H- ii" 111HE III DA i.:
SOLIVER OPTIC'S OLIVER OPTrIC'SARMY and NAVY STORIES. RIVERDALE STORIES.A Library for Young and Old, in six volumes. Twelve volumes. Profusely illustrted from new16mo. Illustrated. Per vol., $1.50. designs by Billings. In neat box.I The Sailor Boy, or Jack Little' Merchant.Somers in the Navy. Voyagers.Young Voyagers.The Yankee Middy, or Christmas Gift.Adventures of a Naval Officer.Brave Old Salt, or Life on Dolly and I.the Quarter Deck. Uncle Ben.The Soldier Boy, or Tom Birthday Party.Somers in the Army. Proud and Lazy.The Young Lieutenant, Careless Kate.Or The Adventures of an Army Officer.Robinson Crusoe, Jr.Fighting Joe, or the Fortunes P c P y.of a Staff Officer. The Picnic Party.The G-old Thimble."The writings of Oliver Optic are the most pe- The Do-Smethings.culiarly fitted or juvenile readers of any works The Do-Somethings.now published. There is a freshness and vivacity Anxious mothers who wish to keep their boysabout them which is very engaging to older read- of mischief, wi do wel to keep their handsSera. The beneft which a young mind will ob- OUt f mischief, nill do well to keen their hatain from readine the healthy descriptions, full of filled with one of the numerous volumes of Oliverzest ain fom eading d, withal, containing a great deal Optic. They all have a good moral, are full ofzest and life, an, withal, containing a great del incident mingled with instructionof very useful information, is almost nucalcula- and teach that sighlera with isstrutible." 2bldo Blade. News. that straightforwardnss is best"--LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston. LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.OLIVER OPTIC'S OLIVER OPTIC'SMAGAZINE. YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD.OLIVER OPTIC, Editor. A Library of Travel and Adventure in ForeignOLan OPTIC, Editor. ds. 6Imo. Illustrated- by Nest,Stevens, Perkins, and others.PUBLsuu MONTrLY. Per volume, $1.50.R lacb a.mber cMtains: Outward Bound, or Youngt NEW STORY, America Afloat.S aWObd Suhamrock & Thistle, orp STORIS and SKETCHES, by p ar Young America in Ireland and Scotland.autha -Red Cross, or Young Ameriea inAn ORIGINAL DIALOGUE. England and Wales.A DECLAMATION. Dikes & Ditches, or YoungIPUZZLES REBUSES, &c America in Holland and Belgium.Bu Ht..ao ieiy I: Palace & Cottage, or YoungAn Mands s omey lut ated, America in France and Switzerland.ST..mU (.so per year; s cts. per numbe. Down the Rhine, or Youngi America in Germany.S SowD Evaunw .a -S "These are by far the most instructive books; WRemember, this Mlagazine written by this popular author. and while main-Sontains more reading matter taining throughout enough of excitement and ad-than any other juvenile nmaa- venture to enehain the intrest of the youthfuzine t bihd n I ereader, there is still a great amount of infonna-e blshedtion conveyed respecting the history, natural tea-Spc imn e .b y. tures, and geography ofthis far-off land, and theSpecimen copies sent free by mail on app- peculiarities o the places and people which theyScation. contain." Gaette.LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston: LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.S g.............- .....; ....................--. --- --. ----------.--- -- -----. -.. -- .---------The Baldwin LibraryUniversityF*l cusOfRmB'U qoli&
.', ^^^sr "'^ -' ^'-'-------- ----------- --- --- .-- - i~OLIVER OPTIC'S OLIVER OPTIC'SSLAKE SHORE SERIES. STARRY FLAG SERIES..SIX VOL., ILLUST. PER VOL., $I.25- Six VoLS., ILLUST. PER VOL., 1.25.Through by Daylight; The Starry Flag;Or The ung Engineer of the Lake Or, The Young Fisherman of Cape Ann.i Shore Railroad.ALightning Express; Breaking Away;S Or, The Rival Academies Or, The Fortunes of a Student.On Time; Seek and Find;Or, The Young Captain of the Ucayga Or, The Adventures of a Smart Boy.Steamer. Freaks of Fortune;Switch Off; Or, Half Round the World.Or, The War of the Students.Make or Break;Brake Up; Or, The Rich Man's Daughter.Or, The Young Peacemakers.Bear and Forbear; Down the River;Or, The Young Skipper of Lake Ucayga. Or, Buck Pradford and his.Tyiants.pleasant These books are exciting narratives, and full ofOliver Optic owes his popularity to a leas stirring adventures, but the youthful he of thestyle, and to a ready sympathy with the dreains, of thehopes, aspirations, and tancies of the young people stories are noble, self-sacrificing, and courageous,for whom he writes. Ie writes like a wise, over- and the stories contain nothing which will dogrown boy, and his books have therefore a fresh- injury to the mind or heart of the youthful reader.ness and raciness rarely attained by his fellow -Webster Ties.scribes. Christian Advocate. -Westr is.LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston. LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.OLIVER OPTIC'S OLIVER OPTIC'SSBOAT CLUB SERIES. WOODVILLE STORIES.Sik VOLS., ILLUST. PER VOL, $.25. SX VOLS., ILLUST. PeR VOLt S1.25.SThe Boat Club Rich and Humble;S Or, Th Bunkers of Rippleton. Or, The Mission of Betha GrantAll Abond In School and Out;Or, Le on the Lake. Or, the Conquest of Richard GrantOr, Life on the Lake.Watch and Wait;Now or Never; Or, The Young Fugitives."Or, the Adventures of Bobby Bright. T Yong iiWork and Win;Try Again; Or, Noddy Newman on a Cruise.Or, The Trials and Triumphs of HarryWest. Hope and Have;Poor and Pr ; Or, Fanny Grant among the Indians.Poor and Proud;S Or, The Fortunes of Katy Redburn. Haste and Waste;Or, The Young Pilot of Lake Cham-KLittle by Little; plain.Or The Cruise of the Flyaway.Oliver Optic is the apostolic successor, at theBoys and girls have no taste for dry and tame "Hub," of Peter Parley. He has just completedthings; they want something that will stir the the " Woodville Stories," by the publication ofblood ad warm the heart. 'Optic always does "1Haste and Waste." The best notice to give ofthis, while at the same time he improves the taste them is to mention that a couple of youngstersand elevates the moral nature. The coming gen- pulled them out of the pile two hours since, anderation of men will never know how much they are yet devouring them out in the summer-houseare indebted for what is pure and enobling to his (albel autumn leaves cover it) oblivious to muffinwritings.-R. Schoolmate, time. -N. Y. Leader.LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston. LEE & SHEPARD, Publishers, Boston.- - - - --
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II -:.-.nanv' .ITRLS 'R ':^ 1 ^..I lu"ADELBERT'S CURLS ARE SPARED. Page 82.
E- LEE S6 EpAL RI BOSTON.|>-
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THEHOUSE ON WHEELS;(LA MAISON ROULANTE)OR,THE STOLEN CHILD.BY MADAME DE STOLZ.TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCHBY MISS E. F. ADAMS.WITH TWENTY ILLUSTRATIONS FROM DESIGNSBY EMILE BAYARD.BOSTON:LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS.NEW YORK:LEE, SHEPARD AND DILLINGIIAM.1871.I
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870,BY LEE AND SHEPARD,In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.Cambridge: Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.ELECTROTYPED AT THEBOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY,19 Spring Lane.
[ CONTENTS.CHAPTER PAGEI. ADALBERT WAS HAPPY. .... . 9II. ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT. . . 16III. ADALBERT IIAD DISOBEYED.. . .. .. .25IV. ADALBERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY. .......... 49V. ADALBERT FINDS AT LAST WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 58VI. ADALBERT ASKED HIMSELF IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 69VII. ADALBERT HEARD THE CLOCK STRIKE IN TIE DARK-NESS. . . . 91VIII. ADALBERT OCCUPIED MRS. TOURTEBONNE'S THOUGHTS. 110IX. ADALBERT WAS HUNGRY. .. ... ... 126X. ADALBERT HESITATED. . . .. 147XI. ADALBERT HAD WRITTEN IIS NAME UPON THE WALL. 162XII. ADALBERT WAS TIfE SUBJECT OF CONVERSATION FOREVERY ONE ... . ... .. .183XIII. ADALBERT HAD ALREADY PASSED EIGHTEEN MONTHSIN THE HOUSE ON WHEELS . ... 191XIV. ADALBERT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE FOURTEENTH. 205XV. ADALBERT KNEW NOW WHY GELLA WROTE UPON THESAND.. .. . . .219XVI. ADALBERT WAS THERE. . ... .230XV-II. ADALBERT RETURNED INTO TIE CELLAR. .... .252XVIII. ADALBERT WAS NOT UNGRATEFUL. . .. 269XIX. ADALBERT WAS OBEDIENT. . . .2875
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.PAGE"M SON!" 13TIE GYMNASIUM 18ADELBERT IS LED AWAY .. 42"YOUR LITTLE ONE IS NOT LOST" 49THE HOUSE ON WHEELS 64ADELBERT'S CURLS ARE SPARED 82"PAY ATTENTION TO THE BOY" 95MR. BAPTISTE'S POLITENESS 123ADELBERT DISGUISES HIMSELF 135GELLA'S PUNISHMENT 159THE WRITING ON THE WALL 179"APPLES ARE ALWAYS APPLES" 183THE BLACK HORSE IS HARNESSED 212GELLA AND ADELBERT 226TEETH EXTRACTED WITHOUT PAIN 241THE SPANISH GIRL WAS MAGNIFICENT 248A PEASANT HAD FAINTED 251I AM NOT WORTHY OF. SO M UCH KINDNESS 284ADELBERT RECOGNIZES THE IRON MAN 294
THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.-I*
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THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.CHAPTER I.ADALBERT WAS HAPPY.NOTHING was prettier than the house where Adal-bert passed his childhood; it was in the country ofNormandy, with its hedges, groves, large meadows,all its fragrance, all its flowers.These blessings Adalbert shared with the otherchildren of the neighborhood, for God gives thepleasures of the country to be enjoyed by all; butwhat the little boy shared with his brothers andsister only was a large and Lhandsome house, withwindows looking upon a fine lawn, where were twomagnificent wide baskets of the most beautifulroses ever seen. There were on all sides greentrees, poplars, beeches, oaks, elms, among which(9)
10 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.ran sometimes winding paths, sometimes clearwater, where sported beautiful fishes.At the bottom of the park was a labyrinth,formed of lilacs and clematis, which was bewilder-ing by its numberless windings. This labyrinthseemed to have been made expressly for playingat hide and seek, and Adalbert amused himself tohis heart's content in seeking his brothers Eugeneand Frederick, or his sister Camille.Fifty steps from the mansion, upon a sheet ofwater, a coquettish barge, painted with most pleas-ing colors, was seen. This barge was the greatattraction of all these young people. A ride uponthe water by moonlight was the favorite amuse-ment at Valneige. This was doubtless because thechildren obtained this favor only after havinggained it by good behavior. There is no betterpleasure than that of which the accomplishmentof duty is the cause.Near the sheet of water there was a large andbeautiful farm belonging to Adalbert's parents: adozen cows in a long barn, besides a bull, which
ADALBERT WAS HAPPY. 11caused fear merely by a glance of his very mildeyes; farther off a large stable occupied by sevenor eight tall and robust working horses; in front,four hundred sheep crowded one against another,living happily, gentle as lambs. Ip the barn-yard,in the barn, in the stable, upon the manure heap,S under the shed, everywhere, hens, chickens, cock-erels, geese, ducks, a whole community of littlebeings, fluttered around, laid eggs, bathed, fought,and scorned the world in an incredible manner.Mother Barru was the queen of this peaceableempire. She was a woman of good sense, and hergood humor ceased only on two occasions whena boy on the farm got drunk, and when a hen hidher eggs at a distance. In these two instances,judged criminal, the boy and the hen were scoldedduring the whole season. If there were a secondoffence, the boy was dismissed, and the hen wascondemned to be boiled.One can imagine how pleasant were the firstyears of Adalbert, spent in games and easy tasks,
12 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.under the eyes of a good father and mother.Eugene and Frederick, both older than he, leftfor college, to the great disappointment of Adal-bert, who loved them very much, although dis-puting with them as often as possible. Thegreat, as they said at Valneige, never take advan-tage of their, strength; and as they would cer-tainly have overpowered Adalbert, so small andslender, these good children consented to followthe advice of their excellent mother, and yieldedin these daily disputes, where a ball or top wouldhave occasioned a quarrel.As to the beautiful Camille, she had the samegentleness; and although nearly fourteen years ofage, she often played at checkers with her littlebrother, who, doubtless because of his eight years,confounded more than once his men with thoseof his adversary. Camille had the extremepatience of her mother and the serious charac--ter of her father. Mr. and Mrs. Valneige, as agreat proof of their confidence, had allowed herto take charge of the first education of Adal-
"MY SON! "-Page 13.
ADALBERT WAS HAPPY. 13bert,,who willingly called her "little mamma."The dear child, while teaching him verbs anddictation, sometimes called him "my son," assum-ing a very grave air, which made Mr. Valneigelaugh till he cried.Everything was according to rule in the man-sion the hours for meals, those for study, andthose for recreation. As regularity in everythingis an excellent thing, there were two clocks inthe house a striking one and a living one.The first was hung at the bottom of the entry;the second went up and down the stairs thirtyor forty times a day; it entered the rooms, wentout, came in, trotted about, scolded, knew every-thing and saw everything. Ah! what a clock!It was called Rosette. This, pretty little namehad been given, doubtless, by a godmother, whothought that her goddaughter would not growold. Nevertheless, as she was now seventy years:of age, the goddaughter had wrinkles, thin hands,and hollow cheeks. This good woman was veryactive, somewhat stiff, but very good, and wholly
14 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.devoted to the family and the house. She hadbeen there for so long a time that nobody im-agined Valneige without Rosette, or Rosette with-out Valneige. The good old woman had preservedher short petticoats of former times, her capsplain in front and plaited behind, her great whiteneck-handkerchief with red flowers; in short,what she called the costume of "our house."Rosette had a precise nature even in' trifles.She knew the time by the crowing of the cock,the shadow of the trees, the cry of the birds, thedemands of her stomach, and by the restlessnessin her legs, which she felt when a little late.Thence an incredible strictness in the observanceof every rule. If Rosette had governed theworld, there would have been as much complaintof things going too straight as there is now atthings going too crooked.Because of this exact spirit they had nick-named old Rosette the "living clock" of Valneige;and truly, on account of her punctuality, theother clock might have been dispensed with, for
ADALBERT WAS HAPPY. 15it only seemed to be needed for striking, althoughit was an accurate timepiece. A glance fromRosette would send all the little idle ones wholounged about the stairs at lesson hours to work;a gesture made the most unruly run from thebottom of the park. In fact, when it was worthwhile, her authoritative voice compelled each oneto return to duty, whatever might be. the presentemployment. Instead of saying the clock struck,they said Rosette went past; and the regimentpresented arms without saying a word.Mr. and Mrs. Valneige found this watchfulnessvery good, as it made theirs easier; and the chil-dren themselves, although fearing somewhat thedispleased airs which the old woman knew howto assume, loved her, nevertheless, because she wasjust, because she made sweetmeats for them, andbecause it was she who complied best with theirSinnocent whims, provided these whims did notScommence before such an hour, or after suchanother. The clock before everything.
16 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.CHAPTER II.ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT.ADALBERT was a good child, with bright eyes, afine smile, a well-proportioned little figure, nimbleas a gazelle, dexterous, swift in the race, andcapable of every possible grace. His face washappy; that is to say, it had, when in repose, thatamiable and fresh expression which prepossessesstrangers in favor of a child.They were kind to him; it was a pleasureto make him happy. However, when he waswell known, it was seen that he had a fault, avery great fault it was disobedience !Instead of remembering that everybody aroundhim knew more than he did, he considered him-
ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT. 17self judge, and thought that he could, withoutinconvenience, do such or such forbidden thing.Evidently he was mistaken, for even whenSno apparent injury results from it, the evilSof disobedience is real, and is worth dreading,because of the great misfortunes which usuallySfollow it.S Have you ever seen a little boy who was thedarling of his parents? who went into such aplace just because he ought not to go there?who touched this or that only because he was for-Sbidden to do so? who only seemed able to amusehimself during the hours appointed for study ?Swho spoke merely for the sake of making a noisein the midst of silence ? who only knew how toSinvent things for breaking rules ? If you knowSa little boy who resembles this picture, you cansay to yourself, "Such was Adalbert!" PoorAdalbert! I am going to tell you of his terribleadventures. Yes, terrible ; for my hair stands onend when I think of the dangers that this childSran for having the habit of disobedience.'" 2
18 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS."Were there, it may be asked, many amusementsat Valneige ? Yes, there were many, withoutseeking to obtain them by disobedience. Thechildren could run at liberty all around the house,and in the adjacent walks, and in the little woods.There was a gymnasium, where the body was exer-cised to become supple and dexterous; they climbedup a rope ladder, swung, in fact, amused them-selves; and Adalbert had a particular taste forthis kind of sport.But it was when little friends joined themthat the children were especially merry. Every-body was familiar with these parties; each con-tributed his good humor, his inventions, hisfrolics, making a variety of amusements fromwhich they could choose.At Valneige they enjoyed these children'smeetings, and as the neighbors permitted it, onThursday afternoons three or four urchins wereseen to assemble, who asked nothing better thanto amuse themselves. They performed a thou-sand and one gambols, made noise enough to
_77THE GYMNASIUM. -Page I8.I-',;i^ '. .fe .'. f IC s
ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT. 19deafen the community, and did all sorts of thingsvery innocent, but very annoying to the public.On Thursday Rosette regretted her country, hervillage, and even her birth; for she passed herlast years in groaning over the misfortune ofbeing attached, from the bottom of her soul, tothese wicked children, she said, who did somuch to vex her, and from whom she wouldnot have been willing to part for an empire.Rosette experienced, as often happens, twoopposite sensations. On one hand desiring todevote herself, on the other deploring her de-votedness from morning till night. When oneof these little dears had a sorrow, if he fellSdown, for example, and scratched his nose,- theold woman wept while doing her best to healit; then she was provoked with the nose for thisfall which caused him so much pain, since it gaveher pain as well."Ah!" she often repeated, "what a misfortuneto have known these children! It really seemsas though I must have been in want when my
20 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.master died, to remain with his son, to bring upsuch bad blood. I should have been able withwhat I had to go quietly home, to have my littlehouse, my little garden, my hens, my cat, and mycomfort. Instead of that I must stay here! Why?I ask. It is all over; it is time that I shouldrest myself. I have relations who would be verywilling to have me.. My decision is made; I havetold master of it, and as soon as the snow melts,I take the carriage and go."She said this in winter; but when the snow wasmelted, if some one mischievously said to her,-"Well, Rosette, when are you going away?"She replied, according to the circumstances," Ahl what do you wish? Frederick has toomuch of the toothache Every night I have toput cotton in his ear, wet with the oil of sweetalmonds, to warm him, poor child!" or, "Be quiet.I should not remain if only my two large boyswere at college; but while they are here -" or,"Ah when I see Miss Camille stand erect, I shalltake my departure; but I am too much afraid
ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT. 21that she will grow round-shouldered!" or, "Assoon as that little rogue of an Adalbert willcease disobeying, I shall go away; but now, Imust watch him, as I would milk upon the fire."She talked thus, the poor old woman, and thesnow melted, the leaves sprouted, turned color,fell, and Rosette was always there, attached bythe strongest tie that the world has an old andtrue affection.Thursday, which happened fifty-two times inthe year, Thursday, Rosette thought she no longerSloved Valneige at all,- not at all! Why? Be-cause the hours were not distributed as usual, -and because it was allowable to play from noonuntil dinner time. Now, play is- just the thing fortearing clothes, destroying all sorts of things, andSbreaking necks. This is why the good womanSpassed all Wednesday in saying,-"What a pity that to-morrow will be Thursday!"We, who have not the care of children, canadmit that these parties were very amusing. Mrs.Valneige put at the disposition of the children
22 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.all the noisy games, shuttlecocks, tops, foot-ball,nine-pins, hoops, and I know not what else.These joyous sports were commenced at noon,and the good mother appeared, from time totime, as a protecting power which caused everypossible good, and kept away all evil. She said,with a grave and sweet air,-" Come, amuse yourselves; do what you please.I ask only one thing of you, obedience, my goodchildren.""Fear not, dear mamma," laughed the goodEugene, with a lively_ look, red cheeks, and anhonest smile; "do you see, we are amusing our-selves so well, that we would not even have timeto think of disobeying."Upon that, Eugene. took the bit between histeeth when he was horse, and cracked his whipwhen he was driver. His. happy mother hadscarcely cast a confiding look upon him when hewas already at a distance. As to Frederick, thekind of gravity which was natural to him, evenin playing, reassured Mrs. Valneige. But it was
ADALBERT HAD A GREAT FAULT. 23a little young gentleman, fair complexioned, andSvery handsome, who never responded to the mildwarnings of his mother; he was named, to besure, Adalbert, but they called him the diso-bedient.When his besetting sin was attacked by aword, he assumed an unconscious air, tried tocatch a fly, pretending to hear as little as possi-ble what was said, but, however, understandingit very well.Obey, my children! That means, Do notplay on the water's edge, and above all, takecare never to touch the barge! I wish younever to go into the stable without Philip, norbehind the horses, because they might kick, norSmount a horse unless Philip has the time andthe kindness to assist in this amusement. Donot think of leaning over a well, nor going overthe fence which separates the yard from the road,nor straying far away while taking a walk, nor. venturing too near a windmill, etc., etc., etc.S Adalbert knew by heart these forbidden things,
24 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.and many others. Since he heard his mothersum up the whole in these simple words, "Obey,my. children," he would have wished to stop hisears for fear of understanding once more whathe ought not to do; for it was exactly whathe most wished; and we shall soon see whathappened.
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 25CHAPTER III.ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED.WHATEVER may be the charms of daily life, itis a great enjoyment for us to break the monot-ony, even in our pleasures. The extreme happi-ness manifested in the family may be imagined,when Mr. Valneige announced, one fine morningduring breakfast, that he was going to put intoexecution a charming project, formed some timesince, by times accepted, opposed, deferred. Thisproject combined everything desirable, for notonly was it charming, but it had been longexpected, and for a year our young people hadspoken of it aloud and to themselves, saying," When shall we go on the great journey ? When
26 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.shall we see Paris, Strasburg, Vienna, Prague,lakes, mountains ?" At this thought alone theyleaped in their chairs, even while finishing a pageof writing, which made a much lamented blot."Well, yes; it was decided they were tostart for Germany; they were going to travelslowly, without fatigue, having no other objectthan to get instruction without books, and toamuse themselves. It is true that Mrs. Valneige,who particularly desired this journey, had a secretobject. She was anxious concerning the healthof her husband, and the physicians thought thatthe best remedy was a change of scene and habits.They hoped thus to dispel a kind of nervousmelancholy which' troubled Mr. Valneige, andwhich from time to time was accompanied byattacks of fever. His excellent wife carefully con-cealed her anxiety in order not to increase hisillness. As to the children, as their father wasnot in bed, and dressed himself like everybodyelse, they thought that he was quite well.When the decision was made known, they'
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 27clapped their hands at the words of their goodfather, and when he said, "We will leave in aweek," they leaped upon his neck.A week after, the whole family were on theirway; the faithful Gervais, the trusty servant, fol-lowed the travellers; and everybody was delighted,except old Rosette, who had shed many tears inseeing her four children, as she called them, depart.When they were no longer under her eyes, shebelieved them lost poor old woman! If shecould have foreseen But no; we will saynothing.They remained ten days at Paris. The children'especially admired the walks. The difference inage and knowledge made them appreciate differentthings. For example: in front of the palace ofthe Tuileries Adalbert gave but one glance at thehistorical monument, and a hundred glances at thelittle red fishes which swam in the ponds, and atthe majestic swans whose race had seen so manyevepts happen, without knowing the history ofFrance. He was very much impressed with the
28 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.length of the Champs Elys6es, the crowd and thecarriages; but what was most disagreeable to himwas being obliged to be taken by the hand. Thisappeared to him insupportable, and dimmed con-siderably, in his eyes, the splendor of the capital.He, so free at Valneige, had he then come to Paristo be treated like a little girl? Fie, then! a man !Alas poor child, if he only could have distrustedhimself- But no; it is not yet time.After having seen of Paris what could pleasechildren most, Mr. Valneige took the railroad forthe east, and stopping at the interesting waystations, arrived finally at Strasburg, where theysaw with wonder the cathedral, that masterpiece,which shows the successive development of Gothicarchitecture, since its commencement originated inthe simple arch to its finish, as observed in theprincipal nave.The great astronomical clock whose hours aremarked by statues which come and go, astonishedand charmed our young travellers much more thanthe transept and the front. As to little Adalbert,
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 29notwithstanding learned architects, notwithstand-ing Vauban and his five-sided citadel, he saw inStrasburg only one thing the cock which crowedupon the side turret at the same instant that thewonderful clock struck twelve, and that all theapostles appeared together.The little boy was then delighted, not exactlywith Strasburg, but with the cock which madeStrasburg for him. Nevertheless, this beautifuland majestic city had also a very great inconven-ience he must be taken by the hand!They departed for Vienna, and stopped alongthe route, as they had done from Paris to Stras-burg. Mr. Valneige having resolved to remain atleast a week in the capital of Austria, they hadtime to see many things, and to walk at leisure inthe great avenue of the Prater, and elsewhere.The children did not fail to admire what is calledthe wild Prater, which is partly an ancient forest,where stags and roebucks graze. These beautifulanimals, combining the advantages of domestic lifewith the charms of liberty, hear every evening the
30 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.sound of the horn, and resort to the house wherea distribution of provender awaits them. Eugeneand Frederick thought the idea perfect, and theywere right.The father took his sons to the arsenal, andvisited with them the different workshops wherefire-arms are made. They passed three hoursthere, and decided, in leaving, that they would beprepared for Saint Cyr.Mrs. Valneige having expressed a desire to visitthe environs of Vienna by the railroad on theright bank of the Danube, the whole party moved.At first is seen Schonbrunn, the summer residenceof the emperor, finished by Maria Theresa. Inthis palace is observed the room where Napoleonsigned the treaty of Schonbrunn in 1809, andwhere, twenty-three years later, by the uncertaintyof human things, his son, the Duke of Reichstadt,died. Adalbert, on account of his extreme youth,was less interested with this historical contrastthan with the thirty-two marble statues whichornament the garden of palms, the obelisk, the
SADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 31beautiful fountain which gives to the castle itsname, and above all, the lion, tiger, and otheranimals, which are seen in the menagerie.The palace of Luxemburg was also visited.SWhat Adalbert observed most among the Austriansights were the old goldfishes that he saw in thepond in going from the palace to the wharf; hegave them bread, which they deigned to accept,as did the little red fishes at the Tuileries. Adal-bert was successful, not only in France, but inAustria.The week at Vienna quickly passing away, theyset forth for Prague, always stopping at the largeSstations. Adalbert left Vienna without regret; hefound there was something in the capital of Aus-tria very annoying, a real and very great incon-venience he must be taken by the hand Youcannot imagine what a spirit of independence thislittle fellow had. To obey was for him a punish-ment. Poor, poor Adalbert!They were very much rejoiced on arriving inBohemia. This name, Camille said, had something
32 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.strangely interesting, and even a little frightful;it seemed to her that what are called fortune-tellers ought not to be allowed in this country.Mr. Valneige, who never lost an occasion 'forinstructing his children, told them, in a few words,the history of this elevated plateau, which is as itwere enclosed by a chain of mountains, and trav-ersed by spurs of them.He told them not to confound the Bohemianswith the gypsies.The Bohemians are the inhabitants of thecountry, and they lead lives like ourselves. Thegypsies consist of a people apart, which havepreserved the characteristic traits of a vagabondrace that were seen in the fifteenth century,scattered over Europe, and- particularly in Bohe-mia, Hungary, Italy, France, and Spain; thesewandering tribes are all over the country; the"name is different, but the customs the same. InFrance they are called Bohemiens; In Spain,Gitanos ; in Italy, Zingari; in England, Gypsies.These people present a very singular sight in
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 33the midst of our world. Despised, pursued, duringthree hundred years, and nevertheless alwaysaround, always wandering, stealing upon their way,and telling fortunes. Because of their strangecustoms they marry among themselves. Thus thisindependent race is perpetuated, feared not with-out reason, and living in the midst of the com-munity, without mingling with them, exceptingto recite to them follies and falsehoods, to amusethem for the moment, and to obtain from themthe little that is necessary to supply their verylimited wants.In certain places, however, the gypsies are notwandering; those that in Spain are called gitanosinhabit separate quarters in Cordova and Seville;but they speak everywhere the same language:this language is sweet, musical, and derived fromthe slave.The respect that these independent men havefor their chief is remarkable. Their obstinacyyields before the authority of that one who com-mands them, and we must admit that in that3
34 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.respect at least they are better than we. Theirorigin goes back to the ancient Persians whoestablished themselves .in Egypt when Cambyses,the unworthy son of Cyrus, invaded this beautifulcountry: he effected this by the means of dogsand cats that he put at the head of his army, andupon whom the Egyptians dared not shoot theirarrows, because these animals were sacred in theireyes. In support of this opinion concerning theorigin of this singular tribe, the beautiful andexpressive countenance of most of the gypsies isof the Persian type. Certain ancient songs whichare handed down in this race, lead us also to thebelief that Egypt has formerly seen them, amongothers a kind of lament in which they extol thebeauties of 'the Nile, and send forth plaintiveregrets.The gypsies have in general muscular and well-f6rmed limbs, and are endowed with great supple-ness of body. The women have slender, flexiblefigures, and graceful movements, and we must sayin their praise, that they have preserved among
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 35themselves, through their half civilized state, awonderful respect for their honor; they areespecially remarkable in Spain for the strictnessof their morals.Behold, then, our travellers in Bohemia. Praguecharmed them by its houses, laid out in terraces,whether in the plain, or on the hills, by its royalpalace, its towers, turrets, steeples, and by itsheights, which overlook both banks of the Mol-dau. This aspect is very striking, and when infront of these beauties, one really seems very farSfrom the Seine, which always delights the Frenchin travelling, although they are equally pleased toreturn to their country.Adalbert was particularly pleased by under-Sstanding nothing of the conversation of thepassers-by. More than half spoke Bohemian, andthe rest German.S "I am happy," said the little man, half in fun,half in earnest, -" I am happy because I am tray-elling abroad.""All the more reason for you to take hold of
36 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.my hand," said Camille, who, with her woman'sinstinct, shared the constant anxiety of her motherconcerning the little disobedient one. Say whatshe would, he scarcely listened, and a very positiveorder from his father or mother was necessary inorder to compel him to take hold of her hand;still he escaped very often to see this or that, andthese misdeeds caused a kind of little warfare inwhich the weapons were not always pleasant.The sight of the bridge with sixteen archesover the Moldau excited the attention of ourtravellers. In fact, with its antique towers, itsstatues of stone, and its curious relics, it resembledan old warrior who had well defended his flag.Let us take notice, as we pass, of the bronze statueof that noble saint of Bohemia, a generous martyrof the inviolable secret of the confessional. Theyhave taken care to point out to succeeding agesthe exact spot where the priest, in order not tolose his soul, consented to lose his body, ratherthan betray the secrets intrusted to him in theholy rite of confession. He was drowned in the
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 37Moldau by the cruel order of the king Wincislaus.The Christians of his time admired him, and thoseof to-day still go there every year, by thousands,at the anniversary of his death, to look upon thatplace in the Moldau which speaks, and will alwaysspeak, of St. John Nepomuk.They observed the part occupied by the Bohe-mian nobility, and all that part of the city on thenorth of the archiepiscopal palace. Then theywent to see the cathedral. Mr. Valneige, who hadvisited, some years previous, that of Cologne, founda great analogy between these two structures, bothof which went back to the fourteenth century.The cathedral of Prague is much more extensive :as Mr. Valneige said, the two temples remindedhim of a pair of twins, one of which was largerthan the other.The pious mother failed not to make her young-est child kneel before the remains of St. Adalbert,which are to be found in the little octagonalchapel. Poor woman! while the child, inatten-tive, looked about, from right to left, as is corn-
38 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.mon to one of his age, she, her fair head inclined,prayed with a touching fervor, as if she had apresentiment of the misfortune which was to befallher.In the nave of the cathedral they admired theroyal mausoleum of marble and alabaster, whichdates from the end of the sixteenth century, andunder which the great of the earth have come byturns to repose.A bullet suspended by a chain to a column, andfallen into this church during the seven years' war,attracted the attention of Eugene and Frederick,and even that of their bold little brother. Camilletook the occasion to say once more that she hatedwar, that it was an abominable thing; and thetender look of her mother immediately met hers.In the presence of warlike relics it is natural forman to think of glory, but woman thinks of thesuffering; it is because their mission is different;one is to defend, the other to comfort.From the first day they went about the city ofPrague in a way to get a general idea of it, pur-
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 39posing to remain there at least a week, afterwhich they thought of returning. The seasonwas advancing, it was getting cold, the days wereshort; it was necessary to return to the country,and in the country the fireside, that treasure ofthe rich and poor.Towards evening Mr. Valneige, alone with hissons (for the ladies were too much fatigued),made an excursion to the faubourg of Carolinen-thal, at the north-east of Prague. This placeis the centre of a great manufacturing activ-ity. It was the hour when the workmen wereleaving the factories: the spectacle of this labor-ing population filling the well-built and regularstreets was curious to the observer. Mr. Valneigeremarked this to his two elder sons, and Adalbertduring this time noticed, as all children do, theincidents of the road, a falling horse, a dog thatwas being whipped, etc., etc. When his motherand sister were not there, he had a little moreliberty; his father did not always think of takinghold of his hand, although it was an established
40 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.rule since the commencement of their journey.As to his brothers, they agreed between them-selves that this rule, although wise, must be veryannoying, and accordingly they were very lenientupon this article of the law.This evening Adalbert was more than everinclined to disobey; he yielded to the tempta-tion, and purposely remained behind while theattention of his father was diverted, and he wasshowing his sons a large barrack which wouldhold a whole regiment.There was in this place a dealer in birds;this was three times as interesting as the barrack.Adalbert stopped."How pretty they are! 0! this red one!and this green 0 the beautiful tail! "Unfortunately two charming little birds justbegan to fight: our future soldier, without havingstudied the political question of the moment, tookthe greatest interest in the action. One had acrest, the other had not; they appeared of equalstrength, and as no strange power interfered, theI.
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 41affair might last a long time, and cost the lifeof one of the combatants, perhaps both. Thiswas more than was necessary to interest our littleofficer; in his own mind he declared himselffor the crested one, and began to judge seriouslythe blows of the beak which came thickly uponthe battle-field. The crest was for a momentvictorious; but not having known how to keepthe defensive, she became the victim of a feignedretreat, and had literally the disadvantage, for shefell, poor crest, upon the fine sand which was inthe bottom of her cage; and Adalbert, suddenlyremembering, with the fallen glory before his face,that he had remained behind alone, removedShastily from the place of temptation.But the bird-dealer occupied a place whereseveral streets meet: which street shall he take ?| He tries the right hand one, and not immediatelyperceiving his father and brothers, he retraces his"steps, and enters into a neighboring street, butwith no better success. Then he wishes to speakto the passers to ask his way. What can he do ?
42 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.If it had only happened in the morning! He hasnot noticed anything, and does not even rememberthe difficult name of his hotel. In his embarrass-ment he interrogates the workmen of the factory,who, happier than he, are returning home; thesehonest people do not understand him. He remem-bers with anxiety that he is in a foreign country,an entire stranger His heart fails him; he wishesto weep, but cannot; he walks, walks, until at last,exhausted by fatigue, he meets a large-sized manwho looks at him very attentively, approaches him,and speaks low to him in bad French. This manlistens to his answer, and the little boy is seen tofasten upon him his trusting look, and to put hishand into that of the unknown, who leads himquickly, quickly, quickly .During this time Mr. Valneige, a prey to aninconceivable agitation, wandered through theadjacent streets; it would not have taken himlong to find Adalbert if the latter had not taken,without knowing it, a direction exactly opposite.His children experienced with him an anxiety
:7u.;c..ria -;-; ;::B1;Ir -r- ."'; -ADELBERT IS LED AWAY. Page 42.
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 43easily, understood. Mr. Valneige knew very littleof German, just enough for the anticipated wantsof the whole journey; but how difficult to speak ofanything else, to exchange quickly those littlewords which could indicate the marks of a lostchild! Because of his anxiety, he felt the neces-sity of trusting that his son had known how tofind his way back to the hotel, and that he wasthere quietly between his mother and sister.They accordingly set out for the hotel, walkingrapidly and in silence.Once arrived, Mr. Valneige dared not go upstairs; he knew not how to present himself beforehis wife. She stood up erect when her pale anddistressed husband half opened the door of hisroom, and anticipating the question before it hadbeen asked, she replied, with an accent of suddendespair, "He is lost."There are moments in life which cannot bedescribed. It is necessary to be a father, to be amother, to represent the deep, boundless griefcaused by the disappearance of a child that' God
44 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.has not taken Himself from the fireside. At leastthey who saw him die have the remembrance ofhim: all the sorrow is for them, but he can sufferno more; his parents know he is well off, and theirtears are not without consolation: but lost! andlost upon the earth upon the earth, where thereare sin and sinners. 0! it is fearful!Without permitting himself to despair a singlemoment, Mr. Valneige, accompanied by Gervais,commenced again to go over the city: he was aprey to a kind of fever which prevented himfrom feeling any fatigue, and the good Gervaissent forth great sighs in thinking of the poorlittle boy that he had known from his birth.Mr. Valneige hastened to notify the authorities.O, with what a heavy heart the unhappy fatherdescribed the external signs by which his soncould be recognized! He was a blonde, red andwhite complexion, a dimple in his cheek, his chinslightly parted, bright brown eyes, a silvery voicelike a little girl's, which contrasted with his mo-tions of a boldness entirely masculine. His look
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 45was at most that of a child of seven years, al-though he was nearly eight. He wore a suit ofSdeep-blue cloth and a flat collar, that, just as hewas starting, he had stained with ink, a little spot,hardly visible, upon the left hand side in front.From his neck hung a gold medal his mother hadgiven to him. Poor woman! alas! he was lost,-her little darling, her youngest son! Perhaps,0! perhaps carried away by cruel men, who would"make him share their miserable life, who wouldbeat him, and who would try to destroy his inno-cent soul by their wicked examples and their blas-phemies! The mother felt herself overcome bySthis thought, which was constantly before her.SShe would rather see him perish before her eyesthan given up to these infamous people, whowould make his childhood one long martyrdom,and perhaps lead him into vice.Alas! Mr. Valneige, deeply discouraged, re-Sturned to his hotel: nobody had seen the child;Sno one had been able to give any information:it was the greatest mystery, was all they could
46 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.say. They were going to employ every possiblemeans for discovering some trace of the disap-pearance of Adalbert; but for his unhappy par-ents there was only to wait. To wait when oneloves a child much more than himself, to waitwithout knowing if he still lives, if he suffers, ifhe calls, to wait under these conditions, is to dieevery day.A week passed, another, still another; a month,two months, three months, nothing no indica-tion, no approaching hope. It was necessary toreturn to France, after having established everypossible facility for correspondence with Prague;but every one was convinced that the little boyhad been carried away to a distance, and thathis recovery could only be the event of merechance.Spring reappeared, Valneige resumed its beautyand freshness, the birds sang, everything was re-vived in the country; but three very unhappyhearts could enjoy nothing of all this happiness.An old woman was anxious, restless, troubled, irri-
ADALBERT HAD DISOBEYED. 47table, accusing every one. of negligence, and blam-ing herself for not being able to foresee and pre-vent the evil: it was poor Rosette, who had grownthin under it. A man had become grave andmournful; he had no more animation; the mel-ancholy illness that he had had became his habit-ual state; his business was neglected, his dreamsof the future abandoned; they feared that hishealth, already so threatening, would be impairedpermanently: it was the father. A woman wentand came sedately, did what there was to do forher husband, her children, her house, and for thepoor; but her heart was closed to joy; all withinher wept; all, even to the kind smile with whichher actions were accompanied in order to concealher sadness. This woman controlled her feelingswith a Christian energy; she did not neglect themost trifling duty. From the time she arose tothe time she retired, her life was one ferventprayer. While thinking, while acting, while walk-ing, she prayed. She prayed for her poor childby all the longings of her heart, by her courage,
r48 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.by her devotion, by her charity towards the unfor-tunate, by all the power of her being. And atnight she prayed more earnestly, and her tearsflowed with a sad hope for her son; and at thealtar, when she was alone with God, she could nolonger suppress her sobs, and she only said, wellknowing that the Lord would understand her,"My God Adalbert "
" YOUR LITTLE ONE IS NOT LT." Pae"YOUR LITTLE ONE IS NOT LOST." Page 49.
ADELBERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY. 49CHAPTER IV.ADALBERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY.EVERYTHING is an event in the village, even acrowing hen, that one hastens to kill because itis thought to be a bad omen. It can be imaginedwhat a sensation the disappearance of young Adal-bert produced at Valneige.Nothing was talked about but this sad occur-rence, and each one had numberless conjectureson the subject. There was something of themarvellous in these conjectures, for the good peo-ple were credulous and superstitious.One day a woman came to see Rosette, to sayto her,-"Miss Rosette, listen: your little one is not lost."4/
50 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.At these words the good old woman raised herspectacles to the middle of her forehead: this wasfor her a means of seeing clearer. In vain wouldshe be advised to shut them up in a drawer; shewould take good care of them herself. For fifteenyears, at least, she had worn spectacles, and putthem upon her nose at certain fixed times in themorning. As the day advanced, she used them'for going into the garden, and going up and downstairs; but when it was necessary to pay attention,to distinguish colors, or faces, distinctly, quicklythey mounted to the middle of her forehead. Thedear old woman seemed to keep them there almostas much as to her eyes.Mother Godinette took a seat, as the conversa-tion promised to be long." Well, Miss Rosette, I am going to tell yousomething that I have not told to any one."All the conversation, of Godinette, who spokeslowly, began in the same way."Listen, Miss Rosette; see what happened tome; to me who is speaking to you. I dreamed
ADELBERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY. 51last night- first, I must tell you that I had a painin my legs an indescribable pain. It was in mytwo calves, my dear 0, listen. It was like dogseating me!, I turned myself over in bed like apancake in the frying-pan, and I rubbed and Irubbed. It is always necessary to rub, you see,when one has a pain in the legs: sometimes it isthe blood which stops circulating. What do you do,Miss Rosette, when you have a pain in the legs?""Well, I rub. And then- Let us have thestory.""Behold, while I turned over, I said to myself,What o'clock is it? It must be late; I am surethat it is after midnight. I did not know whattime it was: when one does not know, you know,one feels, as they say. Behold, I heard the clockstrike. I counted upon my fingers: one, two,three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten -""Eleven, twelve," hastily added Rosette, whowas burning with impatience."Exactly, ten, eleven, twelve. Stop; you guessedthat; I felt it even to my finger-nails!"
52 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS."And then You said that our little -""Wait, Miss Rosette; we must not go faster thanthe violins.""The violins play very slowly! And then-""Then, when I found that it was only midnight,I said to myself, Well, I thought it was later thanthat! Night is made for sleeping; I must go tosleep. My legs were much worse! I had a painso that I could not get to sleep. I opened myeyes, then I closed them, and I opened them again;and then I coughed, and I blew my nose; and thenI spit, and I rubbed: that did not cure.""You said that-""I said that that did not cure.""Yes; but our little one!""Wait, now Finally, I got to sleep."" Ah so much the better.""Hardly asleep when I awoke."" Ah! so much the worse. And then ""Then I tried to get to sleep again. I turnedover, turned over again, opened my eyes, shutthem again, coughed, spit, blew my nose, rubbedmyself- "
ADELBERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY. 53" And then ""Then I got to sleep again, and I dreamed thatI was walking in a beautiful garden, where therewas a large pond, as large, larger than you can im-agine; like what you see in dreams.""Yes, yes; and then, Mother Godinette "" Then Well, this pond was long, as long aslong as from here to the cross-road. What did Isay? as from here let's see as from here to -to-""To the end of the world. Let us go on,Mother Godinette.""There! she always has an answer.. Then Isaw, on the edge of the pond, a fox. I said to my-self, Stop! A fox? Yes, I am right; a fox. AndSat the same time I saw your little one, who hadupon his head a basket: you know those basketsin which they put -"S"Yes, yes; I can see it now.""You can see it now? They put-they put-""" They put everything in it that they wish.""You are right, for when it is a basket, one puts
54 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.there what he wishes. Besides, after all, that hasnothing to do with my story.""In that case, go on, then; will you? Andthen -""Then he saw the fox, was afraid, his basketfell, and went into the pond head foremost-""Poor little fellow! ""How poor little fellow? It was the basket."" Ah, well; you said head foremost.""That was for fun. There was the fox, whoapproached me, dragging his paw, poor beast! Isaid to myself, Stop! he must have had his pawbroken by the hunters. Ah! speaking of hunters,you do not know-""What?""They say that there were two hunters comingthrough the woods the other evening, who meta stray dog, which fought with theirs, and bitthem.""Poor beasts!""But what are you talking about, Miss Rosette?I was speaking of the people."
ADLABERT WAS VERY FAR AWAY. 55"Then poor people.""And he bit the dogs also."" Well, poor beasts and poor people -And ourlittle one -""Wait! Then there was seen in the darknessa great yellow ball, like a little moon, which re-volved in the sky; it is called a metor--metelor.I don't know what; the name has nothing to dowith it.""Fortunately; but what connection is therebetween the ball and our little one?""What connection? That is very plain. Thatproves that he will be found. again. A yellow ballrevolving in the sky is no small thing. And nowlisten; it is not finished yet: as he walked back-ward, behold, the fox -""What, still the fox? Then you are beginningyour dream again ?""To be sure; the fox that's in the dream.""And the hydrophobia?""That's true.""Ah! so much the worse."
56 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS."Then the fox-""Please let the fox alone; rather let us speakof my poor, dear, beautiful little boy. Tell mewhat you know about him!""About him ? Ah I know nothing about him.What do you suppose I should know about him,since he was lost in Germany? But it is clear,although he is at a distance, when signs are seenin the heavens, it is certain the child is not lost."It was at this part of the meaningless conversa-tion that Mr. Valneige passed. Always sad andanxious; Mother Godinette's business-like mannerattracted his attention, and the faithful Rosette,observing his interest, thought she ought to repeatto him the words of the good woman, leaving outthe wakefulness, the clock, the legs, and the fox.The master replied, sadly, that there was, alas! noconnection between this meteor and the poor lostchild; that the thing had nothing wonderful in it,being' due to an atmospheric phenomenon wellknown, and they were wrong in founding vainsuperstitions upon it.
ADALBERT VERY FAR AWAY. 57Godinette, a little piqued, but not at all con-vinced, made her courtesy, and left to relate toothers her dream and her yellow ball. As togood Rosette, seeing the conversation ended, shequietly put her blessed spectacles upon her nose,and resumed her everlasting knitting-work.
58 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.CHAPTER V.ADALBERT FINDS AT LAST WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS.WHILE the Valneige family were in a state ofstupor and consternation, while they were search-ing in all directions at Prague and its neighbor-hood, where was little Adalbert?Nobody knew about him but the infamous beingwho had carried him away from his parents. Ac-customed to disobey, the child could not fail, sooneror later, to have some great misfortune befall him.The day of his disappearance he had disobeyedeight times; and as it had not been found out, hehad not been punished. God sees everything thatfathers and mothers cannot see; it was He whotook upon Himself to punish at the time, by a
ADALBERT FINDS WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 59terrible chastisement, all the disobediences that thelittle boy had committed since he was accountablefor his actions.Let us see how things were happening.We have lost sight of Adalbert from the momentwhen a man about fifty years old, enveloped in acoarse woollen cloak, led him away, quickly, quick-ly, quickly This man had, it is true, a not verypleasing face, and a sullen look; but he spoke alittle French, and in his bitter distress, the child,who thought not of evil, followed him in silence.He walked for a long time, so long that his poorlittle legs faltered, and suddenly discouraged byfatigue, hunger, and the gloomy composure of hisconductor, he burst into tears."Are you crying?" said the stranger, with atone of feigned good-nature; and repeating to himthat he knew where his parents were, and thatthey were going to find them, the dark-complex-ioned'man, whose enormous hat concealed almostentirely his enormous head, took him into agloomy lodging, where he told him to rest himself
60 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.for a moment. The child was perishing with hun-ger and thirst; the unknown made him eat anddrink, drink, drink, so that, under the eyes of theperfidious man, the dear little boy felt himselfoverwhelmed as by an insupportable weight: hiseyes closed; he was no longer afraid; a kind ofindifference, and almost of ease, had replaced everysorrowful emotion; finally he slept soundly: thiswas what the man with the large hat had purposed;and taking his poor little victim in his arms, hehastily directed his steps to the wharf, and left thecity, taking care to wrap up Adalbert in the greatwoollen cloak, so that he might pass for a sickchild.From that time what happened to him? Wheredid they go? The child slept. When he cameout of this kind of lethargy, he found himself in amountainous country, received no answer to hisquestions, and saw men passing who resembled hisconductor. He shuddered with fright: after athousand turnings he perceived a large carriage,a kind of house on wheels, having windows and Ve-
ADALBERT FINDS WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 61Snetian blinds: the dark-complexioned man knockedloudly at the door, and said a few words in thelanguage peculiar to the gypsies; then he seizedthe little French boy with an iron grasp, liftedhim up, and a wicked, grinning boy, having openedthe door, Adalbert found himself in the middle ofa narrow passage, from which opened miserablehabitations that they called rooms.A very old woman, ugly, black, and withered,talking bad French, spoke to him as dogs aregenerally spoken to. He did not understand verywell; but he had a violent desire to descend thesteps which he had just ascended to enter the car-riage; but the door was locked again. The rashlittle fellow looked at the old woman, and said toher, in an imperious tone,-"Open the door for me!""No, no, no," replied the terrible old woman."When any one has come here, it is forever.""Forever!" repeated Adalbert, with indignation;and comprehending the horrible thing that hadhappened to him, he uttered loud screams.
62 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.A dirty hand, hideous and decrepit, was put overhis mouth, while frightful blasphemies issued fromthe lips of this Fury.The young child trembled: he could only thinkit was like the entire destruction of his life, andhalf afraid, half surprised, he lost consciousness.When his eyes closed, the dirty hand which hadforced him to be silent was withdrawn from hislips; but as if this hand had resolved to makehim suffer, it took a dishful of very cold water andthrew it upon his face. The dear little boy openedhis eyes again, looked around, as if to find hismother; his memory returned, and he began toweep bitterly, saying, very humbly,-"Madam, please let me return to my mamma."This request of the child was received with arude burst of laughter, and joining irony to un-kindness, old Praxede exclaimed,-" Go to your mamma go, run run now !"The prisoner saw clearly that all was finished,the crime was accomplished, and they had stolen.him.
ADALBERT FINDS WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 63The old shrew, who had the appearance of awicked fairy, was the mother-in-law of the manwith the large hat, the grandmother, not of Gella,the master's daughter, but of her brother Karik, andthe pretended guardian of two poor little children,Natches and Tilly, the former a boy, the latter agirl, fallen, as Adalbert had, into the hands of thebrigands.The grief of the captive was so deep that heceased to complain, and became dreadfully un-happy; his moral nature being very strong, hisgrief was very soon that of despair, and inspiredin him a strong determination to escape, sooner orlater.He had an incredible energy, and although hisbody was slender and little, he felt himself capableof surmounting many obstacles. For the present,there was nothing to say, and nothing to do."You are sick; go to bed," said old Praxede,roughly, showing the new comer a heap of ragsand old clothes in the corner of her frightfulroom.
64 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.He did not make her tell him twice, judgingcorrectly that there was nothing but to comply.As they had given him nothing to cover over him-self, he did not undress, and extended himself uponthe rags, taking care to cover over his feet withsome old pieces of dresses, to protect him from thecold, and to put his hand under his cheek, so asnot to rest his face upon these rags.Once lain down, he closed his eyes, made nomotion, and soon they thought him asleep. Hecould not understand a single word of what wassaid, for the gypsies among themselves speak onlytheir dialect; meanwhile he thought he saw thatGella evinced a friendliness towards him, and thatshe sought to appease the anger of the grand-mother. When the young girl spoke loud, hervoice had a sound that the habit of shouting in theopen air rendered harsh; and her conduct in gen-eral was masculine. Adalbert, who from time totime opened one eye a little, could see the whole.Gella was twenty years old; she was handsomeeven in her poor clothes; but it was a savage
THE HOUSE ON WHEELS. -Page 64.- ~
ADALBERT FINDS WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 65beauty; a tall figure, supple as a reed, of gracefulmotions, a face burned by the sun, glossy jet-blackhair, a mouth not well formed, but sincere, and avery pleasant smile, eyes calm in peace, but impu-dent in opposition, much strength of body and ofmind.She was the daughter of the man with the largehat, by a first wife, who died soon after the birthof her child. The gypsy, contrary to the customsof his race, had married her for love, although shewas not a gypsy, but a poor girl from Lyons. SheS was an orphan, and in want; this want, and theinexperience of her sixteen years, had induced herto enter into this strange union: an elder sister,although blaming her, was interested in the childof this imprudent marriage, and gave presents toGella at very distant intervals.Such was this brown and robust girl, that thesight of her produced upon the prisoner an im-Spression of fear mingled with confidence. Hermonosyllables, her eyes so black, her thick eye-brows,- all those intimidated him; however, those"i 5I
66 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.beautiful arms ought to know pity: it was impossi-ble that a child should be cast there without theyoung girl clasping him to her heart.Adalbert wanted so much to believe it that hewas excited to hope, and repeated to himself,"One day I will tell her that I wish to go away,and she will consent to let me escape. If shedoes not, I will make my escape alone."Then he recalled his wanderings in Prague, andthe difficulty of finding the way when one knowsnot where to go, and cannot speak the languageof everybody else. The first day was passed ingloomy sadness. The bad wine had made him soill that he did not wish to eat. In the evening heheard the old woman tell the children to go tobed, and was astonished that Karik, who was notmore than fourteen years, refused to obey; a goodblow decided him. Adalbert was humiliated, dis-covering his old fault in a wicked boy so badlybrought up. As to the two others, they appearedas submissive as lambs, and did with eagerness allthat Praxede commanded; but the little Valneige
ADALBERT FINDS WHERE DISOBEDIENCE LEADS. 67boy noticed that neither the old woman nor Gellasaid as Rosette did, -"Come, my children, kneel down and say yourprayers.""No," thought he; "nobody here prays to thegood God; doubtless because they do not knowHim."While Natches and Tilly were lying down, onein the narrow cabin that he shared with Karik, andthe other at the foot of Praxede's bed, Adalbertthought that he had not said his evening prayer,he who knew the good God. Nevertheless, histerror was so great that he dared not kneel. Hisheart was greatly moved: all his poor little beingwas prostrated by his desires before that divineProtector Who watches over us, and instead of com-mencing his prayer in the usual language, the dearchild found only these words, that he repeated tohimself in a whisper, so that they should be heardonly in heaven."Pardon me, my God! pardon me for havingdisobeyed !"
68 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.Ah! how unhappy he was! alone, separatedfrom his family, not knowing what they weregoing to do to him; being afraid of the brutalman, of the old woman, of Karik, who had a wick-ed look, and of the old dog, which had enormousteeth.Meanwhile night advanced: fatigue and sorrowmade his eyelids heavy; he slept, and dreamed thatPhilip, the coachman, had driven him around thepark at Valneige, in a tilbury, because he had beengood, that his mamma had kissed him twice, andthat Rosette had mended the reins of his rocking-horse with a good new packthread: then thescene quickly changed; he was seated at a table;he drank, and all was changed; but suddenly hisfather came to him; he was seen. Adalbert, evenin sleep still had hope.
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 69CHAPTER VI.ADALBERT ASKED HIMSELF IF GELLA HAD A HEART.THE day after the unfortunate one, a keen andhealthy air blew over Bohemia, and gave to everyone a feeling of vigor and heartiness. WhenAdalbert awoke, he was at first frightened; thenremembering what had happened, he imaginedthat the time of his misery would not be long,and that very soon he would depart from thisconfounded carriage.He was by no means a spoiled child; he hadnot been brought up in effeminacy, and conse-quently had contracted energetic habits. He ateeverything, bore the cold without complaining,knew how to restrain himself, to wait, and had
70 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.courage. When at Valneige he happened to hurthimself, he only cried when in the greatest distress,because his father, when he saw him crying fornothing, never failed saying to him,-"What is the matter, my little girl?"This simple sentence did as much good as along speech, and recalled to him that he was, ashe said, a man!Our little friend, having, then, strength of char-acter and physical courage that a good educationhad given him, kept himself from discouragement,which leads to nothing, and serves only to renderevils insupportable. Besides, he had all the illu-sions of youth, and it seemed impossible that hecould be unhappy for a long time.As he could only be a bother now, as the oldgypsy woman said, they permitted him to bequiet as long as. he wished; but awaking early,he feigned sleep, and did not stir, thus gainingtime, and perceiving secretly some of their pri-vate life.Old Praxede seemed to have no more than a
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 71breath of life; but what strength remained to herwas mingled with a nervous trouble which tor-mented herself as well as the others. Soured byfatigue, misery, and the inconveniences of age,she was the real tyrant of the gang. Praxedebore a grudge against everybody- against herson-in-law, whom she called the iron man, andwhom she hated; against Gella, who had no re-spect for her; against her grandson Karik, whoresisted her, swearing already, like his father.When they all had screamed louder than she,and had proved to her that they considered hermuch more as a servant than as a mother, shevented her spite upon the dog, upon hideousWolf.Wolf, accustomed to blows and cruelties of allkinds, never allowed himself to be intimidated.He answered each threat of the old woman witha growl, and he came near biting her when shegave him a kick. She respected him, therefore,to a certain extent, because she was forced tofear him.
72 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.But there were in this meagre dwelling two be-ings whom she did not fear, for they were defence-less, and it was upon them that she usually ventedher bad humor. Poor Tilly was so pale and mis-erable that they dared not beat her too much,for fear of her getting sick, and that they wouldbe obliged to take care of her.' Praxede con-tented herself by speaking brutally to her, as oneought not to speak to an animal. She exactedof this child of eight years a continual attention,in. order to obey at the least gesture. When thepoor little child had failed in vigilance or prompt-ness, she had less to eat; that was, alas! herpunishment.As to Natches, he was a real drudge. Thisbeautiful child of ten years, whose strong consti-tution had overcome bad treatment, led a pitiablelife. Praxede, above all, ceased not to make himfeel that it was nothing, nothing but an existence.His natural mildness, become inertness by servi-tude, did not appease her, and often vexed her.He was beaten for the slightest negligence;
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 73beaten for having answered, and beaten for havingsaid nothing.Adalbert, from his bed of rags, witnessed oneof these unjust quarrels, that occurred ever andanon..The night before, Natches had had the misfor-tune to break a porringer, in which, for years, theyhad put the dog's food. This was enough to makethe old woman furious, for she loved her porrin-gers more than anything. She called him witha harsh voice, and said, -"Is it you who have broken my porringer ?""Yes," said the child, who had not a thoughtof telling a falsehood, "it was I; but.I did notdo it purposely.""That's enough!" cried the old woman, redwith anger; " ah, you shall pay me for that; bequiet! scum! good for nothing! viper!"At the same time a shower of blows fell uponthe unfortunate little creature. Praxede, for wantof physical strength, had a nervous power thather fury redoubled, and nothing could be con-
74 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.pared to the agility of her wicked hands. Thesupple and adroit movements of the young boyevaded most of the blows; but seeing that, thevixen took a rope, in order to be more sure ofhitting him.The poor, pale, and sickly Tilly cast herself uponthe child, whom she called her brother because oftheir common unhappiness."Pardon! pardon!" cried she "0 do nothurt him !"But the old woman, as if she heard not thisheart-rending supplication, struck quite at her easein order to avenge her porringer. And Gella?Gella managed the housekeeping while watchingthe morning's porridge, in a kind of microscopickitchen, outside, in a bend of the staircase.What! Gella, the young girl, Gella did not runto the relief of Natches? No, these frightfulscenes occurred so often that she was accustomedto them, and interfered only in exceptional cases.Her heart was hardened by living with thesewicked characters, and although there was in her
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 75a natural goodness that was proved by her smile,she was but seldom moved.Who, then, will speak in favor of poor Natches ?The man with the iron grasp smokes his pipe insilence; Karik titters; Gella says not a word; andthe mild Tilly weeps and beseeches without gain-ing anything. Who will defend the victim ? Itwill be Adalbert, in whom are engraved, in indeli-ble letters, the characteristics of the family-justiceand pity. He arose boldly, threw himself uponthe child, and receiving in his place some blows,he cried out with all his might,-" You have no right to hurt him, and God willpunish you!"If it had not been the first day of Adalbert'sexile, doubtless he would have repented of hisnoble boldness; but at the beginning, the daringcourage of the stolen child astonished these coarseSminds.The iron man sent a cloud of smoke into theair, and by a frightful burst of laughter disarmedhis mother-in-law. The laugh was followed by
76 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.some awkward jokes by Karik, and some goodwords by Gella, who was not sorry to see Natchesliberated, although she attached no great impor-tance to the whole.One sentence spoken by Adalbert produced themost singular effect. He had said, "God willpunish you!"" Where is your good God ?" said the man withthe great hat, addressing himself, for the first time,to Adalbert." He is everywhere," said boldly the little Val-neige boy, excited with indignation."All! ah! not bad! Is He also in my car-riage ?"" Yes," said the child. "He is here, and He seeseverything."Ashamed of his boldness, Adalbert lowered hiseyes, and perceived good Tilly seated on theground, regarding with compassion Natches, whomshe loved more since he had been beaten.The master, turning towards our young friend,said to him, without anger, -J
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 77"Listen, my boy: this will do very well foronce; but do not fret about it. When mother hitshard, you must let her do it -that concernsher."These words made Adalbert think that in theaffairs of daily life, this man was perhaps lesswicked than the old woman.What astonished him most was the coldnessof Gella; that cries of suffering had not madeher weep. He remembered the tears that hissister Camille shed over a house dog that wasthought to be mad, and that it was necessary tokill. She submitted to her father's order, but thatday Camille, who had heard the cries of the poorbeast, could eat no dinner. He also rememberedthat his mother, seeing a.little peasant wounded bya tool that he had used carelessly, had dressed thewound as if it had been one of her own children,saying, all pale with emotion, "I am very sorryfor it."Then, it is natural to be pained at the sight ofsuffering, when one has a heart, thought Adalbert.
78 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.Why was not Gella unhappy when Natches wasstruck ? Was it perhaps because the habit of see-ing pain, took away her heart ?When the wrath of the grandmother was ap-peased, she thought that it was time to set thenew comer to work, and to give him a name andclothes: that meant a nickname and miserablerags. She busied herself with him only with anevident tediousness, not ceasing to say to her son-in-law, that he had better have left him wherehe was, for he seemed to her to be good fornothing"Surely not," replied the iron man, shaking hishairy head upon his large shoulders. In this pos-ture that he often took, he resembled the statue ofHercules resting from his labors. As he scarcelyever spoke, his presence did not increase the dis-putes; it seemed, on the contrary, that before himthey disputed less often.The fact is, Hercules was feared by all, if notrespected: they called him father, but oftenermaster: his word was law, because he exhibited
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 79an absolute authority; but he had in trifles thatindulgence which often accompanies the certaintyof being obeyed. He did not speak unless it wasnecessary, yet his will was like a boundary; youcould neither go beyond it nor make it recede.Stern king of this gloomy abode, he commandedthere by his presence alone; and it is probablethat if he had ever employed force coupled wi'hanger, he would have overwhelmed everything.Thus the old woman, in order not to displeaseher son, set herself to work to make poor Adalbertput on the clothes which were hereafter to be his,scolding the whole time, as usual. She searchedamong the old clothes of Karik and Natches, andfound a pair of pantaloons too short, and a coattoo long: this was, according to her idea, a suit-able attire."Come," cried she, very sharply, " come here,blackguard. I must give you a name, however;let us see;- what shall you be called ?""I will always be called Adalbert Valneige," saidthe child, raising his head.
80 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS." Ta, ta, ta! will you hold your tongue ? If everyou think of repeating that name, I will cut youin pieces, pound you in a mortar, and give you tothe dogs to eat."Adalbert felt, perhaps, less horror of this threatthan of the spitefulness of those two little grayeyes fixed upon his with an odd expression. Hisarms fell to his side, and in an attitude absolutelypowerless, he heard the old woman say in hisear,-"You will be called Moustapha.""Yes, narm," meekly replied Adalbert."And you will call me grandmamma."At this last word, all the blood of the youngValneige boy boiled. He had known his grand-mamma, the mother of his mother, so good, sorespectable, who had gone. to sleep one night toawake in heaven, they had told him; and he mustgive her name to an infamous creature."No !" exclaimed he, with horror." What do you say ?""I say, no!"
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 81Immediately a rude blow fell upon the prisoner'scheek, then another, and by the violence of theblow he lost his balance, and went rolling to thefeet of Gella, who said to him3 in a low voice, -" Here you must never say no, my little fellow."When the young girl spoke low she had some-thing sympathetic in her voice. Adalbert felt it,and again placed his hope in her, especially when,raising him up again and putting her beautifulbrown hands upon his head, she said, smilingly andpleasantly, -" Come, grandmamma, he will not do so again.""So much the better for him," replied Praxede,who commenced the frightful toilet of this child,taking off his simple but fine and carefully madegarments, by which his origin could be recog-nized.The unhappy little fellow looked at his deep-blue cloth jacket, his pantaloons of the same. Healso looked at his collar, stained with ink. It waswhile wrestling for fun with Eugene that this littleaccident had happened. He saw himself stripped6
82 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.of all he wore; he must put on one of Natches'coarse shirts, and then that shabby pair of panta-loons, too short, and that dirty and ridiculous frockcoat, which gave him the appearance of an oldman stunted in his growth.When 'this pitiful toilet was finished, Praxedetook a great pair of scissors to the fair, silken hair,that Mrs. Valneige admired so much. Adalbertstarted; but by a fortunate caprice the mastermade a sign not to cut his hair, which curled nat-urally, and contributed to give the child a touch-ing beauty. Yet, as his little face was altogethertoo distinguished looking for the part he was totake, they put a tinsel band around Adalbert'sforehead, and immediately he lost that naturalgrace which was the true pride of his mother.Karik, the son of Hercules, was wicked both byinstinct and education; he went for the mirror,before which his older sister dressed herself onexhibition days, when she danced, while her fatheraccompanied her, Karik beat the drum, and Natch-es passed around his Chinese hat.
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 83Adalbert, perceiving this mirror, felt grievously.the proceeding of the young rascal. Seeing thatthe captive suffered under his hideous costume,he wished to increase his humiliation by lettinghim look at his disfigured image.Tilly also felt the outrage, notwithstanding heryouth. When the mirror passed near her thegood little girl blew stealthily her warm breathupon it, in order to render it indistinct, at least,in a degree. Adalbert appreciated the kindnessof this act, and regarded Tilly in a friendly man-ner: she dared not speak a word, and did notstir. But Gella, with three steps, reached herwicked brother, snatched her mirror roughly fromhis hands, and put it back in its place.Adalbert felt grateful for this delicacy, in themidst of her masculine and vulgar coarseness;he turned towards her with a feeling of hope,and said to himself again, -"It is she: yes, it is she who will free me."One thing distressed him; it was to see oldPraxede cut, with her great scissors, the clothes
84 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.she had just taken off of him. This was, doubt-less, so that there should not remain in the car-riage one single object which could arouse sus-picion.He instinctively put into his pocket an uglybutton, sewed on to the pocket of his blue clothpantaloons by Rosette, just as they were leavingValneige: in her haste, not finding one whichmatched,' she had put on this one, which hadremained, as often happens in such cases. Healso picked up the little piece of his collar thathe had stained with ink while playing with hisbrother. In his childish grief, these were, for him,two pictures of the past, and he kept them astwo treasures.Ah how he now appreciated all the happinessof Valneige: one family, one house, comfort ineverything; not to speak of the politeness andgood breeding. Here all was coarseness.A very painful moment was that when he mustfor the first time eat the soup of the brigands.The prisoner was perishing with hunger. They
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 85remembered that he had not dined the day before;his stomach was empty, and when the old womancarried him some potato soup in a cracked plate,he showed at the same time a great disgust andan irresistible want of nourishment. He accord,ingly took this soup, which, in fact, was not verybad, and which, at least, ought to have been sub-stantial, for an iron spoon put in the very middleof it stood alone."While breakfasting, he seemed to see the din-ing-room of the mansion; four very white chinaplates placed upon the beautiful mahogany table,Rosette serving soup to the children. Dear mam-ma was passing by to give orders; seeing thedoor ajar she said, gayly, " Good appetites !" andthey smiled, and Adalbert ran to embrace her;but Rosette, preserving her precise character, saidto him, -"Will you remain here, little babbler; are yougoing to leave the table before finishing ? Thisis not the time for embracing; this is the timefor eating soup."
86 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.Before this picture which was presented to hisimagination, Adalbert felt the tears mount to hiseyes; and yet he would not weep: his onlythought was to be strong, courageous, and try tomake his escape.Tilly, seeing his sadness redoubled, thought hehad not eaten enough, and politely offered herplate to him, saying, in a familiar tone,-"Would you like to finish my soup? WhenI don't eat enough it's no matter."" What ?" said Adalbert, removing the plate ina grateful manner; "not eating enough makes aperson very sick."" O, I am always sick.""Where ?"" Everywhere."Such were the first words that the childrenexchanged in private, and the little boy, full ofillusion, said to himself, -"Poor little creature what a pity that I can-not take her away with me when I shall es-cape!"
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 87After soup in the morning work commenced.What was the work in the house on wheels?It was every exercise that can make the body. flexible. The master arranged Karik, Natches, andTilly in a row, and they performed dancing steps,exercises with the arms, passes, somersets, etc.Hercules bore upon his robust shoulders thepretty little feet of Tilly, and walked, carryingher in triumph. It was necessary that she shouldstand erect, that her figure should preserve itssuppleness, and that she should practise smilingwhile throwing kisses. Tilly had not been afraidfor a long time, the master was so strong andadroit; the only thing which seemed difficult toher in this exercise was to smile and have ahappy look.Natches had arrived at perfection in supplenessand grace. He had been beaten so many timessince his infancy that he anticipated the master'sorders, applying himself with all his heart, anddoing wonders. This child was handsome andfull of health, but his mind had suffered; his
88 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.look had something servile in it, and when heobeyed at the least sign, he resembled a huntingdog which comes crawling along very humble,and happy not to be beaten. Adalbert pitiedhim not so much for his misfortune as for notbeing sensible of the misery of his fate. Theenergetic spirit of the little Valneige boy didnot understand that weak and subdued nature.As to the ugly and wicked Karik, he practisedat his trade by imitating his father in his her-culean postures, stern looks, and ignominiousoaths. Of a trifling character, he added low jokes,that he repeated to himself in vain, to expresselegantly.They were sure he would be something' infuture; they would make something of him!His exterior appearance not being appropriatefor graceful parts, he proposed to devote hisattention to those of strength. They hoped tosee him, like his father, make the circuit of apublic place, carrying between his teeth a ropewith a paving-stone attached to it, his neck dis-
ADALBERT ASKED IF GELLA HAD A HEART. 89tended, his veins almost bursting, the perspira-tion streaming down his face: this was the kindof feats for which the young boy was destined.As amusement, he contorted his limbs in a mostridiculous fashion, throwing himself backward andlifting a chair with dexterity, swallowing stones,eating fire. Adalbert was deceived by it.Nevertheless, he had only one thought whilewatching this company practise, it was to dis-cover a means of escape. What to.do? Some-times he thought of imploring Gella; but didhe know her well' enough? If she were tolaugh at him, or report his words to the chief,and consequently redouble his distrust-- No,impossible to think that. Every time that hethought of escape, he remembered that flightwas impracticable and dangerous in a countrywhere he did not know the language. He wasobliged to postpone the execution of his project,for they spoke of leaving the mountains, andtravelling slowly in the direction of the Rhine.Now, there was some hope for him on the Rhine;
90 THE HOUSE ON WHEELS.he knew that even before arriving there, heshould find many people who spoke French.The poor child became suddenly timid, submis-sive, patient, did not speak to anybody, and wasresigned to wait, in order not to lose his oppor-tunity.