he said; "our boat is mooredbeside the door, and the oars are in it. Thewater rises rapidly, but time enough remains atleast to save our lives. Dress the children, andSI will secure the boat."S A complaining bellow, at that moment, as ifS-imploring help, came from out the stall."Ah! Anton, our poor cow and goats!"sighed Marie."If I cannot save the poor creatures, I will atleast set them free," said Anton, decidedly. Theymay save themselves; but they shall not, with-out a struggle, miserably perish." Quickly rais-C
34 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.ing a window, he sprang into the yard. Herethe water reached to his waist. He wadedthrough, and succeeded in reaching the stable.The bolt was hastily drawn, and the door thrownwide open. The poor creatures were soon freed,and, impelled by fright, fled through the gardenand beyond, disappearing in the mist and dark-ness of the night. The chickens fluttered, cack-ling noisily, from tree to tree. Anton left themto their fate, and sorrowfully returned to thecottage." Hasten, Marie," said he; "the water is risingrapidly. Not a moment is to be lost, if wewould save our lives. Where is Louisa?""I am here, father," said the child, as shedescended the steps which led to the lower floor.She was pale, but calm and self-possessed. Marietoo had aroused herself from the stupor of herfright, andcast, with trembling hands, the cloth-ing around the loudly weeping children. Antonaddressed them encouragingly, as he searchedfor his boat near th3 entrance of the house; for
S ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 35upon that alone, with the help of God, restedtheir hopes of safety. The water rushed wildlytoward him, so that he could scarcely keep hisS et, but, putting forth his whole strength, heforced his way through. A cry of joy escapedShis lips when he found the newly repaired boatupon the spot on which he had placed it the pre-ceding evening. The wildly raging flood soughtto tear it away, but chain and stake held it firm.With strong arm he pushed the boat close bythe door of the cottage, where he secured it byits chain to a post." "God be thanked, the means of our rescuehas not been snatched from us," said he, as he,re-entered the room, in which the' water, in themean time, had risen until it now reached hisknees. "Hurry! Marie. Let me take Willie:I will carry him to the boat; then I will comeback for Anna and you. Hasten! every momentis precious!" As he spoke, a trunk of a tree ora beam, he knew not which, added force to hiswords, for, borne by the rushing waves, it thun-
36 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.dered like a battering-ram against the walls ofthe little cottage, and shook it to its foundations.Marie and the children shrieked aloud withfright. Anton heeded not this new danger, butquickly seized his trembling boy and hastenedwith him to the boat, where he gently placedhim, commanding him to remain quiet and com-posed. Again returning to the little cottage, hewas met by Louise, with the little Anna in herarms."Brave girl!" cried Anton, taking the littleone from her. " Do you get in first, and I willhand you the child. Now for my dear wife, andthen away, with God's help, to the nearest hill."When the room was again reached, he foundMarie sobbing, as she busied herself in trying tosave from the flood such of their goods as laynear at hand. A drawer of her clothes-press stoodopen, and with trembling hands she drew forththe linen and clothing; but either her bewilder-ment was too great or her strength was inade-quate, for what she grasped fell again from her
AN TON, THE FISHERMAN. 37powerless hands, and floated about in wild con-fusion through the water."Let be, good wife, let be!" cried Anton; "wehave no time to gather the clothing from chestor press; besides, the boat dare not be overladen,if I am to carry her safely through these wildlystorming waves.""But if our cottage should be torn away,"cried Marie, wringing her hands in her grief-"then is all, yes, all lost I""Labor and saving can gather together everything again," answered her husband, as he caughther up in his strong arms. "The cottage maybid defiance to the storm, and remain firm: whenthe water subsides, it will be time enough to lookafter our trifling goods. But now, before all else,let us try to save our lives: follow me withoutfurther delay."A second concussion from without struck thecottage: this time it seemed truly to tremble.Marie no longer hesitated: aided by her hus-band, she left the ravaged room with tears more4
38 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.bitter than those shed but a few short hours before,and followed him to the boat. Anton quicklylifted her in, sprang after her, and was in theact of unloosening the chain, when a loud cry ofgrief from his wife restrained him. "What isit, Marie?" he exclaimed, in deadly fright;'" hasany one fallen out of the boat ?"" No, oh, no " she answered; " but -my Bible!my dear old Bible! the last memento of my dearfather,, that he intrusted to me only a fewmoments before his death. Anton, if I lose myBible, I will never be happy again!""Thou shalt have it, Marie !" said Anton, de-cidedly; "the Holy Book, that has afforded us somany peaceful, blessed hours, it shall not be lostin the waves,, if we are saved."And before Marie's cry of distress could with-hold him, he sprang again into the cottage, tookthe book from the shelf over the door, where itwas always kept, and returned to his wife intriumph."There, thou hast thy treasure, dear Marie,
ANTON THE FISHERMAN. 39and my thanks that thou didst remind me of it,"said he. "I would never have forgiven myself"if we had come away without our Bible. NowI am satisfied. God's word is with us; what harmcan the fierce waves do us ? therefore will notwe fear, though the waters thereof roar and betroubled: the Lord of hosts is with us; the Godof Jacob is our refuge.'"Marie pressed closely to her bosom the HolyBook-then laid it in her lap: with her armsthrown around her children she cowered downwith them in the boat. Anton now loosed thechain, and seized the oars: scarcely was the workaccomplished, when the frail vessel was swept bythe wild, raging waters, into the whirlpool withsuch violence, that the skilled, strong hand ofthe fisher could scarcely keep her head to thewaves. Gradually, to their great joy, the morn-ing dawned. It was comparatively easy, in theincreasing light, to avoid those obstacles whichthreatened destruction to their light craft. Manya beam and timber they encountered, but soon
40 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.they reached the open stream, on which theworst they had to dread was the capsizing of theirlittle boat by hidden rocks or sunken trees."Can I not help you, father ?" asked Louisa,as Anton pushed bravely on, stemming theplunging, roaring waters. "I should like todo something to help you.""You may, my child, you may," returned herfoster-father; "lay hold of the rudder, and pressit hard to the right, until the bow of the boatpoints toward that projection, which this momentthe dawn enables us to see: if we reach it we aresaved; and with God's help we will reach it."Louisa at once obeyed these instructions, andturned the rudder as directed. Anton workedwith redoubled zeal, and, after a laborious half-hour, the boat grounded upon the longed-forpoint. Many others had already taken refugeupon this place of security, and eager arms wereoutstretched to seize the chain which Antonthrew toward them, lest the boat be torn awayby the dashing, boisterous waves, while he
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 41brought his precious load in safety to shore;When all were safe, the boat was drawn up onland: then Anton shook gratefully the hands ofhis kind neighbors, who were mostly vine-dressersfrom out the cottages near the village." But, friends, why did you not take refuge inthe castle, that was much nearer to you thanthis hill?""It was too late, Anton," answered Martin, anold farmer; "the flood came with such violence,that the whole village was inundated before wewakenedc out of sleep. The moat between thevillage and the castle was full of water; sonothing remained for us but to take refuge here.Our boats, fortunately, were at hand, and thetorrent drove us hither, without any exertion onour part. Our lives are saved; but what hasbecome of our homes, and our poor animals, weknow not.""Hope for the best, neighbors," said Anton."The poor creatures have instinct, and willstruggle for their L yes, even as we have done.4*
42 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.They have certainly been washed somewhereupon land, and, when the water subsides, willreturn again to their homes. You were better:off in the village than I in my little cottage,which lies so near the river. I hardly expect,to-morrow, to find one stone or beam upon an-other. But let us not dwell upon this. Theeverlasting God is still ours. He is our refugeand strength, a very present help in trouble.""Truly, Anton, we all hope, with all ourhearts, it may be so for thee," said Martin, press-ing warmly the hand of his friend. "A noblerman than thou art cannot be found in all thecountry round. But hark! what is that ? Surelyit is the alarm-bell in our village! It may besome unfortunate has remained, whose life is nowin danger."All listened breathlessly for a moment. Theyhoped old Djartin might have been mistaken;but they were soon convinced it was surely thevillage bell, whose hasty, repeated strokes rever-berated over the sounding waters.
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 43A cry of pity broke from them all. "Whocan the unhappy one be ? If help is not affordedqt once, he is lost! Who is it? Who can it be?"cried twenty voices together. " Speak! Jacob."Jacob was the host of the little inn of the vil-lage. "Late yesterday evening," said he, "pastten o'clock, there came a stranger to my inn,who desired a night's lodging. I quartered himin my attic room, because I had no other placeto offer; and in the haste of the flight no oneremembered the stranger, who apparently is only"now conscious of his danger, and has fled to thetower, in order to make known his peril by thealarm-bell, and now calls for help. But whocan help him in this flood ? Who dare ventureto battle with this wild torrent ?""Let us wait until it is lighter; we can thentell whether your belief is well grounded," saidMartin. "The sound of the bell from the castleof the baron can be heard down here.""That cannot be. The baron is safe, eventhough the water would rise a hundred yards."ul** "r;' "
44 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN."But could he not ring the bell as a signalthat they are threatened with danger? Thesound of the alarm-bell reaches far.""It is not improbable that the baron shouldgive such a signal," said Anton; "but I do notthink it is so; and the tone of that bell soundsto me like the bell from our village.""To me also! to me also! " cried other voices."It is our bell; and, if Jacob is not mistaken,the stranger must be imploring help. The oldchurch-tower stands upon a weak foundation,and if the water rages around it, it may, at anymoment, be overthrown.""Yes, yes! the effort must be made to savethe man," said old Martin; "but wait awhile-the sun will soon rise, and then we can see moreplainly how to proceed. It is certainly some-thing unusual for the bell to sound so continu-ously."All were silent, and listened again. At thatvery moment the signal was repeated, and-theplaintive, imploring tones, as they wailed over
ANTON, THE FISHIERMAN. 45the rushing, roaring water, made every heartshudder.At length it was day. The first golden beamsSof the sun quivered over the wide waste ofwaters, and glittered clear upon the gilded spireof the village tower. As far as the sight couldreach, the whole level plain, on both sides of theriver, was covered with troubled, muddy waves,which wildly foamed along, amid trees, houses,and villages. Only some high points projectedfrom the flood the castle of the baron, andthe church-tower, which last even now stoodhalfway in the water which surrounded it. Thetops of the roofs of the more lowly houses couldscarcely be seen above the swelling waves."It is extraordinary how such an inundation"could have occurred," said old Martin. "Theremay have been violent showers of rain fartherup the Rhine; but a flood so wild as this hasnever been known in this place within the mem-ory of man.""Look there!" interrupted Anton, pointing
46 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.up the stream. "Do you not see- there, wherethe river foams like a cataract? The dam hasbroken at that place, and has brought upon usall this trouble."All eyes were turned toward the designatedspot. Anton had seen aright. About a milefrom the hill on which they stood was distinctlyvisible a broad breach in the dyke, and thecause of the sudden, mighty inundation was atonce made plain to all." It must have been a faulty place," said oldMartin. "It is bad enough that we have beensurprised; but we may hope, as the waters havecome so inconceivably quick, that they will alsoas quickly subside. But what has happened tothe stranger ? I no longer hear the bell!"The attention of all, which for some momentshad been diverted, turned again toward thetower."I see something white waving from out thetower window " cried several voices."There is no longer any doubt: there is a
ANTO.N, THE FISHERMAN. 47man in the tower," said Martin. "He rang thebell while it was dark, as a signal, and now thatit is light, he waves his handkerchief. He mustbe helped, and that right quickly. The poorfellow is in great danger, and the risk in-creases every moment. Before we can plan hisescape, the tower may be swept away by thethundering waves; and then God be mercifulto the doomed one. Up, men! Here are boatsin plenty! Jump in, and forward, in God'sname!"Deep silence followed the call of the old man,With sullen, undecided countenances, the mengazed upon the foaming, whirling flood, whichbore away upon its angry surface uprooted trees,old timbers, and many a household treasure -measuring, as they looked, the distance fromtheir safe refuge to the church-tower, fromwhich the signal fluttered." It is impossible," a timid voice now answered,after a long pause. " Only look, father Martin,we must steer against the current, and the waves
48 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.rush so rapidly toward us that breath andstrength would soon be lost.""And the timbers and rafters," said another."A collision with one of these would crush ourboats to atoms: it is not possible. Shall we placeour own lives in jeopardy to save the life of onewhom none of us knows-who does' not evenbelong to our village? I, for one, will not doit: I will not.""Neither will I!" "Nor I!" muttered severalothers, "to save a stranger, lose our own lives:no! no!"" Then, too," said one, in the midst of the group,"the tower still stands, and who knows that itwill not stand until the water subsides? Theflood cannot last long, as you yourself havesaid, father Martin! ""But the mortal terror of the wretched man:do you count that as nothing ? Shame upon youto delay, when, it might be, you could rescue afellow-man. I tell you again, the foundation ofour tower is weak; you all know that even during
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 49/this year it has given way; and no one can-dou b but that it will fall before two hourselapse, if the water rages around it that long;and none of you think the water will subside inhat length of time. Before evening it willscarcely lower enough to admit of crossingwithout swimming."" "True, Martin; but look at the timbers theus. of trees -the depth you cannot reckon;theask yourself if it is possible to get there: Not one of us will even dare to make the"I will dare it," now said fisher Anton, whohad hitherto been silent, but with watchful eyebad noted every eddy and current. "See there,"men! We must drive down stream a short dis-tance, until we reach that point, where the rivermakes a sharp bend; thence we will cut across thestream, and reach yon channel, which lies smoothas a mirror, between the foaming currents on eachside. Then, putting forth all our strength, werill row up stream, until we can alter our course,6 D
50 ANTON, THE FISHERMANand, without much more trouble, we can gain thetower, take the stranger on board, and our returnwill be an easy matter, for we will drive with thestream, and, by the clear light of day, every ob-stacle will easily be avoided. Courage, friends!give me one pair of strong arms, beside my own,and I will dare it."" Bravo!" said Martin; "not a braver heart'beats than thine: I repeat it; and thou art right:in this way it is possible to struggle againststream, and reach the tower: nothing is neededbut a steady hand and a sure eye. Now, then,men! which among you shall it be to go withour brave Anton to the rescue? "The men were still silent. "We have lostenough already," muttered at last a growlingvoice. " Who will assure us that our lives willnot be lost in this venture ? I will not go.""Nor will I, not for the whole world," saidanother, as they stubbornly turned away, withangry, lowering looks, and not a word more wouldthey utter.
S ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 51"'*" Well then, in God's name, I will try it' alone!" said Anton. "It grieves me deeply toe' e how desperately the poor man implores our* aid. And he shall at least have the comfort ofknowing that some one attempted his rescue!4-f no one will accompany me, I go alone !"" "Ah, Anton I think of thy children," sobbedM arie, with anguish, as she clung to her husband.#thou shouldst drown, Anton, they will be:." They will have a Father in heaven! " whis-Spered Anton, softly. "Weep not, dear wife! letSme go I it will infuse strength into these armsif you consent to this good work! Reflect, Marie,that poor, forsaken man may, too, be a father,whose death would cause his children to weephot, bitter tears. Suppose I stood there, mywife, and prayed in my anguish for succor, andS implored help with the tones of that bell, andno one, no one listened to me, or had pity uponme how then, Marie? how then? No, letme go, dear wife! My heart will not passivelyk 'e
52 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.suffer me to consent to a death which I mayprevent.""Go!" said Marie, and a noble expressionanimated her countenance; "go, and the AlmightyGod go with thee! Has He not said,' When thoupassest through the waters, I will be with thee;and through the rivers, they shall not overflowthee.'"Tenderly Anton pressed his brave wife to hisbreast, hastened resolutely to his boat, and by asingle effort of his stalwart arm launched it uponthe stream."Will no one," he cried, at the last moment."will no one help me?"Not a word of reply: the old man shook hisgray head sorrowfully. " If I would not be morea burden than a help to you," said he with grief,"I would not see you go alone. But this arm isweak: it can no longer wield the oar or steer theboat.""But mine can: I have proved it, father!" crieda clear, soft, childish voice," and Louisa, the fos.
A NTON, THE FISHERMAN. 53ter-daughter of Anton, rushed forward, and, withcheeks glowing with enthusiasm, leaped into theboat, and took hei place at the helm. "Row,S father, row," she said; "we two are enough toforce this light boat through the rapids."" " Well then,' GoD WITH us!'" said Anton, afterS he had waited a short time, to see if shame wouldhot drive one or the other of the men to takeLouisa's place. A vain hope I"On, then, my brave girl! we will -renture,and rely upon the protection of Heaven. Fare-S well, Marie! farewell, my children! Soon, I hope,you will see us return in safety. Another effort,and the boat was fairly started.Anton sprang in, and seized the oar: quicklythe little craft was driven by the torrent downstream.With mingled emotions the bystanders gazedafter the boat. In many a heart shame was busy,but all joined heartily in the wish that the nobledeed of the brave fisher should be crowned with1 cess. Marie, white and trembling, sank upon
54 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.her knees, beseeching God for the safety of herhusband: Jer children, kneeling at her side, prayedwith her. Old Martin, deeply moved, laid hishands in blessing upon the bowed heads of thelittle ones."Be comforted," said he; "God is with yourfather; his Almighty power will make a path forhim, and the waves will be powerless to de-stroy."Truly, it seemed as though all the wishes andprayers for the success of Anton had prevailed,for quickly and securely the light boat flew overthe foaming billows to the spot where he mustmake the expected turn, in order to gain the quietwater."This is the place, Louisa," said he: "quick!round the helm! so! And now -Heaven is withus! "The boat had turned, and was in the midst ofthe weakest current: however it was always strongenough to make it necessary for Anton to exerthimself to the utmost, and in a few moments the
A..TON, THE FISHERMAN. 55clear drops of sweat rolled down his forehead.Louisa saw them, and made a quick resolve.Unloosening her apron, she with it lashed therudder fast, so that it coild not move out of itsplace." What are you doing, my child ? " asked Anton;"why lash the rudder ? "" So that I can have my arms free to help thee,father I" answered Louisa. "We must now tend,by degrees, a long distance up stream; and it isbetter that I take the oar, and let the helm beas it is: when we have to turn, I can unbindit in a moment "With these words, she took the oar, and dippedit in the water. She was not unaccustomed tomanage a boat: frequently had she used the oar,sometimes for pleasure, and sometimes to assisther foster-father in his business as a fisher: herhelp at this moment was most opportune;the boat glided quickly through the current,and Anton needed no longer to labor to exhaus-tion.0
56 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN."We will succeed! we will surely succeed, mygirl," said he; "in a little while, only one shortquarter of an hour, and we will reach the point,where we will turn, and again drive with the cur-rent; then will we be opposite the tower, wherethe foam rears itself like a crest; then the worstdifficulties will have been overcome. Only aquarter of an hour, my child!""I can hold out, father," answered the maiden,courageously, and with flashing eye; "I am notat all tired, and the nearer we approach ourgoal the more spiritedly I can work." On andstill on she guided the little craft, avoiding withconsummate skill the numerous obstacles theyencountered, and animated with fresh couragewhen the path lay free before her. At lengththe point was reached where they could againturn, and drive with the current. They bothbreathed more freely--the severest labor wasover all that remained to be done was to thembut child's play.A moment more and the tower was gained,
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 57and the boat moored close by one of the windowsof the old tower.The stranger, a stately man, with a darkbronzed countenance, large earnest black eyes,heavy beard, and of distinguished bearing, stoodin the arched window, and stretched both armstoward his rescuers."Thank you, thank you, my brave man, mynoble maiden!" called he in a deep rich voice,but with a slightly foreign accent. "You havecome most opportunely, for the tower swayseven now under my feet, and threatens everymoment to fall, and bury me in its ruins.""Truly, truly, here it stands no longer firm,"answered Anton; "and therefore delay not, butjump quickly into the boat, so that we can atonce leave this dangerous neighborhood. Takemy hand, now-sure and steady; soon will wefind ourselves safe on shore."The stranger leaped into the boat, and satdown, as he took the oar out of Louisa's hand."You have done enough for me, dear child,"
58 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.said he; "now suffer me to do some little towardmy own rescue. I know how to use an oar, andif I only could have had a boat, I would nothave been in the perilous situation from whichyou have so nobly delivered me." The boat, witha new impulse, darted into the midst of the wildwaters.The light boat flew along, and soon againreached the point where many anxious heartsawaited their return, with faint hope and ardentlonging.Anton sprang upon shore, and pressed hiswife and children to his bosom, who wept forjoy, amidst the loud congratulations of thosesurrounding them. Louisa especially was theobject of their commendation and praise. Thestranger, standing close by, gazed with emotionupon the young girl, without whose resolutecourage his rescue would have been almost im-possible."Wonderful, this resemblance! " murmuredhe to himself. "So must she have looked in her
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 59youth.-What is your name, my child?" heSsaid, suddenly turning to Louisa, who blushinglylistened to the praises of old Martin and the restof the villagers."Louisa," she answered; "and this is my goodSfather, Anton, the fisher.The stranger softly sighed, and drew his handover his brow, as if he could by so doing wipeaway some painful reminiscences."I will remember thee, dear maiden, theeah sd thy father: now I can do no more thanSoffer thee my hearty thanks for thy timelysuccor.""And that is needless, dear sir," said the fish-erman, who had heard the words of the stranger."What we did was our duty, and the satisfactionof your rescue is reward enough for that shortexertion. But see! truly we were barely intime; the old tower sways more and more:there! it has gone! the water has spared themason the trouble of carrying it away."SAt that moment, as all gazed intently, the
60 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.spire bowed itself, and suddenly the whole old,decayed structure fell a mass of ruins, and dis-appeared beneath the foaming waves.For some moments deep silence reigned overthe group; then suddenly there resounded a loudcheer for Anton, and ten or twelve rough handswere outstretched to grasp his. The noble deedincreased in value when it became apparent howpressing the necessity had been. The stranger,when the agitation was somewhat allayed, drewAnton's arm within his own, and led him a littleto one side."My friend," said he, "you nave now beenconvinced that I have you and your noble daugh-ter to thank for my life. Without your imme-diate, manful help, I would now be lying underthose ruins, in a watery grave, and death wouldnever have been to me more unwelcome thanjust now, when -" The stranger checked him-self, muttering, "But it is not yet time!" andthen resumed, "I pray you, friend, answer mehonestly one question will you ?"
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 61"Right willingly, dear sir, if it will give youany pleasure," answered the fisherman, smil-S ingly."Well, then, you have a wife and children.Are your circumstances such that it is easy foryou to maintain them ?"Anton bowed his head, and a dark shadowclouded his brow. "Yes, it was easy," said he,in a suppressed voice. "I had a cottage, garden,field, and cat'le; but this wild flood has carriedall away. I know not if even the wals of myhouse still stand. I know not if my small pieceof ground is not so laid waste that years maypass before it again bear fruit. Nevertheless,"added he, confidently, " the Everlasting God isthe same yesterday, to-day, and forever. He hashelped us in the past, and he will help us in thedays to come. Why art thou cast down, O mysoul, and why art thou disquieted within me ?'Yes, I will hope in God; I will praise him for thehelp of his countenance. These arms have notlost their strength; they must labor, so that6
62 ANTON, THE FISIERMAN.my dear ones shall not want their daily bread.Then there is still my boat. The nets have beenwashed away,. but a little patience will soonremedy that. Yes, yes, dear sir, he who works,trusting in the Lord, will always find enough tomaintain him."" Spoken like a noble, upright man! " said thestranger, as he pressed Anton's hand. " We willspeak of this again. For the present, I havesaved, no more than you out of the flood -merely my life. If I come into possession againof my portmanteau, which is buckled behindmy saddle -but we must wait. In the meantime, I cannot remain here until the waters sub-side, for urgent business obliges me to proceed.I will see you again, my friend. But now tellme your name. They call you here the fisherAnton; but that cannot be your whole name.""No; it is because there is more than oneAnton in the village, that they call me after myoccupation. Mv7 proper name is Anton Steid-bach."
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 63"Thank you for the information," said theB s (stranger, at the same time writing upon his tab-l lets, which he drew out of the breast-pocket ofhis coat. " And what will you do, if your worstconjectures are realized, and you find your farmdesolated ?""I cannot now say with certainty," answeredAnton: "it will depend upon circumstances. Imay have to carry on some other branch of in-dustry: in that case I may be obliged to go farfrom our village.""Remain in this place, and I will know whereto find you again when the right time comes.For the present, farewell. Heaven protect theeand thine, my brave deliverer! Share with methe little I have in my purse. There are twoS gold-pieces-one for thee, and one for me.No refusal, man! I cannot do more at thistime. Bonn lies not far from here, and thereA-usuifent resources await me. But necessarilyAme time must elapse while you seek and obtainB work: you may need a little money. No denial
64 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.take it! I will now speak a few words with myhost, whom I see among these men."Forcing the gold-piece into Anton's hand, heleft him suddenly. For a few moments he spokein an undertone to the host, courteously greetedonce more his rescuers, and with hasty stepssoon disappeared. Anton followed him with hiseye until the nearest hill concealed him from hisgaze."I should also have asked him his name,"murmured he to himself." Certainly, Anton; certainly, that you shouldhave done!" returned his wife. "I did notthink but that you had, or I would certainlyhave done it.""Why would you, Marie?" asked Anton, nolittle astonished at the apparent agitation of hiswife. "What more have we to do with thestranger? I brought him here from the tower,.and he paid me a good fare-a bright gold-piece. See here, Marie! He and I are nowsquare."
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 65"But I am much disappointed that you didnot ask his name and country," returned hiswife. "I cannot tell what there was about thestranger, but I could not remove my eyes fromhim; and the longer I gazed, the deeper grewthe impression that I had seen him a long timeago.""That certainly is not improbable, Marie,Sand not in the least remarkable," said Anton." Many strangers visit the Rhine every summer,and among many others it is not impossible thatSyou have seen him.""That is not it; no, no!" answered Marie,musingly; "it lies deeper. Even the tones ofhis voice were familiar. I must have seen himunder circumstances that were of more momentthan a fleeting meeting.""Perhaps some resemblance has struck you,"said her husband, lightly: "that often occurs.For my part, I am convinced he is unknown teme. I certainly would have recognized him, ifI had ever seen him before. No, no, Marie6* E
66 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.that is foolish and visionary. If you so muchdesire to know his name, we will ask the host:he knows it, perhaps, as he lodged with him yes-terday.""Yes; that is possible," cried Marie, withdeep earnestness. "Ask him, Anton."The question was asked, but the host had noinformation to give."The gentleman came late last night," saidhe. "Who would at such an hour ask for aname? I was not at all uneasy about him, forhe rode a most beautiful horse, with a full roundportmanteau buckled on behind. The horse washardly in the stable until the stranger soughtrepose, neither of us dreaming we would be sosuddenly aroused from sleep.""But he spoke with you," said Anton. "Didyou discover nothing, Herr Wirth ?""Nothing whatever about himself; he onlycharged me to take care of his portmanteau,if it be found. The clothing, methinks, will bewell soaked. Now on the other hand, Anton:/
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 67he asked after you, and your means of subsist-ence. I gave him a fair account, you may be-lieve me.""I do not doubt it. Did he say nothing moreabout where he has now gone ?""Yes; he asked how far it was to Emmenbachand Bonn---which latter place he wished to reachbefore night and I gave him the desired infor-mation.""" What does he intend to do in Emmenbach,Herr Wirth?" questioned Marie, hastily. "Didhe not mention that ?""Not a word. The way to Bonn lies throughthat place, and perhaps he wishes to hire a con-veyance there, so that he will not have so far towalk. The gentleman has something distin-guished about him, and does not look to me asif he were very much accustomed to travellingabout on foot.""Yes, that can easily be seen," said Marie,with the keenest disappcintment; "but I wishI had learned who he is-his name, whence
68 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.he comes and what he intends doing in Em-menbach.""I never gave you credit for so much curiositybefore, good frau," said the host, smiling. "Itmay be still possible that you learn all you desire;the gentleman told me he designed to return assoon as his business permitted, and I feel sure hewill, if it is only to look after his portmanteau.But that is not all, I think, that will bring himback: a word escaped him of- ""Of what, Herr Wirth? do tell me," beggedMarie."Well, if you do not speak of it again, littlewoman," whispered the host, softly. " He askedme about the castle of our baron of Windheim,if it were true that he had resolved to sell hisestate. You know, perhaps, that it has thislong time been whispered about, and there maybe some truth in it. I told the stranger so forall is not right in the castle, above there. Theold lord has wasted a great deal of money, andthe young knight, I fear, much more. Gold and
"ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 69silver must sometimes be very scarce in the chestof his grace. But why let that trouble us? wesurely have enough cares of our own. God onlygrant that no greater damage has been done bythe inundation than we now-fear.""And you really think that the strangerwishes to purchase the baron's estate?" askedMarie.S"It might be; yes-it might be; and it mightnot," answered the host, shrugging his shoulders."He confided nothing further to me; we canonly conjecture. Why did he come to our vil-lage? and why did he inquire so particularlyabout the castle? I much more believe he willpurchase than that he will not.""Then I must certainly have been mistaken,"said Marie to herself; "so rich a man as thatcannot be a friend or relative of mine. It hasall passed, Anton; ask no further:' I now see itwas all a delusion. Let us look after the children,and decide what we will do: we cannot remainhere until the water subsides, and we must seek
70 ANTON THE FISHERMAN.quarters for the coming night, on account of thelittle ones.""Yes, I have thought of that," answeredAnton. "You know, Marie, our old Aunt Dor-othy, who lives on the other side of the castle:she would take us into her little cottage for anight or two, and by that time we can determinewhat to do, and may find another shelter. Come,good wife, there is nothing to be done here. Iwill secure the boat, so that it will not be carriedaway by 'the flood."" Go, Anton! cried several voices; " we willsee that your boat is safe; go and find a shelterfor your children."Anton gratefully accepted their kind offer.Taking his youngest child in his arms, and fol-lowed by Marie and the two children, carryingthe Bible and the few effects they had saved fromthe flood, he bent his steps toward the cottage ofhis old aunt; which, although it lay but a shortdistance beyond the castle, was safe from theravages of the inundation.
SANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 71The place of refuge was soon reached, andheartily were the poor fugitives welcomed.The good old aunt opened to them her doorand heart, inviting them to remain under herhumble roof until they could again return totheir cottage, or till another suitable sheltercould be provided."God has, of his mercy, raised us up a friendfor our time of need," said Marie, encouragingly,to her dear ones. "We will always meet withthe good and kind. We must not despond, ifthe storm of adversity beat upon us a little tooroughly. God will help those who put theirtrust in him."They were soon established in the little room-small enough at any time; but a place wasfound for each, Anton preparing for the nightby spreading upon the floor a soft bed of fra-grant hay, upon which they laid them down andslept as sweetly as in their own little cottageupon the hanks of the Rhine.
CIIAPTER III.THE HUT IN THE FOREST." In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid whatman can do unto me."WO full days passed before the floodhad so far subsided as to allow of An-ton's return to the cottage. On themorning of the third day, he determined uponthe sorrowful undertaking. Marie would haveaccompanied him, but Anton forbade it, fearingher heart and courage would be too severely triedby witnessing the ruin and devastation he natu-rally apprehended after the events of the pasttwo or three days. He acted wisely, for thesight that awaited him was not calculated toinspire hope or cheerfulness.The walls of his old home. it is true, still72
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 73stood, but the water, pouring through the opendoors and windows, had utterly destroyed every-thing that had not been washed away by thewaves. A large rafter, which projected sometwo yards from the window, had crushed thepress in which Marie kept her linen and cloth-ing, and of all its contents only a single piecelay floating around in the mud and water. Thebeds, chairs, tables Anton sought for in vain -even his nets, with other fishing Implements, haddisappeared, and lay either at the bottom of theriver, or were carried far away by the waves.The floor of both room and chamber was coveredinches deep with an adhesive mass of mire andsand. The mortar had fallen from the walls,leaving them in such a damaged condition thatthey were entirely beyond repair. It was plainthat they would have to be torn down, and thelittle cottage rebuilt from its very foundation,if they would again dwell in this devastatedspot.Sighing deeply, Anton turned to examine the7
74 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.yard, stable, and fields, passing, as he did so,through the doorless room. A sorrowful sighthere presented itself: the stable had vanished,and the garden and land looked so wasted, thatfor this year, and perhaps the next, a harvestcould not be counted upon. The rich, fertileearth was washed away, and in its place laysterile sand and gravel, like that within the cot-tage. Only the two fruit-trees were standing,their trunks visible, but entirely stripped oftheir branches. Anton sorrowfully shook hishead:"There is but little left, and that little almostworthless. But a few days since I was a fortu-nate man to-day, bereft of all; and the assist-ance of our neighbors not to be relied upon, forthey are but little better off than we ourselves."For some time he remained standing, plungedin the sad reflections which the scene excited."But lamenting will not help us," said he, atlength;, "we must act. Happily, the dear Lordhas not taken away my courage, and health.
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 75We must only apply ourselves more zealouslythan ever, laboring somewhere, honestly, untilall this damage is repaired." So, stooping downat once, he gathered together the trifling goodsleft to him by the inundation, made of them abundle, and, placing it upon his shoulder, lefthis desolate cottage to return to his wife andchildren."Ah! my husband, is that all that is left tous of our little home?" cried Marie, sadly, asAnton approached."Almost all," he returned, "excepting, per-haps, a few rafters, posts, and bars, that we willbe able to make some use of again. All elsehas been carried away by the flood.""Then, Anton, we have no time to lose. Wemust rouse ourselves, and at once decide whatwe can do to earn our daily bread. What shallwe do, Anton?""I must go away somewhere, and labor by theday," said her husband. "I see nothing elsefor me to do." And in few words he described,
76 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.with an aching heart, the ravages he had wit-nessed in cottage, garden, and field." I had not pictured it to myself half so bad,"said poor Marie, wiping away the bitter tearswhich sprang, unbidden, to her eyes. "But,Anton, while you were away I have had a visit,from which I believe good results will follow.""Who was the visitor ?" said Anton."Frederick, the baron's huntsman my cousin,you know, upon my mother's side."" Frederick! What can he do for us, Marie?He has not much; and only recently he wascomplaining that he could not even get what wasdue him. We cannot expect any help from him,however much he may wish to render it.""He can give nothing," said Marie, "but hewill make thee a proposal. He will soon return,for he promised to do so. Only do thou listento him, Anton."It was not long before Frederick made hisappearance a slender young fellow, of a pleas-ant countenance, dressed in a neat huntsman's
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 77uniform; with rifle, hunting-pouch, and knife.Reaching his hand to Anton, he said: "Thewater has driven you from your home, cousin.I was truly grieved to hear of it, and wouldhave called yesterday to express my sympathy,had I not been obliged to accompany the youngknight to the forest. It happened very well,however, for I think through it something goodmay result to you.""What is it, cousin?" asked Anton. "Mariehas alluded to it, but I cannot imagine what youmean."" See," said Frederick, ingenuously, "yourhouse and field is so laid waste that you can nolonger dwell there; I have seen it myself. Yourfishing, necessarily, will have to be suspended fora good while; and, indeed, it alone would notsupport your family: besides, all your fishingimplements are lost all but the boat, whichwill not be of much service without your tackle.Now listen to me patiently, cousin: within theforest lies a hut, in which, a long time ago, a7*
78 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.herdsman dwelt. He was an old retainer of thefather of our present lord, who ordered that heshould live in it until his death. That is at leastten or twelve years ago: so you may know thehut is no longer in good repair; for during allthis time, no one has ever even driven into it anail; but, with all that, it is not in such a badcondition but that in a short time, with a littletrouble, it could be rendered at least habitable.""You mean well, Frederick," said Anton;"but have you thought, a shelter is not all thatwe need?"Certainly," returned the young huntsman."The old Balthazar had a piece of woodlandaround his hut, in good condition; the trees wererooted out, and he used the spade so skilfullythat he had enough fruit and vegetables to sup-ply all his wants. To be sure, since his death',the weeds have obtained the upper hand, and theundergrowth has again sprung up; but if youattack them vigorously, you can soon clear apath, and the soil of the woods is so rich that it
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 79will bring you, certainly, three or four harvestswithout the expense of fertilizing it.""It is still sopnewhat early in the year," saidAnton, thoughtfully, after a short pause. "Ifone would apply himself to it, it might be that,before winter, a harvest could be reaped! Youhave a kind heart, Frederick! Yes, I will takeit at once; that is, if the baron has no objection.You know he is not noted for his kindness to thepoor. Have you spoken to him about it ?"Frederick at this question exhibited somelittle embarrassment, as he cast his eyes to theground."Yes, certainly," he replied. "And this isthe only unpleasant part of the business. Thebaron has not the slightest objection that youtake possession of the cottage, and cultivate theground; but he wishes you to understand thathe gives away nothing; and if he does anythingfor your advantage, he expects you to render ser-vice in turn.""Ah, ha! I thought so," said Anton. "I know
80 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.the young knight: he has not been friendlyto me for some time not since I refused toleave my fish at the castle without the pay.Well, I see that nothing will come of the wood-hut. But I thank you for your kindness, cou-sin. Yes, yes, your proposition seemed for atime to me to be very pleasant; but we cer-tainly have been reckoning without countingthe cost.""Not so hasty, dear husband!" said Marie,gently. " Will you not listen to what the baronrequires of you?"" Only that which I would not be willing toperform," said Anton. "I know the youngknight. The hut is not worth anything to him;but I must pay dear for it: I am to repair it,and cultivate the ground, and after that to beput out.""Not so, Anton," returned the huntsman."Listen to me, and after that you can do just asyou please. The baron requires nothing of youbut the tenth of your harvest, and that you
SANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 81occasionally render service at the chase duringthe winter.""The tenth, and, besides that, service!" saidAnton, shaking his head. "Either is too much,Frederick. The tenth I would be willing togive; although it is hard -for I must, before Ireap, prepare the ground; but service-shall Ivoluntarily place myself in servitude? No,Frederick, that is much, too much to require!Rather would I work by the day and eat drybread, and remain a free man."The young huntsman shrugged his shoulders,saying, "I have nothing more to say; you are notobliged to accept his offer; but I do think itwould be to your advantage to try him: it willnot last forever; and when you see the progressof your work, day by day, even if they exact toomuch of you I would still advise you I re-peat it, to accept the offer, Anton. You canalways get work, even if the contract with thebaron does not last. What does it matter if sometrifling service be required ? There are not moreFV
82 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.than three or four hunts during the winter;and in case of necessity, I can render you thehelp required, or get some one to take yourplace. I would venture, Anton!"" Yes, yes, husband, Frederick reasons well, andadvisedly," said Marie, as the fisherman shookhis head doubtfully. "Think Anton, aunt hasgiven us a shelter for a few days, out of charityand love for us, her relatives, but she cannot#ways keep us in her little cottage, where thereis hardly room enough for one. Let us go, dearAnton, to the wood-hut: Louisa and I will helpyou make, and cut, and dig, until everything isin order; then, while the seed lies in the earth,you can go out to labor by the day, or still carryon your old business during the winter: the dearGod has always helped us, and would now helpus through, cousin Frederick. Only take the cot-tage, Anton, and all else can then be decided upon.Knowest thou,", she whispered softly, bendingdown toward her husband, "in the worst case, ifthe baron treats thee ill, or is unreasonable, we4
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 83will remind him of the five hundred guldenwhich he borrowed from father, and threatenhim with a complaint before the justice: thatS was not done before, when he denied the debt.Then he will be likely to withdraw any unreason-able demand, and will not be too hard upon thee.No, dear husband, do not refuse the offer, buttake the hut without any further hesitation: donot vex our cousin so much, by not availingyourself of his kindness."Notwithstanding all this persuasion, Anton wasstill undecided. "You know not what I know,"said he; "I have always kept silence, so as tospare you unnecessary pain and anxiety: theyoung knight does not like me, and would haveS made me suffer before this, if I had only been inhis power. So long as I sat in my own house, hecould do me no harm, and I cared but little forhis ill-will; but circumstances would be whollychanged if I took his wood-hut on lease: fromthe very outset he has shown his bitter feelingtoward me, by requiring not only the tenth of the
84 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.harvest, but also service. At my first misstep,he will surely, surely lay his hand heavily uponmy shoulder, and press me down into the dust, ifhe dare.""But he dare not," answered Marie quickly."What can he do to thee? Frederick is rightwhen he says you can at any hour leave the hut,if you do not choose to remain. And what hashappened with the young baron? perhaps it isnot so bad as you imagine, Anton.""Bad enough, at all events, if I am in hispower," answered Anton. "It was last autumn:they had taken fish of me at the castle, the wholeof the previous summer, but never thought ofpaying me, so that at last I concluded it wastime to remind them of it, and went myself upto the castle, with my basket. In the court-yardI met the young knight, who ordered me to comerSnear, and let him see what I had brought. Itwas a salmon-trout, of over ten pounds' weight-one of the most beautiful I had ever caught inmy net. His grace would at once have taken pos..
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 85session of it, telling me to carry it to the kitchen;but I said, 'Do not, I pray you, take it amiss, sirknight: right willingly will I give you the trout;but might I ask you to mention to the stewardthat I have not yet been paid for the fish Ibrought since last spring.' I spoke respectfully,and modestly, but the young lord abused mefiercely, wrath flaming in his face."'Shameless fellow!' he shouted, cracking hisriding-whip about my face, 'into the kitchen withyou, and do not dare to come before me so boldlyagain: if the steward owes you, he will pay youwhen your turn comes.'"'It has been a long time now, my lord,' Ianared, 'and I am only a poor fisherman, andhave children, who need their daily bread. Imust again pray you not to send me away with-out some money, for I need it sorely.'"The young baron cast upon me a scowlinglook, and threatened me in these words: Wewill see how it will be!' I thought that was myanswer, and took up my basket to go-of course8
86 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.not into the kitchen -what should I do there?Money I was sure not to get-of that I was fullypersuaded. To give up the beautiful trout, forwhich any host in Bonn would willingly havegiven me three or four gulden--that I would notdo. Past the kitchen, and almost through thegateway, had I gone, when the young knightpassionately asked where I was going, and if Idid not know where the kitchen was."'Yes,' I returned, 'but I have nothing to dothere, Herr Baron.'"'The trout must be left,' shouted he; 'I havebought it.'"'Yes, my lord, but you have not paid forit, nor for the fish of the past summer, and Ineed the money. I pray you, do not take offence,but the trout I must carry to Bonn!'"Then he was full of wrath, ordered me fiercelyto go in, saying the trout was his, that I hadoffered it to him, and that he had accepted it-that I dare not sell it to ahy one else-if I hadforgotten before whom I stood, with many other
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 87such expressions. But as I remained calm, andnot in the least intimidated, still pursuing myway, he called after me: 'Beware! you will oneday repent of your audacity; that salmon-troutshall be a bitter morsel for you, for the rest ofyour life.' What he still further shouted I knownot, for I hurried away, glad enough when Ireached the foot of the crag, and heard him nomore. Since that time all friendliness betweenus is at an end: the selfsame day he sent me mymoney, but with the command that I should notdare to come to the castle again; and wheneverwe have chanced to meet since, he looks at mescowlingly, so that I well know he has not for-gotten the salmon-trout and my refusal: andnow, can I believe he feels differently towardme? that I cannot!""I had not known of this not an intimationhad I of it," said his wife, after a short silence,as she bent her eyes thoughtfully to the ground,while Frederick had not another word to utter."But, Anton, circumstances alter cases," said
88 ANTON, THE FISHERMAAN.Marie, at length. "So long as you were fortu-nate, it might be that the young lord wished youharm; but now that we are stripped of all ourresources, surely he will not suffer himself toindulge bitter feelings toward thee on accountof a poor miserable fish. It is not possible thathe can be so malicious. And then you mustremember the baron did not think of this him-self, in order to entice you into the hut; butFrederick spoke to him first about it, requestingthat he would allow you to live there. His giv-ing consent does not look to me like hate orenmity.""Neither does it seem so to me, cousin; cer-tainly not," said the young huntsman, somewhatreassured. "The young lord, I am confident, isnot so vindictive. I am, even after all this, ofthe same opinion. I would take the cottage."SAnton shook his head again and again. "Itrust him not, I trust him not!" he reflected."Do not urge me further, children. I will thinkabout it, and give you an answer to-morrow."
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 89The subject was not further discussed. Fred-erick bade them farewell, and was followed byAnton, under the pretext of looking at thewood-hut; but he well knew that would be alto-gether useless, and wended his way to the vil-lage, asking among one and another of the pros-perous farmers if they could give him work fora year, or even for six months; but his applica-tions were unsuccessful. With a heavy hearthe set out upon his return -when suddenly hestood still, and, after a short but severe internalstruggle, made a quick resolve:"If I had only been so fortunate as to haveobtained work! " thought he. "I would ratherhave worked my fingers to the bone than havebeen dependent upon the baron; but it cannotbe! there seems to be nothing else left for me todo; so I will go and at least look at the wood-hut."With hasty steps he turned in the directionof the forest. From Frederick's description heknew where the cottage lay, and soon arrived at8*
90 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.the spot. He examined the hut with muchinterest. It was constructed of unhewn logs,and rudely roofed with thatch. The windowsand doors appeared to be in good condition;only the roof was damaged here and there alittle, during all this lapse of time."A few bundles pf reeds will help that," hethought. "What is left of the house is notbad, and after all- but, first, I will look abouta little." Observing closely the surroundings,he soon saw that there were two or three acresof land, in such a condition that, before a yearwould pass, they would be fit for farming. Theground was now overgrown with weeds andbrambles, but Anton knew it would require buta short time and but little labor to cultivate it,and make it once more fertile. At some dis-tance from the cottage, in a clearing, a hillreared its dome-like head, from which resoundeda mingled warbling of all kinds of singing-birds."A btter place for bird-catching could no-
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 91where be found in the forest," said Anton; "andI am almost certain that my predecessor placedhis snares there. Well, if I have permissiongiven me -"A last observant glance he cast at the hut,then bent his way homeward. Cheerfully heextended his hand to his wife, upon enteringthe little room, and kissed the little ones, whohung caressingly about him." You cannot guess where I have been, Marie,"said he. "I have been to the forest, and takena view of the hut.""And have you decided?" she asked, earn-estly."Yes, I have decided," he answered. "Wewill try it, Marie, even if the bargain be some-what hard at first. I have considered it well.I still think the young knight is not to be de-pended upon; but I will so conduct myself to-"ward him that it will be impossible for him toinjure me in any way. He shall receive histenth juvtly. After I fulfil all my obligations,
92 ANTON, THF FISHERMAN.his ill-will can do me no harm. My defence isof God, which saveth the upright in heart.""Nobly and sensibly spoken, Anton," said hiswife, greatly pleased. "And now I must tellthee about aunt, who, although she so willinglyreceived us, yet, while you were absent, saidsomewhat about her cottage being too narrowand small for so many, and suggested that itmight perhaps be better if we suffered our chil-dren to go out -among strangers, at least untilGod, in his great mercy, would again grant usprosperity. It pierced my very heart, althoughour poor old aunt is certainly right: we are toomany for her little house. But a great weighthas been lifted from my breast; now, as thou say-est, we can again have a little home of our own.""Yes, yes, it shall indeed be so," answeredAnton, now fully resolved. "Aunt means well,but she little knows what it would be to partfrom our children. No, rather would I endurethe hardest fate than part from them. Cheerup Marie. To-morrow we will go to the wood-
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 93hut, and I will enter into terms with the youngbaron."That same evening the pleasant news wascommunicated to their old aunt that Anton hadprovided another shelter for his family, and thather small cottage should no longer than thatnight be so heavily taxed."I am truly sorry that I cannot keep you,"she said; "but you yourselves see it could notlast any length of time. At the very worst, ifnothing else offered, you could be accommo-dated; but if a better way opens at allevents, you know, Anton, my door would not beclosed.""I know it, aunt. You have been very kind,and-I thank you sincerely," returned Anton,while he warmly pressed her hand. "The Lordis our Shepherd; we shall not want." But ifthe worst should come, then- ""Think again upon thy old aunt," she inter-rupted. "A place of refuge, if it is but smalland poor, thou shalt always find with her."
94 ANTON, THE FISHERMAN.It was resolved that on the following day theentire family should remove to the wood-hut.Frederick called at an early hour the nextmorning, and was rejoiced at Anton's decision."Do not let the service cause you any unea-siness, cousin; I will so arrange it that you shallnot be burdened. The first hunt comes off latein the autumn; and in the winter, when there isbut little else for you to do, you can be on handtwo or three days; and you need give yourselfno trouble about the rest of the time."Frederick had the key of the hut with him,and offered to accompany them, which offer wasaccepted with pleasure; so with bag and baggagethey set forth, after taking a grateful leave oftheir kind benefactress.Marie was a little startled when she saw theold hut, and the ravages time had made upon it.Nothing but weeds and brambles were to be seenwithin the enclosure-then the damaged roof.But Anton said, encouragingly:"Give me only one week, Marie, and all will
ANTON, THE FISHERMAN. 95be changed; you will soon feel at home-if onlyno evil from without fall upon us; but I willnot fear:*If God be my support,The mischief they intend meShall quickly come to naught.'Will I be permitted, cousin Frederick, to placenets on yonder hill ?""Certainly," answered the huntsman. "Theold herdsman had his snares there, and certainprivileges belong to the cottage as a right;only you dare not take any other game thanthe singing-birds.""I know that," said Anton. "Rather wouldI cut off my right hand than be a poacher -ofthat you can rest assured, Frederick, and yourbaron also. But now unlock the door; we mustsee how the old hut looks inside."Frederick opened the shutters, so that lightand air might stream into the little house, theyfollowing, peering curiously around through thejfr